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This is the Sit-Rep, soldier, the Situation Report! It's here where we get the intel on the new troops, talk to the big brass, and generally do anything else that isn't in an archival capacity! So what are you waiting for? It's time for your debriefing!

Sideshow 12" Cobra Commander

Review and photos by Phillip Donnelly

Sideshow Collectibles has a new release out, and it's another Cobra Commander.  This is actually their third Cobra Commander figure - the first figure was actually their second G.I. Joe figure ever, while the second figure was a convention exclusive redeco of the first figure. But this newest Commander take things in another direction, and it's a direction that has me giddy.  Like a little schoolboy.  And I don't care.  Stop judging me!

The box on this figure is a bit different than prior Sideshow releases.  Gone is the second window containing the accessories.  Instead, the weapons tray is fitted beneath the figure tray.  The result is a slimmer box that takes up less space on your storage shelf.  I know I can appreciate the space savings, but it does mean the opening flap has slightly less impact than it previously would.  Your mileage may vary on whether this is a change for the better or the worse.

As with Snake Eyes, the fandom can be of two minds when it comes to Cobra Commander's look: on one side are those who love the battle helmet, and on the other are those who prefer the hood.  And, of course, there's the much smaller faction who prefers the armored look, but that's irrelevant to this figure, and besides, it's clearly Fred VII under there any way, so why do you like it as Cobra Commander so much?  Okay fine, it was Cobra Commander in the DiC series, but that's DiC, and who cares - you know what, I'm not getting into this debate again, it's not good for my blood pressure.

Sorry, got a little sidetracked there.  Sideshow sidesteps most of this debate by giving us both a hooded head and a battle helmet.  The battle helmet itself is a little different that we're used to - it looks to take some inspiration from the Resolute Cobra Commander, actually, though the chrome doesn't cover the sides of the face.  The hooded head uses a flexible pvc plastic that allows the hood to be a separate piece from the face within, and what we can see of that face is all sorts of creepy.  The eyebrows go up at an angle that would make Spock jealous, and the eyes are far inset from the brow, making those baby blues of his stay in almost permanent, ominous shadow.  Seriously, they were hard to photograph!  The recessed eyes make me wonder though, why would they do that?  Is it really to make the face more ominous, or is it bad sculpting?  The latter seems unlikely given the level of quality we've come to expect from Sideshow.  There's a third possibility: it could be a sly reference to Cobra Commander's Cobra-La origins from G.I. Joe: The Movie.  And speaking of sly references, the Cobra symbol tampograph looks oddly cartoony up close - the eyes are round circles and the mouth is missing fangs.  Is this a nod to the infamous "Mickey Mouse" Cobra symbol on some early straight-arm Cobra Commanders?  Or am I just reading way too much into these things?

When it comes to Cobra Commander's uniform, it's almost as if Sideshow looked at the Hall of Fame Cobra Commander and said, "You know what?  We can do that better."  Well obviously, a corporate entity can't really talk, but it's possible someone who worked there could have!  But seriously, this uniform is vintage Cobra Commander.  The look of the shirt is pure 1982, and the pants retain that characteristic red stripe.  The first Sideshow Cobra Commander may have been channeling his Cobra: Reborn look; this one is all about nostalgia.  Add to that a sweet cape that attaches to him ingeniously - through magnets sewn into his shirt!  This makes the cape attach incredibly simply, while keeping his uniform looking clean.  Now, I might have preferred his cape be magenta, but black and red will do, too.

Now, the other Sideshow figures I've reviewed are awash in accessories.  This figure?  Not so much.  But that doesn't really bother me.  Cobra Commander is not a soldier.  He's a delegator, a blamer, a coward.  He makes his underlings fight his battles for him, while he takes the credit.  So it makes sense to me that he doesn't have much in the way of weaponry.  There's a broom handled Mauser pistol, a ceremonial Cobra dagger, and a Cobra scepter.  The Sideshow exclusive version of this figure comes with a laser pistol, too.  It's not the more traditional one we're used to seeing with Cobra Commander, though.  To be honest, I'm not sure where this pistol comes from.  It does bear a passing resemblance the the laser pistol Star Brigade Cobra Commander wields in his card art, though.  If you want his original pistol, it came with the first figure, so maybe you can track it down on ebay.  Come to think of it, that might be why he doesn't come with that pistol - gotta keep things fresh!  Aside from those accessories, he has some belts and straps that really do bring to mind Talking Cobra Commander.  How many homages is that now?  Five?  Six?

There is at least one negative with this figure, sadly.  The legs used on this figure seem to be different from previous Prometheus-bodied releases.  They're very hard to bend at the knee!  I was able to coax them to move a little, but I worry I could break the joint if I push it too hard.  You'll notice I don't have a lot of pics with him bending his legs!  It is possible, though you may not be able to get the full range of motion out of him than you would out of other figures.

Aside from this niggling issue, this Cobra Commander figure is pretty great.  From his chromed helmet to his Cobra belt buckle down to his rubbery boots, this is the Cobra Commander figure you've always wanted.  Or at least, it's the Cobra Commander figure I've always wanted.  He's getting a place of pride on my shelf.  But I'm leaving him with his hood on, naturally.  I loved this figure so much, I did something I've never done for a review before - I took an old Rise of Cobra wallpaper, added in some of my pics, and made it my laptop's background.  And you can make it your's, too.

Editor's Note:
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More action shots:

Images from the collection of: Phillip Donnelly

Figure courtesy of Sideshow Collectibles!

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02/05/14

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