Cobra Commander (G.I. Joe)(02 - Fred VII)
Real Name: Unknown
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When one becomes a member of the Crimson Guard, he gives up his past life, and takes up a new identity. In the past, many Guardsman underwent plastic surgery to share the same face as the others in their "series", so that they could easily replace a lost Guardsman and allow him to retain his status in the community. The most famous of these was the Fred series, patterned after the first "Fred Broca", whose name was even an alias. Fred VII was one of these men, and he became the most influential of these Guardsman, though few knew his identity.
Fred VII was a genius in mechanical engineering, focusing mostly on the field of robotics. His cover occupation was an auto mechanic, but Fred kept a secret laboratory in the back of his business, Fred's Garage in Denver. He worked in relative obscurity like many Siegies (CG's), until he was called into service when Cobra Commander arrived with his comatose son, Billy. The Commander had been presumed dead for months, and had been away from Cobra when he discovered his son in a hospital, having lost an eye and a leg. He asked Fred to construct a new prosthetic leg for Billy, one that worked just like it was his own. Fred was successful, and showed the Commander his other projects: a suit of high-tech battle armor and the Pogo assault pod. He had also been working with the man known as Raptor. With Fred and Raptor's help, the Commander tested the new hardware and tracked down and attacked a small convoy of Joes. It seemed Cobra Commander was ready to return to Cobra, but when he decided to abandon his evil past and dedicate his life to Billy, Fred became furious. He had given his whole life to Cobra. He wouldn't let the Commander just walk away! Fred pulled out his pistol and shouting "You owe me!", he fired a bullet into Cobra Commander's back. Standing over his leader's lifeless body, he picked up the helmet to Cobra Commander's battle armor, noting, "Funny thing about this helmet...Could be anybody inside..." He and Raptor buried the commander's body outside of Denver. Shortly afterward, Raptor spotted Billy and the Joe named Jinx leaving a nearby martial arts school. Raptor followed them to San Francisco. When Raptor tried to call Fred in Denver, he got no answer.
Fred hatched a bold, though perhaps ill-conceived plan. Taking his Pogo and battle armor, he rented a fishing vessel owned by a Captain Minh to take him to the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, to Cobra Island. As the boat reached Cobra waters, it came under attack from Mamba helicopters. Fred donned the battle armor, climbed aboard the Pogo and launched into the sky, destroying the fishing boat, and attacking the Mambas. When he eventually landed on the Island, he was greeted by dozens of troops and Serpentor. When the Cobra Emperor questioned Fred's identity, the Crimson Guardsman introduced himself as Cobra Commander. What followed was hours of interrogation by Serpentor. He answered all questions about Cobra correctly, but Serpentor remained suspicious. When the Baroness arrived by helicopter, Zartan pointed out that she knew what the Commander's true face looked like. Fred had thought he was the only Cobra to see the Commander's face, and saw that his charade was about to end. Inside the privacy of a closed helicopter, Fred removed his helmet and revealed his identity. To his surprise, the Baroness didn't turn him in. She put his helmet back on his head, and told him he just gained a silent partner. She slid open the copter door and announced that the true Cobra Commander had returned. Serpentor was shocked and Zartan was amused, but both remained suspicious.
Fred quickly realized he may have been in over his head and doubted they could pull off the ruse. The Baroness remained at Fred's side, coaching him on what to do and revealing information only Cobra's high command knew. Fred's first act as Commander was to agree to leading a dangerous mission without even knowing what it was. He was surprised to find himself strapped into a space shuttle and launched into orbit. During the battle with the Joes that followed, the Baroness was knocked unconscious and Fred was nearly paralyzed with fear. He eventually pulled himself together and started barking orders to the shuttle's crew. He managed to inspire his men and complete the mission, proving he may have had some leadership abilities after all. Despite Fred's victory, he was mostly the Baroness' pawn, acting as a figurehead while she made all the hard decisions. The two conspirators also seemed to start a romance, but both were using the relationship as a means of manipulating the other, and neither had any feelings for the other.
Serpentor continued to suspect something was amiss, and he and Dr. Mindbender spied on Fred and discovered he was an imposter. Serpentor decided to keep that knowledge to himself, mostly due to the troops' support for their Commander. Fred did some spying of his own, by installing a hidden video camera in a Battle Android Trooper that usually stayed close to Serpentor. After butting heads for a time, the rivals' dispute came to blows. During a ceremony on Cobra Island, their argument turned into a fistfight, and eventually sides were chosen and Cobra's civil war began.
Most of Cobra's rank and file sided with Fred, believing they were backing their true commander. Serpentor's supporters included Mindbender and the Crimson Guard -- whose support of Serpentor may indicate that they knew the Commander was an imposter. Though Serpentor's tactical skills were far superior to Fred's and even the Baroness', the sheer number of their supporters threatened to overwhelm Serpentor's troops. In desperate need of help, Serpentor sent Mindbender to make a deal with the United States. In exchange for thier stolen "black box", the U.S. would send the G.I. Joe team into the conflict on Serpentor's side. The war heated up once the Joes' arrived, and Fred's forces were nearly overwhelmed. Fred overestimated himself and ordered the Baroness around as if he truly was Cobra Commander. But the difficult battle was overwhelming and his inept leadership was leading him to defeat, as Serpentor lead a squad of HISS tanks into the final battle. Fed up with Fred's inability to make a decision, Zartan decided to intervene. He lept atop a tank and fired an arrow at Serpentor, hitting him in the head and killing him. Mindbender immediately surrendered and made a deal with Fred, handing the Joes an embarrassing defeat. Destro - whose forces had entered the fray - left on the condition that he be given the Baroness, who Serpentor had taken prisoner.
In the war's aftermath, Mindbender told Fred he knew who he was, and both men decided Zartan had to be dealt with. Fred tried to invade Zartan's home on Cobra Island, was was quickly captured by a group of Red Ninjas working for Zartan. The master of disguise allowed Fred to live, and set out on his own personal vendetta against Storm Shadow. Fred and Mindbender then led an assault on Destro's castle in Scotland, trying to end the arms dealer's threat, but the battle ended in Destro's favor, but rather than wipe out the invaders, he made a deal to take control of Cobra. Destro restructured the organization like a corporation, and Fred was merely one of the high-ranking managers. Resigned to serve as Cobra's figurehead when selling arms to foreign nations, Fred was shocked when it was revealed that the true Cobra Commander hadn't died after all. He returned to reclaim Cobra and dispose of all of his enemies. He imprisoned Fred and several others in Cobra Island's land-locked freighter, and buried it beneath a collapsed volcano. Some of the prisoners escaped, but Fred was not one of them. In the end, Fred's ambition got the better of him, and he died with few knowing he had even posed as the Commander at all.
Military Specialty: Mechanical Engineering
Status: Killed in Action
First Appearance: None listed.
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View a chronological listing of this character's appearances
Action Force (1987)
G.I. Joe Special Missions (1986)
#16 G.I. Joe Yearbook (1985)
- 'Tight Circle'#24
- 'Ladies' Day'#28
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (1982)
#58 G.I. Joe: Cobra Commander Tribute - 100-Page Spectacular (2011)
- 'Desperate Moves'#59
- 'Divergent Paths'#59 (Newsstand Edition)
- 'Divergent Paths'#61
- 'Beginnings... and Endings'#61 (Newsstand Edition)
- 'Beginnings... and Endings'#62
- 'Going Under'#64
- 'Maneuvering For Position'#65
- 'Shuttle Complex'#65 (Direct Edition)
- 'Shuttle Complex'#67
- 'Cold Snap'#68
- 'Cut and Freeze Dried'#72
- 'Divided We Fall'#74
- 'Alliance of Convenience'#75
- 'Holding Actions!'#76
- 'All's Fair'#77
- 'Rolling Thunder'#83
- 'Converging Destinies'#86
- '...Not Fade Away!'#87
- 'Assault On Castle Destro'#88
- 'Python Patrol'#90
- 'Recurring Themes'#97
- 'What Goes Around Comes Around'#98
- 'He's Back!'#99
- 'Calm Before The Storm!'
Cobra (G.I. Joe)
Crimson Guard (G.I. Joe)
Famous Quotes: - Add a Famous Quote
""Funny thing about this helmet... Could be anybody inside..."
— Fred VII"
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