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Cobra Commander

GI Joe Renegades
by Monkey Boy

After writing two reviews of figures based on the GI Joe: Renegades cartoon, I can finally say that I've actually seen two episodes. On an exceedingly long plane ride home from Japan, one of the available on-demand shows was Renegades, so I checked out a two part episode focused mainly on Jinx, Snake-Eyes, Storm Shadow, and the Arashikage ninja clan. It's basically a retelling of the origin of the rift between SE and SS, which we've seen recently in both the live-action Rise of Cobra film and the Resolute microseries.

I mention this anecdote because I finally have some perspective on the figures based around the series. The show is in fact quite good. However, it won't help me much with this particular review, since Cobra Commander is only seen in the opening credits.

Cobra Commander is the shadowy figure who runs Cobra
Industries. To the public, he is known as the kind, generous Adam DeCobray. But the truth is that he is a ruthless megalomaniac who wants to rule the world, and will crush anyone who gets in his way.

While the character of Cobra Commander differs a bit in Renegades in that he is outwardly seen as a benevolent soul, his design still stays fairly true to his basic tenets. He's wearing a short, double-breasted blue coat, with huge yellow buttons. He's got dark boots and gloves and a nice high collar. What really sets the design in the Renegades world are the sharp, blocky edges and flat, simplified areas of the sculpt. Of all the cartoon-based figures so far, CC is the one that hews closest to his animated design model. His sculpt, as far as I can tell, is mostly if not entirely new, which is nice, although your mileage may vary on how much you like it, depending on how well you feel he integrates with other Joe figures.

The main difference between this CC and others, aside from the animated look, is the helmet design. He actually gets two interchangeable heads, the main one featuring a sort of half-helmet that covers the left and lower part of his face. This was one of those changes that caused a fan uproar when the show's designs were first revealed, and it is a little strange looking. Fortunately, the second head is much more closer to the CC we all know and love. It's a more traditional full silver facemask, although the usual blue helmet that covers the rest of the head is absent. The second head is my personal preference, but I'm glad we get both.

The paint is simple, but since the design is simple that makes sense. Dull dark blue is the most prominent color, with yellow accents on the buttons and belt buckle, as well as some nice deep gloss red to highlight the neck, belt, and coat cuffs. Dark gray boots and black gloves complete the color palette. The silver of both masks is nice, and the exposed skin of the partially unmasked head is a sickly pale pallor. Based on the packaging art, the color of the pants should be a darker blue than the coat, but it's not a deal breaker.

The figure gets the typical Joe articulation (slightly hampered by the lower half of his coat), with the updated pegged and hinged wrists. This allows for some nice poses when utilizing his accessories: a snake staff and an animated Luger-type pistol, similar to the gun included with the Resolute Commander. He also comes with the cobra snake initially included with the live-action film's Commander figure, and the standard display base. Not a huge assortment of accessories, but with the extra head he doesn't feel shorted either.

Aside from the new head design and the animated look, there's not a whole lot to separate this figure from the dozens of other Cobra Commander figures out there. However, I find myself drawn to the simple, dignified design. It's a more subtle, subdued look than we're used to, and I dig it. Still, much like Renegades Snake-Eyes, you could be forgiven for not feeling the need to add yet another Cobra Commander to your collection.

-- 12/02/11

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