BattleForce 2000 is an all-time favorite as an adult collector, yet as I’ve been around the G.I. Joe community, I’ve found that there’s not much love for BattleForce 2000.
1987 was generally the beginning of the “strange” period of Joe starting in the late 80s heading into the 90s up to Hasbro’s first cancellation of the line. BF2K could be considered the first of the true “sub teams” that Hasbro started creating with Joe that led to the likes of the Sonic Fighters, Eco-Warriors, and the Drug Elimination Force onward to the Star Brigade which saw the first major change to the action figure construction since the re-release of the line in 1982. Many folks believe it was around this time that Joe started to lose touch with its origins and lose much of that traditional military feel that had always been the basis for characters back to Joe’s 1964 origins.
BattleForce 2000 was “The walking, breathing proving grounds for tomorrow’s battlefield technology today! Highly-trained specialists entrusted with one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art prototypes. Their mission… to support G.I.Joe and field-test experimental equipment under battlefield conditions.” This team of specialists commanded the hi-tech, futuristic, experimental weapons and vehicles that could combine together to form the indestructible Future Fortress! In the comics, the team got a bit of a bum rap. Being introduced in Issue #68 the team began their tenure as the research and testing unit operating in Frusenland. Afterwards, they are featured both together and separately in various issues and participated in various campaigns with the Joe team in Sierra Gordo and later led the invasion force along with Serpentor in the Cobra civil war. But then came issue #113 and the infamous battle of Benzheen. As the team was moving through the oil fields of the emir, Cobra Commander brutally orders the artillery shelling of the oil fields and BattleForce 2000. In the inferno that follows, the entire team dies a horrific and fiery death, except for Dodger (not sure if there was supposed to be irony there or it’s coincidental), including poor bastard Dee-Jay, the communications specialist of the team who made his first, last, and only appearance in the comic series all in the same issue.
As for the toy line, the team was received with much of the same “love” as the comics, but this is where I, personally begin to differ from the popular opinion.
I have always been a fan of the BF2K toys, but never had any of them when I was a kid. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to pick up an amazing case fresh, single-carded, mostly unpunched set of BattleForce 2000 figures. The colorful figures and card art, the gloss blue color scheme that was featured in the classic explosion back was so different from the traditional card art makes it stand out from any other Joe figure that was released up to that time. Additionally, Hasbro also released the team member figures in dual-carded versions as well, never before seen up until this time.
On the other side of the spectrum was the vehicles. Each vehicle in the team’s arsenal consisted of a two-piece ensemble that could stand alone on it’s own or, when combined with the halves of the others, could join together to form the formidable Future Fortress! When you think about it, that’s like 3-vehicles-in-1 for every piece that you buy!
But from the ashes… sometimes comes rebirth. In 2017 the G.I. Joe Club announced that the 3 & 3/4″ convention boxed set would be none other than the iconic BattleForce 2000 team. Although renamed the “Force of Battle 2000” set (due to lapsed copyrights), the entire team rose again in their 1987 original forms, with the modernized body construction for the new age and a new era of G.I. Joe fans. Generally, the set was very well received by the community, and also featured some creative repaints of some other classic Joe vehicles such as the Marauder Snowmobile (a recolored version of the classic 1983 Polar Battle Bear) as well as the Vector X-36 Fighter Jet, a recolor of (one of my personal favorites) the 1986 Conquest X-30.
I personally think it’s all pretty amazing, and truly was from the start. From the card art, to the vehicle designs; the colorful figures to the re-imagined convention set. With all the lackluster sub-teams that came out afterwards, BattleForce 2000 should hardly be labeled as the worst. After all, the guys were already dead and buried by the time the Mega Marines showed up… In the end it’s all up to the individual collector’s taste, experiences, and memories, as to what they like or don’t like. It’s this collector’s hope that time will write a new story for the pioneers of the true special forces sub-team.