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GI Joe: Retaliation
by yo go re

It's time for yet another re-release character with minor improvements!

Firefly is an explosives expert hired by Cobra to create devious devices that cause damage and chaos! His latest creation is an unmanned attack drone that launches its missile when it reaches its target!

The first Retaliation Firefly was decent, but was hampered by odd color choices and a gimmick that nobody wanted, made no sense, and didn't really work anyway. Honestly, the best thing about it was the unmasked head. There was a second Firefly in one of the three-packs, and while it was very nice, it was also saddled with two less-than-desirable figures (to say nothing of being more ARAH-influenced than anything from the movie, which is the last thing we need). But finally, a really nice solo-carded Firefly is released... and nobody can find it. Isn't that just perfect!

The head on this figure is the same as the masked head on "Street Luge" Firefly, a smooth, seamless mask with bumps revealing where his ears are and a bit of a hem around his eyehole, so it's not just a paint transition between skin and cloth. As as a bonus, reusing that mold means that the unmasked head will fit on this figure's neck!

Since he's a mix of new and reused parts, you know this Firefly isn't going to be movie-accurate. In the film, he wore a thick leather jacket with lots of zippers and pockets, a weird area of tony hexagonal armored plates over his abdomen, and a strap of bullets tucked onto his right arm. This figure kind of splits the difference between that design and the RAH look. The arms and legs come from Lifeline, but the torso is a new mold. It's a rather detailed jacket, with ribbing over the shoulders, and a really nice raised collar hanging slightly open at the neck. It's a definite improvement over the previous version, and looks quite appropriate for the sinister saboteur.

If you watch Retaliation, you'll see that Firefly's jacket is actually a faded green camo, not grey. That's probably what the first toy was trying to duplicate, though it kind of went overboard. On this new one, the jacket still has more of a green shade than the pants and mask do, but it's a very subtle difference. At a glance, he's in his classic colors, but when you really examine him, the truth becomes clear. He has Cobra logos on his chest and right arm, and the rest of his details are black.

Firefly's accessories are decent. They're mostly shared with the three-pack version, which in at least one case causes a bit of a problem. He comes with two knives, a small pistol, and a tactical shotgun. All those are fine. He also comes with a backpack, and that's where the problem is. It originally had to fit over a separate piece of webgear that this figure doesn't have, so it sits away from his back slightly. You'd have to trim the peg to get it to fit flat against his body.

But that's not all! Remember the HISS Tank drone that Pursuit of Cobra Cobra Commander was supposed to come with? At last, it's surfaced here! It's based on the modern HISS design, and comes in five pieces in the package: the body, the treads, and the top-mounted guns. There are assembly instructions included, but they have you put the tank treads on upside down, so feel free to ignore them and just put it together (although, it doesn't look bad with the treads inverted, honestly). Press the concealed button on top of the tank, and it fires the included missile. And for those times when you don't want a huge red missile or a gaping hole in the front of the tank, the triangular gun that Cobra Commander had plugs in there perfectly! This is a truly fun little accessory. It's even got a peg underneath if you want Firefly to wear it like a backpack.

As good as the toy is, this isn't quite the ultimate Firefly. The HISS Drone is awesome, but the fact that he doesn't come with the killer webgear from the box set or the unmasked head from Series 2 keeps the figure from true greatness. That said, you don't have to deal with two unwanted figures or a luge sled to get this one, so by himself, he's the best buy - that is, if you happen to find him. He's not a straight Generation 1 homage, but he's a totally classic Firefly.

-- 13/31/13

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