Cobra Commander (2003)
Intimidation. That’s the feeling I get from this version of Cobra Commander. The 2002 relaunch of 3 3/4″ Joes with the GI Joe vs. Cobra line was met with collector disdain, mainly due to the absence of the beloved O-ring articulation. Another love/hate element was the cartoonish sculpting style. Most of the figures were bulky, stylized and almost superheroic in look. Cobra Commander is all of these.
Repaints are often derided by fans as Hasbro’s way of milking extra bucks out of us by re-using old tooling, but I’d like to point out that 1) Hasbro is in the business of making money, duh; and 2)when repaints are well done, they can be even better then the original. This black and red Cobra Commander’s look works so much better than the original version of this mold, which was a muted blue and grey color scheme. There have been attempts at a red Cobra Commander, presumably to fit in with the popular Crimson Guard color scheme, but they haven’t differentiated the commander from his troops. This version has just the right amount of red to reference the Crimson Guard look without making the commander blend in with the rank and file. Oh, and black is always badass.