Lady Jaye, Cobra Trooper (x2)
The comic pack series from Hasbro has to be one of the greatest ideas since the introduction of “swivel-arm battle grip” back in 1983. The notion of releasing comic-accurate versions of classic figures was first debuted at the 2004 Collector’s Convention in Orlando and has rapidly become one of the most popular methods of reacquiring vintage sculpts. After all, who doesn’t want a figure that actually resembles the characters seen in the now classic Marvel Comics run of GIJoe? In most cases, these updates have been fantastic as evidenced by the treatment of the original 13. (Only 12 of them have been released to date. It would seem that the Flash/Grand Slam original mold has indeed been lost.) In some cases I’ve even read of collectors replacing their RAH-era versions of characters with their comic pack updates. After an extremely long hiatus, Hasbro has released two more comic packs into the mix including one that features a beloved character that was killed in the Devil’s Due series. Does this pack live up to the standard set by the rest of the series? Read on, Joe fan, read on.
I’m just going to preface this portion of the review by stating that there really isn’t much to say about this body mold. It’s a retooling of the original Lady Jaye mold that was used to recreate the Daina figure seen in Comic Pack #6. As I stated in that review, it’s a decent alteration of the classic mold—with a toned-down collar. What really strikes me is the color palette used for this figure. I’ll be blunt—there were two things that turned me off of the original Lady Jaye figure. The first was her extraordinarily ugly head sculpt and the second was the garish green used for her uniform. Whereas many comic pack characters have been saddled with excessively bright color schemes (Serpentor, I’m talking to you!), Lady Jaye is actually given more subdued colors than even her original figure possessed. Her uniform is a light “dark green” (if you think pistachio pudding, you’re on the right track) and her belt and harness are a dark tan. She still retails the black gloves and boots of the original release and there are some silver highlights on her belt buckle. It’s a great color scheme that is both faithful to the original design as well as true to the comic source material. Better still, it’s a color scheme that won’t stand out if you place the figure in among either RAH or GvC sculpts. (Too bad “Banana Pants” Roadblock can’t say the same thing.) Much like the repaint of Flint, this Lady Jaye is an update that surpasses the original.
DISCLAIMER: All of my comments about this figure thus far apply to the neck down.
Wow… I’m not really certain what to say here. I’ve been reading through the bulk of my Marvel back-issues lately trying to find the source image for this picture and I’ve come to a conclusion. Hasbro has managed to produce a Lady Jaye head sculpt that resembles not one of her comic book appearances! It’s amazing—and in some respects it’s quite an accomplishment. The head design is entirely new which fits in with many of the figures in the Comic Pack series. It’s a decent female head with a tapered chin, a soft nose, delicate eyebrows, and wavy short hair. However, it’s just not quite Lady Jaye and I think I know why. For whatever reason, the sculptors in Pawtucket decided to give Allison parted hair which wouldn’t be a problem if they hadn’t also given her such an extraordinarily high fore head. Perhaps years of watching the cartoon have altered my opinion of Allison Hart-Burnett but this just doesn’t seem to capture the classic “Lady Jaye” to me. Even after going back through issue #44, it doesn’t seem to jive with what was depicted on the page. It is nice after all of these years to finally have a Lady Jaye sans ball cap which seems to have been a staple of her toy designs (all two of them). I have no doubt that I’ll grow used to this new look for the Joe team’s Covert Operations specialist but right out of the box it’s just not what I would have expected. Oddly enough, the card art for this set showcases a fantastic version of Lady Jaye—one that I wish the figure more closely resembled.
Lady Jaye’s gear is surprisingly simple: a motorcycle helmet and an automatic pistol. The motorcycle helmet is a great “issue specific” accessory as I do believe this is the only appearance of this particular piece of head gear in the entire Marvel run. It’s also an accessory that is best left sitting on top of a motorcycle as a prop rather than worn on the figure’s head. Lady Jaye’s hair isn’t flush with the sides of her head and the helmet doesn’t really fit all that well as a result. It’s rather clunky when worn which makes me think that it’s better left as a prop than as an actual accessory. I’m also reminded of the flight helmet that Obi-Wan placed on Luke’s head in the original Star Wars film. It was over-sized, ill-fitting, and Luke complained that he couldn’t see a thing with the blast shield down. If Lady Jaye could talk, I have the feeling she’d have something similar to say about this helmet.
As is the case with Lady Jaye, there’s not a lot to say about this body sculpt that hasn’t already been said before. Recently used in Comic Pack #5 as well as the Cobra Night Watch and the now-classic Cobra Infantry Forces, it’s a body sculpt that fans have been familiar with since the earliest days of the Real American Hero line. If you’re not familiar with this mold, I’d suggest reading the previously mentioned reviews. It’s not that I don’t like talking about this mold as much as there’s really not much more to say about it. It’s THE classic look for a Cobra Officer and one that has stood the test of time. The figure is painted with similar colors to the other comic pack Cobra troopers so if you’re army-building these sets you’ve just acquired two more troopers. One point of interest is that Hasbro changed the arms on the Cobra Trooper to a set of arms that has been reused with almost ever Duke re-release in the past few years. (See Anti-Venom Task Force, Heavy Assault Squad, and Comic Pack #24 for further details.) I’m not certain why the change was made other than to give this trooper’s uniform a more “sealed” look.
I can’t look at this figure without hearing James Earl Jones’ voice stating: “Luke, I am your father.” The combination of gas mask, goggles, and flared helmet remind me so much of Darth Vader that it’s hard to take this figure seriously at times. To dismiss it so callously, however, would be a shame as it’s a solid head design. The “gas mask” troopers appeared in just a single frame of issue #44 at the bottom of page 8. Surprisingly enough, Hasbro was able to recreate that design almost exactly with this figure. Of course, they are essentially just Cobra Officers who slipped on gas masks. I can only imagine that some folks will complain about the size of the figure’s head: “It’s too big! He looks like a bobble head!” Honestly, the head is perfectly proportioned if you considered that the gas mask and helmet are being worn over a man’s head! There’s really not much else to say about this figure as it’s just an officer variant. I don’t see these as a new type of trooper or as anything that I’ll have to army-build. My comic pack Cobra Troopers and Officers spend their plastic lives sitting on a shelf and that’s exactly where these figures will end up. So, kudos to Hasbro for recreating such an obscure character in this pack, although I’d have much preferred an Airtight with removable helmet and just one of these troops. The Cobra Troopers come with two rifles – an AK-47 variant and the original Baroness rifle.
In the end, this is a comic pack that is purchased based solely upon whether or not fans like the two new head sculpts. While Lady Jaye isn’t perfect, she’s far better than any version released thus far. A solid color scheme for her body means that she’ll see a lot of use in dio-stories and displays across Joe fandom. The gas mask Cobra Troopers are some interesting variants on a heavily reused mold and, as such, could see use in any type of situation involving tear gas, etc. I’ll be honest—with essentially two figures in the pack, it’s a tough call as to whether or not it’s an essential addition to any collection. Based solely on Lady Jaye, I’d have to say “yes” but with some reservations. If I knew for a fact that Hasbro would be releasing a better hat-less new sculpt version of Allison R. Hart-Burnett down the road, then I’d say “pass”. However, the Joe releases seem to have slowed down to a mere trickle lately so the future is a bit uncertain at this time. The ability to troop-building comic pack figures so easily will appeal to some fans more than others and so the gas mask troopers are really a matter of personal preference. If you like the characters snag this set. If you’re ambivalent, you can skip this pack and not really miss out on too much.