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Cobra Commander

GI Joe: Pursuit of Cobra
by yo go re

Now, as the line enters its second year, there's no question that GI Joe: Pursuit of Cobra is a great toyline. Heck, it won the 2010 ToY Award, so you know it had to be something special. But after the two-pronged failure of the Rise of Cobra toys, Hasbro needed to sell itself to shoppers again.

One of the tactics they employed was that old standby, the chase figure. Not a chase variant, because it wasn't a version of an existing figure in the line-up; this was a standalone offering. Rather than the standard "GI Joe" logo on the packaging, this was the first-ever figure sold in a "Cobra" package. It gets a unique logo, a scaly pattern on the background and a colorscheme unlike any other toys in the line, making it absolutely "pop" when it's on the shelf. We don't often say these words, but this is packaging worth saving.

The deviously brilliant leader of Cobra has created the Cobra HISS tank, a dangerous weapon that will help him expand his empire. He is prepared for battle in a mask that uses sunlight to power his cybernetic armor. As the showdown with the GI Joe team begins in the desert, he sends in his new tanks for the final attack.

So wait, Cobra Commander designed the HISS? To what extent? Destro is the munitioneer, you'd expect him to be the one to have built the tanks. Cobra Commander designing a tank should work out just about as well as Homer Simpson designing a car.

Below the neck, this figure is identical to the Rise of Cobra Cobra Commander; you know, the one everybody hated so much. He's got the same dress shoes, the same corduroy coat and the same complicated body armor covering his chest. The colors are different, though. Rather than silver the armor is metallic red, done in the usual way (chromed base with a translucent red wash above it) with "CC1" printed on the breast. The lining of the coat is a dark reddish brown, and the exterior has no blue highlights. It does, however, have a large Cobra logo in the center of the back, so that's new.

Also new? The head. Though this is similar to the BADR mask the previous version wore, it's not identical. The detail is more intricate on every surface, evident even despite the vac-metallized faceplate. Yes, there'll be no peering through this one to see the hamburgery remains beneath; this is a nice throwback to the original silver dome, but with a modern spin.

Cobra Commander's accessories include a small black pistol, a Cobra battle standard, and some sort of large triangular blaster. The standard is painted better than it was the last time we saw it, with a silver symbol in the middle and red flags at the tip. The triangular thing is a new piece and he looks good wielding it. It's probably the MIAW (Multi-Function Individual Assault Weapon) mentioned on the filecard. Original plans called for this figure to include a small HISS Drone, but that got cut - of course, it was also going to be a mailaway exclusive, and that obviously changed as well.

With his stylish packaging, Cobra Commander is a real eye-catcher on the pegs, but the figure inside that package is really good, as well. In fact, it's rather amusing to see just how much the fanboys seem to love this version, when the only real difference between it and the one they hated so much before is the color of his paint apps.

-- 05/27/11

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