G.I. Joe: The Pursuit of Cobra General Hawk

As someone who has always enjoyed the comic universe more than the animation, even from day 1, I always had a personal affinity for General Hawk. In the pages of the Marvel Comic, he was always front and center, making the hard decisions, and not afraid to share some return fire alongside his men. He really had a chance to shine in issue #16 where he leaped on board Cobra Commander's HISS Tank and traded blows with Destro before taking bullets in the back. It was a dramatic moment and really defined the character for me.

It is because of this that I sort of share Larry Hama's disdain for Duke...well, not disdain per se, but I certainly don't have any love for the character, mostly because he seemed like kind of a Hawk clone, yet in the cartoon, he pushed Hawk aside. Now, not only did he push Hawk aside, but he also managed to push Stalker aside, and considering those are two of my favorite characters, I have a special "meh" attitude towards the venerable G.I. Joe field leader. That's probably part of the reason why I really tried to redefine the character in my dio-stories and make him a bit more conflicted and interesting.

All of that aside, it's been a very long time since we really got a legitimate "field operations" update for General Hawk. Sure, during the Valor Vs. Venom days he appeared in a pretty traditional dress uniform, and we've seen some Comic Pack updates, but these are all modern iterations of his classic looks without any real new elements. Even though I loved the Hawk figure we got in the later waves in the Rise of Cobra, QuaidHawk is not really a "Hawk" that fits into the more familiar G.I. Joe world.

This version finally gives us a suitable update to the G.I. Joe General and redefines the idea that he's not afraid to get in the middle of the skirmish and mix it up.

Now I've seen many Joe fans proclaim that this is a great figure, but it's "not Hawk". Pshaw, I say. Rather than try to morph the figure to match some pre-established idea, why not tweak the character to match the toy? That's what I prefer. Perhaps in the Pursuit of Cobra world, G.I. Joe is in desperate straits and they need all hands on deck. Cobra is on the verge of refining the Z-Compound, they're flooding the cities of the world with urban operatives, and the Joes need to take out all the stops. So, General Hawk, knowing that it's now or never, suits up, fires up a mobile coordination computer system and leads the troops from the field. That's how I see this working. While lots of folks are rationalizing the computer by making this guy Sparks, Hacker, or even Mainframe, I think the inclusion of the computer works for General Hawk. He's in the field, but he still has to lead his troops, and in the 21st Century, considering these state of the art special forces are probably already inter-connected on "Joe-Net", how better to lead the troops than with a portable super-computer? It works for me.

I will say, though, that the head they used does not work for me. Picking the head from the 25th Anniversary version was a poor choice, I think, and doesn't correctly establish the age and history of General Hawk. Fortunately, that's an easy fix:

Pushing the potential history of the character aside, how is the figure itself?

Pretty bad ass.

Borrowing a lot of parts from the Pursuit of Cobra Recondo (with Resolute Duke's torso), Hawk also uses the Resolute Beachhead vest underneath his shoulder holster to give him a unique look. In some ways it's almost too much, but in other ways I think it further supports the "all hands on deck" mentality. They needed to hit the bricks and hit the bricks quick, so Hawk just scooped everything up, strapped it up and came out shootin'. I am so glad Hasbro found a way to reuse those Recondo parts, as the bulk of that figure is completely awesome...unfortunately just ruined by the strange angle of his neck ball. Using Duke's torso allows for all of the good stuff to be intact, yet leaves the figure in a more functional state.

I am constantly amazed by the level of improved detail these later figures are able to accomplish. If you look at a typical short-sleeved Joe in the Anniversary line, the arms, wrists, and hands all looked kinda funky and really didn't "flow". This figure is fantastic. His arms bend well, his gloves hold weapons well, and he's got great overall proportions.

Paint apps are also a bright point here. While Hawk is technically a City Strike figure, Hasbro mixes up the grays with some nicely subdued green camouflage to make the figure work in other environments (as well as being a cool homage to the '86 version). With the various shades of gray in the webgear, helmet, and other parts and pieces, you have an awesome urban ops version of Hawk who looks great leading the battle.

I've already mentioned most of these accessories throughout the review, but of course, with the Pursuit of Cobra line I've gotta mention them again, because they're such a big part of the figure's success.

Somewhere along the line, Hasbro finally wised up to the importance of accessories and how much the right weapons make a figure work, and the wrong weapons can make a figure suffer. Well, no suffering here. As mentioned, Hawk comes nicely equipped with the Resolute Beachhead vest, with a radio hooked into the hole instead of a knife sheath (awesome touch). He's got Shock Trooper's submachine gun as well as the Resolute Destro briefcase and machine gun. Interestingly Hasbro seems to have retooled the briefcase, removing the "MARS" logo, making it available for anyone.

The helmet and goggles round off his combat attire, and he's got a trusty pistol (that fits in his holster on his hip), backpack, and assault rifle. In short, this version of Hawk is jacked up. He is ready for battle, and I love it, and definitely like the sense of urgency that the figure portrays. Hawk doesn't get into this gear for just any reason, there is something nasty coming, and he needs to be ready.

This figure is awesome. It's one of those toys that doesn't really have any one "wow" factor, but is an awesome combination of great, solid parts that all fit together perfectly. From head to toe, this is a hell of a nice figure, and while I don't think it will be the shining point of a particular assortment, and I'm not sure Joe fans will think back in 5 years at what a great figure this is, I do think when folks look back on this era, this figure will be one of those that is a pleasant surprise and gets some "oh yeah, that figure was really cool" comments. He deserves 'em.

Like what you see? Buy this figure now at BigBadToyStore!