Review & pics by: Fred Meyer
G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary Social Clash Lady Jaye
Like many G.I. Joe fans, my first exposure to Lady Jaye was in the first episode of Sunbow’s “G.I. Joe: The Revenge of Cobra” mini-series. Voiced by the lovely Mary McDonald-Lewis, Allison R. Hart-Burnett captured the attention of many Joe fans with her resolute determination and “can-do” attitude. In spite of this face, Lady Jaye only ever had one single figure in the classic A Real American Hero toy line-- a baseball cap-wearing representation released in 1985 that was discontinued just two years later. Hasbro returned to this character design for Lady Jaye’s debut in the 25th Anniversary line and again in 2011 when a new version appeared in the Concept Case display at the G.I. Joe Collector’s Convention. Much of that concept version was used to produce the Night Force Lady Jaye released at the 2013 Joe Con in Indianapolis and now the complete figure has seen release in the 50th Anniversary Collection. Does it live up to character of Lady Jaye or does it fall short? Read on and find out this Joe fan’s opinion.
As I indicated in the introduction, this figure, like the 25th Anniversary version, is based on the ARAH era Lady Jaye figure. All of the signature elements of that original design are present—the jumpsuit, Airborne belt buckle, gloves, and yes, even the baseball cap. The resulting design is far more rugged in appearance than the 25th version as the uniform is neither as form-fitting nor is the blouse as low-cut. Lady Jaye is presented with much more masculine appearance than many of her female teammates, making her appear to be more tomboy that “delicate flower.” The uniform, much like the vintage 1985 figure, is molded in a light green color that stands out a bit from some of the more military hues found on many other figures in the generation 3 era. I do wish that she possessed the hinged wrists that have almost become the standard on figures in past few years as it would facilitate the use of both her M4 and the included javelin launcher better.It’s interesting to note that the body is almost entirely devoid of paint apps with just the boots, part of the knee pads, the silver zipper, the upper arms, and the figure’s neck having any color other than the light green. While she’s faithful to the original design I find that the more I look at this figure the more I wish it had just a bit more color to break up the overall green.
When I think of Lady Jaye, I think of her Sunbow portrayal. It’s true that both in the comic and the cartoon her characterization was remarkably consistent both in terms of visualization and characterization but the animated version is the one that made me a fan of the character. In the cartoon her features were rugged but feminine with a delicate face topped with a mane of wavy cropped hair. Unfortunately, this head sculpt captures none of that. The figure has a very strong jawline and the sculpted hair hangs down along the figure’s skull seeming devoid of any bounce or body. It’s not a bad sculpt but it’s just not one that says “50 th Anniversary Lady Jaye”. In all honesty, I prefer the sculpt used for both the MASS Device DVD pack and the second 25th Anniversary G.I. Joe 5-pack instead.
Lady Jaye’s head sculpt, like her overall body design, is an homage to the 1985 version and this includes her baseball cap. Over the years, I can count the number of times that she has been depicted in either the comics or the cartoons wearing the baseball cap on both hands but I’m at a loss to tally up her hat-less appearances. Unfortunately, for this anniversary version, Hasbro opted for the minority of her appearances and gave her back the baseball cap which, in this fan’s opinion, is a bit of a wash. First off, the paint apps on this head sculpt are sloppy with the lines between hat and hair blurring significantly. Secondly the skin tone in incredibly pale—almost as if she were in the early stages of Compound Z infection. Lastly there are the eyes—which seem a bit overly large and widely spaced. Honestly, it reminds me far too much of Abe Sapien from Hellboy for my liking. It's unfortunate but every time I look at this figure I reminded of a line from the classic comedy Ghostbusters:
"Janine-- quit staring at me. You've got those bug eyes!"
I’m a big believer in the adage “less is more” when it comes to the gear included with a particular action figure. I’d rather buy a figure that comes with fewer pieces of gear but is able to store/hold all of them than a figure that comes with the equivalent of a National Guard armory. Figures like the 50th Anniversary Low-Light might be packaged with a metric ton of accessories but there’s a place for each and every single piece. Such is not the case with Lady Jaye which actually recycles her gear package from her G.I. Joe Retaliation equivalent. The good news is that there are some really nice pieces in this kits. The bad news is that most of it is going to end up in the parts bin. Included with Lady Jaye are the following items:
At the end of the day, is this figure worth adding to your Joe collection? It’s one of the better figures in the 50th Anniversary collection and the new body design is pretty decent—albeit a bit bland in terms of color. The head sculpt and paint apps, however, throw the figure off for me. What could have been THE definitive generation 3 Lady Jaye is instead just another figure of Allison R. Hart-Burnett. She’s definitely more “real world” in appearance than some of her predecessors but she fails to perfectly capture the tousled-headed tomboy persona that was Lady Jaye. Fans who weren’t able to get the 2013 Convention Night Force figure will relish the opportunity to pick up this figure at retail pricing instead of the going secondary market rate but be forewarned that the definitive version of the character still hasn’t arrived yet. Of course, that’s just one Joe fan’s opinion.
The Bottom Line : A nice new body design is hindered by a masculine head sculpt and some dodgy paint applications. She’s decent but she could have been great.
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