Someone should really look into what's going on at G.I. Joe headquarters. They were supposed to be a specialist wing of the army, meant to handle specific situations and combat encounters that normal soldiers couldn't. Specifically, they target the forces of the terrorist agency Cobra, which one would think requires only the best combat soldiers the U.S. military could find. But somehow, they've expanded to include a much larger number of people: engineers, astronauts and more.. it's almost as if they're trying to create their own army to supplant America's own soldiers.
And if that sounds dangerous, well, it would be if the army consisted of those roles played by people of the level of Snake Eyes, Hawk, Duke, Scarlett, and Cover Girl. But...nope. The Joes are staffing up with some of the most useless people ever: failed baseball players, insurance agents, and disc jockeys. It's like someone got promoted high enough to put all their buddies on and is engaging in one of the worst cases of nepotism the country's ever seen. But CBR's done a deep dive of serious investigative journalism to bring readers the corruption going on in the Joes. So get ready, because these are the 15 Most Useless Members of G.I. Joe.
15 DEEP SIX
Deep-Six started out as a part of Joe’s rarely mentioned undersea division. He’s not mentioned often because he’s such an intense isolationist. When he was asked what made him get into deep sea diving to begin with, his response was simply “so I could be alone”. But in all honesty, how often does Cobra even attempt that many schemes involving underwater threats? The Commander’s main goal is taking over world governments, so the Joes have got someone on their payroll who doesn’t even have much use.
He later joins the Eco-Warriors, but that group is barely a team and rarely gets focused on. Plus there’s no way Deep Six’s original, Centurions-esque armor didn’t cause environmental damage, so he’s just fixing damage he helped cause to begin with.
It’s coincidental, but half the Joes on this list have some of the worst names ever. They didn’t make the list because of that, but it feels like a self-fulfilling prophecy: the horrible name precedes the character being useless. Chuckles follows that trend, as the Joe’s useless undercover agent. It’s usually expected of people known for undercover ops that they try not to stick out all that much. But here’s Chuckles, running around cracking jokes and wearing the loudest Hawaiian shirt he could find so he can be the most noticeable unnoticeable guy ever.
Before the Joes he was an insurance investigator, which is the most regular job a Joe’s ever had before joining up, but he’s done so many jobs since no one’s even sure who he works for anymore. Couldn’t he just be making the whole thing up? His special skill is being “likable”, for Pete’s sake.
13 COLONEL COURAGE
Colonel Courage feels like a character that wouldn’t be allowed in the real Joes, he’d just be the super wholesome guy asked to do all the Joes “And Knowing is Half the Battle” videos. Don’t let the giant cannon he’s somehow wielding with one arm fool you: this guy is so boring he would put someone who watches paint dry as a hobby to sleep.
Cliff Mewell’s usual job is working as an administrative strategist, so he spends most of his time behind a desk. He takes care of all the minute details that people fighting a never ending battle against one of the most well-equipped terrorist armies in fiction wouldn’t usually have time to deal with. He also has a habit of trying to force all his subordinates into dressing impeccably neatly as well. Because one has to make sure their tie is straight before mowing down Cobra’s army.
12 QUICK KICK
Quick Kick is…exactly what someone would expect a action character named Quick Kick to be. He took to martial arts after being discouraged from trying everything else. He collected black belts like candy, excelling in countless martial arts forms. And he would be the G.I. Joe’s lead hand-to hand combatant, except for one thing: they’ve got Snake Eyes. And that’s where the problem comes in. Snake Eyes literally does everything Quick Kick does, but several times better, and while wearing a shirt and shoes.
And if that’s not bad enough, his origin is worse. He joined the Joes after being abandoned by his director in the middle of filming a commercial for Frozen Fudgy Bars. The director absconded with the film equipment..and Quick Kick’s check for the job.
11 CAPTAIN GRID-IRON
Terrance Lydon was destined for greatness no matter what. He graduated in the top ten of his class from West Point, but eventually turned down an opportunity to continue his education further at the U.S. War College in order to get a position in the field so he could be “where the action was”. This brought him into contact with the G.I. Joes, who were impressed by his determination.
Unfortunately, Terrence spends way too much time trying to be likable. His toy card describes him as doing a John Wayne impression all the time, while the cartoon describes him as constantly shoving football terminology into everything. It’s hard to discern which is worse: a tough guy impression from a guy who gets shot at for a living, or a commander using interminable football talk at a key moment in battle.
For an elite fighting force, the G.I. Joes have an astounding amount of characters that only got into their jobs because Plan A failed. In Sgt. Major John Edward Jones’ case, he signed up with the Joes once his art career fell apart thanks to the syndicated cartoon industry slowly dying out. Using his skill with the pen he becomes key to their intelligence as a scout.
But as a toy, Altitude is probably one of the worst a kid could ever get. A part of the G.I. Joe sub-team “Sky Patrol”, a team that’s easily one of the laziest ideas Hasbro ever came up with. They just repainted a bunch of older Joes and gave them parachutes that were shiny silver on the inside.
Scoop’s origins vary depending on which version of G.I. Joe canon someone chooses to follow. In the cartoon, Leonard Michaels is a double agent working for Cobra because he believes the Joes blew up his home and changes sides once he realizes he’s been lied to. In the comics he’s forcibly placed their as a manner of congressional oversight. And in either case, he absolutely doesn’t belong there.
To be clear, being a war correspondent is one of the toughest and most respectable jobs in the world. But Scoop (who’s also got the most stereotypical news reporter name ever) has decided that reporting on the aftermath of war isn’t good enough, and so he joins the Joes on actual missions, which feels weird enough. But he also carries a gun in case he needs to take out some Cobra members, so he isn't even objective!
Corporal William S. Dugglesby was born in Cooperstown, New York and started out with dreams of making it to the major leagues as a baseball player. But after realizing that he would be stuck in the minor leagues forever because he didn’t have “star quality”, he decided to quit his first love and fall back on his second: the G.I. Joes. There, he became a grenadier due to his ability to hyper accurately judge distances and fast reaction time.
Technically, this is a fine enough base for a character. But judging from his outfit it’s easy to tell Hardball still takes his love for the game too seriously. Instead of dressing in proper military garb, he goes into battle wearing military jeans and a baseball shirt. It’s only a matter of time before a guy like that thinks it’d be better if his grenade launcher shot baseballs instead of grenades.
David Kunitz was born on Three Mile Island, site of the greatest nuclear accident in American history. So, if we told you he was a part of a group called the Eco Warriors, you likely wouldn’t hold it against him. He excels in the areas of environmental health and taking care of chemicals in the environment, which is why he wears such an unwieldy outfit. It sounds ridiculous, but it was the '90s and Captain Planet was one of the most popular shows on television -- saving the environment was in.
Truthfully, Ozone isn’t actually useless at his job. He’s saving the world in his own way, with a method that will have more long-term benefits than stopping Cobra’s weekly world domination plan. Unfortunately, the show is definitely about an army stopping a terrorist organization from world domination, so in that context the Joes could absolutely do without him.
Sci-Fi is part of the coolest line of G.I. Joe toys, Star Brigade. The cartoon had been canceled for years, the toyline was about to follow, it was obvious no one important was paying attention so they just threw caution to the wind. Star Brigade is a group of astronaut soldiers, which is cool enough. But do they fight Cobra? Sometimes. But mostly they fight aliens from outer space.
Despite being in that awesome group, Sci-Fi still winds up here. How? Well that’s what happens when your special skill is shooting lasers in an army that can only shoot lasers because standards and practices are watching and kids shows like G.I. Joe can’t show anyone firing real guns. That, and he’s consistently described as being slow, almost lazy, in battle. How can anyone be lazy when their job is fighting space aliens?
Dee-Jay is a character that’s very much a product of his times. Real name Specialist Thomas R. Rossi III, Dee-Jay starts out as a disc jockey in Boston before deciding interviewing some of the hottest musicians in the world isn’t fun enough, and signs up for G.I. Joe’s latest squad, the Battleforce 2000. Now one might believe that the Joes wouldn’t have a use for a DJ, but as it turns out the character knows radio equipment inside and out.
Unfortunately, the toyline the character belonged to sold incredibly poorly, and around this time G.I. Joe: Real American Hero comic writer Larry Hama was given the greenlight to kill off characters with toylines that weren’t still on the market. As a result, Dee-Jay is introduced and dies in the very same issue of the ongoing, issue #113.
4 THE FRIDGE
G.I. Joe was an '80s cartoon that was never ashamed to tap into the popularity of pop icons at the time. Like the Chuck Norris: Karate Kommando or Mister T’s cartoons (Yes, those are both actual things that exist). But unlike those shows, G.I. Joe tended to relegate their real life members to side characters rather than making them the main character of the show.
Take “The Fridge” for instance. More well-known as Chicago Bears’ defensive lineman William Perry than as a G.I. Joe, the typical lore from the biography card on his toy listed him as the lead trainer for G.I. Joes. It makes sense, as typically football players go through some of the most grueling training imaginable…but then apparently he also goes into battle? His chosen weapon is a…metal football attached to a stick, which makes him slightly more threatening than Quick Kick.
Like many characters on this list, one of the first things you notice about Banzai is his stupid, stupid name. He was one part of the G.I. Joe’s “Ninja Force” (an equally stupid name) toyline from 1992-1993. The team appeared in Larry Hama’s G.I. Joe: Real American Hero ongoing, getting wrapped up in a lot of the storylines involving Storm Shadow and his Arashikage Clan.
Banzai is the team’s “Rising Sun” ninja, and since no one’s actually sure what that means, he distracts everyone from it with his origins: he’s a guy named Robert Travalino from Hartsdale, New York. He spent a lot of his time training blind-folded under a ninja master in the mountains of Tibet, which makes his title as a “Rising Sun” ninja make even less sense. And to finish out this mess of a character, he’s a ninja that runs around with magenta-colored weapons and clothing.
Bullhorn isn’t useless so much as he just doesn’t make any sense. Otherwise known as Sergeant Stephen A. Ferreira, Bullhorn first appeared as a character in the season one episode “United We Stand”. After Cobra threatens to launch a worldwide missile attack, it’s left up to Bullhorn to attempt negotiating with him while his fellow Joes sneak into the Cobra base to stop the Commander for good.
Known for his negotiation tactics, the problem with Bullhorn is that he doesn’t really fit in with the Joe ethos. They’re meant to be all about battle, so they also happened to hire a hostage negotiator? Certainly they’re necessary on most teams, but how useful can the character be when they’re constantly facing the same villain? Eventually they’ve got to figure out that Bullhorn’s only talking to them so someone else can sneak in and get the drop on them.
Above all else, Tollbooth has a naming problem. First off, nobody actually likes toll booths so he already leaves a bad impression. But more importantly, the character doesn’t actually do anything involving toll booths. An engineering prodigy, the story of Chuck Goren is a familiar one. Graduate from MIT, build things so well you get utterly bored and disinterested in the corporate world, then join the army in the hopes of being recruited by the G.I. Joes. So now you can build bridges while being shot at! The ultimate challenge.
But in all that, absolutely nothing has anything to do with a tollbooth, save for the very absurd connection that Tollbooths are used to cross a bridge, and engineers sometimes build bridges. They really should’ve called him Bridge Layer or something, but the toy he came with was already named that. Oh well, guess it’s impossible to call the vehicle something else.