Sometimes, it amuses me what bits of pop culture keep coming back around.  A couple of years ago, I discovered through my child’s school Halloween party that the icons of my youth (notably Optimus Prime and Snake-Eyes) had made a resurgence in popularity.  My feelings on their big dumb ridiculous stupid and bombastic new-school incarnations aside, it was kind of cool to see the kids enjoying the same bits of pop culture ephemera I grew up with, and I even had a couple of conversations about which Joes were the coolest.  As always, nobody had ever heard of my choices (except Bazooka, who makes the list for Frozen Fudgies) but it’s the kind of discussion that begs a query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) reminds you that knowledge is, reputedly, fifty percent of any given conflict, asking: Which member of the G.I. Joe team would you rather have by your side in red-laser-versus-blue-laser combat?


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. Snake-eyes aside, because snake-eyes is the go-to answer for everyone, I feel like an all-around dude like Stalker, somebody who’d be able to fight with weapons or hand-to-hand, and wouldn’t get hampered down by their specialist limitation, would be best suited in an all-out fight. Maybe a dude like Roadblock, who’d be able to handle weaponry, but also take the fight in close if the lines fell. And of course, I call Scarlet if all else failed and we were close to the end.

  2. I’m tempted to say Scarlett. Not because of her skill or anything, but I figure she’ll probably be the last thing I see since I’m expendable, so why not let it be a hot redhead?

    I think I’ll go with Jinx, preferably the 80’s version. Aside from being a cute Asian girl (and I can’t resist those), I think there is a sort of odd balance since she fights without relying on sight (and is rather clumsy when trying to fight by sight) and I’m legally deaf and audio commands and the like are lost on me. In a way, her hearing would more than make up for my lack of it, and I can usually see things others tend to miss in a stressful situation.

  3. Well, Snake-Eyes is the obvious and awesome answer, but for the sake of variety, I’ll go with Roadblock. He’s big, tough, loyal, and smart. Plus, he’s got more firepower than just about any other two JOEs.

  4. I must choose the only member of the G.I. Joe team to kick everybody’s ass into gear after he saved their collective butts from a Cobra invasion. The Living Legend who was able to put General Hawk in his place despite being a heap of pay grades lower. I choose the man who talks enough for himself and Snake-Eyes.

  5. Odd choice here–Alpine!
    His moves in the title sequence to the Joe movie are awesome–it always reminds me that members of Joe team were folks with a bad-arse skill set that just happened to be military.

  6. My choice was kind of tough for me, because I watched the cartoons and everything but most of my enjoyment came from the figures and the cards on the back of the package and then the adventures I had with those toys. Some characters that I loved the toys for, in retrospect looking at the information about them they sound kind of lame but I still liked the toys either way. I’ve narrowed my list down to about three characters I guess. Starting with:

    Law and Order – Real name is Christopher M. Lavigne, Rank E-4. He’s a Military Policeman and dog handler (the dog being Order). He was just in G.I. Joe: The Movie but I liked the idea of a trained attack pet. And the card always made me laugh. “… You don’t want to mess with him and that dog of his. Chew your leg right off, he will. After that, you still have to deal with the dog!”

    Lifeline – Real Name: Edwin C. Steen, Rank E-5. He’s the Joes’ medic and a pacifist. His toy came with a white medical case, a silver communications backpack, a hand gun and an air mask. His toy probably got played with more than any other simply due to his having to fight his way onto the field of battle to retrieve the wounded. Many times he’d have that hand gun stuck inside the medic case only to take out a hostage taking terrorist.

    Quick Kick – Real Name: MacArthur S. Ito, Rank E-4. Looks like Bruce Lee. Half Japanese/Half Korean, didn’t fit in with either community and too short for basketball (it’s a fact on the card) so he became a Master of Tae Kwan Do, Go Ju Ryu, Southern Praying Mantis Kung-Fu, Tai Chi Sword, Zen Sword, and Wing-Chun. “Here’s the situation. You want to gain access to a fortified villa. Twelve foot tall continuous wall topped with razor-spiral and only one gate through it. Two inch steel plate on the gate, two sand-bagged guard houses with direct telephone link to the main house four guards with submachine guns, two Dobermans and a silent alarm hooked to a deadman’s switch that one of the guards is leaning on at all times. How to do it? Have Quick Kick hit it, that’s how!”

    Like I said though, most of my fun came from the toys. I didn’t find out until tonight that a toy of a guy I always thought was the character Low Light (also awesome) was actually a guy named Mirage. I played with him as Low Light for years.

    Honorable Mentions for Big Lob the guy who talked in 3rd person and only used sports metaphors, Shipwreck, and William “The Refrigerator” Perry. The G.I. Joe obstacle course consists of only one obstacle – The Fridge.

    • Did you ever “customize” figures like I did since it was so easy to take out that one screw and mix and match parts? I’d get a lot of extras from yard sales (people would sell multiple figures in a box or bag), so when I had extras of certain figures such as those in specialty gear I’d take figures apart and have whole teams ready for specific situations.

      I also made a “custom” of my uncle since he was in the Army and I had figures that I could get a reasonable look-alike of him in his uniform. Even made a mock-up file card on an index card to go with the ones I had off the backs of packaging.

      • I didn’t customize my Joes that way, but I did with my Micronauts. They have the same basic construction, and I thought it was fun swapping Time Traveller colors around.

  7. BeachHead

    The one thing that bothered me about the modern movies, is a missed chance to make the US military look cool. I remember vividly arguing which was the better part of the services (Navy Seals or Marines), What about an Army Ranger vs. Airborne? G.I. Joes were not all super ninjas, they were skilled army men with something to contribute.

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