G.I. Joe Renegades was probably my favorite incarnation of G.I. Joe of all time. In many ways it felt like G.I. Joe how I would have done it, namely the whole “Cobra is watching you” angle. The show was absolutely fantastic, and it was clear that the writers were having a blast with it. At the 2010 G.I. Joe convention, I got to see the panel that the show’s creators were hosting, and one of them said, “We’re writing this show for us, in the hopes that kids will like it, too.” A great way to approach writing a children’s show in a franchise you love, in my opinion.
I absolutely LOVE the design for Renegades Cobra Commander. It’s a departure from designs we’ve seen previously yet it’s still immediately recognizable as him, unlike his design from the movie. While I liked the design from Rise of Cobra, it’s really hard for me to use it as the “original” Cobra Commander because of how different it is. Plus, I don’t exactly like the idea of the Commander being disfigured. I always saw him as someone who just wants his face concealed. After all, remember what Fred VII said: “It could be anyone behind that mask…”
Indeed, my enthusiasm for the Renegades design mostly comes from how it was executed. Instead of looking like a straight-up dictator, Cobra Commander now looks halfway between “dictator” and “businessman”. There is nothing showy about this design. It’s very nondescript, and looks more like he’d be seen behind a desk instead of some elaborate, snake-shaped throne. I like my Cobra Commander behind a desk, running Cobra like a business enterprise. Something about that seems a bit scarier to me.
Both of the Commander’s facemasks from the cartoon are included; the half-mask from the first part of the series and the more “traditional” full mask from later on. As much as I like the mask from the earlier portion of the series, it doesn’t work for me in plastic. The skin tone is just TOO white, even for something that’s supposed to be cartoony. A lighter skin tone like the 2000-2001 figures would have been far more effective. The “classic”-style mask is a bit better, and probably how I’ll be displaying mine. I actually got the helmet from the DVD Battles figure to fit on it, and I love the way it looks. I wonder if I could find a hat and make an Old Snake custom…
But there is one HUGE glaring flaw to this figure that singlehandedly keeps this figure from being highly recommended, and that’s the coat tails. They are WAY too stiff and prevent almost any movement in the figure’s legs. He can’t sit down or really do anything, which is a damn shame. Maybe there’s a mod out there somewhere, but for now I’ll be leaving it as is…
The accessories don’t have me too thrilled, either: just the snake from the Rise of Cobra figure, a new pistol, and a snake-staff. As cool as the staff is, I much would’ve preferred the cane from the cartoon. The extravagant staff just doesn’t suit Renegades CC that much. The package states that he’s supposed to come with a computer, but I guess that got axed.
Really, the coat is the only thing keeping this figure from getting my full recommendation, even with the lame accessories. He’s really only worth buying if you’re in dire need of a Cobra Commander or are a Renegades fan; otherwise he’s an unfortunate pass. Still, if you want everyone’s favorite terrorist leader, come into FPNYC and get yours!