G.I. JOE: COBRA SPECIAL - CHANGING COLORS
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Issue Date: September 2010
Series: G.I. Joe Cobra
Issue Number: Special 2
Erika Le Tene is in prison. She has been interviewed by Firewall for weeks before she is given a Joe assignment, which is to impersonate the Baroness and barge her way into a Cobra cell in order to steal data. She is successful and gains the confidence of the Joe team and a code name. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Speed Trap Skidmark, GI Joe's best driver, is given a mission to pick up a subject and make sure he is driven to the Joe base. He is in Dodger Challenger and the Cobra driver who is chasing him is driving a fully armed and armored SUV. A fight and chase takes place over hundreds of miles as Skidmark uses of his driving skills to successfully complete his mission.
Notes of Interest
This issue takes place after the events in the Cobra II mini series
The first appearance and introduction of Firewall.
Major Continuity Differences
Firewall, her look, age and profession.
Speed Trap is a short prose only story that will be included in the anthology GI Joe: Tales of the Cobra Wars which was released in March 2011. To see the summary of all of the stories See Here
First appearance & introduction of Skidmark.
GI Joe: Erika La Tene (Chameleon)
Cobra: Crimson Guardsman
Additional Characters: Pham (Erika's childhood caretaker), Erika's mother
GI Joe: Skidmark, Dial Tone
Cobra: Interceptor Three, Watcher (Red Head)
Additional Characters: Aunt Maria, Becky Campbell, Kyle Campbell (Becky's son), Dr. George Sykes
Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: Antonio Fuso
Colorist: Filippo Flores
Letters: Robbie Robbins
Associate Editor: Carlos Guzman
Editor: Andy Schmidt
Cover A: Artist: Antonio Fuso
Cover Company: IDW
Cover B (Retail Incentive): Artist: Antonio Fuso
Cover Company: IDW
"Speed Trap -- A story from GI Joe: Tales from the Cobra Wars"
Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Editor: Max Brooks
Cobra Special #2 Summary
Erika Le Tene is remembering the good times of her old life, the parties, the dance clubs, the exotic places, the business meetings she ran and the power she had. But she is doing this from a prison cell.
She is brought from her cell into an interview room. Where an older lady begins chatting with her about the excellent condition of Erika's skin. Erika wants to speak to the General in charge. The lady introduces herself as Firewall and she is the representative that she will be talking to and it is mostly going to be girl talk. And then asks about her family.
Erika response is that she has been telling her the story for the last few weeks. But Firewall insists she tell it to her again. Erika is aware that they are looking for inconsistencies in her story. But she is smarter then that so she makes sure to never change the details.
Erika's Story: She was raised in Vietnam, after the war, on a rubber plantation that her European family had shares in and controlled the land. The grounds keeper, Pham, who was a veteran of Sino-IndoChinese war, is the one who took care of her. This relationship with Pham helped her to be accepted and she just blended in, a little European girl in Southeast Asia. She only saw her mother a few times a year and never her father. Pham told her many stories about her mother. And when she was 8 she was sent to boarding school in Hong Kong. Again, she was out of place but able to blended in.
At school her mother came and visited only once.
Firewall asks what they talked about and Erika response is "Nothing". A year later Erika heard that both her parents were dead. And after she completed her schooling she made her way to Europe and that is where Cobra found her.
After 30 weeks of the questions, Firewall enters with a present, it is a key to handcuffs. They leave the interview room and walk into a another containment cell area with a two way mirror setup. Where Firewall presents Erika's Mom to her. She explains that somehow her mother had survived and was found hiding in Poland. She continues saying that they will release her but will make sure her story is printed in the paper. Erika response is "Just tell me what you want."
Later in a high rise, Firewall is briefing Erika on her mission for the Joe team. The Joe team has discovered a Cobra cell and they would like to get as much information out of it as possible. So they want her to infiltrate the place disguised as the Baroness. At first Erika protests that it is a death warrant, but Firewall does a going job of presenting the case of how she can get away with it. And Erika agrees.
Erika as the Baroness barges into the what seems like a tiny store front, screams at the clerk and puts a gun to his head saying to him that the security in place is terrible. Using the bully method that Firewall described, Erika is able to get into the server room, plug in her USB device and begin the transfer of files. When a Crimson Guardsman comes in with a bottle of wine saying he heard she was on a warpath and it has been a long time since they have seen each other. Erika knocks him out before he can finish. She ties him up and continues to wait for the download. The Crimson Guardsman recognizes that she isn't the Baroness and actually know who she is. He explains that the Baroness kept Erika around because Erika reminded her of herself. And the Baroness needed that. Erika turns to the Crimson Guardsman and asks him if she favored him, his answer is "yes". She shoots him in the head and disconnects after file transfer is complete.
Days later, back in the prison, Erika is still having nightmares about her first kill. Firewall walks in to report to her that all went well with the mission. The cell is in total confusion still believing it was the real Baroness and now Cobra believing that the cell has sold the intel to a 3rd party. Because of the success, Firewall has gotten permission to move her to new quarters. And offers her the chance to see her mother before they release her.
In Flashback: Erika's mother is talking to her during the one visit she got from her at school. Her mother tells her that she will not be able to visit her anymore, that she has a very sizable trust fund and will be looked after. See tells her that the man she is married to isn't her father. And she is very much in love with him and that bringing her into the relationship will cause pointless drama. So she turns and walks out on Erika.
Erika tells Firewall that she has no desire to see her mother and she should be sent home.
Later, Firewall is giving Erika a tour of the office complex she will be working out, given a security badge and a staff. She is basically free but she is now a member of the Joe organization and her identity like the rest is secret. No one in the Joe organization will know about her past with Cobra. Erika on the outside is very gracious. But she is thinking.
"I hate my family. I hate this woman. I hate that everyone I've ever known has only seen me as a something to be used. A tool. A bargaining chip. A weapon. I hate that they would think I'm so stupid, they could hire some middle aged actress to play my dead mother and I wouldn't know the difference. A girl doesn't forget her mother even after 15 years in the "use what someone loves against them" game. These people are amateurs. There are things I know they will never understand."
She asks Firewall if she can have a code name like the rest of the team.
She continues to think "They don't understand that I would have done it anyway. They wouldn't understand my own reasons. Let them think they scared me. Let them think they can use me. GI Joe. Cobra. Everyone is a tin soldier to them. They look for the key that winds you up, then set you down on whatever path they choose. They never think to look inside at what really makes you go. They'll never know. I've been playing this game all my life. They'll never see the real me. I can be whatever anyone looking at me needs to see."
As she looks out the window at an American flag she says to Firewall, "As I understand it, one has recently become available."
She think to herself "I am a Chameleon."
Summary by Josh Eggebeen
Speed Trap Summary
Part I: Challenger
Cyril Colombani, otherwise known by his GI Joe code named Skidmark, is sitting at the Amarillo International Airport awaiting his commercial flight back to GI Joe headquarters. He has just finished a rare 3 day leave. This is even more rare since unlike most of the Joe team he is not considered dead to his family. Upon arrival at the airport all of the flights in the Southwestern United States were canceled, due to some mysterious unforeseen weather patterns. He called Dial Tone at The Pit and she told him to sit tight. So as he sits at a bar, a red head with green eyes asks him if she can borrow his cell phone. He declines by lying saying it is dead. His phone is biometrically programmed to only his use, so no one can use it except him.
She then asks him why he is in Amarillo. Skidmark explains that he was at his Uncle John's funeral. Uncle John was a major inspiration to Skidmark when he was boy regarding driving. His Uncle John had a major fascination with the famous Route 66, in fact it was the reason Uncle John lived in Amarillo. Skidmark had driven all of the Route that he could and also fell in love with Route 66 but even more Skidmark fell in love with driving. Since he first got his license it has been all he has done. And now driving is his career, he is GI Joe's top driver, he drives everything and anything for GI Joe and he does it fast and on time. Skidmark hates being late.
His phone rings and Dial Tone is on the line with an assignment. She tells him he will have a pick up along the way back to The Pit, which is in the middle of the Nevada desert, approximately 950 miles away by car. And he needs to be there by sundown. It is noon Amarillo time, the drive is normally 14 hours, he has 9. And all of the rental cars are taken due to the airline delays.
His only real option is to take a taxi back to his Aunt Maria's house. So Skidmark politely excuses himself and takes off on his mission.
The red head, actually known as the Watcher, is disappointed she didn't get his cell phone. But she gets a copy of his fingerprints from his glass, DNA sample from his straw, pictures of his eyes, ears and face from her cell phone as well as a voice recording. All of the things needed to identify a person.
Speed Trap Summary continued
Part II: Captives of the Road
Becky Campbell was headed to the Grand Canyon when a stranger jumps in the backseat of her car. The stranger points something sharp into her waste and tells her to get back on the highway and drive fast. Skidmark is the stranger and his military ID is the sharp object he poked into her side.
Becky's car is a 2010 Prius, he choose her for several reasons it wasn't loaded down with baggage, has a full tank and is a more reliable car for a high speed chase even if doesn't have the necessary speed. Still recovering from the accident Skidmark stumbled to the gas station and his only option is to high jack Becky and her car. What Skidmark didn't notice until they were already driving was that Becky's 5 year old son, Kyle, was in the backseat.
Kyle tells Skidmark to put on his seat belt and Becky begins to drive fast as requested. Skidmark takes Becky's cell phone and calls Dial Tone who wonders what is happening since she just talked to him. Skidmark informs her of the attack, Dial Tone informs him that the subject he is supposed to pick up is in Flagstaff and a picture on Skidmark's cell phone is the evidence he needs to get the subject in the car and be taken to The Pit. Skidmark's new mission is to some how beat Interceptor Three to the subject.
So Skidmark asks Becky to speed up knowing that he is in one of the safe police free zones. Once the Prius hits 100, Kyle tells Becky that is a speeding violation and she realizes that if she gets pulled over by a cop then her problems are solved so she continues to drive fast. The bumps in the road are continuing to effect Skidmark. He notices a mile marker and tells her to slow down. She doesn't, he uses the ID card again as a knife to get her to slow down. Kyle points out that it isn't a knife.
Doing the math in his head Skidmark realizes that the SUV has a 20 mile lead on him, when an idea hits him, he uses Becky's cell phone.
Interceptor Three is cruising along watching the miles count down until his mission is a success, when a police car pulls up behind him to pull him over.
Skidmark had called in the SUV as being a terrorist on a mission, so when the police officer pulls him over he asks him to get out of the car. Several additional police cars pull up and those cops help surround the SUV. Interceptor Three pushes one of his many buttons, this is a new and untested device called the ADS (Active Denial System), this system sends out rays that slightly cook the outer layer of the skin causing intense pain. So when it turns on all 6 cops are immediately filled with pain and drop to the ground. A side effect is that it also effected the cars driving by and it creates a 40 car pile up. Interceptor Three doesn't really care but one of the cars crashes into the back of his SUV. The Prius arrives at the crash scene and Becky is told to drive onto the medium and pulls up to the SUV. Skidmark gives the one figure salute as he drives past.
Part III: The Empty Sky
As the Prius blasts past, Interceptor Three tries to break his SUV free, he hits everyone with another blast of ADS and then fires his rear rocket launcher blowing himself free.
Skidmark has Becky stop at hotel/gas station and lets her and Kyle out of the car, writes her a nice note and thanks her for the car. Now Skidmark is back where he is supposed to be in the driver's seat.
Interceptor Three is racing at top speed hell bent to catch up to Skidmark.
After a phone conversation with Dial Tone that leaves both frustrated because they are communicating on an open line. Skidmark spots the black SUV. But this time Skidmark is ready and he dodges the bullets and the SUV with his expert driving skills that make him GI Joe's best driver. Next, Interceptor Three tries rockets, which also miss because of Skidmark's driving skills. But all of sudden Skidmark starts to feel pain. Interceptor Three had turned on the ADS.
In complete pain, Skidmark slams on the brakes smashing the Prius into the SUV. The accident causes the ADS to malfunction and sends its pain waves directly into Interceptor Three, he passes out from the pain.
Skidmark wakes up driving a few miles later, driving is so hardwired into him that he actually continued to drive though he was passed out. Even he is surprised.
Dial Tone calls saying she has figured out a way to communicate with him, he needs to stop for gas and use his gas card. As he is filling up with gas, the read out starts asking him questions. It is Dial Tone who has hacked into the system and gives him the name of the person, George Sykes, Room 109 American Hotel.
Later at the American Hotel, Skidmark passes all of the tests and the very old George Sykes agrees to leave with Skidmark. Having stolen a Camaro, they race out of Flagstaff headed to The Pit by way of the Hoover Dam.
Dr. Sykes marvels at the air amazed that there are no planes flying. And he is the cause of it. He came up with a system to use particles to keep airplanes from flying. No one would listen to him, so he did the test on his own and Cobra found out about it. But couldn't track him down and that is why they attempted to fake Sykes out with Interceptor's change of voice and fingerprints.
They are headed for Boulder City where Dr. Sykes will turn off his machine. They have to cross over the Hoover Dam. The newly complete but not yet open bridge over the Colorado River directly over the Hoover Dam is also another option. Dr. Sykes needs to be near the Dam to shut off the transmitter that is keeping the planes grounded. Skidmark spots the SUV in his rear mirror, now Interceptor Three's mission is to kill Sykes and Skidmark. Skidmark jumps his car onto the new road that leads to the bypass bridge. Thinking the SUV couldn't possibly follow, he sees it rocketing over a car on the road and begins to chase and open fire with his guns.
The SUV keeps gaining ground and successfully hitting the Camaro with its guns, parts are flying everywhere as he races towards the bridge, hoping that it really is finished. As expected, Interceptor Three fires his heat seeking rockets and Skidmark uses this to his advantage by slowing down and then gunning the car at the last possible second the rockets smash into the bridge creating hole that the SUV has no time to avoid. Interceptor Three and his SUV plunge 900 feet down in to the Colorado River.
Waiting on the other side several members of the Joe team take Dr. Sykes to his device, which he turns off. Skidmark has completed his mission. He thinks back on all of the violations he has broken including damaging the bypass bridge. But the destruction of the Challenger will be his biggest challenge since he promised that he would return it without a scratch on it to his Aunt Maria.
Summary by Josh Eggebeen.