Issue #8 came out as part of the third assortment of Comic Joes, this time around focusing on a Cobra plot to introduce as many new characters as possible while showcasing the MOBAT during a space shuttle launch. Flash is one of two characters launched into orbit, while Rock 'N Roll and Short-Fuze are basically cameos here.
If you like Joes, this is the set for you. If you like Cobra, be prepared to be disappointed again.
The story doesn't do much to really shape the characters' personalities but it does a good job of showcasing the 1983 toy line, or at least a good sized chunk of it.
Like many sets, this installment of the series allows fans to boost their collection of "average Joes" as well as a repaint of a rarely seen mold from the 1990s.
Flash turned out well and may as well be a generic astronaut. The figure's mold is a repainted version of the 30th Salute G.I. Joe Astronaut that was originally sold in a gift set of five 3 3/4" Joes from 1994. Here, he's heavily repainted and overall looks a lot better-- but fans of Flash will probably want a green version later. This is a good start, though, and a nice way to make this pack more appealing to people not collecting all the green Joes they can get. The sculpt has no new parts.
The head is good, but not new. Paint can do a lot to improve a head sculpt like this and as you can see here, they did a great job improving the look of the figure but they dropped the flag on the arm-- again, an improvement.
Meanwhile, the mortar soldier Short-Fuze has a body like his original incarnation but an all-new head makes him look more like in the comic. His sunglasses are non-removable and painted nicely, as is the rest of his body-- the first in the new line to use this particular torso. The rest of the figure is taken from older parts except possibly the arms-- these appear new. They can hold his weapons well and overall it's a great addition to your own little commando unit.
Finally, there's a Rock 'N Roll. This uses the torso of the old Big Ben figure-- again. This is the third time in this particular line of Joes, but with the new paint and new head it looks like an all new figure. As long as Hasbro doesn't keep milking the mold, this is still going to be a great figure in the overall toy line. The figure's paint is good and the colors go well together, even if the yellow hair looks a bit cartoony.
While Flash had a decent role in the book, the other two didn't really have much to do in the included story-- it's a neat round of figures but it's doubtful that people are going to be clamoring for this set due to it including their favorites.
After the bulk of the line was stuffed with extra guns, it appears Hasbro got wise and cut some corners with this set. Boo. Hiss.
It's easy to appreciate the mortar tube-- I mean, it's a friggin' mortar tube. The two backpacks are pretty good, and the rifles and pistol are nice. But with a mere six accessories (plus helmet) it's not overwhelmingly exciting for those persuing more weapons.
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 ad different art starting with this series. Flash's artwork is particularly amusing-- he looks particularly beefy in the picture, and the action figure and comic character are closer to the physique of those who buy these toys-- virtually devoid of definition. The coloring is good, but I still miss the flatter 1980's coloring I saw up front.
While not shown, this set is worth five Battle Points.
Also included is a reprint of G.I. Joe issue #8. In it, they introduce a lot of 1983 toys as well as a few new characters in rapid succession. It's obviously a toy showcase issue, unlike many of the early issues which had very few toys per issue. The story involves Cobra, a space launch, and lots and lots of characters doing lots and lots of things.
While some issues have amusing things that are largely dated, this one is obviously more of an advert-- which is OK, as that's the point of the book, largely.
Seeing some of the old, weird molds brought back is great. It's also great to see so many classic characters brought back with new and improved sculpts-- take a look at the 1980s versions of some of these guys and you can see that these are dramatic, huge, insanely improved versions of older characters. What's not to like? Not much. It isn't exciting and it doesn't have any villains, but odds are anyone buying these sets anyway will absolutely love this particular set. And kids too-- I mean, you get an astronaut, right?
Text and photos by Adam Pawlus
Review posted on February 28 2005
Sample purchased in January 2005 from a Toys "R" Us in Scottsdale, AZ for $9.99