I'm seeing a trend coming in the Valor vs. Venom theme and that is that ninjas are on the rise. In GvC and SpyTroops we had Nunchuck, Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, and finally Kamakura. However, in Valor vs. Venom we've already had Storm Shadow, Snake Eyes, Kamakura, and now Jinx and Slice. If this trend continues could we be in for a repeat of Ninja Force? While I hope these are just paranoid delusions, it's something to note. Martial Arts conspiracy theories aside, do these figures make the cut? It's time to sit back, grasshopper, pour some tea and read on!
It’s nice to see a new face in the relaunch line—or at least a figure that hasn’t had an “update” for the new millennium. Jinx (or “Agent Jinx” to appease the copyright lawyers) is the sole female figure for this wave and is one of the more detailed female figures released thus far. From the trim on her tunic to her patterned collar, Jinx is loaded with small sculpting details. Even the rubber skirt that makes the bottom half of her tunic has sculpted buckles and straps—all showing an increased attention to detail in this wave. One of the best aspects of Jinx, however, is her removable blindfold. Trained as a blind fighter, Jinx can either wear this piece as a headband, neck scarf or blindfold. It’s a really nicely added touch to an already impressive figure. Jinx also has a small dagger that can be attached to a hole in on her right hip. The dagger’s peg is fairly small and, like her sword scabbard, doesn’t want to stay attached very well. It’s a small piece that can easily be left off without diminishing the overall appearance of the figure. Also of note—Jinx has one of the best head sculpts of any female in recent waves and bears a fairly striking resemblance to Claudia Black of Farscape and Pitch Black. One odd aspect of this figure is the use of yellow on her uniform. It doesn’t really detract from the figure but it doesn’t really add anything either.
If Jinx has any negative points it’s the quality of the plastic used for her hands and feet and her sword scabbard. Of all the figures in this wave (aside from Coil Crusher who has bendy arms) Jinx suffers most from the “rubber limbs” syndrome. If you hold her by the leg you can place your thumb on her foot and rotate it in a full 360 circle. I understand that this quality of plastic will make for fewer broken thumbs in the future but I’m also afraid that a great many of these figures will warp over time. My second point is Jinx’s scabbard: it doesn’t fit in on her back without excessive force. Once attached, it falls off at anything more than a casual glance. Honestly, it’s annoying as it shows a lack of quality control that I wouldn’t expect a company like Hasbro to be applying to one of their major boy’s lines. Still, she’s one of my favorite figures in this entire wave and one that I see a lot of fans adding to their collections.
First off, I refuse to call this guy “Cobra Slice”. It just seems redundant to have to use his faction allegiance as part of his name. (“Hey GIJoe Snake Eyes! Get over here!”) I understand it’s all due to reasons of copyright but this is one time where I just can’t bring myself to follow suit. Aside from his name, Slice has one of the more striking designs of any figure in this entire wave. First off, he’s clad in red, black and white—all colors that stand out. Secondly, he’s got a killer sculpt—simple, yet distinctive. (Personally, I love the goggles that mask his eyes. They give him more of a ‘stone cold killer’ visage.) Slice is sporting a red cobra sigil on his chest piece and is wearing a simple skirt reminiscent of those worn by Japanese samurai. I even like the red streamer that is mounted to the back of his mask.
What I don’t like is the fact that one of the coolest sculpts in this wave is saddled with “action attack”. Slice has been crippled with a T-crotch and the AA “butt plug” which, when pressed, allows him to “dramatically turn to the left.” That’s it… he just turns to the left. Originally, I thought that Duke’s “nunchuck flailing action” might be the worst action feature I’ve seen but Slice’s takes the cake. Okay, now I know that there are people out there who will argue, “these are for kids and kids like action features.” To that I say, “Horse puckey!” A friend of mine has a six-year-old son who loves GIJoe and used to bring his figures up to the office once in a while. I noticed one day that he wasn’t using the first GvC Gung-Ho or Storm Shadow at all so I asked him why. His response: “they don’t move like the others.” Here is a six-year-old boy who hated T-crotch figures and disliked the action attack on the small figs. So, if children and collectors hate this stuff, who actually likes it?
Okay, despite softer plastic and the dreaded "action attack" I do like these figures. I wish, however, that Slice wasn't saddled with the t-crotch and spinal shunt that do nothing but cause him to turn to the left. Jinx, even with her limiting mini-skirt, is still a nice update to a classic figure and it's about time that we actually get to see her face! My advice is to get this two pack for Jinx and then hope that Slice gets the o-ring treatment down the line. Otherwise, this a pack with one useful figure and one background figure that is incapable of even the most basic of poses. Hasbro-- I beg of you: stop the gimmick madness!