Zartan faces off with Ripcord just as Storm Shadow and Snake-Eyes come to kill the Hard Master's killer.
On Cobra Island Zartan has defeated Ripcord and now changes his appearance to that of the unconscious Joe. Realizing Ripcord is the one who was involved with Appel's daughter Candy he reckons he can use the information he picked up from Appel to impersonate Ripcord long enough to penetrate the Joe's base. Ripcord briefly comes round and attacks Zartan, tearing off a pocket from Ripcord's own tunic, but is then knock unconscious. So that there aren't two Ripcords on the island Zartan dresses Ripcord in his own clothes and heads off to be rescued. Down on the beech Flint's squad, consisting of Spirit, Quick Kick and Alpine, land their raft and bury it in the night. Up at the airfield two Cobra Troopers approach the newly landed Rattler and tell the occupants it is an unauthorized fight. Suddenly Storm Shadow and Snake-Eyes leap out and subdue the Troopers, then rush to neutralize the tower. In the launch base Professor Appel shows Cobra Commander, Tomax and Xamot the new Firebat jet, explaining its potential. Appel asks when Candy will be allowed to join him and Cobra Commander states facilities for dependents are a low priority but he will be reunited with her "at the first opportunity". Appel goes to take a recon patrol to find Zartan. After he leaves Cobra Commander tells the twins to get an investigation launched in Springfield to find what happened to Candy and Billy. Meanwhile Alpine scales the volcano and hauls the other Joes up.
Clutch drives Hawk back to the Pit and he tells them he is back in battle gear and glad of it. On Cobra Island Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow subdue the tower before news of their arrival spreads. On the beach Appel leads a H.I.S.S. and Stinger column which finds Ripcord disguised as Zartan lying on the beech wounded. They load "Zartan" aboard a Stinger to return to base and Appel orders the alarm raised as there are intruders on the island. On the volcano the Joe rescue team observe the airfield, including a large fast jet hidden by a tarpaulin, and the strange round building. They see a Stinger returning with "Zartan" aboard and realize Ripcord fought him. The return of "Zartan" is also observed from the far side by Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow, who has sworn to kill the master of disguise for the murder of his uncle, the Hard Master.
"Zartan" is taken inside to a medical bay by Appel. Whilst waiting for the surgeon he notices the man is holding something - a scrap of camouflaged cloth and inside a photo - of his daughter! He realizes that this is not Zartan but Ripcord, who asks if he can see Candy. Appel says she is back on Staten Island and Ripcord realizes the Cobra professor is being kept in the dark. He explains Candy was taken to their headquarters for questioning, then kidnapped by Buzzer and he assumed she was brought to the island. Appel realizes Cobra Commander has been evasive because Candy is missing.
Outside the rescue team spot "Ripcord" staggering up from the beach, about the encounter a patrol, so Alpine rushes to set up a diversion whilst the others go to rescue him. At the round building launch base Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow storm in. Down on the beach Alpine fires on the Cobra Troopers. But up ahead Zartan is worried as he doesn't know who is shooting and so turns invisible. Flint is watching from the volcano and tells the others their comrade has disappeared "like he dissolved right into the sand". Inside the launch base the two ninjas fight their way through and reach Cobra Commander's control room and Storm Shadow declares "I want him". Meanwhile at the beach the Cobra Troopers discover Alpine but Quick Kick attacks and they escape. Meanwhile Flint and Spirit have recovered "Ripcord" and they head for the beech to dig up the raft and escape.
In the launch base Tomax, Xamot and the Crimson Guard form a shield around Cobra Commander, but their leader declares he isn't the one the ninjas want. Cobra Commander confirms they want Zartan and answers Storm Shadow's questions. Zartan wasn't acting on orders but did it "to prove he could". He tells them "Zartan" is in the medical ward a floor below, to the disgust of Xamot. The ninjas speed downstairs. Down there Appel half drags Ripcord along the corridor to the launch chamber, telling him he realizes the Joe loves his daughter and he is going to send him to find her. He loads the Joe into the Firebat, telling him that the ninjas are attacking and looking for the real Zartan - and will not be convinced by a different face. Outside the launch chambers several guards wait for the ninjas to attack down the stairs when suddenly a roof panel opens and they leap down and gun down the guards before blasting at the launch chamber doors. They enter just as Appel is preparing the launch sequence. Seeing their prey in the cockpit Storm Shadow leaps forward to slice through it but Appel jumps in the way and is killed. Snake-Eyes dives forward and pushes Storm Shadow clear of the launch blast.
Off shore the rescue team see the Firebat blast off. Spirit examines Ripcord and note that the tears and bloodstains on his uniform don't correspond to the wounds on his body...
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
Featured Vehicles & Equipment
- None yet.
- Immediately after taking "Zartan" inside, Professor Appel's Crimson Guard uniform is colored blue.
- Professor Appel doesn't know Candy was kidnapped by Buzzer, but he was told this by Cobra Commander in the previous issue (and Cobra Commander is now being evasive about it, too).
Items of note
- First Appearances: Night Raven (under tarp), Firebat
- Death of Professor Appel
- In the United Kingdom the story was reprinted in Action Force #46, #47 & #48.
- No references.
Footnotes and References