Target "Rescue Mission" 4-Pack

To say I've been underwhelmed my recent Exclusive offerings would be a massive understatement. Unexciting vehicles, nothing new for a driver, and always increasing price points all equals stuff that I really don't feel like I need to go out of my way for. And when you live where I live, pretty much any store exclusive equates "going out of my way". Yet, seeing the recent Toys "R" Us Exclusive Attack on the Pit, and the Target Exclusive "Rescue Mission" totally changed my mind, and I sucked it up and made a nearly 200 mile round trip trek down south to scoop up these two sets.

Yeah, it was worth the drive.


Yeah, I'll admit it...I'm one of those guys that likes to talk about the bad first, and save the best for last. I didn't necessarily do that with The Attack on the Pit set, but I feel it necessary to do it here. Two out of the four figures in this 4-Pack are comprised of yet another in an apparently endless stream of Neo-Viper repaints, this time described as being "Naval Officers". Eh.... I actually find this a bit disappointing, especially considering the primary trooper inside the Cobra arctic base were the Elite Vipers. If we had gotten two of them in a nice blue scheen, this set would have catapulted to amongst the best of the entire run so far. As it is, the Naval Neo-Vipers look fine, but nothing special.

Tooling wise, they're unchanged from all of the other Neo-Vipers out there, with the gimpy knees, the somewhat limited elbows, and the scrawny bodies hidden by oversized, bulky armor.

Where these figures...err... "shine", however, is in the paint scheme. Just swapping some color pallets doesn't necessarily automatically make this a great figure, but the shiney blue coloring, complimented by the right touches of black and silver actually give us a very nice looking version of the Neo-Viper. In fact, these figures continue to surprise me...they represent everything I dislike about the format of these figures. They don't stand up real well, they don't move real well, they can barely hold their weapons, and yet, on display I really do think the figures look pretty nice. The design of the facemask is strikingly cool, the layered armor is great, and they're resemblence to the movie versions impresses as well. So they leave me endlessly perplexed, and more than mildly conflicted.

Like the Attack of the Pit Neo-Viper, this one cames with the basic assortment of small level Neo-Viper weaponry...the same pulse rifles, the same pistol, but this time Joefans everywhere can celebrate the obnoxious bright blue oversized missile launcher that I know everyone loves so much.

The Neo-Viper is fine, I guess. As I said, Elite-Vipers would have made this set GREAT. As it is, the army builders leave me a bit cold and uninspired, even with the nifty blue paint scheme. Luckily, there's plenty else to love about this set.



Like Ripcord from the Attack on the Pit set, this version of Duke is the "training" version of the character, wearing the non-descript under armor shirt with the basic gray camouflage legs, but Duke ends up looking a lot more striking than Ripcord did. Where Ripcord had just a straight black shirt, Duke adds some gray trim, which makes a big difference and really ends up making the figure stand out a bit better than Ripcord did.

Duke also represents a specific scene in the film, which is another appreciated aspect of this figure, and this overall set. With his slim, well jointed upper body, his is very poseable and flexible, and the gray camouflage fits in flawlessly with a lot of the other camouflaged G.I. Joe figures scattered throughout the line.

But perhaps one of the nicest touches is the paint apps on the hair. I'm not really sure what technique was used, but it's a very effective "shaved head" look, which adds some character to the figure as well.

One thing this Target exclusive set seems to have over the Toys "R" Us set is the assortment of gear that come with the figures. While most of the figures in the Attack on the Pit set come with a single machine gun and pistol, these figures come with a bit more, though the weapons are still repeats of stuff we've already gotten. This Duke has the familiar machine gun...actually both familiar machine guns that Duke came with in his Reactive Armor, then a nice pistol, and the way-too-tiny knife that Sgt. Stone came with as well. It all adds up to a pretty basic assortment of weapons, but they're all pretty cool and suit the figure well.


Snake Eyes

If you'd told me a month ago that my favorite figure in any boxed set for The Rise of Cobra was going to be a Snake Eyes, I would have told you that you were nuts. We have way more Snake Eyes figures than we need, and considering how over-exposed the character is, I can't find a whole lot left to explore. Well, the Resolute...errr... "City Strike" Snake Eyes changed all that, and even though I would have thought even that figure would look pretty dull in black, this version of the G.I. Joe Commando is still all that and a bag of chips.

With the exact same tooling from the neck down as his City Strike brethren, I already knew this figure would have the same great range of motion, sculpting detail, and sheer coolness as the previous version, but I wasn't convinced that the Paris Pursuit head and the lack of a different color scheme would attach themselves as well to an all dark version. Well, I was wrong. Damn wrong. While this figure doesn't touch the greatness of City Strike Snake Eyes, he is pretty damn cool in his own right, and by using a mix of flats and glossy black paints, the figure "pops" even in one fairly uninspiring paint scheme. The visored head brings out the best in the Snake Eyes character, and really identifies this figure as the G.I. Joe ninja even more than the City Strike version did a month ago. Another nice touch is that it seems as if the visor is actually glued down on this figure. At least I sure couldn't remove it when I tried...this is actually appreciated in my eyes, because the visor on my Paris Pursuit Snake Eyes goes flying off if I look at it funny.

So, take the greatness of the City Strike Snake Eyes figure, even when colored black, and you still have a fantastic rendition of the most popular G.I. Joe character out there.

If the Toys "R" Us Attack on the Pit set had any drawbacks, it was mostly to do with the weapons...there were a good number of them, but they were mostly the same without much variety. Well, this Rescue Mission set changes that all up as both Duke and Snake Eyes get a nice run of their original weapons, which is especially surprising considering just how much gear the City Strike Snake Eyes came with initially. Granted, you don't get the larger G36 assault rifle or his monstrous grapple hook backpack here, but you do get everything else.

For some reason the sheath for the figure's back is horribly disfigured and deformed, but it doesn't seem to affect the shape of the sword itself, so I guess it's not a huge deal. Beyond that minor complaint, every cool weapon (and every bizarre spike shoe) from the original figure is here and I'm thrilled about it. Even that zipline kicks ass.

Even awash in black and nothing else, this is a Snake Eyes that's full of things to love. While he doesn't hit the coolness of the City Strike version, he's still really damn cool, and exudes "bad ass", no matter what color uniform he wears. Easily the star of the show here.


So while the Toys "R" Us Attack on the Pit set offers more bang for the buck with 5 figures and a vehicle for only $25.00, I think the Rescue Mission set actually offers more "cool factor". While the AoTP Ripcord is decent, this Duke blows it away, merely by that gray detailing on the chest and the weapon selection. The Pit Trooper and Duke are okay in the TRU set, but Snake Eyes knocks them both out the water. The Neo-Viper Officer is the cream of the crop of the COBRA Trooper selections in both sets, but getting stuck with another Mole Pod counts against the TRU set as well.

All told, no matter which of the two sets you get, you're gonna get your money's worth. Whether it's the sheer number of figures inside, or the cool nature of the toys (even with two of the most over-exposed characters in G.I. Joe history) there is a ton to love packed in these boxes. Get 'em both, I think you'll get your money's worth.