"Work against me and I'll gut you like a fish"
|Played by Kraken|
At the end of G.I. JOE: Resolute
Cobra Commander has spent a great deal of time leading his followers against the JOEs and the world at large, and as such has a skill-set to match.
First and foremost, the Commander is a proficient soldier, well trained in the use of both close combat and ranged weapons. He favours an officer's sabre and powerful, custom-built handgun as his weapons of choice, but is just as at home using assault rifles, sniper rifles and even rocket and grenade launchers should the situation ever call for such measures. In terms of actual combat ability, he is best considered a relatively dangerous opponent, able to go toe-to-toe with the special forces operatives of most modern countries with relative ease, and this physical skill is backed up by an impressive knack for survival; the Commander seems almost favoured with a strange luck when it comes to avoiding being wounded in battle, though it is actually little more than years of in-depth combat experience.
As a leader, Cobra Commander has his good and bad points. He is an excellent hit-and-run strategist, and shows a detailed and comprehensive understanding of guerilla tactics and resource management; he's kept Cobra going for years despite setback after setback, after all, purely through managing the available funds in such a way as to make sure that the vital parts of his forces are kept afloat. He also has a knack for rallying speeches and manipulation, and has coerced many a person into joining his cause or giving him something that they would otherwise be unwilling to part with through finding the "chink in their armour," so to speak.
However, his real drawback as a leader is that he is not particularly competent when it comes to actual military strategy. Though he can organise an ambush to perfection, conduct crippling strikes on a supply line or politically outmanoeuver a government, in a pitched battle his forces always end up at a significant disadvantage simply because he has never bothered or never had time to learn the more elementary strategies most armies rely on. He remains, in a way, the stereotypical terrorist; at his strongest when the playing fields are uneven.
The Commander is also clearly highly intelligent and cunning, and has displayed a very strong grasp on politics and economics, skills which have served him well both in retaining control of Cobra and funding it. He also understands the basics of the sciences, though he still requires other members of his command to deal with them on a full-time basis, and has an excellent grasp on the skills of rhetoric and, less savourily, blackmail and extortion, skills which he most often puts to use in order to replenish funds and regain resources. He is also an excellent actor and makeup artist, having played the part of a coward for some time in order to draw out traitors amongst his followers and expose them for all to see, as well as disguising himself in various civilian identities in order to pass through borders unnoticed.
Finally, we come to weaknesses. Aside from the ones already stated, Cobra Commander is somewhat blind to his own failures; it is never his fault when his plans go awry, but the failures of underlings. There have been times where he has acknowledged his own shortcomings, but they are few and far between. In addition, he is impatient and short-tempered, and can be goaded into foolish actions provided one has the patience and the nerves of steel necessary to do so.
In addition, he is human, and human only, lacking anything in the way of powers or magical abilities, and thus is put at an immediate physical disadvantage to people who possess superhuman abilities or technology that aids them in battle.
The individual who currently holds the rank of "Commander" is, to a greater or lesser extent, an example of what is held as being admirable by the organisation known as Cobra, and is justifiably feared by the UN as one of the most dangerous terrorists alive.
One does not rise to prominence in Cobra without having some serious guts and cunning, and though the Commander has played the part of a coward before in order to test the loyalty of his followers, the fact remains that he is a remarkably cold and steely-nerved individual. The ends always justify the means, for him, and he will hold back his hand, regardless of how tempting the potential winnings are at that junction, in order to play it when the rewards would suit him best. He is more than happy to play a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse with his enemies, and indeed likes to keep them guessing as to what he might do next. More than once, he has allowed his opponents to come within a hair's breadth of killing him simply to get close enough to them to wreak real damage, and risk is something he considers to be part and parcel of his life.
As a leader, Cobra Commander is not a father to his soldiers. He is cold, uncaring and decidedly cruel, suffering failures very, very badly and he has been known to demonstrate this displeasure through lethal violence. Lives do not mean a great deal to him as a general rule; he sees them as a cheap resource, something he can throw away in droves and still have more than enough of afterward to solidify his hold on whatever it was he set out to gain. That said, he is immensely generous with his rewards and spoil distribution, and is rather tolerant of individual penchants others would consider disgusting, so long as they do not harm the goals of the organisation. Working for the Commander, therefore, is a high-risk yet high-reward occupation, as he believes this attracts the most dangerous and effective individuals to his cause.
Curiously, though his work with Cobra is indeed partially motivated by selfishness and greed for resources, he does at least have some ideological motivation behind it. A mixture of warped darwinism and socio-economic survival of the fittest drives his ideas, as well as the idea that, just as the free market overtook feudalism, so too will it be overtaken by lawless economics - as he calls them. It helps, of course, that he himself desires riches and power. Overall, however, the Commander's views on the relationship between the two has changed; originally believing that money was power, he set out to amass it, only to come to grief again and again. Nowadays, he believes the complete reverse of his original theory; that power precludes money, and that money merely boosts said power.
As may be surmised by the above paragraph, the Commander is also very much a student of politics and economics, having read widely on the subjects, and perhaps would have made his mark legitimately in both trades were it not for his cruelty and near-sociopathic attitude towards other people. He is something of an intellectual, and loves to spend his spare time reading various treatises and essays on a wide variety of subjects, simply for the enjoyment of learning. He has other hobbies, too, though these tend to be somewhat darker and less... acceptable; he has a passion for blood sports in particular, and there are rumours - nothing confirmed - that he has hunted captives from time to time.
When dealing with other people, the Commander will seek to find out what they value or like best, before using it to his advantage. He isn't adverse to his underlings or allies profiting a little on the side, but he will not tolerate betrayal; the last person to try this, Major Sebastian Bludd, met his end via Cobra Commander's knife in front of the assembled forces of Cobra as a warning to other potential turncoats. Needless to say, he is an authoritatian leader to a great degree, and expects complete loyalty from any rank-and-file troopers under his command. He is somewhat manipulative to anyone he considers higher in rank than this, and has developed a variety of ways to work with or against them, varying from promises to allow them a free shot at their most hated enemy to out-and-out blackmailing them with exposure to their peers.
In short? Cobra Commander is not a nice man.
From what little is known about Cobra Commander, he is a caucasian male, clean shaven, with dirty blonde hair and blue-green eyes. Judging by his face, he's probably in his mid-thirties, though the stress of his chosen lifestyle probably hasn't helped matters when it comes to how old he seems. Conflicting reports state him to be scarred or even burned, though given that the description of the scars vary wildly, it seems more likely that they are in fact various disguises that he has employed to mask his facial features. This is supported by the fact that, in some of these reports, his hair colour, eye colour and physical age estimate also vary, though as the most common reports state that he is blonde and blue-eyed, this seems to be the most likely candidate for his actual appearance.
He is fairly tall, at 6ft in height exactly, and clearly physically very strong and powerful, his musculature being visible even through his formal uniform. His physical movements are surprisingly subtle for such a well-built man, though when engaging in speech he will make use of body language to give the impression of passion and fiery self-belief, making great, sweeping gestures with his arms and slamming his fist on whatever he happens to be speaking at. His body language can also become very threatening when he is frustrated or angry, and is usually the first and only indication that he may harbour homicidal intent due to someone's actions. It is therefore best to pay attention to this when dealing with him or otherwise talking to him about something.
Cobra Commander's uniform is blue in colour, mimicking an officer's dress uniform, complete with grey cloak pinned into place with a coiled-snake pin. He carries his pistol in a chest-holster, strapped to him via leather webbing, and has a simple sheath for his sabre buckled to his belt. On his left breast, the bright red symbol of the Cobra organisation can be found, standing out from the blue quite obviously. His uniform is designed in such a way as to display absolutely no skin to the enemy, no matter how swiftly and unusually he might move, and his helmet epitomises this; it is similar to a soldier's helmet, but slightly larger and more encompassing, and is fronted by a shaped piece of bullet-proof mirrored material which completely hides his face from scrutiny, but allows him to see perfectly well. He has also found that people are somewhat easier to intimidate and manipulate when they cannot see what you're thinking, and the helmet also serves this function.
It is unknown precisely when the man who would become the founder and supreme leader of Cobra was born, but it is fairly certain that he was a US citizen at least once. According to rumour, he used to be a used car salesman, keeping the business afloat as best he could, whose only living relation besides his wife and child was a brother that he adored. Generally speaking, he was unremarkable at this stage, just another average American struggling to make ends meet and keep food on the table for his family.
And then the Vietnam war happened, and everything came to an end. His brother went to the war a fresh, healthy young man. He came back a broken wreck. The things he'd seen and done in that far-off land had driven him to alcoholism and recklessness, and eventually this led him to his death, as one night, he ploughed his car headlong into another whilst nearly blind from drink, killing himself and all but one of the people in the other car.
His brother was beyond himself with grief and shock, and in a perverse twist of logic began to blame the survivor of the crash, a veteran soldier who'd lost his entire family. Following this man as far as Japan, the future Commander seethed and began to develop twisted, elaborate revenge fantasies against him, before finally approaching a mercenary called Zartan in order to have the soldier killed. Though that operation ultimately failed, the need for vengeance shrank in the Commander for a while, and he returned home to try and resume his civilian life.
However, his wife, having become curious as to where her husband had gone for all this time, had found out about events in Japan, and tried to turn him in to the police. This was the final straw for him, and he snapped, lashing out at her for this percieved betrayal and, taking his son with him, he abandoned her and began living on the road, earning money through a variety of pyramid schemes and bitterly reflecting on the percieved unfairness life had shown to him. All the while his hatred and resentment grew, and eventually he began to blame the USA itself for his hardships and shortcomings, reasoning that it's way of doing things was outdated and needed to be replaced. Eventually, he began to attract followers, and began wearing masks, first as a necessity to disguise his civilian identity, then later as a symbol of who he was now.
Moving to a town by the name of Springfield, a near-bankrupt and destitute little backwater place where the unemployment rate was staggering, the future terrorist used his criminal organisation, financial acumen and charisma to revitalise it's infrastructure, raise it to prosperity once more and more importantly, win the support and loyalty of it's inhabitants. His organisation's influx of new recruits went from a trickle to a flood overnight, and within 48 hours, Cobra was born. Announcing himself as their leader, the newly-named Cobra Commander began overseeing operations in other countries, ordering the destabilisation of third-world dictatorships in order to fuel the arms trade there and assassinating key political figures in order to silence any initial awareness of Cobra's existance.
However, eventually, Cobra came to the attention of the UN, after it's role in the fall of not one but four war-stricken countries in the space of a week was revealed.
Naturally, the representatives were horrified, and immediately ordered the formation of a military unit capable of dealing with the threat. The USA, given that it had the most resources available, responded by recruiting some of the most decorated and dangerous soldiers from every nation they could, in order to create an elite fighting force that could do just that.
Thus G.I. JOE was created.
Cobra and JOE battled for years after this, until two of the Commander's henchmen, Baroness Anastacia DeCobray and Major Sebastian Bludd, decided that they would be much more effective in the role of joint commanders, and attempted to instigate a conspiracy to assassinate him. At this time, Cobra Commander seemed to be undergoing a period of mental instability; hysterics and moments of surprising cowardice were not uncommon, and tension was rife in the ranks.
Unintentionally hiring Cobra Commander's own son to carry out the killing, Bludd and the Baroness prepared to step in the moment the deed was done, killing the "traitor" and proving themselves to be the true successors to Cobra Commander.
However, the plot was foiled by Storm Shadow and James McCullen Destro XXIV, more loyal members of Cobra.
Cobra Commander revealed himself to be perfectly sane, and indeed had known about the conspiracy from the start; he'd acted out the symptoms of instability in order to draw out traitors in his ranks, and now that he had found them, he intended to make an example of them to the entire organisation.
Baroness was spared only after an intercession from Destro, whose opinion the Commander still valued.
Bludd was not so fortunate; brought in front of the assembled ranks, he prepared to plead for mercy, only for his begging to be cut short as the Commander plunged a dagger into his heart, before declaring Cobra's latest scheme to be underway.
In many ways, it was their most dangerous yet.
The first stage, the seizure of an experimental Ionopshere-charging facility, ensured that Cobra's enemies could no longer communicate via satellite technology. The second, a network of stratellites fired into the stratosphere via the supposedly decommissioned Cobra Island rocket network, allowed the terrorists to maintain covert communications where their enemies could not. The final part of the plan?
An experimental particle-beam weapon, hidden in Siberia. The ultimate incentive, as the Commander saw it, for the world to listen to what he had to say.
He made his demands; total power handed to him within twenty-four hours, or the world burned.
And to prove his point, he ordered the weapon to fire upon Moscow. Ten million people were killed in the ensuing maelstrom.
G.I JOE mobilised almost immediately, and though at a disadvantage, Cobra's consistent underestimation of their abilities proved once again to be the JOE's greatest asset. Whilst some operatives took out the stratellite network, Duke and Scarlett disabled the particle beam, only to discover that there was a secondary weapon - which fired upon the USS Flagg, the JOE's aircraft carrier and base of operations. However, by doing so, it revealed it's location; the town of Springfield, USA. The final battle commenced, with the JOEs going all-out against the massed forces of Cobra in an attempt to disable the facility there before it could be used to destroy Washington DC. Fighting his way down to the control room, Duke found the place in dissarray, the crew slaughtered and the controls locked in to fire.
Cobra Commander, safe inside a panic room especially built for him, then taunted him; despite all the heroics, despite all the sacrifices he'd made, Duke couldn't stop the weapon from firing.
In response, Duke shot the door lock, preventing it from opening, and reprogrammed the computer with a new target; Springfield.
As the Commander hurled himself against the door and screamed with rage, the counter ticked down, counting down the last seconds of life he had left to him.
Just as the room went bright, though, he felt something fasten around his legs and pull...