Hasbro G.I. Joe Pursuit of Cobra Shadow Tracker Hasbro, 2011
Day #314: January 17, 2011
Shadow Tracker Cobra Jungle Tracker
G.I. Joe Pursuit of Cobra Basic Figures
Item No.: Asst. 24732 No. 25745 Manufacturer:Hasbro Includes:Stand, knife, flail, various pole and bladed weapons, net, bow, arrow, backpack Action Feature: n/a Retail:$6.99-$8.49 Availability: January 2011 Other: First all-new character in Pursuit of Cobra line
With so many figures like Duke and Spirit seeming to take inspiration from the movie Predator, Hasbro decides to take the similarities a step further with Shadow Tracker stepping in the role of the hunter. And what a hunt! This figure came out in January of 2011, but despite seeing Skydive and Low-Light several times, I had not seen one Shadow Tracker in my hunts until just after Thanksgiving when I was out hunting for Sky Shadow and Junkheap. At press time, I still haven't seen this wave's Destro. This is not a complaint-- but rather, this is why it may be in your interests to keep hunting even after you think you missed a figure. I've seen things show up months and even years later, often in bizarre and unexpected retail locales.
Standing at about 4 1/4-inches tall, the figure is really big. With dreadlocks and a mask which can be removed (but I have been advised not to remove it), and the design prevents the head from moving around much. The hair is huge, and the collar is so tall that he really can't look around much. Ordinarily this is not a problem, but when a figure includes a bow and arrow, you really do want to be able to pose him aiming. Since he has his fingers sculpted specifically to hold an arrow with his right hand, it's nice to see Hasbro did put some thought into it but, sadly, didn't follow through with making it completely awesome. Just mostly awesome.
The figure is primarily black and green. His translucent green mask has some sculpted buts on it, most of the detail is lost thanks to the color of plastic used here. His vest is, theoretically, removable and hides a grey tank top underneath. What I dug the most about the figure was an attention to play features, which would be great if kids could get it. (The way I see it, if it took me 11 months to find it-- it's a safe bet kids aren't getting this one.) In addition to a knife that can be stored in a sheath on his back, Shadow Tracker has multiple small holes on his person for weapon storage-- there's one on the vest, one on his leg, and another in his pole weapon, oddly enough. This is good so you won't lose too much of his gear, but one downer is that his hair is so huge that it basically blocks his backpack hole. For him to wear the quiver for his arrows, you'll need to twist his hair a bit, which is somewhat annoying. The gear is, on the whole, very good and while nothing strikes me as groundbreaking, the sheer quantity of it is absurd. I thought Beachhead having 6 guns was ridiculous-- Shadow Tracker has 6 bladed weapons, a bow, an arrow, a flail, and some other stuff. It's pretty impressive.
Overall, this is a good, modern-looking figure. I question the value of neon green on a jungle tracker unless he was a hunter and the colors were for his safety. Since this guy looks like he's probably going to kill someone, it seems a bit excessive-- but it does look cool and appropriately modern. Seeing as no existing take on this character exists-- he doesn't even have a "real name" on his file card-- it's completely original and succeeds on those merits. It's tough to disappoint fans if what you're offering can't be easily compared to some idealized idol from their childhoods.
Since he was genuinely new, I wanted to get this figure-- and he kept selling out online, or never lasted in local stores long enough for me to find one. I was quite pleased to find them, and I'm glad Hasbro decided to start cranking out genuinely new figures rather than rehash the same characters forever, the collecting treadmill gets tiresome when your entire hobby is focusing around new versions of things you broke as a kid. This is fresh and new, recently joined by some other new Cobra characters and I hope we will continue to see more after the Rock and Bruce Willis get their time in the spotlight. Shadow Tracker offers a fair amount of bang for the buck, making up for in stuff to play with in what he lacks in being a familiar face. It's a crying shame Hasbro didn't put more attention on fresh faces over Duke, more Duke, and when that's done, another Duke. Their creative team has some wonderful ideas.
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