Review & pics by: Fred Meyer
G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary Hunt for Cobra Commander
“A hero is measured by the quality of his foes.”
Over the years, the members of G.I. Joe have fought in battles on the land, under the sea, and in the air and yet their ultimate foe has almost always remained the same. Whether it’s the serpentine-voiced leader of the Sunbow cartoons or the former used car salesman of the comics, Cobra Commander has remained THE signature villain of the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero mythos. It’s no surprise then that Hasbro would find a way to bring “CoCo” as he has been dubbed in some fan circles into the 50th Anniversary line. Yet, outside of yet another new tooling of the character, how could the folks in Pawtucket breathe new life into the Commander’s signature looks? With a brand new color scheme, of course! Was the result worthy of GQ cover or is it something that belongs instead on the bottom of Raptor’s cage? Read on and find out this Joe fan’s opinion.
It’s at times like this that I hate have such a review backlog at JBL. (Something that I’ve been complaining about ever since I returned to actively writing reviews a few years ago.) The reason for this sentiment of regret is the fact that this Cobra Commander is exactly the same as the 2013 G.I. Joe Retaliation Ultimate Cobra Commander! However, instead of simply re-releasing the figure once more in the signature blue and black uniform we’ve all come to love since the 1980’s the design team decided to give the Commander a bit more flair. This time around the signature jumpsuit is sporting a black deco with a gray belt and sheath and a gray collared shirt. There’s also the signature gold Cobra sigil that has adorned most of the 50 th Cobra figures. However, the Commander’s neck, gloves, and shoes are all painted red. Red as in “fire engine” red. As in “this would be an AWESOME color for a sports car that would unfortunately be seen by every cop in the tristate area the minute you started the engine” red.
You might take my last comment to be the beginning of a typical Fred-rant about how much I hate this color scheme. (Or, as my buddy Gary Godsoe likes to put it: “snark!”) Actually, and this may surprise some readers here, I actually like it. The red gloves and boots are simply so outlandish in hue that they work to really breathe some new life into the design. Is the color practical in any sense of the word? Absolutely not! However, we are talking about an individual who in one continuity tried to carve his likeness into the moon and in another ordered the shifting of tectonic plates to form a new island. (I won’t even go into the mechanical sea serpent.) Sure, I could make puns all night about the “Red Shoe Diaries” or the “Man with One Red Shoe” but I can’t help but like this figure. He’s a bit tall for my preference but the body is entirely functional with a great range of motion. Plus, the red is just so darned striking!
In terms of head sculpt, once again Cobra Commander offers the choice of battle helmet or hood. While the hood was brand new for the Ultimate Cobra Commander the helmeted head was originally designed for the DVD Pack Cobra Commander and will be used again in the 50th Chase for the MASS Device three-pack. (I managed to find it at retail this past weekend so expect a review of that next week!) Of the two, I prefer the helmeted head simply because, to my eyes, it looks more proportionate on the body. The hood this time around is molded in the aforementioned red plastic and certainly makes an impression but there’s just something about the helmet in black and silver that is quintessentially Cobra Commander to me.
In terms of kit, the Commander’s got the same gear as the Retaliation version which includes:
No real surprises here save for the two red bombs. Previously, they were blue and fans could assume that they were full of the Compound Z chemical that has been woven through file cards and convention sets over the past few years. However, this time the bombs are red which begs the question—what exactly in there THIS time? Compound W? Smucker’s Jelly? Sriracha sauce? Does it even matter?
Here’s the question I always try to answer: Is this figure worth picking up? Honestly, it all depends on two things. First, if you’re not put off by the bright red colors then I’d say go for it! Secondly, if you’re interested in the Shipwreck figure that comprises the other half of the two-pack, then snag him. If you can reply to either of those statements with a negative comment then you can probably skip Red Shoes CoCo and lead a full and happy life. Personally, I really like this figure because his appearance is such a dichotomy with its elegant black uniform and its garish red shoes and gloves. Of course, that’s just this Joe fan’s opinion.
The Bottom Line: He may not be THE definitive version of the character but this repaint ends up being far more fun than anticipated. Not for everyone but still a solid figure in its own right.
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