GI Joe

Secret of Planet Xenome

Fourth in the new Adventure Team boxed sets!

The Secret of the Mummy's Tomb - 1970

Hasbro's fourth new Adventure Team set takes a drastic departure from previous efforts, including vintage. For the first time since Mission Splashdown Joe is going into space. But not in a silvered Mercury-type astronaut suit, like usual. All of Joe's exploits in space until now have been to get man to the moon and back. Never before has Joe officially faced an alien menace in the form of these insectoid creatures. (Though Joe did face an earth-bound alien threat with the Intruders in 1976, he never donned space suits to fight them on their own ground.)

Joe, here, more resembles Buzz Lightyear than Buzz Aldrin, and hardly at all GI Joe. Wearing a shiny blue astronaut's suit, Joe is also partially encapsulated in a hard-shelled protective body armor, and has a jet-pack/air tank and large helmet complete with lowerable sun shield.

Unlike previous new Adventure Team sets, this one is not based on a previously existing vintage set.

In this set, various head sculpts are used, including a new flocked Asian, which is probably the finest new head-sculpt I've seen from Hasbro since their excellent Pearl Harbor series. Only this time he's flocked. (No beard.)

(Click for larger image)

Each box comes with one of three different aliens. Not only recolored versions of the same alien, but these are three very differently modeled aliens. (See them here:) An excellent tactic from Hasbro if they want people to buy more than one of these. At $30.00 each, these are a little on the expensive side, but the inclusion of an alien, albeit a poorly articulated one, was a good idea. Like the Search for the Yeti set, a Joe-sized antagonist is important for play.


The Story

The story of this set, however, is unusual. It may sound like "Mars Attacks" or some 1950s B-movie, but the fact is, that concept is mentioned in the story itself. It seems like a large planetoid (Xenome?) has gone into orbit around the moon, and Joe must find out if the threat of alien invasion is real, or contrived somehow. It doesn't make a lot of sense.

At installations around the country, the United States government operates giant arrays of radio telescopes. These bases scan the skies for asteroids and meteors that might pose a threat to life on Earth, and for signals that might be sent by intelligent life from other planets. It was a complete surprise to scientsts everywhere when a large planetoid-like object appeared from out of nowhere in orbit around the earth's moon! broadcasting signals that point to an imminent invasion of Earth, this object appears to be inhabited by creatures bearing a strange resemblance to 1950's era Hollywood B-movie aliens. The GI JOE ADVENTURE TEAM blasts into space to investigate this threat! Too strange to be a coincidence, could the sudden appearance of this object be a decoy for a more nefarious scheme? Is there really going to be an alien invasion, or has an old enemy created a new trap designed to lead the heroes to their doom? One thing is certain - only the ADVENTURE TEAM can unravel "The Secret of Planet Xenome!"

Still, this scenario could fuel the imagination of children and adults alike for hours of play!


The Figure

The figure is a Super-Articulated Joe body, with large hockey-mitt-like space gloves. The trigger finger is separated, so he can hold his gun. The gloves are his hands, rather than being simply rubber shells over regular hands. This limits the articulation to one degree - a rotation around the axis of the forearm. The elbows and knees are double-jointed, and unlike other SA bodies, this one has the larger feet.

I've seen three head sclupts so far, and there may be more. A flocked Recruit, a flocked MSV-driver, and the new Asian sculpt. I chose the Asian. He looks great!

The SA body is slightly different from previous GI Joe SA bodies. The forearm is attached differently, and rumor has it the hands can come off, unlike other SA Joes, whose hands are connected with a t-like flange, making easy removal next to impossible.

One major problem with this set is the SA body, sadly. With his space gear on, my Joe can't stand on his own two feet. His ankles are very weak, and the outfit and gear are just too heavy. He cannot stand on his own. Your mileage may vary.


The Gear

The space suit in this set is pretty good. The shiny blue fabric is a bit hokey at first sight, but upon closer inspection, it works well with the whole concept. The hard-shell blue body armor is cool, but limits the legs from closing at the crotch. The outfit has velcro closures around the forearm sleeves to allow for easier removal. When I say "easier" I really mean that relatively. This outfit was hard to get off.

Joe comes with a large helmet, even larger than the exaggerated Buzz Aldrin Apollo Astronaut helmet that caused a fuss several years earlier. Like Buzz's helmet, though, the sun visor drops down, and it's made with a prismatic sheen that's kinda cool. The helmet snaps onto the hard-shell body suit with two clasps.

From the helmet come two white hoses that attach to the backpack that must serve as an oxygen tank and jetpack. Two gray jets at the bottom of the pack reveal the pack's function.

The boots are the same as the Apollo Astronaut boots from the Buzz Aldrin set.

The sleeves of the space suit sport the following patches, sewn on:

M.A.R.S. patch, which looks suspiciously similar to the NASA logo.

The US flag of course.

Like all of the new modern Adventure Team revisions (as opposed to the Timeless Collection Adventure Team Joes) Planet Xenome Joe has a reproduction in gray plastic of the Adventure Team dogtag:


Here are instructions for removing the suit:

(Click to see larger image)

The gun that comes with the set is a rehash from an Action Man set, and Hasbro didn't even bother this time to remove the Action Man logo from it.

(Note the Action Man logo)

Let's talk about this gun for a second. I don't know why companies bother making guns with spring-loaded missiles anymore. Usually they take away from the appearance of the gun, and since the increasing strictness of safety laws, any missile that won't just dribble out the front, is not allowed anyway. So this kind of feature is completely worthless. So here would be my suggestion. The same day I bought this set, I bought the Final Fantasy Aki Ross figure, and with her comes a gun I show in this next photograph. See how the fairly simple space suit comes alive when seen with a detailed weapon with proper paint and realistic look:

(See how the weapon actually makes the whole outfit look better.)


The Aliens

In a move that surprised me, Hasbro included three pretty decent aliens. Each one has a soft-rubber head, each vastly different from the others, on hard plastic bodies. Each one is of a different design. Each has different hand types, from clawed fingers, to suckers, to lobster claws. Each one has a hinged finger.

The articulation of the arms and legs is in one axis only, making this somehow limited. The legs, arms and body are the same for each alien, but the fact that the legs have only the hip articulation makes it hard to pose these aliens. The wrists, however, rotate, so they're not completely useless.

Three colors are available, red (more red than the below picture indicates) a blue one (not green like the picture on the side of the box) and a gold one that does look quite like the one pictured below.

As a way to get collectors to buy more than one of these sets, Hasbro has hit on a brilliant idea here.


The Box

The box is exciting! In a painting that invokes several eras, from original Adventure Team art, to 1950s B-movie poster, this one has sleek flying saucers, rockets, freaky aliens, and astronauts with guns ablazin'. Hard not to get into the mood.

(Click to read the back)


The side of the box shows Joe confronting an alien (actual figures, not a painting) and pictures of the three possible aliens available.

(Click for larger image)


This set, the fourth in the modern Adventure Team series, is the furthest from the original AT concept, but I wonder if the AT hadn't faded in 1976, if this is where it was heading. With the introduction of the Intruders back then, perhaps the next step was to confront less humanoid aliens, but we'll never know.

Overall Rating


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