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Dr. Mindbender is a fictional character from the 1980s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero toyline, comics, and animated series. He is a scientist who works for the fictional terrorist organization COBRA.
Dr. Bender was at one time a peace-loving orthodontist. He built a machine to relieve dental pain, using electric brainwave stimulation. Unfortunately he tested it on himself, and when it went haywire, he became hateful, deceitful and vain. Dr. Mindbender abandoned his practice and joined forces with Cobra, devoting all his time to perfecting his digital brain-scrambling. He is a master of mind control and interrogation, but his expertise also includes genetics, cloning, dentistry, and some cybernetics.
Doctor Mindbender is first shown in the G.I. Joe episode "No Place Like Springfield Part 2" voiced by Brian Cummings. Shipwreck runs through Cobra's base and knocks a vial of chemicals out of the doctor's hand. They land on his head, causing him to lose his hair. Mindbender is Cobra's chief interrogator and science officer. He hates Cobra Commander (who calls him "Fender-Bender"). In "Arise Serpentor Arise", he collaborates with Destro and Tomax and Xamot in a plot to obtain DNA samples of the best militaristic minds in history, because he feels Cobra needs a leader that can inspire courage in its cowardly troops. This results in the creation of Serpentor. Doctor Mindbender is easily Serpentor's most loyal member of Cobra's High command (and as such Serpentor trusted Doctor Mindbender the most out of the Cobra High Command, even being exceptionally lenient if a mission's failure is Mindbender's fault), but there are times when he considers the monarch to be a "spoiled brat".
G.I. Joe: The Movie
In G.I. Joe: The Movie, it is revealed that the idea to create Serpentor was planted in Mindbender's brain by Golobulus (the leader of Cobra-La) using the "Psychic Motivator". Doctor Mindbender appears outraged by this, as he had thought of Serpentor as his own creation, but he quickly falls into line and begins serving Cobra-La. Doctor Mindbender is present in the final battle between Cobra, Cobra-La and the Joes.
Spy Troops and Valor vs. Venom
In the new continuity set by the rendered 3D movies, Doctor Mindbender once again serves as Cobra's chief scientist. In G.I. Joe: Spy Troops, he creates a new and improved Battle Android Trooper, and uses stolen G.I. Joe technology to create headsets which allow Destro and Storm Shadow to control the B.A.T.s in battle. Doctor Mindbender is also working on Venom Troopers, but ultimately loses all of his research when the Cobra base is destroyed. Cobra Commander flippantly tells him to start over, leaving Doctor Mindbender shocked and appalled at such a suggestion.
For G.I. Joe: Valor vs. Venom, Doctor Mindbender has rebuilt all of his research, and the Venom project is now fully up and running. Thanks to Doctor Mindbender's genius, Cobra begins kidnapping people from around the world and turning them into animal/human hybrids. Doctor Mindbender warns Cobra Commander about putting too much Venom into a single subject but the Commander ignores him. The captured General Hawk is transformed into Venomous Maximus, a being so powerful he quickly seizes power of Cobra with the help of Overkill. Cobra Commander and Doctor Mindbender are captured by Maximus and Overkill. As the Joes attack while Maximus goes to launch his Venom missile, Doctor Mindbender is forced to join forces with his G.I. Joe rival, Hi-Tech, and work against Maximus. They reverse the polarity of the Venom missiles, which in turn destroy Cobra's base. In the confusion following the battle, Doctor Mindbender makes his escape.
Doctor Mindbender did not appear in G.I. Joe: Sigma 6. Instead, Overkill has taken over his role as Cobra's chief scientist.
In G.I. Joe: Renegades, Doctor Mindbender appears as a young bio-scientist named Dr. Brian Bender who is wanted for his illegal experimentations. Hired by Cobra Commander, Mindbender uses Cobra Industries' connections to enable its leader to become immortal to cheat death. In the process, Mindbender developed the Bio Vipers which would serve as Cobra's militant power. However, the Joes infiltrated the lab where Mindbender created the first generation of Bio-Vipers and Ripcord sacrificed himself to destroy it. Though thought to be dead, Mindbender found Ripcord's comatose body and learned that the young man absorbed Bio-Viper matter and turned into a human/Bio-Viper hybrid to help in his research. Through the first season, being pursued by the Joes, Mindbender sought to improve on his Bio-Vipers by exploring a variety of ways, including holding Tomax and Xamot captive to use their psychic ability to modify the Bio Vipers.
In "Prodigal" when the Joes find an amnesiac Ripcord and break him out of the hospital, Mindbender assured Cobra Commander that this would be a good chance to test Ripcord's Bio-Viper form on the Joes by using the Cobra Drones to take control through the control chip in Ripcord. But when Ripcord breaks himself free his control, Cobra Commander decides to have Serpentor devour Mindbender for failing him. However, Mindbender is quick to remind Cobra Commander that he still needs him to cheat death when threatening to expose his condition to the other subordinates. Though Cobra Commander allows Mindbender to live for now while punishing him with an electrical blast from his cane, promising the doctor that Ripcord's retrieval is vital for both of them to live.
In "The Anomaly," Doctor Mindbender tries to create his human/Bio-Viper hybrid. The first one seems to fall apart but actually comes together in the sewers. When the Sewer Viper is mistaken as a Sewer Monster in New York, Cobra Commander sends Doctor Mindbender to reclaim it for sending some of Cobra's elite soldiers would end up having the Sewer Viper traced back to Cobra Industries. Doctor Mindbender manages to bring some Bio-Vipers along and have a fail-safe installed in the Bio-Vipers that would cause them to explode enough to level a section of the city in the event that Doctor Mindbender's neuro-link helmet is separated from him. When his Bio-Vipers managed to trap the Joes and Tunnel Rat's brother Teddy in the subway, Doctor Mindbender uses his neuro-link helmet to take control of Ripcord. When the Sewer Viper attacks, Doctor Mindbender tries to take control of it only for it to not have a control chip in it. The Sewer Viper manages to remove the control chip from Ripcord's head freeing him from Doctor Mindbender's control. Ripcord manages to destroy the neuro-link helmet and was about to take revenge on Doctor Mindbender for what he did for him only for Duke to intervene. When the Bio-Vipers start to explode, the Sewer Viper ends up sacrificing itself to absorb the blast while Doctor Mindbender escapes.
In the "Revelations" 2-Parter, Doctor Mindbender and Destro end up working on rebuilding the M.A.S.S. Device that Scarlett's father Professor Patrick O'Hara worked on while attempting to replicate the crystal needed to power it. Scarlett and Snake Eyes fight Baroness and Doctor Mindbender in the room where the M.A.S.S. device is before the Bio-Vipers restraint them so Scarlett can be forced into entering the code to the M.A.S.S. Device using Snake Eyes as bait. The M.A.S.S. Device is a success as Professor Patrick O'Hara emerges from the M.A.S.S. device. After Snake Eyes ends up destroying the M.A.S.S. Device, its destruction causes a wormhole that sucks Baroness and Doctor Mindbender in. It is unknown what happened to them.
Doctor Mindbender also appears in a flashback in the 2009 film G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra played by Kevin J. O'Connor. In the remainder of the film the character known as 'The Doctor' is implied to be Doctor Mindbender by his characteristic monocle. It is revealed that he passed the secrets of nano-technology on to Rex Lewis (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who was 'The Doctor' before assuming his Cobra Commander persona. His fate in the film is unclear; their laboratory is destroyed (leading to the Commander's severe scarring) but Rex tells Duke that Doctor Mindbender trained him in nanotechnology after the attack. In the DVD release, additional dialogue indicates that Doctor Mindbender survived. In the commentary, director Stephen Sommers says there is a good chance Doctor Mindbender would return in a sequel. However he does not.
- Mindbender could be the Bigger Bad in Rise of Cobra because he trained Rex in nano-technology, and therefore he's indirectly responsible for Rex's transformation into Cobra Commander.
- Doctor Mindbender appears in the Robot Chicken episode "Joint Point" voiced by Seth Green. In a documentary segment that parodies the Terror Drome in the style of The Office, Doctor Mindbender explains how he runs a class to train the Cobra Organization's new recruits.
- The figure receives a brief mention in the 'Stephen King Companion' non-fiction essay collection.
- The character is described on page 128 of the magazine 'The New Yorker'. Volume 62, 1986.
- Another mention is made in 'Out of the garden: toys, TV, and children's culture in the age of marketing'.