G.I. Joe has always had one of the better collection of villains in pop culture, with members of Cobra being just as recognized and beloved by fans as the heroes. One of the most popular members of Cobra was the mercenary expert of sabotage — Firefly.
Just one look at the guy reveals all you need to know why kids couldn’t wait to add Firefly to their collections. With his “robber-style” mask and grey camouflage, Firefly stood out among the other Cobra figures just as much as Storm-Shadow. Even on his action figure file card art, the guy looks shifty.
In their “G.I. Joe – A Real American Hero,” Hasbro released arguably the most popular series of Cobra villains in 1984 with the long-anticipated Baroness figure, Zartan and the Dreadnoks, Storn-Shadow and Firefly. This wave provided Cobra a much-needed boost to their forces and broke up the blue and black color scheme.
Firefly had a more significant role in the comic book. Comic author Larry Hama wrote Firefly a temperamental, vindictive assassin and key figure in the Cobra ranks following his first appearance in issue #24. He teamed with Destro to storm Snake-Eyes’ cabin in the woods, which set off a chain of events that led to the death of some major supporting characters in the comic book.
Firefly went on to get a second costume that wasn’t nearly as cool as the original look and Hama, getting too fond of working in ninja aspects to the Joe-comic world, expanded on Firefly’s origin to make him a ninja protege of the same clan that trained Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadown. That didn’t seem to feel as true to the character, who worked better as Cobra’s skilled saboteur, not another in the seemingly endless stream of Joe and Cobra ninjas.
In “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” Firefly is being played by Ray Stevenson, a familiar face to comic book movie fans with roles in “Punisher: War Zone” and “Thor.” Stevenson seems as good a choice as anyone to play Firefly, but he’s one character I wish they could’ve just kept his mask on the entire movie. But on the plus side, at least Cobra Commander is keeping his helmet on throughout the film.