Is there anything more beautiful than an unabashedly crazy toy? I think not. It’s hard to fathom that this figure originated from the same toy line as 1983 Stalker, but here it is. I’m fine with it, as I’m fine with any number of nutty concepts that came along during the course of Joe’s 80s-90s run. Maybe this is the kind of thing that more modern iterations of the line were missing. Would a focus on bold colors and high concepts have saved Joe from the 25th anniversary and Rise of Cobra doldrums? Would a Mega-Viper have sparked young-uns’ interest in GI Joe during the late 2000s? Who knows, but I would have welcomed them with open arms–or tentacles.
The Mega-Vipers were the handlers/trainers of Cobra’s Mega Monsters, the supreme baddies of the Mega Marines sub-team. If you don’t remember, the set featured moldable “bio-armor” AKA Play-Doh that could be fitted around the torsos and missiles of the toys. A brilliant concept, I think. I can see the Play-Doh influence in the color of this figure in particular. If Hasbro was going for a deco that would mesh with a big swath of brightly colored modeling clay, they certainly achieved it here.
I’m hopeful that when (or if) GI Joe returns to retail, we’ll get a fresh take on the brand. I’m also hopeful that a remaining will incorporate fun play patterns and a bolder approach to design and color. I may be alone among my generation in this regard, but so be it.