"Snake Eyes"



Rank: Master Sergeant

Primary Military Specialty:
Secondary Military Specialty:
Hand-to-hand combat instructor

Status: Active

First Appearance:
G.I. JOE #1 (July 1982)

"I remember thinking that for a guy that had been through as much as him, he sure didn't have a lot of meanness in him..."
— Scarlett

   The man known as Snake-Eyes remains a mystery to most people. One of the most secretive operatives in the military, much of his past is unknown. Snake-Eyes grew up somewhere in the United States, along with his twin sister, Theresa. Brother and sister were very close throughout their youth. He would carry Terri's picture with him for good luck during his military career.

    At age 18, Snake-Eyes enlisted in the Army and after basic training, he went through Advanced Infantry Training and Ranger School. After finishing his training he came home to tell his family he was being shipped out to South East Asia to the front lines of the Vietnam War. His family hadn't expected him to go so soon. His father, Mark, told him he was worried about the things he would have to go through, but Snake-Eyes explained that he thought that serving the country and making a difference was important. His father asked to to keep his faith, but he thought that he'd need luck to survive. His father wished him luck and added that luck can run out quick, "and the next thing you know... 'Snake-Eyes'. End of the line." The family said their goodbyes, and Terri gave her brother a photo of her for good luck.

    In 1968, Snake-Eyes first met Lonzo "Stalker" Wilkinson and Tommy "Storm Shadow" Arashikage. The three soldiers reported to Saigon for a top secret mission. At the time, the Tet offensive was underway and the group's jeep driver was killed by two young Vietnamese men on a motorcycle. Snake-Eyes took off after the men, following them to a warehouse. He arrived just seconds after the men killed Baron Eugen DeCobray, a humanitarian assisting the South Vietnamese. Snake-Eyes shot and killed the two men who were later revealed to be North Vietnamese agents. DeCobray's sister, Anastasia, entered the room, believing the young soldier murdered DeCobray. Anastasia kept on believing the military had killed a good man like her brother, and eventually entered into a career of international terrorism under the name, "Baroness." Snake-Eyes was cleared of all charges when weapons dealer James McCullen Destro XXIII proved he was innocent. Destro was accompanied by his son, James McCullen Destro XXIV.

    Snake-Eyes and Tommy served together on their first tour of duty and became close friends. Their tour came to an abrupt end when a bloody battle wiped out the rest of their unit. Three years after their first meeting, Snake-Eyes and Tommy were working with a Long Range Recon Patrol (LRRP) unit commanded by Stalker in the jungles of Vietnam. They were accompanied by three other soldiers: Wade Collins, Ramon Escobedo and Dick Saperstein. Snake-Eyes' quiet demeanor and his disinterest in getting close to another group of soldiers made the others uncomfortable to serve with him. His attitude did eventually soften, due in part to Tommy. Six months into their tour, the group stumbled upon an encampment of North Vietnamese soldiers and a firefight ensued. Collins, Saperstein and Escobedo were all believed killed in the attack. Snake-Eyes, Stalker and Storm Shadow all retreated to a landing zone for rescue. As the three soldiers ran across a field toward the extraction chopper, they were fired upon. Snake-Eyes was hit badly and Stalker ordered Storm Shadow to leave him. Storm Shadow refused, running back to save his friend and to Stalker's amazement, he evaded all enemy fire and retrieved Snake-Eyes.

    Snake-Eyes' injuries got him sent back to the United States. When he arrived at the local airport, his parents and sister were nowhere to be found. After hours of waiting, was met by a young army officer named Clayton "Hawk" Abernathy. Hawk told him the tragic news: his parents and sister had been killed in a car wreck just hours before. Devastated, Snake-Eyes wandered aimlessly for months, spending his days drinking and getting into fights. Tommy tracked him down, wanting to help him and offering him a home with his family in Japan. Snake-Eyes rejected his friend's help but soon met up with a man who was willing to indulge Snake-Eyes pain and anger. He eventually convinced Snake-Eyes to join him in a mission traveling the country meting out vigilante justice. Snake-Eyes quickly grew uncertain about what they were doing and worried about his new friend's growing instability. Their partnership was ended when the man led Snake-Eyes to break into the home of a judge, and explained that the judge had ruined his brother's life. His brother came home from the war and opened a halfway house for veterans that burned down. His brother was accused of starting the fire and the judge ruled against him and took all his assets. His brother began drinking and then the man revealed to Snake-Eyes that his brother had been the driver of the car that collided with his family's. Explaining that the judge had caused the death of their families, the man handed Snake-Eyes a gun and told him to kill the judge. Snake-Eyes refused and his partner killed the judge himself. Snake-Eyes ran off, and hoped to never see the man again. Regretting what he had done, he traveled to Japan, hoping to start a new life with Tommy's family.

    During the war, Storm Shadow had offered Snake-Eyes a position in the "family business." That "business" was in fact a ninja clan. Snake-Eyes trained there for years with Storm Shadow's uncles, the Soft Master and the Hard Master. Snake-Eyes felt that he belonged here with this new family and Storm Shadow was like a brother to him. When a rebellious group in the clan attempted to usurp control, Snake-Eyes and Tommy helped bring an end to it. Tommy's uncles began to see Snake-Eyes as a future leader in the clan. A rivalry grew between the two sword brothers as Tommy began to quietly resent Snake-Eyes. For a time Snake-Eyes had found peace with the clan, but tragedy would strike once again. Snake-Eyes' old vigilante partner discovered where he had gone, and hired two mercenaries -- Zartan and Firefly -- to kill Snake-Eyes. Zartan infiltrated the clan and stole one of Storm Shadow's arrows. He mistakenly killed the Hard Master, believing him to be Snake-Eyes. Storm Shadow fled Japan to find his uncle's killer because he was believed to be the assassin. He would eventually find the warped man who had ordered Snake-Eyes' death. That man would later be known as Cobra Commander.

    The death of the Hard Master left the Arashikage clan in disarray and made Snake-Eyes an orphan once more. He moved to a cabin in the High Sierras, and lived alone there, with his wolf, Timber. When Hawk and Stalker were organizing the G.I. Joe team, Stalker suggested Snake-Eyes as a team member. The two went to Snake-Eyes' cabin and offered him a spot on the team which he accepted. Once on the team, Snake-Eyes became close to Scarlett, and they began their long relationship. On an early mission in the Middle East, Snake-Eyes, Scarlett, Rock & Roll and Grunt were sent to save diplomat George Strawhacker from Cobra. On the way, a helicopter accident forced the Joes to bail out, but Scarlett was stuck in the burning chopper. Snake-Eyes stayed behind to save her. He saved Scarlett, but a window exploded in his face, scarring him and damaging his vocal cords. Despite his injuries, Snake-Eyes convinced Hawk to let him continue on with the mission. It turned out that George Strawhacker had been Snake-Eyes' sister's fiancee. When the Cobras tried to pretend they were the prisoner, only Snake-Eyes, who knew George, recognized who the imposters were.

    Over the next few years, Snake-Eyes became an important part of the team. He could no longer speak, and now wore a black mask to cover his disfigured face. He participated in the rescue of Dr. Adele Burkhart from Cobra and was part of many other important missions. Snake-Eyes was captured by the Cobra scientist, Dr. Venom, who used the Brain-wave Scanner on him, trying to extract information from his mind. Using his ninja training he tricked the machine into believing he was dead by slowing his heart rate. He eventually escaped. Snake-Eyes next ran into Dr. Venom in the nation of Sierra Gordo. He was left for dead by Venom in a burning warehouse while Stalker, Breaker and Gung-Ho were captured. He later freed the Joes and tracked down Dr. Venom, the Baroness and the eskimo mercenary, Kwinn to a small river's island. There, the Baroness dropped a bomb on the island and the Cobra bunker there, intending to kill Venom and Kwinn because they knew too much. At the last second, Snake-Eyes pushed the others into the bunker. The other Joes so the island explode, but they had no idea that the bunker was intact at the bottom of the river. The three men eventually escaped, but Kwinn and Snake-Eyes were betrayed by Venom and the two were arrested. They escaped and tracked down Venom. Kwinn intended to get his revenge on Venom, though Snake-Eyes did not want to kill him. During an assault on G.I. Joe headquarters, Kwinn was shot in the back by Venom. Snake-Eyes saw Kwinn die, but as he fell a grenade dropped out of his hand, killing Venom. Kwinn had gotten his revenge at the cost of his life.

    Vengeance returned to Snake-Eyes' life when he once again met Storm Shadow, now a member of Cobra and Cobra Commander's bodyguard. He confronted Storm Shadow but discovered that he had not killed the Hard Master and had infiltrated Cobra, hoping to discover who killed his uncle. After that, Snake-Eyes continued his missions for the Joe team. He was later attacked by Cobra at his mountain retreat. In the ensuing battle his cabin was destroyed. On leave, Snake-Eyes and Scarlett were attacked by Cobra Crimson Guardsmen led by Fred II. He was defeated, but not before he pulled off Snake-Eyes' mask and saw his scarred face.

    Snake-Eyes was one of the many Joes involved in the first battle of Cobra Island, trying to push Cobra off of the island before they became a sovereign nation. That mission failed. Soon afterward, Fred II once again tracked down Snake-Eyes along with Stalker at the Vietnam memorial. There, Fred II confronted them. He revealed that he was actually Wade Collins. Collins hadn't died years ago in Vietnam, but he survived as a P.O.W. He returned to the United States and his life fell apart he eventually found Cobra and joined the Crimson Guard where he had plastic surgery to have the same face as all the other identical Guardsmen in the "Fred series." Stalker and Snake-Eyes convinced Collins that Cobra had used him, and that he still had a family that Cobra had "assigned him to." They allowed Collins to escape and start a new life, never telling anyone what really happened. Months later, Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow got a message from the Soft Master. It revealed that the Hard Master's true killer was Zartan. Snake-Eyes disappeared with his old friend, and they both tracked Zartan to Cobra Island. While there, the Joe named Ripcord landed on the island and was being rescued by the Joes. They did not find Zartan because he disguised himself as Ripcord. They fought their way to the Cobra marina and attempted to escape when the Baroness shot Storm Shadow for being a traitor to Cobra. He was thought to be dead, but weeks later, after the Battle of Springfield, he snuck into G.I. Joe headquarters revealing that he had been revived by the same science that created the Cobra Emperor, Serpentor. He told Snake-Eyes that he was tired of living his life for revenge. Snake-Eyes gave him the key to what was left of his cabin, letting his friend stay there and sort out his life.

    When Stalker, Quick Kick and Snow Job were being held in a Borovian gulag after a failed mission, Snake-Eyes and Scarlett faked their own deaths and traveled to Borovia to rescue their comrades, who had been written off by the government. Shortly after their return Snake-Eyes and Scarlett went on a special mission into Asia along with two other Joes. The group's mission went on for months when many possible extraction sites were compromised. During the mission, Snake-Eyes saved the life of a poor farmer who was being forced off his land by a local communist government. Eventually, the team returned home.

    Some time after the Joes returned from Southeast Asia, Snake-Eyes finally decided to try and repair his damaged face. While under sedation during his reconstructive surgery, the Baroness attacked the hospital in Europe after learning Snake-Eyes was the same soldier who she thought had shot her brother in Vietnam. She captured Snake-Eyes and shot Scarlett in the head. He escaped Cobra capture and Destro revealed to the Baroness that Snake-Eyes hadn't killed her brother. After all this, Scarlett remained in a coma. Storm Shadow performed the "Arashikage Mind Set" on Snake-Eyes, allowing him to forget his sorrow over Scarlett's apparent death by going on a mission into Borovia. He eventually came out of the mind set and returned home to find Scarlett had survived. Snake-Eyes went on many more missions for the Joe team, including the Battle of Benzheen, a middle eastern country under Cobra's control. During that mission, many Joes lost their lives. He later fought at Destro's castle in Trans-Carpathia, assisting the former Cobra member in breaking his ties with the organization. When Scarlett apparently joined Cobra, Snake-Eyes was devastated until he discovered that it was all part of a ploy to allow Scarlett to infiltrate Cobra. He helped rescue her during a battle in Millville.

    For a time, Snake-Eyes and Scarlett lived together in his rebuilt mountain cabin. Unfortunately he was soon forced back into duty. In 1994, on one of Snake-Eyes last missions for the Joe team, he attacked Destro's castle in Eastern Europe. Cobra Commander had taken over the castle and brainwashed Storm Shadow and many other former Cobra members. They now swore allegiance to Cobra and fought against the Joes against their will. Snake-Eyes attempted to free Storm Shadow, but failed. Soon afterward, the word came from the Pentagon that the Joe team was being shut down. At an emotional ceremony at Joe headquarters in Utah, the Joes "retired the colors" leaving the Pit an abandoned army base. After the team was officially shut down, Snake-Eyes went on one last mission with members of the team, fighting Cobra. He again encountered Storm Shadow who remained under the Commander's control.

: G.I. JOE Yearbook #2(cover) by Michael Golden; G.I. JOE #144 (cover) by William Rosado and Chip Wallace; G.I. JOE #40 (interior) by Rod Whigham and Andy Mushynsky; G.I. JOE #93 (interior) by M.D. Bright and Randy Emberlin; Snake-Eyes' 1989 filecard from Hasbro courtesy of YoJoe.com.