Vipers are Cobra Troopers with additional infantry training, and better equipment. They are equipped with armored helmets and vests that can mask heat signatures, and assault rifles with built-in grenade-launchers.
Originally, Vipers were to replace the poorly equipped, but highly skilled "Blue-shirts", but it eventually became established that "Blue-shirts" are the basic level soldiers, while Vipers are advanced infantry.
Types of Vipers
Trooper: Their colors and identification can vary, but they usually have silver (sometimes red or brass) face-plates.Squad Leader: They look like ordinary Vipers, but with gold face-plates, and might have triangle rank patches (see Cobra Officer Ranks) on their sleeves.
Officer: They are dressed in gray uniforms with silver or gold face-plates, and have have triangle rank patches on their sleeves.
Blue-suit: These are the standard troopers, and constitute the majority of Cobra's Viper Corp. They appear in blue uniforms with black and red vests, and silver face-plates.
Brown-suit: They are the second line of Vipers, serving in the sub group Sonic Fighters. They appear in brown uniforms with brown and gold vasts, and red face-plates.
Purple-suit: Another unexplained color variant. Their uniforms are purple, with blue vests, and silver face-plates.
Green-suit 1: A properly colored suit, with subdued natural tones appropriate for camouflage. Thees uniforms are green, with gray or blue vests, and silver or brass face-plates.
Green-suit 2: A variation to the first "Green-suit", this uniform has blue vests, and brass face-plates.
Blue-face: These blue suits appear a darker blue, with black vest (with no red) and helmet, and blue face-plates.
Red-vest 1: This uniform is deep green, with a bright red vest, and a brass face-plate. This uniform appears on the Cobra Venom Cycle driver.
Red-vest 2: (also called: Urban Assault Trooper) This uniform appears like a normal "blue-suit", but the vest is completely red, and the wrist-guards are black.
These suites are built with climate-control systems akin the Range-Viper, and provide better protection and coverage. These troops are noted for being highly keen and efficient.
Blue-suit: These suites are blue with some red and black, and with a silver face-plate.
Red-suit: These suites are red with some purple and black, and with a black face-plate.
Arctic Assault: (called: Arctic Trooper) They supplement the ranks of Cobra's arctic forces, when call on to fight. They are not as skilled as Ice-Vipers, so they cannot operate as long in extreme cold. Their uniforms are of a lighter blue, with light-gray vests. Their heat-dampening helmets and vests have been retooled to keep in body-heat.
Python Patrol: They are highly skilled and trained in stealth. Their distinctive Python-patterns provide them with enhanced stealth versus electronic detection. (see: Python Patrol)
Crimson Strike Team: (called: Crimson Vipers) They are the initiates within the Crimson Guard. They appear in red uniforms with silver face-plate.
Battle Corps: They are equipped with spacesuits, and have been given the minimal level of Astronaut training (enough to be able to be sent up to space for sort term, but not enough to survive out there), as they considered expendable. These suits are purple, with some orange, and gray leggings.
Neo-Vipers: They are the next generation of Vipers. (see Neo-Vipers)
Heavy Weapons Specialist: These strong soldiers are equipped with S.A.W.s (squad automatic weapons), and L.A.W.s (light anti-tank weapons).
Paratrooper: Much like a Cobra Pilot and Air-trooper (see Cobra Officer Specialists), they are trained in the use of parachutes, gliders, jet-packs, and basic aircraft, like the F.A.N.G. helicopter. Their epically loud uniforms are red, with gray and blue vests, black helmets with silver face-plates.
A Real American Hero continuity
Marvel Comics continuity
Devil's Due Comics continuity
G.I. Joe vs. Transformers
Action Force (British) Comics continuity
Vipers were deployed on Cobra operations including:
- The attempted capture of a Northrod B2 bomber crew who crashed on an island with top secret information
- The attempted theft of the new Broadcast Energy Transmitter from a tropical island.
- An assault on London to free Destro who was held prisoner at Action Force's headquarters.
- The capturing of an oil terminal in the Gulf of Arabia, which was liberated by Action Force.
They were also stationed at a variety of locations including:
- A Cobra rocket launch base hidden in the Australian outback
- A covert Cobra laser research facility on an uninhabited island off Sweden.
Blackthorne Comics continuity
Dreamwave Comics continuity
Hasbro Comics continuity
Animated continuity - Sunbow
|A Real American Hero (1986)
Appearance: blue helmet with black goggles and silver faceplate; blue shirt and black vest with red straps; red gloves; blue pants with black belt and red stripes on sides of legs; black boots
Accessories: black backpack (with sculpted canteen and two grenades) with small Cobra emblem on back; light grey two-handled RDT assault rifle/grenade launcher with small scope.
|A Real American Hero (1989)
Appearance: black helmet with red goggles and faceplate; dark grey short-sleeved shirt with light grey crisscross pattern; yellow straps, belt, and stripes on sides of legs; dark grey pants; black gloves and boots
Accessories: black "Viper" backpack; black "Viper" assault rifle.
|A Real American Hero (1991)
Appearance: gold helmet with black goggles and red faceplate; brown shirt and vest with gold straps; black and gold gloves; brown pants with black belt and gold kneepads and stripes on sides of legs; black boots
Accessories: gold Sonic pouch backpack with engraved rope and roll; gold "Shockwave" pistol; gold "Hit & Run" submachine gun; gold "Annihilator" submachine gun; three-piece gold "Downtown" mortar launcher.
- Larry Hama made no distinction between the Vipers and the regular Cobra Troopers. He sent a note to Hasbro saying "Vipers can be the generic term for all Cobra Troopers. Tele-Vipers being the comm specialists, HISS-Vipers being attached to the armored branch, Air-Vipers to flight ops, etc." However, most fans consider the Vipers to be the next step up the ladder from the starting-level blueshirts.
- Adding confusion to the relationship between the Cobra Troopers and the Vipers is the 1986 GJ Joe Order of Battle Viper entry which states that "If you want to get anywhere in Cobra, you have to start out as a Viper." and that Vipers were the "bottom of the ladder". This could be interpreted to mean that for the common Cobra soldier, the Viper is the beginning of the respectable Cobra positions. As a result, this suggests that the Cobra Trooper officers (distinguised by the helmet Chevron) either are outranked by Vipers or may not be officers in any meaningful context.
- The Vipers' 1991 filecard was written in-house at Hasbro, then sent to Larry Hama for editing. The original reads:
|“||Vipers are considered the grunts in Cobra's Legions. If there's a dirty job that needs doing, these guys are first in line. And after a band of Cobra double-agents stole the plans to G.I. Joe's sonic weapons technology, and they needed somebody to test their own substandard, makeshift versions of these devastating high-tech weapons, the Vipers were immediately volunteered for the job.||”|