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The Downfall of Cobra Commander - The Rise of Burgess Meredith!
Matt - 11/02/00

Cobra Commander's made some pretty hefty mistakes in his day. We've already reviewed one of those instances, where the dear commander decides that the best way to beat the Joes is to lure them into a deadly castle-turned-carnival in South America, complete with roller coasters. Then there was the time he shrunk all of his soldiers down to microscopic size so he could smuggle them into the Joes headquarters inside Christmas presents. Oh, and here's another one you might've missed. Know how Cobra always seemed to lay their interests in the worst places? Instead of blowing up the White House or something, they'd try to steal Shipwreck's parrot thinking they could extract bird DNA to create a race of super-parrots that could spit marbles on the ground during battle, causing the Joes to trip to defeat. Well, in this case, Cobra Commander thought his troops would be best served trying to keep kids from eating GI Joes' breakfast cereal.

See? But even that was nothing compared to Cobra Commander's foils and follies in GI Joe: The Movie. His troops were already starting to doubt his efforts after they realized that the only organized Cobra assault in their storied history had no other intent than to blow up a statue. After that, he was treading on thin ice. Serpentor was already in charge, and since the two of them didn't get along very well, it was only a matter of time before a giant, bald worm stuck Cobra Commander in a gummy clam and put him on trial. Alas, here is the downfall of Cobra Commander.

Golobulous wasn't too pleased with the commander. See, what we had all watched for years prior turned out to be a giant falsehood. Cobra Commander was not some military genius gone mad. He was actually a brilliant biochemist alien around 3,000 years old with 17 eyes, sent out by Golobulous to take over the world to shift the balance of power back to his kingdom of Cobra-La. Talk about reinventing a series. Couldn't they have just added a new mysterious character to the cast? Anyway, Cobra Commander failed his mission, so Golobulous is pissed. We also find out the Golobulous was the one who really invented Serpentor, that Cobra was nothing more than Cobra-La's unknowing pawns, and that Sgt. Slaughter's belly mysterious disappears when transferred to animation. All in all, the GI Joe Movie told us that everything we had previously thought was complete and total bullshit.

Now here's where Cobra Commander really fucks things up. Golobulous diverts his attention to the classic villain attribute of giving a 45-minute speech detailing every last part of his global conquest plans to the rest of the Cobra organization. The plan was so bizarre and ridiculous that everyone was too afraid to disagree with it. If you thought Cobra's plots were a little offbeat before, check out what Golobulous has in mind: launch mutant pods into space, and use the GI Joe's B.E.T. energy transmitter to make them explode into tiny spores that will ultimately turn the entire human race into rats and snakes.

What the hell is wrong with these people? YOU HAVE GUNS. USE THEM. This is like trying to beat someone in chess by eating their pawn pieces when they're not looking. Golobulous has successfully put together history's most difficult and involved plot, but he's pretty proud of it. In fact, he's very proud of it. And this is where Cobra Commander goes wrong.

The commander was starting to get lucky there for a second...Golobulous got so caught up in telling his story about how Cobra-La would take over the world by accelerating the explosion of mutant spores in space using a one-of-a-kind piece of equipment that had to be stolen from the Joes' top security center (sigh) ....he had almost forgotten about Cobra Commander. So what does CC do? He tells Golobulous his plan is laughable!

This was like being in court for murdering someone, awaiting the verdict, and pointing out the physical flaws of each member on the jury. Cobra Commander, THINK! Golobulous doesn't appear to be that reasonable of a guy...after all, look at what he's planning to do to civilization. But most importantly, its just not a wise move to insult his plot when, after that half hour monologue from hell, its pretty clear that Golobulous has never been more proud of anything in his life. This was the downfall of Cobra Commander. Golobulous called for...the spores.

Immediately, Cobra Commander degenerates into a monstrous snake-like creature, but this is only the beginning of his mutation. Within a few hours, he'll be even worse off. I guess the lesson here is to not piss off 12' tall worms who have alien spores. But don't count our hero out yet. There still may be hope, and remember, hope is something you can find in the strangest of places. Sure, Cobra Commander's body is rapidly turning into a snake, but hey, if people just gave up at the first sign of obvious defeat, the US would have a president elect right now. But who can the commander turn to? His troops have already abandoned him. Cobra-La has exiled him. Who can possibly aid Cobra Commander in this dire hour of need?

Roadblock?! GI Joe's rhymin', crime fightin' hero has been blinded by Cobra's Nemesis Enforcer, ultimately causing an uneasy alliance between former enemies. Where'd this lead? Well, the two of them got to talking, and they realized they had more in common than either of them imagined. Cobra Commander's wife just left him, and Roadblock's wife kicked him out on the streets! They got in a small argument over whether to clean up the park or go to the game and have hot dogs, but compromised and settled on moving in together in a small apartment in Chicago...

Cobra Commander often got a little miffed over Roadblock's complete mental block to turn the lights off when he left a room or to make sure to throw all the junk mail in the garbage instead of in the middle of the floor, but in all honesty, they were the best thing that ever happened to each other. Nursing each other through some pretty tough times, its doubtful that either of them would've sustained the duration of their personal heartaches. Later, Roadblock would get a severe case of laryngitis, rendering his rhyming skills completely useless.

Fred: Grandpa, you fatso! That never happened in the story.

Grandpa: Har Har you caught me sonny...okay, here's what really happened. Too smart for me, I tell ya.

Things take a tragic turn for the worse now, as Cobra Commander is literally a giant snake with tiny arms whose vocabulary consists solely of 'was' and 'man'. Now remember, Roadblock's blind. Blind and black. He's in no mood to carry around a 300 pound snake in the middle of a blizzard much less here it drone on about an idealistic past where it was a 'man.' So, they start strangling each other. The Commander/Roadblock scenes are by far the greatest in the movie, only because they're so completely ridiculous and there's no way anyone can possibly fathom a subplot that has Roadblock toting around a mutated Cobra Commander through the snow. The fact that the commander's very clearly losing his mind and talking blatant gibberish is just the icing on the cake, but its not going to last much longer, since the boys take the plunge down the side of a cliff, right into the GI Joe rescue team.

Poor Cobra Commander. The Joes run to assist their previously missing friend, not paying an iota of attention to the fact that they've just witnessed what has to be the most bizarre thing they'll see in their entire lives: Roadblock rolling down a hill getting strangled by a giant snake with arms who can speak. They don't even flinch!

Cobra Commander not only met the most grim - but the stupidest fate in history. He got mutated into a snake. After all those battles with the Joes, he deserved better. Maybe he could've been the first one in the entire series to actually get hit with a bullet. Maybe Duke and Cobra Commander could've had a final battle on top of a blimp, with Cobra Commander getting punched off to an epic end. No, we couldn't get that. See, Cobra Commander suffered from what's a common plague in the cartoon series-to-movie phenomenon. This plague dictates that the usual characters we know and love have to be tossed aside for new characters. Hey, you remember what happened in the Transformers movie. Sure, Prime got a respectful death scene, but half the others just got shot, bang, dead, that's all. The Joe heroes took a secondary role here to pave way for new heroes, namely a tunnel rat who sounds suspiciously like Raphael from TMNT, and a basketball player who decides to wear his uniform in battle. Hey, those Joes...they're colorful! Meanwhile, Cobra Commander wasn't the only one who got the shaft from the side of evil. Here's the new recruits to the bad guys...

Pythona: Argh. Pythona was pretty tough for what its worth. She wore an outfit that looked like viscera, had a weird mohawk, and really long fingernails that dripped acid. She also spoke like a Shakespearean play actor, killing the nasty rumor that the citizens of Cobra-La were uncultured swine. She really didn't have much else to offer though. The one thing I could never understand is how she was able to infiltrate the entire Cobra base in the beginning of the movie, yet get her ass handed to her by a blindfolded Jynx by the climax. Did she let her skills deteriorate in those three hours she spent making sure the crabs had formed a perfectly symmetrical royal walkway for Serpentor? Whatever the case, kill this one off, and Make Mine Baroness.

Nemesis Enforcer: This guy was sorta like the Boba Fett of the GI Joe universe. Didn't talk much, but allegedly kicks a lot of ass. The birthing process in Cobra-La must be a lot different from the rest of the world. You weren't born different by way of skin color or nationality. In Cobra-La, you could be born a giant worm, or in this case, an 8' tall human monkey with wings. There must have been discrimination cases every thirty seconds in this place. Still, Nemesis Enforcer deserves some bonus points. There's a scene in the movie where Sgt. Slaughter is trying to goad him into fighting, so what does our pal do? Throws an alien squid at his face. Nemesis Enforcer rocks.

As for Cobra Commander, in cartoon continuity, his era ends here. The comics disregarded this fallacy since they realize the commander equals cash, but he's meeting a grim end here. Nonetheless, he did manage to appear one last time in the movie before graciously bowing out...

He appears out of nowhere and attacks one of Serpentor's snakes. Again, more problems. I'm no scientist, but that'd have to be a pretty fast snake to make it all the way back to Cobra La. (for no real reason, mind you) Also, Serpentor recognizes the snake immediately as Cobra Commander and knows it has bad intentions, thus proving that mixed in with the DNA of the world's greatest warriors, they also threw a psychic into the mix while creating Serpentor.

The point of all this? GI Joe: The Movie is now available on DVD! If you're curious to see just how Cobra Commander met his downfall, click this link and pick it up for yourself! For a small sampling of what awaits here! Special remixed version of Cobra Commander giving his thoughts on this whole mess.

- Matt