Operation: Deadfall, Part 2
|"Operation: Deadfall, Part 2"|
|First published||August 14, 2013|
|Cover date||August 2013|
|Written by||Chuck Dixon|
|Art by||Will Rosado|
|Colors by||Aburtov & Grafikslava|
|Letters by||Neil Uyetake|
|Chronology||Before "Threat Matrix"|
With their teammates and the M.A.S.S. satellite in Zartan's possession, Roadblock and Spirit make their move against the Dreadnoks.
As he returns to camp with his runaway horse in tow, Roadblock finds all of his teammates missing and their belongings scattered across the ground. As he looks around concernedly, Spirit returns as well, scaring both Roadblock and his horse, which promptly runs off again, though Spirit is able to easily call it back. With his tracking skills, Spirit is able to determine which way their teammates' kidnappers rode off in. Roadblock is relieved that they'll be easy to follow, since they didn't bother covering their tracks, but Spirit isn't so pleased. After all, they're talking about people who not only are able to survive out in the extreme conditions of the Australian outback and take down three, highly trained G.I. Joe operatives, but they also don't care if they're followed...
At the Dreadnoks' hideout, Zartan is busy inspecting the M.A.S.S. Device remnant that contains the bio-scan of his predecessor, the original Zartan whom he was cloned from. Just as he begins to consider the possibilities of this device, however, he's interrupted by Ripper, who asks what he wants them to do with their G.I. Joe prisoners. Having no interest in them, Zartan gives his Dreadnoks permission to do what they will with the Joes, which to the bikers only means one thing: time for Salty! Though Ripper initially chooses Hard Drive to be the first thrown in with Salty, Beachhead jumps to her defense, which Crusher is plenty happy to take as him volunteering instead! Raising the Joe over his head, Crusher tosses Beachhead into Salty's pen. Face to face with this ravenous crocodile, Beachhead wastes no time and undoes his belt, jumps onto the croc's back, and ties his belt around the animal's powerful jaws. With Salty's most dangerous weapon neutralized, Beachhead runs over to a nearby tree and rips off a piece of bark that he uses to stab and kill the croc! Though the Dreadnoks are all horrified by the death of their beloved pet, Ripper promises they still have plenty of surprises left for him and his friends...
After spending the night following the Dreadnoks' trail as fast as they could, Spirit and Roadblock arrive at the hideout just as the sun begins to rise. Scaling the mountain near where the trail ends, the two eventually come onto a cliff that overlooks the place. While Spirit scouts on ahead, Roadblock hangs back and keeps an eye on the camp. Thankfully, it looks as though the Dreadnoks sleep for most of the day, meaning that Spirit isn't at much of a risk of being detected. Allowing himself to be a bit sloppy with his sneaking, Spirit eventually hits the ground and finds the cell where the other Joes are being held.
Meanwhile, Zartan continues to consider the possibilities of having access to the genetic code he was cloned from. After all, if he was cloned from the same information, it would be a simple matter to make even more. With this, he could even make an entire army of Zartans! With his girlfriend Heartwrencher not quite seeing the point of all this, Zartan decides that he's tired of her and backhands her before going to wake up Thrasher. With him, Zartan shares his plan to leave the Dreadnoks behind and return to the Cobra labs from which he was born and use their facilities to make his dream a reality! Heading towards where the Dreadnoks keep their bikes, Zartan spots Spirit and hurries young Thrasher along, wanting to escape quickly so the Joes' arrival can serve as a distraction to cover their escape. As they prepare to steal Ripper's trike and fill it up with gas though, Heartwrencher arrives and loudly confronts her so-called lover over hitting her. Threatened with a knife, Zartan quickly disarms Heartwrencher and decides to use her to cover his escape as well. Using his shapeshifting powers to make his face appear horrifyingly rotted away, Heartwrencher screams in terror, waking up the rest of the Dreadnoks... just as Spirit releases the other Joes!
Characters in italic text only appear in flashback. (Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"This presents endless possibilities, Heartwrencher. The data in here maintained its integrity. This is the Rosetta Stone. The DNA catalogue. The sum of all that is Zartan."
"You can make more of yourself? Kinky, love."
- -Zartan's plans for his clone army don't line up with Heartwrencher's.
"ZARTAN, YOU MANKY BITZER!"
- -Heartwrencher has harsh words for her "boyfriend".
- Zartan recounts his origin story, as originally depicted in G.I. Joe: Origins #16 through #18. Also mentioned is his speedy rise through the ranks of Cobra, as depicted in the Cobra Civil War and Cobra Command story arcs.
- Cover A: Zartan, by Paul Gulacy, Aburtov, and Grafikslava
- Cover B: Heartwrencher, by James Biggie
- Retailer incentive cover: Untold Big Top Tales!, by S.L. Gallant, Brian Shearer, and Joana Lafuente