|Code Name: ZARTAN|
The mercenary Zartan was one of the first steps into the weird for Cobra figures. He swiftly became popular, and was soon joined by his personal biker gang - the Dreadnoks - and later his sister Zarana and brother Zandar before becoming a staple of the toyline. In the comic he was a major character, which did sadly mean he was shoehorned into the Hard Master assassination plot with little thought as to credibility. On the plus side, he shot Serpentor in the eye, which is never a bad thing.
He's never been one of my favourites, though. I quite like the other Dreadnoks, but Zartan himself never did it for me. However, getting them without getting him would have seemed a bit silly. The caveat was that I went for the cheapest one, the first 25th figure. However, this one looked somewhat dour and out-of-place, especially alongside the other Dreadnoks, so I went for the Hall of Heroes version more recently.
The Hall of Heroes range were basically intended to draw together the best bits from extant figures and make definitive versions of those characters with little minimal expenditure, and Zartan certainly works on these terms. The gunmetal armour looks fabulous, much better than the previous moulded silver chest, while the colour changing gimmick is gone. It was a nice retro touch, but made the older version look like it was ill at room temperature.
On the downside, the disguise kit doesn't work. While the inclusion of Duke and Storm Shadow masks to bolster the original generic moustachioed man are nice touches, they still just look like they're sitting on the front of his head in a comical fashion, while the boxy backpack doesn't work. This is more an extra feature that doesn't come off, however - to be honest, if I want Zartan to disguise himself as Storm Shadow, I'll just grab Storm Shadow off the shelf. While this figure didn't completely win me over to Zartan, it's good enough to stand alongside the other 25th Anniversary Dreadnoks, and probably a lesson learnt in just saving money and going for the definitive version first.