G.I. Joe: Retaliation - Cobra Commander
Is there any more iconic villain in the history of 80's properties than Cobra Commander? I guess you could give that vote to Darth Vader, though technically he first showed up in 1977. For my money, Cobra Commander ruled the decade from 1982 - 1992 with an iron fist and a raspy lisp. Whether being portrayed as a barely competent snake person from Cobra La, or as a devious and evil ex-used car salesman, the end result was the same. He was the leader of an evil terrorist organization determined to rule the world.
Cobra Commander has actually had a pretty long and storied past as far as his action figures go, getting pretty decent representation in almost every era of G.I. Joe that he appeared in. From Real American Hero to the new sculpt era, through Direct to Consumer, Sigma 6, and of course the 25th Anniversary line, Cobra Commander is a character that Hasbro always represented very well, and very accurately.
Until the first film. Many Joe fans will say his appearance in the first G.I. Joe motion picture was the single worst element of that film, and while I don't agree with that in the least, I can see how his changes in appearance might draw some fans' ire. Obviously the powers that be decided to right that ship with G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and we got back to business in this film, getting a Cobra Commander that looked decidedly more like the classic guy we know well. The smooth silver faceplate, the snake-themed battle helmet...he looked the part. The only problem is, the sleek leather trench-coated version that rocks so hard from the film hasn't (as of yet) been represented in plastic. Instead, we got this figure.
Don't get me wrong, this figure is actually pretty neat, and I think is a pretty good representation of the Commander, but he does pale in comparison somewhat to the film version.
The head sculpt is pretty darn close, which is probably the most important part, giving us a fairly new, yet vintage accurate battle helmet look with the familiar silver faceplate. I really love the whole cobra element to this helmet, which is much more than just a smooth covering now...it's an ornate decoration with some very cool fangs framing the facemask. The rest of the figure almost looks generic at first glance, like some pocketed worksuit, but upon closer inspection you can tell he's wearing some sort of layered bullet proof vest over a more normal shirt underneath, but since everything is all one color, that detail is unfortunately lost. The forearms and lower legs have some interesting texture to them, almost looking like hockey pads which breaks up the normalness of the figure to a degree. We don't get a whole lot for colors here, just a pretty straight up blue with black trim with the silver mask and a couple hints of red where Cobra emblems make sense. It's pretty interesting just how monochromatic this figure is, and this is something that many folks probably didn't think about with G.I. Joe figures in the past couple of years.
For accessories, there aren't a whole lot of bells and whistles. He has a nice thick belt and bandolier combination, which adds some much needed flair to a potentially boring figure. His spring-loaded snake staff launches a fire projectile, and also separates into two pieces. He's got neat pistol for his holster and a very cool machine gun.
Speaking of his holster, I can't help but notice we've taken a small step back in the holster department here. From the perspective of the 30th Anniversary, we were getting some amazing holsters that fit weapons well, but also were not overly huge. In Cobra Commander's case that holster sticks out like a sore thumb, though it's functional enough.
For folks hoping for a straight up, 100% movie accurate Cobra Commander, that's not what this is. But for fans who just want a fun and interesting new take on the venerable Cobra leader, this figure certainly qualifies. He has all of the elements of Cobra Commander, decent colors, pretty good accessories, and functional articulation.
Ah, yes, the articulation question. Hadn't discussed it yet in this particular review. Cobra Commander actually isn't missing much. He doesn't have the swivel ankles or double-knee joints, but besides that, he's got everything else you might expect. Right on the level of G.I. Joe figures from several years ago. You would think and hope he would have better range of motion, but I found for a Cobra Commander figure, I actually wasn't missing it that much.
If you're desperate for a movie accurate Commander, either hit up Amazon.com or wait to see what the future holds. If you just want a cool Cobra Commander update, this figure works pretty well for that.
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