In the early 90s, I was back into GI Joe, scouring stores for the latest releases and trying to pick up any older figures that had been languishing on shelves. I initially skipped some of the Eco Warriors, but returned to pick many of them up when they hit the clearance aisle and closeout stores the next year. Remember when that used to happen? Big bins full of last year’s action figures at half price or less? Ahh, memories.
Cesspool served a good purpose not only as a specific villain for the Eco Warriors team, but also as an interesting new named Cobra baddie. He’s so outrageous, even outright silly, that I have to like the guy. This is definitely GI Joe treading into super villain territory. I don’t have a problem with that, and it’s not like we haven’t seen it before. After all, look at Destro and tell me he wouldn’t fit into any super hero’s rogues gallery. Okay, so Destro didn’t carry a chainsaw rifle or emblazon his chest with a sculpted Cobra symbol, but you can see where I’m coming from.
The environmental “message” of the Eco Warriors concept may have seemed a little heavy handed, but the toys themselves were fun. Things got comparatively crazy to be sure, but at least it wasn’t as conceptually out there as some other environmentally aware lines like the Toxic Crusaders. By the way, what glorious toy times the 90s were–when action figures were alternately brightly colored and/or based on R-rated 80s film franchises.
The only bummer about all of the color changing Eco Warriors toys is the fact that some of the paint has permanently changed. My Cesspool doesn’t seem too bad, with just a spot or two. This figure does have one accessory that seems to be more and more difficult to find loose–the helmet rebreather. While it’s not as in-demand as Heavy Metal’s mic or Hard Top’s pistol, the thing is a bit of a bear to track down.
There was a time when I wasn’t too keen on displaying the figures with their oversized action feature accessories, but now I see the value in the play aspect even when it comes to setting these guys on a shelf. They were meant to have their goofy weapons, even if they can’t always manage to hold them.