The Tin Man

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G.I. Joe: Snake Eyes, Agent of Cobra #1
SnakeEyesAOC1 regcvr.jpg
Be honest. You didn't believe the title for a second, did you?
"Snake Eyes, Agent of Cobra Part One:
The Tin Man"
Publisher IDW Publishing
First published January 21, 2015
Cover date January 2015
Written by Mike Costa
Art by Paolo Villanelli
Colors by Joana Lafuente
Letters by Neil Uyetake
Editor Carlos Guzman

Five years on, Destro is rescued from imprisonment by Cobra's newest asset... the Arashikage ninja and former G.I. Joe commando Snake Eyes!

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Destro is finding it harder and harder to feel anything through his metal skin. He squeezes oranges to a pulp when he picks them up, and is able to heat his elbow to 300 degrees on a stove before he feels anything; and now, as he is pulled through a breach in the roof of a prison transport by Snake Eyes in the midst of a raging storm, he cannot feel the rain on his face. As the guards close in on the ninja and the confused Destro, Snake Eyes swings his prisoner into the path of their bullets as a human shield before throwing him off the bridge and into the river below, then diving in after him. Fitting Destro with an oxygen mask, the ninja leads his quarry downstream, where they surface, and are met by the waiting forces of Cobra! The frantic Destro orders the Cobra soldiers to kill Snake Eyes, only for the ninja to hold his sword to Destro's neck... so that he can see the Cobra symbol emblazoned on the hilt. The lead Crimson Guardsman explains that Snake Eyes has been working for Cobra for months, but Destro isn't impressed, believing Crimson Guard leader and new head of Cobra Tomax Paoli to be responsible for his being captured by the Mounties in the first place; shooting the Guardsman in the head, Destro tells the other Cobras to let Tomax know that his message was recieved... and this is Destro's message back.

Many years ago, the young James McCullen is taken out for a riding lesson by a stable-hand, though he hates the horses and their smell. After the servant praises his horsemanship, James orders him to steal apples for his horse from the orchards of the neighboring Laird of Cyaer, but though the older boy manages to steal the apples, they are found out and confronted by Laird McCullen. James lies, saying that the "disrespectful" stable-hand stole them of his own voltion, and the Laird has him punished and dismissed from his service... but the elder McCullen knows that his son is lying, and has him beaten as punishment for botching the theft and "wasting" the stable-hand. That night, though, with bruised and bleeding legs, James takes pleasure in the last apple that he managed to keep for himself.

In Steelhead Bait Shop in Alaska, Destro notes that the Baroness was likely responsible for Snake Eyes being sent into his service; with Destro as a wildcard competitor to Paoli's business and military endeavors, he believes that Tomax betrayed him and had him imprisoned, and wouldn't have offered such a gift without being persuaded. Thinking aloud to himself, he observes that Snake Eyes is a double-edged sword; too dangerous to trust, and too potent to turn away, the ninja was sent to Destro as a test of loyalty — even in this, if he failed or betrayed Cobra, only Destro would be affected. With nothing to lose, Destro offers Snake Eyes a mission; to retrieve a "package" taken from G.I. Joe's Las Vegas installation by a woman, who has vanished into the wind. The Joes never knew what they had, but now Destro wants it, as it would be disruptive to Tomax's position.

Though Destro knows how dangerous the ninja can be, he facilitates Snake Eyes' travel the globe, hunting down leads and information on where the other ex-Joe might be. His path eventually leads him to Jakarta, and to the home of another woman: Erika Le Tene, once the G.I. Joe agent Chameleon. Though shocked to see the ninja working for the terrorist organization, she realises that he isn't there to kill her: if Cobra knew where she was, the Baroness would come to kill her personally. She still doesn't know what information she could provide, as the files that she took out of Las Vegas contain nothing that Cobra doesn't already know... until Snake Eyes holds up a picture of his target. Snake Eyes is looking for Billy Kessler-Latta, the late Cobra Commander's son!

Featured characters[edit | edit source]

Characters in italics appear only in flashback. (Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

Cobra Others

Quotes[edit | edit source]

(Snake Eyes shows Destro the Cobra symbol on his sword.)
"That's supposed to impress me? I sold weapons with smiley faces etched onto them. It doesn't mean the men that used them were hippies."


"Do not look so satisfied, boy. You must make your face a mask. You lied to me. And worse, you sent a fool to do a dangerous job. You used the wrong man, and now you've botched that job and wasted a tool that would be useful to you elsewhere."

Laird McCullen gives some fatherly advice.

"This ghoul who has come into my service has no face to read. He has no voice to give him away. He communicates in the slower, implacable language of stones and trees. Great dignity. Great strength. A vast and bottomless patience that will drown you. But this man will kill for me, I think. Because he has a need, like every man does. A need to be useful. A need to do what he was made to do. I've begun to imagine that, should some extraordinarily lucky fool get behind his guard and actually remove the mask, there'd be nothing inside at all."

Destro monologues on Snake Eyes.

Notes[edit | edit source]

Continuity notes[edit | edit source]

  • As with the concurrently-running G.I. Joe vol. 4 ongoing, this issue takes place 5 years after the events of G.I. Joe vol. 3, G.I. Joe: Special Missions, and G.I. Joe: The Cobra Files — though the establishing of the Hasbro Universe in 2016 means that that probably has to be retconned into a shorter stretch of time.
  • As G.I. Joe vol. 4 establishes, Tomax is now in control of Cobra, though it remains unclear what happened to his predecessor.
  • Snake Eyes returns! The ninja hasn't been seen since his apparent death at the conclusion of "Target: Snake Eyes", though the subsequent issue revealed that he had faked his death and gone into hiding. It's not made clear here why he stopped faking his death and joined up with Cobra, and, well... though his placing in Cobra would eventually be explained to be him being a deep cover agent for G.I. Joe, it remains to this day a mystery why he came out of hiding at all.
  • Destro's metal skin has been a fact of life for him for a while; originating as a metal containment suit to save his life after a faulty M.A.S.S. device transfer in G.I. Joe vol. 1 #6, it was fused into his skin in G.I. Joe vol. 2 #8. Its ability to deflect bullets comes from upgrades Destro performed, as established in Special Missions #13.
  • The Crimson Guard have appeared a lot in IDW, mostly as "elite mooks" mixed in with Cobra's other grunts, but this issue reiterates their traditional position as followers of Tomax and Xamot; that status was first established for IDW continuity in the Cobra miniseries, which depicted them as a "legitimate" private military hired out to governments and corporations in unstable nations.
  • The metal masks seen on the walls of Castle Destro during Destro's childhood, a reference to the Marvel Comics version of the character, were previously seen in G.I. Joe vol. 1 #3 and G.I. Joe vol. 1 #7. (Laird McCullen's line about making one's face a mask also, obviously, references the original Destro's mask.)
  • Destro assumes the Baroness was responsible for having him rescued; despite a rocky start, the two eventually had a brief romantically entanglement, though it was broken up by the incumbent Cobra Commander, who chased Destro out of Cobra. Though the Baroness pledged that she would win the Commander around on Destro, it seems he doesn't get on any better with the leader's replacement.
  • G.I. Joe's Las Vegas-stationed intelligence unit collapsed, its headquarters destroyed, in the final issue of The Cobra Files. Ronin fled with Billy, who was a target of Cobra assassins thanks to his status as the son of Cobra Commander, to protect him; Chameleon, meanwhile, left for a new life, with Tomax lying to Flint that she was dead.
  • Chameleon knows what working for "the other side" is like, having defected from Cobra to the Joes.

Errors[edit | edit source]

  • On page 19, Erika's third speech bubble ("You're working for the other side now") is missing punctuation at the end.

Other notes[edit | edit source]

  • Following a one-year hiatus with the end of The Cobra Files, Mike Costa returns to G.I. Joe comics with this issue. While it certainly has a lot of Snake Eyes, if we're being honest, the focus on plot threads from Costa's previous Cobra works makes it feel a little like he was offered the chance to wrap up the story of Chameleon and the gang if he put Snake Eyes' name on it to sell more issues.

Covers (3)[edit | edit source]