Well, this is it: I've finally decided to start reposting my old "Alexx Shorts" G.I. Joe reviews. They're the reviews that lead to what eventually became this blog! I'll be posting them in straight copy-and-paste format, separating them with bold dotted lines so you know where they begin and end, and then I'll post some final thoughts on what I think of the figure currently.
For those unfamiliar: I used to take random pictures here and there, but by the time the Rise of Cobra toys came out, I was getting annoying with how much people had been bashing the figures which were clearly better than the previous 25th Anniversary offerings. I set out to show people how awesome they were, and things went from there, forming into "Alexx Shorts", named so because I thought I was going to keep to a short format with a few pictures. I did not do that.
Everyone bought this figure, right? Good.
I'm disappointed that I already used the "Murder Specialist" joke with Bench Press, 'cause Shadow Tracker probably has the Jason "chu-chu-chu-ha-ha-ha" theme following him around. I can't leave this toy on my bedside table without feeling watched. I swear I felt a tiny plastic knife poke me one night....I think he was seeing how effective plastic knives were against human flesh.
...I better hide my exacto knife.
Wait wait wait, where are my manners? Hello, folks! How long has it been since my last review? January? Hey, not as bad as I thought! Well, here we are with Shadow Tracker, the (maybe) literally faceless hunter and wilderness guide for Cobra.
You can tell from one photo that this is a very distinctive figure! In fact, given the filecard, I realized we haven't had this much innovation in awhile! A brand new character and his filecard actually expands upon him rather than just tell you that he's a tracker for Cobra that uses his accessories really well (though, it's hilarious that - with ALL that stuff he's got - the only thing under "mission equipment" is his friggin' net.)
Now let's get to that figure: what we've got today is one freaky lookin' monster.
It's hard to see (and maybe you already saw some pics online of him with his mask removed) but I'm pretty sure he doesn't have a face under there.
I think someone revealed that a skull is really under there, but I don't know if the skull is just to give the mask a freaky effect, or if he really is faceless, in terms of the story. If it's not really supposed to be a skull under there, then at least he's missing important fleshy bits like lips and a nose (it certainly looks like that's the case, if you look close at the pic on the front of his card).
The details on this guy are friggin' awesome. I love the mask, I love the dreadlocks (which makes him look like a Predator, pulling us further into the 80's sci-fi references), and the overall body sculpting makes this guy look like he's just made of muscle and nothing else. Not the big, beefy muscle, but the kind like rubber bands, ready to snap back and knock someone cold with one hand. Just by looking at the details of the figure, you can tell this is a guy who is jumping through trees, leaping at prey (from much farther than you'd expect someone to be able to leap), and going from completely still to a flurry of motion in the blink of an eye. I think the effect is much more impressive without the coat on (and there are other reasons to go without the coat, but I'll get into that) but overall, it's still incredibly awesome.
Now, of course, you may not be able to tell from just looking at the package, but this guy has an absolute TON of stuff.
Look at all that! This guy's a one-man knife store! He needs a trench coat to hang it all in so he can open it up and scare camping coeds (who were TOLD about the horrific past of the wooded area they're camping in, but they just wouldn't listen). Thankfully, Shadow Tracker has a few more spots on 'em to allow for some of these items to be stored...but it's still not enough. On top of that, there are some complications.
First off, he's got a hole in his leg, so that's cool. There are pegs on one of the knives and the bola weapon thingy, so he can put those there, or:
There's the back of him. There's a cool sheath on the small of his back for his little knife, and there's and extra hole on the bottom for the bola weapon. Sad part is that the standard backpack hole is completely covered by his dreads! Technically you can plug the quiver in with his head turned, but then his head is always turned! The only other option I've come across is to use that bottom hole so his quiver is situated lower, sorta at his hip (I swear I've seen folks with the quiver in that position, so I think it looks realistic).
The problem is that the hole isn't very deep, so the quiver could fall out while you're messin' with him (not the same for the knife or bola, since they have slightly wider and shorter pegs, so they stay in). I suppose it's a minor thing for me, since the figure is so awesome, but a G.I. Joe should never have the standard backpack hole covered up. His hair could have been parted in the middle of the back easily, and it seems like kind of an oversight.
The only reason this bothers me more than normal is the fact that you need all the space you can get with this guy: like I said, he's got a TON OF STUFF. I never thought I'd say this, but it's possible he comes with too much stuff! Can you believe that? Me, an accessory fan through and through. It's just, at one point, it starts to get ridiculous. I'm used to everything not fitting on a figure, but if they would have just fixed the backpack hole problem and given him an awesome new backpack that had the quiver built in and a bunch of places to hold all that stuff....well, think of how much more awesome he would have been! He's already freaky as it is, but think of him with a backpack that has ALL those knives 'n things hanging off of it.
Well anyway: that's my gripe. It's just too much stuff and not enough places to put it all. There is an odd peg feature for the spear, but...
...I don't really see the point of it. Another place to put things, I guess. Gets even stranger when the only other option is the bola:
I love features like this, but it just seems pointless in this case. Neither combination adds anything to the effectiveness or coolness of the spear. 'Cause, you know, it doesn't just have to be effective. I'm cool with ridiculous, ineffective weapons so long as they just look cool. This just doesn't cut it, especially since the spear is just so cool on its own.
Alright, moving on! Articulation is great, save for one hiccup in the case of the coat. The collar is so high that it kinda gets in the way of his head movement. It's not terrible, since you can see I've turned his head in my pictures. Nonetheless, they could have shortened the collar and not lost a thing in terms of presentation (especially since I think he looks just fine - and almost better - without the coat on).
The dreads actually don't get in the way that much! They're in two parts - one large chunk that goes down his back, and another stringy chunk that fits on top of that and drapes over his shoulders. With the coat on they only get in the way a tiny bit, and with the coat off they're no problem at all! You get all the cool looks of long hair, without the usual restriction.
Next, the hands have the new joints in the wrists that they've been using: a side-to-side movement for his bowstring drawing hand, and up-and-down for his other hand. They allow for poses like this:
Naturally, the hands are the perfect mold for using a bow! In fact, I think this is the first time someone has made a tiny figure with the ability to do this realistically; the arrow fits right in the fingers, and the arms are long enough (and the elbows have the perfect range) to allow him to pull off a great pose.
Well, more or less. I know he shouldn't be holding his hand like that, but it's so dang close that I don't care.
To conclude: this guy has some interesting things going for and against him. If I wanted to add another gripe, it would be that his hands could be better. While I'm impressed with the ability of his two-fingers-out hand to hold things, his normal C-grip hand doesn't do as well as it could. It's not possible for him to get a good grip on the tiny handle of the machete (though his right hand can do it well enough). One way or another you can get 'em to hold things, but they're not the best hands they've made. On top of that, there's the coat problems and the fact that you've got a ton of stuff to put somewhere, rather than putting it directly on his person and making him even cooler than he already is.
MAN, though...it's easy to overlook that stuff when you have him in hand. He's a ton of fun to play with, even without the ability to totally deck him out in sharp stuff. Without the coat he just seems even more freaky, and his filecard fleshes him out to be this mysterious horror that "tastes his victim's fear in the wind." If that shit ain't cool, I dunno what is.
This guy is simply a must have, even with the minor annoyances. It's funny, 'cause he seems to have a similar amount of annoyances to Recondo, but they don't get in the way anywhere near as much as they do with Recondo. Shadow Tracker is not to me missed. If the G.I. Joe line needs new characters like your body needs blood, then Shadow Tracker is a BUCKET OF BLOOD. In more ways than one.
Seriously, lock him in a box when you're done playing with him.
...and since I can't stop taking pictures of this friggin' beast: Here's another damn comic:
WHOO BOY, was this much needed new blood, or what? Shadow Tracker brought a lot to the table - like, knives. All knives. Past Alexx claimed he came with too much, and honestly, when that happens, I tend to say: "Just use the extra stuff with other people!", but Shadow Tracker just came with so much perfect stuff for him! I still stand by what Past Alexx said: This guy needed a new, unique backpack that allowed you to hang those knives on it, and maybe store the spear on the side of the pack and make a new quiver that hung at his hip. He's so close to perfection, though, that you don't really feel the need for the changes I mentioned.
He still stands the test of time, folks! I'd hunt this hunter down, if he hasn't hunted you already and handed you your own face before you even knew it was gone.