Storm Shadow was one of the more complex characters in Larry Hama’s GI Joe mythos. He wasn’t the standard Cobra mercenary and only joined up with them for revenge. Eventually he left Cobra and joined his sword brother on the Joe team. With their Classified Series, Hasbro surprised a lot of us with the reveal of the Arctic Mission Storm Shadow as this wasn’t the version Hasbro has on its character website.
Like a lot of the Classified Series figures this Arctic costume is basically just an update of the Ninja Force Storm Shadow. For a brief moment in the 90s, I’d stopped collecting figures and realized I wanted to have a display of Joes on card. That led me to getting all of the wacky later versions of characters like punker Zartan, Eco Warriors Flint, cap-less Gung-Ho, red camo Duke and the Ninja Force Storm Shadow so I have a soft spot for this look. Let’s see how true Hasbro’s aim is with this figure.
Package: I wish Hasbro would update the rear package now — maybe with a checklist of the available figures and the bio actually on the card instead of online?
The poster was fine for the wave one figures, but it doesn’t make a ton of sense with most of them being released in some fashion already. Looking at you Alley Vipers…
The side portrait looks cool with a more intricate pattern for the outfit.
Storm Shadow’s bio provides the classic take on the character: Storm Shadow is an elite Cobra ninja operative and an exiled member of the Arashikage ninja clan, one of Japan’s legendary families. He trained in their methods of infiltration and combat. Extremely skilled, blindingly fast, incredibly resilient and devastatingly lethal. Elite-level expert in a variety of martial arts and an array of ninja weaponry. Destined to be the leader of the Arashikage before fate took a turn and sent him on a different path and into the ranks of Cobra.
Storm Shadow’s skills were a little weird as I figured he’d be at all fours like his sword brother. Instead, he gets top marks in covert ops and ninjitsu and threes in infiltration and bladed weapons. Oddly, his skill set with the bow and arrow is ignored.
Likeness: The basic setup for the Ninja Force outfit was a hood, white top half that blends into a black midsection and back down to white boots. This isn’t an exact replica, but the intent is obvious.
The only thing that’s really missing from the NF figure is the black chest straps with the grenades and throwing stars.
I really like Storm Shadow’s stern expression. He looks locked in to his objective and ready for battle. Naturally the hood rides up a bit, but it’s not as big a nuisance as I’ve seen on some other figures.It also comes off in case you’d like to have a hoodless Storm Shadow.
The sculpting on the outfit from the torso, shoulder pads and belt seem like all new pieces. I like the idea of a ninja having a utility belt. That just makes sense. Storm Shadow has the same texture heavy legs of most figures, but I think they’re a new mold — or at least from the knee pads down.
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For whatever reason, I really like the setup with the boots. I dig the symmetry of the three flat lines and the three rounded edges. It sure seems like Hasbro wanted to give collectors the option to make this first Storm Shadow part of the Joes as there’s none of the distinctive Cobra logos. He does have his Arashikage logo prominently displayed.
Paint: Storm Shadow has an off-white white. I guess it works for a military white where he’s not trying to attract too much attention, but I wish Hasbro just gave him the same stark white they used for the Marvel Legends Moon Knight. That was vibrant and really stands out. You’re never really trying to blend in when you’re wearing white, after all.
That issue aside, the paintwork is decent. There’s some slop around the mask and the white areas on the torso don’t match up well with the off-white armor pieces at all. Also the boots have some overspray as well. If this were a retail figure I’d probably try to find a better painted one, but it’s not awful.
Scale: I use the comics as my reference in most of these matters and Storm Shadow was the same height as most average size characters.
Articulation: Save for one very odd omission, Storm Shadow has everything we’ve come to expect from this line with the fluid movement and ease in posing. The figure’s torso isn’t quite as tight as I’d like, but it doesn’t have a marionette feel either. Still, that’s not ideal right out the box. For 2021, one area Hasbro should focus on is ensuring every figure has tight joints without wobbly or floppy QC.
Oddly, Storm Shadow lacks the shin articulation that’s been the norm with every figure in the line so far. That’s very weird to leave it out for the ninja. Hopefully other figures don’t have surprise useful articulation parts like this taken out. It’s clearly a case of preserving the boot sculpt, but I wouldn’t mind.
Hasbro did add a very useful element to the shoulder pads. They’re a bit of a tab to raise them up so you can position the arms better. This is a very useful feature and allows for Storm Shadow to have no limitations with sword or bow poses.
Arctic Storm Shadow has:
- shoulders (butterfly)
- elbow (double-jointed)
- wrist hinge
- hips (ball-jointed)
- drop down hips
- knees (double-jointed)
Accessories: Storm Shadow comes loaded with gear and most of it is very useful.
His major weapon is his bow and arrow. Hasbro gave that a nice black and gold color scheme and the Arashikage logo.
I don’t understand these new safety precautions where characters with a bow can’t have a bowstring these days. Tommy’s good with a bow, but is he that good? He does come with one arrow, though weirdly it’s all white instead of gold like every other one in his quiver.
Storm Shadow also has his sword and scabbard. I really like the sword with the matching white and logo.
The scabbard can plug into the quiver. Unlike a lot of figures in the line so far, Storm Shadow’s back pack stays in reasonably tight.
He’s also got some mountain climbing gear with a piton and grapple hook that I’m already waiting to see again with a Classified Series Alpine.
Worth It? The Classified Series remains one of the best deals on the pegs with their $20 price point despite the lack of a Build-A-Figure element.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
This is another strong figure for the line although he’d be even better with a stronger shade of white, a bowstring and the usual ankle articulation.
Where to Get It? This figure is an Amazon exclusive so that’s your only route with him.