This is the Data Viper, Cobra's newest soldier on the battlefield, now equipped with a high-tech suit that keeps the data networks flowing at all times.
And he's seriously weird looking.
Since the file cards are gone from the packages and I don't have the info blurb in front of me, I'll have to rely on memory and imagination in regards to what this troop can actually do.
I see the Data Vipers as a link to the battlefield that would allow multiple streams of data to flow to one individual as an integrated command and control unit.
Data vipers would be very vital in any area of combat, especially an urban environment in which they may be able to hack into the already pervasive network of surveillance cameras throughout many large cities. By gaining control of those networks, they would be able to give a distinct tactical advantage to Cobra troops.
The Data Viper comes equipped with... stuff... and things... I really don't know what to make of his gear, but I'll give it a try.
The helmet is supposed to give the troop a virtual 360 degree field of visibility. I'm not really sure what the chest piece is supposed to do. I suppose there are data storage and processing units built within the chest piece.
The black shoulder units appear to be mini-missile launchers. Each unit appears to contain 14 small missiles. They remind me of the missile launching components of various bits of mecha from the Robotech/Macross incarnations. These type units have also been used in a variety of other battle suits as well. I would see these as primarily being anti-personnel in nature. Smaller vehicles would be tempting targets, but heavily armored opponents would shrug off the mini-missile assault. Close range aerial targets could be in danger, but the range of the missiles would probably be limited.
Without all the gear, an interesting head sculpt is given to these guys. The base body has also been reused for the new version of Lift Ticket from the new Tomahawk helicopter and the Sgt Airborne figure from the "Tactical Ninja" 3-pack.
The head alone is pretty damn impressive and still appears to be of a decent size to be able to imagine an actual human head within.
He has these "things" that he is able to hold in each hand. One part clamps onto the wrist with a control stick for each hand, while there is another piece that sort of snaps into the forward section. A red hose loosely connects the two components. Very loosely. Matter of fact, all of the Data Viper gear just sort of hangs on the troop. The chest piece just sits on his shoulders and is very loose. the two wrist units are very flimsy and fall apart very easily. I think that some light non-permanent adhesive would be beneficial to the wrist units.
There are also a couple of antenna that plug into the back of the chest piece. One appears to be perhaps a long range antenna and the other is a dish. The Data Viper also comes with the drone that is shared with the Ultimate Duke figure. There's a color and logo difference as well as the wings being placed on it backwards for purposes of differentiation.
The history of the Data Viper nearly led to extinction. A few years ago, Hasbro featured the Data Viper in a display case along with Kwinn (more on him later) at the national GI Joe convention. I think the Data Viper was to come out as part of the Pursuit of Cobra or 30th Anniversary line. Expensive tooling costs were the supposed culprit and he was supposedly cancelled.
The Data Viper finally made it to retail life as a part of the Retaliation toy line. Having no part in the film, the Data Viper just fell under the broad scope of the GI Joe brand.
I have two of the Data Vipers and have no desire to do any serious troop building with this figure. He's cool, but just not that cool. I would think a Data Viper would need some support/defensive troops very close by in the event of attack. I'm sure the Joe team would be targeting the Data Vipers pretty quick once they are located in a combat area.
Within this current set of figures (wave 3.5), there is another Cobra troop builder. That figure is the Cobra Ninja Trooper. The use of the word ninja, while excessive in this line, is necessary to differentiate from the wave 1 Cobra trooper - which sucked pretty bad. Collectors snatched those troops up pretty quick from various online retailers. And I ain't even mad. I really wasn't impressed with them. Just an odd repaint of the Cobra Shock trooper body along with some new head gear. I really don't need another Cobra trooper. I'm already pretty well loaded for Cobra troops.
I've got 16 Cobra Blueshirts (PoC, 30th), 12 Cobra Blackshirts (DG), 6 Cobra Blueshirts (DG), and 14 Cobra Vipers (PoC, 30th). Plus various other assorted Cobra troopers and specialist from the 30th, Pursuit of Cobra, and Rise of Cobra lines. My Cobra army is big enough!