Operation: Dragonfire

The DIC G.I. Joe cartoon series began with a five-parter called "Operation: Dragonfire," where G.I. Joe and Cobra battled around the world for sources of a mysterious energy called Dragonfire to power a new weapon.

The animation in Dragonfire isn't that bad at times. It resembles the animation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, with fewer, lighter colors and less detailed backgrounds then those typically used in the Marvel/Sunbow series. The real difference is in the characters' movement, especially fighting, where it's unrealistic and jerky.

Dragonfire had much of the same music as the Marvel/Sunbow series. The theme song was basically the same, except with a few lyrics changed. "A Real American Hero" is replaced with "International Heroes" (except the logo still said "Real American") and "Cobra The Enemy" was replaced with "A Ruthless Enemy". The other change was replacing "he", as in "he never gives up" with the more accurate "they" (as G. I. Joe is not one person). The background music used old Marvel/Sunbow music along with new synthizer music that seemed well out of place that was also used at the end during the credits.

Several characters from the Marvel/Sunbow series appear in this initial miniseries: Sgt. Slaughter, Stalker, Rock 'n Roll, Barbecue, Footloose, Spirit (with Freedom), Mutt (with Junkyard), Low-Light, and Lady Jaye for G.I. Joe; Serpentor, Cobra Commander, Destro, the Baroness, Zarana, and Copperhead for Cobra. However, only Sgt. Slaughter, Low-Light, and Lady Jaye also appear in the subsequent DiC series for the Joes (with only Sgt. Slaughter and Lady Jaye remotely resembling their original appearances), while all but Serpentor and Copperhead do so for Cobra. It also marks the only animated appearances for Backblast, Downtown, Long Range, and the Night-Vipers.

# Title Writer Original airdate Production code
1 Operation: Dragonfire (Part 1) Doug Booth September 4, 1989
It begins with GI Joe acting as the Peace Corps helping a poor village, when they met journalist/cameraman Leonard Michaels aka Scoop who joins the Joes. Cobra attacks a monastery to get the secret to the Dragonfire, a mysterious energy in the earth. Destro dumps the Baroness for Zarana, so Baroness plots with Gnawgahyde to return Cobra Commander to human form to get revenge. Scoop turns out to be a Crimson Guard commander spying on GI Joe. 
2 Operation: Dragonfire (Part 2) Doug Booth September 5, 1989
Cobra has a map showing the locations of Dragonfire around the world, and the Joes and Cobra battle over one of the locations in a mountain. Baroness and Gnawgahyde use the Dragonfire to DNA convert Cobra Commander back into human form (but he's still scaly). The Joes manage to get inside the mountain base, but are flooded out. 
3 Operation: Dragonfire (Part 3) Doug Booth September 6, 1989
Next location is a jungle temple in South America, and there's three factions: Serpentor, the Joes, and Cobra Commander. Scoop finds out he was tricked into joining Cobra and turns against them. But the Joes discover he's a Cobra. Cobra Commander uses the Dragonfire to turn monkeys in Ape Warriors that attack the Joes. 
4 Operation: Dragonfire (Part 4) Doug Booth September 7, 1989
Scoop returns to Cobra to try to defeat them. Gnawgahyde steals a Conquests and blasts the Joes. Cobra Commander starts fusing animals with vehicles and creates Python Patrol. Serpentor is defeated and fused with Gnogahide's pet iguana. The Joes return to base while Low Light stays behind. Destro dumps Zarana for the Baroness. 
5 Operation: Dragonfire (Part 5) Doug Booth September 8, 1989
The final location is a mesa. Cobra links all of the Dragonfire bases together through their satellite to create an energy weapon and to supercharge their vehicles with the Dragonfire energy. Finally the Joes have their own Dragonfire after Freedom finds a Native American man who knows how to active it. Scoop sends the Joes the frequency to disable Cobra's Dragonfire and causes a chain reaction that destroys all of Cobra's Dragonfire bases. 

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G.I. Joe Cobra

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