Son of the Snake, Part 3
|"Son of the Snake, Part 3"|
|First published||July 18, 2012|
|Cover date||July 2012|
|Written by||Mike Costa|
|Art by||Antonio Fuso and Werther Dell'edera|
|Colors by||Arianna Florean|
|Letters by||Neil Uyetake|
|Editor||John Barber and Carlos Guzman|
While Lady Jaye and Ronin go after Cobra Commander's son, Flint and Chameleon pursue another lead to his Alexandrian safehouse.
In a conference room in Zurich, Billy Kessler-Latta offers world domination — in a figurative sense. The young man is advising the Gilmer/Baily company on how to further increase their market share, taking them from number two in Europe to a worldwide powerhouse, and his charm and force of personality is getting through to the executives that he's speaking to. His presentation is interrupted by a rumbling, followed by a fire alarm going off; Billy takes charge, leading the executives to the east stairwell, only to find smoke coming from out of it. As he guides them to the northwest corner, he stops to help a woman lying on the floor, who recognises him and claims to have broken her heel... and unbeknownst to Billy, is actually the G.I. Joe agent Ronin!
Chameleon is failing to adjust well to a commercial flight to Alexandria, deeming it one of the most disgusting experiences of her life. With Firewall chewing her out for her whining and Clockspring trying to defend her honor, Flint explains that they had to fly commercial as Cobra would be aware of any military aircraft entering the area. The two Joes on the ground in Alexandria examine their target, a storage building fully rented out by three shell companies; however, Clockspring is unable to help with Chameleon's requests for data on booby traps, thermal images or traffic cams, as with the Joes' severely slashed budget, the only eyes on the ground that the intelligence unit has are Flint's and Chameleon's. Flint starts to work out a strategy for investigating and staking out the building, but no sooner has he started than Chameleon recognises a man getting into a nearby car as Cobra saboteur Firefly! Firefly bolts on realising that he's been spotted, forcing Chameleon to run after him while Flint tries to drive his van, filled with high explosive, out of the way of anywhere that it can do harm. Chameleon catches up to Firefly in a crowd, and though she initially gets the better of him by bludgeoning him with her shoe, the saboteur manages to overpower her and threatens to kill her with a knife, only being stopped from doing so thanks to an Egyptian man's car hitting him accidentally. Flint, meanwhile, manages to drive the van off a bridge and into the bay, only for it to turn out that the explosives weren't set to go off for twenty minutes. Flint calls in to Clockspring, notifying him that Firefly is going to be taken in by the Egyptian authorities, and telling him to get access for Chameleon and Flint to talk to him.
Ronin carries an unconscious Billy Kessler-Latta into the safehouse she and Lady Jaye are occupying, having driven him across the city in a stolen ambulance. Ronin notes that, to her surprise, Kessler-Latta actually seems to be a decent man, having been calm, helpful and polite during the fire alarm, but Jaye isn't willing to trust the son of Cobra Commander. Tying him to a chair, Ronin slaps their prisoner awake; when the groggy Billy asks after the fire, Ronin explains that she started it to get him out of the building, and that nobody was hurt. Billy is confused and unwilling to cooperate, especially when the two women ask after his father — not his adopted father, Christopher Latta III, but his biological father, who he claims is "none of your damn business". Jaye tries to play the "good cop" and explain that they're American special forces who just want to help people and neutralise threats, but Billy — rather understandably — doesn't believe that the two women who have kidnapped him and tied him up in a boarded-up bar work for the United States government; and even if he did, he isn't a part of his father's world any more, and refuses to cooperate with them. At that moment, the room's lights go out, which Billy assumes to be some kind of psychological tactic, but neither Ronin nor Lady Jaye were responsible. Ronin orders Billy to keep quiet, believing that they have company... which they do, in the form of Cobra assassin Blacklight!
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"Chameleon, I stuck you on a commercial flight to help welcome you to the human race. And maybe it's a trap, maybe it isn't, but stay off this channel until you find out."
"You're that turncoat, aren't you? From Paoli's company. So that means the meathead who took the bait I laid for Blacklight is a Joe. Too bad the contest still isn't going on. I don't usually work up close. But I'll make an exception for you."
- —Firefly doesn't like Chameleon much
Billy: "There was a fire..."
Ronin: "Yeah. I started that. Sorry. We needed a way to get you out of the building immediately, without anyone noticing. Nobody was hurt. Probably."
Lady Jaye: "'Probably'?"
Ronin: "Hey, it was a small fire."
- —Our heroes, everyone!
- As it turns out, Firefly wasn't heading to Zurich like Blacklight thought; he was going to Alexandria. So if their goals weren't at odds with each other, who set both men on their missions...?
- Firefly nods to the Cobra Civil War, noting that Flint's death would have scored points in the contest.
G.I. Joe references
- Billy Kessler-Latta is based on Cobra Commander's son, Billy Kessler, from the Marvel Comics G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero series; there, he was a teenager, but here he's an adult. The "Latta" in his surname, and the name of his adoptive father Christopher Latta III, comes from Cobra Commander's voice actor in the A Real American Hero cartoon, Chris Latta.
- Cover A: Firefly, Chameleon and Flint, by Antonio Fuso and Arianna Florean.
- Cover RI: Flint and Tomax back-to-back, by Joe Eisma, Juan Castro and Simon Gough.