G.I. Joe: The Pursuit of Cobra "Jungle Assault" Shadow Tracker
It seems like absolutely forever since we saw this figure and drooled all over it at the G.I. Joe Convention in 2009. I can still remember the frantic phone calls I got at work from my buddies who were there (I couldn't attend due to the pending birth of my second child).
They were absolutely frantic over the guy with the dreadloks.
So, being as it's over two years later, would you think the hype has died down? Or would you think that after 2 years of anticipation could the figure even possibly live up to how it exists in my mind? Oh, it can. And it does.
First of all, Shadow Tracker has a distinct advantage...I love new characters, and Shadow Tracker is a new character. He's a Cobra tracking specialist and jungle operative, which is something we've seen surprisingly little of in Cobra's thirty year history. Now, within a couple of months we not only have the first mass release "Jungle Viper" but we also have a Cobra Tracker. But he's not just a Cobra Tracker, he's a completely bad ass looking Cobra tracker who oozes personality in a way that only the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero universe can provide.
This is something that G.I. Joe has always been able to do, for whatever reason. The way Hasbro can perfectly meld a straight-line military line with a fantastical science fiction element never ceases to amaze me, and Shadow Tracker walks that line to perfection. But, none of this means anything if the figure isn't any good, and trust me, this figure is great above and beyond his cool history.
Beyond the theory and mythology, though, you have a toy. And the fun value of that toy will impact the rest of it more than anything else...Shadow Tracker is quite simply an awesome toy. Even underneath all of that gear, Cobra's Wilderness expert has some excellent detailing, incredibly smooth articulation and some insane paint apps. His elbow joints actually bend the full 90 degrees many figures cannot achieve, he's got the great pivot wrists, and even though his legs are sculpted like one piece legs (without those joint disguising kneepads) his double-jointed knees work without flaw. And his head? His head sculpt is simply insane. The wild mane of dreadloks spirals from underneath a semi-translucent hockey mask which gives the character an absolutely evil, insidious look about him. The figure is obviously at least somewhat inspired by the Devils' Due Skullbuster, I believe, but it takes that design aesthetic and totally runs with it. Upon first glance, it almost looks like his mask is removable, but take Twink Viper's advice and don't do it.
From the waist up, the paint is fairly generic, with a gray tank top and dark complexion...but from the waist down we're treated to some insanely well detailed green and black tiger stripe camouflage and some great stark black boots.
Like every other figure in the Wave 4 assortment, the accessories are really where it's at, and Shadow Tracker is loaded. He comes with a pretty simple vest, nicely colored and detailed just right. His compound bow was first seen with the TRU Exclusive Spirit, and he comes with the quiver and extra arrow as well. Where Shadow Tracker excels is with the bladed weapons. As a Cobra "hunter" he comes fully equipped with some of the nastiest knives I've ever seen in the 3 3/4" scale, and with his pivot wrists, he can hold them very nicely. If there is a downside to all of these accessories, it's that he cannot hold them all, though he does have a great sheath on the back of his vest and a hole in the side of his leg where one of his knives can be stored.
He does have another hole on the back of his vest for his three-headed club weapon, so in all honesty, for the amount of weapons he comes with, he can store some of them, just not all of them. A minor complaint, to be sure.
Last but not least, he also comes with a great net that isn't huge, yet still is able to be tightened around an unsuspecting member of G.I. Joe, to keep them still for Shadow Tracker to find them.
I've been waiting for this figure for literally over two years. At times, concerned that he would never even be released, but ultimately vindicated, and I am being totally honest when I say the wait was worth it. This figure is everything you could hope for in an evil, nasty, intimidating Cobra villain. Great sculpting, a ton of personality, amazing accessories. He really has it all, and must be at the top of anyone's "gotta get it" list. From a purely technical standpoint, the figure itself isn't quite as dramatically awesome as Low Light, but the fact that he's a great new character with his own excellenet elements makes up for that fact.
Buy this figure NOW at BigBadToyStore.com!