The 50 Greatest G.I. Joe Characters of All Time

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by Howie Decker @HowardTheDeck

in G.I. Joe, Lists

40. Chameleon/Ronin

While limited in her appearances, she’s a major part of the G.I. Joe IDW universe. Originally introduced after [SPOILER ALERT] Chuckles was forced to murder Jinx during the happenings at the start of the Cobra series, she was sent in to extract Chuckles and return him to the Joes.

My major love of this character comes from her take-no-shit attitude – she’s the one who laid into Hawk about him being a bastard and not giving Chuckles a commendation after making the ultimate sacrifice. While her time was short lived, Ronin/Chameleon more than showed that she was an amazing addition to the Joe lineup.

 

39. Lifeline

Doc got some help in the G.I. Joe infirmary in 1986, when Lifeline debuted as a new rescue trooper. Although he’s against guns, he’s a black belt in ‘aikido’, which is ‘the art of directing violent energy away from oneself’. He apparently was not a black belt at directing crazy rich chicks away from oneself, as seen in the Sunbow episode “Million Dollar Medic” (which also happens to be a FOX reality series in development).

 

38. Wild Bill

Quick with a witty retort or a last-minute save, the pilot of the Dragonfly always gave the Joe team a little giddy-up. If you look up Wild Bill on Wikipedia, it just shows a carton of Marlboro Reds, a fifth of Jim Beam and a lacy garter belt hung on the rear-view mirror of a 1983 Jeep Wrangler. Or at least it should.

 

37. Ace

Debuting in 1983, Brad Armbruster was G.I. Joe’s original fighter pilot, and apparently a hell of a poker player. His dogfights with Cobra’s Rattler pilot Wild Weasel are the Joe universe equivalent of Steffi Graf vs Gabriela Sabatini, provided we’re making the inevitable comparison between comic book fighter pilots and women’s tennis players.

 

36. Wet Suit

I didn’t like Wet Suit when he first debuted in 1986. I thought his code name was the equivalent of a cook being named “Apron” or a pro wrestling fan being called “Sweatpants”. (I can say that, because I am one.) His rivalry with Leatherneck became the focal point of a few Sunbow episodes, where his character eventually won me over. #TeamWetSuit

 

35. Breaker

One of the original sixteen ‘straight-arm’ figures of 1982, Breaker was the G.I. Joe communications officer. Breaker won me over when he and Clutch tried to sell Scarlett and Cover Girl on the idea of becoming a mud wrestling team, an idea that we can only assume was hatched after watching a Saturday morning G.L.O.W. marathon.

 

34. Recondo

One time Recondo and Wild Bill had a rad-ass mustache contest. It is said that every spectator at the event simultaneously orgasmed and then went blind.

 

33. Clutch

A 1982 original, Clutch was born Lance Steinberg in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Prior to enlisting, he was into racing street machines. They weren’t exactly ‘street legal’ though, so let’s keep that on the down low.

 

32. Law & Order

As G.I. Joe’s Military Policeman, Law was “tasked with developing and maintaining G.I. Joe security protocols, and is known for his no-nonsense procedure and attention to detail”. Yeah, yeah- but where’s the f’ing DOG? Goddamnit he ate the freakin’ bird again. Someone run to PetSmart and get another “Polly” before Shipwreck wakes up!

 

31. Doc

From 1983 to 1986 Carl Greer was the busiest sonofabitch in every kid’s backyard. Until Lifeline debuted, Doc was the only Joe equipped to handle the inevitably injured G.I. Joe team members. Since he doesn’t use a weapon, in issue #11 of the Marvel comic he foils Destro’s plan with a snowball. So there’s that.

 

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Lamar the Revenger December 11, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Great list!! Glad the Lady Jaye/Flint punch out picture made it! And as Gung-Ho would say: “Oh, look at you and your different colored hats!”

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Howie Decker December 11, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Thanks Lamar! It’s funny, I had such a hard time not making every individual write up somehow reference the Fensler Film PSAs. I had to get a couple in there (Mutt, Roadblock), but I easily could have done it for so many others. Thanks for commenting!

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Will December 11, 2012 at 5:04 pm

I demand to know the judges behind this! Make their identities known!!!

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Howie Decker December 11, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Finally fixed link!

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Engineernerd December 12, 2012 at 6:53 am

I will fess up.

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James December 12, 2012 at 10:16 am

I’m just gonna go ahead and leave a comment on this page before I leave it and go on to #40-1. BRAVO. Brilliantly executed, planned, and great list of panelists!

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Bravo December 12, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Pretty sure Sgt. Slaughter/Robert Remus’s contract with Hasbro had ended by the Gulf War.

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Howie Decker December 12, 2012 at 3:38 pm

The Gulf War started in August of 1990 and this figure was still on the market: http://www.yojoe.com/action/89/sgtslaughter4.shtml

They made another Sgt. Slaughter figure in 06 and 2 more in 2010. If his contract was up, that didn’t stop Hasbro from cranking out figures once the heel angle was done with WWF/WWE.

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Justin December 13, 2012 at 4:53 pm

I see what you did there.

Awesome job putting the list together! I approve. 🙂

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Howie Decker December 13, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Couldn’t have done it without you- thanks again! It was fun! Cobra should be out early next week.

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J May 10, 2013 at 1:29 am

#1 Spot should be: William “Refrigerator” Perry, “breakin’ the Cobra line!”

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Maurice Mitchell August 26, 2013 at 10:14 pm

I’m surprised Sgt. Slaughter didn’t make it higher, but Lamar is right Lady Jaye/Flint are inspired choices.

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Howard Decker August 27, 2013 at 4:48 pm

I think Sarge wore out his welcome quickly with the older fans and with non-WWF fans. He was comically unbeatable. Yeah LJ is definitely top 10 for me.

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Howard Decker August 27, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Who would your top 5 be?

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Maurice Mitchell August 27, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Definitely Fridge for his goofy football hammer. Lady J and Destro in that order.

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Joel August 27, 2013 at 10:40 pm

1- William “Refrigerator” Perry
2- Sgt. Slaughter
3- Roddy Piper (appeared as figure only)
4- Clutch
5- The baseball uniform guy

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Howard Decker August 28, 2013 at 1:00 am

Hardball!

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Walls April 15, 2014 at 12:17 am

Shipwreck is a top 10 worldwide. In other languages with other voices. So its a great character not just for Neil Ross (Sorry my english)

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Tbonejones July 3, 2014 at 5:43 pm

They need to take more guys and update them like they did with ripcored like more depth to them.

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Jackie Jormpjomp August 5, 2014 at 3:23 pm

Snake Eyes. All that matters is Snake Eyes is number one. In the comics he was one of the most interesting characters brought to life. Mute, scarred, dressed in black, tragic origin story, he could have easily been a villain, but those (at the time) groundbreaking pieces of his character actually made him more complex and mysterious while remaining noble. He was a secondary character in the cartoons (and all but forgotten in the animated 80s film) but in print he remains a very cool badass.

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Rick Dominguez June 8, 2015 at 8:06 pm

Love this list. I was hoping to see my all time favorite JOE. His name was Salvo.
Don’t know anything about his background, all I know is he was one bad ass motha.

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Loose Cannon August 12, 2015 at 2:54 pm

List is a little suspect, Snow Job #2? More like 30. I’m glad it opened up to all forms of GIJoe, but most of those outside the original COmic and Cartoons shouldn’t place in the top 50 IMO.

Here is a link to HISSTANK members voting on the same thing.

http://www.hisstank.com/forum/g-i-joe-general-discussion/407881-who-261st-greatest-g-i-joe-character-all-time.html

It should be (Give or take a few spots):
1. Snake-Eyes
2. Flint
3. Duke
4. Scarlett
5. Roadblock
6. Lady-Jaye
7. Shipwreck
8. Stalker
9. Beachhead
10. Gung-Ho
11. Hawk
12. Sgt. Slaughter
13. Rock’n’Roll
14. Lt. Falcon
15. Tunnel-Rat
16. Spirit
17. Wild-Bill
18. Outback
19. Dusty
20. Lowlight
21. Chuckles
22. Cover-Girl

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Tait June 30, 2016 at 6:38 pm

I wholeheartedly agree with Snake Eyes being number 1. If a series, animated movie, or live action movie messes up Snake Eyes they are surely doomed. I’ve seen Snake Eyes steal the show on shows fans don’t like and I don’t hear them complaining about Snake Eyes or Storm Shadow.

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HERNAN November 17, 2016 at 12:03 pm

This list looks like the 50 worst G.I. Joe of History!

Of course I am a Cobra fan! 🙂

I will not order them by number, I’ll just keep these. The others are crap.

Blowtorch
Shockwave
Recondo
Flash
Rock ‘n Roll
Torpedo
Alpine
Jinx
Spirit
Stalker
Scarlett
Flint
Snake Eyes

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