It took nearly three decades, but fans of G.I. Joe: The Movie are finally getting a Pythona figure.
Announced as the 2016 membership incentive figure for the G.I. Joe Collectors’ Club, Pythona will be offered to anyone who becomes–or extends–a GIJCC member by March 16, 2016. The Cobra-La femme fatale has been often-requested by collectors and it’s really surprising that it’s taken this long for a figure of Pythona to be made, but is it too little, too late?
I believe that Hasbro’s indecisiveness on the direction in which to take G.I. Joe and their attempt to scale G.I. Joe as a global brand has alienated many G.I. Joe fans and collectors. When G.I. Joe: Resolute debuted on Adult Swim in 2009, fans were ecstatic. Unfortunately, Hasbro upper management was not as thrilled about Resolute as fans were, mainly because of the violence, so they resolved to abandon the concept in favor of something more family friendly. Enter G.I. Joe: Renegades. A cross between the A-Team and G.I. Joe, Renegades took a while for the older fans–still stewing from the fact that the more mature Resolute was being shelved–to warm up to. The lukewarm reception and lackluster ratings hurt Renegades and after just one season, the project was shelved–just as things were getting good. And then there are the movies–G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra and G.I. Joe: Retaliation. While the latter resonates with long-time G.I. Joe fans more than the former, both G.I. Joe movies are essentially action-heavy popcorn flicks that represent G.I. Joe in name only. G.I. Joe has become the poster child in schizophrenic decision-making and it seems that the only thing the decision makers overseeing the brand were able to agree upon was to name every series with a word starting with the letter R.
Five years ago, I would have eagerly purchased a $44 G.I. Joe Club membership for a chance to own Pythona. And five years ago, I owned almost every modern-era G.I. Joe figure made. But five years ago isn’t today, and today’s G.I. Joe disinterests me. I have since sold my G.I. Joe collection and have observed from the sidelines as G.I. Joe has been relegated to waves of repaint figures and vehicles at retail. What’s worse, Hasbro has handed the reigns for ongoing products to the G.I. Joe Collectors’ Club and while the character selection has been admirable at times, the prices are not. You need to be a partner at Extensive Enterprises to cover the $30-plus cost per figure and with companies like Tamashii Nations and NECA putting out superior figures for sometimes half the cost, it’s hard to justify supporting the Collectors’ Club. The perceived value, once a staple of the G.I. Joe line and brand, is just not there.
While I support my G.I. Joe collecting friends that are persevering through this doldrum in collecting and lack of brand identity, I’m content celebrating my G.I. Joe fandom by opening up my A Real American Hero DVD Footlocker and watching an episode of the ’80s animated series without having to get myself implicated in a line of repaints or strong-armed into an over-priced subscription. Although I wish that Hasbro would be content growing a smaller, more fiercely loyal audience in extending the continuum of brand loyalty to G.I. Joe, I understand that like with everything nowadays, if it doesn’t appeal to the masses, it’s not worth the investment.
G.I. Joe Collectors’ Club memberships start at $44. The Pythona figure features a new head sculpt on a Rise of Cobra Reactive Armor Scarlet body and includes a classic file card, Cobra logo stand, removable cloak, and tentacle creature. The figure comes polybagged and will ship in mid-to-late spring of 2016.