Marvel #46 - Who's Who on COBRA Island?
Okay, how incredible is the cover to #46??? It is one of my Top 10 covers of all time. Tommy looking like one BAMF, and teaming up with Snake Eyes for the first time too! "We're here, Snake-Eyes! If we want to succeed, we must be swift...and ruthless!" That one panel from the end of #45 certainly made the wait for #46 last what felt like longer than a month! Two sword brothers loose on COBRA Island. I simply could not wait. Reading it again now, even with the ninja overload and Snake Eyes becoming the central character in the mythos, it is still a pretty damn good story.
While I was hoping it was Ripcord that defeated Zartan and not vice-versa (I wasn't observant enough back then to see the chest wound on the last panel of #45), I was relieved to see that Ripcord was at least not dead. I still didn't like the concept of Zartan, but the character I was warming up to. Still thought (and think) the Dreadnoks were stupid (mainly because they weren't used properly), and his two siblings were even more stupid (totally worthless and unnecessary characters, in my opinion).
Speaking of bad concepts - enter Quick Kick. Okay, I may have misspoke. The concept of a Japenese/Korean martial artist on the team wasn't bad. Unfortunately for Mac though, his uniform was completely ridiculous. I groaned over Spirit's uniform, but at least he had a shirt and shoes. On top of that, Mr. Hama would shortly bring Tommy over to the Joes to perhaps fill the spot that Hasbro may have originally had Quick Kick slotted for. Makes sense though, as there is no duo that is more efficient or dangerous than Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes. At any rate, adding a Joe like Quick Kick to this insertion team made perfect sense, although seeing him run around the island full of jagged rocks barefoot did not.
There were so many great moments in this issue I'm not sure I can list them all. Mr. Hama weaved the different scenes into one incredible story! The Joe team making their way inland and settling in to do some recon. How many issues would it be before we actually see the COBRA Night Raven?? I thought it looked really cool and hoped to see it in action in this issue. How about seeing both the Joe team and Snake Eyes spot the Stinger with Zartan on it? Two different perspectives of the same scene. Bravo, Mr. Whigham! Then there was being able to see the inner workings of the Terrordrome, and watching the COBRAs prepare for what was about to happen to them. CC stringing along Prof. Appel as he tries to locate Candy. Prof. Appel finding his daughter's photo in "Zartan"'s hand. The Joe team finding Zartan and dealing with the COBRA patrols. Alpine sure was badass. Can't forget Prof. Appel helping Ripcord get away in the Firebat so he could find Candy.
All great stuff, but the greatest were the scenes of Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes. Disposing of the COBRAs at the tower and then making their way to the "Launch Base". Two of my favorite scenes was Tommy leaping over the blast shield and then when he and Snake Eyes were standing in the doorway. Not quite as amazing as the cover, but still epic. Interesting to see how CC saved his own * by telling them Zartan did it to prove he could. I will admit that Tomax and Zamot at least looked formidable in this issue. None of the stupid sharing sentences or any of that. Just good leaders that even chastised CC for selling out a wounded man. Apparently they didn't know the depths that a used car salesman would stoop in order to sell an idea. I was saddened to see Prof. Appel die at the hands of Tommy's sword, but with the introduction of Dr. Brain Wave, another hair-brained creation of Hasbro, Mr. Hama's must superior creation had to go.
There were a few things that made me scratch my head though, beyond a barefoot Quick Kick. First was Flint watching "Ripcord" disappear. I can't say from experience, but if I saw someone totally disappear I wouldn't have dismissed it so quickly. I would have preferred if Flint looked away for just a moment and then looked back to see him gone. Also, Spirit's assessment of the injuries not matching. I would think that would throw up a bigger red flag. I am not remembering #47 though, so maybe he does bring it up and it gets overlooked. Guess I will find out shortly!
Overall, this is one of my favorite issues. Had Gung-Ho been added instead of Quick Kick, it very well may have been my all-time favorite. Not only a great issue, but this would be the pinnacle of the Joe mythos for me. Mr. Hama would provide a handful of great stories over the remainder of the run, but it just wouldn't be the same.