Kobra (pop culture)
Making a villain the protagonist of a series is always a hard sell, but Kobra is never one to take “no” for an answer. Even with his title canceled, he remains a force to be reckoned with in the DC Universe. The 1976 issue of Kobra #1, by Jack Kirby, Steve Sherman, Martin Pasko, and D. Bruce Berry, introduces the man known only as Kobra and his brother, Jason Burr, born “Siamese” (or conjoined) twins. After surgical separation, they are psychically linked: when Burr experiences pain, Kobra also feels it. If one dies, so will the other. However, the Cobra Cult of India had foretold their birth. One of the twins, destined to be their leader, or “Naja Naja,” would guide them through the Kali Yuga, the world's fourth age in which the forces of Order would crumble before those of Chaos. Kobra was kidnapped by the Cult and his training began. Kobra led the Cult through many schemes, such as trying to assume control of America's “Star Wars” missile defense system and attempting to manipulate the present by tampering with the flow of time. These brought him into conflict with superheroes such as Batman and the Outsiders, Aquaman, Superman, and the Flash. When it was determined that Jason Burr was Kobra's “weakest link,” Burr was killed during a time when their psychic connection had been temporarily severed. Kobra endured a similarly tempestuous relationship with a woman known as Eve. Created to give the inhumanly evil character a human aspect and make the character less similar to Marvel's Dr. Doom (another Kirby co-creation), later editorial dictates drove a wedge between Eve and her serpent. Kobra is a deadly hand-to-hand combatant, and wears battle armor containing lethal weapons such as venom spray that can blind or kill opponents and extendable constrictors that can crush the life from anyone caught in their coils. But his main dangers lie in his scientific genius, his ruthlessness, and his stone-cold ambition. In the story “Justice Eternity” by David Goyer & Geoff Jones, Leonard Kirk, and Keith Champagne in JSA #51 (2003), Kobra appears to have been killed by Black Adam, who yanked Kobra's heart from his body. However, as any herpetologist can tell you, cobras are deadliest when they appear helpless. Outside of comics, Kobra appeared in Roger Stern's Superman novel The Never-Ending Battle (2005).