Every now and then, we'll add another "one off" figure to Dan's ToyBox and today is one that I've been waiting on for quite a while. Today was full of wonderful surprises as both this figure and my Neca Building Diorama both showed up. Dan's ToyBox is very excited to bring you this new action figure review of the Hasbro: G.I. Joe Classified Series: Storm Shadow!
Tommy Arashikage, Storm Shadow, served in Vietnam with the U.S. Special Forces alongside Stalker and Snake Eyes. Tommy and Snake Eyes had served a previous tour together and were good friends. After the war, Tommy invited Snake Eyes to Japan to join his "family business." The Arashikage business: the art of Ninjitsu. After his family was killed, Snake Eyes flew to Japan where he joined the Arashikage Clan. One night, during training, Tommy's Uncle; the Hard Master was murdered shortly after telling Snake Eyes he would be heir to the business in place of Storm Shadow. All signs pointed to Storm Shadow as the killer, and he fled Japan. Later, Storm Shadow would find his way into the terrorist organization, Cobra and become the bodyguard of none other than Cobra Commander himself. It is later revealed that Storm Shadow learned the Hard Master's murderer was an assassin from Cobra and determined that he'd join the organization, work his way up to a position of trust, and eventually learn the name of the killer. On that day, he would have his revenge. Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes would meet one another in multiple confrontations, until the day Snake Eyes learned the identity of the Hard Master's killer and joined Storm Shadow on a mission of vengeance, that seemed to end with Storm Shadow dying on a beach, victim of gunshot wounds inflicted by The Baroness. Storm Shadow would later actually be revived as we learn he pushed himself into a ninja trance, capable of simulating death itself. Over the years Storm Shadow would bounce back and forth between serving the Joes and Cobra as he battled the effects of Cobra's ruthless brainwashing. Storm Shadow was created by Larry Hama and first appeared in 1984 in issue #21 "Silent Interlude" of G.I. Joe, A Real American Hero.
Dan's ToyBox reviews figures using a simple formula: Accessories + Appearance + Articulation + Affordability = Overall Toybox rating. We discuss each of the categories and at the end give the figure a grade of zero (worst) to five (must buy!) Ideally, Dan's ToyBox strives to be as objective as possible in order to give you the best possible choice of whether or not you want to spend your hard-earned money on a specific collectible. So, with that in mind, let's get a closer look at Storm Shadow.
Hasbro's flagship line of Marvel Legends could learn a thing or two from the G.I. Joe Classified series when it comes to accessories. Though I am not collecting much from this line, every figure I've watched a review of comes packed with a bunch of great stuff and Storm Shadow lives up to that as well. He comes with the following: a hood, a pulled down hood, his combination quiver/scabbard backpack, two swords, one long and one shorter bladed, his compound bow, an arrow, and his black belt attachment. It would have been nice to see maybe one extra pair of fisted hands, but we will make do with what he comes with. His right hand is sculpted/molded to hold the arrow which also fits nicely into the notch on his compound bow and into its spot in the quiver. The Bow will port nicely onto the back of his quiver and both swords sheathe easily into their respective scabbards. I will admit that I'm not a huge fan of the hood accessory and much prefer the pulled down hood look. (Though to be totally transparent, I removed that and the figure more closely resembled the Storm Shadow that I remember from 1984!) I really love the updated look to this classic figure and the gear that accompanies him. It's very reminiscent of his original accoutrements and though I wouldn't have minded seeing additional weapons, I'm very pleased with the quality of what comes with him. Storm Shadow earns an "A" for Accessories.
There is so much to like about Storm Shadow's looks. Now, that doesn't mean that I don't have any issues with it because I do, but for the most part, my gripes are easy enough to overlook. Right away, I look at this figure and I see the character I grew to enjoy 38 years ago. Yes, I'm being terribly sentimental right now and I'm totally ok with that. The white suit on this figure is crisp and very clean. My first gripe is that there is a small yellow/orange dot on the upper right side of his head and some small paint smudges on his feet, near the wrappings. These are small enough to miss at initial glance, but easily discovered when closely examining the figure. I was impressed with the detail on the frayed sleeves at his shoulder, as that is new specifically for this figure. The wrist and boot wraps look amazing, with the gray wash over them to give added depth. The forearm guards are a nice addition and sculpted very well. I really dig the seams in his mask and hood and am really happy with the detail on his quiver belt, the buckle, and the shuriken. I also really love how cleanly the red cobra insignia is applied on his chest and how well it stands out on that white background. The sculpting and paint detail on his weapons and quiver/scabbard is exceptionally well done and the red throughout is applied clean and really gives a nice break from the black plastic. I do get that he has gloves in the comics now, but I'll confess to wishing he were gloveless as he was when the character first debuted. Though, the archer style glove on his right hand really looks great, especially when his arrow is nocked and fitted between his fingers. The silver paint on the swords is clean but is transparent enough in spots for the black underneath to show through. I don't know if this was done to give them a more realistic metal look or if it's just not enough application, but it works for me. The detail applied to this figure, right down to the split toe tabi boots is incredible and just makes me very happy to own it. Storm Shadow gets an "A-" for appearance, simply for the spots on his mask and boots.
As Ninja are supposed to be agile, flexible fighters, I would expect Storm Shadow to have some solid articulation. The engineering on this figure is pretty amazing, considering that the parent company doesn't apply the same engineering per se to their Legends Line. His head will turn right and left and looks up and down well enough though the upraised hood does limit movement. He even has some tilt for "attitude" but though the neck also moves, mine is pretty stiff and needed worked. The shoulders raise out very nice and rotate a full 360 easily enough with an upper bicep swivel that works very well. The elbows are pinless and the double-joints will bend in tightly. There is no forearm swivel, but the wrists do move easily enough. There is also a decent butterfly joint at the shoulders, though my left works better than the right does. Storm Shadow has an upper diaphragm crunch which moves forward and backward very well and gives him a nice crunch. He also has a great waist joint that swivels well enough and isn't hindered by the floating belt piece. Storm Shadow has drop down thighs, which work good on his left leg, allowing him to get a great split on that side, but are hindered on the right leg. I can't get that leg to split very well and I'm not about to overwork the joint and break it. The upper thigh cuts swivel nicely and the pinless knees will also bend in fairly well, though not as deeply as I'd have liked, given the higher cut on the back of his quadriceps. There is a boot cut which was extremely tight on mine, but the ankles do hinge easily enough and have a beautiful rocker. My reluctance to push the envelope with some of my joints and the necessity of heating them to get better range of motion drops his Articulation grade to an "A-".
Lastly, Storm Shadow is retailing for $24.99 online at stores like BBTS but is also available on Amazon for $40 and up. This is a figure that, I suspect, will command a lot on the secondary market, until the initial orders and pre-orders are all filled. He's not sold out online yet, but the frustration felt by many still waiting for him to ship could lead to a surge in pricing on the secondary market as people jack prices on extras they've already received. I was happy to get mine at a reasonable price. As I mentioned earlier, I'm not really collecting the new Joe line, but from what I've seen, this pricing is right on target with the other figures, so I'll give him an "A" for Affordability.
Overall, this is an excellent figure. Yes, I had some issues with mine, but he's definitely worthy of adding to any collector's shelf, G.I. Joe fan or not. This is simply a fun figure. With that in mind, Storm Shadow earns:
FOUR OUT OF FIVE TOYBOXES
Dan's Toybox is very happy to add the Hasbro G.I. Joe Classified Storm Shadow Action Figure to our collection and would recommend picking one up for your own! Thank you, as always, for dropping in the toybox and until next time... GEEK OUT!!!!