Real Name: James Lardner

Identity/Class: Human mutate, deceased

Occupation: Former agent of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Group Membership: Formerly CIA

Affiliations: Operation: Cobra, Charles LeBlanc; formerly Marc Spector, the CIA

Enemies: Moon Knight; formerly Operation: Cobra

Known Relatives: Amos (brother, deceased)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Paris, France; formerly mobile in the USA

First Appearance: Marvel Preview#21 (Spring, 1980)



Powers/Abilities: Lardner was initially a trained agent of the CIA, and as such had some experience with combat, firearms, incendiary devices, espionage, etc.

As Cobra, his brain was wired with a series of electrodes, so that by remote stimulation handlers at Operation: Cobra could control his emotions and actions.  They could increase levels of adrenalin and other hormones to increase his speed and strength to peak or even enhanced human levels.  They could nullify his response to pain or any other stimuli.



(Marvel Preview#21 [fb]) - A few months after his brother Amos disappeared, James joined the CIA.  Spector asked him about Amos, "...but," as Spector put it, "James was a strange type...would never answer me...A young turk, but sort of like Gordon Liddy--prided himself on being cold and tough as steel...the man to get the job done, but not much on words."

Spector eventually quit the Agency.  He would later become the costumed adventurer Moon Knight.

(Marvel Preview#21) - Approximately three years later, James Lardner sought vengeance on those involved with Operation: Cobra.  Blaming Spector, he launched a grenade into his mansion, but Spector survived.  Lardner then traveled to Montreal, where he launched another grenade into Ravencrag Asylum.  Meanwhile, Spector had just been mailed Amos Lardner's corpse, and then he went to Ravencrag to determine if there was a connection.  Spector was present when Lardner attacked, and, as Moon Knight, went after him--Lardner used a gas bomb to escape.

Lardner next went after Charles LeBlanc, the head of Operation: Cobra, in Paris.  Spector, too, investigated LeBlanc, and again encountered Lardner, who finally unmasked and revealed himself.  Spector drove off Lardner and then went after him, but they got involved in a high-speed car chase, collided, and were knocked unconscious.  Both were taken by agents of Operation: Cobra, but Spector revived and escaped, while Lardner became their first completely successful subject--Cobra.

The next night, when Moon Knight again investigated, they sent Cobra to deal with him.  Moon Knight was unable to stop Cobra, until he spotted LeBlanc using his remote control, and threw a crescent dart at it.  The dart shorted out the controls, driving Lardner berserk.  He chased LeBlance, who got in his car and tried to flee.  Moon Knight took out one of the tires with another dart, causing the car to swerve into a tree and catch fire.  Lardner, oblivious to the danger and seeking only vengeance, lifted the front end of the car into the air, just as it exploded--killing both he and LeBlanc.

Comments: Cobra created by Doug Moench (writer) and Bill Sienkiewicz (artist).

I've read Marvel Preview#21 two to three times now--I'm still not sure who mailed Amos Lardner's corpse to Marc Spector.  LeBlanc?  or James Lardner?  Bueller? anyone?

I'll guess it was sent by Hanson.  And, probably C.O.D. (Corpse On Delivery).--Carycomix 

The Cobra story was apparently based on actual events. The CIA did conduct mind-control experiments in the '60s and '70s in Montreal. The experiments, codenamed MKULTRA, were performed in the Allan Memorial Institute, a mental hospital housed in a 19th century manor called Ravenscrag - unlike in the Moon Knight story, however, most of the experiments were conducted using mind-altering drugs, including LSD, instead of cerebral electrodes. The whole thing is pretty spooky.
--Minor Irritant

Profile updated/edited by Kyle Sims

James Lardner, Cobra, has no known connection to:

Ravencrag Asylym has no known connection to:



He was apparently both a member of the CIA, and possibly associated with Operation: Cobra.  Later, he served as the head of Ravencrag.

--Marvel Preview#21


Amos Lardner

Amos was a member of the CIA, sometimes partnered with Marc Spector--both of whom developed a respect and trust of each other.  One day, Amos became involved in an ultra-secret project, the details of which he refused to share, even with Spector.  He had Spector smuggle him across the Canadian Border, dropping him off in Montreal, at Ravencrag manor, and was not seen by Spector again--until three years later, when he showed up at Spector's estate--dead, mailed inside a pine crate labeled "Manipuler Avec Soin"--French for "Handle with Care."

Amos went to work for Operation: Cobra, but ended up becoming an unwilling test subject.  The chemicals they used on him eventually drove him mad until he finally killed himself.

--Marvel Preview#21 (#21 [fb])

Charles LeBlanc


The director of Operation: Cobra.  He lacked scruples, morals, courage, and appetite control.  He was apparently involved with the operation back in Montreal, and then moved it to Paris after it was discontinued at Ravencrag and by the CIA.  LeBlanc wished to develop the ultimate super soldier, and was more than willing to use his enemies (and probably anyone he could get his hands on) as test subjects.  He directed the use of James Lardner, and then controlled Lardner, but was killed by him when his controls were destroyed.

--Marvel Preview#21


Operation: Cobra

The goal of Operation: Cobra was to manipulate the enemy's mind, making him perform to one's will and thus creating a double agent without the agent himself realizing it (or simply incapacitating him beyond resistance).  Other goals included tapping the mind's little known potentials, such as E.S.P. or the ten-fold increase in strength seen with adrenalin release in times of severe stress.

(Marvel Preview#21 (fb)-BTS) - At Ravencrag Asylum, the CIA initiated Operation: Cobra, which included mind-control experiments: hypnosis, drugs, Skinner's Behavior Modification Techniques, sex--even crude attempts at electrical stimulation of the brain.  Several of the patients at Ravencrag were experimented upon without their knowledge, or under the guise of therapy.

(Marvel Preview#21) - Approximately three years later, Marc Spector was mailed the corpse of Amos Lardner.  As Moon Knight, he headed back to the last place he had seen Amos--Ravencrag Asylum.  Spector met with Hanson, the head of Ravencrag, where he learned that the asylum had become a legitimate organization. 

Further investigation sent Spector to Paris, where he learned that Charles LeBlanc was still running Operation: Cobra.  They were then attacked by James Lardner, who was fought off by Moon Knight, but both men were knocked out.  LeBlanc had both Lardner and Moon Knight captured, and while Moon Knight was drugged and interrogated, Lardner became the first successful test subject for the implantation of electrodes into the brain as a method of control.

Lardner's controls were eventually destroyed, and he went berserk, killing both LeBlanc and himself.  Spector then went to LeBlanc's estate and burned all of his records.  Spector then went home, and mailed Amos Lardner's corpse to the CIA Headquarters in West Virginia.



Based in Montreal, it was the institution used initially by Operation: Cobra.  Later, however, it became a legitimate mental institution under the direction of Hanson.  Moon Knight investigated Ravencroft, and was accosted by several disturbed patients.  He then bumped into the masked James Lardner, who was setting a bomb to destroy Ravencrag--as punishment for its past involvement with Operation: Cobra.  Moon Knight defused the bomb, but Lardner escaped.

--Marvel Preview#21



Marvel Preview#21 (Spring 1980) - Doug Moench (writer), Bill Sienkiewicz (artist), Lynn Graeme (editor)

First Posted: 10/01/2002
Last updated: 03/08/2012

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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