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G.I.JOE Spy Troops
Cobra Commander (with DVD)
Toy Review

By Mark Patraw

Manufacturer Information:
Pawtucket, RI


The Package:
To be honest, it's been a relatively long time since I purchased and opened this figure, so I really can't recall too many details about the blister card packaging other than that it was pretty small. The only thing I kept from it was the cardboard insert inside the bubble that had the Cobra Commander file card printed on it.

Cobra Commander:
First off, let me say that I prefer Cobra Commander with a helmet rather than a hood, but that's just my personal preference. Proportionately, I feel Cobra Commander's arms are a little large for his body, but that's probably a side effect of the articulation. His head, even when you consider the hood, seems a bit on the teensy side as well. There's a lot of detail on his sculpt (wrinkles and folds in his hood and uniform, armband insignia, holster straps with buckles, etc). Interestingly, the blue plastic the figure is molded in has sparkles in it. Maybe the Dreadnoks dumped some glitter into the Commander's plastic mix at the Hasbro factory as a joke? It didn't bother me (you have to look pretty closely to even notice it), but it might turn some people off. I didn't like that they made his eyes red--yes, Cobra Commander is evil, but not THAT evil. My guess is they did this to keep the red cobra insignia, which runs from his forehead down his face, consistent. Overall, the paint application is very good and clean with minimal error. He has standard 'swivel-arm-battlegrip' 3-3/4 G.I.JOE articulation. Which means: Ball jointed neck, shoulders, and hips; pin joint elbows and knees; cut biceps; and the unique rubberband waist which functions much like a ball joint. The articulation works very well with the sculpt for posing--except for the hood, which is very wide at the bottom, that severely limits neck movement.

The DVD:
This has two of the original G.I.JOE Real American Hero (RAH) cartoon episodes on it, an interactive game, part of a larger comic book, and profiles/dossiers for other G.I.JOE Spy Troops figures and vehicles. I used to watch the cartoon all the time when I was a kid, so I was extremely pleased with their inclusion (the two episodes are '20 Questions' and 'Jungle Trap'). Unfortunately, the RAH cartoons are periodically interrupted at the 'commercial break' segments with advertisements for various Hasbro Spy Trooper products; I would have preferred that these ads have been placed in an 'ad' section on the DVD rather than during the cartoon. Although, to be fair, it can be argued that the commercials give you something of an 'authentic' TV experience. The video game is very basic and has you parachuting down from the sky, shooting and avoiding various airborne obstacles - I wasn't terribly impressed with it. The comic book, written by Larry Hama (who penned many of the Marvel G.I.JOE comics), was part 3 of 3, and was fairly short. The art is decent and it features some simple zooming and animation effects. The dossiers are nice; each gives a picture of the toy Joe or Cobra character/vehicle plus some detailed background info (Cobra Commander is not included, but the cardboard insert inside the package's bubble folds out and has his bio card on it, so you still get his dossier in case you forgot who Cobra Commander is). The overall DVD menu presentation is easy to navigate, but fairly mediocre in the graphics department. On the downside, this DVD only works with a PC, so if you don't have access to a computer with a DVD drive, this accessory is going to be nothing more than a flashy coaster to you.

Cobra's supreme leader comes with a nice selection of equipment, even though they are pretty much all re-uses:

- A silver pistol. This is a re-issue of the handgun that came with the original 1980s (helmeted) Cobra Commander. This is a nice nod to the past that is very appropriate.

- A silver rifle. This is a re-issue of the weapon that came with the 80s Cobra Eel figure.

- A black backpack. A peg in the back plugs into the corresponding screw hole in the Commander's back. This is a re-issue of the pack that came with the 80s Cobra Tele-Viper figure.

- A gold cobra serpent staff. This is the best of the four in my opinion, as it's an accessory that befits the title of Cobra Commander. I'm not quite sure if this is a re-use or not--the helmeted Spy Troops Cobra Commander comes with a very similar staff, but I don't think that one has the square panel sticking out from the side--maybe it's a retooling.

I got him clearanced for a mere $1.69, plus tax, at my local Shopko store in 2004, which was a very good deal. I don't know what they were supposed to retail for, but my guess would be something in the $4-5 range. They also had Zartan too at the same price when I picked the Commander up; in hindsight, I wish I had purchased him as well (I didn't because, one, I've never been a big fan of Zartan, and two, he came with the exact same DVD as the Commander).

Final Analysis:

- He's Cobra Commander; Cobra Commander rules!
- I got him dirt cheap.
- Excellent value. You get a lot for your money here, provided you have a PC to use the DVD on.
- The DVD has a nice amount of varied content. The two RAH cartoons were the highlight for me.
- Well articulated figure with a respectable assortment of accessories.

- Most, if not all, of the accessories are rehashed from previous G.I.JOE figures.
- Hood sculpt restricts neck articulation.
- DVD will only work on a personal computer. I think Hasbro should have made it work with television DVD players as well. Buyers don't like getting items they can't use.
- The game on the DVD, while passable, is pretty basic and didn't do much for me.
- Painting Cobra Commander's eyes red is overkill--he's human (don't get me started on that Cobra-La snake man garbage), he should have normal eyes.

Where to Buy:
An online toy dealer or auction site are probably your best bets now, as he's an older 2002 figure that you probably won't see on the pegs anymore unless the stores where you live tend to hang onto old stock. You can always try buying/trading with fellow RAH G.I.JOE fans or keeping an eye out at rummage/garage sales too.

For Parents:
Hasbro recommends this figure for ages five and up.

DVD title menu
DVD cartoon selection screen
DVD comic sample
DVD paratrooper game
DVD dossier sample

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