G.I. Joe (FSS) 2.0:
Keel-Haul Review

It’s subscription time, for G.I. Joe at least. And that leaves me in that same curious position, to sub or not to sub. As a kid, I enjoyed G.I. Joe more than MOTU, but as an adult, it’s resubbing MOTU that’s not in question. I’m just waiting for Mattel to put the button to press up. Meanwhile, the Joe Sub? Well, I torture myself over the decision. I love Joes. I want to support the Club. Some of the figures are pretty cool.

I guess the “some” kinda jumps out there, doesn’t it? The numbers here tell a story. Out of the 26 subscription figures so far, thirteen are still here. That number could still go down, as four are not opened. Of the nine opened, this is only my fourth review. That’s not a lot of enthusiasm. Looking at the list of Joes included in 3.0, I want eight out of the twelve revealed. That’s good odds. But the figures, well… they just have to get better.

In this review, I’m looking at what was probably the biggest name on my wishlist, Admiral Keel-Haul. The original Flagg, which was necessarily stored on the floor, did not survive The Great Flood™. Some parts did, the deck is still here. Some other bits. Keel-Haul himself was a casualty. For some reason, I’ve never gone back and picked up another one. It may just because he’s not one you run across all that much. But the need for a Keel-Haul was strong and he’s held a high and firm spot on my modern Joe Want list for years (along with Dress Blues Gung Ho!). When the Club announced him in the FSS 2.0, that helped push me over.

Then he got here and… I wasn’t in a rush to open him. That’s telling, isn’t it? He’s not a bad figure. The Club doesn’t have unlimited resources, they can’t just “do a figure right”. They have to be smart about it and they usually are. The pieces chosen here work. He’s frankensteined from ROC General Hawk that was included with the Pit and the “fixed” version of Shipwreck from the 25th Anniversary line. While these parts work, they also bring their flaws alongside for the ride: the skinny legs, the odd articulation cut in the shoulders, the right leg being slightly longer the left – I kinda feel like the Club (& Hasbro) just needs to banish certain parts from reuse. It’s okay to do it once because changes are difficult, but some parts just need stricken from the record before they do a future Joe more disservice.

Sculptwise, the Boss Fight head is the best thing this figure has going. The figure as a whole lacks the coolness… the swagger, of the original, but the head tries to get some of it back. It’s the one thing that makes the figure worth owning as a Keel-Haul update. That sounds bad, but it just a lot of little things that don’t add up from the neck down. No gloves. No belt. No sidearm holster. Either update the figure in a meaningful way or nail down the homage. There really isn’t a lot of room for middle ground there. Continue to Page 2…

20 thoughts on “G.I. Joe (FSS) 2.0:
Keel-Haul Review

  1. Man, those arm cuts that show the blue beneath the coat would kill this figure for me entirely, especially at the insane collector’s club pricing.

  2. I like him pretty well overall, but I’m kind of in the same boat as you, Noisy: I loved G.I. Joe more as a kid and continued to collect them (sometimes exclusively) up until around 2009. Hasbro just started losing me with their difficult to obtain SDCC exclusives and the Club’s overpriced offerings. There are some guys in the new set that are really tempting (Muskrat and Spearhead and Max come to mind) but I’m really just not going to bite at their prices.

    I’d rather support a new line like Vitruvian Hacks or the Cthulhu line.

  3. Wait. That’s really the flag he comes with? REALLY? A rectangle of cardboard?! Not soft goods, not a tampo printed ‘waving’ plastic.


    Yeah, it’s probably the wrong thing for me to focus on, given the leg problem, a lack of holsters and all that. Can’t help it, it just stands out so much as half-a$$ed…

    1. I’m glad it’s cardboard honestly. A soft goods one would just be draped all the time. I’d need a 1:18th hanger to prop it up. And wavy plastic would be weirder, I think.

  4. It’s ironic that you lost most of your Flagg to a flood of all things, Noisy. 🙁

    Going by the next to last pic, Robert Duvall might have made a cool Keel-Haul back in the 80’s. I think the one thing all reviewers agree upon is that they like the coffee mug.

  5. Great review, as always. This figure looked so much better in the promo shots. Now I’m glad I had to cancel my BBTS order for this (and a few other sub figures) for budgetary reasons.

  6. Well never had as a kid so nothing to compare other than cartoon and comic appearances. I would be okay eith the fig but do see the hiccups. Still what have looks good.

  7. He looks like that snide SNL guy with the whiny voice and a fake ‘stache. Not Sudeikis, the other guy.
    Those hips and broken thumb stumps aren’t doing him any favors, either.

    Never even *saw* the Flagg in stores, so losing even part of that prime piece of Joe real estate must have been heartbreaking.

    1. Will Forte?
      (typical how you remember something .00005 seconds AFTER you hit “post”!)

      1. There’s a certain actor he resembles to me, but I can’t come up with the name. Will Forte is who you’re thinking of though!

  8. On a Flagg related note, one of the comic shops I visit had a Flagg in the store one weekend. It was relatively complete; I’d say 75-80% was there. I went back the next day and the guy behind the toy counter said it didn’t even last an hour after they put it on display; someone snatched it up quick.

    1. Oh yeah! I think about the pieces I have left all the time. I could probably get a few hundred just for those. I think I have most of the deck as I recall.

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