Marvel Comics continuity
Like many other Crimson Guards, Fred underwent plastic surgery for Cobra, receiving the identical set of "Fred" features of Fred Broca. Fred VII was based in Denver, where by day he ran a car repair business called "Fred's Autos". He specialised in movement enhancement robotics, focusing on robotic limbs, though developed other projects such as a suit of battle armor for Cobra Commander. Working as his accountant was Raptor.
When Cobra Commander was temporarily detached from Cobra, he discovered that his son Billy had been severely injured and had been in a coma for a long time. Seeking to heal his son and rebuild his life, the Commander sought out Fred, who introduced him to the battle armor. Billy emerged from his coma having lost an eye, a leg and his memory, and so Fred built him an artificial robotic leg that worked as well as the real one. Fred had also developed the Pogo assault pod, which Cobra Commander tested in an attack on a G.I. Joe convoy.
Cobra Commander had for some time become increasingly disillusioned with the course of his life and the impact it had had on those around him, especially Billy. After a confrontation with Billy at Fred's garage, the Commander told Fred and Raptor that he was abandoning Cobra. This horrified them both, believing it would mean Cobra would collapse. Fred was furious as he had had plastic surgery and given up his very identity for Cobra. Grabbing a gun he shot the Commander down. Standing over the Commander's body Fred commented that the battle armor could contain anyone. Raptor and Fred buried the Commander's body in woodland outside the city.
Fred then embarked on a bold plan, taking the battle armor and Pogo to Florida where he chartered a fishing boat owned by Captain Minh to take him to Cobra Island. Cobra forces attacked the boat and it was destroyed, but Fred launched the Pogo and fought his way through to the island. There, dressed in the battle armor, he confronted Serpentor in front of the assembled Cobra forces and proclaimed himself to be Cobra Commander. He answered all questions correctly but Serpentor still had doubts. However at this point the Baroness arrived on Cobra Island, having been relieved of her command at the Cobra Consulate in New York. As the Baroness was known to have seen the Commander's face she was entrusted with verifying the new arrival's claims. In private Fred confessed to her, but she seized the opportunity to regain a controlling role in the Cobra Organisation as Fred's silent partner. They emerged and she told the assembled Cobra forces that Cobra Commander had returned, to the frustration of Serpentor.
However Fred soon discovered that his plan was much riskier than he thought due to his lack of knowledge of Cobra operations. He rashly agreed to personally lead a Cobra mission to protect the Terror Drome operation without realizing that this would involve going into space. In a confrontation with a G.I. Joe shuttle craft the Baroness was knocked unconscious and Fred froze in fear. However he regained his composure and started giving orders, earning the respect and support of his troops. He then led a Cobra operation in Frusenland but the Baroness asserted control. The two began a romance but each sought to use it as a means to control the other. At the same time Serpentor and Dr. Mindbender spied on Fred, discovering that he was an impostor; however they did not expose him because of his support amongst the troops.
Tensions between Serpentor and Fred continued, with the latter installing a spy-camera in one of Serpentor's B.A.T. bodyguards. The tensions reached their climax at a ceremony when the two started arguing and came to blows, plunging the island into a civil war. During the war Fred's limited battle skills were sorely tested though most of the Cobras rallied to him. In order to shore up his limited numbers, Serpentor sent Dr. Mindbender to negotiate a deal with the US government, trading the return of stolen technology for support in the civil war. The US government agreed and dispatched a large squad of Joes to the island. One team encountered Captain Minh, who had survived on the island and was determined to wreak revenge on Fred. Meanwhile Serpentor captured the Baroness. The situation was exacerbated by the intervention of Destro and a huge detachment of Iron Grenadiers. Serpentor had the Baroness tied to his H.I.S.S. as a human shield, but Fred declared that would not stop him from firing. However his position soon crumbled due to his uncertainty and indecision. Soon Serpentor, the Joes and Destro had Fred boxed in between them, causing panic in the command. Zartan seized the initiative and fired an arrow, killing Serpentor. Mindbender immediately cut a deal with Fred to unite their forces to drive Destro off the island. However Destro came forward to declare he would withdraw his forces if he could take the Baroness with him, a request that was complied with. The Joes were also withdrawn.
In the aftermath the Baroness informed Destro that "Cobra Commander" was an imposter. Meanwhile Captain Minh attacked Fred and threatened to expose him, but Fred brought him off by giving him a Cobra Hydofoil to sail home. Mindbender informed Fred that he was also aware of his real identity; however Fred did a deal allowing Mindbender to keep the body of Serpentor in exchange for his silence. Fred and Mindbender sought to dispose of Zartan, who they identified as a risk, but Zartan captured Fred. He too knew that Fred was an imposter but escaped the island to pursue a personal vendetta with Storm Shadow, leaving Fred alive. Fred and Mindbender turned their attention to Destro, who was now rivalling Cobra for arms sales. They made an unsuccessful attack on Destro's Scottish castle, and Destro proposed an alliance. Destro soon took control of Cobra, restructuring it like a corporation with Fred and Voltar in charge of operations and manufacturing, with Fred also serving as a figurehead when selling arms. Around this time he also led an abortive attempt to kidnap the President of the United States in order to discredit the G.I. Joe team guarding him, but the kidnapping backfired and raised the Joes' prestige.
Zartan disguised himself as the Blind Master and joined with Captain Minh and Billy in an attempt to expose Fred as an impostor and the murderer of Cobra Commander. Meanwhile Raptor made his way to the island where he joined forces with Mindbender in a plan to retrieve the Commander's body and clone him. But when they dug up the grave the body was gone. Suddenly they were confronted by Cobra Commander - he had survived the shooting and had been healed by Fred VIII, then worked undercover to build up Cobra again. He felt it was now time to dispose of his enemies and regain control of the organisation. On Cobra Island Fred was aboard the landlocked freighter with Billy, Zartan, Captain Minh and others when they were suddenly trapped and the real Cobra Commander confronted them, declaring all his enemies were grouped. He threw Mindbender and Raptor in as well, then used explosions to send the freighter into the volcano, trapping all the occupants inside. The prisoners tried to escape but a power struggle broke out between Fred and Zartan. Fred would die sometime later inside the freighter, of botulism from the canned food stock that kept he and others alive, while others (including Zartan and Billy) would escape that fate.
Cobra Commander (version 22, 2005)
- This "Unmasked" figure was not meant to represent Cobra Commander, but rather Fred VII in disguise. The figure came packaged with Zarana, Zartan and a reprint of issue #74 of the original comic series, which featured Fred VII.
Cobra Commander (version 38, 2008)
- Another Unmasked Fred VII in Cobra Commander's armor was released with the seventh wave of comic packs in 2008. The pack also included Gung-Ho and a reprint of issue 64 of the Marvel series.