As we get closer and closer to the premiere of the G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra movie, it’s important to remind ourselves that there was a time when G.I. Joe didn’t suck. Fortunately, Hasbro is making this pretty easy with a ton of toys that wonderfully recreate the Joes of my youth. While these toys look almost identical to my childhood action figures, the better production values of today’s toy lines make these even cooler than what I played with as a lad.
(And if you’re really looking for pictures of the movie toys, Action Figure Insider recently got their hands on shots of ’em.)
Let’s start with everyone’s favorite speechless Real American Hero…
Snake Eyes here was easily the breakout star of the G.I. Joe line of the 80s. This stoic ninja warrior, a man whose vocal cords were destroyed in the same accident that left him so horribly scarred he always wears a mask, was a favorite in the comic books, a favorite action figure, and a favorite for the TV show producers, because they didn’t have to pay a voice actor for the part. Now that I think of it, I’m pretty sure Ray Park in the upcoming movie will be the first actor ever credited as Snake Eyes. Anyway, the figure is awesome, but he actually may be a little over-accessorized. It’s great that he comes with a base, and the machine gun is cool. The sword isn’t bad. The battle sticks are getting a little too much. The knives across his chest and the goggles on his head, which pop out with the slightest provocation, should have been re-thought. The knives should have been attached, and the goggles are just unnecessary. But he’s still Snake-Eyes, so he’s still cool.
I showed the G.I. Joe: Resolute version of Cobra Commander in my previous Toy Stories piece, but I like this version too. You may ask why Cobra Commander, who is one of the coolest-looking villains in TV history, is wearing this armor. Well, in the TV show it stablized his body after the ruler of Cobra-La transformed him into a snake. In the comic book, this armor was used by a usurper who killed the original Cobra Commander and took his place. (Don’t worry, he got better.) Death was probably the more dignified of these two fates.
While some fans despite it, I’ve never actually thought the armor was that bad. I mean, it’s nowhere near as cool as the mirror helmet or even the hood, but it’s probably more practical in battle. Armored Cobra Commander comes with a base, gun, and backpack which contains nothing because it’s made of plastic.
Next up is Snake Eyes’ main squeeze (at least in the comics), Shanna O’Hara, a.k.a. Scarlett. This is part of the 25th anniversary toy line, and is based on the original figure design. This is the first G.I. Joe figure I’ve been a little disappointed with. Scarlett comes with her trademark crossbow, but either her hands are too wide or the grip is too small, because there’s just no way for her to hold it. Okay, so she has a pistol too, but Scarlett’s crossbow is downright iconic.
Finally, let’s all say hello to the Baroness, sometimes gal-pal of Cobra Commander’s sometimes-ally Destro. Whom I have not yet found a figure of in a single pack. I’m working on it. Anyway, the Baroness is based specifically on the cartoon line, and I think that’s obvious when you look at the color scheme. Her paint is brighter than the other figures I’ve displayed and gives her a more animated look. She comes with a rifle and a base, and wishes Destro was there.
As skeptical as I am about the movie, I don’t know if I would have found my way back to the toys without it there to garner attention, so I should be grateful. There are some cool figures in this assortment, and I look forward to getting more.