No one knows G.I. Joe toys like CJ Stunkard of Stunk’s Stage. Luckily, CJ has taken an in-depth look at the new line of toys based on G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and you can read the articles right here at Pop Culture Zoo. Check back each day to read about what you’ll want to pick up and avoid in order to re-create the movie in your own home. Thank you, CJ!
In my previous article, I gave an overview of the single-carded figure assortment from the G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra line. Below I will give brief thoughts on the first half-dozen figures, highlighting strengths and weakness of each. Tomorrow I will do the same with the latter half.
If G.I. Joe has an iconic member, it’s likely Snake Eyes–the character who I believe has had more multiple versions released than any other member of not only the Joe team, but the entire mythos. Snake Eyes is an immensely important figure to the G.I. Joe brand and this version is a fine offering from the movie line. His only major drawback is the lack of Timber, but if I am not mistaken, future versions will include the fabled wolf sidekick as a pack-in. Snake Eyes is thin, without bulky vests or armor, allowing for incredible pose-ability. He also features a fantastic zipline for his firing weapon, and a great backpack with sheath-sleeves for his swords. Snake Eyes is pretty stellar.
While I know “Accelerator Suit” Duke is getting all the love in the promotional materials for the film, this “Desert Ambush” Conrad Hauser version of the figure is the one that most adult fans will want to pick up. He is fantastic. Between his realistic weaponry, highly detailed night-vision helmet, and semi-realistic dogtag, this Duke is THE version for old school fans, hands-down, He’s a great figure.
Me likey the Baroness. I always have. For some young boys it’s the White Queen, for others Catwoman; but for me, the villainous vixen who stole my heart was the Baroness. I’ve always had a thing for her, and I don’t think that will ever change—in fact, part of me still feels that the Baroness is real, and she is Monica Bellucci. Paramount apparently didn’t agree, and they got Sienna Miller for the films, a fact about which I am on the fence. Regardless of the casting, I like the figure. Perhaps it’s just my love of the character; but I love this toy. Holes in the Baroness’ hips allow one to attach her handguns (as seen in numerous promotional materials), which is a cool bonus, as are her cool extra accessories—an opening M.A.R.S. briefcase and a cool grappling hook device as well. As if all that were not enough, her glasses are removable, and her oversized shooting weapon seems appropriate for an in-scale missile launcher.
If every line needs to have one low point, this one’s is either Storm Shadow or Heavy Duty. Luckily we know that each of these characters is going to receive the multiple-version treatment, and I am hoping that later releases make up for the initial shortcomings of these first ones. While Storm Shadow looks great and features a bevy of accessories, he lacks in the articulation department due to his jacket essentially blocking hip movement. Finding this out initially, I cut the front slit of his cloak to enable more movement, but it was still disappointing. For a ninja, this version of Storm Shadow has a surprisingly obtrusive outfit. As if this weren’t frustrating enough, his backpack is nonremovable, so the figure’s ability to be used in vehicles is also limited; and as I mentioned in my previous article, his shooting weapon looks stupid. Overall, he’s a b it of a disappointment.
I am very unsure of my feelings on Destro. In part, I think the figure looks foolish with a silver-panted headsculpt as opposed to the killer faux-chrome one found on most recent Destro releases. As a longtime Joe fan, however, I do see some value in the choice. After all, the first Destro figure I ever received as a child had a similar painted headsculpt (the 1991-92 release), and I loved him as a kid; so perhaps my dislike of this recent choice is just my adult sensibilities taking precedence over a fairly unimportant aspect of the figure. The headsculpt issue aside, I totally dig this Destro. He has a cool, unique look among the other cobra soldiers; and even if one disliked the headsculpt as I did, the figure would still make a great decoy Destro or Destro Disciple or something like that. Holes in the figure’s legs allow his weapons to be attached, and his shoulder holster can hold a pistol as well—allowing fans to arm the weapons producer to the teeth.
I don’t know what motivated Hasbro or the film’s staff to design the Neo-Viper helmets as they did, but I hate them. The helmets and the armor just aren’t working for me—particularly given the extensive pre-existing helmet designs they could have used or slightly altered. That being said, I am not in love with this figure. He is redeemed from being a Storm-Shadow-level disappointment, however, thanks in part to his excellent accessories, including a backpack to which his two laser rifles can attach. Actually, as far as this figure is concerned, I am in love with the accessory aspect and apathetic toward the figure himself. So, he’s a bit of a wash for me.
Check in tomorrow for brief rundowns on the second half of this initial wave.