Resolute Comic Pack Destro
I’ve talked about how Destro is my favorite Joe villain on this blog before. All of his figures have been very well-designed and he’s always had an aura of menace to him that you just never saw from Cobra Commander. Personally, I think that it’s because while Destro also wore a mask, his mask still had human features which makes him look more intimidating than someone who has a hood or feature-less face plate covering his facial features. However, while I do like the figure, the Destro from the Resolute-branded comic packs is a bit of a head scratcher. I like him well enough, but considering how this figure is billed primarily as a pilot, there are some weird choices that really don’t say pilot to me. Honestly, I get much more of an arctic survival vibe than anything else, but maybe that’s just me. He may be a little odd, but I do think the Resolute Comic Pack Destro is a decent figure if for no other reason than the fact that Hasbro did something we’ve never seen done with him before.
The construction of this figure is a little surprising, but at the same time it works very well and what little parts reuse is disguised quite well. Destro’s upper body and upper arms come from the 25th Anniversary Iron Grenadiers Destro. These parts don’t necessarily scream “flight suit” but since he’s got a new piece of chest armor to cover it up, it makes the reuse a bit less obvious and hides the details that don’t really fit with a flight suit. The chest armor also adds a little more bulk to Destro’s already imposing frame. However, the chest armor doesn’t cover his lower torso so Destro is still rocking his impressive codpiece, which is another detail that’s not really something you’d see on a flight suit. To help further obscure the parts reuse, Destro is wearing a black scarf around his neck to hide the bolted collar and ascot from the Iron Grenadiers version. Destro’s also got a set of leg straps. They came from 25th Airborne and fulfill the same purpose, holding him into a parachute. While Destro doesn’t come with a parachute pack, I can see him wearing all the necessary gear to protect himself should he need to abandon his Despoiler while in midair. The rest of Destro’s parts are all new and I really think it’s amazing how well everything works together. It may not necessarily all work as a flight suit, but there’s at least some internal consistency that helps sell the figure. Destro’s lower arms have a pair of pretty thick gloves and elbow pads. On his left arm, Destro also has a cool wrist computer. I see it as a combination between a communications device and flight interface. Destro’s new backpack has two cords that plug into his wrist. As part of a flight suit, it reminds me of some of the in-universe technical details that Star Wars had. According to expanded universe sources, Rebel and Imperial flight suits both had technology built into them to help pilots more effectively interface with their vehicle. It was primarily done to assist pilots in unfamiliar vehicles, and it sped up the learning process for pilots. I can see Destro designing a similar system for Cobra—some sort of high tech flight suit that would allow even the most inexperienced Cobra Air Trooper to be at least slightly proficient in whatever vehicle he’s using. Destro’s legs also have a flight suit vibe, with some large zippered pockets on his upper legs. However, where I get a little confused about Destro being a pilot is in his boots. He’s wearing what looks to me like climbing crampons. I’m confused as to why Destro would wear those if he’s spending most of the time behind the control stick of his Despoiler while in this uniform. Destro’s head sculpt is also brand new and they did a bang up job on it. While the first 25th Anniversary Destro head wasn’t bad, this one has a lot more character in it. He’s got an incredible stern gaze and his mouth looks like he’s barely suppressing a snarl. This is much more in line with the comic’s portrayal of the mask as being composed out of a high tech alloy infused with nanotechnology to make it move with his face. Finally, Destro’s also got a little headset. Full disclosure, this piece is technically an accessory. It’s not molded to his head, but it really didn’t stay on that well. I thought it was too good of a piece to just sit on his figure stand (and it really helped complete the look), so I put a small drop of superglue on it and permanently affixed it to his head after taking a look online to get a consensus on which side of the head he should be wearing it. I really like the wireless headset here. With all the other technology on Destro, I see it as a combination of a voice recognition system he can use to fire weapons or communicate during battle but that it also feeds things like targeting data into his mask through the data he gets from his backpack and wrist device. This figure sort of works as a pilot, but I still think he’s a little more successful as an arctic explorer. I could see Destro wearing something like this while setting up one of the relay cubes in the arctic. It’s a bulky enough design to give the feeling of an arctic survival suit and the armor makes me think he should be a little more combat-oriented since he wouldn’t need all that armor if he’s just flying around the battlefield in his Despoiler.
The only real flaw in my arctic theory is Destro’s color scheme. It’s a good color scheme, but it’s definitely not suited for winter operations. Destro has always been about red and black, however this time, they changed things up and made red the dominant color. It’s a little bright, but at the same time, it’s still very Destro. The red works well for a flight suit and the black gloves and straps help dial back the brightness. The chest plate and spats are a nice purple and it really works to pull the whole look together. Without the chest armor, Destro would have been overwhelmingly red and there aren’t a lot of Cobras who can pull that look off. Yes, it works for Wild Weasel, but I really don’t think it works that well for Destro. Thankfully, the purple chest plate breaks up all the red enough that it makes Destro a decent figure. The silver for his chest tampo (something I like to think is a nod to the old Cobra Viper Glider Pilot) looks sharp and stands out well against the darker purple and the silver applied to his wrist device, kneepads, crampons and helmet add just a little bit of additional flair. While the colors are a bit brighter than Destro usually wears, they work here in the context of an experimental flight suit.
I’ve talked about most of Destro’s other accessories because they’re so tied to the whole overall flight suit/survival suit that they needed to be talked about with the rest of the mold. However, as befits as weapons supplier, Destro isn’t unarmed, either. Destro’s sole weapon is a large revolver. It’s very imposing, but it seems just a little out of character for him. Yes, Destro has carried a revolver before, but I get a strong Dirty Harry vibe from this piece and that’s not a vibe I normally associate with Destro. I’ve liked seeing this piece other places, but it’s just not very Destro-y. Personally, I would have loved for him to have come with the 25th Tomax/Xamot pistol. It’s still a small weapon, but it looks a bit more high tech and I think it would fit the overall vibe of this figure just a little more. That said, considering this Destro is kind of like a vehicle driver, I appreciate that he’s armed the same way that the drivers were armed back in the day—one really good weapon.
Even after five years, I’m still not totally sure how to use this Destro. Yes, he looks cool, but at the same time, I’m still not sure what to use the cool look for. He stayed on my display shelf for quite a while back when I had more space to display Joes because I liked that he was such a departure from Destro’s standard look, but when push came to shove, being unique without a super clear purpose was enough of a detractor that I put him in storage when I had to downsize my display. I like him well enough and had he come with a Despoiler (like they showed him piloting in the comic…come on, Hasbro, get on it!) he would probably still be on display. As a Destro billed as a pilot with no vehicle to pilot, though, he’s a bit of a man without a country. I prefer my high-tech survival gear idea over the pilot idea that Hasbro put forth, but it’s still such an odd look for survival gear that it’s hard to wrap my head around him. He’s not a bad figure by any means, he’s just odd. Honestly, I’m toying with pulling him back out of storage to see how he looks alongside the Iron Grenadiers from this year’s Joe Con set, but beyond that, I’m not sure if this Destro fits anywhere outside that group.