Son of the Snake, Part 1
|"Son of the Snake, Part 1"|
|First published||May 23, 2012|
|Cover date||May 2012|
|Written by||Mike Costa|
|Art by||Antonio Fuso|
|Colors by||Arianna Florean|
|Letters by||Neil Uyetake|
|Editor||John Barber and Carlos Guzman|
A new era begins as the G.I. Joe intelligence unit is formed to exploit the team's most dangerous asset.
At a Buddhist shrine in Japan, "Ronin" is trying to find peace after leaving G.I. Joe — but she won't find it there, as a squad of Cobra Vipers have snuck up on her to kill her. Athletically dodging their gunfire, the former Joe dispatches her attackers with a pair of swords taken from the shrine and a handful of shuriken, but is left dissatisfied by her interrupted mediatation; and a few days later, Duke arrives to congratulate her... and call her back into service. Ronin isn't interested, even when Duke points out that Cobra found her easily and is going to keep coming after her, until he reveals that an old woman and her grandson died when Ronin was attacked at the shrine — and though innocents die during G.I. Joe missions, it's because they're trying to do good, not just saving themselves.
In an apartment in Montreal, disgraced Cobra assassin Blacklight recieves a phone call giving him a target in Zurich, and he pledges to get there before anyone else, as he always does.
A helicopter carrying G.I. Joe agents Chameleon and Firewall lands on the roof of the Gemini, a prominent Las Vegas casino. Chameleon assumes they're getting some vacation time before moving to their new headquarters, but Flint, greeting them, clarifies: the casino is their new HQ. With the G.I. Joe budget slashed, their new C.O. Duke has decided to recommission a black ops unit with an intelligence focus, overseen by Flint — a senior Joe with field experience — to keep everything running smoothly. Chameleon and Firewall are surprised to learn that they'll be operating a secret military base out of a hotel and casino that's open to the public, but Clockspring explains that every casino has large areas that the public can't access — though he stumbles over his words when greeting Chameleon. Chameleon still doesn't understand why the U.S. government would build a casino to hold a military base, but Flint reveals that the government didn't, the casino being provided by their new benefactor: former member of Cobra High Command and architect of much of Chameleon's recent misery, Tomax Paoli. Chameleon freaks out at the sight of Tomax, forcing Flint to hold her back while he explains: following his attempted coup within Cobra, Tomax has turned himself over to G.I. Joe and agreed to expose everything he knows about the workings of Cobra in exchange for immunity from prosecution, divesting 700 million dollars and the casino that they're based in to the intelligence unit to allow them to remain autonomous. Flint promises Chameleon that they aren't trusting Tomax an inch, not letting him leave the Gemini and with the threat of being dropped in a hole somewhere the moment his intelligence doesn't prove itself accurate... but though Chameleon appears to be pacified by Flint's words, she steals his pistol and shoots Tomax four times in the chest!
Hours later, Lady Jaye congratulates Chameleon, now imprisoned in the casino's brig, on shooting Paoli; the businessman survived, having been wearing a bulletproof vest, and was probably expecting Chameleon to shoot him. Firewall arrives to release Chameleon, having talked Flint out of a court martial on the basis of Chameleon's history with Tomax, and notes that her shooting of the ex-Cobra convinced Firewall that she's becoming a Joe. The team reunites with Tomax in a briefing room, where he — after snarking at Chameleon over her attempted execution of him — promises the Joes one of the most valuable assets they could get their hands on; Tomax claims that their target knows more about Cobra than even he does, and that Cobra is unaware of his existence. His identity: the former Cobra Commander's son!
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"You know, in feudal Japan, when a samurai lost his master and refused to commit seppuku, he wandered free and was known as a "ronin". Despite what's become popular in movies these days, ronin were usually not honorable men. They became mercenaries or brigands. They became part of the problem."
"You know I'm Japanese, right? And pre-Meiji Restoration was my special area of study? I know all this."
- —Duke and Ronin
"Yes, do calm down. That's really no way to treat a host. Your manners have eroded disgracefully, but I suppose that's to be expected when you spend all your time among thugs in camouflage."
- —Tomax Paoli is unimpressed with Chameleon's etiquette
"Does this mean I'm finally getting my own gun?"
"Don't be stupid. I just did you a favor, I haven't lost my mind."
"Still. I ruined his suit though, didn't I?"
"Oh, he was furious."
- —Chameleon and Firewall
- Ronin was a G.I. Joe agent under the codename of "Chameleon" during the Cobra II miniseries, but quit in the last issue thanks to Hawk's coldness over the misery caused by his actions. She was called back into action by Mainframe in Cobra Command, Part 6, and is now being targetted for her humiliation of the Baroness.
- Blacklight was last seen fleeing from G.I. Joe forces in Washington, D.C. after failing to kill Chameleon.
- The intelligence unit has been commissioned thanks to G.I. Joe's budget being slashed and Hawk being forced to retire, which both occurred in G.I. Joe vol. 2 #12.
- The two moles placed within Firewall's Washington, D.C. installation were Breaker (revealed in issue 2) and "Steeler" (in issue 4).
- Chameleon has an unpleasant history with Tomax; she worked for Cobra as his aide before the sadism of him and his brother prompted her to flee the organisation and defect to G.I. Joe. More recently, Tomax was responsible for her almost being assassinated by Blacklight.
- Tomax's attempted coup was revealed, and Tomax was forced to flee, in Cobra Command, Part 9.
- Blacklight's name is incorrectly spelled "Black Light". IDW G.I. Joe can be inconsistent in its spelling of names, but the various "Cobra" series have been consistent in the past, so this feels like a genuine flub.
- Cover A: Flint, by Antonio Fuso and Arianna Florean.
- Cover B: Tomax Paoli, by Antonio Fuso and Arianna Florean.
- Cover RIA: Flint poses on a casino table, by David Williams and Joana Lafuente.
- Cover RIB: Uncolored version of cover RIA, by David Williams.