Look, G.I. Joe has always had a sci-fi bent. So I have no issue with characters like Zartan, a master of disguise and leader of a biker gang of mercenaries, or Destro, an arms dealer in a metal mask. I can even overlook Dr. Mindbender. Okay, he dresses poorly but an evil organization like Cobra definitely needs a mad scientist. So for a large part of the G.I. Joe line, I have no reason to question their leadership. Series 6 of the figures in 1987 is where things go off the rails. Suddenly there are pet trainers all over the place and specialists in obscure needs. Military leaders, sabateurs, infiltrators. That’s what Cobra needs. Not professional polluters and bird wranglers. Let’s take a look at the least useful Cobra officers. Who would YOU include?
He’s a boxing expert. So he’s ALWAYS wearing boxing gloves. If you know that he was created because Hasbro was about to release Rocky as a G.I. Joe, he makes some sense. Without Rocky, Cobra suddenly has a boxer. I mean, I think we can all assume someone is training all those Vipers in hand-to-hand combat. But why isn’t it Firefly or Major Bludd? Because I’ve never seen a Cobra troop run into battle in boxing gloves.
Suddenly Cobra has crocodiles. Not just some crocodiles but SO MANY crocodiles that they need a full-time caretaker. You know what? I would’ve been able to accept the idea that Cobra Viper #5673 was responsible for cleaning up after the crocodiles. Because I can’t imagine many uses in military combat for a guy that wrangles crocs. In fact, it kind of implies that this guy has a lot of compassion for animals.
Cobra already has a guy named Dr. Mindbender. Did they really need a guy whose powers are to hypnotize people? Because if that’s not what Dr. Mindbender can do, Cobra assigned him a terrible codename.
At the same time that Cobra took on Croc Master, they also hired Raptor. Out of nowhere, Cobra has so many animals that it needs all these animal behaviorists? And are they asking these guys to dress up like the animals that they train or do they apply for the job in these Halloween costumes? I gotta say, if Cobra was ever able to defeat G.I. Joe with a bird-related plot, maybe they deserve to win.
Why would a terrorist organization require a full-time poacher? Yes, poaching is horrible but it isn’t so profitable that it can fund an organization the size of Cobra. Say Gnawahyde is really successful at duping rich dentists into going on trophy expeditions with him and he sells rhino horns to blackmarket healers. He’s clearing, what? A couple million a year? Lucrative for him, but not especially helpful to an organization that loses tanks and helicopters daily.
Darklon looks like the Dollar Tree version of Destro. He’s a distant cousin and basically has the same story – arms dealer and he wears a mask. But while Destro looks dignified, Darklon looks like he’s wearing half of a Darth Vader Halloween mask, a neon green mesh shirt and bright orange pants overloaded with pouches. He’s supposedly hired by Destro to help lead his personal troops. So he ends up making Destro look worse.
When it comes to demolition, Cobra had the right idea with Scrap-Iron. He was smart, knew his work, and didn’t dress too strangely. Metal-Head attached rockets to his shoulders and legs. Even if he had the strength to move, the first time he fires one of those things, he’s losing a limb.
In what scenario does Cobra need a full-time polluter? Cesspool was hired to run the Sludge Vipers and Toxo-Zombies and stuff like that to pollute, full time. Polluting is generally done because a company is lazy. It’s not something people set out to do proactively. Like, if the Crimson Twins ran their business in such a way that it polluted, I can buy that. I have a much harder time believing Cobra needed a guy to actively go out into the world and make a mess. Maybe if he also had a Cleaner Viper to clean up the mess he made for some sort of extortion? But he doesn’t. Finally, I question letting yourself be called “Cesspool.”
As a bonus, here’s Cesspool’s cartoon origin where it’s mainly Flint’s fault that Cesspool becomes a villain in a story that’s just ripping off the Joker from Alan Moore’s classic Batman story, The Killing Joke.