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Resolute box set

GI Joe: Resolute
by yo go re

The battle between the GI Joe team and the Cobra enemy continues! Courageous heroes, menacing villains, powerful weapons and cool gear... be a part of the action with awesome sets of favorite GI Joe and Cobra characters from the animated series GI Joe: Resolute!

That's not really very informative, is it? Ah, that's okay - you should already be familiar with Resolute, the modern reimagining of the Joe vs. Cobra mythos. It was written by Warren Ellis and designed by Dave Johnson, so no surprise it shares more with the GI Joe comics than the old cartoon. Sadly, because of the timing of the series' release, only a few toys made it out before production switched over to the movie line. This box set is 90% re-use, but will that keep it from being good?

Cobra Troopers make up the bulk of the Cobra organization's fighting forces. They may be the "grunts" of this vast army, but they are, nevertheless, highly trained in combat techniques, martial arts and sabotage. Failure is not an option in the Cobra army, so Cobra Troopers must either win every battle they fight - or die trying. Aggressive and overconfident, they will face any enemy, even the ninja commando Snake-Eyes. How could one lone ninja hope to defeat a squad of ruthless troopers who are armed to the teeth? Simple: he can't.

The Cobra Trooper in this set is a straight repaint of the single-carded Resolute Cobra Trooper and, in keeping with tradition, so's the set's Cobra Officer. The easiest way to tell Officers apart from Troopers has always been a V on the helmet, and that holds true here, as well.

Cobra Officers are in charge of assigned squadrons of Cobra Troopers. These hardened officers have risen from the ranks to reach a position of relative authority. The qualifications for promotion include documented missions of obvious success and an iron-fisted attitude that is merciless and demanding. They are the first to be punished for the failure of the team; they are also the first to accept any rewards when their team succeeds in its mission. They are proven leaders with tactical skill who wield their precious portion of power with cruel expertise.

Other than the silver V on the officer's brow, these figures are identical - they don't even get different colored hair. This really is the same mold as the solo-carded release, so everything we said for that figure holds true for these, as well: the design looks like modern BDUs, with canvas leggings, a bit of armor, and a removable tac vest; the helmet comes down lower, providing extra protection for the neck; the shirt is ribbed and padded, and has a sculpted Cobra symbol on the left breast.

The Cobras in this set have been repainted from their mass-market brother: while that one was in the traditional Cobra blue, these are wearing red. No, that doesn't make them Crimson Guards - for whatever reason, the staff manning Cobra's command bunker in Resolute wore these uniforms. The helmets, vests, shirts and pants are a nice burgundy, while the sleeves, masks, leggings and a panel on the back of the vest are red. The boots, gloves and other incidental bits are black, and the armor is silver. No, it's not the traditional Cobra Trooper/Officer look, but it works.

Both these guys have the same accessories, as well: black backpack, black rifle/grenade launcher, and a silver and black submachine gun. Really, the only difference between them is that one small paint app on the Officer's helmet. We weren't exaggerating at all when we said that.

These android troopers are the perfect Cobra infantry forces. The never question orders, complain about the food, shirk duty, or surrender. The require no leave time, sick pay or benefits, and they're easy to replace. Hit them with multiple rounds of weapons fire and they'll keep advancing on their targets without missing a beat. But they can't evaluate changes in battlefield conditions or make independent decisions, so if the battle shifts and they don'treceive updated orders, they're liable to fire upon anything that moves, be it friend or foe. Still, give them an order and they carry it out, stopping only when every single component has been separated into such tiny pieces that not even one robotic finger is able to continue the attack.

There were no BATs in Resolute - neither the cartoon nor, as far as I know, in the comics. Its inclusion in this set is just an excuse to re-use the BAT mold. We've covered that thing three times now, so we're not repeating any of that. You either know it already, or can go read one of those reviews.

That's not to say this is a straight re-pack, however. The Resolute BAT is a fearsome visage, eschewing the bright colors of the RAH figure in favor of black, grey and blood red. The mechanical limbs are dark, the boots and belt are black, rather than yellow, and the technology behind its translucent black chest panel avoids the silver and green of previous releases. Even the visor is sinister metallic carmine. This is a robot that actually seems frightening.

By the way, that stuff we said about the backpack not being able to hold all the weapons? It's still true, but here's a simple tip: one of the hands will fit into the hollow space behind the pack, so you can stow it safely back there, no worries.

Cobra Commander has always believed that vast wealth will give him his greatest desire: limitless power. But lately, he has come to realize that he must first achieve complete control over every nation on Earth. Once he holds the world in his fist, the money will be his to enjoy. He used technological sabotage to bring the world to its knees, and demanded that every country turn over control to him. His hunger for power and wealth have utterly corrupted him, to the point where he will easily obliterate cities without even a twitch of remorse.

Cobra Commander was always something of a joke in the old cartoons, which is why Resolute made a point of reintroducing him to audiences as the badass we knew from the comics. "It suited me once to appear weak and cowardly, because it motivated you people to think, but today is a new day," indeed!

The Resolute designs were all intended to pass "the squint test" - the costumes may be different, but through the use of colors and subtle design cues, you should still be able to recognize who everyone is without too much study. To that end, CC wears a variation on his familiar old costume: the military jacket, silver dome helmet, you know the deal. He's been embellished with a short cape wrapped around hi shoulders, and has a knee-length kama falling from his high belt.

The normal release of the Commander was in the familiar blue, of course, but this box set has redone him in black and red. Why? No reason, really. It's a color scheme that first showed up in Generation 2, so consider this an homage to that. It's not like he ever changed his outfit in the miniseries, but if he had, this would have been an okay choice. The helmet should really hug the head tighter, and the mask has a central "seam," rather than being perfectly rounded.

Cobra Commander's accessories are two Luger pistols, for some reason (he can only hold one - is the extra a spare in case we lose the first in the couch cushions or something?) and a sword. The German pistol suits him, and he proved to be fairly adept with the blade once he whipped it out in the series. The accessory fits in the scabbard glued to his hip.

A leader is always in the position of making tough calls and hard decisions. Duke, as the head of the GI Joe team, understands the burden of leadership all too well. When it's the duty of the team to respond to a threat against the world, Duke must be the one to make sure that the priorities are clear: the mission comes first and everything else comes a distant second. He demands a lot from his team, but doesn't ask anything of them that he isn't willing to give himself. His hard-won experience and unflinching determination have earned him the respect and loyalty of his team.

Of all the figures in this box set, Duke is the one who has changed the most - he's providing the 10% new we alluded to above. The other four figures are all complete repaints, but Duke gets a few unique molds: specifically, his upper arms and entire torso were created just for this set.

The carded Resolute Duke was wearing his fatigues, while this one is in Arctic gear. In short, he's changed his shirt. This one has a sculpted harness, and a large mechanical panel on the back with tech detailing. Though you'd think if he were really going somewhere that cold, he'd want to cover his forearms. Of course, I once wore shorts all the way through a midwestern winter, so what the hell do I know?

Duke gets a new head, but it doesn't really match the Resolute animation design; in fact, it looks more like a rejected Stockard Channing Tatum O'Neal head sculpt. Compared to the art, the jaw is too wide, the mouth is too low, the forehead is too high and the hair is too flat. At least they painted his scar in the right place - an obvious homage to the original GI Joe toy, whose design included said scar so he would be more patentable.

Duke includes three accessories he can call his own, and three that could be loaned out to anyone. We start with the mundane, a knife, pistol and machine gun. Nice, simple stuff, but he doesn't include any sort of holsters or anything, so don't expect him to offer any storage. There's a holster on his left leg, butit already has a molded gun inside. Only the machine gun comes from the previous release: while that one did have a pistol and knife, they were different molds.

Next we have some mission-specific gear, a parachute pouch on a belt, a full-head helmet and a winged jetpack with balljointed tail fins. While not a direct copy of the flightpacks used in the cartoon (who else thinks those were supposed to be Resolute versions of the JUMP jetpacks, incidentally?), the idea is close enough that we get the reference. The wings can be worn by anyone with a G3 peghole in their back, and the helmet will fit on lots of heads.

Hey, speaking of direct copies of the cartoon, this set includes one prop that doesn't really belong to anyone. At a glance, it seems like one of the Stupid Giant Guns included with the movie toys, but no - it's actually a rocket launcher, and it's meant to be that big. One with almost the exact same design showed up in the first webisode of Resolute, suggesting that Hasbro was trying to give us a real prop. It comes in three pieces: a tripod and a stand, then the launcher itself. The piece is gray and black, and has two red missiles. Caps on the end flip open when you fire the missile. This could have been another crap accessory you throw in a box and forget, but instead it turned out really cool.

The GI Joe: Resolute box set isn't the greatest five-pack Hasbro's released in Generation 3, but it's not awful. You get a unique version of Duke, two re-uses of that killer Cobra Trooper sculpt, a BAT that looks like it will murder you in your sleep, and a darker Cobra Commander, plus a really cool missile launcher accessory straight from the cartoon. The backdrop is the overgrown bunker seen in the "Now You Know" promotional short from SDCC '08. Even though this one came out near the beginning of the year, you can still find it at retail if you look hard enough, so pad the ranks of your Resolute collection now.

-- 11/13/09

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