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Review: G.I. Joe Rise of Cobra Flash & the Para-Viper

JoeWeek keeps on rolling! Today, we bring you two more third wave figures, Anthony “Flash” Gambello and the Para-Viper. Flash, like Helix, is another figure that’s design comes to us via the ROC video game while the Para-Viper is a repaint of the 25th Anniversary version, but in the red/black M.A.R.S color scheme.


Flash is a bit of a letdown for me. I liked his look in the package. Even before I got overly drawn into picking up ROC Joes, I wanted Flash. I like his color scheme, the design of his armor, and I’ve always been a fan of the classic figure. When I got him out of the package, I was a little disappointed by how the figure actually worked. The chest armor forces the helmet to sit high on the figure’s head. I love see-through visors, but here Flash looks like he is peeking out over the bottom of the visor instead of looking through it. I might sand down the helmet or armor to get the right look.

The Para-Viper was every bit the awesome figure I expected. I loved his addition to the 25th line, but I wasn’t always fond of the purple/orange/yellow color scheme of the original. On this new release, the figure is still well done, has a ton of accessories, but now comes in an all black suit with red highlights. These colors really make the figure stand out and he might just replace the 25th one on the shelf.


Flash looks to be an all-new sculpt, but his base body just says “ninja” to me, so if it hasn’t been used somewhere else, it should be. Under the armor, the sculpt features a baggy shirt tucked into the tight armor at the midriff. Similarly, the pants are baggy until tucked into the boots. The look is finished off by the forearm and shin guards. If Hasbro wants to make more diverse ninjas, they should use this body. Because of that though, it doesn’t work as well on Flash. I appreciate the new sculpt, but I might have liked to see Flash built around a more hi-tech body. I like him, but it’s hard for me to not think of him as a Laser Ninja. The standard ROC articulation is there and the armor is designed in a way that it doesn’t block any movement.

As I said above, the Para-Viper is a straight repaint of the Para-Viper and features standard articulation. The bulky parachute harness does restrict the movement a little on the hips and torso joints, but you don’t really miss it. The only thing I would change on this figure is for him to come with a working parachute. It wouldn’t have to fold up and go in to the pack, I just would like it for display. I blame those Crimson Guard Paratrooper displays at JoeCon. They were cool.

In addition to his armor pieces, Flash comes with his real firing missile launcher and two rifles. One rifle includes a string attachment that runs from the gun and into the back of the collar. I’m not sure why it goes into the back of the collar, but I saw it that way at JoeCon and the peg fits in that hole, so there you have it. I would have preferred a full backpack here, but who says his armor can’t generate energy for his laser gun? Not me.

The Para-Viper has the same gear as last time, the 2 parachute harnesses, the helmet, the goggles, two flippers, a rifle, and a sniper rifle that separates into parts. He also sports one of those giant missile launchers. I normally overlook them, but something about this one confounded me. It’s designed to look like a flying vehicle. It has some small stubs that look like wings and it has rotor blades. So it seems like it could be cool. And the parachute harness has a new backpack slot, presumably for the peg from the missile launcher to go into the Viper’s back so he could fly around on it, but his harness conflicts with the trigger and makes the launcher difficult to keep on the figure. No good there. It has handle bars for the Para-Viper to hold onto, but he can’t reach them if it’s pegged to his back. And if you spin him around to hold the handlebars standing up, well, the rotor blade would slice him in two. They got close on this one, but they missed in the end. The Ice Viper still has the best missile launcher so far.


Overall, the Flash figure came out okay. I would have liked to see the concept fleshed out differently, but that’s me. The figure itself is faithful to the video game design and I can’t knock the toy for that. I’ve been keeping him posed with the unstrung rifle and I think I’ll like him a lot more if I sand down the helmet/armor conflict.

The Para-Viper is a great figure. It was a great figure last time and the new color scheme makes it even better. Can’t go wrong there.


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