Firefly is a figure that has always been a favourite of mine. It’s a very strong figure, who managed to gain an incredible amount of popularity, to the point he’s considered a top figure from his year, and this is a year that also included Storm Shadow and Zartan, which is incredible to think about. He’s also a bit of sentimental favourite of mine, because he was the first snapped O-Ring that my mother fixed for me, she did it in an incredibly ass backwards way, but it’s made the Firefly figure a little reminder of her to me.
One thing the G.I. Joe line was great at, was having a mystique to certain figures and characters. There’s an air of mystery to some figures, that generally works for their intended specialty, usually it’s a COBRA figure, like Destro, Cobra Commander or Zartan, but some of the Joes had it too, Snake Eyes for certain, and the dark goggles tended to make Snow Job and Tripwire a little more mysterious than say Duke. Firefly was another mysterious figure. He was clad head to toe in grey camo, and while you could see his eyes, the sculpt had this blank expressionless look to them. He’s a man who wreaks all sorts of havoc, but you wouldn’t be able to tell if it bothers him at all.
Firefly’s sculpt is great, it’s got some heft to it, but it wasn’t unnecessarily bulky. The details in it are stellar too, there’s a fair number of pouches, a bunch of grenades and bombs, that match his specialty. I’ve always really liked that under his jacket, you can tell he’s wearing a commando sweater like the 82 Joes, so because of that reason that always made me think he was just as competent a soldier as the Joes. Despite being done up in a relatively monotone scheme, the sculpt is strong enough that overcomes that. The camouflage provides enough depth to the figure that overcomes for the fact none of his details are painted. The mask wound up being changed to having separate eye holes in the post 2000 repaints, which I think weakened the figure, but the 84 version shows how nice the detailing was, as it’s a similar design to Storm Shadow’s but executed in a different way. That’s impressive considering they were two characters released the same year, and it would’ve been far easier to not worry about ensuring that basic design tropes weren’t reused.
He’s also a figure who’s backpack kind of melds into the figure itself, it’s a colour match and has more tools for sabotage that Firefly would require. It’s also often seen attached to the figure, even if the gun and walkie-talkie aren’t around. I feel that in the end the backpack is more integral to the figure than either of his other accessories.
Firefly’s accessories are nice, even if they’d been overused to the point of exhaustion, as they were always included with his repaints, and sometimes even with other figures! It’s nice to have access to a strong gun, and the walkie-talkie is alright, but they’re kinda ‘blah because of overuse. Because of this, I sometimes give the figure an old Return of the Jedi Luke Skywalker blaster, but that’s partially because in a lot I bought off eBay, it was included and I realized the colour was a perfect match for our favourite Saboteur.
Since Firefly is from 1984, his accessories are cast in green, this is funny because green weapons in 1993 are considered to be a sign of the devil. I don’t mind the green, in fact I think they’re quite striking, and helps change things up from the various black repaints from 1998-2006. The 1984 Green Weapons tend to have a pale or vibrant variant, so there’s actually TWO of those goddamn phones that you need!
As a kid, I remember seeing an episode of that goofy old show “In Search Of” (starring Leonard Nimoy) that was about Carlos The Jackal (“The Most Wanted Man In The World”). Years later I looked into Carlos, saw that he was a successful terrorist, who led somewhat of a playboy’s lifestyle. I liked that idea for Firefly, since he was kind of the Boba Fett of G.I. Joe, in that he looked cool, but never really did anything. The line in his filecard about his fees going to a numbered Swiss bank account, and not offering refunds, struck me that he was less of an ideolog and more concerned with obtaining personal wealth. Though, the fact he’d wear the COBRA emblem, to me, did show some buy-in with the Organization’s ideals. To me, his ninja clan nonsense, didn’t happen, it diluted both the overall G.I. Joe story and the character into too much of a Snake Eyes Soap Opera.
Firefly is a common figure, he was popular, and released in the high production years, he also had a ton of repaints, most of which were fairly blah, as they are either not overly different from the first Firefly, or other repaints. Though there’s also the one example of Hasbro taking a risk with the mold, and he was repainted in fairly gaudy colours, which are terrible from a toy perspective but actually photograph very well. In a way it’s unfortunate that such a great mold, had so many dud repaints, as a few fairly basic ones, would’ve been well received. Still, the fact the popularity of this figure resulted in at least three more urban oriented repaints of the same mold indicates the true quality of this figure.