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DVD Battles set 2 - "The Revenge of Cobra"

GI Joe Generation 3
by yo go re

Oh the weather outside is frightful/
Because Cobra is very spiteful.
The animation is by Sunbow/
Yo Joe, Yo Joe, Yo Joe!

Roadblock still finds time to cook gourmet meals, but usually he's gripping a .50 cal Browning heavy machine gun instead of a spatula. He's attended the prestigious Escoffier School in France before joining the Army and the GI Joe team. A courageous soldier, he'll willing [sic] sacrifice himself to save his buddies and the mission, like when he, Flint, Mutt and Junkyard were trapped in a crevice with deadly strangler vines: he stayed behind so that the others could escape. Whether he's whipping up gratinée de coquille St. Jaques or blasting Cobra Troopers with his "Ma Deuce," Roadblock makes his point loud and clear: he's the best at anything he puts his hand to - period.

This Roadblock is a repaint of the TFAC figure, just given a more cartoon-styled paint scheme. For instance, his pants, which are normally a reddish tan, are just straight up orange now. His shirt is still camo, but the colors are lighter and the pattern is simplified. And for some reason, his skin is darker.

Sadly, despite its mention on the filecard, Roadblock does not come with his familiar .50 cal - the only accessory that really belongs to him is a knife. He doesn't have a sheath or anything, so you'll either have to put it in his hand, or tuck it into his web gear (which should be darker if it's really meant to represent the cartoon). Weep not for Roadblock, though, because another item mentioned on his filecard is included: the deadly strangler vines! They're the same mold later seen in purple with the Defense of Cobra Island BAT, and there are holes in the rocky base that allows it to plug onto the figure stand, making it stable enough to actually hold Roadblock up in the air! That's pretty dang cool.

Lady Jaye graduated from Bryn Mawr and Trinity College, and uses her keen intelligence and quick thinking to help the GI Joe team outmaneuver and outsmart Cobra. She has unique javelins that she can customize for any situation: hand-launched missiles to destroy Cobra aircraft firing at their convoy or diamond-cutting tools to free team members trapped in ice on the Roof of the World. An expert at covert operations, she's as gifted at disguise as the Baroness and speaks several languages fluently. Her accomplishments as a pilot and weapons officer add to the invaluable skills she brings to the GI Joe team.

This was Hasbro's first attempt at making a cartoon-accurate Lady Jaye - the big difference between her in the comics and her in the cartoon was the animated version didn't wear a hat. As we predicted, she uses the same body as the 2007 figure, with different paint. Her pants and gloves are dark green, her boots are brown, and her belt is a lighter tan than before. IN ACCORDANCE WITH PROPHECY!

Naturally, her head is new. It's not like they could just paint her hat the same color as her hair and call it a day, right? This head, with its short, tousled hair swept to the side, really does look the way she was drawn on the cartoon. The "sideburns" seem a bit excessive - they're probably meant to be loose strands, but they just don't read that way.

She comes with the same pistol as before, but that's not her most interesting accessory. She comes with a backpack that holds three javelin segments - one base and two alternate tips (which both appear to be bombs, just different sorts). You can plug either tip into the shaft, and there's a larger section in the center sized to fit her hand. They also included a fully assembled javelin, so she can be armed without leaving her quiver empty.

Destro is the chief supplier of weapons to the Cobra organization and a technological mastermind. He is the creator of the diabolical Weather Dominator machine that can manipulate weather anywhere on Earth to cause disaster and chaos. When the machine's pieces are scattered around the globe, he battles the GI Joe team and the double-crossing Zartan to rebuild it. He is focused on achieving power and is furious when Cobra Commander turns his attention to petty concerns. Coming from a long line of warriors, he has an exceptional grasp of military tactics, making him a dangerous and devious enemy of the GI Joe team.

This Destro uses the entire body of the box set version, with no differences other than the paint. His boots and belt are gray, his collar is entirely red both inside and out, and the straps of the holster for his pistol (his only accessory, sadly) are red now too. Otherwise, it's pretty much the same.

Sadly, one of the things that's different is the head. You can probably guess what that means: it's vac-metallized. Le sigh. In its favor, though, it's not nearly as bad as the vac-metallizing on the Comic Pack Destro. That one had chrome eyes in addition to everything else, and at least on this figure they bothered to paint his eyes - green with black outlines, which actually makes them look better than the "real" figure.

Rather than coming with four figures, like all the other DVD sets did, this one only comes with three. The extra slot is taken up by The Revenge of Cobra's main MacGuffin, the Weather Dominator. It's not a direct copy of the device seen in the cartoon, but it does get the idea across.

Despite coming all together in one set, the Weather Dominator is made from four pieces: a base to hold the whole thing up, the electromagnetic energizing capabilities of the blocky Ion Correlator, the water-vapor controlling mechanisms of the pointy Hydro-Master, and the unlimited power of the Laser Core Cobra stole from the Joes to provide enough juice to run it. As in the mini-series, all the pieces can be separated and scattered around the world. Or your display. Whichever.

The base segment includes a pretty cool control panel, with a whole series of buttons, a view screen, and two joystick-style controllers - it's entirely possible Destro sourced those from a Rattler or something. It's a shame that you can't plug the Ion Correlator directly into the Hydro-Master: before installing the Laser Core, that's how the Weather Dominator was assembled; sadly, the pegs are different sizes, so there's no swapping around. The Weather Dominator seen in the cartoon was much bigger than this (and had a seat for the... pilot? Operator? User.). There was also a big Cobra statue on the top and guns on the sides, but the toy is lacking those.

In addition to all that, there's also a piece of the MASS Device, the Generator. Why is Generator capitalized? I don't Know. I's really just a big grey rectangle with a hole in the top, but in case this is the only DVD set you got, Hasbro didn't leave you hanging: there are pegs on top designed specifically to hold the Weather Dominator, and footpegs so whoever is operating it can stand there and hold the controls. So often BAF pieces are useless if you don't get the whole thing, but not here!

Since this is the second DVD Battles set, it comes with a DVD of the second GI Joe miniseries, The Revenge of Cobra. While it has the same basic plot as every other Joe miniseries - Cobra demonstrates a new super-weapon, both teams race for the components needed to complete it - but this one at least changes things up a little from last time by not having an entire episode dedicated only to Fragment A, then an entire episode dedicated only to Fragment B, etc. The transfer starts out pretty good, but the quality takes a dip at the start of Episode 4. It's particularly noticeable if you chose the "play all" option, because that cuts out the opening and closing credits of the interim episodes, so the screen fades to black like it's going to a commercial break, then when it comes back the sound is quieter and the image is washed out. Still, this is not bad for a free copy of a 30-year-old children's cartoon.

The Destro and Roadblock in this set are fairly unremarkable, and though Lady Jaye was interesting at the time, a better version was released the next year. So really, the only draw of this set was the Weather Dominator and the MASS device BAF piece. Is it any wonder this set wasn't a fast seller?

-- 12/25/15

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