IRON KLAW v.1 (2013)
After a solid streak of G.I. Joe reviews to hype you up for the new movie I told you that I would take a break from reviewing Joes to focus on some of the other toy lines in my collection. I managed to get a mere two non-Joe reviews posted before feeling the need to return to my favorite brand. I simply have far too many cool new Joe figures arriving in my mailbox that I can’t ignore. Last week my 2012 convention set arrived and considering that the 2013 convention is going on this very weekend I expect my 2013 set will be shipping out soon as well. Then yesterday my latest Figure Subscription Service figures arrived. This month I was treated to an updated version of Joe investigator Surefire as well as the first ever 3 ¾ “ version of Iron Klaw.
Who’s Iron Klaw you ask? Well Iron Klaw was the main baddie during the Extreme year of G.I. Joe in the mid 90s. I often talk about the 3 eras of G.I. Joe on this site, the vintage or Real American Hero (RAH) years from 1982-2001, the new sculpt years from 2002-2006, and the modern sculpt era from 2007 to present. These are names that the online Joe community came with and are by no means official. These names got thrown around so much on message boards that they just kind of stuck but they’re horrible designations. Names like “new sculpt era” followed by “modern sculpt era” will not stand the test of time. What era will follow the modern era? The new-modern? It’s a clusterf**k that future generations will be left to sort out.
Anyway, the point I was making is that even though those 3 eras are the only ones you ever really hear about, there were other “eras” of Joe. Anytime a series of Joe figures breaks from the standard 3 ¾” scale they become a thing unto themselves and are not acknowledged by Joe fandom at large. There was the Sigma Six era of the mid 2000s that most collectors dismiss. There was also Sgt. Savage than lasted one year in 1995. That line morphed into G.I. Joe Extreme, a toy line produced by Hasbro subsidiary Kenner that same year. I could not have cared less about the Extreme figures. I was more interested in skateboarding and girls at that time. As far as I was concerned G.I. Joe was dead.
Looking back at them now I still think that those Kenner figures suck. The proportions are goofy, the articulation is weak, and the character designs are garbage. But if there was a diamond in the rough, it was Iron Klaw. G.I. Joe no longer battled Cobra in those days, their enemy was a new European group call S.K.A.R. (Soldiers of Khaos, Anarchy and Ruin). Iron Klaw was the leader of SKAR; basically the Extreme era’s equivalent to Cobra Commander. Iron Klaw received 3 different figures all wearing different uniforms during the toy lines brief run. Only 2 other villain figures were produced so Iron Klaw had more outfits then he did soldiers. Kind of embarrassing.
Iron Klaw has never been associated with the RAH/New/Modern eras before. I think it’s awesome that the Collector’s club delved into this obscure corner of G.I. Joe to integrate this character into the “real” G.I. Joe mythology. They salvaged the only remotely interesting character from Extreme and have given him a new lease on life. I hope we see Iron Klaw appear in the comics sometime soon to cement his status as an official RAH character.
This Iron Klaw figure is not an exact representation of any of the past versions but an amalgamation of them. There is a part of me, my inner child I suppose, that think’s Iron Klaw is totally awesome. However there’s also my inner cynical adult who just thinks that the designers were trying way too hard when they came up with this guy. He’s like a mish-mash of every cartoon villain I can think of. It’s as if Cobra Commander, Dr. Klaw, Darth Vader and Dr. Doom somehow had a baby together. The black outfit, the skull motif, and the beret make for a pretty weird design. However, weird designs are welcome in the world of G.I. Joe. How could I possibly knock this guy’s design after I so recently raved about Darklon.
This Iron Klaw figure reuses the arms and legs of Iron Grenadier Destro. It’s a regal design with high boots and gloves and makes sense considering Iron Klaw’s secret identity as Count Von Rani the leader of the European nation of Kalistan. The head is definitely a newly sculpted piece and I think the torso probably is as well. The club has done well at recreating the look of the original Iron Klaw figure’s torso with the criss-crossing straps. The skull shoulder pad is pretty cool looking even if it is a little over the top. The face design is quite unique but reminds me of both Spawn and Emperor Zurg. The removable beret is neat but it doesn’t stay on as well as the recently released Flint’s chapeau so I would have been fine with them just sculpting it into the head design.
Iron Klaw has some great weapons. He has a pistol which can be holstered on his leg, a big nasty sword, a double bladed red wrist attachment and a really cool bladed gun. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this gun before but I can’t recall where. Regardless, it suits the character well as he’s described as a fan of bladed weapons.
This is another solid release from the Club. Only 4 more figures to come from this year’s FSS. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next year. 8 out of 10.