The Retaliation toy line is something I’ve been ignoring since it was postponed. When the first photos of the toys were revealed I was really excited for the line, but as time has passed I’ve been able to see more of these figures and acquire a pair for myself. I’m unimpressed to say the least.
The first thing I want to clear about is the fact that I’m not down on this line. I’m really not into the movies, but I can appreciate the toys. Looking at the later waves I’m hugely excited for some of the figures coming out. With that said, I’m honestly worried those figures will be hard to find if Hasbro ships this first wave out in large numbers again.
Zartan comes in an outfit much similar to his Renegades one that never appeared in toy form. This is a nice bonus for fans of that show given Zartan were featured in the cartoon a few times. The hood he wears hides more of his face than usual and is a nice change for him while not straying too far from his classic look. Overall, the design works better for me than the Valor vs. Venom one or the ROC one, at least.
The first wave of Retaliation toys are noticeably cheaper than most G.I. Joes of late. The most noticeable cutback is in the articulation, especially in the legs. Like others, this Zartan does not feature ankle articulation whatsoever, and only has a single hinge joint in his knees. It seems like a small thing to gripe about, but the joints that were cut have been standard in these toys for over five years now, and it limits guys like Zartan greatly.
As for accessories, he includes a pistol, bow gun, three extra heads (masks), a quiver, two swords and a sheath for them. Some of these parts are pretty nice; I especially like his pistol and the way it stores on the back of his vest. There are some problems here however, most noticeably, his weapons are cast in blue plastic with really hurts the look of them. I understand they might’ve wanted something brighter to contrast of a dark and saturated looking action figure, but this just looks cheap. His masks are another problem from my perspective. While I’d like to say that all them have a very eerie, creepy look to them, the light piping kills some of that, and in the case of a few heads doesn’t even work too well. It causes a problem for his vest/hood, as for the light piping to work an open slot is left on top of his head. The gimmick would be a nice bonus, but ultimately they put a simple gimmick ahead of the figure’s aesthetic, which I think is bad.
Concluding, Zartan’s an okay figure, but only and okay figure. The design is good, but the figure has a lot to hamper it. Less articulation, weird looking accessories and a botched gimmick makes this figure just feel like a big step back. I’d only recommend it were you a fan of the design or found him really cheap like I did.