STORM SHADOW v43 (2012)
We now return to G.I. Joe : Retaliation Week, already in progress. Let’s talk about Storm Shadow. You may recognize him as that evil white ninja who battles that good black ninja, Snake-Eyes. Sadly that’s how he seems to be portrayed more often than not these days; as a one dimensional evil ninja out for revenge. Storm Shadow is actually an inherently good and a very interesting character if you take the time to look beyond the surface. He has been a long serving member of the G.I. Joe team, and even had his own comic book series for a time. He is an honourable character and is actually Snake-Eyes’ best friend as opposed to his mortal enemy. That is at least if you follow the only continuity that really matters, The original Joe comic published by Marvel and written by Larry Hama. I like seeing different writer’s takes on things but ultimately it’s the Marvel book that is the “real” Joe in any fans mind. It’s like with Spider-Man, there have been movies and multiple cartoon series’ and alternate reality comic stories, and video games that all follow their own continuity. It can be confusing for a new fan. Is Spider-man a kid in high-school, or a grown up? Is he married or single? Is Gwen Stacy dead or alive? To answer these questions go read The Amazing Spider-Man. Sometimes it’s tough to swallow but that is the REAL Spider-Man. If you want the real Storm Shadow, go buy some Marvel comics. The first Joe movie, Rise of Cobra was riddled with problems but one of the biggest issues was how they handled Storm Shadow. He’s a prick in that movie. He tries to beat up the orphaned Snake-Eyes as soon as he meets him, harbours some jealousy, kills their sensei, then joins a terrorist group and bides his time until he can finally kill his arch enemy, Snake-Eyes. Garbage. Not only did they make Storm Shadow a whiny bitch and an honourless cold blooded killer but they made it very difficult for the writers of the sequel to rectify the situation. I won’t get into how the origin story should have played out or how it differed from the comic books in this post as I have many more Storm Shadow figures to review and I’ll need to have something to talk about then. Needless to say I was not happy with Storm Shadows history or motivation in the first film but what I did like was actor Lee Byung Hun. He looked great in and out of the mask and played a great “bad” Storm Shadow. Because don’t get me wrong, I love a “bad” Storm Shadow and feel that it would have been foolish to make him a good guy in the movie, I just wanted some depth. If they didn’t have time to explore his background then fine, just don’t go there. What pissed me off is the few random flashbacks they threw in which screwed up the potential for other filmmakers to explore the back story in detail in possible sequels (ie. Retaliation).
So I hope I’m not spoiling anything for anyone by telling you that at the end of Rise of Cobra Storm Shadow gets killed and falls into the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean. Bummer. When word of the sequel first hit the internet I was very happy to hear that Lee Byung Hun would be returning to reprise his role as Storm Shadow. You may be wondering how the hell does he come back if he got killed off in the first movie? Rest assured it makes sense as far as Joe lore is concerned. I’m really hoping that the filmmakers are able to redeem this character somewhat despite the sloppy set up that was left for them by the makers of the original film. A scene in the trailer that appears to show Storm Shadow talking calmly to Joe Colton gives me hope that Stormy will be given a chance to show his true colors this time around.
Now lets talk about the figure itself. Just a couple of months ago we received an excellent Storm Shadow figure as part of the 30th anniversary line of figures. That figured was heralded by fans as the ultimate version of the character, packed with so many accessories and alternate pieces to change his look that he would never be dethroned as the definitive Storm Shadow figure. He was great, but you know…I like this one better. I don’t know if this one is necessarily the ultimate or definitive Storm Shadow but I do know that he is awesome. The thing about the 30th anniversary version is that as cool a figure as he was, he just didn’t feel like Storm Shadow to me. Neither of the heads that he came with were reminiscent of the classic white mask that he first donned in 1984. It was an incredible ninja toy, just not Storm Shadowy enough for me. Now this figure is plenty Storm Shadowy. He’s got great classic elements from the vintage look but has added details that he’s picked up over the years in his various incarnations. This figure brings together great elements of all the various Storm Shadows in the past to make a fantastic retro-modern reinterpretation. I love it. He doesn’t have as many accessories as the 30th anniversary version but most of those things end up at the bottom of a bucket anyway. He’s got a couple of swords and that’s all I really need. He also came with a zip line accessory that I would’ve loved as a kid but have little use for now. This is a great figure, highly recommended. 9 out of 10.