The 50 Greatest Cobras of All Time

by Howie Decker @HowardTheDeck on December 19, 2012

in G.I. Joe, Lists

20. B.A.T.s*

Highest rank: #9 (Joe Zicari)

*Battle Android Trooper (I think it was the B.A.T.s’ 12th comic book appearance before they stopped giving us that little embedded acronym-helper)


19. Eels

Highest rank: #9 (Dan Uthman)

Cobra Eels are “trained to operate in almost every aquatic environment”, which, unfortunately for new Eel recruits, means pool cleaning duty after the Dreadnoks’ annual summer blowout.


18. Crimson Guardsman

Highest rank: #9 (Joe Zicari)

Fred Van Lente said he had to include them on his list because he’s “a Fred too”. The Crimson Guard are the most elite Cobra Troopers, including the “Fred Series”, who underwent plastic surgery to assume a uniform appearance. These troopers infiltrated American business and society, in an attempt to extend Cobra’s control. The “Freds” had some of the most powerful panels in the Marvel ARAH comic run, as they would routinely replace each other as one died or went missing, in some cases even taking over as the father of a family.


17. Cobra Viper

Highest rank: #8 (John Vanover)

Another supposed upgrade over the stock Cobra Trooper, the Viper debuted in 1986. Sporting a helmet designed to honor Cobra Commander, Vipers became the common Cobra infantry in most continuities, until spinning off into the countless specialized Viper squads we have today.


16. Snow Serpent

Highest rank: #4 (Dan Uthman)

Snow Serpents take part in the same training program as the Eels, with an additional six month extreme cold weather course. The snow shoes that came with the Snow Serpent action figure were a must have for kids trying to create a Wimbledon diorama.


15. Cobra Trooper

Highest rank: #5 (Dave Gildersleeve)

The panel elected the Cobra Trooper as the highest ranked individual troop builder on the list, edging out the CG, the Viper, and the Snow Serpent. It seems Joe fans prefer basic nostalgia over highly specialized vipers.


14. Buzzer

Highest rank: #12 (Mike Irizarry)

It’s probably no surprise considering his educated background that Ripper is the most normal looking of the Dreadnoks. This Cambridge educated psychopath has chosen a fan-favorite chainsaw as a main weapon. Any guy that wears a gas tank on his back is crazy enough to be Dreadnok, for sure. -John


13. Zarana

Highest rank: #11 (3 people)

In the Marvel ARAH comics, Zarana took on a role as Cobra Commander’s right-hand woman when Destro, Baroness and Zartan parted ways with Cobra. She was featured prominently in quite a few story arcs, unlike her Sunbow counterpart who was primarily known for falling in love with Mainframe, leading to their mutual “Somewhere Out There” moongazing moment.


12. Dr. Mindbender

Highest rank: #5 (Mike Irizarry)

Dr. Mindbender’s origins (and wardrobe choice) are a little murky. He’s similar in function to Dr. Venom from the early Marvel ARAH comics, one of the rare comic characters that was not based on an action figure from the Hasbro line. Mindbender appeared in the comics after Dr. Venom died, but he was referred to first as Dr. Brainwave, and referred to as “The Interrogator” on Serpentor’s filecard.

Already sporting a questionable uniform, Dr. Mindbender was the subject of one of those classic “80s cartoon animator isn’t 100% familiar with the subject matter but made his best assumption at what he was looking at” moments.


11. Scrap Iron

Highest rank: #7 (Dave Gildersleeve)

Scrap Iron debuted in 1984 as Cobra’s anti-armor specialist. In the Sunbow series, Scrap Iron is the inventor & programmer of the B.A.T.s. In G.I. Joe: Renegades, he is a M.A.R.S. Industries scientist. In our hearts, he is an action figure that came with a really cool double missile launcher.


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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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