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GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra
by yo go re

Obviously, change can be a good thing.

Shipwreck is the GI Joe team's expert on marine warfare both above and below the waves. He's trained in advance naval combat and demolitions. A true sailor with the sea in his blood, he and his parrot, Polly, prefer the open ocean to dry land.

Shipwreck, in the '80s, was kind of a jerk. He was basically a cartoon version of Billy Buddusky, Jack Nicholson's character in The Last Detail, right down to the voice. And surprisingly, he ended up becoming one of the biggest players on the show, with a fleshed-out personality and several episodes all to himself. It wasn't until DDP's run that his role in the comics actually started to live up to his general popularity, but it's still no surprise that he's even showed up in the movie toyline.

The movie version of Shipwreck isn't in some cute little sailor suit. DDP's Shipwreck wore the same outfit as his first G2 figure: a knit cap and sweater with plain pants. It not only looked cool, it also looked like something a special forces soldier would actually wear. The movie design takes its cues from that. He's wearing camo pants (in "Joe Blue," of course) and has traded in the sweater for the standard-issue reactive armor. "Reactive armor," by the way, is a real thing - it's typically used on vehicles, since most types involve counteracting an external weapon impact by setting off an internal explosion. Of course, since Rise of Cobra takes place in the future, it's possible a personal version has been developed by then; maybe some sort of dilatant filling? Science!

Ship's armor is made of the same shaped plates seen on all the movie Joes - well, all the ones that wear armor. You know what we mean, it's not like the Pit Commandos get fancy Joe uniforms. He does seem to be wearing a turtleneck under the armor, though. He has a full beard, and is wearing a watch cap. Back when it was rumored that Brendan Fraser would be playing Gung-Ho, The Rock was planned to cameo as Shipwreck. Since this figure doesn't look like the Scorpion King, you can tell that did not come to pass.

The figure comes with his pet bird Polly, as every Shipwreck should. This is a new mold, though based heavily on the version that came in a RAH box set in 2009: the body is the same, but the wings are held in a different position; but since the entire bird is a single molded piece, it's not like it came out of the same steel tools. Polly is green with white around the eyes, a red stripe over the top of her head, and a grey beak.

Shipwreck gets some really impressive accessories. Without anything on, he looks like a "movie-fied" version of the character we're used to - dress him up, though, and he's a real naval commando! He has an advanced scuba backpack, sculpted with two small air tanks and all manner of support structures - and even spots for Polly to perch! A facemask can slip over Ship's head, and two hoses plug into the backpack. He has swim fins that actually work like swim fins: instead of just plugging into the bottom of his feet (a la Torpedo), his toes slip into the fins, and straps pull up over his heels to hold them on. Outstanding! They can even hang on his backpack when he makes it to shore.

The weapons include a pistol, a large knife, and an FN F2000 rifle - which must be the thing the filecard calls an "LW280 Selective-Fire Fully Automatic Assault Rifle with Harpoon." Of course, there is no such gun as an LW280: put that in Google and it comes back with pages of bathroom sink results. The F2000 has in fact been modified with a harpoon, for underwater use. The pistol looks nice and hefty, but the knife seems scaled for a 6" figure rather than Shipwreck's 4". And sadly, the figure has no holsters to hold any of the weapons.

Oh, he also get a Stupid Giant Gun. It's metallic blue and has a yellow missile. Who cares?

It's hard for a GI Joe character to become identified with any costume but the one they wore on the Sunbow cartoons, and for Shipwreck, that means the bellbottoms and white sailor cap. However, with the sweater look showing up in the comics, in Resolute and now inspiring the movie design, it seems that may be "the" Shipwreck from here on out.

-- 01/15/10

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