Data Viper (2013)
Data Viper brings back memories of 80s GI Joe play. Back then, I knew next to nothing about the specialties and equipment of the toys. I usually asked my dad what some of the terminology meant, and whether he recognized the weapons and equipment from his time in the Army. He filled in most of the blanks, but some of the stuff was too new for him to recognize, or it was just purely invented material from the science fiction side of the brand (he assured me the Army didn’t have laser rifle troopers). I was happily in the dark about some of the aspects of the toys, and I think that’s a lot of the warm fuzzy mystique about the era that stays with me. It’s also an element that just can’t be recaptured as an adult. Enter the Data Viper. What the heck is he? What is all that funky gear? Is that a drone aircraft on his back? Having an odd looking Cobra trooper like this, whose origins and purpose seem so foreign, it’s like I’m kid again. I almost don’t want to try to look up the origins of the design, for fear that I’ll ruin the fun I’m having.
The cardback isn’t much help in giving us background info, simply stating that they’re technology experts with advanced gear. Wow, thanks for the insight. Have I mentioned that I miss file cards? Regardless, the absence of information helps to keep me guessing about how to use this figure, and that’s just fine.
All this wacky gear also brings to my mind the Sigma 6 era, with its brazenly huge, and sometimes purely fantastical weaponry. An anime influence is also present, especially with those shoulder mounted cluster missiles (Macross, anyone?) I just enjoy all of the clip-on and snap-on with this figure. As an added plus, the gear actually fits like it’s supposed to. The base figure underneath isn’t too shabby, either. It’s certainly gotten a lot of use of late, appearing as the base of quite a few different types of figures. And with all of that stuff piled on, the thing still stands up fairly easily.
I haven’t been having all that much fun with the modern figures lately. While there have been a lot of excellently rendered new versions of old favorites since the Pursuit of Cobra years, I just haven’t been excited all that often after ripping open a GI Joe package. That changed with this figure. It’s a similar feeling to what I had with the modern Jungle Viper and Shadow Tracker figures. There’s just enough mystery, along with the prospect of a brand-new character or troop type, to pique my toy fiend interest, and rekindle old memories of GI Joe toys.