Imagine piloting a vehicle that puts so much stress on your body that you have out of body experiences. That is the most trippy thing I’ve read on a GI Joe file card. Talk about dangerous and a liability for your air forces. Once again, Cobra pushes the limits of safety for its troops, and puts itself at a combat disadvantage. How effective can a pilot be in a dogfight if his mind is hanging out on the astral plane with Edgar Cayce and Dr. Strange?
The Aero-Viper mold is one of those figures that for me has no use outside of his role in his vehicle’s cockpit. That’s not a bad thing, just a fact. I was always more likely to keep a vehicle driver matched up with his ride anyway. The design is effective enough, and I can’t recall the body being reused for any other later figures. This is another instance, like the Rock Viper, of a Cobra trooper with distinctive facial hair. Was this an oversight, or does Cobra Commander require all of his Aero-Vipers to sport a goatee, and a black one at that? The head later made a con exclusive appearance as the numerous Dreadheads included in the 2004 set. Again, one head used for many, but at least the color of the beards were changed.
There’s a lot of texture to the flight suit, something I always appreciate seeing included on a figure. The lone accessory, the helmet, is unlike any previous pilot helmet in the line, and is quite menacing. The gold offsets the uniform well, and makes for a great accent color.
The Aero Viper’s vehicle, the Condor, first made a cartoon appearance in the Operation Dragonfire mini-series. Unfortunately, it wasn’t manned by an Aero-Viper. I hate to harp on this again, but it’s too bad some of the more interesting later vehicles and their drivers didn’t have the chance to rise to get more exposure in Joe animation.