Cobra Officer (Code Name: The Enemy)
Bring on the bad guys! Now here’s the beginning of what really separates the relaunched GI Joe from his forebears, and many of his imitators. You’ve heard it before: a hero is only as good as his villains. Whether it’s myth, literature, film, comics, or any other form of storytelling, the rogues gallery is often as interesting as the protagonist.
Since this first assortment of Joes were a group of military men and women, it stands to reason that the bulk of the original Cobras were a similar force. Aside from their glorious leader, the first troopers were just, well, troopers. Sinister-looking and spiffily outfitted, but still just your basic, run-of-the-mill heavily-armed terrorist organization. The weird menagerie of henchmen and lieutenants would come along soon, but in that first year, your Cobra forces were either troopers or officers. My favorite was the Officer.
The officer, as befits his station, gets a bit of a fancier uniform. It’s not the almost ceremonial look of the Crimson Guard, but nevertheless seems less utilitarian than the trooper. From the helmet chevron to the cuff piping and intricate harness, I get a real WWII German vibe. You know those guys loved the fancy uniforms. Makes sense Cobra Commander would crib from them for his designs.
I thought I’d showcase an example of the figure that’s been well loved. This particular officer has some sun damage and paint rubs. I think it’s important to point out that the old silver cobra tampos just don’t stand up to heavy play as well as the red versions. That means there are a ton on officers pit there without their insignia, a real bummer considering how well the image contrasts with the uniform’s deep blue.
You can’t go wrong with the original Cobras. Decades later, during the o-ring rebirth and modern eras, Hasbro went back to the well for this solid design.