Like the famous words from theme song, “Fighting for freedom wherever there’s trouble, over land and sea and air, G.I. Joe is there,” this April, a select group of Joe team member will reunite for a second chance at a mission that went awry in the country of Brazil. This is the premise of the main story in Devil’s Due Publishing’s “G.I. Joe Special Missions: Brazil,” which is written by Sam Wells and features a second story by Mike O’Sullivan. Pat Quinn and Valentine De Landro provide the art for the 48 page book. CBR News interrogated Wells and O’Sullivan about the special one-shot and managed to get a few more details besides their names, ranks, and serial numbers.
“Special Missions: Brazil” was born out of two things, the authors said. “We actually had spots on our production calendar where we knew we’d like to have either a ‘Declassified’ book or ‘Special Missions’ hitting the shelves,” Sam Wells told CBR News. “With ‘Dreadnoks: Declassified’ coming to an end around that time it was apparent that we should go with the next ‘Special Missions.’ The locale was figured out later, once we knew that we were definitely doing a SM book. The same goes for Declassified books though — we have a vague idea of which stories we’d like to tell, the rest is all up to the calendar, really.”
“Sam also came to me with a promise not to lock me in the bathroom stall again if I let him tell this story, so I let him,” Mike O’Sullivan added.
Hardcore action figure collectors might remember that “G.I. Joe Special Missions: Brazil” was also the name of a special figure set (including Mainframe, Wet-Suit, Dial-Tone, Leatherneck, and Claymore) released by Hasbro in 1986. “I was staring at our G.I. Joe figure wall when the light bulb finally went off in my head that Hasbro had already given us a cast of characters for a ‘SM’ story back in 1986,” Wells explained. I then came up with a concept pitch and presented it to Senior Editor Mike O’Sullivan and President Josh Blaylock. After a twenty hour deliberation meeting they finally decided that they didn’t want to think about it any more so they let me write my story.”
O’Sullivan had his own reasons for greenlighting Wells’s story. “Getting Sam to stop begging was the main reason,” he explained. “You just can’t believe a male voice can reach the octaves his does when he’s whining. The large sums of bribery money didn’t hurt either.”
Fans might also remember that the “Special Missions: Brazil” figure set came with an audiotape detailing the special mission that the figures in the set had been assembled for. “I actually did listen to the MP3 on YoJoe.com to see if I could really let Hasbro write the whole story for me,” Wells said. “The tape has a story about a downed satellite and I believe Cobra is down there trying to get a hold of this thing. Seeing as how those Cobra characters aren’t exactly buddy buddy with one another in our series right now, it seemed a bit far-fetched.”
“Besides, we just had satellites falling in a previous story in ‘America’s Elite,'” O’Sullivan added. “I wanted Sam to come up with something new and different for this story. After his first few attempts (‘When Chiggers Attack!’ and ‘The Joes Trade Outfits!’) fell flat, we hit him with our creative idea baseball bat ™ a few times, and he came up with a pretty compelling story that we decided to go with. Chiggers and outfit changes still occur, though. Sam’s stubborn that way.”
The Joe team member named Claymore made his figure debut in the original “Special Missions: Brazil” set. Having been made up of parts of other G.I. Joe figures and never making an appearance in the “G.I Joe” 80’s cartoon or the original Marvel comic, Claymore was a pretty obscure character until writer Brandon Jerwa included him in some stories for his run on Devil’s Due’s first “G.I. Joe” book. “Brandon Jerwa and Tim Seeley helped flesh out the character,” Wells explained. “Claymore soon became the subject of many fan requests online. The online community really seems to like the whole cast of this story. I knew that they would go over really well.”
“As a figure, Claymore was pretty elusive–not included in the toy catalogs, and only offered at a specific toy chain,” O’Sullivan said. “I collected Joes religiously as a kid, and I never knew about him. By the time I learned about him, he was just too clean a slate and cool of a potential character to go unused. Pretty bad@$$ guy – lots of serious training, covert experience, language proficiencies, tons of classified missions–just a source of stories waiting to be tapped. He’s even a secret from most of the other Joes!”
Mainframe was another figure in the “Special Missions: Brazil” set and Wells plans to include him in his story, which has some fans scratching their heads because the character is supposed to be dead. When asked about this Wells answered, “Oh wait, Mainframe is dead? Uh–Mike?”
“I thought Mainframe retired to run a clandestine Chinchilla farm and organic ice cream shop in Southern Turkey,” O’Sullivan stated. “He died? What?”
Wells’s story in “Special Missions” will show the Joes attempting to carry out their original mission in the past and reunited for a second chance at it in the present. “‘Special Missions: Brazil’ is 1 part ‘then’ and 2 parts ‘now’, with a dash of ‘Blow,'” Wells said. “I wouldn’t want to give too much away but I think I can tell you that the Joes original mission was actually a mission that takes a turn for the worst.”
“The cool thing about G.I. Joe is that with so many characters, you know there are hundreds of stories throughout the history of the team that we never saw on camera,” O’Sullivan said. “You know that the members weren’t all just sitting around twiddling their thumbs–This is just one of many of the missions that happened. This particular one was in the folds of the later Marvel run. At least, part of it is.”
As the Joes in Wells’s story reunite in the present there will be a lot of things on their minds. “I wouldn’t say that they’re haunted,” Wells said. “But they’re definitely determined to do a better job this time around and do it right.”
“Their feelings about Mainframe definitely play a part in how they feel about this mission,” O’Sullivan added. “There are all sorts of unfinished business and feelings about things. These guys will be trying to get closure in many ways.”
The action in the first story of “Special Missions: Brazil” unfolds in both jungle and urban areas such as Rio de Janeiro. “You do get a bit of both,” Wells stated. “Having never been to Brazil myself, I just guessed that it’s probably exactly like Switzerland. Does Switzerland have jungles? There’s totally jungles there right? Whatever, they have an awesome flag.”
“Wait–Rio’s in Switzerland?” O’Sullivan asked. “When did that happen?”
Readers can expect the Joe’s mission to Brazil to put them on a collision course with some familiar adversaries. “If we haven’t given it away already there’s going to be a couple surprises in store for readers that go pretty far back into the original run of G.I. Joe,” Wells explained. “‘Special Missions’ stories are a great place for us to catch up on ‘Identified Threats’ that we don’t necessarily see in ‘America’s Elite.'”
Wells’ story in “Special Missions: Brazil” is an action packed tale of men looking for a second chance but that doesn’t mean the story doesn’t include some moments of fun as well. “I had a lot of fun writing the character interactions here,” Wells said. “So while parts of the story may seem a bit on the down side, the back and fourths have an upbeat feel to them. I think it evens out nicely.”
The first story is “Special Missions: Brazil” doesn’t tie into or impact on the ongoing story threads in the main G.I. Joe book, “America’s Elite.” “Originally I think I had it revealed at the end of the story that everyone was related to Snake-Eyes, but Mike shot that down for some reason,” Wells said. “So as far as I know the connections to ‘America’s Elite’ are minimal.”
“Wait–everyone’s NOT related to Snake-Eyes?” O’Sullivan added. “When did that happen?”
Recently it was unveiled in the pages of “G.I. Joe: America’s Elite” that Cover Girl had begun dating the most unlikely of boyfriends, her fellow Joe team member Shipwreck. The second story of “Special Missions: Brazil,” penned by Mike O’Sullivan explore their romance in further detail and like Wells’s story unfolds both in the past and the present. “You’ll be seeing Shipwreck and Cover Girl then and now,” O’Sullivan explained. “This is a story I’ve had in mind for a long time. I’m glad I finally get to tell it!”
O’Sullivan’s story takes place in a variety of settings. “Shipwreck’s involved, so you bet there’ll be some water elements involved!” O’Sullivan said. “Part of the story is also set in Rio; the other part is all over the time and place.”
He could reveal the where and when of his story but O’Sullivan had to remain mum when it came to plot details. “I can say that we’ll be seeing why, out of all the men in the world, Cover Girl picked Shipwreck,” O’Sullivan stated.
As he explores Cover Girl and Shipwreck’s relationship, O’Sullivan will be throwing a number of obstacles and adversaries at them, which include, as readers can see from the cover of “Special Missions: Brazil,” a horde of Cobra Eels. “A lot of the other obstacles that come their way in this story are internal,” O’Sullivan hinted.
The tone of O’Sullivan’s tale is a cocktail composed of a number of fun elements. “Action. Romance. Comedy. And one angry Cover Girl,” he said. “All it needs is the fuse to be lit.”
O’Sullivan’s second stories in the “Special Missions” books have become famous for dropping big bomb shells but his story for “SM: Brazil” is a little different. “This time, we’re doing it a bit in reverse,” he explained. “Everyone knows the ‘bombshell’ already – Cover Girl and Shipwreck?!? Bit of a head-scratcher there–this story will actually be giving both a closure to that dangling thread, but it also sets the status quo for some events that are coming in ‘America’s Elite’ around summertime this year–So, I guess this story is giving questions AND answers this time around! ”
O’Sullivan hopes both the hardcore and lapsed G.I. Joe fans pick up “Special Missions: Brazil” and the other books in the “G.I. Joe” line. “Keep checking out the Joe titles!” he said. “We’ve got some great new ideas in all the titles–lots of things fans have been asking for–if you’ve stopped looking at the Joes, come take a peek! We’re pretty sure you’ll see what you like in the titles now!”
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