2015 Transformers Club/G.I. Joe Club Crossover Exclusives Review – Old Snake and Marissa Faireborn
Available now from both the Transformers Collectors’ Club and G.I. Joe Collectors’ Club stores are the crossover figure sets old Old Snake (With B.A.T. drones) and Marissa Faireborn with Afterbreaker (non transforming).
Although targeted to both Joe and Transformers collectors the characters seem to be obscure enough that not a lot of people are getting the reference. I’ve seen questions (And have answered the same questions) many times across the social media landscape so I though the first part of this article should be a little background.
For those who don’t remember, or who weren’t around when the original TV shows were airing in the 1980s, both the GI Joe and Transformers cartoons were produced jointly by Sunbow Entertainment and Marvel Productions (along with a slew of other licensed properties like Jem and the Holograms, Robotix, and Inhumanoids to name a few). What this meant was that the animation, writing, and voice acting were farmed out to the same groups working on all these different shows at once as they are produced.
In some cases, this lead to little easter eggs like news caster Hector Ramirez making cameo appearances as a incidental character and in other cases it lead to more direct cross-over style easter eggs.
Such was the case in the Season 3 episode of Transformers G1 entitled “Only Human”. GI Joe and Transformers had already long set the precedent for crossing over into each other’s worlds in the comics — but the TV universe, which was always regarded as vastly different, had up until that point shied away from such direct cross-overs. In “Only Human” this more than crossed the line. You can read the full synopsis on the wiki here, but to sum up – an aging former leader of a terrorist organization from the past named “Old Snake” assists some modern day (well, 2006 modern) gangsters with his knowledge and technology to usurp the Autobots threatening their illicit schemes. Four Autobots wind up in synthoid bodies and after all is said and done, Old Snake wanders off into the night shouting “Cobra!” (Though he is interrupted by a pesky cough. Old Snake is of course voiced by Chris Latta who performed the original Cobra Commander voice (in addition to Starscream, Wheeljack, Sparkplug, etc on the Transformers show).
So there is no debating that Old Snake is indeed Cobra Commander 20 years after the events of the GI Joe cartoon in the 80s. To clarify, after the Transformers movie from 1985, the series was time jumped 20 years into the future to the year 2005 for the movie, and subsequently 2006 for the 3rd Season of the show.
Being that the show was in the future, one of the acheivements humans have made was the Earth Defense Command, of which Marissa Faireborn was a member. Although a much more subtle reference than Old Snake, the implication with Marissa is that she was the daughter of Dashiell R. Faireborn, better known to GI Joe fans as Flint. Given the pseudo relationship status of Flint and Lady Jaye, it is presumed that she is her mother.
So now that we know where the characters originated from, let’s take a look at the modern day tributes provided by the Clubs.
This is a fairly pricey set weighing in at about $80 US (plus Club fees) and it took a pretty big risk trying to appeal to both fan groups. From what I’ve seen and from those who I’ve spoken to, the general consensus seems to be that Joe fans aren’t too sure what to make of the Old Snake reference and despite the amazing deco on the Transformers Prime Soundwave mold, are running a bit cold on the BAT Drones as well.
On the other hand, the Transformers fans are eager to get their hands on the BAT drones because of how amazing they look, but not necessarily because they represent GI Joe characters.
In both cases, Old Snake seems to be left out to dry, and to be honest I think it makes the old washed up terrorist kind of sad. The figure is spot on the to character reference. I’m not sure which Joe parts were used in constructing him (Maybe some experienced Joe fans can chime in about it) but the backpack seems primarily as a tool to cover up the molded weapon slot in his bad. The only other weapon he comes with is a piston which can be holstered nicely on his belt.
There have been reports of the backpack being hard to put on but I didn’t experience that at all. It did feel like the straps were being stretched pretty thin though so I do advise a bit of caution.
The set also sports a few Energon cubes for the drones.
While probably the weaker of the two offerings, Marissa Faireborn with Afterbreaker is much less expensive at about $42 US. And it’s always great to see a strong female lead who is represented by her abilities and drive rather than by sexy outfits and damsel in distress status. Which I suppose put her ahead of her time as a character in the 80s.
The toy itself feels a bit flimsy in my hands. I will say that I haven’t really collected GI Joe for a few decades so it’s possible they just don’t make them like they used to. But she does have a wide range of articulation which is nice. The only real flaw mine has seems to be with the paint apps. Her left eye (as you can see below) is kind of messy compared to the well painted right eye. But as with any low run collectible, these flaws are not always easy to weed out of production.
Afterbreaker (who has been renamed from Afterburner) serves the purpose as a prop made to resemble a scaled Transformers character, but he doesn’t transform. And despite being a repaint of a GI Joe vehicle, it’s actually not very good for a riding character. It will still make a nice display piece.
Included with the character is the EDC Jetpack/Flame thrower which looks very nice attached to her back, and a small pistol. I couldn’t find anywhere to peg or otherwise store the pistol so that was a bit of a disappointment.
As you may have noticed, both Snake and Marissa had set aside their differences to enjoy a beautiful day by the pool rather than be shot in some stuffy lightbox. In any case, both figure sets are a success in bridging that gap between GI Joe and Transformers fans and I think these are a good purchase for either.
If you’re not into troop building you might consider finding someone to go in together with on the Old Snake set and both get a single BAT Drone out of the deal. Or two BAT drones or one Old Snake and so on.
With Marissa I doubt you’ll find anyone who will be chomping at the bit for a non-transforming Technobot, particularly since the original use of that mold wasn’t that well regarded in the first place.
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