By Past Nastification
The Medi-Vipers’ origin date waaaay back to the Marvel Comics run, where they popped up from time to time. They wore the old-fashioned head mirrors on their masked faces. If you’re wondering what a “head mirror” is, it’s the reflective circle on the metal band going around the Medi-Viper’s forwhead. Doctors used to wear them and I’m just old enough to have seen a few do it back when I was a kid. The Marvel Comics Medi-Vipers didn’t look exactly like this figure. This one is packed with loads of sinister detail, so going off-model was the right way to go.
The Medi-Viper is a wonderful figure. It’s one of the rare figures that visually connects the ARAH run to the Modern Era run. A New Sculpt figure with no real proportion issues, it could almost blend in with ARAH figures, given away only by the plastic arm rivets and the soft flexible “skirt” portion of the scrubs. The legs are just a tad too long in the thighs, but only enough to make the figure look tall and lean, but not deformed. The crisply sculpted details and long legs help it bridge nicely with Modern Era figures, too. You can’t lose with the Medi-Viper.
The uniform is 70% surgical scrubs, 20% mad scientist weirdness and 10% military. This is a Cobra medical trooper ready to help Dr. Mindbender do some genetic tampering on a captive or to do battlefield surgery on a wounded Viper. The uniform’s base color is a green that’s one step towards removed from teal towards olive. It’s green, but not a green that the Joes would use. Too antiseptic.
(Okay, someone go ahead and tell me which Joe has exactly this shade of green.)
I have to admit that until I did some yojoe.com reference check for this review I forgot that the body is a recycle of the 2003 Scalpel body. It works perfectly for Scalpel and for a Medi-Vipers. It’s reasonable that they’d have identical uniforms. The coloring on each figure is just different enough- and close enough- that they seem to be co-workers on some level.
The sculpted-on gear includes the head mirror with some communication tech stuff on it, an armband of miniature medical vials (although they could just bullets), a chest plate with surgical instruments, knee pads, and durable work boots. The surgical instruments are a bit too Klingon in shape, but it’s a nice touch anyway and it does give a bit of “bad guy” dazzle.
The included gear includes a rifle, a knife, a flip-down surgical saw (attached to the wrist), and a backpack… thing. The backpack thing is nonsensical. It has shoulder pads and metal arms resembling pick axes, which yojoe.com refers to as “carry hooks”. To carry wounded soldiers off a battlefield? I really don’t know. Scalpel also came with the backpack thing and the carry hooks.
The best thing to do with the backpack thing and the carry hooks is to keep them off of the figure. The backpack thing doesn’t fit very well. This could be from the plastic starting to warp after 14 years. I can’t remember if plugged in better in 2005 or not. Either way, they detract from what’s already a great design. But if you happen to enjoy the extra bump of creepy the carry hooks provide, keep them on! Unlike the carry hooks, the “skirt” looks good, but it limits the leg/hip movement a bit.
Unlike so many of the New Sculpt figures, this one has aged particularly well. The colors, the sculpt, and the nominal Marvel influence all serve this figure well.