July 15th, 2007


(no subject)

Shortpacked!@TNI: The seven seals have been broken.
Shortpacked!: Some poses may require hand support.

The original 1984 hooded Cobra Commander was one of the few G.I. Joes I owned as a child. I got him through Hasbro mail-order, so I must have accumulated some Joe-points -- or whatever they must have called them -- by purchasing other Joe toys, but apparently those weren't quite as memorable. My old hooded Cobra Commander was lost decades ago, but I got both nigh-identical 2002 Joe Vs Cobra releases, the o-ringed version thereof you can see to the right in the photo here.

I am definitely a hooded Cobra Commander guy. I care not for the battle mask versions. When I pick up the 25th Anniversary Cobra 5-pack, I've already promised Ron "Balls" Robowang the battle masked Cobra Commander it comes with. Do not want!

I really really like the new joint construction on these 25th Anniversary toys. I prefer the new mid-chest balljointing and universal hips that replace the old o-ring crotch. It's more aesthetically pleasing, and I feel I have more control over the poseability. My o-ringed Joes liked to slowly move back into default position, while this new articulation style has some soft ratcheting. There are some aspects of the new torso articulation that aren't as good -- for example, Cobra Commander can't bend right or left at the mid-torso joint. (He can still bend forward and back and rotate at the joint.) However, this is a negligible complaint.

The new articulation style includes double-jointed knees and hinged ankles, allowing for more realistic leg movement. This means Cobra Commander can get on his knees, look towards the sky, and curse his Maker. This is important to me. If a toy can scream "NOOOOO!" while shaking his fists in impotent rage, then I am immensely pleased. Hours of fun.

There are some aspects of the liberally updated JvC version that I prefer over this more faithful reimagining. For example, I really like JvC Cobra Commander's outfit. It's much more impressive and supervillainy. 25th Cobra Commander's outfit is much more mundane. I also like JvC Cobra Commander's half-clenched fist, which is great for megalomaniacal posing. In comparison, 25th Cobra Commander has one hand closed and one hand open for gun-holding. Both these aspects make the newer Cobra Commander more pedestrian than some offerings in the past.

The packaging is along these same lines, but even moreso. The 25-year-old cardback and bubble style is practically antique. It's even got a retouched version of the original painting. The big toy companies moved onto more elaborate, flashy packaging decades ago. This style looks like it belongs at Big Lots. On the other hand... hey, it's relatively environmentally friendly, and it's not like I keep packaging anyway. I'm mostly worried that these things won't catch the eyes of any kids. I want this line to perpetuate.

To compound the problem, this packaging style is 99% identical to the DTC Joe stuff that's currently clogging Toys "R" Uses everywhere. The only physical difference is the chromey border around the card and the 25th Anniversary logo in the corner. I had to doublecheck the first lone Snake-Eyes I found a few times to make sure he was one of the new style. That's not a good omen.

All things considered, I'm enjoying my new Cobra Commander immensely. I think there are too many steps back and not enough steps forward, but in spite of all this he's a fun little dude to play with, and he reminds me of the fun little dude I had when I was 5. Hopefully a new audience can appreciate the former while lacking the context of the latter.

And he's made out of more rubbery plastic, so he's guaranteed not to shatter a few years later. Hot dog!