Retaliation Joe Colton
Yipee-kai-yay, Mr. Falcon! Sometimes, a toy run surprises you. I called an audible on a trip where I was actually flying solo for a change and swung in to Toys ‘R’ Us even though I wasn’t really looking for anything. Imagine my surprise when, after all their post-Christmas reorganization, there was a fresh display of Joe figures—something I hadn’t seen there since at least October, if not earlier. Even better, it wasn’t totally picked over. I snagged two figures I was looking for, and while I’m still holding out hope for finding a Night-Viper, I’m very happy to have found Joe Colton since I missed him the first time around.
While Joe Colton’s only new part is his Bruce Willis head, his combination of parts is definitely something we haven’t seen before. Though his look owes more inspiration to Die Hard than Retaliation, I still think it’s a great representation of the Retaliation version of Joe Colton and he definitely looks like one badass melon-farmer. Joe Colton’s parts selection works well and though the pieces are from slightly disparate eras, they still mesh together nicely. His torso comes from Pursuit of Cobra Recondo and they’ve finally retooled it to get rid of the awkward hunch he’s had. Unfortunately, the loss of the hunch kind of means that Joe Colton looks like he doesn’t have a neck. That said, I’ll take a figure having no neck over a figure constantly staring at his feet. The beefy Recondo torso is definitely a bit of a departure from the modern, real-world Bruce Willis, but I’d rather have a figure of Bruce in his prime than of his older (but still better than mine) physique. The upper arms are also rather buff, coming from Rise of Cobra Sgt. Stone but surprisingly the lower arms from Retaliation Kwinn. They actually don’t mesh that badly and let Joe bare hands instead of gloves. I appreciate it when figures have bare hands. There are a lot of gloved Joes out there so I find bare hands to be a relatively unique characteristic. His legs come from Pursuit of Cobra Jungle Assault Duke and are a great stand in for basic BDU pants. I can see Joe Colton wearing this outfit around the house as a military retiree, but it still lends itself well to going out to kick butt and take names. Finally, we come to the main reason I bought this figure, the head sculpt. The likeness on Bruce Willis for Joe Colton is absolutely amazing. Plus, it really has a lot of character. The last time he was standing next to Retaliation Lady Jaye on my shelf, I could almost hear him calling her “Brenda.” It amuses me that I could just get a movie feel from a figure. The Hasbro folks have gotten a lot better at capturing actor likenesses since Rise of Cobra and with Joe Colton, and that’s great since a bad Bruce Willis likeness really would have killed the figure for me. While Bruce Willis isn’t exactly what I’d imagine Joe Colton to look like, it was a great casting choice on Paramount’s part and Hasbro did an excellent job translating this look to plastic.
The paint scheme also owes a bit more to Die Hard than Retaliation, but I’m okay with that. I’ll admit, I wasn’t familiar with Die Hard until later in life, but if I’d known about John McTiernan’s masterpiece growing up, I know I would have loved to have had an action figure of John McClane to go alongside my Joes. The white t-shirt look is definitely a Die Hard reference more than Retaliation reference. Bruce was rocking this look back in the 1980s and he looks great rocking it now. The paint for his pants looks appropriately military, though I do wish the kneepads had gotten some attention since it’s clear they’re kneepads and not just part of his pants. The black and green camouflage scheme is great and works well for him. I do, however, wish that his suspenders had been some color other than the green of his pants. It’s just an odd choice in my mind. I’m sure they make suspenders that color, but it just seems odd to match your suspenders to your pants. Colton’s belt (yes, ladies and gentlemen, he wears a belt and suspenders) has a similar paint problem to that of 30th Anniversary Zanya. The belt paint app doesn’t mesh across the body seam. I only bring it up because that’s such an odd paint flaw to see since I’ve got so many figures where they’ve done this perfectly and kept the paint perfect across the torso seam but now I’m starting to see it a little more. His eyes also have a bit of a paint problem. They aren’t quite as cross-eyed as the SpyTroops Black Out, but he’s definitely got a pretty dumb stare painted on his face. It clearly wasn’t enough of a problem to make me not want the figure, but I’m still a little disappointed that Joe Colton didn’t have an intimidating gaze to stare down his opponents with.
Surprisingly, Joe Colton doesn’t have that much in the way of gear. Much of his gear budget probably went to the larger, four shot missile launcher and other crazy-looking gun that the first Retaliation Duke also came with. The biggest issue I have with the crazy missile launcher is that Joe Colton doesn’t actually have a way to hold it. The package shows that you can slide it on to the top of the crazy orange gun, but that doesn’t really fit all that well. You’ll remember that the first Retaliation Duke had a crazy removable shoulder pad and to me it looks like the shoulderpad, rather than the rifle did the heavy lifting in keeping it secure. I’m not going to use it, but I do kind of wish that since they included the crazy accessory, they gave us everything to make the crazy accessory work properly. While I’m disappointed in his missile launcher, his more traditional weapons are great. The assault shotgun looks great in his hands and definitely feels like it belongs there. Joe also has a pair of pistols, a Glock and a large revolver. They’re both great pieces, though I do wish he had a holster for one of them so he could carry all his weapons at once. He’s also wearing a shoulder holster, but it’s not functional and I think that’s a bit of a shame. I realize it would have been harder to make it look good and be functional at the same time, but Hasbro did removable working holsters all the way back with the original Chuckles and the only reason it looked off was because it was so huge on him. These larger, modern figures probably wouldn’t have that problem. Joe Colton definitely looks ready for a fight, even if he’s not necessarily dressed for combat like the rest of the Joes are.
While I don’t think I would consider Joe Colton a glaring omission had I not lucked out and found him, seeing him on my shelf definitely makes me smile. While his look is more John McClane than Joe Colton, it’s still a great addition to the modern line. I’ve always kind of liked the phenomenon of celebrity Joes. I had Sgt. Slaughter growing up, as a lifelong Bears fan I’m still looking for a reasonably priced The Fridge and even though I didn’t know who Rocky was as a child, I’m sure I would have gone out of my way to add Rocky to my team had he actually materialized. So from that standpoint, Joe Colton/Bruce Willis passes with flying colors. I’m glad the GIJCC made a real Joe Colton, though I wish he was a bit easier to get. While I like the comic Joe Colton look a bit better than his movie style, I’m more than happy with John McClane getting transferred over to the Joe team as a specialist in fighting urban terrorism.