#16 TIGHT CIRCLE
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Issue Date: December 1988
Series: Special Missions
Issue Number: 16
LOCATION: Cobra Island
Ghost Rider with his Stealth fighter is tasked with taking pictures of the Cobra Island airfield. Several Joes and their planes are used as a decoy to allow Ghost Rider to get to Cobra Island.
Notes of Interest
The individual Special Mission issues influence on the main series fluctuates from being a completely separate story to having a minor influence or is a direct continuation from the regular Marvel series.
This story leads directly into regular series issue #81.
Death of the Star Viper
Main Mission Joes: Ace, Ghost Rider, Lady Jaye, Lift Ticket, Mainframe, Slip Stream, Wild Bill
Support Joes: Hawk, Stalker, Maverick
Cobras: Cobra Commander, Dr. Mindbender, Star Viper, Zartan, Rattler pilots, Strato-Vipers
Script: Larry Hama,
Pencils: Herb Trimpe,
Inks: Andy Mushynsky,
Lettering: Phil Felix,
Coloring: Nel Yomtov,
Editor: Bobbie Chase,
Editor in Chief: Tom DeFalco.
Cover Artist: Ron Wagner and Bob McLeod
In the aftermath of the Cobra Island Civil War, Cobra Commander (actually Fred VII) and Dr. Mindbender are putting a plan together based on information from Zartan. Watching overhead is the Joe team's satellite. In the Pit III Hawk, Lady Jaye, Stalker and Mainframe are watching Zartan and Cobra Commander managing a massive airlift. They see a crate labeled farm equipment bust open to see that it contains a couch. A very suspicious Hawk approves a mission to take closer pictures of the Cobra Island airfield.
Wild Bill, with Lady Jaye and Mainframe inside, pilots an ECM (Electric Counter Measures) plane, supported by Slip Stream in his Conquest and Ace and Lift Ticket in the Skystriker. Ghost Rider in the Stealth plane is on his way to take pictures of the Cobra Island airfield. The plan is for Wild Bill's plane to be a decoy, so Ghost Rider can make an unhindered run to take the photos.
On Cobra Island in airfield's ready room, Strato-Vipers are bragging about how their synthetically reinforced bodies help them defeat their opponents by being able to turn inside of them off them by pulling more gees (gravity). The Star Viper, a very special super enhanced soldier even more then the Strato-Vipers, brags that with his reflexes he can do even better.
The Joes flight comes up on the Cobra radar and the interceptor wing is scrambled. The Stiletto piloted by the Star Viper, 4 Rattlers and 2 Night Ravens head off to meet the Joe planes. The Stiletto isn't track able on the Joe radar. So it catches them off guard. Wild Bill releases chaff and flares as well as using the planes ECM to jam Cobra's radar.
Ace avoids a missile which hits another Rattler, Ace fires at the Stiletto but misses, Slip Stream then saves Ace by destroying another Rattler, as a Rattler skims the waves Slip Stream forces him to crash into the water. With the radar jammed, the Cobra planes are unable to fly as a team, giving a big advantage to the two Joe planes. The Stiletto finds Wild Bill's radar plane. Lady Jaye using a machine gun fires at the Star Viper just annoying him. He tries to fire a missile at Wild Bill but they dropped aerial mines that throw off the Stiletto's aim.
Meanwhile, Ghost Rider has been skimming the waves in his Stealth plane undetected by Cobra's radar to take the pictures of the airfield. His fly by of the airfield causes the all the Cobra airplanes to break off there attack to intercept the Stealth plane.
This call saves Wild Bill as the Stiletto disengages to hunt for the Stealth. They catch him as he hugs the waves. Several of the planes fire at him but all miss as he is untrackable. Slip Stream and Ace each take out a Rattler and Night Raven clearing the air except for the Stiletto. The Stealth and Stiletto go head to head and then turn on each other. As they are making the turn the Star Viper hits his enhancements that are supposed to help him beat a regular pilot. Ghost Rider is on the edge of passing out, the Star Viper enhancements short circuit causing his plane to crash in the ocean. The Joes go home to look at their pictures.
On Cobra Island at the docks, the core group of Cobra's new secret base of operations is being loaded onto a container ship with its final destination somewhere inside the continental United States. The airfield activities were a decoy.
Summary by Josh Eggebeen