Bio Viper (1993)
Happy Halloween! Some folks may ask on this spooky holiday: are there any monsters in the Real American Hero era of GI Joe? Of course there are, thanks to that most wonderfully ridiculous and toyriffic of decades for Joe, the 90s. These weren’t just monsters either, but Mega Monsters. This was the decade of the extreme, after all. As further evidence of the day glo decade, they were even attired in the latest of Body Glove fashions.
The Bio Viper was released as one of two horrific antagonists for the Mega Marines. The other, the Monstro Viper, was a nutty melange of animals both real and mythic. The Bio Viper comes from the Dr. Mindbender school of genetic mutations. Spawned from the ranks of “volunteered” Cobra Eels, this tentacled terror incorporates elements of shark, rock fish, platypus, piranha and squid. Wow, that’s quite the cocktail of craven and creepy creatures. I haven’t seen anything this aquatically awe inspiring since the classic trash film Blood Waters of Dr. Z.
Since the resulting mutated monstrosities were not easily controlled, Dr. Mindbender added computer powered brain implants to tame the Bio Vipers’ terrorific tendencies. According to the file card’s equipment breakdown, the controls are located on the Viper’s right thigh. What’s keeping them from ripping the things off and running wild, I can’t imagine.
The main action feature this time is not Play-Doh based, like other Mega Marine figures and the gut-bomb wielding Monstro Viper. Instead, the figure has grabbing tentacles that are controlled by a lever on its back. The effect isn’t all that great, and the appendages basically just move up and down a bit. This could simply be down to age, and who knows, back in 1993, the tentacles might have been powerful enough to squeeze the Doh out of the Joe team’s bio armored warriors.
Naturally, the figure doesn’t have the traditional o-ring and highly articulated body, but it makes up for the loss with sheer size. It towers over other figures. The detail in the skin texture is also quite impressive, even though it resembles an amphibian more than the shark it’s supposed to represent. Then again, it is just a toy, and I should really just relax.