The logo for Python Patrol
The Python Patrol is an elite unit within the fictional Cobra Organization. They have special uniforms that masks their presence to electronic detection systems. They were first introduced in 1989 and in 2003 new figures were released as part of Python Patrol.
Python Patrol was first released in 1989, and consisted of six repainted Cobra figures in a green, yellow, light gray, dark gray, black, and red color scheme.
- Python Copperhead - Copperhead is the only named individual in the group, and is originally considered their de facto team leader.
- Python Crimson Guard - Python Patrol Elite Troopers
- Python Officers - Python Patrol Officers. A repaint of the Cobra Soldier figure.
- Python Tele-Vipers - Python Patrol Communications
- Python Troopers - Python Patrol Infantry. A repaint of the Cobra Officer figure.
- Python Vipers - Python Patrol Assault Troopers
Two international figures were released in Brazil called "Gathilo" and "Relampago", as well as a vehicle, the Nija-Hidro Helicoptero.
A set of three vehicles were also released, in a red and black cross "Snake Skin" camouflage, for sophisticated counter-strikes against G.I. Joe, and surprise attacks behind enemy lines.
- A.S.P. - The Python A.S.P. was first released in 1989. It was a repaint of the Cobra A.S.P. from 1984.
- Conquest - The Python Conquest was first released in 1989. It was a repaint of the G.I. Joe Conquest X-30 from 1986. The G.I. Joe jet fighters were either captured or acquired through trades with rogue nations. Ironically, all of the original Python Patrol were infantry units, not pilots. In the mini series, "Operation Dragonfire" Cobra Commander, Gnawgahyde, and the Baroness are the ones who capture three of the joes Conquest x-30s, and return them to the Dragonfire base for Pythonization process. It is here where Cobra Commander gets his new uniform from Copperhead as well.
- STUN - The Python STUN was first released in 1989. It was a repaint of the Cobra STUN from 1986.
With the revival of G.I. Joe in early 2001, a Toys "R" Us exclusive set was released. This time, the color scheme was based on the 1989 vehicle color scheme, rather than green and yellow or light and dark gray camouflages.
- Major Bludd - Python Patrol Mercenary
- H.E.A.T. Vipers - Python Patrol High Explosive Anti-Tank Trooper
- Lampreys - Python Patrol Amphibious Assault Trooper
- Laser Vipers - Python Patrol Laser Trooper
- Rock Vipers - Python Patrol Mountain Trooper
- S.A.W. Vipers - Python Patrol Heavy Machine Gunner
In 2004, a two pack featuring a Viper and a Tele-Viper was also released as part of the Valor Vs. Venom line in Python Patrol uniforms, but the packaging and the file cards makes no reference of these figures being in the Python Patrol.
As part of the 25th Anniversary G.I. Joe line starting in 2007, a number of Python Patrol characters made their debut in the new figure style. This included Python Copperhead, who came with a vehicle called the "Sting Raider", which was based on the original Copperhead's original vehicle, the Water Moccasin; a Python Viper, who was sold as the pilot of a reissued "Python Conquest" plane as a Target exclusive, and the Python Officer and Python Crimson Guard, who were sold as individually carded figures.
In 2011, The Official G.I. Joe Collectors' Club held its annual "International Collectors' Convention", and the exclusive figure set at that Convention featured Python Patrol vs. Mission Brazil (a special group of G.I. Joe Team members who had originally been released as a Toys "R" Us exclusive in 1986). The set included "Steel Cobra", a non-Python Patrol character based on a Brazilian Cobra figure. It also included two Python Tele-Vipers and six Python Troopers, these two troopers being the only ones from the original Python Patrol that had yet to be produced in the modern figure style.
The Convention also offered modern-style figures of "Gathilo" and "Relampago", who were Python Patrol versions of Rip Cord and Airborne, as well as a Tele-Viper Officer, a new character who was offered as the annual "Parachute Drop" figure, a regular event at the Convention. There was also a Python Patrol Moto-Viper, which was included with a Python Patrol version of the Cobra Stinger vehicle.
Python Patrol was introduced in issue #88 of the original Marvel Comics run. They also appeared in issues #99 and #100. A Python Patrol squad tries to recon the new desert Joe base. Their secondary mission is to activate the brainwashing of two Joes, Clutch and Rock 'n Roll, with the intention of causing them to create chaos and destruction inside their headquarters, the The Pit. The activation signal is sent, but the two Joes were with young civilians. A rampage would harm the adolescents; as such the Joes' inherent morals broke through the brainwashing, destroying it. During the battle, the Patrol members severely damage the Mobile Command Center. One Python pilot is captured off-screen by Steam Roller. Another adversary, a Tele-Viper, is also captured. The rest escape.
After a two-year hiatus, Hasbro contracted DiC to produce a new G.I. Joe cartoon, the same year that Python Patrol was released. The "Operation: Dragonfire" mini-series followed the Sunbow continuity. Unhappy with Serpentor's leadership, the Baroness and Gnawgahyde free Cobra Commander (who is still a snake from being exposed to mutating spores in Cobra-La as seen in G.I. Joe: The Movie, and being used as Serpentor's pet). They use the Dragon Fire mask to return Cobra Commander to human form. He uses the masks to create the Python Patrol by enhancing Copperhead, some of the soldiers on Cobra Commander's side, and some of the vehicles that were in possession of Cobra Commander, enhancing each one with the power of the snakes rounded up by Alley Viper. Afterwards, they help Cobra Commander regain control of Cobra from Serpentor.
- Santelmo, Vincent (1994). The Official 30th Anniversary Salute To G.I. Joe 1964-1994. Krause Publications. p. 125. ISBN 0-87341-301-6.
- Bellomo, Mark (2005). The Ultimate Guide to G.I. Joe 1982-1994. Krause Publications. p. 152. ISBN 978-0-89689-922-3.
- G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #88
- G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #99-100
- G.I. Joe Special Missions #28
- Python Patrol at JMM's G.I. Joe Comics Home Page
- Python Patrol at YOJOE.com
- Python Patrol at The Inner Sanctum fansite