Sgt. Stalker (2002)
As much furor as we’ve seen in the Joe fandom from the reduced articulation of the new movie figures, it pales in comparison to the epic T-crotch hissy fit of 2002. I still find it amazing that Hasbro so quickly did an about-face on the articulation of the GI Joe relaunch back then. It’s interesting to remember the angst about the new construction, because just five years later, the familiar rubber ring was gone again, replaced by a mid-torso joint.
The first series of 2002 had a few effective redesigns, but the new construction created its own issues. Snake Eyes for instance was stuck in a pre-posed, wide leg stance that limited his use for me. Storm Shadow I felt was a great redesign, but the chunky style held it back. Unfortunately, neither of the two were retooled with the o-ring construction.
By the time this Stalker was released, the trusty O-ring was back, and everything was right with Joe. Well, not quite. Proportions became the focus of some complaints. Stalker didn’t fare too badly, and was one of the figures I thought could “make do” alongside the 80’s and 90’s figures.
His new uniform is quite nice, and is another of the overlooked positives of the era. Having a Stalker not outfitted in either green camo or tundra garb was a nice change. The high collared jacket gives him a more commanding look, befitting his frequent take charge role on the team. When I first saw this figure, I thought that maybe he’d been promoted, since it seemed that previously only guys like Hawk could come back to the line wearing a spiffy new jacket. Stalker goes Hawk one better though, and gets a Joe logo on the back. Nice.