Dr. Mindbender (2003)
Of all the Cobras who dress ridiculously, and there’s no shortage of them, Dr. Mindbender had managed to consistently look like a snickerdoodle even into the new sculpt era. Before he finally donned a normal looking labcoat in Valor vs Venom, he trotted out this number, an unofficial Python Patrol outfit.
This figure suffers from a particularly brutal form of action figure disease known as Alms Syndrome. This affliction was known to strike one in ten GI Joe figures during the years of 2002-2003. Its main symptom was an unusual and permanent inward turning of the elbows. Thus the comparison to hands reaching out, palms up. Figures with this problem cannot convincingly hold any weapon or accessory, leaving them a liability on the battlefield.
Perhaps the poor figures stricken this way were begging mercy from their young purchasers, that they wouldn’t simply throw them into their castoff parts boxes, or worse yet, given to a dog as a chew toy. A few lucky sufferers of this dreaded affliction were only sticken in one arm, and thus found gainful employment solely as guards, since they were at least able to look nice while cradling a weapon in one hand.
Looking past the Doctor’s physical problems, I do like the paint job. It’s not officially labeled as a Python Patrol version, but the colors are sure reminiscent of the classic sub team’s vehicle colors. Of course, Mindbender can’t seem to get away from baring his midriff to some extent, but at least he’s put on some sort of shirt. The head sculpt has a lot of personality, and I actually prefer it to the later Valor vs Venom version. He also seems to have developed an affinity for disco medallions, although it’s possible that this one is on loan from Destro.