G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Polar Sharc Submarine w/ Ice Storm

The fact that the third wave of Rise of Cobra Alpha vehicles finally hit retail somewhere is somewhat of a mixed blessing. Part of me was hoping they might not get released, if only because it meant there was one less thing for me to spend my money on. But then I get my hands on the Polar Shark Sub and I hate myself for thinking that way, because if this awesome little submarine had never hit retail, it would have been a crime against humanity.

Okay, maybe that's just a bit harsh, but without a doubt, the Polar Shark Sub is the highlight of this entire assortment, and not in a small way. Not only is it the coolest vehicle we got in this wave, but it may be the best Alpha class vehicle the Rise of Cobra line gave birth to. Yes, it's quite tiny...and yes, there isn't a whole lot of play value to be had. But it's got a fantastic shape, some very cool detail, amazing paint apps, a great driver, and is a vehicle well suited to anyone's G.I. Joe collection whether they're a Rise of Cobra fan or not.

Looking more like a rocket and less like a mini-sub, the Polar Shark is sleek, slim and angular, looking able to cut through the underwater currents with ease. The nose area is sloped, but with a rounded midsection, giving it a dart-like appearence that translates to quick movement and an aerodynamic design. For the Rise of Cobra, Hasbro seemed to have somewhat of a tough time getting new vehicle designs to transcend the "toy" phase and appear more "real world"...the Polar Shark Sub thankfully does not have that problem.

With a rounded canopy that blends seamlessly into the surface of the vehicle, there is a nice large cavity that easily accomodates Ice Storm, or another driver if you so choose. Unlike the film version, there is only a single seat, but for an Alpha class vehicle, that's to be expected.

Just beyond the cockpit the twin "wings" are deployed which give the mini-sub a more dynamic appearence, with a rotate-point between the canopy and the wings/turbines, so the back half can be rotated manually. Thankfully it's a pretty tight joint, so they don't just haphazardly spin around. The detail on the rear engines is quite impressive, with a quartet of angular fins, two exhaust fans, and two mini cannons that easily extend from the engines. They are close to the body of the sub, yet positioned far enough that their firing solution is on each side and clears the surface without any trouble. A pretty cool little solution for some offensive firepower. Of course the sub also has the expected spring-loaded torpedo launcher mounted to the bottom. Like the SHARC there is also a back peg on the bottom of this vehicle as well, to allow for some passengers underneath, which is a nice touch. All of this combined with a very nice, intricate paint scheme gives us a very cool addition to the G.I. Joe motor pool that can fit into The Rise of Cobra, the Pursuit of Cobra, or even Resolute or Real American Hero. It really is a very nice vehicle.

Ice Storm

But what is a good vehicle without a pilot? Using the Arctic Snake Eyes body as a base with a newly sculpted head, Ice Storm is a very different type of G.I. Joe figure than we've seen before. Obviously based on the ice fishermen from the "Deadliest Catch", he wears a large, overstuffed parka with a huge collar and a snugly fit cap. With a facesculpt that looks suspiciously like G.I. Joe design guru John Warden, Ice Storm looks at home in the arctic seas, yet doesn't necessarily fit the underwater submarine pilot motif that you might expect from the pilot of the Polar Shark.

I think it's inarguable, though, that the Arctic Snake Eyes figure is one of the best, most detailed figure templates in the entire 25th Anniversary arsenal, and I think his use as a base for this figure was ingenious, especially with the added tall collar and the red and black paint scheme.

Ice Storm comes with the same shoulder strapped pouch that the aforementioned Snake Eyes came with, as well as the ever popular submachine gun that became a mainstay during the Rise of Cobra era (which was unbelievably a year ago already).

This figure is surprisingly cool and fun, which is something I did not expect from a red and black repaint of Snake Eyes. Even though he may not fit with the whole submarine pilot theme, I love having new characters, and this is a great new arctic specialist that fits any G.I. Joe roster.

A terrific small form-factor vehicle at a reasonable price...and a greatly sculpted new character to drive it? Yeah, I'm sold. Because of this vehicle and this vehicle alone I'm extremely pleased that the third wave of Rise of Cobra Alpha Vehicles made it to retail, even if I did have to enlist the aid of one of my Canadian brethren to pick them up. They are all cool items to have in the collection, but from a purely toy "fun" perspective, this Polar Sharc is the highlight, and it's by a very wide margin. If you have the chance to grab any of the Alphas from this rare third assortment, definitely make it this one. It deserves all of the praise.