Snake Eyes issue 12
|First published||April 25, 2012|
|Cover date||April 2012|
|Written by||Chuck Dixon|
|Art by||Beni Lobel|
|Colors by||Zac Atkinson|
|Letters by||Neil Uyetake|
|Editor||John Barber and Carlos Guzman|
Having returned to the Arashikage clan, Snake Eyes reunites with some old friends.
On a New York rooftop, a scared young man changes his mind, agreeing to do what a shadowy gang wants him to; but it's too late for them, as the gang shoots him and sends him falling dead to the alleyway below. Hours later, the police have found his body, and it's quickly determined to be a crime of opportunity... but only one of many in the past month.
At the nearby So Fine Deli, Alondra and her employer, the Hard Master, bicker with each other good-naturedly. Distracted by an entrant into the deli, the Hard Master is knocked on the head by a can tossed up by Alondra, but the girl doesn't go to help him when he falls off his ladder — because the new arrival is her friend and mentor Snake Eyes, who she runs over to enthusiastically to hug. Inviting him into the back of the store, Alondra offers him food, but the Hard Master brusquely sends her home: he knows from a look that Snake Eyes has left solidering and re-joined the Arashikage. The Master doesn't mince words with Snake, believing that he has betrayed himself by rejoining the ninja clan: the two of them both escaped the Arashikage many years ago, turning their backs on the ninjas' ethos of murder and deceit, and Snake Eyes is now his own man; nothing the clan has offered him can possibly be enough. But the ninja-turned-soldier illustrates his point by taking an apricot from the table and cutting it open, revealing a worm within its flesh; a worm representing Snake Eyes himself, coiled around the heart of the Arashikage.
In the street on the way home, Alondra is confronted by a trio of gang members, who know her name and want her to carry packages for them; as she already makes deliveries for the Hard Master, she is a perfect stooge that the police won't stop. Despite their threats, Alondra refuses, and fights back with the skills she learned from Snake Eyes; but it isn't enough, and she is left to stagger back to the deli, heavily injured. The Hard Master administers first aid, and Alondra explains: the gang, the Bang Six, wanted her to deliver for them, and because she refused, they won't stop until she's dead. Guided by Alondra's drawing of the gang's symbol, Snake Eyes suits up in his ninja gear and infiltrates the Bang Sixers' hideout, killing their leaders and scaring their underlings into fleeing; but the ninja quickly realises that isn't the end of it, as their leader was taking orders from a "Mr. Renzi".
While the Hard Master and Alondra discuss their philosophies towards Snake Eyes' killings, and the "hard" and "soft" paths, the ninja travels to the home of Renzi — a millionaire businessman — and kills him and his associates, ensuring they will never again menace the people of Alondra's neighborhood. His work done, Snake Eyes gives a silent goodbye to Alondra, and takes his leave, secure in the knowledge that the Hard Master knows he hasn't betrayed his principles.And three days later Storm Shadow arrives at his penthouse in Tokyo, where Snake Eyes is ready and waiting to take down Cobra, starting with Zartan — murderer of Oda Satori. Pleased with Snake Eyes' newfound focus, his "brother" welcomes him home to the Arashikage.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"So there's a hard way and a soft way, huh? You're the Hard Master. Is there a Soft Master, too?"
"Yes. There is. But do not presume to define him in any terms you understand."
- —Alondra and the Hard Master drop some foreshadowing
"This is a dangerous game I have chosen to play. And I can think of no one on Earth I would rather have by my side."
- —Storm Shadow
- Snake Eyes first visited the Hard Master at the end of G.I. Joe vol. 1 #12, and it was in the subsequent arc that he met Alondra. Evidently the Master took the teenage girl in as a store assistant since we last saw them.
- Snake Eyes rejoined the Arashikage in Cobra Command, Part 8, though here it's revealed to be a cunning ruse.
- This is the last issue of Snake Eyes; starting with the next issue, the series is rebranded Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow.
- Cover B: Snake Eyes vs the Bang Six, by Robert Atkins and Simon Gough.
- Cover A: Snake Eyes has a sword (again), by Andrew Griffith.
- Cover RI: Uncolored version of cover A, by Robert Atkins.