G.I. Joe: The Pursuit of Cobra Alley-Viper
Sometimes it seems that Hasbro misses the boat. A figure can come so close to perfection, yet there's just something about it that Hasbro can't get quite right. Even the incredibly awesome Defense of Cobra Island Alley-Viper couldn't quite capture perfection with the grappling hook backpack misadventures and outlandishly garrish color scheme.
However, this updated version from the ranks of The Pursuit of Cobra takes everything beautiful about the original Alley-Viper and improves it in pretty much every single way humanly possible.
I know the '89 Alley-Viper came out in orange and purple, and Hasbro had to follow suit with the update, that wasn't unexpected. However I do find it interesting that fans are quick to lambaste the 90's era Joes for their colors, yet fully embrace the Alley-Viper, even with the orange and purple. But... for this update, Hasbro takes the essence of the Alley-Viper and improves the colors a hundred fold by using some dull gray, deep red hue, and totally ramps up the design with some much better colors, and a retooling of the grappling hook so that it stays much more securely on the backpack.
As with the previous version of the figure, the base is the '89 Snake Eyes/Wraith from the 25th Anniversary line with just the right amount of new tooling added to the legs and the arm. The base figure is something totally out of the blue, but it has fantastic mobility and is a nice, sleek enough tool so the webgear can slide over the top without the figure looking too large and bulky.
But everyone knows all about this Alley-Viper. From a tooling standpoint, by and large, this is the same figure we got from the 25th Anniversary line. But what makes this figure really shine are all of the improvements.
First and foremost, this version of the Alley-Viper, rather than use the same masked head from the previous version, uses the head sculpt from the upcoming Resolute version of the Alley-Viper, which is an awesome tie-in, I think, and I love that this figure sort of fits the mold, and the Resolute Alley-Viper can operate alongside this one without significant cosmetic differences. The additional helmet and goggles are also the same that come with the Resolute version, and the helmet fits the head seamlessly, with the goggles right on top. This new head sculpt adds a lot of great character to this troop builder and really separates it from the 25th Anniversary original.
From a coloring standpoint, the base color here is an almost gunmetal gray/black with red, silver, and lighter gray trim, this figure has the tooling magnificence of the original, but with a much improved darker, more urban color scheme. A gold pouch and carabeeners adds just a bit more detail. The one weird color choice I see here is the sorta "Siberian Tiger" striped cloth on his leg and arm. I really have no idea where that came from, but it's one small odd choice among a figure that is totally bad ass in nearly every other way.
Of course, as is the case with the Pursuit of Cobra, he also comes with an amazing amount of weaponry, which is pretty comparable to the original. He's got the shield, the submachine gun, backpack with grappling hook, the two knives in the sheaths, and the night stick. The Pursuit of Cobra version also comes with the aforementioned helmet and goggles as well as the Pit Commando gas mask. There are crazy amounts of urban themed weaponry here that suit the Alley-Viper perfectly. We get all of the cool gear of the original, and more!
I haven't been a crazed army builder with the 25th Anniversary line or the Rise of Cobra line (except by proxy with all of those Neo-Vipers that were shoe-horned into every set in existence), but the Pursuit of Cobra Alley-Viper has re-converted me. I say right here and now that every single one of these figures I run into at retail will be purchased. I have no hesitation or question in my mind on that fact.
This is an amazing figure. Absolutely amazing. Ever since the Alley-Viper first appeared in '89, this tooling has been craving a better, more realistic urban paint scheme. The updates we got throughout the early 2000 releases were great, but used the later, somewhat less impressive tooling choices, and those horrible Duke legs that did them no favors.
But, in my mind, for the first time ever, we get a very realistic, nicely dark colored Cobra Alley-Vipers that not only fit perfectly into any existing G.I. Joe universe, but also provide a great backbone for a 21st Century updated Cobra organization. Do not hesitate. This figure is everything cool about the original Alley-Viper and more. Pure beauty.
Pre-Order this figure NOW at BigBadToyStore.com!