Cobra-La is an ancient civilization that once ruled the Earth, but retreated to a hideaway in caves in the Himalayas. In the present day it is ruled by Golobulus.



Impel trading cards[]

Cobra-La's Himalayan base is buried under an avalanche, the fate of its inhabitants is unknown.Impel cards

G.I. Joe vs. Transformers[]

Many millennia ago, Unicron came to Earth and threatened to devour it when he was stopped in his tracks by the citizens of Cobra-La. Cobra-La threatened Unicron with a metal-eating spore and an agreement was struck whereby Cobra-La would go into seclusion and watch over the development of the human race, occasionally helping it along. Once the humans reached sufficient numbers and advanced technology, Cobra-La would send for Unicron who would return and take the humans as slaves to maintain his body, leaving the planet to be ruled by Cobra-La.


Golobulus, ruler of Cobra-La,

Cobra-La remained in seclusion in the Himalayas, becoming a legend to the inhabitants. Golobulus became the last leader of Cobra-La in the present day. Despite his hatred of mechanical creations, he made use of several Decepticons who had crashed in the Himalayas, though he gave them organic Pretender shells that concealed their robotic forms. In 1978 the Adventure Team consisting of G.I. Joe (Joe Colton), Atomic Man, and local Chok-Pa were in the Himalayas on a mission when they were attacked by a Chinese fighter plane. However they were saved by the sudden arrival of several strange organic planes, together with Nemesis Enforcer and the Decepticon Bludgeon. Chok-Pa recognized the new arrivals as being "the men under the mountain... Kohbrala!" but there was no time to flee. Bludgeon killed Atomic Man, but the further arrival of Pythona and the Royal Guard saved the other two as she wanted them kept alive. Over the next twenty-five years, Colton was kept prisoner in a cell in Cobra-La.

In the present day, the time for Unicron's return arrived. Preparations were made by Cobra-La for helping Unicron, but Golobulus had also cultivated a supply of the metal-eating spore in case he rebelled against them. However, this signal also attracted the attention of Hawk and the Autobots, led by Optimus Prime. Hawk, Prime, Flint, Firewall, and Cosmos invaded Cobra-La[1] where together with Colton they disrupted the plans, helped by Pythona who was uneasy about the Decepticons. Later, she used the metal-eating spore to destroy Unicron. Nemesis Enforcer was killed by Pythona while Golobulus was pummeled by Prime. The surviving members of Cobra-La were taken into custody.[2]

Action Force (British) Comics continuity[]

Pythona briefly appeared in a vision to Serpentor when his concentration lapsed during the trial of Destro and he found himself in a room decorated with serpents that seemed familiar. She repeatedly told him "Cobra needs the Broadcast Energy Transmitter" and he found himself attracted to her.[3]

Animated continuity[]

Sunbow animated series[]

RAH CCommander05

A brilliant young nobleman from Cobra-La.

Cobra-La was forced into retreat many millennia ago by the onset of the last Ice Age. Despising Humans for cultural and technological reasons, they awaited the day when they would return to retake the Earth from them. In order to advance that day, Golobulus, the ruler of Cobra-La, selected a young nobleman to go out disguised amongst the humans and raise an army to conquer the planet. The nobleman became Cobra Commander and founded Cobra, but his plans repeatedly failed. Frustrated with this, Golobulus implanted a tiny creature into the mind of Dr. Mindbender to give him the idea to genetically create a superior new leader out of the DNA of history's greatest warriors,[4] and so Serpentor was born.[5]

Golobulus had developed a spore that would devolve humanoids into mindless animals, as was proven when it disfigured Cobra Commander years ealier. In order to activate them he needed the new human machine, the Broadcast Energy Transmitter (BET), which could generate and transmit the electrical energy needed. He sent Pythona to Cobra to arrange for Sepentor to capture it. In the process Cobra came to the Himalayas and encountered Cobra-La for the first time. Cobra Commander was put on trial for his failings and punished with the spore. The BET was eventually captured by a combined Cobra and Cobra-La attack, and Golobulus finally put it to use. However G.I. Joe launched an, initially unsuccessful, all out attack on Cobra-La and were able to shutdown the BET. Despite putting up heavy resistance, the home of Cobra-La was destroyed when the BET had to be reactivated when the shutdown was one second too late, causing Lt. Falcon to overload it as a last-ditch effort, destroying both the spores and the machine. The fate of the civilization was left unknown.[6]

Before the fall, Cobra-La was show to have 40,000 years of history, and knowledge of biotechnology, as seen during the second attempt to steal the BET. However, the royal guards did carry metallic scimitars which were undamaged by a standard G.I. Joe laser handgun.



  • According to cartoon story editor and writer Buzz Dixon, the creation of Cobra-La was a by-product of the different thinking between Hasbro and the Sunbow writers about the nature of Cobra. Hasbro had developed a new toy to be released as the "Cobra Emperor" (later named as "Serpentor") and intended that he would be the previously unseen superior of Cobra Commander, who had always been present. However, Dixon objected that this was in complete contradiction to previous episodes that had established Cobra Commander as the sole head of the organization. He put forward two possibilities for the "Emperor" character becoming the new leader in place of Cobra Commander after the latter's failings caused dissatisfaction - either the senior Cobras deciding to literally create a new leader or that Cobra was a front for a more secretive organization who sent Serpentor to replace Cobra Commander. Hasbro liked both ideas and asked that they be combined.[7]
  • "Cobra-La" was named after "Shangri-La", a hidden land in the Himalayas from the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by James Hilton.[8] In turn the limited series which saw Cobra-La's first full comic appearance is called Black Horizon.
  • The name "Cobra-La" was devised by Dixon purely as a placeholder name until he came up with something better. However, Hasbro liked the name and used it as the final name despite his efforts.[9]
  • Cobra-La never appeared in the G.I. Joe A Real American Hero Marvel series because writer Larry Hama disliked "a host of silly characters" who had been forced on him by Hasbro and he "drew the line at Cobra-La and a few others."[10]
  • Koh-Buru-Lah, both the temple/fortress and the evil god in the Transformers vs. G.I. Joe maxi-series, is named in honor of Cobra-La.

External links[]


  1. Black Horizon Part 1
  2. Black Horizon Part 2
  3. The story As Thick as Thieves! was a special tie-in with the UK release of G.I. Joe: The Movie (under the title Action Force: The Movie) and is hard to place in regular Action Force continuity.
  4. G.I. Joe: The Movie
  5. Cobra-La's presence was not shown prior to this, and Dr. Mindbender assumed he had thought up Serpentor independently.
  6. G.I. Joe: The Movie
  7. Interview with Buzz Dixon at The Ultimate G.I. Joe Cartoon Website: Interviews: Buzz Dixon
  8. Interview with Buzz Dixon at The Ultimate G.I. Joe Cartoon Website: Interviews: Buzz Dixon
  9. Interview with Buzz Dixon at The Ultimate G.I. Joe Cartoon Website: Interviews: Buzz Dixon
  10. Larry Hama's response to a letter in G.I. Joe A Real American Hero issue #100.