Lonzo R Wilkinson, the original Ranger of the GIJoe team, is back with an updated look for Valor vs. Venom Wave 3. This new version of Stalker is much leaner than his previous relaunch sculpt— being not nearly as broad in the chest and crowned with a slightly smaller head. It’s a good look for Stalker; the black jacket gives him more of a ‘stealth mission’ look than the previous lime green jacket. The rest of his sculpt is fairly simple: a few sculpted grenades, a sculpted holster, and some molded stitching on the jacket. The expression on his face is deadly serious which works well for someone who has been with Joe since the beginning. He also has a hip pouch attached to his belt for extra detailing.
It seems that Stalker’s chest isn’t all that is smaller in this wave. His feet are disproportionately small, being shorter than even Jinx’s feet. It’s a detail that throws his entire sculpt off and, when combined with his odd color scheme, keeps this from becoming my definitive Stalker. Color-wise, Stalker is a mess. His jacket is black with yellow (??!!!) trim, his t-shirt is white, his beret is olive-drab, and his pants are greenish-brown and cream colored. In other words, he looks like he was painted using a bunch of small lots of paint that wouldn’t be enough for an entire figure. It absolutely kills me as this is quite possibly one of the coolest Stalker sculpts to date, but his colors and tiny feet (“Look at those wee boots!”) just throw the whole figure off. Hopefully Hasbro will see fit to release a repaint of this figure in a later wave and unify his color scheme a bit more.
Cobra’s most enigmatic saboteur is back in his third incarnation since the relaunch of the line! Clad in a deep purple and sporting another new head sculpt (as well as a Cobra sigil on his right arm), this Firefly has some nice improvements over previous versions. First off, his head sculpt is finally correct. The first Firefly in the GIJoe vs. Cobra line was really pretty good, but something about the head just wasn’t right. The same applies to the phenomenal BTR Firefly that came out with the Sand Razor. The figure was near perfect but something about the head was off. This Firefly, while still not the perfection found in the original 1984 version, has the best head sculpt yet. The eyes, the nose, the balaclava are all perfect. I like it so much that I can almost forgive the lack of a gray camouflage pattern on his uniform… almost.
One of the sharpest features on this figure is his chest holster. Let’s be honest—while a great number of the figures since the relaunch of GIJoe have had sculpted holsters only a few of them were actually usable. (Shipwreck, anyone?) Hasbro seems to have taken the time make an accessory fit the figure or, in this case, make the gun fit the holster. Firefly’s .45 locks perfectly into the chest holster and doesn’t come out until it is deliberately removed. It’s a feature that will have many Joe fans giddy about this figure. If Firefly has a flaw (aside from the softness of the limbs) it’s his hips. This figure suffers from a disproportionately small waist. This and a lack of the classic camouflage pattern will keep this figure from becoming my definitive Firefly. Still, he’s a great addition to the line and one of the best figures in this wave.
So, in the end, I'm left with a feeling of wanting after opening this two pack. Stalker is a nice update to the figure but the odd color scheme and wacky proportions just diminish my enjoyment of this figure. Firefly too suffers if only from nostalgia for the classic camouflage color scheme. Still, this are two great redesigns and Firefly's chest holster more than makes up for my disapproval of his color scheme. Hopefully a future wave will see him repainted in eithe black or charcoal gray and, who knows, even a later wave could give Stalker the size 12's he rightly deserves! In the end, this is a pack that I would recommend wholeheartedly!