I know, I know… it’s about damn time! Yes, yes it is. But, the way I look at it is we waited over 30 friggen years for a Billy figure, what’s another couple of weeks to get the review done?
But it is done! I’ve got full blown text reviews as well as YouTube video reviews all polished off for both Billy and the Interrogator, two characters that are very near and dear to me, and two characters I was greatly looking forward to. One of them mostly meets my expectations, while the other falls a little short.
This feels like it should be a momentous occasion, and in truth it is. As rumors swirl around us about what the future holds for G.I. Joe, and as the years have marched on, that long list of figures that needed to be done slowly dwindles.
In the early 2000’s we finally got our Oktober Guard (then again from the Club a handful of years ago). Several years later, again courtesy of the Collectors Club, we got our Dr. Venom. Another couple of years after that, Kwinn finally appeared in the Retaliation line of all places. Now this year the Club hands us both Pythona and Billy, all while standing on the precipice of their own final surge with the Hasbro license. Something about it seems almost poetic.
Ever since his first appearance in G.I. Joe #10, curiosity has surrounded the character of Billy. Though we didn’t find out he was COBRA Commander’s son until Destro pointed it out in issue #38 (I believe…). Shortly thereafter, Billy was taken in by Storm Shadow shortly before being caught in a rocket attack and gravely wounded. He managed to escape with a lost eye and leg and rejoined Storm Shadow, becoming immersed in the Arashikage culture and greatly evolving his ninja prowess. Devil’s Due took the ball and ran with it where Billy was concerned, bringing him on to act as a foil between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, and that’s where this version of Billy comes in.
I’m really happy that the Collectors Club elected to go with this more combat ready version of COBRA Commander’s son rather than a boy scout or another iteration of the ’84 Storm Shadow. This is how he appeared in the Devil’s Due comic, and this is really where his training came to play, in my mind. His appearances in this guise in Devil’s Due were some highlights of that run, and I’ll remember that Mike Zeck penciled 21st issue very fondly.
The Club made some interesting choices with this figure. His head is a new sculpt, because it pretty much had to be, though doesn’t appear to be Boss Fight’s work. Most of the figure is based off the Rise of COBRA Snake Eyes, which is okay, I suppose, and that figure actually ends up being sculpted a bit smaller than more modern figures, so it makes sense for a younger operative. I will say the arms and torso don’t blend together especially well, and the shoulders look very “ball” like compared to some smoother flowing parts.
Speaking of his arms they’re the short sleeves that we saw with many figures throughout the Retaliation era, I believe, rounding off the t-shirt look. Colors here are very straight forward, with a simple black for the t-shirt and olive drab for the pants. They are plain colors, but match the comic look, so I can’t complain too heavily. Overall, it’s an effective design that is relatively comic accurate and blends nicely with other PoC era figures as well.
They didn’t load Billy up with too much gear, giving him a submachine gun, sword, grappling hook, and the same sheath/strap that the original Snake Eyes had, which holds his sword (though just barely). Billy doesn’t need a whole lot of gear, and the weapons he comes with here do make some kind of sense.
Fans have been waiting for Billy for a very long time, and I’m glad that the Collectors Club was able to get this figure out to folks before losing their relationship with Hasbro. As I said above, it seems almost poetic that as the Club is forced to halt this product, they’re checking off a bunch of desires that the fans have been asking for. It makes me pretty excited to see what might be planned for the real last hurrah of FSS 5.0.
Check out the video review here:
FSS 4.0 Billy
While not a perfect figure, the combination a newly sculpted head and decently chosen parts to form a more diminutive figure results in a nice version of Cobra Commander’s son that should fit well into anyone’s collection. Yes, overall the figure doesn’t really “wow” me, but it’s a very solid figure of a character in very high demand that the Club executed relatively well. It’s the version of the character I wanted, it has some really great articulation, and I find myself with few overall complaints.
At any given time throughout 2015 it felt like a pretty slow news year for G.I. Joe, but as always, when you stop and look back, suddenly things don’t look quite so small.
Granted G.I. Joe product at retail was pretty much focused to a singular burst in late summer as the 50th Anniversary exploded, then faded, even though we got Convention product and FSS figures earlier in the year. With all that being said, it still feels like there were plenty of “banner moments” in G.I. Joe news for the year that was.
News was breaking right up until the last moment, and I’m actually a bit worried that if I post this prior to December 31st I might end up missing something!
Click the “read more” link below to check out the full list!
It’s been nearly 30 years since he first appeared in the Marvel Comics, a young member of the Cobra youth. He evolved quite a bit since his first appearance, attempting to assassinate his own father, Cobra Commander, losing limbs in a rocket attack from Scrap Iron, and eventually falling under the tutelage of Storm Shadow.
Throughout the years, Billy has become one of the most critical pieces of the G.I. Joe comic book mythology, yet he has never had his own action figure.
The Collectors Club revealed their final FSS IV installment today, and it’s none other than Billy himself, for the first time ever. Representing his commando look from the Devils’ Due comics (YES) Billy looks pretty darn good. A very basic build with an exciting new head sculpt, but I think it works remarkably well. This will fill a big hole in comic fans’ collections.
Check out the mirrored image below, and don’t forget to hit up GIJoeClub.com by midnight on July 15th to sign up for FSS IV!
Now that Billy has been revealed, check out the full line up below!
His name comes up all the time on most fans “most wanted” lists, and unlike a figure like Pythona, you would think Billy could be done relatively easily with many existing parts. So what’s stopping someone like the G.I. Joe Collectors Club from doing it?
According to the Q & A at last year’s JoeCon (and it seems like every year’s JoeCon) the Club doesn’t know what version of Billy the fans might want. The Boy Scout assassin version (no thanks)? Storm Shadow’s ninja apprentice? A Devils Due-esque version in military gear and long hair? Where do you stand?
Well, if you’re a member of the G.I. Joe Collectors Club, skinny has put up an unofficial poll to gather some fan consensus about what version of Billy we might want to see. It’s pretty well known that the Club pays attention to fan requests, especially at their site or on their forums, so you should definitely check out the forums, and place your vote.
You never know, you might help shape FSS 3.0 or 4.0!