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The Weirdest GI Joes Of All Time

first_img If you’re not reading IDW’s excellent licensed comics, you’re missing out. They’ve managed to take a bunch of toys and cartoons from our childhoods and weave them together into what can only be called the Hasbro Non-Cinematic Universe. Their Transformers book has low-key been one of the best reads on the stands for years, and now with friend of Geek Aubrey Sitterson signed on to write the main G.I. Joe comic and a massive crossover in Revolution, it’s the perfect time to hop on board.That said, we don’t expect every single Joe from the toy line’s history to make an appearance. Hasbro had to knock out a disturbing number of figures every year to keep the money flowing, and once you get away from the iconic guy’s things get a little weedy.In this list, we’ll spotlight eleven Joes that should probably sit this next fight out. Knowing Aubrey, though, it’s more than likely you’ll see a few of them just to spite us.Captain Grid IronTo truly discuss the weirdness of Captain Grid Iron, we need to talk about another Joe: William “The Refrigerator” Perry, the first-round draft pick who rode to fame with the Bears and the Eagles before becoming one of the few people with Joes modeled and named after them. So the team already had a football player, right? Why, four years later, would they add another one? Captain Grid Iron was the QB of his squad at West Point but never played in the NFL, instead opting to join the infantry. He was a “hand to hand combat specialist,” which was a little odd because he carried an enormous shotgun and a bunch of football-sized grenades, which one thinks would slow a soldier down.AltitudeOne of the biggest issues with G.I. Joe is that eventually they just ran out of ways to differentiate the characters from each other. Altitude (real name thankfully not Al Titude) is a perfect example. The dude’s ostensibly a paratrooper, but pretty much every warm body in the Joe force knows how to jump out of a plane because they explode all the time. So they had to give John Jones, the aerial recon scout codenamed Altitude, a little something different. The geniuses at Hasbro decided on “he’s good at drawing” – apparently when he’s floating up there Altitude whips out a pen and pencil and uses his photographic memory to make sketches of enemy encampments. Dude, even the cheapest cell phone has a camera in it now. You can relax.BullhornYou know what totally works well in dealing with international terrorists named after snakes? Negotiation. Psyche, we’re just kidding, those guys never give up or make deals. That’s why Bullhorn is such an inexplicable addition to the Joe roster. His file card says that he’s the type of guy to “negotiate with wackos and fanatics who have an axe to grind with society.” Presumably, he uses the giant novelty voice changer he got a Party City to talk in a robot alien voice because of hostage takers like that.MuskratGetting a code name from a wild animal is classic military stuff, but what happens when all of the good ones are taken? Then you get Muskrat, the Joe from down in the bayou with a heart of gold and the hat of a hobo. We’ll give him this: if you spend a lot of time in the swamp, you get very familiar with snakes. After joining the Army Rangers, the Joe squad was the next step. We have plenty of questions about Muskrat’s whole deal (and what he smells like, besides “bad”), but the top one is the accessory that comes with the figure: a “Swamp Skimmer,” which is basically a boogie board. Do people really boogie board in the Everglades and if so what is wrong with them?Sci-FiThe general concept behind Sci-Fi isn’t so crazy: he’s a “laser trooper,” armed with a high-tech futuristic rifle that shoots beams of energy instead of bullets. Hey, wait a minute – don’t all G.I. Joe weapons shoot beams of energy instead of bullets? Yes, they do, and herein lies the tragedy. The one thing that was supposed to be Sci-Fi’s niche in the Joe squad was taken away from him unceremoniously. He went from “Sci-Fi” to “Just Some Guy” in the blink of an eye, and the only thing he had left was his oddly Power Rangers-esque outfit.MaceThe thing with G.I. Joes is that they were victim to the constantly-escalating arms race of 80s toys. Each year’s models had to be more intense and extreme than the ones before, which is how by the time the 1993 Battle Corps line was released we wound up with a soldier billed as an “undercover operative” who wears a bright yellow helmet with a freaking missile launcher bolted onto the side of it. Where exactly Mace is going undercover in this insane outfit is anybody’s guess. Maybe Burning Man? He was in the second to last grouping of figures to be released before Hasbro shut the line down in 1994.Dee JayPeople come to the elite fighting force that is G.I. Joe from many different branches of the military – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines. But a few are enlisted from civilian life for their special talents. Like Dee Jay – he’s in the group because he can wrestle sick beats from his radio. The “Comm-Tech Trooper” carries a communications device, that (and this is straight from the back of his toy card) he can “make it work, fix it and coax strange sounds out of it with an infectious beat.” Yes, I’m sure that when you’re trying to stop a bunch of goofy snake men, identical twins, dudes with metal faces and assorted creeps and cretins from conquering the world you really want to take a second to bust a move or two.Ice Cream SoldierIf you’re a wrestling fan, you might be familiar with Pennsylvania-based indie promotion Chikara. That company has a pair of masked luchadors named El Hijo del Ice Cream and Ice Cream Jr that work a frozen dessert gimmick. So one would think that the G.I. Joe codenamed “Ice Cream Soldier” might be similar? Wrongo, buddy. In fact, he’s a heavily-armored dude who carries a flamethrower around, because everybody loves the flaming ice cream you get at strip mall Japanese restaurants. Unfortunately, you can’t show charred corpses on afternoon cartoons, so Ice never got to do his job.ChucklesWhen kids are playing with G.I. Joes, there’s always a battle between who gets the flashier figures like Snake Eyes and Duke and who has to settle for the dregs. In the entire history of pretend wars held in backyards and bedrooms all across America, we can confidently say that nobody has ever called dibs on Chuckles. The team’s undercover intelligence officer is just some jamoke in a cheap Hawaiian shirt who used to be an insurance investigator. Apparently, he’s really good at blending in with Cobra dudes, which is a little shocking because they all wear full face masks. How hard can that be?HardballGoddammit, another sports guy? Hardball epitomizes the real tragedy of G.I. Joe: no uniform dress code means they could wear whatever idiotic outfit they wanted into battle. For dudes like Quick Kick, that meant going barefoot and shirtless. For Hardball, that means wearing his minor league baseball uniform into combat like a damn lunatic. Dude, we get it: you left your angels in the outfield and are taking out your roid-fueled frustrations on Cobra. But we can’t all be Kenny Powers. It’s time to let your dreams die and move on with your life.Colonel CourageThere are a lot of moving parts in keeping a fighting force active, but let’s be real here: kids don’t want to fantasize about being mess cooks, drill sergeants or desk jockeys. Colonel Courage (real name Cliff V. Mewett) was the latter, a designated “Administrative Strategist” who for some reason came armed with more guns than he could carry. Do you think they gave him that bad-ass code name as a sort of passive-aggressive jab on his duties? “Thanks so much for signing and filing my equipment requisition forms, Colonel Courage.” It’s like Office Space, but instead of a stapler, it’s a live grenade. Stay on target Toy Tuesday: Yo! It’s The Best ‘G.I. 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