"That's a really dumb poem. Who wrote it, anyway?"
I posted my reasons why the cover for G.I. Joe
#33, "Celebration", is my favorite cover of the series in another thread, so I'll just repost those thoughts.
So much story and drama depicted in this image. The look of utter shock and disbelief captured solely in the Commander's eyes as he makes his speech! The unknown assassin's hand ready to snuff out Cobra Commander. It's a political assassination rendered expertly on the cover; maybe that's why its so captivating, because it stirs images of the deaths of the Kennedy's and Dr. King in the 1960s (events, of course, I was not yet born to witness), or even assassination plots against Hitler. Regardless of why it resonates, or how--it does, and that's enough for me.
Every once in a while, Frank Springer seems to channel Jack Kirby in his layouts and character designs. There were a few shots of Zartan back in issue #25 that looked like they could have come from an issue of Fantastic Four
or Journey into Mystery
back in the '60s. He does it again in issue #33, particularly, I think, with Fred II's wife and kids at the shopping mall. There's also another image--the first panel on page four; there's a guy walking by smoking a cigarette and another guy on the far right side who seem like they could be portraits of the creators. I don't know enough of what Springer and Hama looked like in 1984, but I always got the impression these were supposed to be them or other members of the Marvel bullpen.
The dedication of the new Pit brings about some mostly symbolic changes. Hawk is promoted to full commander of the unit, taking the place formerly held by General Flagg. Duke, already the First Shirt, is promoted to field commander. And the original Joes are promoted to administrative staff of the Pit... sort of. Aside from Snake Eyes, only the eight single-carded action figures from 1982 are named. Clutch, Steeler and Grand Slam are left out of the commencement, so either General Austin forgot about them, Larry Hama forgot about them, or their status didn't change.
This was an interesting and fairly respectful way to shift the Old Guard aside while making room for the dozens of new characters who'd join the unit every year. Of course, it only really applied to half of them, as Stalker, Scarlett, Rock n Roll and Breaker would remain mainstays of the team for years to come. In fact, with the exception of Breaker, who died, they're all some of the most recognizable characters in the franchise and they were all part of the team that Larry Hama first resurrected for IDW's A Real American Hero
But so many more important things happened in issue #33, most notably the debut of Candy Appel/Bongo the Balloon Bear
Okay, seriously, this issue tosses out probably the biggest dramatic reveal since the twin tattoos at the end of issue #21, and I'd argue this is bigger because the plot has been building for longer. Billy's dad is alive and well, and guess what? Cobra Commander's a daddy! Somehow Destro knows this and jumps in at the last minute. Storm Shadow was ready to kill (or at least maim) a tween to protect the Commander, but Destro stops Storm Shadow and Billy to drop the truth bomb on everyone!
Also, earlier in this issue, Destro unmasked for Baroness and she fainted. I thought she was made of tougher stuff, but I guess not. Even Snake Eyes' uncovered visage never rendered anyone unconscious!