Hasbro continues its series of comic book accurate three-packs with an all-Joe assortment. Colonel Hawk (referred to on the package and file card as “General Abernathy”), Clutch (referred to for copyright reasons as “Double Clutch”), and Stalker (referred to as “Sgt Stalker”) now join the ever-expanding ranks of the three-pack reissues and they’re a welcome sight. Considering that Clutch and Stalker were the two first Joes I ever owned I knew I’d be picking up this pack, but even I was pleasantly surprised by these figures.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Stalker, as he was one of the first Joes I owned back in 1982. This figure lives up to my high expectations with a fantastic head sculpt. In all honesty, this is how I remember Lonzo R. Wilkinson: young, determined, and sporting a steely gaze. His head may seem a bit small when compared to the original 1982 Stalker, but overall his proportions seem “spot-on.” The color scheme for the body, in an attempt to simulate the camouflage used in the comic, ends up being a bit too light in comparison to the source material and Stalker’s boots, belt, and combat harness are almost too yellow, but these are minor complaints. I find that this head sculpt is my second-favorite for Stalker, second only to the mostly-black Battle Brigade version of the figure. The body itself is a nice attempt at recreating the original generic body used by the 1982 Joes and retains the torso used on the original figure.
If Stalker (and Hawk) has a weakness it is found in the construction of the figures themselves. Both Hawk and Stalker utilize the legs of the Battle Brigade Cobra Commander figure. By itself this isn’t an issue, but the legs don’t quite fit into the waist that is used to construct the figures. The result (at least with my figures) is that Stalker and Hawk’s torsos tend to pull both forward and down giving them a “high water” look at the waistline. Now this is probably something that could be fixed by adjusting the o-ring that holds the upper and lower body together, but it makes for some awkward situations when posing the figure. This may just be an issue unique to my figures, but it is an issue nonetheless.
This is another case where I can’t call the figure by the name on the file card. This figure will always be Clutch to me… and this is a pretty solid representation of the first vehicle driver I ever owned. Hasbro nailed Clutch’s feathered hair and disheveled bangs nicely with the new head sculpt and gave him the full beard that Lance Steinberg was sporting in many an issue of the classic Marvel series. It is interesting to note that in issue #3, Clutch actually has a bad case of five o’clock shadow rather than a full beard. Still, there is no mistaking this head for anyone else other than Clutch. The body is also a good attempt at recreating the comic book uniform—from the rolled-up sleeves to the red t-shirt, this figure is a good approximation for what was shown on the printed page. Clutch does come across a bit barrel-chested, which is at odds with how I remember him. I’d go so far as to suggest this torso for a comic’s Grunt figure rather than the slender driver of the VAMP, but the overall appearance of the figure comes together quite well and he even looks great standing next to a VAMP.
Yes, I know the package says “General Abernathy” but at this point in the comic series Hawk was only a Colonel! As with the other figures in this set, Hawk’s likeness is perfect. He’s got the look of a real commander: strong, confident, and determined in spite of the odds. In fact, he’s a perfect contrast to the original Hawk figure that I used to confuse with Short Fuze. This new sculpt gives Hawk a distinct look that the original figure never had—and this is in spite of the fact that Hawk uses the same body as Stalker! In fact, I’d even go so far as to say that the paint highlights used work much better on Hawk than on Stalker. His knife is painted silver and black as opposed to flat black and the silver belt buckle works extremely well.
Whereas the body proportions on Stalker seemed solid they feel slightly off on Hawk. There seem to be two factors that contribute to this impression: Hawk has a shorter neck than Stalker and the Colonel’s feet just look HUGE. The first point is valid—Hawk’s chin rises just above his collar and the second is simply a trick of the colors used. My “General Abernathy” figure suffers from the same torso/waist/leg issue as Stalker but I’m sure I can lessen the effect by making some adjustments with the o-ring. Otherwise, this is a great rendering of the future-General’s early appearances and a welcome addition to my Joe collection.
Flaws aside, I LOVE these comic book three-packs! This is the third one released by Hasbro and a great sign of things to come. By the time we reach #9 we’ll have accurate likenesses of most of the original 13 Joes, the Oktober Guard, and even some of Cobra Command and their troops. I’ve already got the base from the 1997 “Stars and Stripes” set ready so that I can assemble the founding Joe team raising the flag! For the money, this set is a steal: three figures and reprint of an original issue make this one of the best buys for your Joe-collecting buck! I’d recommend this set with the same enthusiasm as all of the others—if you don’t already have the original 13 don’t hit Ebay—just grab these sets. You’ll save yourself some cash and get some great figures!