Threat Matrix, Part 4 of 4
"Wait. No. Scratch that, reverse it."
|"Threat Matrix, Part 4 of 4"|
|First published||November 13, 2013|
|Cover date||November 2013|
|Written by||Fred Van Lente|
|Line-art by||Steve Kurth|
|Inks by||Allen Martinez|
|Colors by||Joana Lafuente|
|Letters by||Shawn Lee|
|Editorial consultant||Carlos Guzman|
Duke has finally confronted Mad Monk... but is he too late to save Aisha?
At a U.S. Army checkpoint in the Trucial States, a group of Trucial natives are ordered to identify as they approach. The natives' leader identifies himself as Sheik Daud, and claims that they have come to turn themselves in peacefully to U.S. intelligence officers; but one of the soldiers, Sergeant Michael Monk, identifies the men as insurgents he had taken in before. Daud notes that he has no proof that they are insurgents, and that he cannot legally do anything to them... but Monk shoots Daud and his family dead anyway, as the insurgents had blown up his convoy and killed four of his men after they were released. Monk's superior, First Sergeant Hauser, jumps on him to beat some sense into him, but Monk insists that he did the right thing and stopped more of his soldiers being killed...
In Cobra's Manhattan Bureau in the Freedom Tower, history repeats as Hauser — now G.I. Joe field commander Duke — lays into "Mad Monk" while the Cobra operative calls him out for his actions that day. Thanks to Hauser, Monk was dishonorably discharged and lost the benefits he needed to treat his daughter's lupus, which led him into the embrace of Cobra; but there, he thrived, thanks to being incapable of deception and seeing only truth. Duke has no time for Monk's words, seeing him as just as deceptive as the rest of Cobra; he points to the three terror threats in New York City, of which Monk claimed two would be fake, but all of which have proven real. But Monk only smiles, and asks if they really have...
Seeing that Lin is ready to detonate his dirty bomb, Tunnel Rat and Roadblock move in on their target, but are too late to stop him as the radiation-scarred terrorist presses the button on his trigger... and nothing happens. As Lin starts to panic, Roadblock knocks him to the floor with a punch, where he weakly claims that he followed the instructions of "The One" to the letter. Meanwhile, as Shipwreck and Quick Kick oversee the arrest of Zarana, Zandar, and the Heathens, Kick notices that the weapons the Dreadnoks were selling are antiquated junk. As the squabbling criminals are dragged away, Zandar insists, too, that they did as instructed by "The One".
Cobra Commander confronts Destro in his castle for leaking the location of the Manhattan station to Duke. The arms dealer tries to make the Commander see how destructive Monk will be to the organization, but the Cobra leader scoffs at his narrow-minded understanding; not just an organisation, Cobra is an idea, and one that Monk embodies. Destro counters with his family's own tradition and honor, but the Commander sees such ancient nonsense as having no place in Cobra's world order; he then turns to the Baroness, asking whether she will stand with Destro or with Cobra... and after a moment of deliberation, the Baroness returns to the Commander's side. Despite Cobra Commander's apparent upper hand, Destro has no intention of being "dealt with", and — with the opening of a pair of hidden doors — unleashes a horde of B.A.T.s to cover him as he makes his escape.
On the Roosevelt Island Tramway, Doc desperately radios for help with dealing with the comatose Aisha and her biological suicide vest, while outside, Hannah and Tara Monk — who dropped Aisha off on the tramway — catch a taxi to an airport, one that Tara hopes will take them far away from her husband. Shipwreck and Quick Kick make for the Killer W.H.A.L.E. to back Doc up, but there's no time, as the vest has already started counting down; so instead, she grabs the comatose woman... and dives through the glass window of the tram with her! Doc manages to get the bomb vest off Aisha moments before they hit the water, and the two surface just as the Joes' hovercraft arrives; she explains to Quick Kick that the bacteria in the vest were air-breathing, and will die quickly underwater.
Monk lays his plan bare: he has manipulated events to make it seem as if Duke has been receiving Cobra bribes through Monk for years, and thanks to his failure to see through the lies, Aisha will already be dead. But as he gloats about how Duke's arrest is imminent, the G.I. Joe Special Missions team crashes through the Freedom Tower windows to take him in, surprising even Monk! The Manhattan Bureau chief takes it in stride, however, releasing an army of B.A.T.s of his own to keep the Joes busy; and as Duke pleads his innocence with Scarlett, Monk rappels out of the window with a leftover rope, crashing back in on a lower floor and escaping to the ground... where Tara and Hannah are waiting for him. Too afraid to leave out of fear for what Monk might do if he caught them, Tara returned to her husband; and so, the family leaves on a "roadtrip" in a stolen taxi after Monk kills its driver.
The Baroness directs Cobra's Vipers to hunt through two corridors of Castle Destro for its laird... knowing full well that he hides elsewhere, on a stairwell. As Destro and the Baroness head for the castle's evacuation rocket, she explains that she never intended to betray him; instead, she plans to convince the Commander, with time, that Destro was ultimately loyal and only doing what he believed was best for Cobra. Destro is still concerned about Monk, but the Baroness is confident that they can outfox him together. After all, the Baroness is a "six" on Monk's aptitude scale... while Destro, as he grouses to himself, is a "five".
Weeks later, Duke helps Aisha get settled in to her new care home in New Mexico, where she is checked in under a false name. Despite everything that has gone on, and Duke keeping the truth from him and the others, General Joe Colton helped him get her settled in a new home... and the Joes haven't even asked where the money to pay for her care came from.
With other soldiers dragging Monk away, Hauser does his best to help the dying Daud. The sheik confesses that his family are heroin smugglers, not insurgents, and that they had just wanted to teach Monk a lesson for disrupting their supply lines; but now, every male member of his family is dead, and he sees something of his youngest son in Hauser, who tried to save them. Under his breath, the sheik gives Hauser a location and asks him to go there; the soldier agrees, but is concerned by his words — in teaching Monk a lesson, did the smugglers plant the bomb that killed Monk's men? Hauser asks, but the old man is already dead. Later, he makes his way alone to the place Daud told him to go to... and beneath the ground, he finds a vast cache of American currency...
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"You say we are insurgents. You have proof, no? No. Then leave us be. I know what Geneva Conventions say."
(Monk opens fire.)
"Should have checked a map, friend. Geneva is three thousand miles that way.
- —Sheik Daud and Michael Monk
"You freaks were selling us garbage? You're gonna regret this! Our brother Heathens run half the prisons on the Eastern Seaboard! You two aren't gonna last a WEEK inside, y'hear me?!"
(Zarana kicks the Heathen in the face.)
"If you're the best they can throw at us in there... my brother an I have nothing to worry about.
- —One of the Heathens and Zarana
"I told you — look through the lies. That was the only way you could have saved her. Instead, by this time tomorrow, you'll be under arrest, just like I was, for making the tough call, just like I was —"
"Duke! Lie down on the ground with your hands on your head! Don't make this any harder than it has to be!"
"...Okay, that was a little quicker than I had anticipated."
- —Mad Monk wasn't expecting Scarlett
"I realized — the bacteria inside the bomb... were aerobic — air-breathers! They won't be able to survive... underwater! The bomb's harmless!"
"Good job, beautiful. Even if some of the gunk remains... it's the East River. Who'll notice?"
- —Doc and Tunnel Rat
- As noted on the page for last issue, the incident at the checkpoint for which Monk was thrown out of the army was first established in his debut issue.
Real life references
- Tara and Hannah visit FAO Schwarz, the one with the big piano.
- Tara buys Hannah an American Girl... a line of dolls released by one of Hasbro's biggest competitors, Mattel. Bit of an odd reference to have in a G.I. Joe comic.
- It's never really made clear how Monk set things up so that Aisha's care was being paid for from his Colossus World Security account. Apparently Duke wasn't looking very closely at his finances?
- As with the previous issue, this one doesn't have its title printed within — but considering the names of parts 1-2 of "Threat Matrix", and the titles of all 5 issues of "Homefront", it seems pretty likely that it's "Threat Matrix, Part 4 of 4".
- Cover A: Mad Monk stands victorious over Duke, by Steve Kurth, Allen Martinez and Joana Lafuente.
- Cover RI: Marcy has trouble getting signatures or ideas for Fred's party, by Ryan Dunlavey; part 4 in a series of Marcy Malone, Intern of Cobra covers.