Alley Viper (1997)
I really really dig the version 2 Alley Viper, even though it’s yellow. Heck, I think I like the funky orange and blue repaint even more. I never picked up this version at retail in 1997, and waited until the early 2000s to get one along with his ride, the Rage. I was on something of an Alley Viper squad building binge at the time, picking up several loose 93 and 94s, along with the 2002 releases and the troop builder packs from the Spy Troops series. I also bought up several of the Toys R Us Urban Strike Team sets. Man, that’s a lot of snake-y urban fighters. Something about the snake motifs on the later version made me want to keep buying and buying. Even the Duke legs couldn’t deter me from buying the post-ARAH mold in all its incarnations.
This version probably has the most interesting camo pattern of all the releases. Though the contrast is a bit strong for an urban environment, the pattern works well considering the toylike aspects of the mold. Realistic paint schemes work well in the modern era, but I personally prefer the stylized camo and brighter colors of the 80s and 90s.
The box and file card art depict the first version’s helmet/visor combo. I think at the time, I was disappointed that the original wasn’t included. As my tastes have changed over the years, I find myself being a fan of both designs, but the snake helmet will probably always rank higher in my mind. It’s wonderfully intimidating.
The Rage and Alley Viper combo got a kind of homage in the Pursuit of Cobra line, and though the paint job on the new figure was comparatively dull, the combination of an urban vehicle and driver was a nice throwback to the often forgotten late 90s series.