Issue #7 came out as part of the third assortment of Comic Joes, this time around focusing on several characters that rarely saw plastic or screen time with the infamous Oktober Guard. Sgt. Stalker is essentially filler, but Horror Show and Stormavik round out the Oktober Guard team as highlighted in issues #6 and #7 of the original comic. As such, if you buy one of these two packs, you're going to want the other. And if you don't, you're a filty commie liar.
The story has Cobra Commander playing the Joes against the Oktober Guard over some fancy new antigravity craziness. Unfortunately, a lot of the designs for vehicles in these early books had no connection to the toy line so it's not like you can have Cobra steal their original plans for the H.I.S.S. or anything cool like that.
While the bulk of the comic book line of G.I. Joe has focused on the real American heroes, now we're going to look at the Soviet Union's crack team of commandos.
Horror Show is the highlight of the set and has more new parts than any other "old style" Joe released as of late. The new design is obviously aimed at collectors as it doesn't have him sculpted as the big "Russian Bear" that the comics imply, nor does he have a full range of motion at the waist-- his jacket extends over his legs so he can't sit properly. While we do appreciate the old timey sculpting details, it is most unfortunate that he cannot pilot a vehicle were he so inclined. The "gee-whiz" factor, though, is sure to bowl any fan over his defects as it's a character from an old comic that hasn't been a toy before and proof positive that the classic Joe line still can live on with new sculpts.
The head is good, and brand new too! Lookie that moustache!!
Next up is Sgt. Stalker, again. So here's the review of the previous version, again:
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.
This new version is a straight repaint-- the light green is now dark, and the green markings on his suit are now black. He better matches in with the team but on the whole ain't all that much different. His hands are not as deformed as the original release due to fewer rubber band-induced problems caused by Hasbro's preferred method of securing figures in the packaging.
The last figure to look at in this set is Stormavik. Just like Colonel Brekhov, his body was previously used for the Kenner Colonel Brekhov as well as Red Star over a decade ago. Like Red Star, Stormavik has a blue striped shirt under his jacket, and unlike him, he has a new and very bald head. The new sculpt uses modern sculpting techniques to give him a little added personality, yet it still fits in with the figures of the time. It's just painted far, far better. While a lot of the earlier Joes in the comic series had black painted soles on their boots, many figures from this series-- including poor Stormavik-- do not. The figure is bulky and not un-commando looking, and as such is a welcome addition to Mother Russia's Oktober Guard.
It's a good set but obviously aimed to older folks-- kids will undoubtedly enjoy these if they find them, but there's no question that this is a fan wank and a good one at that.
Unlike previous waves, there weren't a bottomless pit of guns here. You get a rocket propelled grenade launcher, a backpack, a pistol, and four rifles.
All good selections, but not many of them. Obviously you don't need enough weapons to hold a 4" gun show, but more is better and what's here is good enough-- no wacky colors and no bad sculpts.
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.
What's neat about this set is the red star file cards to designate the Oktober Guard. This means this line has a whopping three distinct factions, and aside from the Lunatrix Empire, the old line really only had two over its entire twelve year run. This added variety in the line makes it all the more interesting, but it also means that the Oktober Guard now has more members than Cobra. And we can't have that.
While not shown, this set is worth five Battle Points.
Also included is a reprint of G.I. Joe issue #7. In it, the character driven plot shows a lot of in-fighting and some great name calling. Unlike the issue to follow, it isn't a giant ad for toys-- it's a neat little military story that has our heroes going all over the world including places that the USA is currently visiting in a military capacity.
Just look at that cover. You see Colonel Brekhov next to Stalker? He's totally smoking. I can't believe Hasbro had the integrity to not photoshop out the so-called cancer sticks. Kudos to Hasbro for leaving the comic as intact as humanly possible save for the sensible decision to drop the Marvel logo. It's an amusing story, one of the best so far in this line-- as such, buying the second half of this two-parter should be a no-brainer.
As this is a line for collectors I must confess I don't fully understand some of the repeated characters. Snake Eyes makes sense, but Stalker? And so soon? Perhaps it makes sense as issue #3 was a harder set to come by, but in all seriousness it seems a little soon to see him again. Scarlett and Breaker are coming out a little later, so this would have been a decent opportunity to put out a different version of Clutch or even Grand Slam, who is presently unavailable in this line. Still, a Stalker that better matches his own comrades isn't the worst thing in the world.
...after all, the set is rounded out by Red commandos! How can you not approve of this? Hasbro knows a sucker when they see one and fans of this line probably fit into this category-- this could have been a $10 two-pack and the likes of me would bite. Pure awesomeness, and instant gratification-- the big H didn't make fans wait by doing something like splitting these between assortments. You can't expect that kind of awesomeness these days, and it's great that Hasbro put these all out at once.
If you've been collecting these, get this. If you haven't, this issue and issue #6 are a fantastic place to start.
Text and photos by Adam Pawlus
Review posted on February 27 2005
Sample purchased in January 2005 from a Toys "R" Us in Scottsdale, AZ for $9.99