The Origin of Cobra Commander
|"The Origin of Cobra Commander"|
|First published||January 11, 2012|
|Cover date||January 2012|
|Written by||Chuck Dixon|
|Line-art by||S.L. Gallant|
|Inks by||Gary Erskine|
|Colors by||J. Brown|
|Letters by||Neil Uyetake|
Krake has risen to the position of Cobra Commander... but from where did he rise?
On the edge of a battlefield in the Golden Triangle, as armed men battle over an opium field, a child is born. His mother, Ngam, is overjoyed at the birth of her son, who has "the eyes of a tiger"... but her joy is short-lived when the boy's father is killed by a grenade, forcing her to flee south with the women, children and elderly of her nameless village. The years pass, and the boy and his mother find work with a Shan tribe, harvesting poppies for the native drug runners; until one day, his mother is assaulted by the local enforcers. The boy steals one of the men's guns and opens fire, but by the time that his clip is empty, his mother lies dead as well, leading the boy to take his masters' weapons and strike out on his own, a soldier as well as an orphan.
As the boy grows up, he becomes a mercenary leader, killing for money and amassing a group of followers, to whom he is known as "Tiger Eyes". In one instance while out hunting down Karens for money, his band of mercenaries are forced to take cover in a rice paddy to stop a Thai helicopter from spotting them, but Tiger Eyes does not hide; instead, he takes aim, and with his rifle shoots the pilot dead, causing the chopper to crash into the ground in a ball of fire. Such incidents give him a reputation of supernatural luck, but privately, he doesn't believe in such things; life is an accident that can end at any time, and you have to make your own luck. Despite this "luck", he is captured and his men are captured by Thai military police and taken to a Thai Air Force prison at Udon Thani; there, he is released by a General to perform an assassination for him, but on killing the target and being offered his payment he kills his handler, steals all of the man's money and returns to his old life.
On arriving to a meeting with a local criminal, Trahn, Tiger Eyes discovers that the man and his associates have all been killed by a squad led by Major Bludd so that Bludd's employers can take over Trahn's operations. Bludd claims that China's anti-drug force were aware of the meeting thanks to a traitor in Tiger Eyes' group, but that they don't know who he is; but rather than try to discover the truth, Tiger Eyes steals one of the guards' pistols and shoots all three of his men dead. With one of Bludd's retinue restraining the young man, Bludd compares him to a krake (a mean, fast Australian snake), and impressed with his resolve, recruits "Krake" on the spot to work for Bludd's anonymous masters.
Needing to know more about his mysterious benefactors, Krake speaks to a French contact over the phone from a luxurious Bangkok apartment he has earned through his relationship with them; though his contact claims to not know who they are, he is actually being threatened into silence by Storm Shadow, who murders him once he hangs up the call. At the same moment, a unit of armed and armored men invades Krake's apartment; however, he fights his way past them, punching out one with his bare hands, before reaching the pistols he keeps under his bed and terminating his attackers. Eventually, though, they get the better of him, and Krake is knocked out, awakening in a cell with the Baroness in front of him. Though she explains that his benefactors' secrecy is the reason that they survive, the organisation admires his persistence in attempting to find out who they are, and she invites him to join Cobra... but Krake attacks her, refusing to be anyone's lapdog, and wanting to make his own way and relying only on himself as he has in the past. Subdued by Cobra forces, Krake falls into unconsciousness as the Baroness threatens to show him how bad it can be.
Krake awakens in Kowloon, Hong Kong, where he is immediately spotted and targetted by local kingpin Uncle Ho; the mainland triads have placed a price on his head that Ho intends to collect on. Krake meets up with his sole friend, Xiang, but though Xiang agrees to help arrange transport out of the city, he has already been bought out by Uncle Ho; Ho's men lie in wait for Krake at the docks, but Krake anticipates the ambush and slaughters the men before returning to the city to kill Xiang in revenge, then escaping Hong Kong on his own.
Eventually, Krake tracks Major Bludd down in Bruwunda, where he is leading a war on behalf of wannabe dictator President Mrubu; brought before Cobra Commander, Krake makes Cobra an offer, providing intelligence on the mainland triads to let Cobra take control of them in exchange for a position within Cobra, and the money for surgery to change his appearance. Cobra Commander offers Cobra's own surgeons for the task, but Krake refuses, intending to murder them once their job is done; and upon receiving that surgery in Zurich, does just that, before donning a mask so that none know his true face. Providing the Baroness with the intel he promised on the meeting of the triads' leaders, Krake asks for a "final favor": using a Flight Pod, he travels to Hong Kong and murders Uncle Ho and his associates. And in his control center, Cobra Commander explains that with the acquisition of the triads, Cobra's reach is truly global, all thanks to Krake; but despite his description of Cobra's newest member as embodying its true spirit, the Baroness does not trust him, and pledges that she'll be watching to see that when he falls, he will never get up again.
Characters in italic text appear only in flashbacks.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"You'll die for this..."
"Then I will die. But I will not be a soldier for your precious Cobra. I have made my way on my own. Owing no one. Trusting no one. I watch my own back."
"You have made an enemy..."
"Heh! I have nothing but enemies, Baroness. What is one more?
- —The Baroness and Krake
- A sword-wielding member of Bludd's retinue has the Arashikage emblem tattooed on his arm; coupled with his white vest and bandana, this would seem to mark him as Storm Shadow.
- Krake's modus operandi, having his face changed by plastic surgeons before murdering them so nobody knows his identity, is near-identical to that of the Chimera from G.I. Joe: Origins.
Real life references
- President Mrubu seems to be based on notorious real-life Zimbabwean dictator, President Robert Mugabe.
- Bludd refers to his subordinate as "digger", a real-life Australian slang term for a soldier.
- The name of the Phongsali region is misspelled "Phongali".
- Oddly, Nanzhao isn't mentioned in this issue at all, despite its main purpose being to give context to the invasion of the nation by Cobra that is the focus of Cobra Command. It does mention Myanmar, which Nanzhao serves as a fictionalised version of, so... is that evidence that the country Cobra invades was initially intended to be Myanmar...?
- Despite what Bludd says, there's no such snake as a krake in real life.
- Cover A: Krake as Cobra Commander, by Menton3.
- Cover B: Krake as Cobra Commander, by Robert Atkins and Simon Gough.
- Cover RI: Either Optimus Prime vs Duke for the fate of the world or Krake as Cobra Commander (it's hard to tell), by Robert Atkins.