As if Hasbro wasn’t already creating controversy by going back to the well with the Target “COBRA Island” exclusives, but they had to go and split the fandom over their iteration of Firefly as well. That’s right, everyone, disagreements abound in regards to this version of the COBRA saboteur, yet for some reason, collectors are still beating down the door at Target to get their hands on one.
I will admit, Hasbro’s propensity toward Target exclusives seems dubious, especially considering their choices for characters. Both Baroness and Firefly are, without a doubt, core members of the COBRA cast of characters, yet so far, they’ve both only been available in limited numbers (and wholly unavailable via Target.com). Now, I’m not one of those people who throws barbs and insults and threatens to boycott the line, though I’ll admit, the Target hooplah is getting a little tiresome, especially for those of us who don’t even have a local Target within 70 miles of our home.
Thankfully, in the case of Firefly, someone has been able to hook me up (thanks, John!) but for people who don’t have those connections, I can see why frustration is mounting. At some point you simply either accept the fact that you’ll have to pay hefty secondary market prices, or that you’ll just be content without certain figures.
Granted, Hasbro has already demonstrated (at least with the COBRA Trooper) that they are willing to re-release store exclusives in the mass retail line, and evidently with few enough cosmetic changes that the figure is still highly desirable. Granted, the COBRA Trooper is the only case of that so far, but here’s hoping characters like Firefly (and the Baroness) get similar treatment.
Enough about that– what about the figure itself?
There are days when it feels like perhaps I’m following a completely different toyline that most of my collecting compatriots, especially when it comes to Firefly. I’ve heard no shortage of outrage about his “bomb suit” and how a sneaky saboteur would never wear such clunky armor and how it’s a complete and utter abomination to the spotless reputation of Firefly.
Hmm. Right. Well, I don’t buy it. First of all, Firefly doesn’t exactly have a track record of being super sneaky saboteur all the time. Certainly I’m not the only one who remembers the neon 90’s versions (which were AWESOME figures, by the way, get outta here with that hate) or the fact that Firefly bulked up for his G.I. Joe: Resolute version, G.I. Joe: Renegades version, AND his Pursuit of COBRA version.
Also– I mean– G.I. Joe and COBRA ain’t real world. There’s fantasy here and that’s okay, and personally, as long as the character looks bad ass and has awesome looking “near future” tech I’m generally okay without it being a slavish adoration of the real world or the vintage aesthetic.
Firefly ticks those boxes in a huge way. I really, really love this figure. First and foremost, I don’t see him wearing a bomb disposal vest.. it’s armored, for sure, but it allows plenty of range of motion, with a level of protection he might need just in case one of his bombs blows up in his face. It’s bulky and armored, sure, but I think it looks awesome, and that’s really all I can ask. The layered pouches and dinged up armor plate add some great versatility and character to his look, while his shoulders and hips remain fully poseable.
Head-to-toe, Firefly feels like a terrific evolution from his vintage aesthetic. I am absolutely in love with the head sculpt, the angry sneer, the hint of some sort of scarring, the layered fabric balaclava with a mix of standard gray and camouflage. It all looks terrific.
Beneath the armored vest, his gray camouflage is done amazingly well, given off a real urban camouflage aesthetic. I think most folks can tell that the underlying figure belongs to the previous COBRA Island iteration of Beachhead, with the commando-sweater style sculpt on the chest and arms, which suits Firefly to perfection.
As all the G.I. Joe: Classified figures are, the articulation, smoothness of joints and range of motion is simply fantastic, allowing Firefly to drop into all manner of great poses, either for firing, sabotaging, or whatever else you have in mind.
The sculpted texture really stands out at the larger scale as we see several different styles of “fabric” on his arms and his legs (not to mention the armored vest). The result is a figure that, although is colored mainly in different shades of gray, really has some unique styling that takes a timeless character and infuses him with great modern styling.
If I have any complaints, I’m not a huge fan of the weird texture on the boots, I’m not entirely sure what Hasbro was going for either here or with Beachhead originally, but that seems like an odd, relatively minor quibble.
As I already touched on, Firefly has terrific articulation, even with the large vest he wears on his torso. His shoulders can still move thanks to flexible shoulder pads, and even with the front and back flap of the armored vest, his hip movements aren’t hindered in the least.
Firefly has double joints pretty much everywhere, allowing for fantastic poses and firing movements, making him a really great toy to either play with or pose. Certainly the vest hinders his ab crunch somewhat, but it’s not like someone wearing that vest would be able to bend fully over in real life either.
G.I. Joe has always revolutionized articulation, even from its 1960’s roots, and while the Classified line certainly borrows from Marvel Legends, I think it still takes things to a new level, really blending the articulation with the sculpting to the highest possible benefit.
So here’s another double-edged sword.
Firefly is both made and broken by his accessories, and in my opinion there is so much more good than bad. I’ve already talked about his vest, which isn’t so much an accessory as it is a part of him, but there are other pluses and minuses as well.
Firefly comes with a backpack, a bundle of old school TNT, a tablet control, a drone, night vision goggles, and a pistol. What truly continues to amaze me is the way the G.I. Joe: Classified design team goes above and beyond to make all of the accessories fit on the figure. The tablet control fits into the backpack while the drone connects to the top and the bomb connects to the bottom, all while Firefly holds the pistol and wears the night vision goggles.
The interactivity of these accessories is truly awesome and does a terrific job bringing the character to life. Many complaints that I heard throughout the modern era of G.I. Joe was that in many cases the weapons compliment felt just sort of thrown in. Everyone just came with a bunch of weapons, there wasn’t much uniqueness there.
That all changes here. Firefly comes with gear that feels truly uniquely his (though I wouldn’t be surprised to see it repurposed elsewhere at some point). The fact that he can control the drone with his tablet, pull the goggles over his eyes, etc… is all so great and gives him a wealth of “play value” even though people tell me I’m too old to play with my toys.
That being said, I’m not a huge fan of the pistol he comes with. I’m pretty forgiving with the “future tech” style weapons, but Firefly’s is just sort of– I dunno. It really does nothing for me.
As I continue to say with each of these reviews– the presentation is truly striking. At first the idea of multiple artists felt a little off. But Hasbro has proven me wrong time and time again and Firefly is no different.
Yes, the fact that this figure is only available in limited quantities at Target is frustrating. Believe me, I know. I don’t even have a local Target to shop at.
That being said thanks to the kindness of friends in the G.I. Joe community, I’ve had no issues getting every figure I’ve wanted from this line so far, and I’m thrilled for that. Firefly is yet another fantastic update and upgrade to the classic version who manages to look very much like his old school rendition, but with just the right modern updates.
Bulky tactical vest or no, I LOVE this figure. He’s versatile, fun to play with and makes a great addition to my growing COBRA roster.
G.I. Joe Classified Firefly (Special Mission: COBRA Island)
This version of Firefly is a terrific update from the original. I truly love his accessories and the sculpting, and while the paint applications feel pretty straight forward and not especially risk-taking, they work for the character. Wish he had a better pistol.