In 1995 GI Joe returned to the shelves after a brief absence under the guise of GI Joe Extreme. It was around the mid-1990’s when everything turned “extreme” and in, ahem, extreme circumstances things even got “Xtreme”. GI Joe was no different, with their new lineup of toys. The toy line, which was a follow up to the failed Sgt. Savage toy line of 1994, lasted for only a year.
Inferno was one of only two figures of S.K.A.R. (the new enemy, not Cobra) produced. Inferno actually received two different figures, but this one was clearly the better of the pair. He’s a pilot for the Sky Stalker vehicle which also saw release. If he doesn’t look much like a pilot, don’t worry as characterization wasn’t exactly hitting it’s peak with this line. He came equipped with a flame thrower as well.
What made this line so different than any other GI Joe line? It was actually produced by Kenner, not Hasbro. Until Sideshow’s recent Joe efforts, this was pretty much the only official Joes (not counting international variants) made by a company other than Hasbro. In 1991 Hasbro had bought out Kenner, but for the most part the two companies existed as separate entities. Hasbro gave Kenner, Joe, hoping that Kenner could work their magic on it. The most obvious example of this figure being the craftsmanship of Kenner is that these figures featured only articulation at the neck, shoulders and hips.
Scale is also completely different than anything else Joe had ever done. The entire toy industry was moving to a 5 inch format and these guys worked right into about that range. The detailing in the sculpt is actually pretty good and it’s not a bad toy line from Kenner. It just doesn’t much feel like GI Joe.
As with all 1990’s attempts to reinvent Joe, this one failed pretty miserably. The toys weren’t half bad on their own and I was happy to see Joe back on the shelves at the time. They just failed to capture a lot of the fun that was the ARAH GI Joe line. I still have most of these figures, although I’ve always thought Inferno was one of the best. He was a henchman in many battles that year.