TOXO-ZOMBIE v.2 (2014)
In my last post I reviewed the Toxo-Viper from the 2014 G.I. Joe Convention Set. Today I’m going to take a look at the other trooper builder included in the set, the Toxo-Zombie. The original Toxo-Viper came out in 1988. They were Cobra’s hostile environment troopers, the evil equivalent to Airtight I suppose. The original file card stated that Cobra troops were forced to become Toxo-Vipers as punishment. The Toxo-Viper suits were inexpensive and “moderately airtight”; they were unofficially known as the leaky suit brigade.
The second version of the Toxo-Viper came out in 1991 under the Eco-Warrios banner. According to the version 2 file card the new Toxo-Vipers had top quality, state-of-the-art equipment; far superior to the gear worn by their ’88 predecessors. It’s funny then that when the first Toxo-Zombie figure was released in 1992 he was wearing the ‘91 Toxo-Viper outfit; not the ‘88. The zombie file card again made mention of the leaky suits worn by the Toxo-Vipers, stating that this is what becomes of Toxo-Vipers after years of exposure to the most hazardous of chemicals, they turn into mindless zombies; not quite alive, but not quite dead. The original ’92 Toxo-Viper was pretty ridiculous looking. He was wearing the same outfit as the 91 Toxo-Viper but the green and purple was now hot pink and neon green. The thought behind that I suppose was that whatever chemicals they’d been exposed to had bleached out their uniforms as well. The left foot and left hand were exposed, revealing pretty gross looking gray skin with pink splotches. The left side of the visor was smashed in and a scowling gray/pink ugly mug could be seen underneath. It really was an unfortunate looking thing.
I wasn’t a big fan of adding zombies into the G.I. Joe mythology. Bat-winged warriors from ancient civilizations and resurrected serpent emperors I was okay with, but zombies seemed too far fetched. I had already quit collecting Joe figures by the time the original Toxo-Zombie was released so it wasn’t an issue for me, but I was still glad the zombie theme was contained within a single figure.
As a big fan of the modern-era style figures, I hope to one day have modern versions of every character that was ever released during the vintage and new-sculpt eras. However the character that was probably at the absolute bottom of my want list was the Zombie Viper (or maybe the Joe team’s resident veterinarian, Dr. Link Talbot). In 2011 Hasbro gave us a sort-of update of the Toxo-Zombie, the Zombie Viper. I was quite skeptical about the Zombie Viper but I have to admit, he was pretty cool. I’m not sure how I would justify his existence in my Joe-verse if I were still a kid playing with these toys but as an adult using him solely as a display piece, I’m a big fan of the Zombie Viper. He was really creepy looking with dark gray skin with blue veins running through him and strange vine-like arms. The arms had a very Akira mutation type of vibe to them that I really liked. The file card stated that Zombie Vipers were once standard Cobra infantry troopers but they’d been exposed to the mysterious Compound Z. Apparently Hasbro had plans to run with that story line, releasing Zombie versions of popular characters like Cobra Commander. It sounds interesting but I’m kind of glad it never came to pass. Just like in 1992, I was happy to see the zombie plot contained within a single figure.
Then a few months ago the Collector’s Club announced the theme of their 2014 Convention set: Zombie Initiative. The set was to feature the Joe’s Eco-Warriors battling an outbreak of Compound Z. It wouldn’t have been my top choice for a convention set but I trusted the club to pull off something cool; and they did.
The ragtag group of Joes assembled to fend off the outbreak look great, the newly created Cobra characters, Repulsor and the lab rats, are cool, and the two trios of troop builders, the Toxo-Vipers and the Toxo-Zombies are fantastic. I love the Toxo-Vipers and gave them a 10 out of 10 in my last post. I don’t love the Toxo-Zombies as much as the Vipers but they’re so similar I can’t help but like them too.
The Toxo-Zombie has pretty much the exact same body construction as the Toxo-Viper. Only the lower left arm and lower left leg have been replaced with the exposed appendages of the Zombie Viper. The other major difference is the Zombies have entirely newly sculpted heads. They feature the exposed scowling face on the left, just like the originals, and a cracked visor complete with bullet hole on the right. I kind of wish they had sculpted complete zombie heads and given them removable battle damaged helmets but this still works just fine. I really like how their outfits tie them to the non-zombified Toxo-Vipers. I think keeping them in the same dark colors was a good call as opposed to painting them pink and neon like the originals. I do however think adding some additional battle damage to the Toxo-Zombie’s body would have been a good idea.
The zombies are a little light on accessories but what does a zombie need accessories for? They each come with a display base, a pistol that can be holstered on their hip, and a Z-bomb. According to the comic book that was included with the box set, the zombies hand deliver Z-bombs to heavily populated areas to mutate the populace, like undead suicide bombers. I like these figures more than I thought I would. They look great displayed with the Toxo-Vipers or with the Zombie Vipers. They’d probably look great displayed with your Walking Dead figures too. 7 out of 10.