1987–the year presented more whacked out Cobra characters per capita than any previous year. While the 3 3/4″ Joe line started out mostly as a military line, the weird Cobra characters started coming in 1983 and got progressively weirder through the next few years. Cases in point: Destro, Zartan, Tomax/Xamot and Serpentor. I can handle an arms dealer with a metal mask and shirt open to his belly button. I can handle a shape-changing mercenary. I can handle identical twin circus acrobats who can feel one another’s pain and are heads of a corporation that fronts for Cobra. I can even handle an artificially created being cloned from the DNA of famous leaders. But I draw the line at shirtless, falcon helmet wearing bird wranglers. It’s just so…implausible.
Raptor, the Cobra Falconer, was a yuppie tax consultant who took his hobby of falconry a little too far, if you couldn’t tell from looking. Maybe there was a contest among the Hasbro designers to see how many bird motifs they could cram into the figure: “Bird helmet–check; wings–check; feathery gloves and boots–check; talons on boots–check; big-ass bird belt buckle–check; feathery shoulder thingies–check; bird medallion–check. Oh, one more thing, let’s give him a beak nose! Perfection achieved!”
There is an element of inherent silliness to this whole GI Joe thing, and it’s refreshing to dig out the goofballs and have fun from time to time. Even the file card managed to do it: “Raptor doesn’t have any delusions about what he is even if he dresses up in that bird suit of his and spends most of his time in a giant bird cage. Those are means to an end, and the bottom line for Raptor is his non-taxable profit margin.”