Operation: Deadfall, Part 1
|"Operation: Deadfall, Part 1"|
|First published||July 17, 2013|
|Cover date||July 2013|
|Written by||Chuck Dixon|
|Art by||Will Rosado|
|Colors by||Aburtov & Grafikslava|
|Letters by||Neil Uyetake|
|Chronology||Before "Threat Matrix"|
A M.A.S.S. Device satellite crashes in the Australian outback and the Joes aren't the only ones after it!
Six months ago, the People’s Republic of China launched a rocket carrying what they claimed was a weather satellite. In reality though, the launch was done as part of the Chinese military’s top secret “High Frontier” program, part of an effort to give China complete control over their airspace. Once in orbit, the rocket released hundreds of ball bearings, which proceeded to accelerate to such a speed that any satellite they impacted with would be knocked out of the sky... including one that was integral to Cobra’s M.A.S.S. Device project!
In the interest of both being able to study the satellite’s technology and keep this working teleportation device a secret, G.I. Joe’s Special Missions unit (along with Roadblock of their public facing team) is being dispatched to the crash site in the Australian outback to retrieve the satellite. After landing in Australia, the Joes are confused when their helicopter pilots present them with a crate... and are even more confused when they open it up and discover it’s full of saddles! A moment later, they discover just what Bildocker meant when he said he got them all-terrain vehicles when Spirit arrives with a whole string of horses! Traveling from the wee hours of the morning until the middle of the day, the Joes' trek through the outback reaches an unexpected end when they find the crater left behind by satellite’s crash... but not the satellite!
Unbeknownst to the Joes, a local known as Digger and his pet camel Lucy beat them to the satellite before they even arrived in Australia. Believing the satellite to have come from Mars, Digger has Lucy drag it through the desert in hopes that he can sell his discovery and get rich off of it. Before he can get it to civilization though, several members of the Dreadnoks motorcycle gang come across him. Hopping off the back of Ripper’s bike, Thrasher inspects the satellite and immediately calls the gang’s leader, who orders them to bring the satellite back to him. Once his men return, Zartan is overjoyed to see the satellite, informing Thrasher that it contains something as precious as life itself. This gets Digger asking about what kind of payment he can expect. At Zartan’s command, Crusher grabs Digger and throws him over a fence in the corner of the Dreadnoks’ hideout, behind which sits a very hungry crocodile!
After following the trail the satellite was dragged off in for a while, the rest of the Joes are heading back towards the crash site while Spirit continues tracking for a while longer. With the sun setting, Beachhead makes the call for the team to set up camp for the night. As the thoroughly un-equestrian Roadblock tries to get his horse to stop though, the animal bucks him off and runs away. Though Hard Drive tells him not to chase it, Roadblock doesn’t see how he’s supposed to get it back otherwise and takes off after the horse. With Roadblock and Spirit gone, Hard Drive sits with Tripwire, reminiscing about the summers she spent horseback riding while gazing up at the stars... until suddenly a shadow casts itself over her. Moving just in time to avoid getting smashed by a cinderblock-headed hammer, Hard Drive calls out to Beachhead but before he can react he’s knocked out by a rifle butt to the back of his head. Now at the mercy of the Dreadnoks, Hard Drive and Tripwire have no choice but to surrender.
Back at the Dreadnok hideout, Zartan has Thrasher very carefully disassemble the satellite and retrieve a particular piece of technology nestled deep inside. When his lover Heartwrencher inquires about it, Zartan informs her this piece of technology is very important to him. In fact... it is him!
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
Digger: "This is our lucky day, girl. See if it ain't!"
- -Ron Howard: "It wasn't."
"That's a serious hike. I should have brought more horses.
"In case we get hungry.
- -Spirit and Beachhead
"You filthy cheatin' sods! Take care of my Lucy, willya? Promise me you'll do that for ol' Digger!"
"We'll take good care. I'm certain she'll be delicious."
- -Digger and Zartan. Yes there's two jokes like that in this issue.
- Zartan returns! He was last seen in Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow #15, where his plane was brought down by Snake Eyes and crashed in the Australian desert, leaving him at the mercy of the Dreadnoks! In the time since, he's somehow become their leader!
- Spirit's sole previous appearance in IDW before this issue was in a Hearts & Minds story focused on him. However, he's depicted a bit differently here. In Hearts & Minds, Spirit bristled against being associated with the stereotype about Native American being in sync with nature. However, the Spirit seen here seems slightly more in line with that stereotype, most obvious with his line about being "born on a horse".
- In a slight crossover with the current main G.I. Joe book, Roadblock takes a break from being part of the public facing Joe team to join the Special Missions unit on their expedition to Australia.
- The development of the M.A.S.S. Device was one of the major plot points of the first volume of IDW's Joe comics, though at the conclusion of that series the Device's central teleportation hub was destroyed, leaving it basically inoperable.
- The M.A.S.S. Device satellite bears the logo of M.A.R.S. Industries, the device's manufacturer, and M.A.R.S.'s CEO Destro is also mentioned by Mainframe.
G.I. Joe references
- The Dreadnoks have long been an enemy of G.I. Joe's, often serving as goons for Cobra under Zartan's leadership. While he and the traditional trio of Buzzer, Torch, and Ripper are all present and accounted for, several more obscure members turn in small appearances as well!
- Thrasher and Road Pig were both later 80s additions to the Dreadnoks. Thrasher, while normally an adult, appears as a young boy here, likely in reference to his bio card stating he ran away from home and joined the Dreadnoks at a young age.
- Heartwrencher (Zartan's lover) and Burn Out (the sole black member of the gang) originate from the Joe comics put out by previous license holder Devil's Due.
- The fellow in the yellow vest looks like classic Dreadnok poacher Gnawgahyde, but Zartan names him as Crusher, a different Dreadnok poacher from the 2004 official G.I. Joe Convention toy set. (That toy looked a lot like Gnawgahyde, too, though it used the head of Street Fighter's Zangief!)
- A female Dreadnok with black hair goes unnamed, but since she can't be Zarana (given her distinct appearance over in the main Joe book), it seems like she's intended to be Zanya, a Devil's Due Dreadnok who was originally Zartan's daughter, though it seems safe to assume this isn't true for IDW. She doesn't look a whole lot like her green-haired previous depictions, though.
- So... what the heck is Zartan talking about when he says "one of [the Joes] killed me once"? The original Zartan died thanks to Destro's faulty teleporter, not the Joes.
- Cover A: The Dreadnoks, by Paul Gulacy, Aburtov, and Grafikslava
- Cover B: Ripper, by James Biggie
- Retailer incentive cover A: Untold Spook-tacular Tales!, by S.L. Gallant, Brian Shearer, and Joana Lafuente
- Retailer incentive cover B: Concept art of Zartan, by Will Rosado