The Big Bad of the franchise. Sometimes a scion from some bizarre ancient civilization, a used car salesman who lost everything and became insane, a renegade European ex-soldier/scientist, "Adam DeCobray" or the Baroness' younger brother. Whatever the case, Cobra Commander lusts for world domination above all else. He is hatred and terror personified (...except in the 80s cartoon), and really hates G.I. Joe.
- Aborted Arc: Cobra Commander spends the latter part of Sunbow's season 2 crafting an elaborate plan to dethrone Serpentor. The final episode sees most of the Cobra forces returning to Cobra Commander and Serpentor realizing what is going on. The movie ignores all of this, seemingly picking up where "Arise Serpentor, Arise!" left off.note
- If Sunbow's third season had been greenlit, they would have picked up on this: Cobra Commander would have been restored to a humanoid appearance by the supporters he acquired at the end of season 2, only to discover that Cobra had splintered into smaller syndicates - most notably M.A.R.S. (Destro's organization) and the Crimson Coil (led by Tomax and Xamot). He would have gone to work re-unifying them into a cohesive whole.
- Abusive Parents: In the comics, he is rather abusive to his son Billy.
- Adaptational Badass: He is much more competent and deadly in Sigma 6, Resolute and Renegades.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: In G.I. Joe: The Movie, he is shown to have light blue skin due to being a member of a secret civilization of humanoids evolved from reptiles.
- Badass Mustache: Had one when unmasked in Marvel comics, paired with a ponytail and mirrored Cool Shades. Larry Hama has indicated this is a disguise and not his actual appearance.
- Bald of Evil: Several continuities depict him as bald underneath the hood, most notably G. I. Joe: The Movie, The Rise Of Cobra, Retaliation and Renegades.
- The Blank/The Faceless: When wearing his featureless reflective mask.
- Buried Alive: The invasion of "The Pit" following the Battle of Springfield led to this for the Commander and Destro; they got out thanks to finding a Drill Tank Escape Pod. Happens again when he's shot by Fred VII and buried in a shallow grave; thankfully for the Commander, Fred VIII was spying on VII and got him out in time.
- Butt-Monkey: In the 80s cartoon. Even compared to his contemporaries, such as Skeletor, Shredder, and Megatron, all whom are infamous for their ineptitude, he's somehow an even bigger failure than them all combined.
- Captain Ersatz: Given the comic was essentially a tweaking of Larry Hama's "Fury Force" pitch to Marvel, he was very much Baron Zemo. The hood (which was an invention of the comic) clinches it.
- "COBRA, RETREAT... RETREAT!"
- "I was once a man!" During the movie, repeatedly screaming as he transforms into a snake. In the IDW series, he used it frequently figuratively, referring to how he threw aside his humanity to become a terrorist.
- Chekhov's Skill: In the Marvel comic, he tells Destro one of the first tricks he learned after turning to crime was hot-wiring cars. A useful skill to have when you need to jack a vehicle for a quick escape.
- Composite Character: In the European Action Force continuity, the old Big Bad, Baron Ironblood decides to abandon the Red Shadows and build Cobra instead, becoming Cobra Commander.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive:
- In the original Marvel saga, he founds "Arb Co." as a legitimate business to cover-up his criminal exploits.
- In Renegades, he is Adam DeCrobray, CEO of Cobra Industries. He's just as evil as ever.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: In Sunbow, although generally portrayed as inept and imbecilic, his plans were often very dangerous, to the point that sheer luck was several times the only thing that saved the Joes. At the end of the "Arise, Serpentor, Arise!" mini-series, he actually saves the Cobra leaders from the Joes and uses this to talk Serpentor into keeping him around as The Dragon, as opposed to killing him.
- Death by Adaptation:
- The 2008 IDW continuity kills him off early on at the end of G.I. Joe: Cobra II, but his mantle is subsequently taken up by Cobra operatives Krake, Tomax and the Baroness.
- Transformers vs. G.I. Joe ends with his son Billy killing him by detonating the explosives in his helmet.
- The 2019 IDW continuity ends with him and the Baroness dying when their escape helicpoter blows up in flames during G.I. Joe's final battle with Cobra.
- Demoted to Dragon: Only in the Sunbow run of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, where Serpentor usurps him as leader of Cobra. The DiC continuation has him back as The Big Bad again after being restored to human(oid) form thanks to The Baroness and turning Serpentor into an iguana.
- Depending on the Artist: Cobra Commander has two main looks—As depicted above—. Both were used in toys, comics and cartoons, there's no real rhyme or reason about why he changes it, except that the helmet may have some practicality in battle.
- He spent most of the very first issue of the ARAH comic in his hood, which he refers to as a "Ceremonial piece", before donning his "battle helmet" to confront the Joes. After his return to Cobra in issue #98, though, he almost exclusively wore the hood, with helmets only appearing as part of a Powered Armor set.
- Hasbro themselves seemed to favor the hood- the original 1982 action figure and it's 1983 swivel-arm release had the helmet, 1984 released the figure with the hood. Hasbro did not release another helmeted version until 1987- in between then it was either the hood, battle armor or a gimmick uniform. There's one helmeted figure each 3 or 4 hooded.
- Sigma 6 blended the two looks, pairing the hood with an open-faced barbute.
- Larry Hama stated that the difference strives upon the situation. The hood was for ceremonial purposes, when meeting with troops or other members of the Cobra High Command. The helmet was for combat purposes. This wasn't carried over to the cartoon, where he switched out between the two looks, sometimes between scenes.
- Diabolical Mastermind: Due to being a wanted terrorist leader for an world-wide organization, he uses whatever means in his disposal to achieve world domination.
- Dirty Coward: Maybe not dirty, but he definitely had the coward part down in the cartoon.
- Empty Shell: In G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers: The Art of War, the Commander takes over the body of Serpentor Prime, but it short-circuits when Hawk accesses the Autobot Matrix of Leadership and its knowledge is passed to him. The Commander's mind is trapped in a non-functioning robot body, while his human one is light-years away, in a catatonic state.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: In contrast to his callous murder of his own son in the Devil's Due continuity, the IDW continuation of the Marvel Comics saga depicts him as actually distraught by the news that his son was killed by Blue Ninjas, to the point that he ends up consumed by the desire to destroy all the Blue Ninjas to avenge his son's death.
- Even Evil Has Standards: In DIC's cartoons, Cobra Commander doesn't allow the sale of drugs.
- Nor in the comics, as he hijacked a top-secret US laser installation to blow up a drug shipment to get back at the dealer who was operating in the Cobra-owned town of Broca Beach.
- Evil Counterpart: In the early issues, Cobra Commander fancies himself as General Flagg's counterpart. This is dropped after Flagg's death.
- Evil Genius/Mad Scientist: In many incarnations it's obliquely shown that he has a scientific background, and it seems he designs at least some of his wacky toys himself, although like Fu Manchu he spends all his screen time kidnapping other scientists or relying on Destro or Dr. Mindbender instead of doing his own work. Much more explicitly in the live-action film.
- Evil Laugh: A high-pitched, raspy shrieking guffaw that he eagerly belts out when it looks like he's winning.
- Evil Sounds Deep: The live-action movies take this route, most animated adaptations generally attempt to replicate Chris Latta's higher, screechier takenote . Larry Hama has said he envisioned the Commander sounding like Orson Welles.
- Evil Wears Black: In his He's Back! moment (see below), he's wearing a black version of his original ornate blue uniform, with matching hood. Other versions have worn black outfits as well.
- Explosive Anti-Tampering Mechanism: His helmet has an anti-tampering mechanism that detonates if it's given the incorrect combination to open it, or someone tries to tamper with the helmet's lock. When Snake Eyes detonates it in issue 13 of Transformers vs. G.I. Joe, it leaves the Commander's head a Pink Mist as he's Killed Off for Real
- Facial Horror:
- In Sunbow's cartoon, there's a reason he wears masks. Hinted at "Lights! Camera! Cobra!" when Destro walks in on Cobra Commander eating and is horrified to the point of turning his face and demanding the Commander put his mask back on, at which point Cobra Commander taunts that it takes a strong stomach to watch him eat. G, I, Joe: The Movie shows exactly what is under the hood; about a dozen Extra Eyes, all serpentine in appearance, scattered asymmetrically over his face. In the DIC cartoons, even after restored to humanoid form, he retains a reptilian appearance with green scales for skin and snake-like fangs.
- In the live-action films, Cobra Commander's face has significant burn scarring due to him surviving a friendly-fire bombing while serving in Iraq.
- His full face isn't shown in Renegades, but what we do see shows blue-ish color skin and reptilian-like features.
- Averted in both the Marvel and IDW comics, in which he's shown to have a completely normal face, and wears the mask for secrecy/propaganda purposes.
- Fatal Flaw: Pride, which often causes him to celebrate prematurely when extra vigilance could have ensured his total victory.
- Faux Affably Evil: At least in Sunbow´s cartoon, whenever he was being interviewed by the media, especially Hector Ramírez (the Hasbro-verse Geraldo Rivera expy), he would be a man of class and taste, the epitome of good manners, and made a compelling case that Cobra was "merely misunderstood" rather than evil, but when the cameras were off...
- From Nobody to Nightmare: He used to be a used cars salesman, in the comics.
- Frontline General/General Failure: When he deigns to personally involve himself in combat situations should be cause for worry, because he either has complete confidence in his current scheme, has a cunning (and oftentimes destructive) exit strategy in case things go out, or his back is against the wall and he's got nothing left to lose.
- It's true that the Joes won a lot through sheer luck, but Cobra Commander's arrogance, impetuousness and cowardice when directly under fire played a significant part in his defeat on many occasions.
- HeelFace Door-Slam: In the comics, he realizes how much of a monster he has become and attempts to leave COBRA behind. Then he gets shot.
- He's Back!: When he makes his grand return to Cobra Island in issue 98 of the Marvel comics. He's back and in black. Kicking asses (...and dogs!) and taking names! And that's just CC cleaning up his own house!
- Humongous Mecha: Cobra captured The Ark and use the Transformers within it as "Battle Android Troopers" disguised as Cobra vehicles, making Starscream into a Cobra Nightraven (and personal transport) in G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers. When Starscream escapes to fellow Decepticons led by Shockwave on Cybertron, a recording in the robot revealed the Commander lined Starscream's housing with plastic explosives. The resulting explosion takes out the top of Shockwave's tower and all the powerful Decepticons inside it. Reverse-engineering Decepticon techonology also allows them to create S.N.A.K.E.S. several feet high.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: The Sunbow's season one episode "The Gamesmaster" is a perfect example; he gets kidnapped by a Mad Scientist right out of his own base, he has to be saved several times by Flint and Lady Jaye, he almost drowns in liquefied butterscotch and ends up stumbling around —and falling into— a marshmallow swamp (yes, It Makes Sense in Context).
- Karma Houdini: Zigzagged in Sunbow; as the third season episode "Only Human" for The Transformers reveals, although Cobra was ultimately eliminated, the Commander escaped and survived without ever being brought to justice. However, although he got away with all his crimes, he never was able to achieve his goals, and Cobra was apparently put down so hard that even he was never able to revive it. This leads to his involvement in the episode, which ends with "Old Snake" forlornly lamenting that they don't make terrorists like they used to and trying to give a Cobra battle cry... only to trail off into spluttering coughs because his lungs can't handle it anymore.
- Notably averted in the Sigma 6's opening, as he's a prisoner in a specially made cell, having somehow been captured by G.I. Joe until Destro, Zartan, and The Baroness break him out, at which point he retaliates by completely obliterating the Joe's headquarters minus the main characters and a handful of vehicles.
- Kick the Dog: The page image for the trope of bad guys doing cruel things for no reason other than to be cruel depicts a scene of him literally kicking a canine in the Marvel comics.
- Large Ham:
- In most depictions, he's often the one shouting at the top of his lungs COBRAAAAAAAAA!!!!
- In Resolute: "LAUNCH THE DEFENSE SWARM, YOU MOROOOOOOOOONS!!!!!"
- Legacy Character:
Fred VII: Great thing about this armor, could be anybody inside it.
- Subverted in G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (Marvel), where Fred VII took on the identity after seemingly killing the original Cobra Commander, but the original eventually returned to reclaim his identity.
- Played straight in the 2008 IDW continuity, which establishes Cobra as an ancient conspiracy that has gone through multiple Cobra Commanders and within the series' present time shows four Cobra Commanders (with the first Cobra Commander succeeded after his death by Krake, Tomax and the Baroness each having a turn taking up the mantle).
- Billy succeeds his father as Cobra Commander #2 when near the end of issue 13 of Transformers vs. G.I. Joe he assumes command of the remnants of COBRA on Mars. He also inherits the Master Sword and title of "Snake-Eyes," merging his two roles by wearing Snake-Eyes' ninja uniform, only with a red COBRA insignia on the chest.
- Mistaken for Dying: The IDW miniseries Sierra Muerte (unrelated to the 2019 continuity) has him believe that he is dying and taking measures to try and cheat his inevitable demise, the ending revealing that he just has the flu.
- Multiple-Choice Past: Exactly where he comes from and who he is is never really made clear, and actively differs in between continuities. In Sunbow, Cobra Commander tells a journalist that he led an insurrection at his military academy, indicating that he was a human with military training. Later, G. I. Joe: The Movie reveals that he is an exiled scientist from Cobra-La. His Marvel Comics counterpart is a purely former used car salesman.
- Named by the Adaptation: The live-action films and Renegades are the only continuities where Cobra Commander is given a real name. It is Rex Lewis in the former and Adam DeCobray in the latter.
- No Name Given: With the exceptions of the live-action films and Renegades, Cobra Commander's actual name is never revealed.
- No-Nonsense Nemesis: During the brief run of Sigma 6, he pointedly does not fuck around, and is a serious threat. In fact, the very first thing he does in episode 1 is put G.I. Joe on the run, and keeps them there. He's also taken a few lessons from Serpentor in that he's far more vicious, far less forgiving of his underling's failures, and actually leads on the front by example, whenever possible. Still, at least on-screen, is not physically abusive, although he did seriously threaten an underling that he caught lying, and makes a point that disappointing him is very dangerous to Zartan, but like the original, respects his men when they bring forth new and creative tactics and strategies or they "show initiative" in wanting to utterly exterminate the Joes. He's also far more savvy than the 80s version about his own shortcomings, and doesn't let his ego blind him to a Starscream in his midst.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: In the Marvel Comics, this stemmed from Larry Hama's belief that "an idiot who thinks he isn't one" is just as dangerous as an Evil Genius.
- G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers has him and Cobra find The Ark the Transformers are in, and make most of them Battle Android Troopers. These force Lady Jaye, Flint and Hawk to realize that continuity's Cobra is a LOT more dangerous than they looked with these BATs.
- Even in the 80s cartoon, when he made the plans, personally, things got dicey for the US, and especially for G.I. Joe. The most notable example is when he built a space station solely for the purpose of seizing all the communication satellites and monopolizing the airwaves for the sake of pro-Cobra propaganda; it was so effective, Cobra was even receiving voluntary charitable donations. Even Destro couldn't fully understand the value of this until it went into effect. That plan only failed because Zartan and his merry men neglected zero-g training while the Joes did not.
- A second notable example is the episode where Cobra managed to get within a hair's breath of completely obliterating American currency — no, not the economy, the currency (dollar bills would turn to ash in people's hands. Money in vaults would be safe only while the vault doors were closed and turn to ash the instant the vault door opened.) For reference, imagine waking up to find your bank's records were all overwritten with zeroes, and your bank had to go to paper ledgers.
- In addition, Cobra Commander had certain media figures, like Hector Ramirez, wrapped around his finger.
- Resolute suggests that these quirks were all a ruse to get his men to think outside the box. When this doesn't go as he planned (inciting his men to either not take him seriously or try to usurp him), he decides to drop the act and become a serious threat.
- Offing the Offspring: The Devil's Due continuity has him kill his son Billy in America's Elite #33.
- Outliving One's Offspring: In the IDW continuation of the Marvel Comics continuity, Billy is killed off like in the Devil's Due continuity, but his death doesn't happen at Cobra Commander's hand and he is instead killed by the Blue Ninjas. Cobra Commander becomes distraught by the Blue Ninjas killing his son, to the point that he attempts to destroy them to avenge Billy.
- Powered Armor: The battle armor he wore during the DiC series and a bit of the comics before being taken by the Crimson Guard Fred VII to impersonate him. Late in the Marvel run, he received a new suit of Powered Armor that could be worn under his regular uniform, and allow him to go toe-to-toe with Snake-Eyes.
- Precision F-Strike: He abruptly swears in Resolute: "There will be none of your CRAP! NONE OF IT!!!"
- Psychopathic Manchild: In the 1980s cartoon, Cobra Commander is prone to violent tantrums and screaming fits when his plans fail.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Zigzagged: At least in the 80's cartoon, he had a surprisingly open door policy towards his underlings for a criminal organization. A notable example was the DIC series when one of his Crimson Guardsmen came forward with a plan to attack a heavily armed and armored drug cartel alongside GI Joe. C.C. accepted the proposal because it was creative, original, and the Guardsman laid out very sound tactical and strategic reasons to undertake the endeavor (while keeping quiet over the fact the drug cartel had hooked his younger sister on drugs, and he wanted revenge). This lead to one of the few on-screen grand tactical victories for Cobra. The cartel was destroyed and its leader killed (the only explicit death in the series) even if GI Joe ultimately wound up with the spoils (the cash) while Cobra wound up with client lists, that served no purpose for Cobra's goals and aims.
- Related in the Adaptation: In Transformers vs. G.I. Joe, he is Serpentor's father, having concieved him from an affair with the Baroness.
- Retcon: The Commander's backstory varies greatly by adaptation, but the original cartoon contradicts itself on what species he is!
- In Season 1, he appears to be a Caucasian man with brown eyes and thick black eyebrows. Yet, his face apparently has some disfigurement which horrifies and disgusts Destro.
- In the movie, he is revealed to be a blue-skinned snake-person, before being turned into a yellow snake.
- During his cameo in Transformers, he appears to be human again, but with yellow, scale-covered fingers.
- At the start of the DiC series, Cobra Commander manages to reverse his Snake form to some degree, becoming a human/snake Hybrid. A few episodes later, he's clearly a human (or at least looks like one with his suit on). At least this explains his humanoid appearance in Transformers season 3.
- Religion of Evil: Downplayed, but, in one of the last episodes of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, Cobra Commander pledges to worship an Eldritch Abomination - complete with offering it Human Sacrifices, no less! - if it will destroy Serpentor for him, an act to which the creature agrees, leveling a path of destruction across Cobra Island.
- Rogues Gallery Transplant: Appeared in a season 3 episode of The Transformers, providing mob boss Victor Drath with the resources he needs to put Autobots into humanoid bodies. At this point, he's a washed-up lowlife going under the alias of "Old Snake".
- Same Character, but Different: One aspect of the character seems to be his characterization is constantly changing between shows, even if they're nominally supposed to be in the same continuity. In Spy Troops and Valor vs. Venom he's his old wacky 80's cartoon self, in Sigma 6 (which was nominally a semi-direct sequel to Valor vs. Venom) he's reinvented as a dead-serious warrior king, while in Resolute he's an insane murderous sociopath.
- Serpent Staff: Some incarnations of Cobra Commander carry a scepter modeled after a snake.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Whenever Larry Hama wrote him, he had a verbose vocabulary.
- Snake People: It is revealed in G.I. Joe: The Movie that he's a member of a hidden civilization of light blue skin humanoids who evolved from reptiles millions of years ago. He ends up being devolved into a giant snake by Golobulus.
- Someone to Remember Him By: He dies at the end of Transformers vs. G.I. Joe, but after his death the Baroness is revealed to be pregnant with his child.
- The Starscream: What he became after Serpentor took over in the cartoon.
- Trickster Mentor: Resolute reveals that his childish behavior and seeming incompetence were intended to help his colleagues think outside the box.
- Villain Respect: He actually praises Duke's tenacity and struggle for survival in the first episode of G.I. Joe: Sigma 6 while under heavy fire.
- We Want Our Jerk Back!: In the DiC 80s cartoon follow-up, after the events of the movie, Cobra comes to realise that Serpentor is even worse as a leader than Cobra was, and the Baroness secretly restores Cobra Commander to a more humanoid form and helps him take back control of Cobra.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: He has a faint accent in the 1980s cartoon.
- Wicked Cultured: He quotes Shakespeare in Sigma 6.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: In G.I. Joe: Reloaded, he is adamant that he is not a terrorist and that his actions are for the greater good.
- Adaptation Origin Connection: In G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers, Cobra rose to power by capturing and enslaving the Autobots and Decepticons after their arrival on Earth and using them as weapons. G.I. Joe is founded to turn the tide against Cobra and eventually succeed by freeing the Autobots from Cobra's control.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot:
- In the cartoon, whenever Battle Android Troopers were deployed, there was uncertainty as to whether they could properly distinguish friend from foe.
- In the comic, Revanche answers the question: What if the Borg decided to go into business as a Private Military Contractor?
- Army of Lawyers: The Joes actually consider them scarier than Cobra's stormtroopers.Cobra Commander: What a great system! If you have enough money and you can hire the best lawyers, you can do anything you want!
- Conservation of Ninjutsu: While the Joe ninjas are practically Jedi, Red Ninjas, Night Creepers or Blue Ninjas are little more than cannon fodder for them. Named Cobra ninjas, in particular Storm Shadow, tend to put up a better fight.
- Elites Are More Glamorous:
- A Crimson Guardsman, Cobra Officer, or a specialized Viper will often command smaller units of "Regulars", and occasionally serve as The Heavy for specific storylines.Viper: Crimson elite? Hmph. We do all the work.
- Strato-Vipers have let this go to their head, to the point that they pull rank on other Cobra pilots... including Wild Weasel. Unsurprisingly, even their own pit crews tend to hate them.
- A Crimson Guardsman, Cobra Officer, or a specialized Viper will often command smaller units of "Regulars", and occasionally serve as The Heavy for specific storylines.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: Their ranks are as diverse as the Joes. Inversely, they have no overt prejudices on who they enslave.
- Expy: The organization as a whole is one of Hydra, initially, as the original ARAH comic was born out of Larry Hama's Fury Force concept.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The Vipers.
- N.G.O. Superpower: In all but name, at one point having their own sovereign island nation and a diplomatic presence in New York.
- Praetorian Guard: The Crimson Guard serve as this for Cobra Commander.
- Private Military Contractors: The Night Creepers. Sometimes Cobra itself markets itself as one in an attempt to sell itself as a Villain with Good Publicity.
- Psycho Rangers: The Python Patrol and The Plague are the Evil Counterparts to the Tiger Force and the Night Force, respectively.
- Punishment Detail: The Toxo-Viper Corps. Few see the appeal of working with hazardous materials in cheaply made armor of dubious quality.Cesspool: One of the distinct disadvantages of being in the "Leaky Suit Brigade": The suit they give you is as worthless as a politician's promise.
- Weird Trade Union: When Cobra Commander decides to reconfigure his organization, relying on the Red Shadows, Night Creepers, and Revanche to do most of his dirty work, disgruntled Cobra Freelancers (Destro, Baroness, Zartan, the Dreadnoks, the Crimson Twins, Cesspool, Big Boa, Metalhead, Slice, Dice, and Crystal Ball) essentially unionize and force him to negotiate a new business arrangement with them.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: In the comics, one of Cobra's bases is a nice little town called Springfield, a Stepford Suburbia Town with a Dark Secret somewhere in the United States. Its become something of a Running Gag, especially given that since there are so many Springfields, there may be more than one with a Cobra base.General #1: Springfield? Which one? There must be one Springfield in every State of the Union.General #2: One? I'll bet there are some states with two or three.
The Cobra Emperor, created by Dr. Mindbender combining the DNA of history's greatest generals. In the TV series, he was created explicitly to overthrow Cobra Commander, while the comic version's creation was mandated by Cobra Commander himself as a general, but Serpentor arranged the deaths of Cobra Commander and Destro (they got better) to take command.
- A Father to His Men: A father, yes... of the abusive variant. Cobra grunts still respect and admire him for being a charismatic, courageous front-line general (albeit in appearence), especially in contrast to the constantly-retreating Cobra Commander. An early issue of the Marvel comic even had him risking his life to save a wounded soldier.
- Adaptation Origin Connection: In G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers, he is an android created from the remains of Megatron.
- Adaptational Ugliness: His adult self foreseen by Crystal Ball in Transformers vs. G.I. Joe is noticeably more hideous than most incarnations, having green skin and multiple red eyes.
- Adaptational Wimp: In the 2008 IDW comic book continuity, he's just a normal human who uses his influence as a cultist leader to manipulate members of his cult the Coil to aid Cobra.
- Animal Assassin: He often threw live snakes as missile weapons in 80s the cartoon. These serpents either wrapped themselves around their targets' necks and choked them or also could be thrown as javelins.
- Beast Master: In the season 2 episode "My Favorite Things"; after awakening the genetic essence of the mythical Naga king "Takshaka" inside himself, Serpentor is able to command the loyalty of snakes, most notably his gargantuan cobra "pet".
- Artificial Human: He is a human being artificially created by Dr. Mindbender.
- Artistic License History: Many of the alleged DNA donors for the composite clone that would become Serpentor come from historical figures who probably have no DNA samples left to be found. The final resting places of Attila, Julius Caesar, Hannibal, Vlad the Impaler, Sun Tzu and many others have never been found. Many of them were cremated so no mortal remains exist for DNA to be obtained. The otherwise source of the DNA for these ancient figures is not explained.
- Bad Boss: As annoying as Cobra Commander's histrionics and temper tantrums can be, Serpentor is worse, even more arrogant, never listens to reason, consumed with his own ego, and caps it all off by being extremely physically abusive. He actually maims the Baroness at one point, which ultimately leads her to depose him.
- Bald of Evil: His counterparts in G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers: The Art of War and the 2008 IDW comics continuity are depicted as bald.
- Baleful Polymorph: In "Operation: Dragonfire", the opening arc of the DiC continuation of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, Cobra Commander usurps control of Cobra from him and turns him into an iguana.
- The Caligula: In the cartoon. He ironically turns out to be an even WORSE leader than Cobra Commander in the long run.
- Catchphrase: THIS I COMMAND!
- Cloning Blues: This was a major arc in the Devil's Due continuity. After "The Coil", a splinter-cell of disgruntled Cobra officers and troopers he commanded was demolished by the Joes, Serpy's got killed again but not without left a Doomsday Device ala The Boys from Brazil behind... 12 scions created out of his own DNA, being Gen. Phillip Rey and Hannibal Borca, a shrewd 16-year-old world conquerer-wannabe the most prominent .
- The Emperor: Serves as this role to Cobra, and this was his designed purpose; to be a superior leader to Cobra Commander.
- In the Marvel Comics, he takes this role to its logical conclusion, crossing the N.G.O. off of N.G.O. Superpower and painting himself as a constitutional monarchy under siege by communists (the Oktober Guard) and a crypto-fascist dictator (Cobra Commander). It leads to the Joes being ordered to support him during the Cobra Civil War.
- Evil Virtues: Whatever his many deficiencies, Serpentor is indeed an intelligent and resourceful general and a courageous and charismatic leader who fights with his troops in the front ranks.
- Eviler Than Thou: Becomes the new Big Bad in the "Arise Serpentor, Arise!" five-part storyline.
- Expy: Of Conan the Barbarian 's Big Bad, Zeth.
- Fatal Flaw: Power Hunger. One of the sad realities of delving into demonstrable historical facts is to find that greater names in history (as those whose DNA Serpentor is made of) most of the time fell in the Miles Gloriosus category. Most of the famous conquerors and generals such as Julius Caesar and Napoleon were escentially shrewd political choc-full-o' shit creatures despite of their great victories in battle.
- Frontline General: All versions of Serpentor have no problem sharing the danger of battle with their troops, even if this is just for show. This leads to his death in the Cobra Civil War.
- Genetic Memory: Has the ability to recall memories of the long-dead leaders whose DNA were used to create him. In a story from G.I. Joe Yearbook note , he even recalls the creation of an early form of pizza on a Roman battlefield.
- Gone Horribly Right: In the comics, Cobra Commander had him created to serve under him as an efficient commander. However, Serpentor's strategic skills, intelligence, and personal charisma started eclipsing Cobra Commander himself. This in addition to Serpentor's ambitiousness led to the Cobra Civil War.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: In the cartoon, he was created to be a different kind of leader to Cobra Commander. They got one, alright. He's bolder and more determined than the Commander... but also suicidally overconfident, just as prone to temper tantrums, even more egotistic, refuses to be swayed, will not take advice from anyone, and will physically abuse his underlings both to enforce his will and just for kicks.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Mainly in the cartoon, the incomplete DNA samples left him without the calm thoughtfulness of Sun Tzu, making him prone to violent and enraged behavior.
- While less common in the comic, it ends up being a plot point where the violent tempers of some of his donors can surface if he isn't careful and counteract the image of a charismatic, self-controlled leader he tries to maintain. Unfortunately, during an argument with Cobra Commander, he wasn't, and the ensuing brawl in front of Cobra forces was the spark that started the Cobra Civil War. Serpentor is shown visibly regretting his error after the scuffle, knowing his hand has been forced.
- HeelFace Turn: In the Devil's Due series America's Elite, US General Phillip Rey found he was a revived Serpentor, yet decided to not become Serpentor again
- In the Blood: Most of his military cunning comes from the fact of being a composite clone of history's greatest generals.
- In Spite of a Nail: In both the DDP comics and the IDW continuation of the Marvel ARAH, Serpentor comes Back from the Dead with some upgrades, and is only defeated with great sacrifice.
- Large Ham: Even larger than Cobra Commander... if that's possible!
- Incoming Ham: From the moment he achieves consciousness in the cartoon, he makes a speech boasting about how incredible he is, ending in:
- Lamarck Was Right: Invoked. The man was made with DNA samples from great military conquerors like Napoleon, Julius Caesar and Atilla the Hun specifically in hopes that he would inherit their ruthlessness, their charisma, and their military expertise. It worked... but he also got their ambition, arrogance and cruelty.
- Named by the Adaptation: His 2008 IDW counterpart is given the civilian name of Stephen Menasian.
- Neck Lift: Was a fan of this in the Sunbow cartoon, with Cobra Commander usually the intended victim. At the end of "Arise Serpentor, Arise!" he seems intent on literally choking the life out of him, but the Commander manages to convince him he is still valuable to the organization.
- Opposing Combat Philosophies: During the Cobra Civil War, when Serpentor gets the Joes to help him fight Cobra Commander. The Joes believe in the Geneva Convention; Serpentor believes in strapping the captured and unconscious Baroness to the front of his HISS tank.
- Related in the Adaptation: In Transformers vs. G.I. Joe, he is the future son of Cobra Commander and the Baroness. This also makes him Billy's half-brother.
- The Starscream: In the comics, rather than immediately declaring himself leader, Serpentor took his time cozying up to the average Cobra trooper in the hopes of replacing Cobra Commander more subtlety than a straight up insurrection, as he calculated most of the troops would be loyal to Cobra Commander in such a situation. True enough, by the time of the Cobra Civil War, most of the rank and file falls in with Cobra Commander, while Serpentor only has the loyalty of the Crimson Guard (thanks to Tomax and Xamot) and the B.A.T's (thanks to them being robots controlled by Dr. Mindbender).
- Super Soldier: A variant in that he was created to be a Superhuman General, rather than a Living Weapon. In the original comics and cartoon, Mindbender and Destro's hope was that this living conglomeration of great military leaders would be a superior master for Cobra than Cobra Commander... if they only knew better!
- Suicidal Overconfidence: He is the embodiment of this trope. Never lisenting to any differing opinions or tactics, resorting to violence on anyone who didn't obey his orders to the letter without question, refusing to prepare any exit strategy if things go wrong, would often win short-term gain at the loss of long-term sustainability, and focusing purely on offense while neglecting defense.
- The reason Cobra wound up in Cobra-La in G.I. Joe: The Movie is that Serpentor had led Cobra to almost total defeat, losing massive amounts of equipment, materiel and personnel in every encounter before even considering retreat. Destro and The Baroness swiftly realized just how much better they had it under Cobra Commander who while seemingly a temperamental Psychopathic Manchild quick to take the credit when things went right, and quick to shift the blame when things went wrong, would at least listen to other people's opinions and tactics, and always had an escape plan should things go wrong so Cobra could fight again another day. It came to a boil in the sequel series by DiC, where the Baroness ended up betraying him and restoring Cobra Commander because he'd continued the same destructive methods of "leadership" and gotten even worse.
- There's also the question of how much of this might come from Sgt. Slaughter (in the cartoon) or Storm Shadow and Ripcord (in comics). Slaughter was used to replace the lost DNA of Sun Tzu, as tough as they came and while he knew when to back down, he rarely did, as he preferred to cover other Joes backs when they needed to retreat. In comics, both Tommy and Ripcord were assisting the Joes in order to stop at any cost his very creation. The Large Sarge and Tommy were also supposedly brilliant tactical minds, it's likely Slaughter's Defiant to the End nature and greater than normal strength or Storm Shadow's implied-to-be Olympic-athlete endurance level or greater, are the only things Serpentor may have got from them.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
- "Wreckage" An imposing former pro-football star / army grunt destroyed by these only two things he used to love, turned into S.K.A.R.'s "Super Soldier" via inherited I.R.O.N. Army's cybernethics in G. I. Joe Extreme. The only difference would be that Wreckage stills harbouring legitimate human feelings and emotions, but given that he was turned into a monster, he's left with no other choice but assisting the evil organization that brought him back to life.
- In Valor vs. Venom we find him in the personal traits and mannerisms of Venomous Maximus.
Real Name: Anastasia Cisarovna DeCobray
Daughter of wealthy European aristocrats who acts as Cobra Intelligence Officer.
- Absolute Cleavage: A lot of her outfits show off a considerable amount of cleavage, and has quite a well-developed bosom.
- The Baroness: It's named for her. Fittingly, she's a mesh of the Sexpot and Rosa Klebb types. She's sexy, icy and a bit sadistic, but she (usually) only has eyes for her comrade Destro; nobody else—Cobra or Joe—matters.
- Blue Blood: In the Real American Hero animated series, there's a line of dialogue (in "Spell of the Siren") where she claims her family has been "bred as rulers", implying that being called "the Baroness" has more of a basis than a nom de guerre.
- Captain Ersatz: Was basically the Madame Hydra to Cobra Commander's Baron Zemo.
- The cartoon version was heavily inspired by Natasha Fatale from Rocky and Bullwinkle and even had a very similar voice. In one season 2 episode, Baroness even uses the alias "Natasha" while undercover.
- Co-Dragons: She and Destro are often the highest-ranking subordinates to Cobra Commander.
- Death by Adaptation:
- G.I. Joe: Reloaded ends with her mortally wounded.
- The 2019 IDW continuity ends with her and Cobra Commander attempting to escape in a helicopter, only for their vehicle to burst into flames after getting shot down.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: In both the IDW comic and the "Spell of the Siren" episode of the '80s cartoon, she outright states that she should be leading Cobra, and is only passed over because of her gender.
- Early during IDW's Real American Hero run, Cobra Commander sends her on an important mission: buying junk food for the Dreadnoks. She's not thrilled. To add injury to insult, she gets captured by the Joes on the way back to base.
- Freudian Excuse: In the Marvel comics, the death of her brother radicalized her against the West.
- High-HeelFace Turn: In one Alternate Reality Episode of the cartoon.
- In comics (more of a retirement, really, but when she came back she was still good. Until she got Brainwashed and Crazy).
- And in the live action movie
- Legacy Character: The 2008 IDW continuity has her become the fourth Cobra Commander (in the series).
- Master of Disguise: She often deceives others by disguising herself.
- Ms. Fanservice: She even spent an entire episode of the original cartoon wearing nothing but high heels and a quite revealing bikini.
- Official Couple: She and Destro are in love.
- Pimp Duds: She wears a black pimp coat with a fur collar and a wide red belt with a COBRA insignia on it in the "GrahamCrackersComics.com" variant cover of the first issue of G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers II. And red-brown tinted glasses.
- Related in the Adaptation: In Transformers vs. G.I. Joe, she is Serpentor's mother, having been impregnanted from her relationship with Cobra Commander. Crystal Ball foresees that the Baroness' unborn child will become the true leader of Cobra and the comic ends with the Baroness visibly pregnant and waiting for her son to be born and eventually reclaim control of Cobra from Billy.
- Sexy Spectacles: She's a knockout with or without her Round Hippie Shades.
- Someone to Remember Him By: Transformers vs. G.I. Joe ends with her being pregnant with the deceased Cobra Commander's child.
- The Starscream: She's loyal to herself and Destro, not Cobra Commander. She'll try to undermine her leader if she can. Megatron even lampshades it himself in one of the Transformers crossovers.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The "Duchess of M'Klavia", the original Big Bad in G. I. Joe Extreme comics by Dark Horse shares too many similarities with her, except for her age.
- Toyless Toyline Character: For a short time during the franchise's beginning, she didn't have her own toy.
The Crimson Twins
Real Names: Tomax Rogue and Xamot Rogue (changed to Paoli for the IDW comics).
Tomax and Xamot were former circus acrobats, diamond smugglers in some continuities and plainly members of "The Corsican Brotherhood" mafia in others. Now these twins are in charge of all Cobra's finances and of his personal "Praetorian Guard", The Crimson Guardsmen.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: They're both high-ranking Cobra leaders and skilled businessmen, running Extensive Enterprises. They're also master acrobats who enjoy showing off their skills; their first appearance in the cartoon has them arrive at work by jumping from a plane to the building's roof without parachutes.
- Combat Parkour: As stated above, they used to be circus acrobats. Bordering both with Fragile Speedster treatment as they are as swift as nimble.
- Coordinated Clothes: Both their business suits and battle outfits mirror each other.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: They run a company called Extensive Enterprises, which gives Cobra its funding.
- Creepy Twins: They can come off as being very eerie.
- Identical Twin ID Tag: Xamot has a scar on his right cheek. They also part their hair on opposite sides (Tomax to the right, Xamot to the left), which goes along with their mirror-image outfits.
- Finishing Each Other's Sentences: Their usual pattern of speech, at least in the Sunbow's cartoon, is for one to speak, then the second, then for them to speak in unison and/or finish one another's sentences.
- Synchronization: They have a telepathic connect that lets them think and feel what the other thinks or feels, even each other's pain, so if one of them is incapacitated, the other will immediately do the same. This often made it so that one good punch to one would take them ''both'' down.
- Death by Adaptation:
- Tomax gets obliterated by Shockwave in G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers II, though Black Horizon later contradicts this by instead establishing Tomax as the surviving Crimson Twin and apparently retconning Xamot as the one Shockwave killed.
- Xamot is killed off in the 2008 IDW continuity when Chuckles sacrifices himself to destroy a Cobra base.
- Both twins are killed when Cobra Commander's son Billy activates the explosives in his father's helmet in Transformers vs. G.I. Joe.
- Depending on the Writer: How loyal they are to Cobra Commander. They were his most loyal officers in the Marvel comics, but in the '80s cartoon they hated him as much as Destro and the Baroness did. The IDW comic took the middle ground, Tomax was loyal to the Commander while Xamot was The Starscream (plotting against the Commander and his own brother).
- Dragon Ascendant: In the IDW comics, Tomax becomes the third (seen in series) Cobra Commander.
- Expy: They are similar to the twin villains Mischka and Grischka from Octopussy.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Subverted. Xamot treats his one, short linear scar as an embarrassing disgrace.
- Sdrawkcab Name: Their first names are also mirrors of each other.
- Shout-Out: As an homage to Dumas' The Corsican Brothers, one of the Trope Codifiers of Single-Minded Twins, They are from Corsica.
- Red Baron: As stated above.
Real Name: Tomisaburo "Thomas" S. Arashikage
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Mainly in the cartoon, at times in other continuities when he was Brainwashed and Crazy.
- Clear My Name: He joined Cobra only to prove he didn't kill his uncle and master.
- Death by Adaptation: Snake-Eyes ends up killing him in Transformers/G.I. Joe and Transformers vs. G.I. Joe.
- The Dragon: He can perfectly fill-in this position when no one in the High-command is available.
- Enemy Mine: Downplayed. Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow, in the original Marvel run (Less so in other continuities like Resolute), canonically have NEVER been enemies. Nevertheless, several circumstances point them always into take separate ways.
- HeelFace Revolving Door: He changes sides in most continuities, though the HeelFace Turn is voluntary and the FaceHeel Turn tends to be caused by being Brain Washed.
- Highly Visible Ninja: Usually wears bright white and red, but if he doesn't want to be seen, he won't be seen.
- Honor Before Reason: It should be his personal motto, and sadly, his main Fatal Flaw.
- Legacy Character: in the 2008 IDW continuity, it is established that Snake-Eyes supposedly killed him sometime before the Revolution (2016) event that retconned the continuity as occuring in the same universe as the 2005 IDW Transformers continuity, with a female Storm Shadow taking his place. Scarlett's Strike Force later established that the original Storm Shadow was still alive after all.
- Made of Iron: It is said that he can endure unspeakable hardship and pain.
- Master of Your Domain: "The Sleeping Phoenix". An Arashikage technique that makes every sign of life, even the involuntary ones imperceptible.
- Ninja: Since he learned to walk.
- Noble Demon: In spite of his blind animosity towards Snake-Eyes in most animated continuities, he does have his virtues.
- In Sunbow's cartoon he showed quite much respect to Spirit after a fight where both were stalemate. Even risking his own life when Spirit's was in danger.
- Only a Flesh Wound: Took a grazing from Shockwave's Arm Cannon in volume 2 issue 4 that did give him serious burns to his back, but fared better than Xamot, who was disintegrated with a full-on blast.
- Punch-Clock Villain: One of Cobra's best agents, but he ultimately feels no loyalty to the organization.
- Red Baron: "The Young Master" of the Arashikage clan.
- Red Herring: Of the Hard Master's murder.
- Related Differently in the Adaptation: The Hard Master is traditionally his uncle, but is instead his father in G.I. Joe: Ninja Battles.
- Related in the Adaptation: He and Snake Eyes are half-brothers in G.I. Joe: Reloaded.
- Repetitive Name: Sort of. His last name is Arashikage, which means "Storm Shadow" in English.
- Same Character, but Different: The only apparent constant within Storm Shadow's character is that he's Cobra's answer to Snake-Eyes, willingly or not.
- The Rival: With Snake-Eyes in most recent animated continuities. Cannonically, Storm Shadow fell victim of Misaimed Fandom, since he was adamant into ask for forgiveness to his sword brother in an attempt to explain himself and his actions.
- Rival Turned Evil: He's enemies with Snake-Eyes because of envy in several animated continuities.
- In Renegades he was not just jealous, Snake-Eyes changed Hard Master's vision of the clan's future since in this continuity The Arashikages was more akin to the Yakuza, and his stranged sword brother was officialy their annointed heir.
- In Resolute indeed, he was the one who planned his uncle's assasination out of spite since Snake-Eyes had been tutored in private by Hard Master, who don't wanted to teach him, his own nephew, his most lethal technique, "The 7 Steps to the Sun."
- The Rival: With Snake-Eyes in most recent animated continuities. Cannonically, Storm Shadow fell victim of Misaimed Fandom, since he was adamant into ask for forgiveness to his sword brother in an attempt to explain himself and his actions.
- Shirtless Scene: In the live-action movie.
- Spin-Off: He had his own short-lived IDW comic series.
- The Straight and Arrow Path: One of the few things he's better at than Snake-Eyes is archery. He never fails. His mastery in this art is such that he can hit targets behind brick walls, since he was born with a condition called "The ear that sees".
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Since Storm Shadow was created for the comics first (instead of beginning as a toy), he comes out as one for Kwinn, being also a noble man who nonetheless works for Cobra, with a "frienemy" relationship with Snake-Eyes. However, while Kwinn remains a fan-favourite, Storm Shadow has overshadowed him.
- Worthy Opponent: He has shown to respect Snake-Eye's skill in beating him every time they are confronted each other. In Sunbow, he considers Spirit also as this.
Real Name: Sebastian Bludd
A former ASIS note operative who became a mercenary after he was discharged. Wanted for numerous war crimes, he joins Cobra in exchange for sanctuary.
- An Arm and a Leg: It has never been stated how he lost his eye, but his right arm has been chopped off or simply crushed under a disabled vehicle in some continuities, so this has to be replaced by a cybernetic one. His V4 action figure had a hidden blade on its elbow.
- Death by Adaptation:
- The first G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers miniseries has him die when he got into a jet that was really Skywarp's alt mode and the Decepticon converted to his robot form while Bludd was still in the cockpit.
- G.I. Joe: Resolute begins with his corpse being examined by Scarlett.
- In Transformers vs. G.I. Joe, Bludd was among the Cobra loyalists who perished with Cobra Commander when Cobra Commander's son Billy activated the explosives in his father's helmet.
- Dastardly Whiplash: Bludd's identifying mustache and eyepatch, in addition to working with the Cobra organization.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- In the first 5 episode mini-series with the M.A.S.S. device, he had mercy on an irradiated Snake Eyes, who's suffering from the "radiation sickness," telling his men not to shoot him. He even has sympathy for the fact Snake Eyes is suffering with the sickness.
- Late in the DDP comics Cobra Commander kills Billy and strings his body up on display. Even Bludd finds this display of cruelty unsettling.
- Evil Counterpart: To Kwinn in the original comics. While both are mercenaries who will take jobs for anyone who pays well enough, Kwinn had a code of honor and never betrayed a client. Bludd was not above throwing his comrades under a bus, and would turn on his employers if someone else made him a better offer.
- Eyepatch of Power: He has an eyepatch.
- Giftedly Bad: His poetry. Trying to use "Uzi" at almost every rhyme doesn't help. The Baroness once claimed to enjoy Bludd's poetry, only for Cobra Commander to decry him as an idiot who thinks "Proust" rhymes with "Faust"note .
- Land Down Under: He's Australian by origin, though he served in the French Foreign Legion. This mostly manifests in some wording choices and accent in the 80s cartoon, though.
- Posthumous Character: He appears in the beginning of Resolute as a corpse being examined by Scarlett. It is implied that Cobra Commander killed him for treason.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Depicted as such in his "GI Joe: Hearts and Minds" story, a family man who does mercenary work because there's always a job for him.
One of the top experts in explosives around the world. Sometimes Cobra contracts him for sabotage missions.
- Ax-Crazy: There's literally nothing he will not do to pull his mission through... if the price's right, of course.
- In Renegades he even talks to the fire.
- The Blank: Uses a low-level hypnosis to have people see his unmasked face as this.
- Briefcase Full of Money: He asks for 2.5 million dollars in one of these when trying to sell information on the Pit to Cobra Commander.
"How about 1 million in a Kmart bag?"
- Cobra Commander doesn't go for it, ordering his men to lock Firefly up once he has the information.
- Cutting Corners: Although perhaps not poor, in one issue Firefly dares to call Cobra Commander collect when he has information on the pit to sell.
- He mentions in his backstory-monologue to Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow in an earlier issue that he couldn't back out of the contract on Snake-Eyes because he had already spent the money, so perhaps he really does need to cut corners.
- Death by Adaptation: He gets killed along with Major Bludd, the Crimson Twins and Cobra Commander when Cobra Commander's son Billy detonates the explosives in his father's helmet at the end of Transformers vs. G.I. Joe.
- Mad Bomber: He makes a living of killing people, so he will wage War for Fun and Profit to the highest bidder.
- Professional Killer: He'll do anything he's hired to do, regardless of how many lives may be at stake.
- McNinja: In the comics; the orphaned son of a French plantation owner in Vietnam raised by the Koga ninja clan who owed his father a debt.
- The Mole: In Sigma 6.
- Swiss Bank Account: His original filecard mentions him having one, and in the Sunbow episode "Eau de Cobra", he even owns a large estate in south-america.
- Race Lift: He is black in the 2008 IDW continuity.
- Red Baron: "The Rembrandt of plasic explosives." and "The Faceless Master" of the Koga clan.
- The Rival: To Snake-Eyes and surprisingly, also Tripwire.
- Wicked Cultured: A fan of classical music, Beethoven in particular, in G.I. Joe: Reloaded.
Real Name: Brian Binder/Armand K. Singh
A former dentist who tried to find a way to stop dental pain via brainwave manipulation. When he tested his idea on himself, the alteration caused to his mind made him become a madman. He soon became Cobra's main scientist after the death of his predecessor Dr. Venom, given his proficiencies with brainwashing and genetics.
- Bald of Evil: He is bald in every continuity except the live-action films and Renegades.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: In the comics, his primary concern was keeping his position as The Man Behind the Man. When Serpentor was killed in the Cobra Civil War, he immediately ran over to Cobra Commander and started sucking up to him in a bid to become his Evil Chancellor, to the disgust of Joes and Cobras alike.
- Depraved Dentist: A weird subversion—he was an orthodontist, but a nice one. He only became depraved after his mind got messed up.
- Impossibly Tacky Clothes: His original costume bears a strong resemblance to Obadiah Stane's "Early Installment Weirdness outfit◊". A few other characters take him to task for this.Darklon: This throwback wears a monocle and a cape and he's casting aspersions on my character?Mindbender: He's a good one to talk about other people's clothes. He could get arrested for impersonating a household appliance.
- Killed Off for Real: In several continuities.
- Mad Scientist: He conducts unethical experiments for Cobra.
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: He creates clones, new mutant life forms, brainwashing technology, Humongous Mecha AND he can fix your braces.
- Sudden Name Change: His original name was "Dr. Brainwave", it was even mentioned in his comics debut. It had to be changed at the last minute because "Brainwave" had already been used as the name of a DC Comics villain.
- Achilles' Heel: While likely unintentional from the writers part, his helmet has been used against him in two separate fights; In a Marvel UK annual, Jinx turns the helmet 180 degrees, covering his sight. In the Devil's Due comics, Bazooka takes Big Boa's helmet and uses it to beat him.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Cobra troopers can be an unruly bunch at times, they aren't motivated by patriotism, unit loyalty, honor or sense of duty. It takes a brutal, unfeeling taskmaster to whip them into fighting shape.
- Evil Counterpart: To Sargeant Slaughter, they have yet to face each other.
- The Faceless: His second filecard (2013) reveals that he wears his helmet at all times because his face looks like it was beaten with the proverbial ugly stick.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: He is a boxer.
- Killed Off for Real: In Devil's Due. He is found dead by the Joes, killed by the Red Shadows.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: He was originally part of a plan for a Rocky tie-in; This fell through, but much later in the comics his history was revealed to be eerily similar to Rocky's, except, like, evil.
- Smug Snake: In Marvel UK comics.
Real Name: Thomas C. Stall
- Black Sheep: His brother and sister are members of the G.I. Joe team, but Blackout defected to Cobra. His former Joe superior Mirage calls him "...an arrogant blemish on a family of career military men..."
- Cain and Abel: Barrel Roll is his Abel.
- Crazy-Prepared: His expertise with long-range sniper rifles is the result of his obsession with accuracy. He's a cold and methodical loner, and his psychological records remain sealed to this day.
- Cold Sniper: In contrast to his reckless attitude as a Greenshirt.
- Expy: His character seems like a blueprint for Netflix Marvel portray of Bullseye.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Of "The Silencer", a former Special Forces operative turned into a mercenary sharp-shooter in G. I. Joe Extreme.
- His was the only case where the official continuity character was the substitute for the "future" one.
Real Name: Vincent DeAlleva
Cobra's chemical weapons specialist.
- Arch-Enemy: To the Eco-Warriors.
- Cool Helmet: A bulletproof gasmask.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: What he was even prior to joining Cobra. He owned a large number of oil refineries, mills and chemical plants. None of them were particularly OSHA compliant.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has a burn scar running down the right side of his face, possibly his whole right arm too, and is blind in his right eye.
- Hollywood Acid: His weaponized "plasmatox." A concoction of so many kinds of pollutants and chemical wastes that is impossible to reproduce, and only him has the formula.
- Killed Offscreen: In the 31st issue of America's Elite, he is one of the listed Cobra agents incarcerated at the Coffin who was killed rather than liberated even though we don't see his death happen.
- Large Ham: In the cartoon.
- Misanthrope Supreme: He just wants to make the world as "ugly and nasty" as he is.
- Secretly Dying: In the DDP comics, he is revealed to have developed terminal cancer, due to the toxins he worked with throughout his career.
Driver of the Water Moccasin boat. He would later become the De Facto leader of the Python Patrol.
- Death by Adaptation: The IDW comics kill him off fairly early, replacing him with a Distaff Counterpart named Copperback (though she's more of a scientist than a swamp fighter/boat pilot).
- Demoted to Extra: His appearances became scarce as the series went on, to the point that he doesn't make any appearances in the DiC series beyond the "Operation: Dragonfire" arc.
- The Gambling Addict: He's in Cobra to get enough money to pay his gambling debts, but in the meantime, he gets more debts.
- The Mob Boss Is Scarier: As Ax-Crazy as Cobra Commander may be, Copperhead still considers his bookies to be much scarier.
- Worthy Opponent: Gung-Ho is implied to see him as one:
Former alligator wrestler and burglar alarm salesman who uses his trained pets to guard Cobra Island.
- Artistic License Biology: Croc Master's pets are actually alligators. Referred in-universe as that by members of the Oktober Guard and others, so the mistake is in his name and not in his pets' species.
- The Beast Master: In more recent depictions, his action figures contain not just a pet gator, but also snakes.
- Dirty Business: A literal case. He found one, "Guard-Gators, Inc." trying to commercialize the use of alligators for home security.
- Plucky Girl: He trains only female gators. Traditionally, they're easier to feed and raise.
- Punny Name:
- His code name, since is literally his role within the organization.
- His three gators' names: Melissa, Chelsea and Tara.
- Killed Off for Real: He was killed among many other potential traitors by Cobra Commander.
Croc Master II
The Up to Eleven successor of the original.
- Killed Off for Real: When he's sent to make sure the Baroness is dead, she guns him down.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: He lasts exactly three pages and then he dies. This also applies to the toys, as he was released only once and then all later Croc Master figures represent the original one.
- Legacy Character: His Action Figure File Card adresses the death of the original Croc Master
- Shoot the Dog: He not just trains them, he eats the unruly/unfit ones.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: He's only shown as a security chief of Cobra Island, just like his predecessor.
A creepy, mystic advisor to the leaders of Cobra who claims to have psychic powers.
- Enigmatic Minion: In-universe, he is a "professional" hypnotist and clairvoyant.
- Hypnotic Eyes: Has hypnotic powers. And he has been the only figure of the lot sporting red irises.
- Mad Oracle: Claims to see the future, and the rest of Cobra aren't too sure about his sanity.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed:
- The Red Baron: In the IDW comic, his position in Cobra High Command is "Inquisitor General."
- Secret Identity: In IDW/DDP comics he is a Composite Character (See below).
- Sue Donym: In the DDP comics he masquerades as Dr. Scott Stevens.
- The Svengali: Particularly while impersonating Dr. Stevens.
A former Night-Creeper expelled for his utmost brutality and lack of finesse, now working for Cobra as muscle-for-hire.
- Blood Knight: He manipulates his weapons both with blinding speed and bone-crushing power.
- Classical Hunter: For the way he perceives his line of work.
- The Grappler: Dice specializes also in close quarters combat using choke holds, pressure points, snares, traps or blunt instruments to incapacitate his opponent.
- Mysterious Mercenary Pursuer: Often undertaking mercenary missions alone.
- Secret Art: His main technique, called the Flying Dragon.
- Simple Staff: In the original Marvel comics, being this his preferred weapon of choice. On the other hand, his action figures carried a two-edged lance and a butcher axe.
- Those Two Guys: Most of the time paired with the former Red Ninja Slice.
A psychological warfare expert with a mysterious past, the Interrogator is a frequent member of the Plague, the Cobra equivalent of a black-ops commando team.
- Ace Pilot: Is a highly skilled helicopter pilot.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Sounded this way in the DiC series, and the filecard also mentions him having an intimidating Badass Baritone voice.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: His purpose is to interrogate.
- Multiple-Choice Past: His first filecard gives three options: former security chief for a deposed dictator, renegade criminal psychologist, or IRS investigator. A DDP profile also adds the option of being a former Tele-Viper who rose in the ranks.
- Torture Always Works: He'll get info from his captives by torturing them. And when dealing with unbreakable people like the Joes, he's savvy enough to torture their relatives instead (as he did to Max Hauser to make Duke talk)
- Torture Technician: He has no qualms with horrifically torturing his prisoners.
Night Creeper Leader
The mysterious leader of the "Night Creepers", a syndicate of mercenary hi-tech ninjas employed by Cobra at times.
- Blind Weaponmaster: His 1993 redesign.
- Canon Immigrant: He was created for the DiC cartoon before being imported to the toyline and comic.
- King Mook: His name is literally "Night Creeper Leader", and he looked just like his Night Creeper Minions, albeit slightly taller and with an exposed face. Mitigated with his introduction into the toyline, which gave him a more distinct design and an actual name (Aleph), and fully averted when he joins the Plague as Incision.
- The Starscream:
- In "Night of the Creepers", he is (understandably) offended by Cobra Commander and Destro's plan to use the corpses of his Night Creeper ancestors as a zombie army and takes control of them.
- In "The Sword", he's ordered by Cobra Commander to bring him back the titular artifact, but he decides to use it for his own purpose.
- Small Name, Big Ego: In "Shadow of a Doubt", he's revealed to be under the delusion that he is a better ninja than Storm Shadow when Cobra Commander is clearly fed up with his incompetence.
Real Name: Robert Skelton
A cyborg and former SAW-Viper who leads Cobra's B.A.T. (Battle Android Trooper) armies.
- Big Bad Wannabe: During his SAW-Viper times. Yes, he killed several Joes, but he soon got his comeuppance at the hands of Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow.
- Canon Character All Along: He's a case of this in the Devil's Due comics, which introduced him by establishing that he was the nameless SAW-Viper who killed several of the Joes in the original Marvel comic and that he survived Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow's attempt at killing him. His actual name being revealed to be Robert Skelton, he subsequently takes on Overkill as his codename and eventually is converted into a cyborg by Cobra scientists. Overkill's only prior appearances in any G.I. Joe fiction were in the DiC cartoon.
- Cyborg: He is a cyborg.
- Legacy Character: Prior to him, there was a totally robotic (but still sentient) Overkill leading the BATs.
- Mook Promotion: From nameless S.A.W. Viper to the cyborg Overkill.
- The Starscream: In Valor vs. Venom and Sigma 6, he shows signs of being disloyal to Cobra Commander.
- They Killed Kenny Again: Nearly all of his appearances in the DiC cartoon end with Overkill destroyed or dismembered in some way.
- Unexplained Recovery: Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow got the drop on him during the Trucial Abysmia story arc in the Marvel comics, and we even got a glimpse of his corpse, yet he came back in the Devil's Due comics alive, well and perfectly intact (at least until he gets rebuilt into Overkill).
Real Name: Mikhail Derenko
A former Cobra officer who seeks to take over Cobra... and its expanded treasury. He has built a power base among troops who are dissatisfied with Cobra's senior leadership.
- A Father to His Men: Paints himself this way to appeal to grunts who are not happy with Cobra Commander, but it's all an act.
- Ace Custom: The Dictator, his hover-tank.
- The Dragon: To Serpentor in the DDP comics.
- Depending on the Artist: Whether or not his right eye is covered by an eyepatch, a monocle, or a targeting lens attached to his helmet.
- Dub Name Change: In Latin America, he was marketed as "Ciclón", an electronic warfare expert working for Destro.
- Evil Counterpart: To Sgt. Slaughter in promos for the Series 9 toyline.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Started out at the bottom of the organization and patiently worked his way up. The Joes specifically describe him as "coming out from nowhere" to become a dangerous opponent.
- Hero Killer: Kills Chuckles in the DDP Comics (two months after he finally got his own arc).
- The Starscream: Well-aware that Cobra's senior management has plenty of these already, Overlord takes a different approach: He appeals to the grunts who are fed up with being pawns in High Command's individual power struggles.Hawk: Like any corrupt politician, he cloaked his own backroom dealings and improprieties with a platform of reform, righteous indignation, and a return to traditional values...Cobra values.
Real Name: Andrew R. Walker
Captain of the Medi-Viper Corps.
- Back-Alley Doctor: Was this before he became a Cobra medic. He earned his medical degree from a shady correspondence college that advertised via mail order, and gained practical experience treating the Mafia's wounded.
- Combat Medic: Unlike most conventional medics, Scalpel does not object to picking up a weapon and joining in the fight himself... as long as it looks like his side is going to win.
- Evil Counterpart: To Joe Medics Doc and Lifeline. While both of them are ardent pacifists who chose their profession to help people, Scalpel became a Cobra medic because it would give him a chance to treat "exotic injuries and wounds" and has no moral compunction against joining the fight himself.
A Cobra officer who acts as a Courier.
- Scars Are Forever: His name comes from the fact that he's scarred.
- Unexplained Recovery: Died off-screen in issue #19, but the comic book included with his first figure release takes place between issues #32 and #33, with Scar-Face featured as still living.
- Uniformity Exception: With his mask on, he looks like any other Cobra infantry trooper except for the two scars running down the visible portion of his face, forming a "V".
Cobra's anti-armor expert.
- Ascended Extra: Has a fairly important role in "Arise, Serpentor, Arise!" despite his sparse appearances during the cartoon.
- Going Postal: Against Destro, it is rumored that he's a former chief weapon designer for M.A.R.S.
- The Perfectionist: His file card notes that he strives for perfection with his weapon design and that he has a seething hatred for anything he deems imperfect.
- There's No Kill Like Overkill: He kills the Soft Master with an anti-tank missile, and then (after clearing it with Firefly) blows up a wrecked car that was still occupied.
- Two-Faced: In Renegades, he ends up having half of his face horribly scarred in the episode "Rage".
A "brutally efficient" renegade member of the Arashikage ninja clan, under contract for Cobra on a regular basis.
- The Apprentice: Hand-picked and mentored by Storm Shadow himself.
- The Blank: Nothing of Slice's face can be seen due to his fencing mask.
- Breakup Breakout: He was partners in crime with a bo-wielding, former Night Creeper named Dice. Dice got his second release in the toyline just recently, while there were at least five later Slice reissues.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Slice can kill one of his own in order to prevent the Joes to get a tactical advantage, but got really mad at Firefly saving himself from the freighter while leaving his partners to die (despite Slice not personally knowing one of the dead Cobras).
- Evil Brit: His file card states he's from Britain.
- McNinja: Of the British variant.
- Highly Visible Ninja: One of the reasons he often prefer to take on unsuspecting opponents.
- Knife Nut: His preferred weapons of choice are usually odd-shaped swords and daggers.
- Master Swordsman: At the point he even created a totally new style, copying the attack patterns of scorpions for his sword technique, the Scorpion Slash.
- Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: He invokes this trope during his first fight against Snake-Eyes, and just shy to turn into The Rival to him.
- Overly Polite Pals: With Slash in Valor vs Venom.
- Those Two Guys: First with Dice, then with Slash.
Real Name: Claude M. Vinim / Archibald Monev
Cobra's original science officer, and creator of the Brainwave Scanner.
- Abusive Parents: He was inadvertently molded into a Sociopath by his abusive father.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: A digital backup of his mind stored in the Brainwave Scanner causes some problems in the IDW ARAH series.
- Back from the Dead: Sort of. Dr. Venom has stayed dead, but the aforementioned AI "clone" has more lives than a cat... or the Joker.
- Deader Than Dead: The AI copy of his mind in the IDW continuation of the Marvel Comics continuity eventually perishes for good after leaping from Dr. Mindbender's conscience to a giant robotic body, which is then destroyed in a battle with Cobra and the Joes, ending his threat permanently.
- Dirty Coward: After trying to kill Snake-Eyes and Kwinn numerous times, once they get the upper hand and prepare to dispense some rough justice, he begs for his life. "No! I'll be good!"
- Freudian Excuse: Growing up, his plastic surgeon father put the kibosh on his creative ambitions, as he wanted young Claude to follow in his footsteps. He even ordered the boy to drown a puppy the family couldn't take care of by putting it in a bag and tossing it into the river.
- Grand Theft Me: The Venom AI attempts this twice: First on Cobra Commander's son, Billy, later on Mindbender.
- Killed Off for Real: By a fragmentation grenade during the Battle of Fort Wadsworth.
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: His original field of study was Botany. But he's still able to create brainwashing machines, Iron Man style armor, complicated viruses that need "secret catalysts" to be effective, and an AI duplicate of himself. He's also a fairly decent fixed-wing pilot.
- Predecessor Villain: To Dr. Mindbender. He created the Brainwave scanner, and is implied to have laid out some of the early groundwork for Serpentor's creation.
- Self-Made Orphan: Killed his own father by pushing him off a bridge.
- The Starscream: He was subtle, but the Baroness could see it and tried to get rid of him before he could become a threat. He also shared the Trope Namer's mixture of smugness and cowardice. His AI is more overt about it.
- They Called Me Mad!: The Defense Department did, and refused to work with him. So he joined Cobra.
- Ungrateful Bastard: After getting a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from Kwinn, Venom is lucky enough to have his life spared. But Venom can't resist picking up the Villain Ball one last time:Venom: So what do you have to say now? No more mumbo-jumbo about weasel spirits? No last lunge to try to strangle me with your last breath?Kwinn: No. There is no anger left in me, Venom. I've made my peace with the weasel. Kwinn will not harm you while he lives. That I promise.[Kwinn dies, dropping a grenade that kills Venom].
Real Name: Ann A. Conda
Driver of the Rattler 4-WD jeep and intelligence courier.
- Elite Mook: In her "Intelligence Courier" capacity.
- McNinja: Weirdly averted. She wears ninja clothes, uses ninja weapons, but according to the guy who wrote her filecard, she is not a ninja at all.
- Palette Swap: Of Jinx.
- Plucky Girl: Allegedly offered her services to Cobra Commander by audaciously sneaking into his private business meeting at Extensive Enterprises.
- Steven Ulysses Perhero: A member of Cobra whose name is a pun on "anaconda".
- Wrench Wench: She's also a gifted car mechanic.
A ground support pilot who has developed a Red Baron like reputation within the Cobra ranks. Though he can fly any of Cobra's fighters, he generally favors the Rattler VTOL Tanksmasher.
- Ace Pilot: It's said that those lucky enough to return from a dogfight with him, curse his name only at the beginning and the end of their stories; the rest is filled with compliments and awe.
- Cool Plane: The Rattler, essentially a three-engined version of an A-10 Thunderbolt II, but with VTOL capability. And nobody can fly it like Wild Weasel.
- Deadpan Snarker: Wild Weasel is somewhere between this and Awesome Ego. Evident in issue #34 of the ARAH continuity, with the Baroness.
- The Dreaded: None of the current Cobra airmen are as experienced or capable a pilot as Wild Weasel, very few of the reserve members match his airborne abilities.
- This is likely only to the pilots. It doesn't take more than a few pages for the Joes to take him down after he infiltrates the Pit as part of the Phoenix Guard. He pins the Joes down with their own weaponry, but clearly is not as good on the ground as in the air, being taken out by a single grenade.
- Improbable Piloting Skills: He drives an air-to-earth aircraft and can use it to dogfight against other pilots.
- Meaningful Name: His code name comes from the nickname of air crews who would scout out ahead in search for anti-aircraft missile batteries and clear them out before the main carrier group arrived.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Might be Secret Identity, but because of his anti-social behavior, not even other members of Cobra know much about him, even his actual name.
- Worthy Opponent: To Ace in a memorable Rattler vs. Skystriker dogfight in (ARAH #34) Both fought until they were mutually out of ammo, saluted, and flew back to their bases. Additionally, in that issue, much of the dialogue of Ace and Wild Weasel echoed each other, despite the lack of communication between the enemy planes. They both knew exactly what the other plane was doing and planning.
- His original filecard has a quote from Wild Bill where he considers Wild Weasel one as well.Wild Bill: He may be a back-shootin', low down snake in the grass, but the boy can fly like nobody's business. You gotta respect the skunk for that! Hey-what did Voltaire say? To forgive our enemies their virtues-that is the greater miracle.
- His original filecard has a quote from Wild Bill where he considers Wild Weasel one as well.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: The Iron Grenadiers themselves. They even have managed to defeat elite Cobra troopers time and again.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: Their members even brag about that their benefits are superior to those received by the Vipers.
- N.G.O. Superpower: As stated above, they have been secretly this since about the XVII century.
- Private Military Contractors: Most of the time working for Cobra, but there have been occasions in which they ended up betraying the Commander to work for a higher bidder.
- Psycho Rangers: The Nullifiers (originally pilots but turned into full-fledged Doom Troops in the IDW/DDP continuity). And then the T.A.R.G.A.T.'s (Trans Athmospheric Rapid Global Assault Troopers.)
Real Name: James McCullen Destro XXIV
The current CEO of the Military Armaments Research Syndicate and the latest in a long line of weapon dealers — his main client is Cobra. He wears his title and metal mask as a family tradition.
- A Father to His Men: Zigzagged in the comics: He averts this for troops who can't keep up with him, but plays it straight for those who can.
- Arm Cannon: His main weapons are a wrist-mounted mini RPG and a heavily modified 7.62 Mauser C96 auto-pistol/7.62 Nagant M1895 revolver.
- Arms Dealer: As CEO of MARS, he manufactures weapons he can sell to the highest bidder.
- Bald of Evil: While his metal mask only gives him the appearance of baldness and he's usually depicted with hair when unmasked, G.I. Joe: Reloaded clearly depicts him as being bald when not wearing the mask.
- Bling of War: It started with the disco amulet. When he starts the Iron Grenadiers, he gets a new suit with a gold mask. And then there's Pimp Daddy Destro...
- Buried Alive: The Marvel Comics continuity has him buried alive along with Cobra Commander in the Pit, where they would've suffocated and/or drowned had they not found a Drill Tank Escape Pod.
- Cyborg: Strongly implied to be part-machine in Sigma 6. The IDW continuation of the Marvel Comics continuity eventually went this way as well, with Destro upgrading himself with Revanche nanotechnology.
- Death by Adaptation: Transformers vs. G.I. Joe ends with him being killed by Duke.
- The Dragon: Bordering on Big Bad Duumvirate with Cobra Commander or Co-Dragons with the Baroness, this, if he's not playing as The Heavy.
- Incidentally, towering over most of his evil peers he's much of a Genius Bruiser for not being plainly The Brute.
- G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers II causes him to abruptly seize control of Cobra to pledge its support to the Joes and Autobots after the Commander's bungled scheme to hack into Teletran 3 put Earth in severe danger.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The first Joe miniseries has Destro usurp Cobra Commander and try to take over the world himself after one too many mistakes on the latter's part. Nearly all subsequent materials show Destro as uninterested in world domination and more concerned with making a profit. "Destro" trying to Take Over the World in the Devil's Due series is the first indication that it's not the real Destro.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He is romantically involved with the Baroness. Serpentor's brutality toward the Baroness disgusted Destro so much that Destro betrayed him.
- Even Evil Has Standards: G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers: Black Horizon has him do business with Cobra-La (thanks to Dr. Mindbender), then say with guilt to Mistress Armada:
- Evil Brit: From Callender, Scotland.
- Evil Counterpart: When Cobra Commander first hires him as "The Specialist", he sees the scotsman as Hawk's counterpart leading the troops. They become less alike with time after Hawk becomes a general and Destro focuses more in his weapon dealing business.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Traditionally, in adaptations, though for sheer pitch, his voice in the 80s cartoon is still about as deep as it goes.
- Expressive Mask: His is a very expressive one in cartoons and comics, to the point he looks more like a bald humanoid who happens to have silver skin.
- Friendly Enemy: In the comicbook continuity at least, Destro had respect towards the G.I. Joe and even at times openly defied Cobra Commander, or other villains of the storyarc to help the Joes out. Obviously, at times it depended on the writer.
- Gentleman Snarker: Most of the time while dealing with Cobra Commander, in spades at the Sunbow cartoon.
- Legacy Character: Despite being the first Destro shown in the series, he's actually part of a long family tradition of wearing the metal mask and taking the weapons business. His long-lost son Alexander also took his role for a short time.
- Long-Lost Relative: He and Lady Jaye have a common ancestor.
- Meaningful Name:
- His moniker is more than merely a "legacy". It is a title of nobility passed from one generation to the next. In Rise of Cobra it is stated that the name and the iron mask were given to James McCullen IX by the french as a form of punishment. The name means "The Destroyer of Nations."
- The acronym for his PMC is also the Latin name for Ares, the Greco-Roman god of war.
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: In the Sunbow series:
- In the "Synthoid Conspiracy" two-parter, Cobra Commander and Zartan create a Synthoid duplicate of Destro to show how easily he can be replaced. Angered by this insult, Destro helps the Joes shut down the operation.
- He sides with Dr. Mindbender after Cobra Commander had one temper tantrum too many, leading to the creation of Serpentor in the "Arise, Serpentor, Arise!" 5-parter.
- He loses patience with Serpentor's impulsiveness fairly quickly, covertly assisting two of the Commander's plans against Serpentor, though he did spend about half the time commenting how insane said plans were.
- He finally turns against Serpentor in the DIC series. Cobra Commander was turned into an actual cobra by Cobra-La Advanced Phlebotinum, and The Baroness was given the task of keeping CC fed. On one of those occasion, Serpentor grabbed her, crushed her hand with enough force to completely destroy it (requiring her to get a metallic prosthetic) and when she screamed from the pain, he punched her so hard, it dislocated her jaw so she couldn't scream. Then he laughed afterwards. Destro secretly sided with G. I. Joe in order to avenge her.
- Mundane Utility: After showing his Transcarpathian "Transforming castle" mechanisms to The Baroness in the original Marvel saga, she points out of haven't realized that Destro was an architect, he corrected her saying he was not, but a military engineer.
- Not So Above It All: He fancies himself as a more practical and effective leader than Cobra Commander, but he's just as prone to histrionics and mad schemes when properly aggravated.
- Only Sane Man: In Cobra High Command. This is most evident when Larry Hama writes him, but in most depictions, he genuinely believes that Cobra Commander is a lunatic (the Sunbow version outright says so to the Commander's face) and can be reasoned with more easily than the rest of Cobra's leadership.
- OOC Is Serious Business: In the Sunbow's first five-parter, after not seing his demands fullfilled, the normally composed and proper arms dealer came with the sadly Real Life ruse of slaying one prisioner per hour, starting with Gen. Flagg!
- Outliving One's Offspring: The Devil's Due continuity ends with him seeing his son Alexander shot in front of him.
- Pragmatic Villainy: In Part 2 of "The Synthoid Conspiracy", he temporarily teams up to help the Joes get back into power because Cobra Commander dared to replace Destro with a Synthoid clone, and he is mainly concerned with his dignity, showing Cobra how indispensible his services are.
- Preppy Name: James McCullen Destro XXIV
- Religion of Evil: In the 80s cartoon series, it's revealed in one episode that Destro is part of a cult that worships - or at least appeases - one or more Eldritch Abominations, which are imprisoned beneath his ancestral castle. He makes an annual Human Sacrifice to keep the beasts contained.
- Retcon: In recent years, his name was shortened to James McCullen XXIV with Destro being a title.
- The Starscream: In the 80s cartoon particularly, though it's mostly because he realizes how inept Cobra Commander is. Unlike the narcissistic Commander, however, Destro genuinely believes that being a ruler is an empty gesture unless said ruler has someone to share their empire with.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The G. I. Joe Extreme's Big Bad, Count Von Rani, ruler of an eastern-european principality called Kalistan a.k.a. "Iron Klaw" was based on him.
- Unholy Matrimony: The Devil's Due comics establish that he and the Baroness secretly married in the interim between the original Marvel Comics series and the Devil's Due series.
- War for Fun and Profit: He incites war and sells to both sides if it's profitable. It can also be useful when one of those sides is the Pentagon, especially when the Pentagon tries to pin the responsibility for a failed operation on the Joes.
- His original toyline profile card explains his enmity for the Joes is because, while he respects their skills, he finds their insistence on promoting and protecting peace abhorrent, as he believes that war is humanity's natural state and brings out the best in humanity.
A distant cousin of Destro, Darklon is an eccentric warlord who has carved up his own fiefdom in the Carpathian mountains. He frequently provides asylum for Cobra, in exchange for them helping him stamp out the Resistance groups that occasionally challenge him.
- Ace Custom: His Evader assault vehicle.
- Arch-Enemy: Katya, a rebel leader opposing his regime.
- The Bus Came Back: Was presumed killed when his castle was hit by a missile in ARAH #146. In ARAH #167 he's revealed to have survived.
- Cool Gun: A CO2 powered air rifle that has been modified to fire either tranquilizer or poison darts.
- The Dragon: Frequently has this role in the Iron Grenadiers.
- In the Blood: Darklon is descended from a clan of mercenaries whose lineage goes back to the Italian Renaissance: They would work for one side until a better offer was made (or if their employers ran out of money), then they would go over to the opposition. All the while, they would feed information to both sides to keep the conflict going — ensuring a solid revenue stream. Darklon continues this tradition by offering his services to the highest bidder.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Frequently leads military campaigns himself, leaving the day to day management of Darklonia to a rubberstamp Parliament so he can do this more easily.
Real Name: Stuart Finley
The Iron Grenadiers' anti-tank expert. He invented a backpack mounted anti-armor system, then gave it to M.A.R.S. with only one condition; that he be given the first production model to use in battle.
- Ax-Crazy: He really loves causing destruction.
- Backpack Cannon: He has a weapons system he wears on his back and thighs.
- Calling Your Attacks: "BANG, BANG!!!" Justified as his weapons system is voice activated with "BANG!" being the word used to fire his weapons.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: His grandmother shows up a couple of times.
- Goggles Do Something Unusual: His has a targeting system in it.
- Homing Projectile: His weaponry homes in on any target in his sights.
- Idiot Savant: He's one of the dumbest characters around, but not only did he invent the weapons system that he uses, he can apparently do complex artillery calculations for his rockets in his head. He also has one of the best accuracy rates of any Joe or Cobra, mostly because he only fires at vehicles.
- Metalhead: His favorite type of music.
- The Mole: In the Marvel comic, he was a M.A.R.S operative keeping tabs on Cobra for Destro when the latter left Cobra.
- Musical Assassin: In the episode "Long Live Rock N Roll".
- Plucky Comic Relief: He tends to provide the comic relief in the DiC series because of his stupidity and compulsive desire to blow up any possible target.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: In G. I. Joe Extreme, S.K.A.R. resident flame-throwers expert "Inferno".
- Stuff Blowing Up: One of his favorite hobbies is blowing stuff up.
- Trigger Happy: It's hard for him to resist opening fire.
- All Bikers Are Hells Angels: The Dreadnoks in general follow this theme, being violent criminals who fit the general stereotypes of biker gags.
- Beard of Evil: Torch, Ripper and Monkeywrench have a beard and they are bad dudes.
- Badass Bikers: Most of them are bikers and very formidable in combat.
- Cool Bike: The Dreadnoks are basically a biker gang who build their own vehicles with the design aesthetics of Mad Max.
- Genius Bruiser: The Dreadhead cousins own an arms company and several are involved in running it.
- Identical Twin ID Tag: The Dreadheads (six cousins, two sets of three brothers) are completely identical except for the colors of their beards (black, blonde, red, brown, white, and gray).
- Punny Name: The real names of the original three, Buzzernote , Torchnote , and Rippernote , are a reference to the poem Wynken, Blynken, and Nod. Their first names also make them Dick, Tom and Harry, a term that means anyone and everyone.
- Psycho for Hire: If the Dreadnoks aren't on retainer for a specific mission, they're all too happy to go out and cause mayhem on their own. Sometimes they may even need to be reminded while on the job not to go off and do their own thing, unless doing so is key to the operation (such as providing a distraction).
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: The original three, Monkeywrench and Trasher. Later Dreadnoks were more effective.
- Stocking Filler: Heartwrencher wears short shorts and fishnet stockings.
- Trademark Favorite Food: In the comics, most of them were absolutely nuts for grape soda and chocolate donuts.
A master of disguises who can even change his skin color to blend with his environment. He leads a biker gang called the Dreadnoks. He's the Hard Master's real killer.
- Amoral Afrikaner: He is South African in the live-action films.
- Bald of Evil: Often depicted as bald underneath his cowl. Nevertheless, his v2 action figure sported a mohawk.
- Bastard Bastard: Zigzagged with Zanya (who was born from a short lived fling). She cares about her dad and is loyal to him. It's just that this entails being a ruthless criminal.
- Daddy's Little Villain: The Devil's Due Publishing comics reveal Zartan to have a teenage daughter named Zanya, who ends up joining the Dreadnoks.
- Becoming the Mask: In the DDP version, we see that all his infiltrations have taken their toll on his sanity. He also mentally "becomes" the person he's impersonating. After having assumed so many different names and faces, "Zartan" is the only name he can cling to. He no longer remembers his own birth name.
- Cast as a Mask: In the cartoon, when Zartan has to assume another's identity, he is voiced by that identity's voice actor until The Reveal.
- Death by Adaptation:
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: In "Glamour Girls," he takes part in the plot that endangers would-be models, until his sister Zarana winds up as a potential victim. After Mindbender refuses to set her free, Zartan frees several captured Joes to get the job done.
- French Jerk: Said to be from Nice in his third filecard, but this hasn't really been hinted at lately.
- HeelFace Door-Slam: When he went undercover in the Arashikage temple under the tutelage of their sword smith Onihashi, Zartan fell in love with sword forging, viewing it as art. He was so enamored with it that he was ready to abandon his job against Snake-Eyes and a life of crime in general, dedicating himself solely to working on swords with Onihashi. The future Cobra Commander threatened to blow his cover, leading to his botched assassination attempt and the death of the Hard Master.
- Inexplicably Awesome: There has never been an explanation for all his seemingly supernatural disguise/shapeshifting abilities, though some continuities have tried.
- In the Blood: Both his sister and his brother are masters of disguise like him, but they lack Zartan's chameleonic abilities.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: As mentioned above, Zandar and Zarana are very good at disguising themselves. However, they lack whatever it is that makes Zartan practically a shapeshifter, so they are sidelined in that role whenever he is present.
- Kill and Replace: Transformers/G.I. Joe has him murder Breaker and usurp his identity to infiltrate the Joes.
- Master of Disguise AND Voluntary Shapeshifting, making him the perfect infiltrator.
- Morality Pet: Billy, Cobra Commander's son.
- Sleeves Are for Wimps: In the Sunbow cartoon, Zartan's Winterized uniform featured a fur-lined vest, as opposed to the greatcoats or parkas favored by other Cobras.
- The Straight and Arrow Path: He tends to be an archer. Best shown during the Cobra Civil War where he nails an incredibly difficult shot with his skills and kills Serpentor, ending the conflict.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: J. Remington III, a rich arms manufacturer who also can turn into "Rampage", a grotesque devilish green-skinned creature every time he loses his temper in G. I. Joe Extreme.
- Voice of the Legion: In G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, his voice has a tendency to reverberate, especially in the earlier episodes.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Doesn't care much for sunlight, though specifics can vary per continuity.
Real Name: Zoe (Surname unknown)
Zartan's sister and de-facto second-in-command of the gang.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Oddly for Mainframe, the veteran G. I. Joe hacker in the Sunbow cartoon.
- Cat Fight: Twice with The Baroness and once with Lady Jaye, at the second one even the Joes stopped what they were doing just to watch it bemusedly.
- The Dragon: To Dr. Mindbender in the Sunbow cartoon. She would sometimes bring along other Dreadnoks to provide extra security for his operations.
- Evil Counterpart: Of Lady Jaye.
- Good Bad Girl: Besides her crush with Mainframe, The Baroness found out Zarana was having an affair with Destro during the hiatus between series, so he had to literally dump her at the very beginning of the DiC cartoons.
- The Infiltration: Her shtick.
- Master Actor: She'd have to be an exceptionally skilled actress to be any good at impersonating people. Superior in this even to Zartan with his many resources.
- Master of Disguise: An ability she shares with his older brother. In the original Marvel comics and Sunbow's cartoon, she often played this role even better than The Baroness.
- The Scrooge: Zarana is stingy with her money, never leaving tips (which sometimes results in otherwise Beneath Notice disguises being remembered) and charging Dreadnoks for concessions at her base.Buzzer: When Zartan said his sister was cheap, I thought he was talking about something else altogether.
Real Name: Zachary (Surname unknown)
Zartan's youngest brother and master assasin.
- Badass Baritone: Voiced by Optimus Prime!
- Beneath Notice: Turns out that Zandar is very talented at being ignored, to the point where his fellow Dreadnoks won't even notice he's there unless he says something. His anonymity was no accident. He worked at it all through his formative years and after he grew up...he got even better at it!"
- Evil Counterpart: Of Scarlett, down to the use of Trick Harpoons
- Harpoon Gun: His weapon of choice.
- Knife Nut : He specialises in silent weapons. Often he carries twin knives to do his job.
- Martial Arts Headband: He sports a light blue one
- Professional Killer: Of all the Dreadnoks, he's the most down-to-business and accomplished on this subject.
- The Quisling: In the IDW/DDP continuity, he betrayed the Dreadnoks in order to serve Serpentor as The Coil's main contract killer.
- This Means Warpaint: Bright red, all over his chest and face.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Often wearing nothing but a bandana over his neck and shoulder pads.
Real Name: Richard Blinken-Smythe
A former extreme left-wing Cambridge sociology student now working for the Dreadnoks.
- Chainsaw Good: Buzzer's trademark chainsaw has diamond-tipped blades, allowing it to slice through rock and metal.
- Evil Brit: From Cambridge, England.
- Irony: In the original toyline/comic at least, Buzzer is actually a disgruntled Sociology Don from the Cambridge University in Britain. He went to Australia to research for a paper on the local biker gangs, and found something in the Dreadnoks that resonated with his original political beliefs, resulting in his abandoning society to become the psychopathic anarchist he is today.
- Kill It with Fire: He often carries a big can of gasoline, mostly to torch G. I. Joe vehicles down.
- Know Nothing Knowit All: Buzzer comes across as this in the Marvel comics; his academic background gave him a fair amount of book smarts, but he ultimately didn't have that much more common sense than his book dumber but street smarter comrades.
- Sunglasses at Night: Buzzer wears his trademark round Cool Shades wherever he goes.
Real Name: Clyde Hyde
A nasty and evil person who chose the path of the poacher to make his living.
- Animal Companion: For reasons unknown, he was always seen around with a warthog.
- Carpet of Virility: Gnawgahyde showed off some chest hair a few times when he fought shirtless.
- Enemy to All Living Things: As stated above.
- Evil Poacher: Gnawgahyde has this as his motif, and is in fact so disgusting that his fellow poachers eventually drove him out.
- Friendly Sniper: Averted. There's nothing friendly about this feller.
- Depending on the Writer: Gnawgahyde's intelligence level was rather inconsistent in the DiC cartoon. Some episodes had him of average intellect and the straight man to Metal-Head's buffoonery, while others had him just as stupid.
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: His cartoon version sided with the Baroness to restore Cobra Commander because Serpentor disdained him.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: "Crusher", an Up to Eleven version of him. It is strongly implied that Crusher Killed Off for Real Gnawgahyde just to take his place in the Dreadnoks.
Real Name: Bill Winkie
Former employ of several terrorist factions, his expertise manufacturing bombs gave him a place amongst this biker gang's ranks.
- Combat Pragmatist: During a last man standing competition, rather than slug it out with the other participants, he just lets everyone else tire themselves out, then finishes off the stragglers with gas grenades.
- Cool Shades: Mirrored aviators in his case.
- Dark and Troubled Past: By the age of sixteen, Monkeywrench was already a pariah in his hometown for basically Murder Arson And Jay Walking.
- Evil Brit: From Rhyl, North Wales.
- Expy: Of Guy Fawkes, he even was born on a fifth of November.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Monkeywrench loves to make things explode, and specialises in using grenades and explosives.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Since he can find job with several small terrorist factions, his role if he's not available is filled by "Demolishor", an imposing Canadian who can't feel pain.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Monkeywrench is so scared of spiders that he enters in panicking like a little schoolgirl when he sees one.
Real Name: Harry Nod
An absolute anti-social. One of the three original Dreadnoks.
- Bayonet Ya: His Weapon of Choice is a rifle with an oversized "can opener" shaped blade that can cut even through light armor.
- Boxed Crook: He is this in spades, he has spent most of his adult life in various correctional institutions.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass/Genius Bruiser: In at least one comic series, Ripper is actually a highly successful businessman on the side, running a very successful grape soda company that makes him quite wealthy. He's just with the Dreadnoks because he loves destroying things.
- Five-Finger Discount: And from a very young age, he was expelled from nursery school for extorting candy from his schoolmates.
- Land Down Under: From Grim Cape, Tasmania.
- Magnificent Bastard: His main and only goal is personal gain, and he's quite sharp about how to get it.
- Sunglasses at Night: Bright red Cool Shades.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: "Machete" in Sigma 6. This because his name was not seen as very kid-friendly due to Executive Meddling.
Real Name: Donald DeLuca
The hulking main muscle of the Dreadnoks, and surprisingly, also his most intelligent member.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Road Pig's hair was changed from the original white with red streaks to orange with green streaks in the DIC series to match with his second action figure, and into whole red in G.I. Joe: Reloaded.
- Bodyguard Crush: Road Pig is in charge of protecting Zarana, and both of his personas love her.
- Unrequited Love: For Zarana.
- The Brute: As Road Pig.
- Cultured Warrior: As Donald.
- The Heavy: Bringing conflict even between Dreadnoks, also towering over most of the characters within the whole franchise.
- Hulking Out: From Donald to Road Pig. You can tell his transformation is going on when he begins to stutter.
- Person of Mass Destruction: The sole reason Road Pig has found a stable way for a living amongst the Dreadnoks' ranks, is even they haven't the guts to tell him otherwise.
- Murder, Arson, and Jaywalking: His rap sheet:
- Speech Impediment: The Road Pig persona has a mild stutter. This is mainly used to help denote which persona is in charge at the moment, as it is mild enough that it doesn't get in the way of communication nor does anyone make fun of it.
- Split Personality: Road Pig has two personas, Dumb Muscle Roadpig and Badass Bookworm Donald. They even have conversations and are more friendly to each other than most examples of the trope.
- Super Strength: The only difference between Donald and Road Pig is how they use it.
- Tag Along Kid: He's just a Dreadnok under a provatory membership. And it's said that they even are having a hard time making up their minds about it.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: At times when his breastplate ends up too damaged.
- Weapon of Choice: He carries a hundred pound cinderblock mace wherever he goes.
Real Name: Tom Winken
The last but not the least original member of the Dreadnoks.
- Boxed Crook: He was sent to a borstal at the age of fourteen.
- The Cabin Boy: After fleeing from the borstal he joined to the merchant marine, there's where he learned the use of the cutting torch.
- The Fool: Crossing the Obfuscating Stupidity line. If given the choice to disassemble complicated parts from luxury machinery, he often just cut it all and sell it as scrap metal.
- Kill It with Fire: Torch loves to set things on fire, and his iconic weapon is a portable Oxy-Acetylene cutting torch.
- Land Down Under: From Botany Bay, New South Wales.
- Martial Arts Headband: Never near to be a faithful practitioner of any kind, but he's still always wearing a bright red one. Repleaced later on by a cool bandana.
- Never Learned to Read: Torch is an unrepentant, illiterate thug.
- Safecracking: His cutting torch is often used for this.
- Stupid Crooks: Even his partners in crime (not the brighter of the lot, themselves) see him as this.
- Sunglasses at Night: Always shown wearing his black rounded Cool Shades.
Real Name: Bruno LaCrosse
- Ace Custom: His Thunder Machine.
- The Engineer: Thrasher maintains the Dreadnoks' vehicles, having built (or rebuilt) many of them. He built his vehicle from scraps and stolen parts (including an F-16 jet engine), and it was strong enough to survive a point-blank shot from an ultra-high-tech, top-of-the-line D.E.M.O.N. - and a bunch of grenades used to turn it back over! (Though the grenades did mess up the engine.)
- Genius Bruiser: He built the Thunder Machine from random stolen junk all on his own, and there's a reason why he's responsible for creating and fixing machines for the rest of the gang.
- More Dakka: His car is armed with twin frontal M-134 .cal .20 mini guns.
- Spoiled Brat: His middle class parents believed that to discipline their wild child would stifle energies he might need later in his life and they never denied him anything he asked for, so he winded-up an arrogant little punk.
Real Name: Morgan Teach
A former globe-trotting rouge, now flying the Dreadnoks' own Swampfire and sailing on their Air-Skiff.
- Eyepatch of Power: Cementing his status as a modern day Davy Jones. Zarana even suspects that this is only a pose.
- Combat Pragmatist: And by "pragmatist" here we mean A viciously cheatin' street-fighter. He's so good at it that even veritable Powerhouses as Chuckles or Roadblock didn't have even a ghost of a fighting chance against him.
- Evil Is Petty: Sneaking around at night to pick-pocket change from his own comrades, biting the others' chocolate covered donuts when no one is watching, even indulging himself in stock fraud... he was born in Cayman Islands, you know?
- Long John Shout-Out: His file name is one of both, Captain Morgan and Black Beard.
- The Pigpen: Dreadnoks aren't known for their personal hygiene, but Zanzibar is far and away the worst of the bunch. He was even raised in a garbage scow and has the disgusting tendency of never change his socks.
- Sky Pirate: His shtick, he met the Dreadnoks while smuggling gasoline for them.
- Sword and Gun: ...or in his case, a pistol, a spear and a hammer.