Written/Created by: Matt
Originally posted on 7.21.01.

Musings:
I've had a lot of fun reviewing these old 80s commercials, and they definitely helped breathe new life into the site. The ads are good material - they let you either write about the commercial itself, or use it simply as a backdrop to talk about whatever the frig you feel like talking about. In the case of Tomax and Xamot, you got a little of both worlds.

Besides, they're some of the best G.I. Joe figures ever, and easily some of the cooler characters from the cartoon. Twins who synched their lines and faked accents weren't the usual fare on Saturday morning shows, but here they were and we loved 'em for it. I never got into G.I. Joe's military motif quite like I did the other seririeiieieieis, (sorry, the plural for 'series' puzzles me) but they had their share of gold, too.



Granted, G.I. Joe was never one of my strong suits, but I've always held a special place for the Cobra Twins. When evil goes fraternal, you know there's gonna be some serious ass kicking. If not, at least they're all cute in their coordinated outfits. I didn't read the comics, so the only wealth of knowledge I can really draw from with these two is the cartoons - and they weren't always main players. While the twins squirmed their way into most of the episodes, it was usually for a mere few seconds, and all they'd get to do is look concerned and finish each other's sentences.

But hey, at least they didn't have to dress like gay aristocratic nuclear scientists and maintain notoriety by robbing gravesites. I'm looking at you, Dr. Mindbender. At least the twins knew who they were - Cobra's first boyband. They're the prettiest terrorists ever, a title that's going nowhere unless a Baldwin switches allegiance.

The twins, named Tomax and Xamot because IT'S THE SAME SPELLED BACKWARDS/FORWARDS REDRUM REDRUM HOLY COW, led Cobra's elite Crimson Guard (known to most boys at the time as 'the red guys') to heights previously thought unachievable. Hell, under their guidance, the Crimson Guard actually hit something with their guns. These guys weren't cosmetic leaders like Destro or freakhouse flops like Golobulous - they were the real deal. Cold hearted, ruthless, with terrific hair.

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You wouldn't find them alongside the other G.I. Joe figures at toy stores - these two, quite rightly, were only sold together. Duh. It's not like any kid was gonna ask his mother to buy him a second identical figure, unless it had a really cool feature like a removable head or cloth cape. Putting them together and scratching one of the figure's faces was Hasbro's nice way of saying 'one for the price of two.' Kids were too new to cliches to understand the difference there. Who cares? Damn things came with a skyhook. No complaints here.

They even shared a file card - you know, the cutout bio on the back of the package that told you about your new figure using words even a 40-year-old brain surgeon who dabbles in space theorems couldn't understand. The card claimed that these guys weren't true warriors, rather almost like Cobra's legal team who handled their enemies with a barrage of contracts and lawsuits and other bullshit that seems totally unlike guys who carry large gray pistols around. Fortunately, their roles on the show were a little more beefed up. While you could tell that these weren't the type of guys who'd actively seek employment in the drywall business should this whole terrorism thing go sour, at least, on the cartoon, they occasionally drove tanks through walls and detonated nuclear bombs.


The commercial spot showed one of the twins running off in a huff, certain that his brother's in big trouble. Cobra Commander doesn't understand how he knows this, but that's because Cobra Commander never had a twin brother. He doesn't realize that they're linked telepathically, like all other twins. Man, for a guy who's supposed to be leading the pack, our good commander takes an awful lot of lip from his troops. The only person I've ever seen who didn't talk down to him was Roadblock, and he was part of the Joe team! Course, he was only being nice out of pity since Cobra Commander was rapidly mutating into a gardener snake, but the thought was still there. You've gotta feel bad for the guy when the troops would prefer to take orders from a European freak who looks like a cheap knockoff version of Box from Logan's Run.

Sure enough, no more than three steps away, 18,000,000,000 G.I. Joe troops are blowing everything bearing a Cobra emblem to smithereens. Cobra Commander didn't hear any of this? The Joes are practically splitting the planet in half with missiles. Forget what I said - he really was a retard.


Tomax and Xamot reunite and seat themselves into a position that clearly illustrates what lax laws Europe has concerning incest. And I'm realizing more and more that these guys must shower together and wash each other's hair, because there's just no way anyone else on the planet could style a do that would stay that shaped in the midst of a major battle with lots of laser guns. You know, that's a visual I didn't consider when the idea to write this one struck. I guess I need to map these things out a little better.

Then again, anyone who leads the Crimson Guard is aces in my book. Right after we look at the twins, we're gonna take a look at my favorite Cobra soldiers. They're not the Crimson Guard. But these guys are my second favorite, honest! They're to G.I. Joe what the Royal Guards were to Return of the Jedi. The only real difference between the two is that the Crimsons use bayonets while the Royal Guards defend Emperor Palpatine using miniature flagpoles.


The figures were terrific, easily some of the best in the line, which spanned years and spawned hundreds of little dolls. Course, we didn't call them dolls. That would be...uncouth. They were action figures - as man manly masculine as you could get. Definitely not dolls. No sir. And I never slept with them under my pillow. No way.

What I really liked was the twin figures' human qualities. Most every Cobra figure out there didn't look quite human. Every incarnation of Cobra Commander's wearing a mask. Destro looks like Mr. Clean if Mr. Clean was a character in the special metal stage of Super Smash Melee. All the guards and soldiers had face masks or some weird kind of breathing apparatus. Even the stupid Croc Master put pantyhose over his face. Either Cobra really wanted to stay cloaked, or these were the ugliest group of slobs this side of Asbury Park.

Now, one of them had a scar on his face, and this feature transcended to the figure. I'm not sure if it was Tomax or Xamot, but I think I speak for everyone when I say - who gives a shit? I know someone's gonna write in with the intense detailed history of these guys, and I really feel bad about it because they're gonna go through all that trouble just so I can skip their e-mail and go back to pretending my English Muffin is a flying saucer. My point is, as a kid, I was obsessed with whichever one had the scar. I mean, really obsessed. I didn't want anything to do with the unscarred brother. My solders needed battle damage.


I eventually lost the one with the scar, so I just scratched the hell out of the healthy twin. He ended up looking a lot worse than his brother ever did. I probably should've stopped when his left leg broke off. Then again, legless G.I. Joes were the true champions of my little toy universe. I pretended they were ghosts, who on top of being able to fly, also got to sit on top of my pencils at school. They were way more popular without legs, so if we've got any new amputees out there - don't let go of your spirits. Better things are to come. Maybe someday, you'll be able to fly. If not, I can try fitting you atop one of my pencils. No promises on the outcome.


The ad spots always featured the Joes getting the better of Cobra, even if the commercial was intended to advertise the bad guys. I never really understood that kinda marketing. If you want a kid to buy an action figure, show him doing cool things. Have him kick everyone's ass, have him blow up a mountain, anything. Don't just make him run away crying and yelping at the first sight of a 'hero' character. Pisses me off, I tells ya.

This time, it's Lady Jaye and Quick Kick doing the honors. Or, as they were known to most kids at the time, Lady Jade and the Chinese guy. You know, that's a pretty interesting pairing. Odd pairing, actually.


Lady Jaye: You know, we never really had the chance to talk, just me and you.

Quick Kick: That's because I don't like you. Now shut up and let me kick quickly.

Lady Jaye: Fine, fine. Can you just tell me what that sash around your torso is supposed to represent? Is it like Worf's? Are you a Klingon?

Quick Kick: I sew a badge on it every time I kill someone who asks a stupid question.

Lady Jaye: After we catch the twins, I dunno, wanna grab some Chinese or something?

Quick Kick: Is that supposed to be a joke? Am I supposed to quickly kick you?

Lady Jaye: Sue me, I like Chinese food. Get over it.

Quick Kick: I'll get over it as soon as you get off my tank, devil woman!


We're not done yet! I wanted to seize this opportunity to talk a bit about my favorite G.I. Joe figure ever - and one of my top ten toys of all lines. Why I wanted to do this at 5 AM on a Monday morning is up for debate, though. The Battle Android Trooper was one of the only 'robot' figures in the series, so it's a good thing they nailed it so perfectly the first time. B.A.T.s looked cool enough not doing anything, but factor in their special feature, and you've got a real winner. These guys have removable hands which you can replace with various forms of weaponry, ranging from a comically oversized claw to a flame-thrower in case Cobra wanted to burn down a rainforest to spite us.

It gets better. They had these strange chestplates that showed their mechanic innards - the plates were made of the only kind of plastic known to man that creates a scritchy scratchy sound is you run your fingernails over it. Don't ask me why this is so cool, it's just one of those things you've gotta accept. How badass are Battle Android Troopers? They can wear yellow boots and still look cool. Can't say the same for Hulk Hogan, who spent this past evening at a wrestling pay-per-view doing what can best be described (generously) as hobbling towards the ring wearing a Chicken Holiday promo suit. And Hulk's immortal! That means B.A.T.s are immortal...times two!


God dammit, they even pull that hero-always-wins shit on these guys. They get all of three seconds of offense on the Joes before they're hurled one after the other to the ground. I guess Battle Android Troopers serve the Rita Repulsa Putty Cause - look impressive but do positively nothing. They deserved better. Battle Android Troopers? They deserve it all.


Even Sgt. Slaughter - another stupid wrestler - kicks the crap out of 'em. You know, I've personally watched a match where the Sarge got beat up by Tito Santana. If you don't know who that is, picture the guy from CHiPS and add 15 years. Then spread pepper sauce all over him. You're telling me TITO SANTANA is more powerful than Cobra's elite robot troops? Come on! Flying forearm versus forearm flamethrower? Something's fishy. I think Hasbro is letting Bill Watts book Cobra's matches again.


The commercial also featured a few kids becoming really small so they could get a better look at the G.I. Joe toys. I wish I was that small. Then I could've married the Baroness figure and at least have some sort of verifiable reason to give when people started talking about it. Oh well. Guess I'll just have to get to work on creating a really, really big Baroness figure. Till that time, Yo Joe and all that crap.





 


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