Devil's Due Comics
The Coil began as a movement within the Cobra organization, shortly after the Cobra Civil War. It was started by low ranking members who realized Cobra Commander was using them the same way as the system from which he had brought them. After the war ended with Serpentor's death, members of the Coil switched Serpentor's body with another in the infamous freighter incident. For three years they worked in secret within the abandoned Cobra Island facility to revive the fallen emperor, until their efforts paid off. Serpentor had been brought back to life to lead the Coil.
Using former Hammer Team member Lt. Mikhail Derenko, under the codename Nowhere Man, and Firefly, Serpentor began recruiting former Cobra soldiers to his cause. While the actions of Duke, Snake Eyes and Sean Collins (better known as Kamakura) halted this recruitment, neither Derenko nor Firefly were captured. Serpentor was thus allowed to continue his secret recruitment and build up on Cobra Island. The former Cobra fortress had been rebuilt and expanded to fit the Coil's operational needs.
Around the time of Cobra's reformation, Zandar (Dreadnoks member and Zartan's brother) began spying on the terrorist organization for the Coil feeding them information. Months later, Firefly stole a prototype Battle Android Trooper from Doctor Mindbender and the Dreadnoks, hinting at a spy within Zartan's organization. Following that, Doctor Mindbender and a man named Hannibal, who was himself a clone of Serpentor, began gathering the younger Serpentor clones in an effort to bring the former Cobra Emperor to him.
After a period of hibernation, the Coil struck by attacking a military convoy which was transporting the remaining eight of eleven Serpentor clones. G.I. Joe agents Snake Eyes, Spirit, Cover Girl, Firewall, Roadblock and Beach Head were all captured as well. Serpentor himself takes part in the battle, personally killing rookie G.I. Joe member Daemon by snapping his neck. At the same time, a Coil strike force under the command of Zandar also succeeded in kidnapping Cobra Commander throwing Cobra into a temporary state of disarray. It was during this time that Doctor Mindbender joined the Coil as head scientist. Later on, the Coil welcomed Robert Skelton, the S.A.W.-Viper responsible for the massacre at Trucial Abysma as another member of the high command. Skelton would subsequently take on the code name 'Overkill'.
EMP Offensive and Battle of Cobra Island
With valuable prisoners and new additions in place, Serpentor launched a world wide campaign using EMP devices to short out defense systems and sending in Coil forces to then take control. This was a widely successful offensive for a time, as the Coil occupied the cities of New York, Moscow, Los Angeles and even entire nations, such as Badhikistan. The Coil's success was to be short-lived, though, as both the G.I. Joe team and Cobra launched their own offensives at Cobra Island in order to rescue their missing personnel. In the ensuing battle, the high command suffered a number of losses as Serpentor was believed to be killed by Cobra Commander (his body was later recovered by the Jugglers, the secretive cadre of Pentagon flag officers that manipulated G.I. Joe). In addition to this, Zandar was accidentally impaled by Zartan, with Firefly and Overkill deserting. Overwhelmed by events and the general lack of leadership, the Coil fled the island and regrouped in their occupied territories. Following the battle's resolution, Coil general Overlord (a.k.a. Mikihail Derenko) abandoned the Coil and instead began work for the Jugglers as an assassin.
Reunion with Cobra
Following the Cobra Island battle, the Coil found itself leaderless, as most of the high command had either deserted or been killed. Still, even leaderless, Coil soldiers managed to maintain their hold in Badhikistan by obtaining the nuclear launch codes from the nation's prime minister. Shortly thereafter, Crimson Guard commanders Tomax and Xamot brokered a deal that placed all Coil forces under the control of Cobra, thus effectively re-merging the organizations. Once Destro assumed control of Cobra, he realized that members of the Coil had to be retrained to be loyal and they also required strong leadership. Thus, he appointed Major Bludd, Mistress Armada and Scrap-Iron to work as field commanders for the Coil. When Destro was removed from power, however, Cobra Commander decided that "traitors and cowards" had no place in Cobra and he ordered Major Bludd to have all Coil agents return to Cobra Island. Following their migration from the Monolith Base in Badhikistan, Cobra Commander addressed the Coil agents via satellite, telling them he had no further use for them. The Commander had also timed the delivery of this address to coincide with a U.S. nuclear strike on Cobra Island, thus giving the impression to the Coil agents that he had instigated their destruction (when in reality the United States had launched the strike to retaliate against aggressive Cobra actions on U.S. soil). The strike was highly effective, wiping out all Coil agents, as well as nearly all the infrastructure on Cobra Island. Not long after the liberation of Badhikistan, Overlord, Dr. Mindbender and Serpentor were all killed, thus wiping out all traces of the Coil.
Coil High Command
- Serpentor - Supreme Leader of the Coil. Following his death/capture at Cobra Island, the position of Supreme Leader was vaccated. Serpentor was kept in suspended animation and brainwashed for later use by the Jugglers but was likely killed when Red Shadow agents, led by Juggler mole Mars Harring, gained access to the secret facility the Jugglers were keeping him in and broke his chamber.
- Overlord or Mikhail Derenko - Former Spetsnaz commander and Special Ops Hammer Team member, Mikhail spent years gathering former Cobra agents under the alias "Nowhere Man" on behalf of Serpentor. Overlord later came under the employ of the Jugglers. He was killed when caught in the destruction of G.I. Joe's Iceland facility.
- Doctor Mindbender - Creator of Serpentor, Dr. Mindbender along with Hannibal sought out Serpentor and joined the Coil. Mindbender's tenure with the organization was brief as he was taken prisoner by Cobra forces following their acquisition of Cobra Island. He managed to get himself back in with the Dreadnoks and eventually Cobra before the Commander shot him.
- Firefly - World famous saboteur, following Cobra's collapse in the early 1990s Firefly began working with Mikhail in recruiting former Cobra assets to the Coil. Firefly is one of the longest tenured members of the Coil, however he ended up deserting during the Cobra Island battle
- Zandar - Brother of Dreadnok leader Zartan, Zandar joined the Coil for power and respect, feeling unappreciated within the Dreadnoks. Zandar joined the newly reformed Cobra as a spy for the Coil and it was because of this he was able to successfully kidnap Cobra Commander later on. During the Cobra Island battle, Zandar attacked his brother but was nearly killed when Zartan gained the upper hand. Zartan had not known it to be Zandar until it was too late. As a result, Zartan called off his Dreadnok forces and took his brother off island for medical treatment. He managed to avoid punishment by service to Cobra.
- Overkill or Robert Skelton - Formerly a SAW Viper in Cobra, Skelton became infamous for slaughtering a number of helpless G.I. Joe operators in Trucial Abysima. Serpentor sent multiple Coil agents to recruit Skelton and eventually succeeded in bringing him into the fold. Skelton then took on the name "Overkill" and during the Cobra Island battle nearly killed G.I. Joe Commander General Hawk, but was injured by Kamakura. In the aftermath of the battle, Skelton followed Cobra Commander to an escape sub and begged for power, only to pass out from blood loss. Sometime later Skelton would be turned over to Cobra scientists and made into a cyborg. He is later captured by the Joes and eventually killed by Cobra operatives.
- Hannibal - One of the first clones from the process that made Serpentor. Not much is known of Hannibal except that he aided Dr. Mindbender in gathering some of the Serpentor child clones. Hannibal was initially placed in a foster home with Juggler agents as parents, before retaliating and disappearing. Following the Cobra Island battle, Hannibal and the other children were all taken into custody. He demonstrated astonishing reflexes and fighting skills in his brief battle with Snake Eyes.
- Clone Children - Julius, Alexander, Genghis, Ivan, Attila, Vlad, Phillip, Napoleon, and Thomas, named for one of the DNA sources used to create Serpentor, they are the clones of Serpentor who, unlike Hannibal and Serpentor himself, were not given growth hormones. Each is highly intelligent and seem to share a common mind with Serpentor and Hannibal.
High Command during Cobra merger
In the IDW Comics continuity, starting in G.I. Joe: Cobra #5, the Coil is introduced as a Scientology-style cult run by Stephen Minasian (AKA Serpentor); it claims to offer wisdom and improvement for its members and runs drug rehab and famine relief organisations, while bringing in vast sums of money from its followers. However, some of those followers have disappeared under strange circumstances, and there's hints of human sacrifice and intimidation of opponents.
Rather than being a splinter faction from Cobra, the Coil here is part of Cobra's wider organisation. Assignments with the Coil are punishment for Cobra soldiers who have failed on other assignments, and they may be brainwashed by the cult.
The secret beliefs of the Coil is that there is a celestial serpent-being that brings order, and its chosen avatar on Earth, Gol Lobulas, once ruled a great paradise called Cobra-La, but human arrogance and ignorance forced the Serpent underground and ruined humanity with disharmony and individuality. However, champions of the Serpent have arisen to try and reverse this. (The enemy here are viewed as philosophers and scientists, and the champions great dictators like Napoleon and Ghenghis Khan.) Serpentor, the Final Disciple touched by Gol Lobulas himself, combines all the best traits from these past champions.
Venomous Maximus works at recruiting specific individuals for the Coil/Cobra, using both diplomacy and psychological torture.
In the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero animated series, it was Cobra Commander who secretly founded the Coil after Serpentor rose to power and took over Cobra. In the series, the Coil never played a large role.
However, in the abandoned plot for G.I. Joe Season 3 (which was later rendered invalid by the DIC acquisition of the licensing rights), Tomax and Xamot would restructure the Coil from surviving Cobra members, turning the Coil into a crime syndicate as opposed to the military organization of Cobra.
- Cobra' #9
- Cobra #8
- "G.I. Joe Interview - Buzz Dixon". Joeheadquarters.com. Retrieved 2012-09-17.