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Crimson Neo-Viper

GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra
by yo go re

It's always nice when a toy you think you have completely figured out can manage to surprise you.

Crimson Neo-Vipers are masters of power and lethality within the Cobra ranks. They guard the leaders of Cobra and willingly submit to agonizing procedures to obtain exceptional abilities and incredible endurance.

It just keeps climbing, doesn't it? Neo-Vipers are stronger, faster and tougher than regular soldiers. Elite-Vipers are better than Neo-Vipers. And now, apparently Crimson Neo-Vipers are better than Elite-Vipers. Next we can probably expect the "Super-Deluxe Neo-Vipers Royale with Cheese" to be even stronger than them. You know, the Joes don't have arbitrary power levels like that, and yet they always win. Maybe Cobra should focus less on their sorting algorithm and more on making sure all their troops are the super-badasses?

Unlike the Elite-Viper, the Crimson Neo Viper isn't a new sculpt - in fact, he's just a straight repaint of the standard Neo-Viper. I don't mind much, since I didn't buy and Neo-Vipers, but you might. CNV is wearing the usual ribbed shirt, with layered armor on the shoulders and forearms. Even the body armor is the same, that "stair step" cuirass with a tall collar. The red they picked for the CNV is a lovely dark shade, and the metallic sheen really stands out against the black of the uniform beneath.

The head is similarly reused, though admittedly the details show up better on the gray helmets (where they were outlined in black) than here on the red. The black eye sockets and the weird lines around the mouth combine to suggest a skull, which is surely the intention. The color choices made for these guys doubtless have many fans thinking they're movieverse Siegies, but the overall design is somehow more reminiscent of the Cobra-La Royal Guards - a connection that's only helped by the packaging describing the Crimson Neo-Viper as a "Cobra Royal Guard." Hmmm...

And that's great and all, but the figure has cool accessories, as well. To begin with, an assault rifle that looks like a real-world weapon, rather than a MARS Industries Special. There's a bayonet on the end, but be careful: the barrel of the gun is so thin, it can easily get stressed, and possibly even snap. There's one of the MARS Trooper pistols, a machete, and two axes with silver blades (and also a Stupid Giant Gun with a red missile). He has a polearm that looks like a logger's Peavey hook, which can also double as a snake-handling hook.

Yes, snake-handling: the figure also includes a small coral snake and a two-piece enclosure to put it in. The coral snake (they of the "red and yellow, kill a fellow" color scheme) is painted accurately, so we don't have to suffer the indignity of people pretending to be scared of a non-venomous Scarlet King Snake ("red and black, won't attack"). Kudos there. The clear box the snake rests in has a removable lid, two slots you can use as a carry handle, and an opening in one end just large enough for a figure to put his arm through - it's not a direct copy of the scene in the movie, but it's a close approximation in toy form.

The Crimson Neo-Viper is another one of those figures that's nice for the sale prices Hasbro eventually gave us, but not the prices the figures started at. The biggest flaw is that despite the myriad of weapons he comes with, there's no way to hold any of them: it's in his hands or in a box.

-- 03/12/10

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