You wanna talk about a bad group of fellas, then let's talk about COBRA. If you wanna talk about a bad guy, then I'll mention the COBRA Commander. If you wanna talk about a down-right, spit-on-your-mom, nasty boy, then I'm gonna go with Serpentor.
Apparently, and as the story goes, he was created through a breakthrough in cloning research by Dr. Mindbender from the DNA extracted from the unearthed remains of the most ruthless and effective military leaders in history, including Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Attila the Hun, Philip II of Macedon, Alexander the Great, Ivan the Terrible, Vlad the Impaler, Hannibal, Genghis Khan, and Grigori Rasputin - a whole bucket of trouble there. Serpentor's coolest catchphrase is 'This, I Command!', he says after giving his orders. I don't recommend using this catchphrase with, say, your parents.
COBRA's officers were seemingly unhappy with the fact that Cobra Commander kept on messing up every attempt at global domination, so, they went and created Serpentor. It seems, a dream inspires Dr. Mindbender to create a new leader for COBRA. However, in G.I. Joe: The Movie where, it was revealed that it was Cobra-La's ruler, Golobulus, that gave Dr. Mindbender the blueprint for creating Serpentor.
Unfortunately, due to the fact that G.I. Joe stopped Cobra from obtaining the genetic blueprints of Sun Tzu (the Chinese war strategist), Serpentor's personality was flawed. That missing genetic material was replaced by genetic material from Sgt. Slaughter (that's right, the Sgt. Slaughter) - it can be noted that at times Serpentor behaves a little like Sgt. Slaughter.
Serpentor is much braver than Cobra Commander, but every bit the egomaniac - bordering on stubbornness. Serpentor was usually portrayed as temperamental and easy to anger when things did not go his way.
During a messed-up attempt to attack Washington DC, Serpentor and his officers barely escaped with the help of Cobra Commander, and this allowed the Commander to persuade Serpentor to keep him as a scapegoat to hide his weaknesses. In return, Serpentor allowed Cobra Commander to be his right hand man, and second-in-command. Serpentor is probably more likely to beat those who displease him. And his strength was so unusually great that not even Sgt. Slaughter could over power him.
Later in G.I. Joe: The Movie, after learning his true origins, Serpentor joins Golobulus and Cobra-La in an attempt to conquer the world (yet again). Being still totally uncaring of Cobra Commander, Serpentor watches with pleasure as Golobulus holds a pod of spores that explodes in the Commander's face - which begins the poor Commander's mutation into a snake. Serpentor seemed to have perished in the animated movie when G.I. Joe Falcon causes his Air Chariot to go out of control, by causing Serpentor's cape to be sucked into the Chariot's intake fan.
Some fans weren't really happy when Serpentor was introduced into the COBRA and G.I. Joe universe. Some felt that he took away some of the realism of G.I. Joe. Another criticism came from the fact that a COBRA emperor could come from nowhere even though there had already been a COBRA leader far before.
In the cartoons, some view Serpentor to be just an extreme version of Cobra Commander and that his performance, though braver, is still a failure, although he made G.I. Joe's life more difficult than it should be. In any case, whatever your concept of a well-written cartoon maybe, I still remain a G.I. Joe fan.
Serpentor was introduced in 1986 as a boxed figure that came with a personal air chariot. That same year, he was introduced in the animated series, in a five part mini-series called 'Arise, Serpentor, Arise!' This bad boy took over the leadership of COBRA in Season 2.
1986 happened to be the fifth series of G.I. Joe toys issued, and all in all, three versions of Serpentor were made - 1986, 2002 (where his armour was a darker grey shade), and 2005 , where Serpentor's helmet was made removable.
All in all, Serpentor is a classic figure, right out of the G.I. Joe glory days. He was one of the most stand-out characters, unique and originally cast. That's right. The figure cast for Serpentor was completely original, not made from bits and pieces of other figures. So that next time anyone ever says anything about how G.I. Joes were lame and commercial, explain to them the true nature of Serpentor and then stab them in the next. Then preferably, leave the country quick.