Issue #4 came out as part of the second assortment of comic Joes and told the story of Team Joe stopping a Cobra-funded militia in Montana. The figure assortment was particularly notable in that you got a pretty good replica-- with better deco-- of the very first Snake Eyes as well as an excellent rendition of Raphael "Zap" Melendez and Grunt in a non-standard uniform. Meaning, we assume, a green Grunt is on tap for a future release.
The set's Snake Eyes is sure to make this a popular set-- for about five minutes. A nearly identical version of this figure is coming out in a pack in the fourth assortment of comic book packs in 2005, but with what appears to be a new head. Still, if you want a version of him that's just like 1982 but better, this is it.
Snake Eyes is the big draw here, but the other figures are great as well-- as such, it's hard to fault at the price if you like new old-style Joes.
One of the three figures is basically a striaght reissue with new paint, while the other two have new head sculpts and/or are made from other figures.
Raphael "Zap" Melendez was, surprisingly, not modeled after the 1982 figure especially closely-- while the arms and legs are pretty close, the torso is the same as the other Joes and the head is all new, much to the joy of all. While the packaging art in 1982 looked a lot like this figure, the actual head was a balding chubby guy with no facial hair, and that horrible head was reused several times. Now that he has a head of his own, he looks a lot better, if a little gangly. Since there's not much new to speak of here aside from the head, here's another gander at it.
Zap's inclusion in this set is a bit of a mystery, as he doesn't really make his presence known beyond a couple of pages-- sure, he's disarming a bomb that will prevent WWIII, but still. Odds are after 20 years Hasbro decided to release Zap with a head that actually looks like what they probably intended, or so we infer from the old package artwork.
Now for figure #2 in the brown suit, is that David Bowie ca. Tin Machine, or is it Grunt? His beefy body is a repainted Action Marine, his arms are the Action Soldier, and his head is of course Ziggy Stardust in his later years. The figure holds together well, but the costume is totally out-of-place with the line-- so here's hoping a green shirt version of Grunt hits stores before someone has to customize one themselves. (Hint, hint.) The outfit does fit in with the story, though, and accurately re-creates the Militia uniforms he and Hawk used to infiltrate the organization... which we write about a little more under the comic section.
Finally, there's Snake Eyes looking very much like his 1982 original self. Back then he was virtually all black, but now he has a few highlights which makes the figure look both very old fashioned and at the same time, not dated. Unpainted figures don't really look good in this day and age so the additions made all the difference in making a popular figure into a good figure. While I'm sure many would like to see a new head sculpt, it's hard to say where they could go with the design, so the virtually unchanged classic figure is pretty much OK as is. Odds are if a fan hasn't seen the 1982 version since the 1980's, they would assume that this was the original version-- which is good, looking at the old figure will only tarnish your memories of it. Just get this one.
The trio is pretty well done, and the costumes are neat. There are some great extras here, and the characters are good choices. Of course, you're going to buy it for the commando ninja dude.
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.
Seven guns, a bazooka... thing, a backpack, and a knife. Truly, we are blessed with things that go boom. As usual, there's nothing here that's in a goofy color or fires missiles, which is always welcome and this set will surely please fans needing more small black submachine guns. Hey, we're plenty pleased.
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 packaging does a good job highlighting everything that comes in the set, with new and different art starting with this series. While I much preferred the flatter 1980's style seen on the first three sets, it's not like this is somehow unacceptable.
Hasbro took great pains to remove all mention of Marvel Comics, the original publishers of the book, from the first series of these figures. While they haven't missed a beat as far as the actual comics go, for issues #4 and #5 Hasbro kinda goofed up on the packaging. As you can see to the right, the tiny images on the cardback show the original Marvel Comics Group logo as well as the original price-- $0.60. A comic in today's market goes for $2.95 or more. Ah, progress.
While not shown, this set is worth five Battle Points.
Also included is a reprint of G.I. Joe issue #4. While Cobra is mentioned, none of them really make much of an appearance, although their presence is felt-- the criminal organization is responsible in funding a militia in Montana, which is especially interesting given that this comic is from 1982, thus making it a little ahead of the curve.
The main villain has a big curly moustache like Rollie Fingers which is about as threatening as... well, Rollie Fingers. Which is to say, not very. Unless you have a fear of baseball, and if you do, our sincerest apologies.
Overall this is an excellent set, but again, people will probably buy it for Snake Eyes... but the other figures are great additions to a collection. It would have been nice to have a "normal" Grunt, but odds are there will be one at some point very soon. And if there isn't, well, make your own-- these guys pop apart and you can swap all the parts you want if you have access to a screwdriver.
Text and photos by Adam Pawlus
Review posted on February 4 2005
Sample purchased from a Fry's Marketplace for $7.99 in January, 2005.