Electric Eel (2004)
Why do I find clear action figures so fascinating? Is it because you can see all of the inner structures, like the visible man model from grade school science class? Or is it because it looks like candy? The Electric Eel looks like it’s made from an apple Jolly Rancher. Mmmmm, apple Jolly Rancher… Maybe I shouldn’t be writing on an empty stomach.
The idea behind this particular series of Joe figures was Cobra’s use of a serum to combine its troops’ DNA with that of animals. In this case, a Cobra underwater specialist was given serum developed from electric eel DNA. The resulting mutation gave the trooper the power to project electricity.
This mold saw release three times during the new sculpt era of the 2000’s. This is definitely the most interesting use of it. The others were a basic grey with black, red or blue highlights. What could be cooler than a translucent green bad guy? Yes, it’s a gimmick, but it’s fun. I think that gimmicks can work in the Joe line, if they’re integrated into the figure well. The 80’s Masters of the Universe line is the best example of what I’m talking about, as each figure had an action feature that fit the character’s bio and design. Working the features into the characters and story serves the line much better than simply including a big honkin’ spring loaded missile launcher in the package (which was done with Joe in the 90’s and most recently in the 2009 movie line). In addition to being translucent, the Electric Eel also has a pretty neat light-up gimmick. A backpack plugs in and shines an LED into the chest, lighting up the figure to simulate electricity. This just thrills me since the figure manages to work in two gimmicks. What’s not to love about light-up toys? Combine it with translucent plastic and you’ve got a winner.