GIJoe Sigma 6 has been kind of hit or miss for me. I loved the original Snake-Eyes, but wasn't sold on his villainous counterpart, Storm Shadow. As two of the most iconic characters in the Joeniverse, I was expecting a lot from their Sigma 6 incarnations. Snake-Eyes delivered, but for some reason Storm Shadow didn't do it for me. Maybe it was the plainness, or the cloth pants, but I just held out.
And now I know why. I should have realized that Hasbro would be pumping out variants of the two wildly popular ninjas, and that a Storm Shadow would be along soon enough that would meet my standards. The third Storm Shadow in the line so far, Storm Shadow with Shaori Crossbow, is the SS I've been waiting for in this line.
Sigma 6 figures are offered in two different assortments, each with a unique selection of characters and figures: a deluxe line of "Commando" figures that costs a little more, features more accessories, and has a nifty footlocker for storing their gear; and a slightly cheaper, less accessorized "Soldier" line without the foot locker. This Storm Shadow (with Shaori Crossbow!) is from the latter. However, that doesn't mean he's any less fun than his pricier compatriots.
The first thing to note in regards to SS (w/SC!) is his uber-cool new design. The first Sigma 6 SS (and the second, which was just a repaint) gave us pretty much your standard ninja-in-a-white-outfit,
but this guy takes it to another level. For the first time, Tommy Arashikage goes topless, showing off a snazzy dragon tattoo on his chest. He's also got a new metal facemask reminiscent of the ninjas of the Mortal Kombat franchise, and his arms and legs are wrapped up in typical ninja fashion. The design works very well with the angular stylization of the Sigma 6 line. Thankfully, the only cloth to be found on the figure is a maroon belt/sash thing. It has a Velcro clasp and is removable.
Paint is pretty dang good for a mass-market release. I already mentioned the dragon tattoo, which is very detailed and crisp. The rest is fairly simple, but effective, with gray and white elements on the main areas of the outfit (i.e. pants and hood) and maroon and gold for the arm and leg wraps. In a nice use of subtlety, the metal facemask is a different shade of metallic than the gold on the arms and legs. There's really nothing to complain about, paint-wise.
All Sigmas have pretty spiffy yet standardized articulation, and SS (w/SC!) is no exception. His neck is a balljoint, his shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles are all pegged and hinged joints (which operate like balljoints), his chest is hinged, and his waist has a peg joint. All the joints are exceptionally tight (in a good way, not a plastic-snapping way) and there are plenty of cool poses to be had.
Other than the look of the figures, the trademark of Sigma 6 is wicked accessories. Despite being part of the cheaper Soldier line, SS (w/SC!) doesn't skimp on the weapons. He's got his Shaori Crossbow of course, and like any good crossbow in today's toy world, it's spring loaded.
He also has two "bolts" for the crossbow, and a perusal of the figure's filecard lets you know that one is a heat-seeking "smart bolt" and the other dispenses tear gas on impact. Tear gas? Lame. But make up whatever gas you want, it's your figure. Mine has fart gas. But I digress. He also gets a quiver for his bolts that fits across his chest, and has a nifty sheath on the side for his next accessory, a "daito sword" with a "hand-forged titanium alloy blade".
But wait, there's more. SS (w/SC!) also has two different sets of hand and arm guards lined with Shredder-esque spikes. The first set matches his arm and leg wraps; they're maroon with short, gold spikes. The second set is more menacing: black with long, silver, curving blades. Unfortunately, without a foot locker, you'll have to find a place to store the set of spikeys that you're not using.
Many have bemoaned the Sigma 6 line for being too cartoony and anime-inspired. I actually think the styling is closer to the whole graffiti/urban vinyl/toys-as-art movement that's been chugging along for a while. Either way, it's a matter of taste, and hardcore Joe fans may still be sour on this figure, and the line as a whole. However, SS (w/SC!) - along with some other cool S6 offerings - is making it harder and harder to dislike this line.
What's next for the over-marketed ninjas? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.