Last week I reviewed my new Annihilator figure that Vanessa bought me for my birthday. This here is the other Joe that she got me for my birthday and I must say I was surprised by it. I gave her a list of pricey toys that I was hunting for and there were a couple of Convention exclusive Joe figures on that list. For my birthday last year she got me the Convention exclusive Cobra De Aco which I was thrilled with. She said that she had never seen me so excited. Not that I was jumping up and down or anything but I’m a pretty calm guy generally who keeps his emotions in check. An ear to ear grin is about as much as she’s gonna get out of me. Ever since, she’s been striving to buy me another present capable of producing the same effect. Cobra De Aco is pretty dear to me but if there was a toy on my “want list” this year that might’ve come close it would be Darklon. Now I didn’t want to outright tell her that he was the item on my list that I wanted the most because he is rather expensive and I like the element of surprise.
For Christmas she got me Bruticus, which was excellent but it did leave me curious as to what she might have gotten me for my birthday. I hoped it was Darklon. Now as I told you in my Annihilator post she got me a bunch of stuff for my birthday. Five pairs of funky socks (the only kind I wear), some warm flannel pajama bottoms, multiple bags of candy, Taken 2 on bluray, some booze, and a tablet. That alone would have been plenty. She was handing me presents in the order she wanted me to open them and amidst the socks and candy she handed me a small box which I had pegged for an action figure. I opened it up and it was Annihilator. I was very happy with him and surprised as I didn’t think I would get him but there was that little part of me that was disappointed that he wasn’t Darklon. (I’m a spoiled brat, I know)
Well then I opened the next box with the bluray inside. I pulled it out to admire Mr. Neeson in all his badassery on the cover when I spotted a small bundle of plastic laying at the bottom of the box. It looked to be a loose action figure wrapped snuggly in protective bubble wrap. I noticed the ugly pea green immediately. Is it what I think it is? Could she have? Would she have? She did!!! Darklon was mine to command!
This already seemed like birthday present overkill to me by this point and I hadn’t even opened the tablet yet. Once I opened that bad boy my thoughts quickly became “oh crap. How am I ever going to top this for her birthday?”
So you might be wondering, “ just who is this Darklon character?” And truthfully I can’t tell you a whole lot about him. He’s never been fleshed out in great detail in the cartoons or comics. He’s playing a role in the comics currently being published by IDW so maybe I’ll be able to tell you more about the character at a later date but as of now all I know is he’s a mysterious distant cousin of Destro. He lives in a castle in Europe and he holds a position in Destro’s Iron Grenadier army.
The first, and until now the only, Darklon figure was released in 1989. That was the last year that Doug and I were really into G.I. Joe. 1988 was the last year that we owned everything that came out. We had almost all of the single carded figures that came out in ’89 but we had completely given up on vehicles at that point. I’ve mentioned a few times how I’m not really into vehicles but that wasn’t always the case. I’ve always liked the figures more but the first few years of the Joe toy line produced some amazing vehicles. They were things like tanks, jeeps and helicopters. By 1989 Joe vehicles were wonky and weird looking so I simply couldn’t be bothered with them. We didn’t own any ’89 vehicles and therefore we didn’t own Darklon because he was packaged with the Evader. In 1990 Doug and I only bought one Joe figure each and they were to be out last ones for more than a decade. I got a Joe named Rampart and Doug got an Iron Grenadier frogman named Undertow.
In most cases I have far less passion for figures of characters that I never owned as a child as opposed to those characters that I did . But now and again a character will come along, like Cobra De Aco or Darklon, who seems to have built in nostalgia factor. Opening this Darklon figure last week was the first time I’d ever held this character in my hands but he felt familiar to me. I remember when the original came out and being curious about him even though my overall interest was waning. Destro’s crocodile skinned, red panted, Darth Vader knock-off mask wearing, investment-banker of a cousin struck me as interesting for some reason. I’m certain I would have gotten the original figure had he been available without the vehicle. I would’ve been happy to add him to my collection at any point, considering I’ve been a more avid Joe collector these past 10 years than I ever was as a kid, but the opportunity never presented itself. Like Annihilator, Darklon was ignored during the new sculpt and modern sculpt era…until now. The Collector’s Club released an Iron Grenadiers vs the Oktober Guard themed convention box set in 2012 that finally gave fans new versions of these characters. Unfortunately these convention exclusive Joes are quite expensive. This is again where I recommend you get an awesome girlfriend.
So how is the figure? Not perfect, but pretty darn awesome. As I mentioned in my Annihilator review the Club doesn’t have the resources to make many new parts so they have to creatively use existing pieces. Darklon’s entire body is a repaint of a previously released Firefly figure. It’s not a flawless interpretation of the 1989 mold but it’s not bad. You would never recognize this as the Firefly figure with all of Darklons’ gaudy colors added to the previously solid gray figure. The weapons included with the figure are decent but they don’t stay in his hands very well which is annoying. It makes him tough to pose. Darklon’s unique head couldn’t be faked with existing pieces so the Club splurged for some new tooling and gave us a great new version of the classic Darklon head. I believe the removable shoulder padded web gear is all new as well. I think he looks great. I’m still not sure what the deal is with this guy’s green sweater. I don’t believe it’s actually intended to be crocodile skin like I said earlier but it is odd. the fact that he has green skin showing through his mask and glowing red eyes makes me wonder if there’s supposed to be a supernatural element to this guy. The mystery of it keeps him interesting. A great figure. 9 out of 10.