A LETTER FROM SNAKE-EYES
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Issue Date: December 1994
Series: G.I. Joe A Real American Hero
Issue Number: 155
Even as G.I. Joe HQ is being mothballed, Snake-Eyes receives a letter from the adopted son of his old war buddy, Wade Collins. Sean wants to join the army, and asks Snake-Eyes what it's like to be a soldier. Snake-Eyes, expressing his feelings for the first time to readers, responds with a lengthy letter.
Notes of Interest
Final issue. Quick Kick and Storm Shadow appear on the cover, even though Quick Kick had been killed and Storm Shadow had been brainwashed to serve Cobra.
Snake-Eyes, Stalker, Storm Shadow, Hawk, Duke, Scarlett.
Additional characters: Sean Collins (as a boy).
Script: Larry Hama, Pencils: Phil Gosier, Inks: Scott Koblish, Coloring: Chi, Lettering: Vickie Williams, Editor: Mike Lackey, Editor in Chief: Tom DeFalco
The issue opens as Wade Collins is having a flashback to his days in the Long Range Recon Patrol (LRRP) in Vietnam. His quad consists of himself, Snake-Eyes, Stalker, Storm Shadow, Dickie and Ramon. Wade is walking "point", and as he turns to quiet someone down, he doesn't realize he's walking straight into an encampment of North Vietnamese soldiers. Wade wakes up and realizes he is dreaming as his adopted son Sean walks into the room. Sean wants to enlist in the army, and since he won't listen to his "father", Wade convinces him to write a letter to a real "warrior", Snake-Eyes.
A week later at the Pit III in Utah, Stalker arrives to deliver the mail. The Joe team is busy cleaning and storing their equipment, as they are to be shut down soon. Scarlett is shocked that Snake-Eyes is receiving a personal letter, since he hasn't received one since his family was killed many years ago.
In his letter, Sean states he wants to achieve a higher sense of glory and honor and seek adventure in defense of his country.
Snake-Eyes writes back, stating that war is not an adventure. He explains the story of Ramon Escobedo, who signed up for another three month tour in Vietnam so his brother couldn't be sent to Vietnam. Ramon was killed two weeks later during the encounter that Wade had dreamed about earlier.
He then tells the story of Dickie Saperstein, who also re-upped for another year in 'Nam to help pay for his father's heart valve dilation. Dickie's father died on the operating table and his mother went out of her mind. Dickie could have gotten out at that point, but his honor kept him there, only to be killed in the same encounter Ramon died in.
Stalker was there to get away from the gangs on the streets of Detroit where his two older brothers had died. He lied to his mother, who believed he had an office job in Germany. Storm Shadow was sent to Vietnam as further training of his ninja skills.
Snake-Eyes wasn't sure why he was there himself. After returning home from Vietnam, he was spat at on the streets and failed in his ninja training with Storm Shadow's family, so he took off to live in the mountains. Then, Hawk and Stalker came to bring him onto the Joe team, where a helicopter accident took his voice and scarred his face. As he recovered, he met a patient who begged to be put out of his misery.
Snake-Eyes explained that there is no glory in war, no parades or welcoming parties. There is great inhumanity in war, but also bravery, compassion, honor and dignity. Snake-Eyes doesn't regret becoming a soldier because of the camaraderie he shared with his fellow soldiers, and ends with the following quote: "This 'Bearing of arms in the defense of the Constitution of the United States of America', is not really a profession, per se, it is a trust."
As Snake-Eyes is finishing his letter, Scarlett comes to get him for the retiring of the colors. The Joes salute as Hawk oversees Stalker and Duke folding the flag.
Sean receives the letter, and realizes he wants to think about it before becoming a soldier. His mother notices that the letter has no return address, and wonders what that means. The issue and the series closes on a picture of the Pit III, with a sign stating "Deactivated United States Military Base - No Trespassing."