Ladies’ Day

I’ve reviewed one previous Comic Story, Hot Potato the back up story in Marvel Issue # 1. In that article I said I wouldn’t make a habit of reviewing comics, but that they’d occasionally appear. So I figured I’d look at another one of the more forgotten (or likely, forgettable) Special Missions stories.

G.I. Joe was pretty good at being a diverse and inclusive toyline, this also wound up shining through in both the comic book and cartoon. The few female characters (though, more than most other competing toylines) were generally portrayed strong, and competent, and wound up being popular with fans. So it’s not all that surprising, that in the Special Missions they’d do a female centric issue. Did they do it well? Definitely not.

The story starts off with Jinx, Scarlett, Lady Jaye and Covergirl dressed up like cheerleaders or something, doing rockettes style chorus kicks on a parade float at an exhibition game between the “Mites”* and “Dandees”.The president is gonna throw the first pitch or something, but he does it from his luxury box. I guess that’s why he was only a one term president! Anyways the female Joes who feel they’ve been treated poorly because they were put in a ridiculous undercover get-up, then get to stay in the background with the parade float that’s got a lot of surveillance equipment.

The male Joes, on the other hand get to do some show of force surveillance and hang out with heavy armor and a helicopter, and their correct uniforms. Zap, Doc and Heavy Metal all make appearances, too.

At the same time, COBRA has decided they’re gonna kidnap the president. To do so, Fred VII has assembled the crack team of, Firefly, Raptor and Crystal Ball. Crystal Ball, uses his Hypno Shield to hypnotize Falcon and Hawk to have them release the security team. Meanwhile Raptor’s bird drops gas pellets and a disguised Zarana and Firefly (Who throws hot dog bombs) show that they’re bad enough dudes, to kidnap the President and they take him on to the Good Year blimp, which is actually a COBRA blimp. Luckily the ladies weren’t affected by gas or hypnosis, gear up and sneak on the blimp. Well, except for Cover Girl, she gets to go wise up Hawk.

The COBRAs take the president and Zap tries to shoot it with a Bazooka (I guess he didn’t have a problem with people getting weekend passes in prison). On the blimp, Jinx fights Fred VII, Lady Jaye fights Raptor (Gets thrown out of the blimp and has to fight and kill the bird too), Scarlett fights both Zarana and Firefly, but gets help from Jinx. Fred VII pulls a gun and has those two dead to rights, suddenly Hardball appears to pitch a smoke grenade at Cover Girl, who is apparently Lou Gehrig  or something and bats it to Lady Jaye. The smoke provides a distraction and allows a ninja kick to put Fred VII out of action, and the COBRAs escape in a plane hidden in the blip, while the female Joes save the President and get a bunch of perks, such as a months leave with double pay and a week in New York (where everything costs 3 to 5 times as much as it does everywhere else)

This is one bogus issue. On one hand they handled the women as well as they could, by drawing some attention to inequalities, and the different treatment they received. Which was done without being too patronizing. The real issues in this comic come from a distinct lack of continuity and a bunch of art mistakes.

For example, Heavy Metal appears in one panel on the third page, then he magically turns into Cutter, while still being called Heavy Metal. It’s really jarring and poorly done. Another example would be when Lady Jaye is fighting a goddamn bird, she’s referred to as Scarlett. It’s interesting that the name mix up happens when they’re in their actual uniforms!

I can’t say I liked the issue, it wasn’t of much substance, and while there’s an interesting cast of characters, it doesn’t matter because it’s so bland. In a way the storyline almost seems like something that would’ve made a far better episode of the cartoon, than an issue of the comic.


*As a completely unrelated aside, there was a period of time when I got WPIX 11, a WB Affiliate from New York, I watched a lot of Mets games and Taxi on that channel.


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6 Responses to Ladies’ Day

  1. generalliederkranz says:

    This was a Herb Trimpe issue, wasn’t it? To me pretty much all the ones Hama didn’t write were bland, as well as being full of cliches and basically written without the subtlety and respect for the reader that made his writing so good (and still enjoyable as an adult). Trimpe was better than some of the other stand-in writers but still just not the same. I do think it’s nice that this issue gave Crystal Ball the chance to show up for the only time in the whole comic run, ridiculous as he was.

  2. I want to like this issue. Special Missions is otherwise very good, and I really like the subject matter here– casual sexism is a real issue to tackle, the plot is grounds for a fun and goofy adventure (as you said, maybe it would have been a better Sunbow episode, but I’m sure the core “issue” would have been played terribly there), and the main characters are some of my favorites.

    I don’t mind the silly stuff at all, like Cover Girl grand slamming the gas grenade or Firefly using hot dog bombs, but the whole thing is just SO phoned-in. Like obviously no one on the creative team gave a shit about it. Marvel GI Joe, and Special Missions especially, showed such amazing attention to detail that this egregious. I feel like if they’d spent another couple hours on this, it would be a fun, humorous adventure that a few fans remember fondly and not everyone’s least favorite issue of Special Missions.

    • A-Man says:

      Eat your heart out, Darren Blueberry. All the names were changed to protect the innocent.

      Herb Trimpe wrote the issue, but didn’t do the art. Strange. I think they knew Special Missions was on its way out, so they had a couple of filler issues to run out the clock.

      The continuity seems out of whack. In the main series it seems like Fred has no contact with Raptor prior to Raptor going with Billy, Tyrone, disguised Zartan and Captain Minh to Cobra Island.

      The issue of sexism in this issue is shrug worthy to me, GI JOE was rarely sexist aside from portraying fraternization that would be a no-no. Hama portrayed the females as competent as the males. The ladies in their “ball girl” outfits in this non-Hama issue (therefore non-continuity, since Hama is…picky) is as bad as it got. So it’s a manufactured issue for a one-off issue. FOUL BALL, I say. And in terms of “skin”, there rarely was any in the series. Not like the t&a heavy comics of the 90’s.

      • I don’t really disagree with anything you said here. And the continuity issues are something I didn’t even really think about.

        And yeah, sexism or even just excessive horniness weren’t problems within the GI Joe franchise. But that doesn’t mean they can’t comment on it happening elsewhere. But when it’s this poorly done, I don’t know that any message holds up or even looks relevant.

  3. Mike T. says:

    There aren’t many cringe worthy comic issues. But, this is one. This came out during the time when my interest in Joe and comics was flagging. So, I didn’t pick it up until college. And, it just seemed so out of place. Seeing some of the lesser characters was somewhat nice. But, like A Man said, I think they knew the end was nigh and were running out the string.

    Sadly, it seems that most modern Joe fans didn’t get Hama’s messaging from the comics. In some cases, it’s apparent that they either never read the comics or didn’t comprehend them at all. To paraphrase, don’t be mad at G.I. Joe just because you grew up to be a Cobra.

  4. Pingback: 2005 Comic Pack #7 Stalker | Attica Gazette

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