Comics, Reviews

Cobra Commander #1 Review: The Birth of a Monster

Enter Cobra Commander, G.I. Joe’s iconic villain and the next big threat to the Transformers and the rest of Skybound’s Energon Universe.

Cobra Commander 1 Review Cover
Image: Skybound
By: Javier ReyesFeb 23, 2024, 2:27 AM

Cobra Commander #1 Review: The Birth of a Monster

Review
Rating
10
Excellent
Cobra Commander 1 Full Cover

Writer: Joshua Williamson

Artist: Andrea Milana

Publisher: Skybound

Release Date: January 16, 2024

Page Count: 40

It doesn’t take long for this issue to sink its fangs in and give you everything you need to get up to speed on the iconic villain Cobra Commander. With its dark and menacing take on the character, the comic introduces a story that is secretly the key that holds the Energon Universe together.

In 2023, Image Comics and Skybound turned heads when they announced the beginning of the Energon Universe, the shared comic book universe featuring the Transformers and G.I. Joe. From the name already, it was a given that the Transformers would be the cornerstones of the initiative. So how does G.I. Joe fit into something that’s so closely associated with the Transformers? That side story is being brought to life by the DC writer Joshua Williamson. Starting with Duke, then now Cobra Commander, Williamson is putting together all the pieces with comics that more deeply intertwine the stories of man and machine. While there have been comics in the past that brought the two beloved franchises together, none of them were as ambitious as what is unfolding with each new issue connected to the Energon Universe. None more so than with this latest release. So, without further ado, let’s get to my review of Cobra Commander #1!

Overview

High up in the snowy mountains, Cobra Commander walks into a seedy dive bar seeking a vehicle strong enough to ride through the frozen wastes. After no one offers a helping hand, the villain resorts to much less peaceful ways of getting what he needs. He is on a crucial mission to find resources that could elevate himself and the Cobra-La into a global superpower. But before the story dives deeper into Cobra Commander’s nefarious mission, it looks back at the events that created the man in the silver mask. As a cunning scientist and loyal member of the Cobra-La, Cobra Commander has ambitions of playing a bigger role in the ancient society that took him in. But not without secret plans of his own.

Cobra Commander 1 - man enters pubImage: Skybound

Review

Who doesn’t love a good villain? This debut issue of Cobra Commander wastes no time showing that the man in the mask is here and he means business. While I am far from the biggest G.I. Joe fan (I only ever really watched the 1987 movie), I’ve always had a soft spot for Cobra Commander as a character. But this comic paints a very different Cobra Commander from what I am used to. Even if you read everything he says in his iconic sniveling voice, there’s a more sinister air to him once he appears on the first page. From that point on, the comic explores the cunning and violent nature of the man through the events that shaped his wild ambitions. Joshua Williamson and Andrea Milana do a phenomenal job of establishing ol’ Bucket-head as a legitimate threat in a universe where he must stand toe-to-toe with the Transformers. As much as I adore the campiness of the original animated series, I am fully on board with this story going in a much darker direction for the character. It shows how his character design is so strong that his portrayal can be wacky or terrifying and still feel believable either way. 

Even with my limited knowledge of the lore and history of G.I. Joe, this issue was so much fun to read from cover to cover. This comic’s rendition of the civilization of Cobra-La is a sight to behold. A splash page early in the issue shows a landscape of the ancient city, and the visuals hit you like a truck. It’s weird-looking, fantastical, and not something I was expecting to see in the first issue of Cobra Commander. It felt like a clear sign that the creative team of Williamson and Milana know their stuff about the franchise, as they are bringing out character details and story elements long-time fans will love to see. But because this issue was so tightly written and beautifully illustrated, it doesn’t matter if you’re a die-hard G.I. Joe fan or just looking for an exciting comic to read. This comic is full of incredible surprises that anyone can enjoy.

Cobra Commander 1 - man takingImage: Skybound

Since I am on the topic of surprises, this issue has a big one waiting inside it. More than the fan-service moments that’ll have fans shouting “Yo Joe!” at the top of their lungs, this issue drops massive implications for the rest of the Energon Universe. If you’ve been following along with the releases, then this one is absolutely a must-read. It’s funny to look back at my early impressions of Void Rivals and how I often wondered how the stories of the Energon Universe would all fit together. With more pieces now falling into place, the bigger picture is getting clearer, and my hype for these comics is only getting stronger. Then, seeing how interconnected the stories are becoming through the involvement of G.I. Joe, I feel like it’s time for me to also finally check out Duke to make sure I'm not missing out on anything happening within the Energon Universe. We’re six months into Skybound’s ambitious initiative, and things are only getting bigger from here.

Final Thoughts

This issue was a fantastic start to the new and exciting miniseries. You get a bit of back story, some fan service, and everything you need that tells you Cobra Commander is one scary dude not to be messed with. Then, the cherry on top of all is the massive revelation this comic brings to the overarching story of the Energon Universe. If you aren’t already, then you need to lock on the fun stuff that’s coming from Skybound this 2024.

Cobra Commander 1 - a fightImage: Skybound

Why You Should Read Cobra Commander

  • The darker take on the classic character makes for a very exciting read.
  • The connections with the rest of the Energon Universe are very strong in this series.
  • You don’t need to be the biggest G.I. Joe fan to get a kick out of reading this comic.
TAGGED: Skybound
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