Ralph “Steeler” Pulaski, General Flagg, Cobra Officer
I started reading GIJoe regularly with issue #32. It was love at first read and I immediately began pillaging the local comic shops for back issues. However, this was the early 80’s and GIJoe was as hot as could be, so my early collection wasn’t as complete as I would have liked; it was as complete as I could afford. One of my first “early issues” that I was able to purchase was #5, which told the tale of the MOBAT being pursued through Central Park by the “Springfield Marching Band”. It was a fun read and has always remained one of my favorite issues. When I saw that it was getting the comic pack treatment, I was thrilled.
Ralph “Steeler” Pulaski:
You can’t have a comic pack of Issue #5 and not include Steeler. The proud pilot of the MOBAT is an essential part of this story and I’m thrilled to see him get a brand new head sculpt! The new head is an improvement over the old Flash/ Steeler/ Hawk/ Short-Fuze head in the respect that it makes Steeler into a unique individual. It’s not a perfect likeness to the Herb Trimpe art from issue #5 (where Steeler looks a lot like Grunt) but once the helmet is placed on, it works quite well. The face is a bit thin for my taste but it’s not so thin as to ruin the overall design for me. I now have my definitive Steeler and I am happy for it.
Steeler utilizes the same body as the Clutch figure from Comic Pack # 3 and it works well enough. Whereas Clutch came across a bit too “buff”, the extra girth in the torso works for a tank commander, giving Steeler a muscular appearance that would only make sense for someone who spends his time working an a multi-ton tank. Whereas the detailing on Clutch’s body was painted in red, Steeler’s is painted in white and the result is that you have two soldiers from the same military unit who are not exact clones of one another. One of the best details of this figure is the recreation of Steeler’s original helmet with the telescopic visor. In fact, it’s the inclusion of the helmet that explains the thin nature of Steeler’s head. If I had to choose between a thicker head and no helmet or the present sculpt and the inclusion of his original gear, the choice is obvious. Steeler also comes equipped with two M-16’s, a backpack, and knife.
General Flagg was one of the characters that I always wanted as a young Joe fan. He was a strong and decisive leader and always had a strength of character that impressed me. Hasbro has hit one out of the park with this head sculpt as the figure is positively dead accurate to the artwork of issue #5. From the elongated jaw line (which reminds me of John Kerry) to the black shades, this is exactly the Flagg I remember. The head is a bit smaller than those of the RAH era figures but the sculpting and the flesh tones are perfect. I even like the removable cap that fits snugly on his head. In fact, this General Flagg’s hat fits much better than the General Flagg (the son) that was released as part of the original Real American Hero line. Overall, a fantastic update.
General Flagg uses the same body as the Headman, one of the more infamous figures in the GIJoe series. Headman was a drug lord who wore a double-breasted suit, and spats. The transition of that same outfit to that of a US Army general is a bit hard to take but the result is much more pleasing that you’d expect. Headman’s handkerchief is turned into the general’s “salad”, the sleeves have been giving a gold trim, and the legs have been replaced entirely. I understand that this is not an accurate representation of a real 80’s military uniform but, quite honestly, I’m willing to forgive any inconsistencies. GIJoe is a line that is inspired by the military without being strictly military. While this might bother many former military fans, this civilian is quite pleased with the figure.
Remember my comments about the Cobra Soldier from Comic Pack #1? They also apply to the Cobra Officer. When compared to the newly sculpted heads for the other figures, the old RAH heads stick out like sore thumbs. They’re larger and less detailed than their more modern counterparts. When you add in the fact that the paint used for the skin tone is a bit unnaturally red, you have a figure that just doesn’t do much more me. For some reason, both the Cobra Officer and the Cobra Soldier look as thought their paint was literally slopped on—thick and heavy. As a result a lot of detail is lost both on the face and on the combat harness worn on the torso. When compared to the quality of the Cobra Infantry Forces 6-pack from Toys R Us, these figures just don’t hold up. If there was a figure that could have been skipped in this pack, it’s the Cobra Officer.
Overall, a good comic pack. Steeler is a great update and we finally have a General Flagg figure. However, instead of putting Breaker in an issue where he is featured prominently, we get a Cobra Officer. I understand that the Cobra ground forces play a pivotal role in this particular issue but let’s be honest—the Officer could have been included in just about any of the comic packs released that feature Cobra. So, aside from Comic Pack #4, the officer could have been used at any other time. Why Breaker was left out, I’ll never know. Still, fans of the RAH Cobra troops are going to want this pack for the Officer and most Joe fans will want it for Steeler and the General.