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GI Joe and the Transformers
by yo go re

"Only Human," the episode of Transformers that introduced Cobra Commander, also gave us something else fun: Autobots in human bodies.

As an Autobot Warrior, Arcee is tough, dedicated and merciless in combat. Yet among her Autobot friends, she is kind and compassionate. She has a special fondness for Daniel Witwicky, the son of long time human allies Spike and Carly Witwicky. When Arcee's spark was incorporated into synthoid plasma by global crime lord Victor Drath and Old Snake, she would experience first-hand life as a human being. Initially shocked by the transformation, Arcee adjusted quickly and put her warrior skills to use helping Autobot Springer, Ultra Magnus, and Rodimus Prime foil Drath's plot to destroy Metroplex. Though her time as a human synthoid was limited, it gave her a greater appreciation for the fragility of human life and strengthened her already steely resolve in its defense.

Of course Arcee was one of the Autobots turned into a human - you want to display the most unique animation models you can, and she was their only girl. Despite being artificially created bodies grown in a test tube from liquid protoplasm, the Synthoids apparently just naturally grow pants, shirts, and shoes when they form - luckily for branding purposes, the Autobots immediately found four perfectly fitting, color-coded jumpsuits, so there was no question about which of them was which (though recognizing Arcee probably would have been easy even without clothes). There aren't any GI Joe molds wearing futuristic coveralls, but this toy smartly reuses pieces to fake it: Renegades Scarlett provides most of the body, with paint creating the buckles on her straps and the pocket on her chest; repainting Lady Jaye's arms gives us the proper pink bands on her sleeves; and boots with a slight heel complete the look.

The head, of course, is new. The animation seems to have misunderstood Arcee's traditional Leia-inspired buns, because instead of two separate spirals, they've been changed into one solid wraparound thing, like Lobot - wrong Star Wars character, designers! The toy replicates it faithfully, though, so at least it's show-accurate in that regard.

None of the existing articulation has been lost in this Frankensteined body. Arcee has a balljointed head, swivel/hinged shoulders and elbows, swivel wrists, balljointed torso and hips, double-hinged knees, and swivel/hinge ankles. These Agent Helix boots pre-date the innovation of the "faux rocker" ankles that would eventually give the figures more dynamic posing options, but that's okay: remember that this was Arcee's first day as a human, she probably had no idea of all the things her body could do; hell, she probably thought she was dying the first time she felt hungry.

"Only Human" treated Arcee the way most '80s cartoons treated female characters: she was there to worry, and to run away and get help when the boys needed it. But because people enjoy her characterization in the IDW comics - as a murder-happy warrior who finds that violence really lubricates her circuits - the set includes a pair of high-tech pistols for her to wield. They both have tabs, but can't plug into her legs (or anywhere else). The figure also comes with a bright yellow "Autobot sky spy" drone, but it's not really meant for her. We'll talk more about that another time. Finally, there's a "dog tag" display stand with the Autobot logo printed on it.

Although the packaging doesn't mention GI Joe anywhere at all, this is officially a GI Joe and the Transformers crossover figure, which is why it was sold by both the Joe and TF Collectors' Clubs. And when Fun Publications lost the TF Club rights, they offered her up in their clearance sale, meaning you could finally get her without paying a ridiculous markup.

-- 02/13/18

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