Serpent's Tale Part One: The Nest

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G.I. Joe: Cobra #5
"Serpent's Tale Part One: The Nest"
Publisher IDW Publishing
First published June 9, 2010
Cover date June 2010
Written by Mike Costa & Christos Gage
Line-art by Sergio Carrera
Colors by Lovern Kindzierski
Letters by Robbie Robbins
Editor Carlos Guzman

With Chuckles still missing, Hawk calls upon another to investigate the mysteries of The Coil...

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

As her show begins, Dana Abraham welcomes her guest for tonight: Stephen Minasian, leader of the mysterious religious organization known as The Coil. As Mr. Minasian is quick to clarify, though, The Coil isn't strictly a religious organization and it certainly isn't a cult, it's merely a system towards self-improvement that welcomes people of all different walks of life and beliefs; From the Hollywood elite to blue-collar workers from the American heartland, all are welcome to seek enlightenment within The Coil!

Though Ms. Abraham questions The Coil's use of snake themed imagery, their leader feels that snakes are quite misunderstood, noting that snakes were once thought of as a symbol for wisdom and change and that he seeks to restore this association. Dana notes that The Coil is clearly having some success in this regard, as the organization brought in an estimated 1.2 billion dollars last year, an income that Minasian insists is largely funneled into charitable and humanitarian efforts. Even with this altruistic spending, there is still the matter of the unusually high rate of disappearances associated with members of The Coil. With this question, the affable Minasian's face darkens as he confronts Ms. Abraham over what is clearly cheap "gotcha" journalism that is sensationalizing "disappearances" of people who obviously stepped away from their own, likely abusive families because they found a new one in The Coil. Turning to the camera, Minasian implores the audience at home not to buy into the cheap, tabloid headlines being peddled about his organization and to visit their local Nest to find out the truth for themselves.

Another job, another glamorous night of sitting around in his car downtown and taking bathroom breaks in the gutter, waiting to get photographic evidence of a husband cheating on his wife. Another night of the husband noticing him and threatening him with a wrench. However, tonight the husband made the mistake of threatening his car as well, and this is something he can't take lying down! His pride over his car lands him in the back of a police car after the girlfriend calls the cops. Getting out of going to jail costs him his last favor with the police lieutenant. Getting into the fight cost him a $2,000 camera lens on a $1,500 job. Getting the photographic evidence the wife was looking for cost him that $1,500 dollars. Just another job for Leonard Michaels, private eye and one-time Pulitzer Prize winning journalist extraordinaire!

As he sits in his office eating his TV dinner, Michaels receives a call from Hawk requesting that he look into this mysterious "Coil" organization that seems to be getting so popular. Leonard laughs it off, confusing Hawk, who doesn't understand why Leonard (or "Scoop", as Hawk's file on him is labelled) would turn down a well-paying job for Uncle Sam when he's in such dire financial straits. Leonard tells Hawk to stop trying to appeal to his patriotic side, reminding him that he used to make a living exposing the crimes of people like him. Though Hawk is well aware of Leonard's distaste for him, he just wants to know if he's going to work for him or if he needs to call up another washed up private investigator. Leonard names his price at forty thousand dollars and the assurance that his P.I. license stays in order, though Hawk doesn't make any promises that he'll make the latter term his problem.

Leonard begins his investigation by scouring the internet for information on Stephen Minasian, doing his best to trace a fragmented paper trail that barely has any actual paper associated with it. Of course, working for a man like Hawk does afford him access to certain tools like C.I.A. databases. Next he begins doing some legwork, tracking down Judge Hickman, the only judge who's ruled for the prosecution in one of the seven kidnapping cases brought against The Coil. Though Hickman blows him off, Leonard is able to glean one thing from his brief conversation with the judge: he seemed scared to talk about the case...

Leonard's search eventually takes him to Ojai, California, the place where the first Coil enclave popped up. With the old compound turning up empty, Leonard tracks down people in the area who he believes to be family of compound residents. As he chats with them, he sees the same looks of fear, anger, and loss on each of their faces as they by and large refuse to say too much about the children, spouses, and family they lost to the organization. With local law enforcement proving unfriendly, Leonard attempts to talk to his "friend" in the LAPD Detective Hendel, who responded to several domestic disturbance calls at The Coil's compound in Silver Lake before they had private security. Though Hendel didn't think much of The Coil, feeling they were just another in a long line of self-help groups for delusional losers, he does suggest something that piques Leonard's interest: investigate The Coil from the inside.

Heading to The Coil's current headquarters in West Adams, wanting to head straight to the source rather than screw around with one of the smaller "Nest" storefronts, Leonard is welcomed by a woman he delivers his made up backstory to. Sympathetic, she shows Leonard to a golden snake statue with ruby eyes affixed to the wall and kindly implores him to gaze into its eyes, something that Leonard surprisingly finds legitimately transfixing. He's then guided into a packed room full of other Coil-curious individuals perusing the organization's literature. While here, he spots a pair of men in gold jackets going down a guarded corridor. Finding a spare jacket sitting on a chair, Leonard sneaks his way past the guards and finds himself inside a gigantic dining hall. Further poking around leads him through a hidden entrance that leads to darkened, swampy smelling catacombs beneath the building. Here, Leonard hears demands that Dana Abraham be taken off the air, finds an altar dripping with human blood, and, much to his confusion, a gigantic, enshrined portrait of a man with the lower body of a snake...

Featured characters[edit | edit source]

Characters in italic text appear only in photos.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

Quotes[edit | edit source]

"I investigate men and women. I learn their stories. I uncover their histories and their secrets. And one thing I can say for sure... People are never happy. By and large, people are selfish. They cling to each other, out of fear of being alone. And if you put your trust in them... People will let you down every time. I'd stake the bank on that. I'm an optimist."

-Leonard Michaels is a nice guy.

"Uncle Sam doesn't have any more of an idea what you're doing than I do. You could be building a time machine with all that invisible money. Probably are, so you can go back and clone Nixon. I don't like you, Hawk."
"Nobody does."

-Leonard and Hawk

"Here. Take a look at the snake. I know it might seem strange, but trust us. Often we can find power and comfort in symbols that are absent in the world outside. The serpent is a figure of wisdom, but also guile. He sees truth. Many cultures felt serpents had hypnotic powers, and it was dangerous to meet their gaze. But the thing that people are always most afraid of seeing... is themselves."

-The Coil receptionist

Notes[edit | edit source]

Continuity notes[edit | edit source]

  • No, you didn't miss an issue, there really was a jump from Chuckles being at the mercy of Cobra Commander himself to... a story not involving Chuckles at all! His storyline will be picked up in G.I. Joe: Cobra II issue #10.
  • Though he's working for Hawk and has a Joe-style codename, Leonard is also still a civilian and hasn't been made to fake his death as is customary for Joes at this point in continuity. While he does sarcastically refer to Hawk as "G.I.", it seems unlikely that Leonard is actually aware of the actual G.I. Joe team.

G.I. Joe references[edit | edit source]

  • He may don his characteristic golden armor and green cape and bellow his battlecry of "Cobra-La-la-la-la-la" on this issue's first page, but we're pretty sure Stephen Minasian is absolutely not supposed to be the IDW incarnation of Serpentor. After all, he's definitely not a creepy cult leader or anything!
  • Though he's pretty much exclusively referred to by his real name, Hawk's file on Leonard Michaels is labelled "Scoop", driving home that he's the IDW take on G.I. Joe's resident journalist.
  • The portrait Leonard uncovers at the end of the issue is of Golobulus, the half-man, half-snake ruler of Cobra-La originating from 1987's G.I. Joe: The Movie.
  • The Coil was to be the name of the new enemy faction led by Tomax and Xamot in the unproduced third Sunbow season of the original 1980s G.I. Joe animated series. It had previously been used as the name of a Serpentor-connected organization in Devil's Due Joe comics.

Real world references[edit | edit source]

Other notes[edit | edit source]

  • While Cobra II was originally solicited as a miniseries like the original Cobra comic, with this issue it drops the "II" from it's title and becomes an ongoing.
  • In a somewhat... bizarre case, the police badge worn by Detective Hendel is not the badge typical to LAPD detectives, but a badge that was worn by detectives of Pacific Electric railway streetcars in the early 1900s! Since the badge is clearly a picture pasted on rather than a drawing, this is almost assuredly a case of artist Sergio Carrera Googling for police badges and using this one instead of the standard LAPD detective badge for whatever reason.

Covers (2)[edit | edit source]