Zarana is a Dreadnok character from the A Real American Hero and G.I. Joe vs. Cobra series.
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Zarana is a master of disguise just as much as her elder brother Zartan is. Whereas her brother uses holographics and depends on physical aspects of the art of disguise, she prefers to use makeup and method acting to deceive her targets. As a method actor, she deliberately assumes herself in the role of her disguise. She goes to the length of thinking, feeling and reacting as the object of her disguise does. In fact, she was so good at it that she could have been a successful stage actress. Her weaknesses, though, far outweigh her skills. As good as she can act, it doesn't take long before her natural tendencies start to rise out. She is smart and ambitious but short-tempered, cruel and greedy.




A Real American Hero continuity

Marvel Comics continuity

Storm Shadow first meets Zarana after reching Zartan's hideout, where she reveals to be Zartan's sister[[The Battle of Springfield / Best Defense|The Battle of Springfield / Best Defense]]. After she leads a successful rescue of Zartan by impersonating Scarlett, she tells her brother that he owes her for a number of expenses related to the rescue operation including that of the red wig she used in her disguise. Pursued by a large team of G.I. Joes, she and the Dreadnoks escape. They are technically tracked down by Sgt. Slaughter but her disguise skills help fool the man into believing he had found a simple gas station. [[Thunder Machine (Marvel Comics issue)|Thunder Machine (Marvel Comics issue)]]

In order to escape the war-torn country of Sierra Gordo, Zarana and fellow Dreadnoks Monkeywrench and Thrasher hijack a G.I. Joe transport plane. This is accomplished by Zarana threatening to kill some of the civilians who are pleading with the Joes for a ride out. The Joes, Crazylegs, Wild Bill and Maverick are forced to launch out with her, her allies and the refugee/hostages[[Into the Breach|Into the Breach]]. The plane ends up shot down, though all survive[[Fair Trade|Fair Trade]]. In an effort to escape the country, Zarana actually works with the Joe team, the Dreadnoks, and the refugees. In one instance, she punches Thrasher's broken arm in order to get him to be even more violent against a large group of adversaries. [[Bailout|Bailout]]

Zarana and the Dreadnoks would work with the Joes again, like much of Cobra, in the aftermath of the Cobra Civil War. The stress gets to her, leading to a memorable, vicious fist-fight with Lady Jaye, that ends in a draw. [[Aftershocks|Aftershocks]]

Zarana took on a lot of responsibilities for Cobra after Destro, Zartan and the Baroness left, effectively becoming Cobra Commander's second in command[[Calm Before the Storm|Calm Before the Storm]]. She was captured by Firefly, but was rescued by Slice and Dice who found her by accident. She is reunited with Cobra. As revealed in her complaints, she had spent months in a dungeon on Cobra Island, abandoned there with Road Pig and Cesspool.[[Ninjas Own the Night|Ninjas Own the Night]] She was partly responsible for recruiting Scarlett (although Scarlett turned out to be a double agent). After Dr. Mindbender was revived by Cobra Commander, he "cut Zarana loose" and she returns to the Dreadnoks.

Devil's Due Comics continuity
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G.I. Joe vs. Transformers

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Action Force (British) Comics continuity

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Blackthorne Comics continuity

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Hasbro Comics continuity

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Animated continuity

Sunbow animated series

Voiced by: Lisa Raggio

Zarana from the A Real American Hero animated continuity.


Zarana first appears in the G.I. Joe episode "Arise Serpentor, Arise". She and Zandar join their brother Zartan when he is auditioning new members of the Dreadnoks. In the episode "Computer Complications", Zarana goes undercover at a Joe base as "Carol Weidler". During that time, she and Mainframe develop romantic feelings for each other. At the end of the episode, Zartan, sitting with the Dreadnoks at a campfire, jokes with her as she stands off from the group, gazing at the moon: "Hey, Zarana, I’ve been thinking! Maybe you ought to quit the Dreadnoks, go marry that wimp, get a house in the suburbs, have kids." to which she responds by shooting in the direction of the Dreadnoks' campfire, causing them to scatter. The episode ends showing both Mainframe and Zarana, miles away from each other looking at the moon, perhaps pondering the same question.She was briefly reunited with Mainframe in "Grey Hairs And Growing Pains", where she—without her brother's knowledge—supplied him with the antidote that would restore him (and the other Joes) to their proper ages.

G.I. Joe: The Movie

In G.I. Joe: The Movie, Zarana impersonates a blonde woman named Heather, who gets Lt. Falcon to give her a "tour" of the place where Serpentor is being held. She uses mini-cameras in her earrings to take pictures of the prison. Her identity was confirmed to the viewers, when the Dreadnoks arrive at the lake Zarana as Heather stops at. The devices Zarana plants in G.I. Joe's base helps Cobra/Cobra-la break Serpentor out. When Falcon and others sneak into Cobra-La, Zarana is knocked out by Jinx

DiC animated series

Zarana and the Dreadnoks (including Gnawgahyde) are still working for Cobra, but Zartan's status is unconfirmed. During "the Operation Dragonfire miniseries", Zarana is dating Destro, but is dumped (via trap door) by him when Baroness and Cobra Commander regain control of Cobra.

In the episode "The Nozone Conspiracy" she appears alongside Cobra Commander, Metal-Head and Gnawgahyde promoting a Cobra sun-cream.

Zarana in Nozone Conspiracy.jpg

In the episode "Injustice and the Cobra way" she and Cobra Commander(disguised as a superhero) capture the president in a plot to take over the White House.

In the episode "General Confusion" she disguises herself as "Dr. Deborah Carday" a member of the US senate in a plot to review G.I. Joe team's massive expenses. She also tricks Big Ben into falling in love with her.

In the episode "The Mind Mangler", Zarana disguises herself as the daughter of a Cobra operative named Mind Mangler (in reality a robot). Zarana tries to interrogate Duke, but the Sky Patrol comes to his rescue. Zarana accompanies them, but she is discovered and has to retreat.

Direct-to-video series

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Sigma 6 animated series

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Generation 1
Zarana 1986.jpg A Real American Hero (1986)

Zarana was first introduced in the 1986 series of A Real American Hero toys. Although the character is associated with the Dreadnoks, her card package identifies as her as "Zarana: The Enemy".

Appearance: red hair; pink halter-top shirt with red holster; red and black gloves; blue ripped jeans with pink underneath; red belt and holster; black boots with red kneepads

Accessories: red backpack (with sculpted flashlight); black saw rifle with petal-shaped blades.

Variations: Early releases of Zarana had earrings, a rounder face, and lighter red trim; this variation is considered quite rare. There is also a variation with lighter red trim but no earrings. page/Filecard

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  • Spy Troops (2003)
Zarana was among the number of characters included in the SpyTroops line. She is carded in a two-pack with Gung-Ho.
Spy Troops file card
  • Dreadnoks Rampage (2004)
A repaint of the original Zarana action figure is included in the Dreadnoks Rampage pack, an exclusive for the 2004 G.I. Joe Convention. The filecard identifies her as Dreadnok leader when Zartan is absent.
Dreadnoks Rampage file card
  • Comic Pack (2005)
A Zarana action figure is among the number of Comic Packs for 2005. In this three-pack, she is included along with Zartan, Cobra Commander and a copy of the comic book G.I. Joe #74.
  • San Diego Comic Con (2011)

Zarana was the G.I.Joe SDCC exclusive of 2011. This figure marks the first time that Zarana was made available in a 25th Anniversary style sculpt.


Original Zarana design.
  • Zarana was designed in 1984 by Ron Rudat. At that point, she was only identified as "The 1986 Cobra Female Dreadnok" and she had a dragon tattoo on her arm and another tattoo over her eye.
  • The writers' guide for the Sunbow series suggested that Main-Frame [sic] and Zarana would "deliberately avoid harming one another" and "even provide the other an opportunity to escape" whenever they encountered each other after their romantic interlude. However, "such compassion and generosity on their part does bit [sic] extend to other Joes, Dreadnoks, or Cobra troopers.".[1]

See also

External links


  1. Steve Gerber, G.I. Joe Writers' Guide (Sunbow Productions, Inc., 1985), 14-15. Available as a PDF at

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