GI Joe Series 2 Season 2 DVD Review

When Shout Factory’s GI Joe Series 2 Season 1 DVD set was released earlier in the year, I was very excited. I had seen the infamous DIC produced series over the years, in vary levels of quality, all of them fairly poor, from nth generation VHS tapes to macro-blocked Youtube videos.

The series gets short shrift from many GI Joe fans, some of which is deserved, considering the animation and voice acting aren’t up to par with the previous Sunbow series. But then again, that series had its share of odd moments, ridiculous storylines and animation glitches. Before you throw too many stones at the DIC series, remember the scenes in Pyramid of Darkness in which Snake Eyes not only dressed in a Boy George style disguise, but also did a little breakdancing.

The second season of the DIC series, regardless of how you feel about the animation, writing and voice acting, is interesting in its inclusion of many late line GI Joe characters. Many of the 90’s sub groups make appearances, including the Eco Warriors, Ninja Force, Sonic Fighters, and the Drug Elimination Force. Some of the later vehicles, like the Battle Wagon, Badger and even the Battle Copters and Air Commando gliders get in on the action. Familiar old favorites like Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow also finally returned, both notably absent from the first season. Cobra Commander and Destro returned to a semblance of their classic looks, with the Commander ditching his battle armor in favor of a hood, and Destro trading in his gold mask for his trusty silver version. All was right with the Joeverse. Well, not quite.

The series has its share–okay, more than its share–of laughable bits. A favorite of mine is the two parter featuring rocker Billy Blaster and the Sonic Fighters. It’s ridiculous fun. The series ended with a couple of clip shows in Basic Training and The Legend of Metal Head. However, there are also attempts at some positive (though not subtle) messaging with the Eco Warriors and anti-drug two parters. The ending of the DEF story is a bit shocking as a bad guy, the Headman, actually dies in the episode. The final scene shows the character’s hand sticking up out of the rubble of his former headquarters. Heavy stuff among all the silliness.

Shout Factory again does a fine job with their packaging, following the same layout and style of the Season 1 set. Again, the case used is not the slim cases packed in a slipcover like the Shout Factory Sunbow sets, but rather a standard size case with three interior disc holders. Each disc’s episode contents are printed on the inside of the cover insert and show through the inside of the clear case. The menus, which use the case’s key art, are 16:9 format and the episodes themselves in the standard 4:3 ratio as broadcast.

As with the first set, the video doesn’t appear to have undergone any remastering, but the picture quality is good enough, especially considering the poor presentations we’re used to from previous unofficial sources. Audio is clear and presented in its original format, without any artificial sweetening or added effects.

This set improves on the previous with its inclusion of an extra, a ten minute reflection on the DIC and 90’s era featuring a few current and former members of the GI Joe toy line team. Present are John Warden, Rik Alvarez and Dave Kunitz. All give some very insightful comments about fans and the Hasbro team’s memories of the DIC series and the 90’s era. It’s a short presentation, but a fun little extra. 

So that wraps up the DIC series on DVD. To be honest, I didn’t think I’d ever see this show get an official release. I’m glad it did however, and thanks again to Shout Factory for getting it to the fans. The set is available starting July 10, 2012 from your favorite retailers, and you can also order direct from Shout Factory.

One final note: the complete 90’s Joe animation isn’t yet complete. We need to start pestering Shout Factory and Hasbro about releasing the Sgt. Savage special, GI Joe Extreme and maybe even the live action 90’s commercials. Hey, anything can happen, right?

 

8 comments

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  • What think is really funny about the whole “Billy Blaster” thing is that he’s an obvious late 80’s hair-metal rocker in 1991, when grunge killed any hope of hair metal surviving into the next decade. Maybe they thought having a grunge rocker was too ‘edgy’ for a kids cartoon.

  • Actually the grunge era didn’t begin in earnest until early ’92. Skid Row’s “Slave to the Grind” was number one on the Billboard charts as late as September 1991. Don’t forget, thrash and death metal also helped put “cock rock” or hair metal out to pasture. Not to mention, by the time the mainstream hears about a trend it’s already old news.

  • I’ll second the thanks to Shout Factory for completing G.I. Joe’s RAH-era TV runs with this release. I’ve seen most of the episodes and clearly remember Headman dying at the end of that one ep. I also wasn’t buying the figures anymore, so it was a surprise to see guys like Mutt and Shockwave sporting new looks.

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  • Only ever seen macro blocked clips on the tube. Is it actually as bad as everyone says it is? I would kill to see that extra feature with the toy designers

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