Yoooo Joe! Two of my favorite loves… kicks and G.I. Joe are teaming up. New Balance has collaborated with BAIT on this special release to feature a “Cobra Commander” and “Roadblock” sneaker. Also, if you are lucky enough to live near a BAIT shop and are one of the first 60 customers to buy both shoes, you will be walking away with a custom G.I. Joe or Cobra footlocker to store them in. I guess I’ll take my chances with the online raffle. I do like the Cobra Commander shoe better but that feels so wrong to go against the Joes… decisions… decisions.
With both its upcoming G.I. Joe x New Balance 710 “Roadblock” and 574 “Cobra Commander” collaborative offerings on tap to release on June 20th, BAIT is planning to do a special giveaway in […]
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…
ICE CREAM SOLDIER
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
OOOOOOOOO EEEEEEEEE TIARA!!!!!
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.
Night Creeper Leader
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.
“Boy he is really taking a beating in this conversation…”
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?
In 1993 they crossed the line from crazy to “yeah this completely changes the focus of the whole concept of GI Joe and will in retrospect be really stupid” as they released 90 (90!?!?) figures in what could only be described as the ultimate throw crap at the wall and see what sticks maneuver.
There was too much crazy and too much crap in 1993 to possibly capture it all in just 6 figures…but you know me. I’ll do my best!
In 1982 Hasbro released GI Joe on an unsuspecting public. Two years later in 1984 a brave soul at Hasbro decided that the Cobra’s and Joe’s were not enough so they gave us the Dreadnoks. We would have to wait three more years for the first official “sub line“ to appear with the craptastic (and crazy front runners) Battle Force 2000!!! a team so horrible they probably deserve their own article someday. I assume that Battle Force 2000 was actually successful because they proceeded with another sub line in 1988 but not just any sub line, it was the awesome Tiger Force. What was really awesome about Tiger Force? It was an entire line of repainted figures and vehicles, aka pure profit. And so the sub line was upon us. Tiger Force gave way to Night Force, Python Patrol, Slaughter’s Marauders, Sky Patrol, Sonic Fighters, Eco-Warriors, Super Sonic Fighters, Talking Battle Commanders, Air Commandos, DEF and Ninja Force prior to 1993.
To quote Bill Cosby, “I told you that story so I could tell you this one.”
After years of the scorched earth sub-line policy Hasbro took the bold step of making the base 1993 line a sub line. Of course in true Hasbro fashion they went completely overboard and gave us 36 (THIRTY FREAKING SIX!?!?!) figures as part of the “Battle Corps”! As near as I can tell Battle Corps roughly translates to “Massive Quantities of Weapons” judging from the sheer number of accessories most of these figures came with. Exhibit 1, check out our first crazy entry for 1993, the absurd admiral of alliteration, Colonel Courage above who comes with 6 count them 6 different weapons and that’s just what was included in the picture. He also came with the standard golden, spring loaded cannon.
I don’t know about you, but when I look at Sergeant Silly I see two arms not 6. I’m not sure how Private Preposterous is packing two rifles, two pistols, and two massive machetes the size of his legs when his figure is already molded with two holstered pistols, a third knife and a hand-grenade. By my count that’s 11 different weapons. Lieutenant Ludicrous indeed!
And then there is this quote from his file card. “I’ll never surrender when wearing a tie ’cause I can’t be beat when I’m neat!” Ummm holy crap that’s crazy.
But there is more then just an illogical amount of weaponry and a bizarre sense of neat at play here. I hate to bring race into the equation but…well…I’ll let the picture do the talking…
Has anyone ever pointed out that that Colonel Courage is actually black Duke?
Lets look at the evidence…green helmet, tan shirt, green pants, brown boots…they are wearing the exact same uniform, its not just me right?
Colonel Courage or Colonel Crazy? (or Corporal Campy?…General Goofy?… First Sergeant Foolish?…Warrant Officer Wacky?…Major Moron?…ummmm I’m obviously out of awesome alliterations)
I need to explain something before I reveal the next entrants into the crazy list for 1993. You see even though the 1993 base line was a sub line as mentioned above that didn’t mean that Hasbro could resist giving us sub sub lines. As I’ll be pointing out with our remaining 1993 crazy list, the 93 sub lines were a special breed of crazy. Case in point, the Mega Marines. The premise itself was pretty crazy. Take one GI Joe figure, add 1 plastic armor mold and 1 jar of play doh and you have a MEGA MARINE with bio-armor! But thats not the crazy part…I give you…
The Mega Monsters…ummm…errr….I don’t even know what to say here…you looked at those pictures right? These are so crazy I don’t even know what the freak to say about them… I mean its almost like they took figures from a completely different toy line, and decided to try to pass freaky monsters off as part of the GI Joe line. And the GI Joe line was so bat crap insane by 1993 that we hardly even blinked an eye!!!
AND THEY FEATURE “MONSTER SMELL” aka STINKY PLASTIC!!! AND THAT WAS A FEATURE!!! IT SAYS SO RIGHT ON THE CARD!!!
Okay I need to get off of this one before I lose it…
But it gets worse with our next entry…
By the time 1993 rolled around we knew a couple of things about the GI Joe line. 1. The designers were high and 2. Kids wanted freaking ninjas to be part of the military.
Enter 1992’s Ninja Force. Over the years they rolled out 3 versions of Storm Shadow…and 5 versions of Snake Eyes…and after using each in Ninja Force they utilized every random sounding ninja name they could think of (you remember, Dojo, Nunchuk, Slice, Dice, Banzai, T’Jbang and T’gin-Zu?). Then they decided they needed to start pulling back previous characters with remote martial arts ties like Bushido, Scarlett and Zartan…
Yeah Zartan. You see Zartan had a minor martial arts background in the comic book line at this point so I suppose it sorta made sense but I don’t think his previous figure or the cartoon had any mention of this background so his inclusion in Ninja Force was a bit of a surprise (I suppose Firefly and Quick Kick were unavailable…). What was really a surprise?
How about the Master of Disguise joining the stealthy Ninja Force line and…changing his look to a bright red mohawk (a “Shuriken-shaved mohawk according to his neon pink filecard), red facepaint and neon green pants…. so let me get this straight…he joins Ninja Force and changes his look to that of a biker from Joel Shumaker’s Batman movies…does this make sense to anyone? Worst…character….makeover…EVER!!!
Being re-branded as a Ninja…that’s crazy.
The resulting character being now compared to a neon biker from Batman Forever…that’s insane.
So if we have learned anything by now its that Hasbro liked the following features in their sublines: re-used molds/characters, neon colors and gimmicky features. The majority of “Star Brigade” hit all three and all are equal parts crazy (see Duke, Rock N Roll, Heavy Duty & Destro) as they were reimagined with “Robotic Battle Armor” that somehow was necessary for space combat.
Robo-Joe here was the king of the crazy Space Brigade though because in character, he invented the Robotic Battle Armor before being attacked by Destro and fatally wounded. Then in Darth Vader fashion GI Joe scientists pulled a mindbender and rebuilt him…I suppose because they had the technology…
Although now that I think of it, as half man/half robot I suppose he didn’t actually die and therefore he wasn’t “fatally” wounded so his whole origin story is garbage, but I guess thats a formality. I do however wonder which twisted Joe scientist decided to paint his new cyborg body, the body he would be stuck with forever and not climbing in and out of like the rest of the team, neon orange with neon orange speckles on black highlights…poor sap never had a chance…
I know what you are thinking and yes, THAT is General Hawk.
General Hawk fits right in with Robo Joe and the Star Brigade on the crazy scale but I’m giving him his own spot on the list because A – he looks totally awfull, B- Its Hawk, the leader of the Joe team in a freaking robot suit and C – he used the suit to pilot the oh so creatively named “GI Joe Armor Bot” pictured below.
I’m going to have to do a whole seperate series of articles on the awesomeness and awfulness that is the GI Joe vehicles but I’m highlighting Armor Bot here because hes a robot whose feet were connected, essentially meaning that he couldn’t move making him completely worthless. Sounds pretty freaking crazy to me.
Name Your Own Cobra
In 1987 Hasbro started placing ads in the backs of random comic books that promised that “Now, you can be the next Joe!”. Like any impressionable 10 year old who was obsessed with GI Joe I knew I could be the best Joe of all and so I used to spend hours reviewing the application, carefully selecting my choices. I don’t remember what my code name was but being a fan of Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow I’m sure it was something like Thunder Eyes but I do remember the rest of my choices, allow me to indulge my inner 10 year old for a minute:
I characterized myself as “A loner, You value getting the job done over all else.”
I was at my best “In the head of action. You have a supremely high energy level.”
Team members considered me to be “A maverick, No one can keep up with you for long.”
Service branch was the Army.
Primary Military Specialty was “Martial Arts”
Secondary Specialty was “Counter-Espionage”
I was an expert with the XM-76 Grenade launcher and all NATO & Warsaw pact small arms (but I never knew what that was, just sounded cool)
My martial arts expertise was Jujitsu and Zen Sword
And lastly my school training was Special Forces, Ranger School and Airborne School.
Yes I was going to be the worlds greatest Joe…for just 7.50 and two flag points. Unfortunately for me, in 1987 7.50 could nearly get me three GI Joe figures if I found them on sale (I still have some old cards with 1.99 and 2.99 sale stickers on them. How does anyone pay $8 or $9 for GI Joes today?) so I never bought my Steel Brigade figure. Its probably for the best, he looked like a tool anyway…
Flash forward to 1993. Hasbro decided that it was time to give the demented, twisted little kids an opportunity to join up with the enemy with the less successful “Create A Cobra” offer. The result, was one of the more hideous looking figures in Cobra history. What little kid wanted to be a neon pink viper knock off?
You know whats so crazy about this figure? The fact that Hasbro thought they could sell him that’s what!
So we’ve seen the craziest that 1993 has to offer with representations from Battle Corps, Mega Marines, Ninja Force, Star Brigade and a ridiculous mail in figure. But the most ridiculous thing about 1993?
Three words…or two words and a roman numeral…
Street Fighter II
For those who don’t remember, Street Fighter II ruled the arcades in 1991 and by 1993 sales of Street Fighter II exceeded $1.5 billion and the SNES port (which if I remember correctly was the reason my older brother bought a SNES) is the best selling Capcom game of all time. So with such a hot property it was only natural that there would be toys and Hasbro bought the toy rights.
So they did the only logical thing they could do…and rushed the Street Fighter II toys to market by mostly reusing molds from the GI Joe line…and for crazy reasons that I can only dream of understanding, they branded the figures as part of the GI Joe line.
For the most part the figures featured reused bodies/arms/legs with unique heads and the results were as terrible as you can imagine. What was odd was that a handful of the figures were completely unique…Dhalsim, Sagat (Sagat freaking needed his own mold? Really?) and…
The whole line was completely insane but E Honda was also financially insane because they decided to invest in unique molds for his entire body that wouldn’t be able to be reused on anything else and because like the rest of the Street Fighter figures, the master of the 1,000 slaps and sumo wrestling came equipped with a variety of knives and swords…
Yeah…that’s all pretty frickin crazy…
Well its come to this next up we finally wrap up the crazy GI Joe saga with the 94 line that was so crazy, it killed off the line for good…or was it secretly really good but too late to save it after the damage done in 93? Keep an eye on Droppin to find out…
Okay I know what you are going to say. What was once promised as a 5 part in 5 day series has now turned into a month long saga with more delays and gaps then the Game of Thrones series. What can I say, the crazy quotient of the early 90’s GI Joe line had such an impact on me that I needed to take a week long vacation to get away from it all. But I’m back!
If you haven’t had a chance (and if you dare) click here to take a look at the 6 craziest muthers from the 1990 line and click here to keep continue the crazy saga through the 1991 line…
Now behold…I give you the six craziest GI Joe/Cobra figures of 1992!
(just a reminder…these are not in order of sanest to craziest although the top of this years list is definitely so “Super Crazy” that he could be a late 90’s WCW Cruiserweight wrestler…)
Somehow after the awesome 91 line the GI Joe line didn’t come to a screeching halt and pressed on for 1992. But somehow I doubt they did it so they could release the Flak-Viper.
So what’s so crazy about the Flak-Viper? His name? Well oddly enough, flaky’s name is so normal that its relatively crazy for the joe line. You see “FLAK” isn’t some awesome acronym describing what he is like everything else in the Joe line (like S.L.A.M., Strategic Long Range Artillery. W.O.L.F., Winter Operational Light Fighting, H.A.V.O.C., Heavy Articulated, Vehicle Ordinance Carrier, and my personal favorite crazy acronym W.H.A.L.E., Warrior: Hovering Assault Launching Envoy.) Nope Flak is just simply Flak which of course means anti-aircraft fire and wouldn’t you know it that’s exactly what Flak-Vipers do.
So name, check. But what else. There has to be more and there is. Just look at our Flak-Viper in all his Grey, Green and Teal glory. Color scheme alone is crazy but to top it off hes wearing garters and Andre the Giant’s one shoulder singlet….I mean what the heck is he trying to prove? Looks more like a video game random create a wrestler then an elite Cobra solider commissioned with the Viper name.
But there is one more bit of crazy that puts him over the top. Our Flak-Viper, as helpfully shown in the picture above, sports two 6 foot (if in scale) rockets strapped to his back. How much maneuvering do you think you could pull off if you were carrying those around with you? I’ll help you, the answer is none. And then he’s supposed to launch the missiles from his back. You know what would happen if he did that? I’m pretty sure he would be dead and that is pretty crazy. Should have just named him the Kamikaze – Viper.
An interesting note about Barricade. By name (and armor) you would assume that he was the Joe that made barricades but he’s actually the Joe that breaks barricades using his awesome high powered wall smasher batting ram gun and no I didn’t make that up, its what his spring loaded cannon thingy was called on his file card. In fact his primary military specialty is Bunker Buster. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that’s not an actual military specialty but I could be wrong.
More telling is that his secondary specialty was as the driver of the Badger which is interesting because A- the Badger (a four wheeler, armored jeepy thingy with a cannon seen here) was released the year before without a driver so when Barricade came into the military he decided that in addition to beating down doors he wanted to drive the Badger and B – the Badger was soo ugly (how ugly was it?) it was sooo ugly that it should have been part of the Eco-Warriors line and yet crazy Barricade decided that above all other GI Joe vehicles would be his specialty. Its also revealing because he actually wanted to be a driver of a GI Joe vehicle but couldn’t cut it so they gave him a rocket and told him to go bust down doors and be the first guy in the of fire. He couldn’t even make it as a driver…I don’t know how to say this but 95% of all vehicle drivers were the worst figures to grace the entire franchise.
But the craziest part of all is not what Barricade did on the Joe team…nope its what he did as part of his side job. Take a look at Barricade there again…remind you of anyone?
How about a certain…
No resemblance there or anything right?
For those of you not lucky enough to know, Captain Power was a 1987 sci-fi tv series that was singularly awesome because the toy line actually interacted with the TV show.
Watch this and see if it would have blown your little 1987 mind…
I know it blew mine…and we have Barricade here to thank. Leading mankinds last hope in 2132 by creating the incredible Power Suits to fight off the Bio-Dread army and take down the evil Lord Dread and then bringing said Power Suit back to 1992 and using it to beat down doors for the GI Joe team? Well thats pretty freakin crazy if you ask me…
(Think Mattel has a case to sue Hasbro for his likeness? Captain Power came out a full 5 years before Barricade. Aw who am I kidding…the Captain Power line didn’t exactly fly off toy shelves and Barricade…well they probably only sold 10 of him…)
Firefly & Eels
This is a very special two-fer-one on our top 6 countdown for 1992 because both figures are equal levels of crazy for the exact same reasons. The original version of Firefly and Eels in the 80’s were two of the cooler Cobra figures to grace the line. So it was equally astounding that as part of the 1992 line that they both decided to trade in their previously awesome togs for two of the more hideously neon costume changes of the entire line.
I mean lets follow the thought process of each of our evildoers here.
Firefly: Lets see for years I have hidden in the shadows as the Cobra Saboteur sneaking around and picking off Joe targets at random. But its all been too easy. Time to ramp up the difficulty by trading that in for a new neon green jumpsuit and awesome neon green sniper rifle. Lets see me hide in the shadows with that! Might as well join that crappy ninja force. Oh and even though my entire gimick is that I am the best in the world at precision placed bombs that strike with a surgeon’s accuracy I think I should trade all that in for my new weapon…a spinning blade top that will randomly take out as many Cobras as Joes!!!
Eel: For years we have lurked in the dark waters striking the Joe’s naval fleet down when they least suspect it. I think its time we became the stars of the show. I’m trading that all in for a lovely blue and neon yellow diving suit. Never let it be said I don’t know how to make an entrance. Oh and just so undertow doesn’t get to have all the fun I think I’ll also steal Monkeywrench’s pitchfork gun (shown here) so I too can pretend I’m king Triton of the sea on my downtime. To top it all off I’ll really screw with the Joes and breakout my new rocket firing mechanical shark robot that has a peg on it so I can strap it to my back…BECAUSE THAT MAKES NO FREAKING SENSE!!!!
Senseless neon recolors of previously awesome characters and completely insane accessories…check and checkmate on the crazy game…
So in 1991 GI Joe had successfully combated the destruction of the environment (or had they? More on that in a sec) with the Eco-Warriors team and ruined the careers of several key Joe team members in the process. So what was left? Well in 1992 the Joe team decided to take on a much more dire thorn in our society’s side…drugs. Now I know drugs are no laughing matter but somebody apparently didn’t pass that memo onto the GI Joe team as they unleashed the heroic DEF (aka Drug Elimination Force, see what I mean about awesome acronyms?) led by Bullet-Proof. The evil part of drugs was then played by the Head Hunters which of course were headed by the evil Headman…I get the feeling that he went through the whole “allow myself to introduce myself” line a lot…
Anywho, aside from the awe-inspiring gold pin stripped suit (ever see one of those before?), sweet devil goatee to beat the evil point home and shocking mismatched hair/facial hair colors the writers of his filecard (was it Larry Hama at this point?) must have had a field day with the crazy stash when they wrote this. Some of my favorite features:
He is wearing an “ominous steel mask of obscurity”, “poison-tipped” steel toed boots, a “gangster” dress hat and a “Double-breasted blazer with reinforced protective lining”. (you think thats crazy, his “narcotics guard” the Headhunters came with a “portable drug lab backpack” and a “Aerodynamic hitman protective helmet”. Why they needed an aerodynamic helmet is beyond me. The Headhunters were a special breed of crazy…
Like all drug kingpins, Headman has cuff link communicator/transmitters…
He is sporting “Drug battle scars” on his face, not to be confused of course with regular battle scars because those are different then drug battle scars.
His weaponry consists of a “mega-blast” combat rifle and a “sophisticated armaments launcher system” complete with “high-tech wipe-out missile”. That of course is represented by a giant gold rifle and a translucent red cannon.
His file card tells us a fantastic story about how he started his life of crime by mugging old ladies for their Social Security checks and how “Nothing is sacred to him…nothing!”
Forrest Gump summed it up best when he said “Crazy is as crazy does” and Headman is definitely crazy.
In my last article I mentioned that Ninja Force was another in the crazy Joe sub lines but upon further inspection the first wave of Ninja Force wasn’t that bad in 1992. I mean sure Storm Shadow featured a bizarre snow covered black gi design, Nunchuk was the worlds only green dressed ninja, T’Jbang was…errr…named T’Jbang…on second thought Ninja force was pretty crazy I think I have just been desensitized to mild doses of crazy from the Eco-Warriors. That said Dojo is the only Ninja force member that gets the honor of making the 1992 crazy list though.
Well aside from having the loudest ninja outfit of all time (at least in 92) Dojo looks a whole lot more Zorro than Ninja so I think his choice of outfit and facial hair is pretty dang crazy, but what turns him up to 11 is his awesome “real” hair ponytail! (I know in my wussiest joe article that I claimed that Zanzibar was the only joe to feature real hair…well I was wrong. I honestly stopped buying GI Joe around 89 so I didn’t remember Dojo sporting a real hair ponytail.)
My word are we even trying any more? Deep Six may be the most worthless joe of all time. His 1984 figure was more statue then action figure and his 89 figure seemingly had more in common with astronauts then deep sea divers although I suppose the two have a lot in common. So I guess in a way it made sense in 1992 when the Joe team decided…hey, you’ve spent your entire military career breathing recycled air and crampt up in airtight suits so how about joining the ECO-WARRIORS!!!! Of course Deep Six accepted. I mean it couldn’t get any worse for him could it?
Why did I ask that? It can always get worse.
And it did. Deep Six decided in order to fit in with the rest of the Eco goofball team he needed to trade up to neon and that meant a neon green vest, awkward diving helmet and neon pink gloves, tubes, fins and accessories…
But its worse then that….thats right folks…Deep Six also came with…
The worlds most bloated/aggressive dolphin. What kind of demented sicko was Deep Six that he decided to take his “highly trained dolphin sidekick” with him into toxic infected waters as part of the eco warriors? Someone call PETA! I bet he was trying to start the teenage mutant ninja dolphins or something…come to thing of it a walking talking ninja dolphin probably wouldn’t have been out of place in the 93 or 94 lines….
Okay I know at this point I have technically featured 7 figures in my 1992 crazy list exceeding my self imposed limit of 6 (I don’t want to OD on the crazy…although Headman might want that…) but there is one more figure I have to add that holds his own wing in the GI Joe crazy hall of fame.
He’s a figure/character that is so crazy that it crossed a line GI Joe could never come back from.
He’s so crazy that I won’t even need to explain him…
He’s so crazy that he killed off the Eco-Warriors sub line because the creator who tried to top it had to be locked up in a padded cell…
So I give to you…
The craziest figure of 1992…
Alright I’m not making any promises on when pt 4 of the crazy list will be coming, just know that the 1993 line featured 36 different figures as part of the base assortment and on top of that there were the start brigade, mega marines, more ninja force , dino hunters and if that wasn’t enough they managed to bring Street Fighter II characters into the GI JOE universe?!?!? Talk about throwing the crazy crap at the fan to see what sticks…
I think its a generally well known fact that in the early 90’s the 3 3/4″ GI Joe action figure line went off the deep end. Neon colors and gimmicky sub lines were all the rage but they missed the mark and led to the lines cancellation in 1994. Oh sure, they dabbled around in absurdity prior to 1990 (Neon orange Alley Vipers, Croc Master, Serpentor to name a few) but things got really weird in the 90’s.
I mentioned in my previous article, “The wussiest GI Joe/Cobra figures ever” that the 1990-94 GI Joe figures blew the roof off the absurdity meter and I think that’s an understatement. Not that GI Joe was ever actually based in reality mind you but looking at the figures from 90-94 it might be a safe bet to assume some Hasbro execs were dabbling in their own unconventional mind altering substances, real life Dr. Mindbenders if you know what I mean. To commemorate the sheer awful awesomeness I have selected 6 of the craziest figures/characters to grace the line for each year and I’ll be doing one year a day. Lets kick things off with 1990…when things were just starting to get wierd…
(in alphabetical order, not in their order of craziness…)
Oh sure, on the surface Bullhorn looks all kinds of normal. There are no neon colors to be found here, he sports some relative normal looking weapons, a muted military-esque color scheme. What’s so crazy about Bullhorn you ask? Oh yeah, dude is named Bullhorn and not because hes as rough and tough as a Bullhorn. Nope its because Bullhorn is GI Joe’s own “Intervention Specialist” and that of course means that he comes with a giant, megaphone-ish gun of some sorts. His file card says he is “exactly the type of person needed to negotiate with wackos and fanatics”. Why exactly do the Joes need someone who specializes in talking people off the ledge? High suicide rate among the Joe team?
Further inspection of this seemingly normal figure reveals he has some sort of brown substance smeared on his face. I have to question why an Intervention Specialist carrying a megaphone the size of his leg needs to be dirty or camouflaged to get the job done? Is he sneaking up on the jumpers and then yelling at them? I don’t think that approach is going to have the desired results…
That all seems crazy enough but look at his accessories one more time. Notice anything odd? I’ll help you, Bullhorn comes with a sniper rifle…you know just in case the talking thing doesn’t work I guess he just blows them away….
Captain Grid Iron
Whew, we definitely just ramped the crazy meter up with this guy and I’m not talking about the fact that he’s carrying a 3 ft long laser piston in one hand and a rocket firing, scoped pistol in the other. Lets just get the obvious out of the way, Grid Iron here comes with a football helmet and three “football grenades”…I kid you not. What kind of military would go out of their way to craft a “football” shaped grenade? Is he playing Quarterback Challenge with Cobra’s as the targets or just blowing up his fellow Joe team during friendly games of catch around the Pit?
I can forgive the whole football thing though, after all he’s not the first Joe to come with football themed weapons (see the Fridge) so that alone can’t make him crazy. But combine that with his outfit and now we are on to something. I don’t know what exactly the rest of his outfit has to do with the football theme and it doesn’t seem particularly military. Can anyone explain away the camo hoody and boot covers next to the garish yellow pants and odd forest green life preserver/bullet proof vest looking jacket?
Hold up wait a second…football theme…green/yellow colorway…oh crap…this figure is BRET FARVE!!!! Dude won’t go away! I told you this line was crazy…
Night Creeper? More like Night Creepy if you ask me. The Night Creepers were supposed to be Cobra’s awesome syndicate of “high tech” ninjas (although high tech ninja seems like an oxy-moron to me) so I’m not sure who in Cobra’s organization decided to dress them in purple camo. They aren’t “Ladies of the Night” Creepers after all…
Maybe if we learn a little more about the character we can make sense out of the color scheme. Lets see…ah Night Creeper’s served the role of field intelligence and covert ops for Cobra. Hmm if they are so “intelligent” then why did the let anyone dress them in a purple hood, purple shirt, metal vest and gray/purple camo pants? And who in their right mind would use a 5 bolt crossbow? Do you know how long it takes to load a single bolt crossbow? Now times that by 5. We are talking one shot every 20 minutes…talk about impractical.
Side note, I think someone at hasbro has no idea what “field intelligence” actually is…seemingly every character who was dubbed as intelligence was just a ninja or really good at karate…(or a female…)
This will be brief…DUDE HAS A SAWBLADE STRAPPED TO A WEEDWACKER!!! GI Joe or serial killer from a horror film? Is that all it takes to be a part of the most elite pretend fighting force America has ever assembled? A weedwacker with a sawblade???
Outside of that, and a slightly odd color combo on his camo pants that would seem to stick out more than blend in (a reoccurring theme for the 90’s GI Joes) this guy is just a swamp based version of Recondo…even has the same hat…crazy and a little sad…
You’ll be forgiven if you think that S.A.W. Vipers were Cobra’s chainsaw wielding infantry division. In the world of GI Joe I question why Cobra doesn’t actually have such a branch. But no, the S.A.W. stands for Semi Automatic Weapon of course which is infinitely stupider to say then SAW. Would you tell your friends you just got a job as the new Semi Automatic Weapon Viper or the SAW VIPER!!!
Of course “Semi Automatic Weapon” roughly translates to “BIG A MACHINE GUN” in my Joe to English dictionary. Seriously that thing is bigger then his entire body (like a tree growing out of your body!). How much must that thing weigh? Looking at if from the toy perspective I’m pretty sure he was given a gun from another toy line. Looks completely out of proportion on our poor S.A.W. Viper
S.A.W. Vipers seem to be a lesson in contradictions from reading their filecard. They are described as “Heavy Machine Gunners” (wouldn’t that be H.M.G. Viper?) and yet we are told that they will pick you off in the darkness in one shot from 800 yards away…sounds like a sniper but what do I know. My military experience is mainly gathered from the Joe line so it should hardly be considered accurate. Of course if you have a gun that big what choice do you have but to snipe your enemy from 800 yards away? Its not like you are going to be moving around at all…
What I do know, is that you better be packing a machine gun bigger then your entire body if you are going to go into battle wearing that combo of fuchsia and violet…complete with neon green belt buckle to really set off the whole ensemble. You pack a gun that big and nobody is going to laugh at your atrocious outfit. Who’s army is this any way? Sgt. Pepper?
Cobra obviously got a great deal on violet hued material in the 90’s. After outfitting the Night Creepers and S.A.W. Vipers in head to toe shades of purple they also managed to trim out the Rock Vipers with violet/maroon harnesses over their brown camo (if I wasn’t limited to 6 he’d be on the list too. I have to stop somewhere) and still have enough material left over to put together a great undershirt for Undertow with the leftovers. I’m fairly certain Dr. Mindbender was in charge of all costume designs for Cobra in 1990.
But for once, the odd color combo isn’t enough to put him on the crazy list…no the honor for that belongs to his accessories. Lets see…
Diving mask and oxygen tube…Check
Underwater diving sled complete with giant red missile which if fired would likely kill me…check
Awesome trident so I can pretend to be Poseidon, the king of the sea, in my downtime…check
Giant silver barracuda thats as long as I am tall…um…wait…A GIANT FREAKING SILVER BARRACUDA?!?!?
Yes that’s why hes on the crazy list…
Be sure to come back tomorrow as we journey into 1991…the year that gave us the ECO WARRIORS!!! Oh the humanity…its just starting to get crazy…
As a child of the 80’s I have much love for GI Joe. I thought about capturing my love by whipping up your standard “Top 10 Favorite GI Joe/Cobra” characters but then I realized there were a lot of figures who seemed a little out of place for the military. So with that thought in mind I took a twist and came up with my top 15 wussiest GI Joe/Cobra figures of all time!!!
Now before we get started let me clarify a couple of ground rules here. First, I excluded everyone from the original 1982 wave of figures because 90% of them shared the same molds and its not really fair to call a figure crappy from that time. Second, I pretty much stopped my GI Joe obsession sometime around the 1988 wave although I do remember one or two figures from the 89 wave. This is important to note because I stopped buying the figures before they went off the deep end and became obsessed with neon colors, fighting drugs, becoming eco soldiers by shooting each other with water, fighting aliens, ninja forcing it up and inviting along the Street Fighter II gang. If I had included any of the 1990 – 1994 waves of figures in this list, well lets just say it would be the top 100 wussiest GI Joe/Cobra figures ever. Perhaps we can revisit the crazier aspects of the Joe line in a future post. But for today we are strictly dealing with 1983 – 1988 GI Joe/Cobra 3 3/4″ action figures.
Okay to be fair, I could put the entire Dreadknok team on this list (With the exception of Road Pig that guy was a beast). Those were some colorful looking bikers. But Zanzibar, the swamp pirate, featured one thing no other Joe figure (to my knowledge) did. A real hair ponytail…that’s pretty wussy.
Whoops that should read Tollbooth not Toolboth. I only have one thing to say about Tollbooth. While everyone else was busy fighting a war, Tollbooth decided to strap on a construction hat and start making bridges. I wouldn’t say he’s a wuss, but he definitely wasn’t looking to get into the heavy fighting.
All of Battle Force 2000
I don’t think I need to say anymore…
Now for the list proper:
15. Keel Haul
“I’m not an Admiral but I play one on TV!” Side note, why did so many Joe and Cobra figures feature heavy porn-staches? Its amazing every kid who grew up on GI Joe doesn’t have a ‘stache today because we grew up thinking that’s what men did dangit!
14. Sneak Peek
Don’t think sneak peek was a wuss? Well aside from the fact that his whole position in the military was basically to observe from miles away and stay out of conflict, I give you exhibit A – The artwork on his card. Look at that face man. It’s a well known fact that many of the character designs in the GI Joe universe were based off of real people. I feel bad for the poor sap that inspired Sneak Peek.
The Character of Zartan was a bad, bad man and I grew to appreciate him more over the years (pre neon green/ninja force-mohawk) but the figure was a gimmick that didn’t work well (changing color in the sun) and his chest armor would never stay attached. So we were treated to his pudgy looking, sometimes slightly greenish/gray, undefined chest at all times. That and his “Mask” made him look like a leather queen from the 70’s. He did have a knife strapped to his boot like so many random figures with knifes, guns and grenades molded on so I guess he has that going for him. Oh and the skiff he came with would never stay together either because it was designed to, get this, turn into garbage for hiding and was made of stinky plastic. I hated this figure…
Shipwreck the character was awesome however this figure looks more like a member of the village people than a member of the most elite fighting force the world has ever seen…and he came with a parrot who undermined his authority at all times. When everyone else was shooting each other with laser rifles Shipwreck broke out his old school pirate pistol, complete with Wii-like wrist strap and shot his enemies down with one shot every 10 minutes. Oh and he had an anchor too, not sure how I can see it being helpful to haul a heavy anchor into combat…
11. Cross Country
Okay minor confession time. Shortly after obtaining the “H.A.V.O.C.” (which by the way was one of the more outlandish yet totally awesome Joe vehicles of all time. It had a separate hovercraft and huge laser cannons that couldn’t pivot!) I pulled my cross country figure out, realized the rebel sympathizer was junk after seeing the constipated look on his face and tossed him to the side. One time I tried to put a gun in his hand but being a pacifist, rather then hold a gun and go to war it broke all of his fingers off leaving him with only a thumb on his right hand. In my world that meant he was useless to me and he became Cobra fodder for the rest of his days (which in GI Joe world was until his crotch broke off, you were no longer a man after that happened). Side note, who in the military wears white boot covers in combat? What are we the British from the revolutionary war? You know how unpractical this is?
Ahh who could forget Cobra-La. I have great love for “GI Joe the movie”. It spawned some of my favorite memories and characterizations of the entire line. However the figures that were released for the all powerful (all crazy) Cobra-LALALALALALALALALALALA left a little be desired. For proof look no further then their leader, the mighty Golobulus (voiced by Burgess Meridith in the movie). His character was half snake because hey, they were called Cobra so they might as well be based secretly on snake people, but the execution of this figure was something else. I think the marketing meeting went something like: “I got it! Lets get rid of the legs from a figure and replace it with a bendable snake tail that really won’t bend all that well to make the evil snake emperor. That way kids won’t be able to play with him at all and he’ll be worthless!” YEAH!!!!
I imagine if Cobra was real then the following conversation happened with every Tele-Viper. “Son, you failed at every single test here at Cobra Academy. Since you are no good to us in the field what I would like you to do is to strap on this purple vest, purple shoes, giant bulky helmet and silver goggles and go take calls in the Cobra Call Center…” Now you know who is behind all those telemarketing calls asking you to switch your long distance carrier in the 80’s and 90’s, and knowing is half the battle!
For a guy who’s whole gimmick is that nobody ever notices him, he sure does dress a bit…umm…loud I guess you could say. What with the shirtless/gun holster combo, weird blue shoulder armor (just like Zartan’s) and the scarf, oh yes the fluorescent pink scarf. Not to mention the red lightning bolts on his chest and face…wait are those supposed to be scars? I’m confused. And then he tops the whole ensemble off with gold knee-pads…I got nothing.
By 1988 I had started growing out of the GI Joe toyline but they pulled me back in by calming the line down and putting out a fantastic array of figures (Astro Viper, Blizzard, Budo, Repeater, Road Pig, Shockwave, Storm Shadow in awesome Urban Camo, Gold Head Destro, Tiger Force and Night Force repaints). They knocked the series 7 figures out of the park. But not all of them. Witness Voltar, Destro’s Iron Grenadier general (if Voltar was the General, what was Destro?) who dressed in a garish bright fuchsia jumpsuit with golden accessories and golden helmet complete with red targeting spectacle. Oh but that’s not all, he also came with a vulture…I think I need to repeat that, because it bears repeating. HE CAME WITH A VULTURE!!!
FYI, I think its funny that when I looked up Voltar on YoJoe.com that under Body Construction it lists that Voltar’s body is completely original and no parts were ever used to create other figures. Oh really? They didn’t deem any of the awesome Voltar figure to be reusable even throughout the awkward color repainting 90’s phase? No way!
No Cutter wasn’t the emo/goth Joe who spent too much time wearing black and listening to cradle of filth. He was the pilot of the W.H.A.L.E. (I loved the Joe acronyms). Cutter has two things going against him. The first is that he is apparently a Red Sox fan and if you squint he kinda looks like Boston Rob with red hair. The second is that he is wearing a life jacket. If the pilot of your W.H.A.L.E Hovercraft is wearing a life jacket you know that not only will he go down with the ship but he is planning on taking the ship down so he can do it. Side note, I’ve noticed a decent number of “pilot” figures on this list. I’m thinking not a lot of design time was spent on some of these pack in figures…
Look I don’t know how to politely say this. I know Torpedo was a Navy SEAL and the SEAL’s are some of the baddest men on the planet. But to put this one simply, the Torpedo figure appeared to be skinny and have man boobs. Combine that with the lifeless stare in his eyes, guy looks like a corpse in a wetsuit. What more can I say?
4. Dr. Mindbender
Man this one is self explanatory. What self respecting doctor runs around without a shirt, in a metal harness, purple pants and a cape. And an eyepiece of course cause he is an evil doctor, oh and again with the mustache. His Mind wasn’t the only thing bending if you know what I mean…
3. Crystal Ball
Okay this one goes right up there with Mindbender. Dude running around in combat wearing leather and tights armed only with a lenticular motion version of Captain America’s shield trying to hypnotize you. I imagine him and Mindbender are living somewhere in Vermont, happily running a bed & breakfast and taking turns brainwashing each other…that came out sounding dirtier then I intended it. Lets just move on.
2. Psyche Out
Whew this whole mind control thing in the GI Joe universe really led to some awful designs no? The guy wore neon green and satellite dishes on his wrists, how many fights do you think he got into? I bet his wedgie count out weighed his Cobra kill count. My favorite thing about Psyche Out, aside from the giant silver empty gun holster on his chest (Oh no guys I forgot my gun, looks like I can’t go fight today darnit!), was that he had a hole in the back of his head where you could stick an antenna in (thus the giant red headphones I guess). Of course I promptly lost the antenna so he walked around, in all his “parted in the middle, wavy, blonde haired” glory with a big hole in the back of his head. I can’t tell you how many Cobra (and Joe) plastic guns ended up with their barrels occupying that hole.
You know, now that I think of it, I think Psyche-Out was the first person in the Matrix, what with the hole in the back of his head where you could insert electronics and all. He was jacking into the Matrix back in 87. Maybe he was the One! Take that Keanu…
1. Deep Six
Worst figure ever! Can I get a figure with no articulation, who is designed to go underwater but when he does his helmet fogs up and you can’t see his head? Is that to protect his secret identify? This guy basically wore a steel suit to dive in. I think he took a deep six every time he touched the water. He also came with some weird pump and tube thing that was supposed to make him surface and dive in the water. Yeah that worked about as well as it sounds. Oh and he was of course the driver of a flying submarine. How does he pilot his ship when his legs/elbows don’t bend and he can’t turn his head? Laying down of course. That’s right, he piloted a flying, underwater bed. On second thought I think he’s the best Joe ever…
I like to think he has no body in there, he’s just a head attached to a robot. That almost makes more sense in the GI Joe universe then this weak figure.