G.I. Joe: ARAHC - Shadow Viper

I surely thought this figure would make the top of my list! Close, but no cigar…

Astro Viper?? Who would have thought that Hasbro could have passed off an Astro Viper repaint as a decent new character?!? The thought honestly would have never crossed my mind had I not seen it first hand. Here is a new version of a Space Trooper that will now see much, much more use from me.

As a kid I saw little reason to send my Joes and Cobras into space. Do I have anything against Star Brigade? No, not at all, but to me, a covert strike team and underground terrorist organization would not be waging wars in the upper atmosphere. It just didn’t work for me. As a result, Astro Viper was quickly resigned to my bottom drawer soon after I got him. The mold was okay enough, I guess. Some cool detailing on the uniform, a great, ninja-like mask…some cool accessories. But he was bright red and he flew around in SPACE. What was I supposed to do with THAT? I suppose had I not been a neglected child and had gotten the Space Shuttle Defiant I wanted as a kid, maybe I would have had a purpose, but as it is, I did not:).

Who would have ever thought, a good decade later (plus) I would actually be looking forward to opening and playing with these guys, pretty much just glorified Astro Vipers. Will wonders never cease?

Of course, there are good reasons for this new version of Astro Viper to be a much better figure/character than it was before. First of all, the colors. Clad now in deep dull blues, grays and blacks, the Shadow Viper is much more well suited to normal combat, being able to blend into an Urban setting or any setting whatsoever as long as it’s dark. Also, the detailed uniform can serve a purpose here as well as in an astronaut setting. It looks like some kind of suit which could be used as a technological stealth suit. It really works for that purpose, just as it did as a makeshift space suit. Even the helmet can double as an additional part of the uniform, designed with high-powered detection equipment and a link to other members of the Shadow Viper squad who can coordinate their attacks through the internal communications. I can see these guys streaking through a government complex, in a sharply coordinated assault, sweeping through and effectively wiping out the installation. I know when I see a vision like this in my mind as soon as I see a figure, that figure has had a good impact on me.

I spoke a little about accessories already, but I want to bring them up some more. I’ve heard many people mention that the laser/jetpack does not serve a purpose with a stealth-oriented Cobra Trooper. I couldn’t disagree more! The jetpack is a perfect insertion tool for these troops. They sweep in with the pack, then drop down on the roof and go in, no insertion or rescue vehicle required! Again, just an additional piece that puts this puzzle together fantastically.

I can see these guys soaring in with helmets on, coordinating their attack. They drop in, helmets come off and they do their dirty work. These troops should serve a GREAT purpose in my little Joe universe as Cobra’s new Covert Ops/Infiltration troops.