Joe-Ice-viper v3 fullG.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA

I’ve been talking a lot lately about the beginnings of the modern era of G.I. Joe.  When the 25th anniversary style figures started coming out in 2007  I think it was the best direction the brand could have gone in.  Some fans would rather see the Joe brand try new things like Sigma Six and Renegades (two recent flash-in-the-pan re-imaginings of the brand) and view the 25th anniversary figures as a step backwards.  I’m I’ll for introducing new characters and concepts to Joe but I don’t think that the brand should stray to far from what made it popular in the first place.  Historically, drastic departures like Sgt. Savage and G.I. Joe Extreme have failed to find an audience.  I for one was super stoked to get new versions of the characters I loved as a kid with improved articulation and sculpting.  As soon as it was announced that the initially proposed 25 figure anniversary line was going to continue beyond the initial offerings I began counting down the days until I’d see modern versions of my favorite characters.   My favorite Joe character growing up was Shockwave.  He was far from a main character in the series so I knew I might have to wait a while.  In 2009 Hasbro released a modern era Shockwave in a 2-pack with a goofy looking Destro.  I was lucky they released him when they did because he was one of the last 25th anniversary style figures to be released.  The first live action Joe movie was coming out in 2009 and so the anniversary line was pushed out of production to make room for movie-based figures.  So I got my favorite Joe but I wasn’t so lucky when it came to my favorite Cobra.Joe-Ice-viper v3 side

My favorite Cobra figure was Ice-Viper.  He was an unlikely pick as a favorite character.  First off he wasn’t a name guy like Major Bludd or Zartan.  Ice-Viper was just a Cobra trooper, there would have been tons of these guys running around Cobra’s headquarters.  Plus he’s an arctic themed trooper.  I liked snow themed Joes but they did look a little silly always running around in fur lined outfits and snow shoes when so few of my battles actually took place in the snow.  I guess the reason I liked him so much is because I just thought he was super cool looking.  He had a red ski mask with a removable helmet and goggles, ninja sais that strapped to his legs and he piloted one of the coolest Cobra vehicles of all time, The Wolf.  It probably also had something to do with the fact that I got him around the same time as I got Shockwave.  My love of one figure fueled my love of the other.  I made the two of them arch-enemies and they had strength that bordered on super-human.  I used to have the two of them throwing jeeps at each other and crazy crap like that.  My Ice-Viper was no mere trooper, he was Cobra’s resident ass-kicker.  And as much as I wanted an updated Shockwave, I just as badly wanted an updated Ice-Viper.  I actually got my wish of a modern styled Ice-Viper granted fairly quickly as he was released later in 2009, just a few months after Shockwave.Joe-Ice-viper v3 art

But what a difference a few months can make.  When Shockwave was released the 25th anniversary line was winding down but still kicking.  By the time Ice-Viper version 3 came out the “Rise of Cobra” marketing machine was in full swing.  All of the Joe figures on the store pegs were dressed in black armor, had actors likenesses and featured the movie’s darker aesthetic.   Most of the figures in the line were movie-fied versions of characters that had already been released in the modern style a bunch of times like Duke and Snake-Eyes.  But a few characters showed up in the movie line that hadn’t yet received a 25th anniversary style figure.  Cover Girl was probably the most notable character whose first ever modern figure was a crappy movie version.  My beloved Ice-Viper shared the same fate.  The name Ice-Viper was pretty much the only thing that was retained from the classic figure.  The new Ice-Viper was still an Arctic trooper but he had no red ski mask, no removable helmet, no sais, and no Wolf.  His bright and colorful white, red and gold costume had been replaced with a drab grayscale outfit in line with the movie’s boring color palette.  This was not the Ice-Viper I wished for.Joe-Snow battle1

This guy was just way too bundled up to be my powerhouse.  He has wide leg snow pants and his coat is the puffiest I’ve ever seen on a Joe.  The jacket is practically swallowing his head.  And the head looks nothing like the Ice-Viper of my youth.  He has a solid black head with a large removable visor.  But when you remove his visor you just get more blackness, not the icy stare of the original when you took off his goggles.  My old Ice-Viper was a scrapper so the sais made for perfect close combat weapons.  The bandaged rifle that version 3 comes with is kinda cool looking but not the kind of weapon my Ice-Viper would have used.  He also came with a ski-missile.  I assume this was done as an homage to the original as the ’87 figure came with the Wolf vehicle that fired ski-missiles.  However I found packaging this toy with a mere accessory salvaged from the vehicle that he used to pilot to be more of an insult that represented this guy’s fall from grace. Joe-Ice-viper v3 pair

One of the great things about the modern Joe figures is that they all have removable webgear, meaning the straps and buckles that used to be sculpted on the torsos of the old figures are now added afterwards and are interchangeable.  This saves the sculptors time and money on tooling completely new torsos all the time and is a neat swapping feature for fans that helps with customizing.  I had never really taken advantage of the removable gear before, until this figure came along.Joe-Ice-viper v3 full shirtless



I found that by removing this figure’s unwieldy jacket I immediately liked him a whole lot better.  I’ll talk more about that in my next review when I tackle the Elite Ice-Viper.  7 out of 10.


About mike's collection

I'm a dude that collects toys and writes. I figured I'd combine my hobbies.

Posted on February 13, 2013, in G.I. Joe and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. fountain of joes

  2. I can remember having the Wolf, which means I must’ve had an Ice-Viper growing up too. The portrait there does look familiar. I can’t say I agree with your assesment of the new one though, as without his jacket he looks way too thin. But with the jacket he looks like a variation on arctic Snake-Eyes.

    Wait, so maybe I did agree with your assessment, but just for different reasons…

  3. Sadly, he is no Wolf Driver, but he does make an extremely good Snow-trooper. Not that it Snows where I live…

  4. A terrible figure – I own the movie version…Felt a bit dumb not realising its the same name as the brilliant 1987 Cobra Wolf driver. Either version of the ‘new’ Ice Viper is bad imo…the legs don’t bend without force and imo he looks too thin without the bulky, stiff plastic jacket on – he also needs it on to look in scale to the rest of his bulky, thermal wrapped body. Without the jacket his neck sticks out a mile! Also that head – whats with that weird red stripe down the centre and NO paint apps to the eye area underneath? The visor looks too far down as well…Yes, without the jacket he can hold his gun better with both arms but without it on he looks too thin…then theres the over-sized stupid rocket thing – nice of Hasbro to re-use the Wolf ‘Skipedo’ but then again they can be cheap at reusing stuff…look at the awful Stargate movie like…yuck.

    Anyhow, enough dissing, another foreign titbit to impart is that we in the dull, drab, dreary UK only got the Wolf with Ice Viper in 1988 and finally got Shockwave in 1989 / 90 as part of the merged brand ‘G.I.JOE – THE ACTION FORCE’ – same figure, same card art, just the branding was different as well as the figure selection on the back including new card art for the single carded Renegades and any BF 2000 characters had the red / yellow background instead of the ‘special’ purple / blue / white around them – again, we only got them also in around 89 / 90 – without the BF 2000 mention!

    • Hey Stan, I totally understand where you’re coming from but I have grown to like this figure (more so the elite version) based on my characterization of the classic Ice-Viper. As I talked about in the elite review I kind like his leanness and the baggy pants. The neck remains a problem though. maybe I should add a scarf or something.

      I’m glad to hear you guys at least got the original Ice-Viper eventually. If there had been a carded version of him released over there that’s definitely something i would seek out.

      • Hmm, he’s okay I guess…but not the greatest.

        We never had a carded version of Ice Viper from 1987 sans vehicle – like the US / CA any driver that came with a vehicle still came with our stuff just the same. If a scalper suddenly lists one on ebay be sure to realise its a custom con artists work.

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