Issue #24 was a neat story featuring a lot of characters that were nowhere to be seen in previous packs, or issues of those packs. As such, it's a refreshing addition because it's all new ground, but as it's a big jump ahead, it feels somewhat like a disconnect from previous sets-- #21 could happen pretty much at any point within the early issues, but this takes place later and as such, has some new stuff to offer.
It's a pack of new figures and a decent story-- for example, it shows how Cobra Commander drinks through his helmet. Try and tell us that isn't worth the price of admission.
It's a good way to bolster your stash with new characters, and if you're only getting this line of Joes, it's a great set because you're unlikely to have any of these. Just eye them over for crap paint jobs first.
With a lot of repeats, it's refreshing to see a set without any-- even if it means there's no battle helmet Cobra Commander, which the cover of this issue practically BEGS for. The choices are decent enough, though, and as such it's worth a look.
Duke is a figure that wasn't there from the start, but he was a sort of a hero soldier character-- no highly ranked, but somewhat popular and obviously meant to help the audience identify with a character that wasn't a terrorist. Duke gets to be the good soldier guy and as such, in this issue, isn't very interesting-- but due to wacky comic coloring conventions, the toy looks extra weird because it matches the art. Green pants? Yellow boots? Yellow hair? How droll, no? It's all true to the comic, but as a toy, it's just odd. Neat, but odd. The new head sculpt is crisp but a little small, and we noticed that on our sample, it wobbles-- the neck is not a perfect fit for the body. The end result is a figure that looks pretty good, but it feels a little fragile and since the face is painted in flesh and not MOLDED in flesh, it really looks different from the rest of the line. It sticks out but that doesn't mean it's bad-- what is bad are the arms, as the sleeves of the shirt are recessed compared to the actual arms, meaning he has like negative muscles or something. It's still a nice figure, just not an exciting one.
We'd also like to note that because of Duke's unusual paint job, the faces on these can look horrible-- be sure to look the face over before purchase, as large, dark blemishes are not uncommon and they are big and ugly enough to ruin the figure unless you want Duke to have 15% of his face covered in what you might be able to explain away as a birthmark.
Destro is a figure best remembered for his chrome head-- but this Destro, taken from the 1992 release of the figure, has a newly sculpted head that isn't chrome or painted in any way. It matches the figure in the comic fairly well, except the comic one has a silver chest instead of fleshy, and the white gloves are more or less grey. The figure itself is pretty much the same as the 1992 version except for the head and some minor details, and it's quite good-- except out sample has a "wart" on the gloves, a white paint protrusion on the thumb we didn't notice prior to opening the figure. As such, while we like the figure, we have to put out a warning to look closely at the limbs when making a purchase to make sure you don't get saddled with a bum figure.
Figure #3 in this pack is Roadblock, the second character that's not white, Japanese, or completely masked in this series. Aside from the wacky pants, he's quite true to the comic cover's appearance of the character. (In the comic, though, his pants still look like the interior of a Sara Lee poundcake.) The head is new but the rest of the figure is true to the original release's sculpt, but, again, the comic coloring makes this figure go toward the wacky end of things. It's neat to see it brought to like how odd some coloring choices seem to be when they leap off the page, but man, lookit them wacky pants.
You like guns? Then you're in luck.
A big gun with a tripod! Two pistols! Two rifles! A shotgun! Not bad, eh? Many of these have been made available elsewhere as of late, but hey, it's a big ol' assortment of guns. It's a good selection, six firearms for three figures, meaning you're unlikely to want for more unless you really hate these.
Unlike the first series of figures, the second series of G.I. Joe Comic Book Figure Packs has updated its artwork to look more contemporary, and not like the figures in the actual book. While disappointing, it's understandable as it makes them blend in with the figures elsewhere on the shelves. And since collectors will buy them anyway, they have to look good for the kids.
Above, you can see the front and back of the package and the filecards. The new style art looks good, but doesn't really evoke the "primative" look that the comic books themselves carry. The interesting thing here, though, is that the toys look really mean. Like, angry. It's decent, but with those facial expressions on the file cards, any of these guys could be a villain. Also, Duke's filecard is obviously patterned after the current Valor vs. Venom storyline, while the other two figures have filecards that could really apply to any Joe generation.
While not shown, this set is worth five Battle Points.
Also included is a reprint of G.I. Joe issue #24. The Joes have captured Cobra Commander and you get to learn all sorts of awesome things about what the silver faced terrorist leader has under his helmet-- like a retractable slot for a straw, and explosived lining the headgear. The story is more or less plain, but there's a lot of awesome concepts and cameos that make this worth reading-- if you don't buy the set and can have access to the story to read, you probably should.
It's a typical "we go the leader, we can't let him escape" type story and I'm sure we're spoiling nothing by saying Storm Shadow comes in and helps him escape. We also get to see brief glimpses of Firefly, Zartan, the Cobra F.A.N.G., Major Bludd, and many other villains-- which leaves us wondering why we don't see more villain packs.
Good comic, OK figures, good accessories. It's $10 well spent, we'd say, but it isn't an exciting pack-- but it is satisfying, if you catch our meaning. It's not a bad set, but the production values are a little low compared to the rest of the line and that's a bit of a sore spot.
We don't fault the toymakers for this one, and overall there's a lot to like about it. It could be better, sure, but as part of the end of the line it's a neat send-off. (Or perhaps, neat near-to-the-send-off.) If you got $10 to blow and see it, buy it before it goes away.
Text and photos by Adam Pawlus
Review posted on March 16 2005
Sample purchased in February 2005 from a Wal-Mart in Phoenix, AZ for about $9.84