Even though I've owned this figure for a few days now, I still can't quite figure out how to tackle this review. Should I review this figure simply as a toy, or as a representative of the character he's supposed to be? Because the opinions are pretty different from each other... drastically different, actually.
It's something Joe fans will have to get used to. The Rise of COBRA version of Cobra Commander is NOT your dad's COBRA Commander. Hell, he's not even your COBRA Commander, he's something totally different.
There was a time when you could describe a super villain of the 80's as a burned, scarred former good guy who was now kept alive only by technology and pure evil...back then you could only be referring to the immortal "Darth Vader"...today, well, there's another option. Is that such a bad thing? In my mind, no, not really. I've gone on record time and time again saying that I like new concepts, new ideas, and the brand going in new directions. That is key to the continuing interest I have in this brand and this toyline. We've got what? 30+ versions of a hooded or battle masked COBRA Commander? Do we really need one more? Or would we rather Paramount and Hasbro take this in a dramatic and drastic new direction to give us something relatively fresh and unique? I'm sure I'm going to get brutalized for saying this, but I don't think this new COBRA Commander is such a bad thing. Keep in mind, I haven't seen him on screen yet, but I can separate MY twenty-six year old version of COBRA Commander with this one, and from my own perspective, I don't mind something completely different.
Purely from a toy perspective, this figure is absolutely insane. I really, really love it. In fact, I think if he were named anything but COBRA Commander, a lot of fans would feel the same way. The combination of dress pants w/ wingtips and layered cybernetic parts is such an odd dichotomy, yet it presents a really interesting action figure. Sure, he ends up looking a bit funny without his coat on, but if anything that coat just proves to hide what is a pretty insidious looking super villain, regardless of what fan preconceptions are.
I really love the way Hasbro has done his head, and I think I might be the only person in history to say that. His semi-opaque face mask has some faint silver highlights, almost as an homage to the faceless battle mask of old, yet you can kind of see through it and see the jumbled mess of meat underneath, which is an equally cool touch. In fact, the facemask fits so well, at the right angles you can see those lifeless eyes squinting out through the eye "holes" which is pretty sinister and awesome.
But the head is only the start of it for me. I love the well detailed and sculpting throughout the cybernetic torso. The metallic plates intertwined on his chest look really neat...but I gotta say, for some reason the back is what does it for me. The metallic sculpted spine winding up between his shoulder blades just looks really neat and really accentuates the whole cybernetic aspect to me.
The arms and legs are a bit more typical, with some quilted arms meant to blend with the trenchcoat, and the pants are simple, straight forward dress pants and shoes. All in all, whether you agree with him as a character or not, the toy itself is pretty cool.
Looking at his acessories, it's a wide array of mostly scientific equipment. He's got his nanotech injector, a huge spring-loaded nanotech injector, a nice little hand-held device (which I think gets some decent use in the film, if the movie novelization is any indication. The coiled snake is pretty cool, and he's got the homage "hair dryer" pistol, which are both pretty neat touches. Lastly, his sculpted trench coat has some nice "flow" to it and fits the figure well, looking pretty realistic, and adding a different element to COBRA Commander. He looks great with the coat on, and even looks decent without the coat on. The interior color of the coat is a nice bright blue, too, which is another neat homage to the more vintage styled COBRA Commander.
Lastly, there is an accessory that is not really an accessory, and that's his facemask. It's a somewhat malleable rubber semi-transparent mask that is GLUED onto the figure's face. Luckily, with a small straight screwdriver, you can pry it loose fairly easily. Best part is, with the hole in the figure's head and the contour of the mask, it will plug back on after you do it, so you loose nothing.
I've got all the gory details in the series of pictures at the end of the review...
The sculpting is great, the paint apps are very nice, with the silver weathering over his black coat, and I love all the interjected cybernetics with a more scientific, almost business like look.
I know, I know... this isn't COBRA Commander! This is a travesty! Blasphemy!
To that, I simply say...can't we move on? We've already got 42 versions of a hooded and battle helmet COBRA Commander...I, for one, don't need a 43rd. This is a VERY cool figure, and a neat twist on an iconic character. He'll never work as COBRA Commander in a realistic G.I. Joe universe, but in this new spring board, I'm at least willing to give it a shot, if for no other reason than this figure kicks all sorts of ass. Come on, at least give it a shot.
Buy this figure at Big Bad Toy Store!
The new face of COBRA...
The new face of COBRA??