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Publisher: IDW Publishing
Issue Date: September 2011
Series: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero
Issue Number: 170

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Lady Jaye, Flint and Roadblock are on the USS Flagg about to leave on a mission to capture Darklon. Billy, Snake Eyes, and Storm Shadow learn of the Middle Master and the history of the Russian Arashikage Clan. Mainframe summarizes via report what happened in the Chrysler building. Destro and the Baroness question Cobra Commander about Darklon and his status. Sneak Peek continues his debrief with Chuckles about his undercover mission in Darklonia.

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Notes of Interest

Coffee mugs for the Flagg and the Pit.

History of the Arashikage Clan's Middle Master revealed.

Status of the Arashikage Clan; it has grown to over a hundred dojos in countries all over the world.

Major Players

GI Joe: Chuckles, Flint, GI Jane,Joe Colton, Admiral Keel Haul, Lady Jaye, Lift Ticket, Mainframe, Recondo, Roadblock, Sneak Peek, Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, Wild Bill,

Cobra: Baroness, Crystal Ball, Cobra Commander, Destro, Firefly,

Additional Characters: Billy, Katya, Middle Master (flashback), son of the tattooed giant (Unknown Russian Master)

Creative Team

Writer: Larry Hama
Artist: S.L. Gallant
Inker: Gary Erksine
Colors: J. Brown
Letters: Shaun Lee
Editor: Carlos Guzman

Cover Credits
Cover Artist: S.L. Gallant and Gary Erksine, Colors by J. Brown
Cover Company: IDW

Cover B: Artist: Herb Trimpe, Colors by J. Brown
Cover Company: IDW

Cover C (Retail Incentive): Artist: Larry Hama
Cover Company: IDW

Full Details

Lady Jaye is checking her ammunition rounds for defects tossing the bad rounds in a USS Flagg coffee mug. Flint enters and tells her there is weapons testing on the fantail in five minutes.

Flint finds Roadblock in the galley preparing fried egg sandwiches. He tells him of the weapons test and Roadblock jokes that having someone not faint in battle from hunger is important too.

The trio make their way to the fantail passing by a Skystriker and several cheering sailors. They fire on targets in the water, a 9 mm for Lady Jaye, 12 gauge for Flint and Roadblock makes a rhyme about his ma deuce. "Nothing cuts it loose like the old ma deuce."

A crew member offers to clean their weapons after the test and Lady Jaye casually informs him that once they know the weapons work you don't want to strip and clean them. Roadblock calls her soft for not chewing him out and Flint agrees.

Admiral Keel Haul lets them know the Tomahawk is ready. Wild Bill and Lift Ticket are already in the cockpit. Recondo, the door gunner, greets them.

Mainframe sits alone in a cargo jet with his laptop. He types up a report to Duke CCing Hawk. He explains what happened at the Chrysler building after Jane took off after Firefly and he and Joe Colton found the booby trapped hostages. Jane confronted Firefly and Crystal Ball. Firefly threatened to use the detonator and Jane tossed her weapon to the ground. Firefly fires on her but she grabs his ankles and flips him his head hitting the stairs. To finish the job she nails him with a high heel to the jaw. Crystal Ball limply tries to use his hypno-shield. Jane just tells him to turn it off and he complies meekly saying "yes ma'am" Mainframe lets out a laugh.

Flying at wave-top level, the team aboard the Tomahawk wait, Flint sharpens a knife, Roadblock enjoys a fried egg sandwich, and Lady Jaye studies a map in the red glow of the cabin light. Wild Bill announces they are an hour away and past the halfway point. Flint tries to act cool and take a nap but Lady Jaye sees through him which Roadblock is happy to point out.

In the Pit, Chuckles and Sneak Peek continue the debrief.(See Issue 169) They drink from coffee mugs that say The Pit on them. Sneak Peek tells of an incident between Katya the innkeepers daughter and a pair of Darklonian Border Guards. Katya is accosted by the two guards and chivalrous Sneak Peek intervenes. This arouses suspicion and Katya defends him explaining that he is staying at the Inn and Canadian not American. She then reveals to him that she thinks his true purpose is astronomy because she found his telescope. Sneak Peek looking back realizes his two errors, first not securing his gear properly, and second risking his cover to help Katya which also put her in danger.

In Brighton Beach, the unknown/Russian master is telling the tale of the Russian Arashikage Clan and the Middle Master to Billy, Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow.

The brother of the Soft and Hard Master, the Middle Master, was known as Nakunatta by Storm Shadow, or "to become nothing".

It turns out the Middle Master was sent on a secret mission to Vladivostok and wound up badly wounded and nearly crippled by an explosion at an ammo dump. The NKVD, the predecessor to the KGB, imprisoned him in a gulag in Siberia. In the gulag a strong Russian man attempted to take the bread he had saved. The Middle Master defeated the large Russian. The Russian giant became his acolyte and soon the prisoners were practicing ninja techniques as calisthenics and were largely ignored by the gulags guards. This was because escape in Siberia was futile. The Middle Master and his clan became powerful and marked themselves with the familiar Arashikage tattoo. Twenty years later the Middle Master died. He left behind a sub clan of over fifty. The gulags eventually closed down and the giant Russian returned to Moscow where he carried on the clan and established the Russian headquarters there. The one telling the tale, the unknown/Russian Master, is his son. He is now Master of the Russian branch. It is asked how many sub branches there are now and the Master tells them there are over a hundred now spread throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Americas, and new branches cropping up in Australia and New Zealand. He also reveals there is a new threat to the Arashikage and again the clan faces extinction.

In Broca Beach at the wax museum Cobra Commander is talking to a televiper about the botched operation of Firefly and Crystal Ball. He had no part in it but would be glad to take the credit if they had succeeded. He notices there are two Baroness and Destro statues in the Terrordrome diorama. The televiper states he will have it fixed right away and one of the Destros speaks. He and the duplicate Baroness hold the Commander at gunpoint. The pair demand to know what exactly happened in Darklonia when Darklon should have been and was assumed killed (See Marvel Issue 146). The Commander tells about Darklon's hardened shelter and how he managed to escape the blast and go on to a lucrative arms trade. Cobra Commander is currently working on a project with Darklon. He turns to speak to Destro but he and the Baroness are gone. The Firebat bursts out of the diorama taking the two away. Cobra Commander thought it was a nonfunctioning Firebat.

In the Pit, Sneak Peek tells of another incident with the two Darklonian Border Guards. They search his room and are about to look in the case where he keeps his scope. Sneak Peek assumes Katya told them.

The Tomahawk is now ten minutes to target. The Joes look over their orders before Recondo shreds them for any last minute changes. Their mission is to capture Darklon alive, if he resists action is left to their discretion.

Continued next issue.

Summary by Ted Jacobson