G.I. Joe: The Pursuit of Cobra Cobra Commander

I know typical fan outrage insists that Hasbro always cancels the best figures, or at least it seems that way when you listen to folks rant about various unreleased items that they may never get in their collection. In many cases, I think their anguish is justified (such as City Strike Scarlett) but in many other ways, I think the fandom will always want most what they know they cannot have.

That's the only rationalization I can think of when folks rant and rave about the canceled Jungle Assault Cobra Commander. From the first images revealed, I thought he was a clunky, over-designed, just plain weird looking figure that didn't really fit the Rise of Cobra aesthetic, and certainly didn't fit the vintage aesthetic. The fact that Hasbro elected to try and reuse his tooling here in the Pursuit of Cobra line made me shake my head a bit (since I wasn't sure the figure was worth saving) but the end result is actually a bit better than I initially thought.

Granted, the figure is still missing the best parts of the original (the robotic drone and neat accessories) but now that I have this guy in hand, he ain't all that bad. He's far from perfect, and he's probably the low point of the wave (besides Blowtorch) but still...not bad.

As I mentioned, the figure uses the parts from the canceled Jungle Assault Cobra Commander that was initially slated for a later Rise of Cobra assortment. Along with great figures like Ripcord, Zartan, and Storm Shadow, this guy was destined for the trash bin of history. To date, Hasbro has succesfully revived most of those lost figures (minus Storm Shadow, who had some awesome potential, and in my opinion, was better than either of the Storm Shadows that Hasbro actually did release). They like to tweak the re-releases up a bit, mostly for licensing reasons, so as such, we now have the PoC Cobra Commander sporting a vintage helmet.

The body itself is still a little over-designed and chubby for my tastes, and I really cannot fathom why they didn't make this figure an Arctic Threat version. He certainly seems to be wearing a thick, stuffy jacket, and I think rationalizing him as an arctic version would make a lot of sense. Instead, he's a City Strike figure (as is pretty much every other Cobra out there). His jacket his littered with these funky sculpted squares and patterns that don't really seem to fit a purpose other than to look neat...but they don't really look all that neat. Underneath the jacket he still wears his cybernetic torso, which is cool, but I'm not sure many folks will display him as such. His upturned collar sits nicely around his old school head, and the cape slips around it quite nicely as well. One note about the cape...the clasps on mine were actually installed upside down, so you may want to gently pry them from the holes, flip them around, and display it correctly.

Instead of the varying shades of gray that the original version of this figure had, this guy is much more traditional, with dark blue and black, and the color scheme is a lot more appealing. He fits in nicely with the Viper and Cobra Trooper released in this line. They did something pretty interesting with the color of his facemask, too. They didn't go the vac-metal route, but it has a very neat sheen to it. An almost reflective surface that approximates the mirror texture without going full on into chrome. Pretty cool.

I will be honest, though...I'm sure this is blasphemus to most of the Joe fans reading this, but for this particular look, I think I prefer his Rise of Cobra head design. For whatever reason it flows a lot better with this figure, and I find the display a LOT more appealing. In my world, the Pursuit of Cobra Cobra Commander has evolved his look, and I really like how this all comes together:

As with most Pursuit of Cobra figures, the Commander comes littered with accessories. Because this assortment was a "bonus assortment" of sorts, we don't get any new gear to speak of, but plenty of old stuff to enjoy. He has his familiar pistol (which fits the hole on his leg for storage), his cape, staff, Resolute dagger, various MASS Device elements, and the bomb that he plants on the statue of liberty. Again, nothing new accessory-wise, but he has a ton of reused gear, and most of it is really good stuff. I do like how the filecard outlines exactly what he comes with, including a cannister of "Compound Z" designed for the zombie creation process. Neat.

So yeah, another new Cobra Commander, and one that I don't mind myself overly thrilled with. He is a bit better than I initially suspected he would be, but still falls short of the Pursuit of Cobra original, in my opinion. I don't mind the evolved snake skull mask, and wouldn't care if other toys came in that look, but I understand most fans prefer the vintage aesthetic, and it is complete here.

Not my favorite figure of the wave, but even weak Pursuit of Cobra figures are cooler than many other action figures out there these days, so how can one complain a whole lot?

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