COBRA TROOPER v17
Retaliation week rolls on. Today I’ll be talking about Cobra Trooper. Cobra Trooper represents the lowliest of Cobra’s ranks. When Cobra was first introduced as the villain to the G.I.Joe team in the early 80s their roster was pretty light. There was Cobra Commander of course and besides that there were two Cobra soldiers, the trooper and the officer. The trooper wore a blue uniform, a blue helmet, and a black balaclava like mask that covered his mouth and nose. On his chest was a big red Cobra symbol. The officer looked pretty much the same only with a silver Cobra on his chest. The trooper didn’t even really have a name of his own, on the package it just said “the enemy”. Cobra’s ranks quickly filled with unique characters like Destro and Major Bludd as well as a cornucopia of specialty troopers. The first new standard trooper out of the gate was the Viper. He was followed by Motor-Viper, Heat-Viper, Strato-Viper, Secto-Viper, Night-Viper, Alley-Viper, Gyro-Viper, Ice-Viper and dozens more. Cobra had a trooper for almost anything you could imagine. Communications down? Call a Tele-Viper. Weather Dominator not working? Call a Techno-Viper. Thumb broken off? Call a Medi-Viper. It’s gotten to the point now where at least half of my Cobra soldiers seem redundant, replaced by a new more advanced trooper. So where does that leave our lowly boys in blue? Well despite the influx of new specialty troopers, the standard trooper, affectionately known by fans as Blue-Shirts remain the backbone of the Cobra army. Fans love these guys, myself included. Nothing represents Cobra better than a simple Blue Shirt with a rifle. They’ve been re-invented a number of times over the years. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t but none hold a candle to the simple design of the original.
This particular reinvention of Cobra’s infantry trooper is a pretty good one. Most of the key elements are there, Blue helmet? Check. Black facemask? Check. Blue shirt? Check. Does it look exactly like the original? No, but that’s okay. Now when it comes to the first movie audiences were told right in the title that Cobra’s not gonna come charging through the city with a battalion of HISS tanks and Vipers. It was called The Rise of Cobra. The movie focused on Destro and his arms manufacturing company MARS. Cobra was hinted at but not until the final scenes did the wacky scientist Dr. Rex declare himself Cobra Commander just before getting captured. I understand why they went that route and it wasn’t a bad idea per say but every Joe fan really wanted to see Cobra in all of its glory on screen. We wanted to see those Vipers and HISS tanks. All we got though was a bunch of wanky Neo-Vipers. Destro being the main baddie wouldn’t have been so bad had the filmmakers at least made his troopers Iron Grenadiers as they’re supposed to be.
The fact that the crappy Neo-Viper was the infantry trooper in the first movie mostly sucked because it resulted that subpar figure being released in every color of the rainbow as Hasbro milked the generic trooper for all he was worth. When the trailer for Retaliation first hit there was so much to be excited about. Cobra Commander was actually dressed like Cobra Commander, Firefly was there, Storm Shadow was back, Marlon Wayans was nowhere to be seen, and maybe best of all was the scene showing Cobra blue shirts hanging a Cobra Banner from the roof of the White House. Cobra Troopers that actually looked like Cobra Troopers! I was stoked. Now this figure does not seem to resemble what we saw in that clip. I’m not certain that the Troopers will appear in the film looking like this at all actually but I sure hope so because this is a really cool looking trooper. This design makes for an excellent real world interpretation of the standard Cobra soldier. If he were to lose the red goggles he’s be pretty much spot on. I do happen to like the goggles though. I didn’t see any of these goggled guys in the trailer but this guy may only be wearing goggles because he’s a paratrooper. At least he can be, he came included with alternate web-gear that attaches to an awesome parachute adorned with the Cobra symbol. I really like this figure and I hope he’s re-released many more times in alternate colors and such so I can justify buying many of them. 9 out of 10.