#2570: Cobra Commander



Since it was re-branded in the ’80s, G.I. Joe has been as much about the evil forces of Cobra as it has about the titular team of heroes.  The very first year of the line saw (as a mail away, anyway), the introduction of one of the most distinctive faces of the franchise…despite his lack of, you know, an actual face, Cobra Commander, the faceless leader to the faceless goons!  It’s really not much of a Joe line without him at this point, so it comes as little shock that he’s a pretty early addition to Hasbro’s recent relaunch…with three separate versions, no less.  Today, I’m looking at the only version I have so far, the most standard-est of the bunch!


Cobra Commander is figure 06 in the G.I. Joe: Classified Series line-up, and heads up the second main release assortment of the line, which wound up being the third assortment at retail if you count the Target stuff…look, let’s not think about it too much, okay?  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 31 points of articulation.  He’s a little bit more restricted than some of the other figures in the line, missing out on the drop hips and the ball jointed waist in particular.  While it’s a little bit of a bummer, it’s not the end of the world, since the Commander’s rarely as agile as a lot of the other characters in the franchise, and what he has still allows him to pull of a lot of really good poses for the character.  Cobra Commander’s design is definitely a take on his original V1 battle-helmeted design, which has always been my preferred lineage for redesigns of the Commander.  This figure follows in the footsteps of both the Valor Vs Venom and Resolute takes on this particular look, taking the slightly more utilitarian design of the original figure and injecting some of the regal flair that would become so integral to the character.  On the whole, I think the design works, but I’ll also freely admit that there’s a degree of overdesigning going on with this guy, especially when compared to others in the line.  There are areas where I think simplifying things just a touch would help sell the design.  In particular, I think there’s just a little too much going on with the gloves, and the shoulder pad/half-cape also seems a little bit too involved.  I think this guy’s similarities to the Resolute version might be hurting him in that regard, because that design’s pretty cleanly handled, and is kind of the gold standard for Cobra Commander re-designs.  This one is quite far from being bad, mind you, and I do still really like a lot about it.  The paint work on this guy takes the Commander’s usual color scheme and slightly dials it back, going for an overall more subdued appearance, at least as far as the blues are considered.  As with the overall design on the sculpt, there’s perhaps a little too much going on with some of the color work, but as a whole it works, and it’s certainly got the appropriate vibe behind it.  Cobra Commander is packed with two sets of hands, one pointing/fist combo, and one gripping/open gesture combo, as well as a flintlock-style gun and a small sword.  The hands are definitely great for getting some expressive poses out of him, but I find the weapons once again fall victim to the dreaded over designing.


I’m all-in on this new Joe line, or at the very least all-in on all of the standard release stuff, so there was no way I was missing out on the Commander.  I was planning to snag him through All Time, but ended up getting him just a bit earlier courtesy of Max, who snagged the standard early and then decided to upgrade to the PulseCon exclusive version.  While I see a few more flaws on this guy than with the prior figures, he’s still a solid figure.  Now I have to debate about whether I want the two repaints.

#1335: Rex “The Doctor” Lewis



“Rex is the chief experimental doctor for M.A.R.S. Industries and developer of advanced nanotechnology. Disfigured in an explosion, he relies on life support equipment as he launches a diabolical plan to satisfy his thirst for power and revenge. ”

G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra isn’t a particularly well-regarded movie.  It definitely took some…different approaches to the source material.  I myself kind of enjoyed the movie, but with the caveat that I liked it as it’s own, separate thing.  It’s a good spy-flick, but the Joe label is a bit misplaced.  Misplacing of labels seems to have gone around a lot in this movie.  I absolutely loved Joseph Gordon Levitt’s turn as Doctor Mindbender.  The only problem is that as it turns out, the mysteriously named “The Doctor,” despite checking off every mark for Mindbender (including the character’s signature monocle), is actually Cobra Commander.  Odd choice.  But hey, cool action figures, though!


Rex “The Doctor” Lewis was released in the third series of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra tie-in line, which hit a little while after the film’s release.  Presumably, he was in a later assortment so that the reveal that he was Baroness’s not-quite-dead brother Rex could be kept secret.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  The sculpt for the Doctor was all-new to him, and as far as I know, it’s not been re-used (well, apart from the labcoat, which has shown up on a few figures).  The sculpt is certainly different.  Hasbro opted to not be 100% faithful to the film’s version of Rex, who dressed more like an actual scientist (well, apart from the headgear).  This figure has some sort of  Edward Scissorhands get-up.  Which, with the addition of the jacket, ends up looking about the same as the movie design anyway, so I guess it didn’t really matter.  The head stays pretty faithful, apart from the loss of the monocle thing.  The hair and breathing apparatus are both removable, allowing you to view the fully unmasked Rex, who actually looks a fair bit like Levitt in the scar make-up from the film.  Despite being removable, the hair and rebreather fit pretty tightly to the head, and look pretty decent overall, and they also both stay in place really well, which is a definite plus.  The paint on the Doctor is largely confined to the head (everything else is mostly black plastic).  The detail work is actually pretty great, and they convey the scarred nature of his skin quite nicely.  The Doctor is packed with a pair of claw gloves, a giant nanite-injector claw-thing, a pistol, a rifle, a briefcase with three containers of nanites, and a display stand with “THE DOCTOR” printed on it.  Not a bad assortment of extras!  The case with the nanites and the claw gloves are definitely my favorites, but they’re all pretty fun extras.


The Doctor was one of my favorite parts of Rise of Cobra, so I was a little dismayed that he wasn’t out when the film hit.  I patiently waited for his release, and ended up finding him at the local Walmart while grabbing some Christmas decorations with my Dad.  He’s one of the better entries in the Rise of Cobra line, and one of my favorite modern-era Joes in general.  Not bad for a figure from a movie nobody likes!

#1274: Cobra Commander



“The deviously brilliant leader of Cobra has created the Cobra H.I.S.S. 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 G.I. Joe Team begins in the desert, he sends in his new tanks for the final attack.”

When G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra was released in 2009, the whole G.I. Joe line was reformatted to tie in with the movie, bringing an official end to the widely popular 25th Anniversary line.  When Hasbro returned back to the non-movie based stuff in 2010, the sort of merged the two, offering a modernized take on the G.I. Joe mythos that used some elements from the movies, but was largely a continuation of the same Joe story from 1982.  Quite frankly, it’s probably my favorite era of the line.  The line offered new takes on a lot of the classic characters, including Cobra’s shrill leader, Cobra Commander!


Cobra Commander was part of the first series of Pursuit of Cobra.  He was officially classified as the “chase figure,” but I don’t actually know what the logistics of that were.  It may have just been that he was short packed.  Whatever the case, he’s not noticeably rarer than any of the other figures from that same assortment.  This figure actually began his life as a proposed mail-away figure for the Rise of Cobra line.  When that line was ended, Hasbro cut one of his accessories (the PoC figures were packed in smaller blisters than the RoC ones), and moved him into this line*.  The figure stands just shy of 4 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  This figure is largely a parts re-use from the main RoC Commander figure, which was loosely based on his movie design.  While the movie look wasn’t my favorite thing, there’s no denying that the figure had a pretty cool sculpt.  The jacket’s probably my favorite part; there’s an air of elegance to it, which seems perfectly in character for the Commander, and between the awesome texture work and the slightly windblown look to it, it really adds a lot to the figure.  The rest of the figure is pretty solid too; the torso has some really sharp detailing on the armor, and I love that this guys got wingtips.  The figure does get a new head sculpt; it’s not too far removed from the RoC head, but it’s a solid piece this time, instead of being pseudo removable, which makes it a bit sleeker.  I’m still not as much of a fan of this design as I am the classic featureless faceplate, but it’s not awful.  The paintwork on this guy is pretty top-notch; it’s super sleek, if nothing else.  The faceplate of the mask has been vac-metalized, and there’s even some slight accenting on top of that to help bring out the details.  The chest is a deep red, a departure for the Commander, who’s usually blue.  Still, it’s a really nice, metallic red, and there’s a black wash over it to make it really pop.  This figure moves the previous Commander’s logo from just to the left of his left lapel to the back of his jacket.  It’s certainly more visible now, and looks a bit less out of place.  With that said, it’s abundantly clear that this sculpt wasn’t intended to have a logo on the jacket.  The interior of the jacket has been lined with a dark burgundy, which is easy to miss if you aren’t looking closely.  Cobra Commander is packed with a small pistol, a weird grey machine gun thing, a Gonfalon (thanks yojoe.com for helping me ID that), and a display stand with his name and the Cobra logo on it.


I’ve always gone through phases of buying G.I. Joe, but despite hitting smack dab of one of those phases, I didn’t pick up this guy when he was new.  I thought about it, but his design was divorced enough from what I consider Cobra Commander to give me pause.  Then, between the Resolute version, the later (more classic Commander-inspired) PoC version, and finding the RoC figure for a discount, this guy just felt sort of redundant.  Back in February, I ended up spotting him as one of the silent auction items in Farpoint’s charity auction.  Like the previously reviewed Kaylee figure, the money going to a good cause was enough to get me to finally buy him.  I’m really happy I did.  He may not be your conventional Cobra Commander, but he’s a really, really fun figure.

*In 2011, they also offered the figure in his original packaging and with the missing mini H.I.S.S. Tank accessory, as a G.I. Joe Collectors Club exclusive.  This has probably contributed to the relative ease of acquiring the standard release.

#0167: G.I. Joe Resolute Cobra Box Set



Hoo boy. Yep, this review is gonna be a long one. Typically, I try to do boxed sets as one review for the whole thing whenever possible. That’s not usually that much extra work, until I run into something like the set I’m reviewing today.

This isn’t the first time I’ve looked at GI Joe’s A Real American Hero incarnation, but it’s the first time I’ve looked at this particular branch of it. After the early 2000s GI Joe VS Cobra interpretation started to dwindle, Hasbro once again relaunched the line as GI Joe 25th Anniversary, to coincide with the titular anniversary. It was a combination of boxed sets and single packed waves of figures. Eventually, the line’s sales fell, so Hasbro moved several of the remaining figures to a few online exclusive seven – packs. Yep, I’m going to be looking at seven figures today. Hang in there readers!


This was a one of two online exclusive boxed sets released in the summer of 2010. Both sets were based on 2009’s GI Joe: Resolute, an animated movie that was aired as a series of shorts on [adult swim]. The script was written by comicbook writer Warren Ellis, and it served as an update of sorts to the cartoon from the 80s. This set featured the Cobra characters from the series.


Cobra Commander, as the name implies, is the leader of terrorist organization Cobra. He’s one of the few characters that had more than one look over the course of the series, so they’ve decided to give him his more standard uniform that he wears for the majority of the series. It’s a cool design, and serves as an update on his original 1982 figure. The figure stands about 3 ¾ inches tall and features 22 points of articulation. The Commander shares his torso, waist, upper and lower arms, gloves, upper legs, and shins with his first 25th Anniversary figure, and was also an almost wholesale re-release of the Resolute version of the Commander released in the main line. The sculpt looks like a pretty great representation of the Commander’s appearance in Resolute, despite the re-use. Most of the figure’s success comes from his add-on half cape and skirt piece, which both cover up the reused pieces and give the Commander the regal dictator look he should have. The head adds to that, with a nice, more angular update to his traditional mirror faced helmet. The paint on the figure is all very well done, with no real signs of slop or anything. He’s conveyed here in the cartoon’s more muted tones, which accent the figure’s sculpt very well. It would be nice if there was perhaps some more detailing or a wash of some sort to bring out some of the sculpted folds and such, but at this scale, it’s not a huge issue. Cobra Commander includes a sword, a pistol, an ornate knife/dagger and a stand bearing his name and the Cobra logo. That’s a nice assortment of accessories!


Storm Shadow was Cobra’s resident expert in all things ninja. He served as a counter point to GI Joe member Snake Eyes. Storm Shadow’s design was based on his original design, with some thorough tweaks to update it a bit, I suppose. He stands about 3 ¾ inches tall and has 22 points of articulation. He shares his torso, arms and waist with the 25th Anniversary Quick Kick figure, but everything else is new. Storm Shadow also features a hood, sash and shirt as add-on pieces, allowing you to dress him how you like, I suppose. All of the pieces are well sculpted, doing a decent job of capturing the character’s look from Resolute. The add-on pieces look a bit bulky from certain angles, but it isn’t too bad. The paint is serviceable, but not the greatest. There’s a few spots of sloppiness, and he could really benefit from a wash of some sort. The details really get lost in the white. Storm Shadow includes two katana, a backpack with sheaths for them, a claw attachment for his hand, and a stand with his name and the Cobra logo.


The Alley Viper is this set’s army builder. Admittedly, not the most practical way to release such a figure, but don’t let that color your opinion of the figure. He stands 3 ¾ inches tall and has 22 points of articulation. Most of his basic body comes from either the basic Resolute Cobra Trooper or the previously released samurai version of Storm Shadow. He has a new head, helmet, goggles, and chest armor. These pieces make a world of difference, making the Alley Viper look like a brand new figure. The sculpting it really great here, with lots of little texture work, especially on the torso piece. The paint on the figure is clean, and looks great all around. The Alley Viper includes two large rifles, and a display stand.


The Baroness is the right hand…woman, I guess, and has been a fixture of Cobra since the beginning. Her figures in the past haven’t been the greatest. This one’s not the worst, but it’s not an amazing. She’s a little under 3 ¾ inches tall and has 22 points of articulation. She shares her body with the previous version of Baroness from the 25th Anniversary line, with a new head. The body is perfectly fine. Nicely proportioned and all. The head is another story. It seems like it’s more of a molding issue than a sculpt issue, but nonetheless, it’s not a very good piece. The paint is serviceable. It’s all very cleanly applied, but there’s nothing super impressive. She includes a removable pair of sunglasses, two sub machine guns, and a display stand.


Destro was Cobra’s weapons supplier, though more often than not he was just treated as a part of the Cobra hierarchy. His design deviates the most from his original look, but that’s understandable. His original design was probably the most dated of the original designs. He’s the tallest member of the set, clocking in at a full 4 inches and featuring 22 points of articulation. Destro’s only shared piece was his head, which he shares with all of his previous 25th Anniversary releases. Everything else is brand new, and it’s all very sharply sculpted, which is really cool. Like Cobra Commander, he’s got a very regal sort of look to him. His paint work is simple, but it’s all cleanly applied. It looks accurate to the show. Destro includes a machine gun, a briefcase containing a sub-machine gun, two pistols, an alternate cybernetic arm, and a display stand.


Zartan was the leader of the Dreadnocks, and the resident master of disguise over at Cobra. He stands about 3 ¾ inches tall and features 22 points of articulation. He shares a head with the previous 25th Anniversary version of the character. I believe all the other pieces are new. He looks pretty spot in to the character’s look in the cartoon. The sculpt is decently detailed, and properly stylized, which looks pretty good. The paint is perfectly fine, with no real slop or bleed over. He’s done nicely, but the color scheme is pretty bland, so he kind of blends in. He includes a smaller gun, a sniper rifle, and a display stand.


Firefly was a beloved show by creator Joss Whedon, cancelled after just 13 episodes… No wait, sorry. Firefly is a Batman villain who…no, that’s wrong too. Firefly is actually Cobra’s something expert. Not certain what, but he looks while doing whatever it is he does. He stands 3 ¾ inches tall and has 22 points of articulation. He shares his body with the Resolute Cobra Trooper, with a new head and a body armor add-on piece. All of the sculpting work is solid, with some great detail, particularly the stitching on the mask, which is a cool touch. The paint is once again solid work, but like Zartan, it’s really drab. For as cool as people seem to think the character is, he’s not the most exciting figure. He includes a rifle, a missile, a rocket launcher thing (not pictured), and a display stand.


The Resolute box sets were what really got me into the 25th Anniversary line. I had enjoyed the cartoon quite a bit, and I really liked the updated designs, so I was all aboard for the figures. I had initially really wanted the set for Cobra Commander and Storm Shadow, but once I got the figures in hand, I really enjoyed the Alley Viper, way more than I thought I would. Not that Commander and Storm Shadow are bad. Sure, the set’s not all perfect (I’m looking at you Baroness), but it’s a lot of fun and it was a great way to get an instant set of all the main Cobras.