G.I. Joe: Retaliation - Cobra Trooper
I'm really trying to wrap my head around my thoughts on the G.I. Joe: Retaliation figures even as I write these reviews. The spirit of these things is really everything that I love about G.I. Joe, but I think mentally I've gotta adjust my expectations, which got knocked totally off kilter by the past 12 months of absolutely amazing Pursuit of Cobra and 30th Anniversary product. I repeatedly encouraged fans to not expect that level of quality as the norm, while meanwhile I wasn't really taking my own advice.
I mean, mentally I had prepared myself for the eventual adjustment to a more kid friendly platform with the Retaliation product, but I think the most jarring thing is the drastic difference in concept from what it was only a few months ago.
Last year, a Cobra Trooper figure was a highly detailed, insanely well articulated, uber-military soldier that looked as if he stepped right out of the real world. Now, all of a sudden the Cobra Trooper is a brightly colored, hockey-masked trooper layered with futuristic body armor, crazy forearm guards and baby blue webgear. A totally different idea...but not bad. Not bad at all. That's the funny thing...it is exactly this type of crazy concept that I really enjoy about G.I. Joe, the way it borders the real world and the super hero fantasy. I've seen a lot of comparisons to the 90's with these figures, and I've made those comparisons myself, but in a way, I'm seeing a lot more "new sculpt era" concepts with these figures, only in much better design and construction than in the early part of the 21st Century. This figure specifically, with his cool and sleek uniform, his elaborate forearm guards, and the very cool layered facemask really reminds me a lot of some of the Draxhall Jump designs that we got with the new sculpt figures, only in a more modern and more accurate design aesthetic. The legs are somewhat simpler with relatively straight forward sculpted combat pants, kneepads, and jackboots.
So yes, the figure design is very cool, though it seems a little far fetched to be a traditional Cobra Trooper. When I think of "Cobra Trooper" I don't really imagine a guy who looks like this...not that it's bad, it's just different.
The color scheme is another somewhat odd choice, with gray being prevelant, complimented nicely by some whethered black pads and boots. It's a pretty standard color scheme, though not necessarily one I would immediately identify with a Cobra Trooper.
The accessories here are a strange mixture of coolness and weirdness. I love the design of both the webgear with the grenades and the parachute pack, but I'm not especially wild about the overly bright blue colors. They are very close to a pretty traditional Cobra blue color, but just a bit too bright, and I think the figure overall would work somewhat better if the colors were a little darker.
I do like the fact that they color match with Cobra Commander, and it's a nice tie in with both figures, and as I said, the design and sculpting itself is fantastic. I really dig the fact that the parachute pack fits over the grenade rounds so he can wear both at once, then discard the parachute pack and still have the ammunition webgear on underneath. The holster and removable pistol is also a great touch, though I'll be honest I have no clue what the heck that rifle is. Yes, it is obviously a grenade launcher of some sort, but a very strange format weapon that doesn't seem to match any real world equivilent.
Far and away the showcase of this accessory compliment is the parachute. It hooks into the parachute pack very nicely with the twin straps that go over the shoulder and the actual string straps are minimally invasive. A few test flights of the parachute pack had some decent results, and the play value of this thing is good. Considering a Captain America parachute pack was only available in a "Deluxe" figure format with an increased cost, I am impressed that they were able to make it work financially in a standard figure.
So what is the end result here? The figure design is pretty cool, I have to admit, in a new sculpt era, not traditional Cobra Trooper kind of way. He is very far removed from the more realistic and detailed figures that we're familiar with over the past year, but is still a very neat offering that fits the Cobra and G.I. Joe profile nicely. Yes, there are articulation reductions, with only single joint knees and no ankles. That is a shame, and I think this figure would be a lot better with those additional points of articulation, but it's not a deal breaker.
What we end up with is a figure with a lot of potential that has a few down sides that drop the desirability a bit. As a lover of the more wacky aspects of G.I. Joe, I think this Trooper is actually pretty neat, but there are some minor points that could have made it a little better.
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