Sometimes it's good to see a familar figure released with a new look. Sometimes it seems like a good idea to fuse animal DNA and human DNA. Somewhere, action-attack seemed like a good idea. All of this brings us to one of the three packs in Valor vs. Venom Wave 3: Wild Bill vs. Coil Crusher. Hasbro tried a new look for an old favorite and a new feature on a classic-style body. Did these two experiments work? Read on, and find out!
The Joe’s resident cowboy gets a radically altered look in this latest figure. Bill now is clad in a green vest, jeans and cowboy boots. He’s sporting giant work gloves and a full head of hair. He’s also got snakeskin holsters (Seriously, check them out!) that hold his two revolvers perfectly. His color scheme is unified and realistic—functional without being gaudy. He’s even got a Joe logo right over his heart—something that makes sense for the patriotic pilot from Brady, Texas! This is hands-down the tightest figure design in this entire wave.
If the file card didn’t state “File name: William S Hardy” I wouldn’t have believed it. Aside from the whole cowboy motif, this figure bears little resemblance to any Wild Bill figure released since, well, ever. Don’t get me wrong, this is one of the sharpest sculpts in the entire wave but, to me, he’s just not Wild Bill. This is a case where applying an entirely new character to this sculpt would be a terrific idea. Hasbro has seen fit to keep releasing new versions of the same characters over and over instead of introducing new members to the team. Now, I can understand if a new sculpt is released to correct issues with the previous sculpt, but just how many Wild Bill figures can a person have? Honestly, I can see a child wanting to get this set and a parent saying “Wild Bill? You already have him.” The other reason I’d make this a different character is that, as nice as this sculpt is, it doesn’t scream “pilot” to me. The sleeveless vest and the giant work gloves remind me more of a tanker than a chopper pilot. Maybe this is Bill’s new role in the Joe team but in my own little corner of the Joe world he’s going to be an entirely new character, also from Texas. Heck—when looking at all three different Wild Bill sculpts together a fan could rationalize them as the “Texas Air Cav.”
This is a great example of a sculpt that really doesn’t need any sort of “action attack.” Coil Crusher is large, muscular, and has possibly the most intimidating sculpt in this entire wave. Everything about this figure screams “powerful”—exaggerated facial bone structure, stern gaze, & barrel chest all combine to form the basis for one tough enforcer. His uniform is simple, yet functional—a quilted jacket, boots, and khaki pants. The crowning achievement of this sculpt isn’t the body—it’s the head. Shaven and sporting a fairly intricate tattoo, his mug leaves a definite impression. In fact, it’s the partial smirk that really brings this character to life for me. Resembling Riddick (of ‘Pitch Black’) more than just a little bit, Coil Crusher may be one of the most dynamic sculpts in this line in a while.
Coil Crusher has two detractors: his arms and his accessories. As part of the “action attack” theme, Hasbro replaced the standard swivel arms with rubber bendy arms. I realize that Coil Crusher is supposed to have been enhanced with boa constrictor DNA and that bendy arms are meant to simulate this enhancement, but the arms just don’t work. They’re too thick to be bent and hold anything other than a 90-degree angle. Add in the fact that he’s also got swivel shoulder joints and this figure actually loses a great deal of posability. It’s a shame too as he could have easily been my favorite figure in this entire wave. The other detractor is CC’s single accessory: a bendy rubber snake. Okay, I know—he’s part constrictor but I’d much rather he came with a couple of wicked-looking knives and a pair of pistols. The snake isn’t a bad accessory… it’s just a bit minimal.
This two pack represents the result of trying something new. Wild Bill, while not resembling any of the previous versions of the figure, is a real stride forward in terms of detail and design. (The intergration of an accessory successfully into the figure sculpt-- IE working holsters-- is something that Hasbro has only had limited success with previously.) However, the bendy arms of Coil Crush render the figure almost useless in terms of posability and so he represents a step backwards. At the end of the day, is this a pack worth getting? I'd have to say "yes" but only if you've already acquired the other figures in this wave. Coil Crusher is a great figure design but one that will stick out like a sore thumb in your collection. Wild Bill is a great new sculpt but not "Wild Bill" enough for me to recommend replacing the SpyTroops version.