One thing that I really admire about the Joe line over the years is the fact that Hasbro sometimes goes back to a figure and takes a second stab at it to improve upon what’s come before. It’s been happening since the second series in 1983, and has been part of the evolution of the line’s style. From swivel arms, neck ball joints and removable helmets to jointed ankles and swivel wrists, each iteration of Joe seems to have improved upon the last.
Revisiting a secondary character seems an odd choice, but regardless of the why, this version stands head and shoulders above his predecessor. The changes are small; new head with removable helmet, redesigned forearms with blades and more vibrant colors. Making these small improvements however added up to a great improvement to a very cool new Cobra character. Where he was previously saddled with a too-small head and flimsy, unworkable claws, the new version’s helmet is a very cool extra and the claws now look appropriately lethal.
The idea of an uncontrollable Cobra trooper who is “unleashed” on the enemy is a novel idea, backed up by a solid design. The character is of course a Wolverine knock-off, complete with feral rage, high pain tolerance and retracting claws, but he works within the concept of the V-troopers who have been imbued with animal DNA. I also can’t blame Hasbro for the cribbing of a comic character, since so much of Valor Vs. Venom had a comic book feel.