G.I. Joe vs. Cobra - Cobra Commander

While remaining relatively optimistic about the 2002 releases as they came out, getting the new sculpt “O-Ringless” figures at the same time as I get more of the original construction figures, it really demonstrates the shortcomings of the newer sculpts. Not to say that the new 2002’s are bad, they’re really not, but next to the "real thing", they do have their obvious differences. I still think, though, that 2002 was a big step for Hasbro, and the things they’ve learned in relation to sculpting detail and such will carry a long way throughout the rest of the line. This figure is a perfect example of this.

In a perfect world, this figure would have been released with this level of detail and the old construction style. If they had, I would now have my permanent Cobra Commander. As it is, I still do, with the respectable 2000 Version, but this figure would have been a big step up. Instead, it’s a remarkable figure, but one that I cannot use due to its construction.

Let’s start off with what Hasbro did right. The colors are perfect. Cobra royal blue, with some nice gold and gray highlights. Nice muted colors and the perfect ones for an updated Cobra Commander. Also, the mold itself is pretty spectacular, in my book. Some amazing detail work with the hood and the shoulder pads. He maintains his dictator-like appearance from the early days of the comic, but also brings in a shade of a battlefield general, and I could feasibly see this version of the Commander leading his troops on the field.

His adornments add even more to this great mold. The regal gold shoulder pads and the oversized Cobra-esque belt buckle are great accessories. He’s also got this wonderful snake embossed dagger in a sheath on his leg. Even the small additions like the lines on his shins and forearms add something nice to the overall figure. The psuedo-Cobra symbols on the straps on his arms are nice and that "bleeding" Cobra symbol on his forehead is just completely rocking! Overall, this figure really exemplifies the Cobra organization and the Cobra Commander character.

But…(you knew this was coming, right?) unfortunately he is saddled with the non-O-ring construction. His lack of sufficient leg movement really hurts the figure. I am quite pleased to say that his proportions are pretty excellent. His waist is slim as are his legs…but his arms are absolutely humongous. They are literally as thick as his thighs, which makes him look a little silly. Another unfortunate side effect of what could have been an amazing figure.

Cobra Commander also comes with a relatively nice compliment of weaponry, although it’s nothing new or groundbreaking. While the Uzi is very nice, we’ve seen it quite a bit (especially if you bought a lot of the Cobra Commander/Laser Viper packs), and his other weapons are ones I will rarely use. I look forward with great anticipation to the day that Hasbro starts producing new weapons to go with the new figures.

So all in all, I really think Wave 1 of 2002 will be the subject of a lot of "What If’s". If certain decisions had been made differently, what would we be seeing right now? I’ll say right up front if Hasbro ever finds a good compromise between mold detailing and classic articulation, I will be the happiest Joe fan on Earth. As it stands now, I can only look at the 2002 Cobra Commander and think of what might have been.

I really think the 2002 Cobra Commander was a great figure on so many levels, just not on all of them. Here are some pics so you can make up your own minds.