Enemy Leader, Commander, Old Snake (in G1 Transformers)
G.I. Joe, A Real American Hero Comic Series
Supreme Ruler of the Cobra Organization, Terrorist
Master manipulator, expert liar, former used car salesman, silver tongued, fair shot with a gun, swordsman
Ranting, plotting, leading revolutions and coups, punishing minions for failure, verbally abusing his men
Take over and gain control of the world's people, governments, wealth, and resources
Type of Villain
Terrorist / Arch-Enemy / Megalomaniac / Big Bad / Failure-Intolerant Villain / Complete Monster
|“||And this, is how I win the world...this juncture of course, is usually where the wheels come off...but not this time. Cutting the traitor Major Blud's heart in half right in front of you, RIGHT HERE, in this room, should have gotten the point across. It suited me once to appear WEAK and COWARDLY, because it motivated you PEOPLE to THINK! But today, is a new day. There will be no move to take over MY command. There will be no mistakes. There will be NONE of your CRAP! NONE OF IT!! Work with me, and I'll give you the world in less than 24 hours. Work against me, and I will gut you like a fish. RIGHT HERE.||„|
|~ Cobra Commander in G.I. Joe: Resolute|
Cobra Commander is the primary antagonist of the G.I. Joe franchise. He is the ruthless founder and leader of the Cobra Organization. He is known to have deliberately started political and social conflict in a number of areas around the world while fighting against the heroic G.I. Joe team. 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, which is none other than worldwide domination.
Cobra Commander does not 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 of Cobra Commander's past, but in his early career he was a used car salesman. 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. Storm Shadow was blamed for the murder and fled in search of the killer.
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 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.
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 and reached him holding Burkhart hostage. Burkhart tried to sacrifice herself to save the Joes. Scarlett injured the Commander but he managed to escape.
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 location. The Joes caught wind of the plan and it failed. Hoping to get a piece of G.I. Joe technology, the Commander initiates a plan to capture the MOBAT 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. 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 and then had them surrounded and take 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.
The Baroness and Major Bludd recruited Billy to carry out Cobra Commander's assassination, but he was intercepted by Destro before he could accomplish his task. 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 and they both escaped to New York, where Storm Shadow trained him in ninjitsu. Billy was later caught in the crossfire between the Soft Master and Cobra agent Scrap-Iron, when the car he was driving in exploded.
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. However Serpentor proved more than just a warrior but also a charismatic leader and skilful politician whose charisma in battle won him a strong following amongst Cobra troops.
Because of this, the Commander ordered Zartan and the Dreadnocks, who always remained loyal to him, to assassinate Serpentor disquised as members of the G.I. Joe Team, but Serpentor survived and used the incident to seize the initiative and demand an attack on the Joe base, despite Cobra Commander's misgivings.
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 save secrets. Cobra Commander and Destro were trapped underground, presumed dead. However they survived 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. 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. 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 the 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.
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 the empty grave.
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 morality and humanity, and rebuilt a new command infrastructure by instituting a brainwashing program to compel allegiance from those around him, including repeatedly brainwashing Destro, The Baroness, Zartan, Storm Shadow and Billy. He also became much more willing to kill, even personally executing Borovian rebels Magda and the White Clown.
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 he had fully restored the terrorist group, however, he was usurped by Destro's son, Alexander, who hoped to impress his father by eliminating his 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 is 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 Dreadknock Zartan, 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 in 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 Tomaz 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 nuke 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 to 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 Garrett Feedlow's place with Zartan's masking technology and that he would kill them, replacing them with his own operatives. Cobra Commander then proceeds to tell the President that the abilities of the GI 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 the attack, 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 Kamakaru, 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, and Cobra Commander captured their capitals, deposed the President of the United States and the royal family of Great Britain, and forced France and Russia to capitulate. Eventually, 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.
Classic G.I. Joe: RAH (Sunbow/DiC)
In the classic G.I. Joe cartoon, Cobra Commander is the main villain in the first season. Using his organization, Cobra Commander attempts time and again to try and take over the world in a variety of ways, such as trying to force his own currency on people and creating his own TV station to brainwash the world. However, unlike the version described above, Cobra Commander is more like the Filmation Skeletor and the 1987 Shredder: he's extremely immature, childish and cowardly, prone to throwing infantile tantrums at his failures, and leaving his henchmen behind in the midst of battle. His failures finally drove Dr. Mindbender to create Serpentor, thus reducing Cobra Commander as a secondary antagonist.
In G.I. Joe the Movie, the truth about Cobra Commander's origin is revealed: Cobra Commander was a nobleman from the hidden city of Cobra-La, whose face sprouted extra eyes after a lab accident. Sensing the anger in the young man, Golobulus, the ruler of Cobra-La, used him to create the COBRA organization, but grew angry over Cobra Commander's failures. During the movie, Cobra Commander was devolved in a snake, and was kept as a pet by Serpentor. But the Baroness, wanting revenge on Destro and Serpentor, restored him to a semi-human form, and outfitted him with a special battle armor. Taking back his place as leader of COBRA, Cobra Commander continued with his semi-comical plans to take over the world, only to be foiled by G.I. Joe.Victor Drath to help him learn the secret of the synthoid technology to use it against the Autobots. After successfully luring them into a trap, the Commander had the consciousness of Rodimus Prime, Ultra Magnus, Arcee & Springer transfered into human bodies while obtaining the Autobots' robot bodies. Victor Drath then plans to destroy the Autobots' robot bodies but he was advised by the Commander not to as they have a useful weapon system. Eventually, the Autobots have regained their robot bodies & Drath & his gang were arrested. Cobra Commander had somehow manages to avoid capture offscreen. He then watches Drath & his gang get hauled away as he walks in the sunset. He mused himself by stating they "dont make terrorist like they used to be" & then shouting the old C.O.B.R.A. battlecry, only to end up coughing.
In G.I. Joe: Sigma 6, Cobra Commander's profile has been modified, stating that he considers himself a warrior king. This rendition of the character possesses snake-like eyes as well as full battle armor. He wears a helmet that resembles a snake's head and covers his face with a hood. The snake staff he carries contains a number of hidden weapons systems. The Commander was voiced by Marc Thompson.
G.I. Joe: Resolute
This Cobra Commander is a much more ruthless incarnation rather than the other weak, childlike or cowardly versions of his past. It has been several years since Cobra's last amount of activity, and the Joe's have their work cut out for them. But that all changes when the Commander himself adresses the assembled UN delegates via hologram with an ultimatum: give control of all their nations to him, or have them be destroyed one by one using Cobra's newest and deadliest weapon, the Space Laser Particle Beam. He gave them 24 hours to comply.
Naturally, GI Joe acted quickly, but the Commander had been expecting this and retaliated by crippling their battleship with most of their commanders on it. He then assembled his men in one room and adressed them, telling them he is not the coward of a man he used to be, that whoever thought they were man enough to challenge him would be cut down in this very throne room, nd that his plan is completely fool proof. But still the Joes managed to destroy the previously decomissioned Siberia base that housed the laser and destroy the satelite jamming system. But, it was discovered that CC still had another cannon housed in his base of Springfield, and destroyed the Joe battleship once and for all. The Joes then took the fight to the Commander, and attakced him head on. Battling their way through the hordes of Vipers, Duke managed to make his way to the control room, but was mocked by a sheltered Commander.
Cobra Commander had sealed himself in a bunker that is completely bullet and bomb proof with it's own food supply, life support system, and power generator. He taunts Duke that the system is set on Washington DC and there is no way to stop it. Duke then shoots the lock on the door, and retorts to a cackling Commander that it was to keep him inside his protective bunker. When the Commander glances to the monitor, he notices that it now has it's target as Springfield. The Commander spends his last moments pounding on the door of his bunker and cursing GI Joe. However, after the explosion, Cobra Commander is absent from the bunker.
G.I. Joe: Renegades
In the series G.I. Joe: Renegades, Cobra Commander is reinterpreted as a corporate businessman known as Adam DeCobray, CEO of the legitimate Cobra Industries, a Multinational conglomerate which masks his terrorist organization. He is egotistic, but nowhere as arrogant and pompous in his promotional speechmaking as some of his other incarnations. Suffering an disfiguring terminal condition that resorts to him wearing a full breathing mask covered by plastic shielding wrap, Cobra Commander is forced to appear to the public as a normal-looking virtual simulation over video screens with only a few like Baroness knowing of his true appearance. However, only Doctor Mindbender knows the full truth of his condition as Cobra Commander funds the scientist's research in hopes to achieve immortality. Charlie Adler reprises the role of Cobra Commander for this series.
In Live Action Films
For more information, see Cobra Commander (G.I. Joe Movie) In G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra (2009) Commander was referred as doctor whose real name Rexford "Rex" Lewis who is friend Conrad "Duke" Hauser and brother to Ana Lewis who engaged with Cole and refred as the doctor. During the war Rex become influence by doctor and almost killed. He then kidnapped his own sister by turning her as Baroness
In G.I. Joe: Retaliation Storm Shadow and ex-Joe Firefly rescue Cobra Commander from a penitentiary in Germany and they escaped and Cobra Commander later modified his Prison Mask into a new helmet and escaped by helicoptor when Storm Shadow and Joes deafted them
- Megatron (Transformers series)
- Mr. C. Montgomery Burns (The Simpsons)
- Prince John (Disney's Robin Hood)
- The Brain (Pinky and the Brain)
- Yzma (The Emperor's new Groove series)
- Count Dooku (Star Wars series)
- The Queen of Hearts (Disney's Alice in Wonderland)
- Father (K.N.D.) (Codename: Kids Next Door)
- Many Transformers fans would oftentimes compare Cobra Commander to Starscream as both were notoriously treacherous, as well arrogant & cowardly & had a superior they wanted to get rid. Surprisingly they both share the same voice actors depending any incarnations (Chris Latta both voiced the Sunbow Cobra Commander & G1 Starscream, Michael Dobson voiced Cobra Commander in the movies G.I.Joe Sky Troops & G.I. Joe: Valor Vs Venom & the Unicron trilogy incarnation of Starscream & Charlie Adler voiced the Resolutes/Regenerades incarnation of Cobra Commander & the live-action incarnation of Starscream; Seth Green in turn voiced both of them in the parody sketch Robot Chicken).