This is the Sit-Rep, soldier, the Situation Report! It's here where we get the intel on the new troops, talk to the big brass, and generally do anything else
that isn't in an archival capacity! So what are you waiting for? It's time for your debriefing!
As the Anniversary line moves forward we seem to be getting lots and lots of little holes filled from early cartoons, comics, etc... and if those holes aren't getting directly filled, there are at least homage's and tributes that go a long way to proving that the design team is at least knowledgeable in the deep history of G.I. Joe in all different capacities. This is very nice to see, although sometimes it does leave us scratching our heads a bit. Take the COBRA Diver for example. It was pretty widely believed (I think, anyway) that the Eel was the COBRA underwater specialist. Sure, he was an elite sort of "special ops" trooper, but he was also their default aquatic trooper. Eventually the Hydro-Viper came along, as well as various different versions of the Eel, but ultimately, he was it. Well, Hasbro wanted to do some sort of cartoon tribute, so they did up a COBRA Diver, but it does lead to the question of where this figure fits.
Personally, I don't care where he's supposed to fit, I'll find a place for him, because this figure is great! The absolute gem of Wave 12, no doubt in my mind whatsoever. Wave 12 is definitely a "bonus wave" (in other words, a "shameless repaint" wave) but at least Hasbro did something cool with this figure, even without using any new parts. I'm sure eventually I might get tired of the Torpedo body being used for every other figure coming down the pipe, but at this point I have no issues with it, because it works, and works well.
Released one wave apart from the COBRA Eel, the Diver doesn't suffer in the least from the Eel's greatness, at least not in my mind. He retains all of the same parts, but slimming down his accessories and giving him a more dramatic paint scheme makes a huge difference. He's got the same head, and mostly the same body (with the exception of the lower arms) but on the surface looks to be a totally different type of character and figure. Hasbro is obviously paying homage to the cartoon-era COBRA aquatic troopers, and I love that part of it, too, especially since we got a neat Baroness version in the first DVD Battle Pack. Granted in the actual cartoon, the characters wore a much more solid red uniform with only the light stripe on the sleeves, but still, even with the black coloring mixed in, not only is this a nice homage, but it looks terrific. I think the combination of colors is just brilliant, and this underwater trooper is a perfect supplement to the Eels troops.
Somewhere in between your basic ground pounders and the Eels, there must be a COBRA Trooper that is learning the ropes. He is dive-trained, but nowhere near Eel qualified, and that's where these guys fit in.
Looking at the COBRA Diver's accessories, he comes with a lot of the same stuff as Torpedo did, but with a few very cool adjustments. Instead of the standard spear gun, he comes with an awesome submachine gun...one of my favorite weapons in the Anniversary line to date. The left holster that held that spear gun now holds a cartoon-theme laser pistol, which is another very cool touch. The weapon is extremely unrealistic, but immediately identifiable with the cartoon and I love having it here. He does have the same backpack, air mask and flippers as Torpedo came with, but he also comes with the added bonus of the Heavy Water element for the MASS Device. To many fans, that is the only reason they'll buy this figure. If that's the case, I think they're missing out on a very unique and very cool addition to any COBRA army.
I love this figure's parts, I love his accessories, and I love his color scheme. The fact that he comes with a mostly uninspired repaint assortment only amplifies the good things about this figure. I strongly recommend picking this guy up, even if you have your fill of Eels. He'll take a spot in my underwater COBRA squads any day of the week.