Zarana's past is as much a mystery as that of her brothers, Zartan and Zandar. She became a very talented actress, with the ability to lose herself in her characters. Whereas Zartan disguised himself visually, Zarana created a new persona. She may have had a promising career in acting if it wasn't for her cruelty, selfishness and greed. Her talents made her a perfect infiltrator and skilled assassin.
Zarana worked with the Dreadnoks for a brief time in Australia, though she never met the three Dreadnoks that Zartan brought with him to America. Those three Dreadnoks being: Buzzer, Ripper, and Torch. Years later, Zarana and Zandar arrived at the Dreadoks' gas station hideout in New Jersey, where they learned Zartan had been captured by the G.I. Joe team. Zarana immediately insisted on rescuing her brother, partially due to a large amount of gold he had hidden away. Using Buzzer's knowledge of Joe headquarters, The Pit. Zarana and Zandar disguised themselves as Army personnel sent to interrogate Zartan. They managed to escape with their brother, but the Joes caught on at the last moment, and chased them into the Jersey swamps. With help from the Dreadnoks, the siblings escaped from the Joes and headed to Cobra Island.
Zarana soon began working for Cobra, usually alongside her brothers. As Zartan became increasingly less involved with the Dreadnoks, Zarana became their de facto leader. While Buzzer had filled that job to some extent, Zarana proved to be smart, resourceful and something the other Dreadnoks had never been: ambitious. She slowly gained more power in Cobra, even replacing the Baroness as commander of the Cobra Consulate in New York for a time. Her promotion however, was likely Serpentor's way of punishing the Baroness, and it was short-lived.
Serpentor later placed Zarana in command of Cobra's Terror-Drome launch base in Sierra Gordo, along with Dreadnoks Monkeywrench and Thrasher. Interested in self-preservation more than anything else, Zarana abandoned the Terror-Drome to the small nation's revolutionaries, allowing many of the Cobra soldiers there to die while escaping in Thrasher's Thunder Machine. She and the others soon found a G.I. Joe transport plane and forced the pilot to take off, taking a large group of refugees hostage. The pilot, Wild Bill, had no choice but to take off, but the plane was quickly hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed into the jungles below. The Joes and the Dreadnoks became fast allies, and worked together to escape the war-torn country.
Zarana arrived back on Cobra Island just in time for the Cobra Civil War, which was fought by the forces of Serpentor and Cobra Commander (actually Fred VII in disguise). Zartan and his siblings allied themselves with Cobra Commander during the war, and Zarana even commanded some of his forces. The war finally came to an end when Zartan killed Serpentor with an arrow. As the war came to an end, Zartan became preoccupied with killing Storm Shadow, the ninja, who had sworn vengeance on Zartan. The master of disguise disappeared for months, though Zarana didn't seem to mind. She continued to lead the Dreadnoks and was put in charge of Cobra's new community on the Jersey shore, Broca Beach. Zarana and Zandar ran a real estate scam that brought investors into the town, and Zarana remained in charge there, and even captured two members of the Joe team: Clutch and Rock & Roll. She ingeniously discovered that Cobra's Brain-Wave Scanner could be used to plant memories in a subject's mind, and proceeded to brainwash the Joes. Her project even impressed the Baroness, with whom she had an antagonistic relationship. Her attempts to turn the Joes into assassins to wreak havoc in the Pit eventually failed, but Zarana continued to work for Cobra.
When the original Cobra Commander returned to lead his organization, much of his original high command had turned their backs on him. Destro and the Baroness left to lead the Iron Grenadiers, and Zartan, Firefly and Dr. Mindbender were all buried in a frieghter on Cobra Island and left for dead. Thus, Zarana became one of the Commander's closest advisors. Though she was no where near as valuable as Destro or Zartan had been, the Commander appreciated her cunning mind and cruel sadistic nature. After losing the town of Millville to the Joe team, the Commander set his sights on Eastern Europe, allying himself with a rebel leader, and taking control of the small nation of Borovia. At that time Zarana lost interest in Cobra, or Cobra Commander lost interest in her. Either way, the Commander brainwashed Destro, Baroness and Zartan into serving him, and he never gave Zarana a second thought. Zarana rounded up the down-on-their-luck Dreadnoks, leading them off into America, and undoubtedly wreaking havoc along the way.
A short time later, Cobra was defeated by the military, and its high command was scattered. Zartan returned to the United States, where he began organizing the Dreadnoks into an organized national biker gang, and started building a small army of Dreadnoks. Zarana eventually joined her brother, but was angered to see that her niece, Zanya was being groomed to become the next leader of the Dreadnoks. Zarana believed she was "The Rightful Heir", but bowed to her brothers wishes, and took control of the Chicago chapter of the Dreadnoks. Zarana had little or no contact with Zartan, the other Dreadnoks and Cobra during their first battle with the reinstated G.I. Joe team. After Zartan renewed his involvement with Cobra Commander, Zarana oversaw the arrival of a new advanced Cobra B.A.T. at the Chicago compound. While Dr. Mindbender was working on the new android, he lost control of it and the Dreadnoks were forced to deal with its rampage through their base. Eventually, the battle spilled out into the streets, where the Joe team got involved in the attempt to stop the B.A.T.
Some time later, Cobra Commander was captured by the forces of a revived Serpentor, and was being held on Cobra Island. He called on Destro to take command of Cobra and rescue him. Destro recruited Zartan and all his Dreadnoks, including Zarana. The group arrived at the island to battle The Coil, Serpentor's army, and G.I. Joe. Following the battle, Zarana was surprised to learn that Zandar had joined The Coil and had fought against them, before nearly being killed by Zartan. To atone for Zandar's betrayal, Zartan posed as Cobra Commander for some time. After he was captured by the Joe team, who believed him to be Cobra Commander, Zarana lead a group of Dreadnoks to a government facility to free her brother. After paying their debt to Cobra, the Dreadnoks ended their involvement with them for months, entirely missing out on the battle against the Joe team and the mysterious Red Shadows organization, that once again scattered Cobra and made the Commander an international fugitive.
A little over a year later, Cobra Commander infiltrated the White House, replacing and posing as Chief of Staff, Garret Freedlowe. Working closely with the President, "Freedlowe" created a new team called the Phoenix Guard, which he intended to use and destroy the G.I. Joe team. The team's roster was made up of former Cobra agents using false identities. Zarana joined the group in the guise of a soldier code-named: Friday. She did this without Zartan's knowledge, and even provided the Commander with technology stolen from her brother, to assist in the deception. The Phoenix Guard's commander General Rey was unaware of his soldiers' true identities, and lead them on a raid of the new Joe team's headquarters. Against his wishes, the team relied too easily on deadly force, injuring many Joes and killing many of their support staff. During the raid, Zarana unexpectedly found herself face to face with the Baroness, who was being held at the base. In the brief fight that ensued, an enraged Baroness made quick work of Zarana, leaving her injured and unconscious. The Joes soon defeated the Phoenix Guard, and Zarana and other members were arrested by the military. Zartan learned of Zarana's arrest and, due to her deception, has expressed little interest in trying to free his sister.