Life in the 80s was, in many ways, simple: greed was good, the Soviets were bad, and the military industrial complex was flush with cash, mute ninjas, and sassy redheads.
To celebrate the recently re-released GI Joe Season 1.1 DVD set by Shout! Factory, let's look back at Reagan's America through the prism of GI Joe's first adventure (all screen caps courtesy of the Joe Toon Archive).
In Reagan's America...
...spy satellites weren't very effective.
Osama bin Laden has managed to evade US forces for almost a decade thanks to a byzantine network of tunnels and caves, living on the run and relying on supporters that blend in with non-terrorist citizens. Similarly, Cobra, a "ruthless, terrorist organization determined to rule the world" avoided detection and a full out assault by the GI Joe team by stealthily hiding out in...an enormous castle, adorned with giant cobra heads.
...Halloween masks were much better.
...radiation was no big deal.
In their first big offensive, Cobra stole the MASS Device, a weapon that enabled them to teleport anyone or anything anywhere in the world, and used it to hold the world hostage. The MASS Device was powered by three rare "catalytic elements". The GI Joe team, in need of those elements to power their own MASS Device intended to counter Cobra's and Cobra, needing to restock their supply of the elements, raced each other to the elements' locations. One such element, radioactive crystals, was located in certain Arctic caves.
Snake-Eyes, trapped inside of such a cave with said crystals, is left for dead by the Joe team. He manages to emerge from the cave with a stock of the crystals, so irradiated that he is literally glowing.
After rescuing a trapped timber wolf and tussling with a polar bear, Snake-Eyes, who was presumably a few heartbeats away from going nuclear and eliminating any future protection via MAD, collapsed and was found by a kindly blind hermit. A few Arctic herbs, a bath and a load of laundry later and Snake-Eyes is as good as new.
...polar bears were enormous.
...the ocean floor was less hazardous.
Another of the coveted catalytic elements was heavy water which, not to be confused with the heavy water used in atomic experiments, was only found in a pool at the bottom of a deep ocean trench.
As the crushing pressure of the ocean depths is a recent occurrence, Joe and Cobra divers merely donned wetsuits and scuba gear for their journey to the ocean floor.
The water on the ocean floor was warmer as well, considering the divers didn't even need to wear gloves of any sort. Take that, global warming.
Though one did still have to worry about the giant tube worms.
...jet packs were plentiful, and existed.
...steroids were also plentiful.
...timber wolves could be domesticated.
Once an endangered species, in the 80s some timber wolves were apparently domesticated and inserted into military units, where they served with valor, often alongside mute ninja commandos.
...women were highly-regarded soldiers, fighting alongside their male counterparts.
But sometimes, they still got stuck cooking.