Storm Shadow (Desert Battle)
I gotta be honest, when I think of Storm Shadow, the Middle East is about the last place I think of him being, but now that I have this figure in hand, I find myself really loving the ceremonial aesthetic and the way this figure looks with all of these trimmings. Immediately I have a vision of a tortured soul, who is doing when he needs to do to find his uncle's killer, but at the same time travels the world, studying other cultures, other forms of battle, adding it to his own reputoire, and trying to find some sense of enlightenment.
I find no joy with the Resolute portrayal of Storm Shadow as a merciless, heartless, jealous little child who only lives to kill Snake Eyes. Storm Shadow has layers...he should. But at the same time, I don't want him on the Joe team either. I think a "good" character can exist as a member of Cobra and still do what he needs to do while he searches for the man who defiled and betrayed his family.
This is where the continuity line gets a little fuzzy. For those folks who consider Pursuit of Cobra merely an extension of the Real American Hero universe, there are some tough things to consider. But I see Pursuit of Cobra has either somewhat of a fresh start, or some better continuation of The Rise of Cobra. Come to think of it, if you consider the fact that Storm Shadow "died" at the end of RoC, and had some face-to-face with Snake Eyes, I could definitely see him travelling the world trying to rationalize his existence, while considering all of the damage he's done as a member of Cobra. And since he doesn't yet know the identity of his uncle's killer, he can still remain the tortured soul. This is something that the film did MUCH better than Resolute did, and I'm glad for that.
Speaking of the figure itself, the base figure is mostly the Arctic Assault Storm Shadow from the Rise of Cobra line, which is a great figure in and of itself. Sure, it's not much more than a shirtless ninja in dress pants with some funky gauntlets, but sometimes simpler is better, and it makes a great base figure for this version as well. This Storm Shadow has a new head sculpt, looking much more middle eastern, with some very cool decorations and really nice detail. The ceremonial garb around his waist isn't removable, but it doesn't need to be, as it maintains a very unique look, yet the Cobra assassin still has his full range of motion.
Beyond that, the fun is in the accessories.
Storm Shadow is loaded with 'em. He's got an amazing backpack which allows for the crossed swords, giving him a place to hold all four of his deadly edged weapons. Four insanely well detailed throwing stars are also included, which hook to his thigh pads. As if that wasn't enough, he has amazing spiked weapons attached by a real metal chain, which can also hook to his swords for some amazing combinations.
These weapons are totally different than ones he normally sports, and totally dives into the idea of him studying other forms of weaponry and martial arts as he travels the world looking for clues into his family tragedy.
Rounding off his weapons are a pair of climbing claws that are wonderfully designed, and unlike in times past, there are actually two different claws, one for each hand, and you can tell in the way they're sculpted. Awesome.
This is a strange figure, to be sure. It doesn't fit with the rest of the state-of-the-art military concept of the Pursuit of Cobra, but seeing Storm Shadow as a reclusive hermit, studying, theorizing, and killing along the way, I think this look really fits. The weapons are great, the figure is great, and even if it doesn't represent what everyone's idea of Storm Shadow might be, I still think there is a lot to love here. Give it a try.
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