If there’s one Joe character that gives me a Halloween vibe, it’s serpentor. When I say a Halloween vibe, for me it’s more about sitting down and watching the old Universal horror films of the 30’s than costumes and trick or treat.
His very origin is the stuff of horror. Dr. Mindbender operates like HP Lovecraft’s Herbert West at a molecular level, seeking to bring life to inanimate tissue. The cover of Marvel comic issue 49 presents a gruesome scene reminiscent of Frankenstein, with Mindbender and Destro carrying an apparently living mummy (complete with one staring eye) out of a crypt. Though more than a little over the top, the spooky image was planted in my mind. When the Arise, Serpentor, Arise mini-series aired, and the Joes had to battle Cobra in the crypt of Vlad Tepes, the spooky factor increased. Add in Sgt. Slaughter’s battle with a crazed proto-human monstrosity and you’ve got another horror element.
Coming at the end of the Real American Hero Collection, Serpentor was initially to be released in 2001, but was delayed until 2002 and available via specialty stores. This is a straight up repaint of the 1986 original, but done up in a darker color scheme. I like this recolor a lot, including the fabulous cape. I suppose this could be a Night Watch Serpentor, but lately I’ve thought he may stand well along with the original Python Patrol figures.