Comic Book 3-Pack Issue #2
Snake Eyes, Scarlett, and Tracker Kwinn
name: Snake Eyes, Scarlett, and Tracker Kwinn w/ Comic Book
Assortment: Comic Book 3-Pack Asst. 1
Price: MSRP $9.99
Availability: July 2004
Back in the day, I remember shopping around for issue #2 at some local comic shops. It blew me away when I looked in price guides back then and the second issue was selling for nearly double what issue #1 was going for...how could this be? A little mission in the arctic compared to a first edition book? How could they even compare?
Well, it turns out that issue #1 had been such an unexpected hit, that Marvel simply didn't have enough supplies of #2 to go around...it sold out immediately upon release! Thankfully, I was able to find a second printing, which served it's purpose until I located a first printing shortly thereafter, and even though at first glance issue #2 just seems to be another step in the Joe mythos, it ends up being an extremely pivotal issue in many, many ways. Compared to the other two 3-Packs, though, this particular set isn't really all that pivotal. The figures included are fairly accurate representations, but they all serve very limited purpose and are obviously designed to only integrate into the Joe mythos at this one single juncture. I'd rather have redesigned figures that can be used in many different capacities, but these are obviously sculpted for a singular purpose.
Even with that being said, at least for the purpose their designed for, these figures do work to a limited extent. Take Snake Eyes, for instance.
Snake Eyes is to G.I. Joe what Wolverine is to the X-Men...a deep, brooding loaner who seems to have nothing going his way and is an absolute fan favorite. He's dark and mysterious, just how fans like it, and ends up being a quinticential member of the team.
Some would argue (myself included) that Snake Eyes is overrated and overused, but no one can deny the coolness factor, especially from back in the day when no one really knew his story.
Snake Eyes appears here in arctic gear, surprisingly similar to how he looked in the comic...I say surprisingly because he uses Snow Job's body mold, which wasn't even released until the following year, and yet matches up very well with the arctic gear that Snake Eyes wears in this issue.
When I first saw the layout of this pack, I kinda scoffed at the Snake Eyes, thinking he really did not appeal to me, but as I've gotten the set in my hands and had some time to really check it out, I find myself not minding it quite so much. Snake Eyes has always been shown in a similar vein--commando uniform, tights, straps, buckles and vests, but not really veering from those common themes. This version of Snakes goes a different direction and is a pretty decent version of how he might look in a winter battle.
Hasbro did a nice job matching up the Snow Job body and pulling it all together with the version 1 Snake Eyes head to make it believable. While no new parts are involved, the mixture of these componants works well and takes the character in a different direction. On the one hand, unfortunately, this Snake Eyes doesn't prove to be very useful outside of an arctic environment...on the other hand, if everyone's favorite commando finds himself in that situation, he is now well-equipped for it.
Hasbro also did very well on the colors, too. It's easy to see that they obviously base these colors off of how the character appeared in the comic, which works. You wouldn't think to see arctic figures in colors other than white and ice-blue, but here the black and tan/green color scheme works really well, affording the Joe some darker colors for some nightime winter action. Sure it doesn't help them blend in with the snow much, but it brings some nice elements to what could have been a pretty boring figure. Everyone who knows my reviews knows that any extra color we can get on a figure is definitely a good thing, at least to me.
So, while the mold is a little small and outdated, it seems to work in this case and doesn't look too bad. It's pretty reminiscent of Snake Eyes, matches the comic well, and brings a new element to the figure.
As a kid, the thing that ticked me off the most was Scarlett's appearence in the media compared to how she looked a as a toy. In the comic, she was a mean, gruff, point-blank woman with long hair and a bad attitude. In the cartoon, she was a graceful, powerful martial artist, again with long red hair and a fierce spunk about her. The figure? Well, it just didn't have that edge. I'm not sure why, but the released figure just looked small and bland, with no dramatic detailing, and no real style. It certainly didn't seem to fit the persona that the first lady of G.I. Joe gave out on screen and on the page. It also didn't help that she didn't have long hair. Now I can appreciate the sculpting limitations of the time, but as a kid that didn't matter. As a kid, I wanted my Scarlett with a ponytail, darnit!
Well, Scarlett has been coming with long hair ever since, but for the most part still can't seem to capture the character and essence of her. This version is really no different.
I understand that Hasbro was trying to accomplish something...they wanted a Scarlett that fit in with the issue, and during this issue, she appears in a martial arts tournament, so the uniform does fit. However, it also locks her into that one scene and doesn't allow you to use her in any other capacity. Her head sculpt is pretty nice and they did a good job on the ponytail, but the use of the Jinx mold doesn't seem to fit the neck-ball really well, and just isn't that exciting of a figure.
She matches her appearence in the comic (at least before they trek to the arctic) but cannot really serve any other purpose. Now that I use these figures in other capacities, whether they're dio-stories or what have you, I like my characters to be versatile...to have the abilities to be used in several different environments with different functions. This Scarlett figure can't capture that, and just frankly, isn't all that exciting.
However seeing this figure has made me all the more excited for issue #9, when we're getting a real pony-tailed Scarlett in her original uniform, with some nice comic-accurate coloring. That will be very cool, indeed.
For the moment, as long as you don't want Scarlett doing anything besides practicing her martial arts skills or lounging around in white pajamas, this figure might work...but considering she has no military gear, this version is pretty limited. The mis-fit of the neck ball doesn't really help things, either, giving her an even more awkward look.
So, looks like we still have some time to kill before getting a really good default Scarlett in her '82 duds. The new Valor Vs. Venom one is cool enough for me to use, but I still want a classic one that looks as it should. Thanks to the comic packs, we should be getting one of those very soon.
Now for the coup-de-gras of issue # 2. I honestly never thought I'd see it. I never thought I'd see the day that I would actually be sitting here typing of a review of a Kwinn figure. The guy's been dead for 20 years!
As I've said earlier in this review, he is definitely an important part of G.I. Joe history, and critical to the motivation of several different intertwining characters, but for what reason could Hasbro find to release a figure of a character long dead and buried? Well, they found a reason, and I'm glad they did, although not necessarily because of how this figure turned out.
When I first heard that Kwinn was being released oh so many months ago, I cannot say how psyched I was. As a kid it was very important to me that I could recreate scenes from the comics (and cartoons, for that matter) with my action figures at home. The fact that Larry Hama made Kwinn such a great character without me having a figure of my own to act out his adventures with bugged the heck out of me back in the day. And now that I'm 30 years old, I finally have a Kwinn figure I can act out his adventures with any time I want. Only problem is, it's not the Kwinn I would have preferred. :/
As I've said earlier in the review, I like my figures to be versatile...to be able to serve many different purposes. Kwinn just doesn't do it. He is relegated to his arctic gear and to fighting in the frozen tundra, which stinks, because most of his adventures were spent in short sleeve shirts and khaki shorts.
Now, this release does represent him well as he appeared in this issue, bundled up in a winter parka with machine gun belts and a high fur collar, so I know why Hasbro portrayed him the way that they did...I only hope these packs last long enough for us to get to issue # 19, which would capture a lot of the great characters all at one shot-- Kwinn, Scarface, and Dr. Venom.
But you know, I wouldn't even mind Kwinn looking like this so much except for a few things...first of all, we've been assaulted by the Big Ben mold many, many times over the past few years, and now with this figure and the upcoming Rock n Roll, that doesn't look to be stopping. I don't want to complain too much, because the body works very well for RnR, and with Kwinn's fur collar, it makes this mold different enough that it isn't quickly and easily identified as one that was used way, way too much over the past few years.
The colors are nicely adorned as well, with a subtle brown and tan combination, working well in a winter environment, but again without obnoxiously bright white uniforms. As much a I hate to admit it, the mold does look pretty good on Kwinn, even if it relegates him to winter battles.
Now, when pictures first started appearing of this figure, the look of his fur collar bothered me...well, now it downright angers me. Not because it looks bad...it doesn't. It looks pretty authentic and works well in this arctic environment mold. No, it angers me because it completely trashes what could have been an invaluable resource for custom parts. Many, many people have worked hard to design Kwinn customs over the years, and of course, the trickiest part about it is the head sculpt. No figure out there is really an accurate match for Kwinn's head, and at first I thought, even though this figure doesn't have the shirt and shorts, at least I can use his head, right? Wrong. :(
The fur collar is molded to his HEAD. Argh. I still tought that maybe it could be trimmed away...but uh uh...not happening. It's molded hard and fast, and the way it's molded, even if you cut it away, his head would remain at an odd shape, and his neck is just way too scrawny.
Cutting the thing away would leave the bottom of his head and face curved unnaturally, and unless you're some kind of sculpting genious, it leaves the non-collared head pretty much unusable, which really sucks. I had my custom parts all picked out to make my jungle Kwinn using this head, but alas, it looks like again I have to sit patiently and hope Hasbro releases a good one. They indicated at the Convention that it was definitely on their list, but I just hope the comic packs sell well enough to support releases up to that point.
Minus the fur collar, though, the head sculpt is fantastic and definitely looks the part of the Eskimo mercenary as it should. He looks like he was pulled straight from the funny books, and even with the recycled parts adds a nice element to the pack, and will absolutely remain the most desirable figure in the set. He does deserve to be.
So how does the set as a whole measure up? Not too bad, I guess. I think I'm just disappointed at the execution of Kwinn's head sculpt (although who can complain about the weasel skull necklace?!? It rocks!!). Scarlett also is a somewhat bizarre choice, being the only non-arctic figure in the 3-pack (I know, I know...what arctic woman parts could they even use?!?) and she's relegated to being in a martial arts tournament or training regemin any time you want to use the figure.
Still, the inclusion of Kwinn, and the interesting, different paint apps do make this set pretty neat, and still a nice one to own.
Ratings (out of 10)
Paint Apps: 6.5
Overall score (not an average): 6.5
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