Recoil (1989)

I have a different perspective when looking back on 1988-1990 figures. Those were the years during which I wasn’t collecting, so the years on either side hold different kinds of memories for me and also seem to affect my opinions. The ’82-87 period is most definitely colored by nostalgia, particularly the first four years. 1991 began my adult collecting, and came at a time when more and more of the processes behind making toys was being revealed to collectors. It was also a time for me of increased cynicism, with the rise of the secondary market, eBay and the dreaded scalper. The good thing about being a Joe collector in the 90’s however, is that the speculators, for the most part, stayed away from the new Joes.

Since he falls in the in-between period, I have absolutely no connection with Recoil. He’s always been a fresh looking figure to me for that reason. His design incorporated a few new elements that really set him apart from earlier figures. The digital camo, although commonplace now, was quite striking after years of traditional patterns. The helmet was a huge departure even from the newer styled helmets seen on figures like Law. This helmet is really strange, and looks like a precursor to the Halo-esque helmet of the soon to be released Retaliation trooper. The helmet doesn’t provide any protection for the sides and back of the head, but maybe that’s the way a badass lurper prefers it. I’m also reminded of Snake Eyes, what with the LRRP specialty, blond hair and glasses.

The late 80’s also gave rise to new accessories and weapons, some of which were admittedly strange, like Recoil’s over-under combination pistol. The powder blue makes it even more odd. The mine case is the nice kind of extra accessory that quite a few of the ’89 and ’90 figures featured.


  • I always liked this figure a lot, just not his weapons (mainly the color, but that over/under one was a bit too weird for a Joe). Whenever the message board topic of “what Joe looks the most like you” comes up, I usually go with this guy or Freefall.

  • Oh man, do I have a story to tell about this figure. I had gotten into Joes in 2005, and nowadays I’m looking to add to my collection. I was at Emerald City Comic-Con last year, and at one of the toy dealer booths, among the Joe items they had was a mint-on-card Recoil figure, but get this–the card and the figure inside were in GREAT, GREAT shape. It was almost like a factory sample perfectly preserved, and you know how much the guy who ran the booth sold it to me for? $10.00. TEN. FREAKING. DOLLARS. I consider that one of the best deals I have EVER gotten lucky on. When I cut open the plastic on the card (it cut easily with an Exacto-knife, AND I didn’t harm the card one bit) and took out the figure, IT WAS SO FACTORY-FRESH. No elbow cracks or the usual problems with old figures–all he needed was a fresh o-ring, and I was set. But yeah, I wish his weapons were in black at least–one of the later Steel Brigade figures (I think it was one of the early-90’s versions) came with the rifle in black.

  • I first picked up Recoil sometime in 1990. The previous year had been pretty weak for me in terms of new characters and Recoil didn’t exactly catch my eye in for some reason. I remember not liking the powder blue on the weapons at all. He is an okay figure and his specialty is an interesting one. He’s also the first Joe I remember to be actually named Joseph, so having a namesake figure was kind of cool after all those years of collecting.

  • He reminded me of Low-Light. Blonde hair, no visible eyes.

    I never liked that over-under weapon.

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