For G.I. Joe fans, it's the best of times AND the worst of times. G.I. Joe
Renegades, the most recent reimagining of the classic toy/cartoon series, is
seeing release on DVD and it's actually pretty good (you can read our review of
the first DVD HERE). Conversely, the live-action film, G.I. Joe: Retribution,
had its release date changed from June of this year to March of next year at the
eleventh hour; reports claim the yearlong delay is to incorporate 3D and reshoot
entire portions of the already-finished film (WTF?!). If that revolting
development upset your household as it did mine (if you think I'm sore over the
delay, talk to my wife!), then I have some good news for you: Shout Factory is
making available, in huge chunks, the original G.I. Joe animated series to tide
you over. This review is for series 2, season 2, the effective end for the Joes
in the 80's and early 90's, but previous volumes are available if you want to
start at the beginning (you probably do).
I'd be willing to bet the "series 2" label threw some of you off. Don't worry,
you aren't alone. I'll explain: Series 1 was done by a company called Sunbow
Joe, whereas series 2 was animated by DIC. Hardcore Joe fans widely consider
Sunbow Joe's treatment of the property to be the best, but DIC's revamp/sequel
isn't without its merits. This series lost its focus on fan-favorite characters
and introduced an all new villain, Cesspool. It also contains a widely varying
spectrum of quality, with some plots bordering on the insane side of things.
Check out the two part episode "Long Live Rock 'n Roll" if you don't believe me.
It chronicles Cobra Commander's plan to use metal music (well, '80s metal
anyway) as a sonic mind control device. See? Insane.
Though I almost never encourage the purchase of DVDs containing splits in
individual seasons, this one might be worth it. The three disc set contains 7
hours of G.I. Joe spread over 20 episodes. That's a lot of watching for under
$20. Purchase this one and the previous set, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero
Series 2 Season 1, and you've got the entire series in your possession. One
split isn't too awful, especially considering how much they've crammed into
these two sets.
Season 2 isn't the best set of G.I. Joe episodes, but they have a certain
undeniable charm. You might not see much of your favorite hero or villain, you
might sit in stunned disbelief at the ridiculous plotlines and it is a DVD set
split in half. Despite that, this is a set worth a look, especially if you're a
big time fan. It may also sate your thirst for the crazy delayed live action
film. And yes, Chris Latta, the greatest voice actor who ever lived (sorry H.
Jon Benjamin), does reprise his role as the iconic voice of Cobra Commander.
That's enough for me right there.