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Duke

GI Joe Resolute
by yo go re

We all know Hasro had a lot of Resolute figures on-tap before pulling the plug, and that they'll finally be releasing them later this year. There were a few that sneaked out before the end, though, including the star of the show, Duke.

A leader is always in the position of making the 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.

Some fans were disappointed that Snake-Eyes spent most of the cartoon having one fight with Storm Shadow, while Duke got to do the all the cool military stuff. But the same was true in the '80s, too: if you watched that cartoon, Snake-Eyes' big moment was breakdancing his way out of a fight. There's only so much you can do with an entirely mute character, especially when you don't have captions to narrate for him. So don't be sad that Snake got shafted, enjoy the fact that Duke became such a badass.

Duke was redesigned for Resolute, just like all the characters were. Dave Johnson took the old classic - short-sleeved tan shirt, green pants - and turned it into something that looks like modern tactical wear. His shirt is simple, but he wears it beneath an olive drab tac vest with three ammo pockets on the front, a pouch on the hip, and two large pockets on the back. He has black and ecru pads on his knees and elbows, and green canvas leggings to keep the dirt out of his tan and brown boots. If you look at the actual character design, you'll see that Duke's entire outfit has been flipped; the biggest clue may be the fact that his holster's on the wrong leg. Have to wonder if the sculptor was given a bad design sheet to work from.

This Duke's head is the same as the one from the five-pack, which means it has all the same problems: short version is that it doesn't really look at all like the actual animation art. It is interesting to note, however, that ever since Sigma 6, it's become the the "in" thing to always portray Duke with a scar, thereby positioning him as the successor to the original 12" GI Joe. [actually, the 12" Hall of Fame figure had a scar, as well - in 1992. --ed.]

If you don't count the removable vest, Resolute Duke's accessories comprise a pistol, knife and rifle. They're all nice, though it would be a lot better if he had places to store them - yes, he has a holster (like we said, it's on the wrong hip), but it's got a gun sculpted inside it already. The knife has really nice detail, while the rifle is based directly on Johnson's design for the animated item. Excellent!

Duke will be in the upcoming Resolute seven-pack, but that will be his Arctic gear, not this "normal" outfit, so if you want the vanilla Resolute Duke, this single-carded version is the only way to get him. Fortunately, the design is very cool, and the figure is a great representation of it. Duke's worn some hideous costumes in the past, but this update isn't one of them. Granted, he doesn't have the word "ARMY" printed across his vest, and there's no way for him to use all the accessories at once, but when those are our only complaints, you know the figure is going to be good.

-- 06/04/09


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