Part 3Episode 3
A Cross Wing Chopper, the Skystorm is armed with 2 Air-toGround Anti-tank missiles, 4 "Trimmed Sparrow" Air-to-Air Missiles, and 2 "Imposer" 9MM pivoting auto-load twin cannons. The Skystorm saw only one single-panel appearance in the comic, with its pilot, Windmill, getting to show up for two issues just before the Cobra Civil War broke out.
In TAF, it's seen as the Joe team leaves the Missile Base in Area B (whether using it to get out, or being used to strafe the base, we don't know, as that bit was pretty unclear.)
Hostile Environment Troopers
Toxo-Vipers are given battle suits that are moderately air-tight and resistant to most solvents. Note the use of "moderately" and "most". Completely impervious to atmospheric dangers translates to "awkward", "slow-moving", and "expensive". So instead, Cobra High Command feels that the "Leaky Suit Brigade" should be motivated to get their jobs done as quickly as possible, without the pesky burdens of heavy and expensive equipment. The Toxo-Vipers didn't show up all that much in the comic, with their only real standout moment being the Eco-Warriors arc.
In TAF, they use what is either their backpack from their original gear, or a machine gun nest accessory (or some combination of the two.) They mostly serve as the "inconvenient stationary enemy that can mess you up if you're careless."
Toxo-Vipers were seen working with Scrap-Iron on a mission where an embezzling defense contractor was attemping to cover up his misdeeds (long and short of it, Cobra was hired to destroy all the records, and they got some new weapons plans in exchange):
They also showed up just before the return of Cobra Commander, at a party thrown for several visiting dignitaries, rulers, and despots:
The Cobra Rocket Sled was part of a small subline of gimicked accessories done in the late 80s (all the items in this line had a gimmick.) It never showed up in the comic, probably because it was too silly for Larry to ever say "okay, yes, I'll work it into the story this month."
In TAF, the riders of it serve as a source of cheap damage for your team if you aren't staying vigilant.
Stuart Finlay, hailing from Annapolis, Maryland, is a walking anti-talk weapon. He can launch high-explosive missiles from his backpack racks or from his "hip-swivel" holster tubes, and guide them to their objectives on a laser beam, without the use of his hands or his feet. Destro equipped him with a voice-activated weapons command system, made up of circuits and targeting computer modules built into various components of the blast suit he wears. Metal-Head just has to make visual contact with his target, let the computer calculate the range, plot the trajectory, wait for the green light to flash in his goggles' heads-up display, then yell "bang!" to complete the firing sequence. I didn't want to mention the cartoon too much :shepgun?:, but Metal-Head got the shortest end of the stick out of all 36 of the entities we'll be meeting in this LP.
He was the comic relief in a series where Cobra itself was something of a joke (the DiC seasons.)
In TAF, he's encountered just a couple of times, in Areas C and F, shooting at the player with an irregular firing pattern.
Small note: until a couple of days before writing this up, I actually didn't recognize him. At all. I had to magnify those in-game screenshots I put in his header above up to 1000% and start visually dissecting him before I realized the lighter gray strips showing up on both his legs, and the one behind his head, were weapons. Then a closer look at his head made me realize that's a helmet, and it finally hit me. So why did this take so long to figure out, a good 20+ years?
KID/Capcom did something kind of stupid here. Metal-Head was a boss in the Taxan game (Level 2.) They took a reasonably detailed boss sprite, and shrunk it down to the point that most details aren't easily distinguishable, and forced it into the "two-tone" color palette pretty much everyone but the Bosses has to make do with.
Metal-Head only got to show up in two issues of the comic. First, during the Battle of Benzheen:
Where he had the pleasure of reminding the Joe Armor team that sometimes, manueverability is more important than a big chunk of armor:
Soon after the ceasefire in Benzheen, he reported back to his real employer, Destro, at his ancestral castle in Scotland:
However, Destro didn't seem to quite believe him.
And that was all we ever heard of this guy. Still miles better than the DiC version, who sounded and acted like a complete social shut-in emotionally stunted man child with the IQ of horseradish.
The Cobra Pogo Battle Ball is used for fast, surprise assaults, which it succeeds at (because well-armored or not, who expects to be attacked by a big pogo ball?) It comes equipped with 3 Homing Bombs, an under-slung machine cannon, and a controlled burst rocket. The PBB is one of the few things that was carried over from the previous game, which had an interesting but not very well-implemented system of "borrowing" unpiloted Cobra vehicles until they got destroyed/you went into the next level/you reached a Boss.
In TAF, it shows up twice in Area C, and never again. Cobra Commander seems to have not renewed the funds for building more of them...
The Alley Vipers are the Cobra equivalent of a police S.W.A.T unit or a British S.A.S. (Special Air Service.) Cobra uses them as the spearhead of their inner-city invasion forces. To be an Alley Viper, one has to have a style of ruthlessness the other Cobra soldiers don't. In order to graduate from their training program, they are required to survive a full burst of machine gun fire across their frontal body armor, execute a thirty foot jump onto concrete with full combat load and run down a hundred meter gas-filled corridor without a gas mask. Since Alley Vipers tend to use various forms of treachery to achieve their objectives, one can imagine the attrition this leads to during the pre-graduation training...
In TAF, Alley Viper shows up as a Mini-Boss in Areas C and F, and they actually remembered to have him use his shield if the player attempts to fire upon him while he's moving.
Alley Vipers showed up a few times in the comic, such as during Cobra's invasion and occupation of Benzheen:
The one who "wants to rack up a good score" managed one kill, not that he got to live to enjoy it.
The next and last time the Alley Viper division showed up was during the storyline that crossed over with GI Joe's sibling line, Transformers:
These two had the bad luck to be in Scarlett's way as she was escaping from her Cobra infiltration.
This squad was nearby when she ran into Cobra Commander and Zarana. The Commander made the mistake of being a bit too wordy each time he tried to give them an order, which she kept taking advantage of, until: