ComicCon Exclusive Desert Duel G.I. Joe FOE Striker w/ Chuckles & Night Fox

To see this set in action, check out the Kindle Worlds Novella Welcome to the Wolf Pack!

The first AWE Striker was released in 1985, thirty full years ago, and heaven knows we’ve seen plenty of re-releases since.  Since its first inception back in the hay day of G.I. Joe, it’s been released over half a dozen times under the same AWE Striker banner, not to mention in the Stargate line, the ECO Warriors line (both in the vintage days and as a recent Convention attendee exclusive), as well as for the G.I. Joe: Retaliation movie line.  Fans of the AWE Striker have certainly had their opportunity to appreciate its greatness.

ComicCon-Desert-Duel-FOE-Striker (34)

So, with tooling libraries running low, what options does someone like Hasbro have to continue releasing vehicles, especially one that has been at retail more often than not in the past three decades?

Simple…  add some limited new tooling and give that vehicle some extra mileage.

ComicCon-Desert-Duel-FOE-Striker (24)

At its core, the FOE Striker is essentially just a desert themed AWE Striker, done up in a light gray/tan.  It even has a majority of the same decals as its had throughout the years.  But this time around, Hasbro designers tooled up a few new pieces, including a rear stand, a front cage, gas cans, supports, and also a nice pseudo-fabric tarp.  These few simple added pieces go a great deal towards reinventing the AWE Striker into a terrific new updated vehicle.

ComicCon-Desert-Duel-FOE-Striker (19)

Along with the new parts, the same minigun that was released many times with the VAMP now gets a new articulated arm that plugs into the dune buggy’s roof.  The rear stand adds some footpegs and a way to store the supports, while the front cage gives the driver some nice protection, holds the other side of the supports, and also provides two mounting points for machine guns (Chuckles and Night Fox both come with one, naturally).  These small additions almost completely reinvent this vehicle and convert it from a tired rehash to an exciting new fast attack vehicle.  But Hasbro even went a bit further.  With some nice design nuances, they made the rear platform removable as well as the two supports and designed a tarp to be detached from their mounts and create a terrific little forward observation station.  Just a small little twist to the vehicle, but it makes a world of difference.

ComicCon-Desert-Duel-FOE-Striker (42)

Everything about the AWE Striker becomes exciting and new with these small key additions to the dune buggy, providing a lot more flexibility and a much cooler looking overall vehicle.  The changes aren’t major, but they make a major difference.

CHUCKLES

ComicCon-Desert-Duel-Chuckles (13) ComicCon-Desert-Duel-Chuckles (11)

Along with the FOE Striker, we get a somewhat desert themed version of Chuckles.  His floral t-shirt are variations of brown, with a cool shirt pattern very closely matching how the character looked in certain images from the IDW Publishing COBRA comic book series.  According to Mark Weber, G.I. Joe brand manager, Chuckles’ new head sculpt was also designed with the same idea in mind.  As a character who was so crucial to that comic series, this is a pretty neat homage.

ComicCon-Desert-Duel-Chuckles (12)

The overall Chuckles build is pretty good, though I would have much preferred the arms from the Night Force Convention version.  These arms have somewhat restricted elbows and a lack of the multi-faceted wrist joints, but aesthetically they still look all right.  Considering Chuckles comes with a great automatic machine gun it would have been nice if he could hold it better, but that’s unfortunately not the case.

He’s got the PoC Snake Eyes legs, which are great and work nicely for a combat oriented Chuckles, especially because it gives him a nice silenced pistol for him to use.  The floral pattern on his shirt is interesting, a somewhat different take on his Hawaiian shirt pattern, in a more desert themed color pallet.

ComicCon-Desert-Duel-Chuckles (8)

If I have any complaints about the paint work, it’s an issue that has become somewhat familiar in the 50th Anniversary line.  Chuckles’ eyes really have some paint issues, with pupils that are a too tiny and look a bit squirrely.  It’s a problem that has plagued some of the other 50th Anniversary figures, and unfortunately it looks to still be an issue.

Accessories

ComicCon-Desert-Duel-Chuckles (10)

As mentioned, Chuckles comes with the familiar pistol with silencer and ankle combat knife.  He also has a machine gun, shoulder hoster, and heavy machine gun, which can also plug into one of the mounts on the FOE Striker.  He’s got a pretty great assortment of gear that allows him to go full on combat mode, or take things about quicker and quieter.

ComicCon-Desert-Duel-Chuckles (9)

Ever since the COBRA series from IDW Publishing, Chuckles has gotten a big spotlight inside and outside the G.I. Joe community.  Paying homage to how he appeared in that series makes a lot of sense, and Hasbro pulled it off fairly well.  I would have loved some better arms and a bit more care to the paint work on the eyes, but beyond that, it’s a good figure.

NIGHT FOX

ComicCon-Desert-Duel-Night-Fox (18) ComicCon-Desert-Duel-Night-Fox (16)

As the driver of the Pursuit of Cobra AWE Striker, it makes sense for the least well-known G.I. Joe Navy SEAL to make a re-appearance here in the 50th Anniversary line.  Night Fox was one of my favorite new characters in the Pursuit of Cobra era, and I’ll be honest, I’m not really sure how important an update is, but I can see why they did it.

ComicCon-Desert-Duel-Night-Fox (17)

This version of Night Fox appears to use a similar build from the waist up, with what looks to be the Rise of Cobra Duke’s arms and a Beachhead head sculpt.  Where Hasbro deviates here, though, is using the Wave 1 G.I. Joe: Retaliation Roadblock legs, which interestingly makes Night Fox a lot taller than his previous iteration.  While it was mostly due to the parts combination, and not necessarily intrinsic to his character, Night Fox’s height nonetheless was an aspect of the original character and it seems weird to now see him so much taller.  I suspect Hasbro made a conscious decision to try and avoid the short stature of the first figure, but I think I actually prefer the look of the PoC original.

Along with the height discrepency, Roadblock’s legs also have some articulation issues.  These particular legs don’t have double jointed knees or ankle joints, which is kind of a shame.

ComicCon-Desert-Duel-Night-Fox (8)

Instead of going full on desert, Night Fox uses mostly selections of gray, with a base gray uniform and lighter tiger stripe camouflage throughout the upper body.  The lighter camouflage stripes are pretty reminiscent of the FOE Striker colors, but overall he definitely looks a lot more gray than tan.  Aside from the camouflage the gray color is somewhat monochromatic and bland.

ComicCon-Desert-Duel-Night-Fox (11)

Night Fox is unique in the fact that he’s only available in this ComicCon version of the Desert Duel set, but the overall execution doesn’t seem as high end as a ComicCon exclusive figure might seem to be.  I love the character, but overall think I prefer the Pursuit of Cobra version.

Accessories

ComicCon-Desert-Duel-Night-Fox (15)

Night Fox comes with a wide array of cool accessories, from his automatic grenade launcher to the great web gear that originally came with Retaliation Snake Eyes.  The same neck scarf that he came with originally, as well as the helmet and flip-down night vision goggles.  He also has the large square ammo pack, Ma Deuce with ammo belt.  Like Chuckles’ heavy machine gun, the Ma Deuce fits into the front mount on the FOE Strike and compliments the other heavy machine gun well.

ComicCon-Desert-Duel-Night-Fox (14)

Night Fox is a neat character and a serviceable update.  Hasbro can put themselves in a Catch 22 because they want to provide an air of exclusivity when it comes to ComicCon exclusives, but if they do anything too critical, it can result in fandom backlash.  I think Night Fox was a good addition with his connections to the AWE/FOE Striker, but the figure itself is a bit one-colored.  I would have really enjoyed seeing some additional color applications here and there and the end result be less gray.

In spite of some of my issues with Night Fox and Chuckles, I find myself really loving the G.I. Joe side of this set.  Heck, I enjoy the Cobra side of this set as well.

Far and away the most impressive aspect of the Desert Duel set is the FOE Striker, which takes the essence of G.I. Joe’s venerable dune buggy and adds a wealth of fantastic new elements to the vehicle really providing some additional mileage to the old classic.  I love all of the additional tooling and ramped up capabilities, providing a nice amount of flexibility to the G.I. Joe vehicle underneath.  Add to that the IDW accurate Chuckles, a ton of great gear, and you have a “Battle in a Box” that is exceptionally entertaining and fun.

GeneralsJoes Reviews IDW G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #190

I feel very sad and disappointed that I didn’t get this review done more quickly, as this was an amazing issue of A Real American Hero.  This was pure Hama greatness, almost as if pulled from the 80’s, with some great hints of Special Missions tossed in for good measure.  This isn’t a “feel good” story of G.I. Joe, it’s wrought with many of the same government tensions and political frustrations as you may have witnessed with the old Special Missions series, yet it’s not obvious, it’s just a part of the story.

Every day that a new Real American Hero issue is released is a day that I’m one happy G.I. Joe fan.  Check out the full review after the jump.

Continue reading

If you love G.I. Joe, you need to own the IDW COBRA: The Last Laugh Hardcover

Over the past several years, I don’t think I’ve talked to anyone who isn’t a fan of the IDW Publishing Cobra series.  This landmark comic, kicked off a couple of years ago by Mike Costa, Christos Gage and Antonio Fuso, showed readers that G.I. Joe could get dark and gritty in a way that it really never had before.  The film noir writing and artistic style blended together perfectly with a nearly flawless granular look at a single undercover G.I. Joe agent trapped behind enemy lines.

If Brandon Jerwa brought Chuckles to the public consciousness with his work on the Devils’ Due Frontline book, Costa, Gage, and Fuso permanently etched him into the G.I. Joe mythology, weaving a fascinating and intriguing tale of how a single agent worked his way within the vicious underbelly of Cobra and nearly brought the operation to its knees.

Amazon.com has a pre-order posted for a fantastic looking hardcover, listing December 17th as the release date.  Christos Gage has been pretty public on Twitter, and he suspects these hardcover editions will be under-ordered….so if you even think you might want this book.  Pre-order it.  Click the banner below to grab this great edition at a great price, and support GeneralsJoes.com while you’re at it.  It is currently at a fantastic price as well, saving you nearly $25 off of the cover price!

I also want to personally thank everyone who has purchased something through my Amazon Affiliates link.  It has been a very successful endeavor so far, and I greatly appreciate the support by my readers!

G.I. Joe: Initiate Episode 1 Fan Film is online now, and it’s great!

I for one have been pestering all of my buddies at Coil Con for some info about G.I. Joe: Initiate, which was shown there for the first time earlier today, but nobody was biting.  Well, now Episode 1 can be seen by all.  Action packed and in High Definition, I strongly recommend you find a way to view this on the big screen.

YouTube apps are available for Playstation 3, X-Box 360, Apple TV, etc…  and I think watching this on a television screen only made it even cooler.

With Beachhead, Chuckles, and Major Bludd taking up most of the screen time of this first six minute episode, I find my mouth watering to see some more action.  Looks like Episode Two will make me VERY happy.

Check out the first episode embedded below, I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.  This is GREAT stuff.  Again, check it out on your TV screen if you can.  It’s worth it.  Great work by everyone involved.  As always, stay up to date on future episodes at GIJoeInitiate.com and on Facebook.  I suspect they’ll be getting a lot of traffic starting now!

Five Page Preview for IDW’s Cobra #12

Cobra Command has come and gone, and the ramifications are still being felt.  By the looks of this next issue of Cobra, I think we’re in for a very cool retrospective issue.  I love how Chuckles has become such an immortal character in the IDW universe.  They’ve done such a great job with him.

Check out the five page preview below, and be ready to hit up your local comic store tomorrow to get the book in hand!

Cobra Ongoing #12

Mike Costa (w) • Antonio Fuso (a) • Antonio Fuso, David Williams (c)

COBRA COMMAND AFTERMATH! Devastated by the events in COBRA COMMAND, the team reflects on the life and death of fan-favorite character, CHUCKLES. Meanwhile, the survivors of COBRA COMMAND make peace with horrors of the past… and prepare the horrors of the future.

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

*Variant covers:

Black & White Antonio Fuso cover!

Bullet points:                                                                                             

  • In the aftermath of COBRA COMMAND, everything changes!
  • Fan favorite character CHUCKLES’ story is seen from a new angle
  • G.I. JOE stands at a crossroads!

Follow Gyre Viper on Twitter for some great RAH and modern intel

Over the past few years, Gyre-Viper has become pretty well known throughout the community mostly for his early modern samples that he gets his hands on and then showcases for the rest of us.  However, one thing he hasn’t been getting much credit for lately is his ability to dig out some awesome stuff from the past.

Everyone’s work on the excellent JoeDeclassified Spec Ops podcast has brought some of those age old mysteries back to the forefront.  Meanwhile, Gyre-Viper has also been posting some great tidbits via his Twitter account.  Just this week we got some great pictures of concept art for Chuckles as well as a great inter-office communication which reveals that perhaps the Special Missions Brazil set in 1986 changed somewhere along the way.  It’s all good stuff, and I’m certain we’re going to get even more good stuff out of upcoming episode of JDSO.

Check out some of the mirrored images below, and follow Gyre-Viper on Twitter to see more of the great behind-the-scenes intel.  I promise more stuff is coming, and from what I hear, a question that’s been on fans’ minds for the past 25 years will be answered on an upcoming episode.  Can’t beat it.

G.I. Joe: Initiate Fanfilm adds Chuckles and Tunnel Rat!

Another very cool update for the upcoming G.I. Joe: Initiate fanfilm!  Last week and this week they posted two new cast images, this time for Tunnel Rat and Chuckles.  The actors are really looking their part, and things are looking very high end.

I love how Chuckles image has a bit of a Cobra flair, like he might already be an undercover operative…

But as I said before, this great looking fan film needs our help.  They need to get gas for the actor’s cars, get them meals…and whatever profit they make goes straight to the Wounded Warriors charity.

They are currently hovering just about 50% of their goal, but we need to step up and do what we can to push them over.  Check out their Kickstarter page to help them out and keep up to date with the latest and greatest G.I. Joe: Initiate information at their Facebook page.

Five page preview for G.I. Joe: Cobra #13

It hits comic shops today, and I plan on having a review up within the next 24 hours or so, but figured I should probably post the preview at some point, too!  Check it out below.  This marks the final issue of this particular installment of the G.I. Joe: Cobra title before we get ready for another “reset” of sorts in May.

G.I. JOE: COBRA #13

Mike Costa, Christos N. Gage (w) • Antonio Fuso (a & c)

After the shocking events of last issue, all bets are off for the last chapter of Chuckles’ undercover saga. He’ll have to face enemies, friends… and, finally, himself. Costa, Gage, and Fuso finally bring one of the most shocking GI Joe stories of all time to a close, and not everyone is getting out alive.

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Five-Page Preview for IDW’s G.I. Joe: Cobra #11

Tomorrow is new comic day, and the latest issue of G.I. Joe: Cobra is slated to hit comic shops.  Check out the five page preview below.

G.I. Joe: Cobra #11

Mike Costa, Christos N. Gage (w) • Antonio Fuso (a & c)

Chuckles continues his descent into the very nerve center of COBRA… only this time, he has Cobra Commander himself as a guide. Costa, Gage and Fuso take you on the final steps toward oblivion, and re-introduce yet another forgotten member of COBRA, just in time to make the trip just a little more dangerous.

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

IDW Review Onslaught – G.I. Joe: Cobra #10

While I’ve fallen behind on some of the comics, I try to keep up to date on the G.I. Joe: Cobra title.  Far and away my favorite Joe themed series, I’m constantly amazed by simply how intelligent the writing is.  Mike Costa and Christos Gage manage to really delve into the idea of a shadowy terrorist organization like Cobra and really try to rationalize the concept and have it make sense.  In the old school days, Hama just sort of accepted some things and expected the readers to do the same.  Nothing wrong with that idea in the least, but I really like that this new generation of Cobra is trying to exist within a realistic world and the writing team is trying to breathe life and idealism into Cobra as a whole.

Issue #10 was refreshing.  I had no major issues with the last story arc in this series, but it’s like spending the weekend at your best friend’s house when you were a kid.  During that weekend, life was different, yet still fun, with some adventures.  But then you get back home and go back to your own bed, and suddenly, everything just falls into place.  The weekend was fun, sure, but there’s nothing like home, and getting thrust back into the Chuckles and Cobra Commander arc was like coming back home.

Click the “Read the Rest of the Story” link below to see the full review.

Continue reading