2005 Zartan (DTC Comic Pack)

2005 Zartan

In 2005, GI Joe was low on my collecting radar and Toys R’ Us was a seldom stop for me. So most of the comic pack figures came and went without my knowledge. My collecting interests changed a lot as the 2000‘s came to a close, and with a bigger interest in oddball 2000‘s items like these, I picked up most of the good comic pack figures around 2010 and ‘11. The overstock was so bad on these they were available for years after release at retail price and even below that, which provided me with a good avenue for some unfamiliar sculpts. One such sculpt that I had never owned, was Zartan.

I think Zartan could be argued as one of the most important villains in the GI Joe storyline, but unfortunately, he doesn’t have a great history of action figures. After the classic V1 figure, you have a strange but decent Ninja Force release, a terrible ARAHC figure, some novel Joecon items, and a pair of sub-par New Sculpt era figures. As someone who wasn’t even born in the 80’s, it was always frustrating to have to few options for such a cool character.

For a comic-pack release, this Zartan is really nice. The colors are nicely different from the V1 figure, but aren’t so much of a departure that they look wrong. Of course, he no longer changes colors like the V1 figure, but some collectors might appreciate that gimmick being lost. Save for the head, the sculpt is entirely recycled from the V1 figure and marks the only other time it saw a retail release. If there had been a handful more of good or even decent repaints of this figure, this release might not have been as worthwhile, but such was not the case.

Speaking of that head, I have mixed feelings on it. Like a lot of figures from the time, it’s a little small. The face sculpt is pretty good, although I think the shape of the cowl looks a little exaggerated. The face paint is also strange looking, with black going all the way up his forehead.Has he ever looked like this? The sculpt looks a lot worse without that trademark diamond pattern on his face.

I never liked Zartan’s removable chest and leg pads. Like with the HEAT Viper, it seems they serve no purpose beyond getting lost. This figure loses Zartan’s iconic pistol and disguise and replaces it with a bow, arrow and quiver. The convention figure didn’t have it either, so I assume it was lost in the transition between Funskool and Hasbro. These parts were a huge appeal with the original and it’s a shame they were lost. At the very least, the new bow and arrow set’s nice in it’s own right, and is an appropriate part for the character.

V1 Zartan’s aren’t cheap or easy to get, and the later figures are all either novelties or are crappy. So if you want an alternative for a decent Zartan figure, your choices are this one and the Funskool figure. They certainly aren’t as easy to find as they used to be (what is), but the sealed set with a nifty Fred Cobra Commander, Zarana and a reprint of #74 barely tops $20, so that’s not a bad option.

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2005 Zartan Links:


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One Response to 2005 Zartan (DTC Comic Pack)

  1. A-Man says:

    I don’t like the comic book head too much. It lacks the mysteriousness of the original and isn’t even a good take on the comic book appearance.

    I’d say there’s more bad Zartan figures than good ones, but looking at how many were made, I only own like 9 out of 24. So many are efforts to capture the essence of the original and they seem to miss the mark.

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