Ace & Slip-Stream battle a Strato-Viper as all the pilots learn the importance of their ground crews.

Issue summary

On Cobra Island a ground crew is preparing the Night Raven for launch, with many helicopter pilots and ground drivers coming to take a look. The plane's pilot, a Strato-Viper, is unpopular with the ground crew. One of them explains that a crow bar in the cockpit is for breaking out as combat can jam the canopy and trap the pilot inside. Suddenly the Strato-Viper arrives and tells all non-essentials to clear off, insulting the technicians as he boards the plane and takes off. The Night Raven takes off to head to an airbase in Florida

In Florida an Air Force officer tells Ace, Slip-Stream and Hawk that the Night Raven is a super sonic spy plane that never actually violates the airspace but gets close enough for clear pictures and not close enough for interceptor planes to be launched. So Ace and Slip-Stream have been brought in to play "chicken" with the Night Raven and make it clear it can't overstep the line, whilst the Air Force avoid the political repercussions. As the Joes head to the airfield they confirm they can only fire in retaliation. They meet up with Jones, Peaches and Lowball, three rescue helicopter pilots. Then Ace and Slip-Stream walk over to their jets. Slip-Stream meets a technician who has worked all night on preparing it, not even stopping to visit his son in the hospital. Slip-Stream has purchased a Transformers toy called Jetfire who transforms into a swing-wing fighter and gives it to the technician to give to his son.

The two Joe jets take off and circle. When the Night Raven arrives at the eight mile limit the Strato-Viper starts the scan, only to find the Skystriker underneath him blocking his view. His sensors have not picked up the jet so he curses his ground crew. The Conquest X-30 is coming up behind the Night Raven and then the Skystriker side circles and flies upside down, above the Night Raven allowing Ace to make a face at the Strato-Viper before flying off. The Strato-Viper is sufficiently annoyed, and fires a missile which downs the Skystriker, only for Ace to eject just in time. Slip-Stream is blinded by a flare and the Night Raven comes round to attack, but Slip-Stream's vision returns just in time and he fires a proximity fuse. The Conquest X-30 suddenly stalls and starts dropping. Suddenly Cobra Control radios the Strato-Viper to tell him a squadron of Rattlers is on standby to escort him home but he abruptly dismisses the offer.

Ace has hit water and waits in a rubber raft as the rescue team scramble aboard two Tomahawks to retrieve him. Slip-Stream manages to trigger "those lovingly cared-for back-up systems" and the Conquest X-30 takes off again. The Strato-Viper finds his threat display system failing again and contemplates strangling the ground crew chief. He does not detect the Conquest X-30 flying up behind him. The Joe jet attacks and Slip-Stream comments that now the Cobra jet has fired first he is now able to release sidewinders. Both Night Raven engines are hit and the jet falls. The Strato-Viper radios for a rescue team. The Cobra rescue team board their helicopters and take off.

Slip-Stream flies low and gets a positive confirmation of Ace's location and reports to their rescue team that he will wait there while his fuel lasts. The rescue team report they are en route. Meanwhile the Night Raven is nearing the sea and the Strato-Viper tries to eject but the ejection system isn't working. He radios for immediate help. But the Cobra rescue team decide that risking burning out the engines to get there a few minutes sooner isn't worth it. Meanwhile Ace is winched about a Tomahawk and warmly greets Hawk and the ground crew who don't care about the lost Skystriker. The helicopters turn and head for home. Meanwhile the Night Raven reaches water and starts to sink. The Strato-Viper turns to get the break-out crow bar to escape - but it is gone!

The Tomahawks and Conquest X-30 reach the Florida airbase and Ace and Slip-Stream thank their ground crews. Out in the gulf the Cobra rescue helicopters have reached the spot where the Night Raven sunk and the rescue team comments they were just minutes too late. They cannot see a raft, even though the Strato-Viper "should have been able to crack the canopy and get out". One of them suddenly produces the missing crow bar and explains he lifted it when he buckled in the Strato-Viper. He tosses it into the sea.

Featured Characters

G.I. Joe Cobra Others
  • Ace (4)
  • Slip-Stream (5)
  • Hawk (6)
  • Jonesy (7)
  • Peaches (8)
  • Lowball (9)
  • G.I. Joe ground crew (10)
  • Air Force officer (3)

Featured Vehicles & Equipment

G.I. Joe Cobra


Jetfire... or Megatron?

  • The Transformer toy Slip-Stream purchased is not Jetfire but Megatron. A No-Prize explanation in the letter column a few issues later explains that Slip-Stream is not aware of Transformers characters and mistakenly got a Megatron toy instead. The presence of a Transformer toy also supports Larry Hama's view that the two franchises' comic continuities are separate and distinct (and ignoring the-then recently concluded G.I. Joe and the Transformers limited series) though it would be contradicted many times later on.

Items of note


ARAH issues:
Special Missions issues:
#1 | #2 | #3 | #4 | #5 | #6 | #7 | #8 | #9 | #10 | #11 | #12 | #13 | #14 | #15 | #16 | #17 | #18 | #19 | #20 | #21 | #22 | #23 | #24 | #25 | #26 | #27 | #28
Collected editions:
G.I. Joe: Special Missions | G.I. Joe: The Best of Larry Hama