A repaint and redesign in the same two pack can be hit or miss. Either you find that you don’t need the repaint or that you don’t like the new look for other figure. It can also mean that two figures you’ve seen before are back in a dramatic new fashion—improved, and ready for action. This two pack is definitely an example of the latter rather than the former. So, if you want to know what you should get another version of both Duke and Overkill, read on!
Okay, it’s no secret that I’m a fan of Duke. When this figure first showed up in Wave 4, I was ecstatic. I loved the design of Duke from Valor vs. Venom and was really disappointed by the “action attack” version of the mold. However, Hasbro came through and gave us a fantastic o-ring retooling that lived up to my image of Duke. I never thought that such a simple repaint could provide such a dramatic and refreshing take on that same mold. In some respects, this version actually adheres more closely to the model of Duke from the recent CG film. Take a good look at the torso and you’ll see that, thanks to the new paint applications, Duke is wearing a flak vest over his uniform shirt just as he was in the movie. It’s a subtle change but one that really enhances the design of the torso—breaking up what had previously been a vast sea of light gray. The other major change is that now the entire uniform is colored in shades of green as opposed to a more desert color scheme. This gives Duke a more “mission ready” look while the Wave 4 version was more casual take on the same design. I’ll be blunt: I really like this repaint. He’s now taking the previous figure’s spot in the forefront of my Joe collection, at Hawk’s right hand.
Another terrific aspect of this figure is that Duke comes with two brand-new weapons: a small SMG and a larger machine gun with a drum magazine. I’m always a fan of new gear for the figures and Hasbro fails to disappoint with the new equipment choices. If only he’d come with a backpack I’d be in utter Joe heaven right now. There is NO bad to this figure—none whatsoever.
Okay, there’s a lot to digest when it comes to this figure. First off, this is a radical redesign of the cyborg soldier last seen in Valor vs. Venom Wave 4. Overkill has shed any pretense of his humanity and has now opted for an almost purely robotic look. At first glance you would almost mistake the body for that of a super battle droid seen in the recent Star Wars movies. From his giant forearm weapon to the almost pistol-like appearance of his legs, it would seem that someone has been watching Attack of the Clones when they design Joe figures. This isn’t a bad thing—in fact the look works quite well for Overkill, but it can’t be a pure coincidence that he resembles a figure from another Hasbro property so closely. The only organic portion of Overkill’s body appears to be his head and even that is mostly mechanical in nature, right down to his covered mouth. Overkill has truly become what he leads—more mechanoid than man.
Overkill comes with no accessories. However, his entire body seems to be intended as an accessory. Overkill’s body can be disassembled into several component parts that would appear to be interchangeable. It’s almost as if Overkill was designed with parts that could be “hot swappable” with other BATS. Imagine being able to place this torso on a spider body or a treaded chassis. Limps could be swapped out to create more deadly configurations. The figure breaks down at the following points: head, arms, and torso with the lower body remaining as a single piece. He loses no poseability save for his lack of the famous “swivel-arm battle grip”. Otherwise he’s a full functional figure. The other interesting bit about Overkill is the large hole in his back that leads almost all the way through the figure. Again, the impression that I’m left with is that something was originally intended to connect to Overkill and that hole was the hard point. There are also two holes on the sides of his head that seem to indicate the attachment of a faceplate, which would give him an entirely robotic appearance. Whether this is a carryover from the rumored “Robot Rebellion” theme or the last vestiges of another abandoned concept we may never know. It does show that this particular mold of Overkill seemed destined for more than this.
This is a great two pack. The repaint of Duke is sharp and distinctive and Overkill is an innovative and dramatic departure from his previous version. Both of these figures are shining examples of the continuous improvements that Hasbro has made since the first wave of Valor vs. Venom. More realistic colors and increasingly distinctive designs indicate that 3.75” GIJoe is in the right hands before the hiatus. Hopefully we’ll see more figures like this on that eventual day when Joe returns with new figures and vehicles. Until then, I can look at this two pack and say that line definite took a break while on a high note!