- Destro has both been a Cobra and Iron Grenadier character in the A Real American Hero and G.I. Joe vs. Cobra series.
James McCullen Destro XXIV
Weapons Manufacturer; Terrorist
|1st Comic Appearance|
|1st Toon Appearance|
Destro is one of the most cunning foes the Joe Team has ever faced. He is the power behind M.A.R.S. (Military Armament Research Syndicate), one of the largest manufacturer of state-of-the-art weaponries. His business is fueled by inciting unstable countries to wage wars against each other and then getting them to purchase weapons from him. To him, war is simply man's expression of his most natural state. It is the perfect example of where the fittest survive and where many technological advances are made. His biggest client, thus far, is Cobra with whom he maintains an alliance of convenience. Despite being a manipulative person, Destro maintains a sense of honor and actually respects the Joe Team for their skills and expertise, if not their motivation.
The silver mask Destro wears is his most distinctive feature. It is forged from Beryllium steel. For centuries, the Destro clan designed and sold weapons. In an incident dating back to the English Civil War, an ancestor of his was caught selling weapons to both sides. He was forced to wear a steel mask for his crimes (neither side were willing to execute him because they still wanted his weapons). Rather than taking it as a sign of shame, the Destro clan turned it into a symbol of pride. The patriarchs passed it down as tradition from father to son for over 20 generations.
A Real American Hero continuity
Marvel Comics continuity
Destro fancies himself an honorable man, answering to a moral code he alone seems to understand. He has stood with the Commander as often as he has opposed him, and will join forces with the G.I. Joe team if it is good for business. With such wavering loyalties, he has come to respect and befriend many characters, from Joe members Flint and Lady Jaye, to Zartan, and even the Commander’s estranged son Billy.
Devil's Due Comics continuity
G.I. Joe Reloaded
The McCullens were a Scottish clan who were famous for being weapons manufacturers, with their business going as far back as the 13th century. The English king, Henry Plantagenet, broke the truce between England and Scotland. He implemented new tax laws that the McCullens refused to pay. In retribution, he had members of the McCullen clan killed save for their patriarch, John McCullen who was taken prisoner. The king could never justify keeping prisoner a nobleman like John McCullen and had him forced to wear a steel mask to conceal his identity. Centuries and generations later, the current descendant, James McCullen, continue to be a prominent member of British society while secretly engaging in subversive activities under the alias of Destro. This similar background and the resources he could provide were the reasons that Cobra Commander approached him for an alliance with Cobra. While initially dismissive of Cobra Commander, Destro became intrigued by his plans for a revolution and the willingness to carry out his plans. To this end, he agreed to provide Cobra the necessary arms and resources to carry out their plans.
G.I. Joe vs. Transformers
Action Force (British) Comics continuity
When Destro was young he served as his father's apprentice. Amongst his tasks was running guns for Arabs, during which he first met Farouk. The two would remain in contact and serve as business partners but not meet again for many years. Destro was subsequently confronted by his father who knew about his business schemes and disapproved on what it would do to the family name. Destro responded that his father was holding the family back. This angered his father who declared "I wear the Silver Mask" but Destro pulled a gun and shot his father dead. He then took the mask for himself.
Destro maintained close relations with Cobra but always regarded himself as a businessman who would deal with Action Force if they weren't idealists and unwilling to meet his prices. He arranged to sell a consignment of weapons to Cobra, swapping the hardware and money as a boat party in London's Docklands. However an Action Force team led by Flint sabotaged the operation and destroyed the weapons. Destro escaped. He subsequently airlifted an escaping Eel out of London, not realising that Snake-Eyes was hiding on board. At Castle Destro, Cobra Commander informed Destro and the Baroness of his plans for world domination. Destro privately told the Baroness he was critical as he believed Cobra Commander's vision was destructive and there must always be a choice, whilst power is "no more than a position, a situation of control", not the mystical thing Cobra Commander seemed to think it is. Destro explained further that he hoped to hone Cobra Commander into an effective weapon and if not he must be disposed of.
Destro undertook a plot whereby Farouk leaked information to Action Force about a Cobra plan to taken over and destroy the Argent Corporation oil rig in the North Sea. An Action Force team led by Flint attacked, only to discover that the rigged belonged to Destro who had them all held prisoner on site. The team were freed by Quick Kick, but politician Elwyn Jones successfully used the incident to have the team temporarily impounded. Destro took advantage of the lull to visit Morocco and meet Farouk again for the first time in years. Destro revealed to Farouk that Cobra Commander had no interest in the details of operations and so "I run Cobra my way."
Whilst Action Force was impounded and limited to training operations, Destro arranged a Cobra attack on Salisbury Plain, allowing him to observe a new, laser-guided anti-helicopter round in action which he intended to have M.A.R.S. scientists copy and sell. Soon afterwards a Cobra Trooper by the name of Tony Lander went rogue and threatened to release a canister of lethal nerve gas into the atmosphere. An Action Force team sought to stop him but Destro flew in by F.A.N.G. and shot Lander dead, claiming to be doing Action Force a favour. Destro also attempted to make plans to infiltrate the Action Force base to destroy the team, but several simulations on his battle computer showed that he couldn't succeeded without also destroying himself.
Destro then broke into the Action Force Weapons Testing Range in Stonebury to steal secret plans. He was confronted by Lady Jaye and shot her in the head. Flint cursed Destro for (as he believed) killing Lady Jaye and declared "if needs be I'll tear you apart with my bare hands!" Flint stormed the London headquarters of M.A.R.S. and overpowered the arms dealer, putting his gun to his head. But Flint found himself hesitating about killing a foe in cold blood. He eventually lowered the gun and walked out. Flint thought that he lived a violent life but knew that "the day I let the violence in my life consume me so totally that I become as evil as the people I fight is the day I die." As he left Destro told him that in the reverse situation "I would have pulled the trigger." Lady Jaye subsequently recovered. Destro blamed both Flint and Cobra for the attack and demanded redress. Storm Shadow sought to kidnap Flint at a pre-arranged meeting with Action Force's Ministry of Defence liaison Trent, but Scarlett attended instead of Flint. She was captured and taken to the castle in the Balkans. Snake-Eyes infiltrated the castle where Scarlett freed herself and the two escaped despite Destro's computer analysis suggesting otherwise. Destro immediately confronted Storm Shadow about his seeming allowing Snake-Eyes and Scarlett to escape.
Destro subsequently received from Farouk a telegram calling him to Morocco on urgent business, but on arrival he was attacked by Cobra Troopers and left for dead in an alley. He survived but had amnesia. He was befriended by a girl called Jenna who named him "Silver" for his mask. Jenna's grandfather Hajid was beaten by Cobra Troopers searching for Destro and died of his wounds. The Troopers then found Destro. However Jenna saved him and the two fled. The amnesiac Destro found himself cast in the role of a hero to Jenna, a role he enjoyed. However the happiness was short lived as another Cobra attacked. In the fight Jenna was accidentally shot but as she died she told Destro it wasn't his fault. The incident restored Destro's memory and he realised Farouk was behind the attack. Storming into Farouk's office he confronted his old ally. Farouk was planning to overthrow him and replace him as Cobra Commander's right hand man. Farouk pulled a gun on Destro, but Destro broke Farouk's cane in two and threw one half, killing his foe immediately.
Destro then joined forces with Action Force to prevent Cobra from taking over the Mafia in Venice. During the course of the incident both Flint and Lady Jaye found working with him difficult but found he gave his word. But unbeknownst to any of Action Force the whole situation was a sham to allow Cobra and the Mafia to strengthen their alliance and restore secrecy.
The development of the Broadcast Energy Transmitter worried Destro as it could duplicate energy and beam it all over Earth, thus potentially destroying his oil business. He led a Cobra team that sought to capture the device from the tropical island where it was being tested, but his personal agenda was to instead destroy it. In this he was stopped by Flint, though he managed to place a tracer on the device so it could be found when it was moved to the Himalayas.
Cruise missile developer Professor Alec Peter Gilmore developed Project Omega, an advanced stealth-equipped cruise missile that is invisible to radar and infra-red. M.A.R.S. offered Gilmore a large sum for it but Gilmore refused. Subsequently Gilmore's plane crashed in the Arctic with Omega on board and Destro sought to recover it. In the course of action he and Flint found themselves in the Arctic wilderness, forced to work together to survive. I the process Flint glimpsed beneath Destro's mask and was shocked by what he saw. The two found the plane only to discover that Gilmore had realised he could never escape so he destroyed the blueprints, shot the pilot and took his life. Flint arrested Destro. Destro was held prisoner at Action Force's base in London where he was subjected to brainwashing techniques but refused to talk. His mask was also impossible to remove due to electric shock defence systems built into it. He activated a distress beacon installed in his mask and Cobra launched an attack on London to free him. Destro escaped from the base by blasting his way out with plastic explosive stored in his mask and reconnected with Cobra.
Some time later, after Destro had established his Iron Grenadiers, a Phantom X-19 stealth plane was shot down in the Jordanian desert. A local warlord sought to auction the plane and other nomad warlords, Destro and Cobra all converged. But they were preventing from capturing its secrets by the G.I. Joe the Action Force team Tiger Force, who destroyed the stealth plane. Destro was forced to unite with Cobra against the nomads.
Destro subsequently sold a nuclear warhead to Varjas, the dictator of the Latin American country of Sao Cristobel which was embroiled in a civil war, but when the helicopter carrying the warhead was shot down in the jungle it attracted the interest of rebels, G.I. Joe and Cobra. Destro planned to recapture the warhead and sell it again, this time to the rebels, but Cobra instead reached it and sought to take it out the country. Destro had never wanted to sell nuclear weapons to Cobra as it would make them too powerful even for him. The Joes attacked the rebel base where Destro was operating from and he escape, albeit wounded. Back at the M.A.R.S. headquarters Destro successfully tapped into the Action Force personnel files to learn more about Jinx when she infiltrated the building, only to take copies of the accounts.
Blackthorne Comics continuity
Dreamwave Comics continuity
Initially revealed as part of the Cobra organization in 1939, Destro's actual position was not revealed, however it was clear he held some significant rank and power. Conspiring with Starscream to overthrow the Megatron/Cobra Commander Leadership in the Decepticon/Cobra alliance he order the construction of Bruticus, which ultimately led to Cobra's defeat.
Taking place in the 80's, it's assumed that this is a descendant of the 1939 Destro, as he shows no signs of aging. However, his character was not full revealed, due his brief appearance in the series only issue.
Hasbro Comics continuity
IDW Comics continuity
Destro is an international illegal arms smuggler & manufacturer, operating with utmost secrecy, out of a castle in Scotland. Ulterior motives have been hinted at, but it is yet to be revealed what they are.
Sunbow animated series
Voice Actor: Arthur Burghardt
Cobra may have stolen the M.A.S.S. technology but it was Destro who built and mastered the teleportation machine. He reveals to Cobra Commander the three elements needed to run the machine. As for the first test and actual application of the machine, he teleported a Cobra contingent to steal a new satellite. There was a temporary snafu but he is able to show the Commander it is perfect. Initially, Destro partakes in the Commander's entertainment by having Duke and a giant gladiator fight each other. When news of the world's response arrive, both men are distressed but Destro is more upset about the information intelligence provided that the Joes are building their own MASS Device. It does not take long before the Commanders flamboyance in his show of power start to irritate Destro, especially since continued use of the M.A.S.S. ensures an ever dwindling supply of the catalytic elements. And that each display does not really contribute to a greater strategy. Even though Cobra receives news of an imminent surrender, Destro has had enough and decides to get the final element himself if it's the only way to ensure they really have the power to carry out their threat. Despite being frustrated by the Joes' constant display of bold action, Destro manages to acquire the meteor element and takes Scarlett as hostage to make good his escape. Scarlett's defiant action in the escape shuttle nearly had them both killed. Upon his return, he learns from the Baroness the Commander's ill-conceived action in annihilating New York City. The build up of previous frustrations and his near-death experience finally unhinged Destro to take matters in his own hands, going so far as making himself appear to be the new leader of Cobra. When the Joes countered his move to destroy New York City with their own MASS Device, Destro proceeds to eliminating the hostages one by one until his demands are met. Only the Joes timely arrival put an end to his mad plans. To keep the Joes busy, he aims the MASS towards the Earth's core and makes his escapes, swearing his revenge the next time.
DiC animated series
Voice Actor: Scott McNeil
Destro let Baroness learn for herself that he had dumped her for Zarana during a Cobra meeting in front of everyone. But after Baroness defected to help Cobra Commander successfully usurp Serpentor, Destro once again claimed Baroness as his girlfriend, which he announced by dropping Zarana through a trap door.
|A Real American Hero (1983)
Destro was first released as part of the 1983 wave of A Real American Hero toys.
Appearance: silver mask covering entire head; black jacket with open red-rimmed collar; yellow undershirt with red Cobra pendant; silver and red wrist rockets; black gloves, boots, and pants with red holster.
Accessories: black backpack/briefcase (sculpted tools and weapons on interior); small, black pistol.
|A Real American Hero (1988)
After a few years absent from toy shelves, Destro comes back in a big way as he comes with a faction of his own, the Iron Grenadiers. The second action figure was packaged with the Despoiler hover-jet.
Appearance: gold mask; black shirt and gloves with red undershirt and cloth cape; black pants with gold belt; black hook on waist for sword
Accessories: gold saber with short chain and decorative tip.
|A Real American Hero (1992)
Appearance: silver mask; yellow shirt with red medallion; black jacket with large red hood, shoulder armor, and gloves; black pants with red belt; black boots
Accessories: black machine gun (new, laser-powered XL-14); black disc launcher (new, with red trigger); two red discs (new); black figure stand.
|Star Brigade Armor Tech (1993)
Appearance: silver helmet; dark red armor suit with grey on right upper arm and lower legs; black armor on shoulders; black left missile launcher arm
Accessories: clear, tinted dome helmet with black on back; silver "Iron Grenadier" laser pistol; silver "'89 Snake-Eyes" submachine gun; silver "Voltar" submachine gun; silver "'91 Sci-Fi" laser rifle; silver "Hydro-Viper" knife; two silver "Alley Viper" missiles; silver figure stand.
|Comic Pack (2008)|
- Destro mini-bust
- The second Iron Grenadiers version of Destro (and his vehicle, the Despoiler) appears as a boss of section 5-3 in the Taxan NES G.I. Joe game.
- Larry Hama's original name for the character who became Destro was "Warmaster." His filecard delved more into his "luxurious lifestyle," stating that Warmaster "is able to maintain apartments and office buildings in most major cities of the world," and "is one of the very few holders of the American Express Platinum card" - a credit card that didn't actually exist until 1984, a year after Destro's eventual release.
- "Warmaster" would have worn the same silver battle mask, but also a red cape and gloves. His base of operations would have been a converted oil supertanker called the Valkerie.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1
- ↑ 3.0 3.1
- ↑ 4.0 4.1
- ↑ &
- ↑ Action Force comic ran reprints of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero in a different order to the original printing. Additional material tied the stories into the Action Force continuity. The printing of Silent Interlude amidst stories from approximately a year and a half later is the most significant deviation from the US order. The
- ↑ , , and
- ↑ 31.0 31.1 ToyFare #145