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G.I. Joe character
Zarana Hasbro Heroes Sourcebook.PNG
First appearance 1986
Voiced by Lisa Raggio (Sunbow/Marvel)
Lisa Corps (DiC)
Affiliation Dreadnoks
Specialty Zartan's Sister
File name Zoe (real last name unknown) (Aliases too numerous to list: Friday, Heather, Sgt.Carol Weidler, Dr. Deborah Karday)
Birth place London, England (UK)
Primary MOS Infiltration
Secondary MOS Espionage

Zarana is a fictional character from the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero toyline, comic books and cartoon series. She is affiliated with Cobra as a member of the Dreadnoks.


Zarana is the sister of Zartan and fraternal twin of Zandar.[1][2] A professional assassin, she is an expert in small arms, explosives and edged weapons. Zarana is a master of disguise who can fool even the best military specialists. She relies on masks, wigs, makeup and costumes. She is also a world-class method actress, literally becoming the object of her impersonation, to the extent that she not only thinks but reacts as they would.[3]

She has short naturally auburn hair,[4] which has been dyed pink (or sometimes red), and is usually depicted with a tattered hot pink T-shirt and blue pants. Her pink shirt resembles the torn scarf worn by her twin brother Zandar. She is the older of the twins, and often the unequivocal leader of the two.[5] She and Zandar speak between themselves in shared, poetical language, echoing each other's words and ideas.[6] Zarana supposedly also has the same ability to change skin color as her brothers, but this was never portrayed in either her comic book or cartoon incarnations. According to former G.I. Joe product manager Kirk Bozigian at the 2013 Official G.I. Joe Convention, Zarana's original filecard art was inspired by 80's punk rock singer Wendy O. Williams.[citation needed]

She and Zandar were born in London, England, into dire poverty and were given up for adoption as toddlers. From an early age, the twins displayed anti-social behavior and refused to speak to anyone but each other in their own twin idioglossia. As a result, they were moved from foster home to foster home, until they landed in an abusive orphanage. As teenagers, Zarana and Zandar were faced with the threat of separation, so they took to the streets to remain together, and from there, procured plane tickets to Australia, where they joined the Dreadnoks biker gang.[7]

Phoenix Guard[edit]

The members of the Phoenix Guard were Cobra agents in disguise, but for Cobra Commander's elaborate ruse to succeed, each member of the team needed doctored military records and manufactured personal histories. Zarana's fabricated identity was Friday, real name Jennifer K. Larson, born in Hialeah, Florida. Friday's specialties were infantry, heavy weapons, tracking, unit supply specialist and mechanical technician. She received basic training at Fort Jackson, and advanced infantry training at Fort Lee. She also completed the Unit Armorer School at Fort Hood, the Marksman Instructor course and Airborne School at Fort Benning, and the Counter-Sniper course at Camp Robinson, Arkansas. She was the team's weapons specialist, and second-in-command to General Rey.[8]


Along with her twin brother Zandar,[9] Zarana was issued in a second wave of Dreadnok action figures from Hasbro in 1986.[10] She carries a weapon that looked like a shotgun with a circular saw blade attached at the end. This weapon was never seen in the cartoon or comic book. She had several features in the comic, primarily in issues that introduced Dreadnok vehicles produced by Hasbro.


Marvel Comics[edit]

In the Marvel Comics G.I. Joe series, she first appeared in G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #50 (August 1986).

Zarana was featured in the Marvel G.I. Joe comics and in the beginning was depicted as being somewhat cheap when it came to money. After she leads a successful rescue of Zartan by impersonating Scarlett, she tells her brother that he owes her for a number of expenses related to the rescue operation including that of the red wig she used in her disguise. Pursued by a large team of G.I. Joes, she and the Dreadnoks escape. They are technically tracked down by Sgt. Slaughter but her disguise skills help fool the man into believing he had found a simple gas station.

She was featured in issues #69 through #71. In order to escape the fictional war-torn country of Sierra Gordo, she and fellow Dreadnoks Monkeywrench and Thrasher hijack a G.I. Joe transport plane. This is accomplished by Zarana threatening to kill some of the civilians who are pleading with the Joes for a ride out. The Joes, Crazylegs, Wild-Bill and Maverick are forced to launch out with her, her allies and the refugee/hostages. The plane ends up shot down, though all survive. In an effort to escape the country, Zarana actually works with the Joe team, the Dreadnoks, and the refugees. In one instance, she punches Thrasher's broken arm in order to get him to be even more violent against a large group of adversaries.

Zarana and the Dreadnoks would work with the Joes again, like much of Cobra, in the aftermath of the Cobra Civil War. The stress gets to her, leading to a memorable, vicious fist-fight with Lady Jaye, that ends in a draw.

Zarana is a fearless fighter and risk taker. She took on a lot of responsibilities for Cobra after Destro, Zartan and the Baroness left, effectively becoming Cobra Commander's second in command. She was captured by Firefly, but was rescued by Slice and Dice who found her by accident. She is reunited with Cobra. As revealed in her complaints, she had spent months in a dungeon on Cobra Island, abandoned there with Road Pig and Cesspool.[11] She was partly responsible for recruiting Scarlett (although Scarlett turned out to be a double agent). After Dr. Mindbender was revived by Cobra Commander, he "cut Zarana loose" and she returns to the Dreadnoks.

Devil's Due[edit]

Picture of Zarana from Devil's Due Publishing.

Zarana leads a Dreadnoks/Cobra squad against an out of control Battle Android Trooper. She loses several Alley Vipers. A grenade thrown by a G.I. Joe squad injures her, though she is still mobile. Zartan orders Zanya to leave with her; they try to escape in a Cobra Coil motorcycle, but circumstances change and they are arrested with most of the other Dreadnoks.[12]

In the America's Elite series, Cobra Commander disguises himself as White House staff member Garret Freedlowe, and tricks General Rey into leading a new elite unit called Phoenix Guard. Zarana is one of the Cobra operatives who poses as a Guard member, and is given the new codename "Friday", though it is not known how she came to be a part of that group. Following the Guard's attack on The Rock, Zarana is taken into custody by the Joes and imprisoned in "The Coffin", a maximum security penitentiary located in Greenland.[13] She later escapes imprisonment alongside several others, during a raid on the facility led by Tomax.[14] At the conclusion of the World War III storyline, Zarana is revealed to have escaped the mass defeat and capture of Cobra's forces, and is back with the Dreadnoks (who are now sans Zartan).[15]

The comic series Dreadnoks Declassified reveals that Zarana's given name is Zoe.


Picture of Zarana from IDW Publishing.

Zarana and Zandar supply weapons to the warring Heathens motorcycle gang. A G.I. Joe strike team interrupts the transaction, telling the two to surrender. Zandar and Zarana flee, but not before realizing neither of them claimed their fee beforehand. Realizing "The One" considers them expendable, the twins make eliminating "The One" their next major priority. Shipwreck pursues them, telling the twins that they are outgunned and not to fire back. Zandar and Zarana respond that they must go out of sight, and use holography to conceal their motorbike as they make their escape.[6] The Dreadnok twins were apprehended shortly thereafter and taken into custody.[5]

IDW post-Revolutionaries[edit]

The Dreadnok Twins, disguised as inner Mongolian locals, Ying and Yong, lead a strike team of GI Joes to Crystal Ball's cult stronghold, where they were ambushed by Crystal Ball and the Dreadnoks. Zandar and Zarana sneak away some time during the battle.[16]

During the Dreadnoks' pursuit of the Joes, they were snatched away underground by Crystal Ball's summoned, large "Fatal Fluffies". Zarana and Zandar appear again with the Dreadnoks, ambushing Duke in the underground, with the intention of taking the Joes' prisoners, the Baroness and Crystal Ball.[17]



Zarana first appears in the G.I. Joe episode "Arise Serpentor, Arise" voiced by Lisa Raggio.[18] She and Zandar join their brother Zartan when he is auditioning new members of the Dreadnoks. In the episode "Computer Complications",[19] Zarana goes undercover at a Joe base as "Carol Weidler". During that time, she and Mainframe develop romantic feelings for each other. At the end of the episode, Zartan, sitting with the Dreadnoks at a campfire, jokes with her as she stands off from the group, gazing at the moon: "Hey, Zarana, I’ve been thinking! Maybe you ought to quit the Dreadnoks, go marry that wimp, get a house in the suburbs, have kids." to which she responds by shooting in the direction of the Dreadnoks' campfire, causing them to scatter. The episode ends showing both Mainframe and Zarana, miles away from each other looking at the moon, perhaps pondering the same question.[20] She was briefly reunited with Mainframe in "Grey Hairs And Growing Pains", where she—without her brother's knowledge—supplied him with the antidote that would restore him (and the other Joes) to their proper ages.[21]

G.I. Joe: The Movie[edit]

In G.I. Joe: The Movie, Zarana impersonates a blonde woman named Heather, who gets Lt. Falcon to give her a "tour" of the place where Serpentor is being held. She uses mini-cameras in her earrings to take pictures of the prison. Her identity was confirmed to the viewers, when the Dreadnoks arrive at the lake Zarana as Heather stops at. The devices Zarana plants in G.I. Joe's base helps Cobra/Cobra-la break Serpentor out. When Falcon and others sneak into Cobra-La, Zarana is knocked out by Jinx.[22]


Zarana appears in the DIC-produced G.I. Joe cartoon, where the Dreadnoks are still working for Cobra. Destro has left Baroness for Zarana, as the two are dating during the "Operation: Dragonfire" miniseries. When Cobra Commander disposes of Serpentor, he tells Destro to get back together with Baroness, which ends with Destro sending Zarana down a trap door.

After the miniseries, Zarana appears in the following episodes:

  • "Nozone Conspiracy" - she appears along with Cobra Commander, Metal-Head and Gnawgahyde promoting a Cobra sunscreen.
  • "Injustice and the Cobra Way" - Zarana and Cobra Commander (disguised as a superhero) capture the female president to take over the White House.
  • "General Confusion" - Zarana disguises herself as "Dr. Deborah Carday", a member of the U.S. Senate. She then gives the G.I. Joe Team massive expenses, which come under review by the government, while she also tricks Big Ben into falling in love with her.
  • "The Mind Mangler" - Zarana disguises herself as the daughter of a Cobra operative named Mind Mangler (in reality a robot). Zarana tries to interrogate Duke, but the Sky Patrol comes to his rescue. Zarana accompanies them, but she is discovered and has to retreat.

Other works[edit]

  • Zarana's figure is briefly featured in the fiction novel 6 Sick Hipsters. In the story, the character Paul Achting spent four years collecting G.I. Joe figures to set up a battle scene between the Joes and Cobra. As he imagined the characters in his head, he described the Dreadnoks as "an elite team of maniacal mercenaries allied with Cobra for this battle", with the figures lying in the thick of the shag carpet, and to the left of Zandar and Monkeywrench was "the lovely Zarana, Zartan's sister, sharpening her knife and dreaming of warm flesh".[23]
  • She is mentioned as a strong female character in the non-fiction novel 'Action chicks: new images of tough women in popular culture'.[24]


  1. ^ Hidalgo, Pablo (2010). G.I. Joe Vs. Cobra: The Essential Guide 1982-2008. Del Rey. pp. 105–106. ISBN 978-0-345-51642-8. 
  2. ^ Hasbro Heroes Sourcebook #3 (August, 2017)
  3. ^ Hama, Larry (1987). Howard Mackie, ed. G.I. Joe Order Of Battle. Marvel Entertainment Group. p. 127. ISBN 0-87135-288-5. 
  4. ^ G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #92 (November, 1989)
  5. ^ a b G.I. Joe vol. 2 #9 (October 2013)
  6. ^ a b G.I. Joe: vol. 2 #8 (September 2013)
  7. ^ Hasbro Heroes Sourcebook #3 (August, 2017)
  8. ^ Casey, Joe (w), Medors, Josh (p), Zajac, Richard (i). "Dark Horizon Line" G.I. Joe: America's Elite 13 (July 2006), Devil's Due Publishing
  9. ^ Beach, Lynn (1988). G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero - Invisibility Island. Ballantine Books. p. 3. ISBN 0-345-35097-9. 
  10. ^ Santelmo, Vincent (1994). The Official 30th Anniversary Salute To G.I. Joe 1964-1994. Krause Publications. p. 108. ISBN 0-87341-301-6. 
  11. ^ "G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero" #135 (April 1993)
  12. ^ G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero vol. 2 #12-13 (December 2002)
  13. ^ G.I. Joe: America's Elite #18 (December 2006)
  14. ^ G.I. Joe: America's Elite #30 (December 2007)
  15. ^ G.I. Joe: America's Elite #36 (June 2008)
  16. ^ G.I. Joe volume 3 (2016) #2
  17. ^ GI Joe #8 (August, 2017)
  18. ^ "Roll Call". G.I. Joe Roll Call. Joe Headquarters. Retrieved 2008-06-13. 
  19. ^ "Episode Summaries > Season 2 > Computer Complications". Retrieved 2012-09-17. 
  20. ^ "Computer Complications". G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. 
  21. ^ "Grey Hairs and Growing Pains". G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. 
  22. ^ G.I. Joe: The Movie (Motion picture). De Laurentiis Entertainment Group. April 20, 1987. 
  23. ^ Casablanca, Rayo (2008). 6 Sick Hipsters. Kensington Publishing Corp. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-7582-2283-1. 
  24. ^ Inness, Sherrie (2004). Action chicks: new images of tough women in popular culture. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 86. ISBN 978-1-4039-6396-3. 

External links[edit]

  • Zarana at JMM's G.I. Joe Comics Home Page