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Marissa Faireborn w/ Afterbreaker

GI Joe and the Transformers
by yo go re

Crossovers like this should never stop happening.

With two parents on the elite interdisciplinary GI Joe team, Marissa was an army brat through and through. Growing up, she came to appreciate the beauty and fragility of the varied environments of Earth as she bounced from base to base, continent to continent. She attended the US Air Force Academy, to her parent's [sic] twin pride and chagrin - they had been hoping for West Point - and graduated salutatorian. She qualified for the intensely competitive solo orbital flight program and was among the first wave of pilots to qualify for extra-atmospheric combat. When General Clayton "Hawk" Abernathy formed the Earth Defense Command to proactively address the Decepticon threat, she was one of the first to sign up. Marissa is a driven officer with a keen tactical mind, who understands the importance of seizing and maintaining the initiative. She appreciates the Autobots as allies but doesn't trust them completely.

Marissa Faireborn was first introduced in Transformers Season 3, but has also appeared in the Alternators story, as one of the main Kiss Players, and in IDW's comics. Basically, she's a fairly prominent human character in a property that tends to ignore them when it comes to toys, so this joint Transformers/GI Joe Collectors' Club release is highly welcome.

The figure is made entirely from reused Joe parts, as you'd expect - the head is easily recognizable, and we've seen this torso a few times (even though there's no longer a knife glued into the shoulder). Her sleeves are tight, and the legs come from the same source as the head. Considering that not a single bit of this has been remolded at all, it's impressive how well they did at re-creating her EDC uniform. It's all white, with two-tone blue accents and an EDC logo tampographed on the right shoulder. Her hair is more red than the brown it was on the cartoon, but then, the Cover Girl it came from was inexplicably blonde; maybe there's just something about this mold that says "get the color slightly wrong"? Also, the neck ends up weirdly long, since the balljoint isn't as far into the head as it was on the original.

Marissa comes with a jetpack like the one she used in "Five Faces of Darkness, Part 4," and a black tube connects it to a large rifle. She's also armed with a smaller, technological pistol. Since there's a gap in the toy's upper chest where a piece wasn't glued in, it would be fun if you could "holster" the gun there.

Following the trend of the three SDCC GI Joe/Transformers crossover sets, Marissa comes with an existing GI Joe vehicle repainted as a Transformers character. In honor of the episode she spent hanging around with the Technobots, that character is Afterburner. Renamed "Afterbreaker" for trademark reasons.

The original Afterburner turned into a futuristic motorcycle, so Afterbreaker is based on the Retaliation Wheel Blaster Bike, one of the "Alpha Class" vehicles everybody ignored. The bike is low and sleek and angular, making it a nice stand-in for the angry little Technobot.

The 1987 toy was mainly orange, with a white cockpit(?) and front strut. This toy is also mainly orange, but trades the white for a nice cream color - a large panel of it on the top of the bike, and also on the front wheel and its supports. There are black accents, and a vent inspired by stickers on the original. There are two yellow headlights, and the exposed engine is silver. There are two black machine guns mounted on each side of the body, with an ammo feed coming from inside the frame.

Afterbreaker also has a play feature, carried over from the Wheel Blaster. Unfortunately, there are no instructions on how it works; YoJoe.com to the rescue! Apparently if you press down on the back of the bike and roll it backwards, the front wheel will launch. I don't know if the feature worked this poorly on the original toy, but it's hugely unreliable here. Maybe because of whatever loose piece of plastic I can hear rattling around inside the bike. Anyway, having three inline wheels makes Afterbreaker look even more exotic than he already did, so hey, bonus!

When this exclusive set was first announced, it was only accompanied by art of Marissa and her bike, so we didn't know what that bike was really going to be. Some fans guessed it would be a repaint of Chromia, which actually makes a lot of sense - they look a lot alike. I thought maybe they'd go for the Cycle Armor, but that also would have required reusing the Ashiko body. As it is, this set is a great example of clever re-use, both for Marissa and Afterbreaker.

And finally, I have to give a big shout-out to random reader Rex, who was kind enough to use his Collectors' Club membership to hook us up with these figures - they're only available to GIJCC and TFCC members, so he's earned himself a huge chunk of toy karma!

-- 08/14/15

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