By all outward appearances, Steven Menasian is merely a celebrity self-help guru with a kinda creepy snake motif; a writer of books like "Shedding Your Skin", who runs a philosophical group popular world-wide with celebrities and civilians alike. But behind closed doors he cuts a far darker figure: Serpentor, worshipped as a messiah by his followers, the cult of the Coil.
A power-hungry manipulator willing to practice brainwashing, kidnapping, murder and ritual sacrifice to increase his own status, Serpentor has allied himself and his cult with the international terrorist conspiracy Cobra, whose High Command he serves as an advisor. Though it's unknown if he truly buys into his own hype about being chosen by the divine Serpent to save the world, it's clear that he will exploit that belief in his followers to any extent he can.
Steven Menasian was born on July 17th of 1972 in Ventura, California. His mother worked at a library, while his father, a dock worker, died in an accident in 1985. Steven had an epileptic brother named Ben, three years younger than him; when Steven was 14, Ben fell into a pond, with Steven jumping into save him. Ben, however, died of pneumonia, and Steven left home at 16, travelling the world, including visiting India. Eventually, he returned to California in 1992, getting into local politics in Ojai. From Ojai, Menasian founded what he presented as a self-help group called the Coil, based on a pamphlet that he distributed by BBS; however, the Coil was in fact a cult that worshipped the snake-god Golobulus and held Menasian to be his prophet, "Serpentor", a combination of the greatest qualities of the conquerers who came before him. The Nest
The Coil quickly grew in scale and global influence, eventually reaching almost a million members, including several prominent celebrities. The Nest Menasian's first book, published in 1998, made him a millionaire, with the money trail disappearing shortly afterwards; over the following decade, Menasian adopted seven minority children, fathered an illegitimate son in Seattle, and anonymously became wanted for murder and kidnapping in India and Indonesia. The Nest At some point, Serpentor and the Coil became part of the global criminal conspiracy Cobra, Green Dreams practicing brainwashing, coercion, and even human sacrifice, which Serpentor would perform himself.
As a public figure, Menasian presented himself as a self-help guru, appearing on Dana Abrahm's television show to promote the Coil's Nests and "path to success"; though initially happy to be present, Menasian was angered when Abrahm brought up the large numbers of people associated with the Coil who had disappeared, claiming that they had either departed the Coil or simply chosen not to have contact with their families. In the aftermath, he ordered that nobody in the Coil should go on Abrahm's show again, and that she should be off the air within six months. The Nest
At around the same time, Serpentor became aware of a Pulitzer-winning former journalist and private investigator, Leonard Michaels, who was investigating the Coil and the accusations of kidnapping against them. Serpentor arranged to have Michaels dosed with hypnotics when he visited the Coil Center in West Adams, and had him imprisoned and drugged after he infiltrated the Coil's inner sanctum. Over the coming weeks, Serpentor indocrinated Michaels into the Coil's ideology; he believed that even as a journalist Michaels had never done anything meaningful, and that his focus on the "facts" stopped him from seeing the truth. Through repeated cycles of the same conversation made hazy by drugs, Michaels was slowly persuaded to write about Serpentor as he wished. The Nest
Though Michaels was broken out of the Coil's custody by a conflicted guard, Serpentor allowed it to happen, secure in the knowledge that their brainwashing would eventually drive him back "home" to the Coil. After Michaels completed his writing about Serpentor and the Coil, he volunteered as a human sacrifice for their lunar ceremony, allowing himself to be killed on an altar by Serpentor. Viper's Nest
At some point, Serpentor became aware of Breaker, a G.I. Joe operative who had fallen in with the Coil, and began directing Pythona on how best to manipulate him to their needs. Cobra vol. 2 #2
Following the death of Cobra Commander, multiple members of Cobra High Command were gathered for the announcement of a contest over who would take his place as Cobra's next leader. While Serpentor was not selected as a candidate, he intruded on the meeting anyway, Cobra Civil War #0 and during the contest he offered his services to candidates for Commander; though Major Bludd rejected his assistance, Cobra vol. 2 #4 Tomax Paoli took his advice to get revenge for the death of his brother by assassinating Hawk, and the Baroness used information he provided to have several Joes killed in Ecuador — though Serpentor held back how he obtained that information. Cobra vol. 2 #2 However, his ability to use Breaker as a source came to an abrupt end when Black-Out — a mole within the Joes for Major Bludd — killed and framed Breaker to remove suspicion from himself. Cobra vol. 2 #4
After Krake ascended to the position of Cobra Commander, Serpentor was worried by his more aggressive policies, believing his position as an advisor would become less wanted. Though Serpentor's associate Crystal Ball believed that their new leader still had weaknesses, when Serpentor was taken to meet with the new Commander, he was ordered to massively increase recruitment in Asia; their leader was unimpressed with the single Nest opened in Singapore, wanting five more within two months. Cobra vol. 2 #8
Cobra CommandTarget: Snake EyesCrush Depth
- Serpentor's surname was spelled "Minasian" in the "Serpent's Tale" story arc, but "Menasian" from "Cobra Command" onwards. This wiki is assuming that the latter is the correct spelling.
- The cult of the Coil claims that Serpentor combines the greatest aspects of the Serpent's past champions, including Grigori Rasputin, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, and Napoleon. This is a reference to the otherwise very different Serpentor of classic G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero media, who was a genetic chimera created by combining the DNA of history's greatest villains, including — you guessed it! — those four.
- Serpentor's skin tone has varied wildly over IDW's various comics, ranging from "tanned white guy" to a dark brown. As such, it's hard to know what his ethnicity is meant to be.
- Serpentor at YoJoe.com
- Serpentor at TFWiki.net