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Characters / GI Joe Red Shadows

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Red Shadows
A rogue militia with mysterious motives, the Red Shadows have become a serious threat due to their mixture of fanatically devoted troops, powerful sophisticated weaponry, and mastery of unique cutting edge technologies.

In General

  • Depending on the Writer: Just about everything. Who is in charge? Are they an Ancient Conspiracy, or a relatively new kid on the block? Are they a third party faction that threatens G.I. Joe and Cobra alike, or are they a Private Military Contractor augmenting Cobra's ranks? The answer varies across continuities.
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Mecha!: Their troops are occasionally augmented with killer robots who can shrug off bullets. The Muton and the Skeletron are the most prominent examples.
  • Kill It with Fire: Their pyro troop variant, the Shadow Torches.
  • Putting on the Reich: The Shadowtroopers bear a resemblance to the Wehrmacht stormtroopers. They wear stahlhelms with a "Jerry helmet" design, and wield MP-40s, panzerschrecks, and stielhandgranates (stick grenades) as weapons. And while the Skull and Crossbones logo is often associated with pirates, it was also a notorious symbol of the Totenkopf armored division.

Baron Ironblood

Real Name: Marcus Kassells
Founder of the Red Shadows and enemy of Action Force. In the Battle Action Force continuity, he betrays his own organization and eventually becomes Cobra Commander.

  • Bad Boss: He takes his anger of defeat on his men.
  • Brainwashed: He has hypnotic control over his men.
  • Cop Killer: During his service in the British Army's Parachute Regiment, it's implied he killed a fellow officer by pushing him out of a plane after an argument. But nothing was proven.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": He's known as "The Baron" during his mercenary days.
  • Evil Genius: His toy bio describes him as a "Genius of Evil".
  • Take Over the World: His "twisted criminal brain" dreams of it.


Black Major

Real Name: John Shepherd
The Red Shadows primary field commander and tactician. Originally a Royal Marine attached to the Special Boat Service, Major Shepherd was kidnapped by Baron Ironblood and brainwashed into a dedicated and ruthless follower.
  • Ace Pilot: He can drive or fly pretty much any Red Shadows vehicle, but he takes a particular liking to the Roboskull flight pod.
  • Appropriated Appellation: During a mission in Latin America locals called him "Commandante Negro" (Spanish for Black Major). He took a liking to the name and decided to roll with it.
  • Badass Longcoat: Wears one in the comics.
  • Bad Boss: In the IDW ARAH comic. While generally braver and tougher than Cobra Commander, he still shares the Commander's tendency to throw his troops under a bus to save his own ass.
    Black Major: I saved myself for the good of us all, to ensure quality leadership in this time of peril.
  • Dragon Ascendant: After Baron Ironblood's betrayal, the Black Major reunites the remaining Red Shadows and becomes their leader.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Was a loyal British soldier before the Red Shadows brainwashed him.
  • Putting on the Reich: He looks like an SS officer, save for his cap being red instead of black. His personal sidearm bears a strong resemblance to the C-96 Mauser.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Likely a result of his brainwashing, he shows no emotion on the battlefield.
    Black Major: Wipe out the Americans! Raise the Black Flag. No quarter, and no prisoners!

Red Laser
A technology major from Tokyo University who was corrupted by dreams of power shown to him by Baron Ironblood, Red Laser serves as the Artillery expert for the Red Shadows.

  • Ace Custom: The Laser Exterminator, the Evil Counterpart to Joes' Heavy Artillery Laser.
  • Bomb Throwing Anarchist: While he was a student at Tokyo University he was involved with some local extremist groups.
  • Insufferable Genius: In the IDW ARAH comic.
    Red Laser: It's not my fault if my superiors in the planning stages did not see the scale of the opposition's weapon.
  • King Mook: He wears the same helmet and mask combination as the standard Red Shadow stormtrooper, but a custom uniform otherwise distinguishes him from the rank and file.
  • Mad Scientist: Picture an evil version of Q who likes to field test his inventions himself.
  • Palette Swap: Of Cobra Commander.

Red Jackal

Real Name: Anton Nobokov
A Latvian defector who eventually joined Z-Force. During an engagement with the Red Shadows, Nobokov received life-threatening injuries and was presumed killed. Baron Ironblood recovered Nobokov's broken body and had him converted into his cybernetic enforcer, Red Jackal.

  • Ace Custom: The Hyena assault tank.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Part of the Red Shadows' senior leadership, also one of their best hand-to-hand fighters.
  • Badass Driver: Has a natural talent for high-speed driving.
  • Cyborg: The immuno-compromised burnt flesh of his head is covered by a bio-mimetic "smart metal". He also has robotic hands and eyes.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Thanks to his cybernetic eyes.
  • Palette Swap: Of Destro. In the Battle Action Force continuity they're the same guy.
  • The Quiet One: Even before being brainwashed by the Red Shadows, he was a loner with "an aversion to comradeship".
  • Russian Guy Suffers Most: Actually Latvian, but nevertheless, life has not been kind to this guy.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: And Baron Ironblood does.

Wilder Vaughn

Leader of the Red Shadows in the DDP comics. His purpose is to finish the established government he sees as corrupt.

Dela Eden

A ruthless female member of the Red Shadows.

Artur Kulik

A feared enforcer and assassin.

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