When Super 7 first announced the G.I. Joe Ultimates line, I was really excited. Most importantly, because as amazing as it sounds, in the 40 year history of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero they have never produced animation accurate versions of our favorite G.I. Joe characters. Sure, they tried throughout the 25th Anniversary line with mixed success, but still, it was mostly a tooling-safe deco rather than a full blown figure based on the Sunbow aesthetic. The approach we’ve seen (though so far, just in images) seems fascinating and from what we’ve seen so far, Super 7 could have a decent hit on their hands.
With my anticipation for the Ultimates line at a high, I jumped on the recent SDCC Exclusive COBRA B.A.T. 02 (which ended up coming out before the COBRA B.A.T. 01 go figure) though this version is built more from the comic than the cartoon. Overall, the figure is– decent.
One thing I will warn folks off the bat, however, do not buy this figure thinking you’re getting a larger version of a Classified figure. The Super 7 Ultimates line and the G.I. Joe: Classified line are two entirely separate things for an entirely separate market. I know people love the comparison game, measuring the greatness of one thing by how it compares to another. Don’t do that. Let Ultimates be its own thing while Classified is something else– they serve wholly different purposes and each one does its thing well.
I do find it interesting that Super 7 pitched the Ultimates line mostly as a companion to the Sunbow cartoon, yet this figure is clearly based on the comic version of the Battle Android Trooper that debuted in Marvel issue #44.
In digging into this figure and reviewing the initial release of the COBRA B.A.T. on the Super 7 website, I was pretty pleasantly surprised at just how different this version was.
Like with most releases in their various Ultimate lines, Super 7 eschews heavy detail work for a softer, more “animated” looking sculpt, which isn’t to say its inferior, it’s just different. I would argue it actually takes a very unique skill set to sculpt a figure in this way and Super 7 does a great job. The fabric of the B.A.T. uniform looks drawn rather than built, though the mixture with the heavy lines of metal panels within the artificial limbs gives the figure a very unique look and feel.
And when I say unique, I mean its unique, even compared to the regular release of the B.A.T. The more Sunbow themed version has totally different arms, built with the animated version in mind, where the Rod Whigham penciled Issue #44 features far more intricate metal and circuitry work.
The head of this version of the B.A.T. is also more narrow, while the faceplate is a bit more angular, mirroring that issue #44 appearance to great effect. It’s always interesting to see how comic book colors try and mimic real life colors, creating a blue color meant to resemble black– then to see Super 7 take that color and reproduce it to a more three dimensional figure. Pretty cool effect and it does make it look as though it stepped from the comic pages.
Unlike G.I. Joe: Classified, the Super 7 figures are seven inches tall, so they stand a good deal bigger than their Classified brethren, which doesn’t bother me, considering their aesthetic is so remarkably different they shouldn’t really be blended anyway.
I find myself really loving the color scheme of this figure a lot– the blue mixed with the orange/yellow and that vibrant almost “chrome” plated look of the metal arms and faceplate– it’s a great combination of colors that makes this figure exceptionally appealing. I really just love how the figure looks.
Super 7 is also really well known for their excellent packaging and the Ultimates B.A.T. 02 is no different. The worn, metallic looking slip cover, the presentation of the figure itself within, combined with an awesome back of the package (including file card!) gives this a really unique look.
I’m not a package collector, but stuff like this makes it tempting!
So, I’ve made it clear throughout this review that Classified and Super 7 should not be compared. This could not be any more evident than it is when it comes to articulation.
I’m going to say it straight up – I’m not a big fan of Ultimates articulation. I know why they do it and from a display perspective, it makes sense, but I much prefer the range of motion of Classified figures.
First and foremost, there are no real double joints on the Ultimates figures, everything is single jointed, so as a result the limbs don’t move very deeply. I get why– primarily these are display pieces and the more joints you have the more it takes away from the aesthetics of what is, essentially, a three dimensional iteration of a two dimensional character.
There’s no mid-torso joint here, though I suspect that’s more due to the chest plate than anything, since other Ultimates figures seem to have one. Where there is articulation, it works well, joints move pretty freely and the figure poses effectively, though I will also say the joints feel a lot “looser” than I’m accustomed to as well. Things wiggle and wobble and while it’s not bad enough that the figure can’t maintain effective poses, it’s still enough that I feel it warrants mention.
Again — I believe this is a conscious decision and one that makes sense based on the aesthetic, but it does take away, at least a bit, from my enjoyment of the figure.
Now here is where the Ultimates figure really excels. The COBRA B.A.T. 2.0 comes with a TON of great gear very much pulled from the pages of the Marvel Comic.
There are two different backpacks, the familiar B.A.T. version and a cannister backpack which is unique to this figure and to issue #44, which features Dr. Mindbender using these B.A.T.s to deploy spores in a COBRA experiment. Both the pack and the spores are included here and look pulled from the page.
As one has come to expect from various B.A.T. figures, he comes with three separate weapons attachments, the flame thrower, the laser gun and the claw. Another place I would have appreciated some more articulation is in the claw, though it’s just a static sculpt. There’s also a battle-damaged head sculpt and a spark effect that can plug into a small hole within the chest plate (you need to remove the transparent cover to get to it).
What I really love about this figure and wish Classified would do is the fact that he comes with several other hands that can get into various expressive poses. I really like that element and would love to see that become standard issue in the Classified line. He also comes with a laser pistol and a submachine gun to finish off the assortment. When talking about the removable hands and weapons attachments, I was very impressed by how easy it was to swap those parts out. They stay pegged in tightly, but are very easy to remove without a massive struggle or without feeling like you might break it.
Another item of note — instead of having a peg in the back for his backpacks, there is a hook mechanism that locks into some spots on the B.A.T.’s shoulders which I think is a really unique way to do that instead of just the simple peg and hole.
I said at the beginning of this review that you shouldn’t compare the Ultimates figure to a Classified figure, but I did it several times throughout the review. My bad.
This figure serves a particular purpose and I think it does that well. I do wish there was some slightly improved articulation and the joints managed to be a little bit more tightly fitted, but by and large, I enjoy this figure quite a bit and I’m greatly looking forward to an eventual Wave 1 release.
Super 7 Ultimates COBRA B.A.T. 02
For my first introduction to the G.I. Joe Ultimates line, this figure was great. Somewhat reduced articulation along with joints that were a little looser than I’d prefer tempered my excitement somewhat, though I think the line still has a lot of potential.