The League XII: Sweet Rides.

Its another week for the League of Extraordinary Bloggers.  This loose knit collection of loose minded bloggers answers a weekly geeky question and then Oooh and Aaah over each other’s brilliant answers.  All of this is maintained by the creator of the League, Brian over at Cool and Collected.

This week’s question!

Besides the Batmobile, what is the sweetest ride cruising the streets of pop culture?

This is a rather tough question for me because, well, I don’t really care about cars.  Could be for many reasons.  I didn’t have any older car obsessed figure in my life while growing up.  I’m hustling this writing dream (by the way fellow League members, I’m more than willing to cross promote with any of you and do guest blogs) and working retail but neither of those things really leads to having enough money for rent, food, internet and a car.

So yeah, the Mystery Machine is cool and so is Ecto-1 and the list could go on  and on.  But they’re just there.  I don’t have that “Wow” feeling for cars.  So I sat down and thought, is there any moment from my childhood that was so cool, so bad ass and involved a car that I still remember it vividly to this day?

There is.

I could picture every scene from this.  Every twist, and turn, and it might be the best car chase I’ve ever seen just next to Death Proof.  (And by the way, if you do care about cars you have to see Death Proof.)  A battle of good vs. evil, a race, a fight, and a game of chicken that risks the lives of everyone.  I remember all of these details over 25 years later.  I am of course talking about the Dreadnoks tank – the Thunder Machine!


Aside from the ninjas, the Dreadnoks were the coolest things in GI Joe.  Bad ass but silly.  Donuts and grape soda.  Plus, you know, chainsaw shotguns.  As fun as they were in the cartoon, there was even more potential for craziness in the comics.  And it happened.  Both sides saw casualties, the stories got more and more complicated and yet page turning intriguing every issue.  Especially issue 51 where the Dreadnoks go toe to toe with the (coincidentally also a toy!) GI Joe’s new vehicle – the HAVOC driven by Cross Country.

Zartan’s brother and sister (yes he has them, it was the time of the new toy line so lets introduce all these guys at once and pretend that they’ve been off panel the whole time) have to rescue Zartan from the GI Joe’s base – The Pit.  They use their gifts of imitation and disguise to break in and then must escape on the Thunder Machine.  Unfortunately Cross Country and Sgt Slaughter are hot on their tales.  The battle goes to the swamps because, duh, that’s where the Dreadnoks hang out.  Its a nasty time in the swamp, but not too bad.  Just bad enough to slightly cover the roads.

Look at that!  Its a strong battle of wills.  The Dreadnoks are crazy and do not fear death.  Cross Country is a brand new Joe.  Not only can he not look weak in front of the Dreadnoks, he cant look weak in front of the rest of the GI Joes.  If he blinks, if he turns off first, then that is it for his career.  There is no way this battle can end without casualties!  Larry Hama has written himself into a corner in which the only way out is death!

Or is it?!  In a brilliant swerve from the crazy bikers they stretch physics to the limit and swerve around the HAVOC!  They knock off Sarge’s hat and nearly his head.  Luckily for the Dreadnoks they didn’t hit his square jaw or else the Thunder Machine would have disintegrated.

My brother and I were lucky enough to grow up with both of these toys.  I cant even begin to tell the hours and hours of fun we had playing with all of the GI Joe’s and Cobra.  While I never got into model cars I get it.  The joy of twisting loose the parts, building a vehicle and then being beyond careful with putting on the stickers.  Every neighborhood had that kid who threw their stickers on in slap dash style.  Screw that!  I want my toys to look as cool in real life as they do on TV (or comics).

I wish I knew where the Thunder Machine went.  Chances are my brother took it, as I’m pretty sure he took all of the GI Joes and I took all the comics.  But I would love to pull this out and rev it around the living room today.  Complete with “belt-fed synchronized “Penetrator” Gatling guns, and had room for a driver, passenger, and eight people standing on the running boards”.

Guess I’ll have to compromise and enjoy the above comic then follow it up with some Arise Serpentor Arise.


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