The fans have spoken and thank goodness the G.I. Joe Collectors Club listened!
When the original build for the FSS Salvo was revealed, the G.I. Joe community pretty much imploded. Using 30th Anniversary Law/Renegades Duke parts with the Resolute Duke legs resulted in a scrawny, mish-mash mess of a figure update that pretty much did nothing right. Once the fandom was done yelling, the Collectors Club went back to the drawing board, and while they stuck pretty close to formula, they at least made some changes that presented an update to Salvo that felt more in line with the large, muscular rocket expert we got in 1990.
This version of Salvo is not perfect, but he’s a damn sight better than the alternative.
From the neck down, the figure is pretty much G.I. Joe: Retaliation Roadblock, only the lower legs are slightly different in order to get the proper cuffed look. While the figure and the legs are nice and bulky, the result of different lower legs is that the knee joints aren’t as functional as they could be, and once again I’m not a huge fan of those ankle joints either. On my figure, I couldn’t even get the peg stands to fit in his feet, and I know that’s been a recurring problem since this tooling was originally available.
That being said, the figure is large, muscular and imposing, another great looking figure of immense size to go along with some of the previously released Roadblocks, Leathernecks, Gung Ho’s, Repeaters, and others. It’s pretty awesome to see some variation in height and size among the ranks of the Joes, so I appreciate the Club using that tooling here. As one would expect, the articulation and range of motion is mostly good, and we got some exceptional sculpting work in that Retaliation line, so that’s all on point here, too.
The color scheme pulls straight from the vintage look, though some of the use of gold here seems strange. I understand they’re trying to mimic the look of the criss-crossed machine gun belts, but at some point hopefully the folks doing the deco for these figures realize that you can’t just slap color on any old piece of the figure to match the vintage aesthetic. You should really try and find a logical place for that color to exist and use it as a complimentary color, not just throw gold down on the holster and leg-straps because that kind of looks like where the gold is on the original figure. It doesn’t always work.
That minor gripe aside, overall the figure is good. They did a good job with the font on his shirt, the modern parts are good, and the choice of the Hit & Run head sculpt is unexpected and excellent.
Salvo comes with some decent gear. He’s got a huge rocket launcher which I’m sure fans will complain about, but makes perfect sense for his specialty. Anyone who is dying for his vintage accessories that much can find them super cheap on eBay and they’ll still fit with this modern figure, so go for it. He has Sci-Fi’s helmet and the same briefcase that he came with back in 1990, along with the Retaliation Roadblock pistol that fits in his holster. All told, he’s got some gear that works well and compliments the character as you would expect.
I’ve loved Salvo since his original release in 1990 and I’m glad to see him finally getting some modern era love here. I’m extremely happy that the Collectors Club followed the fandom’s lead and beefed up the figure build, even though it resulted in some mold fit issues. He’s a nice update and another addition to the much-needed 1990 “DiC” era roster.
As someone who is both a fan of the Iron Grenadiers and a fan of taking established characters and putting new spins on them, I really loved the Convention version of Darklon we received in 2014. Not only was it an update of a really cool established Iron Grenadier character, but it added some Pursuit of COBRA Firefly aesthetic and gave us a really awesome update to Destro’s criminal cousin.
However, as a Convention exclusive, and a highly desirable one at that, the price soon skyrocketed and fans grew upset that such an important character (is Darklon really an “important character”??) was so expensive on the secondary market.
Well, since the Club now had the tooling for Darklon’s helmet, they figured they’d make a more vintage accurate version and toss it into the FSS. I’m of two minds on the idea. Personally I’m not wild about being saddled with a $30 figure that is only subtly different than one I already paid $35 for at a Convention. Especially when the FSS version uses older parts that are less well articulated, softer sculpted and frankly, not quite as interesting.
That being said, I know the figure will appeal to the broader fanbase, who I do not always see eye-to-eye with.
This figure has the previously mentioned Darklon head sculpt that we originally got at the convention in 2014, and it still works well enough. Darklon’s torso is from Pursuit of COBRA Snake Eyes in an attempt to give him the textured look of the vintage figure, but his arms are from the 25th Anniversary Zartan. The result is a drastic reduction in sculpted detail, somewhat annoying articulation in the elbows, and the elimination of the texture on the arms. It doesn’t really work as a combination with the torso.
Also rather than even attempt to mimic the look of the original legs, the Club just used the 25th Anniversary Iron Grenadier Destro legs which does a nice job tying this figure in with Destro, but doesn’t do such a nice job making him look like his vintage counterpart. I do like the sword sheath and the color combination is vintage accurate, but the sculpting isn’t accurate, and the knee articulation is only single jointed which is a shame.
Speaking of the colors, the Club does do a decent job matching up the shade of green and purple with the vintage edition of Darklon and the overall inspiration is pretty clear cut.
Darklon comes with a decent assortment of accessories including a MARS briefcase with removable pistol, a pistol for his leg holster, the removable sword, and a retooled version of his vintage weapon. As much as I love the strangeness of his primary weapon, any time the Club invests money in retooling a vintage accessory that can be found on the secondary market for pennies on the dollar I question the reasoning. As we get fewer and fewer new heads or other body parts throughout the FSS, I’d much rather see money invested in more of those items rather than retooling vintage accessories in nearly the exact same way as they’re already available.
Darklon is okay. I prefer the convention version all told, and by leaning on 25th Anniversary parts, the Club aren’t doing themselves any favors. Limited articulation and sculpting make a big difference between figures that look like they belong with other 2017 figures, or figures that already look a decade out of place fresh out of the package.
I’m going to start this review with a confession, though it’s a confession that will likely not come as a surprise to many.
I love me some neon G.I. Joe. I always have. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t love the figures because of the neon, I enjoy them in spite of their garish colors, and in most cases actually would prefer it if the kickass 90s molds would use slightly tamer, more realistic color schemes. That being said, I will never look down on a figure because of its brightness, and the Battle Corps COBRA Viper is a perfect example of that.
Yes the figure is purple and orange, and yes he would be a huge target on the battlefield, but from a pure sculpt perspective the figure is incredible. The awesome narrow, sloped helmet with embedded visor, along with the built-in rebreather is an amazing design aesthetic, looking somewhat insect-like but also like something that could completely exist in the real world. I think that’s what I’ve always loved so much about A Real American Hero, the fact that they take this outlandish concepts and manage to build figures around them that make them seem realistic.
As one might imagine, after modern era format figures have been around going on seven years, we’re starting to run out of credible updates…so the Collectors Club is having to dig deep into the vaults, and with the COBRA Viper I think they made a great choice. The choice makes sense as well, considering the Iron Anvil that was released for the 2015 G.I. Joe Convention. Once that figure was revealed, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that the character’s predecessor from the vintage days would appear somewhere along the line as well.
Interestingly, rather than duplicate the spectacular build for the Iron Anvil, the Collectors Club went their own way, and I think the results are mixed. I’ll never be one to admonish trying to develop new concepts rather than just repaint what’s already been done, however the Iron Anvil figure build, frankly, was superior to this one in every way. The sculpt and tooling for the G.I. Joe: Retaliation Snake Eyes works a lot better in my mind, and allows the figure some better range of motion and an appearance of being more streamlined.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against the Jungle Viper torso and legs we see here, the look is just thicker and more bulky, and overall I prefer the nimble appearance of the previous iteration. Also, the use of the G.I. Joe: Retaliation COBRA Trooper arms means the wrists don’t get the extra articulation, which is a shame as well.
Looking at the color scheme, they did a decent job matching up the vintage ’94 COBRA Viper, while muting the tones somewhat. You can immediately tell where the inspiration came from, but they manage to dial down the neon to a degree, which is a good combination.
The G.I. Joe Collectors Club chose some neat weapons for the COBRA Viper as well. I’m a huge fan of the assault rifle that he comes with, I’ve loved it ever since it was released with G.I. Joe: Resolute Destro and I’m happy to say the COBRA Viper hands fit it really well. He’s also got a purple knife inspired by the crazy blade that the original Viper came with, though since this knife is one that generally plugs into a hole on a figure, it has a huge rounded peg on it. Without having some place to plug it in on the Viper, that seems a bit odd, but it’s not terrible. Lastly, he has a pistol that fits neatly into the holster on his ankle. He doesn’t come with a lot of weapons, but what he comes with makes sense and look pretty neat alongside the figure itself.
I’m a huge fan of this version of the COBRA Viper and I have been for a long time. I was really looking forward to seeing what the Collectors Club did with it. Unfortunately I ended up slightly disappointed in the build, though the overall color scheme and accessory compliment (almost) make up for that. It’s a fun figure and a nice addition to the modern era collection. Now someone get me a Crimson Guard Commander dammit.
If you’d asked me at any point over the past several years if we really needed an update for Charbroil, I would have said “hell no”. In the 21st Century the need for flamethrower troopers seems unnecessary, and Charbroil isn’t even the number 1 flamethrower trooper on the G.I. Joe team. Not only that, but we’ve already received two Charbroil updates, though one was Rise of COBRA and one was Night Force, so we never really got the 1988 update that some folks might have thought we needed.
I would have disagreed.
However, throughout doing this review and realizing just how many 1988 figures have now been released, it’s kind of cool to see the group shot and Charbroil does fill a hole in that roster, which is cool to see.
Charbroil himself is a decent figure. He uses pretty much the entire base figure for the G.I. Joe: Retaliation G.I. Joe Trooper (like the Night Force version did) but done up in colors more accurate to the 1988 version. The shade of brown for the uniform is a decent match for the ’88 original and the yellow trim does a good job complimenting it now as it did 19 years ago.
One curious choice, however, was that instead of reusing the same unmasked head that we got with the Night Force version, instead this Charbroil has a balaclava. I’m not entirely sure why that decision was made, though I would have much preferred the unmasked head here as it was with the Convention set.
If I have a gripe, while the sculpting on the legs is exceptionally well detailed and looks really nice, the ankle joints don’t work especially well (as they really haven’t since 2012) making it tough to keep the figure standing, either on the battle stand or off.
This figure comes with the accessories you’d pretty much expect, including the familiar helmet, backpack with flamethrower (and removable flame) and pistol. Honestly there’s nothing especially revolutionary or different here, and nothing that wows or impresses. The weapons are fine and they make sense, but beyond that they’re just kind of there.
As a character, Charbroil has never really held an interest for me, and as we sit here in 2017, the concept of a flamethrower trooper seems unrealistic at best. It’s nice to have another entry in the 1988 figure roster filled, however, and I will admit I geeked out just a little when I shot that group shot that keeps on getting just a little bit larger every year.
Well, it’s about time, right? Yes, I know my G.I. Joe reviews have been lacking as of late. I’ll fully admit – my priorities have been elsewhere. Honestly, priorities will likely continue to be elsewhere, but I’m at least going to try to stay more up to date on reviews as product comes in. Lord knows it’s not like there’s a wealth of figures creating a backlog or anything.
But today (and all this week!) I am reviewing figures from the latest G.I. Joe Collectors Club Figure Subscription Service. I’ll be covering the latest two figures today, then filling in the rest from tomorrow through Friday. Check out the G.I. Joe Collectors Club Review Page every day this week, and today you can also click the links below:
Hm. Every once in a while you run across a figure that you mostly like and mostly enjoy, though a certain decision was made that seems strange and misplaced, but you want to love the figure anyway…
Okay. Why is Scoop orange? I think the Club might have been going for “mustard yellow” (since they seem to like making these modern updates just a little dimmer and darker than their vintage counterparts)…but he really, truly looks orange.
Before we go down that road, I do want to say, as another entry into G.I. Joe’s illustrious roster of 1989 characters, the inclusion of Scoop was pretty much a given ever since we got Sky Patrol Airborne in the Con Set in 2015 using Scoop’s distinctive helmet. That kinda sealed the deal right there.
And it makes sense. Scoop is one of those rare later year characters who appeared after 1987, yet still had a very distinctive and familiar role in G.I. Joe animation as a Crimson Guard traitor on the G.I. Joe team during Operation: Dragonfire. Now, as one might suspect, he ends up having a change of heart, but he was still a central character throughout that mini-series and it makes sense to explore him as an action figure in the Figure Subscription Service.
Scoop’s figure is legitimately great. His head sculpt is reused, but it’s not exactly common and feels fresh just the same. His parts are all from the G.I. Joe: Retaliation family and its evident with the nice modern sculpting, great range of motion and functional articulation that suits the figure build perfectly. From a construction standpoint, I feel like the Club really and truly nailed this one.
But what’s up with the paint scheme?
I can’t remember a time when Scoop was orange, either as a toy or in the comic or in the cartoon, yet here he is in action figure form a wholly more orange color than he should be. It would be interesting to hear why. It’s not like the color is terrible, it’s a fine color that works well enough, but the Club typically works hard to mimic the vintage color pallet as much as they can, so this stark distinction seems surprising.
That being said, by and large, Scoop is pretty fantastic, honestly.
Not only is the figure great, but the Club did an awesome job getting the right accessories for him, too. He’s got a Resolute tactical vest, which I’m always in favor of, a nice multi-colored assault rifle, the great camera that came with the old school 25th Anniversary boxed set, as well as a microphone. He also has a knife that fits in his ankle sheath.
In short, Scoop has a perfect allotment of great gear that makes sense and feels interesting.
If you’d told me six months ago that halfway through the FSS, Scoop would be my favorite, I would have said you were out of your mind. Yet here he are, and here he is. So far, among the rest of the Figure Subscription Service, Scoop stands alone at the top. He’s really fantastic, strangely orange colored and all.
I just can’t help myself… every time I get a figure from 1990 in my hands I just want to belt out that theme song. When the DiC series first aired way back when it seemed laughable in comparison to the Sunbow days, but looking back on those 90s years it’s still kinda cool to see the later generation characters in animated form.
It was such a weird time in 1990. It almost felt like a “soft reboot” of the G.I. Joe brand, with all new characters (many of them sort of replacing existing characters), tons of interesting accessories and when I say “interesting” I mean weed whacker and weird mesh tent type of interesting.
Ambush was a “concealment specialist” in those days, one of the few figures from 1990 that didn’t automatically replace an existing character. His color scheme was a bit odd, looking very much like a desert commando, yet his accessories were clearly more geared towards jungle camouflage. To be honest, I actually preferred the Sidetrack rendition of the figure to the original. But I digress.
The Collectors Club dives back into 1990 with Ambush as part of their FSS and does an okay job of it. His head is from the Convention General Mayhem, which works surprisingly well, to be honest. The deco of the figure is a nice match for the vintage version, though the long brown sleeves don’t work quite as well without the underlying texture. Also, his torso and legs are from 25th Anniversary Dusty, which… is… I just don’t get it. In 2017 I can’t find many reasons why someone should use 25th Anniversary parts when there are so many others available. If the entire purpose was to get that weird “shirt tail” piece, I’d have considered just not sweating that a whole lot. As a result the figure looks somewhat dated, not just alongside other figures, but alongside himself. With the obvious later generation head and later generation arms, the torso and legs don’t quite mesh.
As a result of the strange confluence of parts, Ambush looks like his arms are a bit too long for this torso (though not as bad as I thought originally) and his neck is bordering on giraffe. Now, the Club did think to include the PoC Dusty scarf/cape piece to help offset that a bit, but if you want your Ambush to look more vintage accurate and you remove that? Well, he doesn’t look real good.
Of course a lot of that isn’t noticeable if you’re just checking out the figure on display, so perhaps I’m making mountains out of molehills.
Considering how much thought and work were put into the accessories for the original 1990 run of figures, you would think that would be a key consideration with these new versions, and to a degree, it is. Ambush as a nicely fitting helmet, the collar and cape from PoC Dusty, the net from Shadow Tracker, a bandolier and two machine guns. He’s actually pretty loaded.
While the net sort of misses the point of the original ghille suit/camouflage net, I give the Club props for doing what they could to blend that aesthetic.
Ambush is a decent update, though unfortunately a somewhat flawed one. I’m not sold on the 25th Anniversary parts, but they did a nice job replicating the deco and he’s loaded with pretty fun gear and weapons. He’s better than I feared he might be based on some early images.
The Los Angeles Times newspaper dropped an interesting article online today discussing the upcoming release of Transformers: The Last Knight as well as a My Little Pony animated film, but within the context of the article they spoke broadly about Hasbro’s new “Cinematic Universe” initiative.
This is all old news to most of us, but where it got interesting is some very specific discussions about the G.I. Joe brand itself:
Simon Waters, the man in charge of consumer brands says the following:
“The world has changed, and I think you’re going to see G.I. Joe changing with it.”
I think the evolution and change of G.I. Joe is a natural thing, especially as you consider all of the different other brands contained within the cinematic universe.
Hasbro’s Stephen Davis elaborated on this, saying:
“We hope to create a head snap. It’s a different kind of ‘Joe’ — one that still resonates with ‘Joe’ fans but brings in an uninitiated audience and expands the audience internationally and domestically.”
Discussions of a “contemporary approach” also take place within the article, the true meaning of which is anyone’s guess at this point.
I’m glad that G.I. Joe seems to be the focus of a potential overhaul, but time will tell what Hasbro considers a “head snap” and how it will resonate with the long term fans and what it can do to bring in new fans. I’ll certainly be watching.
First and foremost, a HUGE thanks to Josh over at YoJoe who has been doing spectacular work with their comic archive, tying the IDW Universe together, even as G.I. Joe has been criss-crossing continuity with other Hasbro properties. He’s managed to make it easy to follow and make sense, and with the latest reveal of Marissa Fairborne, he goes above and beyond! He’s written a terrific guest post for GeneralsJoes.com which you can read below. Again, big props to his loyal and devoted following to the ongoing IDW continuity and how this all ties back to history. Some really great stuff!
Big News in the GI Joe and Transformers world has just happened in the IDW comic Optimus Prime #3!
An event literally 30 years in making has finally been confirmed (In continuity).
Summaries of all of the different series can be read at YoJoe.com, so you can follow the stories.
Yes, its official, Marissa Faireborn of The Transformers Earth Defense Command is the daughter of GI Joe’s Flint. And they actually sit down together in a coffee shop and talk.
For 20 years it was only rumored that Marissa was related to Dashiell and the mother was a mystery. Outside of a DVD commentary, no cartoon, comic or other media has ever confirmed their relationship.
Now for the first time ever and within the IDW continuity, the Joe and Transformers worlds have been combined allowing a long time meeting between Flint and Marissa to happen.
Both GI Joe (not ARAH which is written by Larry Hama) and the Transformers along with Action Man, MASK, ROM and Micronauts are all included in the IDW continuity. The mini-series Revolution recently tied all of the Hasbro properties together into one universe.
But one mystery that has never been solved officially in any cannon is who is Marissa Faireborn’s mother?
Let’s dive into some Transformers and GI Joe history that got us to this huge reveal.
First, in 1985 Series Four of GI Joe A Real American Hero toys, a character named Flint aka Dashiell Faireborn was released. He actually premiered in GI Joe: the Revenge of Cobra cartoon episode #1 “In Cobra’s Pit” on Sept 10th 1984, he is voiced by actor Bill Ratner. Flint has been a leader of the Joe since his first arrival in toys, comics or cartoons. And in both the comics and cartoons his love interest is fellow GI Joe Lady Jaye aka Alison Hart-Burnett, who also was released in Series Four. Flint’s in continuity cartoon stories took place in the 1980s.
On September 16th, 1986 a new character named Marissa arrived in the second episode of the third season of the cartoon The Transformers. The title of the episode was called the “Five Faces of Darkness, Part 2”. Marissa Faireborn was part of the Earth Defense Command (EDC) that was helping and fighting the Transformers on Earth. In the timeline of the Transformers series continuity, Captain Faireborn was living in 2005.
At the time of Marissa’s premiere on the cartoon, GI Joe and Transformers had no official connection between the toy lines. This was the first hint of many crossovers to come in the 30 year history of Hasbro toys and the Faireborn family.
In The Transformers cartoon episode called “The Killing Jar” with had an airdate of Sept 29th, 1986. Disguised as a shuttle, the Transformers Quintesson ship docks with an EDC space station, and Marissa Faireborn is lured on board by an illusion of her father. Although not officially called Flint, this character is voiced by the same actor Bill Ratner who performed Flint in the regular GI Joe cartoon. “Flint’s” appearance in this episode has him with grey hair in his 60s, still active with the military and in good if not distant relations with Marissa, at least well enough for the projection to fool her.
Happening in another part of the Hasbro universe, released in January 1987 in Marvel comics, was a completely different kind of crossover between GI Joe and the Autobots. Writer Michael Higgins wrote an official in the ARAH continuity 4 issue mini-series called GI Joe and The Transformers. Now this mini-series does not contain nor reference Flint, Marissa or even the Earth Defense Command. But forever became official A Real American Hero cannon, whether the fans liked it or not.
Over in the United Kingdom, on August 8th, 1987 issue #125 of Marvel’s UK The Transformers is released with an original crossover story called Ancient Relics Part One. The rest of this story also appears in the Marvel UK Action Force comic #24 titled Ancient Relics Part Two, #25 is Part Three, #26 Part Four, #27 is Part Five. Flint is the leader of Action Force in the UK, when in the London underground a Transformer is discovered and it’s Megatron. Autobots Wheeljack, Grimlock and Blades all fight with Flint and his Action Force team against Megatron. Additionally, the Ancient Relics storyline was reprinted in 5 parts in the UK’s Action Force Monthly (Issues #1-6) in 1988 which in America is called European Missions (Issues #1-6) as in 1988. It has always been debatable whether European Mission is officially part of the ARAH continuity. But either way it is still an original story that crosses over Flint with The Transformers, presumably before Marissa was even born.
6 years later in 1993, The Transformers appear within the GI Joe A Real American Hero comic starting with issue #139 until #142. Now this is officially within the ARAH continuity. Megatron shows up and partners with Cobra Commander and of course the Joes fight them. At the conclusion of #142, Marvel’s The Transformers Generation 2 becomes a spin off comic book series starting with #1. The GI Joe’s only appear in 3 issues of the series and Flint appears in Transformers Generation 2 #6.
Since GI Joe and Transformers first official crossed over they have since crossed over in comics numerous times with several different publishers since 1993. Generally, each of these is their own continuity and the publisher’s were Devil’s Due Publishing, Dreamwave and IDW. The Dreamwave Transformers GI Joe series has the Joes fighting in World War II against The Transformers. This series introduces Nathaniel Faireborn who is Flint’s father and Marissa’s grandfather. In the Devil’s Due crossover series Flint actually goes to Cybertron. In Dreamwave’s G1 Transformers series Marissa now holding the rank of Commander, rather than Captain, portrayed as a member of the EDC, which in the Dreamwave continuity clandestinely handles terrestrial/extraterrestrial encounters. Following the Transformers’ return to activity on Earth early 21st century, The Transformers plans were stopped, but Marissa’s superior officer did not share her fondness for the Transformers. Dreamwave’s bankruptcy and subsequent closure left remaining stories of Marissa Faireborn untold.
Marissa was a key character in US the Transformers cartoon series but never appeared in a Marvel comic in the 1980s. In the 1990s in a comic in Japanese, Manga style, that was never released in America and connected to a radio series, this is called KISS Players. Marissa as a child in the 1990s, lived in New York, where she met and became friends with Shaoshao Li, who developed an extremely strong attachment to her. The young Marissa resented her military father, so when one of his missions went awry and she and her father had to be rescued by Optimus Prime, she quickly came to view the Autobot leader as a surrogate father figure… and perhaps a little bit more.
Ok, so that covers comics and cartoon references between Flint and the Joes and Marissa and the Transformers. In recent years the toys have started to crossover Joes and Transformers and the Transformers and GI Joe Collector’s Club in 2015 released a Marissa Faireborn toy, see the GeneralsJoes toy review.
But who is Marissa’s mother.
Fans speculated for two decades that the character Marissa Faireborn in Transformers is his daughter, since they both share the same last name. The writers of both shows remained coy whether Marissa Faireborn was actually Flint and Lady Jaye’s daughter or not. However, cast notes for “The Killing Jar” refer to Marissa’s father as being “a 60-year-old Flint”. The mystery was finally solved on November 7, 2006, with the 20th anniversary DVD release of The Transformers: The Movie. On an interview on the DVD, Flint Dille, story editor for Transformers, confirmed that Marissa Faireborn is indeed Flint and Lady Jaye’s daughter. This would subsequently make Marissa a distant relative of Destro as well. However, in an interview with G. I. Joe fansite Joe Headquarters, Dille added the caveat that “I’ve always thought of Flint as being too young to have a daughter that old.”
And now you know and knowing is half the battle. But we don’t know who Marissa’s mother is within the IDW continuity. Stay tuned.