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A Joe in the Sights: Big Lob?

He shoots, he scores…more or less.

I know it gets its share of resentment, for reasons that I never really care to look into too deeply, but I love the animated GI Joe: The Movie. I love it without the hipster bullshit gauze of irony or the way people mock things from ye olden days. As I’ve said many times, the cartoon was not my main GI Joe canon, so I was pretty accepting of whatever lunacy they threw onto the screen because nothing about it felt as if it were corrupting the purity of the concept for me.

Plus, the intro was awesome.

But really, The movie tossed in an ancient civilization and the fact that Cobra Commander was once a pale veiny scientist and he got turned into a snake and there was a hidden world made of plants and crustaceans and a dude who was half-snake and everything just ramped up the insanity to twelve on the nutsometer and there is something so ballsy about the whole thing. Right down to Serpentor just deciding to start bellowing COBRA LALALALALALALALALALA in mid-attack as if this was a perfectly normal thing to do. Steve from accounting can’t get away with that, but a guy wearing a friggin’ snake helmet can do it all day long.

Everything about it was insane, but nothing about the movie was as weird as tossing this random basketball guy onto the team.

Now, we are talking about a movie whose central villains are bug-infested creep factories that want to dust the world with cuckoo powder and devolve the human race. One of them has giant bat wings and looks like he crawled out of a Hammer horror movie. GI Joe had already absorbed actual wrestlers and football players into its ranks. But unto the Joe team cameth Big Lob, he whose skills seem to be…height.

Big Lob was a brand new Joe recruit alongside new toys Jinx, Law, Tunnel Rat Chuckles and Falcon. But Big Lob was different in that there was no Big Lob action figure. There was no Big Lob comic appearance. When the world asked “Who the f**k is Big Lob,” the world answered with the sound of wind blowing over a coke bottle. Big Lob was the 27th letter in the alphabet. Big Lob was the tune that you can’t hum. Big Lob was the sound of one hand clapping.

Big Lob was the character that forced us all to look inside ourselves and our obsession with tiny plastic men and the corresponding serialized commercials that made us want them and question the very existential nature of our own existence.

If you look into the Big Lob, the Big Lob looks back into you, and what he sees is your own quizzical expression, wondering just how many times it will be necessary for the Very Much Tallest Joe around to toss a grenade into a small opening. There is no specialty on any file care that says “can dunk like a m**********r.” But here we have basketball guy, who narrates his own action like if Michael Jordan and Marv Albert had a kid. Except with less biting.

The biggest deal about Big Lob, alongside the other new recruits, is that he was more or less a shitty Joe. I don’t mean that to be cruel, it’s the story that tells us this. They drive Beach head bananas. Bananas. Bananas. Bananas. Except…he actually isn’t. He gets the grenade in the hole. But he doesn’t do it according to any set plan or…something.

Big Lob is an iconoclastic free-thinker is what I’m saying. And his hook shot can kill you TO DEATHNESS.

There is a lot—A LOT—that can be said about GI Joe the movie, because it is everything wacka-damn-doodle about the GI Joe cartoon except punched up into double digits. Big Lob is only a tiny fraction of all of that. I kept expecting him to die, because he was the red shirt. As in, he wore a red shirt. Literally. He didn’t have a toy. Surely his sacrifice would pull the team together and lead them into being better Joes.

“FOR BIG LOB” they’d cry.

But no, Big Lob didn’t die. He lived. He lived to Lob again.

I still don’t get it. I don’t think I ever will. But Big Lob does not require us to get it. Big Lob is too busy slam dunking grenades into Cobra’s orifices to care if we get it. Because that is how Big Lob rolls.

He shoots.

He scores.

Yo Joe.