JBL experiencing some site issues

G.I. Joe Mainframe


It would seem our WordPress installation has, to use a “technical term”, gone a bit wonky.

As such, I’ve revert the site back to the default theme and have contacted our web host’s support staff.

Until this is resolved, updates might be a bit sporadic.  In the interim, please check back for updates or check our feeds on both Facebook and Twitter.

Sorry for any inconvenience…  we WILL be back!

Pardon our dust… we’re remodeling!

G.I. Joe Mainframe

Pardon our dust– JBL is undergoing some renovations!

The site has had its current look for several years now and it’s time for a facelift in terms of both form and function.  More and more folks out there are using mobile devices (phones and tablets) to search the web and it’s high time the site was optimized to work with that.  So, JoeBattlelines will be undergoing some “adjustments” as the site is further optimized for a true multi-platform experience.

Of course, new form updates also mean new content updates as well.  After a long and quasi-arduous process, the SDCC set for 2013 has arrived at JBL HQ and, thanks to the good folks at Kokomo Toys G.I. Joe Retaliation wave 3 should be enroute within the next week.  That means that some new reviews will actually be posted fairly soon.

Your patience is appreciated while Mainframe and his tech crew test some new functional layouts.

After the events in Boston, JBL is going dark for a few days.

This is an odd post to write. If you’d asked me 24 hours ago what JBL’s next update would be I’d have answered “JBL Review: G.I. Joe Con Night Force Lady Jaye.”

However all that changed at 2:50pm EST today when some SOB detonated two bombs in the 600 block of Boylston St in Boston. Reading the events online and listening to the streaming coverage from WBZ somehow made posting a review feel wrong.

I wasn’t born in Boston and I didn’t grow up there. However, after college I went to Boston University to get my Master’s Degree. I lived in Boston and the surrounding metro area for almost exactly seven years. For three of those years I worked between the Copley and Arlington T stations on the Green Line. I ate frequently ate lunch at Copley Square with friends and would walk up Boylston St to what was then Tower Records at the corner of Boylston and Mass Ave. Back Bay was, in many ways, the heart of the Boston that I knew.

When many people across the nation think of Boston and holidays July 4th immediately springs to mind. It’s our nation’s birthday after all and the seeds of the revolution were planted and nurtured in Boston. Yet, for many who live in the city Patriot’s Day (or “Marathon Monday” as it is more commonly known) really is the city’s holiday. It’s a day when Boston springs to life with an energy that is almost tangible as hundreds of thousands of people descend upon the city to share in the experience of the Boston Marathon. All of that energy, hope, and excitement is centered around the finish line– located at Copley Square. It’s day where the city celebrates the success not just of one or two individuals who place first or second but rather the accomplishment, dedication, and determination of ALL who participate in the course that begins out at Hopkinton, MA.

Today was reported to be an excellent Marathon Monday. The weather was ideal for the runners, and the Red Sox pulled off a win at an afternoon home game at Fenway. I can just imagine that excitement of the crowds and the smiling faces of children who were enjoying a day off of school in the city with family and friends. When the news broke of the incident on CNN this afternoon, I was seated in a desk in an office nearly 1,000 miles away and yet I felt for those in the city at that moment. This wasn’t some distant place on the news that I’d never been to. This was a place that I’d worked, lived, and made life-long friendships. This was a city that I still can regard as a second home.

At the risk of sounding terribly melodramatic, posting reviews of plastic figures from a toy convention just didn’t seem as important as it did 24 hours ago. So, I’m taking a few days off from posting the 2013 Collector’s Convention reviews. The site isn’t going away– but quite honestly this has hit me harder than I’d have thought possible. Even though I’ve been gone since the Fall of 2007, Boston still is a city that I’m very close to and to see it bloodied like this raises in me an ire as strong as if the attack had happened in my own home town.

Reviews will begin again next week. In the meantime, my thoughts and prayers go out to all of the injured and to the families of the three individuals whose lives were taken by an act of cowardice. To the individual(s) that set in motion this tragic series of events I can say only this– you’ve struck the Cradle of Liberty today and that city will not take this act laying down.

Copley Square Boston

JBL Review: G.I. Joe Retaliation Tread Ripper tank!

G.I. Joe Retaliation Tread Ripper tank


G.I. Joe Retaliation is hitting theatres in just over a month and, for the first time in a long time, new product is hitting store shelves!  With a recent restock at a local Kmart, I was able to snag not only the wave 2.5 figures but also a tiny armored vehicle that has a very real world inspiration.  That’s right– I’m talking about the Tread Ripper tank!  Based on the Howe & Howe Tech Ripsaw tank, the tiny Tasmanian Devil of an armored vehicle is one of the newest vehicles that fans can add to their G.I. Joe motor pool!  However, just because something is new doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worth purchasing right?  Does that question apply to the Tread Ripper?

Check out the review at the G.I. Joe Retaliation Review Index and find out one Joe fan’s opinion!

JBL Review: Some of what is in the G.I. Joe Retaliation queue

With G.I. Joe Retaliation dropping in just over a month it is an exciting time to be a Joe fan!  Product is back in stores, the media blitz has begun and the anticipation in the air is almost tangible!

Here’s a teaser image of some of what is sitting in JBL’s review queue in terms of Retaliation items.  Some of these pieces have been out for a while and others are brand new.  There are even a few things that wouldn’t fit in the picture!

retaliation review queue

The point is that I’m really making a concerted effort to make JBL a viable and useful G.I. Joe site for fans once more.

Keep watching JBL for more reviews all week!  In the meantime, feel free to stop by the G.I. Joe Retaliation Review Index!


JBL Review: G.I. Joe Retaliation Flint!

G.I. Joe Retaliation Flint action figure

Another day and another G.I. Joe Retaliation figure review!  This time I’ll be taking a look at a figure based on the cinematic debut of the G.I. Joe team’s premiere warrant officer– Flint!   Brought to life by actor D. J. Cotrona, Dashiell R. Fairborne will be hitting the big screen on March 29, 2012 and his action figure is hitting stores now.  It’s not 100% screen accurate to the trailers and yet the figure has its merits.  However, is it worth spending your hard-earned cash to add this figure to your collection?  Read the review to find out one Joe fan’s opinion!

Check out Flint in the G.I. Joe Retaliation Review Index!

(Yes, it is the end of the world– 3 reviews in the span of 7 days.  This can’t be JBL, right? Right?!)

JBL Review: G.I. Joe Retaliation wave 1 Storm Shadow

G.I. Joe Retaliation Storm Shadow

I’m playing catch-up on my reviews of G.I. Joe Retaliation! (And Rise of Cobra, and 25th Anniversary, and every other line that dropped during my nearly 4 year hiatus…)  I was planning on jumping ahead and hitting the newer waves first but some figures are just so interesting that you can’t put them off for too long.  Such is the case with the wave 1 Storm Shadow figure.  I’ve had him sitting around since the figures dropped in 2012 but only recently sat down and spent some time really looking at the new design for Thomas Arashikage.

Do fans really NEED another Storm Shadow figure in their collections after having been inundated with them over the past few years?  Hit the G.I. Joe Retaliation Review Index and check out this Joe fan’s opinion.

More reviews are coming– soon!

JBL Review: G.I. Joe Retaliation Firefly!

G.I. Joe Retaliation Firefly

When G.I. Joe Retaliation hits theatres in just shy of two months, fans will see the return of Duke, Snake Eyes, as well as the introduction of several new faces for the Joes in the form of Flint, Lady Jaye, and Roadblock.  Cobra, on the other hand, only sees one familiar character make his cinematic debut: the mercenary Firefly!  A long time favorite of fans, the Cobra Saboteur is brought to life by actor Ray Stevenson– recently seen in other genre films like Thor and Punisher: War Zone.

The good folks at Hasbro included Firefly, complete with actor likeness, in Wave 2 of the G.I. Joe Retaliation toy line which is just now hitting toy shelves.  So, is this new incarnation of Firefly, complete with Blast Board, worth adding to any Joe collection?  Check out the review at the G.I. Joe Retaliation Review Index and find out one Joe fan’s opinion!

On a side note, I’ve finally got most of my photo set-up put back together post-move so expect more reviews of Retaliation figures in the coming days!

Happy 2013 from JBL! Bring on G.I. Joe Retaliation!

Duke and Roadblock are looking forward to the return of G.I. Joe in 2013!

Duke and Roadblock are looking forward to the return of G.I. Joe in 2013!

What are G.I. Joe team members Duke and Roadblock looking at?  They’re looking forward to 2013 in which G.I. Joe returns to store shelves, cineplexes, and the public eye once more. 

2012 was a year of challenges for our favorite brand and yet 2013 promises to be the year the Joe “came back” and staked its claim once more as a top brand for Hasbro.  I know that I’m looking forward to forthcoming waves of Retaliation product and getting the review schedule back on track around here once more.  (C’mon– a 1:18 Bruce Willis?  How can you NOT love that?!!!)

So, welcome 2013– 31 years after the debut of A Real American Hero.  It’s time to show the world that G.I. Joe is back and stronger than ever.

JBL Review: More G.I. Joe reviews coming soon… really!

Yeah, remember a few weeks ago that whole promise of “one G.I. Joe  review a week”…

Sounded pretty good, didn’t it?  Yet– there is a decided lack of new reviews posted in the past two weeks.  You might even find yourself wondering- “What happened?”

Trust me– more reviews are coming.  Sadly a plumbing issue took place at Casa del JBL… right over the photo setup!  Everything is fine now but the delay cost me some time that I’m working to get back.  Just check out the gallery below to see a few preview images of some of the figures that will be covered in the next two weeks here– including some fan favorites that were long overdue for an update!

After that– I’ll be “hopping around” a bit in terms of new reviews.  This means that we’ll be dipping back into the classic Gen 1 G.I. Joe A Real American Hero line as well as the Gen 3 “Modern Era” figures as well.  The past few years have left me with quite a backlog of product both opened and unopened that needs to be freed from its plastic prisons!  So, if there’s something that you’d like to see JBL cover in a review– shoot me a line or post a reply below and I’ll add it to the queue.  (See, I do take requests!  Just no “My Little Pony” stuff… no Bronies here!)

Anyway, enjoy the preview images and keep your eyes posted on JBL!  There’s more new content coming!