This trade paperback begins with an almost X-files like storyline. A young boy is abducted from a school playground. The GI Joe team is sent to investigate consisting of Cover Girl, Spirit and Snake Eyes. Why the Joes are investigating a kidnapping in the first place is kept as a mystery by the Jugglers, those ultra high-ranking generals who love to yank the Joe's string. This is strictly a need-to-know basis mission and as of right now, the Joes don't need to know. They find the boy was something of a prodigy, reading books on philosophy and drawing strange schematics in crayon. Soon the Joes learn of another attempted abduction and discover that this autistic boy looks exactly like the one who was abducted.
It turns out that there are several of these boys, all who have been placed with adoptive parents years earlier...they are all clones of the most fearsome Cobra villain Serpentor. Serpentor has long been thought dead at the hands of Zartan, but Dr. Mindbender was able to make several clones, some just children, others teens, and one a full adult. Serpentor is joined by several other renegage Cobra operatives including Firefly, Zandar, Dr. Mindbender, and others as they assualt Cobra Island and take Cobra Commander prisoner. Soon Serpentor's forces begin attacks on major cities world wide.
Several Joes, including Snake Eyes, have also been captured as they tried to protect the various kid-clones. The Joes are planning a rescue mission to free their missing comrades while Cobra, now being led by Destro, put together their own mission to rescue Cobra Commander. Destro even orders his men not to fire on any Joe member. All-out war breaks out as Joes battle Cobra and Cobra battles Cobra, including a face-off between Cobra Commander and Serpentor!
We really have two stories going on here; the first half of the book is, as mentioned, right out of the X-Files with the abductions of strange boys who look exactly alike and even make similar drawings. I was waiting for Scully and Mulder to show up. This was a very different setting for the Joe team as plain clothes investigators working with local law enforcement and I enjoyed that aspect of the story. The second half of the book is primarily one chaotic battle as these three diverse forces meet, all with different goals in mind. The pace is frenetic and before you know it the story was over and you were left wondering what happened. It all climaxed a little too quickly for my tastes, especially after the very deliberate pace of the first half. Still, it was great to see Serpentor back in action and we're all left with the fate of the kid-clones unresolved, setting the stage for a possible sequel. As usual, the art by Tim Seeley and Brandon Badeaux was fantastic as was the colors. This story also featured many Joes who haven't popped up in a lot of the other Devil's Due stories such as Cover Girl, Lady Jaye, and Rock-n-Roll, and others.
Reviewed by Tim Janson