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Sparks (G.I. Joe)
Real Name: Alessandro D. Verdi
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Alessandro Verdi -- Alex to his friends -- is the son of a former United States ambassador to Italy. He was born during one of his family's extended periods of time spent overseas. Growing up traveling through Europe, Alex developed a love of language, and being fluent in three by age nine. When his family returned to America permanently, he began studying languages formally and made his way to Harvard where he graduated from with full honors. He eventually joined the Army as an interpreter, hoping he could work for peace within the military, despite being an avowed pacifist. He is also extremely well-read, and over the years has authored over fifteen bestselling books.

Verdi later took a position as a translator at the Pentagon, where he began working with General Lawrence Flagg during the initial formation of the G.I. Joe team. By then he had picked up the nickname, "Sparks". Sparks' skills reached beyond simple translation into the realm of information technology and communications, and his skills proved invaluable in assisting Flagg in finding suitable candidates for the new team. Steeler, in particular, owed his inclusion on the team to Sparks' recommendation. Sparks also played a part in uncovering evidence that a corrupt General had paid mercenaries to attempt to kill Clayton "Hawk" Abernathy who had recently been court-martialed. Flagg and Sparks used that evidence to blackmail the General into dropping the charges against Hawk, freeing him to become field commander of the Joe team. Sparks is also one of the few people who know of the existence of the team's top secret fourteenth member, the late Shooter.

Sparks was eventually given a permanent reserve position as the Joes' liaison to the Pentagon. He never served in the field, but worked behind the scenes during all incarnations of the team. He occasionally spent time at the team's original headquarters, where he met the Joe jungle trooper, Recondo. Always somewhat of a loner, Recondo struck up a friendship with Sparks when he recognized his name, having read many of his books. The two friends would often spend time discussing and debating great literary works.

Sparks continued his work for the Joes even during the years they were decommissioned. When the latest incarnation of the team was established, Sparks chose to relocate all operations to the team's new headquarters, The Rock, under the command of General Joe Colton. Now that the team operates with a smaller roster, Sparks' job includes coordinating with the various reserve members of the team. He is also responsible for maintaining the team's Data Desk database.

During one mission, the team encountered mercenary Major Bludd, who boasted about recently having killed a Joe. After confirming the whereabouts of a number of missing members of the team, only one missing Joe remained: Recondo. Sparks decided to head out into the field to find his friend, and made his way to a Tucaro village in Sierra Gordo, where he was told Bludd fought with and killed Recondo. The saddened Joe returned to headquarters, but he soon received an e-mail message from Recondo. The postscript of the message included a personal reference to one of their private literary debates, proving Recondo was still alive. He explained that he asked the Tucaros to lie to anyone who came looking for him and asked Sparks to record him as officially dead in the Joe team's records, allowing him to secretly act against Cobra. Sparks has presumably kept the information to himself, and is the only person besides the Tucaros who knows that Recondo is still alive.

Sparks was at The Rock when the base was invaded by the Phoenix Guard, a team of U.S. commandos that turned out to be Cobra agents in disguise. Sparks did his best to purge the Data Desk to prevent it from being accessed by the invaders before he sustained number of injuries, including severe damage to his left leg. The Joes eventually defeated the Phoenix Guard, but several Joes were injured and many members of the Joes' support staff were killed. Sparks is currently recovering from these wounds, but still serving the team in his usual capacity during his rehabilitation. Following the incident, Colton ordered the Joes to go on leave to recover from their ordeal. Since Sparks was too far from home for a short leave, he was invited to stay at the home of Joe Colton and his wife, Jane.

Birthplace: Carcare, Italy
Rank: Sergeant

Military Specialties: Telecommunications, Archivist, Interpreter, Information Technology

First Appearance: None listed.

View a chronological listing of this character's appearances

Issue Appearances:
G.I. Joe (2005)
G.I. Joe Declassified (2006)
G.I. Joe: Scarlett: Declassified (2006)
G.I. Joe: Special Missions (2006)
G.I. Joe: Special Missions Antarctica (2006)
G.I. Joe: Special Missions Brazil (2007)
G.I. Joe: Special Missions Tokyo (2006)

Group Affiliation(s):
G.I. Joe

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