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Storm Shadow

GI Joe 25th Aniversary
by yo go re

One of the most impressive things about the original GI Joe line was that the characters weren't static - they actually grew and changed. Take, for instance, the ninja Storm Shadow. He was one of the first Cobras, but he spent more time as a member of the Joes.

Storm Shadow served with Snake-Eyes in Southeast Asia and both of them later studied the secret art of ninjitsu with the family of Storm Shadow, a ninja clan that could trace its history back through thirty generations of ninjas. Unhinged by the murder of his uncle and mentor, he infiltrated Cobra seeking revenge, but found vengeance to be a poor substitute for life. Now, in semi-retirement at a remote mountain hideaway, he occasionally takes on a special mission or two - if Snake-Eyes asks him nicely.

I want to take this opportunity to once again complain about the filecards for these figures. We've mentioned before how the early figures seemed to have the codenames and military specialties screwed up. Eventually that was fixed on the old toys, but we were still left with filecards laid out in two different ways. Hasbro's avoided that particular problem this time around, but they've done it by making sure that all the filecards are laid out wrong. Ough. Way to go, guys.

This Storm Shadow is the second, hooded version, but he shares the majority of his body with the evil Storm Shadow from the Cobra box set - but honestly, you'll be hard-pressed to see the connection at a glance. Hasbro is really getting the most out of these molds. His gi is white with a gray "urban camo" pattern, the wraps on his wrists and shins are dark grey and his sandals are a nice brown. The hood drapes like real cloth would, and keeps everything but his eyes hidden.

Storm Shadow even has all the same weapons as the first figure - which is both good and bad. Good because the swords, backpack, dagger and bow are decent accessories: bad because the 1988 figure this one is based on came with a much different assortment. He had a bow, yes, but it was a modern compound bow, not this traditional recurve. He had a backpack, not a quiver, and where's his Vega-style claw? Still, I'm impressed that Hasbro swapped out the big buckle that held the previous Storm Shadow's quiver on the figure for a coil of rope - just like the one that was sculpted on the original heroic version.

The 1988 Storm Shadow was the first figure to feature the Arashikage clan tattoo on his right forearm, and this update matches it... causing yet another problem. See, the original figure didn't have any sort of wraps on his forearm, which is why the symbol was visible. For this figure, the tattoo has been moved up closer to his elbow. That's okay, I guess, but it also means the tattoo should have been visible on the other TFAC figure. Really, they should have given the box set Stormy higher wraps (to cover the entire forearm) and put some bare arms on this one.

For a figure that's only differentiated by a new head and about half an ounce of paint, the single-carded Storm Shadow is a very good toy. He's substantially different from the other version, and it's an iconic look for the character. No, he doesn't have the same accessories as the original and his tattoo is misplaced, but he's still good. Buy him, and have him fight his earlier Cobra version - see if being good or evil makes him a better fighter.

-- 06/27/08


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