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Cobra-La is an ancient civilization that once ruled the Earth but retreated to a hideaway in caves in the Himalayas. In the present day it is ruled by Golobulus.



G.I. Joe vs. Transformers

Many millennia ago Unicron came to Earth and threatened to devour it when he was stopped in his tracks by the citizens of Cobra-La. Cobra-La threatened Unicron with a metal eating spore and an agreement was struck whereby Cobra-La would go into seclusion and watch over the development of the human race, occasionally helping it along. Then when the humans reached sufficient numbers and advanced technology, Cobra-La would send for Unicron who would return and take the humans as slaves to maintain his body, leaving the planet to be ruled by Cobra-La.


Golobulus, ruler of Cobra-La,

Cobra-La remained in seclusion in the Himalayas, becoming a legend to the inhabitants. Golobulus became the last leader of Cobra-La in the present day. Despite his hatred of mechanical creations he made use of several Decepticons who had crashed in the Himalayas, though he gave them organic Pretender shells that concealed their robotic forms. In 1978 the Adventure Team consisting of G.I. Joe (Joe Colton), Atomic Man and local Chok-Pa were in the Himalayas on a mission when they were attacked by a Chinese fighter plan. However they were saved by the sudden arrival of several strange organic planes, together with Nemesis Enforcer and the Decepticon Bludgeon. Chok-Pa recognized the new arrivals as being "the men under the mountain... Kohbrala!" but there was no time to flee. Bludgeon killed Atomic Man, but the further arrival of Pythona and the Royal Guard saved the other two as she wanted them kept alive. Over the next twenty-five years Colton was kept prisoner in a cell in Cobra-La.

In the present day the time for Unicron's return arrived. Preparations were made by Cobra-La both for helping Unicron but Golobulus had also cultivated a supply of the metal-eating spore in case he rebelled against them. However the signal also attracted the attention of Hawk and the Autobots, led by Optimus Prime. Hawk, Prime, Flint, Firewall and Cosmos invaded Cobra-La[1] where together with Colton they disrupted the plans, helped by Pythona who was uneasy about the planes, and the invaders used the metal-eating spore to destroy Unicron. Nemesis Enforcer was killed by Pythona while Golobulus was pummeled by Prime. The surviving members of Cobra-La were taken into custody.[2]

Action Force (British) Comics continuity

Pythona briefly appeared in a vision to Serpentor when his concentration lapsed during the trial of Destro and he found himself in a room decorated with serpents that seemed familiar. She repeatedly told him "Cobra needs the Broadcast Energy Transmitter" and he found himself attracted to her.[3]

Animated continuity

Sunbow animated series

RAH CCommander05

A promising young nobleman from Cobra-La.

Cobra-La was forced into retreat many millennia ago by the onset of an Ice Age. They awaited the day when they would return to retake the Earth. In order to advance that day Golobulus, the ruler of Cobra-La, selected a young nobleman to go out disguised amongst the humans and raise an army to conquer the planet. The nobleman became Cobra Commander and founded Cobra, but his plans repeatedly failed. Frustrated with this Golobulus implanted into the mind of Dr. Mindbender the idea to genetically create a superior new leader out of the DNA of history's greatest warriors[4] and so Serpentor was born.[5]

Golobulus had developed a spore that would devolve humanoids into mindless animals. In order to activate them he needed the new human machine the Broadcast Energy Transmitter (BET) which could generate and transmit the energy needed. He sent Pythona to Cobra to order them to capture it. In the process Cobra came to the Himalayas and encountered Cobra-La for the first time. Cobra Commander was put on trial for his failings and punished with the spore. The BET was eventually captured and Golobulus prepared to put it to use. However G.I. Joe launched an all out attack on Cobra-La and were able to reverse the BET, using it to destroy the spores. The home of Cobra-La was destroyed and the fate of the civilization was left unknown.[6]



  • According to cartoon story editor and writer Buzz Dixon, the creation of Cobra-La was a by-product of the different thinking between Hasbro and the Sunbow writers about the nature of Cobra. Hasbro had developed a new toy to be released as the "Cobra Emperor" (later named as "Serpentor") and intended that he would be the previously unseen superior of Cobra Commander who had always been present. However Dixon objected that this was in complete contradiction to previous episodes that had established Cobra Commander as the sole head of the organization. He put forward two possibilities for the "Emperor" character becoming the new leader in place of Cobra Commander after the latter's failings caused dissatisfaction - either the senior Cobras deciding to literally create a new leader or that Cobra was a front for a more secretive organization who sent Serpentor to replace Cobra Commander. Hasbro liked both ideas and asked that they be combined.[7]
  • The name "Cobra-La" was devised by Dixon purely as a placeholder name until he came up with something better. However Hasbro liked the name and used it as the final name despite his efforts.[8]
  • "Cobra-La" was named after "Shangri-La", a hidden land in the Himalayas in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by James Hilton.[9] In turn the limited series which saw Cobra-La's first full comic appearance is called "Black Horizon".
  • Cobra-La never appeared in the G.I. Joe A Real American Hero Marvel series because writer Larry Hama disliked "a host of silly characters" who had been forced on him by Hasbro and he "drew the line at Cobra-La and a few others."[10]
  • Koh-Buru-Lah, both the temple/fortress and the evil god in the Transformers vs. G.I. Joe "maxi-series", is named in honor of Cobra-La.

External links


  1. Black Horizon Part 1
  2. Black Horizon Part 2
  3. The story As Thick as Thieves! was a special tie-in with the UK release of G.I. Joe: The Movie (under the title Action Force: The Movie) and is hard to place in regular Action Force continuity.
  4. G.I. Joe: The Movie
  5. Cobra-La's presence was not shown prior to this, and Dr. Mindbender assumed he had thought up Serpentor independently.
  6. G.I. Joe: The Movie
  7. Interview with Buzz Dixon at The Ultimate G.I. Joe Cartoon Website: Interviews: Buzz Dixon
  8. Interview with Buzz Dixon at The Ultimate G.I. Joe Cartoon Website: Interviews: Buzz Dixon
  9. Interview with Buzz Dixon at The Ultimate G.I. Joe Cartoon Website: Interviews: Buzz Dixon
  10. Larry Hama's response to a letter in G.I. Joe A Real American Hero issue #100.

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