G.I. Joe: Retaliation - Storm Shadow (Ninja Showdown 3-Pack)

I cannot properly express the love I have for this Storm Shadow. The absolute love.

Don't get me wrong, the 30th Anniversary/Renegades version is greatness personified, almost perfectly capturing the vintage aesthetic, yet producing a great modern figure with all of the benefits of such.

But to me, there's been a certain goofy spirit with the G.I. Joe brand that recent figures have sort of been glossing over. It's okay, because the toys they're making are amazing anyway, but every once in a while I love seeing Hasbro embrace the goofiness once in a while.

Of course I hate saying that, because the Pursuit of Cobra and 30th Anniversary figures were so amazing that it's easy to overlook small little things that draw me back to G.I. Joe year after year. While PoC and the 30th were so ingrained in these detail-crazy real world military things, part of me missed the intrinsic wackiness that G.I. Joe has maintained for going on three decades.

Sure, we got Sci-Fi the laser trooper, and the Zombie-Viper, but those figures took the wacky and thrust it into a highly detailed real world universe. Sometimes, G.I. Joe and Cobra just need to embrace the craziness a little bit more, and I think this figure does that, without going too overboard. Many folks lambaste the "new sculpt era" and as of late, I've joined them in that, just because of the construction limitations it suffered through. But I maintain that some of the designs themselves were fantastic, just the technology and the techniques of the time couldn't quite match up.

This figure seems to take the spirit and concepts of the new sculpt era and inject it into more modern day sculpting techniques, and the results are phenomenal. Look for a minute at concepts from the Valor Vs. Venom Swamp Rat or Snake Eyes. Nicely countoured leather bodysuits...random faceplates...arm pads, gauntlets...all of those details are here in spades, and it looks terrific. I love the combination of the baggy martial arts pants with the fancy wrap-around leg guards. The detail work on the wrap around sculpted armor, and those nasty black forearm guards. This figure is fantastic. If the 30th Anniversary version represented what I've always loved about Storm Shadow, this version is a great catapult into the 21st Century as an almost "techno-Ninja" along the same lines as the Night Creeper. We know now that this isn't movie accurate, but dammit, it's still really cool.

Not only does he have great design, but he's got the pinnacle of articulation as well. The modern wrist joints, the rocker ankles, and everything else you would expect Storm Shadow to be able to do.

I'm guessing here with the accessories, and if my guess is right...well... not much here to talk about. It's a shame, too, because a figure as awesome as this one deserves some equally awesome cutting edge accessories, and he doesn't have them. The compound bow is fine, but nothing really new. The two daggers are okay, but not special. The sword's handle is huge and thick, and not easily held by his nicely gripping hands. The spear? Sorta dull. Accessories are a major down side, but so much extra gear is prevelent throughout the line, it's not an insurmountable issue.

I can't quite say why, but I love this figure. He is so in tune with what I loved concept-wise about the "new sculpt era" that I'm thrilled to see some of those design elements brought into a more modern sculpting style. I love his armored faceplate, I love the proudly emblazoned Cobra logo on his chest, and I really enjoy the various colors scattered throughout the uniform. Wrap around padding, nicely integrated armor and fantastic articulation all add up to one heck of a nice figure. Dig this one a lot.