Today we're going to take a look at one of Champions' best second-tier master villains: Bruce Harlick's King Cobra. In and of himself, he's just OK: a snake themed villain with the requisite reptilian traits. But it's his obsession with turning everyone into a subservient snake being that makes him really stand out.
King Cobra was originally a genetics specialist named Timothy Blank. Even then, his research ethics were nonexistent, which caused him no end of trouble with mainstream scientists. Undaunted, he continued his research,using himself as a subject, ultimately splicing king cobra DNA with his own.
The results were at once horrifying and exhilarating: he was hideous to "conventional" perspective, but Dr. Blank saw the big picture: the very future of humanity! With him in charge (naturally). Armed with his new-found knowledge, he went forth to create a serpentine army.
So yeah, he's a snake villain who can make more snake villains. Pretty neat. Classic Enemies provides us with a single serpent minion in the form of Black Mamba. Interestingly enough, his Transformation effect only has a 50/50 chance of working. Ever. So there's no guarantee he can just turn everyone into a scaly minion.
As I mentioned above, King Cobra is really a second-tier master villain. He's not powerful enough to be a world-beater, really, though with his army of snake dudes and dudettes, he's certainly enough to hang a long campaign arc on. A later product (Champions Presents #2) expanded his organization and named it COIL, so you can kind of look at this appearance as his "early days."
I used King Cobra in some of my early games as a typical mad scientist (transform a city by putting his formula in the water supply, yaddayaddayadda), but all that stopped when I met my wife. She's extremely ophidiophobic, and even snake themed characters are off-limits in games she plays in (I learned this the hard way - she didn't speak to me for a day). Since she plays in most of my campaigns, I retired him with no regrets.
Next: Getting Technical