Not much is known about COBRA's evil master of disguise known as Zartan, except that he'll do anything for money. According to the Devil's Due comics, Zartan and his siblings, Zarana and Zandar, were born to a French movie actress and a movie mask maker who had quite the temper. When their parents were killed in a car crash, the children were sent to an orphanage. After killing a bully who was harassing Zandar, Zartan fled the orphanage, and lived a life of crime, using his talent for disguise in his exploits. As an adult, Zartan is the leader of the Dreadnoks (having killed the original leader), a crew of Austrailian mercenaries, and frequently operates with COBRA.
Zartan first appeared in the G.I. Joe mini-series "The Revenge of Cobra", along with Dreadnoks Buzzer, Ripper and Torch. He and the Dreadnoks abduct Colonel Sharp, so that Zartan can impersonate him and free Cobra Commander from prison. In the cartoon, his disguise techniques are all masks, make-up and vocal impersonating techniques. In "The Revenge of Cobra", Zartan and the Dreadnoks recover a piece of Destro's Weather Dominator, offering to sell it to the highest bidder, Cobra or G.I. Joe.
Zartan is also initially able to change the color of his skin to perfectly blend in with his background. Zartan's camouflage abilities are negated by the sun, causing his skin to turn blue (much like his action figure), and weakening him significantly. However, both aspects were dropped almost immediately after the first season began. "Countdown For Zartan" was the last episode to showcase this particular ability.
Zartan appeared throughout season one of the cartoon, and was one of the few Cobra characters to carry over to season two, along with Cobra Commander, Baroness and Destro. In the second season of G.I. Joe, he expanded the Dreadnoks to include his younger siblings, Zarana and Zandar, as well as Monkeywrench and Thrasher. The Zartan of the cartoon had a rivalry with Destro, who considered Zartan a petty criminal. He was also a more cowardly character, often fleeing battle when things turned against him. His loyalty usually lay with Cobra Commander, even after Serpentor took control of Cobra. Zartan also helped Cobra replace people with Synthoids in one episode.
G.I. Joe: The Movie
In G.I. Joe: the Movie, Zartan is seen being angry with Cobra Commander, for blaming his lacking courage on the troops. Zartan is given a valuable gem by Pythona of Cobra-La, so that he and his Dreadnoks will aid them in freeing Serpentor. They accomplish their task, but Zartan himself is curiously absent from then on, and is not seen during the final battle at the film's climax.
Powers and Abilities
Aside from his natural talent for disguise, Zartan posseses the power of camoflague, allowing him to blend into his backgorund. However, as a side effect of this power, Zartan's skin turns navy blue when exposed to sunlight.
In Live-action movies
In the ending of Rise Of Cobra , Zartan took disguise as US President and will appeared in the sequel as one of villains in the movie. He was killed by Storm Shadow
- In the Classic RAH toyline, Zartan's bio-card said that he had Paranoid Schizophrenia and Multiple Personality Disorder, but a cease and desist order from a mental health care facility prevented this from being brought up again.
- In Live Action movie he was played Arnold Vasslo who best known for his role as Imhotep in The Mummy (1998)
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G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero