Mike Power: Atomic Man (2016)
When I was a kid, I had checked out a toy history book from the local library (from the reference section not to be taken from the building–shhh! Don’t tell anyone!) and it had old 60s and 70s catalog pages printed throughout. The 12 inch Adventure Team Joes were featured prominently, and I remember being enthralled and perplexed about the large figures with “real” outfits. The Missile Recovery and High Voltage Escape sets in particular drew my interest. Whatever those two guys were doing, I thought, it looked dangerous and fun–the perfect combination.
Years later, I bought a hardback copy Tomart’s Action Figure guide, and a flood of memories came to me. Inside were many of the same catalog photos, along with sufficient dates to see the relationships between the various toys I had just missed in the 1970s. It was all incredibly fascinating. Alongside the Adventure Team listings was Mike Power, and I was determined to keep an (organic, not atomic) eye out to find him in the wild. Within just a few months, I spotted a shirtless Atomic Man figure at a local antique mall. After several more visits to the monthly flea market, I also found his original camo jacket. It was my first AT toy. My mind boggles when I think of the toys I missed at garage sales when I was a kiddo. If only my little mind had been more open to things that weren’t Star Wars, I may have had more memories of Mego and GI Joe product that had come before.
The GI Joe Collectors’ Club has been producing yearly membership figures for both the large and small scales for years. I’ve picked up a few of the 13 inch offerings over that time, but until last year, I had opted for the 3 & 3/4 inch freebie. When Dr. Isotope was announced, I changed my mind. This year, I was all-in for Mike Power over Pythona. While I have a soft spot for Cobra-La, the Atomic Man wins out for fun and nostalgia.
This modern iteration of Mike Power comes with a few upgrades. The body itself is uses the same recreated vintage construction we’ve seen before, only this time he’s gone the full Steve Austin route and acquired a second atomic leg. He’s equipped with a new blinking LED eye, as well as a modern head sculpt, though the hairdo retains it’s extreme 70s part. If only he had impressive sideburns. The classic AT medallion is clear plastic, and finally, there are the shoes. Rather than a pair of high-speed bionic cross-training sneaks or boots, Mike is wearing sensible white dress shoes. I see what the club was going for, and the availability of a mold was probably an issues but the results are nonetheless laughable. Atomic Man needs to secure a more appropriately badass looking pair kicks, tout de suite. There is hope, as an add-on outfit set includes a pair of black boots.
A modern update of the latter AT is a great idea, and the word is that next year will bring a 12 inch Super Joe. Amazing. For now however, the biggest question with this new figure is: what’s the story with Mike’s second atomic leg? Was there some sort of accident or injury and he replaced it or did he just chop it off and replace a perfectly good limb? In the original comic book ad, he told the story of replacing his disabled limbs BY HIMSELF! That shows serious ingenuity, not to mention a little bit of insanity. So considering this, I think we need to know what really went down. Maybe the club will reveal it with a bio in a future issue of their magazine. If not, I know a guy who could write an interesting backstory for them.