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Social Clash

GI Joe 50th Anniversary
by yo go re

Is the theme of this set "updates that were unneeded"?

Lady Jaye graduated from Bryn Mawr and did her graduate work at Trinity College in Dublin, where she acquired the faint Gaelic lilt that adorns her speech. An accomplished actress and mime, as well as a studied linguist, she can easily pass as a native in France, Italy, Poland, Russia, Germany, Afghanistan, Spain, and Portugal. Airborne and Ranger qualified. Graduated from intelligence school, Fort Holabird. Qualified expert: M-16, M1911A1 and reflex crossbow.

There has been no shortage of Generation 3 Lady Jayes: the first one came out in the 25th Anniversary Collection, the second in a DVD Battles Pack with a piece of the MASS Device, the third in a box set, and the fourth in Night Force colors at the 2013 Joe Con. Now we've got a fifth version, and other than the one wearing grey, they've all looked pretty much the same. However, this isn't just a rehash: if you discount the con exclusive, we've had four Lady Jayes; two of them were based on her cartoon appearance, and this release marks the second based on the original toy.

The clearest indication of that is her head: first seen on the JoeCon figure, this one is wearing her black baseball cap, while the cartoon toys were bareheaded. Her torso and arms come from the box set figure, with some minor retooling (no more knife strapped to her chest), while the legs come from the Cobra Shock Trooper. This is a lot better than the 25th Anniversary LJ! If there was one thing we were going to change, though, it'd be her hair: it's painted a little too dark (and you really have to check the quality of the paint apps [there and on her eyes] before you buy her).

Like the movie Lady Jaye, part of the appeal of this figure is her huge assortment of weapons. In fact, a lot of the weapons are the same. She has a bazooka and backpack full of shells, a Heckler & Koch MP7A1, an MP5K, a SOPMOD M4A1, an FN SCAR, an HK USC, a machete, two knives, and Lady Jaye's traditional "power javelin." She has the same webgear as Night Force Lady Jaye, which is also based on the 1985 toy - it's got a belt, a pouch on the side, and suspenders. Vintage!

The spoiled offspring of wealthy European aristocrats, Baroness graduated from student radicalism into international sabotage and finally into the ranks of Cobra. She was severely burned during a Cobra night attack operation and had extensive plastic surgery. Rumor has it she is the only one who knows the true identity of Destro. Qualified expert: M-16; AK-47; RPG7; Uzi; HISS tank operator.

We may have already had four Lady Jayes, but this is the seventh Baroness (ninth if you count the two movie ones, which looked fairly identical to her ARAH incarnation). And at least Lady Jaye was new - other than the gold 50th Anniversary Cobra logo on her left shoulder, this Baroness is a straight re-release of one from a 2009 box set. Same body, same head, same figure.

We've already reviewed this body (in the form of GI Joe and the Transformers Baroness), but haven't talked about the head before. The face is very flat, and the way he hair falls around her shoulders makes her hold her chin back against her neck. The glasses are sculpted and the paint is clean, though her skintone is very pale, and her lipstick is ridiculously tiny. It isn't even wide enough to reach both sides of her mouth!

When we were listing Lady Jaye's accessories, a lot of that was guesswork - the javelin and the SOPMOD we can be sure are hers, but the others could really belong to either figure. Baroness brings a second USC to the set, and it's worth noting that both of them end up with the barrels bent because of the way they're tucked into the tray. She also comes with the briefcase, hanging grappling hook, and two pulse pistols that Rise of Cobra Baroness had (though no holes on her legs for those small guns to plug into). The briefcase is empty - we would have gladly traded away some of Lady Jaye's arsenal in exchange for four of the nanite warheads that are meant to fit in the molded slots. They could have even painted them blue and pretended they were more Compound Z!

This set is identified as "Social Clash" on the front of the box, possibly because "Cat Fight" was deemed too sexist. Really, what about this fits that name? "Social Clash" suggests some kind of class divide, doesn't it? But that doesn't work: Baroness definitely comes from upper class stock, but it's not like Lady Jaye is from the streets (you don't go to Bryn Mawr and Trinity College if you're poor), so wouldn't they be closer to social equals than rivals? If that's what the name was supposed to convey, it didn't work. The Lady Jaye in this set is a better update than she seems, but this Baroness is pretty unremarkable.

-- 09/11/15

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