This is the Sit-Rep, soldier, the Situation Report! It's here where we get the intel on the new troops, talk to the big brass, and generally do anything else
that isn't in an archival capacity! So what are you waiting for? It's time for your debriefing!
I suppose fandom wouldn't be "fandom" without something to freak out about, and the "freak out" of the moment is Matt Trakker. While MASK was a nice part of toy history around the same time as G.I. Joe was going strong, I don't think too many people tied the two together or made any attempt to rationalize the two universes co-existing. I find that kind of strange, especially based on the fact that so many folks want to shoehorn G.I. Joe and Transformers together. To me, I think the MASK/Joe combination universe makes a lot more sense. Highly advanced technological devices, a pair of top secret teams (with one of them named "V.E.N.O.M." even!), I could easily see the two co-existing.
The biggest complaint I see online is that Matt Trakker is taking up some mythical "slot" that a more valid Joe character could occupy, but I'm sorry I don't really buy that. If there are any characters that Hasbro is intent on doing, they will get done regardless of whether or not Matt Trakker takes up a single spot in a single wave, amongst 11 waves released to date. Just because Matt Trakker is here doesn't mean at ALL that someone like Recondo, Low Light, or Wet Suit will never ever been seen. This figure is an Easter Egg, and a very cool Easter Egg, plus it also manages to incorporate a somewhat new concept into the G.I. Joe universe, something that, in my mind, has been somewhat lacking in the Anniversary line to date. I mean, sure the whole point of the Anniversary line is to celebrate the past, but G.I. Joe wouldn't have survived for twenty-five years in the first place if it only relied on what it had already done in the past. Let's move forward and find some cool new concepts, and in my mind, Trakker fills that niche nicely.
G.I. Joe is fairly littered with computer experts and technological wizards, from Hi-Tech to Hard Drive, Hacker, Mainframe, etc... but really, who serves as their vehicle engineer? Sure, Clutch is a great driver, as are many other Joe vehicle drivers, but who really is the man behind the scenes who comes up with the concepts behind such vehicles like the Rolling Thunder, the General, or even the JUMP jet packs? This is a hole in the Joe team that Matt Trakker fills really well, plus he also ties the two universes together and it works very well.
From an actual figure perspective, I find myself liking this figure more than I thought I would. While I liked the idea of Matt Trakker I wasn't wild about the Ace body, so I didn't think this would really rock my world, but I really changed my mind once I got it in hand.
Proportion-wise, this figure is great with the larger head, it doesn't look nearly as wonky as it did with Wild Bill and his scrawny head, and I really like the new lower arms. That head sculpt is really, really nice as well. It's got a determined stare that really gives him some character. It would have been easy to just slap a head on there and call it Specialist Trakker, but instead they gave us a terrific, intricately sculpted and well-detailed head that looks awesome. This particular figure I have is a bit scuffed up unfortunately, which takes some of the realism away, but I think that's a specific problem, and not something that's really widespread. I can immediately integrate this figure into my G.I. Joe collection, regardless of the fact that it's from another universe and I'm really happy to have MASK and G.I. Joe co-exist like this. A very neat twist. Pretty cool.
From an accessory perspective, I LOVE what Trakker comes with, mostly because it's an indication that one of my favorite figures and characters is likely waiting in the wings. His webgear is a lot more show accurate than I thought it was originally, and despite all of the complaints about his "choke collar" you can see a strap going up under his chin on the animated model as well. While the chestplate isn't exactly what it looks like in the cartoon, I still think it looks cool and works. The mask looks pretty cool, too, even if it's not 100% accurate to the show and old toy.
But what really gets me smiling is the helicopter backpack and the machine gun, because these are both pure Annihilator goodness, and that's a figure I'm REALLY looking forward to. I'm a huge fan of the Iron Grenadiers in general and Annihilator is an awesome vintage figure, and I can only imagine how cool it could be in the Anniversary style. I love the backpack, and the fact that they made it in colors reflective of the Condor helicopter in the original MASK line is just another great homage in a long list of great homages this series has given us in the past year and a half. This figure gets a lot of folks in a rage, but I love it, I encourage it, and I can't wait to see more new concepts come down the pipe in 2009. That doesn't mean I hate the vintage rehashes, but every once in a while even a retrospective line needs a breath of fresh air. Matt Trakker is a welcome one.