Thanks in part to Hasbro's relaunch of the brand in the early 2000's as GI Joe versus Cobra, that love for the Joes started to be rekindled. Hasbro has already teased long time fans with re-releases at Toys 'R Us stores, but the Joe vs. Cobra theme was brand new and introduced new characters and more importantly, new toys.
One could argue how successful this brand of GI Joe was for Hasbro, but it did well enough to enjoy several sequels at retail, such as Spy Troops and Valor vs. Venom. From what we know, the series that would have followed V vs. V would have been "Robot Rebellion" as it's known. Many of these ideas and design elements would eventually be used in the 8 inch scaled Sigma Six series. Other elements eventually were used in the Direct to Consumer line of toys and possibly other lines. During this time, Fun Publications, the company responsible for the GI Joe Collector's Club and the annual JoeCon convention got ahold of one of the unused Robot Rebellion molds and released it as their 2008 club freebie. Behold, Cobra Commander!
I was a member of the GI Joe Collector's Club for several years so essentially this figure was "free". Up until this release I wasn't a huge fan of the yearly free exclusive, but I was really impressed with this toy. While my mental image of Cobra Commander will always be of his blue leisure suit, chrome face plate and helmet, it was nice seeing him get a new look. Looking back at his original set of battle armor, if feel as if it pales in comparison to this new look he would have had in the Robot Rebellion series.
Gone is the leisure suit and funky looking silver battle armor, replaced with sleek black armor. he has a gray utility belt that has two sheathes on each side. He comes with a soft rubbery plastic cape that as you can see is removable. The cape does hinder the movement of the arms when attached, but gives him that royal appearance. The paint apps are minimal, but look good. The red on the black really pops and the gray areas blend in well.
In the accessory department Cobra Commander comes with a knife and a rather unique looking staff. On one end of the shaft is a very cool looking cobra head that is poised to strike. On the other end is a traditional Cobra emblem. This is a nice touch as it gives you a few different ways to pose your figure. Both accessories are cast in a dull silver plastic.
What I wasn't expecting was that Cobra Commander hood to be removable. It is made of the same type of soft plastic as the cape. This allows you to easily remove and replace the hood. Underneath the hood is a generic head that Hasbro would eventually use for multiple figures, but at the time (if I'm not wrong) was a new head sculpt. For those hoping to finally see what Cobra Commander really looked like, I'm kinda glad they kept this a mystery. My only gripe about this, and it's small, is that sometimes it was hard to get the eyes to line up perfectly with the eye holes on the hood.
All in all this is a beautiful figure and one that I wish I had kept. I've culled my Joe collection so many times over the decade that I'm not left with much outside a few modern figures (and sealed vehicles). I wish there was more information available of what this Robot Rebellion line would have looked like, but thanks to Fun Publications we at least got this physical example of what could have been.