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Storm Shadow

GI Joe Generation 3
by Monkey Boy

How's this for irony: repainted, minimally-accessorized GI Joe figures on generic cards are released at Dollar General stores to give customers some low-cost Joe options, and they end up flying off shelves and being total scalper bait.

What makes these so desirable is that the paint schemes are often cleverly based on some unique designs from the Generation 1 days, typically versions that weren't iconic enough to merit a full G3 resculpt, but still hold a near and dear place in many fans' hearts.

Take Storm Shadow, for example. The very early "25th Anniversary" days of G3 Joes gave us re-designs of the first two versions of the white-clad ninja: his original archetypal ninja outfit and his hooded version as a member of the GI Joe team. The Dollar General SS gives us a re-imagining of version 3, an oft-overlooked design from 1992's "Ninja Force" squad, and still operating as a good guy.

Storm Shaodw is a former US Army LRRP, former Cobra Viper, last Grand Master of the Arashikage Ninja Clan, sword brother to the inscrutable Snake-Eyes, and now the leader of the newly formed GI Joe Ninja Force. Drawing from generations of secret lore and years of practical combat experience, Storm Shadow imparts to his Ninja Force such esoteric techniques as the "Cloak of Chameleon" and "Screaming Whirlwind." When he's on patrol, Storm Shadow operates the lethal G. I. Joe Patriot.

New version 3 Storm Shadow (actually version 44, if you count the way YoJoe.com does) features a nice mishmash of re-used parts. His body is entirely a repaint of the excellent Renegades Storm Shadow sculpt, while his head comes from the Resolute comic pack version (that was itself repurposed for a Rise of Cobra Firefly). He gets a sash and belt from Renegades SS and the hood of Resolute Zartan to complete his look. The parts work together nicely and, together with the paint, give us a nice throwback to '92 Storm Shadow.

The paint is simple, but effective. Three colors are used: black, white, and tan. The tan is used on the hands and the face area that's exposed around the eyes, while his outfit and eyes are white and black. The original '92 SS had some gold elements, but I'm pretty sure a 3-color maximum was one of the stipulations for these to remain low-priced. The white and black provide a nice classic contrast, and the jagged edge shift from black to white on the chest and shoulders and above the boots is what sells the '92 nostalgia.

SS moves as well as his Renegades predecessor did, which is to say he's got some great articulation. In addition to the standard G3 Joe joints, he gets peg and hinge wrists with splayed fingers that can hold accessories in a number of innovative ways.

Sadly, he doesn't get much to hold. In addition to the removable hood, sash, and belt, SS comes with a sword, Shadow Tracker's compound bow, and a base. The base is the typical G3 base, with a Cobra logo (despite this version of SS originally being on the Joe team). It also doesn't feature the character's name anywhere on it. His bow and sword are all black, with no paint apps, and while he doesn't get a scabbard, you can slip the sword into his sash to keep it stowed.

Though there's literally nothing new other than the paint, Storm Shadow is still a fun figure, and these throwbacks were really a fantastic idea. In fact, it's almost too good an idea, since it's nearly impossible to find any of these figures on store shelves. Couple that with the fact that there are variant repaints out there, and the whole thing becomes even more infuriating. Storm Shadow's variant features a blue, orange and white paint scheme, making him reminiscent of 1993's T'Gin-Zu figure. Good luck finding that.

This is a great figure if you can find it for the $6 retail price, but pay anything more and you're kind of defeating the purpose, aren't you?

-- 10/19/12

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