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By Thomas Wheeler

Any longtime G.I. Joe fan knows the story of how the Adventure Team came to be. By 1970, the military was out of fashion, due in a large part to the Vietnam war and the media attention being given back home to a variety of long-haired anti-war protestors that didn't have anything else better to do.

This had an impact in the world of toys by making G.I. Joe, a distinctly military toy, increasingly unpopular. So Hasbro shifted gears, and made G.I. Joe a less-military adventurer. Now he wasn't so much involved in combat as he was exploration and specific adventures that would've made Indiana Jones hang up his hat and whip. Thus was born the G.I. JOE: ADVENTURE TEAM.

Since racial equality was a hot-button issue of the day as well, it was determined to put a black man on the team. And to create a new head sculpt for the figure. There hadn't been a lot of new headsculpts for G.I. Joe over the years. A handful of Foreign Soldiers several years previous had mandated some new sculpts, but when Hasbro released its first black figure, really just a black version of the original Action Soldier, they used the same headsculpt as all the other Joes and just did it in brown plastic. The result was somewhat less than impressive.

Now, in 2005, as part of its growing line of ADVENTURE TEAM remakes, the G.I. JOE COLLECTORS' CLUB has reissued the Black Adventurer!

This figure also commemorates the 35th anniversary of the Adventure Team, and comes with a special set of dogtags to mark this special anniversary.

The figure uses a body that is based on the format and structure of the original G.I.Joe. I know how longtime collectors of G.I.Joe feel about this. However much improved 12" action figure bodies, including some used on modern G.I. Joes, may be, there are those that will never consider anything other than a particular construction format be truly be G.I.Joe.

I didn't really, fully understand this until 2002, when Hasbro decided to invent a new construction format for the 3-3/4" figures. Granted, that wasn't an improvement, but it was still uncalled for, and I find it just as difficult to really consider any newsculpt 3-3/4" figure to truly be a G.I. Joe.

So, I can understand and sympathize with the mindset of those 12" collectors who declare that unless it's built a certain way, it's not really a G.I. Joe. Fortunately, I don't see as how they have anything to complain about with this figure.

Then there's the headsculpt -- AND the hair. Yes, it's flocked, fuzzy hair. That's not quite the point I wanted to make. It's also very -- 70's hair. I mean, those sideburns. And there's just the faintest hint of an afro. One look at this figure and, if you're old enough to remember the 70's, you feel like you just opened a time machine -- not the box for an action figure.

Frankly, he looks more than a bit like that actor who was the black guy on "The Mod Squad". Talk about 70's...

The figure is dressed fairly basically, in a tan shirt and trousers, both sturdily made, and hard plastic boots. He is wearing a flexible plastic shoulder holster, and the uniform has that legendary "AT" logo insignia on it, representing the Adventure Team.

His accessories include a pistol for the holster, a spare "AT" sticker, and there's also a Cloisonne Pin of the well-known six-wheeled ATV vehicle that was part of the line at the time.

The figure comes packaged in a traditional-style "long box" with a replica of the original package illustration on the front.

Really, this is an excellent figure, and is sure to be an enjoyable reminder of a time gone by for many G.I. Joe fans. I most highly recommend the G.I. JOE COLLECTORS' CLUB BLACK ADVENTURER, part of their growing line of Adventure Team exclusives!