There are some people in this world that just need no description. One look is all that a person needs to form a complete and accurate assessment of the individual’s personality and purpose in this world. It’s not a prejudicial statement in any way, nor is it judging these individuals unfairly. Rather, this is an individual whose personality is so much a part of who they are that they exude it in every way possible. Some might even refer to these individuals as a ‘force of nature’—such in the impression that they make. Such is true of the subject of this review—Big Boa.
If Big Boa had been named “Big Bear”, it couldn’t have been more appropriate. One look at this figure and you can tell that he’s not a computer technician or a Rattler pilot. Everything about his character design exudes a sense of physicality that practical knocks the observer over the head. Big Boa is the type of character that knows only one way to respond to any given challenge: remove the obstacle with his bare hands in the fastest way possible. This figure is ripped! His chest, calves, and biceps all display an impressive amount of musculature. Already I can tell that Boa spends an insane amount of time lifting weights (or recruits) both in and out of the gym—because he enjoys it! His very uniform conveys this sense of raw physicality; Big Boa parades around the Terrordrome clad only in a pair of workout pants, boots, suspenders, and a helmet that Weapon X finds oddly familiar. This uniform might sound familiar, as it is, aside from the helmet, quite similar to Dr. Mindbender’s original gear. However, where Mindbender just came across as a bit “odd”, Big Boa conveys a sense of power. This is not someone that a raw blueshirt recruit wants to face for PT in the early hours! Oddly enough, I’d almost say that one of the costume designers for “X3: The Last Stand” was a GIJoe fan as the look of the movie Juggernaut is uncannily similar to what Boa was wearing back in 1987! (He’s also oddly similar to the design of Juggernaut in the “Ultimate” universe!) Either way, it’s a look that doesn’t say “98 pound weakling” or “Mind Control Specialist”!
If one thing puzzles me about Big Boa’s character design, it’s the use of the “Weapon X” helmet. From a psychological stand point it serves to increase Boa’s intimidation level by a factor of ten! However, from a practical standpoint, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense. The helmet is bulky with just a narrow slit across the front for vision. Unless there is some sort of hearing amplification system built in, it’s also going to cut down on his auditory awareness. In other words, the helmet almost makes him a less effective fighter by limiting his perception of his environment. However, I can see Big Boa using this to work to his advantage. First of all, he’s a trainer—not a front line trooper. His responsibility is to take recent recruits to COBRA and whip them into fighting shape enough to carry out Cobra Commander’s whims around the globe. Part of this training is going to include breaking down the young trooper and remolding them in the image of Cobra—and this is where the helmet comes into play. It’s not just a psychological device that removes any humanity from him but it’s also part of his training technique. In his mind, he’s so far ahead of these recruits that he needs that “one arm tied behind his back” just to give them a fighting chance. The helmet makes it harder for him to sense when and where they’re going to come at him from—and yet he still comes out on top. Big Boa comes equipped with two Cobra boxing gloves and a punching bag with “Joe” stitched across it.
Originally Big Boa was meant to be the adversary of Rocky Balboa who was to be another in a line of celebrity Joes. The deal with Stallone apparently fell through but Boa was still released. However, he is not without his opposite number on the GIJoe team. With all of the attention this year at the Collector’s Convention being focused on Sgt. Slaughter, I’m surprised that no one has yet mentioned that Big Boa is a logical tie-in to the WWF wrestler-turned-Joe. After all, they’re both trainers for either the new recruits or the “problem soldiers”. They’re both large physical presences and they’re both two characters that the average green or blue shirt fears just a little. It almost makes you wonder if there’s a Cobra equivalent to one of my favorite sub-groups of Joe—the Renegades. Is there a problem group of Vipers that were given two options: 1) leave Cobra feet first or 2) get turned over to Big Boa?
Big Boa is a figure that has honestly surprised me. When I figure acquired him it was for the novelty factor, plain and simple. I envisioned a group of misfit Cobras comprised of Darklon, Voltar, Raptor, Crystal Ball, Overlord, and Big Boa who were always trying to prove their worth. However, it wasn’t until I saw the true potential in the character—as the Cobra equivalent of Sgt. Slaughter and Beach Head that I gained a new appreciation of the character. He may never seen front line combat but that doesn’t mean that he’ll never see use—especially after TRU released all of those Cobra Infantry Forces 6-packs just a few years ago. I’ve got plenty of recruits for Boa to torment and, with some customizing, I might even be able to whip up some “Cobra Renegades”. While Boa isn’t a required addition to every collection, he’s certainly a colorful yet practical character to bolster the Cobra ranks. So, my advice is this—if you can find one for a decent price, snag him. Don’t pay “AFA GRADED” prices for one but for under $10.00 he’s easily worth the purchase.