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GI Joe Classified Series
by yo go re

If it isn't Scottish, it's crap!

A brilliant businessman, weapons developer, CEO and engineer, Destro strictly adheres to a quiet personal code that places war, profit, and the success of his own family above all other things. He excels at brokering deals, clandestine negotiations, and double-cross missions. The refined and highly advanced weaponry produced by his company, MARS Industries, continues to reshape modern warfare.

Hasbro's really releasing these GI Joe Classified Series figures slowly. The first assortment had four figures - Roadblock, Snake-Eyes, Duke, and Scarlett - with Destro here being solicited by himself a few weeks later, and then Cobra Commander a few more weeks after that. I get that they're trying to be cautious, to avoid flooding the market at the start of this rebirth of the franchise, but all these figures are numbered and Destro is 03 - why was he not one of first releases?

Destro's defining feature is, of course, his metal mask. Originally a punishment for his ancestor, it's since been turned into a symbol of pride for the family - kind of like if Hester Prynne's descendants started wearing big red A's on their clothes and looked like total badasses for doing it. This one has angular lines, but is still thin enough to show expressions.

Although he's worn a few different costumes over the years, Destro's "default" look is a black suit with a giant red collar, so that's what Dennis Chan's sculpt delivers. It's not just a direct update of any previous figure, because that would be unimaginative; rather, it takes the old concept and makes it more modern. The shirt and pants have thick seams that make them appear to be a material somewhere between cloth and armor, and the extra padding on the shoulders and chest looks rugged.

He doesn't wear any of the future neon-and-gold armor the Joes have, but doesn't that make sense? America's moveable fighting force should have better equipment than their terrorist enemies. And besides, Destro is a weapons manufacturer, not an armor manufacturer. He's just got bracers on his forearms (with three small red missiles mounted on the right one), kneepads, and thick boots with steel toes. He's also wearing a separate belt that connects via holster to the pouches strapped to his right thigh, and his trademark big gold medallion with a huge red gem in the center.

Destro may be a (nominal) bad guy, but his articulation is good. Because Hasbro doesn't have to pay licensing fees for this line, they can sell the figures for the same price as Marvel Legends, but include even better joints. He has a balljointead head, hinged and balljointed neck, swivel/hinge shoulders on pectoral hinges, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, hinged chest, balljointed waist, hips that are a balljointed mounted on a hinge, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, swivel shins, and swivel/hinge ankles. His fighting style is more "aim a gun" than "get in there and brawl," but he still deserves joints.

Hey, guns! He has a gold revolver that's slightly more advanced than modern tech, and fits into the holster on his leg. There's also a larger black gun with red details and a scope, which looks like the sort of gun a lot of Cobra figures came with back in the day. Finally, there's a Cobra-logo'ed black briefcase that can open, but it opens on a molded plastic hinge (the kind that will snap if you use it too often), and while there's money on one side and a computer on the other, they're both just molded parts of the case, not separate. Meaning this accessory isn't as creative as ones we got in a smaller size years ago.

It makes sense that Destro would be the first villain we get in the line: Cobra Commander would be sticking to the shadows and building his power, while James McCullen XXIV would already be on the radar of any number of international justice agencies for his arms-dealing - of course he'd make a fine early target for the team!

-- 08/21/20

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