Comic Pack #9: Alvin “Breaker” Kibbey, Agent Scarlett, Cobra Commander (hologram)
There’s just something about the original 13 members of the Joe team. Perhaps it’s the nostalgia of childhood memories of reading the early issues of the Marvel Comics series. It could also be that the “core 13” were my first GIJoe action figures and therefore have a special place in my collection. Regardless of the reason, I’ve been waiting for this comic pack since the 2004 convention in Orlando. (By “waiting” I mean “sitting with barely constrained anticipation”.) So, after much delay Comic Pack #9 is finally in my grabby little hands. Did it live up to my mentally induced hype or was the anticipation greater than the realization? Read on, follower of Colton… read on.
Alvin “Breaker” Kibbey:
Breaker is one of those characters whose appearance varied, depending on which flavor of Joe you preferred. In the comic, the Joe team’s premiere communications officer was clean-shaven while in the cartoon Breaker was sporting a full beard. The original RAH release sported the beard so it’s about time that comic fans had their day. It’s a good character likeness—at least as good as you can get considering the character in question frequently had a chewing gum bubble in front of his face. Breaker always was one of the more non-descript Joes and was more often recognized by the gear he carried and the gum he chewed than by his striking visage. As such, the head is just that—rather ordinary. My only real issue with the head sculpt is that the facial expression is rather odd. Breaker has the look of a man who is about to say something but doesn’t know if this is the right time to interject a comment. The end result is not an expression of confidence but rather uncertainty. Maybe I’d expected something a bit more dynamic but this isn’t quite how I’d always seen Breaker. Still, the likeness is different from those of the other original members and that’s what’s most important to me. While I love my original Breaker figure I’m glad that he’s no longer a clone of Clutch and Rock n Roll.
As far as the rest of this figure—well, there’s not much to say. Breaker uses the same body that Hawk, Stalker, and Zap have all been based on and this one has all of the same issues as mentioned in the reviews of Comic Pack #1 and Comic Pack #4. The fit between the legs and the hips is still awkward and the torso-to-hip connection just isn’t as smooth as the one used in the comic pack Short Fuze figure. (Now if only all of the comic pack figures were based on that resculpted body! I guess I can dream for the 30 th anniversary year.) So, in essence Breaker’s body has been reviewed here before—just with a different head. Breaker’s gear is the only area that I find truly lacking in this figure. He comes equipped with a new-sculpt helmet, an M-16, and Firefly’s mobile phone. (I just can’t call this thing a “cellular phone”. Maybe a “satellite phone” but honestly, this is the size of the old Cobra cordless phone my parents had in the 80’s!) The gear is adequate—at least in terms of the rifle and the helmet. However, for a communications officer Breaker is WOEFULLY under-equipped. Essentially, he’s now the guy that answers Hawk’s cell phone and makes excuses for him when the General doesn’t want to answer the phone. (“No Shana, Hawk’s in a… meeting right now. Yeah, um, with the President. That’s it! I’ll have him call you as SOON as he’s done.”) I would have been nice to see a remold of the original backpack or even another reissue of the Tele-Viper backpack. Also, for those of us who are wont to try, you cannot fit the original Breaker’s boom mike onto the new helmet. It’s nice to finally have Breaker in my comic pack collection but he’s not quite as nice as he could have been.
Take one look as the original Scarlett design and tell me that she isn’t a carryover from the spy films of the 60’s and early 70’s. Heck, her whole outfit just screams “Steranko Agent of Shield”. (A “Joe-prize” to all who get this reference.) Just look at here—a beige leotard over a gray unitard; toss in some go-go boots and give her a crossbow and you’ve got the kind of woman that Our Man Flint and Austin Powers would have been salivating over at the expense of the mission! Normally, I’d be describing the head sculpt first on the figure but this body mold has always been a favorite of mine. This mold is just LOADED with detail—including no less than 6 molded-on weapons. It’s simple, yet feminine (again fitting with the spy flick femme fatale look) and yet loaded with articulation. I’ll admit it—the Scarlett figure was one of the figures that sold me on GIJoe back in 1982 and the mold has withstood the test of time. However, Hasbro took the mold and added a feature that has been missing since the character debuted. Located in the bottom of each of Scarlett’s heels is a brand-new foot peg! Initially conceived to allow Shana to wear her included skis, the foot peg will also work with any GIJoe figure stands—with a little alteration. Simply whittle down the peg to accommodate the smaller-sized hole and you’ve got a figure stand for the Joe’s premiere intelligence officer. It’s a feature that is long overdue with this figure and one that I’m happy to see. Scarlett’s gear includes a recolored set of Snowjob’s skis and poles and her original crossbow.
Scarlett’s head sculpt is a mixed bag for me. On one hand, it’s nice to finally have a longhaired head on the original body mold. Let’s be honest—the original sculpt was “okay” but the head was a bit large and the short hair just made her a bit to masculine when compared to either her comic or cartoon appearances. The new head solves that problem by giving us a long red ponytail and a more feminine visage. So, if the new head solves these problems why am I not ranting and raving (as I have been apt to do) about how much I like this head? The problem comes from Comic Pack #2 and the martial arts Scarlett released in that set. The plastic used for the skin tones on that figure were a bit odd, but overall the head was a pretty solid match for her appearances in the comic. As such I’m a bit puzzled why Hasbro went with an entirely new head instead of just reissuing that previous mold. This new head isn’t bad but it’s a bit neutral in its expression—and the fit of the head into the torso causes Scarlett to always look up instead of straight forward. I’m not certain why but I just can’t get 100% behind this head sculpt. It’s light years better than the “I’m 12 years old” sculpt we got in Valor vs. Venom, but I’m still not entirely sold. However, I’m pretty darned happy with this figure and plan on using it in my original team displays!
Cobra Commander (hologram):
I love HALO—the best-selling first person shooter from Bungie. I’ve logged countless hours on both HALO and HALO 2 blasting Covenant and keeping the universe safe from the Flood. (Bear with me, there really is a point here.) As such, I’ve come to really like many of the characters in the game—including Cortana, a hyper-intelligent AI construct that appears in the form of a light purple female hologram. My fiancé and I were lucky enough to acquire a Cortana figure when the first series of HALO figures hit the stores and she proudly sits atop the computer desk in all her LED-lit radiant glory. So, just imagine how thrilled I was when I saw that one of my favorite all-time GIJoe characters was going to be getting the same treatment! Sure, I’d love to have had a better version of Flash or Grand Slam in this set but a hologram Cobra Commander was just too good to be true!
I’ve heard a lot of fans complain about this figure—calling it useless, a waste of “figure space”, etc. I can see where some of those comments come from; this figure is identical to the Cobra Commander figures releases in both Comic Pack #1 and the Cobra Imperial Processional sets. The only difference is the translucent blue plastic used for the molding. However, to prove how exciting this figure can be I took it and put it on the base of my HALO Cortana figure. You see, Cortana came with a holographic projector base that features four extremely bright LED lights. This light worked to help illuminate Cortana who stands about 5 inches tall so I wondered just how well they’d work for the Commander. The result speaks for itself. So while this figure isn’t the most essential figure that could have been placed in this pack, it’s not entirely awful either. I’d go as far as to say that it’s one of my favorite “random” Joe figures as the novelty factor of a holographic Cobra Commander is just too much fun for me to idly pass up.
So, how is Comic Pack #9 and is it really worth your hard-earned cash? I’d have to say, “yes” for a couple of reasons. One, it brings Joe fans two figures closer to having the original 13 in comic-accurate form. Secondly, the novelty factor of the Cobra Commander is terrific and if people can justify buying “leopard pants Bazooka” then they can justify this figure. Lastly, minor grievances aside, each of the figures in this set is easily worth their $3.33 share of the $9.99 price tag. So, once again I can recommend another comic pack to Joe fans and know that they will not be disappointed in adding it to their collections.