Issue #3 comes with a story that involves a Cobra robot getting loose in The Pit, aka Joe HQ. You get to see Scarlett in her dress uniform, little bug robots, and people shmoozing at a party in the comic with figures of General "Hawk" Abernathy, Sgt. Stalker, and Double Clutch-- best known as Hawk, Stalker, and Clutch, respectively. The names were changed due to trademarks and other issues that are on the whole dull, but the important thing here is that they're reasonably close enough.
While 1980s Hasbro was big on items like "Listen & Fun," a cassette and a toy, really making the storyline a significant part of the toy purchase hasn't been something they've done much of until recently. It's refreshing and different, and a little surprising in some ways-- after all, they could put the entire comic series on a CD-ROM or three.
Worth a look if you like what you see, and you know that you do.
These three figures each have a new head, but their bodies are basically recycled materials. Not that this is a bad thing.
Sgt. Stalker is modeled one of his many outfits in the comic, using the generic 1982 body used for most of that year's figures. Here, Hasbro gave it a new head and new deco. Our sample had some posability issues, and the head was sculpted in such a way so that it doesn't really look like he's looking at the right angle. Since it was such an old body, this is a pre-ball jointed neck figure and as such, can look around but not up or down. It still looks pretty great, with the head more or less fitting the body fairly well.
The only figure using a different body in this set was Double Clutch, which was built off of Mace from 1993. This is the era in which figures went from scrawny to huge-- the torsos are enormously fat and as such, Clutch looks friggin' beefy. It works for the general look of the figure, but the contrast between some very thin and some very thick figures is a little odd for this range and as such, he sticks out a little bit. The head looks good and may remind some fans of Star Wars' Jorg Sacul exclusive figure from Celebration II. He's a well designed repaint hobbled together from the aforementioned Mace parts and some Duke arms, so overall he works together well.
Finally, there's General "Hawk" Abernathy and boy does he look wormy. The small head, bright yellow cropped hair, and relatively tiny body doesn't do much to make him look imposing-- but he is a striking figure for some reason. He uses the same body as Stalker and oh so many figures from years gone by, and unfortunately he isn't very striking compared to other figures in the series.
The trio is pretty well done, but the question of excitement is pretty much left up to your having bought into the characters. To have comic-esque versions is nifty, but there are no previously unproduced characters here, nor are there any figures that really seem like must-buys. This set was the shortpack in the first wave of the comic figures, and rightly so-- it's the least nifty in terms of variety and has a reasonably low "wow"-factor.
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.
While no backpacks are present, there's a good selection of accessories. I mean, c'mon, grenades. I also appreciate the fact there's more guns than the figures can carry-- nine total weapons, six total hands. This is a great way to outfit your other figures with guns, it's too bad they didn't include some stands as well.
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, with more or less excellent art-- again, Abernathy kinda gets it in the shorts with artwork that makes him look like the-- no pun intended-- green recruit. The rest looks good, though, and these first three comic packs tend to look the best in terms of packaged figures from these assortments.
While not shown, this set is worth five Battle Points.
Also included is a reprint of G.I. Joe issue #3. This time around, a Cobra bot gets in to G.I. Joe HQ and basically causes havok while a military fundraiser goes on upstairs. You get to see two Joes in their dress uniforms, you get to see Cobra Commander control a robot from far away, and you even get to see spider robots.
The story works well as a standalone tale and if this was the only issue you read, you wouldn't get lost. The art is excellent and clean with a nifty (if now primitive) coloring job. It's great storytelling, though, and well worth the read.
The set has its flaws but there's something oddly compelling about this whole line. These three figures make great troops and come with a great selection of weapons.
Text and photos by Adam Pawlus
Review posted on February 3 2005
Sample purchased from a Fry's Marketplace for $7.99 in January, 2005.