EDIT – Original source of the images (as I should have guessed) is ACToys here. I’ve mirrored a bunch more images and added them to the gallery below. This set is looking even better!
Labeled as only coming from the “Chinese Web” new images of what is believed to be the upcoming G.I. Joe ComicCon set have emerged on the G.I. Joe Discussion group on Facebook.
This year’s SDCC exclusive appears to be a Rattler repaint as Powerglide, with Scarlett facing off against a HISS repaint as Soundwave, with Zartan! Very cool looking repaints, for sure, and I’m loving that Scarlett build, though not really wild about the 25th Anniversary head sculpt.
I really loved the Retaliation Zartan as well, it will be interesting to see what the differences are between this one and the previous.
Choosing the repaint the Direct to Consumer HISS Tank is an awesome idea, too, and I’m digging those Soundwave missile launchers at the turret. Really creative stuff.
Not only is it cool to see these, but there are two slots in the crossword puzzle to fill in! Check out the mirrored images below, and hit up the G.I. Joe Discussion Group on Facebook to join in the talk!
This feels like it should be a momentous occasion, and in truth it is. As rumors swirl around us about what the future holds for G.I. Joe, and as the years have marched on, that long list of figures that needed to be done slowly dwindles.
In the early 2000’s we finally got our Oktober Guard (then again from the Club a handful of years ago). Several years later, again courtesy of the Collectors Club, we got our Dr. Venom. Another couple of years after that, Kwinn finally appeared in the Retaliation line of all places. Now this year the Club hands us both Pythona and Billy, all while standing on the precipice of their own final surge with the Hasbro license. Something about it seems almost poetic.
Ever since his first appearance in G.I. Joe #10, curiosity has surrounded the character of Billy. Though we didn’t find out he was COBRA Commander’s son until Destro pointed it out in issue #38 (I believe…). Shortly thereafter, Billy was taken in by Storm Shadow shortly before being caught in a rocket attack and gravely wounded. He managed to escape with a lost eye and leg and rejoined Storm Shadow, becoming immersed in the Arashikage culture and greatly evolving his ninja prowess. Devil’s Due took the ball and ran with it where Billy was concerned, bringing him on to act as a foil between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, and that’s where this version of Billy comes in.
I’m really happy that the Collectors Club elected to go with this more combat ready version of COBRA Commander’s son rather than a boy scout or another iteration of the ’84 Storm Shadow. This is how he appeared in the Devil’s Due comic, and this is really where his training came to play, in my mind. His appearances in this guise in Devil’s Due were some highlights of that run, and I’ll remember that Mike Zeck penciled 21st issue very fondly.
The Club made some interesting choices with this figure. His head is a new sculpt, because it pretty much had to be, though doesn’t appear to be Boss Fight’s work. Most of the figure is based off the Rise of COBRA Snake Eyes, which is okay, I suppose, and that figure actually ends up being sculpted a bit smaller than more modern figures, so it makes sense for a younger operative. I will say the arms and torso don’t blend together especially well, and the shoulders look very “ball” like compared to some smoother flowing parts.
Speaking of his arms they’re the short sleeves that we saw with many figures throughout the Retaliation era, I believe, rounding off the t-shirt look. Colors here are very straight forward, with a simple black for the t-shirt and olive drab for the pants. They are plain colors, but match the comic look, so I can’t complain too heavily. Overall, it’s an effective design that is relatively comic accurate and blends nicely with other PoC era figures as well.
They didn’t load Billy up with too much gear, giving him a submachine gun, sword, grappling hook, and the same sheath/strap that the original Snake Eyes had, which holds his sword (though just barely). Billy doesn’t need a whole lot of gear, and the weapons he comes with here do make some kind of sense.
Fans have been waiting for Billy for a very long time, and I’m glad that the Collectors Club was able to get this figure out to folks before losing their relationship with Hasbro. As I said above, it seems almost poetic that as the Club is forced to halt this product, they’re checking off a bunch of desires that the fans have been asking for. It makes me pretty excited to see what might be planned for the real last hurrah of FSS 5.0.
For me, in a way, the G.I. Joe Collectors Club Figure Subscription Service has felt like my home away from home and a place that dovetailed really nicely with my own little view on the G.I. Joe universe. Over the past two runs of the FSS we’ve gotten Hit & Run, Vypra, and now Interrogator, three characters who play huge roles in my own G.I. Joe universe, and characters who I’m thrilled to see modern updates of.
Interrogator was such a minor character in the Marvel Comics, practically a non-entity until Devils’ Due made him part of the Plague, and in a way really put him on the map. I also featured the character pretty heavily in my dio-stories, mostly due to his striking design, awesome helmet, and really cool specialty of being COBRA’s chief torture master. Interrogator has been revisited a couple of times now, and probably my favorite update to him is the Direct to Consumer rendition that we saw in the early 2000’s, which really modernized him nicely and made him look a little more official.
The G.I. Joe Con exclusive in 2011 was a pretty great take, too, with a neat removable helmet.
That brings us to this particular FSS update, which I will admit, I struggle to get my head around. The torso and arms appear to be from the G.I. Joe: Retaliation COBRA Commander, a pretty neat figure, and those parts look pretty neat here, too. His legs are from Arctic Destro in the Pursuit of Cobra era, and I have zero issues with those parts either. They give him a great bulk and some really awesome design aesthetics that are somewhat evocative of his vintage look, but also nicely updated.
His head, however, leaves a little to be desired. The Club chooses to reutilize the removable helmet, which was okay back in 2010 but looks a little dated these days. It’s covering the head from Rise of COBRA Sgt. Flash, which also doesn’t provide a heck of a lot of excitement. Considering the Club used the torso and arms from Retaliation COBRA Commander, I’m almost shocked that they didn’t just use that head as well, since they should know it would fit, and I’d think it would be in the same tooling library. If they’d used that head with red paint on the faceplate, this figure would look 100% better.
Looking at the colors, the Club sticks with what works, a gray shirt with dark blue pants and lots of black and silver trim to spice things up a bit. On each thigh we also see the familiar red stripes as another tribute to the old school version. From a pure aesthetic perspective, the figure looks like an update to Interrogator, and works moderately well from that regard, but could definitely use some fine tuning.
As mentioned above, the Interrogator comes with a removable helmet (though it stays pretty firmly on that more modern larger head. He also has a snake-handled knife, pistol with silencer and twin nunchuk type things that actually look more like some kind of electronic cattle prod. Law’s handcuffs are included, too.
Along with this, he also comes with the same tactical vest that the MARS Trooper came with back in the Rise of Cobra days, and unfortunately I think that’s the biggest hang up I have with this figure. I’m not a huge fan of that overly flat and bland looking webgear as it is, but especially on top of a relatively cool modern figure it looks especially underwhelming.
The good news is, of course, that webgear can be easily swapped out, but as it stands, the figure does not look especially good with it on him.
Interrogator is a character that is pretty near and dear to me, and I desperately wanted a modern update to knock my socks off. Unfortunately the FSS version does not quite hit that milestone. I think with a few minor adjustments, like the Retaliation COBRA Commander head and fresh web gear, the figure could be drastically improved. I’ll take steps to do that, but it would have been really awesome for him to come out of the package that way in the first place. Not bad, but not the Club’s best.