Thursday, May 10, 2012

G.I. Joe Retaliation Premiere Pack - Amazon Exclusive

The second of the unannounced, released at the drop of a hat Amazon four-packs is here.  This one serves as a preview pack for the upcoming Retaliation movie.  Is it worth buying this set in addition to, or in place of, some of the upcoming carded Retaliation figures?  We'll do the math past the break.

Much like the Renegades pack we looked at the other day, this set includes a bunch of new sculpts.  Unlike that set, these sculpts will all be available at retail in single carded packaging in, oh, about any minute now.  So what's so great about this set?

Well, in the Pros column, the figures in this set include stands, unlike the upcoming carded figures.  That's right. For the first time in as long as I can remember, G.I. Joe figures are about to not include stands.  Also, these versions of the figures drop the giant f**koff spring loaded crap accessories.  And we even get a few extra accessories and an alternate paint job.  So yeah, there's some differences here.


Like the Renegades set, the Retaliation set also comes in some pretty nice packaging.  The outer box features the Retaliation logo on one side, and the Arashikage ninja clan symbol on the other.

The inner box is a slip-cover, and features color movie art on both sides, including images of the four included characters on the back. Interestingly enough though, none of the figures in the box match up to the costumes shown on the box.

Once again, the inside presents the figures individually bagged and laid on in a plastic insert tray, with pre-cut file cards bagged separately.


Lets get the junk out of the way first.  This figure sucks.  Hard.  The sad thing, it really didn't have to.  With just a few minor tweaks, this could've been a great figure.  The likeness to "The Rock" is actually pretty good.  But the absolutely useless right hand, the lack of an respectable weapons, and Hasbro's newfound fetish for hindered articulation, make this figure a throw-away.

The right hand comes sculpted with a "key" of sorts in it.  It is not removable, and it prevents the hand from holding any other accessories.  The salt in the wound here is that the key feature doesn't even work well.  It's supposed to make different panels and pieces on the giant freaking missile launcher pop out and move.  Maybe it's just my sample, but it doesn't work worth a damn.

The hindered articulation is even more disappointing.  G.I. Joe has long been the gold standard for superior articulation in 3 3/4" figures.  So the fact that Hasbro is now REDUCING articulation in some of the figures in this line is just plain disappointing.  Roadblock lacks ankle articulation, and only has single hinged (instead of double hinged) knees.

And the giant freaking key activated missile launcher with the attachable blade and shoulder thingies?  Lame. Roadblock has no other weapons.  This one makes him way too top heavy.  Without owning any of the carded versions of these figures yet, I believe this figure is the least different from it's upcoming carded releases.  Don't go out of your way to get this one.  In fact, I'd advise going out of your way to avoid getting this one.

Did I mention that I hate the fact that Roadblock is apparently being portrayed as some master ninja that can best even Snake Eyes?

Oh, and the paint apps on his shirt are sloppy.

This.  Roadblock.  Blows.

Snake Eyes

Unlike Roadblock, Snake Eyes includes some great accessories, has lots of awesome articulation, and is fully capable of holding things.

The upcoming carded version comes with some weird looking space glider and a sword.  This version drops the glider in favor of two guns, a stand, and some awesome webgear.  And he still comes with the sword.  Much better deal.

I believe the webgear is from one of the upcoming Ninja three-packs.

Articulation is superb.  Everything you expect from a Joe figure, plus ball hinged wrists and rocker ankles.  It doesn't get any better than this.  Paint apps are solid, too.  Granted, it's hard to mess up a Snake Eyes paint job.

Based on the images we've seen from the movie, I don't believe this costume is very movie-accurate.  But this is a good, solid figure of ol' Snakes.  Definitely worth it's share of the cost.  And more collector-friendly than the upcoming carded version.

Storm Shadow

Jason reviewed the single carded version of this figure recently, so I won't rehash everything.  But I will say I like this figure better than he does.

I don't mind the popped-collar look on this figure.  I think this is actually a pretty interesting, fairly cool, somewhat futuristic look for the Cobra ninja.  But I'm pretty sure he doesn't wear a costume like this in the upcoming movie.  But whatevs.

Articulation is awesome on this one.  Paint apps are solid.

But accessories are a bit lacking.  He only comes with a katana and wakizashi, and a tiny "scabbard" to hold them on his back.  And a stand.  The carded version comes with the giant zipline of doom accessory.  I like ziplines though, so I'm kinda bummed it wasn't included here.

Overall, this figure is also worth it's cost, IF you're ok with the popped collar, Bro-Shadow look.

Cobra Commander

This is basically just a black repaint of the upcoming carded release, minus the giant Cobra-head-missile-launcher staff of death.  And plus a stand.  He also includes two  identical carbines and a pistol with holster.

The figure looks more menacing (and slightly more movie-accurate) painted in black, but it's still not very true to the outfit the Commander is seen wearing in the trailers.  Oh well, at least it's not the Rise of Cobra costume!

Cobra Commander is another unfortunate victim of the articulation reduction tragedy.  He again lacks ankles and only has single hinged knees.

This guy is a toss up.  The figure looks good, has solid paint apps, and some good accessories.  But the lacking articulation makes it hard to swallow the cost.  But will we get a better version at any point in this line?  Probably not.

Overall, this set is only slightly more hit than it is miss, as far as movie-designs go.  If you like the designs of the costumes, can live with limited articulation on a couple figures in exchange for enhanced articulation on the other two, and you want the more collector-friendly accessories, then this set is for you, and is currently available on Amazon.  If you don't fit that criteria, save your forty bucks.  Or hold out for a lower price.  If Rise of Cobra was any indication, the first waves of single carded Retaliation figures should be easy to come by in various retail chains for a couple years to come.