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G.I. Joe: Cobra #10
"The Last Laugh"
Publisher IDW Publishing
First published November 17, 2010
Cover date November 2010
Written by Mike Costa & Christos Gage
Art by Antonio Fuso & S.L. Gallant
Colors by Peter Dawes
Letters by Robbie Robbins
Editor Andy Schmidt

Now in the custody of Cobra, Chuckles begins to wonder if he's a prisoner or a guest of the organization.


As Chuckles is escorted into his office, Cobra Commander asks him if he's familiar with the concept of Cognitive Dissonance. Going on, he explains that in the 1950's, the psychologists James M. Carlsmith and Leon Festinger conducted an experiment where they asked a group of people to preform the monotonous task of winding thread onto spools for a few hours. Once they were done, they had to tell the next person how to do the job and insist that the job was fun. After this, they were paid somewhere between one to twenty dollars for their work. Once they'd been paid, they were asked if they'd actually had fun and, surprisingly, the people who were paid the least claimed they'd had more fun than those who were better paid, who complained the job was boring. The reality of the job's boring nature was dissonant from them having to claim the job was enjoyable to the next person. One dollar wasn't enough to justify the dissonance, so they lied to themselves to make them believe they really did have fun. And because they believed they had fun, they also believed it was okay they weren't paid very much. As far as Cobra Commander is concerned, this principle forms the basis upon which all society is built. For the right price, anyone can be convinced to do something they find distasteful. Men are free to determine their own parameters and limits and that is what makes them free, but only if they realize they can. As the Commander finishes his speech, Chuckles asks if this was supposed to convince him that every horrible thing he's ever done was actually okay and collapse into arms and thank him for opening his eyes. Cobra Commander merely claims this was just to give him some food for thought and has the Crimson Guards escort him back to his cell.

From that shockingly lush cell, Chuckles wonders what the point of Cobra Commander showing him the inner workings of his organization is. He's been imprisoned for two months and hasn't been tortured or interrogated once, just been given good meals, comfortable beds, and guided tours. Elsewhere, Tomax Paoli is wondering the same thing and insists to the Commander and Xamot that they need to kill him. Chuckles was so determined to kill him and his brother that he was prepared to march miles through the jungle with two gunshot wounds for the opportunity and Tomax doesn't feel comfortable keeping a man like that around. Xamot, however, finds the idea of having a man like Chuckles around a bit exhilarating. As the Crimson Twins begin arguing, Cobra Commander decides he's had enough and puts his foot down, saying he has his reasons for keeping Chuckles around. Before storming out of the meeting room, he warns Tomax to not try his patience again.

The next day, a Crimson Guard arrives to escort Chuckles to another meeting with the Commander and even before he's let out, Chuckles can tell this isn't the same guy who usually escorts him. Even on other side of the door, Chuckles can smell the booze on him as he zip-cuffs him instead of giving him proper cuffs. Chuckles can tell his jailers are trying to push him into making an escape attempt... and he intends to make them pay for giving him a chance like that. Counting on the new, hungover Guard not knowing his body language, Chuckles breaks out of his zip cuffs and manages to easily disarm and kill his escort. As he heads to a nearby tank hangar, Chuckles knows that he's extremely unlikely to get that lucky for a second time. And since he's not going to press his luck trying to take any Vipers in a fight, he just makes a run for it and hopes he doesn't get shot as he tries to climb into a H.I.S.S. tank. Having trained on these vehicles in Dubai, Chuckles easily starts the H.I.S.S. up and uses it to blow up the Vipers, the other tanks, and a hole in the wall. Though he was hoping it would cause more structural damage, he still slowed down any response teams long enough to carve a schematic and map of security tripwires into his arm before leaving the tank and running through the sewers. With everyone running towards where all the noise came from, he's free to take off through the woods. Though he does encounter a dog who was sent off after him, he's able to punch it out and continue... until Cobra Commander steps out from behind a tree!

When Chuckles pulls a pistol he got from the tank, Cobra Commander tells him to put it away, as it's far too low a caliber to penetrate any of the armor he's wearing. Chuckles of course is undeterred, but Cobra Commander warns him he's on an island several hundred miles from a continental landmass and that there's no way he'd be able to get away without them being able to track him down. When this still doesn't get Chuckles to lower his gun, Cobra Commander tries another approach. He offers him a place in Cobra! Chuckles immediately bursts out into laughter but Cobra Commander talks over him, saying that he'll give him Tomax and Xamot. The Commander isn't afraid of Chuckles, but they are. He ruined a priceless R&D project of theirs and caused their once loyal aide to leave Cobra, to say nothing of whatever he did to ruin their personal relationship. Chuckles made the Crimson Twins fail, and failure is not an option in Cobra. While Chuckles feels he'll get to them with or without the Commander's blessing, the Commander tells him that without Cobra he'd be without a purpose once he did. Chuckles obviously can't go back to G.I. Joe, so why not come back to an organization that will still have him? After all, it's not like there's such a big difference in the respective moralities of the Joes and Cobra. With the Paolis gone, Chuckles will take control of their business, and aside from Cobra's requisition he'll be free to do whatever he wants with the company's profits. Free to use it to take revenge on the people who put him in this position in the first place. And with that, Chuckles lowers his gun and accepts Cobra Commander's offer.

Meeting in private, the Baroness asks her Commander if he's sure Chuckles' change of heart is genuine. He tells her he is. Chuckles has gone through so much pain to reach this point, and that hardship is what will make Chuckles so eager to accept an offer from someone willing to have him. He's so eager to believe all his suffering was worth it. It's all a matter of cognitive dissonance...

Featured characters[edit]

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


"This simple principle is the foundation on which the entire world is built. The way we choose to define ourselves based on our actions, despite how other people might choose to define us. Men who rob or kill for money are seldom actual, clinical sociopaths. They are not insane. The money simply justifies what others might find unacceptable. Just as anyone with a job can justify doing things they find unpleasant. And rightly so. We define out own parameters. We are free. But only those who realize it are truly free. Cognitive dissonance. It's what separates us from the animals, my friend."

-Cobra Commander's closing statements on cognitive dissonance.

"If you think you've somehow cowed him into docility, I remind you how far he marched through the jungle with a ruptured spleen just to slit our throats."
"Exactly. And you think keeping around a man who can do that is pointless?"
"I do when it's our throats, Xamot."
"All the better, brother. Keep us on our toes."

-Tomax and Xamot

"Then I'll just beat you to death. Tear your head off with my bare hands."
"No. You wouldn't win that fight."
"I'll take that bet."

-Chuckles and Cobra Commander

"G.I. Joe, Cobra — Both of these are amoral organizations. Both of them pave the roads to their objectives with innocent bodies. You were made to execute your partner, your lover. Xamot put that gun in your hand, yes. But who put you on his doorstep? You were serving both G.I. Joe and Cobra when you pulled that trigger. The only difference between the two is... we're the ones who will take you now. We're the ones who want you back. You'll find I'm not a sadist, like the Paolis. There's no percentage in naked mayhem. You prove yourself, and after they're removed, you can run their organization any way you see fit. Except for our requisition, the money is all yours. Give 80% of it to animal cruelty charities for all I care. Better yet, use it to exact revenge on people who manipulated you. Or die here in the cold."

-Cobra Commander pitches Chuckles on joining him.


Continuity notes[edit]

  • This story finally picks up on the cliffhanger from Cobra II #4, where Chuckles was taken prisoner by Cobra.
  • Tomax refers to Chuckles hiking through the Russian wilderness to kill him and Xamot while heavily wounded, referring to the condition in which he was found in Cobra II #4. Cobra Commander also refers to Chuckles causing the Paolis' loyal aide, Erika Le Tene, to leave Cobra.
  • Chuckles' training in Dubai, killing his partner/lover Jinx, and ruining the Paolis' B.A.T. research project all refer to events that occured in the original Cobra minseries.
  • As Cobra Commander shows Chuckles around, we can see a submarine cruiser similar to the Dreadnaught that has recurred throughout G.I. Joe vol. 1.
  • Baroness is at Cobra Commander's side, after being called to join him in Joe vol. 1 #16.

Real-world references[edit]

  • The cognitive dissonance experiment Cobra Commander tells Chuckles about was a real thing! Though technically the more accurate term for it is forced compliance theory.
  • Chuckles asks if Cobra Commander was expecting him to collapse into his arms as in the end of The Prince of Tides.
  • Chuckles says his "spidey-sense" was telling him something was up with his escort, referring to the danger-predicting ability of Marvel Comics superhero Spider-Man. Coincidentally, both writers of this comic, Mike Costa and Christos Gage, have written the character!

Other notes[edit]

  • The final page of this issue, with Cobra Commander and Chuckles looking up at an enormous Cobra symbol, parallels the last page of Cobra vol. 1 #1, in which Xamot and Chuckles do the same thing.

Covers (2)[edit]