The G.I. Joe team invades Cobra's Springfield base, but must contend with the newly-created military genius, Serpentor! Then, a small Joe team tries to rescue a hijacked plane.

Detailed summary for "The Battle of Springfield"

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In the streets of Springfield the Assault Team fight against a squad of Cobra troopers, but find that every move is anticipated and countered by Serpentor. Spirit informs Hawk the Cobras are trying to retake the airport to evacuate the town. Hawk orders them to hold down the Cobras whilst the Security Team takes over at the airport and the Strike Team goes to capture the museum - Cobra's operational headquarters. Meanwhile Serpentor is leading the troops from the front and risks his life to save a wounded trooper. Elsewhere Destro tours the town, ordering all the inhabitants to evacuate, burning or bringing everything connected to Cobra and taking only one suitcase and no pets to the assembly point at the high school. On the main street Serpentor leads the troopers in a charge, his charisma rallying the troops.

Hawk orders a defensive perimeter established around the airport whilst the Strike Team moves out. At the museum Buzzer tells the other Dreadnoks that Zartan is presumably a prisoner at the Pit. Looking to evacuate, Ripper decides to take Storm Shadow's swords to sell, but suddenly the Cobra ninja's body rises from the tank. At the high school the Baroness asks Destro why he is helping to save the Cobra Organization for Cobra Commander rather than fleeing. Destro responds he is doing it for himself and the Baroness assumes he is plotting a coup and offers herself as his consort. But Destro responds he is loyal. On the main street Serpentor's popularity with the troops continues to grow. The Assault Team takes a garbage truck and runs for the airport. Meanwhile in the museum the body of Storm Shadow mumbles about how he is not alive but "simply... not dead" and that he has the memories of many dead men. In his confusion and anger he attacks the nutrient tanks, triggering the self-destruct charges. As the Joes enter the Dreadnoks and Storm Shadow flee in an ambulance. Hawk reassesses the situation and decides that as the museum has been abandoned the airport is the real priority. They take Ripcord and flee.

At the airport Zap searches for the missing air transports and finds a huge elevator in an aircraft carrier. Descending he finds a huge tunnel system and realizes the transports have been moved across town. He tries to investigate further but finds the tunnel has been mined. At the other end of town Cobra troopers detonate the explosives and destroy the entire system. The helicopter transports have landed at the school pitch and the inhabitants of Springfield board them. Two empty helicopters are left and the Baroness asks why Destro is risking things to get Serpentor.

The Assault Team reaches the airport but so too are H.I.S.S. tanks and Stingers. They charge but suddenly turn off their headlights and disappear in the darkness. Hawk and the Strike Team appear, having been in pursuit. Suddenly the Cobra lights come on again and the vehicles charge, to be shot down. Examination reveals the vehicles were empty with the controls tied down. Hearing noises in the sky the Joes look up and release white phosphorous flares which show the helicopter transports leaving. Aboard one of the last Serpentor explains how his attack fooled the Joes into thinking Cobra wanted the airport to evacuate from, diverting attention from the real evacuation at the high school. He comments that the Baroness and Destro could have left him behind and taken his credit.

In the aftermath Hawk tells the Joes they have destroyed half a town but cannot produce evidence Cobra was ever there and to the world an innocent town was destroyed. He says he will take responsibility as an angry call from the Pentagon comes in. On Cobra Island Cobra Commander receives a report about the evacuation and realises that as the greatest soldiers were ambitious military leaders, Serpentor will usurp him. The next day in New Jersey Storm Shadow and the Dreadnoks reach Zartan's hideout, to be confronted by a women with a gun - Zartan's sister Zarana!

Appearing in "The Battle of Springfield"

Featured Characters

(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

G.I. Joe Cobra Civilians

Featured Vehicles & Equipment

G.I. Joe Cobra Civilian
  • Garbage truck

Memorable quotes in "The Battle of Springfield"

"We're Cobra troopers! We're no babes to go mewling home at first blood! They can shoot our legs away and we'll crawl at them with knives in our teeth!"

--Serpentor has been sadly misinformed.

Other notes

Errors in "The Battle of Springfield"

  • Stalker and Doc are both colored white in various scenes.
  • Although Stalker was leading the team trying to hold the airport, he was also shown storming the museum with Hawk.

Items of note in "The Battle of Springfield"

  • First appearance: Zarana
  • The cover grimly echoes the cover of issue 10.
  • The mascot of Springfield High School is The Vipers.
  • This story was reprinted in the G.I. Joe vol. 5 and G.I. Joe: The Best of Duke trade paperbacks.
  • In the United Kingdom the story was reprinted in Transformers #162, #163, #164 & #165.

Real-world references in "The Battle of Springfield"

  • No references.

Detailed summary for "Best Defense"

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An airplane from San Francisco to the Soviet Union has been hijacked by terrorists and is flying off the coast of Oregon, with several US fighters in escort. On board the terrorist Wesson worries that there may be plans being made to stop them, so his comrade Meryl reminds the passengers that Roger, the third terrorist, is terminally ill and has 50 pounds of plastic explosive strapped to his waist and a dead-man's switch in his hand that he will detonate if he has to. Also on board is the American Chess Team including young prodigy Carlisle Anderson.

At San Francisco International Airport, Hawk, Beach Head, Stalker, Flint and Lady Jaye discover how the terrorists murdered a news camera crew that was due to accompany the chess team and took their place. According to a broadcast by the terrorists they are the "Leon Trotsky Brigade of the Fourth International" seeking "to exact revenge upon the heirs of the murderer Stalin." Beach Head explains that although Stalin kicked Trotsky out of the Soviet Union, 13 years later Trotsky was killed in Mexico City with an icepick in the head, most likely on Soviet orders. Hawk orders the team to split in two, with Flint, Lady Jaye and Beach Head dispatched aboard an SST to intercept the airplane when it refuels at Anchorage, whilst Stalker and Hawk head into San Francisco to check leads - the Fourth International are listed in the phone book!

On the plane Carlisle tells the terrorists he has worked out every scenario in his head like a chess game and they come out losing every time. But Roger responds that nothing can stop him from detonating the trigger if attacked. In San Francisco Hawk and Stalker arrive at the Fourth International's headquarters to find it besieged by police. He pulls rank as a general and storms in with Stalker, who has a taser ready to capture one of the Trotskyites alive. At Anchorage Airport the other three Joes arrive before the airplane and demand schematics. The plane lands and the terrorists order it to stay on the runway with only refueling personnel allowed to come near. Wesson opens a hatch and stands with his gun at the head of a stewardess. In San Francisco Stalker and Hawk take cover as one women blasts away with a machine gun. During the rhetoric break they dive forward, shooting down several other Trotskyites and Stalker tasers the woman with the machine gun. Hawk explains that when tasered the electric shock causes the muscles to contract, hence the woman unconsciously triggering the gun.

In Anchorage the three Joes hide aboard a fuel tanker and then take advantage of the limited view from the hatch to run under the plane and climb into the three separate wheel housings. The plane has refueled and Wesson orders it to take off. Roger tells him to shoot the stewardess. Wesson is reluctant but the stewardess believes the terrorists always planned to kill the hostages and hits him. He shoots her dead. The plane takes off, with the three Joes slowly cutting their way onboard. Wesson orders the pilot to fly to Beringovskiy in eastern Siberia, a restricted secret military base, with the accompanying US fighters preventing the Soviets from shooting the jet down. In San Francisco Police Headquarters the captured Trotskyite is refusing to answer questions. Her file reveals her to be a girl from a rich background who found a cause to believe in. She is thrown in the holding pen, looking forward to the "honor to be incarcerated with my sisters of the oppressed proletariat" but the holding pen contains a rather different class.

On the plane the three Joes separately cut their way into unoccupied parts of the plane. Lady Jaye reaches the luggage compartment and disguises herself as a stewardess. Outside a pair of Mig 23S Flogger Ds approach the airplane and the fighter escorts and tell them to turn back, but the fighter pilots refuse because of the passengers onboard. In the passenger compartment Beach Head climbs up under Carlisle's chair, with the prodigy refusing to give him away. In San Francisco, Hawk radios Lady Jaye to tell her that the women talked and the terrorists' plan is to take the plane to a secret Soviet chemical warfare depot and crash the plane, releasing a gas cloud that will kill millions. In Beringovskiy, Colonel Koldunov, the nephew of the Soviet Deputy Minister of Defense, radios fighter command seeking an order for the plane to be shot down and the fighters ask for firing authorization. Aboard the plane, Flint has now cut his way into a toilet while Lady Jaye climbs into the passenger compartment and starts posing as a stewardess. When Meryl challenges her she claims her make-up needs touching up, hence her different appearance. Roger is now going insane at the impending destruction and Meryl tells him to relax. Beach Head attacks and subdues her as Lady Jaye tasers Roger, his hand contracting on the dead man's switch. Wesson rushes from the cockpit, only to be gunned down by Flint. Lady Jaye attaches her handbag containing a charge to the hatch and tells everyone to take refuge. The charge blows and Roger is sucked out of the plane, exploding in mid air. Beach Head captures Meryl while Flint tells the pilots to turn the airplane around. Soviet Fighter Command now gives authorization to shoot the plane down but the pilot reports it has altered course.

Later the plane lands in San Francisco and Meryl is taken away. However Lady Jaye has managed to get herself locked in the toilet!

Appearing in "Best Defense"

Featured Characters

(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

G.I. Joe Civilians Fourth International Misc
  • Airplane passengers (7)
  • Airplane pilots (3)
  • Carlisle Anderson (6)
  • San Fransisco police (13)
  • Female Trotskyite (14)
  • Meryl (4)
  • Roger (5)
  • Wesson (2)
  • Lieutenant Jim Abbott (1)
  • Colonel Koldubov (14)

Featured Vehicles & Equipment

G.I. Joe Civilian Others

  • Fuel tanker
  • Passenger jet
  • MiG 23S Flogger Ds
  • SST

Memorable quotes in "Best Defense"

  • None yet.

Other notes

Errors in "Best Defense"

  • No errors known.

Items of note in "Best Defense"

  • "Best Defense" is a set up for the spin-off series, G.I. Joe: Special Missions. Rather than a set up in the traditional style of introducing storylines, the story gives readers a glimpse into the theme and tone of Special Missions. The story is reprinted in a G.I. Joe trade paperback that collects the first four issues of the spin-off.
  • In the United Kingdom the story was reprinted in Action Force #1 & #2. For the UK printing the spelling was anglicised to "Best Defence"

Real-world references in "Best Defense"

  • No references.

Footnotes and References

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