You’ve got to love copyright issues. How else can you explain Scarlet suddenly being known as ‘Agent Scarlet’, Stalker suddenly being ‘Sgt. Stalker’, and General Hawk suddenly answering to ‘General Abernathy.’ Still, it’s about time that the CO of the Joe team receives an updated look and this set delivers. Not only that, but it marks the first time Hasbro has released an interrogation device known as the ‘Brainwave Scanner’!
Hawk is back and he’s got a new look for Valor vs. Venom. My first impression when I saw this figure was as an update of the talking Battle Commanders Hawk, minus the shades. Finally having the figure in-hand, I’m now left with the impression of a cold-weather general, marching the battle lines. The head sculpt on this figure is decent; the general has stern albeit bland expression. You can see traces of light blonde hair from under his three-star cap. The result is a head that seems ageless—not really young or old, and yet is very, very cold. I think the sculptors took his original code name a bit too much to heart, however, as his profile reveals a hawk nose that I don’t recall ever seeing before.
The rest of the figure is decent as well. The jacket and pants are olive drab, the pouches and holsters are brown, and kneepads and bootlaces are gray. One nice touch is the use of gold paint on the buttons on General Abernathy’s jacket. It’s a minor paint application but one that brings life to what is a very utilitarian sculpt. It’s not a bad design but it’s not a very dynamic design either. There’s nothing about it that just leaps up and says “WOW!” to me. Don’t get me wrong—I like this figure and he’s got a place in my Joe collection, but this just isn’t as exciting to me as my Battle Commander Hawk.
I’ve not liked a version of Overkill yet… until now. The first GvC version had an awful color scheme and a zombie-esque face. The desert version did nothing for me either and I tossed it into a parts bin shortly after getting it. However, the third time is the charm as Hasbro has finally got me to appreciate Overkill. First off, the face of the figure has been drastically improved by a flesh tone paint application. Secondly, his eyes are now more prominently painted. I don’t know if this is a result of the increased exposure his character received in Valor vs. Venom or just a means of breathing life into a previously released character but it worked. When I now look at Overkill’s face I see the remnants of a living, breathing character—not some b-grade cyborg from a Sci-Fi Original Pictures movie. The rest of his color scheme works just as well; the overall color is now gray which gives him a much more robotic feel. The scarf is a less dynamic orange and now genuinely seems like something that is used to hide part of his robotic face rather than part of a super hero costume.
Overkill has been given a second chance in another aspect as well. Previous Overkills came with both a gun and blade attachment for his right arm. Now the blade is gone and has been replaced by a fully functional claw! I was always bothered by the fact that Overkill lacked the ability to hold anything in his right hand. The original B.A.T.S. had a grasping claw and a hand attachment, and subsequent versions have come with an extra hand yet their cyborg commander can only cut or shoot with his right arm. Now, he’s been giving a grasping attachment that is befitting his brutish nature. No subtle hand for Overkill; instead he’s got a claw that looks as though it were capable of rending bone and ripping through armor. Overkill is finally looks as though he could live up to his name.
While really nothing more than an accessory, the Brainwave Scanner holds a special place in the hearts and minds of fans of the Marvel Comics series. Developed by the nefarious Dr. Venom and used on Snake Eyes, Kwinn, Baroness, Storm Shadow, Billy and others, it is an infamous part of Cobra history. To see its inclusion, albeit in a brand new form, in this set is enough to make this fan boy’s heart beat just a bit faster.
This latest incarnation resembles nothing more than a stretcher with several spiny ridges running down the back. These spines can support the apparatus if it is laid flat on the ground; otherwise, they’re just decoration. The scanner has two small shackles on the front where a figure’s wrists can be bound and has a cobra-shaped headpiece that can be rotated onto the captured figure’s head. The range of motion is limited but is still a nice touch for an accessory. The device works with the various sizes of figures although it’s best left prone when used on taller figures. This is a great pack-in with these two figures and something that makes this set just a bit more buyable!
In the end, I like this set. While General Abernathy is a bit bland in the design department he has a nice military feel to him, befitting his status as the Joe’s CO. Overkill has been given a much-needed facelift (and is now a blonde!) and has been redeemed in my eyes. The Brainwave Scanner makes a long overdue appearance in 3.75” scale. All in all, I’m glad I picked this set up. I think that kids who see Valor vs. Venom are going to want the set for Overkill and I can see collectors grabbing it for the Brainwave Scanner and for General Abernathy. (He’ll always be Hawk in my book!)