Cesspool (1991)

Cesspool (1991)

In the early 90s, I was back into GI Joe, scouring stores for the latest releases and trying to pick up any older figures that had been languishing on shelves. I initially skipped some of the Eco Warriors, but returned to pick many of them up when they hit the clearance aisle and closeout stores the next year. Remember when that used to happen? Big bins full of last year’s action figures at half price or less? Ahh, memories.

Cesspool served a good purpose not only as a specific villain for the Eco Warriors team, but also as an interesting new named Cobra baddie. He’s so outrageous, even outright silly, that I have to like the guy. This is definitely GI Joe treading into super villain territory. I don’t have a problem with that, and it’s not like we haven’t seen it before. After all, look at Destro and tell me he wouldn’t fit into any super hero’s rogues gallery. Okay, so Destro didn’t carry a chainsaw rifle or emblazon his chest with a sculpted Cobra symbol, but you can see where I’m coming from.

The environmental “message” of the Eco Warriors concept may have seemed a little heavy handed, but the toys themselves were fun. Things got comparatively crazy to be sure, but at least it wasn’t as conceptually out there as some other environmentally aware lines like the Toxic Crusaders. By the way, what glorious toy times the 90s were–when action figures were alternately brightly colored and/or based on R-rated 80s film franchises.

The only bummer about all of the color changing Eco Warriors toys is the fact that some of the paint has permanently changed. My Cesspool doesn’t seem too bad, with just a spot or two. This figure does have one accessory that seems to be more and more difficult to find loose–the helmet rebreather. While it’s not as in-demand as Heavy Metal’s mic or Hard Top’s pistol, the thing is a bit of a bear to track down.

There was a time when I wasn’t too keen on displaying the figures with their oversized action feature accessories, but now I see the value in the play aspect even when it comes to setting these guys on a shelf. They were meant to have their goofy weapons, even if they can’t always manage to hold them.
Cesspool (1991)

Cesspool (1991)


  • It’s been a long time since I’ve looked at images of this figure. Seeing him now as an adult has created a new found respect for the figures design. We all viewed Cobra Commander , Destro and Serpentor (and perhaps Golobulus) as the Cobra “leaders” but strictly from a design perspective this character could have easily been cast as the “next” or “new” Cobra Commander. The scarred face and regal uniform suggest a Cobra Commander who has ascended to the “throne” via ruthlessness.

    I missed out on an opportunity as a child not playing out that exact scenario. On the other hand IDW did not.

  • I know I’m of the many seeking out the rebreather. Why didn’t they just mold the thing with the helmet all as one piece?

  • I have always loved this guy. After I got him, he and Destro were definitely my two trusted lieutenants for Cobra Commander. I think he generally filled the Major Bludd role in my collection since I was too young to have the original and Major Bludd didn’t get another figure until the late 90s. Destro always had his sense of honor, but Cesspool would fight as dirty as he had to in order to win. He looks great and I love the giant acid-spitting chainsaw. Cesspool is definitely a hidden gem from the much-maligned 90s era of the Joe line.

  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    I bought Cesspool the very first time I ever saw the figure in the store. I had no prior knowledge of him, but he looked cool and I wasn’t disappointed. He turned out to be one of my all-time favorites and in my opinion, he’s the star of the Eco-Warriors line. Him and Sludge Viper really stand out to me.

  • I’ve always had a soft spot for Cesspool as well. As others have said, he makes for a fun Cobra lieutenant, and while some of the design elements may border on the goofy, I think they’re really strong. The bionic arm and scarred face is all very 90s, but still fits pretty seamlessly into the world of Cobra.

  • IIRC this figure has color-changing plastic and the color changes are activated by hot/cold (which came in the form of the squirt guns the Eco-Warriors were packaged with).

  • One of my fave Cobra hierarchs. I remember when I bought him in an awesome trip in France back in 1991/’92.

  • With the helmet on and the overt Cobra on his chest, I wonder if this wasn’t originally a new design for Cobra Commander that Hasbro converted into a new character? The DIC cartoon gave Cesspool a fun Joker-like backstory, but it made it difficult to see him integrating with Cobra. So I think of him as a super-villain that the commander gives autonomy to but keeps a wary eye on (“keep your enemies closer”).

  • Being as bad-ass as Cesspool was it’s no wonder you would use him as an lieutenant 😉 I loved this figure as a kid and I still love it today. Even now when I’ve got almost all Cobra figures between 82-94 in my collection Cesspool’s still one of my favorites that stands out the most. I’ve been waiting for a post on him and it’s great to read all these nice comments about the figure.

  • Toxic Avenger, Ropocop, Terminator, Aliens and Rambo all had toy lines in the 90’s. The Toxic avenger was renamed “Toxic crusader” and tanked though. Robocop had tv shows and cartoons which nuetered him, Aliens was intended to have a cartoon and i remeber some company putting out Rambo and Terminator on blister cards. I think Hasbro may have used the thigh’s on that rendition of the Terminator for their Battle droids in the prequels?

    Cesspool is a very underrated villain. He was needlessly over the top in the DIC cartoon [my namesake fights him in “Infested island”] but he’s a lot better in the comic. Esentially, he is Mr. Burns.

  • I’ve always wanted this figure, but for one reason or another never picked on up.

  • The battle damage paint which only shows up when hit with certain temperature water, in hindsight, was a bad feature for the Eco-Warriors. Cesspool might’ve been the last cool new individual Cobra figure. Headman, Gristle aren’t as cool.

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