Christmas may be over but when it comes to G.I. Joe, Hasbro has been giving gifts all year round. Their 25th Anniversary line has been a constant “thank you” from the toy giant to fans. Hasbro’s team has been creating amazing releases at an incredibly reasonable cost, keeping fans in the toy aisle and store owners happy. It is the synergy of capitalism wherein everyone wins and it’s been a line well worth the time and attention it has received both here and across the web. The past year has also marked the last hoorah for the original Real American Hero of the Reagan era, the Joe team of the 80’s that made the modern incarnations possible (and profitable). With next year’s feature film G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, the brand will undergo a conceptual re-launch for the current youth demographic, aiming to bring a new breed of young boys into the ranks of G.I. Joe fandom. Whether adult fans will re-enlist is the question, but in the event they go AWOL with the film’s release, the 25th Anniversary series will serve as a fine reminder of the line’s glory days.
Here is a rundown of all the G.I. Joe 25th Anniversary items we reviewed this year. Most of these are still available either in stores or online, so grab them while they are still around and the post-holiday specials are hot.
Even with the depth of the 25th Anniversary line, there’s nothing better than these inclusive collections. Each set includes both G.I. Joe heroes and Cobras, as well as a five-episode series from the cartoon. Overall, the figures are well-done, popular characters that any fan will recognize and the sets are a great microcosm of the line’s style, feel and quality. A total of five sets were released and we reviewed the first four, which you can check out below to see just what each offers.
I do not know of any Joe fan who loved the figures and not the vehicles. The sturdy, imaginative transports and machines of war made G.I. Joe the brand that it was. Thankfully, Hasbro has re-released the cream of the crop in the 25th Anniversary line. Each includes a figure (or more with the smaller vehicles) and even features decals to apply to the vehicle, just like when we were kids! They’re fun and a bit cheaper than the DVD Battle Packs. We looked at three of these sets over the last few months, but there are many more to choose from in the line. Check out these reviews if you want a better idea of the specific type of content included.
Already a staple in Hasbro’s Star Wars line, the Comic Packs feature a great deal of novelty, especially given the Joe teams’ comic origins. The sets are cheap and can feature great dynamic duos or a Joe vs. Cobra, giving each side a place in the series. We were able to review a handful of these packs, but there are many options within the 25th Anniversary line.
Single Carded Figures
Single figures sold on blister cards were the backbone of G.I. Joe fandom in the 1980’s and these will not only bring back the joy of seeing a Joe on blister card (as the artwork is retro and matches the style of the 80’s releases) but also show the updated and arguably improved form the line have taken. These figures are perfect for the tentative young Joe fan or maybe that brother who used to have all of them until mom sold them at a garage sale. We reviewed two of the most recent releases, but there are dozens of options available and should be a staple in any G.I. Joe collection.
We also looked at the San Diego Comic-Con Cobra Commander and the Extreme Conditions Winter Assault Team. The first is a rare item that will likely run you $30-40 on eBay or $50 from online retailers, but that’s hardly a necessary investment for a casual Joe fan. The second is an online exclusive of new Cobra Army builders which likely won’t be of interest to the casual fan but could prove wonderful additions for the die-hard looking to expand their collection! Regardless of what you choose to add to your ranks of Joes or Cobras, you are certain to find something in Hasbro’s 25th Anniversary G.I. Joe collection. This series has truly been a love letter both to fans of the line’s run in the 1980’s and those who are just getting in the know with the series. And as we have learned… knowing is half the battle!