ELECTRIC EEL v1
The first Cobra frogman was released in 1985 and was just called “Eels”. The Cobra Eels were pretty rad looking and heavily featured in the cartoon series. Doug owned the Eels figure when we were kids and I never had one to call my own until the 25th anniversary version was released in 2008.
When the new sculpt era of Joe began in 2002 it was the first time that the G.I. Joe line was all my own. No longer did I have to split things down the middle with Doug. Not that I minded doing it as a kid but with the release of the new sculpt figures I was pretty stoked to finally be getting my own versions of important character like Destro and Zartan. When I first read about these new Joes coming out in ToyFare magazine I was super excited. You can read more about that in my Neo-Viper review. Where the Neo-Viper was replacing the Cobra Blueshirt as the new basic infantry trooper, the Cobra Eels were replaced by a new type of frogman known as the Moray. I thought the Morays were a great addition to the Cobra forces. The Moray was released in a few different paint schemes in those first couple of years and he was a favorite of mine. Before long the new Joe toys had story concepts added to the line that were expanded on in the file cards and animated movies. First there was the Spy Troops story line which you can read about in my Switch Gears post. That was followed by the Valor vs Venom story which featured normal Cobra Troopers who had undergone the experimental “venomization” process which infused them with animal traits to enhance their abilities. This story line brought us a bunch of animal themed bad guys like Sand Scorpion, Swamp Rat, Snow Wolf, and the new frogman the Electric Eel. The Electric Eels were former Cobra Morays who had “volunteered” for genetic altering. Their primary enhancement was the ability to carry an electric shock in their bodies capable of knocking out pesky Joes.
The Valor vs Venom idea wasn’t bad, I like some of the goofy sci-fi elements of the Joe line, but it was executed poorly. First of all the CG Valor vs Venom movie that was released to promote the figures was pretty weak. And most of the figures were straight up wonky looking. The Electric Eel was definitely not an improvement over the Moray design. He suffered from bad proportion issues as many figures of the time did. His shoulders are broad and his arms are huge, his waist is skinny and basically he’s just kind of a mess. I never liked the head design either with those breathing tubes leading to nothing. As an accessory he came with two giant clawed hands that could be snapped onto his wrists making him look even more weirdly proportioned. he also came with a trident which is cliche but kinda cool at the same time.
I also like that he is sculpted in translucent green plastic. It’s not something you see a lot of in the Joe line and can be pretty cool when used sparingly. When you attach this guy’s backpack and hit a button it shines a light into his chest which gives him a full body glow to represent his electric shock ability. I tried to snap a pic of him glowing here but it didn’t really turn out so good. It’s a neat idea but because of the lame figure it falls a little flat. I would like to see Hasbro release a modern version of this guy and try it again. This mold was released twice more in the years that followed, one in the Moray colors and one in the classic Eel colors. It didn’t help. 5 out of 10.