Welcome to part two in my tribute to the craziness that was the GI Joe action figure line in the early 90’s.  Last time we reviewed 6 of the craziest figures 1990 had to offer.  This time, lets take a journey back to 1991 and try to figure out just how many mind altering substances our fearless Joe squad was downing at the time…

Just a reminder, these are listed in no particular order, not in order from sanest to craziest…

Cobra Commander

Here is where the wheels started to come off.  Cobra Commander, one of the coolest bad guys in all of military fiction, somehow justified his awful 1987 silver/blue outfit as “body armor”.  He then decided to really put his troops loyalty to the test by whipping out this amazing ensemble as his follow up in 1991.  I suppose if…and I stress IF…you can get past the awe inspiring orange, translucent faceplate and golden helmet of glory ( I know it looks silver in that picture but trust me its gold.  Surprisingly its hard to find a decent picture of this figure.  I don’t think anyone wants to cop to owning it…) you’re left with an odd blue on black vest combo that would make even Aladdin proud of your efforts to recreate Arabian Nights.

His outfit may not be the worst part of all though, the worst part was that Cobra Commander ’91 came with a “real firing gun” as hasbro suddenly decided we couldn’t use our imaginations any more.  Even better, instead of missiles, rockets or even bullets…his real firing gun shot…wait for it…PAPER AIRPLANES!!!!  Even if I suspend my disbelief that this is a toy it would still be firing miniature airplanes…its like he was just daring his subordinates not to laugh at him…


1991-incineratorsIncinerators

I don’t know why these guys weren’t called “Flame Vipers” or “Fire Vipers” or even the more appropriate for Cobra “H.E.A.T. Vipers”.  Instead they were just Incinerators and I can only assume that Cobra must have been jealous of 1985’s Barbecue outfit as 6 years later they decided it was time to roll out a legion of flame throwing soldiers that payed homage to his awesome orange color scheme.

That’s not why the Incinerators made the crazy list though.  Like many others they made the crazy list because of an odd choice of weaponry they are packed with.  Yes the Cobra Flamethrowers come with a typical flamethrower and fuel tank/backpack like you would expect but they also come with a real working catapult that, well you know…throws flames and stuff (pictured above as wierd orange circle thingies)…I’m just going to stop right there…I’m all for using my imagination but what 8 year old boy thinks those blobs of plastic are flames and that you would effectively catapult fire on to your enemies…I can’t make this crap up…


1991-cesspoolCesspool

Its worth noting on this list that at some point in time while designing the 1991 GI Joe line the designers at Hasbro went absolutely bat crap insane.  For proof look no further then the Eco-Warriors.  I think the Eco Warriors were definately the tipping point on Hasbro’s war with reality as they decided, “HEY!  In the near future the military will obviously switch to fabulous neon color schemes and focus their efforts on a battle to protect the environment from toxic sludge which in toy form will be played by the part of water which will activate a color changing feature on the figures (making the safest substance on earth next to oxygen seem dangerous to impressionable children, don’t get any water on you kids or you will break out in hideous red blisters!).

Lets not overlook the fact that the very idea that you can get your GI Joe figures wet is a huge problem as most of the figures were held together by metal pins that would rust when the humidity got too high much less came into direct contact with water.

All that aside, the appropriately named Cesspool was dubbed the “CEO” of Cobra’s enviormental waste division in what I’m sure was supposed to be a clever dig at big money corporations that were ruining our environment back in the earth day friendly early 90’s before we knew what being green was.  CEO in Cesspool’s case just meant he was the “Chief Environmental Operative” which actually sounds like Cesspool was responsible for making sure that Cobra was meeting their EPA standards.

What strikes me the most about Cesspool’s figure is his Destro knockoff armor, his overblown Mikhail Gorbachev birthmark and the ever so awesome Viper head on his chest which paints a lovely bulls-eye for any Joe.  Oh and just in case spewing toxic water around wasn’t a cool enough feature, Cesspool also came with a chainsaw…he’s like a weird combination of Destro, Dr. Mindbender and a Dreadnok…I think I just about summed up the early 90’s Cobra right there…


1991-flint-ecoFlint

Bear with me here, I’m going to dive into the Eco-Warriors pool one more time.  To be honest, I could put the entire Eco Warriors sub-line on this list and not do it the justice it deserves as the crazy Joe tipping point but Flint here makes the cut because prior to the 1991 release Flint had been the awesome, beret wearing, warrant officer and was given the honor in 1988 of becoming part of the elite “Tiger Force” (its all cooler then it sounds I promise).  Then upon formation of the Eco Warriors Flint gave all of that up and said “I’m tired of kicking Cobra tail and hanging with Lady Jaye.  I care about our planet more then all of that and if I have the opportunity to strap on a neon green hazmat suit and command the elite Eco-Warrior division in cleaning up Cobra’s toxic sludge then gosh dangit I’m going to do it!”  Not a move I’m sure he is proud of now 20 years later.

His file card says it best, “When equipped with a HALO parachute, Flint can be inserted into a Cobra toxic sludge operation with his Anti-Tox missiles and laser weapons system to stop evil polluters before they can do their damage.”  Too bad the famed Anti-Tox couldn’t be used to clean up the Eco-Warriors…


1991-Road-pigRoad Pig

The Eco-Warriors weren’t the only “Awesome” subset of figures given to us in 1991.  Hasbro went subset crazy and also gave us the “Super Sonic Fighters” which weren’t actually Super Sonic but I suppose you take what you can get.  The Super Sonic Fighters were regular figures equipped with a GIGANTIC neon backpack (see the pic above if you don’t believe me) that would allow them to give off electronic lights and sounds.  I don’t know about you but I was perfectly capable of creating my own “pew-pew” gun sounds and explosions without strapping on a massive backpack to my figures and pressing a button for a horrible electronic version of the sound.

I can do a whole lot to suspend my disbelief with the GI Joe line, heaven knows they tested us, but even I had a hard time believing that a figure of this size would actually be able to support the sheer size and weight of the Super Sonic backpack.

Anywho, the Super Sonic Fighters line was basically a bunch of horrible recolors but none quite so daring (or offensive) as Road Pig who traded in his usual, relatively normal biker looking getup for an orange flattop and neon green accented pants.  Combine that with the fact that he just made no sense with the theme of technically advanced “Super Sonic Fighters” line other then the fact that he’s probably the only Joe or Cobra character strong enough to lift the backpack.  I mean just look at that picture and tell me he isn’t insane…

Side note: Road Pig was an odd duck for the Joe line.  First he’s a Dreadnok, then a Super Sonic Fighter…did you know he was then supposed to be a part of Ninja Force (oh we will get to Ninja Force) in 1995 before the line was cancelled.  Can anyone explain to me how Road Pig becomes a ninja cause that I gotta see…


1991-skymateSkymate

As I mentioned before, 1991 is the year Hasbro went sub-line crazy.  In addition to the Eco-Warriors and the Super Sonic Fighters (oh and their cousins, the equally large back pack carrying “Talking Battle Commanders”) there was yet another sub-line in 1991.  I guess since the earth was busy getting destroyed with toxic waste and people were getting their senses bombarded with the sights and sounds of the Super Sonic Fighters GI Joe and Cobra took the battle to the only sensible place left…the sky!  The “Air Commandos” line had each figure packaged with their own hang glider which in relation to the rest of the 1991 line seemed downright sane.  The ’91 neon theme continued here but for the most part the “Air Commandos” were far too forgettable to be offensive at all.

All of them except for Skymate.  Skymate, the self proclaimed “Glider Trooper”, is notable because he came with a blue visor, a yellow compound bow and a pink boomerang…uh yeah you read that right…dude was fighting Cobra on a hang glider by shooting arrows at them and throwing a pink boomerang.  How emasculating do you think it was if he actually hit you with that thing?  If I was a Cobra and was struck down by a guy flying on a hang glider, tossing around a pink boomerang I think I’d pack it in…

That’s all the horror I could put up with for 1991…join us back here next time as we move forward to 1992 or as I like to call it Eco Warriors pt 2!  Oh and the DEF!  And Ninja Force!!!!  Oh its about to get real crazy up in heeeeerr!

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