In 2004, Hasbro dropped a new version of Zap into a late run comic pack. The figure was the same basic, green body that everyone was pretty sick of by the 4th quarter of '04. That figure became clearance fodder throughout the country even though the new head was fairly well done and was a nice representation of how Zap appeared in the early issues of the Marvel comic. The head mold went dormant and was not brought back to retail until 2007 as part of the convention set. This Zap, though, brought an entire new life to a character and shows how the combination of two iconic figures with totally new colors can create an amazing new figure that doesn't tread on the ground broken by any of the figure parts from which it is made.
The original Zap mold was well traveled with releases in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Europe and India. In 1997, Hasbro got the mold back and released it in the Stars and Stripes set. But, that mold did not return with the debut of this new Zap head mold. The Scrap Iron body is also well traveled with uses in the US and India. But, it has only been used for Scrap Iron and in colors that are some shade of blue. As such, the combination of the head and body molds offered in the unique convention color scheme really brings the mold of Zap to life. You don't see Scrap Iron when you look at the figure. Instead, you see an obscure homage to Zap's original design with the overalls. The new figure looks more like Zap than even the vintage Zap and, to me, creates the definitive version of the figure.
This version of Zap's accessories...well...suck. He features some Sgt. Savage spring loaded weapons and a small machine gun. The gun is OK, even if it is out of character for Zap. The spring loaded weapons, though, are pretty much an unforgivable mistake on an otherwise great figure. There's aren't many bazookas in the vintage line, but Zap's original weapon still holds some relevance and is such an iconic piece that it's hard to view Zap without it. The great thing, though, is that the '97 Zap's accessories are a perfect fit in terms of colors with this new Zap figure. The dark green bazooka and dark green and black backpack mesh perfectly with this figure and look like they were intended for this color scheme. Outfitting the convention Zap with these fairly easy to find accessories is a great way to make this figure a traditional Zap figure and solves the accessory issue in a creative and unique way.
This mold combination works well. It was the only time that the character was released in this configuration. The Zap head originally appeared in a comic pack on a fairly lame figure. So, getting it again on a better body with more paint applications was a welcome treat. Like most convention figures, though, once the mold has appeared in a Club offering, it is rare to ever see it again. It is unlikely we'll ever get another Zap in any form. But, this figure gives Zap fans something different that is very useful with both repaint era figures as well as vintage Joes.
Typically, high quality Joe figures from Convention sets haven't seen great appreciation on the second hand market. Such was the case with Zap. Within a few weeks of the convention, Zaps could be had for as little as $10 each. For a figure like this, that's insanely cheap. Now, more than a year removed from this figure's release, Zap remains an remarkable bargain. He simply hasn't seen any appreciation on the secondary market and is a perfect example of how collectors simply don't reward ingenuity in the Joe line. I find this a great update to the Zap character and this is a figure that is well worth owning. It fits with classic vehicles while not being too out there. But, I've found that I'm in the minority on this point.