Serpent's Shadow, Part 2

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Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow #14
SnakeEyes-14 cvrB.jpg
Publisher IDW Publishing
First published June 20, 2012
Cover date June 2012
Written by Chuck Dixon
Art by Robert Atkins and Atilio Rojo
Inks by Juan Castro, Brian Shearer, and Atilio Rojo
Colors by Simon Gough, Juan Fernandez, and Joana Lafuente
Letters by Neil Uyetake
Editor John Barber and Carlos Guzman

Snake Eyes and Rika set out to take down Zartan... if Cobra Commander doesn't have him dealt with first!


A furious Zartan argues with Cobra Commander over video link. The Commander promises the blustering Zartan additional protection, but after hanging up the call, he gripes to his aide Savane that he is tired of the shapeshifter's threats and sense of entitlement, and wishes that his threats would cease. Savane is unsure whether to take what he says as an order, but the Commander refuses to confirm one way or the other, simply telling her to take initiative and do as she sees fit.

Rika and Snake Eyes train together in the dojo of Arashikage Castle. Rika seeks to understand his fighting style by observing his kata, but determines that she cannot, and instead swings her sword at him, aiming to learn through combat instead. Their fight is interrupted by Storm Shadow, who teases Rika for their "spirited" practice, and reveals that they will be participating in their next mission together; Zartan has been located less than a mile from where they are in Tokyo, hiding in plain sight. But Snake Eyes, suspicious, secretly sends their video of Zartan to his former partner within G.I. Joe, and the only one who knows that he is still alive: Agent Helix. Analysing the video, Helix realises that something is wrong with Zartan's stride, and sends her findings back to Snake Eyes. As they prepare for the mission, Rika tells Snake Eyes of her son, in training with the Soft Master, but is unable to find any reaction from the ever-silent ninja-commando.

The Hard Master gives his students, Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, a test: to prove that they have the ninja's skill of defying the laws of the physical universe, they must place their hands in a pot of molten lead. Storm Shadow hesistates, but Snake Eyes plunges his hand in immediately, and is left unharmed; the other boy makes to follow his example, but the Hard Master will not let him, as he would merely be borrowing the courage that Snake Eyes showed. Later, the master speaks with Snake Eyes in private, revealing that it was he that found the boy as an infant and took him into the clan; he was found wrapped in the jacket of a U.S. army sergeant, its nametag torn beyond legibility, and is why the boy was named "Heitai" — "soldier". As ever, Snake Eyes says nothing, but reaches out to touch the jacket...

Savane arrives at the Tokyo Imperial Hotel to meet with Zartan, but doesn't have much to say to him — she merely shoots him and orders the man's bodyguard to dispose of the weapon and the body. After she leaves, however, the bodyguard — enraged by her talk of the Commander sending his "gratitude" — kills one of his fellows, before changing his face to match that of another... because he is Zartan, and the one in the room was merely a decoy! Moments later, Rika and Snake Eyes break in through the window, only to find "Zartan" already dead; but as Rika examines the latex mask of Zartan's face that the body is wearing, Snake Eyes knocks her unconscious and chases after the shapeshifter, who is at that moment getting into his limousine and demanding to be taken to Haneda Airport. The ninja steals the car of a group of cosplayers and pursues, while Rika regains consciousness, and escapes out the window moments before the Tokyo police break into the room.

Zartan reaches his plane with Snake Eyes hot on his tail, and tells his men to get him in the air by any means necessary; but it isn't enough, as the ninja manages to leap from his car onto the aircraft's undercarriage. Zartan's paranoia means his men sweep the hold with their weapons, and Snake Eyes is forced to jump out and into the Tokyo bay... but unbeknownst to Zartan, he has left behind a ticking time bomb set to destroy the plane in six hours time...

Featured characters[edit]

Characters in italics are shown only in flashback. (Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

Arashikage Cobra G.I. Joe Others


"Zartan has talents that are unique and invaluable to Cobra. But his sense of entitlement is... disquieting. I tire of his threats. I wish they would cease."
"Shall I respond to that as an order, Commander?"
"No one advances solely by taking orders. Take the initiative, Savane. Seize on the moment as you see fit."

Cobra Commander wishes to be rid of his turbulent priest, and Savane is happy to oblige

"We had a son, you know. He is in training with the Soft Master. I hope he matures to be as great an attribute to the Arashikage clan as you have been. Perhaps you will meet him someday. I would like that. A boy needs a father to look up to."

Rika... flirts with Snake Eyes? Is that what this is? I thought she knew he was a traitor?


Continuity notes[edit]

  • Zartan refers to how he helped Cobra Commander reach his position.
  • The jacket Snake Eyes was found wrapped in, implied to belong to one of his parents, has a nametag with only the first letter visible: "S".

Real life references[edit]


  • Zartan speaks at the start of the issue as if he doesn't know who his attacker was, whereas last issue, he identified him both as Snake Eyes and as a member of G.I. Joe.

Covers (3)[edit]