From 1982 to 1994, Marvel Comics’ “G.I. Joe” series chronicled the adventures of an elite group of American soldiers and combatants as they fought against terrorist organizations such as the sinister Cobra organization. With nearly every issue written by Larry Hama (longtime writer of “Wolverine”), the comic hosted an ensemble cast of heroes and villains with stories that ran from political allegory to high-stakes sci-fi adventure.
In honor of today's premiere of "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra," here are some of our favorite stories from the original "G.I. Joe" comic book series.
"G.I. JOE" #4: “Operation: Wingfield!” — G.I. Joe soldiers Snake-Eyes, Hawk and Grunt are sent to infiltrate Cobra’s new First Strike task force. To their shock, they learn that Cobra has gotten ahold of two nuclear bombs and First Strike intends to use them to start a war between Russia and the USA. What follows is tense and desperate action as the Joes try to prevent World War III.
This story is also significant due to a scene in which the mute Snake Eyes writes down his thoughts, giving us a rare glimpse into his mind.
"G.I. JOE" #38-41: “Strategic Diplomacy” — Ripcord’s ex-girlfriend might be a spy, Cobra Commander’s son Billy just tried to kill him, Storm Shadow turns against his employers to pursue his own conscience, and the forces of Cobra are making moves in the U.S., Mexico and Cuba while G.I. Joe makes an all-out assault on Cobra Island.
Not only are secrets of Cobra Commander’s past brought to light, but the manipulative terrorist is engaged in a new complex plan to increase his power-base and score a major victory over G.I. Joe. And the most shocking thing about this plan? It works!
"G.I. JOE" #98: “He’s Back!” — For some time, the senior officers of Cobra had thought they were rid of their hated leader Cobra Commander. But in this issue, he returned alive and well and with several followers he had gathered to his side while the world believed he was in the grave.
Returning to Cobra Island, the Commander gathers those who were involved in removing him from power and locks them all inside a freighter. Then, because he’s just that kind of crazy, Cobra Commander had the freighter dropped into an extinct volcano and buries it under an avalanche of rock. NEVER MESS WITH COBRA COMMANDER!
"G.I. JOE" #21: “Silent Interlude” — Scarlett is captured by Snake Eyes’ greatest rival and former brother-in-arms, the warrior called Storm Shadow, who brings her to Cobra Commander as a prize. So the ninja-commando of G.I. Joe goes on a one-man mission to save his teammate. With no dialogue or captions, this famous “silent issue” was groundbreaking for the time and really showed just how formidable Snake Eyes could be.
"G.I. JOE" #155: “A Letter from Snake Eyes” — After 12 years, this was the final issue of the series. Cobra has been defeated. The G.I. Joe team is being disbanded. As everyone is getting ready to say good-bye, Snake-Eyes receives a letter. It seems the son of an old war buddy wants to join the military, seeking glory as a warrior. Snake Eyes writes back to the kid, retelling stories of people he has met and fought alongside with, ending the series with his thoughts on war and being a soldier, on how both can be inhumane and horrible, yet also have honor and dignity.
Have any favorites we missed? Sound off in the comment section or on Twitter!