Blackout - Figure Subscription Service (Wave 1)

I gotta admit, when this figure was first revealed as the mystery 13th figure, and some initial reactions were actually "I don't know who this even is" I might have died just a little bit inside. Granted, I know the 25th Anniversary brought in a huge number of additional fans in 2007, and for that reason I'm endlessly appreciative. Online conversation about the brand might have died out completely if not for this influx of new blood.

But folks who haven't spent at least a little bit of time researching the recent past of the Real American Hero brand are doing themselves a serious disservice. So many of the complaints people have these days (no tie-in media, no over-arching story, bad filecards, no filecards, etc...) were not even a consideration back in the early years of the 21st Century. Hasbro went to great lengths to market and "sell" the brand through their toyline, weaving an interesting story based on the annual theme, whether it be Spy Troops or Valor Vs. Venom. I can appreciate old school fans being attached to a nostalgic look and feel, but folks who forgo all else just for the sake of being reminded of their past are leaving no room for the brand to grow.

For those who aren't familiar, back in the Spy Troops era of G.I. Joe (2003 - 2004) we were introduced to Dwight and Thomas Stall, two brothers who formed a conflict based on sibling rivalry which grew to force them both to each side of the G.I. Joe vs. Cobra conflict. Their sister Bombstrike got caught in the middle, and the result was a pretty neat little "story within a story" that developed the characters in very interesting ways. Devils' Due took that ball and ran with it as well, developing Blackout even further into a former G.I. Joe recruit who failed during a mission, causing the death of another green shirt. This dynamic drove him into Cobra's grasp, where he developed into a member of the Plague.

Looking over the past 10 years, it's pretty easy to see that Barrel Roll and Blackout are pretty focal characters, and do deserve their place in a modern toy line, even if some might argue Blackout's spot as the 13th figure.

The figure itself is actually executed pretty well in my opinion. Certainly re-using the Spy Troops head only modified for the new construction style might rub some folks the wrong way, considering a noticable lack of detail in the sculpting between then and now. Personally? It doesn't bother me, and it's not nearly as noticeable as a figure like Iceberg, which look exceptionally dated amongst his peers. Blackout's unique facial sculpt is maintained this way and I couldn't be happier for that. They even managed to do a better job painting his eyes.

Using the body and arms from the Rise of Cobra Sgt. Flash and G.I. Joe: Resolute Zartan, the mold is pretty streamlined, but also has great range of motion, with the forearm gauntlets that are nicely reminiscent of the original version of the figure. Instead of using the Flash/Zartan legs, Blackout uses G.I. Joe: Resolute Snake Eyes, which makes a nice difference height-wise, not leaving this figure nearly as short as the other two. I've read some complaints about the color scheme, mostly saying that it's a bit boring, and I guess I could agree with and silver isn't quite as exciting as some other color combinations we've seen in the first run of the FSS. But, they're just mimicking the color scheme of the new sculpt version, and I think it works fine. A mostly black uniform with silver boots and silver gauntlets, the colors are understated but work nicely to match the older rendition.


The primary accessory for Blackout is the same chest armor that came with G.I. Joe: Resolute Zartan, and in my mind, this works quite nicely. I'm a big fan of the look of that armor anyway, and it works really well for Blackout, too. His primary weapon is the same sniper rifle that this version of Zartan came with as well, and I love this, too, though I wish the trigger guard had been just a tiny bit larger so the trigger finger could fit more seamlessly inside.

Blackout has the G.I. Joe: Resolute pistol, as well as the same bullet pack, phone, and scope that came with Pursuit of Cobra Low Light, giving him a nice depth of gear and added flexibility for purpose. To round things off, he has the same scope that the original Blackout came with as well, which I really like, too.

I've seen a surprising number of complaints online about Blackout...and I just don't get it. I love the character, and I think their modern take on him works surprisingly well. For people complaining about a lack of color, is there really much less color here than say... Cover Girl, who is mostly brown and tan? At the end of the day, for those of us who were active and interested during the new sculpt era, I think this is a terrific bone to throw us and I love seeing some attention paid to that series of figures. From Barrel Roll to Blackout, and with the FSS 2.0 we're getting Skullbuster and Widescope. I'm pretty ecstatic about that.