As I mentioned previously in the Cobra Commander review, it was COBRA that truly got me into G.I. Joe in the first place, but what kept me into it were all of COBRA’s soldiers. I seem to have an odd hardon for urban combat (maybe it’s the close-quarters setting that makes it so cool to me), but I always had a hard time getting a bunch of Urban Troopers. I joined the hobby a little too late to get a significant amount of JvC Alley Vipers (and subsequently, 1000 Big Ben figures), so I had to get them secondhand, which, let’s face it, wasn’t easy.
Enter the Pursuit of Cobra line, with the first single-packed Alley Viper since the hideous red one from Valor vs. Venom in 2004. So far, he’s one of the only two army builders available, and I’ve been trying to buy as many as I can find (which sadly has only been 3 so far, and I have a goal of at least 5). He manages to succeed where almost every previous Alley Viper has failed, but why? Well, let’s take a look…
First off, he uses the same mold as the Alley Viper from the “Defense of Cobra Island” seven-pack last year. Unlike that figure, he uses an awesome red, black, and gray color scheme as opposed to the hideous orange and blue of the original 1989 Alley Viper (remember kids, the original isn’t always better). The mold is mostly new parts, with the upper legs, waist, and torso coming from the awesome 1989-inspired Snake Eyes 25th figure. Like many modern figures, his vest is removable.
One change they made from the previous figure is the head. Instead of using the decidedly silly head of the 25th Alley Viper, Hasbro used the more detailed Resolute Alley Viper head, and it makes a HUGE difference. But they didn’t stop there-in addition to the new head, he comes with THREE helmets-the classic Alley Viper helmet, the Resolute Alley Viper helmet with goggles, and the awesome gasmask that the PIT Commando from Rise of Cobra included. Including all these helmets was an awesome choice because it can help give your troopers more identity, or equip them for different situations.
The rest of his accessories are very cool, too. His primary weapon is a streamlined, more realistic version of the original Alley Viper gun. His backpack is also an update of the original, but now with a removable grapping hook launcher (one thing to note-one of my Alley Vipers has a launcher that won’t stay on its backpack, so be warned). He even comes with a larger version of the classic shield with an awesome bonus-the awesome nightstick from the Direct to Consumer Mutt figure can be stored in it! A great accessory that all urban soldiers need.
But there’s one thing about him that sets him above and beyond-the hideous Valor vs Venom Alley Viper had one awesome feature, and that was the removable knife that stored on his chest. Well, this figure takes the concept one step further by not only giving him a chest knife, but also one on his sleeve! Yes, TWO removable knives! I really wouldn’t want to mess with one of these guys.
While Hasbro hasn’t included many army builders in the Pursuit of Cobra lineup, they’ve been spectacular so far, and with the upcoming Shock Trooper, they’re only getting better. I’m so glad to finally be able to build up an Alley Viper battalion, even if finding them’s been a crapshoot. Come on into FPNYC and start off your Urban Strike force with an Alley Viper or two, hell, why not five?