G.I. JOE: SIGMA 6
“FIREFLY is an expert in the art of sabotage and specializes in explosive devices that disable electronic systems. He worked in covert ops on missions involving computer espionage and was brought onto the SIGMA 6 Team to destroy a sophisticated computer virus created by COBRA to destabilize the world economy. He infiltrated the evil organization and blew up the base’s central electronics core, stopping the virus from being transmitted and ending all computerized COBRA activity for over a year. He became a permanent member of the SIGMA 6 Team to provide his expertise in fighting the COBRA B.A.T. troops. His Innovative Devices have provided the team with powerful weapons to deplete the ranks of these dangerous robots.”
G.I. Joe is a franchise of change. Well, it was, anyway. Beginning in the late ’60s, when it became unfashionable to be selling war toys, and the line had to be rebranded as “Adventure Team,” the brand became rather comfortable with re-formatting itself to suit the times. In the early ’00s, after a decent run with a relaunch of the ARAH line, it was time to re-brand again. In an effort to fit in more with the anime-influenced, sci-fi-heavy market of the time, Hasbro created Sigma 6, perhaps one of the most divisive incarnations of the brand in existence. Either you love it, or you despise it, with very little room between. Some of the changes to beloved characters drew this divisiveness out even more, and today’s focus, Firefly, was at the center of some of that conflict. Rather than the clear cut Cobra saboteur of the ’80s, he was a member of the Joe team, with a character arc that amounted to more than the line “Cobra saboteur.” How could this be? They were killing the line!… You know, apart from the whole running for another year and a half after this figure’s release, and giving Hasbro the liquidity to launch the 25th Anniversary line and get the movie financed. But yeah, it killed the line. Let’s look at this awful thing that killed the line.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Firefly was released in the second Soldier Wave for the 2006 line-up of Sigma 6 figures, as the assortment’s one debut character. Like most of the line, he’s based on the character’s appearance in the corresponding cartoon, albeit filtered through a slightly different stylization. The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation. Firefly’s sculpt was all-new to him, though it definitely shared more than a few stylistic elements with the various other Sigma Suit-sporting characters from the line. Stylized as he may be, there are still a lot of really fun sculpted elements mixed in throughout this guy’s sculpt. I love the differing textures on the various parts of the suit, as well as the fact that Firefly’s been given a distinct build when compared to the rest of the team. I’m also still a fan of the cool little flip-up communicator that every team member had built-in; it was such a fun little touch. Firefly also has one of my favorite headsculpts from this whole line; that evil smirk of his just exudes so much character, and is just so on point for him. The modular nature of Sigma 6 was a pretty big selling point for the line, and most of the early figures have pretty involved costume pieces. As a Soldier release (meaning he was at a lower price-point), Firefly had less pieces than some, but he was still pretty jam-packed. He had a mask, web-gear (missing from my figure), belt, elbow and knee pads, and a set of dog tags, all of which add-up to a very unique looking figure. By far, my favorite part is the mask, which has a very distinct flair to it, and sits so perfectly on his head. In addition to the accents to his uniform, Firefly was armed with a nifty looking sub-machine gun (with a removable magazine and everything), plus two lightsaber-inspired torches, and a land-mine/trap gizmo. The trap is kind of goofy and hard to use, but the gun is awesome, and the torches can be inter-locked with it for a different configuration, or the flame effects can also be removed and attached to the gun’s barrel. There are a lot of play options here, to say the least.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Sigma 6 was a concept I loved so much, but one I never was able to actively collect when it was new. Firefly is a figure I admired from a far for quite some time before finally being able to add a mostly complete sample to my collection late last year, courtesy of House of Fun. There’s so much I love about this figure, and he perfectly encapsulates everything that was so great about this line. He’s a fun re-vamp, a fun design, and just a generally fun toy. And he most decidedly did *not* kill the brand. That came later. Whatever the case, I’m glad to finally have one of my own, and he really is pushing me to get more of these figures.