COBRA VIPER COMMANDO v.24 (2009)
When the modern era of G.I. Joe action figures began in 2007 with the release of the 25th anniversary series I was 100% on board. I had been bitten by the Joe bug as an adult collector in ’02 and had amassed a sizeable collection of new-sculpt era Joes from 2002 to 2006 but by the time the 25th anniversary figures were announced I was ready for something new. The highly detailed, slightly bigger figures made for better display pieces which really appealed to my collector sensibilities. I fervently bought up all the modern style Joes I could get my hands on during the first 2 years of the modern era. That all came to a screeching halt in 2009 with the release of the first live-action G. I. Joe movie, Rise of Cobra (ROC), and the corresponding toyline.
The Rise of Cobra movie had no shortage of problems. Many aspects of it really pissed me off when they were first revealed; such as Cobra Commander’s appearance and Marlon Wayans being cast as Ripcord. Despite the problems I liked the movie the from very first time I saw it in theaters and I’ve enjoyed every subsequent viewing on Blu-ray. It’s definitely not the G.I. Joe movie I would’ve made but it’s a fun ride.
I suppose I just didn’t feel like they were “the real” G.I. Joe. For example, I already had a perfectly good modern-era figure of the Joe’s leader, General Hawk, in his trademark brown bomber jacket, camo pants, and goggled green helmet. I didn’t see any reason why I should spend another $10 on a Hawk figure that looked like Dennis Quaid in a T-shirt. What do I need a Dennis Quaid figure for? I feel the same way about the movie versions of Marvel characters. I collect figures based on the characters’ comic book appearances and I rarely like to display them with movie-based figures that look like real actors. I loved the Guardians of the Galaxy movie but i don’t want a Star Lord figure that looks like Chris Pratt.
Actor-likenesses aside, the movie figures just seemed rather bland when compared to the bright and diverse 25th anniversary figures. Most of the ROC figures were black and gray. I decided to pick up a just a handful of figures and then wait the movie line out in hopes that things would return to normal afterwards. Thankfully we saw a return to the status quo when the toy line transitioned from Rise of Cobra to Pursuit of Cobra in 2010 and then to the 30th Anniversary line in 2012.
I was glad to be rid of the ROC figures and I never would have predicted that I would one day regret not buying them when they were readily available. Many of the movie figures have grown on me over time and I even find myself thinking, “Gee, it would be kind of neat to have a G.I. Joe figure that looks like Dennis Quaid.”
The ROC figure that has grown on me the most is the Neo-Viper. These guys were the grunts of the movie, essentially the blueshirts. I really disliked them at first which is why I gave Neo-Viper version 9 a mere 4 out of 10 rating. My view had softened by the time I reviewed the red repaint of that figure called the Crimson Neo-Viper which scored a 6 out of 10. Later still, I gave the copper colored version 10 a 7 out of 10 and I gave the bulky “Action Battlers” version an 8 out of 10. Every time I look at this design I tend to like it more and more.
The ROC Neo-Viper was a poor substitute for the Cobra Trooper in the movie but I have found a place for them in my Cobra army and in my heart. The Neo-Viper design has grown on me so much that I made it a mission to track down all of the different colored variations of which there are many. This was a mission I thought I had accomplished a while back until a couple of weeks ago when I stumbled across 2 variations of the Neo-Viper I didn’t have yet while perusing an online toy store. The reason those 2 versions slipped past me is because even though they look just like Neo-Vipers they were given different names. One was named Neo-Viper Officer and this guy was named Cobra Viper Commando. That means when I search “Neo-Viper” on Yojoe.com, the internet’s premiere G.I. Joe figure database, these 2 figures don’t show up. So many ROC figures came out in 2009 and so many of them look similar and so many of them were exclusive to certain stores so it was very easy to miss a couple.
I ordered the 2 figures (along with a few others) and they arrived in the mail less than 2 weeks later. I think I can safely say that I now own every variation of the ROC Neo-Viper, a total of nine.
This is the Cobra Viper Commando, though he should be named Neo-Viper version 12. He was included in a Toys R Us exclusive 3-pack with Destro and an Elite Viper. Since I’ve reviewed this exact same figure in multiple color schemes already I don’t have too much more to say about it. The core body is pretty simple consisting of ordinary looking pants and a ribbed sweater. It’s the plated vest and the head sculpt that make this guy stand out. Most Neo Vipers have a metallic colors head with a black paint wash to bring out the details in the face. This figure has the opposite: the head is sculpted in black and a metallic silver wash is used to bring out the detail. It looks really cool and creepy, partly alien and partly skeletal. The big red eyes enhance the creepy factor even further.
He comes equipped with a display base, a pistol, and 2 laser rifles which can be stored on the sides of his backpack. I really like it when all of a figure’s accessories can be held or worn at the same time. It saves from adding to the giant box of loose accessories I have in the closet.
The last thing I should mention about this figure is the metallic blue paint used on his armor and gloves. It looks fantastic and really shows off the scratchy details in the vest. I don’t know if this my favorite version of this trooper but it’s up there. 9 out of 10.