Up until recently the Blind Master was one of the hardest figures to find at retail, being part of the Wave 4 assortment. Based on the likeness of actor/musician RZA, the Blind Master proved to be a key figure in the film’s Arashikage story line. Thankfully, the flood gates have opened and fans are able to find this figure at stores such at Toys R Us and Ross.
Was he worth the wait? Or is he just another kitbashed movie figure used to pad out the line? Will I be making a bunch of “Daredevil and Blind Master” gags in the review?
If the Cobra Night Viper is doing his job properly, he’s never seen. With that logic, these troopers must be some of the most effective Cobra Troopers in history as, up until recently, very few people have ever seen one at retail! Through some blind luck and the courtesy of another Joe fan, JBL is finally able to review the G.I. Joe Retaliation Wave 4 Cobra Night Viper!
Were these troops worth the wait? Do they hold up to months of searching?
It’s no secret that Roadblock was the focal point of the G.I. Joe Retaliation marketing efforts. Simply put: you don’t put someone like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in a film and then ignore his presence. This also means that the accompanying toy line is going to be chock-full of Roadblock figures– each with something just a bit different to make them unique from the rest. Such is the case of the wave 3.5 release of “Ultimate Roadblock” which attempts to be the most screen accurate version of the character to date.
So, is this really the “Ultimate Roadblock” or just “yet another Roadblock”? Is he worth a purchase after the wave 2 Battle Kata Roadblock version?
The backlog of G.I. Joe Retaliation figures gets a bit smaller with the Ultimate Flint review!
In the film, Flint was portrayed as a brash, cocky, and headstrong member of the team who found himself tested when Cobra Commander’s brutal plan was put into action. Some fans felt this didn’t jive with his portrayals in various media over the past 30 years while others found it to be spot-on with his early appearances in Larry Hama’s Marvel Comics run. Regardless, wave 3.5 of the Retaliation line brought fans “Ultimate Flint”– a figure sporting a more movie-accurate deco and enough accessories to outfit a platoon. Is this figure worth a purchase considering there was a Flint figure released just one wave earlier?
I love being able to get caught up on older reviews. Take, for example, the 2012 SDCC Jinx exclusive figure! I was able to get the red version posted shortly after the convention but the white one has taken significantly longer. However, what better way to spend a cold winter day than writing and reading a G.I. Joe figure review! (Okay, I can think of a few but go with me, okay?)
If you’ve already got the red version, is this figure worth picking up? Is an unmasked head really warranted? How does she compare to other SDCC variants offered in the past?
2014 marks a very special occasion for the ENTIRE G.I. Joe fandom. Next year will mark the 50th Anniversary of G.I. Joe – the ORIGINAL action figure! However, the question on many fans’ minds right now is how exactly will that milestone anniversary be acknowledged and which facets of G.I. Joe will it encompass? After all, the G.I. Joe brand has evolved quite a bit over the past 50 years.
A quick timeline of G.I. Joe through the years:
America’s Movable Fighting Man: 1964 – 1969
The Adventure Team: 1970 – 1976
Super Joe: 1977 – 1978
A Real American Hero: 1982 – 1994
Sgt. Savage & His Screaming Eagles: 1994 – 1995
G.I. Joe Extreme: 1995 – 1997
G.I. Joe vs. Cobra: 2002 – 2005
G.I. Joe – Sigma 6: 2005 – 2007
G.I. Joe 25th Anniversary Collection: 2007 – 2009
The Movie Era (Rise/Pursuit of Cobra & Retaliation): 2009 – 2013
Now clearly, the bulk of the G.I. Joe timeline was heavily influenced by the A Real American Hero cast of characters and yet the anniversary is technically that of the original “Movable Fighting Man”. Those initial five years were dominated by realistic representations of servicemen before Joe transitioned into the adventurer role that defined the Adventure Team years. However, it seems that the 12″ market has transitioned from mass market to high-end with companies like Sideshow and Hot Toys taking over the market that once belonged to G.I. Joe. Could Hasbro still celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Movable Fighting Man without the 1:6 scale?
The precedent is there– in 1994 Hasbro released a “30th Anniversary” line commemorating the original G.I. Joe offerings. However, these figures weren’t just released in a 12″ format but instead were rendered in the then-current 3.75″ o-ring construction used for the soon-to-be completed “A Real American Hero” line. (A 12″ anniversary line did also exist.) Available both in action sets and in a fantastic boxed set, this line-within-a-line paid proper tribute to the past while still embracing the current reality of the market and retailer expectations.
Could such a nod to the first action figure happen again only in 1:18 generation 3 construction? Will there be another limited release of 12″ figures as happened with the Adventure Team reissues from Walmart and Hot Topic of close to a decade ago? No one knows at this point. Right now, fans will just have to wait until February and the 2014 Toy Fair held in New York. However, thanks to Pixel-Dan and ToyNewsInternational, this interview with Derryl DePriest offers a few tidbits about what is to come.
“The best laid plans of mice and men”… it seems to be a mantra around JBL lately.
I had been planning on getting reviews posted of G.I. Joe Retaliation wave 3.5 shortly after Coil Con IV as I was able to procure a good supply from Kokomo Toys. However, WordPress issues and work wackiness seemed to be facets of a multi-pronged attack by Cobra to prevent any new content from going live on the site.
Thankfully– the site seems to be functioning normally now and things at the office have died down a bit. (What? This ISN’T my day job?!) So, it’s back to shooting images and getting the reviews ready. So far wave 3.5 seems to be limited to online stores with limited sighting at retail. In my area (Central Illinois) the line has been dropped by both Target and Kmart (yes, we still have a few) while Walmart has scaled it back to just a pair of pegs reserved for the figures. Toys R Us has yet to restock and hopefully won’t just jump to wave 4.
It’s an interesting time to be a Joe collector as the movie’s delay until March seems to have thrown off Hasbro’s entire time frame for product. The three new figures in wave 4 are going to prove particularly elusive as they’re packed in a case with figures that have been out for months now. The sole troop builder the Cobra Night Viper is starting to command premium prices on Ebay and many online stores are already sold out.
However, all is not bleak on the western toy front– the GIJCC’s FSS 2 should be shipping before too long giving fans SOMETHING new to add to their collection and Hasbro’s Derryl DePriest promised that Toy Fair 2014 will hold a few surprises for fans. It gives us all a chance to catch our breath after the onslaught that was G.I. Joe Retaliation– a line that was produced in far more conservative numbers than it’s cinematic predecessor.
So, reviews will continue here in the coming weeks. I’ve got some back-end work to do on the review page templates to make them “less archaic” but there’s a ton of product sitting in my “to do” pile that is just begging for some attention. (Plus now that I have Kwinn in hand I really want to review the Club’s Dr. Venom figure! “The bear is angry with the weasel!”)
So, stay tuned to JBL. More new content IS indeed coming!
Yesterday was a great day for the Joe Community– the release of the G.I. Joe Retaliation on Blu-Ray and DVD. True, the film had been available digitally for two weeks but this was the first chance for fans to be able to run out and purchase a tangible copy of the film for their home library. As with most major home media releases, there were a bevy of different retailer exclusives from steelbook cases to bonus feature discs of interviews. (Most of these are broken down excellently by Justin over at YoJoe.com in his DVD/Blu-Ray Buyer’s Guide.)
However, only one version really caught my attention– the Extended Action Cut offered by Best Buy which promised more action and about 15 minutes of footage that wasn’t shown in theatres. So, in the midst of the rain I ran out over my lunch hour and snagged a copy and, after what seemed like an eternity at the office, sat down to watch it last night.
SDCC 2013 is winding down and G.I. Joe news has been a bit scarce. However, the folks at CraveOnline decided to go straight to the source and talked to Jon M. Chu at the Hasbro booth about G.I. Joe 3!
Once again– I like what I’m hearing! The fact that he’s open to bringing back characters from the first film that were noticeably absent in G.I. Joe: Retaliation is fantastic! It’s very clear after reading all of the Retaliation interviews that director Jon M. Chu is a Joe fan from “way back” but that his hands were somewhat tied by having to acknowledge the events of Rise of Cobra. However, that didn’t stop him from taking a pre-existing script and turning it into a action tour-de-force worthy of the Joes we all know and love. Now, with more creative control and a self-professed love of the Marvel Comics series I can only speculate just what lies in store for the third film in the series.
Bringing back Scarlet because she has “more stories to tell”? YO JOE!!!
A big thanks to the folks at CraveOnline for posting the interview!
I make no bones about the fact that I loved G.I. Joe Retaliation. The film dropped in theatres a few days before my “milestone” birthday and complete washed away the bad taste that was left by G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. This was how a G.I. Joe SHOULD have been done and it succeeded in spite of the fact that it had to acknowledge the missteps of its predecessor. Months later, my review of Retaliation still stands and I cannot wait to snag the film when it hits Blu-Ray and DVD later this month.
I’ve also made it known that when it comes to G.I. Joe animation I’m a fan of Sunbow over DiC. (As is MOST of the fandom.) However, sometimes in life you stumble across a combination that is so different that it just works. Much like the whole “you got your peanut butter on my chocolate…” ads from years ago, I saw this on Facebook earlier today and thought “Hey, you got your DiC on my Retaliation!” Yet, the combination really really works. So, while you’re waiting for Retaliation end up legally in your video collection in just 18 days, check out this awesome video mash-up!
G.I. Joe Retaliation hits stores on July 30, 2013!