A certain G.I. Joe fan that I know is a huge Outback fan and was pretty much obsessing over the fact that he might not ever get his favorite character in Anniversary form shortly after the Wave 5 vehicles were cancelled (or...postponed as the case eventually was). Well, now he's got two of them, so hopefully he'll shut up about it. ;)
At this point we all know where Outback was originally slated before his migration, and then re-release in the 7-packs. He was going to come with the FLAK and be paired up with the
Strato-Viper Air Viper. Well, when that series apparently got cancelled, they shifted the Joe Survival Expert around a bit...but then the set got UN-cancelled, so now they were in a bit of a conundrum. They couldn't very well release two of the same versions of Outback within a couple months time, could they? Well, the answer was Night Force, and it's a nice homage, especially with more Night Force figures coming out in Wal-Mart two-packs this fall.
From the perspective of the figure itself, though...Outback's a lot like Wet Suit. He does pretty well. Does nothing spectacularly, doesn't fail at anything, and is relatively successful for what Hasbro was going for. Actually, I think he's pretty successful for the most part, it's just the arms that are kind of flipping me out a bit.
I love the Flint arms as much as the next guy...well, more than the Duke arms they replaced, I suppose, but they have some funky elbow joints, some really strange hand positions, and are just generally not very user-friendly. He can't hold weapons very well, except for a shotgun. Only problem is, Outback doesn't come with a shotgun. I really love the torso tooling, the new head sculpt, and the legs, but so many cool positions are dependant on the arms, and Outback's arms just aren't my cup of tea.
Back in the 80's, Outback was the first to really define the whole "separate webgear" concept, and he did it amazingly well. To this day those rubber straps and belt are one of my all time favorite G.I. Joe accessories, and it's really interesting just to see how far they've come. Outback's gear is more of a flak vest then traditional webgear, but it's some really nice stuff. It almost looks patterned after existing equipment, though it's considerably different than his original stuff. I like it, though I really love the old look as well.
Hasbro elected, even though this is a Night Force version, to give us Outback's traditional tan colored vest and backpack, even though the FLAK version was light green. I would imagine they did this so the more anal-retentive Joe fans out there can display their white version with the correct stuff, though personally I would have loved to have seen it in black as the Night Force version should be. Outback's got his trusty removable flashlight which I really dig, and his familiar machine gun as well.
He looks really cool, has the familiar large physique and a rough and rugged new head sculpt, but his arms do get in the way a bit. Perhaps it's because I've been so floored by the improvements in the Rise of COBRA construction, but it's quite obvious the Anniversary stuff was always designed around presentation and not playability, which negatively impacts my opinion a bit. Still, it's nice to get this figure in hand, even though we got a standard version only a couple of months ago. I wouldn't label this guy as a reason to buy this seven pack, but there's certainly nothing terrible about him either.
Buy this set at Big Bad Toy Store!