The 25th Anniversary line did a few things correctly right out of the gate, and making this version of Destro was one of them. No matter your opinion of the line as a whole, there's no denying that Hasbro went out of their way to show they have a sense of humor while appeasing the picky collectors' desire for a truly great figure that, if they missed it, wouldn't feel like there was a massive hole in their collection. It's weird-- too weird. And because of that, we love it.
Available in both a silver- and gold-headed variant, this figure sold out quickly and became something of a collector legend in its own right. As of October 2007, the silver figure sold for about $20-$25 and the gold figure sold for $70-$220. We're not sure how rare the figure was as Hasbro never divulged the edition size, but given that it was a Hasbro release, we expect it to be in the low thousands.
If you want to know more about the origin of this figure, read up about the 1997 Kenner release at the fan site Project: PDD. This figure used a 1980s mold for an ill-fated variation which most fans never had a chance to buy.
One of the better molds in the G.I. Joe 25th Anniversary series was that of Destro. While the figure lacked the double-jointed knees seen on some other figures, his legs bent appropriately, he had a great sculpt, and was fairly tall. As an added bonus, the figure just looks really weird, and random tributes to old, weird figures will always get our money.
Since this Destro is a repaint of a cheaper, more widely available figure, you might be asking "why bother?" Well, we place a high value on novelty. The mostly black figure is now covered in maroon and leopard print, and these garish colors earned the figure the name "Pimp Daddy Destro." While a cane or a hat to complete the look would have been nice, it's still easily the most over-the-top figure in the 2007 G.I. Joe range-- although some figures in the past might have it bat out for "Most Wacky of All Time."
His left hand isn't quite molded into a fist, but it is clenched in a manner which will prevent it from holding most if not all accessories. The glove sports small rockets, which look great. The left hand can gold weapons without a problem, and the glove has dart lanchers. The figure has a sculpted holster which can hold some small firearms, and there's a fair amount of wrinkles in his outfit. Destro was sculpted to look like a good action figure, and not a tiny replica of a person in costume. As such, fans of Star Wars' (in some cases) ultra-realistic sculpts may be let down by this more toy-like design, but we're willing to bet you don't collect both lines. While we wish I could pull out tons of exciting details, there aren't too many. It's Destro, and the colors speak for themselves. There is, however, one very notable feature worth pulling out for examination.
Hasbro decided to take an un-retro stance on the regular Destro figure by releasing the very first normal Destro (not this one) with a matte silver head, and not the chrome dome we all first saw back in 1983. As such, this is the only 25th Anniversary Destro with a silver head. The figure's eyes are not painted any particular color, and the figure's neck and choker are gold to match the gold head and package artwork. As such, it looks like it might not be too difficult to forge a loose gold Destro, especially since a gold headed Destro is coming to the normal line in early 2008. It looks good, and the silver head better matches the original 1997 Destro-- so if you have to pick one or the other, I'd probably advise the silver.
Also, and I don't know if this is only my figure or what, but the head seems to be glued in place-- it can't be turned. As it's more a collectible than a toy, I figure this may have been done to prevent customizers from making the heads gold on their own, but I have no way to know for sure. Is yours able to move? Do let us know.
A gun, and a display stand. That's it. The Destro in the 5-pack includes several weapons and a briefcase, so fans of accessories would be best served getting that one.
The tiny pistol barely fits in to the holster, and will fall out if gravity permits. The display stand is painted silver, and features no name on the base. This makes the two Convention Exclusive Destro figures unique in this line as all the other figures have their names on the bases. Neither accessory is remarkable, but I suppose it's better than nothing. But a little something more would have been nice.
For the 25th Anniversary, Hasbro got some brand new card art for the first-ever US release of the carded Comic-Con Exclusive Destro. (US release being the key here.) The art is nice and similar to the original Brazil figure, the logo is a shiny silver, and there's also a silver border surrounding the cardback. The result is eye catching, and the packaged figure itself looks really great. If I had more money and space, I'd buy a set of these to keep packaged.
...that doesn't mean we love it. A basic, printed logo would be nicer if you ask me, but hey, that's me. It's all a matter of opinion. The design retains the modern J-hook on top and includes the 1982-style Hasbro logo rather than the modern one based on Mr. Potato Head's smile. As a packaged toy, it's awesome, and if you like good character art it would be in your interest to save the cardback.
Finally, it's worth noting that, like the rest of the line so far, there are no product photos anywhere on the package. All products are instead represented by artwork.
Comparisons & Variations
As of this review, three distinct versions of Destro have been released in this line. At least one more has been scheduled for 2008, and another variant has shown up in test shots.
On the left: gold vs. silver Convention Exclusive Destro action figures. (We opted not to open our gold sample just yet.) On the right: 5-pack "regular" Destro vs. silver Convention Exclusive Destro.
An as-of-yet unreleased "test shot" Destro has surfaced and was also used for promoting this exclusive prior to Comic-Con 2007. This figure appears to be identical to the one presented in this review, but the leopard spots have been painted over with black-- just like the original release. It is unknown if this figure will be offered in any capacity yet.
Finally, in 2008, "Blade Destro", perhaps better known as "Iron Grenadiers" Destro, is coming out. This figure has a completely different mold but will also sport a gold head.
What's a little paint worth to you? The figure, as a toy, is infinitely inferior to the 5-pack (and eventual single pack) release of Destro, which included more weapons, a personalized stand, and a briefcase. This is an item that's pretty much worth owning purely for bragging rights or to show off to your friends as an example of just how screwed up your hobby is and, by association, how screwed up you are.
We wouldn't necessarily advise you buy the figure due to the high price. The silver one is affordable, but still is not cheap. The gold one's price borders on crazy. It's a fun item, but your wallet will probably make your decision for you rather than your taste as a collector. If you know you have to own this piece, money is no object and you should go get one immediately. As fan interest shakes down in the coming months, prices could go either up or down. It seems unlikely it could go up too much more given the nature of the product, but with modern toy collecting patience tends to be rewarded as collector interest tends to shift to the latest and greatest items. (There are exceptions.)
I'm quite glad I got mine for $10, and I'd probably have been willing to drop $25 on it just because it's such a wacky item. Just beware of forgeries, and remember that you never know when Hasbro will suddenly decide to take a rare figure and reissue it on the cheap.
Text and photos by Adam Pawlus
Review posted on October 18 2007
Sample purchased in July 2007 at Comic-Con International
[Check availability of Destro toys at our sponsors]