G.I. Joe: Retaliation - Alley-Viper
There was a time, it seemed like not long ago, when Cobra had a single urban operations specialist, and it was the Alley-Viper. Clad in bright orange and purple with huge layers of body armor, a trademark shield and facemask, he was the front line of Cobra defense in a city environment.
Now, over the past few years we've been almost inundated with Alley-Vipers, not to mention Firefly and the Shock Troopers, a plethora of urban specialists. They each have their own unique aspects, and to this point the Pursuit of Cobra version of Alley-Viper was far and away my favorite. After getting the G.I. Joe: Retaliation version in my hands... well, the Pursuit of Cobra version is still my favorite, but this one isn't too shabby.
I think part of why I'm not quite as fired up about this figure is simply because we've had so darn many Alley-Vipers in recent years. But the nice thing is, this version of the figure does add at least a few different elements. This figure has the same head and helmet as recent releases, and the same arms and legs. He has a different torso though (the same one as Duke and Flint) which adds some texture and layered body armor to the figure.
Early samples of this Alley-Viper had him just sporting that armor without any webgear over it, but the actual release as Jungle Strike Duke's webgear, which is a great addition. The tooling is all re-used from previous figures, but all of the parts are pretty great. The forearm knife sheath is very well done, the elbows and knees have good range of motion and some neat detail. I find myself really liking this new armored torso. It's pretty futuristic and kind of neat when it's not surrounded by parts lacking in articulation.
What separates this figure as well is the unique paint scheme. He appears to have the same camouflage pattern (or similar, anyway) as the original Alley-Viper, only except for orange and purple, he's got red and gray. The result is a figure that seems to retain the vintage spirit of the original, but is a lot more muted and blends in better with the environment. No, there aren't many red buildings in any given urban environment, but the colors are dark enough that it doesn't make as much difference. The best thing about the color scheme here is that he can work within a squad of Pursuit of Cobra Alley-Vipers as well. He uses the same color balance of red, black, and gray, and as such looks totally naturally mixed in with the excellent previous version of this figure. The red isn't an exact match, but I think it's effective enough.
Many of these weapons will look familiar to folks who have purchased previous versions of the Alley-Viper. He's got the shield, submachine gun, nightstick, and removable knife. I love all of these weapons. The interaction of them all with the figure and with each other (the nightstick can fit into the back of the shield) is fantastic.
The grappling hook launcher is the same as we've seen in various other Retaliation figures. The M4 looking assault rifle and machete came with Jungle Assault Duke originally (along with the webgear) and are all great additions to the Alley-Viper corps.
While all the parts here are repurposed from others, I find the total package here very appealing. A really nice base figure with some cool accessories. I'm not exceedingly excited, simply because there's not a lot of brand spanking new stuff here, though. We have quite a few Alley-Vipers already and while this one is a nice compliment it's not good enough to dethrone the Pursuit of Cobra version as my overall favorite.