Destro changed up his style with this release, opting for a longer, almost safari type jacket done up in grey. We’re so used to Destro’s original uniform, with its mix of Disco and supervillain sleek, that any deviation seems odd. However, this more militaristic look also suits him, and is one that I wouldn’t mind seeing the character revisit. I also liked the rivet head design. which made its first appearance on the previous year’s Urban Comteporary MARS After Dark Destro. Actually, the design here could work well for an Adventure Team era Destro. Maybe James McCullen Destro XXIII was running around dealing weapons in the early 70s.
The issue isn’t the design of the duds, it’s the execution of the construction. It’s been a while since I covered a new sculpt era figure, so if you’re not familiar with the figures of the time, know that the things that look funky on this toy were pretty common within the GI Joe line of the day. Large shoulders, small hands and heads, and disproportionate torsos and legs hurt what were otherwise solid figure designs. Whether it was all by accident or design, who knows, but the era isn’t generally well regarded among Joe fans. I have a soft spot for the time, especially the Valor vs. Venom period, as it was the last major GI Joe push at retail before the recent attempts at using a film franchise to drive GI Joe’s marketing.
To me, the figure construction of the new sculpt era isn’t inherently worthless, if you consider it as a natural evolution of what came before, and what would come later. The toys and the storylines were also pretty fun, for the most part, and there was no shortage of play value during those years. Another positive side of the newer figures came from the softer plastic. The issues of broken figure thumbs and crotches was basically ended. A possible downside is the unknown about how well the plastic will age. I hope they don’t start breaking down and getting sticky like some of my vintage Star Wars figures. How can I face the possibility of a world without an Action Attack banana headed Kamakura in my collection?