Charlie “Spirit” Iron-Knife is the most well known and recognizable native-american member of the G.I. Joe team. And how could he not be memorable; he draws on every single native american stereotype you can imagine. He’s a tracker, he’s at one with nature, he has a pet bald eagle, he’s rocking the twin braids and headband; at least they gave him a gun instead of a bow and arrow. As much of a stereotype as Spirit is I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing. Spirit was a positive native american role model to kids like me who didn’t know any in real life. Spirit was wise and used violence as a last resort. There were a few other native american Joes over the years including Airborne who was even released a year before Spirit; he just wasn’t nearly as “showy” about it. Spirit had a decent amount of face time in the cartoons and basically played the role of Snake-Eyes in the animated world. In the comics it was Snake-Eyes who was the star of the show and had a blood feud with Storm Shadow. However I guess the producers of the cartoon didn’t think a mute character would be much fun for kids to watch so Spirit stepped up to duke it out with Storm Shadow and to preach his philosophies. I didn’t mind Spirit in the cartoon but I think I held it against him that he was filling Snake-Eyes’ role. Admittedly he was not my favorite character and often was one of my first casualties in any given battle. He’s grown on me more over time though and I actually think this is one of the better figures from those early waves.
The sculpt, despite being a walking cliche is very well done. His face is stoic and serious and conveys wisdom. His rubberized hair gives it a realistic look that even the female figures were lacking in those days. The torso is unique to him with the feathers and bone handle knife with tasseled sheath. The belt/loin cloth thing he came with looked pretty cool and kept the character functional where as if it had been sculpted directly to him it may have hindered his movement. His gun and pack were cool and unique as well. Man do I miss those days. I used to be able to match every gun and backpack to the figure they came with. Nowadays every joe comes with the such generic rifles, pistols and knifes that I’ve ended up with a big box of miscellaneous weapons which are a nightmare to match to the corresponding figure. Spirit’s coolest accessory was his pet bird, Freedom. I loved getting animal sidekicks with my Joes because it was like getting a whole extra character for free. Freedom used to clip onto Spirit’s wrist before his feet broke off but he was kind enough to rest on Spirit’s shoulder long enough for me to snap this pick. An underrated figure, at least by childhood me. 7 out of 10.