G.I. Joe character
Cobra Viper Figure
Cobra Viper figure released in 2008.
Affiliation Cobra
Specialty Mainly as infantry, but depends on the specific Viper class
File name Depends on Viper variation
Birthplace Depends on Viper variation
SN Depends on Viper variation
Rank Depends on Viper variation
Primary MOS Depends on Viper variation
Secondary MOS Depends on Viper variation
Series All series, including cartoons and comics
Voiced by Various actors
Year introduced 1983

A Viper is the code-name given to a large majority of the soldiers/troops in the Cobra Organization, as part of the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero toyline, comic books and cartoon series. With the exception of the Viper infantry trooper, the code name "Viper" is usually preceded by their area of expertise.


The Vipers are the backbone of the Cobra legions. The Cobra infantry troopers are issued a combination assault rifle/grenade launcher, with an advanced night vision/telescopic sight and range finder. Multi-layered body armor and composite helmets with built in commo gear are also standard issue. Vipers are superbly trained, formidably equipped and highly motivated, because they know that if you want to get anywhere in Cobra, you need to start out as the bottom of the pyramid.[1]

Vipers can then opt for additional training, which enables them to be transferred to specialized units, focusing on specific military occupational specialties. These units are considered elite, and are constantly examined for effectiveness, some being renamed and reorganized, absorbed into other units, or sometimes completely phased out. Some units even customize their chain of command, allowing for unique Viper designations with distinct leaders.[2]


The first figure to receive the designation Viper was the Viper Pilot (included with the Cobra Viper Attack Glider) in 1983. In 1985, Hasbro released the Tele-Viper (Cobra Communications) alongside other Cobra troops without the Viper designation, such as the Snow Serpent (Cobra Polar Assault) and the Eel (Cobra Frogman).[3]

For the most part since then, most Cobra troops including drivers and pilots, have had the Viper code name attached to their area of expertise. The Cobra Soldier figure was the standard infantry trooper for Cobra, until 1986 when Hasbro released the Cobra Viper figure.[4] The Viper's uniform featured a black flak jacket and a mirrored mask that resembled the battle mask worn by Cobra Commander. This figure was later released both as part of the Python Patrol and Sonic Fighters sub-lines of G.I. Joe in alternate colors, in 1989 and 1990 respectively.

In 1994 a new standard infantry Viper figure was released with an all-new look (purple armor with gas mask). In the G.I. Joe comic book series published by Marvel this version of the Viper was portrayed as being a yellow/gold color. This new uniform did not last long however and Cobra has since returned to the more familiar Viper look for its standard Vipers.

List of Viper Variations

  • Aero-Viper - Condor Z25 Pilot
  • Air-Viper - Cobra Air Force Trainee
  • Alley Viper - Cobra Urban Assault Trooper
  • Astro-Viper - Cobranaut
  • A.V.A.C. - Air-Viper, Advanced Class; Firebat Pilot
  • Bio-Viper - Amphibious Mega-Monster
  • Cyber-Viper - Cybernetic Officer
  • Desert-Viper - Cobra Desert Trooper
  • Elite-Viper - Elite Regiment Officer
  • Fast Blast Viper - Field Combat
  • Flak-Viper - Cobra Anti-Aircraft Trooper
  • Frag-Viper - Cobra Grenade Thrower
  • Gyro-Viper - Mamba Pilot
  • Hazard-Viper - Toxin Specialist
  • H.E.A.T. Viper - High-Explosive, Anti-Tank; Cobra Bazooka Trooper
  • Heli-Viper - Cobra Battle Copter Trooper
  • Hydro-Vipera - Cobra Underwater Elite Trooper. Also known as the "Demons of the Deep"
  • Ice-Vipera - Cobra WOLF Driver
  • Jungle-Viper - Jungle Assault Trooper
  • Kitchen Viper - Mentioned in the comics only; never actually seen. Judging by their name, it is assumed that they work in Cobra's mess hall.
  • Laser-Viper - Cobra Laser Trooper
  • Medi-Viper - Medical Trooper [5]
  • Mega-Viper - Mega-Monster Trainer
  • Monstro-Viper - Savage Mega-Monster
  • Motor-Viper - Cobra Stun Pilot
  • Nano-Viper - Cobra Commando
  • Neo-Viper - Officer/Infantryman
  • Night-Viper - Cobra Night Fighter
  • Ninja-Viper - Martial Arts
  • Nitro-Viper - Detonator Driver
  • Para-Viper - Cobra Paratrooper
  • Pit-Viper - Infiltration Trooper
  • Range-Viper - Cobra Wilderness Trooper
  • Raptor-Viper [6] -
  • Red Ninja-Viper - Ninja Warrior
  • Rock-Viper - Cobra Mountain Trooper
  • Sand-Viper - Desert Infiltrator
  • S.A.W. Viper - Cobra Heavy Machine Gunner
  • Secto-Viper - Cobra Bugg Driver
  • Shadow-Viper - Counter Intelligence
  • Shock-Viper - Fire Assault Trooper
  • Sludge-Viper - Cobra Hazardous Waste Viper
  • Star-Viper - Cobra Stellar Stiletto Pilot
  • Strato-Viper - Cobra Night Raven S³P Pilot [7]
  • Street-Viper - Urban Combat Trooper
  • Sub-Viper - Underwater Demolitions
  • Swamp-Viper - Amphibious Assault Trooper
  • Techno-Viper - Cobra Battlefield Technician
  • Tele-Viper - Cobra Communications
  • Terra-Viper - Cobra Mole Pod Pilot
  • Toxo-Viper - Cobra Hostile Environment Trooper
  • Track-Viper - H.I.S.S. II Driver
  • Viper - Cobra Infantry
  • Viper Guard - Cobra Infantry
  • Viper Pilot - Attack Glider Pilot

^a The Hydro-Vipers are actually part of the Cobra Eels, and the Ice-Vipers are part of the Snow Serpents. How it is that these troops are "Vipers" and yet part of a non-Viper unit has never been explained by Hasbro.

Other Cobra troopers

Main article: Cobra Troopers

Python Patrol

Main article: Python Patrol

Python Patrol is a codename given to a subgroup of Vipers and other Cobra troops whose uniforms have undergone the "pythonization" process. This renders their uniforms immune to radar and other forms of electronic detection. The unit has been led by both Copperhead and Major Bludd. In one instance, Zarana leads a unit on an attack on G.I. Joe's headquarters, the Pit.

Vipers in Python Patrol:

  • Python H.E.A.T.-Viper
  • Python Laser-Viper
  • Python Rock-Viper
  • Python S.A.W.-Viper
  • Python Tele-Viper
  • Python Viper


Marvel Comics

Alley Vipers made their first appearance in issue #92 of the Marvel Comics G.I. Joe series. They fight the G.I. Joe Team in the fictional city of Rio Lindo.[8]

Several Cobra Vipers fight the Joe team in issue #113, in the fictional country of Benzheen, including Alley Vipers, Frag-Vipers and one Range-Viper. An Alley-Viper and Frag Viper send out a child into fire, this draws Sneek-Peek, whom the Range-Viper kills. Other Joes raid the Cobra position, and the Alley-Viper is killed by Stalker.[9]

Alley Vipers also fight Mutt and Spirit in Millville, a town Cobra was attempting to conquer,[10] and appear in issue #145, where they fight G.I. Joe in Borovia.[11]

Devil's Due

Vipers are seen working closely with Dreadnoks in Cobra's first push to revive in seven years.[12] They then work closely with Iron Grenadiers. In a push to claim power in America, Cobra forces have used microscopic nanites to attack everything from communication systems to random citizenry. Vipers and Cobra allies are presented as "saviors", but they are simply outright killers, for example they murder every member of a National Guard relief convoy and distribute the supplies themselves.[13] Vipers are part of the forces that march on the White House, which is defended by a multi-military effort, including several Joe soldiers. The Vipers kill multiple Joe rookies (collectively called "Greenshirts").[14]

Several Alley-Vipers are slain while assisting the Dreadnoks in battling an out of control Battle Android Trooper.[15] A single Alley-Viper is a part of the team combing Cobra Island for the infiltrator Barrel Roll.[16] Several Alley-Vipers are part of the Cobra forces infiltrating the town of New Moon, Colorado,[17] and are also used in a Cobra demonstration at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington.[volume & issue needed]

A Range-Viper code-named Skull Buster had made his home in the wilds of the country Namibia. When Shipwreck and Cover-Girl wash up on shore, he decides to kill them by faking their deaths from exposure; simple murder would cause too much of an investigation and disrupt his 'retirement' in the bush. Shipwreck stuns the man with scorpion venom and he is taken back to civilization, a fate he fears.[18]

A particular Range-Viper code-named Body Bags is featured in a long running storyline in the America's Elite comics. He is one of many drawn from the ranks of Cobra soldiers to join The Plague, Cobra's latest answer to the elite of the G.I. Joe team.[19]

A Viper becomes swept up in the events of the alternate universe series, G.I. Joe Vs. Transformers 2. As with other prominent Joe and Cobra characters, he agrees to help rescue time-stranded Transformers. Failure means non-existence for all humans.[20]



The various Cobra soldiers of the 80's were featured in G.I. Joe. The Cobra Vipers made their first animated appearance in Arise Serpentor Arise!, which began the second season of the Sunbow-produced series. They were used as the common infantry for the remainder of the season, primarily replacing the blue and black masked Cobra soldiers of the first season (although those soldiers would still appear from time to time).

The Strato-Vipers that spoke were voiced by Jack Angel and Bill Ratner. The Tele-Vipers that spoke were voiced by Michael Bell, Chris Latta, and Frank Welker.


Ivy as Range Viper III & Ambush

Range-Vipers as seen in the DiC G.I. Joe cartoon.

Following G.I. Joe: The Movie, in the DiC run of cartoons, the main silver face-plated Cobra Vipers were replaced by various branches of Vipers (such as Range-Vipers and Laser-Vipers).

The Alley Vipers played heavy into the plot of the first mini series from the DiC produced G.I. Joe cartoon. G.I. Joe member Scoop is in training as a Crimson Guardsman, and his closest friend in Cobra is an Alley Viper. It is Scoop who helps Cobra Commander take control back from Serpentor.

The Range-Vipers appeared in many episodes of the cartoon. Two Range-Vipers appeared to have a vendetta against two G.I. Joe members: Captain Grid-Iron and Ambush.

  • The First Range-Viper appeared in Pigskin Commandos, he played quarterback for the pro football team, but hated Grid-Iron who was the quarterback of the other team.
  • The Second Ranger-Viper was a female named Ivy, who used to be the friend of Ambush. She was able to find all his hiding places, until Ambush disappeared to join G.I. Joe, and she vowed to kill him because he left without saying goodbye.

Techno-Vipers and Hydro-Vipers were only featured (cartoon-wise) in the commercials, since the 80s Sunbow cartoon had finished its production by the time their figures were released.

G.I. Joe: Resolute

Cobra Soldiers appear in G.I. Joe: Resolute. Alley Vipers were updated for the Resolute cartoon, and were in an all blue uniform

G.I. Joe: Renegades

In G.I. Joe: Renegades, there were different Vipers that weren't actually human soldiers:

  • The Bio Vipers are artificial creatures created by Doctor Mindbender from a blue liquid developed from experimented plants. Originally, the Bio-Vipers lacked a nervous system and show weaknesses to explosions and weed killer. However, Mindbender later upgrades his creations with Bio-Dampening chips, which made them smarter, but left them vulnerable to head shots. These creatures share many traits and attributes with the "synthoids" of the original cartoon, and seem to be an homage to them.
    • A freak accident caused by Ripcord absorbing Bio-Viper matter into his body, created the potential to produce a "Human/Bio-Viper Hybrid", with Cobra Commander seeing the potential of achieving immortality through it, upon being experimented on by Doctor Mindbender. To ensure control, Doctor Mindbender placed a control chip on Ripcord, in order to turn him into a Bio-Viper on command. After the events of "Prodigal," Doctor Mindbender attempted to duplicate the DNA combination in "The Anomaly."
  • During the events of "The Enemy of My Enemy," Doctor Mindbender is forced to work alongside Destro to combine their research to produce a combination of Bio-Viper and M.A.R.S exo suit. Though earlier attempts failed, Doctor Mindbender devised a perfect fusion in the creation of the Mecha-Vipers.
  • In "White Out," Shadow Vipers are black-colored versions of Bio Vipers, which were created to respond to Storm Shadow's mental commands, after Tomax and Xamot are used to establish a psychic link. The Shadow Vipers can materialize any part of them into ninja weapons, from katana-bladed arms to shurikens.
  • A Techno-Viper is a specially created prototype Bio-Viper that was synthesized with nanotechnology, enabling it to absorb energy and manipulate any machine that it come in contact with. But as the prototype Techno-Viper was uncontrollable, Cobra Industries had to put it into a container and keep it in cold temperatures.
    • During the events of "Shipwrecked", G.I. Joe found a container consisting of a prototype Techno-Viper in Canada, and later managed to dispose of it. But during the fight, Scarlett managed to set the Techno-Viper's destination to be Castle McCullen in Scotland. When learning of this, as he and Baroness interrogated the Joes, Destro suspects that Doctor Mindbender probably programmed the Techno-Viper to dispose of him.
  • Though Mindbender's first attempt was seemingly a failure, the artificial human/Bio-Viper hybrid code named 14-C, managed to reform itself in the sewers in New York City. Its lurking in the sewers caused it to be referred to as a Sewer Viper. However, lacking the ability to assume human form, the Sewer Viper spirited a kid named Reggie into the sewers, while hurting a teenager named Ray for bullying him. News of this attracted Cobra Commander's attention, as he orders Doctor Mindbender to reclaim the Sewer Viper before it is caught by the authorities. At the same time, Duke, Roadblock, Tunnel Rat, and Ripcord descend into the sewers to find Reggie and the Sewer Viper, revealed to be a good guy. Coming to the Joes' aid when captured by Mindbender, the Sewer Viper is revealed to lack a control chip while managing to remove the control chip from Ripcord. The Sewer Viper sacrifices itself, absorbing the explosion from the fail-safe that Mindbender installed, should his mental link with the Bio-Vipers' control chips be broken.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

Neo-Vipers were Cobra troopers who were enhanced with nanomites by The Doctor. These enhancements removed their self-preservation instincts and their sense of pain, and made them completely obedient to Cobra.

The ranks of Cobra Vipers originally consisted mostly of mercenaries and criminals, however after the completion of all of Cobra's nano experimentation Neo-Vipers may have mostly consisted of kidnapped soldiers from around the world. 20 mercenaries were selected for the painful series of injections, and the ones who didn't die from their pain were turned into the ultimate super soldiers.

Each subject was injected with 1,000 CCs of Nanomite solution, which left a small scar in the shape of a small cobra's head (all nano injected members of Cobra bear this mark, including Baroness, Zartan, and much later Destro). After injection, specially designed nanomites both attack and rewire the subject's central nervous system, making the subject completely under the absolute control of their controller (the only exception to this was Zartan, who destroyed the neural controlling nanomites before he was injected).

Video games

Some Vipers (such as Hydro-Vipers and Toxo-Vipers) appeared as regular enemies in the 1991 G.I. Joe video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Unusually for a non-individual, a Range-Viper appeared as a boss in the game.

Vipers also appeared in the game G.I. Joe: The Atlantis Factor.

Konami released an arcade-only G.I.Joe video game in 1992. Vipers were prominent enemies.[21]

Other works

  • Cobra Vipers are an important plot element in the G.I. Joe novel Divide and Conquer.[22]
  • A Viper figure is briefly featured in the fiction novel 6 Sick Hipsters. In the story, the character Paul Achting spent four years collecting G.I. Joe figures to set up a battle scene between the Joes and Cobra. As he imagined the characters in his head, he observed the "core of Cobra Command" atop an oak toy chest, high above the thick shag carpet, while a nearby Viper, "one of many similarly dressed infantrymen, stood at the ready alongside a ragged copy of The Haunted Spy".[23]
  • Range-Viper is mentioned as one of many Cobra toys in a New Yorker article, page 142, printed on December 10, 1993.

See also


  1. Hama, Larry (1987). Howard Mackie. ed. G.I. Joe Order Of Battle. Marvel Entertainment Group. p. 118. ISBN 0-87135-288-5. 
  2. Hidalgo, Pablo (2009). G.I. Joe vs. Cobra: The Essential Guide 1982-2008. Random House. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-345-51642-8. 
  3. Santelmo, Vincent (1994). The Official 30th Anniversary Salute To G.I. Joe 1964-1994. Krause Publications. p. 105. ISBN 0-87341-301-6. 
  4. Santelmo, Vincent (1994). The Official 30th Anniversary Salute To G.I. Joe 1964-1994. Krause Publications. p. 108. ISBN 0-87341-301-6. 
  5. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero vol. 2 #24 (2003)
  6. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero vol. 2 #28 (2004)
  7. Fleming, Dan (1996). Powerplay: toys as popular culture. Manchester University Press ND. p. 108. ISBN 0-7190-4717-X. 
  8. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #92 (November 1989)
  9. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #113 (June 1991)
  10. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #100-101
  11. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #145
  12. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero vol. 2 #1 (2001)
  13. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero vol. 2 #3 (2002)
  14. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero vol. 2 #4 (2002)
  15. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero vol. 2 #12 (December 2002)
  16. G.I. Joe A Real American Hero vol. 2 #30 (2004)
  17. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero vol. 2 #34-35 (2004)
  18. G.I. Joe: America's Elite #26 (August 2007)
  19. G.I. Joe: America's Elite #30 (2007)
  20. link
  22. Becker, Margot (1988). Divide And Conquer. Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-35095-2. 
  23. Casablanca, Rayo (2008). 6 Sick Hipsters. Kensington Publishing Corp.. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-7582-2283-1. 

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