Writer: Larry Hama, Artist: SL Gallant, Inks: Brian Shearer & Maria Keane, Colours: J. Brown.
Despite being based on a children's toy, the G.I.Joe comic has always had military realism at its heart. People get hurt in G.I.Joe. People die — and those people who do die are mourned by those left behind.
Coinciding with U.S. Memorial Day, legendary Joe scribe and military veteran Larry Hama takes the opportunity to pay his respects to those Joes who made the ultimate sacrifice fighting against the forces of evil that threatened the world's freedom, with G.I.Joe: A Real American Hero #263.
In Washington, DC, Stalker and Storm Shadow visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in order to commemorate and leave keepsakes under the names of those friends who lost their lives decades earlier in the jungles of South East Asia.
Elsewhere, Roadblock and Duke attend Arlington National Cemetery to visit the graves of Joes Avalanche, Blaster, Breaker, Blocker, Crazylegs, Maverick, Quick Kick, and General Flagg, before a coincidental meeting with the parents of another lost friend — Doc — turns this most sombre of occasions into one of reconciliation, healing, and closure.
At the Joes' secret base in Utah, those Joes currently on active duty stand on parade in silence and solemnity as General Hawk calls out the names of their fallen.
Then Joe Scarlett symbolically buys two hotdogs and two coffees on the Staten Island Ferry and looks across the water...alone... as a single tear rolls down her face.
Finally, in the High Sierras, a grey Timber Wolf stands atop the roof of an isolated cabin in the wilderness and lets out a long, lonely howl for a master who never returned home...
From the moment you see SL Gallant's excellent cover — featuring many classic and sadly departed Joes — you will know that this is going to be a walk down memory lane that is going to hit you right in the feels!
It's a poignantly excellent one-shot style story, but also one that will mean the most to those fans who have been reading G.I.Joe since the beginning — because these fallen soldiers were our friends, too.