Cobra Laser Viper (2003)
Sometimes I’m really bummed about missing a few years of the 80s and 90s as a kid collector. 1988 through 1990 were off my radar until I started collecting again in 1991. As such, I often have a more difficult time remembering which toys are from which year. I know, it’s not a big deal, considering all of the web sites and books available to remind me, but for the other years of GI Joe, I can spout it all off the top of my head.
The Laser Viper is a figure that I think my kid self would have loved, had he been available prior to 1988. I’d always been in love with accessories, and this new specialized Viper would have easily been a favorite Cobra trooper. He’s got lasers on his backpack, for Pete’s sake! How cool is that? And he’s wearing a sci-fi helmet. The little Star Wars geek in me, though dormant by 1986, would still have loved the Boba Fett-ish helmet. It may also have struck a chord with the emerging Marvel Zombie I was becoming. I could see the design as an 80s Iron Man villain.
The Laser Viper mold stands as one of Cobra’s more sci-fi influenced troops. The gold, red and black add an air of menace that was missing from the original color scheme. Overall, I found the updated Python Patrol color palette much more pleasing than the old greens, greys and yellows.
Thankfully, his laser system and distinctive helmet made it to this version. Such was not always the case during the 2000s, and particularly the later six packs.