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GI Joe: Retaliation
by yo go re

You know what, things may have finally gone too far.

Snake-Eyes is a ninja commando on the GI Joe team and one of the most powerful ninjas on the planet. With his faithful wolf Timber by his side, he launches into battle against Storm Shadow, the Cobra ninja who was once his sword-brother and is now his enemy!

Ever since the 25th Anniversary Collection in 2007, the Generation 3 GI Joe figures have been about updating the old designs and giving us good, modern toys. And it's been great. But now it's starting to get ridiculous. At some point you cross the line from "let's update the spirit of this design to something modern" to "we must slavishly re-create the past in a slightly larger form," and then you're into MotU Classics territory. You want to get to here, not keep pushing on to here, you get it? And now GI Joe is getting dangerously close to falling over the nostalgia line.

When this figure was first shown to the fans (at Toy Fair or JoeCon or some other big event, I honestly forget which one), he had a Real American Hero style head. The final product is definitely the movie head, reused from the same Snake-Eyes that's been on shelves since last year. It does still have the eye-visor, though - at least that much is similar.

The head may be reused, but the body is new (it was used for a few of this year's JoeCon exclusives, but remember, this toy was meant to be released long ago). It's thin and rather undetailed, with only a few raised seams and some sparse wrinkles to keep it from being a plain black body. Since the goal of this is to duplicate the 1985 Snake-Eyes, and that figure looked like he was wearing smooth black spandex, it works. The pouches on his ankles, the holster and sheath on the legs, the tiny crossbow on the right forearm, and the straps around the biceps are all fully sculpted parts of the mold, adding some much-needed detail, while his belt(s) and grenade-laden bandolier are separate pieces that fit over the torso (they're reused from earlier figures, as well).

Thankfully, Snake-Eyes doesn't skimp on the articulation. He has all the joints modern Joes should have - again, because he was designed before the movie toys' inexplicable cutbacks. He's also weirdly tall, coming in at 4 3/16". Size creep - another flaw of the MotU Classics nostalgia train! Sure, it's possible that Snake-Eyes stands 6'3", but none of his other toys have been this massive before.

Beyond the belt and bandolier, Snake-Eyes has a black sword, a squarish pistol, an Uzi with a removable silencer, two knives, and an HK G36 assault rifle. Most of the gear comes from the PoC figure, while the G36 has been seen with a few different figures, including City Strike Snake-Eyes. He only has holsters for the pistol and one knife, so you'll have to get clever with the other pieces.

The thing that's really selling this Snake-Eyes, though, is that he comes with Timber. And not the reused sculpts that the 25th Anniversary Collection and Rise of Cobra figures came with, or even the one that came with "Desert Battle" Snake-Eyes: a completely new Timber!

Like the 1985 original, she's in a fighting stance, with her head down, ears back, and teeth bared. The biggest difference between 1985 and 2013 is that we all carry supercomputers disguised as telephones in our pockets and only a minority of Americans oppose same-sex marriage. But the biggest difference between the 1985 and 2013 poses of Timber is that the modern toy has its tail up, while the old one had its tail down. She gets a balljointed head, reminding us all that dogs can look up, thenkyewverymuch. Timber's fur is a bit lighter than it should perhaps be - white instead of gray - but pretty much every time there's been a toy of Timber, it's been a different color. Who's to say what's "right"? There's a bit of ecru paint on her underside, which (as someone who used to have a white dog) is a very nice attention to detail.

If all you want is an update of the 1985 figure, this Snake-Eyes is the truest one yet. But if all you want is an update of the 1985 figure, you may be setting your personal bar a little too low.

-- 13/03/13

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