The Old Switcheroo

It’s that time again kids. Time to switch things up. We’re taking a look at the Impel Trading Card #89 featuring the cover art for the Special Missions comic book #7, The old switcheroo.

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The story begins with a bang when a group of Menshevikistans drive a Cerberus Security truck into the lobby of the Cobra Consulate building in New York City. Another team of insurgents is entering the building through the service entry, pretending to be from a pest control company. The attack catches the Cobra’s off guard and the Sierra-Gordo counter revolutionaries are able to kill several Vipers on their way to the boiler room in the basement of the building. The leaders demand Cobra to pull all it’s armed forces from Sierra Gordo and support their group as new government or they will blow up the Consulate.

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Inside the Cobra Consulate building, The Baroness and Zarana are using the CCTV camera’s to keep track of the intruders. They see them drilling holes in the support columns and putting explosive charges into them. Dr. Mindbender, who is also in the Consulate, has been checking the blueprints and noticed that the revolutionaries could bring down the entire building with half of the explosives they are placing. The Baroness uses the rooftop satellite comms system to apprise Serpentor of the situation. He does not want to be bothered with this trifle matter as he placed The Baroness in charge of the New York operation. She needs to take charge.

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Across the street, Chuckles, Dial-Tone, Psych-Out and Lady Jaye are monitoring the Consulate Building. Listening in on the conversations between the Cobra top members, Psych-Out concludes that The Baroness will perform according to the projected scenario and the Joes can proceed with their own operation.

In the lobby, The Baroness orders an assault on the boiler room. The revolutionaries are able to shoot down the pack of Vipers and as a warning that they do mean business, they blow up the truck that was still in the Consulate’s lobby. The Baroness concludes that they really are dealing with suicidal terrorists and she orders a complete evacuation of the building. Zarana criticizes her decision and both ladies start a discussion which Dr. Mindbender soon puts to an end as the evacuation alarm is sounding. The personal security detail of The Baroness are to stay in the building and she recalls the members that were patrolling on the roof. At that point, Chuckles gives the order to Breaker and Tunnelrat to cut the power to the Consulate from down in the sewer system. The entire building goes dark, both sides inside thinking the other is responsible.

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Using the cover of darkness, the Joes cross the street via powered hang-gliders and land on the roof of the Consulate building. Dial-Tone taps into the main communication line. Meanwhile in the lobby, The Baroness and Zarana are fighting again and downstairs, the Menshevikistans are arguing about actually blowing up the building. Psych-out, who remained across the street, gives the go to proceed with the next phase of the plan, which involves Lady Jaye, a long black wig and glassed… Down in the sewer, Breaker and Tunnelrat fix the power, so the revolutionaries in the boiler room can see a message from The Baroness (or is it?) on the TV telling the Sierra Gordoians are amateurs and calls their bluff.

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In the basement Evita takes the detonator and pushes down the button as upstairs Zarana and The Baroness get into a physical fight. Instead of an explosion that levels the building, riot gas is escaping from the tubes the revolutionaries placed. The gas is blinding both the Cobra’s and the Sierra Gordo Menshevikistans. The Joes can just walk out through the door as they are wearing gas masks. Chuckles and Pshych-out planned out the entire scenario and foresaw every move both sides would make. It was all an elaborate plan to plant a bug in the Cobra Communications System.

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First, let’s get the official stuff out of the way. The script for this story is by Larry Hama, art by Herb Trimpe, letters and coloring by Phil Felix and Bob Sharen.

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Now, let’s get stuck in the story itself. It’s a fun little stand-alone story that planning really is very important. The Joes studied their rivals and came up with a plan that may seem elaborate, but they got the job done without firing a single bullet. It also gives some depth to the rivalry between The Baroness and Zarana. As I said, it’s a small stand-alone story, so it’s quite forgettable, if not for a few highlights. The cover art really is beautiful. The hang-gliders are being used, although they are powered here – and then dumped into the river, cause it was acceptable in the 80’s to just dump your trash in the river, right? Give this story an update to 2020 with some cyber IT stuff and you could get an entertaining action flick out of it.

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No surprise on the back of the card to see Chuckles there. Ok, so it could also have been Psych-Out. We got Chuckles in a floral shirt, not his blue one I might add. In total there have been 5 figure releases for Chuckles since his first appearance in 1987. It took 20 years to get to a second figure, and all he lost were his sleeves, as this figure was part of the Collector’s Club Operation Flaming M.O.T.H. (set 3 out of 4), shipped with Shipwreck. Version 3 came 2 years later as part of the Assault on Cobra Island box set and the sleeves came back. v4 appeared in 2013 and gave him a subdued color scheme, fitting for a member of the Night Force (again a Collector’s Club limited set), packed with Freestyle – a female fighter pilot. Finally, in 2015, Chuckles got another release as part of the 50th anniversary Desert Duel set, sold originally a the Entertainment Earth booth during SDCC. His floral shirt is still dark, but with red highlights now.

I’ll be brief about it, read Cobra – The Last Laugh (Amazon). The. Best. Chuckles. Nuff said. Get to it.

Next time we’ll take on card #90 (out of 200, so we’re nearly halfway) where we will put the spotlight on Low-Light!

Burn-out

The state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress that occurs when one feels overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands… Or the reduction of a fuel or substance to nothing through use or combustion. Actually, both explanations are appropriate for today’s story. Nice work on the pun people. We have arrived at the Impel Trading Card #85, spotlighting the Marvel Special Mission #3, Burn-Out.

Impel Trading Card #85 - Marvel G.I.Joe Special Missions #3
Impel Trading Card #85 – Marvel G.I.Joe Special Missions #3

Impel Trading Card #85 - Marvel G.I.Joe Special Missions #3 - Featuring Slip-Stream
Impel Trading Card #85 – Marvel G.I.Joe Special Missions #3 – Featuring Slip-Stream

Somewhere in the Middle East (Trucial Abysmia?), Stalker, Leatherneck and Slip-Stream are sitting in front of a restaurant with a jetfighter mercenary named Deke.

Marvel G.I.Joe Special Missions #3 - Deke.
Marvel G.I.Joe Special Missions #3 – Deke.

He’s a veteran American pilot who was shot down and spent several years as a POW. After returning to the States he no longer could find a piloting job. The local despot, Colonel Sharif, is generously paying foreign pilots, so Deke signed up. Deke is giving the Joes a map with all of the SAM sites, as well as location of an aircraft storage and the maintenance crew housing. In return, Deke gets a stack of money. Leatherneck warns Deke to stay away from the air base tonight.
One of the locals hears them talking and rats them out to the authorities. In Colonel Sharif’s office, Captain Habib reports that someone had informed him that Deke had met with the Americans. The Captain’s orders are to have Deke detained, questioned and shot. And to find the Joes.
Back at the garage the Joes are using as their base, Crank-Case is modifying a van for the assault on the airbase.
Meanwhile at police HQ, Captain Habib is beating Deke to learn the location of the Joes. Deke refuses to give up any information even when a Sergeant Abdul continues to beat him.

Marvel G.I.Joe Special Missions #3 - Sgt. Abdul at work
Marvel G.I.Joe Special Missions #3 – Sgt. Abdul at work

Finally, Captain Habib threatens to poke out his eyes which gives Deke the incentive to tell him the location of the Joe’s temporary base of operations. Being the administrative bureaucrats that most totalitarians are, they want Deke to sign a written confession. As Sharif unties Deke, he tells him that there is a secret SAM site and calls him a coward. Deke stabs Sharif with the pen, kicks him to the ground and smashes a chair over the head of the guard and escapes.
At the garage, the Joes are applying the finishing touches to the van, while Stalker is giving Ace the SAM coordinates over the radio. At that moment, Colonel Sharif’s men show up outside the garage. Busting out, Leatherneck shoots a grenade into an APC that was blocking the road. A car chase with other APC’s takes them back into town. The Joes get some help from the Royalists as they destroy the APC’s in pursuit.

Marvel G.I.Joe Special Missions #3 - The enemy of my enemy.
Marvel G.I.Joe Special Missions #3 – The enemy of my enemy.

The Joe team crashes the gates of the airfield but then the van’s engine dies, so they have to go on foot. The mission was to get Slip-Stream to a new Russian YAK-36, the equivalent of the Harrier VTOL jet. A new problem arises when they notice the hydraulics where pulled for repair. So Slip-Stream comes up with the idea of loading the fighter in one of the large cargo aircraft. As the Air Force is dropping bombs on the airfield, the cargo plane is able to take off with all aboard.
After his escape, Deke has made his way to a fighter jet. He is determined to help the Joes escape. Captain Habib, having shot the mercenary pilots for refusing to fly, sees the Joes taking off and takes command of the secret SAM site at the end of the main runway. Deke having gotten in an unarmed MIG flies up next to the Joes and then circles back to crash kamikaze style into the SAM site and Captain Habib, giving his life to save the Joe team.

Marvel G.I.Joe Special Missions #3 - Going out with a BANG.
Marvel G.I.Joe Special Missions #3 – Going out with a BANG.

Did you notice? No Cobra in this one. Still a good story though. But let’s start with the statistics stuff. The cover is done by Herb Trimpe, story by Larry Hama, coloring by Bob Sharen, letters by Phil Felix, editing was done by Bob Harras and the Editor in chief was Jim Shooter. Dated on February 3, 1987 with a cover price of $.75 (can you believe it?). 

Marvel G.I.Joe Special Missions #3 - Burn-out!
Marvel G.I.Joe Special Missions #3 – Burn-out!

These Special Missions are truly stand alone stories, although later some of them do tie in to the main story line. In this one, we visit Colonel Sharif for a second time. His first appearance was in the ARAH #1 mini-story, Hot Potato. We’ll cross paths with him a few times more in the future. Deke we only get to meet here in this story, given the fact that he seeks redemption for selling out his soul to fight for Colonel Sharif. The first shot we get of him, shows him drinking beer and smoking. Remember this is 1987, but still, it’s a comic book, aimed at kids, teens and adolescents. I don’t think you’d get away with something in this day and age. And to be honest, maybe that’s for the best. Deke was a POW and when he finally got released and returned home, nobody would hire him to fly. A man needs to make a living, so he got tempted by the money Colonel Sharif was offering… The Colonel’s own pilots can’t land at night… Quality staff right there. It must be hard to have to come home to a country that you almost died to protect and not being recognized for the sacrifice you made. I’m not saying Deke chose the right path, but you can certainly understand why he chose to work for Sharif. In the end, he feels responsible for the Joes, who are his team mates in this operation after all. And he gives his life to protect and save them, redeeming himself without even knowing what it was all about. A powerful story. And one that we will revisit in these Special Mission…

That it for this time. I’ll try and post the next one a bit sooner and more regularly than I have been posting. Life has been busy and I haven’t had the time to write on a regular basis as much as I would have loved to. I’m starting a new tradition here, half-New Year resolutions. Or something like that. Write more. It’s as simple as that and I really want to keep it up. So, keep coming back for more Joe. Next time, make sure you bring an offering for the River Spirits. Or if you want to sponsor me rather than them, let me know and I’ll send you my PayPal 🙂

Happy Collecting and YoJoe!

The man in the Cactus.

Watch your back!

Watch your flanks!

Watch your front!

Nothing is what it appears to be. Expect the unexpected and be prepared for anything. Today we look for #72, Ambush. Now, where is he?

 

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No that’s not him.

Maybe he’s here.

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Nope, not there.

Ah, here he is.

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2 weeks ago, the Joe on Joe podcast reviewed the DIC episode “A is for Android”. The opening sequence featured Ambush, perfectly camouflaged as a cactus on the battlefield. I wonder what does creative types where drinking/smoking when they came up with that. Whatever the case, we do get Ambush in action. Doing what he does best. Hiding. No seriously, the man really is a brave fighter. He just happens to be very good in hiding himself.

There have been 4 figures released of Ambush, the original in 1990 and a 1993 repaint of that in neon for the Dino-Hunters subteam. After an eleven year break, the figure gets renamed as Aaron “Ambush” McMahon. He also grew a beard, sporting some eye shadow even Johnny Depp would think twice about and let a trimmer loose on that garden brush under his nose. Then in 2017, the club released a new figure of him under the FSS 5. They brought back the wild stache and dropped half the beard.

The card art for the original figure does depict a mustache, but the color scheme is much more subdued. Because of that wild ginger look, in my team, he was Scottish, while officially he was from California.

In the comics, he first appeared in issue #111. As part of a recon team he is sent into Benzheen with Recoil and Sneak-Peek (SPOILER ALERT – who get’s killed for the first time). Later on we see Ambush driving the Battle Wagon in Trans-Carpathia when the Joes side with Destro and the Baroness. He then returns in issues #128-129 to rescue Hawk and Lady Jaye in Borovia.

In the cartoons, he is featured a few times. As mentioned before, we see him in “A is for Android” where Cobra has an Android version of Hawk running around without a good sense of humor. But he also appears in the “United we stand” episode where he and Pathfinder need to work together to defeat Cobra. In “Revenge of the Pharaohs” he is teamed up with Captain Grid-Iron. Next we see him aiding General Hawk in “Victory at Volcania”. Quite the career he’s making for himself, from helping a weedwhacker over partnering with a captain to end up as the right hand of the general. He later even gets personal in “I found You … Evy” where he tells the story of the only person who was ever able to find him.

That’s it for now. Join me again next time when we’ll take a look at Ambush’ weed whacking buddy.

Happy Collecting and YoJoe!

Going Pro

Ok, don’t take the title of this post to literally. I’m still an amateur, but loving what I do. Our friends over at The Full Force Podcast pointed me to the new Ultra PRO collaboration with Hasbro and more particularly the official G.I.Joe and Cobra licensed products they will be releasing later this year. As a collector of all things G.I.Joe and trading cards, I naturally had to take a look at these and present them to you here. So let’s get into it.

First up are the sleeves. They are releasing 3 different versions, 1 Cobra themed and 2 Joe ones. Here’s the information from the Ultra PRO website.

Play at your next gaming session with confidence & style using these official G.I. Joe Deck Protector sleeves. Made with archival-safe, polypropylene, non-PVC film, Ultra PRO’s Deck Protector sleeves keep your valuable gaming and trading cards safe by providing a protective film layer around your card, keeping it from surface scratches and other wear & tear typically caused by game play. These sleeves are sized to fit standard cards with dimensions measuring 2.5″ x 3.5″. Made with Ultra PRO’s proprietary ChromaFusion technology, these sleeves offer improved seal strength, highly detailed artwork while minimizing delamination.

Official G.I. Joe Deck Protector sleeves protects your valuable trading cards.

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The first Joe Design features our beloved or hated (choose the blue or red pill) First Sergeant, Duke. The design is inspired by the 2008 figures that was released as part of the DVD Battles. Duke appeared in this set with the JUMP jet pack and the American flag. The look references the intro for G.I. Joe The Movie, where we see Duke in action.

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The second Joe Design shows Snake-Eyes and Timber. With over 160 characters to choose from, it’s probably only a coincidence that they ended up with Snake-Eyes. Ok, enough with the sarcasm. Snakes is the most popular Joe out there and this art is nice altough Timber does look a bit strange.

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And then we have the Cobra design. I have to say that this is my favorite design. Just plain and simple, the Cobra insignia in distressed red on a black backdrop. Simple, elegant and just so freaking awesome! 

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Next up are the boxes. These come in 2 designs.

Store and protect your favorite deck with this G.I. Joe PRO-100+ Deck Box, sized to fit 100 standard size (2.5″ x 3.5″) gaming cards double sleeved in Ultra PRO Deck Protector sleeves. Each box features detailed, full color artwork. This box is light, easy-to-carry and made with archival-safe, rigid polypropylene material. The self-locking lid design makes it easy to secure your deck, while thumb notch sections provide easy access to cards. Each box comes with one (1) deck divider with full color artwork.

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These are, well, in your face full color designs. For me, it’s a bit too much. Don’t get me wrong, I like the art, but it’s just not for me. I personally store my cards in a Ultra PRO collector’s album (binder) with 9-pocket pages. I guess these boxes are more for people that actively play with their cards and need to transport a deck rather than keeping a collection on hand.

The final piece of the collection is a playmat. Strangely enough, they only have a Cobra design for this one. The mat is a standard size measuring approximately 24″ wide by 13.5″ tall.

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This too, is for the players, not so much for the collectors, though I do think I’ll be getting me one of them. The design is – again – fairly simple, looking more like a beer label than an international terrorist organization. 

To conclude, I’d like to point out that all these products will come onto the market later this year. I’ve asked Ultra PRO for some more information (or a press kit), but I haven’t heard back from them in over 2 weeks, so I decided not to wait any longer and just get the post out there with the pictures I could find on their website. Safe to say that this post is in no way sponsored by Ultra PRO. As for prices, on the site I could find that the sleeves will cost $ 9.99 for a pack of 100. The boxes should sell for $ 4.99 and the mat will set you back $23.99. Maybe your local dealer can get you better prices. I don’t believe they will be available here in Belgium, so I’ll be most likely getting them on eBay or from an online store.

All things considered I quite like this set of Trading Card essentials. I find it a bit a odd that they have 2 Joe designs for the sleeves and then only a Cobra Playmat. But that won’t spoil the fun. My money will go to the Cobra sleeves and maybe the Playmat. I’m not a fan of Duke and the Snake-Eyes sleeves don’t do it for me either. The boxes are superfluous if you ask me and the design is to much.

That’s it for now, a bit of a different post, but straight up my alley don’t you agree. See you again soon.

 

Happy Collecting and YoJoe!

Another strange codename

We have arrived at Impel Trading Card #65 and again the definition of the codename is worrying to say the least. The Urban Dictionary describes it as: when presented with a long list of complicated tasks and one takes the easiest possible route, doing things incorrectly and cutting corners to the extreme. Just the person you’d want to be taking care of your explosives… Ladies and Gentlemen, this is #65, Light Foot.

I have to admit, although Light Foot is one of the first more colorful (I’m being polite here) Joes to be released at the end of the 80’s, I really like the figure. I can’t remember when exactly I got the figure, but I do remember him playing a big part in my backyard stories.

We are first introduced to Light Foot in the Special Missions #13 where he – as a probationary Joe – is part of the team assigned to destroy a secret bunker. He is teamed up with another Joe trainee, Mangler,  and Veteran Joe’s Dusty and Outback. The team gets captured and tortured, and Light Foot spills all there is to spill about the mission. Mangler gives him a hard time about it, but in the end, Light Foot carries out his mission and Mangler gets … well, mangled.

In the regular run of the Marvel comics, Light Foot first appears in issue #82. They reference to his injury in the Special Mission, and he tells that because he got injured and couldn’t finish the training. He makes it again this time and together with Repeater and Budo, he is accepted into the Joe team. They don’t get the rest they deserve after the harsh training, when they have to stop a raid on the Picatinny Arsenal. Cobra is able to airlift the truck, but Light Foot had placed a time-delayed mine on the cabin making the truck and helicopter go WHAM in mid-air.

Unfortunately, Light Foot doesn’t appear in the cartoons.

As far as figures is concerned, only 2 official versions were ever released. The second being a repaint to fit Light Foot in with the Night Force team, he was released carded with Shockwave. As I mentioned above, I really like the figure and it’s a shame only 2 versions (1 mold) were ever made. I think that the FSS of the G.I. Joe club could have benefited from a new and updated version of Lightfoot. Maybe in 2020 with the reboot, we’ll get a whole bunch of new and/or updated toys… One can only hope, right?

Next time around, we’ll have a clerk typist in, so I’d better check my spelling.

Till then, Happy Collecting and YoJoe!