Snakes on The White House Lawn: Casey talks "GI Joe: America's Elite"

The GI Joe Team has been very nervous. Since the team was reorganized in the pages of "GI Joe: America's Elite" #0 by Devil's Due Publishing, their arch-enemy Cobra Commander, the most dangerous man on Earth, has been in hiding. In the shocking climax of the recently released "America's Elite" #12, readers learned that Cobra Commander's hiding spot was in one of the last places the Joe team would ever think to look -- The White House. CBR News spoke with "America's Elite" writer Joe Casey about what readers can expect as he begins his second year on the title.

The revelation of where Cobra Commander has been hiding capped an enjoyable year of stories for Casey and he hopes to remain on "America's Elite" as long as he has tales worth telling. "It's been fun," Casey told CBR News. "I tend to think story to story. If one story leads to another that I feel like I'd like to tell -- and as long as Devil's Due agrees -- then I just keep rolling with it. It's worked out fine so far."

Casey feels the story structure of "America's Elite," where smaller stories feed into one large overarching story arc, has also worked out fine so far and plans to continue that approach in the book's second year. "I think that's the style and structure that a large cast series like this should follow, so there won't be any changes in that regard," Casey said. "But what the book focuses on -- the specific areas of 'GI Joe' mythology -- will obviously shift from the types of stories we did in year one."

One way the story types will shift in year two is readers now know where Cobra Commander is and have been given a glimpse of his current diabolical plot. In the guise of Garrett Freedlowe, the President's Chief of Staff, the Commander has been clandestinely molding American policy to fit his own agenda. Casey was reluctant to reveal the exact nature of Garrett Freedlowe's relationship with the President and just how long he has been serving as Chief of Staff. "Readers will have to buy the book for the answers to those questions," he stated. "Needless to say, the close relationship that a Chief of Staff has with his President is the main reason why CC has chosen this plan, this specific disguise, to further his own cause."

He might not be operating out in the open with his latest scheme, but Cobra Commander's cause is still world domination. "Cobra Commander is simply power hungry," Casey explained. "He thinks -- as any would-be world conqueror does -- that he can run things better than anyone else on Earth. And therefore, should be running things. He's not satisfied until he's achieved ultimate domination over any and all opposition. And he's got various methods to try and accomplish that goal. This may be his most insidious method yet."

Casey said that Cobra Commander's latest method of world domination means bad news for the Joe team. Their one hope might just lie in their field commander Duke, who covertly and independently tracked a lead on Cobra Commander's whereabouts to the Amazon Jungle, but even he isn't aware of the full scope of Cobra Commander's current plan. "Duke knows as much as the readers do," Casey said. "That is, he knows what was shown in issue #12: that a rogue member of the Crimson Guard who was hell bent on getting his revenge on Cobra Commander had several homemade missiles aimed at Washington, D.C. Now all he has to do is get back to tell the rest of the Joe team... before it's too late."

Since Duke set off on his mission into the Amazon, the rest of the Joe team has been through the emotional wringer. "Year one was about putting the team through hell, in terms of their personal relationships," Casey said. "It was a way to get into these characters in a different, hopefully deeper way than readers might've seen before. Now, in year two, the team as a whole is going to be tested. It's what drama is all about, right? Putting your characters through their darkest days and then watching them emerge stronger out the other side."

Standing in the way of the Joes emergence from the other side is Cobra Commander and his fiendish horde of followers. The forces of Cobra might be operating as smaller cells rather than a united organization, but readers shouldn't dismiss them as a minor threat. "From my perspective, they're more like a true terrorist operation than ever," Casey explained. "They operate as an underground network of connected cells that are somehow able to communicate with each other, completely under the radar, slowly gathering strength for the coming conflict."

A coming conflict with the forces of Cobra is inevitable, but they might not be the Joe team's sole adversaries in year two of "America's Elite." When asked if he would continue pitting the Joes against a variety of foes besides Cobra in year two, Casey cryptically replied, "Ummm... yes and no."

Casey also chose to stay mum on specific plot details of upcoming issues of "America's Elite." "To be perfectly honest, I'd rather not say anything. Readers have seen the solicitations, so they've got some idea what's coming up, but I'd hate to spoil the surprises and the plot twists this storyline has in store. It's going to be heavy, though."

Readers who enjoyed Casey's first year on "GI Joe: America's Elite" should sit back and prepare for the wild ride of year two. Casey promised to take readers, "To the darkest depths of their GI Joe-lovin' souls."

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