A little while ago I reviewed Zarana, punk rock co-leader of the biker gang The Dreadnoks. My girlfriend told me after reading it she was actually jealous of the action figure. Zarana is indeed one of my favourite Joe characters of all time. Well today I’ll be reviewing her twin brother Zandar. Like his sister Zandar is a pretty flashy dresser to say the least but I’m not sure he pulls it off quite as well as her. It’s not a horrible look, in fact it might go over quite well in certain night clubs, I’m just not sure its effective outfit for a mean and nasty mercenary. Zandar likes the shirtless look with some random straps and shoulder pad accented by a lovely pink scarf around his neck. His headband can be forgiven because this character was designed in the 80s after all but I’m not sure what the deal is with the body paint. It’s hardly effective as camouflage and I don’t think it’s ever been revealed to have an sort of spiritual or tribal significance.
Zandar is just an arty type I suppose who likes to express himself in ways us normal folks just can’t understand, like Lady Gaga. Despite his odd fashion choices I always liked this crazy ginger kid. Maybe it was because his siblings were so cool that I liked him by association. I also liked that he was always rather mysterious. Zartan and Zarana were both prominently featured in the comics and cartoons while Zandar always seemed to fade into the background. Ironically enough that’s kind of how he was described on his file card. He wasn’t a master of disguise like his siblings but he had an uncannny ability to stay motionless and not be seen. The original figure, which I never owned (Doug did) had the same color changing ability as his siblings. When set out in the sunlight his skin turned blue. Zarana and Zandar were never shown to have any sort of aversion to sunlight like their brother Zartan did in the cartoons but I assume the color change feature was added just to drive home the point that they were all related. I thought this character really shined in the comics published by Devil’s Due in the mid 2000s when he joined Serpentor’s rival faction of Cobra, The Coil. His look had been updated to something a little more badass and he made a significant impact on the outcome of the story which was a Zandar first.
This modern interpretation of Zanadar was released in the same Dreadnok 7 pack which also included Roadpig. I’d be hard pressed to tell you which figure from this set I was anticipating the most. I desperately wanted a new Road Pig and the first ever release of Zartan’s daughter Zanya was a highlight as well, but having acquired the San Diego comic-con exclusive Zarana a few months earlier really made Zandar a must have.
Now I can finally display this nasty trio of siblings together. I really like the updated Zandar. I wouldn’t have minded if we had gotten a figure of Zandar in his updated Devil’s Due design but Hasbro didn’t take the easy route, they embraced the 80s glam look and ran with it, pink scarf and all. The face on the original version didn’t come across as very threatening so I wish they made him a little angrier this time around but they didn’t. The shoulder pads from nowhere are still present but not as obvious since the scarf is much bigger and hides them a little bit. His hair cut is less dweeby this time around as well so that’s good. Overall I’d say it’s a nice update to a pretty wacky character. He’s a welcome addition to my Joe shelf. 7 out of 10.