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Publisher: Marvel Comics
Issue Date: September 1988
Series: Special Missions
Issue Number: 13

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LOCATION: Trucial Abysmia, Africa
On a training mission, probationary Joes Lightfoot and Mangler along with Outback and Dusty are sent to destroy a secret weapons depot. They are all ambushed, captured; Lightfoot is tortured and then released. They press on with the mission, and succeed but as they are escaping Mangler sacrifices himself in so the rest of the team can escape.

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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.

First appearance of Lightfoot.

Introduction and death of probationary Joe, Mangler.

Major Players

Main Mission Joes: Dusty, Outback, Lightfoot, Mangler

Special Missions Only Characters: Abysmia Army Cap. Yusef, Political Officer Amen

Creative Team

Script: Larry Hama,
Pencils: Herb Trimpe,
nks: Andy Mushynsky,
Lettering: Phil Felix,
Coloring: Nel Yomtov,
Editor: Bobbie Chase,
Editor in Chief: Tom DeFalco.
Cover Artist: Ron Wagner and Bob McLeod

Full Details

Outback and Dusty are leading a final training mission for two probationary Joe recruits, Lightfoot and Mangler. In Trucial Abysmia, Africa they have stumbled upon an ambush by the Abysmal Liberation Army lead by Captain Yusef and Political Officer Amen.

Cap. Yusef against Amen's advice calls off the ambush and uses his snipers to shoot out the tires. Once the truck slows the Joes are easily captured. Amen wants information, so he picks Lightfoot to be beaten. Yusef protests the beating not believing that it is the proper way to get information. Because Lightfoot hasn't talked after hours of a beating, Amen takes the next step in torture using electricity.

A completely beaten Lightfoot gives up the all information about the mission. Basically, the US Army pulled out of Trucial Abysmia when the new Marxist government took over, one cache of parts for the secret stealth plane, along with additional weapons and supplies, was missed and the Joe team was sent in to blow up the cache. Mangler lays into Lightfoot saying "they should shoot you. You traitor. If I wasn't hogtied I would shoot you myself. You told them everything." Dusty understanding what Lightfoot has gone through kicks Mangler telling him lay off.

Cap. Yusef again protests Amen's actions. Amen looking for a promotion is going after the cache himself against Yusef's advice. Amen leaves Yusef with the Joes and orders him to "shoot them and bury them deep". Lightfoot says "I'm the sole victim and the only proof of torture. Shoot me and let the others go." Yusef pulls the gun away refusing to execute the Joes. He tells them that 40 miles to the west is the cache and 20 miles east is a safe town, he gives them one canteen of water and drives off.

Mangler being very rude calls the mission off and suggests going east because of Lightfoot ruining the mission. Lightfoot points out that the mission is to get him to the cache so he can blow it up and it's the other Joes job to get him there. Then Lightfoot tries to get up and walk, but he can't.

Outback decides they are going to run the 40 miles to complete the mission. Dusty using his desert skills leads the run to the west where they run 20 miles a night, with Mangler carrying Lightfoot. Along the run Mangler refuses let Outback or Dusty carry Lightfoot.

At dawn two days later they reach the cache. Amen still hasn't opened it yet and hasn't informed headquarters so the mission isn't compromised. The next day the cache is opened with Yusef and Amen going inside to discover sidewinder missiles, radar systems, non-military goods and more. Amen wants to keep the non-military goods for himself and spreads around some Scotch to the troops.

Later, the Joes sneak into the cache, along the way they took out several perimeter guards and took their guns and a thermate grenade. Inside the cache, Lightfoot takes apart the thermate grenade to use the trigger to start a bigger explosion. Using flour and cocoa from the non-military supplies Lightfoot is going to create enough explosive material to entirely destroy the cache. They light the fuse, close to door and get clear of the cache.

In his tent, Amen is calling headquarters to report his find; the cache explodes with a massive signature. The Joes have stolen an armored car and are driving away. Amen spots them and sends all of his men after them. In the armored car, Mangler apologizes for his words and Lightfoot forgives him saying "If it hadn't been for you carrying me, I'd never have gotten there."

The armored car they picked is slowing and Amen and Yusef along with the rest of the soldiers are gaining. They have little choice going faster blows the engine, slowing down means being captured. Mangler jumps off the armored car saying "I'll buy us some time." Mangler shoots through the view ports of the Amen's armor car killing its driver causing it to crash into several of the other cars, the Joes are able to escape. Mangler is killed by the crashing armored cars.

Outback and Dusty talk about Mangler and his actions. Because he wasn't a team player, Outback was going to be washing him out of GI Joe. But because of his sacrifice he will put him in for a posthumous decoration. Outback says "Why not? He was a hero wasn't he? Heck, the only real heroes are the dead ones"

Summary by Josh Eggebeen


The Mark Jeweler jewelry insert was released in many Marvel comics throughout the late 1970s til the late 1990s. What is pictured here is the actual insert included in Marvel Special Missions #13. To read about the history of the Mark Jeweler insert follow the link - Marvel Mark Jewelers Inserts Part 4 - Marvel Mark Jewelers Inserts - The Colored End of an Era - October 1986 - July 1991