#2093: Destro

DESTRO

G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO (HASBRO)

“Destro is the faceless power behind MARS (Military Armaments Research System), largest manufacturer of state-of-the-art weaponry. To Destro, war is man’s most natural state: the fittest survive and the greatest technological advances are made. He maintains a luxurious lifestyle around the world. Destro provides high-tech arms to any side able to meet his price and will incite war where it does not exist. He dons his silver battle mask (a family tradition) and enters battle himself, either with COBRA Command (Destro is their major weapons supplier) or against them if it’s better for business.

Destro respects the G.I. Joe team for their combat skills and expertise, but abhors them for wasting such skills to maintain peace. He’s totally dedicated to seeing them undermined, subverted, or destroyed! Destro respects the G.I. Joe team for their combat skills and expertise, but abhors them for wasting such skills to maintain peace. He’s totally dedicated to seeing them undermined, subverted, or destroyed!”

The villainous component of the A Real American Hero line in its debut year was somewhat small compared to what it would later become.  Apart from Cobra Commander’s later inclusion the first year, there weren’t really many villains to go on.  And yet, before the two sides of the conflict were even fully formed, we already had a potential middle ground (though he’d eventually prove a pretty strict villain for just about every version of the franchise going forward) in Destro, steel-faced arms dealer.

 THE FIGURE ITSELF

Destro was part of the 1983 assortment of GI Joe: A Real American Hero, where he’s actually one of only two single-carded villains, the other being Major Bludd.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Though they had added the bicep swivels by this point, the necks hadn’t yet been upgraded to the ball-joints, meaning he’s just got the side to side motion.  I guess it’s not the end of the world for a guy in a big metal mask, though.  There are lots of distinctive Joe looks, but it’s honestly kind of hard to top the classic Destro look.  It’s hokey as all get-out, but its undeniably unique,  and would go on to play a major part in influencing the less “standard issue” parts of the Joe mythos.  For what its worth, Gung Ho’s presence in the same year’s line-up means that Destro doesn’t quite have the most absurd design, but it’s definitely up there, with the popped collar, low-cut shirt, and chrome mask.  Said mask is certainly the star piece of the figure; unlike later versions, it actually looks like a mask, and has much sharper angles than a normal face.  It’s also a little larger, so there could conceivably be a head underneath of it, which was most definitely dropped as they progressed.  At the time of his release, Destro was the beefiest figure in the line, which would serve as an inspiration for the character’s imposing stature going forward, though it’s certainly more underplayed here than you might expect.  Destro’s paintwork was pretty basic, with the chromed helmet again being the star attraction.  Everything else is straightforward, though it’s worth noting things like his pendant were especially prone to wear as time went on.  Destro was packed with a small pistol and a backpack, which folds out to showcase an array of weaponry, as you would expect to see for an arms dealer.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Destro is actually the earliest thing I recall about the small-scale Joes.  I remember seeing him (though it was definitely a later figure) at Ageless Heroes when they were closing down.  At the time, I mistook him for Deadman (who was still without figures in those days), and his look kind of stuck in my head from thereout.  Despite that, I’ve not had many Destros in my collection, for one reason or another.  I’ve been wanting to get the original for some time, and fortunately the large Joe collection that came in at All Time gave me just such an opportunity.  Destro’s original figure is one of the gems of the earliest days of the line, and a real showcase of where things would end up going.

As noted above, Destro came from All Time Toys, who got in a rather sizable vintage Joe collection, the remnants of which can be checked out the Joe section of their eBay page here.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#0167: G.I. Joe Resolute Cobra Box Set

COBRA COMMANDER, STORM SHADOW, ALLEY VIPER, BARONESS, DESTRO, ZARTAN & FIREFLY

G.I. JOE 25th ANNIVERSARY

Hoo boy. Yep, this review is gonna be a long one. Typically, I try to do boxed sets as one review for the whole thing whenever possible. That’s not usually that much extra work, until I run into something like the set I’m reviewing today.

This isn’t the first time I’ve looked at GI Joe’s A Real American Hero incarnation, but it’s the first time I’ve looked at this particular branch of it. After the early 2000s GI Joe VS Cobra interpretation started to dwindle, Hasbro once again relaunched the line as GI Joe 25th Anniversary, to coincide with the titular anniversary. It was a combination of boxed sets and single packed waves of figures. Eventually, the line’s sales fell, so Hasbro moved several of the remaining figures to a few online exclusive seven – packs. Yep, I’m going to be looking at seven figures today. Hang in there readers!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This was a one of two online exclusive boxed sets released in the summer of 2010. Both sets were based on 2009’s GI Joe: Resolute, an animated movie that was aired as a series of shorts on [adult swim]. The script was written by comicbook writer Warren Ellis, and it served as an update of sorts to the cartoon from the 80s. This set featured the Cobra characters from the series.

COBRA COMMANDER

Cobra Commander, as the name implies, is the leader of terrorist organization Cobra. He’s one of the few characters that had more than one look over the course of the series, so they’ve decided to give him his more standard uniform that he wears for the majority of the series. It’s a cool design, and serves as an update on his original 1982 figure. The figure stands about 3 ¾ inches tall and features 22 points of articulation. The Commander shares his torso, waist, upper and lower arms, gloves, upper legs, and shins with his first 25th Anniversary figure, and was also an almost wholesale re-release of the Resolute version of the Commander released in the main line. The sculpt looks like a pretty great representation of the Commander’s appearance in Resolute, despite the re-use. Most of the figure’s success comes from his add-on half cape and skirt piece, which both cover up the reused pieces and give the Commander the regal dictator look he should have. The head adds to that, with a nice, more angular update to his traditional mirror faced helmet. The paint on the figure is all very well done, with no real signs of slop or anything. He’s conveyed here in the cartoon’s more muted tones, which accent the figure’s sculpt very well. It would be nice if there was perhaps some more detailing or a wash of some sort to bring out some of the sculpted folds and such, but at this scale, it’s not a huge issue. Cobra Commander includes a sword, a pistol, an ornate knife/dagger and a stand bearing his name and the Cobra logo. That’s a nice assortment of accessories!

STORM SHADOW

Storm Shadow was Cobra’s resident expert in all things ninja. He served as a counter point to GI Joe member Snake Eyes. Storm Shadow’s design was based on his original design, with some thorough tweaks to update it a bit, I suppose. He stands about 3 ¾ inches tall and has 22 points of articulation. He shares his torso, arms and waist with the 25th Anniversary Quick Kick figure, but everything else is new. Storm Shadow also features a hood, sash and shirt as add-on pieces, allowing you to dress him how you like, I suppose. All of the pieces are well sculpted, doing a decent job of capturing the character’s look from Resolute. The add-on pieces look a bit bulky from certain angles, but it isn’t too bad. The paint is serviceable, but not the greatest. There’s a few spots of sloppiness, and he could really benefit from a wash of some sort. The details really get lost in the white. Storm Shadow includes two katana, a backpack with sheaths for them, a claw attachment for his hand, and a stand with his name and the Cobra logo.

ALLEY VIPER

The Alley Viper is this set’s army builder. Admittedly, not the most practical way to release such a figure, but don’t let that color your opinion of the figure. He stands 3 ¾ inches tall and has 22 points of articulation. Most of his basic body comes from either the basic Resolute Cobra Trooper or the previously released samurai version of Storm Shadow. He has a new head, helmet, goggles, and chest armor. These pieces make a world of difference, making the Alley Viper look like a brand new figure. The sculpting it really great here, with lots of little texture work, especially on the torso piece. The paint on the figure is clean, and looks great all around. The Alley Viper includes two large rifles, and a display stand.

BARONESS

The Baroness is the right hand…woman, I guess, and has been a fixture of Cobra since the beginning. Her figures in the past haven’t been the greatest. This one’s not the worst, but it’s not an amazing. She’s a little under 3 ¾ inches tall and has 22 points of articulation. She shares her body with the previous version of Baroness from the 25th Anniversary line, with a new head. The body is perfectly fine. Nicely proportioned and all. The head is another story. It seems like it’s more of a molding issue than a sculpt issue, but nonetheless, it’s not a very good piece. The paint is serviceable. It’s all very cleanly applied, but there’s nothing super impressive. She includes a removable pair of sunglasses, two sub machine guns, and a display stand.

DESTRO

Destro was Cobra’s weapons supplier, though more often than not he was just treated as a part of the Cobra hierarchy. His design deviates the most from his original look, but that’s understandable. His original design was probably the most dated of the original designs. He’s the tallest member of the set, clocking in at a full 4 inches and featuring 22 points of articulation. Destro’s only shared piece was his head, which he shares with all of his previous 25th Anniversary releases. Everything else is brand new, and it’s all very sharply sculpted, which is really cool. Like Cobra Commander, he’s got a very regal sort of look to him. His paint work is simple, but it’s all cleanly applied. It looks accurate to the show. Destro includes a machine gun, a briefcase containing a sub-machine gun, two pistols, an alternate cybernetic arm, and a display stand.

ZARTAN

Zartan was the leader of the Dreadnocks, and the resident master of disguise over at Cobra. He stands about 3 ¾ inches tall and features 22 points of articulation. He shares a head with the previous 25th Anniversary version of the character. I believe all the other pieces are new. He looks pretty spot in to the character’s look in the cartoon. The sculpt is decently detailed, and properly stylized, which looks pretty good. The paint is perfectly fine, with no real slop or bleed over. He’s done nicely, but the color scheme is pretty bland, so he kind of blends in. He includes a smaller gun, a sniper rifle, and a display stand.

FIREFLY

Firefly was a beloved show by creator Joss Whedon, cancelled after just 13 episodes… No wait, sorry. Firefly is a Batman villain who…no, that’s wrong too. Firefly is actually Cobra’s something expert. Not certain what, but he looks while doing whatever it is he does. He stands 3 ¾ inches tall and has 22 points of articulation. He shares his body with the Resolute Cobra Trooper, with a new head and a body armor add-on piece. All of the sculpting work is solid, with some great detail, particularly the stitching on the mask, which is a cool touch. The paint is once again solid work, but like Zartan, it’s really drab. For as cool as people seem to think the character is, he’s not the most exciting figure. He includes a rifle, a missile, a rocket launcher thing (not pictured), and a display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Resolute box sets were what really got me into the 25th Anniversary line. I had enjoyed the cartoon quite a bit, and I really liked the updated designs, so I was all aboard for the figures. I had initially really wanted the set for Cobra Commander and Storm Shadow, but once I got the figures in hand, I really enjoyed the Alley Viper, way more than I thought I would. Not that Commander and Storm Shadow are bad. Sure, the set’s not all perfect (I’m looking at you Baroness), but it’s a lot of fun and it was a great way to get an instant set of all the main Cobras.