G.I. Joe: Resolute - Storm Shadow
How fitting it would seem that the character Storm Shadow would provide such a dichotomy in the G.I. Joe universe, almost mirroring his own inner turmoil. In the film G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, the fans, by and large, hated the movie, however, they latched on to Storm Shadow has one of the few positives in the cast of characters. In contrast, while many fans whole-heartedly loved G.I. Joe: Resolute, many of them directed some ire towards Storm Shadow, who was really a shell of his real self in the animated feature. Where the Storm Shadow everyone is familiar with is a layered, deep, and thought provoking character, in G.I. Joe: Resolute, he was a shallow, selfish jerk, who wanted Snake Eyes dead simply because his uncle loved him more. Quite a drastic shift in motiviations from one continuity to another.
And unfortunately I have to say the shallowness of Storm Shadow transends the animated form and manages to inject itself directly into the action figure world, too. Even though Storm Shadow is actually a new figure (unless you were lucky enough to score one of the unreleased figures from overseas during the cancellation of Wave 14 of the 25th Anniversary line) he is one of the most lackluster figures of the entire assortment, which is unfortunate, considering how key he is to the whole animated feature.
The base figure isn't terrible...he's got what appears to be a newly tooled torso, as well as new legs and a new head. The new head is strangely wrapped in a loose white cloth that doesn't really resonate. His legs are exceptionally baggy, yet still retain some great range of motion and replicate the animated look pretty well.
His arms seem to be the standard Storm Shadow arms we've seen since day one, and still move well and look nice, and I do like the tatoo placements, even though in the cartoon they were actually covered by the arm wraps.
However, with this figure, where most Resolute figures are significantly improved by their accessories, Storm Shadow seems handicapped by them.
First, I can appreciate how the Hasbro designers have to sort of fight with plastic versus animated look, but the hood just doesn't really work that well for me. It rides up on the figures head and definitely does not match the draped look of the cartoon...it almost ends up looking a little silly.
But even worse is the uniform top that slides over the bare chest is a single large piece of rubber, which totally restricts the figure's movement. I almost would have preferred they simply sculpted a cloth Gi torso and retained some semblance of articulation, rather than saddle him with this nearly immobile secondary. I totally understand what they were going for...in the cartoon Storm Shadow had an exceptionally baggy uniform, and to a degree they reflected that. But it doesn't change the fact that his appearence in the cartoon doesn't necessarily translate perfectly to toy form, and it restricts his use.
Beyond those two components, his accessories are pretty nice. He's got the rope sash that fits over his chest, a nice small backpack with twin sheaths that hold his two swords, and a climbing claw for one hand. They're all trademark Storm Shadow, and fit the character very well. His backpack fits nicely on his back, the swords slide in and out without issue. A great compliment of weaponry, even if the secondaries hinder the figure's movement.
All in all, I continue to be surprised at how adamant certain fans are about the fourteenth wave of 25th Anniversary figures. So many folks seem eager to jump down Hasbro's throat about cancelling that series, and I just don't see cause. Zap was released in the Cobra Island set, Storm Shadow, honestly, wasn't that hot to begin with, and Night Force Falcon simply took a somewhat flawed figure and slapped different paint on him.
From an appearance perspective, this isn't a bad figure...but compared to the other figures in this set, he remains pretty low on the "wow" factor, and is definitely the least impressive. Sure, Cobra Commander gets a lower score, but only because he was so similar to the previous version, he remains wholly unnecessary. Storm Shadow is at least a new figure, albeit not an impressive one.