Dr. X (1995)
Would-be world conquerors are an interesting lot. Imagine the amount of work that must go into building a worldwide evil organization, funding a crazy scientist (if you’re not also one yourself) to invent a world destroying device or two (always have a backup disaster) and hire and train enough thugs, mercenaries and miscreants to do most of your ground-level dirty work. On top of that, there’s the look. You need to look the part, whether you’re going for a subdued Blofeld type thing or a more radical Dr. Doom-esque number. Whew. Forget it. I’ll just stick to aiming for a local dictatorship on my block.
Maybe that’s why GI Joe never had an antagonist until late in its twelve inch classic era. The villains around just weren’t ambitious or colorful enough, and Joe had to settle with fighting the Intruders, the saddest attempt ever at alien invaders. Even Big Jim had a better rogues gallery than those yahoos. The only baddie I can think of that would pass muster is Dr. Evil, the nemesis of Captain Action. He sported a nehru jacket, sandals and a big-ass medallion. Groovy. On the UK side of things, it wasn’t until 1981 that Action Man gained an adversary in the form of Captain Zargon, space pirate. Not too impressive.
Flash forward to 1995, when GI Joe’s Real American Heroes had left toy aisles in favor of Sgt. Savage. On the twelve inch arena, Hasbro/Kenner ported over a selection of the revamped Action Man figures. Dr. X was one of the toys that made the trip across the pond. Sort of a cross between the mad scientist and dictator tropes, he battled Action Man in a quest for world domination. He certainly looks the part, incorporating not only a robotic hand and brain, but a lovely mohawk and impressive cookie duster ‘stache to boot. He looks like a punk cyborg Jesse Ventura. Speaking of the hair style, the back of the package touted it as evil Mohican hair. What?! Ouch. How did that horribly insensitive phrase make it past legal, and in the 90s? Shame on you, Kenner/Hasbro.
I’m a sucker for action features, and while the translucent green hand is pretty amazing, I’ve always been taken with his flashing brain and eye lights. This guy should have been around for the Mike Power days. Flashing LEDs beat a simple bionic eye in my book. The action features got crazier as the years went by, with the good Doctor sporting a toxic gut, firing hand, laughing sound, chest missile launcher, and blow apart body. Poor guy. Through it all, he retained his basic bald bruiser look.
I’ll leave with a quote from the one and only Joel Robinson that perfectly sums up the situation. “Well, it’s fun to dream, y’know, but…you can bet that anybody seriously interested in world domination is gonna end up looking like a real snickerdoodle.” Amen, Brother.