G.I. Joe: ARAHC - Fast Blast Viper

Well, if anyone has read my profiles in the past, they already know about my love for the ’89 H.E.A.T. Viper. He has a completely cool mold, with nice padding, a cool assortment of pouches and small arms, as well as just a nice all around appearance. The only even slight downside that I consider an issue is his garish colors. I actually don’t mind the yellow and gray, but I can see how some people would thing it’s a little much. Well, consider that minor complaint gone with the wind.

Enter, the Fast Blast Viper. Yes, the name is a mouthful and the head sculpt is different, but he is still the same classic H.E.A.T. Viper that I know and love. Replacing the yellow with jet black and that odd half chrome helmet with a slick black mask and red Cobra symbol on the forehead, this is a H.E.A.T. Viper for the future! And, I think it succeeds in every single way possible.

First, the mold. Who can go wrong with an ’89 Cobra trooper mold. As everyone would agree, that year was a landmark for Cobra Troopers, giving us such greats as the Night Viper, Alley Viper and a score of others which you will no doubt see profiled here sooner or later. The mold is a work of art, with great padding that would no doubt be seen on Troopers of this type. One would need a serious amount of padding and protection to operate this kind of weapon, and I think the Fast Blast Viper wears that well. There is one change to the mold to note. The addition of a skin tight mask instead of the oddly shaped helmet of the past. I am a little undecided about it at this point, since I think the helmet would be important for protection and target acquisition, but at the same time, I love the simple masked look of this trooper, which seems to denote a sense of insanity and meanness by going into battle with this gear with no head protection. This is an idea supported by his filecard, which is a great little feature that I will touch on later.

Now, we have the colors. Man…I thought a yellow and purple H.E.A.T. Viper looked pretty cool, just imagine how cool I thought this black and gray Fast Blast Viper was! Impressive to say the least. A truly fantastic color scheme, which makes me wonder why Hasbro didn’t use it in the first place. The weapons are all in this classic black and it all blends so well together that it makes for a wonderful overall piece, a great subdued missile trooper who actually won’t be the focus of all return fire.

Now, for the character. Love it. Simply love it! That little touch about the chip in the head to erase all sense of fear and self protection? GREAT! Sounds just like something the twisted minds of Destro and Dr. Mindbender would come up with. Throwing these unfortunate troops into battle with only a missile launcher and those implants is a great idea. I could even see this done as an involuntary thing. These troops implanted with this chip without knowing that’s what the outcome would be. They only find out once on the battlefield, and by then it’s too late. Very, very cool. Another nice touch is the addition of "Martial Arts" to their combat skills. I could see these guys running out of ammo and just charging the enemy with their bare hands, powered only by their fighting skills and fearless chip-enhanced brains. Classic storytelling in the making, if you ask me!

All in all, this is the essence of Cobra…highly skilled and well equipped troopers with no fear, ready to do what evers necessary to take out the opposition. Not only that, but they look great doing it!