As far as boys toy lines go, G.I. Joe had many more female characters than most. Most toy lines were lucky to have one and even then she was usually the “princess” or some other form of damsel in distress. Joe had a cornucopia of strong female characters to collect and in a weird way crush on. Most boys would tell you that they liked either Scarlet, the strong willed red head who was the master of the crossbow or Covergirl, the super model blonde turned Joe vehicle driver. I liked those characters just fine but I preferred my ladies a little edgier than that. On the Joe side of things there was Lady Jaye, the intelligence expert who could hold her own in battle; and Jinx, the martial arts expert who heralds from the same clan that trained Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow. Great characters but still not edgy enough. The really foxy ladies of Joe fought for the other side. First off there was Baroness , the sexy intelligence officer with jet black hair, dark rimmed glasses and a full body leather cat suit who talked in that thick european accent. That’s pretty hard to top but if there was one female character that had more sex appeal than any of them, as far as I’m concerned it was Zarana. Years before I covered my walls in pin-ups of Courtney Love and Brody Dalle and spent my weekends hitting on girls with mohawks at the local all ages club, my first punk rock girl crush was Zarana. The pink hair, torn clothes and anarchy attitude sold me. Zarana and her twin brother Zandar were both released in 1986. They were introduced as the younger siblings of Cobra’s well established master of disguise Zartan. Zandar and Zarana shared their older brother’s skills as impostors and infiltrators and they teamed with him to lead the outlaw biker gang the Dreadnoks. One of my favorite Joe episodes was where Zarana infiltrated G.I. Joe headquarters in disguise and she and the Joe’s computer expert Mainframe fall for each other before she can complete her mission. It was a doomed relationship but it gave the character some complexity and set her apart from many of the 2 dimensional portrayals in the cartoon. Zarana was pretty butch looking in those cartoons and even in the comics. The toys weren’t doing her any favors either. I guess for me the sex appeal came from her style and attitude and how I imagined her to look.
This particular figure is the 5th version of Zarana and it was available exclusively at the 2011 San Diego Comic Convention. There was also a variant version released with black hair and black clothes which was made in even more limited numbers than this one was. I picked them both up on ebay and though they were rather expensive I could not miss my chance to own the first and maybe only modern sculpt version of Zarana. It would have been nice if this version finally captured the sexy punk rock rebel I always saw in my head but it doesn’t. It’s a great figure but she’s not exactly the fairest of them all. Despite her less than feminine face the detail is quite impressive. The lips have a subtle pink gloss and the two toned eye shadow would impress even my girlfriend.
The faux-hawk hair do is also two toned and works well. The body is lean and muscular and very reminiscent of the 80s original. She has a dagger that can be sheathed on her thigh and her trademark circular saw “gun”. It’s a very nice update and unfortunate that she was made in such limited numbers as I think all Joe fans should have one. I saw an article on a G.I. Joe website where they were discussing what real life people would make good casting choices to play certain Joes. Someone suggested Pink as Zarana and I think that’s a perfect choice and sums up how I always saw this character in my head despite her action figures being a little “hard” looking. 9 out of 10.