Yup! This is Cobra Commander # 1, a brand-new comic series published by Skybound Entertainment and (shockingly) starring the guy who Destro once referred to as a world-class buffoon, Cobra Commander! With Robert Kirkman’s Void Rivals having launched Skybound’s new Energon Universe, G.I. Joe is the second Hasbro property to take its place in this new world after Transformers. Rather than a typical G.I. Joe team book, they’ve opted to do solo Cobra Commander and Duke books to lead it off.
This first issue is a ground-up origin tale for Cobra Commander, written by Joshua Williamson (who is also writing Duke), penciled by Andrea Milana, and with colors by Annalisa Leoni. The Energon Universe version of Cobra Commander is a take on the character that draws more heavily from the Sunbow cartoon than the Marvel comic, but contains elements of both portrayals. Oh and also, there might be some minor tie-in to Transformers in here too…
That’s right, the infamous Cobra-La factors heavily into Cobra Commander’s backstory here as he is established as a scientist for the ancient secret society that dwells in the underbelly of our world. It’s certainly a take that has largely fallen by the wayside as far as I can tell, as most modern G.I. Joe fiction usually taps the more grounded Marvel comics lore for inspiration. It does seem a good fit for the Energon Universe so far, though, and the creative team gives their all to showcase the more sci-fi and alien spin on Cobra’s origins.
I did enjoy the title character’s portrayal, which presented something different yet still carried the essence of the classic character. Cobra Not-Yet-Commander is ruthless, pragmatic, arrogant, cruel, and boundlessly ambitious. His character faults are present, but do not hinder him to a near-comical degree, as they did in the original cartoon. Instead, this guy is someone with an eye on the future and plans to make a place in that future at the head of the table. There are other recognizable Joe characters running around in this issue too, and the cliffhanger hinges on a specific group of them in particular.
Yo… Energon Universe?
There is a big link to the larger Energon Universe here, and many have already guessed what it could be, based on a notable absence from the Transformers book so far. As I’ve mentioned in other reviews, perhaps it highlights a flaw in a shared Hasbro properties universe to have everything inextricably linked to Transformers, but I guess that’s just unavoidable. Maybe more hardcore G.I. Joe fans that enjoy more grounded tales will be feeling a little overlooked in that case, but Skybound has chosen to lean hard in the sci-fi direction and this issue is certainly a big sign of that.
Militarily speaking, Cobra Commander is…
A fairly solid opening issue that solidly establishes its main character and I dare say does so more effectively than Duke # 1. If Cobra Commander is one of your favorite Joe characters, I think you’ll enjoy this take on him. However, as I said, if your thing is more grounded military-based Joe stories, you might have to change lanes to enjoy the Energon Universe’s take on the property. I’m not a huge Joe fan myself, but I found myself enjoying this issue nonetheless. The art was great and I am interested to see how this will tie into the larger picture.
Buy Cobra Commander # 1 this week, becausesss he wasss oncesss a man...