by Lt. Clutch

Since Rob just covered Hot Seat, I’ll add my two cents regarding his main ride, the Raider. I’ve owned at least four Raiders during my all years of collecting, with only one remaining to this day. The first two were purchased on clearance back in the early 90′s. (There might not be a more bittersweet thought than seeing that very last figure or vehicle being removed from a store shelf after discontinuation, ready to enter the rough and tumble world of secondary market pricing.)

The Raider is one of the nicest vehicles released as the 80′s ended, back in the days when stickers weren’t made out of paper and the plastic itself wasn’t hollow. (You fellow old timers know what I mean.) The Raider is your typical midsized, tracked two-seater, distinguished in this case by a removable scout craft, rotating body turret and extandable missile rack. (It looks as mean as it sounds.)

The Raider is prominently featured during its first appearance in issue #105 of the G.I. Joe comic, topped off with a gorgeous cover by artist Lee Weeks. Hot Seat and new medical specialist Stretcher make their debuts as part of a yet another Joe rescue op into Sierra Gordo. Wild Bill arrives in the Locust, which (in typical Wild Bill fashion) crashes and burns soon after, leading Bill to ride shotgun alongside Hot Seat as the Raider’s second gunner. The whole story arc features the new Oktober Guard, (now led by Daina) Destro’s cousin Darklon and their Iron Grenadiers, plus Recondo’s old allies, the Tucaros. Stuff gets blown up a lot and the Raider plays an important role throughout the proceedings, going mano a mano against Destro’s Razorbacks. (Awesome name for a sports team!) Hot Seat and the Raider don’t fare as well in issue #114 during the long, bloody and infamous Benzheen campaign in Trucial Abysmia, with both Hot Seat and fellow Joe member Steeler surviving a fiery demise thanks to the team’s determined efforts in avoiding additional KIAs. These two comics are the perfect complement to an already awesome vehicle/driver combo and I highly recommend you check ‘em all out.

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