2005 Comic Pack #7 Stalker

2004 was a year that Hasbro really began to do things that on the surface would would appeal to collectors. The main G.I. Joe line was taking a turn into an odd, and not particularly good Sci-Fi realm, which featured a lot of strange Animal based COBRA figures, and even more damaging, “Action Attack” a bunch of gimmicks added to figures to give them features that would result in a decrease in articulation, and an increase in frustratingly good designs being wrecked so that magnetic swords and bowleggedness. I’ve always believed that a fundamental change in articulation is always the first step towards the grave for whatever G.I. Joe line is on the shelves. It happened with Ninja Force and Armor Tech. It happened with Action Attack, and it happened again in the Modern Era when all of a sudden vehicle drivers have less articulation than figures from 1982. It’s a fact.

At the time, the new head sculpts for the comic pack figures were heralded as incredible improvements over the originals. Time hasn’t been so kind, as things overlooked, like size, have been looked at again. I will say that the best looking of the new Comic Pack head sculpts, was that of Stalker.

While they might be more modern looking, these heads had A LOT of issues, the most noticeable being the fact they’re all so damn small. There’s another possible issue from these heads, and that’s the likelihood they’re responsible for causing cracks to form in the figure’s chest plates. I’ve only seen the cracks develop on figures that received new heads in the Comic Pack era, so that’s the only thing I can blame them on.

05Stalker2

From a distance, this is a good figure. The colours are good, the sculpt looks like Stalker, and there’s enough details painted that he looks like high quality figure. Unfortunately upon closer inspection, the mirage wears off. His head’s small, his waist and legs are a poor fit for his body, and the overall quality shows that Hasbro was starting to skimp on G.I. Joe, probably due to it’s slow down at retail.

Stalker uses the typical Comic Pack OG13 build, of the Grunt torso and arms, an ’86 Roadblock waist, and the Talking Battle Commanders Hawk legs. This Stalker is probably the best that set-up ever looked, as he’s got the camouflage that really hides the awkward parts fit, and this version is a much better green that the issue #3 Stalker. The yellow used for the webgear seems more muted than some of the earlier uses in the Comic Packs, and the red collar on the sweater is a great touch.

This is a figure where the intentions behind it are excellent, they’re just bungled horribly. When looking back on the 2000s, I sometimes question how interested in G.I. Joe the design team actually was. I think a lot of it viewed G.I. Joe as a way to show that they might be capable of doing an Energon era Transformer or a prequel Star Wars figure. The Comic Packs would’ve been an opportunity for a true Joe fan to at least find some parts that meshed better than “Roadblock parts for everyone!”

This Stalker came in a 3-pack with two October Guard figures, and issue #7. It was one of the better Comic Packs in terms of providing something worthwhile, most had something wrong with them, but the October Guard sets weren’t. Honestly, if Hasbro had actually listened to what fans were griping about in regards to the Comic Packs, they wouldn’t have messed them up so quickly. The sameness of the sets were called out immediately, because fans knew that a MULTIPLE green sets was a recipe for disaster, and that a lot of the issues chosen weren’t great. Had the first wave been Issue #1, #21, #49 (with maybe slight modification to #1’s line-up), then followed up with the Civil War issues, and the the third wave being #6, #7 and # 101, you’ve got a far more diverse and likely to succeed series, on the shelves.

Issue #7 is the 2nd part of the first two-part storyline in the Marvel G.I. Joe comic, it’s one of the better issues, and features one of my favourite scenes in the entire comic, where Stalker laments the untimely demise of his beret, as he’d “Just got it nicely broken in, too”. It’s one of those scenes that added a bit of character to Stalker, and also took what had been a fairly serious story and added a bit of levity to it. Another note that is more often than not ignored, is the fact that actual concept for Issues #6 & 7 was developed by Herb Trimpe, who I don’t think could really write good issues of G.I. Joe, but had very solid story ideas, and probably should’ve been used in that capacity more often. In the first 10 issues, 3 of the best stories were his ideas.

For a Stalker in the classic get up, this is a pretty good figure. Stalker’s a good character, so even the weakness of the overall figure is hidden by that. This is probably the third best Stalker figure in that design, so he’s not champion the ’82 or the ’97 is, but he’s better than the Comic Pack #3 figure.

This entry was posted in Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to 2005 Comic Pack #7 Stalker

  1. Mike T. says:

    Couldn’t agree more about this figure. Sure, he was fine. But, there was already another figure with this same mold that was pegwarming around the country and had just been clearanced in many markets. Had they done a more diverse group of figures, these might have done better.

    This wave was saw a truncated production run. They were very available for about a month. But, then, they disappeared. There were too many Wave 1 & 2 figures left over and retail didn’t want these. Now, you see stupid prices on Oktober Guard figures but this Stalker is left behind.

    The Vietnam Stalker is probably the best use of this head. But, three Stalkers in about 18 months was sooo much overkill. And, now that we know how many molds Hasbro actually had available, these comic packs seem even worse.

    Some Hasbro designers of the time openly admitted they hated the ARAH style figures because working on such old designs wasn’t good for their resumes. They resented vintage Joe fans just as much as the club guys did. The club came around because it was the only money to be made. Hasbro let the brand die on the vine while they kept trying with the JvC sculpts. (And, to be fair, Joe was hugely popular in 2002 and 2003. Stores couldn’t keep figures on the shelves in late 2003. But, then, interest just died right as 2004 hit and the line went into its death spiral.) So, that’s probably another reason why these packs didn’t get the thought into them that other figures did.

  2. A-Man says:

    IIt’s an okay figure. f you analyze the comic, this figure was the WRONG choice. The better pick would’ve been Clutch in Cobra disguise. They could still release this Stalker in other later comic packs.

    Diversity in the packs from their launch would’ve been better, but also, they needed Dr Venom, Kwinn, Billy and the Guard in the first 4 waves at least because that’s really why longtime fans wanted these packs. So issue #2 made sense, except….fans wanted tropical Kwinn more. Instead the guard gets short runned and Billy and the bad doctor never got figures…but hey, we got Holo CC (and no helmeted Commander) and a gasmask trooper that appears in one panel in one issue. Also we get Wingfield infiltrator Grunt but no Wingfield…so what was the point?

    The new head problems. Is the soft plastic of the new heads expanding against the hard torso why they crack? Maybe. I’ve seen chap mei figures with cracks from their necks down.

  3. I don’t have a lot of the OG13 comic pack figures just because, as you said, the heads are small. I have Zap and Short Fuze, who I like pretty well. But they’re never figures I grab for photos or to play around with. I’d rather take a picture of a 97 Zap or a 91 Zap.

    Stalker is my favorite GI Joe character, but I was never too bummed about missing any of the comic pack versions for some reason. This figure doesn’t look bad at all, but he’s just “off” enough that I don’t see myself using him. I do really like the comic pack Rock n Roll that uses the Big Ben body, though– the smaller head doesn’t big me as much, and comic pack Lady Jaye’s motorcycle helmet fits him perfectly, which gives him a unique look.

    That first photo with Stalker, Zap, and Short Fuze is super cool. It’s almost a look at ARAH style Joes from a parallel dimension that’s close to, but not quite the same as, our own.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s