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Publisher: Marvel Comics
Issue Date: June 1987
Series: Special Missions
Issue Number: 5

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LOCATION: Over the Gulf of Mexico
Ace & Slip Stream are sent to intercept a Cobra Night Raven and its arrogant Strato-Viper pilot. The life and death outcome of the battle is determined by the efficiency and reliability of the maintenance and rescue crews.

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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.

Major Players

Main Mission Joes: Ace, Slip-Stream
Support Joes: Hawk

Cobra: Strato-Viper (deceased)

Special Missions Only Characters: Jonesy, Peaches and Lowball (Joe ground support personnel)

Creative Team

Script: Larry Hama,
Art: Herb Trimpe,
Lettering: Phil Felix,
Coloring: Bob Sharen,
Editor: Bob Harras,
Editor in Chief: Jim Shooter.
Cover Artist: Mike Zeck and John R. Beatty

Full Details

On Cobra Island, a Cobra ground crew is readying a Night Raven, Cobra's new stealth plane, for a scheduled takeoff. The helicopter rescue crew is taking a look at the new plane. One of the rescue crew asks what the breakout tool is used for, the maintenance crew explains that it is used to bust the window on the canopy if the canopy is jammed allowing the pilot to escape. The very arrogant Strato-Viper shows up screaming that these rescue crew guys get away from his plane. Plus, he physically abuses his maintenance crew as he is loading into the plane for the night's recon of a Florida Air Force base.

In Florida, they monitor the Night Raven's approach.

Slip Stream and Ace are ready to go up and meet the Night Raven, although their orders are only to return fire if fired upon first. As they head to their planes, they pass the rescue pilots, Jonesy, Peaches and Lowball, who they were drinking with the night before. The maintenance crew reports that they spent the evening replacing a part on Slip Stream's Conquest, it checks out clean now. Slip Stream gives a Transformer toy as a gift to one of the crew members in thanks for the hard work.

Later, Ace and Slip Stream approach the Night Raven. Ace, in his Skystriker, is initially below with Slip Stream, in his Conquest, directly behind. Ace circles to above the Night Raven and then inverts himself so he is upside down and they are cockpit to cockpit. Having taunted the Strato-Viper, Ace pulls ahead of the Night Raven. The pissed off the Strato-Viper simultaneously fires a missile that hits Ace's Skystriker and drops a flare that momentarily blinds Slip Stream.

Ace has to immediately eject as the Skystriker is done for. He lands in the water safely and the rescue crew is launched as fast as possible.

Slip Stream with clear vision now has the Night Raven directly behind him. He releases his own flare and does an evasive maneuver that stalls his engine, all as a way to avoid the Night Raven's attack. Slip Stream's plane starts falling as the Night Raven takes off thinking the Conquest is done. Using all of his piloting skills he gets the engine restarted and recovers just above the surface of the ocean. Slip Stream proclaims "Ain't American technology wonderful".

The Night Raven is having electronic problems caused by Slip Stream's flare. The threat indicator isn't working as well as several other failures. The Strato-Viper complains about his plane's maintenance failures. As he is distracted by these failures, Slip Stream comes up behind him firing his main guns and a sidewinder missile which all do damage to the Night Raven that is beyond recovery.

The Strato-Viper's Night Raven is going down. As he tries to get back in range of the rescue choppers, he realizes that his canopy won't eject and the manual release won't work either. The Cobra rescue crews take their time loading up and refuse to burn their chopper in the red to save the Strato-Viper. The Strato-Viper's negativity and abusive behavior towards his crews is paying off in a negative way as his Night Raven crashes in the ocean. The plane is slowly sinking and he can't find his breakout tool.

Slip Stream watches the Night Raven crash into the ocean and then flies past Ace to make sure he is ok. Ace's rescue crew is super fast to pick him up and all return to base safe.

The Cobra rescue helicopter arrives just as the Night Raven slips under the surface with the Strato-Viper still trapped inside. Instead of making an effort to save him, they just talk about how the canopy was overdue for maintenance and that the breakout tool was missing from the cockpit. One of the rescue crew tosses the breakout tool into the ocean.

Summary by Josh Eggebeen