As 1994 is the infamous year that “killed” GI Joe, there are many figures from that year that are well known for their goofiness. The Lunartix aliens, Shadow Ninjas, and the unfortunately named Ice Cream Soldier are all examples of figures that a lot of GI Joe fans know, but in a fairly negative way. Blackstar is in my opinion, possibly the most obscure Cobra character ever made, and he’s not a terrible figure, either. Unlike the other guys, he’s just not outrageous enough to stand out.
When people look at 1994 figures, only what’s stupid or silly stands out to them. Anything that’s less than that falls between the cracks, which leaves figures like Blackstar being severely overlooked. Additionally, his bio is one that leaves him somewhat poorly defined as a character. It refers to the Blackstar as some sort of space mercenaries, but then to this figure as “This particular Cobra Blackstar”. It’s a little confusing as to if he’s a generic soldier or a unique character, but I suppose that’s up to the owners imagination. In either case, it’s another element adding to his obscurity.
The most redeeming quality of this figure is his sculpt. He has a very detailed and cool looking chest and helmet, albeit the details are lost somewhat amid the black plastic. His legs are reused from Barricade, and I think it’s fair to say they’re a decent match. His head was later reused for a Joecon Steel Brigade figure, but it would have been nice if Hasbro could’ve done something with the entire mold in better colors.
Speaking of colors, the figure has an only passable palette. There’s a decent combination of yellow, neon green, silver and black, colors that aren’t terrible, but really do the sculpted details no favors. Sans the green, it’s the same scheme as the 1986 BAT, so as a Joe fan I think the colors are at least forgivable. The BAT’s sculpt was more simplistic in the black areas though, so it didn’t suffer from obscuring it’s own details in the way Blackstar does.
His accessories are also rather poor, even for a late 90‘s figure. Blackstar includes a unique, backpack mounted missile launcher and a black Rock Viper pistol. The Rock Viper pistol looks better in black and does have a rather spacey look to it, but other than that the lame launcher is all you get. I suppose he’s a pilot of some sort, so the lacking parts can be overlooked, but still.
Ultimately, Blackstar is useful as a blank-slate Cobra. His background is poorly detailed and his character is nonexistent, so it’s easy to use him as anything you like. He could pass for a next gen BAT, a spare Eco Warrior, or he could even look really good paired with the V2 Alley Viper. He has an excellent look that could easily work in a number of different ways.
Like a lot of 1994 figures, he’s pretty hard to find, and his value tends to vary greatly. Some, especially partless or in lots, go as low as around $6, but others edge towards upwards of $30. This figure could add a lot of novelty to a collection when you find him on the cheaper end, however, he’s certainly not worth paying an exuberant amount for.