Cobra Commander (2006 Sigma 6)
I must confess that as a thirty-something grown-ass man, I woke up early one Saturday morning in 2006 to catch the premiere of the Sigma 6 cartoon on 4KidsTV. To say that it wasn’t aimed at me is a vast understatement. Heck, I felt out of place just turning the channel to 4Kids. At the time, I felt I could get by with the likes of Toonami, but this was just beyond me. It’s kind of quaint to think of it now–the idea of having to catch a first-run television show at the moment it aired. And that was only ten years ago. I did record it on my newly purchased DVD recorder. Yes!
The Sigma Cobra Commander, whether the toy or ‘toon version, was not afraid to mix it up with the Joe team. From his first appearance in the cartoon, he’s intimidating and seems downright dangerous. Not just in a tyrannical leader type of way, but also as a one on one combatant. He took on Duke in the series and more than held his own in fights.
The suit looks to be inspired by the cancelled Robot Rebellion version that later saw release as a collector club exclusive. The figure also combines the two most famous looks for the Commander; the hood and battle helmet. The helmet doesn’t have a face shield–that would have to wait for a later version.
Action features are a central component of the Sigma series, and the Commander has them in his armor as well as his gear. The chest features a rolling battle damage plate that changes when the figure is struck. If this gimmick looks familiar, you probably recall it from the Mattel’s Battle Armor He-Man. It’s a bit finicky to get reset, but fun nonetheless. Removable forearm bracers feature mini machine guns, and it wouldn’t be a proper Cobra Commander without a place to store his gun. I’m a little bummed that the gun didn’t get a peg to stick it to his back a la 1982-83, but at least he can conceal it in his belt beneath his cape. There’s more hidden storage behind the shield; a wicked knife snaps inside. His snake staff conceals knives and a firing missile. Did I mention that this Commander is loaded for bear?
Say what you will about Sigma 6, but the toys were all fun and Hasbro were pushing media tie-ins for it at the time. I even remember seeing party supplies. Seems like long ago, but just imagine, a GI Joe property with a cartoon airing at the same time the toys were available.