Cobra Vipers

The Legions of
Cobra Command

Bases of operations:
Springfield; Cobra Island;
Broca Beach; Trans-Carpathia

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

The army of Cobra is based upon the regular infantry troops, the Vipers. The original Cobra soldiers were many of those who shared the vision of their leader, Cobra Commander. Trained by soldiers-for-hire, they learned their skills to help establish footholds for Cobra in various unstable nations all around the world. As the organization grew, Cobra's army grew to include mercenaries, known international terrorists and disaffected soldiers from various nations, including the United States. The Vipers are either in it for the money, or for the continuation of Cobra's goal of world domination.

    The original Cobra soldiers and officers wore blue military fatigues and helmets, along with a red or black facemask to cover their identities. The Cobra officers' uniforms varied slightly from that of regular troops, the most obvious difference being a v-shaped symbol on the front of their helmets. The name, Viper, was in fact not used until around 1985. It still described the regular infantry, but new more specialized troops were soon created, each adding a prefix to the title. The first of these specialized divisions were the communications officers called Tele-Vipers. A year or two later, the basic Viper underwent a major uniform change. The most striking difference was the wraparound helmet with silver-plated facemask, presumably meant to emulate the helmet worn by Cobra Commander. These helmets gave Vipers additional protection, as well as built-in commo gear. Cobra officers continued to use the original uniform. Nearly all of Cobra's rank and file start off as standard Vipers, and then undergo special training to join the specialized groups.

    In 1994, most of Cobra's forces scattered after being defeated by military forces. In the years that followed, Cobra Commander began to rebuild his army, including many of the specialized Vipers of the past, some in modified versions of their original uniforms. The uniform for the Cobra officer has changed slightly to include protective armor, but is still based on the original Cobra uniforms. Recently, the Vipers again faced the G.I. Joe team in battle when Cobra Commander and his forces returned. Some time after their return, Cobra Commander developed the Neo-Vipers, soldiers genetically altered for enhanced strength, endurance and dexterity. A number of new types of Vipers have debuted, as well.

The following is a list of most of the specialized Vipers added to Cobra's forces over the years:


Alley Vipers. Urban assault troopers. They have worn various types of brightly colored uniforms and armor. They are equipped with various equipment to be used in warfare in urban areas. The Alley Vipers were first seen in action during a battle fought in Rio Lindo, the capitol of Sierra Gordo. A group of Alley Vipers later fought in the conflict between Cobra and the G.I. Joe team that took place in the town of Millville. Alley Vipers were also used in Cobra's invasion of the European country of Borovia. (GI 92, 140-142, 145)

Crimson Guard

Cyber-Vipers. Cybernetically-enhanced Cobra troopers. Designed by Dr. Mindbender, these soldiers were only in the experimental stages when Cobra was defeated by military forces in Europe. There may actually have been only one Cyber-Viper, who the Joes encountered while fighting Cobra in the mountains of Trans-Carpathia. (GI 149)

Flak-Vipers. Anti-aircraft troopers. Flak-Vipers are equipped with portable missle launchers and a laser rifle. They first encountered the G.I. Joe team during an assault on the Pit (Joe HQ) in Utah.

Frag-Vipers. Cobra's "grenade throwers". Frag-Vipers use a special manual hurling basket (based on the cesta from the sport Jai Alai) to launch grenades used normally in grenade launchers. This eliminates the sound and light of a firearm's muzzle flash, allowing the Frag-Vipers to stay out of sight. Their helmets include an automatic range-finder. G.I. Joe first encountered Frag-Vipers during a rescue mission in Rio Lindo, the capital of Sierra Gordo. (GI 92)

HEAT Vipers. Anti-tank specialists, aka "bazooka men". HEAT Vipers' helmets contain built-in targeting computers used to fire the Vipers' highly advanced armor-piercing rockets. G.I. Joe first encountered HEAT-Vipers while rescuing Snake-Eyes from the Cobra Consulate in New York. (GI 96)

Laser-Vipers. Portable laser troopers. Laser-Vipers wear large backpack-mounted lasers used as weapons at close range and spotter beams for missiles at longer ranges. G.I. Joe first encountered Laser-Vipers during a Cobra assault on Pit III in Utah. (GI 130)

Night Vipers. Night fighters. The Night Vipers wear highly-advanced helmets with a built-in infrared detector, image intensifier, directional sound amplifier and laser range-finder. Their combat suits are made of synthetic composites that reduce the Night Viper's heat signature and defy most ground radar. The Joes first encountered them while rescuing Snake-Eyes from the Baroness' custody in the Cobra Consulate. (GI 94)

Range-Vipers. Wilderness troopers. They are trained survivalists known for their high tolerance of harsh environments. The Range-Viper helmet looks like a stylized skull and was designed to intimidate. The Joes fiirst encountered them during the Battle of Benzheen. (GI 113, 130)

SAW Vipers. Heavy machine gunner. SAW Vipers use highly advanced mini-chain guns and night vision, auto-ranging scopes. Their weapons are also made with sound suppressors flash inhibitors for stealth.

One SAW Viper's cold-blooded actions proved tragic for the G.I. Joe team. Misunderstanding orders from Cobra Commander, Tomax and Xamot ordered the SAW Viper to execute a small group of Joes captured in Trucial Abysmia before the Battle of Benzheen. The ruthless, merciless Viper shot and killed seven of the unarmed Joes and seemed to enjoy it before the remaining Joes made their escape. After more Joes were killed by Cobra, the three survivors -- Duke, Falcon and Cross Country -- tracked down the SAW Viper to avenge their fallen comrades. Duke finally had the SAW Viper in his sights, unarmed. Duke couldn't bring himself to kill the defenseless man and left him where he found him. After initially worrying about the Joes' retaliation, Cobra Commander threw a party in the honor of the SAW Viper. After being last seen fighting in the Battle of Benzheen, that particular SAW Viper's current status is unknown. (#109-112)
Sludge Vipers. Vipers employed by the Cobra agent Cess-Pool, known for using toxic waste as a weapon. Sludge Vipers use "sludge guns" that fire hazardous liquid waste which can dissolve certain materials. They wear solvent-resistant armor to protect them from their own weapon. G.I. Joe first encountered Sludge Vipers during a battle between Cess-Pool and the G.I. Joe Eco-Warriors team. (GI 123-125)

Snow Serpents. Polar assault troops. Snow Serpents are actually a branch of the Eels (Cobra's frogmen and underwater demolitions experts) specially trained for arctic operations. They also undergo anti-tank and airborne training. (OB 3; GI 136)


HISS Drivers. Drivers of Cobra's HISS tank, one the organization's earliest and most recognizable vehicles. HISS drivers were the first of Cobra's specialized troops, and were trained in the repair of the mechanical and electrical systems of their vehicles.

Ice Vipers. Drivers of WOLF arctic tanks. They are a mechanized branch of the Snow Serpents (who are in turn a branch of the Eels) and must undergo Techno-Viper training to learn how to repair their vehicles hostile arctic conditions. The G.I. Joe team first encountered the Ice Vipers and their WOLFs during a battle in the wilderness of Frusenland. (GI 60; SM 20)

Nitro-Vipers. Drivers of the Detonator missle-launching tank. Nitro-Vipers start as Track-Vipers before being chosen to operate the Detonator and are demolitions experts.

Track Vipers. Drivers of the HISS II assault tank, they tend to be being large and muscular, and are trained in the field repair of their vehicles.

W.O.R.M.S. Drivers of the Maggot self-propelled artillery tank. W.O.R.M.S. stands for Weapons Ordinance Rugged Machine Specialist, referring to the their ability to repair their vehicle as battlefield mechanics and to change wheels and artillery shells single-handedly.



Eels. Elite divers, the Eels are more than just "frogmen". All are highly trained demolitions experts and marine engineers. Eels undergo rigorous training and become some of Cobra's most highly skilled troops. They are often part of the crew on Cobra's naval vessels, and virtually all of Cobra's underwater vehicle operators come from the Eel forces, as do Cobra's arctic troops - the Snow Serpents. The Joes first encountered Cobra Eels when Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow fought a group in the sharf-infested waters off the coast of Cobra Island. (GI 47)

Hydro-Vipers. Cobra's Eels that have been surgically altered to survive in the lowest depths of the ocean, with enhanced reflexes and resistance to cold temperatures and extreme pressures. They wear helmets that resemble a vicious sea creature.

Lampreys. Pilots of Moray hydrofoils. Lampreys are specially trained Cobra Eels. G.I. Joe first encountered Lampreys during a hydrofoil attack on their Tactical Battle Platform. (GI 40)

Secto-Vipers. Drivers of BUGGs -- heavily-armed "tracked submarines" dedicated to patroling the shoreline of Cobra Island. They are a highly-trained branch of the Eels. The G.I. Joe team first encountered the BUGGs and their drivers during their involvement of the Cobra Island civil war. (GI 76)


Aero-Vipers. Gold-helmeted Cobra pilots that fly the Condor high altitude bomber jets.

Air-Vipers. The core of Cobra's air force, Air Vipers fly transport aircraft, FANG helicopters and Rattler ground attack jets. The specialized pilots that fly more advanced craft start as Air Vipers.

A.V.A.C.s. Elite pilots specially trained to pilot the advanced Firebat fighter jet. An A.V.A.C. was usually stationed at each Cobra Terror Drome launch base. (GI 54)

Gyro-Vipers. Pilots of the Mamba attack helicopters. Only the most skilled Cobra pilot can learn to master the difficult controls of the Mamba.

Star-Viper. A highly-advanced Strato-Viper, who piloted the Stellar Stilleto high-altitude rocket fighter. Dr. Mindbender surgically altered the Star Viper by implanting an electro-magnetic shunt into the right side of his brain. Electronic impulses sent into the shunt gave him very fast reflexes and heightened senses, giving him an advantage in high altitude dogfights. The Star Viper had an even higher tolerance for G-forces than a standard Strato-Viper. (Click here for more about the individual known as Star-Viper.)

Strato-Vipers. Pilots of the Night Raven spy plane. They must first be Air Vipers with combat experience and must undergo a surgical procedure that makes them less susceptible to the stress of G-forces and extremely high altitudes. (Click here for more about the first individual Strato-Viper.)


Kitchen-Vipers. Chefs that were assigned to the headquarters building on Cobra Island. They cooked only for Cobra Commander or Serpentor. (YB 3)

Medi-Vipers. Cobra's medical corps. Medi-Vipers serve as both battlefield medics and staff for any of Cobra's medical facilities.

Techno-Viper. Battle field technicians. They are responsible for repairing vehicles in the field under dangerous conditions and also serve as combat engineers and demolitions experts. They also maintain and operate computer systems and electronics at Cobra installations. The Joes first encountered Techno-Vipers while battling Cobra in Frusenland. (GI 68)

Tele-Viper. Communications specialists. Tele-Vipers are equipped with highly-advanced telecommunications devices, most of which are worn as backpacks and helmets. Their equipment is capable of both audio and video transmissions from the field. The Joes first encountered Tele-Vipers during the rescue of Snake-Eyes from Cobra Island. (GI 47)

Toxo-Vipers. Hostile Environment troopers. Toxo-Vipers are sent onto the battlefield to create a foul and unsuitable environment, releasing varios toxins and gasses into the air. Their suits is moderately airtight and solvent resistant, but not completely impervious. Assignment to the Toxo-Vipers is given as punishment to troops, and the division is sometimes called the "leaky suit brigade". The Joes first encountered Toxo-Vipers while defending the secret military laser installation in New York's Chrysler building. (GI 86)