Cobra Ninja Viper (2012)

When I saw the Amazon exclusive Renegades four pack, I was intrigued by three of the figures, with their incredibly different design styles. I didn’t pull the trigger on picking up the set until it recently dropped in price. I’m glad I did, as the style of the two ninja figures is a cool departure that reminds me a little of one of my favorite recent eras of GI Joe.

I’ve been big on Ninja Vipers since the original mail-in version. I don’t know what it is that draws me to them as a troop type. Maybe it’s their similarity to the Cobra Red Ninjas back in Marvel Comics issue 21. Adding Cobra rank and file who were ninjas just seemed a good fit, with all the other ninjas running about in the GI Joe mythos.

As a modern ninja trooper, this version forgoes the traditional blue that the Cobra Ninja Vipers have worn in the past. Instead, he’s outfitted in a subdued sort of red, with yellow detailing. It’s the kind of color palette that could match the Renegades cartoon, had the Ninja Vipers actually appeared in it. Which brings me to another thought: this mold (which is identical to Storm Shadow from the same pack) doesn’t truly follow the Renegades line art. It’s definitely sculpted in a hard ]-edged cartoon influenced style, but the overall look doesn’t have that exact Renegades proportion to it. I would venture to call it something more akin to the Sigma 6 style. Now I can get behind that. In fact, it looks like we came close to getting a Sigma suit figure in small scale. I’m hoping that mold eventually shows up somewhere.

The redesigned ball-joint hip is not much of an improvement. It’s unwieldy in terms of poseability, getting in the way of simply posing the leg at the angle you want. Based on the concept Renegades figures seen at JoeCon this year, it looks like a direction the series was going. I hope this isn’t something that gets worked into the line in the future, as the simple hook style leg joint works just fine. The ball joint brings back bad memories of my brief forays into the Toy Biz Marvel Legends and Hasbro Marvel Universe lines.

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