I often run across the question online..."why do you like G.I. Joe"? Or "What does G.I. Joe mean to you?"

It's pretty safe to assume that if 10 different people were asked this question, you'd get 10 different answers, and it seems especially with the online Joe fandom, some of those answers would be in stark contrast to each other. Some folks like the perceived military realism...some folks like the ninja combat. Some folks like the more science fiction and fantasy elements, while others just purely like the COBRA side of it, and aren't even concerned with G.I. Joe. You get cartoon fans, comic fans, toy fans, and any mixture of all three combinations, and often times these separate groups agree on very little.

But this time around, all those people don't have a chance to answer this question...this is my review, so like it or not, you're going to hear what I like about G.I. Joe. To me, it's always been about "character".

I can give or take military realism. I love having the military/special forces background to the concept, but when it breaks right down, it's all about the characters and the story. I think that's part of the reason why I've enjoyed the comic more than the cartoon in the past. There's a concrete continuity...there was a solid establishing of characters that really defined them and made them more than just toys. I think that perhaps over the past few years that classic, unknown, surprise element got somewhat lost on the 3 3/4" Joe line. The Hasbro team and the fans both started to just look at these figures as re-releases. Just new versions of the figures we've had with no real elements of story or style. This has started to change recently (and change for the better) with the 6-pack releases like the Viper Lockdown set, which start establishing a story...a reason for the set existing as it does. It was this that made me fall for the Barrel Roll/Blackout/Bombstrike conflict so much, and it is this reason why I found myself anticipating this Firefly release so much.

I've heard the purists speak for the past few months... "Firefly's a JOE?! WTF?!?" "Firefly should have gray camouflage!" "Firefly never actually USED fire!"

To that, I simply say... "bleh". What fun would it be if all we got were constant rehashes and re-releases of already established characters? What fun would it be if every single one of Firefly's 20 different figures were in gray camouflage? Perhaps that is interesting to some folks, but honestly, it's not at all interesting to me.

If at Toy Fair Hasbro had revealed a gray camouflaged Firefly with a COBRA logo, people would have said "cool"...and pretty much moved on from there. But showing Firefly in a Sigma 6 suit and hinting at a possible betrayal to come really opened up the character to exploration and interest, and actually generated a lot more buzz and conversation about him than there might have been originally. It also adds something different to the Firefly mythos and really opens up a new chapter in the Sigma 6 universe. Those folks with little to no interest in that universe can't care less, of course...they'd rather be hung up on the fact that Hasbro ditched continuity to try something different. Personally, I love curve balls, and I think this was a GREAT idea, and it's been a whole lot of fun and excitement to me to try and foresee exactly how this Firefly story would develop. I've got my own ideas in the Battlefiles section...but it will still be entertaining to see what Hasbro and Gonzo has in store in Season Two of the cartoon.

But how about the figure itself? Has the months of anticipation been worth it? Read on.

The short answer is, yes, it has.

I've mentioned countless times that I'm constantly amazed with how different Hasbro can make this figures given they use a lot of the same uniform elements, and the same holds true of Firefly. The overall sculpt of the figure is remarkably similar to the bulk of other medium Sigma 6 releases, with the standard "Sigma 6" uniform, but as always, they change up the trim on the suit somewhat to spice up the mold.

First we absolutely must start with the head sculpt. When Firefly was first revealed, he wore his mask, and people only assumed that he was a COBRA, even though he was wearing a Sigma Suit. Did he steal the suit? Was he in disguise? Was he *gasp* a G.I. JOE?!? Couldn't be! But once Toy Fair arrived, it became obvious that Firefly was a Joe, but you could almost instantly see from the look on his face that something wasn't exactly on the "up and up". We were able to get some information shortly thereafter that confirmed that Firefly has a mysterious ace up his sleeve, and in conjunction with a recent interview by the G.I. Joe Collectors' Club, it's pretty much confirmed that Firefly likely betrays the Sigma 6 team in the second season of the cartoon. Now I've already talked about how much I like this little twist on the Firefly character, and I'll tell you this face sculpt is darn near PERFECT, in my opinion.

That cocky, slightly evil smirk...the casual hair style and evil soulpatch...this guy is a bad guy, no doubt about it, but he fits in perfectly with the other members of Sigma 6. You can only put him on the shelf with the Joes and just wonder when he's gonna start pushing them off to their deaths.

The rest of the figure is pretty typical as I've already said. Straight-forward Sigma Suit sculpt, but with some very cool angular shoulder pads that are quite nice. He's got some big, bulky combat boots as well that make him stand out somewhat, and the mold tooling on his shins is vastly different from the other good guys. The additional elbow and shoulder pads also add a new dimension to slightly separate him from his teammates (at least at the moment).

The removable hockey-style mask looks very, very neat, and I really dig that webgear that wraps around his shoulders. The machine gun plugs in nicely to the holes on his back, and he has room for his assorted gear, besides the strange "spin-trap" type thing.

Speaking of his gear, he's got a pretty versatile and interesting array of weaponry that I personally really love. While Firefly has never been a flame or fire guy so to speak, his name suits that specialty, and I think that will draw some interest from the kids. To them his name will make sense and his lightsabre-esque firesticks will give them some great fodder for hand to hand combat. The sculpting of the firesticks themselves is pretty cool, and the fact that they are removable is neat, too. I love that they can plug into the gun "bayonet-style" and the Darth Maul-type lightsabre action is another bonus point. Cliche'd? Probably, but still pretty neat, if you ask me.

He does only come with one gun, which is slightly disappointing, considering a lot of previous pictures showed him coming with two, but that's a minor complaint in my mind.

His aforementioned "spin-trap" is really pretty bizarre, and I'm having a hard time explaining it, but it's nothing real special, and I definitely wouldn't consider it a selling point of the figure or anything. Hasbro tries to come up with some big and different spring-loaded or otherwise activated accessory for these figures, and I guess this is their attempt on this guy, but it's not all that interesting, to be honest.

Firefly's colors I also find very appealing. As I've said military realism is not big on me, so I don't mind some brighter colors, and considering he is a fire expert, orange seems to make some sense. He ends up having kind of a Halloween type of color scheme to him, but when it comes right down to it, I think the colors work really well together, and I like it overall. Orange and black always mix pretty nicely, and standing next to the other Sigma 6 members, he fits in surprisingly well.

Personally, I can see how this figure might cause some controversy among Joe fans...I mean it is a pretty strict departure from the norm. However, considering Sigma 6 is only loosely based on the Real American Hero world, and considering they're trying something new and different, you get no argument out of me. I've been really fired up for this figure since his mention shortly before Toy Fair, and to be brutally honest, I am not disappointed in the slightest. From his cocky grin to the cliche'd firesticks, all the way down to his machine gun, webgear, and kneepads, this is a very, VERY cool figure regardless of what character he portrays. The fact that he stands to play such an important role in the Sigma 6 mythos is just a bonus.

At a soldier price point, no matter what your thoughts are on the Sigma 6 Firefly, I heartily recommend this figure to everyone. Paint him up in COBRA colors if you have to, just grab him, because I have a feeling he'll be popular, and he's a real fun figure to boot.














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