HIGH ALTITUDE SNIPER  
  Code Name: BARREL ROLL  
 

As well as revisiting old favourites, the 2003 Spytroops line also introduced new characters, some of which also featured in the DDP comic. One of the most prominent was Barrel Roll, who even became the focus of a multi-issue storyline in the comic. He didn't really catch on, to be honest, not helped by him perhaps being given a bit too much of a push (making similarly new and allegedly-awesome Cobra sniper Black Out his brother certainly over-egged the pudding; in addition, Bombstrike was apparently his sister, though she didn’t appear in the comic until much later, and then in a background role).

I don’t even particularly like him; I just got him in a lucky dip bundle off ebay. As was Spy Troops’ wont, the original figure was packed with a highly unconvincing Cobra disguise (a helmet, a chest plate and a pair of shin pads) which not only fails to cover much of his uniform, but for bonus points looks like basically none of the Cobra figures available in the range. To round it off, he was packed with a G.I. Joe glider (hence aerial sniper) which could be reversed to become a Cobra glider than looks like basically none etc., etc. and so on. The figure was originally packed with a brown plastic sniper rifle (there’s a lot of that in the G2 lines, sadly), so instead Barrel Roll gets a rather nifty Marauders inc. model with bipod, plus a parachute backpack I’ve had kicking around for a while from a G.I. Joe v Cobra Flint.

And you have to give Barrel Roll something interesting to have, as he’s just so bland by himself. The idea seems to have been to create the next Duke-style clean cut Joe, and while that’s a welcome change of direction from the late-1980s/early 1990s range of quirky psychopaths such as Colonel Courage, Ice Cream Soldier or that arse Salvo, the result is underwhelming. I mean, at least Barrel Roll is dressed normally; it’d just be nice if this didn’t mean he was also pretty bland.

Sadly, though, it does. It’s pretty difficult to guess from the look of him what he actually does, it’s like someone just wandered in off the street and got signed up for G.I. Joe, not even bothering to change. There’s not a lot of detail, and what there is doesn’t exactly lend him a lot of individuality. Barrel Roll is just about the most average average figure you could imagine, lacking in any sort of outstanding detail to convince you he's actually a character. I like the occasional normal-looking Joe, but this guy just takes it too far.

G.I. Joe Barrel Roll
G.I. Joe Barrel Roll
G.I. Joe Barrel Roll
G.I. Joe Barrel Roll