1989 Darklon

1989 Darklon

Darklon’s an interesting figure to me, particularly for the fact that he’s one of those figures that’s really grown on me since I got him. Of course, like half of the Iron Grenadiers he’s fairly flawed, but the character was pretty cool, and if any classic Cobras needed replacing in the 80‘s, it was probably Destro more so than Cobra Commander.

Overall, Darklon’s kind of a tough sell. His first problem is that he’s tied to a vehicle, Darklon’s Evader. I believe I’m more open than most people to oddball GI Joe vehicles, though the Evader is something I’m fairly certain I’ll never own unless it’s by pure chance. Usually, when Hasbro packed an important character with a small vehicle, the character was some kind of big badass, and the vehicle was more like an oversized accessory (See Zartan, Serpentor, Sgt. Slaughter, ect.). In Darklon’s case, he’s kind of an oddball in bell-pepper colors, who comes with a motorbike(?) too embarrassing for a Funskool Batman figure to use. Maybe in a different context it wouldn’t have seemed so strange to me.

The main appeal of Darklon is his albeit underdeveloped character, which mainly only existed for a brief tenure in the Marvel comics. That’s one way of saying the toy really isn’t that good, as without some interest in his role in the GI Joe world, this wouldn’t be a figure much worth paying attention to. Still, I associate him with some pretty cool issues and moments in the comics, such as the debut of the Python Patrol. He did more than Voltar anyways.

Now normally in a comic-book story line, having a popular character whose getting worn-out replaced by his family member who pretty much does all of the same things (Just more evil!), is a pretty shabby way of trying to get repeated interest and sales, but with Destro and Darklon, there’s actually a pretty good case for it. By this point in the comics, a lot of the older Cobra’s were played out and over-exposed. Destro especially, saw his character melt and go from being a ruthless, terrorist arms-dealer, to being some kind of half sympathetic anti-hero, dedicated to Baroness, and nice enough to smooth over her life-long hatred of Snake Eyes! I think it would have been better if a character like Darklon had played a bigger role after his initial appearance, especially since I do think he was genuinely cool for the few scenes he had.

Putting his character aside, Darklon’s a guy who wears an outfit so random and asymmetrical it looks like something that’d be made by an AI-art generator. Asymmetry is a big theme in the Iron Grenadier aesthetic, so I understand it’s role here, but Darklon still might look just a little too random. Probably the most strange detail is the strap of tiny gold grenades on his right knee, which is among the dumbest grenade-oriented details I’ve seen on a GI Joe toy. Though, in Darklon’s defense, maybe they’re just decorations.

Everything else is just kind of okay for him. I like his head, the mask-sculpt especially looks pretty neat; the texturing on his shirt is nice too. Nothing special, but a good enough figure to represent a gaudy European warlord. In that context, even his wack-o colors aren’t so bad, but the Bronze Bombers repaint into Crazeblaze is much better. That would be my go-to Darklon, but mine’s missing his arms, so I still have to fix that at some point.

Despite being a late-era vehicle driver, Darklon gets the privilege of having a gun. It’s a terrible kind of weapon that looks more like an air-soft or a Nerf gun, so I’ve yet to bother with one. My personal replacement for this is the black version of Skydive’s pistol, also included with Battle Corps Leatherneck. It has a bulky, sci-fi look to it, which I think suits him pretty well.

To my Surprise, mint complete Darklon’s fetch a steady $15. Ones missing the gun go for about half of that, and ones sold with the Evader trend towards $30. Not the worst price, but more than I’d have expected for figure that’s both obscure and somewhat unremarkable. I like him and he brings value to my collection, so I suppose others just see him that way as well.

gi joe iron grenadier Darklon 1989 destro hasbro vintage gi joe iron grenadier Darklon 1989 destro hasbro vintage gi joe iron grenadier Darklon 1989 destro hasbro vintage

1989 Darklon Links:

Forgotten Figures

Half the Battle

3D Joes

Joe A Day

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One Response to 1989 Darklon

  1. A-Man says:

    I liked Darklon. He’s strange, but at least he’s not shirtless. Well, some people think he is, that he’s got green scaly skin. Maybe they could’ve made this snake-man Cobra Commander for Operation Dragonfire, instead of using 1987 Cobra Commander. Imagine that, the ire fans would have towards a reptile man CC. LOL. I do wonder what the idea behind Darklon was. Always a relation of Destro’s or did the character design begin as something else?

    Right about the random asymmetry. Aside from his head, nothing is mirrored on the sides of his body. One black glove, one green. Shoulder armor, none. Etc. His black paint seems to rub a lot, which is irritating.

    In the comic Darklon’s gun fired multiple darts, and he tranquilized Roadpig with them.

    The relaunch Hama IDW series did some good with Darklon (revealing he survived his brief later Marvel-run “death”). It’s probably among the few thing that series did I did like. I break from the comic, to me Darklon wasn’t associated with Python Patrol.

    Darklon came late in my playing days, part of Iron Grenadiers, who didn’t have many figures, 3 big leaders and a handful of trooper/drivers, and were hard to use because of that and me buying into the separate faction thing. So I have no memorable adventures of him.

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