Cobra Commander (2004)
We action figure geeks can be a cowardly, superstitious lot. We’re sometimes afraid of changes to the beloved properties of our youth. Clinging to established visions of characters only as we have known them, we often cheat ourselves of enjoying new interpretations of our time-tested favorites. Maybe we hold some sort of irrational fear that the changing of our childhood heroes and villains will tarnish our memories of childhood. Deep stuff for a toy blog, eh? I’m kidding, of course, you can love what you want, how you want. I just wanted to work that Batman line into a post.
Cobra Commander has to have a place in every iteration of the modern GI Joe mythos. If Cobra is around, you know the main snake will show up in some way. In the Spy Troops series, this mold debuted in a nice Cobra blue. For the first Valor vs. Venom offering of the sibilant snakeface, things were toned down color-wise, though I’ve never understood the lighter hued contrasting belt and gloves. While the look was odd, it wasn’t quite as striking as the crossing guard-like powder blue and white gloved version to come later.
Back to my point about sticking to established looks for characters; I agree with it sometimes, but things can get stale after a while. Repainted named characters seem to get old much quicker than army builders. This mold wore out it’s welcome with me by 2005. The Valor vs. Venom line at times seemed to take its cue from the 1993 Battle Corps series, offering up figures in variant paint schemes, and the Commander was followed up with yet another repaint in 2004, in a pack that replaced Action Attack Duke with a traditional o-ring version.