ICE-VIPER v.1 (1987)
G.I. JOE As you may have already noticed, I love G.I. Joe. I was introduced to it in 1982 when I would have been 4 years old and I have been hooked ever since. There are so may colorful and diverse characters whose personalities have been expanded upon in hundreds of cartoons and comic books and even live-action movies. So much history has been created for these characters and their world is so action-packed and exciting how could you not want to dive right in? Well as much as I loved all the backstory that those comics and cartoons provided for me when I was kid, the story really took off once I opened up a new action figure. The figure would need to be integrated into my own personal joe universe (or joeverse if you will, which is a much maligned but often used term in the joe collecting community) and it was up to me to make up a story to bring this new character in. Many figures did not appear in the comics and cartoons so their stories had to be completely created in my mind. Not everything I came up with back then was gold but I was a kid, give me a break. Ice-Viper here was my favorite G.I. Joe figure. If there was a fire and I could only save one figure, this is who I would grab. I’m not sure why, partly it’s because he looked cool but mostly it’s due to the personality I infused him with. In the comic books Ice-Vipers were just another one of the many nameless squads of cobra troopers who had no individual personalities and were used as cannon fodder. As a kid I only had one of each type of trooper. Sometimes I would imagine them to be one of many and as they were “killed” I could continue to use that figure as another member of that particular squad. Other times I would decide that there was only one of this particular figure and that Ice-Viper (or whomever, Alley Viper and Heat-Viper were others) was their specific code name and not just a squad designation. And in my Joeverse Ice-Viper was a badass. Tougher than Storm Shadow or Firefly or any of those “named” characters, Ice-Viper was Cobra’s #1 guy. Sometimes his strength boardered on super-human which is pretty dumb but again, I was a kid. The figure itself has some pretty cool features. His only weapons were a pair of sais (like Raphael) which could be clipped onto his legs when not in use. He also had a removable helmet with goggles which could be placed atop his ski masked head. The sais were a weird choice for a snow trooper but it made him stand out to me and hinted at a martial arts background. He was packaged with the COBRA WOLF which was a super cool fictional snow vehicle that added to Ice-Viper’s appeal. Some areas where I think this figure is lacking is that the overall design is actually a bit plain and I’m unsure of what functional use some of those straps were supposed to serve. Also the eyes always seemed rather tired looking to me and would have benefited from more of a scowl. On design alone this guy might get a 7, but throw in the cool factor and the power of a child’s imagination and he gets a 10 out of 10.