G.I. Joe: Retaliation - Firefly (Wave 2)
I love articulation just as much as anyone else...maybe even more. Ever since I was eight years old, articulation meant the world to me, and it helped catapult G.I. Joe to the top of my little world, even thirty years back. Throughout the years since then, I've always gravitated to toy lines that had great articulation. COPS n Crooks, Visionaries, Marvel Legends and Marvel Universe...all great toylines that had a lot of movement.
I was pretty shocked at the news that many G.I. Joe: Retaliation figures were being saddled with reduced articulation, and that has already impacted several figures that could have otherwise been outstanding. Firefly, however, manages to be successful in spite of the reduced articulation, in my opinion.
First and foremost, this is the only figure we've seen from the line yet that has a movie authentic Ray Stevenson head sculpt. Complete with nasty facial scar and distinctive sneer, it's a great figure that just oozes character. The figure tooling appears to be all original with a great layered leather jacket, popped up collar, and pretty standard pants, kneepads, and boots. Twin holsters hold his two pistols nicely as well.
Sculpting throughout the torso is fantastic. Texture throughout the torso and arms looks natural, but adds some great detail to the jacket he wears.
If there are downsides to the figure, they obviously lie within the articulation. Because of the supposed play feature, Firefly does not have swivel wrists. The idea was to make his arms semi-transparent so when his battle sled lit up, his arms would light up, too. Unfortunately that particular play feature fails miserably, so we end up with reduced wrist articulation for no reason. A lack of swivel ankles is unfortunate as well, and his single joint knees are another restriction. Not terrible necessarily, but they keep a figure that could have been fantastic into just "pretty good" territory instead.
Interestingly, many fans online are glossing over the articulation issues, choosing to focus more on the paint scheme for the figure. By now I think my hesitation to hate neon is pretty well known, and to me, as long as the color works well, I don't mind a whole lot of it's bright. That doesn't mean I love neon or that I want bright and gaudy figures, but I can find merits to the toys even with bright colors.
That certainly holds true for Firefly, who is, let's face it, pretty damn bright, at least above the waist. For whatever reason, Hasbro went with a bright, flashy green for the leather jacket, trimming it with slightly darker green stripes, but also healthy heapings of yellow. His almost transparent green arms are supposed to replicate...I guess the "Firefly" aspect of his name, even though that's not anything that was really connected before. The dark green pants are a nice draw back to reality, but the highlight of the paint scheme to me is the design on the back of the jacket. Hints of gray with some neat patterns down the shoulder blades give some life to Firefly's paint scheme, and even with the really bright green jacket, things look good.
Firefly's primary "weapon" is the large figure-sized battle sled that I initially thought had a really cool premise, but in execution, is somewhat of a failure. I like the idea of a mini vehicle coming with the figure, and I thought the whole light-up arm gimmick was kind of ingenious. Unfortunately, it was so ingenious that it doesn't work. The handles on the sled light up, but the arms do nothing, even in a dark room. I'm not entirely sure what the disconnect is, but for whatever reason, the light-up handles don't pass to the arms themselves.
Firefly also comes with two pistols that initially came with the G.I. Joe: Retaliation G.I. Joe Trooper. They're not especially realistic, but the design is terrific on both, looking like pretty harsh, heavy packing pistols. They also fit into Firefly's holsters perfectly. The last little accessory is a small cannister that launches from the front of the battle sled. It doesn't add a whole lot to the functionality of the sled.
For folks who don't like the Ray Stevenson accurate head sculpt, a masked head is included here as well which matches the jacket color pretty well. Personally, I dig the Stevenson look.
This is a great figure in spite of various negatives that can be thrown its way. A lack of articulation, overly bright paint apps, and even a lack of various good weapons are all negative points against this version of Firefly. I still find myself enjoying this figure, even with the detractions. I will say, though, there is an amazing version of Firefly in much more realistic colors coming in a later wave of Retaliation, so I certainly wouldn't disparage anyone for wanting to wait for that one, but this one still speaks to me, and I'm liking it more than I thought I might.