Part 4Episode 4
No one knows what Firefly's real name is or what he looks like. He is known by his work. Expert in all NATO and Warsaw Pact explosives and detonators. Always places his charges in the one place that affords maximum damage. There is no question about his infiltration skills since no one has ever reported seeing him enter or leave any target area.
"Even COBRA Commander doesn't know much about Firefly. His fees are paid into a numbered Swiss bank account and are always payable in advance. He makes no guarantees and gives no refunds."
Firefly didn't get much screen time in the comics, but what little he is seen, he makes up for it. He first shows up with Wild Weasel in an early storyline where Cobra Commander is recruiting Zartan. Firefly later takes part in an assault on Snake-Eyes' mountain cabin alongside Destro and the first Fred series Crimson Guardsman (neither of these is a particularly Firefly-centric story, though.)
The next time we see him, Firefly is making a decision that's a bit more important.
He's telling Scrap-Iron whether or not Billy (an important figure I'll get into in a later file), Candy Appel (Ripcord's girlfriend), and a driver with a bad habit (drinking "special" coffee while driving. "Special" meaning mostly alcohol) get to live, or die, after Storm Shadow's surviving uncle has already sacrificed himself trying to save their lives. One moment, with repercussions for many characters down the line.
Leif's favorite mercenary took part in Cobra's evacuation of the town of Springfield, after locating the disguised Joe, Ripcord, who was finally letting his team know where to find the place. (this was a running story thing, but not quite as funny as the Simpsons version)
Except for a couple of Special Missions appearances, Firefly then disappeared for quite some time, not showing up until after the Cobra Civil War ended. He and Dr. Mindbender were given a simple assignment: take and hold a new island that was erupting from the Gulf of Mexico, so the Joe team couldn't have it for a forward base for strikes on Cobra Island.
Once the Rolling Thunder showed up to back up the Joes dropped onto this smaller island, things went very badly for Firefly's forces. A little legal manuevering on his part, however, saved him from too many repercussions.
Firefly was one of the many Cobras the returned Commander condemned to death inside a freighter he had buried inside a volcano. So this was the last we got to see of Firefly in the comic.
At least until the GI Joe Ninja Force ran into him at the head of a large group of Red Ninjas (remnants of the clan Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow were once part of, until the death of one of Stormy's uncles.)
Firefly explained how he survived, in between trading blows with both Joe and Cobra ninjas.
And then, new information surfaced. Some of Firefly's excellent track record at infiltration and sabotage was explained:
Not long after this revelation, Firefly took advantage of the wonders of modern technology that he had installed in his new uniform, and picked himself up a small army of unconscious ninjas. (They have more potential uses than you would think...)
He spent some time using the Brainwave Scanner on both teams
which lead to something quite interesting:
Our favorite saboteur then called the Commander to broker a deal. His method of traveling to Cobra Island was... unique, to say the least.
The meeting went off reasonably well, even with several tank turrets pointed at Firefly. Afterward left a bit to be desired, what with being chucked back into a volcano, and the zombified Ninja Forces creating major havoc freeing their temporary master.
In retaliation for the attack on the Joes' headquarters, a small squad did a HALO (High-Altitude, Low Opening) jump over Cobra Island.
Duke, Snake-Eyes, Roadblock, and Lady Jaye made their way to the citadel, coming face to face with plenty of android troops and ninjas. Snake-Eyes took on Firefly himself, until he un-brainwashed the Cobra Ninjas.
Slice and Dice were seen again after this, but Firefly wasn't...
So I'm breaking my own rule of talking about post-1994 Joe just for this entry, but in the sequel series done under the IDW banner (written by Larry Hama), Firefly shows up working for the Commander again. Seeing as Larry wrote the current series playing it a little loose with continuity from the original Marvel book*, it's a little unclear if Cobra's favorite saboteur would have cropped up with a new batch of trouble for both sides later on or not.
*Sneak-Peek shows up again, despite dying in the Battle of Benzheen, as an example.
File Name: Hinton, Marvin F.
Birthplace: Biloxi, Mississippi
Primary Specialty: Infantry Heavy Weapons
Secondary Specialty: Cook
Roadblock's dream was to be a gourmet chef. He was working as a bouncer to earn money to attend the Escoffier School in France when an army recruiter convinced him that the army could train him to be a chef. Roadblock joined but found army menus and preparation techniques too appalling. Transferred to the infantry. Qualified expert: M-2 Browning .50 cal.; Heavy Machine Gun; all Warsaw Pact Heavy MGs; M-16; M-1911A1 Auto Pistol.
"A .50 cal. Browning weighs 84 pounds. Add fifty pounds for the ammo-that's about 134 pounds of steel generating 2930 f.p.s. in muzzle velocity at a cyclic rate of 55 r.p.m. Anybody who can handle that doesn't need a machine gun to keep me away!"
Roadblock is the second heavy machine gunner to join the team, and he's pretty obviously a writer favorite, with how often he's gone on missions. Thanks to not always talking in rhyme like his cartoon counterpart, however, this is completely forgiveable (to put it another way, no, despite being a Transformers fan, too, Wheelie isn't a character I'm particularly fond of, either. :P )
During the funeral of General Flagg, Cobra decides to test out the new "tank smasher" plane, the Rattler. The team's two newest recruits had a little something to say in response to this display of overkill.
Duke and Roadblock served on an observation team staking out a plastic surgeon based in Switzerland, tracking down the Baroness. The local cuisine led Roadblock to express his opinion:
An exchange of firepower between Cobra and Joe forces down near Zartan's Florida Everglades base ended up with Roadblock helping to repair the Killer Whale hovercraft. Some locals thought they were funny, but the joke ended up being on them.
Roadblock served on a rescue mission with Stalker and Gung-Ho to Sierra Gordo, liberating the peace activist the Joe team saved in their first active mission. Roadblock proved himself quite secure in his masculinity too, thank you very much, Gung-Ho.
After a disastrous rescue mission to Borovia, Leatherneck needed some sensible talking to. Roadblock ended up being the one to take the job.
On a second mission to Sierra Gordo, this time to extract a United States ambassador, Roadblock displayed his feelings on flag burners.
Roadblock participated in the Cobra Civil War, on Serpentor's side. The minute Serepentor was downed by Zartan, this rather pathetic turn of events happened.
Roadblock was the escort for Generals Hawk and Hollingsworth to meet a panel of Generals, on a mission to discover why the Joe team was being publicly treated as a rogue unit that had gone on the mission against orders (despite Mindbender making a deal with the State department, giving back a classified "Black Box" one of his Viper creations had stolen from the Joes, in exchange for military support.)
Falsely accused and arrested, Hawk gave Roadblock orders to escape and meet with the Joes not sent to Cobra Island, and clear the team's name. Roadblock immediately complied, proving amazingly able at evading his pursuers.
Roadblock personally confronted the General and Senator responsible for selling out the Joes, and was about to be smeared right in front of the newsmedia, when a most surprising figure came to their rescue - Cobra's own major arms supplier.
During a rescue attempt for Clutch and Rock'n'Roll, the Joes were confronted by several angry motorists, as they had ended up blocking a highway during their apprehension of the Dreadnoks. Roadblock ended up having very little patience for their self-absorbed whining.
Roadblock ended up in Switzerland a second time, checking into the activities of the plastic surgeon that had repaired the Baroness' face.
In yet another mission to Sierra Gordo, Roadblock's unit worked alongside the Russian equivalent of the Joe team, the Oktober Guard. He helped fight a rearguard action alongside the diminutive Sgt. Misha.
This ended up not going as well as the pair would have liked...
But it did lead to the Joe showing his rarely seen sense of humor.
One of the last times Roadblock was seen before the unit was decommisioned saw him heading to space.
The Joe Star Brigade worked with the Guard yet again, this time to detonate an asteroid sent plummeting to Earth by a Russian scientist that had gone rogue.
The Mamba Attack Helicopter is quite well-armed and manueverable. The Joe air corps tended to have to work pretty hard to not get waxed by these airborne engines of destruction. The most the Mambas were seen in the comic was a storyline that ended up with both the Oktober Guard, and then the Joe team, getting their hands on a mostly intact one. The Mamba was later used to drop off a recon team just before the Cobra Civil War, and dozens of the unit was seen in the aerial battles between Cobra Commander's and Serpentor's forces.
Cobra Anti-Aircraft Trooper
Flak-Vipers have a passive, infrared targeting and sighting system built into their helmets. This allows them to fire extremely accurate Tail-Biter missiles at Joe aircraft with absolute impunity! These are dedicated and motivated troopers. To maintain maximum levels of effectiveness, Flak-Vipers spend long hours every day practicing simulated missilie engagements using a program cartridge that plugs into their helmets. It would be like playing a portable video game for 10 hours straight! These guys get a kick out of roaming the battlefield in the Cobra Parasite mini-tank while "picking off" incoming enemy aircraft.
Due to showing up so relatively late in the line and comic, Flak-Vipers didn't get deployed much in the print adventures.
In one engagement with Cobra forces, a Flak-Viper managed to force Wild Bill to take the Tomahawk down as gently as a crash landing would allow.
After Cobra Commander had Firefly chucked back into the volcano and freighter where he had sent so many "traitors", he left a detachment of Flak-Vipers to make sure that this time he stayed there.
They did not particularly enjoy this assignment...
File Name: LaFitte, Ettienne R.
Grade: E-7 (Sergeant)
Birthplace: Fer-de-Lance, La.
Primary Specialty: Recondo
Secondary Specialty: Jungle Warfare Training Instructor
Born into a large back-swamp Cajun clan. Gung-Ho moved to New Orleans and won a reputation as a bare-knuckle brawler and knife-fighter to be reckoned with. Joined the Marines at 18 and graduated top of class from boot camp at Parris Island. Attended: Airborne School, Recondo School, and Marine Ordnance School. Qualified Expert: All NATO infantry small arms and most Warsaw Pact infantry weapons, XM-76 Grenade Launcher.
"All marines are crazy but Gung-Ho is the hairiest, scariest, craziest jarhead that ever scratched, kicked and bit his way out of that hole-in-the-swamp they call Parris Island!"
Gun-Ho in the comics was more or less a "typical" Marine. A butt-kicker, tough as nails, and basically someone you just didn't want to run into on patrol. He showed up a decent amount in the early years of the story, then mostly faded into the background as time went on. He was, however, far more level-headed than his fellow Marine, Leatherneck.
Gung-Ho's first assignment with the team had him visiting the Alaskan Pipeline. He didn't think much of the idea of "dressing for the weather."
His next mission was playing back-up for Stalker and Breaker as they posed as salesmen attemping to buy electronic components from Cobra, in Rio Lindo. Seeing as all but Snake-Eyes ended up tied up, this attempt went rather poorly.
Unfortunately for some Cobra Troops, Gung-Ho's strength level is almost on par with Roadblock. He got to display this during their escape.
Gung-Ho and Breaker got to play medic to Stalker while he recovered from this encounter, and not long before Stalker woke up, Gung-ho went off to find them some extraction.
After an assault on the Pit by Cobra, the Joe HQ needed some repair and remodeling. A beam started giving way, and Gung-Ho jumped into action rather literally.
The team managed to capture the Commander (briefly), and a Cobra Ninja freed him. Roadblock and Gung-Ho gave chase, which didn't end too well for two of the three involved parties.
Gung-Ho was later sent as part of Lt. Falcon's recon team, shortly before the Cobra Civil War broke out.
Normally, that would already not be a great assignment. But then Destro's Iron Grenadier forces showed up and took the airfield the recon team was currently observing (from the Control Tower), necessitating an escape the team was rather reluctant to partake in. They had to go out through the sewer pipes.
This was regretted quite quickly.
Gung-Ho was among the Joes present when Cobra Commander led an assault on the Pit III under the Utah desert.
Cobra Battlefield Technician
Modern battles involve expensive, complicated machines and it is inevitable that these machines sustain enemy infliced damage, succumb to driver-error or simply break down of their own accord. It is the mission of the Techno-Vipers to provide field maintenance support and combat-engineer capability to the frontline Cobra troops. Techno-Vipers can repair HISS tanks, build bridges and retrieve large heavy machines from seemingly inaccessible places.
Techno-Vipers are so commonplace in the comics that attempting to showcase them would make this ever longer than it already is. I'll just say they're as much the backbone of the Cobra forces as the Vipers are, and leave it at that.