The Coil would correct those who call them a religion, and certainly those who accuse them of being a cult. They hold themselves to be a way of life and system of self-improvement, welcoming to all faiths, and their leader Stephen Menasian is a mere self-help guru.
So ignore the rumors: they aren't a cult worshipping the snake-god Golobulus, they don't have ties to any international terrorist conspiracies, and they absolutely don't practice human sacrifice. Don't pay any mind to the reports of those who have entered their Nests and never come out again.
After all, even if any of that were true... well, the Coil have friends in high places. Who would believe you?
The Coil's teachings held that the world was created by the Serpent who encircles the world, who gave humanity her avatar Gola-Bulas as their protector; but eventually, humanity came to scorn the Serpent and consider snakes something "low and small". Over the centuries, conquerors would attempt to reunite the Earth—either working in the Serpent's name, or unknowingly doing her work—but all would fail before completing their mission. However, the Coil believed that Serpentor—"the final disciple", touched by Golobulus himself, and combining the finest aspects of those who came before him—would finally complete her mission and unite the Earth under his rule.
The Coil was founded by Serpentor, real name Stephen Menasian, in 1992 in Ojai, California, as a self-help group based on a pamplet published by Menasian and distributed by BBS. The group quickly grew in scale, reaching almost a million members—including several prominent celebrities—by the time that Menasian appeared on Dana Abrahm's television show. At some point, they moved their center of operations south from Ojai to West Adams.
After Croc Master disrupted development efforts by Extensive Enterprises in his area, Venomous Maximus brought him into Cobra by inviting him into the Coil, following Xamot Paoli's failed attempt to recruit him.
After the disappearance of Chuckles, Hawk contacted private investigator Leonard Michaels—aka Scoop—asking him to investigate the Coil on G.I. Joe's behalf. Michaels investigated multiple leads, including kidnapping cases brought against the Coil, eventually investigating the West Adams Coil headquarters in the guise of a man looking for guidance; infiltrating the center, he came across an altar used for human sacrifices, before succumbing to the hypnotics he had been subjected to on arrival. Capturing Michaels, the Coil—led by Serpentor and Venomous Maximus—subjected him to a program of drugs, hypnotism, and brainwashing, to convince him to embrace Serpentor's ideology and write his story, in line with the Coil's "truth". Though Michaels managed to escape with the help of a Cobra guard, his inability to convince anyone of the truth, coupled with his lack of anyone to go to and the realisation that Hawk only saw him as a tool, led him back to the Coil's embrace. After finishing writing Serpentor's story, Michaels willingly gave himself up to be sacrificed to Golobulus in the Coil's lunar ceremony.
At some point after he joined G.I. Joe, Breaker joined the Coil, allowing Serpentor to use him as a spy within the Joes. After Krake was appointed as the new Cobra Commander, he ordered Serpentor to step up the Coil's recruitment in Asia; unimpressed with Serpentor's point that a new Nest had been opened in Singapore, he demanded five more within two months.
Following the defection of the Arashikage clan away from Cobra, Cobra Commander asked Serpentor to use the Coil to provide a new order of assassins to replace them. The Coil assassins succeeded in capturing the Soft Master for Cobra, though they failed to capture the Hard Master thanks to Alondra and Snake Eyes.
After G.I. Joe went public with their existence, the Coil's assassins were tasked by Cobra Commander with killing the renegade Baroness. Discovering her location on the Argo Vidale from Sir Anthony, Serpentor deployed a unit of Coil soldiers to kill her, but upon recognising them the Baroness evacuated in a submarine, leaving the Coil soldiers to fight the attacking G.I. Joes.
- The Coil is a reimagining of the classic G.I. Joe Cobra-La concept, complete with "Cobra-la-la-la-la-la" cry. Golobulus originated as the ruler of Cobra-La in G.I. Joe: The Movie.
- The name of the Coil comes from the unmade third Sunbow season of the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero cartoon, in which it would have been a new enemy faction led by Tomax and Xamot. It was first used in connection to Serpentor in the Devil's Due Real American Hero comics.
- Being a modern, self help-focused religion with shady practices and a large number of celebrity followers, the Coil is a fairly obvious knock-off of the Church of Scientology... though we're pretty sure that Scientology doesn't sacrifice people to their snake god.