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Flint & Baroness

GI Joe vs. Cobra
by yo go re

As I explained in another review, GI Joe has emerged from the black abyss that is the '80s. The classic 3¾" figures are once again on store shelves, ready to fight for freedom wherever there's trouble. GI Joe is there.

The line is officially called GI Joe vs. Cobra, and the figures are released in two-packs that reflect that; one Joe and one Cobra agent in the same blister. With the packs running about seven dollars, each figure costs pretty much the same as it did back in the day, and that's a pretty nice find. It also puts the ever-rising cost of figures in perspective. This set includes infantryman Flint and intelligence operative Baroness.

A classical scholar, as well as a graduate of the Special Forces School and Flight Warrant Officers School, Flint brings a broad intellectual background as well as finely-honed technical skills and tactical knowledge to the GI Joe Team. Proficient with all NATO small arms, explosive devices, and rated to fly all current U.S. military helicopters as well as rotary wing aircraft in the services of most western and former Soviet Bloc powers. Flint is believed to have participated in or led numerous covert hostage rescue missions in hostile territories and in domestic Cobra strongholds. The exact nature and details of these missions are highly classified and unlikely to be made public or even acknowledged. It doesn't bother Flint in the least that he will never receive credit for these missions, nor be awarded decorations or citations. "I didn't do it to get promoted," he said, "I did it to bring those Americans home."

Damn, but that's an impressive list of credentials. Only thing most kids knew about Flint was that he took over when Duke was (routinely) knocked out and that he was more recognizable in a crowd because he wore a hat. Oh, and that he was laying pipe with Lady Jaye. But that's not really a military qualification, is it? Still, it turns out that Flint is a fully certified badass.

Flint's head is too small for his body, but at least it looks better than the smiling dandy that he used to be. He's got a stern look on his face (possibly because there's no Lady Jaye released yet). His proportions are not as ridiculous as Duke and some of the other first-wave figures were, but he's still not quite right.

Flint's uniform has been nicely updated - he's still got camo pants, a dark shirt and tac harness, and of course his trademark beret. He comes with a backpack, M-4 assault rifle, a "Sound Attack" MG-42 machine gun and a hunting knife. His sculpt seems to suggest that he's left-handed, since that's how he's best able to hold his guns.

Standing 3¾" tall (duh), Flint moves at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, waist, hips and knees.

Incredibly self-involved and lacking in empathy, the Baroness has all the primary qualifications of a world-class oil company executive or corporate raider. Born in wealth, she was a student radical and dabbled in extremist fringe groups before aligning herself with Cobra and worming her way into the confidences of both Cobra Commander and Destro. Nominally designated the Director of Intelligence for Cobra Command, her duties actually covered a much wider range of loathsome activities. More recently, her allegiance seems to have shifted markedly towards Destro, but it remains to be seen if this is simply a scam. Coldly cynical yet a hopeless romantic, calculating but na´ve, brutally blunt and prone to beating around the bush at times; the Baroness is a mass of contradictions.

Remember what Baroness' gag was on the old cartoon? Aside from polishing Destro's helmet, that is. She was a master of disguise. Of course she was; every woman on the show was a master (mistress?) of disguise. Scarlett? Master of disguise ninja. Lady Jaye? Master of disguise field commander. Cover Girl? Master of disguise tank driver. Zarana? Evil master of disguise. Hell, half the women Shipwreck fell in love with were really masters of disguise. Or detox halucinations. 'cause he was a lush.

Baroness is more proportinal than most of the other figures, and looks better than Scarlett does. Compared to the original Baroness, she now looks much skinnier. She's got shorter hair, and has traded in her big clunky glasses for more fashionable Lisa Loebish catseye lenses. Her face looks a lot like my cousin, actually. If my cousin had black hair. Baroness' uniform is a straight update of her old angular armor,with a few added Cobra insignia thrown in for good measure.

Baroness has all the classic GI Joe articulation, right down to the O ring. She comes with a "Sound Attack" assault rifle, a small rocket launcher, and the exact same backpack she's had since 1984. She's got some maroon highlights in her hair, thick-soled boots and looks young enough to be the original Baroness' daughter.

These "Sound Attack" weapons plug into certain vehicles and make appropriate sounds when a button is pushed. Personally, I think the giant plugs just look out of place, and I plan to cut them off. At least Hasbro's making sure to include weapons without the big tabs for those of us who don't like the things.

After buying my first set of Joe figures, I had a better idea of what to expect. I took a close look at Flint and the Baroness before buying, and they passed inspection. Hasbro's improving the work they do, but the classic figs are still a bit better. For now.

-- 12/03/02


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