Friday, August 22, 2003

1992 Eco Warrior Toxo Zombie

Starting with Serpentor in 1986, Joe really established that its world would incorporate elements of science fiction as part of the military reality. While fans have debated this point endlessly and come to no definitive conclusions, my feeling is that these sci-fi elements made Joe stand out from a traditional military toy and helped to keep the concept fresh for almost 15 years. Of course, the whole sci-fi thing was taken a bit too far. By the end of the line Joe was off fighting space aliens. Through the years, though, there were some concepts that were actually kind of neat, even if they were offbeat. A perfect example is the Toxo-Zombie.

Toxo-Zombies are intended to be Toxo-Vipers who have been exposed to toxic chemicals (hence their moniker of the "Leaky Suit Brigade") and have mutated into horrible monsters. They are not quite alive and not quite dead. In this sense, their concept is actually quite good. While the idea of men turning into undead zombies after exposure to chemicals is a bit "Night of the Living Dead"-ish, it does give Cobras forays into chemical and biological warfare a bit more depth as it shows they have progressed beyond the stages of known toxic agents. This alone gives Cobra an added element of danger as they now have the ability to expose normal people to these types of chemicals and could turn a populace against itself. This could give Cobra the ability to create an army out of anyone and would save their own troops until the original carnage was past. The ability to create monsters like this would give Cobra a remarkably powerful weapon.

In my collection, this figure serves dual purposes. If you look around at some of my previous pictures you will occasionally see a Toxo-Zombie. Usually, they are positioned to appear as if their carcass has been uncovered. (That is also the theme of one of the photos below.) The reason for this is that I tend to use Toxo-Zombies as dead Toxo-Vipers. The Zombie mold appears to be a Toxo-Viper who had a stroke of bad luck and ended up a victim of some Cobra plot. Usually, the Joes find the body afterwards and are then left with the mystery of what Cobra is planning. While this use limits this figure, it is a way that I've incorporated him into a my Joe world that does not have monsters and aliens. However, I do also use this figure in his intended purpose. Recent world events really point to the fact that, if Cobra were real, they would be heavily involved in chemical and biological warfare agents. As Cobra would be able to test their concoctions on live volunteers, it is very plausible that something like a Toxo-Zombie might result. As such, I do use this figure, occasionally, as a product of a biological agent. They are very dumb, very strong and VERY angry. As long as their intended victim is armed, Toxo-Zombies pose little threat. However, unleashed into the public at large, they can be quite dangerous.

This figure mold is interesting in that it is almost exactly like the '92 Toxo-Viper. The similarity is intended as this figure is supposed to be one of them gone mutant. I'm not entirely clear as to whether Hasbro altered the Toxo-Viper mold to create the Zombie or if they simply cast the differing parts. As the Toxo-Viper's legs were used on the '94 Major Bludd figure, it is most likely that these figures share common parts but had distinct parts molded separately. If that is the case, then it is highly probable that Hasbro still has access to the molds for these figures. While I don't think the collecting world at large would welcome their return, I know that I would buy several "Toxo" themed sets. They could include 2 of the '92 Toxo-Vipers, a Zombie, 2 "corroded" BATs who could haul around the chemicals, and one named Cobra. (As Cesspool was last seen in Brazil, it probably wouldn't be him.) While that might be a little to "real" in the modern world, I think it would make for a neat set that would allow modern army builders to move beyond the staples of Vipers and BATs and give Cobra a new type of threat that is more in line with traditional terrorist capabilities.

Toxo-Zombie figures aren't too tough find, if you're willing to look for them. If you hope to acquire one casually, they can be a bit more of a challenge. The 1991 Eco-Warriors figures were a spectacular failure at retail. This lead to decreased interest in the '92 figures and has made them harder to find. Like most of the Eco-Warriors, it is actually easier to find a MOC Toxo-Zombie. And, due to the lack of demand, those can be had at prices that make it acceptable to open one. The good thing, though, is that there are a lot more of the early '90's figures coming into the second hand market. While still not common, you couldn't find Toxo-Zombies a few years ago. Now, if you are willing to look at bit, you will see that dealers are now able to get them and sell them for decent prices. To me, the Toxo-Zombie is a good deal. He's a neat figure that has amazing detail, even if his purpose is limited. I think that, though, has kept him rather unpopular and allows the modern collector to enjoy a figure like this without breaking the bank. It's nice that there are at least a few figures like that left.

I'm set for Toxo-Zombies. What I think would be neat for the new line, though, would be a Toxo-Viper that could change to a Toxo-Zombie. What about you?

1992 Eco Warriors, Toxo Zombie, Ar Puro, Tiger Force Airtight, Brazil, Estrela, Biomassa, Eco Warriors Maverick

1992 Eco Warriors, Toxo Zombie, 2003 Inferno BAT, Funskool Toxo Viper, Letal, Cesspool, Estrela, Brazil, Forca Electronica

1992 Eco Warriors, Toxo Zombie, 2003 Inferno BAT, Funskool Toxo Viper, Letal, Cesspool, Estrela, Brazil, Forca Electronica

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