In a way you could say that GI Joe is a descendant of the little green army men from days of yore. One of my favorite memories of playing with the little green guys were the paratroopers. A simple plastic parachute and string turned the regular troopers into death defying airborne attackers.
At the time of its release, the Skystriker was the Cadillac of boys’ toys. The fighter was the most impressive thing in my toy arsenal since the Star Wars AT-AT; the ejector seat with parachute being my favorite feature. I spent hours in the vacant lot next door to my house hurling the ejector seat with Ace attached up into the air and watching him descend safely to the ground, just like his tiny green ancestors. Sometimes the chute failed and Ace made a hard landing, but he always survived. I’m amazed I never lost the helmet. I was easily entertained as a child.
Ace, being part of the first series of non-green Joes, made an impression on me purely based on his look. He was one of the most crazily detailed of all the Joes. While other driver figures simply occupied their vehicles, Ace was an integral part of the Skystriker. Although the cartoon often had every main character flying it, I rarely put anyone but Ace at the controls.
Ace is a most unique Joe figure for his time thanks to his science fiction styled outfit. The Michelin Man look may seem staid now, but at the time was quite futuristic. Even the helmet recalled something more akin to a fighter pilot from a galaxy far, far away.
His use in a collection may be limited to sitting in the cockpit of the Skystriker, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.