For years, I was strictly a toy forum guy. It was great for news and interacting with my fellow collectors. PoeGhostal.com changed that. Poe’s great reviews & insightful commentary helped inspire me to follow in his footsteps and strike out on my own. I can honestly say there’d be no IAT if not for Poe!
Please note, the photos for this review were taken by toy photographer extraordinaire Ed Speir IV. You can see more pics of many different toy lines at his Flickr page.
Poe Ghostal here. Due to what I can only assume was some sort of head trauma, NoisyDvL5 seems to be under the impression that you faithful IAT readers are interested in a guest review by yours truly. But I know better. A guest review is like a less-famous artist doing a fill-in issue of a popular comic – it’s just not the same.
However, the only fill-in issue of a comic I can ever remember off the top of my head is X-Force #8, which was drawn by Mike Mignola instead of regular series artist Rob Liefeld. Even way back then I was drawn to Mignola’s work, which of course is now universally acknowledged as the artistic antipode to that of Liefeld. And so, I strive to be the Mike Mignola of guest reviewers.*
This is also a preview of what I have planned for PGPoA next month. In October, in celebration of All Hallows Eve, I’m doing a “Creature Feature Month,” with reviews of monstrous action figures throughout the season.
The subject of my review today is, somewhat unusually, a G.I. Joe figure. While young Poe went through most of the big toy fads of the 1980s, I somehow was just never interested in the Real American Hero. However, I’ve been impressed by Hasbro’s recent efforts for the current G.I. Joe line, beginning with the “25th Anniversary” branding in the mid-2000s through to today. And when, out of the blue, Hasbro produced what amounted to a zombified Joe figure, even a non-Joe collector like me was powerless to resist.
(Before we go any further, big thanks to Richard of Planned Banter for helping me find this figure.)
First off, the card art for this figure is fantastic. There’s a great image of the Zombie-Viper in all his blue-blooded glory, and a full-body version of the same image can be found on the back.
Not knowing much at all about G.I. Joe, I’m afraid I can’t speak to what parts of this figure, if any, are re-used from previous figures. Fortunately, yojoe.com can: “Zombie-Viper was created using the torso, waist, upper arms, and upper legs of Shock Trooper, with a new head, upper arms, two sets of hands, lower legs, and feet.”
I can say that for a 3.75” figure, I found the sculpt quite impressive. It reminds me a bit of the zombie pilots from the animated movie Heavy Metal. The body sculpt has a ragged, bedraggled look, befitting his zombified status.
The paint work is interesting. The exposed parts of the character, such as the tear in his skull and along his arms, reveal blue instead of the expected blood red. The in-story explanation for this is that these Zombie-Vipers are being controlled by a substance known as Compound-Z, which evidently turns their blood blue in addition to all the other damage it causes. The paint apps are look great, though it’s hard to go wrong when the goal is to make it look sloppy and ragged.
I imagine the real-life explanation for the blue blood is that Hasbro never thought it would get a red-bloodied zombie past the parents of its Ages 4+ target demo…but what they did apparently think they could get away with is its disgusting tendril arms.
The Zombie-Viper comes with a “containment helmet,” a plug for said helmet ending in a Compound-Z canister, the two sets of human and tendril/tentacle arms, and a stand. The tendrils are creepy, ending in leaf-like stalks, but let’s face it – they’re pretty damned derivative of the Flood from Halo. Still, they’re wonderfully gruesome accessories and add a ton of value to the figure. Continue to Page 2…