After much much ohsomuch speculation, the Super7 mystery line has finally been revealed and it’s cartoon accurate G.I. Joe figures. Reactions to this have varied wildly, from “Woohoo!” to “Booo” to “Why is Snake Eyes blue?”
It wasn’t much of a shock, as there had been rumors floating around for a while, and then Super7 teased not only a redacted dossier but a picture of Timber. That picture of Timber was what you might refer to as irrefutable evidence that GI Joe was coming. The cartoonier aspects of Timber pointed fairly decisively to the fact that they would be heading in the direction of animation styled Joes.
As a card-carrying gigantofrigginormous GI Joe fan, any new Joe line is going to be of great interest to me. With Hasbro pushing more towards classically-inspired updated designs with less gold and less overt laser-pointers, it’s ditching some of the earlier baggage and is fast becoming the kind of 1/12th GI Joe line I want to see.
I have said often that “my” GI Joe is rooted in the card art/vintage toy/Marvel comic aesthetic. That specific mixture is what pops into my head when thinking about my ideal Joe viewpoint. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t a fan of the cartoon. When you’re a kid in the 80s you get very used to altered takes on things that you love. The cartoons were a certain thing presenting a certain property in a certain way. The fact that they shot lasers at each other and never missed was just a part of the concession you made watching characters you love do things. And the fact that the cartoon didn’t necessarily have the depth of the comic book wasn’t really the cartoon’s fault.
That’s a long-winded way of saying that I knew immediately that I was going to be all in on Super7’s Joe offerings. These look like concentrated weekday afternoons. School is done for the day, you’ve got a fresh package of some Hostess or Little Debbie something or other (I’d peel the chocolate coating off of the Swiss roll and eat it first, then I’d eat the cream-filled chocolate hot dog as a follow-up. Ooh, or the cupcakes, with that squiggly line of white, like cocaine for kids. I just gained a damn pound typing out that sentence), it’s time for the pretty shiny box to entertain me for a half hour. That’s what I see when I look at these animation-colored and styled Joes. I look at it and see pure contentment, relaxation and entertainment. Some might say “harrumph, these are overpriced nonsense.” Yeah, some might say that. Some say a lot of things. While harrumphing. Some people harrumph like it’s an Olympic event. I tried to harrumph once and I threw my back out.
Just like you know what you’re getting into when you watch a cartoon, you know what you’re getting into when you’re getting a Super7 figure. I know going in that while they will be articulate, they won’t be super-articulated. Super7 aims towards single joints. My preference is always going to be as much articulation squeezed in as possible, but Super7’s overall aesthetic skews heavily towards less breaks in the sculpt. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but at least what I’ve gotten from Super7 has not left me with a claustrophobic feeling. A 6-inch figure with T-hips would do that, and that’s not what we’re getting. I can live with it.
The first wave is a good mixture of super-heavy hitters and an army builder. And boy does it start off strong with what might be the greatest army builder that could be thrown out at this early stage. More on that later.
Duke and Cobra Commander serve up the necessary “good guy leader” and “bad guy leader” right up front. Duke got a lot of action in the initial Joe episodes. He’s a man of action. Didn’t you read his green sheet? Come on! Interestingly, the toy already skews away from “strictly cartoon” by giving us his toy backpack and gun. Sure, he also comes with the standard GI Joe zappy zapper, but the inclusion of the toy accessories shows that Super7 isn’t strictly sticking with cartoon down the line. Basically, they seem to be throwing in whatever they feel is necessary on a case by case basis, with some fun doodads along the way. Cobra Commander is another example of this, and I’ll get to that in a second.
Duke looks great. That headsculpt is right off the screen. I tend to default to neutral heads when I can, but I do like that yelling head quite a bit, even if I won’t keep it on there. He’s right in the middle of a Yo Joe. Headset Duke is a nice additional element as well. There are a lot of uses for all three of these heads if you take pretty pictures of your toys.
Cobra Commander…damn, you can practically hear him sssssspeak. Or shriek, depending on your point of view. There’s been a lot of buzz about the lack of a hooded head, and Bryan Flynn said the hood is not allowed right now, leading to a ton of discussion on what that means for Cobra Commander, hoods, the wearing of them, and what this means for any Hasbro Cobra Commanders. I’m going to let all that situate itself while probably upscaling the hooded head I made for the Hasbro Cobra Commander to fit this body. Was that self-promotion? It might not even be necessary and this minor turmoil might all be for nothing.
I think the neatest thing about this Cobra Commander is the fact that he comes with a snake coiled around the globe, like in that old ad for the Parker Brothers video game.
I remember seeing that ad in all the comics of the time. I never played the game, and I’m sure it was a scintillating extravaganza of early 80s graphics accomplishments, but it’s a very cool throwback homage reference to include with this figure. He did a similar thing in one of the Joe comics as well. That Cobra Commander was always one for symbolism. The inclusion of his regally pompous scepter and cape are a nice bonus as well. Hopefully the cape is black on the outside and red on the inside to better match up to the animation counterpart when it shows up. I might keep the cape on Cobra Commander. He looks pretty snazzy in one. And pompous. That’s just perfect.
The BAT is just a damn beautiful looking figure. I want one for the Hasbro line as soon as possible, with minimal changes, so to get one from Super7 this early in their line really kicks everything off with a bang. These are not cheap, so I’m kind of hanging at a pair of them for now, but as these are a ways away I’m not sure if I won’t be talking myself into preordering a few more. Unless reason and fiscal responsibility grabs me by the collar and gives me a good slap across the face. Ideally BATS are the kind of thing that I’d love to get around ten to twenty. Or fifty. Who needs money and space?
I don’t believe the BATS every used any of their extra hands in the cartoon. Mostly they just walked forward into incoming laser fire and exploded, or ended up getting turned into scattered debris by Sgt. Slaughter. I always wanted to see one whip out his funky claw and grab a Joe by the neck, but it was not to be. Thankfully, this figure is including the swappable attachments just like the original figure, so we can do everything the cartoon couldn’t do. It might be heresy to say this, but I might like the red faceplate more than silver.
And finally, Snake Eyes. Snake Eyes is pretty much always going to be the mascot for any GI Joe line, being by far the most popular member. The GI Joe cartoon debuted a little bit before Snake Eyes switched over to his V2 Ninja look, so the V1 Commando version was the one immortalized in that initial five part mini-series that kicked off the cartoon. But instead of black, they went with that comic book idea of turning black into blue, for what I’m assuming is shading purposes or something. Or visibility. Or…who knows. But all it boils down to is a very blue Snake eyes with purple pouches and goggles. And I honestly think it is the best possible choice they could have gone with. V2 Snake Eyes gets the bulk of esteem due to that becoming his default look for most of Joe culture, so you know the purple-shaded (cartoons are weird, man) V2 version is coming soon. So popping this version out first, a version that stood out in a very memorable sequence of events wherein he practically sacrificed himself for his teammates, is, to me, the ideal situation. The addition of Timber, a jet pack, a radiation canister and some zappy zappers amps up the appeal of this set. Being the mysterious man in black of the Joe team, and yet wearing blue with purple accents is just so damn “80s cartoon” I can practically feel my brain exploding under the cascading bath of a cathode ray Jetstream. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So with all that said, this line has surprised me with how much I want everything, just like the Filmation Masters of the Universe surprised me with how much I was into that aesthetic as well despite my MotU leanings being more Norem and Alcala-based. Nostalgia and affection will do that to you.
As far as future waves, I’d imagine that the second wave will introduce at least one female into the ranks. Baroness or Scarlett would be the obvious choices, so I’m going to bank on at least one of them, with Scarlett being my choice.
Destro is another obvious one, But I’m going to go with Dr. Mindbender instead. He played a very prominent role, and has a… let’s say unique look that would be fun to accessorize.
For the next Joe I’m going to go with Shipwreck. I guarantee we’ll see him sooner rather than later, and he’s a fan favorite.
And finally, another army builder Cobra. Crimson Guard? It would be ideal to precede what I’m sure will be a Tomax/Xamot box set.
Really, it could be anyone, even the Viper. He’s coming, donchuknow? But Scarlett, Shipwreck Dr. Mindbender and a Crimson Guard would be a pretty solid second wave. I’m in, dammit. I’m in for it all.