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Notable charactersGolobulus
Cobra La Royal Guards
Nemesis Enforcer
PublisherMarvel Comics

Cobra-La is a fictional civilization created by Hasbro for the military-themed toyline and TV series G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. Introduced to the public in G.I. Joe: The Movie and the 1987 series of action figures, Cobra-La was created as a reference to James Hilton's Lost Horizon, and the name itself is likely a pun on Shangri-La. It was originally meant as a working name, but Hasbro liked the name so much that it remained.[1]

Cobra-La hierarchy[edit]

Golobulus as seen in G.I. Joe: The Movie.
  • Golobulus - The genocidal ruler of Cobra-La. Described as the "last of the Serpent Kings", he appears as a large bald humanoid with a legless, serpentine lower body and one of his eyes was either covered or replaced by some form of invertebrate/plant hybrid. Golobulus' right arm and much of his torso are covered with a hard, chitinous armor, similar to that of crustaceans. His primary form of transportation, a large, organic pod with several tendrils, hides his lower body most of the time. He is voiced by Burgess Meredith in G.I. Joe: The Movie.
  • Nemesis Enforcer - The commander of the Cobra-La Royal Guards. The towering guardian is mute, but he is able to make other sounds. His bat-like wings are used for flight, deflection and combat. He also exhibits superhuman strength and scythe-like blades, continuing on his forearm and protruding above his elbows. Very few men are able to match his strength which makes him a fearsome warrior.[2] His vocal effects are provided by Peter Cullen in G.I. Joe: The Movie.
  • Pythona - A formidable femme fatale assassin who is rarely seen but is known to be very deadly. She is voiced by Jennifer Darling in G.I. Joe: The Movie. Pythona employs a number of different organic weapons of Cobra-La, however her deadliest weapons are the claws at the end of her fingers. She can extend them at will and they drip a toxic fluid that can kill on contact or aid her in cutting through solid material.
  • Royal Guards - The arthropod-themed foot soldiers of Cobra-La. According to their file card, the Royal Guards were Cobra-La citizens who had living insect bodyparts permanently bonded onto their bodies because their brains were lobotomized in order to ensure their complete loyalty to Golobulus.

Cobra-La biotechnology[edit]

  • Web of Remembrance: This is a cloud-like device in Cobra-La that the ruler manipulates into displaying records depicting the history of Cobra-La.
  • Psychic Motivator: A chirping spider-like device used to literally program humans. Doctor Mindbender was programmed with one containing all necessary information, the idea and the will to create Serpentor after Cobra Commander was proven to be repeatedly incompetent and had failed one time too many. Seen in G.I. Joe: The Movie where Golobulus stated to Doctor Mindbender that his Psychic Motivator was behind Doctor Mindbender's reoccurring dream that involved the creation of Serpentor.
  • Spore Launcher: A missile-like device designed to launch a cylindrical, multistage rocket like device used to deploy "The Fungazoids" (See below)
  • Spore Rocket: A device launched by the Spore launcher. It is a multistage gas or air powered rocket which contains a payload of the fungazoids.
  • Fungazoids: These are spores created by Cobra-La and designed to cause brain damage to such a degree that any human who is exposed to them would be returned to a very primitive animal-like level of intelligence. They are also mutagenic as well since a small quantity turned Cobra Commander into a large snake. These were destroyed by the "BET" before they re-entered Earth's atmosphere.
  • Time Worm: A worm that is on a rod which is marked, to function as a timing device. Shown being used by the Cobra-La ruler in regard to the fungazoid spores.
  • Serpentor's Collar: This is where Serpentor creates his "Snake spears" from which, if they miss, degenerate into cobras which slither away. If they hit, the snake spear kills its victim. One exception was Duke who was hit by one, but he survived after he was briefly in a coma (an earlier draft for the film would've had Duke killed, but it was scrapped due to the negative reactions of Optimus Prime's death in The Transformers: The Movie)[citation needed]. Serpentor grabs the collar, which is a writhing mass of snakes, two at a time, rips one out, straightens the snake into a spear and throws it head first at an enemy.
  • Path of Esteem: Stored in a large, flat, golden receptacle, The Path of Esteem serves the same role as a red carpet. When the golden chest is placed on the ground, a large number of red crab like creatures exit, forming a red path for the esteemed to walk upon.
  • Hand Weapons: Cobra-La citizens, Pythona in particular, use several unnamed weapons, including a starfish-like creature which is thrown at targets and then constricts its tentacles. Another is a small, formless, green object that, when squeezed, emits some sort of knockout gas, a creature that appears to be an actual starfish which is thrown like a shuriken, and a creature that seems to be four snakes joined in a cross shape at their center, which is immune or highly resistant to electricity and is capable of chewing through metals. Pythona used a clamshell that generated thin strips which wrapped around opponents. She attacked several Joes in Recon Sleds with trilobite-looking creatures that exploded, wrecking their vehicles. The Cobra-La royal guards are shown using a single weapon; a large golden scimitar, which is highly curved on one edge, and serrated on the other. Nemesis Enforcer also used a small, hand-held plant that emits a white mist which is capable of causing temporary blindness.
  • Carno Tree: These large Venus' flytrap-like plants grow beneath the Cobra-La ice dome, in various parts of the city, particularly around the entrance and the detention area. The trees use long green vines to ensnare would-be escapees or intruders.
  • Organisms of Cobra-La: First seen during the second attempt to capture the B.E.T. These creatures came in various land, sea, and aerial forms: Serpent/worms, Arachnids, Mantis, Stick Insect, and larvae.


G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers[edit]

Cobra-La made their first comics appearance in the G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers series from Devil's Due Publishing, holders of the G.I. Joe license. They first appeared in the second crossover, springing Cobra scientist Doctor Mindbender from jail. They would reappear in the fourth crossover "Black Horizon", with a much-expanded back story.

Although the series does not directly reveal their origins, it does reveal the reason for their secrecy. Believed to be the children of an old god who was worshipped by early humans, the creatures found themselves confronted by another creature who was also believed to be a god; Unicron, the Chaos-Bringer, had come to Earth to devour it so he could feed his own hunger. Cobra-La opposed him, threatening to attack him with a metal-devouring organic spore. Before the two sides could annihilate each other, an agreement was reached favoring both parties. The creatures would go into hiding, allowing humanity to develop. Then, when they had reached a sufficient technological level so they could serve as slaves for the Chaos-Bringer's inner workings, the creatures would call Unicron. He would destroy the remainder of humanity and Cobra-La would inherit the human-free world he left behind.

Thousands of years later the pact would be kept, and the creatures, now calling themselves Cobra-La, would summon Unicron via a beacon, using Bludgeon and his team of Decepticon mercenaries to kill all interlopers, including Autobots from Cybertron. They also have an unusual captive - Joe Colton, the original G.I. Joe. Here they are also led by Golobulus. They attempted to sacrifice Firewall to Unicron, but they are stopped by an escaped Colton, Hawk and Autobot leader Optimus Prime. Golobulus attacks Hawk as he attempts to free Firewall, while Colton battles Nemesis Enforcer. Ranting about how he intends to destroy the mechanical Transformers, Golobulus is then crushed by Prime's fist. Pythona has a change of heart and kills the Enforcer. With Unicron defeated by Cosmos and Flint, Cobra-La are detained by the rest of G.I. Joe.

IDW Publishing[edit]

The Coil, Cobra's religious wing, worships a god named Gol Lobulas, a celestial serpent-being who brings order. 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, and Serpentor, the Final Disciple, combines the best traits of all these past warriors. Serpentor, the Final Disciple touched by Gol Lobulas himself, combines all the best traits from these past champions. (In Coil doctrine, the enemies of their deity are philosophers and scientists, and the champions are dictators like Napoleon and Genghis Khan.)[3]


G.I. Joe: The Movie[edit]

Little is known of the history of Cobra-La in G.I. Joe: The Movie, save for the fact that they dominated much of the Earth in the years before the Ice Age. Their way of life is based on a symbiotic relationship with nature: living creatures comprise their machines, vehicles, clothes and more, particularly massive mutant insectoids and serpents, from which they are descended. The weakness inherent in this technology, however, soon became apparent when the Ice Age began and destroyed much of what Cobra-La had built. Retreating into a massive cavern beneath the Himalayas, with the intention of emerging to retake the world when the Ice Age had passed, the Cobra-Lavians were shocked to discover that the primitive barbarians whom they had left on the surface had managed to survive and flourish, evolving in body and mind and developing inorganic technology, the complete antithesis of Cobra-La.

In order to retake the Earth, Golobulus chooses a nobleman who had been scarred in a laboratory accident (which gave him additional eyes), to go forth from Cobra-La into the human world. This nobleman's mission was to raise an army that would conquer the world, paving the way for the return of Cobra-La. That army was Cobra, and the nobleman became known as Cobra Commander. After Cobra Commander's repeated failures in this task, Golobulus sets into motion a plan to replace him. Using a "psychic motivator" to implant information into the brain of Cobra's top scientist Doctor Mindbender, Golobulus has the unwitting scientist genetically engineer the perfect warrior from DNA samples of history's greatest rulers. This creation who is called Serpentor proceeds to take control of Cobra from Cobra Commander.

Golobulus then sends Pythona to the Terror Drome, to have a private conversation with Serpentor (whom Serpentor had seen in his dreams). Cobra-La guards headed up by Pythona and Nemesis Enforcer then capture Cobra Commander, Serpentor, and all the other Cobra members with them, and take them to their hidden headquarters inside the Himalayas. Golobulus puts Cobra Commander on trial for his repeated failures, and puts Serpentor in his place as a leader of the serpent world to come. Cobra Commander becomes a test subject for special mutating spores, which devolve him into a large snake following his trial. These spores are to be spread around the Earth, in order to de-evolve humanity back "to the level of mindless beasts" (as described by Pythona to Serpentor). Following a large-scale battle between the forces of G.I. Joe versus Cobra and Cobra-La forces, Cobra-La is in ruins and their plan is eventually foiled. Pythona is defeated by Jinx, and Nemesis Enforcer meets his doom at the hands of Sgt. Slaughter, when they are both thrown into a spike-walled pit, but Golobulus escapes.[4]

During the final battle, Golobulus abandons his pod briefly to make full use of his lower body during combat. According to his commentary for the Shout Factory DVD release of G.I. Joe: The Movie, Buzz Dixon originally envisioned Golobulus to be a very corpulent figure, which would have made it a surprise when he is able to attack Lt. Falcon with such speed. Also stated that Golobulus was killed in the avalanche off screen. [5]


Golobulus, the Royal Guard, and Nemesis Enforcer were all released as action figures in 1987, in a Cobra-La three-pack. Golobulus is the only G.I. Joe figure that does not have traditional legs, as he has a long snake-like tail. Golobulus' only accessory was a red rifle. Nemesis Enforcer's only accessories were two backpacks, dark gray wings and green tentacles (which is never demonstrated in the movie). The Royal Guard came with a grey handgun, a silver scythe, and a red antenna.[6]

Nemesis Enforcer was renamed Nemesis Immortal and released in 2008, as part of the 25th Anniversary in a two pack with Lt. Falcon. He came with a red vest, a red belt, a red backpack, two blue bat wings, a green tentacle backpack, and a black display stand. The figure pack also included an original comic, issue #8 titled Lt. Falcon vs. Nemesis Immortal: Showdown at the Top of the World, which is written by Larry Hama and featuring both characters. The story takes place in the Himalayas, the same location as the Movie. Lt. Falcon carries a wounded Dusty to their extraction site, concerned that Nemesis Immortal is still around. As the story continues, it focuses on Lt. Falcon battling Nemesis Immortal, so that the Joes can escape.[7] Nemesis Immortal more closely resembles the movie incarnation of the character than the original Nemesis Enforcer figure, in both design and size.

At the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con, concept art for new figures of Golobulus, Royal Guard, Pythona, and a mutant-snake Cobra Commander appeared in a Hasbro display featuring cancelled toys.[citation needed]

Video games[edit]

Golobulus also appeared as one of the "bosses" in the G.I. Joe video game by Taxan for the Nintendo Entertainment System.


  1. ^ G.I. Joe Interview with story editor/writer Buzz Dixon Archived 2016-04-04 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2011-06-03.
  2. ^ Matt Caracappa (29 December 2002). "The Cobra-La G.I. Joe 3-Pack". X-Entertainment. Retrieved 30 July 2009.
  3. ^ G.I. Joe: Cobra #8
  4. ^ G.I. Joe: The Movie (Motion picture). De Laurentiis Entertainment Group. April 20, 1987.
  5. ^ G.I. Joe: The Movie DVD commentary
  6. ^ Santelmo, Vincent (1994). The Official 30th Anniversary Salute To G.I. Joe 1964-1994. Krause Publications. p. 112. ISBN 0-87341-301-6.
  7. ^ Larry Hama (w), Sheldon Goh (a). "Lt. Falcon vs. Nemesis Immortal: Showdown at the Top of the World" G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero 8 (2008), Hasbro