The Neo-Viper-part 1
This is going to be a fairly long post so I decided to break it up over several posts. Some people have told me my posts are too long so I wouldn’t want to scare anybody off from reading this just because they see multiple paragraphs of dialogue. To start this off let me take you way back to the year 2001. I was a few years out of college and working full time at Blockbuster Video. I was still living at home at the time and my parents were cool enough not to be charging me rent. Blockbuster wasn’t exactly paying me big money, and I was trying to pay off my student debt, and yet I still managed to have a pretty decent chunk of disposable income at the time. I was collecting a variety of toys: Star Wars, Spawn, Gundam, and Spider-Man. I had enough money burning a hole in my pocket that I made it a mission to buy every crappy Spider-Man toy that Toy Biz made; and boy did they make some crappy ones. Some of those toys were so ugly and pointless, like Shark-Hunter Spider-Man and Australian-Outback Spider-Man, that I doubt any kid would want them but it became a fun little mission for me to collect them all. If only there was something better for me to waste my money on.
Well in February 2002 ToyFare Magazine issue 54 came out and showed me the way. This one issue revealed that 2002 was heralding the return of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe AND G.I. Joe. Two of my favorite properties, which had been dead and buried for a decade or more, were returning to toy shelves in the coming months. No more astronaut Spider-Men for me, I had seen the future.
The 9 page article stated that Hasbro was bringing back G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero under the moniker G.I. Joe vs Cobra. The figures would be released in 2 packs each containing a hero and a villain. Some of the old classics that everyone knew and loved were there, like Duke vs Cobra Commander and Snake Eyes vs Storm Shadow, but there were also some new characters thrown into the mix as well. Cobra’s ranks were filled with cool new troopers like the “light armored heavy weapons specialists” (Cobra C.L.A.W.S.) and the elite underwater operatives, the Morays. The most exciting one to me though was the Neo-Viper which was the modern day infantry trooper replacing the classic “blue shirts” from the 80s. The article stated the Neo-Vipers were genetically altered to withstand extreme heat or cold and to move at tremendous speeds. Even though the magazine only had unpainted proto-types to show at the time I thought they looked cool as hell and couldn’t wait to get my hands on one… (part 2)