City Strike Firefly
When the Pursuit of Cobra line was first revealed at Joe Con in 2009, I was stoked. First of all, I was getting the information first-hand at the panels. Usually I just had to read the after action reports from the various Joe sites out there. Secondly, what they were doing was a great way to keep the brand fresh following Rise of Cobra. I’ve always liked environmentally-specific figures and the four choices (arctic, desert, jungle and urban) were great. What was even better, each environment had at least one named Cobra character and some great new army builder. Hasbro really hit the ground running in the City Strike theme with a great repaint of the Alley Viper as a troop builder (something to help get that mold out since it was only initially available in an exclusive set) and an amazing updated Firefly in command of them. I’ve always loved Firefly and while he’s very much influenced by the post-movie aesthetic, I think it’s an
incredible representation of Cobra’s most mysterious operative.
Part of what made Pursuit of Cobra so exciting to me was how much new tooling was being used here. While I understand the Joe line has always been built around clever parts reuse, I was getting a little tired of seeing some of the same pieces over and over again. This continued into the movie line where a lot of the Cobra troopers used the same parts a lot and Joe operatives wore nearly identical uniforms. However, Pursuit of Cobra was bringing a lot of new things to the table. The parts have been reused since, but seeing Joes and Cobras with all new pieces was something I hadn’t seen in a long time. Firefly benefitted greatly from this shift since he looks very sharp with his all new mold. Firefly’s design this time is a combination of armor and cloth, like he’s wearing a lot of additional armor over a relatively basic jumpsuit. What I really appreciate in the design is that all those armor plates are also molded with straps that hold them on. Gone are the days of floating kneepads and shoulder armor. While I still think Joes can suffer from strap overload, at least Firefly’s straps all have a purpose. His chest armor is very intricately detailed, but unfortunately for it, Firefly also has a really impressive vest that really brings his look together and means you’ll be covering it up the entire time. The est adds even more armor and bulk to Firefly and consequently makes him look far more intimidating. The vest has a pair of canister grenades molded on plus a wide variety of pouches. My favorite detailing is the clip storage on the front of the vest. I like Firefly carrying a lot of ammo into the fight and he’s carrying six clips worth on his torso. That’s commitment and preparedness. The detailing on the back also intrigues me and makes me wish we still had real filecards. There’s a lot of technological detailing on the back of his vest. It reminds me a bit of the accelerator suit concept. Somehow Cobra (or maybe just Firefly) got their hands on some prototype accelerator suit technology and decided to incorporate it into some of their gear. Firefly’s always been an effective saboteur, but now that he’s working with technology that enhances his body, he’s even more deadly. Finally, Firefly has a pair of different heads. I find myself really loving the option of getting to choose which head a character is using. I do kind of miss helmets, but doing helmeted heads as separate heads does allow you to keep things looking a little more proportional. Every now and then, helmets wind up just a little too big and throw off the look. However, doing Firefly’s new armored facemask and his high tech helmet as two different heads allows Hasbro to do a lot more detailing on the armored facemask while letting them keep the fancy new helmet proportional with the rest of the body. Firefly’s standard head is a more armored take on his traditional gray balaclava. It looks very sharp and the armoring up makes sense. This is a man who works with explosives. He’d want more than just a cloth facemask. I’m honestly a little surprised this head sculpt hasn’t seen more reuse. It would be a great base for a generic Cobra heavy weapons trooper. He’s got a very intense stare, but it’s not something that seems Firefly-specific. While the design of that head is great, it just doesn’t capture my attention as much as his alternate head. The filecard lists his mission equipment as a high-tech sonar device with 360-degree viewing capabilities. I just love the idea of Firefly having this kind of technology at his disposal. As a saboteur, he’d want to pinpoint a structure’s most vulnerable spots and with this high-tech sonar, I can imagine he’d be able to see through walls to pinpoint those spots and see who or what might be guarding the room he’s trying to break into. Plus, the helmet looks absolutely wicked. Firefly looks very alien, but I’m okay with that. It’s an intimidating look. Any poor guard that may actually have seen Firefly while was on his mission probably died scared after getting a look at who was sneaking around their base. Hasbro talked a lot about the concept behind the helmet at the design team’s panel and I was instantly sold. I know a lot of people didn’t like how sci-fi the helmet looked, but I love it for exactly that reason. It’s a great piece and it’s a unique idea for Firefly’s equipment. I can see it as the ultimate stealth operative’s helper. The idea reminds me of the radar screen you had in the upper corner of your screen in Metal Gear Solid. It was absolutely crucial to keep an eye on it to keep appraised of enemy troop movements around you. I can see how a guy like Firefly would love to have that kind of kit available to him as well. The high-tech look also goes well with the rest of the design. I like when Hasbro takes on new ideas with figure designs. While I like the bomb-squad look of Firefly’s standard head, the intimidating, high-tech helmet for his alternate head just speaks to me and again is another one of those pieces that just screams playtime possibilities.
If the 1992 Firefly taught Hasbro anything, it’s that with Firefly figures, you can either take chances on the design or change up the colors, but you can’t do both. Since City Strike Firefly decided to take some serious liberties on the design front, his colors are still pretty standard Firefly. The base color is a nice standard gray while his armor plates are a dark gray. The urban camouflage color scheme lays over a lighter gray. In other words, there’s a lot of gray here. It works and doesn’t look too monochromatic, but I would have liked them to throw a little color into Firefly’s eyes on the alternate head. The black looks fine, but I kind of would have liked to see some glowing green or red there, like we did with Destro’s eyes. It would give a nice indication that there’s more going on with the helmet than meets the eye. Plus, it would have added some much-needed color to a very gray figure.
Firefly also picks up set of gear that’s entirely new and they really did a great job with him. Starting with his firearms, he carries a pair of small pistols and an assault rifle with a grenade launcher slung underneath the barrel. I can see the pistols as useful when Firefly is sneaking through a facility on the way to his target. However, if his cover gets blown, he’s not above pulling out a larger weapon and fighting his way out. He’s got a large, functional backpack which can carry his spare gear and more importantly, you can fit his alternate head in there as well. That’s always been my only problem with alternate heads, there’s usually not a way to store them. However, Firefly addresses that criticism very adeptly. His backpack also has large plugs that you can attach his signature (or at least worthy of mentioning in the filecard) weapon, sonic mines. I really like the idea of Firefly updating his demolitions gear. Explosives are always messy, where a mine that can either release a massive sonic pulse to destroy everything around it cleanly or can just key in on a structure’s resonance frequency and literally shake it apart while leaving everything around it untouched is a great stroke of genius. They’re both solutions to problems I can see Firefly using. Sonic devices wouldn’t be picked up by your standard explosives sweep, so it would be much easier to hide and if you’re using them to shake the structure to pieces, who knows if sabotage could ever be proven. Firefly’s final accessories are a pair of forearm guards you can clip on. It’s another piece that just screams Firefly to me for some reason. With the armored costume, I can see Firefly being a little more indiscriminate with his use of explosions. He’s going to be able to survive a lot more blasts with this gear. Again, I can just see Firefly tossing out a grenade in much closer quarters than normal, going into a crouch, bringing up his armored forearms to protect the rest of his body and then walking away a moment later, through the debris he’s just made. I love figures whose gear and design come together so well and spawn adventure ideas in my head. While I may not “play” with my Joes, I like when Hasbro designs a figure that looks so playable you can come up with ideas just by handling the figure when you’re in the process of taking it out of its packaging.
This is clearly not your old-school Firefly, but I don’t care. Unlike in 1992, they kept enough parallels to the original design that it still works for him. I’ve always seen Firefly as a high-tech kind of guy. He’d be adapting the newest technology to his gear as quickly as possible, working out the bugs in the field. Heck, I’ve always thought the reason he carried around a satellite phone back in the day was to use it as a detonator like terrorists do now with cell phones for IEDs in the real world. Firefly’s really upped his game of taking existing technology and repurposing it to fit his needs. This is cutting edge technology he’s running around with, and that makes him even scarier. His equipment is already deadly efficient and now he’s giving himself even more advantages with technology that makes him faster, stronger, and lets him see through walls. This is a guy who’s already the most dangerous saboteur in the world, and now he’s making himself even more dangerous. While that’s not good for the Joes to have to deal with, Hasbro made a really great figure that makes Firefly look as intimidating as he should.