In honor of the recently released new G.I. Joe film, I'd like to get things back to basics by talking about the real G.I. Joe. The new movie is fun and all, but it just didn't have the charm, wit, or originality we all came to expect from the cartoon and comics. Most of that has to do with the fact that the best characters didn't make it into the film, and those that did weren't really portrayed with much accuracy or fidelity to the source material.
So here, without any further ado, are my picks for the top ten G.I. Joe characters ever:
Here's all you really need to know about Flint: He wears a beret and he's (probably) bangin' Lady Jaye. You could even turn that into a poem somehow if you really wanted to.
Flint is just a good solider, a hit with the ladies, a great friend, and a born leader. He's kind of like the Commander Riker of the G.I. Joe unit. Sure, it would be cool as hell to be Duke or Captain Picard, but at the end of the day, wouldn't you really rather be Flint or Riker? They weren't really in command, but they still seemed like they had way more fun.
Stalker almost doesn't fit in G.I. Joe because he's, like, and actual soldier or something. There's just something believable about him, as though he actually belongs in US military operation. I suppose it helps that he's wearing a normal enough costume and actually has talents and specialties that make him sound like a real soldier. No gimmicks here, he's just a real, old fashioned solider.
Stalker would've been perfect for the new G.I. Joe film, and I can't help but daydream about how awesome Wesley Snipes would've been. And now, you will too. Here's hoping the people writing the sequel are reading this blog.
8. Bazooka and Alpine
Taken on their own, both of these characters are likable enough, but not really all that special all things considered. One is a guy who's really good at climbing stuff while the other one carries around a, um, bazooka. I'll leave it to you to figure out which is which.
But for some reason the writers of the TV show made these guys into a brilliant comedy team who had some of the best moments in the entire history of the show. They were just hilarious every time they came on screen.
Oh, and Alpine's real name is Albert Pine. That's just funny right there.
7. Gun Ho
Gung Ho's specialty is that he's a Marine, which makes one wonder why he isn't in the Marines. But whatever. We're talking about G.I. Joe, here, and Gung Ho is one of the toughest and most charismatic of all.
Like most of the Joes, he ostensibly has some talent that distinguishes him enough to be the best in his particular field, but in reality he's just a big guy who's good at beating people up. That's why the Gung Ho stories were always better than, say, the stories about Ripcord. How many times can you really watch somebody jump out of an airplane?
Oh, and he always loved making gumbo for the troops, much to their dismay because he was a horrible cook. Ah, what fun those Joes had!
Fans of the cartoon only probably don't know much about Chuckles, since I'm pretty sure his only real appearance was in the animated movie, and even then it was only for a few minutes. All I remember is him picking up a missile and throwing it at some Cobra soldiers.
But it was the action figure that made Chuckles one of my favorites. He's just some guy with a handgun and a Hawaiian shirt. How cool is that? G.I. Joe has the most lax dress code imaginable. It makes me wonder what Chuckles wears to the Pitt on casual Fridays.
Scarlett is more than just a pretty face. As one of the few female members of G.I. Joe, she's also one of the toughest of the entire bunch. She's an expert in martial arts and uses a crossbow as her weapon of choice.
Oh, and she's really pretty too. If you were a child of the 80s, you had to make a mental choice: side with G.I. Joe because you're in love with Scarlett or betray all of your principles and join Cobra because you're in love with the Baroness. Later, children of the 90s had to make that same choice between Kelly and Jessie from Saved by the Bell. Just kidding. Nobody ever chose Jessie.
From an adult's perspective, I honestly don't know if Roadblock was a racist or stereotypical depiction of an African American. As a kid, he was just a big, strong black guy who talked in rhyme and loved soul cooking. Very few people would argue that all African Americans act that way, though I think the world would be a more awesome place if everybody acted that way. Long story short, Roadblock was awesome.
His specialty was... um... carrying around a big gun. But, honestly, wouldn't you rather have him at your back than, say, Snow Job?
Duke is a born leader. But like the best kinds of leaders, he leads by example, so he's not some armchair general sending his soldiers off to fight and die for king and country, he's right there in the fray. Duke is probably the first solider on the battlefield and the last one to leave. I'd follow Duke into battle, and so would you.
In the cartoon, there was a hinted at relationship between Duke and Scarlett, the hottest babe on the planet. In the original animated movie, Duke took a (snake) arrow through the heart in order to save his brother Falcon... and lived! It'll take a lot more than some snake arrow to stop a man like Duke.
2. Snake Eyes
Snake Eyes is a bad ass, mute ninja dressed in a full body suit who never talks, never shows his face, and has yet to even reveal his name. The Snake Eyes figure came with a gun, a sword, and a timberwolf. That's just awesome.
The cartoon never really knew what do to with Snake Eyes, since the entire concept of a Ninja fighting for the Joes just seemed a little too violent and over the top for Saturday morning viewing, but in the comic book he was really allowed to shine. He was a Vietnam Vet who trained martial arts in the Arishikage Clan, where he first met and befriended Storm Shadow.
Oh, and Duke may have gotten Scarlett in the cartoon, but Snake Eyes got her in the comic.
There's just something about Shipwreck. First of all, he's a sailor... called "Shipwreck." That's just bad ass. Imagine if you got on a plane and you heard a voice over the intercom that said, "This is your pilot Planecrash..." His irony isn't limited to his codename, since every line out of his mouth is loaded with sarcasm, put downs, or some other form of witticism. He's just a jaded, battle-hardened soldier who's seen everything and come out alive.
And he made it to G.I. Joe so he must be, like, an incredible sailor too. But Shipwreck was so bad ass, he almost never even set foot on a boat. They always sent him to the desert or the North Pole or any other damn place where Cobra needed a good ass-kicking.
Oh, and he's always accompanied by his talking parrot named Polly, who's an even bigger jerk than Shipwreck.