GI Joe Retaliation has had a rocky road to face on its way to theaters, with a last-minute theatrical delay to this March, and a hiatus on the toy line until February. But the first of the new batch of toys is starting to hit retail, and Hasbro absolutely used their time off wisely, crafting a new set of figures that show a dramatic improvement in quality over the launch wave movie toys.
The second set of Ninja Showdown 3-packs is part of this second launch of Retaliation toys, and includes two sets of some of the finest figures Hasbro has ever crafted, with three phenomenal new Joes and three great Cobras… including the brilliant new Real American Hero style Firefly.
The Joe set, the “Tactical Ninja Team” sees a re-release of the Pursuit of Cobra commando Snake Eyes (one of the finest Joes ever crafted), with his ninja Visor head and all new webgear. The new gear is ninja-oriented, with a teal and gold deco that stands out wonderfully on the black uniform of the silent warrior. This Snake Eyes is loaded with gear– two swords with a backpack sheath, two wrist blades, a knife with sheath, gun and silencer with holster, two uzis and twin arm blades. Most of the gear stores on the figure, and the few tweaks like the new webgear makes this a unique take on the ninja commando.
Agent Mouse is a new character in the Retaliation movie, and his figure is phenomenal. Using much of the wonderful Retaliation Joe Trooper as a base, Mouse if highly poseable and very uniform alongside his fellow Retaliation Joe troops. The sharpshooter sports a realistic tan uniform with the black and blue Battle Kata vest, which makes for another eye-catching design. Mouse includes an all new crash helmet that fits wonderfully on his head, a sniper rifle and a second gun.
Rounding out the Joe set is Sgt. Airborne, reimagined as a modern day Halo jumper. Sharing many parts with Skydive, the aerial trooper gets a great tan, black and light blue deco that harkens back to his vintage colors, a removable helmet, full paratrooper webgear and a great new headsculpt in a balaclava mask. He’s a logical new take on the RAH hero, and the new parts make him wonderfully unique amongst his fellow Joes. This set also includes a cool new accessory, a working rappelling line winch system. It includes a backpack that fits any figure, and a well-sculpted new anchor piece, which adjusts like a vice to clip onto a shelf or surface. It works great, allowing Joes to ascend or descend with ease, and it’s a much more well crafted piece than other play features we saw previously.
The Cobra set, their”Invasion Team” delivers an all-new movie accurate Storm Shadow, alongside the crimson Cobra Invasion Trooper and the previously mentioned Firefly update. Storm Shadow looks great, a new sculpt of his biker-style movie costume. The figure is very poseable, and every intricate line of detail on his costume stands out wonderfully thanks to his pure white uniform. The masked head is all new and filled with detail, as are his forearm gauntlets. The Cobra ninja includes a recast quiver backpack, with removable arrow and sheaths for his two katana, as well as a compound crossbow.
The Cobra Invasion Trooper features a new colorway for the wonderful Pursuit of Cobra Shock Trooper, now in a deep crimson. The figure remains fantastic, and he sports his SWAT style tactical vest, helmet with goggles and gas mask, as well as a pistol, walkie talkie and two rifles. The figure also includes the modern paratrooper backpack with working parachute, and that harness can be easily swapped for his vest. The new gasmask has a red lens, further differentiating this figure from his Shock Troop cohorts. I’m really hoping we see a single release of this figure down the road, as I’d love to build a squad of these guys.
Saving the best for last, this set also includes an all-new take on RAH Firefly. The Cobra saboteur has never looked better, and this figure joins the ranks of Lowlight, Pursuit Snake Eyes and Lifeline among the best GI Joes ever created. Hasbro nails every aspect of this figure, from the added detail of his uniform (a smart mix of Cobra Shock Troop and commando Snake Eyes parts), new leg pouches that change up the looks of his outfit, all new webgear made to look like the explosive-laden vintage figure, and an amazing, sinister new headsculpt with his iconic grey mask. The classic grey camo pattern is subtle and perfect, as are his accessories– Firefly includes a big backpack, a pistol with holster, boot knife with sheath, machine gun, rifle and two explosive charges, which clip onto his webgear! This figure is utterly perfect, capturing the villain in his most classic look with a modern sense of realism, generous articulation and great new features like the explosives– this is, truly, the ultimate Firefly figure any Joe fan worth their salt has been waiting for.
These new sets are amazing, with great new figures featuring a ramped-up attention to detail, a TON of relevant accessories, and a return to the quality we saw in the previous Pursuit of Cobra and 30th Anniversary collections. The Joe team at Hasbro really got everything right this time around, right down to the actually FUN play features like the parachute and rappelling line, and if the rest of the new Retaliation line continues this level of quality, the nine month wait will have been totally worth it.