I’ve always been a fan of the wilder aspects of G.I. Joe. Sure, sometimes they went a bit too far with the Mega Monsters from Mega Marines and the… Manimals but stuff like Star Brigade, the Venom Troops, and the hordes upon hordes of Battle Android Troopers? I eat that stuff up. Even the more obnoxious stuff like Eco-Warriors can be made cool if you ignore the color-change gimmick. That stuff can easily be repurposed into hazops Joes and chemical warfare Cobras. It also introduced one concept to G.I. Joe that’s going to be important here and even more so later on: Zombies.
The Hazard Viper fits a niche inside Cobra’s ranks that I guess we didn’t need until now: Hazard Operations, of course! While the original Eco-Warriors Cobras like the Sludge and Toxo-Vipers were more suited to working in hostile environments, these are the guys that would be cleaning up a mess after a gas attack, searching for survivors. Of course, that’s just how I see them. Their true purpose is something far more sinister: spraying innocents with the deadly new compound “Compound Z” to turn them all into zombies!
Yeah, Cobra’s employing zombies now, go figure. This little story arc actually started with the “City Strike” Cobra Commander figure, which I dismissed as kind of lame. It turns out all the containers he came with held Compound Z, I guess making him a battlefield commander for the Hazard Vipers. Guess I’ll have to track him down now…
By and large, this figure uses tooling from the [mostly] unreleased Volcano Viper figure. See, that’s what I love about G.I. Joes: even if a figure doesn’t get officially released, chances are you’ll still see the parts pop up somewhere. The only parts (not including weapons) that didn’t come from the Volcano Viper mold are the arms, which came from Pursuit of Cobra Ripcord/Skydive. The rest of the parts are the body and head from the MARS Trooper and the legs from the Ice Viper. The Ice Viper legs may lack a double joint, but they’re nice-looking and work with the whole aesthetic.
The heat suit gear translated really well into a hazops suit, in my opinion; heck, I think it works better. My only complaints are that the mask doesn’t really click in place and the oxygen tanks like to pop out. But for the most part, it stays together well.
The only real weapons this guy has are a couple of uninteresting pistols. Guess they have to defend themselves with SOMETHING when the Zombies get out of control…
The suitcase previously included with Doctor Rex now contains three containers of Compound Z! Neat. Of course, he has to deliver it with something, right? That’s what the backpack and hose are for. I like this a lot, though I have to wonder if it was originally intended to shoot water, but the gimmick got nixed. Still, it’s a perfect accessory for the character, even if it looks kind of weird actually in his hands.
By no means is the Hazard Viper a perfect or even great figure. He’s good, I’ll give him that, and loads of fun. Really, if it weren’t for the impending release of the Zombie Viper, I’d have left this guy on the shelf. So, if you want some of these guys to quell your zombie uprising, buy a few from FPNYC! They’re neat enough.