G.I. Joe vs. Cobra - Zartan

Occasionally, a G.I. Joe becomes larger than the mere figure that represents him or her...the case is true definitely with Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, whose characters seem to transcend the plastic that they are molded in to. In other words, no matter what the figure looks like, the character will always be seen in their own way...

Confused yet? I know I am... Anyway, Zartan has always been one of those characters who has constantly been larger than a mere figure. He is a dominating force in the G.I. Joe Universe and should be represented as such. Zartan's classic look of brown on brown with a clear chest plate and looming cloth hood is his look, no matter how different the figure may end up. It would seem to me, with Hasbro's version, they weren't exactly sure where they wanted to go with it.

First of all, the mold is really pretty nice, I think. He's got a bare chest w/ open shirt...large belt, and some cool gloves and shinpads. His arms are a very bizarre amalgamation of metal and flesh, and I'm really not sure what they were planning here. Zartan almost comes out as a techno-wizard more than a master of disguise. I guess that could be accurate, considering he is most often seen using some advanced technological tools of holography, but I'm not so sure that works for the character. Even with the eye paint and the large cloth hood, this figure doesn't scream Zartan to me.

But the figure is still nice. Yeah, he still has the bulky shoulders and chest, and somewhat large hands. Yes, he has a hugely oversized belt with which to hide articulation. Still, his legs look very nice, and the articulation works well there, and I'm loving his boots. I think if Hasbro dropped the metallic arm look and gave him some chest armor, the figure might be a little better. They'd also need to do something with the colors. Red just isn't really a Zartan color to me. They got the brown down right, but again, I'm just not sure why they chose to put Zartan in red...it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Overall, this is a relatively nice figure, but it does not remind me of Zartan. There is a Zartan repaint coming up in Wave 3 or 4, I believe, which looks heads and shoulders better in my book, so perhaps he will be saved. This version, though, I'm not sure will get much use in my world. I could see some minor differences here and there making this a great version of Zartan, but it does need a little work.