Big Boa (1987)
What happens when plans to bring the Rocky Balboa character into the Joe line falls through? You get the inexplicable Cobra trainer who looks like a boxer. I don’t know if that’s truly the case, but what else would explain Hasbro giving Cobra a character that looks like a boxer if they weren’t going to make a Joe of the same ilk? If he wasn’t designed as Rocky’s nemesis, it’s a huge coincidence. Heck, Rocky even had an entry (which was later rescinded) in the Order of Battle limited series roster comic. I even wonder about the names: Big Boa–Balboa. Was the name a little wink since Rocky didn’t work out?
1987 has one of the highest concentrations of crazy Cobra characters. Even the year’s troop builder, the Techno-Viper was pretty out-there in terms of design and concept. I’m not complaining at all, as I have a real soft spot for this year’s offerings, especially the drivers. Talk about a classic year for goofballs all around–it was the year of Backstop and Rumbler! Maybe I like the ’87 product so much because it was the last year I collected as a kid, and the fond memories are that much sweeter.
The accessories are a big part of what makes the figure work for me. I especially love the boxing gloves. They’re even branded with the Cobra logo. Cobra definitely had a good marketing manager in the 80’s. The crossed straps and ripped physique brings to mind Ramar, the Cobra slave/gladiator from the Arena of Sport in the first Joe mini-series. Of course, the scale would be off if one were to try making a custom using Big Boa’s parts, as Ramar appeared to be at least 12 feet tall on screen.
The idea of a Cobra trainer is a cool concept. The execution is a bit weird, but what else would you expect from Cobra?