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Operation: Rescue Doc - 25th Annivesary Mail Order Exclusive
Review by Terry Dizard
So, as I sit here writing this, the iconic G.I.Joe medic, G.I.Joe Doc, is on his way to mail boxes all across the United States, freed from his Cobra captors – per his ransom note from Cobra Commander. I cannot think of a better character to be the first Mail-Order exclusive for the 25th Anniversary line of figures – or a more deserving one.
As a kid, I played with my Joes based on their cartoon persona, and there Doc was always the guy with the answers – helping Duke remember the location of the Cobra temple in The MASS Device, using the Energy Mirrors against the Weather Dominator in The Revenge of Cobra, or treating Duke’s wounds off-camera in G.I.Joe: The Movie. Doc is ingrained in the mythos of A Real American Hero.
Later on as I grew into the comics, I learned how truly important Doc was to those early years. His first appearance in the comic placed Doc in Alaska alongside the debut of Gung-Ho, Wild Bill, Airborne and Snow Job (for more details, see Marvel issue #11!). But his line when confronting Destro - “the Geneva convention says I can’t fire a weapon but it don’t say a thing about snowballs!” - is classic and completely defines the character of Doc: a guy who plays by the rules, but makes them work on his terms. He remained a part of the Joe team until his tragic death some 90+ issues later. Doc is truly a character worthy of being honored in the 25th Anniversary of G.I.Joe A Real American Hero.
To the figure itself; my first impression, as I opened up the USPS mail box is the white mailer box inside, featuring a hybrid logo for G.I.Joe; a sort of mix between the more familiar ARAH logo and the classic 1960s G.I.Joe head/icon. Once the box is opened, I gasp a little bit as I see, not a bagged figure and a file card – oh no – Doc comes on a fully colored, and foil-coated card! The artwork is as stunning and awe-inspiring now as it was in 1983. Doc’s card comes incased in a clear clam-shell card protector, sealed with clear tape, and featuring two snaps, each with a distinct star and Cobra sigil. The back of the card features some of the figures recently available at retail, with one little quirk, there are TWO Destro portraits shown – undoubtedly this is an error, with the intention being to show both the traditional silver mask (v14) and the Iron Grenadier (v16) versions. Doc features his classic file card with the bio written by Larry Hama.
Once opened, right away you will notice that Doc shares his upper and lower chest, arms and upper legs with the previously released Duke (v23). I find a slight irony to this as Duke, who was a mail order exclusive in 1983 shared arms with Doc, so it seems fitting that the two figures share parts 25 years later. Doc also features a new head sculpt and new lower legs and feet. As a whole, the basic sculpt and design of Doc is faithful to the original with great improvements in detail and articulation.
The accessories are absolutely perfect and are nearly identical to those released with the original 83 figure, but with some terrific improvements in detail. First, the stretcher included with Doc appears to take its cue from the original and features several nice paint applications that makes the details come alive and takes a 25 year old look and gives it new life while remaining faithful and accurate. Doc also features his original flare mortar launcher and a new flare-gun pistol, and medic bag/satchel, and display stand - but the accessory that I find odd is the helmet. At first, the helmet looks the same, except with the new sculpt it looks as if two prescription bottles, being held in place by a band, were painted orange with white caps. While this is all well and fine, I do not recall the two cylinder-shaped objects on the original helmet being medicine bottles, as a matter of fact, the card artwork doesn’t reflect this either. After talking with my associates here at YoJoe, we’re not entirely sure – extra flares? Lights? I guess pill bottles are just as good as anything.
Once he’s all geared up, Doc looks ready for any medical emergency in the field. My only complaint/criticism is the use of Duke’s arms (which, yes, I know, I applauded above). The bicep is sculpted in such a way that it prevents the arm from bending a true 90 degrees and therefore Doc’s arms are limited in their poseability. Also, (yes, another criticism – so I lied, sue me), Doc’s waist still retains the wide sculpting that prevents the figure from extending its legs into a natural sitting position. This will definitely affect your ability to place Doc in a vehicle like the new AWE Striker.
So, that’s Doc. Was he worth tracking down six Comic Two Packs? You’re darn right! Yes, you’re going to pay some money to put the form and stickers together, but no 25th Anniversary collection is going to be complete without Doc. If you haven’t mailed your form in yet – do it now! The deadline is in August, so you still have time to get Doc for actual cost – don’t panic and pay those eBay prices just yet – but hurry!