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GI Joe: Pursuit of Cobra
by Monkey Boy

You gotta love GI Joe fans who pretend that the franchise has ever been anything but over-the-top and wacky. Yes, Larry Hama treated the material with a certain amount of respect, and the older toys wore mostly green and brown (and boring) uniforms, but GI Joe hasn't reflected a sense of military realism since the figures were 12" tall dolls with fuzzy beards. Even one of the very first boring Generation 1 figures was a "Laser" trooper. If you grew up on the cartoon rather than the comics (like I did), then you're used to Joeverse being a ridiculous place.

Look, I realize things got a little weird in the late '90s with the day-glo colors and the space armor and the Mega Marines, but a lot of fans like to think their Joes are way more serious than they ever were. Case in point: Destro. Specifically "City Strike" Destro from the Pursuit of Cobra line. He's got a huge armored suit and a giant gatling gun, and people are complaining that their Destro was a classy honorable businessman who would never be on the frontlines in some ridiculous sci-fi costume.

This is the same Destro whose classic vintage look features a gaudy red collar with an open shirt revealing his bare chest and necklace that would make Flava Flav jealous. You know, the guy who constantly wears a metal mask. Who has a rare variant known as "Pimp Daddy Destro." The only version of Destro that has ever been subtle was released as a convention exclusive to support the much-maligned Rise of Cobra film. That's the only time we ever got a plain, business-suit wearing version of James McCullen Destro XXIV, and it's both recent and rare.

Destro designs and manufactures advanced weaponry and supplies weapons to Cobra. He domnostrates his latest high-powered plasma rifles by leading Shock Troopers in an attack on GI Joe trooper Low-Light, who has infiltrated a Cobra warehouse in an urban city. Destro has to quickly change his plans when he finds out that Low-Light knows they are there - and is waiting for them.

These story-specific filecards are annoying, by the way. Anyway, I could totally see Destro as the kind of guy who would prove the mettle of his advanced weaponry by giving his buyers a personal demonstration. Here Destro is decked out with loads of upper body armor with tons of padding and pouches. He's got a big removable shoulder pad and some serious removable shin-shields. The head isn't the same old Destro we've seen since the movie figures, though most of the body comes from the pretty sub-par PoC "Arctic Threat" Destro figure. The new armor pieces cover most of the body though, and the pleated, layered look of the sculpt is really impressive. Like many recent PoC figures, Destro gets a handle on the back of his webgear, and another handle on the rear of each lower leg.

The paint, aside from the expected chrome dome, is mostly red (for the clothing) against grey (for the armor), with black camouflagey elements on both. There are the usual Cobra sigils scattered throughout the outfit, and some really cool drybrush weathering on the shoulder pad and shin guards that makes them look like tarnished metal.

And now the important part of every PoC review... the swag. Hoo boy does Destro deliver! Some of our PoC figure reviews have criticized the amount of accessories included with a figure who has insufficient storage capacity - I hate having extra weapons lying around - and while Destro is absolutely loaded with junk, he can keep it all on his person quite nicely. This is how it's done.

That said, Destro takes the whole accessory thing to new and crazy heights. In addition to the removable armor padding, removable shoulder pad and two removable shin pads, there's also a removable holster belt, and a pistol to fit in the holster. Then there's the Gatling gun, with a rotating barrel and removable ammunition belt, as well as a two-piece "arm" that connects the gun to Destro's armor (think Aliens, with the smartguns used by the Colonial Marines). The huge gun has several handles on it, one of which doubles as a peg that can plug into Destro's backpack hole. Love that versatility!

But we're not done yet. As a businessman, Destro of course gets a briefcase. That's nothing new. It opens as well, which is also nothing new. But within the briefcase you'll find a solid slab piece of plastic sculpted to resemble stacks of bills in denominations of €500 and $100 American. The other side of the briefcase is a mirror image, also filled with stacks of hundreds and 500 euro notes... only each stack is removable and separate. Six stacks of Franklins and six stacks of euros, just waiting for you to lose them on the carpet. The bills are tiny - not even a centimeter long and only a few millimeters thick - so I recommend putting them in the case, clipping it shut, and leaving it that way. Still, it's a perfect inclusion for Destro, though it's also absolutely ridiculous. What's next? Tiny pens and pencil accessories, or perhaps a tiny toothpick to stick in someone's mouth?

"City Strike" Destro is an awesome figure. It may not be the most iconic or recognizable look for Destro, but there are more than enough figures that fill that role already. This is something new and different, but it totally works. You can just imagine Destro punching a hole through a wall and mowing down his attackers with his giant minigun as bullets bounce harmlessly off his armor. Just don't leave that briefcase open.

-- 03/11/11

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