Is this real life? Only two weeks ago I got done posting my review for Billy, a figure G.I. Joe fans had been waiting for for nearly thirty years. Now here we are taking a look at Pythona, Cobra La’s notorious infiltrator and assassin, a character who made her debut in 1987 and just barely received treatment in plastic form.
My history with Pythona is a weird one. While I actually enjoy the 1987 G.I. Joe animated movie more than most other people I know, at the time of its original airing, I absolutely hated Pythona. I still remember watching cartoons after school as I always did, when an advertisement for G.I. Joe: The Movie came on. Completely out of the blue, not something I knew was coming at all (back in those innocent pre-Internet days) and I was immediately enraptured. I’d already seen Transformers: The Movie and was still living off that high, and my mind went crazy with all the possible angles they could take in a G.I. Joe movie with the same production values.
The opening sequence blew my 13 year old mind, and afterwards, the entire infiltration scene with the Terror Drome was absolutely amazing. A dark cloaked figure tearing through the COBRA ranks, burning dudes with acid, tearing open walls with nasty claws and being just a general bad ass. Again, my mind went crazy considering who this could possibly be and what awesome character was doing all of this cool stuff.
When it was revealed to be Pythona, my initial reaction was pretty much… “who?” Here we had COBRA the most nefarious terrorist organization in the world essentially decimated by one person, and it was someone I’d never heard of and someone I couldn’t own as an action figure. Back then, and still to this day, my love for G.I. Joe and many toy brands is tightly focused on how the surrounding mythology supports the characters, and here was someone who had zero action figures I could play with to live out these incredible adventures happening on screen. It kinda made me mad.
My opinion softened over the years, and I’ve grown to really appreciate Cobra La and Pythona, and she became a figure that I really and truly wanted almost above all others. Her and Billy pretty much stood atop a drastically shrinking mountain of G.I. Joe and Cobra characters who never got action figures, and now within the span of a month, both of those check boxes have been checked.
I’ve said many times throughout the years that I didn’t think the Club would ever do Pythona simply because they wouldn’t be able to do her “right”. The texture of her costume would require significant new tooling and would be prohibitively expensive, but thankfully last year I was proven wrong when the Club announced that she would be the 2016 incentive figure. Now, when I heard they would be mostly mimicking the pattern of her uniform with paint, I was pretty dubious as to how well it would work. I’ve seen plenty of customizers try that over the years (myself included) with iffy results.
Holy crap was I proven wrong.
Now, the Club did invest in new tooling here, going with a new head sculpt, new hands, and what looks like a possible new upper torso for Pythona, but they went with paint for all the shaped circles and ridges in the uniform and it works spectacularly well.
Pythona herself is a mixture of existing parts for the legs and arms, with the Reactive Armor Scarlett lower torso, but the new upper torso, new head, and new hands go an incredibly way towards making her a very unique and deserved update to the missing Cobra La member. Her head is a gorgeous sculpt and features a removable ponytail so you can tuck the cloak’s hood up over her head, a little touch that is really awesome. The ponytail does have a tendency to fall out of her head, but the look of the figure is terrific, and that feature is a welcome one.
Her slim build and impressive articulation allow for all sorts of great poses and movements, allowing us to put her in all sorts of great “infiltration” positions. The newly sculpted hands are terrific, too, and while she can’t really hold anything, the trade off of those long fingers and fingernails is well worth it.
I’m happy to say her paint applications are nearly perfect as well, with dozens of those shaped circles all throughout the paint of her body, very closely matching the color pallet of the animated model and managing to look extremely realistic, even though the mold of the figure isn’t textured to match. Color changes are subtle throughout and excellently applied, really bringing the figure to life nicely. I can’t think of too many complaints at all when looking at the figure’s build, paint, and articulation.
I will admit there isn’t much here as far as accessories go, though I suppose Pythona doesn’t need much. She comes with a great cloak, which may be a newly developed soft good, and it works nicely, fitting over the figure, with the hood coming up tightly around the head (once the ponytail is removed). It adds some great aesthetic to the figure and in some ways I’m really glad Pythona was made now instead of 1987, because I seriously doubt the same effect could have been maintained back then.
She also comes with a foot stand and the same tentacle accessory that Nemesis Immortal came with several years ago. It somewhat replicates one of her nasty hand-held weapons, so it seems like an okay choice.
I had my doubts that we’d ever see Pythona as an action figure, and even if we did see her, I suspected the end result would be less than ideal. I was proven 100% wrong on both counts, and I’m exceedingly pleased with this figure, and am now firmly in the “Modern Era Cobra La please” camp. Like with Pythona, I can’t really think of any way Golobulus or the Royal Guard could be done without some significant new tooling, but maybe, like Pythona, the Collectors Club will find a way to surprise me. Considering the news from JoeCon that their relationship with Hasbro has been extended until at least 2018, that would be a terrific capper to their illustrious convention career.