It is somewhat surprising to me that the name "Inferno" hasn't really turned up in the world of G.I. Joe much before now. It's certainly a good (and admittedly rather obvious) name that could have been readily used for either a firefighter or a flamethrower trooper.
Now, technically, there is one instance where it did appear. There was a bad guy named Inferno that was part of the G.I. Joe Extreme series. He was a lunatic or a pyromaniac if memory serves. But as far as anything fairly directly connected to the continuity of the Real American Hero is concerned, the name just hasn't turned up until now. There's a firefighter named Barbecue, a couple of flamethrower troopers named Blowtorch and Charbroil, some Cobra flamethrower troopers called Incinerators, and some others, but no one named Inferno.
And it's not as though the name hasn't turned up in other Hasbro product before. The name first appeared in the Transformers line, used on an Autobot who could transform into a fire engine. Some years later, the name Inferno appeared in the short-lived C.O.P.S. action figure line, as a firefighter for the good guys in that series.
But as far as the G.I. Joe Team is concerned -- this is the first member of the group ever named Inferno. He is part of a new "Soldier" assortment of 8" G.I. Joe figures. Until the assortment of figures that Inferno is part of came out, I would be calling this the Sigma Six line. However, the Sigma Six concept has basically been dropped. There's still some evidence of it here and there, as figures using previous parts might still have the Sigma Six wrist communicator, or peg-holes on their uniforms for the placement of equipment, but the packaging no longer says Sigma Six, and the "6" logo is no longer on any of the uniforms. A new G.I. Joe logo, more or less a cross between the Sigma Six G.I. Joe logo and the 3-3/4" RAH logo, has been developed. So, in fairness, these now just have to be called 8" G.I. Joes.
The basic style of the figures remains unchanged, a sort of semi-anime look to the overall design, that is certainly a departure from the more realistic 3-3/4" and certainly realistic 12" G.I. Joes. And it could well be argued that these 8" G.I. Joes are intended more for the kids than the collectors. Ultimately, that does have to be Hasbro's main audience if they are to survive as a toy company. So be it. That doesn't mean that these aren't interesting action figures, with enough cool features to keep adult fans interested.
The overall package design, despite the absence of any references to Sigma Six, still has a few carryovers. The typeface used to spell out Inferno's name is the same as the Sigmas, and the character's file card on the back also uses this typeface. So I suspect we're looking at a sort of gradual departure of Sigma-related details.
As for Inferno himself, of the three figures in this particular assortment, which also includes Gung-Ho and an Iron Grenadier (see separate reviews), I have to say that I believe Inferno is the most impressive of the lot -- not that the others are bad -- and is likely to be a personal favorite of mine overall.
Inferno has an imposing and impressive presence to him, and almost looks like he's wearing a Sigma Suit -- but not quite. It could fairly be stated that Inferno has been designed to look as though he is wearing a VERY high-tech firefighter's uniform. The outfit is mostly a bright red, with a generous amount of black in it, and some silver trim.
Technically, a full description would say that he's wearing a red body-suit, that seemed to be highly protective in and of itself as far as its design is concerned, with a huge black torso armor, black gauntlets, black knee pads, and black boots. There is silver trim on some of the black areas.
He is also wearing a black helmet with some silver trim and a translucent green visor. More on that in a bit.
What's interesting is that some of his body parts have seen previous use, even though it's rather hard to tell given how different Inferno looks from the other character from which his upper torso and arms are derived -- they're from Shipwreck. But Inferno is distinctly taller than the diminutive but stocky sailor, and the color switch from dark blue to bright red coupled with the addition of the torso armor and gauntlets makes a considerable difference.
The huge wrist pieces of the gauntlets are one especially notable factor from a comparative standpoint. Shipwreck's lower arms were bare, painted flesh-tone, and decorated with tattoos. Inferno's lower arms are covered by huge black wrist pieces, and are neither painted flesh-tone nor tattooed. Technically, these wrist pieces are just wraparounds and are not sealed in place. It would probably be possible to do so either with a bit of glue or even some rubber bands, but I don't particularly feel like experimenting. As long as they stay put reasonably well on their own, that's good enough for me.
I'm not really sure if Inferno's legs have seen prior use. They're not especially Sigma-looking. I know that they've seen concurrent use. They can also be found on the Combat Squad Shockwave figure (see separate review), in a drastically different color scheme on an entirely different-looking figure.
All of this part-swapping really doesn't bother me all that much. Sometimes it works better than at other times, but for the most part, I don't have a problem with it. Certainly the 3-3/4" G.I. Joe line made use of it, and for that matter, many action figure lines do. Creating molds is one of the single most expensive parts of producing a toy, and if more than one use can be gotten out of them, without being too glaringly obvious, inappropriate, or somehow unworkable, then one can hardly fault the toy company for wanting to save a bit of money.
Inferno has a nice little tribute to one of his predecessors on his
uniform. If you take a look at the original Barbecue figure from the
3-3/4" G.I. Joe line, released in 1985, the first Firefighter assigned
to the team, you will see on his upper right arm a small emblem that
looks like a silver half-circle with some detailing in it. A slightly
Now then, Inferno's helmet is removable. But I'm not sure that's necessarily
a good thing. Even taking the stylized look of these figures into consideration,
this is a pretty odd headsculpt. For one thing, Inferno has a nose that
has this flattened area on it that makes one think that somewhere in
his life, he must've run face first into a wall
Secondly, he's got this very weird hairstyle. Now maybe he's supposed to look like he's been in the middle of fighting a fire for an extended period of time, and his hair has gotten matted down under the helmet as a result. Okay, I can see that. But he's also got this one long strand of hair hanging down right in front of his face. It comes down his forehead, across his nose, and stops just short of his upper lip.
Let's talk accessories. While I myself am not an accessory hound the way some collectors are, I do appreciate the fact that the Sigma Six/8" G.I. Joe line has always done a good job with its accessories, and the equipment that comes with Inferno is no exception. The back of his package described his uniform as "Heatblocker Gear" designed with withstand up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Inferno also comes with a "Breather Backpack" that provides oxygen and has "shoulder beacons". What you've basically got here is an extremely complicated oxygem pack with what look like a couple of siren and light arrays at the top. Unfortunately, they don't actually function, but they do look cool. Between this and the "Heatblocker Gear", it's almost as if Inferno is a one-man fire engine, not just a fireman. The backpack features two smaller tanks, and a larger tank with some fancy lettering on it that -- well, doesn't really say anything, but you're likely to give yourself eyestrain and a headache trying to figure out if it does. It's cool in a weird sort of way.
Inferno comes with a "Supercooled Axe", a huge thing that looks like it could take down a redwood after it gets through chopping through the door of a burning building. This attaches to a curved hose that's not really as flexible as it ought to be, that attaches to the backpack. The final piece of equipment is a small oxygen tank that clips to the front of Inferno's uniform and has a small hose that attaches to the front of his helmet. This, too, isn't quite as flexible as it needs to be. This is a relatively mild criticism, but I think it should be mentioned. Both the hose for the main backpack and for the oxygen tank should've been made from a more rubbery plastic than they were.
By the way, if you want to give yourself some real eyestrain, try to read the label on the little oxygen tank. It's pretty fine print even by 3-3/4" standards, never mind 8". In fact, let me save you the trouble. It reads (with a couple of typos), "OXYGEN APPARATUS 002-1. THIS TANK COMPLIES WITH SECTION 12-27 OF SIGMA ENHANCED WEAPONRY REGULATION".
Somewhat surprisingly, Inferno doesn't actually come with a hose with which to fight fires. Okay, he's part of the lesser-prices "Soldier" assortment, and they generally come with a few less features, but what's he supposed do to -- chop his way in with the axe and then spit? Stomp out the fire with his heavily protected feet? Can we at least get this guy a Super Soaker?
There is a new feature with the latest 8" G.I. Joe figures -- it's the return of (or at least a new incarnation of) something that was quite legendary towards the end of the original 12" line of G.I. Joe figures -- KUNG-FU GRIP! And it's a little hard to miss the bright red and yellow sticker on the package attesting to that fact.
However, where the 12" G.I. Joes accomplished this by clenched hands with rubbery fingers that allowed them to grasp objects that could fit within their hands, the 8" G.I. Joes accomplish this with spring-loaded fingers on the right hand. They even went so far as to paint the back of the right glove with a little area of red, which personally I don't think was that necessary, although at least on Inferno it blends. The spring inside the hand seems to have a good amount of tension to it, even though the grasping radius of the hand is relatively small, due to the size of the figure, of course. However, it should still be useful in helping the figure hold onto his accessories.
Inferno, of course, has a file card on the back of his package, which reads as follows:
G.I.JOE FIREFIGHTING SPECIALIST
Code Name: Inferno
Specialty: Fire Control
Personal History: Inferno has fought fires of all kinds: five-alarm urban conflagrations, acre-eating wildfires, and blazes involving combustible liquids and chemicals. He headed an international firefighting team in Hawaii before joining the G.I. Joe Team, and battled massive fires all over the world. As an expert in what can start and stop a fire, he can prevent fiery attacks by Cobra forces or quickly get them under control. He uses a custom-designed supercooled axe that chills and extinguishes flames on contact.
Okay, so maybe he doesn't need a hose.
On the whole, this is really an impressive figure. He's cool-looking on his own, and although he's not technically wearing a Sigma Suit, his protective firefighting uniform is just close enough so that he could easily stand alongside almost any of the Sigma Six figures and pretty well blend, and yet at the same time, he's a good "bridge" of sorts between the Sigma and non-Sigma 8" G.I. Joes.
If you're looking for a cool and impressive addition to the 8"
G.I. JOE Collection, then INFERNO definitely has my highest recommendation!