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Cobra Commander

GI Joe Classified Series
by yo go re

It's nearly Halloween - time to put on a mask and conceal your identity!

The leader of Cobra is the most treacherous and despicable criminal the world has ever known. Cobra Commander has channeled his boundless ambitions into building a worldwide criminal organization with one goal: global domination at any cost. Highly intelligent and dangerously unstable. Wields a strange form of charm that can twist intentions and morals, making his poisonous words seem plausible and relatable and masking his true motives behind his treachery.

Only cares about power, dangerously unstable, dupes his followers by telling them lies they want to believe... is Cobra Commander running for president again? "We're going to build the Terror Drome, and Sierra Gordo is going to pay for it!" It's mindboggling how people can recognize the traits of an evil dictator when they're presented in fiction, but show them the same in real life, and they'll make excuses all day long. And then complain without even a shred of irony or self-awareness that you're picking on them when you make your villains do villainous things. Long story short, you can't be a patriot and support Cobra Commander at the same time.

This Cobra Commander is wearing his silver faceplate. One thing that Larry Hama firmly established was that CC's helmet was worn in combat situations, while the hood was reserved for ceremonial duties. Any reason this toy couldn't have come with both? The blue helmet and silver mask are two separate pieces glued together for realistic depth. Rather than the old-fashioned helmet he used to wear, this is a stylish, artsy piece with large flares wrapping around the cheeks.

The Classified Series does not aim for slavish re-creations of old designs - we've already seen that with GI Joe, and we don't need to see it again. Maybe in a few years, when the brand has its feet under it again, a set of "retro" figures would be fun, but right now we're getting something better. Cobra Commander is wearing a fancy military dress uniform consisting of a double-breasted jacket, layered bracers (or very ornate cuffs), tall black boots, and a combination cape/epaulette hanging over his left shoulder. The Cobra logo in the center of his chest is molded on, not just painted, and the thin golden chain connecting the two top buttons on his chest-flap is a separate piece glued in place, to better represent depth. Neat!

His colors are very dark. I've always been more of a "blue Cobra Commander" than a "black Cobra Commander" guy, but this falls right between the two. There's some black detailing on the jacket - across the shoulders, over the hips, on the forearms - and that's outlined with silver piping. The cape is black with red lining, matching the three Cobra symbols to be found on his uniform and the wide stripes on the outside of his legs. His buttons, chain, and the fringe on his shoulder are all golden. Thankfully, the mask is just painted silver, not chromed.

Cobra Commander is a little less than 6½" tall, which is too tall for someone who the official site lists at an even 6'. And let's be honest, even 6' tall would be too big for a guy who was meant to be plain and easily overlooked before his rise to power - he needs to be something unobtrusive, like 5'11". He has a balljointead head, hinged and balljointed neck, swivel/hinge shoulders on pectoral hinges, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, hinged chest, balljointed waist, hips that are a balljointed mounted on a hinge, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, swivel shins, and swivel/hinge ankles. The cape is plastic, so it does block things a little. At least it's small?

The stats on the side of Cobra Commander's packaging list him as Leader 4, Light Weapons 1, PsyOps 4, and Coercion 4. Yeah, that seems to track: great at manipulating people, merely okay at manipulating weapons. Fittingly, the figure comes with a pistol. It appears to be an ornate flintlock with a small bayonet fixed beneath the barrel - so, definitely a ceremonial piece more than something designed for active combat. A scabbard hangs from the left side of his belt, accommodating his other weapon: a sword. A small sword, or a large dagger? Something. The blade is more jagged than you might expect, and the hilt looks like a golden cobra head. He's also got a pair of alternate hands: a fist for the left, and a pointing finger for the right.

Surprisingly, Cobra Commander is the most plentiful figure in the fledgling Classified Series; there are two Snake-Eyeses, two Destros, two Roadblocks (for some unfathomable reason)... and three Cobra Commanders. There's the one in this review, a "Regal" variant with a brighter and more cartoony colorscheme (which was available via some website nobody's ever heard of, but then maybe that wasn't the variant, and... it was a whole thing, don't worry about it), and a black "Snake Supreme" version with a few different accessories and an ornate deco designed by artist Sana Takeda. The blue on the mystery variant might be better, but the gold accents on that don't look as nice as the silver on this, so just like with Snake-Eyes, the ideal version would be an impossible amalgam of all three.

With an extra hooded head, to boot.

-- 10/30/20

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