The 50 Greatest Cobras of All Time

by Howie Decker @HowardTheDeck on December 19, 2012

in G.I. Joe, Lists

30. Raptor 

Highest rank: #13 (Justin Bell)

Accountant, falconer, Cobra agent. If I could even list TWO of those things on my resume I’d be so employable.

Earlier this year, Raptor was gracious enough to grant us an “interview“. He talks about Destro, minor league baseball, women’s restroooms and the next guy on our list…


29. Crystal Ball

Highest rank: #9 (Fred Van Lente)

You love him! You really love him!

Cobra’s much maligned hypnotist is the seventh son of a seventh son, which somehow grants him mystical abilities, and makes him #29 on our list. After a bit of experience with compiling and publishing lists like these, I can say that Crystal Ball is one of those characters that commenters will say shouldn’t have made the list, but if he hadn’t, the same amount of comments would be asking how he was left off.


28. Monkeywrench

Highest rank: #13 (Jose Gonzales)

I still can’t look at Monkeywrench and not think about “big, hairy spiders!”.


27. Copperhead

Highest rank: #13 (Dave Gildersleeve)

Copperhead debuted in 1984 as the driver of the Cobra Water Moccasin. He has an intimate knowledge of the Everglades and an uncontrollable gambling addiction, which would make him the subject of an awesome Nat Geo reality series.


26. Zandar

Highest rank: #10 (Jay Malone)

For a guy with the same abilities as his brother Zartan, the same voice as Optimus Prime, and the wardrobe of a punk rock Pink Panther, Zandar rarely got his due. His twin sister Zarana has been featured much more prominently in most continuities.


25. Road Pig

Highest rank: #9 (Howie Decker)

Donald DeLuca took the name Road Pig sometime between getting kicked out of Kindergarten for “milk money extortion” and joining the Dreadnoks. Larry Hama had an interesting interpretation of Road Pig in the Marvel ARAH comics- he would alternate between super-classy intelligent snob and crass dullard. Although he saw plenty of action, he was primarily used as a foil for Zarana.


24. Big Boa

Highest rank: #8 (Howie Decker)

Imagine if Kenner had released a Rancor monster in 1983, but no Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker figure. Who would the Rancor pick up and growl/drool at? That’s kind of what happened with Big Boa, as he was designed as an arch-enemy for the planned Rocky Balboa G.I. Joe figure. The Rocky/G.I. Joe crossover never happened, but Cobra still got a muscular brute who came with boxing gloves and a speed bag on a stick. Didn’t stop me from loving him.

image: The Artwork of Christopher Tupa


23. Croc Master

Highest rank: #4 (Fred Van Lente)

Croc Master landed the job of Cobra’s reptile trainer in 1987, barely edging out Bearded Dragon Lord and Iguana Guru.


22. Torch

Highest rank: #11 (Dave Gildersleeve)

I think I always liked Torch the most of the original Dreadnoks because he reminded me of Randy “Macho Man” Savage. The beard, the sunglasses, the headband- all invoked images of my favorite then-WWF Superstar. It’s no mystery that Torch was a little lacking in brains, but at least he had a marketable skill!


21. Ripper

Highest rank: #14 (4 people)

Back to back Dreadnoks! Ironically (or predicatably, maybe), 4 separate panelists had Torch and Ripper ranked back to back. Seems to indicate that after Buzzer, the other two of the three original Dreadnoks were nearly indiscernable from one another. How could you think that?! There was the one who liked grape soda and chocolate donuts, rode a motorcycle, wore jeans & sunglasses, carried a piece of construction equipment, had facial hair- and the other one who.. well, OK I see your point.


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James December 20, 2012 at 10:04 am

Just like its G.I. Joe counterpart, I love this so far. I will wait to leave a more involved comment at the end.

j_wizzle March 1, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Excellent!!! Keep the Joes posts coming. Good work, man.

Howie Decker March 1, 2013 at 10:08 pm

Thanks for reading and leaving a comment!

Joey April 23, 2013 at 10:57 am

what about Nemesis Enforcer??

Howard Decker April 23, 2013 at 11:55 am

I hear ya. He’s one of the most polarizing characters in Joe history, because he represents G.I. Joe: The Movie which Joe fans either hate or love, there is no in-between. He was ranked on some of the panelists’ individual top 50, but not highly enough or by enough panelists to end up in the overall Top 50. His brawl with Sgt Slaughter was epic, though, I will admit.

CinemaViper April 2, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Firefly shouldn’t even be in the top 10

Jason April 14, 2016 at 4:44 pm

No Firefly! You sonuvabitch, kill yourself!

steve June 1, 2014 at 8:17 pm

Zarana is the best. Sexy, badass and has a boyfriend who is one of my favorites

DrJustin October 27, 2014 at 12:29 am

Destro at No. 1. List checks out.

Keith Ranson November 4, 2014 at 10:17 pm

Sorry, But CC And Serpentor Are My top Two,with Destro Coming In Third.

Tait June 30, 2016 at 6:58 pm

I can see Destro beating out CC but CC should have beat Storm Shadow and Firefly. I don’t even have a problem with Zartan beating CC.
Storm Shadow could have been on the Joe Top 50 list too but not very high. He was a better Cobra than Joe.

Lee Winters November 10, 2018 at 12:22 pm

Loved zartan from the old 80s cartoon series. Zack hoffman did a great job with his voice. There was an episode called games master where he even flirted with scarlett a bit. What a wild pair they would have made.

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