Well, this is it: I've finally decided to start reposting my old "Alexx Shorts" G.I. Joe reviews. They're the reviews that lead to what eventually became this blog! I'll be posting them in straight copy-and-paste format, separating them with bold dotted lines so you know where they begin and end, and then I'll post some final thoughts on what I think of the figure currently.
For those unfamiliar: I used to take random pictures here and there, but by the time the Rise of Cobra toys came out, I was getting annoying with how much people had been bashing the figures which were clearly better than the previous 25th Anniversary offerings. I set out to show people how awesome they were, and things went from there, forming into "Alexx Shorts", named so because I thought I was going to keep to a short format with a few pictures. I did not do that.
What's this?! Has something finally broken Alexx's spirit?
First of all, I'd like to say I'm sorry for the long hiatus. Joes have sort of stagnated around here; I've been buying other toys and playin' around with them and - on top of all that - I just haven't felt the drive to get another review out when I had Low Light still on the roster. You see, Low Light has created a bit of a...crisis of faith (if toys could be considered a faith, and in my case, what the hell, why not). I'm hoping that'll become evident as the review goes on, but I'll get back to it either way.
So, let's begin!
Seems like Low Light is always on the top of people's favorites lists. I've seen a lot of clamoring for him over the years and it's no wonder, considering his original figure. There isn't much, but what is there works. He's a cool lookin' sniper dude in dark clothes, has a sniper rifle, and then they throw in an uzi for anything that don't need snipin' (oh, and a backpack, of course). Most importantly, though, he's a SNIPER! I can't even think of many other joes that have that as their main thing, beyond Cross Hair, and there certainly weren't many back in the vintage Low Light's time. So it goes without saying that this guy is at the top of people's lists because he's dang cool and he walks the road not taken by many.
I'd say we certainly DO NOT have a problem on the "cool" front when it comes to our new Low Light:
As you can see, we start strong with some great parts choices in Beachhead's torso and the Jungle Viper's arms (with some cool padding in place of the JV's strange arm handles). Then of course, you can see only the word "badass" coming from the face sculpt. I think "steely eyes" comes to mind when I see that hard stare. Either that or he's just so used to the dark that he's gotta squint when the goggles are off...
Moving on with the rest of the body: we have his trademark coat with the red shoulder that looks very cool. On down the legs we have a functional knife sheath and his scope (oh that scope...I won't say it now, but you'll see...) strapped to his leg. It's kinda neat, 'cause he could easily reach down and use the scope as just a quick way to survey far off targets without getting a whole gun out.
We have the makings of a fantastic figure, without a doubt! It's obvious that sculpting has come a looooong way in the short time they've been using the new Joe style. I'm not saying that the early 25th guys were badly sculpted, but I AM saying that Low Light's head blows more than half the early figures out of the water all on it's own.
Next, of course, we want to move on to the most important part of any G.I. Joe: The Accessories!
OH BOY the accessories! Man oh man. Before I dive in, let me give you a small list, so that the blow is softened a bit when my tone gets more an more irritated as we go along:
List Of Items Almost Lost (during the time between this review and Skydive's, I played with Low Light often to get ideas, and this list comes to you from that time)
- Tiny Bullet - Almost lost twice. One time it was just randomly gone, but I found it lying on the ground, and the second time I accidentally flipped the tray Low Light was in, tossing his accessories around. The bullet, needless to say, flew straight and true. Found it a day later.
- Teeny Tiny Antenna for the Radio - Almost lost...four times? Five? I don't know. It fell off just about every time I tried to do something with it. Fell into the carpet a dozen times while taking pictures, and thankfully I managed to follow it most of the time.
- Scope - Almost lost twice; once during the tray flip, and a second time because I'm an idiot and sometimes I bring the toy around the apartment with me to play with 'em and get ideas. The scope was thankfully found IN A TRASH CAN. Amazing. Don't know how it got in there, but I'm glad I found it.
I think that's about it! Behold: my Crisis of Toy Faith. I've always been a fan of lots of accessories. I've had my fair share of really tiny accessories, too (most of the time with Japanese toys). In most cases I'm cool with where the toys are going. Jungle Duke, for instance, has a cool little place in his pack for his flashlight, and his pack can even hold stuff in the stretchy straps! Shadow Tracker pushed it a bit further, and while I loved every one of his accessories, I did feel that maybe he was packed with a bit too much.
Now we have Low Light.
The man can carry just about everything on him! On top of that, many of the tiny accessories fit in his backpack, and the case even holds his rifle!
Trust me, these things had me very excited when they were shown off at Toyfair! I love this kinda stuff. It's my THING, it's what I'm all about: Accessories, and places to put them.
And yet...I'm disappointed. You see how it's a Crisis of Faith. Accessory Faith. I'm supposed to love this kinda thing...
...but good god this guy was so annoying to review. I mean, it started out okay:
I mean, look at him! There is absolutely nothing wrong in the looks department. Just awesome. As I played with him, I even became an instant fan of the character. I mean, with these accessories, he would have been the "Snake Eyes" if there were never a Snake Eyes.
As it is, I find no problem having him sneak into an area with Snake Eyes and having them perform very similarly, perhaps without a lot of jump kicks from Low Light. Still, I can imagine them sneaking in and splitting up when Low Light gets to his point. I did imagine it actually, and that was the plan for the little pictorial (minus the fact that you've got a stark white wall completely ruining the idea that they're supposed to be sneaking around at night).
I was even having fun with that little bullet! Then, however, the little things started to get to me.
OOOHHH that gun. The butt of the rifle is just. Crap.
You just can not get a good pose out of him without that stupid thing tilting sideways or falling off. That wasn't the kicker, though...
THE SCOPE. AGH. I put it on multiple times and found it off again (no matter how hard I tried). It frustrated me so much that I made my first boring-as-hell youtube video to show you what this thing does all on it's own.
Click here for the riveting footage, if your browser doesn't let you see it on here.
Caught it in action! Doesn't matter what I do: the scope eventually removes itself. Drove me NUTS!
Eventually I just got out a normal rifle for him, but I was so frustrated that I couldn't get him in a good sniping pose. Oh hell...I'll just say it: It wasn't the frustration, he just can't do it very well! You'd think it would be easy with those wrists, but SOMETHING always pops the gun out of his hand, and his hair won't let him look up, and...well those things usually don't bother me that much but the whole rifle thing really ticked me off. Near the end I was just screwing around:
Then I thought: "NO. No. A toy has never defeated me before! I always find the upside to things! On top of that, if I'm careful, I know I can get some good poses out of him." I had to work Recondo, but I got good poses out of him despite his flaws! If I could do it with him, I could do it with Low Light. Just had to be careful.
I got this pose. Wasn't entirely happy with the pic (tiny bit blurry) so I picked 'em up and moved a few things here and there - and the SCOPE popped off, then the butt of the gun bent in and fell off, then THE GUN FELL OUT OF HIS HANDS AHHHGGGHHH!!!
That final shot was how he landed when I threw him into the background piece, took a pic, brought it to the comp and hastily wrote what you see there.
I usually try to find the good in any Joe figure. I didn't want to end it this way, but that's how it turned out. There IS good in this figure, as you saw. He looks awesome and mostly plays awesome. He's great with a knife and an uzi! Heck, he even looks fantastic holding his gear and with his backpack equipped and all that. I mean, my usual complaint about accessories is too-many-with-no-place-to-put-them, but Low Light has a place for all of it!
*sigh* Crisis of Accessory Faith. Tons of awesome stuff and not a single bit of it useful for any sort of play. Are these still toys for kids, or are they just selling them to us collectors now? This is worse than the little helmet antennas or visors you might have lost on the vintage figures. The guy comes with a ton of tiny things that don't really need to be there. The antenna on the radio could have been attached, the bullet - while neat - didn't really need to be there. The gun - GOOD LORD, the gun! Such a cool idea but such a failure! No fun at all. Can't pose him with it, can't use it...geeze, I could barely get Snake Eyes to hold it (though I did, and why the heck is it always Snake Eyes that can hold everyone's guns better than they can themselves?). I want to play with the figure, but I don't want to touch his accessories. I can't think of the last time that happened! Heck, I can barely get him to snipe with another rifle, so he doesn't even get used how he's supposed to be used.
The Alexx vote is in: if my rabid complaints didn't tip you off, I guess you could say that I didn't like him. Somehow, though, I still can't tell you to skip him. He's gona be a part of action figure history, I know that much. I mean, I thought Bullhorn's rifle and case were amazing for the time, but THIS...this will go down in G.I. Joe history. And I don't think it was successful. I think many, many of you will enjoy this figure and already are. Perhaps the scope doesn't fall off of yours, or maybe you can get him in a pose that is satisfactory to you. Many of you display your figures, and he'll look AWESOME for that purpose. However...if you're like me and you like to play around with 'em...
...then go buy yourself a toy and skip this collector's item.
WHOOOA, Past Alexx is spitting venom! I don't think I've ever been that hot-and-bothered for a review since then. I've certainly had my qualms with particular figures falling over again and again, but that has kind of turned into a challenge. Back then, at that point: Low Light was the most work I had put into posing a toy, and most of my efforts failed. That's after...geeze, how many reviews? Barely any problems, and then THIS. In the end, it all came down to trying to pose him with the rifle, and honestly: That ain't bad. I mean, he's still a damn awesome looking figure. But I freaked out when every single pose failed and the gun fell apart and....you get the gist.
Funny thing is that this figure is essentially a proto-Marauder figure. He's got the tiny parts, the detailed gun, etc. It's just that this was supposed to be a kid's toy, and Marauder figures are aimed at older collectors who customize. I don't have any qualms with gluing down the pockets on a Marauder figure, but Low Light should be a complete package. I shouldn't have to fix him up so he'll work.
So, do I still feel that way? Yeah, I still sorta agree with Past Alexx, though perhaps not as fervently. This figure was a test for little detailed accessories, and I feel like it failed, but if you're a big fan of Low Light: Look nowhere else.
...and in terms of my pissy little review: If I have time to get pissed at toys, then my life is going pretty great, lemme tell ya.