The Boy Most Likely To... Part 2
|"The Boy Most Likely To... Part 2"|
|First published||September 4, 2013|
|Cover date||September 2013|
|Written by||Mike Costa|
|Art by||Werther Dell'edera|
|Inks by||Emilio Lecce|
|Colors by||Arianna Florean and Azzura M. Florean|
|Letters by||Shawn Lee|
|Editorial consultant||John Barber|
Flint looks past what he wants, and does what G.I. Joe needs.
Informing Flint about power fluctuations on the Gemini's detention level, Lady Jaye is distracted when she spots Flint's prom photo — he was even the prom king. Jaye is confused at why the unit's leader is still holding on to high school, but Flint feels that it's more than "high school" — it's everything that they gave up when they joined G.I. Joe. They need to hold on to reminders of the world outside, because it's what gives them the strength to protect it.
Dashiell Faireborn didn't have a great home life. A scrawny kid with an absentee father and an alcoholic mother, Faireborn joined the local swimming team to get away from home, even when he was asked to be their backstroker — despite hating it, he was the fastest on the team at the backstroke, and it was what the team needed. Even doing the backstroke, he was at peace and in control in the water, able to take his mind off having to take care of his mother, study ever harder, and take part-time jobs to keep them going. Things got better when he turned sixteen, able to drive his mother to her meetings at the church in the hope of saving her... but it wasn't enough. About a year later, she was dead, and Dashiell moved in with his grandparents; after they went to bed, he would take long night-time walks and wondering what he was meant to be doing.
As Flint goes over the Joe installation's power consumption, Firewall informs him that he needs to be careful — not about the task at hand, as he assumes, but about his relationship with Chameleon. Flint doesn't feel that it's any of her business, but Firewall thinks that he needs to hear it from someone; though he's a great commander, she's afraid that Chameleon might be moving into his blind spot, and that he can't trust her... but Flint tries to see the best in everyone.
Claire Austin was love at first sight for Dashiell. A girl three years his senior in his college-level Russian Literature class, he was crazy about her, taking her to prom with him on the best night of his life; though her hard-drinking, hard-partying lifestyle was hard for him to keep up with, he was still drawn to her, enrolling in Rutgers University to follow her when she moved to New Jersey, having been kicked out of school. Eventually, though, she got sick of him and moved on, having a kid and getting married — and being divorced — twice. Graduating top of his class, Faireborn became a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University; he went on an eye-opening tour of Europe with a girl named Gianna, who he met in Prague. With her wild, spontaneous lifestyle, she got him into a lot of fights, and eventually stopped coming around, melting back into Europe in the same way that she had come into his life — but he missed her and worried about her all the same.
Flint is glad to hear that Billy Kessler-Latta is feeling better... but still can't let him leave. He isn't a criminal, but — with all the Cobra operatives intending to either take control of or kill the son of Cobra Commander — G.I. Joe custody is the safest place in the world for him. Resigned to his fate, Billy has Flint help him up to the window overlooking Las Vegas, which he finds ridiculous; as they gaze out at the city together, Flint apologises for the situation that he's in, but assures him that his assistance will help people.
After finishing at Oxford, Faireborn returned to America, and went straight into the Army. Quickly seected by Special Forces, he excelled in a place where the most important thing was how far you could push yourself to do what was needed; and when he was picked up by G.I. Joe, he was working with the best people and best tools in the world. As the head of the Joes' intelligence unit, however, he finds resources lacking and the people, like Tomax Paoli, infuriating to deal with. The assignment isn't one that he'd choose — but it's what was needed, so it's where he went.
On the Gemini's shooting range, Flint teaches Chameleon how to handle a pistol — without approval from Firewall, who has been holding off on allowing her weapons training. Chameleon indicates that she was hoping for a different sort of payment for saving Flint's life, but he instead abruptly ends the training... because Firewall is right, in a way — Flint can trust Chameleon, but when he's around her, he can't trust himself.
Duke isn't particularly impressed that Flint has asked him over for a rooftop meeting instead of just calling him, but Flint's request is important enough to be given in person... he wants to be relieved of command, and recommends that the unit be disbanded entirely. The lack of a meaningful chain of command, their unfocused charter and the clash of anti-social personalities is causing huge strain on the unit; Flint doesn't feel that they can keep using their current strategy without losing sight of what they're supposed to be doing. Flint lays out his recommendations for the unit's personnel: Firewall and Lady Jaye are highly recommended for any placement; Clockspring has become sullen and argumentative, and needs to be around people more like himself; Ronin is a useful asset in the field but can't be trusted on a team; Billy still can't be released, but deserves better than being locked up in the middle of the desert; Tomax is both untrustworthy and unneeded; and Chameleon needs immediate psychological help thanks to severe trauma. Duke is surprised, and warns that recommending that it be disbanded is no small thing, but Flint knows that keeping them operational will do more harm than good; Duke accedes, and departs to find places for the unit's people. As his commanding officer leaves, Flint reflects that doing this isn't what he wants, but it's what's needed... and so, it's what he'll do.
Characters in italics appear only in flashbacks. (Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"I know it's none of my business."
"And I know fraternization is technically allowed in this unit."
"But you need to hear it from someone, and that someone is obviously going to have to be me."
- —Firewall gets on Flint's case.
"For a guy you can't trust to leave his room, I sure do have a lot of access to your classified files. How do you know I'm not just using all this information to only appear like I know what I'm talking about, and leading you astray?"
"Because we've got other people like you to whom we give slightly different information and we cross-reference your analysis. We're an espionage unit. This isn't our first rodeo."
"Oh yeah? Who else do you have locked up in here? One of the Hussein brothers?"
- —Billy Kessler-Latta and Flint
"What's more, this clash of largely anti-social personalities is creating a powder keg. Firewall has been doing a valiant job of trying to hold it together, but cracks are showing."
"So it's a personnel issue."
"It's an everything issue. We can't keep attempting to use the enemy's tactics against them, with actual enemies on our side, before we lose sight of what it is we're actually supposed to be doing here. Or at least I can't.
- —Flint 'fesses up to Duke.
- The power fluctuations on the detention level surely have something to do with Tomax advising Clockspring to talk to Bet down there in the previous issue.
- Chameleon's been being refused her own gun since Cobra vol. 2 #5.
G.I. Joe references
- Flint as a Kansas-born Rhodes Scholar comes from the filecard of his original toy.
- In the flashback to his G.I. Joe glory days, Flint is seen wielding a shotgun; he's traditionally associated with the weapon thanks to his original toy coming with one.
- It might be pedantic, but Flint refers to his Oxford college as "Queens College"; it's actually Queen's College, with an apostrophe (not to be confused with Queens' College, Cambridge.
- The mention of Claire Austin having a kid and getting married-then-divorced seemed throwaway at the time, but years later — after IDW's Transformers and G.I. Joe universes were merged into the Hasbro Universe — John Barber took advantage of the fact to retcon her daughter into Marissa Faireborn, a character who was implied to be Flint's daughter in the '80s Transformers cartoon, and who was a major character in IDW's The Transformers: Robots in Disguise. Unbeknownst to Flint when he was narrating this issue, the girl was actually fathered by him, not by Claire's new husband!
- Cover A: Flint being all grim 'n gritty, by Antonio Fuso.
- Cover B: Flint leads his team, by Werther Dell'edera and Stefano Simeone.
- Cover RI: Flint under the gaze of Cobra Commander, by Riley Rossmo.