My name is Justin...and I have a problem.
They say the first step to conquering your demons is to admit to them, right? So here goes...
...my name is Justin. And I like neon.
Wow, that's a huge load off my mind... though, to be honest, it's not entirely accurate. It's not like I love neon, I just don't let bright colors get in the way of my enjoyment of a figure as long as the tooling is good and the character works. Well, for the Nano Viper, the character does work, but the figure isn't especially good. I can't help myself, though, part of me still really likes this figure in his strange puke-green color scheme. Yeah, I know, I've got issues.
Like Charbroil, I ignored this figure when I picked up my first run of Wave 4, snagging only Kamakura, Night Adder, and Red Fang Ninja. But also, like Charbroil, I felt compelled to go back and pick this guy up, especially once it became evident that this was a unique character, and not necessarily some funky new army builder. But in order to have an affinity for this figure and character, you have to be able to accept the whole nanomite aspect. Now, in my mind, I'm not all into the whole nanomite thing, especially the way the Rise of Cobra pretty much based the entire movie around them, but I do love the concept of genetic and cybernetic engineering to make improved soldiers, so the concept behind this figure is something that I enjoy.
In a way, I almost wish they went more this route in the film. Make most of the Cobra troopers more normal, and have a few highly specialized enhanced troopers that are really more special and unique. Sure, I know in the film that the Neo-Vipers were those enhanced soldiers, but they didn't really seem to act that way. In fact, it almost seemed like the Viper Commandos in the desert battle were more "unbeatable" than the nanomite enhanced Neo-Vipers in the Attack on the Pit.
Pushing all that aside, I find myself really enjoying this figure in spite of itself. I'm not a fan of the underlying figure at all. The clunky knee joints and ankle joints make standing the figure a tough task. The permanently attached shoulder pads look silly at best and absolutely ridiculous at worst. Those bizarre elbow pads on his forearms just look weird, and the whole figure itself is unexciting. But for some reason, the light green paint scheme with the dry brush weathering just brings out the detail work and gives me some more stuff to enjoy about this particular figure, especially with the head sculpt.
Look, I can't explain it. I know the colors are obnoxious, and I know the collecting fandom at large scoffs at the nanomite background, so this figure instantly has a lot going against it, but for some reason, I just find the figure appealing, nasty colors and all.
The accessories are really nothing that special either. He's got the familiar Viper Commando armor, rifle, pistol, holster, and knife, yet he lacks the backpack, instead coming with florescent green vines that originally came with the Weather Dominator boxed set. I continue to be amazed at Hasbro's ability to get mileage out of existing tooling...when we first got these vines, if you'd told me Hasbro would find a way to include them in 3 future figures, I would have said it wasn't possible, but here we are.
The rifle retains the same oversized clunky design flaws as it has had from day one, but I love the holster, pistol, and yeah, even the shiv. The organic vest surely isn't my favorite, I would have much preferred the more solid Neo-Viper one, but I guess you take what you can get.
I'm not a big fan of the Viper Commando figure, the accessories are hit or miss (mostly miss), the color is obnoxious, and the base figure doesn't rock my boat. Yet in spite of all of this, I can't help but find some bizarre 90's appeal to the neon green colors, and I love the idea of the genetically enhanced "super soldier". You have to have a unique appreciation for this more science fiction aspect of the G.I. Joe mythos, so this figure isn't for everyone, and I can't recommend it, simply because I know most of the fandom won't find much to love, but that strange little corner of my mind does like this figure and welcomes it into the collection.
Does that cover my ass enough?
Buy this figure at Big Bad Toy Store!