Serpent's Tale Part Two: The Nest

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G.I. Joe: Cobra #6
"Serpent's Tale Part Two: The Nest"
Publisher IDW Publishing
First published July 21, 2010
Cover date July 2010
Written by Mike Costa & Christos Gage
Art by Sergio Carrera & J.K. Woodward
Colors by Peter Dawes
Letters by Chris Mowry
Editor Carlos Guzman

Leonard Michaels finds himself trapped within The Coil and learns of the beliefs behind the cult.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

In the beginning, there was naught but a void of ignorance and darkness. That is, until the day that a will and a wisdom penetrated this void. This will has been known by many names in many cultures over the centuries, but all of these names have their root in a singular being: The Serpent who encircles our world, Her coils holding this Earth in a warm embrace, protecting us all from that ignorant void. In Her incredible generosity and kindness, the Serpent saw fit to render upon us an avatar, Her spirit and Her will made flesh. This avatar was known as Gola-Bulas, the perfect fusion of man and snake. And it was under his fair and just rule that all lived in peace and harmony in the gardens of Cobra-La...

In the catacombs beneath The Coil's headquarters, Leonard Michaels recoils in shock at an enshrined portrait of some kind of snake-man, a snake-man that a voice coming from behind Michaels identifies as Golobulus. Turning around, Michaels learns that this voice belongs to The Coil's leader Stephen Minasian or, as he calls himself, Serpentor. Suddenly feeling dazed, Leonard falls to his knees but is caught by a pair of Vipers. Serpentor explains that the hypnotics Leonard was secretly dosed with when he first arrived must finally be kicking in and compliments him on his surprising resilience as well as the ingenuity it must have taken for him to find the catacombs. As he's carried off by the Vipers, the dazed Leonard quietly asks where he is. To this question, Serpentor has a one word answer: he's home.

The next few days are a blur for Leonard. A montage of needles injecting him with strange drugs, of distorted figures he can't quite recognize and strange voices he can't match to a source, of cold, limestone walls and floors pressed up against his face. It takes at least a week for Leonard's head to clear enough that he can form a coherent thought and it's then that the Vipers come to his cell. Weakened and emaciated, Leonard asks his captors why they insist on subjecting him to tortures he's too drugged up to remember rather than just killing him outright. As he gives Leonard another dose of his "medicine", Venomous Maximus questions why he seems to think they'd kill him when they so clearly love him. When they're going to give him a purpose that the outside world hasn't...

Unfortunately, Man, in his infinite arrogance, came to hate his teacher for giving him the knowledge that he lacked. And so humanity cast the snakes out of Cobra-La and, in glorifying himself, denigrated their teachers into something low and small. As time passed, so called "great men" wrote the Serpent out of history and reshaped the truth in their own image. Plato. da Vinci. Isaac Newton. Einstein. Fools and charlatans who sought to sow the seeds of disharmony with their blasphemous messages in support of individuality that pits people against one another.

However, all was not lost. Even as these blasphemers delivered outrageous anathema to The Serpent's teachings, She still had Her champions. Men who sought to reunite humanity as they once were in Cobra-La. Men like Rasputin, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, and Napoleon. Whether they knew it or not, each of these men worked in the service of the Serpent, conquering so that humanity would once again know the embrace of Her coils. Every era has had its own champion but, tragically, all of them have passed before their work was complete. But there is still hope...

When Leonard comes to, he's kneeling on the floor before Serpentor, who regretfully informs Leonard that he's quite disappointed in him. Serpentor admonishes Leonard for wasting his time not only investigating cheating husbands and insurance scams, but also for his so-called "journalism". As the recipient of a Pulitzer who's put his share of corrupt politicians in jail, Leonard's certain that he's accomplished more with his life than someone who somehow convinced the rich and famous to buy into a weird snake cult. Minasian, however, feels that a journalist who exposes corruption is just another part of a corrupt machine. Leonard was brought to The Coil for a reason, and that reason was to finally use his writing skills for a noble purpose: to share his story with the world!

Serpentor! The Serpent's final disciple! A man who possess the greatest strengths of all the champions who came before him! Blessed by the hand of Golobulus himself! Delivered onto this plane to serve as our spiritual leader and protector so that mankind may finally be wrapped in the Serpent's coils once more!

Stephen Minasian. Born July 1972 in Ventura, California to a librarian mother and a stevedore father who died in 1985. Had a younger brother who died of pneumonia. Ran away from home at age 16 and traveled the world. Came to Ojai in 1992 and became active in the community and local government. Started The Coil as a self-help group based on a pamphlet. Would rent out his followers to campaign for others in the local government, earning him favors from people in high places. Published his first book in 1998, followed by another in 2000. Has seven adopted children and one illegitimate son. Wanted for murder in India and Indonesia. These are the facts Leonard managed to gather on Minasian prior to being taken by The Coil. As Minasian himself notes, however, facts aren't always particularly relevant to the truth. Facts are dull, confusing things whereas the truth is something visceral, something you can feel. And the truth of Serpentor is the ultimate truth. Leonard asks Minasian if they've had this conversation before, which Minasian confirms they have dozens of times over weeks and weeks. The only difference is now Leonard is finally starting to come around to the truth...

Back in his cell, Leonard's head begins to feel loopy and he's no longer able to focus on writing the story of Serpentor and The Coil. Delivering his meal of gruel, Venomous Maximus assures him that's perfectly okay, as he's already worked plenty hard today. Leonard confides in Venomous that he feels so lonely working down in the dungeon, but Maximus reminds him that writing is a lonely profession and that he needs this isolation so he can properly focus on his work. No matter how lonely Leonard feels though, he's never truly alone. After all, he's part of The Coil now. And no one is truly alone inside The Coil...

Featured characters[edit | edit source]

(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

Quotes[edit | edit source]

"Unlike everyone else in the world, Leonard, we have use for you. You can help us."
"Buddy... I'm not sure anyone can help you."
"I understand. In the world you came from, you had to develop defense mechanisms like that. Irony. Being hurtful. Here, you won't need those things. Here, you'll be accepted. Once you accept yourself.

-Venomous Maximus and Leonard Michaels

"The truth... now that is something you can know. You feel it. You know it's right. No matter what anyone else says. There isn't enough truth in the world. That's why the press is dying. They disdain truth. They find it somehow dishonest if not supported by their precious facts. But truth is what people crave. And my truth, Leonard... My truth is so beautiful.


Notes[edit | edit source]

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

  • Stephen Minasian was Serpentor all along, what a shock! While the original Serpentor was a genetically engineered super soldier, the IDW version is a cult leader who... if we're being completely honest is probably intended to have made his divine origins up. The Coil's mythology does pay homage to the original Serpentor's origin though, as Serpentor's DNA was the composite of many great conquerors throughout history, including the four who were said to be servants of the Serpent here and, thus, were IDW Serpentor's predecessors.
  • They don't quite match up with the design that's been seen for them in previous IDW Joe comics, but the Coil's armed guards are intended to be Vipers. Later issues imply they may or may not be intended as a new take on the Range-Viper.
  • Hey, it's Venomous Maximus! Originating from the 2004 Valor vs. Venom line, Venomous was originally a genetic experiment in a similar vein to Serpentor but again he is here likely just a regular human.

Real world references[edit | edit source]

Other notes[edit | edit source]

  • For whatever reason, this issue has the same subtitle as the previous one.
  • This issue's story is told somewhat non-linearly. In addition to switching back and forth between Leonard's experiences being held prisoner by The Coil and excerpts of The Coil's mythology, the scenes of Leonard and Serpentor conversing are eventually revealed to be excerpts of several different conversations the men have had with the same topic over the course of several weeks. This is indicated by the constantly changing scenery and outfits worn by Minasian.

Covers (3)[edit | edit source]

  • Cover A: Serpentor in the lens of Leonard's camera, by Antonio Fuso.
  • Cover B: Close-up on Leonard, by Ben Templesmith.
  • Cover RI: Leonard Michaels, by ???