The various cartoons we watched as kids had a lot in common - and I don't just mean cases like Silverhawks and Thundercats, where one was just a blatant copy of the other. I'm talking more permeating similarities, like the general effectiveness of the programs' villains. Whether it was Megatron dedicating all the Decepticons' forces toward following a circus performer because he thought a stilt-walker had a shrink ray or Skeletor... doing pretty much anything, really, the bad guys on those shows were all complete boobs. A prime example is the wild incompetence of Cobra Commander.
Cobra Commander is the leader of the evil Cobra organization.
Ruthless and cunning, he recruits talented and corrupt individuals in his quest for world domination. Under his direction, Cobra has committed acts of sabotage and destruction to defeat their enemies and increase their power. He considers himself a warrior king, dressing in armor and carrying a staff and shield. But watch out - hidden inside this ordinary-looking gear are many ingenious weapons. That "basic" shield has a ring of metal-piercing blades, and that "simple" staff can blow a hole in a building or surprise the enemy with hidden blades. Despite such sophisticated gear, he always carries his old, reliable pistol with him, calling it his only "true friend."
These days things are different. The storylines are more complex, and the heroes actually have to be tough and smart to overcome their foes. In the old Real American Hero cartoon, CC was less Adolph Hitler and more Yosemite Sam, as the writers put it. In the world of Sigma 6, though, he actually seems to be a menace.
Like a lot of the Sigma 6 figures, Cobra Commander has received some definite updates to his look, but still manages to have visual ties to the classic version. He's wearing his blue battle uniform (though the later, silver armor would probably look pretty sweet in the line's anime-inspired designs) and a large red cape with the black Cobra insignia on the back.
The biggest difference is probably the Commander's head. Not content to just have him wearing his hood or his silver faceplate, they've combined the two.
CC now has a blue helmet with an open face, which reveals the gray hood he wears beneath. It's an interesting design choice, but it works; the gray of the hood suggests the old silver mask, and the helmet makes it a viable combat option. The helmet is designed (vaguely) to resemble a snake's head - not as blatantly as Sepentor's, by any means, but it's there nonetheless. That's the snake's tongue hanging down between his eyes, if that helps you see it.
In keeping with the "warrior king" deal, CC has plenty of weaponry, starting with his large Cobra shield. The red blades sticking out the sides of the grey shield spin when you push them (rather than folding out like Snake-Eyes' disc thing), giving a defensive item quite the offensive capability. Should the blades jam while cutting through some particularly resilient armor, there's a dagger stored just below the handhold.
Sigma 6 Cobra Commander has a pistol that looks slightly like the original figure's weapon:
kind of blocky, with a distinctly rounded barrel (but not the "standard-issue .38" the package describes). The original figure's gun could be stored on his back; this time, it fits in a small loop on the back of his belt. Very nice. He's also got two blaster gauntlets that plug into his forearms, allowing him to shoot from the wrists.
Cobra Commander's coolest weapon, however, is the Fang Blade Staff. A large golden staff designed to resemble a cobra, it's exactly the sort of thing any version of Cobra Commander would carry. The snake's head is hinged to allow those huge red fangs to be used as a weapon. The staff is also a missile launcher, and a surprisingly strong one, at that. With safety guidelines getting tighter all the time, we usually get launchers that can barely get the projectile out of the barrel, let alone hit another figure at any distance. The Fang Blade Staff, however, will fling those red rockets halfway across the room, and do it with force. Watch your eyes.
Hasbro has thrown in one more play feature that's definitely old-school.
This is something we haven't really seen since the old MotU line. When you hit the Cobra symbol on his chest, a spring-loaded drum rotates, revealing battle damage. Hit it again, and the damage grows. Awesome! The feature works well, although the size of the figure's chest means that the drum is a bit too small - the Cobra logo is tiny, and rolling the drum back to the unscarred position can be difficult.
Cobra Commander has a slightly insectoid look - it's an effect of the angular armor and the thin, distorted body, but it's not overwhelming. The figure stands 8 1/2" tall and moves at the head, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, knees and ankles, and all of those are balljoints. He doesn't have the torso joint that most of the Sigma 6 figures sport, due to his action feature.
The paint is done really well. The blue is really bright, but it's offset with navy and black. He's got gold at his shoulders, to hold his cape in place, and the wrist blasters are surprisingly detailed. For a figure based on a cartoon, they've really gone all out.
The Sigma 6 line drew a lot of criticism when it was announced, but the figures really seem to be winning fans over - even bringing in some who never collected the smaller Joes. By giving us cool toys like this, Hasbro proves that change can be a very good thing.
Have you gotten hooked on Sigma 6 yet? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.