ALLEY VIPER OFFICER v.2 (2015)
Alley Viper is the 6th and final component for me to review from this year’s San Diego Comic Con exclusive G.I. Joe box set, “Crimson Strike”. I’ve previously reviewed the two vehicles, the Chimera and the Scythe, and the other three figures, Steeler, Grunt, and AVAC. Thus far the Joe figures and vehicle have proven to be my favourites. So does Alley Viper swing the odds in Cobra’s favour? Have I saved the best for last?
No on both accounts. I’m not saying this is a bad figure, in fact it’s a very cool figure, but much like the Crimson Scythe it fails to wow me.
The original 1989 Alley Viper was one of my favourite Cobra troopers. Like Ice Viper and Heat Viper I viewed my Alley Viper as an individual character rather than just a nameless trooper. Ice Viper was a psychopath and Heat Viper was a slacker but Alley Viper was a bad-to-the-bone, take-no-prisoners soldier. who knew how to follow orders. He was kind of a loner because unlike those other two he didn’t have a best buddy to pal around with. I always played G.I. Joe with my brother Doug and almost every one of my figures buddy’ed up with one of Doug’s figures. It usually worked out to be whatever toys we got at the same time. For example, he got his Night Viper when I got my Heat Viper so the two of them were inseparable. The same was true of Ice Viper and Worms, Shockwave and Charbroil, and some more obvious pairs like Flint and Lady Jaye and Tomax and Xamot. Doug must’ve either gotten a good guy when I got Alley Viper or maybe a bad guy that he didn’t really care for. Whatever the reason, my Alley Viper was a lone wolf.
Multiple variations of Alley Viper were released in the 90s but I had quit collecting by then and never acquired any of them. I did get some updated Alley Vipers during the new-sculpt years in the early 2000s but the less said about them the better.
When Hasbro launched the 25th anniversary line of modern-era figures in 2007 Alley Viper was high on my want list. They finally got around to releasing him in 2009 as part of the “Defense of Cobra Island” 7-pack. I loved the ‘09 Alley Viper (version 11). It had all the iconic characteristics of the original 1989 figure: the crazy orange and blue camo, the bizarre riot shield, the vision-obstructing face plate, and they all looked great on the modern style of figure. I would have been content if Hasbro never released another Alley Viper after that.
But they did release another; there were three variations of the Alley Viper released in 2010 (one of them being the first Alley Viper Officer) and then another in 2013. I’m not necessarily complaining about the multiple releases because they all look cool and I’m a sucker for a good repaint, but the figure does feel a little watered down at this point.
At the very least Hasbro could have taken this opportunity to release an Alley Viper with one of the well-known 90s paint jobs. The black and yellow one from 1993 that my little brother Brian owned would have been kinda cool. Instead we get an Alley Viper in a yet another new paint scheme. The paint deco on this guy is alright but somewhat underwhelming. It’s primarily black with a few random splashes of reddish orange. I’m not sure why Hasbro was so sparse with the camo pattern this time around but the end result reminds me of a salamander.
For accessories Alley Viper Officer version 2 has a display base, a helmet with face plate, a riot shield and a baton which can be stored on the back, two machine guns, and two knives which can be sheathed on his belt and forearm. It’s a decent assortment of weapons but it all seems pretty standard at this point.
This is a fine figure which I would whole-heartedly recommend if he were available at Toys R Us for ten or twelve bucks but if you were planning on buying the SDCC set just for this guy I’d tell you to save your money. He doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. The red version from two years ago looks nicer and is much easier to track down. 7 out of 10.