Cobra (Marvel Comics)

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Cobra is the name of a number of different fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The most well known "Cobra" is Klaus Voorhees, now known as "King Cobra". He first appeared in Journey into Mystery #98 (Nov 1963) created by writer Stan Lee and artist Don Heck. His nephew, Piet Voorhees, took over the name "Cobra" and first appeared in White Tiger #1 (Jan 2007) in a story written by Tamora Pierce and drawn by Timothy Liebe. Marvel has also used the moniker "Cobra" for two World War II Nazi villains and also a mercenary enemy of Moon Knight.

Klaus Voorhees was a laboratory assistant, working with a professor trying to find a cure for various poisonous snake bites. A combination of a bite from a radioactive snake and the experimental anti-venom granted him super powers, which led to him becoming the supervillain known as Cobra. Cobra and Mister Hyde formed a criminal team for years, fighting various heroes such as Thor and Daredevil. He later became a member of the Serpent Squad and later on a member of Sidewinder's Serpent Society. During a takeover attempt by Viper Cobra actually opposed her rule and sided with Captain America to depose Viper and foiling her plans. Cobra later took the name "King Cobra" as he took leadership of the Serpent Society. When Serpent Society became Serpent Solutions under the leadership of the Viper (Jordan Stryke, a different Viper) King Cobra became a member of the group.

Piet Voorhees, nephew of Klaus Voorhees, was injected with the same chemicals that gave Klaus his powers and he became the new Cobra and worked as a mercenary. On one mission he encountered the White Tiger who defeated him. Cobra later joined the Serpent Squad, organized by Sin and would also work for Hydra as mercenary.

The original Cobra has appeared outside of Marvel Comics, most notably in "The Mighty Thor" portion of The Marvel Super Heroes as well as in episodes of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes and Disk Wars: The Avengers.

Publication history[edit]

Klaus Voorhees was also known as the Human Cobra and is currently known as the original King Cobra. Klaus Voorhees's Cobra most commonly associated with Daredevil and Thor comics. The character was created by Stan Lee and Don Heck in Journey into Mystery #98 (November 1963) where he was confronted by Thor. The next issue saw him team up with Mister Hyde (with Hyde being the brains of the team) and the duo had a few encounters with the Thunder God before their first skirmish with Daredevil in Daredevil #30 (July 1967).

Fictional character biography[edit]

Klaus Voorhees[edit]

Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceJourney into Mystery #98 (Nov 1963)
Created byStan Lee
Don Heck
In-story information
Alter egoKlaus Voorhees
Team affiliationsThunderbolts
Serpent Society
Serpent Squad
Notable aliasesHuman Cobra, King Cobra
AbilitiesVery flexible and slithery body
Superhuman strength, agility, reflexes & reactions, coordination, balance and endurance
Wall crawling
Various poisonous gadgets

Klaus Voorhees was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Klaus was an ex-convict and the Dutch laboratory assistant to Professor Schecktor, a scientist working in India and looking for a cure to snake bites. Unsatisfied with his lower condition, and intent on stealing Schecktor's discoveries, Voorhees killed the professor by using a cobra and in order to make himself look less guilty, let the cobra bite him as well. He used an experimental anti-toxin for snake venom to cure himself, but denied it to Schecktor. The cobra was radioactive due to experimentation, and in a process similar to that which granted Spider-Man his powers, Voorhees gained superhuman abilities similar to a cobra's. Thor's mortal form Don Blake had encountered Schecktor and as Thor he met the dying man and learnt what had happened, and that the Cobra was travelling to America. The Cobra attempted to manufacture a cobra-serum to transform others into similarly-powered slaves, but was thwarted by Thor although he escaped, using Jane Foster as a hostage.[1]

As the professional criminal called the Cobra, he fought Thor and Daredevil, and a number of other superheroes. Mister Hyde and the Cobra were partners for years. They first joined forces to get revenge upon Thor, but were jailed.[2] Cobra and Hyde were then bailed and employed by Loki to kidnap Jane Foster, and Loki doubled their powers. Thor followed them to a house where traps had been set up for him. Mr. Hyde was defeated and Thor then manipulated the power supply of the house. Using his hammer he sent a charge through the house that electrocuted the Cobra. The weakened Cobra was forced out of a pipe next to Thor. He was easily defeated by Thor and left bound, before being arrested with Mr Hyde.[3] Cobra then battled Daredevil for the first time.[4] He later teamed with the Jester and Hyde against Daredevil.[5]

Cobra later joined the original Serpent Squad with the Eel and the Viper. With the Serpent Squad, he attacked Captain America and the Falcon.[6] He subsequently joined the second Serpent Squad, and battled Steve Rogers in his Nomad identity, and then became involved in an attempt to raise the continent of Lemuria.[7] He became trapped with the second Viper, and his cowardice earned her enmity.[8]

Later, he assisted Hyde in an attempt to acquire Cagliostro's serum.[9] The Purple Man then employed him, and Cobra fought Daredevil in an arena alongside Hyde, the Jester, and the Gladiator.[10] Later, Cobra refused to take Hyde along on a jailbreak, effectively ending their partnership, and Cobra got into a battle with Spider-Man.[11] Hyde began stalking his former partner.[12]

Cobra then joined Sidewinder's Serpent Society crime cartel.[13] He teamed with Diamondback to locate the Scourge.[14] Later, he went on a mission to poison Washington D.C.'s water supply.[15] He also helped Captain America subdue the Viper.[16] When Sidewinder retired, the Cobra became the leader of the Serpent Society.[17] He beat Mister Hyde in personal combat, and then assumed a new costume and the name "King Cobra."[18] He later sentenced Diamondback for treason to the Society.[19] He still leads the Society (complete with a new Sidewinder) though he also partners with Hyde on occasion.

Cobra was later summoned by Zarrko to fight the Thor Corps. Upon arriving he attacked Dargo Ktor, a future version of Thor, before he tosses him to Tyrus the Terrible.[20]

Cobra was enlisted by Lucia von Bardas, the former prime minister of Latveria and placed in her secret army of technology-based villains. She sent the army against Wolverine, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Daredevil, and Captain America, the five heroes Nick Fury had sent to Latveria to stop Lucia's secret criminal funding. When the battle started to turn in favor of the heroes, Lucia turned all the armor of her technology army into a bomb. Nick's unknown agent Daisy defeated her and the armor army's lives were saved. Klaus escaped the heroes in the resulting battle between Nick Fury and Wolverine.

After passing of the Superhuman Registration Act in the Civil War storyline, he was forced to join the Thunderbolts and trained by Swordsman, along with the Ox and Unicorn.[21]

In spite of this, Klaus, Firebrand, Mauler, and Mister Hyde, attacked Yellowjacket, Constrictor and other Initiative staff and trainees.[22]

King Cobra was with the Serpent Society when they were robbing banks.[23] King Cobra and the Serpent Society were defeated by Hope Summers.[24]

Piet Voorhees[edit]

Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceWhite Tiger #1 (Jan 2007)
Created byTamora Pierce
Timothy Liebe
In-story information
Alter egoPiet Voorhees
Team affiliationsChaeyi
Serpent Squad
Savage Six
Notable aliasesKing Cobra
AbilitiesVery flexible and slithery body
Superhuman strength, agility, reflexes & reactions, coordination, balance and endurance
Wall crawling
Enhanced olfactory senses
Ability to produce and project "Cobra Venom"

Piet Voorhees is the nephew of the Klaus Voorhees. Klaus injected Piet with the same mutagenic serum that first gave him his own superhuman abilities. Using these new powers for selfish means, Piet became a high-level international mercenary. He has performed operations in Southeast Asia, Bosnia, Central Asia and Chechnya.

More recently, Cobra has become involved with an international cartel known as Chaeyi. He has been working to get stolen passports and visas to illegal aliens. This operation has brought him into conflict with the newest White Tiger.

In a new costume, he has since turned up as a member of Sin's new Serpent Squad, in the employ of the Red Skull. He breaks Crossbones out of jail[25] and later attacked the White House, but he was stopped by the new Captain America. Cobra escaped with Sin in a helicopter and reported the incident to Red Skull.[26][27]

Cobra later appears as a member of HYDRA led by Baron Zemo, who are planning to spread poisonous blood extracted from an Inhuman boy named Lucas. He and Armadillo later fight Sam Wilson, the new Captain America, until Armadillo is convinced to turn on HYDRA and stops Cobra from killing Sam Wilson.[28]

As part of the "All-New, All-Different Marvel", Cobra appears as a member of Viper's Serpent Society under its new name of Serpent Solutions.[29]

During the "Opening Salvo" part of the "Secret Empire" storyline, Cobra was with Serpent Solutions when they are recruited by Baron Helmut Zemo to join the Army of Evil.[30]

In the prelude to "Hunted," Cobra was among the animal-themed characters that were captured by Taskmaster and Black Ant on Kraven the Hunter's behalf. He was grouped with Rhino, Scorpion, Stegron, Tarantula, and Vulture as the Savage Six by Arcade. In this appearance, Cobra was identified by Arcade as "King Cobra."[31]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Klaus Voorhees gained superhuman powers due to the mutagenic effects of the venom of a radioactive cobra plus an experimental antidote. Cobra is double jointed, and can dislocate and snap back into place his shoulders and hips at will, and has a phenomenal mastery of his musculature. Most notably his amazing contortionist powers and slithery body let him break in, and escape from, buildings. He also has the ability to stick to walls or ceilings. Combined with his super-strength, agility, reflexes & reactions, coordination, balance, and endurance they make him a formidable wrestler. Cobra's bones are flexible and nearly impossible to break. Cobra has moderate knowledge of street-fighting techniques. The Cobra wears a bodysuit made of reinforced synthetic stretch material; the torso section, helmet, and tail were made of bendable plastoid, and the entire costume is coated with silicon and graphite dust compound to make it slippery. Cobra is also armed with special gadgets that complete his cobra likeness: he is equipped with a "cobra cord" (an unbreakable cable) to tie up his enemies (solid enough to resist Thor's strength), can launch "cobra darts" (venom-filled projectiles) out of his wrists and release toxic "cobra gas". He wears spring-loaded wrist-shooters propelling "cobra-bite" projectiles containing a poison derived from cobra venom. He uses cartridge projectiles filled with various substances: acids, smoke, nerve gas, plastic explosives, etc. He wears micro-suction cups on his fingertips and toes permitting him to cling to walls and ceilings. In the mini-series Toxin: The Devil you know, Cobra himself quotes:

My bones are almost impossible to break. My tissue doesn't tear. I don't get hangovers, either.

Piet Voorhees possesses certain unusual physical powers derived from his mutagenically altered physiology which among other things help him simulate the movement of a snake by using his great degree of independent control over every muscle in his body, enabling him to slither across the ground (at up to 50 miles per hour), without using his arms and legs, simply by muscle contraction. All of the bones in his body, including his skull, are malleable and his muscle tissue is exceedingly resilient, making his body very flexible and pliant. It is nearly impossible for him to break a bone or tear a muscle.[32] The Cobra's flexibility enables him to slither into and out of very tight and small places. Through compressing his body, the Cobra can fit into any hole or slot down to four inches (102 mm) in diameter. By using his flexibility to wrap himself about a victim's body and then exerting his full strength, the Cobra traps that victim within his "cobra grip." Unlike his uncle, however, Piet also possesses enhanced olfactory senses, which enables him to track his targets by way of scent. He can also produce a toxic substance from his body which he calls his "cobra venom". He projects his venom at selected targets by spitting at them.

Other characters named Cobra[edit]

Albri Leiricgrie[edit]

Albri Leiricgrie is a costumed villain who worked for the Nazis during World War II and was an enemy of Human Torch and Toro.[33]

Cobra (Nazi Spy)[edit]

There was also a Cobra who worked as a spy for the Nazis during World War II and was an enemy of Namor.[34]

James Lardner[edit]

A few months after his brother Amos Lardner disappeared, James Lardner joined the CIA where he met Marc Spector a.k.a. Moon Knight. When Marc asked about James' brother Amos, James never talked about him. Three years later, James sought vengeance upon those who were involved with Operation: Cobra. Upon blaming Marc Spector, he launched a grenade at Marc's mansion yet Marc survived. James later launched a grenade at Ravencrag Asylum. Meanwhile, Marc received Amos Lardner's corpse and went to Ravencrag to see if there was a connection. Marc Spector was present when James Lardner attacked. Marc changed into Moon Knight and went after James Lardner who used a gas grenade to escape. When in Paris, James went after Charles LeBlanc who was the head of Operation: Cobra. Marc Spector also investigated Charles LeBlanc and encountered James Lardner. Marc Spector pursued James Lardner in a high-speed chase where and were knocked unconscious upon colliding. The agents that worked for Operation: Cobra managed to capture James and Marc only for Marc to escape. James however became the successful test subject that was dubbed Cobra. The next night when Moon Knight went to investigate Charles LeBlanc, Operation: Cobra sent Cobra to dispose of Moon Knight. Moon Knight had a hard time fighting off Cobra until he spotted Charles LeBlanc using his remote control and shot a dart at it. The dart shorted out the remote control causing Cobra to go berserk. Charles LeBlanc escaped to his car and started to drive off only for Moon Knight to fire another dart at one of the tires which caused the car to swerve and catch on fire upon colliding with a tree. When Cobra wanted seek vengeance and started to lift the front part of Charles LeBlanc's car into the air, it explodes enough to kill Cobra and Charles LeBlanc.[35]

Other versions[edit]

Age of Apocalypse[edit]

In the Age of Apocalypse reality, Cobra is near-feral and a cannibal. He and Mister Hyde are known to prowl graveyards and attack anyone entering their territory.[36]

House of M[edit]

In the House of M reality, the Klaus Voorhees version of Cobra is a member of Hood's Masters of Evil.[37] Before the Red Guard attacks Santo Rico, Cobra leaves the team alongside Crossbones, Mister Hyde, and Thunderball.[38]


In the Avengers series dedicated to the American Armed Forces, Cobra appears as the founder of the Serpent Society.[39]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

In the Ultimate universe, King Cobra is a member of the gang the Serpent Skulls.[40]

In other media[edit]


  • Cobra appears in "The Mighty Thor" portion of The Marvel Super Heroes.
  • King Cobra appears in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes episodes "The Breakout" Pt. 1, "Ultron-5", "Prisoner of War", "Along Came a Spider...", and "Yellowjacket", voiced by James C. Mathis III. He is the leader of the Serpent Society. It is revealed in the episode "Prisoner of War" that he had been replaced by a Skrull infiltrator, and is forced to join other prisoners in order to escape the Skrull ship. He rejoins the Serpent Society in the episode "Along Came a Spider...".
  • King Cobra appears in Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers. He serves as a recurring enemy for the Avengers and is the leader of the Serpent Society.

Video games[edit]


  1. ^ Journey into Mystery #98. Marvel Comics.
  2. ^ Journey into Mystery #105–106. Marvel Comics.
  3. ^ Journey into Mystery #110–111. Marvel Comics.
  4. ^ Daredevil #30–32. Marvel Comics.
  5. ^ Daredevil #61. Marvel Comics.
  6. ^ Captain America #163. Marvel Comics.
  7. ^ Captain America #180–182. Marvel Comics.
  8. ^ Captain America #183. Marvel Comics.
  9. ^ Daredevil #142–143. Marvel Comics.
  10. ^ Daredevil #153–154. Marvel Comics.
  11. ^ Spectacular Spider-Man #46. Marvel Comics.
  12. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #231–232. Marvel Comics.
  13. ^ Captain America #310
  14. ^ Captain America #319. Marvel Comics.
  15. ^ Captain America #343. Marvel Comics.
  16. ^ Captain America #344. Marvel Comics.
  17. ^ Uncanny X-Men Annual #13. Marvel Comics.
  18. ^ Captain America #365–367. Marvel Comics.
  19. ^ Captain America #380–382. Marvel Comics.
  20. ^ Thor #440. Marvel Comics.
  21. ^ Thunderbolts #104 2006. Marvel Comics.
  22. ^ Avengers: The Initiative #13. Marvel Comics.
  23. ^ X-Men: To Serve and Protect #2. Marvel Comics.
  24. ^ X-Men: To Serve and Protect #4. Marvel Comics.
  25. ^ Captain America vol. 5 #28–29
  26. ^ Captain America vol. 5 #35–36. Marvel Comics.
  27. ^ All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Update #3. Marvel Comics.
  28. ^ All-New Captain America #1–4. Marvel Comics.
  29. ^ Captain America: Sam Wilson #4. Marvel Comics.
  30. ^ Captain America: Steve Rogers #16. Marvel Comics.
  31. ^ Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 5 #16. Marvel Comics.
  32. ^ F.B.I. Agent Coville revealed in White Tiger #1 that Piet has all of the same super-powers that his uncle possesses.
  33. ^ Captain America Comics #21. Marvel Comics.
  34. ^ Human Torch Comics #14. Marvel Comics.
  35. ^ Marvel Preview #21. Marvel Comics.
  36. ^ Tales From The Age of Apocalypse #2 (December, 1997). Marvel Comics.
  37. ^ House of M: Masters of Evil #1
  38. ^ House of M: Masters of Evil #4. Marvel Comics.
  39. ^ The Avengers American Armed Forces Exclusive #13 (May 2012). Marvel Comics.
  40. ^ All-New Ultimates #3–6. Marvel Comics.
  41. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-08-27. Retrieved 2016-07-27.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]