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A Joe in the Sights: Doc

So it’s 1983, and you’ve got a brand new toyline that’s picking up steam from a very successful launch the previous year. The color schemes and design elements have been expanded, so you’ve got free reign to create a whole bunch of new characters.

Now keep in mind that this is a toyline built around the very solid principal of people shooting at each other. Everyone has a gun, and everyone shoots that gun at the opposing side. Bang bang.

So in this second wave of toys, you’ve got a lot of very interesting new characters all created with the explicit job of making the other side dead. You’ve got the big crazy cajun with the grenade launcher. You’ve got the dude with mines. You’ve got an armed guy on skis, which is the only way to make the Winter Olympics interesting.

Then you’ve got the medic. His name is Doc, which means he is the only person in the world capable of telling Bug Bunny what is up. And on this team of crazed bazooka guys and grenade humpers, he is a…yep, that’s right; He’s a pacifist.

Meaning anti-shooting of other people.

In the middle of a war on terrorism, Doc is the guy on the Joe team who’s not aiming his gun at the other side.

That, you might think is a recipe for boredom. But if you think that, then you haven’t been paying attention, because EEEEEEVVVVEERRRRRYYYYYONNNNNE on the Joe team is awesome…

and that includes Doc.

One of the main reasons that Doc was cool was because he came with a stretcher. “But benty,” you might be saying right now. “How easily amused were you as a kid?”

I’ll refrain from explaining how I used to make small action figures out of a handful of twist-ties. Instead, I’ll explain the weird, strange and somehow satisfying action of loading a wounded Joe onto that stretcher and then have Doc and some other Joe (“You, Airborne. Grab the other end.” “Doc, he’s not going to make it.” “I didn’t say I needed a second opinion, I said grab the other end of this stretcher.”) cart that wounded Joe across a battlefield that was literally rife with bullets.

Doc’s not thinking about himself. He’s not worried about getting hit. Doc, in the words of Blain, ain’t got time to bleed. There’s a Joe in trouble, and he needs to get him back to safety. That’s why they issued him a damn helmet.

Doc came with a flare gun and a stretcher. Not having a gun, Doc often hit people with the stretcher. An unfortunate side effect of being the Joe team’s unarmed medic is that he often got a gun put up to his head whenever Cobra needed a captive. “Give me the mumblemumblemcguffin thing or the Doc dies,” One of the Cobra people would say, until they realized that being a pacifist didn’t mean Doc couldn’t deliver unto the Cobra faces a prescription knuckle sammich.

Doc had a decent amount of cartoon appearances, where he was “the explainer.” Since he couldn’t do much fighting, he did a lot of sciencey stuff, and explained other sciencey stuff to the less sciencey Joes. “Well, you see, the quantum boolean flux inhibitor of the Cobra Bilgewater Device is specifically timed to intersect with the astral nutsack when the Heisenberg components reach critical elbow room.”

“Oh noes!” Says Duke. “Whaddawegonnado?”

“Cross the streams, bitch!”

He got a bit more action in the comic, especially in his first appearance where he lobbed a snowball with unerring accuracy at Destro’s gun hand.

And much later he got killed in a ditch, because Lifeline was the new medic and Doc’s toy was old.

That’s the tragedy of the Joe team.

Shelf life.