* AlternateCharacterInterpretation: Even in-universe Cobra Commander was derided as a DirtyCoward and GeneralFailure. [[RealityEnsues However, in Serpentor's first episode, Cobra was almost destroyed by the fact it didn't have the military hardware to fight the United States of America]]. Cobra Commander ordering retreats whenever things turned south was probably the smartest thing he could have done.
* BaseBreakingCharacter: Serpentor. There are fans who like him for having an interesting backstory and being at least an inkling more competent than Cobra Commander as well as fans who hate him because he owes his existence to ExecutiveMeddling and see him as something of a ReplacementScrappy for Cobra Commander because of usurping control of Cobra from him.
* BrokenBase: A lot of fans disliked the Creator/DiCEntertainment continuation (though some at least consider the "Operation: Dragonfire" arc decent), but there are also fans who find it a good show on its own even if it doesn't quite live up to the quality of the Sunbow series.
* DorkAge: Many people feel this way about the Creator/DiCEntertainment continuation, following on the Sunbow series with a smaller budget, ArtShift and a number of other changes that weren't well received.
* EnsembleDarkhorse:
** Senior Cadet Sheila [=McDermott=] at the Cobra Academy, a one-episode minor villain. A DarkActionGirl who served as TheDragon to that story's major villain, [[SociopathicSoldier Commandant [=McCann=]]], she is popular mainly for providing a name and human face for the regular, usually anonymous Cobra soldiers, who was more of a "realistic" fascist true believer than a megalomaniac supervillain. (Though it probably didn't hurt that hers was an ''[[EvilIsSexy attractive]]'' face, either.)
** And Raven, the Strato-Viper (Cobra AcePilot) from one of the last Sunbow episodes. For much the same reasons, really.
* EvilIsCool: Most Cobra characters, really; even the much-maligned Cobra Commander manages it on occasion. [[FashionVictimVillain Serpentor]] might be an exception, while Dr. Mindbender definitely is.
* EvilIsSexy:
** The Baroness, obviously.
** Cadet Sheila [=McDermott=]. Especially noteworthy because she ''' ''completely'' ''' averts the CustomUniformOfSexy rule ''all'' other female villains in the series fall victim to, and still looks great in a [[PuttingOnTheReich standard Cobra dress uniform]].
** Played with, and to some extent inverted, with Zarana, who is [[BeautyEqualsGoodness actually more attractive]] in her undercover identity as classy US Army Sergeant Carol Weedler than as herself.
** At least some people consider Destro a male example.
* FanonDiscontinuity: The Cobra-La storyline is often ignored by fans. And sometimes everything that came after it, too.
* FirstInstallmentWins: There have been plenty of other ''Franchise/GIJoe'' cartoons, but not only was ''RAH'' the first, it remains the most popular.
* FridgeBrilliance: Combined with HilariousInHindsight, if you say "Yo, Joe!" backwards, you get [[WesternAnimation/TheRenAndStimpyShow "Oh, joy!"]]...
* FridgeHorror:
** When Scarlett and the [[EvilTwin Duke android]] fight in "Synthoid Conspiracy". Imagine if they were real people: She knows he's a fake by then, but it's still a young woman ''beaten up and almost killed'' by someone who looks, walks and talks ''exactly'' like the man she loves, down to the smallest detail. Of course, she's saved before he does any permanent damage to her, but even so, what does that (realistically) do to her psychologically? Will she ever feel safe with Duke again?
** "Glamour Girls," when Cobra kidnap auditioning young model hopefuls to feed to a latter-day [[LifeDrinker Countess Bathory]] expy. This is obviously pretty bad in itself, but if one ignores the fantastic life-draining aspect, the episode reads ''very'' much like Cobra are running a human trafficking ring.
** [[DarkActionGirl Zarana's]] life might double as this. See the [[Tearjerker/GIJoeARealAmericanHero Tearjerker page]] for more details.
** Extensive Enterprises. GI Joe ''knows'' this massively corrupt MegaCorp is run by Cobra, but they apparently can't shut it down. Only two explanations for this are possible. Either Washington is so corrupt in this setting that the government protects a company that ''finances domestic terrorism.'' Or, even worse: Cobra is so ''powerful'' that they can lean on the government to stay out of their business.
** That last bit must be true, anyway. Cobra semi-regularly ''launches full-blown military attacks'' on domestic targets in the CONUS, with ''air support and armor'', and the government is by all accounts either unable or unwilling to stop them. So, imagine what a CrapsackWorld this universe must be: The ''United States'' is subject to air raids by an NGOSuperpower of fascist terrorists, like Yemen or Pakistan are to American bombings in real life.
** The Cobra Academy, which turns out the elite of Cobra's troops. It's run by a dishonorably discharged ex-Marine who ''is'' an exemplary soldier and brilliant officer, but who was run out of the Corps because he is also a bully and {{Sadist}} who injured, abused and extorted his own classmates as a cadet. Now he's in charge...
** Really, a lot of Cobra's cartoonish villainy becomes this if one stops to think about it. For example, having unarmed captives fight wild beasts for entertainment? Within the limits of the show (where, of course, nothing graphic happens) this makes for an exciting scene; taken seriously, it means that the Cobra leaders are depraved sadists on par with the nastier Roman emperors, who enjoy seeing people horribly mauled and eaten alive.
** Lady Jaye is a bastard daughter of the McCullen clan, which Destro is the head of, which means she has the taint of the Old Ones InTheBlood. Suddenly, all her [[NonLethalWarfare improbable survivals]] and [[SuperWeight extreme physical feats]] in the series take on a new and more frightening significance...
** In the animated movie, the reaction from various characters of seeing Cobra Commander after his exposure to a spore pod.
** Also in the movie, what all the Joes captured by the "trees" may have gone through, could those trees have had some kind of anesthetic effect, like when a close up of Scarlet later is shown with her eyes closed, or could they, especially Roadblocks detachment from earlier, have been awake the whole time?
** In "The Traitor" Duke schemes to sabotage large amounts of Cobra's arsenal by letting them have the Joe team's secret armor formula, which he knows is unstable and thus unreliable. A lot of Cobra equipment is ruined, which is cool and all, but what if Cobra actually found a way to ''stabilize'' the armor formula?
* HarsherInHindsight: The idea of a terrorist NGOSuperpower with a faceless leader and a legion of brainwashed fanatics taking over whole countries and terrorizing the world isn't as fictional now as in the 1980s. Granted, Cobra is ''very'' different from ISIS thematically, but there are some parallels.
* HilariousInHindsight:
** Cobra Commander, in the stories where he went into politics. He generally ran a populist campaign against government corruption and incompetence, offering the people simple and drastic solutions to Washington's shenanigans and ranting against the [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything crooked media]] and the villainy of the [[ConspiracyTheorist Federal Reserve]]. Like Pat Buchanan, he was a couple of decades ahead of his times...
** The episode "The Wrong Stuff" features a parody of ''Series/TheATeam'' as one of the television programs used by Cobra to poison the world's minds and ends with the B.A. Baracus stand-in asking to work for the Joes. This becomes hilariously more relevant because the later cartoon ''WesternAnimation/GIJoeRenegades'' had a considerable amount of influence from ''The A-Team''.
* InferredHolocaust: Many of Cobra's attacks are of a type that ''will'' have lasting consequences, though these are generally not addressed beyond the end of the episode.
** For just one example, the story where they attacked New York and fired heavy artillery into the inner city, blowing down whole skyscrapers. Since nothing indicated it had been evacuated (with panicking crowds running through the streets), there should be thousands dead as an absolute minimum.
** "Cobra Stops the World" had them cutting off the US entirely from foreign sources of petroleum, and destroying enough of domestic refining and distribution infrastructure to drive the economy to a standstill. In other words, think 1970s oil crisis on super-steroids. This will totally wreck not only the US, but the ''global'' economy for years to come. And depending on just how successful they were--Apparently very much so, since even the military forces were on critical rationing--there might even be starvation and social breakdown in the cities, when food distribution fails for lack of fuel.
* MoralEventHorizon: ''All'' Cobra leaders dive headfirst through it. Their doomsday plots will generally amount to mass genocide, but they're totally ruthless (and often sadistic) about ''little'' things, too. In no particular order:
** Cobra Commander going IHaveYouNowMyPretty on Scarlett. ''Not'' made any better by the fact that he subsequently [[DevouredByTheHorde feeds her to a thousand tarantulas]]. [[KickTheDog And Scarlett is an arachnophobic, too...]]
** The Baroness (using mind control) trying to force Scarlett's father to kill her, and what she tries to get Shipwreck's nephew to do later.
** And with Zartan, the way he treats Zarana. See TearJerker, below.
** Averted on the personal level with Storm Shadow, who is not sadistic and can be a sort of NobleDemon on his better days. However, he's still working for genocidal fascists. In one story, he even tried to destroy his own country, Japan, for them.
** If they hadn't already qualified separately, Cobra Commander, Destro and the Baroness cross it jointly when they laugh at a young woman about to be eaten by a polar bear.
* {{Narm}}:
** Many of Cobra Commander's lines straddle the line between this, deliberate SmugSnake, and [[VisionaryVillain actually badass visionary evil]]. Which are which is subject to dispute.
** Serpentor, on the other hand, is very easily classified. ''' ''[[CatchPhrase "THIS I]] [[NoIndoorVoice COMMAND!!"]]'' '''
** General Hawk's "reaction" to the giant cobra about to eat him in "The Nightmare Machine".
* NightmareFuel: ''Incredible'' amounts of this for a show now remembered for softness and barely-there violence, so much so that it now has [[NightmareFuel/GIJoeARealAmericanHero its own page]].
* ReplacementScrappy: Serpentor, to a certain extent. While Cobra Commander was still around, many fans were irked that Serpentor usurped Cobra Commander's position as leader of Cobra and had him [[DemotedToDragon reduced to being his minion]].
* RootingForTheEmpire: Despite Cobra being shown to be much more blatantly evil than, say, the [[Franchise/StarWars original Empire]]. Because EvilIsCool and gets cooler uniforms than the good guys.
** Sadly, some [[MisaimedFandom real-life fascists]] apparently like Cobra because they're Nazis lite, PuttingOnTheReich and being [[EvilColonialist ethnic whites ruling Third World countries]]. This is supposed to contrast positively against the multiculturalism of the Joes.
* SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped: While "The Greatest Evil" is yet another DrugsAreBad episode, it does demonstrate a fairly realistic representation of the consequences of drug addiction by showing Falcon's addiction to drive a wedge between him and Duke, a Cobra member's sister ending up in a coma, and the Headman ultimately meeting his end [[KarmicDeath from overdosing on his own drug]].
* TakeThatScrappy: Serpentor's transformation into an iguana in the [=DiC=] series' "Operation: Dragonfire" arc can be seen as a satisfying comeuppance by those who see him as a ReplacementScrappy for Cobra Commander.