Zartan first appears in the episode "Dreadnoks Rising." He is the leader of the Dreadnoks and has a talent of impersonating voices. Zartan and his Dreadnoks have been terrorizing a local town even putting fear in its sheriff. Zartan captures a local waitress named Wendy, causing Snake-Eyes to go after her. Snake-Eyes managed to free Wendy and got ganged up on by Zartan and the other Dreadnoks. The other G.I. Joe members teach the town to stand up to Zartan and the Dreadnoks.
When the Dreadnoks presented the captured Snake-Eyes, bound in chains, Zartan fights the Joes when the Dreadnoks attack. Zartan is taken down a notch when Snake-Eyes easily escapes at the right moment, and uses the chains as a weapon. When Zartan takes Wendy captive, he is tackled by Sheriff Terry, who manages to defeat Zartan and arrest him. When Flint and Lady Jaye arrive in town to arrest Duke's team, they ended up getting Zartan and his Dreadnoks.
In "Knockoffs," Flint and Lady Jaye end up using Zartan to help track down the Joes. He has Flint lend him a GPS since he had a tracer on the motorcycle that Snake-Eyes stole from him. During the conflict between a Cobra transport, the Joes, and the Falcons, Zartan knocks out Lady Jaye and ends up making his way into a Cobra Van where he ends up equipping himself with a chameleon-type wrist device that outfits him in the prototype experimental "chameleon mold" suit (resembling the usual one used by other incarnations) that will enable him to mask his appearance by taking the form of anyone it scans.
Upon discovering what it does, Zartan ends up using it to take the Cobra van to get away from Flint. During the conflict, he tried to dispose of Scarlett by disguising himself as Duke. When it came to the real Duke arriving, Snake-Eyes took down Zartan as the heartbeat was different. When Scarlett touches the suit, it ends up resulting in a surge that leaves black burns around Zartan's eyes as she removes it. Zartan is taken back to prison while Baroness takes the chameleon mold to Cobra Commander. Due to the device acquiring the DNA of the first wearer as part of the chameleon mold's "fail safe imprinting feature" and Baroness having mind-wiped the creator that worked with Cobra on it, Baroness ends up visiting Zartan in jail where she makes a "get out of jail" offer that Zartan accepts.