Bases of Operations: Australia; the Florida Everglades; New Jersey
The Dreadnoks are a reprehensible group of mercenaries, vandals and thieves who worked for both Zartan and Cobra over the years. Specializing in violence and destruction, the Dreadnoks have no regard for anyone or anything but themselves and fast money. Their diet consists of little more than chocolate-covered donuts and grape soda.
The Dreadnoks began as a violent biker gang that seemed intent on causing destruction and mayhem wherever they went. It is believed that several of these men had military backgrounds but for some reason or another left the service and turned to violence for the sake of violence. Terrorizing innocent people and destroying property seemed to be their only goal, along with the occasional felony. At some point, the mercenary Zartan began to hire Dreadnoks as brute force and often used them as diversions for his more subtle operations. Zartan's siblings, Zarana and Zandar, joined him on occasion. Zartan worked mostly with the same group of Dreadnoks, and almost always worked with three in particular - Buzzer, Ripper and Torch - due to their brutality and the fact that he could easily intimidate them.
When Zartan joined Cobra formally, he brought Buzzer, Ripper and Torch with him to his hideout in the swamps of the Florida Everglades. Soon after, Zartan rode up to New Jersey with the Dreadnoks in tow. After confirming that the G.I. Joe team had some involvement with McGuire Air Force Base, he and the Dreadnoks started to watch the base, and moved into a nearby abandoned gas station. Zartan and Cobra Commander decided that McGuire was the secret location of Joe headquarters, and ordered the Dreadnoks to cut open the base's perimeter fence under cover of night to prepare for Cobra's assault. Bored and eager for mayhem, the Dreadnoks sneaked inside the base and started to tear apart fighter jets. When Buzzer got too careless, a fighter exploded, alerting the Joes and the base that Cobra was coming. The fearful Dreadnoks sped away from Cobra Commander's wrath with Buzzer in the lead.
Buzzer was probably the most intelligent of the three Dreadnoks, though that's not saying much. His belief in his own superiority made him obnoxious, and got him and the other Dreadnoks into trouble often. While in Springfield, the Dreadnoks were admiring Zartan's new motorcycle, which included built-in hologram projectors. Buzzer decided that since Zartan wasn't around, he wouldn't mind if he borrowed his bike. Ripper and Torch protested, afraid of angering Zartan, but Buzzer soon talked them into joining him with their own bikes. They set off on the highway, and started terrorizing other motorists as they went. They tore apart a truck carrying bales of hay, then set the hay ablaze, sending flames all over the road. One of the Dreadnoks ripped a gash in the side of an old classic 1950s Chevy Bel Air, not knowing it belonged to the Joe, Rock & Roll, who was on leave along with Breaker and Clutch. Rock & Roll was furious and chased after them. Buzzer used Zartan's bike's holoprojectors and made the bike look like a giant tractor-trailer covered in skulls and crossbones. The Joes swerved to avoid the "truck" and crashed. While the injured Joes were being taken to the hospital by ambulance, Rock & Roll recognized the Dreadnoks escaping from another military base they were tearing apart. The Joe took control of the ambulance and went after the Dreadnoks. He caused Buzzer to crash his bike, though Ripper and Torch escaped and were quickly picked up by Zartan, hoping to put a stop to his lackeys' reckless behavior. Rock & Roll captured Buzzer, who was taken into custody and held at Joe headquarters for questioning.
Ripper and Torch returned to Springfield and were left behind by Zartan when he joined Cobra Commander in the operation that led to the creation of Cobra Island and Cobra's sovereign nation status. They spent most of their time causing minor amounts of trouble in the Cobra-controlled town, having little ambition without Zartan or Buzzer to push them around. After a long stay at Joe headquarters, Buzzer was taken from the Pit by a military police bus, along with another prisoner named Candy. Candy had been Ripcord's girlfriend and was now a suspected Cobra agent due to her father's involvement in Cobra. Buzzer took an immediate liking to the young woman, but she was disgusted by him. Buzzer managed to get control of the bus and nearly killed the guard and driver. He took off, with Candy still on board the bus. He headed off toward Springfield with Candy in tow, unwillingly. He was soon involved in the murder of the Soft Master, and the incidental death of Candy.
After a firefight on Cobra Island, Zartan switched places with the Joe Ripcord. Zartan, posing as Ripcord, was "rescued" by the Joe team and brought to The Pit. Ripcord, meanwhile, had been badly injured and barely conscious, unwillingly posing as Zartan. He was placed in a computer-guided Firebat jet which landed in Springfield. Ripper and Torch met the Firebat and took the man they believed to be Zartan to the hospital. They noted that under his hood Zartan looked different, but the dimwitted Dreadnoks figured that the master of disguise always looked different. Buzzer made his way to the hospital, fearing what Zartan would do to him for stealing and destroying motorcycle, but the Zartan he met didn't care about the incident. In fact, the still groggy Ripcord just kept babbling about "his Candy". The Dreadnoks were worried that Zartan had lost his mind, but tried to keep it quiet, fearing they'd be out of a job if Cobra found out. They took "Zartan" to a local restaurant, hoping to keep him out of sight. When Ripcord finally regained his senses, he sneaked away, placed a call to Joe headquarters and revealed the exact coordinates of Springfield. His true identity was discovered and after a brief chase, he was captured. The Joes quickly staged an invasion of Springfield, forcing Cobra to evacuate. The Dreadnoks were left on their own and headed to their New Jersey hideout in a stolen ambulance. When they arrived, they were surprised to find Zarana, Zandar and a sadistic young Dreadnok named Thrasher. They used Buzzer's knowledge of the location of the Pit to rescue the real Zartan from the headquarters. In the brief battle with the Joes that followed, Thrasher's heavily armed vehicle named the Thunder Machine took the Joes by surprise, allowing the Dreadnoks to elude them. Zartan was still angry at Buzzer for stealing his bike, but let him off with a warning since he helped free him. After Zartan was freed, Buzzer's unofficial role of Dreadnok leader was taken over by Zarana, Zartan's sister. She was even more cunning than Buzzer and much smarter.
With Zarana in charge, the Dreadnoks (greater in number with the return of more Dreadnoks: Monkeywrench and the "Dreadnok pirate" Zanzibar) fought the Joes often. Zarana, Monkeywrench and Thrasher were put in charge of Cobra's Terror Drome in the chaotic nation of Sierra Gordo. As revolution began to tear the country apart, a small team of Joes arrived to evacuate the American embassy. Zarana took advantage of the Joes' presence and highjacked their transport plane, along with a group of refugees that served as her hostages. Wild Bill, Maverick and Crazy Legs had no choice but to take off without the rest of the Joes. The plane was swiftly shot down and the Joes, the Dreadnoks and the refugees were lost in the middle of Sierra Gordo's jungle with no way home. Realizing that the revolutionaries would make no distinction between them, the Joes and Dreadnoks worked together to get out of the country and eventually stole a plane and flew back to the United States. Zarana, Monkeywrench and Thrasher somehow managed to escape without being taken into custody. All of the Dreadnoks later took part in the Cobra Island civil war on the side of Fred VII.
After the death of Serpentor, Cobra planned to make up for the loss of Springfield by finding a new piece of real estate to serve as a secret base. The Dreadnoks were placed in charge of the beach front property on the Jersey shore dubbed Broca Beach. Zarana and Zandar ran a real estate scam to attract potential investors by holding seminars in motels. Meanwhile, the Dreadnoks caused trouble up and down the New Jersey highways. They were eventually tracked down by the Joe team, and while the Joes secretly watched the Dreadnoks in their gas station hideout, Buzzer discovered Mutt's dog, Junkyard. He injured the poor dog with his chainsaw, only to be captured by Mutt and kicked in the face once or twice for nearly killing his dog. Buzzer was arrested along with the other Dreadnoks, all of whom were freed on a technicality thanks to Cobra's lawyers. Days later, Mutt and Battle Force 2000 were on patrol when they ran across the Zarana and the Dreadnoks just leaving a real estate seminar. As the Joes and Dreadnoks clashed on the Jersey turnpike, the state police raced to the scene. After a brief battle (and another kick in the face for Buzzer), most of the Dreadnoks made their escape while the state troopers stopped the Joes. As the Joes tried to explain their actions, one of them shot down Zanzibar's air skiff, carrying he and Zarana. The state police captain arrested them all, though the Joes were released soon afterward. Zarana would have stayed in jail if it weren't for a former Dreadnok with a split personality named Road Pig (with a second, more refined personality named Donald), saw her arrest on television. Road Pig saw Zarana as his "lost love" and attacked the unsuspecting state policeman at their headquarters, freeing Zarana and Zanzibar. A short time later, Destro took control of Cobra and tried to put an end to all the bickering and backstabbing that plagued the group. Zarana and the Dreadnoks continued to control Broca Beach and made it successful. Two Joes - Clutch and Rock & Roll - stumbled upon the town and Zarana and the Dreadnoks captured them. Using a version of the Brainwave Scanner hidden in Broca Beach, Zarana saw to the brainwashing of Clutch and Rock & Roll, not only erasing their memories of the town but implanting false memories post-hypnotic suggestions to turn the Joes into mindless killers. Zarana and most of the Dreadnoks were later caught in an explosion caused by the Baroness hoping to keep knowledge of the brainwashing to herself. Most of the Dreadnoks escaped with minor injuries, though Road Pig and Zarana spent nearly a month unconscious. They were all in custody for a time, but once again Cobra used the law to free them.
Over the next few years, the Dreadnoks as a whole were called on less and less by Cobra. Zartan had broken all ties with Cobra and had no use for them. Only Zarana continued working in a high position in Cobra, with Road Pig often close by her side. With Destro, the Baroness, Zartan and most of Cobra's high command off on their own, Zarana took an important role in Cobra Commander's plans. The Dreadnoks were not a part of those plans. After the Commander found a way to brainwash Cobra's old leadership into serving him, he quickly abandoned her when Firefly attempted to hold her as a hostage. She eventually escaped and returned to New Jersey where she found the Dreadnoks, bored and missing their involvement with Cobra. She easily took control of them, and headed off to parts unknown, wreaking havoc along the way. A short time afterward, Cobra forces then centered in Eastern Europe were attacked and defeated. Cobra's high command, including Zartan, scattered and disappeared.
In the years following the apparent destruction of Cobra, Zartan resurfaced in America where he rounded up all the Dreadnoks. The group started to grow and become an organized, national biker gang. Zartan built a small army of Dreadnoks with chapters spread throughout the country. Many of these chapters centered around central compounds, the largest of which is located in the Florida Everglades, where Zartan and the Dreadnoks had first set up shop in America. A surprising addition to the group was Zartan's until-then-unknown daughter, Zanya. As Zanya grew up, Zartan became increasingly solitary. He surprised everyone when he named his teenage daughter heir to the leadership of the Dreadnoks instead of Zarana, who many assumed would take over. Recently, Zartan was contacted by Cobra Commander who hoped to recruit Zartan's Dreadnok organization to assist him. Zartan has yet to make his final decision.
- Zartan (overall leader)
- Zanya (second in command)
- Zarana (leader of Chicago chapter)
- Road Pig
- Burn Out
- Death Metal
- Chop Shop
- Copperhead (works for both Cobra and Dreadnoks)
- Dreadhead cousins (two sets of three brothers all identical)
- Air Skiff: Pilot by Zanzibar. This was released exclusively with Zanzibar in 1987.
- Battle Axe: An oversized backpack that has an axe hooked to the top. Released in 1988.
- Chameleon: A Swamp Skier. Zartan's go to vehicle. Released in 1984 with Zartan.
- Cold Slither Cycle: A repainted version of the Dreadnoks Doom Cycle, released in 2018 as a Club exclusive with Ninja Force Zartan.
- Ground Assault Motorcycle: Sears exclusive, released in 1986 with the 4WD Vehicle.
- Doom Cycle: Driven by Storm Rider. Released in the Pursuit of Cobra line in 2010.
- Dreadnok Cycle: Driven by Machete, and released in 1987 and later retooled and repainted in 2004 as a convention exclusive.
- Dreadnok Stun: A Cobra Stun found in a Cobra scrap yard that Thrasher fixed up for the Dreadnoks. Released in 2004 as a convention exclusive.
- Gyrocopter: Sears exclusive, released in 1986 with the VTOL copter.
- Swampfire: Dreadnoks vehicle that can fly and be used as a boat. Released in 1986.
- Thunder Machine: Driven and hand built by Thrasher. Released exclusively with Thrasher in 1986.
- VTOL Copter: Sears exclusive, released in 1986 with Gyrocopter.
- 4WD Vehicle: Sears exclusive, released in 1986 with the Ground Assault Motorcycle.
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