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REVIEW:
G.I. Joe - SIGMA SIX FIREFLY
By Thomas Wheeler



The name "Firefly" certainly has a considerable history in the world of G.I. Joe. First introduced in 1984, Firefly was a saboteur who worked for Cobra. The figure was superb, and remains so to this day. A grey camouflage uniform with a ski mask, Firefly managed to look both military and mercenary at the same time. He was a mystery, whose origins would only partially be revealed in later years.

Within the 3-3/4" line, there have been a generous number of Firefly figures over the years. He was remade in 1992-1993, in a bright green uniform with either grey or black trim. This edition didn't tend to go over all that well, and in more recent years, the original Firefly has been brought back quite a number of times, with a fair range of camouflage patterns, including several for the 2003 Convention, and a more complex camouflage remake of the original for one of the comic-based three-packs.

The body design has been so well-received that it was even used for a different character. It was originally intended to be used for a Tiger Force member named Sabre Tooth in 1988, but for reasons unknown, that figure never happened. When Hasbro made a new Tiger Force five-pack for Toys "R" Us a few years ago, they finally issued this character, slightly recolored, and renamed "Wreckage", probably so as to not upset a certain similarly-named mutant from Marvel.

But as for Firefly, he's never been anything except a bad guy. So when the name turned up in the Sigma 6 line, and images of the figure started to appear, one of the big questions was - Hey, what's Firefly doing in a Sigma Suit!?

Well, according to an announcement about the second season of the animated series, at least one of the new Joes to be introduced on the year is going to turn out to be a traitor. Gee, do we really need a road map and a lie detector to figure this one out?

Eventual treason notwithstanding, it's good to see a new character in the line. With all of the variants of Duke, Snake-Eyes, and whomever else, the Sigma 6 line is already suffering from a bad case of what I call "Batman Syndrome" - the practice of doing multiple versions of the core character(s) and limiting the number of new faces. Although in the case of Sigma 6, perhaps "Masters Syndrome" might be more fitting. One of the things that really hurt the modern Masters of the Universe line and spelled its premature demise was Mattel's insistence on creating new versions of He-Man and Skeletor for every blasted assortment, while short-packing the new faces like Evil-Lyn, Roboto, or whomever. I worry that Sigma 6 is headed down the same road.

Indeed, Firefly turned up around here in a restocking on the shelves that otherwise included new versions of Duke, Heavy Duty, Snake-Eyes, and Long Range. He was the ONLY new face in the crowd. He was also the only one I bought.

Speaking of faces, if there's any question about Firefly's eventual intentions, get a load of that mug. Is this a face YOU'D trust? There's something about the face and the expression that's a real combination of contempt, disdain, and a tendency towards being a smart@$$.

Then there's the creepy mask the character wears. Looks like he got it off Jason Voorhees from the "Friday the 13th" movies. It's tough to decide whether to put the mask on this figure or not. Firefly's not especially pleasant to look at either way.

There's even something about his Sigma Suit that seems a little - off, somehow. He has these very jagged shoulder pads, and wrist pads, and he's wearing these removable elbow and knee pads that also have this jagged line pattern in them. The whole combined image results in a character that may be dressed as a Sigma 6 Joe, but you sort of figure he's really not. Even if the name "Firefly" didn't mean anything to a Sigma 6 fan, I think even objectively, one would have to look at this character's appearance, and wonder just a bit.

That's not to say it's a bad figure. In fact, it's excellent. Although the figure somehow looks a little slender in package, almost as if he might be the same size as the rather diminutive Tunnel Rat, he's not. He's the same "average" size as Snake-Eyes or Duke, really.

As with most Sigma 6 figures, Firefly is dressed in a Sigma Suit, and these all maintain a fairly consistent pattern. It's one of the things I really like about the line, to be honest. This high-tech body suit is mostly black, with trim in a certain color that runs along the sides of the body, arms, and legs. In Firefly's case, the trim color is a dark orange, which makes him stand out a fair bit in the crowd, which has mostly used more muted colors. Only the yellow-trimmed Kamakura is a bit more obvious.

Firefly's uniform accessories are fairly extensive for one of the less- expensive figures, which is the price bracket Firefly falls into. He's wearing a small harness, as well as separate elbow and knee pads, and a belt.

What's interesting about the elbow and knee pads is that they're individually made for each leg. Given the cost of separate molds, it's surprising that Hasbro didn't make just one elbow pad and one knee pad and then use it for both arms and legs. But they didn't do this. There's these diagonal green highlights on each elbow and knee pad, and they're "pointed" in opposite directions for each set. Nice touch, and it probably wasn't inexpensive to do this, either.

The paint work is excellent on the figure, and not one bit of it is hand- painted, I am happy to say. Hasbro is still having a little trouble with mold creases in the plastic, however. There were two Firefly figures available at the store where I found him, and, needless to say, I picked the one that DIDN'T have the huge crease across his forehead. Somebody at Hasbro really needs to be getting on the case of the factories in China and tell them to stop rushing production and taking the shortcut of not liquefying the plastic enough before sending it into the molds. That's what causes this, and it looks terrible.

The articulation on Sigma 6 figures is really outstanding, and obviously Firefly is no exception to this. The figure is articulated at the head, arms, elbows (including swivel), wrists, mid-torso, waist, legs, knees (including swivel), and ankles. The articulation point in the ankles has been designed in such a way as to look like it's part of the boot.

In my opinion, Sigma 6 places a large (perhaps too large) emphasis on accessories. This, unfortunately, is the excuse for multiple versions of the same character, but it can't be denied that the accessories are well made. Firefly comes with a pistol, a "Spinblast trap" and what looks like two short lightsabers. These are listed on his file card as "flame sticks"

Speaking of his file card, Firefly's reads as follows:

SIGMA 6 SABOTEUR

CODE NAME: FIREFLY

SPECIALTY: DEMOLITIONS

PERSONAL HISTORY:

Firefly is an expert in the art of sabotage and specializes in explosive devices that disable electronic systems. He worked in covert ops on missions involving computer espionage and was brought onto the Sigma 6 Team to destroy a sophisticated computer virus created by Cobra to destabilize the world economy. He infiltrated the evil organization and blew up the base's central electronics core, stopping the virus from being transmitted and ending all computerized Cobra activity for over a year. He became a permanent member of the Sigma 6 Team to provide his expertise in fighting the Cobra B.A.T. troops. His innovative devices have provided the team with powerful weapons to deplete the ranks of these dangerous robots.

Well, at least they kept Firefly's original specialty correct - Saboteur. But does some of that card sound just a little suspicious? I mean, just how deep was his infiltration of Cobra? It's kept just vague enough to maybe throw off someone who doesn't know the characters, or maybe figures that there's going to be a twist in the Sigma 6 line that will be a departure from the main Joe universe, but I don't think that's going to be the case here.

And consider this possibility from a storyline standpoint - if Firefly does betray the Sigma 6 team and jumps over to Cobra, and takes his Sigma Suit with him, that will give the Sigma technology to Cobra! THAT could be an interesting development! One that (I hope) could result in some very interesting figures. Imagine Sigma-Suited Cobra Troopers!

And I still say this isn't a face that I'd trust very far.

But ultimately, we'll just have to see. Whatever his true allegiances, there's no question that the Sigma 6 Firefly figure is a cool addition to the collection. He's already being well-received among collectors. If nothing else, he's also one of a very small handful of NEW characters being brought into the line, so he's pretty significant just from that standpoint.

And, he's a cool figure. Between the orange trim and the unusual design elements to his uniform, he's got a very distinctive look to him.

If you're a Sigma 6 fan, then I most definitely recommend FIREFLY!