redefining pop and play

Destro part 3


Destro was always more menacing and I took him way more seriously than the Commander. After all I once read that the Commander’s personality was a bit of Hitler mixed with Yosemite Sam. I am not joking.

The writers literally wrote Cobra Commander to be an evil dictator. As the series progressed they realized that the character just wasn’t working out with that personality in the given scenario’s.


Enter Destro, he was the stabilizing evil genius, ever since the beginning of the series. And I think now that we’re all a lot older we can see that so much better. Subconsciously, everyone seems to respect and relate to that character more. I remember the first GI Joe mini series (I think it’s the one with the Weather Dominator) Cobra captures Duke, and Cobra Commanders immediate thought is gladiatorial competition! Of course! After all isn’t that a normal first response to POW’s?

So, they throw Duke into a pit with a ten foot tall wrestler. Each gladiator is controlled by a device around their head (like Batman’s the Mad Hatter) as Cobra Commander and Destro manipulate them each with a Joystick control mechanism that is reminiscent of an atari controller. Ah, so eighties.

At one point Destro makes it a point to say, “Ok, we’ve had our fun, now let’s just kill him and move on to the next phase of our plan.” At that point Cobra Commander flips the hell out and is insistent on controlling Duke until there’s no fight left in him. I guess he just wants to break his spirits. Destro is actually animated to appear annoyed. Which is a phenomenal leap for an early 80’s cartoon.


Who is Destro in the pantheon of Cobra? The action figure says Cobra’s Arms Dealer. Even the theme song says something like: “… GI Joe against Cobra and Destro, fighting to save the day … GI Joe, A real american hero …” etc. Seemingly, Destro’s status has been established to be at least equal to that of Cobra Commander. After doesn’t he later get his own Iron Grenadiers.

So, despite his distinct red “Cobra-like” jacket collar, he’s his own man. Not quite a terrorist, just an arms dealer. Who lives in a castle in Scotland. I always thought he was a black dude, but no, he’s Scottish. Which reminds me, on a side note they should get Sean Connery to play Destro in the upcoming movie. That’d be like taking two icons and mashing them together into a new fantastic icon super-hybrid … hurray!

Maybe that’ll be my next Destro: a Sean Connery version.

One response

  1. J.R.Wells

    Truly insightful. I agree with much of what you say about Destro. But as for which Scott should play him I gotta suggest Gerard Butler. The voice and physical presence are there as well as the accent.

    Sean is great and iconic though.

    January 13, 2009 at 12:52 am

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