Sneak Peek (Figure Subscription Service)

01-sneakpeek-front 02-sneakpeek-back

Isn’t it amazing how one little toss-in storyline in the comic can completely redefine a character for you?

07-sneakpeek

Or is that just me?  Am I just such a media fanatic that a simple mistake that turned into a plot takes a character to some different level in my mind?  Ever since his initial release in 1987, I really didn’t give a crap about Sneak Peek.  The figure was somewhat bland, his character wasn’t all that interesting, and while I generally love the concept of recon, the way his figure fit into that demographic (as compared to Recoil, a figure I loved) didn’t resonate with me.

He was just kind of there.

Then during the infamous Trucial Abysma story in the original Marvel Comic, he was given one last shot at being memorable, then sacrificed himself to save a child and permanently embedded himself in the minds of many G.I. Joe fans.  Fast forward a couple of decades, and in the modern Real American Hero comic from IDW, Larry Hama apparently forgot this little twist and included Sneak Peek in a cast off comic panel.  Well, the fandom went crazy, so Larry spun off that idea into the thought that Sneak Peek had faked his death way back when and gone deep undercover, ending up in a conflict with Darklon (who is also part of this FSS… go figure).

10-sneakpeek

Many folks thought that was kind of a cop out, but I loved it.  Ever since that moment transpired I’ve been wanting a modern version of Sneak Peek in a way that I never have from the beginning.  Now the Club has given us one, and it’s… well, it’s okay.

Listen, I’m glad we got Sneak Peek.  I’ve been wanting him.  I think I just wanted him a little better than this.  Looking back on the vintage version of the character, there are a few aspects that really stand out.  He’s got those great knee-high metal boots, rolled up sleeves, a textured chest pad…these aspects are kind of what separates him from any other generic Joes out there, and the Collectors Club effectively included none of them.

08-sneakpeek

Like the Tiger Force version from the last FSS, he’s got the regular Shock Trooper arms, and Shock Trooper legs, though the Club threw in the PoC Snake Eyes torso instead.  Still, though, essentially he is just a repainted Shock Trooper as are so many other figures that have been released since 2011.  I mean that’s not a drastic crime or anything, and he still very clearly looks like Sneak Peek, but I think this is a clear example of some of the intricate design aesthetics that have been missing in figures recently.  It seems as if design falls to the lowest common denominator and whatever combination of parts is deemed “good enough” is what we get.

20-sneakpeek

I understand it.  I know the challenges the Club likely has to go through with overseas factories to sort out the parts, but still…  it would be nice to look at a figure build and say “wow, that’s really creative” for once, instead of everything pretty much showing up as expected.

The figure’s colors match the vintage version well enough, and looking at Sneak Peek as a whole, he is a servicable modern version for a somewhat forgettible classic character that Larry Hama helped make more important to the mythology.

Accessories

05-sneakpeek-acc

Taking a look at Sneak Peek’s accessories, one just has to go back to the Tiger Force version from the last FSS.  We have the same helmet, radio pack, machine gun, binoculars and periscope.  I do absolutely LOVE this new periscope, though, it’s head and shoulders better than the vintage version and was obviously expertly designed and crafted.

The one difference here is with his tactical vest.  Instead of the Scrap Iron vest, we have Resolute Duke’s, and I’m fine with that.  This one looks more modern and more military, and I dig it.  I don’t mind that it’s drastically different from the vintage one, it looks better than the Tiger Force rendition in my opinion.  The only issue I do have is that it’s a bit too small for the Snake Eyes torso, and unless you’re diligent about it, he constantly looks like he’s wearing a belly shirt.

04-sneakpeek-geared-up

Sneak Peek is a character I never cared for until recently, and I’m ecstatic that the Collectors Club found a way to work him into the Figure Subscription Service.  I do wish there had been a bit more thought and consideration into making the figure build more unique, and this feels like it’s become a consistent, persistent issue, which is a pretty big deal when you consider how much we’re being expected to pay per figure.

If you’re going to be putting retail level effort into a product, but you’re expecting collectible level spending, I think that’s a big problem.

General Flagg (Figure Subscription Service)

01-generalflagg-front 02-generalflagg-back

Back in the 1980s if you were a Marvel Comics reader like I was, you often wondered who some of these characters were and why you couldn’t have them in plastic form.  One of the first characters I noticed that with was General Flagg, who was the initial organizer of the G.I. Joe team, leading Colonel “Hawk” Abernathy and his team of twelve operatives against the seemingly insurmountable COBRA forces.

03-generalflagg-head

Turns out those forces truly were insurmountable, and in issue #19, General Flagg was killed by Major Bludd.

While we wouldn’t get an action figure version of this General Flagg until the comic packs in 2005, his son, General Lawrence Flagg, Jr. made an appearance in the Battle Corps line, and the G.I. Joe Collectors Club elected to pay tribute to that version of the character here in the FSS.  Interestingly, they opted to focus on the second version of General Flagg rather than the previous version, perhaps because the original Flagg looked quite a bit like General Hawk.

27-generalflagg

I’m glad to see the Club getting back into the Battle Corps arena, though I can think of a dozen or so characters I would have preferred to have been revisited before General Flagg.  That being said, they did a decent job on the figure build itself.  Using the Retaliation Firefly torso and arms is a good approximation of the leather bomber jacket and the thick pants work well for his legs as well.  His head is a reuse that’s been seen countless times before (and somewhat obnoxiously is used for Sneak Peek, a figure released in the exact same month’s shipment of the FSS).  The hat fits on this head relatively well, though not perfectly.

20-generalflagg-acc

As mentioned above, the Club went with the second iteration Battle Corps color scheme (similar to what they did with Night Creeper Leader a time or two ago) which is a bit questionable, though it matches how I used Flagg in my dio-story, so honestly I’m pretty okay with it.  His black jacket and lighter green pants look pretty cool, and offer a different aesthetic than General Hawk.

Accessories

05-generalflagg-acc

Flagg comes with some pretty neat gear.  He’s got his removable hat, submachine gun, pistol that slides into his holster, and a version of City Strike Destro’s briefcase.  While I like the idea of the reused briefcase, the sculpted piles of money with “Top Secret”, etc… randomly tampoed in strange places doesn’t really do the idea justice in my opinion.

04-generalflagg-geared-up

I’m surprised that the Club focused on General Flagg at this stage of the game, especially this version of Flagg.  He’s a critical character in my dio-story and I’m glad to see him done in this modern format, but it seems like even within the realm of Battle Corps itself there are quite a few other, better alternatives.

Still, the execution is surprisingly well done, and I dig the accessories, even if the briefcase is a bit of a head scratcher.