COBRA COMMANDER v.49B (2012)
This is the 5th Cobra Commander figure that I have reviewed for this blog. It’s quite likely that I’m going to start repeating myself when talking about this guy but whatever. Let’s talk for a moment about the character’s origins, there are multiple to choose from. In the 80s Marvel comics the Commander was a disgruntled used car salesman who felt bullied by the government. It’s a humble starting point but a relatable one. What I didn’t care for in the old comic was the Commander’s appearance when he removed his mask. He had a fu-manchu style mustache, round sunglasses and a beret. This first time we saw this look I was under the impression that it was a disguise but he appeared that way in several subsequent appearances so I’m not really sure.
In the cartoons it was revealed that he was actually a blue skinned scientist from the ancient arctic dwelling society of Cobra-La. While I am a big fan of the 1987 animated movie ( which blew my 9 year old mind with this far-out story) the Cobra-La origin never sat well with me.
There have been several more variations of the Commander’s beginnings in the years since but I think the best one so far ( all respect to Mr. Hama) is being told in the comics currently being published by IDW. The IDW Cobra Commander is ruthless and methodical. He fought his way up through the Cobra ranks as Krake. Go buy the “Cobra” series by Mike Costa and Christos Gage if you have not already done so.
This particular Cobra Commander figure is inspired by the live action movie universe. In G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, we first meet the man who will be known as Cobra Commander as Baroness’s kid brother, Rex, and later as the disfigured “Doctor”. I was not a fan of this origin story at all. The ties to Duke and Baroness seemed forced and silly. I did enjoy Joseph Gordon Levitt’s over-the-top performance though. It’s not until the end of the movie that the Doctor puts on a crappy mask and declares himself the “Commander”. The costume was brutal but I held out hope that the character would be redeemed in a sequel.
Well this past summer finally brought us that sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation. The team behind the sequel acknowledged what had come before but quickly moved on and carved their own path for the character. The silly glass mask from ROC was replaced with the iconic silver faceplate. The Cobra Commander we got in Retaliation reminded me a lot of the IDW version which was excellent. This was the Cobra Commander I always wanted to see on screen, I only wish we saw more of him. Hopefully he’ll get more screen time in part three.
When the first wave of Retaliation figures was revealed online oh so long ago I thought this looked like an amazing figure and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on him. But when the figures hit retail the only CC to be found was decked out in solid black. The black figure wasn’t bad looking and was actually more accurate to the Commander’s appearance in the film but I had already fallen in love with the blue one shown in production photos. I later found out that the blue version was released as a short-packed variant figure which meant that for the next year I would be flicking through dozens of peg-warming wave 1 figures in hopes of finding one. Never happened. Well I recently threw in the towel and bought the blue version online.
There isn’t much to say about this figure that I didn’t already say in my review of the black version. The entire sculpt is identical and the weapons are the same too. The only difference is that the costume is now a bright royal blue instead of black. I really do like this blue version but I’ve lived with the black one for so long now that I’m not sure which one I prefer. While neither is exactly film accurate they serve as a close approximation to what appeared on screen. One thing that I really like about this sculpt is that it looks like he’s ready to charge into battle and that he could kick some serious ass. Many CC figures have a more formal, ceremonial feel. I’m fine with the Commander looking fancy when he’s giving orders to his troopers from a podium but it’s nice to see him willing to get his hands dirty every once and a while too. This costume looks militaristic, futuristic, regal, and nostalgic all at the same time. It’s awesome. 9 out of 10.