I can’t put it off any more.
Yes I know its been months since I posted pt 4 and what was originally supposed to be a one week, 5 part ode to the craziness of Joe has turned in to an epic saga of delays in typical Seven fashion.
But I couldn’t handle the craziness, I thought I could but after posting the 1993 review of craziness I looked in the mirror and I didn’t even recognize myself anymore. So I stepped away and like Zartan waiting in Zen like fashion at the doors of the Arashikage clan I have prepared myself for the end…
And here we are. If you’re new to the game be sure to check out part 1, 2, 3 and 4 at their respective links but I wouldn’t suggest digesting them all in one setting for fear that you will lose your grip on humanity as well. If you really want to hit the way back machine check out the article that started it all, the top 15 wussiest GI Joe figures of all time here.
All of that brings us to 1994. Putting together the list for this year was more depressing than crazy. See by 1994 the GI Joe line was on its last legs. Dwindling sales and no cartoon presence on the horizon meant kids were no longer down with the Joe. Years of neon colors, crazy sub lines, ninjas, astronauts, toxic avengers, druglords, street fighters, cyborgs, mega monsters and play doh armored marines had taken their toll. Aside from all of that though was the simple fact that the successful Joe line had outlived its fanbase. After 12 years every kid who had lived and died with Joe in the 80’s (myself included) had stopped playing with toys and the next generation hadn’t latched on. You could say they were a victim of their own success or you could simply realize that most toy lines don’t last that long.
Either way the craziness factor was ramped down a bit in 1994 probably because the designers were spending more time polishing their resumes for the power rangers and Star Wars. All of the designs were ramped down. The line featured many previous characters brought back in rather bland redesigns.
That’s not to say there wasn’t any crazy here though. In fact, to say goodbye to the craziness that was GI Joe in the early 90’s I’ve come up with 10, YES 10, crazy examples instead of the standard 6. Overkill? Maybe but if you think I’m not the type of guy to beat a gimmick into the ground, dig it back up and then beat it into the ground again….well you don’t know me very well.
In 1994 GI Joe decided to once again repeat the “success” of 93 and give us the base line of 3 seperate sublines, the now standard Battle Corps, the space themed Star Brigade and the Shadow Ninjas. I’m proud to say our crazieness carries over to all three lines. Metal Head here was part of the generically named “Battle Corps” meaning he worked for a corporation that battled or something like that. His claim to fame was that he was Cobra’s walking Anti-Tank weapon. Apparently they only needed one since he was an individual and not part of a random viper squad. Aside from the garish color scheme which harkened back to the Mindbender years and the armor-plated, laser proof (a must as the Joes only shot lasers you know) chest cover Metal-Head’s name wasn’t some funny spoof on his character, no he had a metal freaking head. More specifically an “eye-implanted, brain-integrated, targeting sight. Now I’m sure you may ask yourself why a dude carrying an anti tank rocket launcher would need a brain integrated targeting system, well its simple, with this awesome system linked to his rocket launcher all he had to do was yell “fire” and BOOM, no more Joe tank…or something like that. We can’t have our soldiers squeezing triggers or pushing buttons after all.
Oddly enough his file card also shares some more about the man that is Stuart A. Finlay AKA Metal-Head. Like how he enjoys skiing with the jet set on the slopes of New Hampshire, how hes a suspected member of the secretive Susu-Gar martial arts clan (making him a perfect human rocket launcher I might add) and how his secondary cobra specialty is Hockey Fight Analyst…hold up Cobra has a hockey team important enough to need someone to specialist as the Analyst? Not announcer but Analyst? Does he host Cobra Hockey Night on ESPN?
And what is up with that freaky grin he is sporting? Is that some kind of side effect from the implants? I got nothing…
Lets try a little word association here.
When I say Viper, whats the first thing that comes to mind?
A Snake? A car alarm? A sports car? The infamous episode of the GI Joe cartoon where the window washer with the accent called someone at GI Joe to tell them he was coming to clean the windows and said “The wiper is coming” but thanks to his accent they all thought he said “The Viper is coming” and hilarity ensued like an episode of Saved By the Bell?
How about Cobra’s elite fighting force?
How about the purple, gray and red clad Joker henchman up there?
Leave it to the makers of GI Joe to take a perfectly good character design, which actually looked a bit militaristic (go figure), fit Cobra to a T and blow it out their rears with this batch of awfulness.
So he’s an awful figure, why does that put him in the hall of crazy? Well alone it wouldn’t be enough.
I know its hard to tell in that picture but he comes with a red version of Mondkeywrench’s pitchfork gun which I can forgive for a dreadnok, they are supposed to be insane, but to think that Cobra was so freakin impressed by Monkeywrench’s homemade weaponry that they then commission thousands of them to be build in order to outfit their grunt force? That’s like the US military seeing Dave’s homemade glove weapon in the Tough Bret’s episode of Flight of the Conchords (which I sadly don’t have a picture of but if you imagine a gardening glove crossed with Freddy Kruger only the blades are replaced with wooden spoons and silverware I think you get the point) and commissioning every soldier to have a pair…
To top it all off, he of course comes with the 90’s standard spring loaded missile launcher, however it had a name! THE MASTER BLASTER!!!!
I think I’ll stop now, I can’t take it anymore…
Pop quiz time. The Ice Cream Soldier is:
A- A member of Cobra
B- A member of GI Joe
C-The freakiest paramilitary ice cream man the world has ever seen.
You’d be sane if you guessed C and while yes he looks like one of the mindless viper corps he is not. What our faceless friend is in fact is GI Joe’s 1994 fire operations expert, who apparently also likes Ice Cream. See its ironic because he deals with fire and he likes Ice Cream, ironic or stupid one of the two.
See but the name is a red herring if you will, as according to his file card “The last thing you would expect from GI Joe’s fiercest flamethrower commando is for him to be called ICE CREAM SOLDIER” (yes in all caps for some reason). His file card goes on to say “Its a perfect cover for him because when Cobra hears the Joes are sending in a guy to battle with a code name like that, they don’t expect much more than a sweet-toothed kid with chocolate ice cream stains.” Yes because the Joes are sending little kids with chocolate ice cream out on the battlefield of course. Oh and I had no idea before every Joe/Cobra battle that the two side shared rosters with each other ahead of time like the starting lineups for a baseball game. “Oh hey guys the Joes are throwing ICE CREAM SOLDIER (yes in caps) out there today. EAAAAAAASY OUT!!!!”
To keep the baseball analogy up, ICE CREAM SOLDIER, in addition to the standard flame throwing gear you might expect, comes with 3 Molotov designed baseball grenades. Now perhaps baseball grenades are a real thing, I wouldn’t know since my military expertise was garnered from GI Joe but that seems a bit odd to me for an ICE CREAM SOLDIER. You mean to tell me that Captain Grid Iron gets his own football shaped grenades to fit his gimmick but they couldn’t be bothered to make poor ICE CREAM SOLDIER (who’s name by the way is Tom-Henry Ragan, yes Tom-Henry with the hyphen for his first name…insert picture of facepalm here) ice cream cone grenades and instead gave him crappy baseball grenades…how in the heck do those fit his M.O. exactly?
The sprinkles on the ICE CREAM (in all caps) is that he comes with a “melt proof” face shield (a technical term I’m sure) and bullet-proof shin shields. Why he would only need bullet proofing on his shins is beyond me, perhaps that is the ICE CREAM SOLDIER’s Achilles heel? Come to think of it, you definitely don’t want a hole in the bottom of your ICE CREAM CONE or else all the innards will fall out so I guess that makes sense…
I didn’t even get to his awesome biker storm trooper from ROTJ helmet or color scheme but I can’t take any more from our ICE CREAM SOLDIER…NEXT!
My reaction to Major Bludd’s 1994 makeover…
To quote DJ Dynasty Handbag
I’ll be honest, Major Bludd has had a rough go of it over the years, what with his Tom Selleck mustache, eye patch and Stahlhem style (google it) helmets. From an image standpoint, he has never had a chance but at least his two previous incarnations (1983 and 1991 aka El Super Grenedico) had some level of military usefulness. The same can’t be said for his Dr. Mindbender makeover here. I mean he is wearing a purple karate gi with a crimson thong, metal ankle bracelets and a metal spiked helmet with a giant red target eye patch. Does that mean he can never take his helmet off since the eye patch is build into it? El Comandante Hombre Loco might be a more appropriate name for Sebastian Bludd.
Mindbender do you have anything to add?
“No, no I don’t”
Anywho I can’t just walk away from the Major without sharing some of my favorite tidbids from his file card. Like his weaponry which features a “personalized, hidden elbow spike”. Personalized like it had his name engraved on it or something? He also comes with a “Rapid-fire “Bludd” launcher” which I can only assume is the giant black bazooka. I’m not sure if its actually supposed to shoot “Bludd” himself since technically its large enough to catapult the Major across enemy lines but I can’t see the need to have that be rapid fire, unless there is actually more than one Major Bludd that is.
I featured the original night creepers, Cobra’s techy ninja army, in my 1990 crazy review here, so its only appropriate that four years later the Night Creeper Leader would make the crazy list on his own merits. I’m going to go out on a limb and say from a visual standpoint that you don’t need me to tell you why the Night Creeper Leader is crazy. I know that the Night Creeper Leader actually made his first appearance with the 1993 line and that tiger themed atrocity was probably good enough to get him on the crazy list for 93 but this 1994 repaint really takes the cake. At least his tiger themed outfit could have been passed off as something intentional, like he wanted to scare his foes into thinking he was a shirtless tiger but this one? I don’t know why he felt the need to redo his wardrobe in purple and yellow. Maybe he liked Mardi-Gras? Maybe he was a die hard LSU or Laker fan? Maybe Dr. Mindbender got a hold of him but he’s missing the obvious metal touches of a Mindbender redesign.
Errr..all I know is the color is crazy and so is the fact that dude is wearing a “eye-masking” bandana. You would think that a guy blindfolding himself with a bandana would require some sort of explanation but none was to be found with our Night Creeper Leader. I guess by 1994 we were supposed to believe thanks to GI Joe the Movie and the comic books that all Ninja’s could see without eyesight.
Top it all off with his patented “Slice Proof” zubaz hammer pants and his “computer locking shock gun” and I think you have a not only a crazy figure, but the leader of the crazies himself. The only thing that makes even less sense is that our Night Creeper leader wasn’t a part of Ninja Force but was instead part of the Battle Corps…I mean come on! The guy has Ninja in his freaking name and he’s not part of Ninja force but Zartan was and Road Pig was going to be?!!?
Poor Cobra Commander. Things started off so promising for the leader of the Cobra forces in 1982 when his awe inspiring silver faceplate was revealed to the world as a mail in exclusive.
In 1984 he topped himself with the elusive, regal looking, hooded version which was never released in stores.
Then in 1987, the inexplicable “Battle Armor” redesign took a turn for the worse. The downfall continued with our already covered the 1991 “genie” inspired, mini-plane firing redesign but in 1991 CC also pimped his hooded visage out as part of the “Talking Battle Commanders” dropping such inspiring lines as “I’ll get you!” and “Vipers Attack!”. Its no wonder his lackeys tried to replace him with Serpentor…
1993 finally saw the supreme leader take step back to where he should be with a semi normal repaint of his Talking Battle Commander hooded redesign.
But in 1994, he went out with a whimper with this awful space redesign as part of the “Star Brigade” sub line.
So what is the one thing you think of when I say Cobra Commander? If you said the fact that his face is always covered you would be correct. So why oh why after 12 years of hiding his face would he agree to be packaged, sans helmet in all his buzz cut glory? And why oh why did he need a “Cobra Space Crawler”, aka crappy suction cup back pack, to fight the Joe’s in space? Sure it helped little jimmy stick him to the mirror and watch him fall prey to gravity a little bit more slowly then just dropping him, but what good would it be in space? “Quick! I need to suction cup myself to the nearest metal surface so I don’t drift off into space!!!”
Oh and why did Cobra Commander go to space you might ask? As his file card says “Because he failed so far in his plans to take over earth.” He was such a loser by 1994 that they put him in a rocket and sent him off to space folks.
Hardly the proper sendoff our Cobra Supreme leader deserved.
Space does funny things to a guy. For example, one might think its a good idea to strap on the yellow and green themed flightsuit above and call himself Blackstar when participating in futuristic military combat in space…
Aside from the fact that his name sounds like an early 90’s rap group, Blackstar is more than just a crazy outfit. You see GI Joe crossed a line sometime in the 90’s that they could never come back from. A line where they stopped being about pretend military combat and started being about something…less believable? Blackstar has crossed that line. His story is downright insane and I can only do justice by quoting the whole thing here:
“Cobra Commander has formed an alliance with the Blackstar forces, a secretive legion of space pilots whose origins remain unkown. This particular COBRA BLACKSTAR is the best pilot out of all the Blackstar ranks. He, like all Blackstars, behaves as if space was his natural habitiat. They have incredible agility in zero gravity zones, climb planetary craters with ease (anyone want to fill me in on what a planetary crater is? Is that the whole left behind after the death star blows up Alderan?) and instinctively avoid asteroid belts while engaged in stellar dogfights. No one has ever seen a Blackstar up close, and rumors have spread throughout the galaxy that they might not even be human!”
Might not be human? KATIE BAR THE DOOR THE ALIENS ARE A COMMIN!!!!!
What is really crazy about the Blackstar? Somehow they resisted the overpowering urge to create a whole team of Blackstars, you know like the Blackstar leader, the Blackstar mercenary, etc…
Okay I got to be honest, the first reason I decided to add Effects to the 94 crazy list has nothing to do with being crazy. It has everything to do with what an awful figure he is. Look at him. His bland design, color scheme, and constipated expression looks like something out of the CORPS, not GI Joe.
So he is awful sure but does he belong on the crazy list? Well thankfully, in 1994 one doesn’t have to look far to find a dose of crazy in their Joes. As you can probably tell from his code name, his secondary military specialty was “Special Effects Coordinator” I kid you not. GI Joe had a special effects coordinator on their payroll, presumably to design all the battles you saw in the cartoons and comic books. The worst thing about Effects is that the special effects that came with his figure were two awful plastic flame orbs that he would fling from a rubber band catapult. Who was he supposed to be fooling with that? Think he had a previous career as the Special Effects Coordinator for the SyFy channel?
I know what you are thinking at this point. 1994 was pretty crazy but at least the Ninja Force wasn’t stinking up the joint with their crazy antics. Oh ho ho but they were my friend, they were. You see the ninja force alone could no longer cut the crazy quotient in 1994, they needed something more and something more was what they gave us with SHADOW NINJA FORCE! For those of you not familiar with Shadow Ninjas let me explain. You see each Shadow Ninja figure had “INVISO POWER” which meant they turned INVISIBLE!!!! Oh actually I mean they just changed color when exposed to water and light…
Sure it sounded cool but…well it wasn’t so cool. At least not for some of our Ninja friends like Bushido here. Bushido, according to his file card, trained in the shadow inviso powers under Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes and then…well apparently they shipped him off to Iceland to become the SNOW NINJA!!! They were all like, “hey Bushido, you know where we could really use some Ninja Force Shadow Inviso powers to combat Cobra? ICELAND BUDDY! Here is your plane ticket. Oh what its one way? Oh sorry about that our mistake don’t worry man we’ll get you a return ticket when you get there…”
I wish I was making this crap up I really do…
So with that we have said goodbye to the craziness of the early 90’s GI Joes in style with 9 of the craziest examples I could come up with. I’m sure you have had all you can take of my…wait what? I said 10. You think you want more crazy? Okay you forced my hand. I didn’t want to come to this but I have one more entry to add…
Just remembered you asked for it.
I give you the craziest trio of characters to ever grace the GI Joe line and a resounding splat to the ending of GI Joe.
Straight from the Lunartix Emprie…no seriously…
(* not to be confused with the Transformers of the same name)
Told you it could get worse…
The sad part is the line was scheduled to get really crazy in 1995 before it was canceled, like Flint and Road Pig joining the Ninja Force, a new Dr Mindbender redesign, the replicators; a batch of Joe and Cobra characters who were replaced by aliens and had switchable heads and the infamous Manimals. But sadly the world would never know this craziness and so we must end…
Next up? Well I think we need to do some kind of list with the vehicles don’t you?