Back in 1982-83, GI Joe was once again becoming popular. The 3.75″ action figure line was then followed by a pretty successful daily cartoon. For $3.00 ($2.00 when on sale) you could go to the store and purchase a new figure. I remember on my birthday, my parents would give me a limit of ten dollars and take me to Toys R Us. There I could find nearly any GI Joe figure that I would want.
Of those first few GI Joe figures, I was genuinely surprised to see my first Black action figure. I knew I had to have it…I didn’t know who he was, but I knew I had to have it because he looked like me. In a world where Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, or even the Hulk were the premiere superheroes, I now had my first black hero who was a part of a team of ordinary men with extraordinary military skills to battle the forces of Cobra. That figure of course was Stalker.
I was surprised and maybe a little disappointed that Stalker was not part of the original wave of figures released for the 6″ GI Joe Classified back in 2020, but I knew he would soon join the rest of the team. Three excruciatingly long years later we finally get our Stalker figure. Was he worth the wait? Check out the review…
This figure is one of the last few waves to have the plastic display window on the box before they switched over to 99% cardboard packaging…and I’m okay with it. If I were a “mint-in-box” collector, then Stalker would definitely be one of the figures that I would want to prominently display in my collection. I do appreciate and will miss this packaging (even if the all cardboard one is easier to recycle).
Even though I have always known this character as “Stalker”, the package also includes his rank, identifying the character on the front of the packaging as “Sgt. Stalker”. Nope, I’m good with just Stalker. “Stalker” sounds like a person who will go to any lengths to track down his man. “Sgt. Stalker” sounds like the perv who just won’t leave you alone. Not to be confused with my ex-girlfriend who I referred to as “MAJOR Stalker”…the chick liked to have me followed and would call and bother the girls I dated after her. But I digress.
On the back of the packaging we get an updated artwork and…I think Hasbro needs to be carefull Featured smack dab in the middle of the artwork you have the battle between Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow. I don’t know if you remember, but the influx of too many ninjas is what ruined GI Joe for me. When you have a “Ninja Force”, I think you just jumped the shark.
You know who’s not featured at all in this artwork? That’s right, ol’ (Sgt.) Stalker is missing from this picture. Or he could be inside that tank along the bottom. Yeah, that’s where he’s at….
Packaging Score: 7.5 out of 10
While GI Joe figures don’t come out with nearly as many accessories as a Valaverse figure (see my last review of Valaverse Rollout) it does come with a decent amount. It is believed that since Hasbro actually owns the licensing for GI Joe, they don’t have to pay as many or even any licensing fees for the intellectual property, so that means more money for weapons, extra hands, etc. The major difference between Valaverse and GI Joe figures is that GI Joe figures can in most cases wear or wield nearly everything they come with. I don’t have that “benefit” (note the sarcasm) with Valaverse figures since they send so many accessories I usually end up putting some into a drawer.
This figure comes with an assault rifle with drum magazine attachment, a blade, a semi-automatic pistol with attachable suppressor, the character’s M-32 “Pulverizer” sub machine gun with removable magazine, a back holster for the “Pulverizer”, a scarf, and a beret. The figure looks pretty good with the full load of accessories loaded on (see pic).
While I’m pretty impressed with the loadout, I just got reviewing a figure that had all that, an extra head, and 3 extra pairs of hands. Kind of spoils me on what I should expect out of my figure. But otherwise, I’m pretty happy with what we received.
Accessories Score: 9 out of 10
They did a little update/upgrade to this figure to give it a slightly more modern take from what you would have received 40 years ago, but for the most part, this is the Stalker that we know and love. The uniform and coloring has stayed pretty close to his original figure.
I love the fact that the beret is both upgraded and removable. If you wanted, you can move the head onto a different body and maybe make a “night ops” Stalker or something similar.
His main weapon, the “Pulverizer,” is just like I remember it to look like from the original character. The amount of nostalgia that this figure brings is just a testament to how close this is to the original figure.
In terms of the head sculpt, I love the grizzled, aged look on the figure’s face. This character has absolutely “seen some shit” in his lifetime.
The scarf looks great on or off the figure. I have seen other collectors not put it on or put it on other figures and the figure still looks good.
Sculpt/Likeness Score: 8.5 out of10
This articulation scheme is almost identical to the Valaverse figure….or is the Valaverse figure almost identical to GI Joe Classified? Whatever the case may be, this figure has around 33 points of articulation.
This in itself would be great, but there are some caveats. For one, I’m not completely sold on the new neck articulation. This double ball joint in the neck does hide the previous ball joint/hinge articulation, but I don’t feel like we get the same level of articulation. In comparison to the Valaverse Rollout figure, that figure can throw its head back nearly all the way; Stalker, not so much.
The other thing I’m bothered by is the butterfly hinge in the shoulders. This is supposed to allow better arm crossover, a feature I started seeing in Marvel Legends Spider-Man figures. The problem being I don’t feel like it’s giving any additional benefit. I may be wrong about that, but trying to get two hands holding a weapon was pretty difficult. Speaking on that, whatever plastic they are now using on the hands made it really damn hard to put any of the weapons in this figure’s hands. I spent most of the photoshoot just trying to get the weapon in the figure’s hand convincingly.
Other than those slight issues, articulation on this GI Joe figure, and most Classified figures is great!
Articulation Score: 8 out of10
Should you get this figure? Abso-friggin-lutely. If you are a GI Joe fan, I’m definitely recommending it as an added plus in your collection. This figure could work across collections as well including Marvel Legends, Valaverse, etc.
This definitely calms me down on the GI Joe tip, but there are so many other classic characters that Hasbro needs to hurry up and get to before they do their fourth Roadblock (which is an actual rumor I heard was happening). I’m talking about Doc, Alpine, Iceberg, etc.. Hasbro is already working on their second Bazooka….don’t you think Bazooka needs his Black bestie (Alpine) to hold him down? If you do a snow commando run with Snow Job, Frost Bite, and Blizzard, you’re definitely going to need their Black token comrade, Iceberg. And ummmm, everyone is gonna need Doc (I’ll even take his daughter, Doc II).
Hasbro keeps putting them out and I’ll keep buying. At least until they price me out of the game. At $25 for a basic figure, they are killing me. I know costs are rising, but a 25% markup in less than 3 years is pretty ridiculous.
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