G.I. Joe vs. Cobra - "Sound Attack" 8-Pack (BJ's Wholesale Exclusive)

Ever since I first saw pictures of this odd wholesale exclusive, I've really wanted to just get my hands on it, just to see what it was all about. The figures looked like such odd choices that I really wanted to see first hand exactly what this set was about, and what the draw might be.

It's no mystery that Hasbro has gone somewhat "Crimson Crazy" over the past year, throwing red hues on a multitude of different figures, and having some pretty nice results. The Crimson Strike Team was a great set, very popular, and very nicely done. The Wave 4 Shock Viper has some nice crimson shade to him and over the past couple of years, it almost seems like "Cobra Blue" is slowly changing to "Cobra Red". This 8 Pack is no exception, as it would seem Hasbro chose red as the common color for all of the Cobra Troopers to share. Is this a bad or good thing? The results are honestly, pretty mixed.

In fact, as mixed as the results are for the Cobras, they are even moreso for the Joe side of this 8 Pack. It's almost baffling that Hasbro could produce such a nice figure, but some really almost awful ones for the same 8 Pack. But how does it all break down? Read on, and I'll show you...

Let's start off with Dial Tone, the first figure in the pack. This version of the venerable G.I. Joe Communications Officer is very, VERY nice. He is by far the best of the Joe figures, and may even be the best figure of the set. His colors are some nice muted greens, grays and blacks, and all of the colors mesh well together and really compliment eachother nicely. He has the Flag patch on his arm, and his silver webgear works VERY well for him and matches his nice silver machine gun as well. This weapon has always been one of my favorites, and I'm thrilled that Hasbro has started using it more often.

It will also please some of the 2000 versions' nay-sayers that this Dial Tone sure enough has his moustache, something that was lacking on his 2000 version, which evidently bugged people. Well, it's back here and Dial Tone looks great overall! This one may even replace the fantastic 2000 version as my permenant Dial Tone.

From one extreme to the other. This figure honestly boggles my mind. Roadblock deserves to be treated MUCH better than this! Especially since he's such a staple of the Joe universe and hasn't had a figure since the mid 90's. The muscular machine gunner has been regulated to silliness with a bizarre dark blue and gray uniform which makes very little semblance of sense to me.

The color scheme actually wouldn't be THAT bad were it on a better or at least different mold. The tank top mold just does not work for his blue shirt at all, and looks downright silly on our favorite machine gunning chef.

And then we have those strange pants. It's a neat practice for Hasbro to marble-ize the plastic in order to get some different, more interesting patterns, but it just doesn't really work here. The pattern doesn't look like camoflage, it just looks strange.

Add this to the fact that the figure comes with mediocre accessories and that the mold appears very dated next to almost any other mold out there, and you have a spectacularly blah G.I. Joe Figure.

Speaking of blah, here is another version of the '86 Wet Suit, another mold that I will probably never use. This figure is almost identical to his '98 counterpart, and there is really nothing to mention about this new version. It's not necessarily that the figure is bad, it's just...there. Nothing to make it stand out in a crowd, nothing to make it desirable to anyone really, as far as I can tell. It's just basically cannon fodder in an 8 Pack, and will end up right in my drawer, most likely never to see the light of day again.

Not to mention that this figure is a "diver" and yet he for whatever reason has absolutely no gear with which to dive with. Not only does he have no diving gear, but every one of his accessories is horribe, and I can find little justification for this figure to ever have been made. I guess that's all I'll say about that...

Next on the "chopping block" is everyone's favorite mute ninja, good old Snake Eyes. Believe it or not, this figure is actually somewhat neat. His color shade is a nice different "gunmetal gray" type of color, which is a cool departure from the Snake Eyes standard black. As a matter of fact, this figure is remarkably similar to the 2000 version, only with a lighter overall shade and gold where the deep, dark blue was before.

So how does this Snake Eyes stand up to the other version, which is one of the best versions of Snakes out there? Well, it doesn't really. Anywhere that that figure shined, this one just kind of glimmers a little bit.

His colors are attractive, but not as nice as his predecessor...his weapons are interesting, but not as nice as his predecessor...the figure isn't bad, but not as nice as his predecessor. And heck, with that REALLY nice wave 3 Snake Eyes that's everywhere on toy shelves right now, I can't imagine anyone actually seeking this figure out and wanting to own it.

So, while not a bad figure, per se, again, there is little to remark on for this countless Snake Eyes retread.

So you must be thinking...so far, the figures seem pretty unremarkable. Is there any justification for picking up this pack at all?

Actually, yes, there is...and I am just about to present it. The Cobra half of this pack is really quite cool, I think. Yeah, the Crimson theme is way overdone this year, but the colors compliment most of these figures nicely, and I may indeed find some uses for the bulk of these Cobra figures in my universe. To see exactly who deserves a place in my world, keep reading...

Okay, what I was just saying about finding places in my universe for the Cobra figures? Strike that for this guy. The BJ's Firefly is just one fugly looking figure. The red is still an interesting hue, but those gold gloves and boots just look plain weird. Not to mention he still has his green camoflaged face mask, which looks completely and utterly out of place here.

While what I said about red complimenting Cobra does count for many of the figures and characters, Firefly just isn't one of them. The red hue really does not only not look good on this mold, it completely doesn't fit the Firefly character at all. Bright red is definitely not the color a sabatour who relishes the shadows would be choosing for his uniform color.

If Hasbro had given him black gloves and boots, a red or black mask, and perhaps made him a different character entirely, I might have believed this color choice, but as Firefly, man this figure just does NOT work at all.

Unlike Firefly, though, red looks pretty darn neat on Undertow, if I do say so. While a somewhat bizarre color choice for an underwater trooper, for some reason on this figure it just kind of works. The red is bright. I mean BRIGHT. But still, it doesn't look too bad. They look cool enough that I could possibly work them into my Crimson Strike Team, which will have a prominant place in my Joeverse some day.

Now, like Wet Suit, it seems somewhat odd that Hasbro elected not to include any actual underwater gear with these underwater troopers...but for Undertow it really doesn't seem to make as much difference. I can buy these guys as Special Forces for Cobra, and their gear works as land gear almost as well as it works as underwater gear, which unfortunately most definitely cannot be said for Wet Suit. So overall, with the Undertow, I like this red shade, the mold is always nice, and these figures are actually somewhat interesting...a nice departure from their darker colored former versions.

Now, as for the "Storm Shadow" figure. Well, as Storm Shadow, these figures just plain look silly. Red has NEVER been a Storm Shadow color, and to me, it never will be. Which is why, that these guys will be Storm Shadow's lackeys, the infamous "Red Ninja" from the comic who were never represented well in Hasbro's entire Joe history. That has finally changed (for the most part anyway...)

Now, these figures are not perfect...far from it. The mold is from the Ninja Force Storm Shadow, which is a stiff, unmovable hunk of plastic, almost painful to use. As a result, these figures are also just as stiff and unmovable. The Ninja Force inspired tabs on their waists limits articulation just enough to be annoying. Add that to their strangely elongated necks and oddly proportioned torsos, and you have some amazingly un-ninja-like ninjas.

But the fact that there are now some Hasbro-produced Red Ninja figures available makes me at least a little satisfied (and no, that horrid Dice amalgamation from the mid 90's does NOT count...) and I have some neat little lackeys for Storm Shadow to run around with now that he has rejoined the Cobra fold.

Now this guy would have to be the highlight of the Cobra side of this 8 Pack. For whatever reason, this red color looks downright GREAT on the Fast Blast Viper, but I'm not really sure why.

While I do like unique color schemes, I'm not a HUGE fan of super-bright G.I. Joe figures, especially if it really doesn't match their specialty. But, these guys just seem to work as they are.

But depending on where you find these packs and how much you spend, it may be worthwhile to invest in some. They are slowly being sprinkled around BJ's throughout the country, and you can find them at pretty much any online dealer around. Don't be fooled by some of them charging $35-$40 an 8-Pack, though, this set is NOT worth those prices. If you can find it for $20-$25 or around there, you may want to consider it.

But G.I. Joe Purists may be dismayed...the set is very strangely colored and even more strangely accessorized. You won't find much authentic military background here, so those of you looking for that, keep looking. You rabid Army Builders could snag three different Cobra Troopers out of this set, though, so you may want to consider it more thouroughly. Overall, I'm probably less than satisfied with the set, although there are some interesting pieces and a few figures that I'll pull from it and use on a regular basis. Again, don't pay scalper prices...if you can find these things for reasonable prices, go for it. Otherwise maybe you should save your money for Wave 5...now THAT one looks impressive!!!

Until then, though, here are a couple more pics...