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Doom Cycle w/ Storm Rider

GI Joe: Pursuit of Cobra
by yo go re

Part of the reason that the Real American Heroes were the top toyline of the '80s was the huge range of vehicles that went along with them. Rides, both realistic and imaginative, have always been a feature of GI Joe, but when Generation 3 rolled around, all we got were updates and remakes. It took until the movie came out for any new designs to hit shelves. Let's hear it for innovation!

The Doom Cycle slips through the shadows of the darkened city. The twin-cam 3600 rpm engine growls as the cycle moves like a phantom through narrow alleys and along the night-shrouded streets. The sleek design conceals menacing surprises - spike weapons and steel blades instantly deploy when it's time to attack!

There was a big three-wheeled trike in the '80s, but this is an entirely different beast. The Doom Cycle is part of the "City Strike" section of the Pursuit of Cobra line, and although it's loaded down with weapons, it's a real bike, not one cobbled together from junk.

The frame of the bike is a standard chopper with a V-twin engine. The single front tire is narrow, but the two in the back are thicker than you'd even see on an all-terrain jeep. The front fork is a separate piece and looks like it should turn, but it doesn't - the pivot point has square edges, so while there's a little bit of wiggle room, it doesn't actually turn the way a real thing would. The handlebars also seem oversized for a 4" figure, and I'm not sure anyone sitting in the driver's seat could actually reach the brakes if he had to.

Like the packaging suggests, there's slightly more customization on this bike than just the wicked skull painted on the gastank. Press the button between the handlebars, and two curved blades pop out on either side of the wheel, and two large shotguns aim forward from the headlight. In the back, we have the "spike blaster," which is literally just a weaponized coil feeding nail gun. Has there ever been an action figure version of a nail gun before? This is a pnuematic model, with a thin hose connecting it to a big red air tank on the back of the bike. The tank also serves as the button to activate the snap-out blades on the back end.

The bike is 8" long and 3¼" wide, though the blades on the back will take that out to 5½". There's only a single seat, so no passengers - just the driver.

Storm Rider is a member of the Dreadnok gang that works for Cobra. He is equally skilled at fist-smashing brawls and complex martial arts battles. Born to ride as well as fight, he customizes motorcyles with unusual and effective weapon systems. He chases the GI Joe team through the city after he spots them leaving the Cobra warehouse.

Zartan was alone in Rise of Cobra, but that doesn't mean the Dreadnoks don't exist in the movie continuity. Storm Rider isn't even the first evidence of their presence: remember, Monkey Wrench may have looked like a G3 update, but he (like the Tunnel Rat he was paired with) was definitely a movie toy. You can imagine that, just as in RAH, Cobra absorbed an existing biker gang for those times they needed a more overt and chaotic approach. Dapper guys in fancy suits pushing papers aound a mahogany desk can only get you so far, you know?

Storm Rider is a different breed of biker than the old Dreadnoks - they were all Hell's Angel leather daddy types, while he's more of a modern Jesse James style: lots of tattoos, sure, but normal (even slightly dressy) clothes and hair that requires more maintenance than the bikes they ride. The trunk and upper legs come from Shipwreck (or, more accurately, Cutter, since he has the smooth belt buckle). His arms and shins are from the 2009 box set Shipwreck, because those were remolded for some reason, and seem to have been swapped: I had to switch them left to right before the feet were angled properly.

The figure's shirt is black, with a Dreadnok "flame" logo on the breast pocket, his name stitched on the other side and a larger, different Dreadnock logo covering the back. He's wearing a black scarf with two red "fang" stripes covering everything below the eyes. He has a Cobra logo tattoo on each arm, just poking out of the tight sleeves. There are far more complex tats on his forearms, and due to the placement of the apps and the design of his articulation, you can decide whether you want them on the top of his arms or the bottom (bottom in the package). The rings of his elbow joints are unpainted black plastic, which stands out a bit, but you can pretend they're just solid black lines he had tattooed for some reason.

The scarf can be removed, and the face beneath is just some typical douchebag. Yeah, guy, you're a hardass because you have three earrings in unusual places and wear dark glasses. He's either got a scar or a molding error on his jaw, but you still can't convince us that a "biker" with dyed white hair and a grey fauxhawk wouldn't get his face stomped in the first time the real Dreadnoks laid eyes on him.

In addition to the scarf he wears and the nailgun he stores on the bike, Storm Rider has one accessory: a big revolver that fits in the holster on his right leg. Both hands have the trigger fingers extended, but the handgun goes in the right. This guy doesn't seem sharp enough to be ambidextrous. The packaging insert expands into a nice little diorama, with art similar in style to the Transformers Screen Battles multi-packs. And just like one of those was clearly Scranton, this is recognizably Times Square. With battle damage.

Storm Rider is kind of a dork and has a really stupid codename (unless his real name actually is "Rider, Storm"), but the Doom Cycle is pretty awesome. The Dreadnoks are a motorcycle gang, yet this is only the second motorcycle they've ever had in their 25 years. It makes a lot of sense in the storyline, and even its play features are fairly cool. More, please.

-- 10/15/10

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