Issue #1 comes with the very first issue of G.I. Joe from 1982 and three figures-- Cobra Commander, the Baroness, and a generic Cobra Trooper. The latter is made pretty much entirely of vintage 1982 parts, while the other two are based on 1980s molds with new heads.
The set basically aims to recreated something that never was-- a G.I. Joe comic book toy line. You get a good array of stuff in the box for the price ($9.99, usually) and for someone who never really got into the originals and wants a good place to start a little Joe collection, this line seems to be a great one.
Good for fans of all things Cobra and the 1980s.
On the whole, the idea of this line was to take 22-year-old molds and give then a new look, sometimes with a new head. On the whole, it seems to be a mixed bag for this first set.
Cobra Commander is based off of a mold that was used for the Talking Cobra Commander and the Battle Corps Cobra Commander in the original line's declining years as well as the very first Cobra Commander made in the 2000 line. The head is new and looks a little more realistic in terms of how the fabric drapes for the hood, and the coloring is very bright and cartoony-- perfect for a comic book likeness of that era.
The Baroness is based off of her original sculpt which has been repainted in the Toys "R" Us exclusive "Kenner" series in the late 1990's and again as "Chameleon" in the 2000 line. The head is brand new and as you can see, features the amazingly great concept of removable glasses. The concept is great-- the execution is not. Close up, she looks like she's wearing goggles. While at first I assumed this was me being nitpicky, those close to 16bit.com looked the figure over and agreed that she does look a little clunky around the eyes. The glasses are the set's main stumbling point-- had they stuck with the original head and given it a new deco with whites around the eyes, odds are people would have been quite pleased with it.
Finally, the Cobra Trooper is based off of the original sculpt and also some parts of an old Roadblock figure. Since the first year's worth of G.I. Joe figures around 1982 were all made of similar (and generic) parts, a lot of swapping-and-painting can be done to make a new product which, to the untrained eye, looks like it was made to be exactly as it appears. The head is a little dated, but the coloring, paint job, and overall look is pretty spectacular-- it's a very 1980s figure done, once again, in comic book-y colors.
So far the comic sets have been very friendly to collectors by including a number of non-goofy weapons, more than the figures need-- this is as close to weapons packs as we're likely to see anytime soon.
It's a good selection of weapons, some of which have previously been packed with these characters and others, not. The bag and the knife stand out as being unique choices, while the six guns add a lot it's especially nice to see a complete and total absence of neon rocket firing weapons.
The first series of these three-packs come with a plastic bubble partially taped, partially glued to a cardboard cardback. The artwork is based on (or taken from) 1980s books an looks excellent-- it totally captures the zeitgeist of the era these toys should have been made in originally.
Here, you can see the front and back of the package and the filecards. The packaging does a good job highlighting everything that comes in the set.
While not shown, this set is worth five Battle Points.
Also included is a reprint of the first issue of G.I. Joe. While not quite the blockbuster the cover would have you think, it does introduce most of the characters including the three you get in this set and a sizable chunk of the G.I. Joe team, which is no small feat for a book that once cost $0.60 and had ads for X-ray glasses and the like.
In this issue, you get to see Cobra Commander watching over a scheme involving a kidnapped scientist and even the Baroness showing off her skills of disguise. It's an amusing book, but it's not exactly some hard boiled serious military caper-- if you're the type to spend your money in ironic ways, this book is right up your alley.
While not perfect, it's a fun set to get if you're an older fan of the line. The comic is a fast read and while not exactly high art, is worth a look. The toys are made reasonably well and the extra weapons are a really nice bonus. There aren't a lot of extra features here, so for the most part it's a case of "what you see is what you get." All figures have standard G.I. Joe posability for the original era with 12 joints each, most of which are ball joints.
And yes, you can go through two dozen Baroness figures and still not find one with great glasses. I looked at several over a few months before settling on this one.
Text and photos by Adam Pawlus
Review posted on February 1 2005
Sample purchased from a Fry's Marketplace for $7.99 in January, 2005.