With Cobra ascendent across the globe, the G.I. Joe program takes on new recruits to fight back. Are the recruits, everyday people determined to fight for their country, ready for the realities of war? Or will Cobra root out and destroy the initiative before it has a chance to launch?

—The description as originally solicited by IDW Publishing.

Detailed summary

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Scarlett goes to the JOE team Memorial Wall, adding a picture of Duke to the Fallen. Her grief and anger overwhelm her, and she knocks down the display. Hawk tells an unknown contact that acceptance is the first step to surrender, but it’s the last step in grief. There is no room for grief on the battlefield, it makes a soldier sloppy, so they must push it down to stay focused, and bury themselves in routine comforts to stay sane.

At the team barracks, Frontier awakens Tiger, telling him to get dressed for breakfast and training. While in the kitchen, Clutch asks Stalker how Scarlett is holding up; she is still taking Duke’s death hard. While eating breakfast with his teammates, Tiger wonders how he will fit in with a bunch of superheroic military badasses. Frontier reveals that they are not superheroes, just average Joes like Tiger. Frontier is the only one with any military experience prior to the war. Roadblock was originally a bistro cook studying to be a chef, Jinx ran a martial arts dojo where she taught self-defense classes to inner city kids, and Fadeaway worked for Cobra Technologies when they were still private sector – something she doesn’t like to talk about.

At the team’s training room, Scarlett tells the Joes that even though the Pentagon has surrendered, they will be proceeding as business as usual. She challenges Tiger to spar with her, easily overpowering him.

In a Cobra morgue, Major Bludd looks on as Dr. Mindbender performs an autopsy on Duke. Mindbender chastises the Major for shooting Duke in the head. If the brain had been left intact, he could have analyzed it for clues. Bludd tells Mindbender that he doesn't need to pick anyone's brain to know that Duke was telling the truth about G.I. JOE never surrendering.

Tiger is examined by Doc in the infirmary. She notes that since he doesn’t have any concussions, Scarlett must have been pulling her punches. She decides to clear him for duty.

Tiger returns to the training room, where Scarlett is teaching a new batch of recruits, including Cover Girl, Rock ‘n Roll, and Lightfoot. She insists that he needs to train with the rest of his time, but Tiger is adamant for a rematch. Scarlett overpowers him again.

Stalker briefs the rest of Frontier’s team on the fine points of cover. Roadblock is still struggling from the ramifications of his first kill. Stalker assures him that no one will think less of him for struggling, and encourages him to seek help and support from his teammates. But he also warns that he has to get through it somehow, because there is a good choice he will have to use lethal force again.

Tiger tells Scarlett he wants to get one punch in to prove that he can fight, as he feels he is not pulling his weight in the team. They spar again, with Scarlett again curbstomping him and reminding him this can stop at any time.

Doc teaches the other Joes lessons on anatomy, and Roadblock notices Tiger’s absence. He asks if she saw something in the physical that disqualified him. Rock ‘n Roll and Cover Girl insist that’s not what happened, but Tiger may have some brain damage if he keeps getting pounded by Scarlett.

Frontier and his teammates return to the training room, finding Tiger dejected that he keeps losing. Frontier reminds Tiger that he missed out on learning important skills such as code-breaking and working on assets. Scarlett was hoping Tiger would figure this out on his own, but now that the point has been made, she tells them to leave her training room. As Frontier helps Tiger to his feet, Jinx notes that he’s giving up. Scarlett asks Jinx what she’s going to do about it. Jinx responds by knocking Scarlett down with a roundhouse kick. As the other teammates restrain her, Tiger finally manage to get a punch in.

Hawk tells his mystery contact that he had been tempted to accept his offer numerous times before, but he resisted, considering it a proverbial deal with the devil. But now, to avoid defeat, he has no choice. The contact, revealed to be Destro, tells Hawk that does not need to say any more. M.A.R.S. will provide all the weapons and resources the Joes need.


Featured Characters

(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

G.I. Joe Cobra
  • Cover Girl (16)
  • Clutch (9)
  • Doc (13)
  • Duke (2)
  • Fadeaway (6)
  • Frontier (5)
  • Hawk (3)
  • Jinx (7)
  • Lightfoot (17)
  • Roadblock (10)
  • Rock 'n Roll (15)
  • Scarlett (1)
  • Stalker (8)
  • Tiger (4)
  • Destro (18)
  • Dr. Mindbender (11)
  • Major Bludd (12)
  • Vipers (14)

Memorable quotes

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Other notes


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Items of note

  • Mindbender's assistant comments Cobra aspires toward control to maintain order, while the Joes aspire to freedom, despite the chaos. This brings to mind the Assassin's Creed franchise, where the central conflict is between the Templars who seek the former, and the Assassins who seek the latter.

Real-world references

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Footnotes and References

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