Top o’ the Lot: Members of Cobra
From time to time Outright Geekery brings you a slanted and biased opinion on some trivially specific topic of geekery. We call it Outright Geekery’s Top o’ the Lot.
The cavalcade of ’80’s animated after-school nostalgia keeps up it’s steady march toward the horizon, and we’ve got a long way to go before I move onto something else. I ran down my list favorite G.I. Joes last week, and, just like the twin Transformers list from a couple of weeks ago, the badguys are always tougher to pick. There’s a ton of names missing from my list – Major Bludd, Destro, even Serpentor – that really should have been on here, but just copying and pasting the entire Cobra roster isn’t cool. So, without further ado, COBRA-LALALALALALA!! The Top o’ the Lot: Members of Cobra.
Honorable Mention: Cobra Commander
Leaving Cobra Commander off this list is a good way to get myself punched by a fellow contributor to this blog, and I’m not taking that risk again. And he’s just a great character! A megalomaniac with the bankroll to back it up, Cobra Commander stands as one of the greatest villains of all time. Whether he wore the mask or the helmet, cape or no cape, brainwashing civilians or setting up a Pyramid of Darkness, this dude was a badass. Sure, he never quite got over on G.I. Joe the way he always wanted to, was actually displaced as Cobra leader for a time, and there was that one time he became a snake, it doesn’t matter. Cobra Commander makes the list because it’s a list of Cobra Members, he’s their damn leader, I don’t like getting punched, and he’s a legitimate badass, but he’s not a character I adore, like the rest of the Lot.
5. Doctor Mindbender
Doc Bender makes the list for a few reasons. His part in “building” Serpentor alone should get him on the list, but look at that outfit. Nothing says “maniacal scientist” like wearing suspenders and no shirt. But Dr. Mindbender’s origins, both of them, is terribly funny. In the comics he was an orthodontist (Yeah, a dentist) who created a machine that numbed pain during oral surgery, but, via a mishap with that same machine, became an evil madman. In the cartoon he was just thrown into the mix, but Shipwreck accidentally drops some chemicals on his head causing all of Mindbender’s hair to fall out. And that accent? Everything was very important to Doc Mindbender, I guess. And the monocle? Why?! He’s kind of the epitome of the zany characters that made up the Cobra cabal, and that doesn’t end here.
4. Tomax and Xamot
The Crimson Guard Commanders and heads of Cobra’s corporate face Extensive Enterprises, Tomax and Xamot were, again, just plain old fun. They were integral in building Serpentor, their shared “feelings” was a pretty fun deal, and they were headed to be the new stars of the whole damn thing. In the unreleased 3rd season of the cartoon, Tomax and Xamot were going launch a new team of terrorists, The Coil, as Cobra-La and The Joes all but destroy themselves. Ah, what could have been? Also interesting to note is that the same duo that voiced the Autobot twins Sunstreaker and Sideswipe also voiced this set of twins, so maybe I don’t actually love Tomax and Xamot; maybe I just like their voice-actors…NAH!! I love these guys. The next spot, though; that’s more of a fear thing.
3. The Baroness
And, yes, it’s THE Baroness. Wait! Girls can be villains?! Sure, there was Mystique, but The Baroness was pretty much my first introduction to a badass female villain that truly carried herself in her own unique way. She was strong, yet feminine; in a world surrounded by strong male archetypes, she held her own, and never lost that strength in femininity. And the glasses were super hot! She may of had a thing with Destro, but she was always the one in charge, adding even more credit to her character, and I could see her legitimately commanding Cobra with a lot more success than those guys who have been trying for years. They say behind every strong man is a strong woman, and this is the case with The Baroness, only she’s holding a knife, boys. Tread lightly.
Dude, I loved Zartan! I loved his homage to the apocalypse that all American kids thought of Australia back in the ’80’s (thanks, Mel Gibson), he had his own little fun squad of delinquents on bikes and Swamp Skiers at his beckon call, and the toy?! OMG the toy was brilliant! It’s really the only reason Zartan makes the list! The Cobra Master-of-Disguise came with a removable mask, a removable breast-plate (that really didn’t do much but get lost or sucked up the vacuum), and a sweet color-changing ability that darkened the action figure when put into sunlight. It was really cool, and something almost unheard of in today’s “collector-centric” toy releases. Zartan was a great character, both in the comics and the cartoon, his action-figure was arguably the coolest in the entire line, and, as a master-of-disguise, he was a great addition to the Cobra lineup. All of those attributes could have; maybe should have; pushed Zartan to the Top o’ this Lot, but it’s slanted and biased, and I have a special place in my heart for this week’s Top Spot.
Firefly is my favorite member of Cobra because he fits each and every measure I put on such a character. Sure, he “works” for Cobra, but he’s a mercenary at heart: No promises; no refunds. He was a great toy with tons of accessories included in the package. His comic book persona was awesome, eclipsed only by the cartoon version, simply because the voice-over work of one Gregg “Dinobot Grimlock” Berger, who was also on The Littles, Pound Puppies, voiced both Kraven the Hunter and Mysterio in Spider-Man, and way too many other animated shows and video games to mention here. However, the one thing that puts Firefly over the top is the way he was replaced by that pretender Storm Shadow. Firefly was supposed to be the go-to ninja for Cobra! Oh, what could have been?! Even with that injustice Firefly is a great character. Mysterious, dangerous, and in it for himself. That pretty much sums up the entire problem with Cobra; why they never win over The Joes: They’re all just in it for themselves. Firefly, at least, admits it.
See a mistake? Disagree with the choices? Tell us what you think about this installment of Top o’ Lot, join in the discussion and share your opinion.