The Other Half of the Battle: “The Cobra Strikes”

In this new semi-regular series here at arealamericanbook, I take a look at key episodes of G.I. Joe (1983), G.I. Joe (1989), and GI Joe Extreme (1995) for your infotainment enjoyment.  Yes, there was a television show called “GI Joe Extreme”.

“The Cobra Strikes”
original airdate 9/12/83
Written by Ron Friedman

The plot in one sentence: Cobra blackmails the world with its matter teleportation device in the very first episode of G.I. Joe ever!

Best thing about this episode: This frame:

G.I. Joe "The Cobra Strikes" screencap Duke kicking

It starts as a face kick, but ends up being a neck kick.

Weirdest thing about this episode: Duke’s about 6 feet tall, right?  So what’s up with Ramar?

G.I. Joe "The Cobra Strikes" Duke and Ramar

Personal Trivia:  I don’t think I caught this in its initial broadcast.

Best line:  “The shipment was difficult to assemble, and I lost more time climbing to this ridiculously melodramatic location!” (Destro to Cobra Commander)

Worst line: “I’m going to kick the mustard out of that crazy hotdog!” (Duke)

Number of times a Joe kicks a Cobra in the face/neck in this episode:  One.

Number of times a Joe kicks a Cobra in the face/neck in the entire series:  Two.

Historical significance?  After Masters of the Universe started a new trend, G.I. Joe was the next big kids cartoon to debut in first-run syndication.  You can bet children dulled by the tame and static Hanna-Barbera and Ruby-Spears cartoons of the 1970s had never seen so much mayhem.  To wit:

G.I. Joe "The Cobra Strikes" screencap Duke Scarlett Skystrikers

Most Skystrikers don't make it off the runway, destroyed in a Cobra raid.

Does it hold up?  The animation is the best of the entire series, with more fluidity and effects than any other episode until the higher budget G.I. Joe: The Movie came along in 1987.  The villains are delicious, there’s a nod to proper military hierarchy (something that many episodes eschew), and there’s more face punching, face kicking, and explosions than almost any other episode.  But there’s also a little too much goofiness, from Cobra’s mind-controlled slaves to the general concept of the matter teleportation device.

A Real American Book gives it 4 out of 5 MacGuffins

I give it 4 out of 5 MacGuffins.

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Filed under The Other Half of the Battle (Episode Reviews)

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