Zartan (2009)

I was disappointed in Zartan’s movie treatment. Although his presence was comparatively brief, I found his characterization a little too far toward the creepy end of the spectrum. He was too much of a sociopathic cold blooded killer. I wonder if the writers were inspired by the X-Men film’s shapechanger, Mystique. Either way, he didn’t have much of the appeal of the comic or cartoon versions. The figure reflects this missed opportunity to put a dynamic version of a beloved Joe villain on the big screen.

The figure makes for a good movie based generic MP, but other than the fact it has Arnold Vosloo’s head (and a very good rendition, by the way) and a couple thrown in references to the classic Zartan, there’s not much that stands out as the master of disguise we all know. Hasbro did throw collectors a bone with an approximation of Zartan’s classic face paint and a coffin shaped backpack to hold the extra head, but they’re not enough to offset the overall blandness.

Zartan comes with an array of bladed weapons, including one on his rifle (an homage to the Dreadnok weapons?). Maybe this obsession with blades is a nod to the comic version’s past as an apprentice to the Arashikage swordsmith. Then again, it could simply be a take off on his use of a knife to eighty-six Cover Girl in the movie.


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