MSRP: $145.00 Shipped | 17 Discs | 95 Episodes | Full Details
Presentation | Discs 5-7 | Discs 9-11 | Discs 13-16 | Special Features

Shout! Factory presents G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero - The Full Sunbow Series

Part 1 (of 5) - Presentation and Discs 1 through 4

Even if you think Stephen Sommers is the devil, the Accelerator Suits are the worst thing to hit G.I. Joe since pink neon, and that there is zero chance of The Rise of COBRA giving you even three seconds of entertainment, fans everywhere should still welcome the event known as the "movie year". I'm not asking you to force acceptance of the film, but even people who don't want the film end up reaping the rewards of the big budget feature, and this is one hell of a reward.

Don't fool yourself, without The Rise of COBRA, there would be a less than zero chance of this full series DVD set ever seeing the light of day. Not even RHINO could get all Sunbow episodes released several years in effect, this is the first time ever that the entire library of Sunbow episodes will be released on DVD, so any Joe fan should jump at it. Of course, it should be noted that G.I. Joe: The Movie is NOT included in the boxed set...however, the last spot in the second bundle of discs offers a curious Easter Egg...

Shout! Factory definitely takes this event seriously as well, as the production values for this full series set are absolutely through the roof.

The minute I opened the box, I was almost in awe... these DVD's are packaged inside a full blown foot locker. Faux leather material, real metal trim and buckles, and a very nice embossed G.I. Joe logo peeking out through the top of the lid. This trunk looks great!

As great as it looks, though, the magic begins once you open the lid...directly under the top of the foot locker there is a series of incredible homage images from the cartoon and the comic all embossed in a sturdy clear plastic with various maps, images and scenes taken from the Sunbow series. There is also a spot to hook your finger into and lift up the top, which reveals the two cardboard pockets where the two bundles of CD's are, including all seventeen discs.

Along with the discs, this great boxed set also comes with the same temporary tattoos that Season 1.1 did, and a very hefty Full Series manual that contains information on every episode of every season from the entire run of Sunbow cartoons.

Along with this stuff, there's also a very cool dogtag styled USB Key (1 GB in size) emblazoned with the classic G.I. Joe logo. But it's not just a storage device, it also comes complete with a pair of brand new 8-page "Silent" comics as well. A very neat touch.

But of course, as cool as all of the extras are, these DVD sets are only as good as the discs themselves, and this footlocker comes with a ton of 'em. Seventeen discs in total, with the 5-parters and all Season 1 and Season 2 episodes scattered between them all.

There are so many things to talk about with this full series set, I'm going to break it up into five separate reviews, each one covering a run of the DVD's, getting into a bit more detail about the episodes and the features.

DISCS 1 through 4

Folks who didn't pick up Season 1.1 from Shout! may be happy to know that the first four discs of the Complete Series seems to be almost identical in content to those four discs. The DVD's are broken down as follows (with handy links to the episode guides at the fantastic Sunbow themed website,

Disc 1 (The Mass Device)
1. The Cobra Strikes
2. Slaves of the Cobra Master
3. The Worms of Death
4. Duel in the Devil's Caudron
5. A Stake in the Serpent's Heart

Special Feature: Looking Back with Ron Friedman Part 1 (of 3)

Disc 2 (The Revenge of Cobra)
6. In the Cobra's Pit
7. The Vines of Evil
8. The Palace of Doom
9. Battle on the Roof of the World
10. Amusement Park of Terror

Special Feature: Looking Back with Ron Friedman (part 2 of 3)

Disc 3 (The Pyramid of Darkness)
11. The Further Adventures of G.I. Joe
12. Rendezvous in the City of the Dead
13. Three Cubes to Darkness
14. Chaos in the Sea of Lost Souls
15. Knotting Cobra Coils

Special Feature: Looking Back with Ron Friedman (part 3 of 3)

Disc 4 (Season One)
16. Countdown for Zartan
17. Red Rocket's Glare
18. Satellite Down
19. Cobra Stops the World
20. Jungle Trap
21. Cobra's Creatures
22. The Funhouse

Special Features:

- Knowing is Half the Battle Public Service Announcements: Seven different PSA's that are either separate or can be played one after the other.

- 12" G.I. Joe Toy Fair Presentation from 1963

- Printable .PDF file for "Jungle Trap" script, one of my favorite episodes.

- A nice assortment of vintage toy commercials

I will talk a lot more about the "Special Features" in Page 5 of this weeklong review of the complete series set, so keep your eyes peeled for that, as it will have a lot more information about which content appears on which disc and what to especially look out for.

As you can clearly see, there is an absolute ton of content, though admittedly a lot of it is the same as what was already released with Season 1.1. I wouldn't think that folks who bought the full series would have picked up Season 1.1, though, so it's probably a safe bet that this wouldn't tick too many folks off, especially with the other thirteen discs that are included in this massive series set.

If you want a lot of details on the Season 1.1 release, you can check out my previous review here. Suffice it to say, I'm a huge fan of the five-parters of the Sunbow mythos...they really seemed to capture the "event" nature of those cartoons, putting COBRA in charge, the world in peril, with G.I. Joe to the rescue. It's something that current cartoons don't seem to be able to accomplish, at least not that I've seen recently.

Rest easy, folks who haven't picked up Season 1.1 yet, everything you want is wrapped right up into this footlocker. For people who have picked up Season 1.1 and plan to pick up this one as well, I have to just ask... "why"? ;)

From a Presentation standpoint, this set already knocks it out of the park, and I haven't even gotten to the new content yet!