The name Cobra Commander refers to several versions of the same character.
For a list of the other versions, see Cobra Commander.
Cobra Commander is a Cobra character in the A Real American Hero and G.I. Joe vs. Cobra series.
Cobra banner

Not much is known of the background of the man many call the Cobra Commander. What we can only tell is how he works and how he thinks. We know that he has deliberately started political and social conflict in a number of areas. He has amassed an army by recruiting displaced people, promising them money, power, and a chance to get back at the world that hurt them. In return, he demands that they swear absolute loyalty to his cause. What is his cause? World domination.

Cobra Commander doesn't delude himself by justifying his actions as matters of principles or glory. He knows he does it for control and power. He is ruthless, hatred-personified, and totally obsessed. A meticulous person, he likes to personally oversee vital projects himself, even engaging in military combat himself on occasion. Not much is known about him, since he's a master of disguise and has appeared as a goatee artist looking man, with a son who's suffering from a coma, in the Marvel comics. The Commander's appearance in the 12 inch G.I. Joe line shows him as a man with dark slicked back hair. His appearance constantly changing leaves him assumed to wear masks, even the commander can keep his identity from the people around him.



Marvel Comics Continuity[]

Not much is known of Cobra Commander's past, but in his early career he was a used car salesman.[1] While struggling to keep his business afloat, he learned that a car crash had taken the life of his older brother, Dan, who had been driving drunk. Embittered by this tragedy, Cobra Commander became obsessed with vindicating his brother's death. He took specific interest in the surviving son of the family killed in the accident with Dan. That man was the soldier better known as Snake Eyes.

Cobra Commander managed to track Snake Eyes to Japan, where he was training to become a member of the Arashikage ninja clan. The Commander hired a mercenary called Firefly to kill him, but Firefly soon realized he was no match for his target, instead referring Cobra Commander to another assassin, Zartan, who infiltrated the clan and shot at Snake Eyes with an arrow stolen earlier from another ninja, Storm Shadow. However, it was not Snake Eyes who was hit, but the clan's leader and Storm Shadow's uncle, Hard Master.[2] Storm Shadow was blamed for the murder and fled in search of the killer.[3]


The Commander during the early days of Cobra.

Cobra Commander returned to his domestic life, but after his wife gave birth to a son, Billy, she found out about what had happened in Japan. He took the child and left his wife, becoming increasingly paranoid and blaming all his problems on "the system". He traveled across America with Billy, seeking out people who shared his desire to topple big business and the government, using the money he had earned from pyramid schemes to attract followers. He then moved to the town of Springfield, where the businesses were struggling and the population had become disillusioned with existing policy. He applied his influence to corrupt the township and eventually took control of it. Within the town, he established a clandestine terrorist group called Cobra. For reasons and in ways unknown, Billy left his father and joined the anti-Cobra underground organization. Storm Shadow's search for his uncle's killer eventually led him to Cobra, which Storm Shadow joined, pledging loyalty to Cobra Commander as his personal bodyguard.


Cobra Commander, briefly captured by the Joes.

For a long time, Cobra remained a clandestine organization, slowly building up its forces and resources. Cobra Commander finally initiated a bold plan by kidnapping renowned nuclear physicist Dr. Adele Burkhart. The U.S. government responded by sending in the G.I. Joe Team to rescue her. Scarlett and Snake Eyes managed to infiltrate the base where the Commander was holding Burkhart hostage. Burkhart tried to sacrifice herself to save the Joes. Scarlett injured the Commander, but he managed to escape.[4]

Irked at the Joes' interference, Cobra Commander initiated a plan to let a sophisticated battle robot be captured by the Joes. The robot was meant to be transported to the Joes' headquarters, "The Pit", where it will activate by itself, attempt to escape, and beam the Pit's coordinates back to him. The Joes caught wind of this plan and it failed.[5] Hoping to get a piece of G.I. Joe technology, the Commander initiates a plan to capture the M.O.B.A.T. during an Armed Forces Day parade. Even without ammo, the Joes proved resourceful enough and his command post was exposed. General Flagg almost had him but he was able to use a hostage and make good his escape.[6] He also proved his ability to manipulate those not directly under his control as he let the Joes and the Oktober Guard fight over a spy plane, before having them surrounded and taking the prize away. Despite his flair for a theatrical appearance, he is not a fool to deliberately put himself in danger as the G.I. Joe member named Clutch took hostage a robotic doppelganger instead.[7]

Cobra Commander initiated a plan to use Cobra agent, US State Department official Brian Hassel, to assassinate the Al-Alwai Ambassador, thereby souring diplomatic relations between the Gulf nation and America. The plot was foiled by G.I. Joe.[8] In Springfield, Cobra Commander oversaw Dr. Venom's use of the Brainwave Scanner on a captured Snake Eyes. However, he was sceptical of Venom's claims about the machine.[9]

The Baroness and Major Bludd recruited Billy to carry out Cobra Commander's assassination,[10] but he was intercepted by Destro before he could accomplish his task.[11] Cobra Commander had become such a rabid megalomaniac by this point that he had no qualms about torturing his own son, yet Billy refused to surrender any information identifying who had sponsored the hit. Such tenacity impressed Storm Shadow, so he freed Billy[12] and they both escaped to New York, where Storm Shadow trained him in ninjitsu.[13] Billy was later caught in the crossfire between the Soft Master and Cobra agent Scrap-Iron, when the car he was driving in exploded.[14]


The Commander soon came to regret creating Serpentor.

Cobra Commander ordered the creation of a new genetic lifeform - a super soldier who combined DNA from many of history's greatest warriors. The new being called Serpentor was created just as the G.I. Joe Team attacked Springfield.[15] However, Serpentor proved more than just a warrior but also a charismatic leader and skillful politician whose charisma in battle won him a strong following amongst Cobra troops.[16] Cobra Commander ordered Zartan and the Dreadnoks, who always remained loyal to him, to assassinate Serpentor disguised as members of the G.I. Joe Team. But, Serpentor survived and used the incident to seize the initiative by demanding an attack on the Joe's base, despite Cobra Commander's misgivings.[17]

The attack was militarily a success, but also saw Cobra Commander and Serpentor continue their conflict, with each trying to seize the advantage over the other. As a result, Cobra Commander and Destro ventured underground at personal risk and were trapped when the Joes destroyed the base to protect vital secrets. Cobra Commander and Destro were trapped underground, presumed dead.[18] However, they survived[19] and were forced to work together to make their way to freedom. Given the danger of Serpentor, they undertook to keep a low profile as they made their way home.


The Commander and Destro in disguise.

It was during this cross-country trek with Destro that Cobra Commander learned of Billy's fate: though he survived the explosion, he had lost a leg and an eye, and lay in a coma ever since. Unnerved by the tragedy, the Commander took responsibility for Billy's condition, and promised to be a better father.[20] Seeking out the Crimson Guard Fred VII, a mechanical genius who built Billy a new robotic leg, the Commander set up shop in Denver, where Billy eventually awoke from his coma. Fitted with a mechanical prosthetic leg by Fred VII, Billy unwittingly stumbled upon the Blind Master and Jinx. Seeing that Fred VII had constructed a suit of battle-armor for Cobra Commander, who was once again plotting to take over the world, Billy walked out on his father. The incident left Cobra Commander to reflect on the folly of his ways, but Fred VII was so angered to see his commander throwing away what he had dedicated his life toward that he shot Cobra Commander in the back, apparently killing him.


Cobra Commander returns from the "dead".

Unaware that he was being watched, Fred VII buried the body. It was exhumed by another Crimson Guardsman, Fred VIII, who discovered that Cobra Commander was not dead after all, and managed to revive him. With Fred VII masquerading as him in Cobra, the Commander began to form a new organization in secret. When Dr. Mindbender went to Cobra Commander's supposed grave to harvest DNA for the genetic creation of a new leader, he instead discovered an empty coffin.

Cobra Commander took that opportunity to return to Cobra, this time even more maniacal than before, filled with rage and unwilling to harbor any traitors (real or perceived). His first act was to imprison those who had betrayed him: Fred VII, his partner Raptor, Firefly, Dr. Mindbender, Zartan, Billy, and numerous Cobra troops, all of whom he had buried alive within a volcano on Cobra Island. He relinquished all traces of his morality and humanity, before rebuilding a new command infrastructure by instituting a brainwashing program to compel allegiance from those around him, including repeatedly brainwashing the Baroness, Destro, Zartan, Storm Shadow, and Billy. He also became much more willing to kill, even personally executing Borovian rebels Magda and the White Clown.

Devil's Due Comics Continuity[]

After the Marvel series ended, Cobra forces fell to a unified assault organized by the G.I. Joe leader, General Hawk. Cobra Commander managed to escape, becoming an international fugitive as the remnants of his organization retreated into hiding. He spent the next seven years sheltered in non-extradition countries, rebuilding his organization from the shadows.

By the time Cobra Commander had fully restored the terrorist group, however, he was usurped by Destro's son, Alexander, who hoped to impress his father by eliminating their old rival and leading Cobra to victory. Alexander was defeated by the G.I. Joe team, and Cobra Commander was freed by Storm Shadow, retaking his organization soon after. He then proceeded to attack Destro, believing him responsible for Alexander's coup. Destro shortly cleared himself of such suspicions and offered to atone for Alexander's actions by serving Cobra again.

Cobra Commander quickly proved himself deadlier than ever, smuggling a nuclear warhead into the United States, and using a decoy ship as a means for Storm Shadow to infiltrate the G.I. Joe base and assassinate Hawk. Unfortunately, both plans ended in failure, with the Joes capturing the warhead and Snake Eyes arriving to stop Storm Shadow. (It's hinted that it was Storm Shadow himself who informed Snake Eyes of the assassination attempt.)

Not long after, Cobra Commander was betrayed by one of his own troops, the Dreadnok Zandar, who brought him to Cobra Island and presented him to his new leader, Serpentor. Serpentor's army, the Coil — which also included another Cobra traitor, Dr. Mindbender — struck out at the world. During their campaign, a group of Joes that included Snake Eyes was captured and thrown into the same cell as Cobra Commander. The prisoners managed to escape, along with Cobra Commander, while G.I. Joe and Cobra attacked the island. The Commander came across Serpentor, who took him captive and ordered the Commander to remove his helmet. The Commander did so, handing it to Serpentor, but his face was still concealed by a balaclava worn beneath the helmet. Cobra Commander then activated an explosive in the helmet and landed a kick that sent Serpentor falling out a window to his death.

Cobra Commander then contacted Storm Shadow, and together they sought out the Red Ninja Clan for protection. The two were tracked down by a G.I. Joe team, but managed to escape while the Joes battled the Red Ninjas. Cobra Commander then made his way back to the U.S.

The Commander wasted no time in returning to Cobra Island, which Tomax and Xamot had bought back. Following Destro's capture by G.I. Joe, Cobra Commander led a rescue operation. During the operation, he managed to severely injure General Hawk, but was betrayed by the Baroness. It was revealed Destro had cut a deal with the U.N. in exchange for his freedom. The Commander would spend weeks in custody before being freed by the Dreadnoks. Zartan had traded places with Cobra Commander, allowing the Commander to learn Destro's true plans and watch as the Coil joined Cobra in the wake of Serpentor's death. In a swift coup, Cobra Commander regained his organization and appeared to kill the Baroness.

Destro had been after the Tempest, a device built by Dr. Mindbender that could seed clouds to cause rainfall. Once back in control of the Cobra and Coil forces, the Commander moved all Cobra personnel to the Monolith Base in Budakistan. The Coil forces were to remain on Cobra Island. The Jugglers had alerted Cobra to the U.S.'s plans to drop a nuclear warhead on the island. The entire Coil force was killed in the strike.

In Badhikstan, Cobra Commander unleashed the Tempest, armed with a flesh eating bio-engineered virus known as "Deathangel", upon the country. A G.I. Joe team led by General Phillip Rey (Hawk's temporary replacement) managed to track Cobra to their new base, where they defeated Cobra forces and destroyed the Tempest. Although Cobra Commander was able to elude capture, he became a target of the Red Shadows, a secretive organization that sought to eliminate G.I. Joe and Cobra alike. A Red Shadow operative named Dela Eden tracked down the Commander and shot him.

A year after the Red Shadows' defeat by G.I. Joe, Cobra Commander has been written off as dead. While most accepted this as fact, Hawk and Duke believed he was alive and still dangerous. Hawk sent Spirit in search of the Commander, and after a long hunt, the tracker found his prey but was captured by Cobra Commander, and imprisoned.

Duke went on his own search for the Commander, but instead found a squad of B.A.T.s who took him captive. The androids were under the control of a former Crimson Guardsman who had a grudge against the Commander and wanted him dead, planning to launch a missile at his position. Duke managed to free himself and stop the missile's launch, learning its target location from a computer screen: Washington DC.

In Washington, a group of presidential advisers ask to speak to the President, but he tells them to take it up with his Chief of Staff — Garret Freedlowe. The men are shocked when they open the door to find Cobra Commander in the office. The Commander informed the men that he had taken Garret Freedlowe's place with Zartan's masking technology and that he would kill them, replacing them with his own operatives, if they resist. Cobra Commander then proceeds to tell the President that the abilities of the G.I. Joe team are lacking, and organizes his very own Elite Anti-terrorism team, the Phoenix Guard, led by one time G.I. Joe commander General Rey. He then sent the team to destroy numerous Cobra cells around the world, a step ahead of the Joe teams own efforts. He then accompanied the President on a tour of the secret G.I. Joe base, "The Rock", where Colton reveals to them that they have the Baroness secretly in custody. After the trip, Cobra Commander sends new orders to the Phoenix Guard, sending them to the Rock to replace G.I. Joe as America's anti-terrorist force.

During this attack, many of the Phoenix Guard became too ruthless and reckless for Rey's liking. He soon learned his team were secretly members of Cobra. Several members of G.I. Joe were captured while Kamakura, Scarlett, and General Colton made it to Colton's hidden radio to contact the White House. The president was shocked to find Garret Freedlowe's decaying corpse in the Chief of Staff's office and a video recording of the Cobra Commander. On the recording, the Commander revealed he had been using the Chief of Staff position to learn everything he could about the United States' strengths, weaknesses, and secrets.

The Phoenix Guard was ultimately defeated and most of its members imprisoned. At a secret Cobra base, the order to every sleeper cell went out, announcing Cobra was once again active. The Commander was seen looking down at an infant boy, the son of Destro and the Baroness, whom he planned to mold into the physical manifestation of his ideals. However, he would trade the child to his parents, in return for Destro's family arms dealing empire, M.A.R.S.

Eventually, Cobra Commander would amass his vast terror network and allies again for a final "World War" against G.I. Joe. Using prototype stealth technology from MARS labs, and his special "Plague" unit, Cobra Commander was able to launch an all-out offensive on many of the most powerful nations in the world. The attacks were unprecedentedly successful, with Cobra Commander capturing their capitals, kidnapping the President of the United States, along with the royal family of Great Britain, and forcing France not to fight back if the Russia government attempted to intervene in their invasion. Still, the Russian military deified orders and continued to battle against Cobra.

However, G.I Joe was able to break Cobra's stealth technology with the help of Destro, and after a brutal series of battles across the globe, Cobra's conventional forces were crushed. Refusing to admit defeat, Cobra Commander made a last stand where Cobra began in the Appalachian mountains. Cobra Commander would confront his son Billy for a final time, shooting him with toxic bullet and hanging his corpse from a flag pole, breaking the last tie he had with his former life. In the final battle, Cobra Commander wounds General Colton, but is blindsided by jetpack-wearing General Hawk while attempting to escape. Finally captured, Cobra Commander is imprisoned in a special facility at the bottom of the ocean. While claiming others will rise up to carry out his vision, Hawk admits to the possibility, but states Cobra Commander will have no further role in it.

G.I. Joe Reloaded[]


In recruiting many of the men who make up the Cobra organization, Cobra Commander often likes to tell a story that one can only surmise to be his true origin or at least a version of it is. The story revolves around a law-abiding car salesman who served his country in the military and now runs his fledgling business. One day, he found himself under investigation by the government and tax officials for laws and ordinances his business violated. He was confident that his contribution and loyalty to the community would be appreciated only to be proven wrong and his properties seized. Not long after, his wife left him and took their son with her. Finding that everything he had worked so hard for gone, it was the realization that pushed him over the edge. He blew up his shop and as far as the world knows, he died in the fire.[21]

G.I. Joe vs. Transformers[]

Cobra Commander soldiers

March, for the glory of Cobra!

Before Cobra made itself known to the world, Cobra Commander unearthed the Ark and took control of the Autobots and Decepticons, using Starscream as his personal Night Raven.

Action Force (British) Comics Continuity[]

Battle Action Force[]

Cobra Commander was originally known as Baron Ironblood, leader of the Red Shadows, a ruthless terrorist organization. The Red Shadows were comprised of legions of brainwashed fanatic soldiers armed with sophisticated, high-tech weapons. The group was declared the single greatest threat to world security by the UN, with Ironblood being labeled "World Enemy #1".

Ironblood betrayed the Shadows, leaking information about their bases and intentions to the UN. While the Shadows were wiped out, Ironblood went into hiding and constructed a new identity for himself, becoming Cobra Commander, creating Cobra in secret.


Cobra Commander personally supervised an arms purchase from Destro's Military Armaments Research Systems, with the money and weapons to be exchanged on a boat in London's Docklands. However Action Force attacked the sale, destroying the weapons and forcing the Commander to flee empty handed.[22] During a meeting at Destro's castle in the Balkans, Cobra Commander explained to his host and the Baroness that Cobra aimed to destroy the existing world order and rebuild it with Cobra succeeding free will and death delivered to all those who oppose. He announced that the destruction of the Eiffel Tower would be the first demonstration of Cobra's power. However, Destro shared his private thoughts with the Baroness that he felt the Commander's vision was too destructive and against choice.[23] The attack on the Eiffel Tower was foiled, though Cobra also bombed Rome.[24] Cobra operations continued at a pace, with the Commander taking little interest in the details thus allowing Destro to have things carried out the way he preferred.[25] Nevertheless not all of Destro's plans were viable, with both a plan to infiltrate and destroy the Action Force base proving impossible to devise in a way as to allow the Cobra agent to escape.[26]

After Flint had stormed the M.A.R.S. building and personally threatened Destro,[27] the arms dealer demanded Cobra take action. Cobra Commander ordered Storm Shadow to kidnap Flint at a pre-arranged meeting with Action Force's Ministry of Defence liaison Trent, but Scarlett attended instead of Flint. She was captured and taken to the castle in the Balkans.[28] Snake Eyes infiltrated the castle where Scarlett freed herself and the two escaped despite Destro's computer analysis suggesting otherwise.[29] In the aftermath, Storm Shadow threatened Destro, and so the Commander agreed to Destro's demands that the ninja be sent to Asia to cool off.[30] There, Storm Shadow sought to recover a fallen spy satellite,[31] but Storm Shadow returned stating the satellite had been destroyed and only plating remained.[32]

Cobra Commander then oversaw a scheme to feed disinformation in the form of Destro to fool Action Force into thinking that Cobra was attempting to forcibly take over the Mafia in Venice, resulting in Action Force attacking to drive Cobra out. In actuality, Cobra and the Mafia had formed an alliance and the incident allowed them to maintain cover.[33]

Cobra Commander was present when Destro faced an abortive trial for disloyalty, after a failure to capture a Broadcast Energy Transmitter.[34] Storm Shadow's loyalty was also suspect at this time and so Cobra Commander ordered him to execute millionaire T.P. Dexter, despite the ninja finding this distasteful. However, Storm Shadow first discretely tipped off Action Force who substituted Dexter instead. With false news of Dexter's death reported, Storm Shadow's loyalty remained intact.[35] Cobra Commander then allowed Destro to go to the Arctic to seek out and recover Project Omega, an advanced stealth-equipped cruise missile that was invisible to radar and infra-red, whose creator had refused to sell it to M.A.R.S. and instead crashed his plane.

Destro went only to discover that all secrets had been destroyed by the creator who took his own life. Destro was then captured by Action Force.[36] Cobra Commander personally led a rescue mission, attacking the public in London in an attempt to force Action Force to return their prisoner. Destro used the chaos to escape.[37] Cobra Commander then oversaw the stealing of a Tactical Analysis Computer System (T.A.C.S.) that contained the key to the Ministry of Defence secret files. However Action Force launched a recovery attack. When Mainframe grabbed the device, Cobra Commander threw a punch only to discover his battle suit was more powerful than he anticipated and the T.A.C.S. device was destroyed. The Commander escaped the destruction of his underwater base.[38]

Dreamwave Comics Continuity[]

Though never said exactly, the Cobra Commander of Dreamwave's Transformers/GI Joe crossover seems to be an alternate version of or, even possibly, the real Adolf Hitler. There are numerous hints that suggest this and his uniform bears a striking form to that of a World War Two German officer. Other than that speculation, his background and true face are never shown. In book 6, he is killed by the Baroness and Megatron, but the character returns in the Divided Front sequel to lead Cobra in the modern era. The "new" Cobra Commander could be the speculative first commander's son or another man entirely. Since Dreamwave's shut down, the story was not continued.

Animated Continuity[]

Sunbow Animated Series[]

Voice Actor: Christopher Collins
0 cobra commander

Cobra Commander from the A Real American Hero animated continuity.

Cobra Commander always had a flair for the dramatic such as when he built his Cobra temple in the secret mountains and creating a reputation for it that scares the locals. He also maintains an Arena of Sport for his amusement. He had Destro build a M.A.S.S. Device for him that enabled his men to capture a spy satellite for his own use. When Duke was captured during the theft, he wasted no time in including the Joes' field commander as a combatant in the arena.[39] The Commander showed his penchant for big and strong forces crushing the weak as he controlled a giant named Ramar to battle Duke. His near victory is interrupted by news of the world's refusal to surrender to him.

RAH mini17

To this end, he continues to make more demonstrations of the power of the MASS.[40] So confident is the Commander that the world will bow to him that the dwindling supply of the MASS's catalytic elements worries him little.[41] A false transmission from the Joes convinces him that Cobra has won. However, his complacency has pushed Destro into pursuing a more active role in acquiring the MASS elements. When the world's surrender is not coming as expected, the Commander becomes enraged enough to risk using what little of the MASS elements left to disintegrate New York City. His plan is foiled by a sabotage by a slave girl.[42] His control over Cobra and the M.A.S.S. is wrested by Destro when the latter learned of his foolish attempt to use the M.A.S.S. The Joes soon run over his castle headquarters and he is left to fend for himself. His attempt to escape is foiled by Snake Eyes's pet wolf. As he is pulled away, he swears revenge.[43]

0 cobra commander hooded

The hooded variation of Cobra Commander from the A Real American Hero animated continuity.

Although only Cobra Commander's eyes are ever openly exposed, it is clear from this partial view that he is a brown-eyed Caucasian. His reason for wearing the mask was not expressly divulged, but in one episode, Destro interrupts his unmasked privacy during a meal and is repulsed at what he saw (which is not shown on-screen), prompting the Commander to wryly muse, "It takes a strong stomach to watch me eat, eh, Destro?" implying that he may have some unsightly deformity. In G.I. Joe: The Movie it is revealed that he is in fact a many-eyed, blue-skinned snake-man from the ancient civilization of Cobra-La (the appearance of the extra eyes was the result of a laboratory accident where Cobra Commander was studying a strange plant which sprayed his face with mutative spores, causing him to grow an asymmetrical array of eyes over his face).

Cobra Commander frequently led assaults himself, but often vacillated between being a coward at heart, usually the first to turn tail in retreat whenever the tide of battle shifted unfavorably, or pushing his troops to seize victory at all costs, berating them when they turned to retreat. Impatient and frequently hysterical, he was prone to fits of rage when things went badly, often launching into extended rants. He was also greedy and egotistical, often mistreating his own troops to the point of mutiny, and on multiple occasions saw his plans foiled by his own arrogance.

The Cobra organization decides that, after Cobra Commander had repeatedly failed to bring them victory, they should literally create a new leader. Under the guidance of Dr. Mindbender, Cobra's scientists combine DNA samples retrieved from the tombs of history's most notorious despots (along with DNA from current G.I. Joe member Sgt. Slaughter) to genetically craft Cobra Commander's successor, Serpentor, who immediately assumes charge of Cobra and deposes the erstwhile Commander to the status of "lackey".

Fortunately for the Commander, G.I. Joe managed to interfere with the gene collection to deny Serpentor the critical inclusion of Sun Tzu's essence and with only a little of Sgt. Slaughter's. The absence of that ancient military strategist's influence evidently makes Serpentor prone to impulsive foolhardiness that shows when he immediately orders a full-scale attack on Washington, D.C.. While the operation is initially successful, it soon turns into a complete fiasco at the hands of G.I. Joe's reprisals. Cobra Commander is able to convince Dr. Mindbender to free him from his handcuffs because he knows how to use a weapon and Cobra needs all the help it can get. During the battle, Cobra's vehicles began to run out of fuel, except for one Night Raven, which would take the high command back to Cobra Island. A sudden burst of fire cuts the Joes off from Serpentor. The high command is shocked to learn Cobra Commander saved them. Serpentor orders the high command to the Night Raven while he deals with the Commander. In a rare moment of brilliance, Cobra Commander is able to convince Serpentor that he needs him for a scapegoat.

Thereafter, Cobra Commander seems to be employed as the organization's primary field commander, while Serpentor leads mostly from the Terrordrome. Serpentor even allowed Cobra Commander to be the organization's second-in-command, a decision tolerated by the rest of the Cobra High Command. Cobra Commander spent most of Season 2 trying to reclaim his former glory from under Serpentor's domineering shadow, assembling his own secret society called The Coil to that end.

In G.I. Joe: The Movie, he and the Cobra members with him end up encountering Cobra-La citizens Pythona and Nemesis Enforcer in the Himalayas where Cobra Commander was arrested by Nemesis Enforcer. In light of Cobra's constant failures, Golobulus decides to put Cobra Commander on trial and punishes him by forcing his further exposure to the spores, whose effect begins to devolve him into a snake. Escaping with Joe member Roadblock, Cobra Commander's "humanity" begins to slip away as his body transforms. Soon he is left mindlessly hissing that he was "once-ssss a man...". In the end, seeking vengeance for his deteriorating condition, he tries to lead a Joe offensive into Cobra-La—Roadblock encouraging him to retain his humanity: "Which way now, man? You hear me, man?"—but ultimately becomes mentally unresponsive as his continuing metamorphosis fully changes him into an oversized snake. He briefly slithers to Lt. Falcon's rescue during the final battle, foiling Serpentor's attack, allowing Falcon to defeat Serpentor and Golobulus and save the world.

DiC Animated Series[]

Voice actor: Christopher Collins

Cobra Commander DiC

Cobra Commander for President.

Picking up after the events of G.I. Joe: The Movie, Cobra Commander was left in a snake form, and was now being kept as a "pet" of Serpentor (who took great enjoyment in taunting and torturing the former leader and kept him in a cage). Cobra, under the command of Serpentor, had undertaken the task of trying to harness an ancient power called "Dragonfire," and had set out to find its sources and bend it to their sinister will. Originally used to create force fields, Cobra saw great potential for other uses.

Also during this time, some members of Cobra were finding themselves disillusioned with Serpentor's leadership. In particular, The Baroness (recently rejected by Destro for Zarana), was finding herself no longer in Serpentor's good graces, and sought the means to oust him from power. Opportunity presented itself in a scientific study she found suggesting the mutagenic properties of the Dragonfire energy. Seeing her chance, she, with the help of newly joined Dreadnok Gnawgahyde, released the captive Commander (still a snake) and took him into a cave believed to be a major source of Dragonfire power. Once there, the Baroness and Gnawgahide performed a ritual to unleash the Dragonfire. Their efforts bore fruit, as the Commander was returned to a more humanoid form (albeit green and reptilian in nature). (It is important to note that this all occurred while the three were being pursued by members of the G.I. Joe team.)

After evading capture by the Joes, the Baroness and Gnawgahide provided Cobra Commander with an old battle suit of his, since Cobra can't very well be led by a naked lizard man. The armor's helmet created a false view of Cobra Commander's face with human skin, giving the impression he was human once more. Donning the armor, he went about beginning the next phase in the Commander's plan to retake his organization. Contacting Destro, Baroness surprised him by showing him the Commander in his new humanoid form. This caused Destro to immediately join their cause (and dump Zarana).

As this was happening, Cobra Commander was also regaining the loyalty of some of his men, if not in some cases by force. Using the Dragonfire energy (again), he created a new fleet dubbed the Python Patrol, which he then used to overtake Serpentor and regain control of Cobra.

In classic Cobra Commander fashion, he wasn't happy with simply defeating his usurper. In a final display of ruthlessness, he turned the Dragonfire energy against Serpentor, mutating him into an iguana for Gnawgahide to keep as a pet.

In a later event, Cobra Commander (at the request of a Crimson Guardsman) actually agreed to partner with the Joes in combating a drug dealer named the Headman, after the Headman had gotten Lt. Falcon (in another embarrassing moment for the character) and said Crimson Guardsman's sister addicted to his special brand of drugs. It's worth noting that Cobra Commander's true intentions were to gain access to the Headman's vast wealth and fortune, and had little to do with actually fighting a war on drugs.

Transformers TV Series[]


Voice actor: Christopher Collins

Cobra Commander unofficially appeared in the third season of the Transformers cartoon (1986), in the episode "Only Human". Set in the then-future year 2006, a trenchcoated figure going by the name "Old Snake" is approached by crime lord Victor Drath, who wishes to purchase synthoid technology, as seen in a few episodes of the GI Joe cartoon series. Old Snake transfers the minds of Rodimus Prime, Ultra Magnus, Arcee and Springer into synthoid bodies, leaving their robotic shells for Drath's use in criminal activities.

Although it is never explicitly stated, several details make it clear enough that "Old Snake" is actually an aged Cobra Commander: he has the same raspy voice, he wears the character's distinctive silver mask, and has visible traces of his blue uniform underneath his trench coat. He is identified in dialogue as the former leader of a terrorist organization that utilized synthoid technology. Most tellingly of all, the episode concludes with Old Snake lamenting that "they simply don't make terrorists like they used to", raising his fists in skyward exaltation with the familiar "Cobra!" battle cry, before breaking prematurely into a hacking cough.

Old Snake appears to be wearing the gauntlets of Serpentor (in black rather than Serpentor's dark green). This is contrary to the series' production bible, which notes that his bare fingers should be visible through torn gloves, and that his skin is scaly, like that of a real snake (the animation of this Transformers episode, as with a good half of Season 3 episodes, is not stellar, so this costume detail may be simple misinterpretation).


Generation 1
2060010294 A Real American Hero (1982)

Cobra Commander is part of the original 1982 series of A Real American Hero toys.

Appearance: light blue helmet with silver faceplate; light blue collared coat and pants with black undershirt, gloves, holster, belt, and shoes. Red belt buckle and stripes on sides of legs. red Cobra insignia on chest.

Accessories: small, black laser pistol with round, grilled muzzle. Pistol can be stored in an impression in the figure's back.

Variations: The figure was initially available with a simplified, undetailed Cobra logo on his jacket; this was soon corrected. page/Filecard

Cobra Commander Version 2 (1984)

The hooded version of Cobra Commander used the same body mold as the 1982 original but with a new head. This was available as a mail-in direct-to-order.

Appearance: dark blue hood with eyeholes; dark blue collared coat and pants with red undershirt; black gloves and shoes; gold holster, belt, and stripes on sides of legs. red Cobra insignia on chest. Pistol can be stored in an impression in the figure's back.

Accessories: black laser pistol (the same that came with the 1982 version). page/Filecard

Battle Armor Cobra Commander Version 3 (1987)

This was better known as Battle-Armor Cobra Commander.

Appearance: silver helmet with Cobra emblem on forehead; light blue shirt and pants with silver armor on chest, arms, and legs; black gloves, joints, and boots; dark red belt and holster.

Accessories: black segmented airtube; triangular silver backpack with four angled spines; black laser pistol with scope, textured grip, and energy magazine. page/Filecard

Cobra Commander Version 4 (1991)

Cobra Commander takes a more imperial look in the 1991 series of A Real American Hero toys. If you look carefully through his faceplate, you can really see his face.

Appearance: gold helmet and red translucent faceplate; blue and black shirt with gold straps and wristbands; black gloves; red Cobra insignia on chest with gold background; bluepants with black holsters and boots with gold tops.

Accessories: gold submachine gun (short grip, long magazine, no stock); blue spring catapult with orange trigger and orange bipod; clear two-piece glider with orange tip; black figure stand.

Variations: Cobra Commander was available with a red or orange faceplate, and with or without eyebrows. page/Filecard

Battle Commanders Cobra Commander Battle Commanders (1992)

Cobra Commander was sold in the Battle Commanders subset during 1992.

Appearance: blue hood and shirt with yellow trim and red Cobra emblem on chest; black diagonal strap and gloves; blue pants with black boots

Accessories: black talking backpack; short, black laser gun with two angled grips and large scope; black twin missile launcher with wrist supports; two short, black missiles; black figure stand. page/Filecard

Battle Corps Cobra Commander Battle Corps (1993)

Cobra Commander joined the Battle Corps in 1993.

Appearance: black hood and shirt with silver trim and red Cobra emblem on chest; silver diagonal strap and black gloves; black pants

Accessories: silver "Voltar" submachine gun; silver "Toxo-Viper" rifle; silver "Rock-Viper" machine gun; silver "Incinerator" flamethrower; red T-shaped spring-loaded missile launcher with gear at back and black trigger; two silver "Alley Viper" missiles; silver figure stand. page/Filecard

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Star Brigade (1994)
1994 filecard from
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Cobra Command Team (1997)
1997 filecard from
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The Real American Hero Collection (2000)
Cobra Commander is sold in a two-pack with Chameleon.
2000 filecard from
Combat Heroes
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Series 1
Cobra Commander is a part of Hasbro's Combat Heroes preschool line of action figures, in a two-pack with Roadblock. He's in his classic animated uniform, with the silver mask.


  • Many characters had different personalities or motivations between the cartoon and comics, but with one version being a used car salesman and the other being a member of an ancient race, Cobra Commander may just have the widest gap between the two.
  • The comics were very careful to differentiate between Cobra Commander's helmet and his hood: the hood was only for ceremonial occasions, while the helmet was worn whenever he was in the field or in danger of facing combat. In the cartoon however, Cobra Commander typically wore the hood when situated in a Cobra base, and wore the helmet everywhere else.
    • Cobra Commander's hood was completely absent during the events of G.I. Joe: The Movie, likely due to the need to facilitate his new origin as a blue-skinned humanoid of Cobra-La, as the hood portrayed him with Caucasian skin through its eyeholes.
    • Cobra Commander's faceplate has been shown to emit gas and give off electricity in two different episodes. A view from behind during the film reveals a great amount of intricate machinery built into the faceplate.
  • In the unproduced Season 3, Cobra Commander was planned to return and retake control of Cobra, now named Coil, from its new leaders Tomax and Xamot.
  • Larry Hama has said that in his mind that Cobra Commander sounds like Orson Welles.
  • The armored version of Cobra Commander appears as the final boss (on section 6-1, the final level in the game) in the NES Taxan G.I. Joe game.
  • Chris Collins was not given a voice credit for Operation: Dragonfire.

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External Links[]


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