Free Fall (1990)
Guess what? It’s a figure from 1990 that I really love. Have I mentioned before that 1990 is one of my favorite GI Joe years? Soon, I will have covered them all, and you won’t have to hear me sing their praises on and on. Even then however, I’ll probably still find ways to talk about them in other entries.
Free Fall is similar in concept to previous paratrooper types like Ripcord and Airborne, but he successfully carves out his own little special niche in my Joeverse, thanks to a word that applies all around to this figure: unique. The entire mold and its accessories are a great breath of fresh air. Even in a year that featured several paratroopers with the Sky Patrol sub-team, Freefall stands out. At first glance, he might look plain, but there are so many nice details like the textures on his helmet, gloves, and boots that he’s become a favorite. For me, he’s also sporting a more combat-ready look than fellow jumper Ripcord.
As a paratrooper, he’s got a look all his own, and I can’t recall his parts ever being being reused elsewhere. There was a reuse of his bio and file name as Spc. Altitude in the Assault on Cobra Island multi-pack, but I call BS on it being Free Fall with a new name, since the figure looks like Ripcord instead of this guy. I assume the reason was that the Ripcord code name couldn’t be used because of Hasbro’s movie Ripcord was out the same year. I understand the need to avoid confusion, but why did Free Fall’s identity have to suffer as a result?
His look is about all he’s got going for him for those who place a lot of stock in comic and cartoon appearances. He’s been a non-presence in the GI Joe comics, and only made a couple of animated appearances. Granny Dearest, a Metal Head centered episode, was his closest to a starring role in the infamous DIC series. It’s as ridiculous an episode as you can imagine, involving Metal Head’s grandmother, and the wackyness that ensues when Metal Head convinces her that he holds a high position in Cobra, who battle the criminal GI Joes. Anyway, back to Free Fall, among his contributions to that particular episode was his ability to point out to the other Joes where landmarks around Chicago were located. He’s from Downers Grove, so I’m assuming that was a quality little detail on the part of the episode’s writer. An amazing feat, considering some of the dreck that came out of DIC. Although on a recent viewing, I realized that it was most likely simply because Free Fall had an aerial view of the city in that particular scene. Please forgive me for attempting to suggest that the DIC series was given a bit of forethought.