G.I. Joe Reservist (2002)
The GI Joe line returned to regular retail stores in 2002. The launch wasn’t without controversy, as the new figures were not constructed using the vintage “O-Ring” design, but instead employed a simpler torso and hip design. The result was a less articulated 3 3/4″ Joe. Fans were quick to voice their displeasure, and Hasbro returned to O-Ring construction later that same year. The style at the beginning of the series reflected a more cartoonish look than the old line, and proportions sometimes varied from figure to figure.
Like the vintage line, this new series had a fan club along with a mail-in exclusive. The Reservist is made up of parts from three different 2002 figures. This patchwork mixing of parts recalls the vintage Steel Brigade mail-in. But whereas the Steel Brigade is well remembered (and even has a new version in the current Pursuit of Cobra line) the Reservist isn’t even a footnote in Joe history. There’s little interest in the 2002 line from collectors , and even less in this poor Frankensteined Joe. The combination of parts does not mesh well, particularly since the torso is made up of a figure who wears a wet suit, and the head, waist and legs are from an arctic figure. If I were trying to understand the figure’s design, I assume the torso is meant to convey the look of armor, and the choice of helmet and mask add some anonymity to the figure, which makes sense as he’s meant to represent a generic Joe. Or it could have simply been a case of the designers picking parts out at random.
Combine the lack of popularity of the 2002 line with the limited time it was offered, and you have a figure that rarely turns up. But rarity doesn’t always translate to demand. If you like Joes from the obscure corners of the line, the Reservist is out there somewhere, in the darkest corner, probably covered in cobwebs. Is this the lamest GI Joe figure ever? Quite possibly. Yet despite all of the negatives of the figure; the poor design, limited articulation and boring color scheme, I find it strangely interesting in a lovable loser kind of way. Then again, I’m weird.