Battle helmet or hood? It’s a question that has been in the mind of GI Joe fans since the 1980’s. In the comic and cartoon, the Commander switched headgear quite often, causing kids (including me) to want both versions. Hasbro fulfilled the wish in 1984, with a mail order hooded version. Both the hood and a redesigned battle helmet later returned in the 90’s, but the first iconic mirrored faceplate never made another regular line appearance before the Real American Hero’s end in 1994. Even the commemorative series couldn’t manage to get it back into circulation.
Fast forward to the 2000’s era, and a new iteration of GI Joe and Cobra. The initial assortment of figures released in 2002 were quickly retrofitted with the familiar o-ring, and a hooded Cobra Commander was among them. But some fans wanted the battle helmet, and I was among them. While I like the hooded look, I can’t escape the fact that my first memory of the Commander is in the helmet.
I was really jazzed about this figure when it came out, not only for the helmet, but the uniform itself. It lends Cobra Commander a regalness that I think is very fitting. It also got away from the first figure’s costume design, even though I liked it, especially the black repaint.