Mark “Sub-Zero” Habershaw
I know many Joe fans consider 1989 the best year for Joes, but as someone who was born just a little later, I have a lot stronger memories of the 1990 assortment. Yes, there were a lot of rehashed specialties but as someone who wasn’t old enough to be with the Joe line since 1982, Freefall was my paratrooper and my arctic specialist was Sub-Zero. As I mentioned in my review of the vintage version, both KansasBrother and I had Sub-Zero as kids, and that was a little unusual because I was more of a Cobra kid while he was more of a Joe kid. I was very happy when Mark “Sub-Zero” Habershaw (sorry, Mortal Kombat, but Joes had a guy named Sub-Zero before you did, so you should change your character’s name…and stop spelling combat with a “K.”) was announced for FSS 6.0, and truthfully, he’s one of the best figures in this incredibly solid figure subscription service series.
Sub-Zero’s build is actually pretty complex, but everything comes together to make an excellent arctic figure. His legs were originally designed for the cancelled Pursuit of Cobra Arctic Threat Duke but the GIJCC has used them once before on FSS Big Bear. I always liked these pieces and they reference Sub-Zero’s vintage figure quite well. Like the vintage figure, they’re bulkier than regular pants, but they’re not as thick as the Rise of Cobra Ice Viper legs. I’m not sure what Sub-Zero is wearing under his parka, but his arms are from the Rise of Cobra Arctic Assault Snake-Eyes. That’s a fine call because that’s also where the jacket came from as well. The jacket piece references Sub-Zero’s vintage figure very well, and while it is a bit bulky, it is the right choice. The detailing on the jacket and the arms is solid and looks very realistic. To replicate the straps on the vintage figure’s chest, the GIJCC grabbed the harness from Retaliation Kwinn. It stands in well for the straps, though it does mean he lost his grenade. Around his waist, he’s also got the large pistol belt that was tooled up to fit over Pursuit of Cobra Arctic Threat Duke’s parka. It’s a nice touch, and adds just a little more detailing to the figure. The hood looks surprisingly like the vintage figure’s hood and the choice of the Pursuit of Cobra Low-Light head works very well here. The Low-Light head has the same great knit cap and I really like the pissed off look Low-Light’s head has. I was anticipating that GIJCC was going to use the Rise of Cobra Ice Storm head because it has similar details, but the Low-Light head takes this figure from good to great because such a key part of his characterization is that he’s a cold weather specialist who hates the cold. The Low-Light head fits that characterization perfectly. I do wish it was a little easier to see the great head because the hood does obscure it quite a bit, but that does help disguise the parts reuse rather effectively. This is an excellent build and the GIJCC should be commended for making such a quality figure of a less-than- popular Joe arctic specialist.
The one place Sub-Zero falls a tad short is in his color scheme, but that’s always been a problem for this figure, so I won’t hold it entirely against him. The majority of the figure is white, which makes sense for an arctic trooper. The straps on his legs, the straps on his shoulders, the belt and the tampoed (rather than sculpted, like the vintage figure) buttons and zippers on the fronts of his pants are all light blue. It’s a decent color combination even if it’s never been my favorite. His boots, snow shoes, gloves and knit hat are a dark gray. Finally, he has Caucasian skin tone. All the paint and tampo work is cleanly done, and the GIJCC made Sub- Zero a very sharp looking figure even if I’ve always felt his overall color scheme was a tad boring.
I remember a lot of the 1990 figures being very defined by their gear, and Sub-Zero was no exception. The GIJCC gave him a lot of great pieces that reference his original gear and a few new ones that reflect something new in the filecard. Starting off small, Sub-Zero has the same snow shoes Hasbro first tooled up for the 25th Anniversary Snow Serpent. They’re decent pieces, but they don’t fit that well on his feet. Unlike the 25th Anniversary Snow Serpent, Sub- Zero doesn’t have a second set of peg holes in his feet to hold the snow shoes and the figure stand securely to his feet and that does create a little bit of a problem for his stability. Sub-Zero has a small pistol to fill his belt holster, which is always appreciated. His primary weapon is the 25th Anniversary Tunnel Rat machine gun, which is a perfect call because the vintage figure’s primary weapon was a machine gun with a bipod. Surprisingly, though, Sub-Zero doesn’t come with a bullet belt, even though the vintage figure did. However, I have so many of the modern bullet belts lying around, I can probably find one for Sub-Zero if I really want it. Rounding out the pieces that reference his original gear, Sub-Zero also has the large mortar that we first saw back in the SpyTroops days. It’s a solid piece and a smart way to reference the vintage Sub-Zero figure’s mortar tube, though this time around, he doesn’t have any mortar shells. The GIJCC also gave Sub-Zero the 25th Anniversary Spirit dart gun and backpack with extra dart clips. It’s an unusual choice, but at least the GIJCC went to the trouble of justifying it in the filecard, saying Sub-Zero carries around a tranquilizer dart gun in case he runs into a polar bear in the arctic but he’s also not above using it to incapacitate enemies as well. It’s not a weapon I think of when I think of Sub-Zero, but I have to applaud the GIJCC for giving me a justification for it being included in Sub-Zero’s gear load. He’s got quite a bit of gear, and with the exception of the mortar tube, just like the vintage figure, he can carry it all on him. This is a well accessorized figure and I’m glad that he can carry almost all of his gear on him as well.
Mark “Sub-Zero” Habershaw may not be a household name (though I do remember him being featured pretty heavily in the DiC cartoon), but the GIJCC gave him an excellent modern update. The parts choices are spot on, including the smart choice to reuse the Pursuit of Cobra Low-Light head. The colors, while not my favorite, are accurate to the vintage figure and the gear is, across the board, really great. For a figure that came out after the “good” days of G.I. Joe were over according to many collectors, Sub-Zero got a great modern update and I’m glad to have a modern version of what I believe was my first arctic figure. Just because Sub-Zero isn’t Snow Job or Frostbite doesn’t mean he doesn’t have some value and Hasbro and the GIJCC both made sure to make him his own man and not just a rehash of some other arctic specialist. That’s part of what I loved about 1990, I got to meet a lot of new characters, and that was always my favorite part of the Joe line.