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PoeGhostal.com Review:
G.I. Joe Zombie Viper

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…

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21 comments to PoeGhostal.com Review:
G.I. Joe Zombie Viper

  • *Which is not to say NoisyDvL5 and/or Vault are Rob Liefeld! Far from it; to the best of my knowledge, neither of them has been in a Levi’s commercial or appeared on The Dennis Miller Show.

    It’s true… I can’t draw feet.

    • Ever heard of the Rob Liefeld drinking game? You get a bottle of liquor and a Rob Liefeld comic, and you take a shot every time you see a muscle group that doesn’t exist in real life. Legend has it no one’s ever made it past the first page.

      • dayraven

        i might have to give that a whirl… in my younger years, we did the “brain candy” drinking game, where you picked an actor and every time a scene changed, and your actor appeared, you drank. i had bruce mcculloch and i survived. i was no good on two feet, but i survived. then again, that was 12 years ago… maybe i better pass on the liefeld challenge…

        course, you could vary the liefeld too… do a shot every time feet should appear, do a shot every time a weapon has no handle, or *GASP* a shot for every pouch. THAT might kill you.

  • Beedo Sookcool

    Sweet review, excellent photos.

    Still confused about the tentacles, though. Is Compound Z derived from The Thing?

  • 3B

    This figure reminds me more of “Resident Evil”, specifically the movies, where the zombies are grossly mutated. It’s great to see Hasbro expand the Joe universe like this. The figure has one of the most impressive sculpts in the 30th line.

  • Great Job Poe!
    The Zombie viper is a great great figure!

    makes me wish that there was any kind of Joe product right now

    • There’s still plenty of Retaliation merchandise, and for some reason my local TRU just restocked on the early 30th waves (Duke, Dusty, Snake Eyes in a biker jacket, etc.). I’ve still never seen a Renegades Storm Shadow, though…

      • I have all the retaliation stuff I need until waves 2 and 3 come out whenever. I want new stuff (Beyond obv the sub which I just couldnt do)

        Man I would love it if my TRU would re stock the early 30th waves

  • J. Lee

    Oh how I wish I haggled somebody to get one cheaper. Ugh had the chance and.missed out do to forgetting what I wanted at a local toy show. Woulda been cool to.have some but was thinking of actual dead joe characters.

  • […] PoeGhostal.com Review: G.I. Joe Zombie Viper […]

  • dayraven

    looking at this fig now, i can’t believe i didn’t make an effort to get one. i totally sluffed it off at the time. i’m disappointed in myself.

  • Dead Man Walking

    Poe, the harness is removable. There is a tab that you open–pop off the head and slide it over his body. And he does have a torso joint.

  • Aww… thanks for the shoutout Poe! I’d like to note that “In other words, they are deadly zombie warriors” is possibly my favorite piece of bizarre copy on toy packaging ever! The whole coloration of the figure does remind me of something though it’s been hard to put my finger on; likening it to what’d appear in “Heavy Metal” is pretty sharp I’d say.

    Ed really shot some lovely pics here, especially that first shot where the colors really make the exposed part of his head pop really well.

    It’s too bad about the Zombie subline Hasbro was considering as that Cobra Commander looks to be the best version of the character ever. I’d have bought nearly everything in that cabinet short of some of the weirder ‘Legends of the Arashikage’ figures!

    • Lay Ze-Man

      I loved seeing all those figs too (though I want just a normal version of that Commander instead of the zombified) and I really hope they continue on that path once the movie stuff is clear!!

      • If he had parts to make him normal, I don’t think we’d need another version of the bucket head look for quite awhile. He even had ball jointed wrists! ARGH why didn’t it happen!?

  • Lay Ze-Man

    Awesome photos, one of my fave recent Joe figures for sure!!

  • I passed on this guy quite a few times myself. Probably should have picked some up, but I kind of fell out of love with 3 3/4 Joe and just haven’t quite found my smile again.

    Of course this is also probably an example of Ed Speir’s great photos making the figure look even cooler than it really is. Lord knows I’ve bought tons of figures based on cool photos that I could never recreate. Often they don’t live up to the film.

  • I love the figure, Although I have to point out those ball hinged wrists were not typical of GI Joe, it was a pretty new POA for the fig and only a few of them at the time had it (Although I think all the figs from his wave did). In additon the “cost cutting” to be able to add those wonderful spring loaded launchers (note the cynisim there) is taking that articulation away from many of the new figs.

    But a great review, love seeing other’s pics of these guys, Zombie Viper was one of thsoe really awesome and unexpected pleasures.