Cobra Commander #1 Review: A Sssneaky New Villain Emerges

Cobra Commander #1 underwhelms when contrasted with the Energon universe's other debuts.

Last month readers got a better look at Image's Energon Universe plans with Joshua Williamson's Duke #1 showing just how deeply intertwined the crossovers between Transformers and G.I. Joe will be going forward. While Williamson had fun mixing in the Starscream reveal with a government conspiracy thriller, he runs into a bit of a wall with Cobra Commander #1. And that wall is the fact that, by himself, Cobra Commander isn't particularly interesting. 

Now I'm not here to try and stomp on anybody's childhood. Cobra Commander has been the face of Cobra for over four decades and has served his role of being G.I. Joe's "big bad" adequately. He's easy to hate, especially in the 80s cartoon series with that iconic raspy voice. But as the years have passed, it's become clear that there's not much more to him beyond being evil and desiring world domination. But so many other villains from that era— Magneto, Bowser, Megatron, Skeletor, Vegeta—have been given extra layers of complexity over the years. Some have been given motivation for their actions, while others become a reflection of current events and politics, and a few have even gone so far as to switch to the side of the heroes (in Magneto's case, multiple times). But Cobra Commander? What's there to say beyond, "Yeah, he's the bad guy." 

It's why, at least for me, Cobra Commander #1 doesn't hit nearly as hard as Duke #1 managed to. They share certain traits – violent scenes that remind you this isn't targeted at kids, a splash page to reveal another Decepticon, teases for bigger events in the coming year, etc. But when all the comic book can rely upon is Cobra Commander giving speeches about whatever schemes he has cooking, I start to lose interest. It's not a great sign when the most intriguing aspect of the comic book is which Transformer Cobra Commander is messing with rather than anything he's doing by himself. 

If you're invested in the Energon Universe and its various books, Cobra Commander #1 won't waste your time. But of all the miniseries involved in the Energon Universe, it's the weakest start by far. 

Published by Image Comics

On January 17, 2024

Written by Joshua Williamson

Art by Andrea Milana

Colors by Annalisa Leoni

Letters by Rus Wooton

Cover by Andrea Milana and Annalisa Leoni