DREADNOK  
  Code Name: ZANDAR  
 

One of the figures issued in 1986 to expand on the popular Dreadnoks, Zandar was (as his filecard reminded us) Zartan’s brother – and thus also Zarana’s sister. It’s fair to say he never made much of an impression, though he always stuck in my mind because he had a cool voice in the cartoon.

The cartoon probably got the best out of Zandar by just making him another Dreadnok. In the Marvel comic he got to walk around for a couple of issues literally saying how forgettable he was, typically achieving just the opposite because a character serving no purpose going around announcing this tends to stick in your mind. It might sound like a cool Zen-like subversion, but you have to remember these comics were written by Larry "Tripwire trips over All. The. Time." Hama, so it’s around 18 times more irritating than it sounds. Not for the first time, DDP rescued the character by actually having Zandar act on his forgettable nature and become if not a major player then certainly a pivotal one.

Continuing in this trend Hasbro largely forgot about Zandar for most of the various commemorative lines before finally releasing an update of the figure in the 2011 Dreadnok battle set. Considering the nature of the rest of the set - consisting of unpopular late 1980s nobodies, a rather desperate guy salvaged from the SpyTroops rubbish and someone lifted from the Devil's Due comics (which were great at fixing up old characters but had more mixed results with new inventions) it would be nice to think someone was really pushing for Zandar at Hasbro. This theory is borne out by the high level of care and attention put into the figure compared to some of the boxed set offerings we've been given over the years. The only new part on Zandar is his head but the rest of the body is drawn from four completely different figures and nails the 1986 look perfectly, aided by the neat use of the neckerchief. It really is an excellent recreation.

The detail continues with the accessories - Zandar is equipped with a massive crossbow and a chest holstered pistol as well as a dart gun and an additional knife (the one on his right knee is moulded and non-removable). The only fault is that once again this is a G3 figure screaming for a backpack - I'd have taken the Pursuit of Cobra Spirit's quiver, ideally cast in blue but in straight black if needs be - over the latter two weapons. It's a shame Spirit tends to be too expensive to round up a second just to take it. But then I suppose I should be grateful we got Zandar at all, let alone done in such fine style that his only real drawback is something that can be sorted with such relative ease. The best of the Dreadnok battle set figures by some clear distance.

G.I. Joe Zandar
G.I. Joe Zandar
G.I. Joe Zandar
G.I. Joe Zandar