Short-Fuze, Anthony “Flash” Gambello, Craig “Rock ‘N Roll” McConnell
If you’ve read my other reviews of comic pack you’ll know that I’ve waxed on and on about how I always wanted figures of the ‘Original 13’ that didn’t look like each other and were closer to their comic representations. You also know that this seems to be the reason for the comic pack series to exist. With Issue #8, Joe fans are three figures closer to that magic number of ‘13’ with only Grand Slam and Breaker being completely absent. So how does this new take on Short-Fuze, Flash, and Rock ‘N Roll measure up? Read on, as I’ve got a lot to say about this.
Fans last year were giddy when the figure of “Downtown” was renamed Short-Fuze in the Toys R Us Night Force 6-pack set. For a lot of us, it was good to see one of the originals get an updated look—even if it was just a straight repaint. However, Hasbro did one better in this set, giving us a new head sculpt on a classic body. Short-Fuze (or “Short Fuse” as he is referred to in the comic) was a Joe that I always had a hard time remembering. His figure was insanely similar to the first Hawk figure and so he tended to get lost in the shuffle. However, give him the proper parted haircut and pair of dark glasses and you’ve got the combat engineer that I remember from the comics. In fact, when I first opened up this pack and looked at the figure I was reminded of John Hammond’s line to his lawyer in “Jurassic Park” as this head sculpt reminds me a lot of Jeff Goldblum’s portrayal of Ian Malcolm. Short-Fuze has that “young genius” looking going on in this sculpt—and it’s enough to set him apart from the rest of the original Joes. While I liked the repaint in the Night Force set, this is my favorite Short-Fuze figure released to date!
I never realized until just recently how much the original GIJoe uniforms reminded me of Steranko’s Shield uniforms in the old “Marvel Presents” series. The very utilitarian nature of the uniform just screams “60’s Spy” to me. However, this is the first of the comic pack figure to use a crotch that doesn’t have any sort of o-ring issues. For me, this figure stands as well, if not better, than my original 1982 Joe. The body is classic—even if the original crotch with the Hasbro logo on the belt seems to be lost. If only Hasbro had used this crotch for figures like Hawk from Comic Pack #3 I’d have had a much better opinion of the early sets. All in all, this figure is a winner. Short-Fuze comes equipped with the same mortar that was packed with the Spy Troops Iron Grenadier, an automatic pistol, and the same backpack that originally came with the first Roadblock.
Anthony “Flash” Gambello:
Okay, I’m really torn on this figure. On one hand it’s a great “issue specific” figure that reuses an existing Hasbro mold. On the other hand, it’s so specialized that I don’t see it getting much use in my Joe collection. If you have the 30 th Anniversary Action Pilot set from back in 1994, then you have this figure. There is no difference in the sculpt of this figure and the astronaut that was released 11 years ago. This leads me to a conclusion that I don’t like—the original mold that was used for both Flash and Grand Slam would appear to be gone. After all, neither figure was featured in the 1997 “Stars and Stripes” set nor have we seen any sign of that mold in any other release. This means that if Flash and Grand Slam are going to get comic pack treatment in their classic uniforms Hasbro is going to have to produce an entirely new sculpt for them. Unless these packs sell like hot cakes, I just don’t see that happening any time soon.
The mold isn’t bad—it’s actually quite nice for a late-seventies/ early-eighties astronaut. The body has some nice sculpting details including the control box on the chest. The helmet fits on snugly and the visor rises up and down. Flash even comes equipped with the laser rifle that became the standard issue of the Joes in the Sunbow cartoon series. However, I just can’t get that excited about this figure, as he just isn’t Flash to me. I was never more excited than when Flash made an appearance in Brandon Jerwa’s GIJoe: Frontline story arc in his classic uniform and I was rather hoping to have flash get that same treatment again. So, unless Hasbro puts a three pack down the road with a classic uniform Grunt, Grand Slam, and Flash, I fear that my original 13 will never be truly complete in resculpted form.
Craig “Rock ‘N Roll” McConnell:
In complete contrast to Flash, Rock ‘N Roll delivers everything I had hoped for in a comic pack figure. The head sculpt on the original Joe machine gunner is perfectly lifted from the original Herb Trimpe artwork. While the expression seems a bit angry, the shaggy hair and beard bring back memories of the Joe who was just as happy with an M-60 as he was with a surfboard. In fact, I could easily see swapping this head on to a Chuckles body to create the perfect “casual Rock ‘N Roll”. As with Short-Fuze, this new head sculpt takes the machine gunner away from his “Clutch/Breaker/Rock ‘N Roll” clone saga roots and makes him his own stand-out character in any Joe collection. Hasbro, you should be proud!
As with Shrage and Kwinn, Rock ‘N Roll utilizes the same body as Big Ben. Now, the original figure of Craig McConnell came with his sleeves rolled up but after looking through issue #8 I can see why Hasbro went with this body choice. The Big Ben body, including the sleeves, is a pretty solid representation of the character as shown in the issue and the all-green color scheme makes it distinctive enough that he and Shrage don’t instantly appear as clones. One high point of this figure is the signature weapon of this surfing machine gunner. Hasbro produced an entirely new sculpt for his weapon—including a folding bipod. So, while the original mold may be lost, Rock ‘N Roll is giving a fitting weapon and one that only adds to the overall appearance of the figure.
Two hits and a miss—that’s my impression of this pack. I’m thrilled with Short-Fuze and Rock ‘N Roll, but Flash was always a favorite of mine and the astronaut gear just isn’t cutting it for me. I realize that I’m letting some personal bias get in the way of a true review of the figure but I just can’t help feeling that we’ll never see that “definitive” Flash figure and that the original 13 will always be left with a few figures that are “out of uniform.” So, can I recommend this pack? Yes—as two of the updates are fantastic. The third is a good figure but it’s just not what this Joe fan was hoping for.