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Publisher: Marvel Comics
Issue Date: July 1987
Series: G.I. Joe A Real American Hero
Issue Number: 61

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Stalker, Outback, Snow Job, and Quick Kick are given a special secret mission to bust out a journalist taken prisoner in Borovia. They discover that the journalist has already been released after they raid the prison. As they fight their way out, Snow Job and Quick Kick are injured. Stalker then orders Outback to leave them behind. Billy turns his back on his father. Cobra Commander then turns his back on Fred VII, who shoots Cobra Commander.

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Notes of Interest

Cobra Commander is shot by Fred VII.
Introduction of the Republic of Borovia.
First Appearance of Colonel Ratinkov.
Outback's escape from Borovia is in Special Missions #6

Major Players

The Joes: Stalker, Outback, Snow Job, Quick Kick
Additional Joe Characters: Hawk, Jinx, Airbourne, Flint, Lt. Falcon, Rock 'n' Roll, Scarlett, Shipwreck (Polly), Slip Stream, Snake-Eyes

Cobra: Cobra Commander, Fred VII, Raptor
Additional Characters: Billy, Spigou (deceased), Colonel Ratnikov

Creative Team

Script: Larry Hama,
Storytelling: Marshall Rogers,
Finishes: Danny Bulanadi,
Colors: Bob Sharen,
Lettering: Joe Rosen,
Editor: Bob Harras,
Editor in Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Artist: Bob McLeod and Mike Zeck

Full Details

The Joe team of Stalker, Quick Kick, Snow Job and Outback are given a secret mission, from the Defense Department, to break out an American journalist, Devlin Winchell. The prison is in the Republic of Borovia. They are discharged from the service, and completely on their own.

They arrive in Borovia and meet their only local contact, Spigou. He has blue prints of the state security building that the journalist is being held in. He also supplies them with a plan to enter the building through a back alley, during the regular trash pick up. He also supplies them with guns and a warning that anybody that has gone into that building has either never come out or been sent to the gulags.

As the raid starts, Spigou and Outback are left outside by the truck as Stalker, Quick Kick and Snow Job enter to find the journalist. After taking out several guards and finding only empty cells, they grab one guard that is left alive and ask him where the journalist is? His answer is that he was secretly exchanged for a Borovia spy, all set up through the State Department.

The alarm is sounded and it is time to make their escape. Quick Kick and Snow Job are both shot as they get in Spigou's escape truck. Eventually, Spigou is forced down a dead end alley. All the Joes exit the vehicle as Spigou tries to make an exit for them. But the tank that has blocked the alley fires and destroys the truck killing Spigou. The Joes are now trapped at the dead end of an alley with a tank and squad of Borovian soldiers preventing their escape.

Stalker, as the leader, has to remain with the injured Quick Kick and Snow Job. He orders Outback to leave them, an adamant order. Outback climbs down into the sewer below, as Colonel Ratinkov captures the rest of the team.

The Joe team, back in America, watches a TV report about a group of mercenaries in Borovia trying to rescue the already released journalist, Winchell. The State Department denies any connection with the mercenaries. The Joe team is already to go and rescue Stalker and his team. Hawk walks in and says "there will be no rescue attempt. The captured Joes are being written off. Anybody who attempts to defy these orders will be disowned as well."

In Denver, Billy has fully recovered his memory. He remembers that he was part of the Anti-Cobra Underground back in Springfield and that he was on his way to confront his father when the accident happened that put him in the coma. (see issue #43) He has decided to make his own life and is leaving. Fred VII tries to stop him, but Billy easily dispatches him. Cobra Commander pulls a gun on him, Billy stands there telling him that he will never betray his father and turns and walks away. Cobra Commander lowers his gun and lets him go.

A bit later, Cobra Commander has made the decision to quit. Fred VII and Raptor are both bothered by this turn of events. Their beloved Commander is abandoning them. Cobra Commander takes off his battle armor to walk out. Fred VII grabs a gun shooting the Commander in the back. He then looks at the armor and says "great thing about this armor - could be anybody inside"

At the now empty martial arts training facility, Billy is looking for the Blind Master. He has left but Jinx has remained. Billy accepts Jinx's offer to walk down the path of the ninja. She makes him aware of her GI Joe affiliations and that the Blind Master is on his own. Billy makes her aware that he will never betray his father.

Summary by Josh Eggebeen