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Wave 4, 2008 Cartoon 2-for-1 review: Cobra Commander w/ MASS Crystal (v31) and Baroness (v10)

Today, you're getting a two-for-one. Why? Because both of these figures take their inspiration from the original G.I.Joe mini-series, The MASS Device!

First, let us look at Cobra Commander (v31).

Cobra Commander is a single-card figure, sharing the same card as the 2007, wave 4 figure. In this new assortment, as in the previous one, the anniversary silver foil has been replaced with typical white trim and the 25th anniversary logo has been replaced with an icon stating the source material for the figure's inspiration - in this case, from the cartoon.

Basically, this is the exact same Cobra Commander as we last saw in the boxed set and in wave 4, 2007, but with a few added details. First, the famed Commander is in a deeper blue color, which isn't exactly cartoon-accurate, but it works. There are little touches of detail like the red trim on the cuffs of his black gauntlets, buckles, belts, a somewhat small Cobra Sigil on the chest, and bronze paint on the back of the storage/charging area for the Venom Laser pistol (seriously, that's what that hair-dryer thing is called).

But there's one item that really gives this version of Cobra Commander something unique - his signature silver stripe on the helmet. This is the one thing that has driven me crazy since 1982 - every single helmeted Cobra Commander in 25+ years has had that stripe depicted in every medium imaginable, (cartoons, comics, trading cards, package art, etc.) and it was NEVER - EVER - included on the figure. Even the first several 25th anniversary figures neglected this detail and it always drove me insane. [Editor's note: the "stripe" is actually the cover for a block of plastic explosive built into the Commander's tamper-proof helmet, a key story point to the entire concept of the character]. But finally - FINALLY - Cobra Commander has his trademark detail.

About time, Hasbro!

As for the accessories, Cobra Commander comes with his Venom Laser pistol, display stand, and something very, very cool - the MASS element radioactive crystals and containment cylinder for the MASS Device! The crystals attach to the MASS Device console that will be included with the first DVD and figure set (1 of 5). So if you want to build the ultimate G.I.Joe accessory/mini-playset, you need to have this Cobra Commander!

By ever measure, this Cobra Commander surpasses the 2007 version in every way with great accessories, great details and a part for the best accessory around. You need this MASS Device inspired Cobra Commander!

My final thought - this is a terrific Commander, but not the most cartoon accurate one on the block. If you crave accuracy, I recommend the version from the Toys "R" Us Cobra Command 3 pack (whom I'll review some time down the road and soon).

Now, on to the Commander's chief intelligence officer, The Baroness (v10).

The Baroness comes to us in her original, pre-1984 blue colors; much more Cobra-looking and a brighter departure from her traditional black leather. This isn't the first time we've had a blue Baroness (1997 and two 2004 figures gave us three other attempts) but this is the first time we've seen one inspired by the cartoon.

The Baroness is on a single card and features the original 1984 card artwork, retouched to mach the new blue color scheme, and all of the card changes like those found on Cobra Commander.

The included accessories are very basic - a submachine gun and a display stand. What I find odd is that the card artwork features the Baroness brandishing a knife, which was included with the previous version (v9), but not this release. Odd.

Baroness uses the exact same body as the previous version, except in a medium-bright blue with black thigh-high boots and gloves, and a small silver Cobra Sigil. She also features yellow highlights on the neck/collar, non-functional holster with sculpted pistol and yellow trim on the belt. But there's something more important than any of these details, the Baroness has an all-new head sculpt!

I'll be brutally honest, I hated the previous version's head sculpt. It looked like a mask - a very terrible, flat, featureless mask with cartoony looking eyes and glasses.

The new head is a remarkable improvement. First of all, the face is not flat like the previous one, and secondly, the hair and glasses are very accurate to the Baroness' portrayal in the MASS Device cartoon. It's a great sculpt with lots of detail and a terrific likeness.

But a great head does not necessarily make a great figure. Because the Baroness is completely reusing the version 9 body, it is missing all of the details that make the character model different from the more familiar black leather costume. It's sad, because this figure is neither cartoon nor comic accurate and so it loses a lot of points with me.

The Baroness is a great improvement over the last version, but considering she is simply a repaint with a new head, I think the concept of being cartoon accurate is over-reaching the limitations of the body sculpt and the figure falls short of the goal line.

Still, the Baroness looks great in a cartoon themed display and is a must-have with the rest of the MASS Device themed figures and accessories. If you see this one hanging on a peg, get it, you won't regret it and I doubt that we'll see this figure carry over into another wave.

Archive entry:
Baroness (v10)
Cobra Commander (v31)

Editor's Note:
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More action shots:

Images from the collection of: David Yeh

Figure courtesy of Brian's Toys - get your Baroness, Cobra Commander and many more at Brian's Toys!

Be sure to enter the BriansToys.com 25th Anniversary G.I. Joe Wave 7 Giveaway for your chance to win a full set of 25th Anniversary G.I. Joe Wave 7!

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