Back in the 80’s to early 90’s, neon was king, especially when it came to clothing. I remember proudly going to the beach sporting my one 2 punch of neon pink and neon yellow Maui & Sons trunks. Come on…admit it, we all had at least one pair of those. Neon colors were synonymous with cool and the future. I couldn’t get enough of neon. This is why when I first saw 1986 line of G.I.Joes, the new laser trooper, Sci-Fi immediately caught my eye. It was simply love at first sight!
In a sea of already colourful Joes and Cobras, Sci-Fi, in his predominantly light neon green and silver uniform with head gear that looked more like a motorcycle helmet, still stood out like a shining beacon to me. And his card art, while most of the other characters are shown shouting and charging towards you, you had Sci-Fi stoically kneeling down and taking aim with his laser rifle looking to burn a precise hole into some unfortunate Cobra trooper’s skull. He was an instant favorite in my book and I wasted no time hunting him down on the toy shelves.
Unfortunately, like what seem to be the fate of many of my favorite characters in various toylines, despite looking super cool, he ended up being one of the least featured joes from his line in both comics and cartoons. I do remember one specific episode of the cartoon though where he was handpicked by Sgt. Slaughter to accompany him on a special mission of infiltrating a sci fi convention! Well as silly as that sounds you had to admit, with a uniform that could look right at home as part of Star Wars, he WAS the best choice (or at least best dressed Joe) for the job. One funny detail the writers/animators added was that when Sgt Slaughter goes into Sci-Fi’s room to get him, he finds Sci-Fi chillin in bed in FULL uniform (including helmet) watching Transformers! Other than that lone episode though, I really don’t remember much else from the guy. I guess it’s pretty hard to stand out as a “Laser Trooper” when everyone else in the show also shoots lasers.
His status as an obscure character is probably the reason why he was passed on when the 25th Anniversary line rolled along. And as with many of my favorites that were skipped, this moved me to make my own custom version of Sci-Fi which to this day remains one of my favorites. Turned out those gaudy accelerator suits introduced in the Rise of Cobra Movie had a great use serving as a base for my custom Sci-Fi.
Ultimately though his being passed over in the 25th line turned out to be a good thing since he ended up in the 30th Anniversary line instead which sported vastly superior figures. The new Sci-Fi is no exception. While he is basically a straight up faithful update to the original figure, this new version sports 2 removable helmets, one with the visor down, and the other completely down (as in covering the entire face) making him look even more like some future space trooper. His padded vest is also removable and all his accessories, especially his laser rifle look more detailed. Oh and in this updated version, he no longer is just a laser trooper, but is now an “Elite Combat Trooper” which just makes him sound even more bad-ass.