Iron Klaw (1995)
Last year, during the recording of my annual podcast, reader Clutch threw down a challenge to me. While he’s been impressed with my ability to pique his interest in some figures he hadn’t previously considered likeable, he wondered if I could convince him that GI Joe Extreme as a toy line could be worthwhile. It’s taken a while to get here, but I’m willing to give it a good old college try, starting with Iron Klaw.
Iron Klaw, as a character, has been by far the most well-liked personality to come out of the reviled experiment that was GI Joe Extreme. While he was an over the top villain, both in characterization and design, something about him seems to have struck a chord with fans. Well, maybe that’s too strong a statement; people don’t seem to hate him.
Could his toy possibly be cool? He already has a wonderfully villainous look to him, and probably the most iconic design of all the figures to appear in the two post-RAH reboots. Somebody out there in the Joe fandom likes him, as he’s already been a part of the Collector Club’s Figure Subscription Service. As far as the old line goes, this is the closest we got to the character in a neutral pose wearing his usual outfit. The only thing missing is a cape. Sure, he’s bulky, and over-the-top in terms of his build and sculpt, but he’s also a lot of fun to pick up and play with. Why? The answer lies with his big-ass gun.
Iron Klaw does have an oddly positioned left hand, but this comes into play as part of his action feature, which is fairly inventive. Both hands hold his massive missile launcher, but the best part of the feature lies in the way it is fired. As you turn the waist, a button on the launcher, which faces the figure’s belt, is tripped and fires the missile. As a neat little side feature (whether intentional or not) the head remains stationary when the waist is turned, making it appear as if he’s looking in the direction he’s shooting.
Have I fulfilled Clutch’s wishes, and convinced someone to dive into Extreme, starting with Iron Klaw? Maybe not, but I had some fun breaking this guy out of his plastic prison and playing with him a bit. I’m not ashamed to say that. These are toys, after all.
Is GI Joe Extreme actually a fun toy line, and worth looking into? In a way, it is, but I think there are a few more layers that need to be peeled back to reveal some interesting elements in a series that’s not on many Joe fans’ radar. What could they be? Stay tuned.