G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)
Since it was re-branded in the ’80s, G.I. Joe has been as much about the evil forces of Cobra as it has about the titular team of heroes. The very first year of the line saw (as a mail away, anyway), the introduction of one of the most distinctive faces of the franchise…despite his lack of, you know, an actual face, Cobra Commander, the faceless leader to the faceless goons! It’s really not much of a Joe line without him at this point, so it comes as little shock that he’s a pretty early addition to Hasbro’s recent relaunch…with three separate versions, no less. Today, I’m looking at the only version I have so far, the most standard-est of the bunch!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Cobra Commander is figure 06 in the G.I. Joe: Classified Series line-up, and heads up the second main release assortment of the line, which wound up being the third assortment at retail if you count the Target stuff…look, let’s not think about it too much, okay? The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 31 points of articulation. He’s a little bit more restricted than some of the other figures in the line, missing out on the drop hips and the ball jointed waist in particular. While it’s a little bit of a bummer, it’s not the end of the world, since the Commander’s rarely as agile as a lot of the other characters in the franchise, and what he has still allows him to pull of a lot of really good poses for the character. Cobra Commander’s design is definitely a take on his original V1 battle-helmeted design, which has always been my preferred lineage for redesigns of the Commander. This figure follows in the footsteps of both the Valor Vs Venom and Resolute takes on this particular look, taking the slightly more utilitarian design of the original figure and injecting some of the regal flair that would become so integral to the character. On the whole, I think the design works, but I’ll also freely admit that there’s a degree of overdesigning going on with this guy, especially when compared to others in the line. There are areas where I think simplifying things just a touch would help sell the design. In particular, I think there’s just a little too much going on with the gloves, and the shoulder pad/half-cape also seems a little bit too involved. I think this guy’s similarities to the Resolute version might be hurting him in that regard, because that design’s pretty cleanly handled, and is kind of the gold standard for Cobra Commander re-designs. This one is quite far from being bad, mind you, and I do still really like a lot about it. The paint work on this guy takes the Commander’s usual color scheme and slightly dials it back, going for an overall more subdued appearance, at least as far as the blues are considered. As with the overall design on the sculpt, there’s perhaps a little too much going on with some of the color work, but as a whole it works, and it’s certainly got the appropriate vibe behind it. Cobra Commander is packed with two sets of hands, one pointing/fist combo, and one gripping/open gesture combo, as well as a flintlock-style gun and a small sword. The hands are definitely great for getting some expressive poses out of him, but I find the weapons once again fall victim to the dreaded over designing.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I’m all-in on this new Joe line, or at the very least all-in on all of the standard release stuff, so there was no way I was missing out on the Commander. I was planning to snag him through All Time, but ended up getting him just a bit earlier courtesy of Max, who snagged the standard early and then decided to upgrade to the PulseCon exclusive version. While I see a few more flaws on this guy than with the prior figures, he’s still a solid figure. Now I have to debate about whether I want the two repaints.