Saving the world from a snake-themed terrorist organization with seemingly limitless resources isn’t an easy job, but someone’s got to do it. Or, more specifically, lots of someones, as G.I. Joe hired countless troops throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s to fight the good fight. Unfortunately, not all highly specialized soldiers are created equal — here are the 10 Joes mostly likely to be left behind at HQ come mission time.
1) Quick Kick
There’s nothing wrong with the Joes having a martial artist who isn’t a ninja (frankly, they have plenty of ninjas). But that doesn’t explain why Quick Kick apparently can’t wear a shirt around G.I. Joe HQ, and it especially doesn’t explain why he’s not wearing shoes. Sure, he wouldn’t wear shoes if he was having an official fight with somebody, but how often is Cobra going to do that? Never, probably, because they’re Cobra. And what about the other 98% of the time he’s not sparring? He's the one Joe who isn't allowed to enter convenience stores. Besides, the only thing that sounds more unsanitary than walking around barefoot in a G.I. Joe base is walking around barefoot in a Cobra base.
While Sci-Fi looked awesome, his primary specialty was his ability to fire his laser. You know who else on G.I. Joe was good at firing lasers? EVERYBODY. EVERYBODY WAS GOOD AT FIRING LASERS BECAUSE THEY ALL FIRED LASERS ALL THE TIME. LASERS WERE ALL ANYBODY HAD TO FIRE, ON BOTH SIDES. This is like hiring somebody whose specialty was putting on their clothes (although admittedly that’s something they could have taught Quick Kick).
3) Captain Grid-Iron
Captain Grid-Iron’s specialty is hand-to-hand combat, but in a team just overflowing with ninjas, that’s essentially meaningless. So all Captain Grid-Iron has going for him is his football knowledge which, as previously discussed, came in useful one time when Cobra challenged Joe to a football game, and it was the stupidest thing ever. More importantly, Grid-Iron’s file card says that he does a John Wayne impression constantly, which is even more obnoxious than using football metaphors all the time.
Although labeled a “Sky Patrol Recon Scout,” Altitude’s primary job was as an artist (he joined G.I. Joe after the “collapse of syndicated cartoon programming,” seriously). Basically, they’d let him parachute out of a plane, and then… he’d draw really fast. I'm not kidding. The file card specifically says the Joes use his sketches instead of photos because they’re so precise, which means he’s hand-drawing these things. Hey, you know what else can make totally accurate representations of battlefields and other areas? Satellites. Or cameras glued to the bottom of planes. Altitude was obsolete the minute he joined G.I. Joe, and no one seems to have had the heart to tell him.
Dee-Jay is a DJ. He quit DJ-ing to join G.I. Joe, where his DJ skills… fuck. I have no idea. His file card says he does some kind of radio and communication stuff, but it also says “If it is loaded with transistors, portable and transmits or receives radio waves, Dee-Jay can make it work, fix it and coax strange sounds out of it with an infectious beat” which makes it sound like he’s just providing actual working Joes with a soundtrack during missions. Note: If G.I. Joe would hire a DJ with zero experience to join their elite military operation they will hire fucking anybody.
So Scoop is a journalist on the G.I. Joe payroll. How does that work, exactly? One of two ways: 1) Either he’s actually good at his job, and he tells the truth, and everybody on G.I. Joe hates him for exposing the brutality and violence of their never-ending fight against evil, or 2) he’s the Joe’s mobile PR department, and a crap journalist. Since we know who signs his checks, I think we can guess which is more likely. Still, I’m sure all the other Joes just love him for his ability to hold a camera during an intense firefight while everyone is fighting for their lives and the safety of the free world. No, just keep recording, Scoop. Better you stay objective.
Banzai is one of Joe’s countless ninjas. Although he’s wearing shoes, he is shirtless, a choice made far creepier by the fact he’s also chosen to wear a ninja mask. But even this would be okay if he hadn’t decided to highlight his mask and weapons in neon magenta. He’s a goddamned ninja; he’s supposed to be stealthy. The only way he could be more noticeable is if he strapped a strobe light to his head. As you might be able to tell from his blond ponytail, Banzai is American, which makes his choice of code name — the phrase Japanese soldiers use to scream when attacking Americans during World War II — even more inappropriate.
8) William “The Refrigerator” Perry
When the chips are down, when Cobra has you pinned down, when a HISS Tank is about to come crashing through the wall, who do you want by your side? If you answered “a professional football player,” congratulations, you’re the dude who admitted Chicago Bears defensive lineman William Perry into G.I. Joe. Seemingly hired because he had a Joe-appropriate nickname and not because of any military skill, the Fridge’s weapon of choice was a football attached to a chain, like a morning star, but moronic. Clearly, someone has never heard the phrase “Don’t bring a chain with a football at the end of it to a gun fight.” Still, at least he doesn’t do shitty John Wayne impersonations.
9) Colonel Courage
Even G.I. Joe has paperwork to do, and that’s where Colonel Courage comes in. His primary specialty is — and I am not making this up — “administrative strategist,” which means while the other Joes are fighting and dying, he’s back at base pushing papers around his desk. He is G.I. Joe’s middle manager. As for his name, either he picked it because he is a complete asshole, or the other Joes picked it for him because they’re assholes and they hate him.
10) Ice Cream Soldier
The Ice Cream Soldier is somebody’s idea of a cruel joke, and I don’t know if it’s Hasbro's or G.I. Joe's. As for Hasbro, I don’t care if he’s supposed to be some kind of flamethrower savant; having a figure named “Ice Cream Soldier” denigrates the whole G.I. Joe toyline, and this is a toyline where the bad guys have an accountant who dresses like a giant bird. And if it’s Joe, the whole plan seems to be by naming this guy something imbecilic, Cobra won’t take him seriously, allowing Ice Cream Soldier the opportunity to burn them all to death with his flamethrower. That… that’s fucked up.