G.I. Joe vs. Cobra - Sgt. Stalker

What started out, now 20 years ago, as "Ranger" quickly became one of the most popular characters in the G.I. Joe mythos. The way Larry Hama wrote the character gave him some great personallity, and the thought of him turning his life around from Gang Leader in Detroit to Army Ranger and a Field Commander of America's most Elite Fighting Force immediately gave Stalker some great baggage to work with.

Teaming him with Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow in Vietnam was another great touch, and by the time the comic hit it's 30th issue, Stalker was already a massive favorite of mine, and I would imaging a lot of other Joe fans liked him as well. His popularity must have carried over to the toyline as well, as Hasbro did a number of different versions of him, making him a part of the first line in 1982, and a part of the last series in 1994. He also got a great new version in the Commerative 1997 Toys R Us sets, and now he again gets yet another version here in the big relaunch year of 2002. I couldn't be happier that he gets so much attention, and I couldn't be happier of the figure we got here in 2002...this is an EXCELLENT version of Stalker and makes me very happy to see that Hasbro is definitely taking steps in the right direction.

The minute I saw this guy I was excited. He now has a goatee instead of his trademark moustache, but his beret is still there, and there's no mistaking that face...this is DEFINITELY Stalker. His uniform is basic, yet cutting edge. He's got a light green jacket (but not too light...it's a lot more subdued than early pics have indicated) and nice dark green pants. He is adorned with pouches and straps galore, although he isn't laden by them as were some of the Wave 1 figures. They're used moderately, and placed well. His jacket has a high collar which is a different look, yet it really works for this figure, and I love his elbow/arm pads, they add a nice futuristic touch without making him too out there.

His boots are very nicely detailed as well, although it is evident that he was originally designed to be a non-O-Ring figure. His feet seem prepositioned, although not nearly as badly asĀ Dusty. Besides that, the O-Ring retrofit works wonders with this figure, and while his legs do seem a tad on the long side, you really don't notice it. Best of all, his arms seem slimmed way down and to be honest me meshes with the older style Joes almost seamlessly.

His body is made out of the newer, more rubber material, which is actually nice to me, as it will most likely mean less broken crotches, and less separated arms at the rivoted elbow joint. His hands are posed nicely for either holding a weapon or punching a Cobra Trooper in the face, and overall the figure just comes together beautifully.

However, Hasbro really needs to work on their weapons distribution! Why Stalker comes with two flare guns/hyperdermic needle injectors is beyond me. Sure, his secondary specialty has been Field Medic in the past, but this makes no sense. Besides his backpack, Stalker did not come with a single weapon I will end up using with him, which is bizarre to me, seeing as how Hasbro did such a great job with their Dusty figure.

Again, though, to me, weapons really aren't such a big deal...you can throw pretty much any weapon in his hands, and they all look fine and he can hold them with no problems. His chest and arms are a little to big for him to hold some smaller machine guns close to him, but over all, it hasn't been much of an obstacle for me.

With this figure I can already see that Hasbro is leaps and bounds beyond Wave 1. This makes me very excited to see what's to come and as they continue to improve, I look forward to every new Wave that comes down the pipe. This is the Stalker I see myself using in the future, and I can see him mixing very well with the older style Joes, which makes me very, very happy.