Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cartoon Profiles: Sgt. Savage And The Screaming Eagles

I've talked (rather ponderously) in the past about GIJoe and its history. In passing, I've mentioned one of the various abortive attempts to rebuild the line from the '90s, Sgt. Savage and The Screaming Eagles.

I recently watched the Sgt. Savage cartoon, which can be found, as with so many things, in its entirety on YouTube. Let's take a look at a few (laboriously added, thanks to Blogger's horrible image stuff and HTML tools) screenshots, which will be accompanied by carefully considered commentary, AKA making fun of it.

Um, yes. This is, technically, a screen from the cartoon; you see, there's only one episode, and this is the commercial at the beginning of it. And it is of course ultimately an advertisement itself.

Let's start from the actual beginning, then.

Sergeant Robert Stephen Savage, "Savage" for short, is a famous and well-decorated soldier in the European theater of WWII.

That's right, he personally received a medal from freakin' FDR.

Anyway, he mysteriously disappears, and then it cuts to the present. We see some guys from GIJoe (including General Hawk and an extremely off-model Lady Jaye).

And with pretty much no explanation whatsoever, they see a mysterious figure breaking into someplace where they're all chilling.

Ooooh, a robot! How mysterious!

Lady Jaye takes off its head with basically no effort at all, but this barely slows it down, because, well, robot. It's strangling Hawk when...

...somebody it was trying to kill rips it in half by punching clean through it with both hands and then simply moving his hands apart.

Who is this towering...

...and apparently barely clothed figure?

It's Sergeant Robert Stephen Savage, reporting for duty, sir, that's who!

It turns out that, for nebulous (and poorly considered) reasons, Savage was captured towards the end of the war, and was subjected to much evil Nazi science. So much so...

...that his eyes glow with the evil energy, and he has occasional bursts of insane strength.

Which are often followed by embarrassment.

Within literally thirty seconds of being resuscitated and informed that it's fifty freakin' years later (the year was 1995, for reference), he sees a face which horribly upsets him. The face of some stinkin' traitor.

The face of...


According to Savage, the face of this man, Dr. Garrett Stromm, is also the face of a man who betrayed Savage's unit to the Nazis, leading to their ambush, most of their deaths, and Savage's capture.

Of course, because those stinking Nazis couldn't have defeated them even in a treacherous ambush, especially thanks to Savage's moar dakka quotient (he carries a freaking gatling cannon, for crying out loud!), they are subject to an ambush by Nazi superweapons!

Holy-! Is that Iron Man's Mark I armor? Seriously?

Anyway, in a series of flashbacks and dreams, we see these iron suits and the evil Krieger defeat Savage's unit and overwhelm them. And because this is fiction, of course Krieger took down Savage personally...

...with his bare-er, hands?

Um, Krieger was a cyborg? Really?

Oh, snap. You don't see it here, but he was wearing a glove over a hand that was a reasonable replica of a human hand, which retracted so this could extend.

Um, are we sure we're dealing with technology here?

I'm gonna file that as a "probably not really."

But anyway, that doesn't mean that Dr. Stromm is Krieger, anyway. He could be a distant relative, or a lookalike, right? He's probably not evil...

Just because he's got fascist tastes in clothing-wait a minute, who is that he has on the phone?

Ah. Never mind.

So, with Stromm being established as some evil and long-lived dude, let's talk some more about Savage himself.

Something I should mention about this cartoon-everyone is freaking huge. Aside from Savage's gigantic meaty paw here, Savage is average-sized. Hawk, to be true, is a little bit smaller, but when Savage is presented to a batch of smart but unruly screwups (their unruliness is represented by very mild disrespect, and the fact that they just won't stop playing basketball-ooooooh), most of them are his size, and there's one guy who's at least twice as big as he is.

Of course, he totally trashes all of them, playing as a team, against them in a weird variant of basketball...

...which happens to involve punching and tackling.

And then...

...he gets rough on the ball. Yeah, I'm gonna say they probably don't know the rules.

It's really quite funny, by the way, knowing how WWII soldiers talked, to hear Savage talk. (If you don't know, the terms "SNAFU" and "FUBAR" originated in the battlefields of WWII, and the "F"s don't stand for fudge.)

Anyway, so Savage knows, he knows, darnit, that Stromm is Krieger, and he demands to be involved in the security on the space launch thingy that he doesn't understand and which Stromm is in charge of. But Hawk says no, GIJoe is in charge of security there and they'll take care of it, and that's that.

Or maybe not.

He has his really big soldier, the tech expert, pick through the severed head of the robot that attacked him. Wait, wait, wait-nobody did that yet?! What the heck?

Okay, that aside, they find out that the satellite's plans are for some reason in the robot's head (WHAT) and that it's meant to do something evil instead of what it's supposed to do, and it was, guess what, made by Stromm. (Why would Stromm be crazy enough to leave that much information in some stupid attack robot's head? The world may never know...)

Anyway, so of course, Savage and the Screaming Eagles (which is the operating name of his new unit, just like the old one) take off to stop the launch, rather than making a call or something.

And they do it in the craziest way possible.

That is one fast P-51 Mustang.

Anyway, they successfully stop the launch, despite an army of those Iron Man Mark I suits and Krieger, who actually, aside from his tentacles and pinchers, can now transform into an Iron Man Mark V or so, and is able to fly and stuff.

And then, if this was real life, they would all have been court-martialed, and at best would have spent the rest of their natural lives paying for it.

As it is, of course, they get rewarded.

This cartoon may take the title of "worst GIJoe cartoon ever." Then again, the idea of cyborg supersoldier (and possibly occult) Nazis fighting guys on souped up WWII fighting vehicles actually sounds like a great idea, and it almost carries it anyway. (The award for high concept in a GIJoe cartoon still has to go to the DiC episode where Spanish conquistador ghosts possessed Overkill and the BATs and allied with Cobra Commander to capture the city of El Dorado, but maybe that's just me.)

-Signing off.

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