Big Brawler (2001)
The early 2000’s seem to be a forgotten part of the history of the Joe line. In 2000, Joes returned to stores in what was labeled as a special collector’s edition. The figures released in this new line were a big departure from the neon colors seen at the end of the vintage line. This time out, there were more subdued military colors. From a mold standpoint, Hasbro mostly reused bodies, along with a few newly sculpted heads. This was also the first time that Hasbro used swirled patterns of color within the plastic itself instead of paint to create camo patterns, which makes for an interesting look.
Such is the case with Big Brawler. He’s an all new character, yet shares a body mold with Outback, the survival specialist from 1987. He has an odd looking newly sculpted head, which suffers from giraffe neck and looks like Anton LaVey with hair.
Brawler’s file card lists him as a jungle mission specialist, but it also states that his primary specialty is espionage. The character profile suffers from a particularly debilitating form of bad writing usually seen in fan fiction–he’s a male version of the Mary Sue, or super powerful character incorporating every awesome and kick-ass trait the author can dream up. So not only is Brawler a jungle fighter, he’s also a superb espionage agent. Oh, and to top it all off, he also likes to beat the crap out of bad guys at the drop of a hat. To further illustrate his bad-assedness, his bio says that his first spy assignment was to take pictures of a secret spy HQ, but he “improvised” and blew up the entire island. Now he’s seen as a loose cannon. Ya think?
Big Brawler also had three more versions released by 2004. The brilliance was slathered on even more in his third version’s bio, in which it was revealed that he was a psychologist as well as being ranked in several obscure martial arts. It’s a good thing he didn’t have any later releases; he may have ended up as a triathlete skydiving cage fighter lawyer.