Review by Fred Meyer & Chris Chung
Pics by Fred Meyer
I’ve always viewed Marvel Comics G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #86 as a bit of a game changer. This was the issue where, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the brand, Larry Hama introduced two characters to the ARAH mythos-- Joe and Jane. In one story, Hama managed to tie the worlds of G.I. Joe together by setting the Adventure Team era in the same continuity as the current team. Suddenly, the world of ARAH got a bit bigger in a way that didn’t alienate fans of the 1:6 scale. Not only was Joe a central character in this story but he was the very reason the ARAH era team was referred to as “G.I. Joe!” Twenty five years later the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club released a figure based on that portrayal of Joe as part of both the 1:6 and 1:18 Joe Con sets. Is this figure worth the wait? No! Is he a fitting part of the 50th Anniversary year? No! Read on and find out two Joe fans’ opinions! You don’t have to read on, I just said it.
If this body looks familiar that’s because it is. G.I. Joe is constructed out of the same body as the 2009 SDCC Rise of Cobra James McCullen XXIV with a slight modification. Rather than the more formal three-piece suit that was used for the Christopher Eccleston version of Destro, Joe Colton has had the vest removed. I’m pleasantly happy about this alteration because it means that, while the Club saved money on this figure by utilizing existing parts (but still charged us full price), they didn’t “cheap out” and just release Joe “as is.” They didn’t need to, this figure was really cheap and lazy to begin with. This figure is based upon Joe’s appearance in the Marvel Comics issue #86 in which Joe was seen running around the Chrysler Building in a standard cut navy blue suit. Leaving the vest intact would have been completely off model in this case. Says Fashionista Freddie… I’m also not a huge fan of the added holster as it tends to stick out from under the coat more than it needs to. However, it’s easily removed so I don’t consider it all that big of a deal. That holster is crap, and it really needs to go away---like the dinos during K-T. Hasbro can certainly shell out some spare change to update the shoulder holsters to a more reasonable aesthetic and functionality.
If I have any issues with the use of this body it’s found in the figure’s hands. They’re virtually unchanged since their debut with Destro and subsequent reuse with the Marvel Universe Professor Xavier. They’re also not great for holding the weapons in the figure’s kit with the left hand being the biggest offender. Sure, I might be accused of nitpicking but I’ve always had this crazy belief that a figure should actually be able to use the accessories it is packaged with. Ha! Funniest thing I read all week. What planet are you from? “Figures should be able to hold their weapons…” ha. Err, wait… That actually makes a lot of sense. Oh Call me crazy-- but it might be nice for both hands to be fully functional. You may be on to something here. What’s ironic is that these hands actually started their “toy life” as part of the ill-fated 2008 Indiana Jones line that was released to coincide with the release of the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The less said about that film, the better. Yes, we will never, ever mention that again.
Seriously though, there is no excuse why a figure can’t hold his or her weapon, and I have no idea why whoever sculpts these figures can’t see the simple fact a downward pointing thumb is not conducive to a figure holding their weapons. Sometimes it feels like I’m taking crazy pills, because all the obvious things are being missed over and over again, year after year. With Hasbro’s unfortunate habit of reinventing the ’Joe wheel every few years, it gets frustrating to see they don’t also fix the glaring flaws.
I’ll give the GIJCC this-- they’ve been remarkably consistent in their use of the 1:18 Adventure Team head sculpt. They kind of have to be. It was a signature head, but one so awful and fugly, they had to use it just to get their [our] money’s worth. All four members of the 1:18 AT share the same head sculpt and now “G.I. Joe” aka Joe Colton aka Adventure Team Commander is released with the same head. ...And that’s why I didn’t buy them. You can’t love ugly, and when ugly is times five, it just goes downhill from there. I could talk about how this head recreates the classic 1:6 head and how it can look dated (understatement) when compared to more recent sculpts but what’s the point? Maybe to take pleasure in kicking it one more time for good measure? I’ve covered this head in no less than four previous reviews here at JBL. My thoughts are already out there. It’s not a matter of laziness-- it’s efficiency! (Yeah, that’s it.)No, the head is what is lazy. Miniscule, ugly, and almost monkey-looking. It was a very unflattering head, and the irony of the Club rejecting Clean Sweep’s original head because it was not “handsome” enough is not lost on me.
Joe’s kit is surprisingly light for a generation 3 figure where the tendency of late has been to include everything and the kitchen sink with a figure. Dude’s got a particle beam cannon in low orbit! What else does he need?! In this case, the included gear is as follows:
Honestly, this is pretty much what I’d expect Joe, as he was portrayed in Marvel #86, to be equipped with. He was the head of security for a clandestine facility in an office building. As such, Joe not only had to look the part of an office work but any gear he carried had to be small and concealable. The pistol and the revolver fit that bill and the shotgun is something that would probably be kept in an onsite weapons locker. There’s no need for RPG’s, chainsaws, or anything else here. I do like the inclusion of the .357 only because it harkens back to the Dirty Harry films and I can see 70’s Joe being a bit of a bad@$$ that way.He’s faithful to the comic---but in that iffy, uncomfortable way the Big Bad Toy Store exclusive Zandar was a bit too close to his vintage version, whereas some updating would have made him much better. The same holds true with Colton.
At the end of the day, is this figure worth adding to your collection? The answer will vary based upon how much you like the character of Joe Colton. Personally, I loved his inclusion in the ARAH Marvel history and his appearance back in #86 was a wonderful way to tie two different eras of G.I. Joe together. I’m also a big fan of the 1:18 Adventure Team and welcome the opportunity to add any new figures to that part of my display. Joe’s also the only part of the 1:18 convention set that really acknowledges the 50th anniversary of the brand and even that connection is a bit tenuous at best. Still, from the moment he was announced I knew that this was a convention figure that I had to have. After all, he’s not just “a soldier named Joe”-- he is G.I.jOE! Of course, that’s just my opinion.
I’ll be honest, Joe Colton was never a character on my radar, and if I had to be blunt, I actually resent him a little. His inclusion into ARAH should have been kept a nice Easter egg and a nod and wink to keen-eyed fans, not a huge retcon to make him bigger than what he was. So in that regard, this character is wasted on me. Coupled with a body that isn’t great on articulation; a civilian outfit that has limited uses; and a head that is too small and squashed, and you have a sloppy figure that was thrown together just to make a quick buck off the all the completeist collectors who “gotta catch them all”. Unless Colton is one of your faves, don’t waste your money on this.
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