G.I. Joe vs. Cobra - Frostbite

Ever since I saw those first fuzzy pictures from the San Diego Comic Convention all those months ago, I’ve been waiting to write this review. I’m pretty sure those fisrt surfaced back in July, so for a good five months, I’ve been working in my head exactly what I’m going to cover and what I should concentrate on. 

The good?

The bad?

Should I "promote" these or should I condemn them? Should I even try to make up your minds for you? I figure that’s pretty much an impossibility, so I decided I would do simply what I always do. State how I feel at the moment, as I play…errr…carefully inspect the figures that I try and enlighten my readers about.

I have often written about figures that I know there is a general disdain for (see The Mega Marines) and I do so without pause. See, I am not trying to convince anyone here, I am just stating my opinion and my thoughts as I see them as I think them. Isn’t that what this whole website is all about?

That being said, I know there are many, MANY Joe fans out there, a lot of them as "diehard" as I am, who hate these figures. They absolutely despise them. They’re large and bulky, they’re not poseable enough, the weapons suck…believe me, I’ve heard it all. Now, I will have my say.

First of all, let me get something out of the way: As anyone who reads this section knows, I am a pathetic blubbering fanboy. I like pretty much anything G.I. Joe I can get my hands on. And these, really are no exception.

Are they bulky? Yup. Is their poseability as limited as it seems? Err…yeah. Do these figures, indeed, suck dog? Nah, I don’t think so. Give me the chance to tell you why.

This is Frostbite:

This brings the Arctic Trooper to a whole new level in G.I. Joe. With a nicely detailed helmet/goggle set and a great facemask, he could pass as an arctic troop, and an all around cool trooper as well. I’ve never been a huge fan of the snow-troopers in G.I. Joe, mostly because a good deal of my adventures take place in warmer climates, but Frostbite definitely has some impressive features. 

Now Frostbite is a good deal bulkier than your "normal" G.I. Joe figure, but for him, it almost works all right. He is a snow trooper, who should be well covered and thickly dressed, and this bulkiness really does express that pretty well. Unfortunately, he is a little bit taller than the normal Joes as well, as you can see:


Along with this unfortunate tallness, though comes some really GREAT detailing in this figure. His wrinkled parka, storage pouches and grenade straps all just add the right touches in all the right places. I love the pads on his legs and even the smallest touches on his forearms and wrists really add a nice flair. His fur lined collar is painted just right and I dig those shoulder pads!! As a display figure, Frostbite is excellent, especially for a snow trooper! 

But, like the Neo Viper, Frostbite does have his drawbacks. And like I had guessed, pretty much 100% of the drawbacks fall in the articulation category. 

This is the hot-button issue in the G.I. Joe community, without a doubt. I haven’t met a fan yet who hasn’t thought that this lack of articulation was at least damaging to the G.I. Joe line. Granted, I’ve met many fans who are at least willing to give the line a chance (as I am), but pretty much everyone thinks that we really need the O-Ring back. This figure is a good example of that.

I will proudly display this figure on my shelf, but he really cannot be used for much. For example, the aforementioned shoulder pads, which look really nice and which I really think add some cool touches, unfortunately really hamper poseability. His arms cannot lift straight up in the air, and can only move this close together:

This limited movement makes it difficult to put him in any real dramatic action pose, and can make even the simple action of putting a gun in his hand unnecessarily challenging.

Really, I do have not much else to say, I will let the pictures tell the tale. I’ll say right off the bat, I like these figures. I think some great things are happening here, we just need to give Hasbro the chance to incorporate these cool changes into the figureline. I have a sneaking suspicion (no inside information, unfortunately) that at this time next year, we will be praising the G.I. Joe line, not knocking it down.

I have the utmost optimism in Hasbro in general, and in the G.I. Joe line specifically. I KNOW they have what it takes to make this line successful again. This first wave is proof positive that Hasbro is on the brink of pulling this all together…there is still a ways to go, but I think there are some great things happening here.

In closing, I really think this new assortment of figures is a GREAT start! Their crazy detailing, cool working holsters and awesome new molds really do wonders for the Joe line. But, they do suffer from the bulkiness and lack of poseablitly that every fan has been griping about.

I really challenge those folks who are complaining, though. Do you really hate these figures that much? Or is it simply a by-product of the new figure design? If these figures were JUST as they were, only designed around the O-Ring format, how would they have come out? I find this as the ONLY problem with these figures. The molds are great…personalities are fine. Filecards work well, and although they use recycled accessories, the accessories are not too shabby. I strongly believe, it is the O-Ring format and O-Ring format alone that is prompting Joe fans to hate this new line so entirely. While I do agree that this is a glaring issue that will hopefully be fixed, I do not find that reason to slam the line in it’s entirety. There are a great many terrific things happening in this new Wave, and I think if Hasbro can carry this to the O-Ring format, we will all be thrilled that this line came out.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

(NOTE: The original review for this was the first review done for the 2002 relaunch and I received the figures early through international channels, which is why the format and such are a little different).