Although nothing seems more repetitive than 80‘s and 90‘s anti-drug messages, the DEF and Headhunters were some pretty cool toys to come from the era. They’re a bit corny, but also a real world topic that’s interesting to inject into a military toy line. In the 2000‘s however, anti-drug messages in children’s shows and product largely went away and even seemed to take somewhat more of a taboo status. So when Hasbro brought Headman back in the GI Joe vs. Cobra line, he was somewhat of a departure from his prior form to say the least.
The original Headman was a sweet figure. The black pin-stripped suit was a great look for a drug dealer, among other features I found that made the figure charming.There was little to do in the way of improving the original, and sadly the ‘02 Headman could be seen as quite the down grade. Now he wears a solid orange suit that looks quite a lot like The Mask, which I’d be a little insulted to know if that was really the inspiration for this figure.
There’s nothing much to say about the figure other than that. He’s Headman, but in orange. In all fairness I think certain details of the sculpt are a little easier to see in this color than in black, but that doesn’t really justify the poor color choice here. Oddly, his hair color has been changed to black as well, a design choice I still don’t quite understand.
HEADMAN started out robbing convenience stores, then learned the ropes of high-end thievery while serving time in prison. A hardened criminal, HEADMAN doesn’t think twice about removing anyone who gets in the way of his plans. He steals anything for the right price—government secrets, weapon system specifications, and priceless art treasures. His thefts have undermined the safety of countries and satisfied greedy private art collectors at the expense of museums around the world. He has managed to escape GENERAL TOMAHAWK time and again, but the relentless G.I. JOE commander has caused him to abandon some plans, losing money. He wants to remove the threatening general from his trail, once and for all.
“I am a master of crime who can steal anything, and never get caught.”
The filecard’s from this era tend to be pretty worthless, and Headman’s is no exception. Interestingly, they’ve completely overhauled his character in this one. No longer is he a drug dealer and the leader of the Headhunters, but instead a robber and expert thief. The portrayal seems especially childish and simple, and even steps on the toes of a few other Cobras who already fill similar roles (Firefly and Zartan). Again, I suppose at this point drugs were a topic they simply preferred to avoid, but they could’ve found a more appropriate role for the Headman than one as blase as this.
They also really phoned in the accessories on this figure. Instead of his highly interesting G11 riffle, he now includes the grenade launcher and knife from the V1 Range Viper, as well as the pistol from ‘91 Dusty (the one they would eventually include with different figures more than twenty times.). What gets me about these accessories isn’t that they’re horribly generic, but that absolutely no thought was put into them for the character. A big, noisy grenade launcher for a guy who’s supposed to be a thief now?
Despite all of this, I like using this figure every now and then just because no one else really does that much. I’m also a big Headhunters fan, so he has appeal to me for that alone. But this isn’t a good figure and his value sixteen years later reflects that. Complete figures can be had for around $5, but if you look around, the sealed set with General Hawk (Tomahawk) can be had for almost as much.