SNAKE EYE v.63 (2013)
It would be impossible for me to do an entire G.I. Joe: Retaliation themed week without covering a Snake Eyes figure. This is the sixth Retaliation Snake Eyes released to date meaning he takes the cake over all other contenders like Roadblock, Firefly and Storm Shadow for most movie figures produced. This should come as a surprise to no one as Snake Eyes has had more figures produced than any other G.I. Joe figure in the brand’s history. This latest one is version 63. Wow. I own a lot of Joe toys but I don’t even own half of the available Snake Eyes figures. That would be a lot of figures for any character to pull off but it’s especially tough for Snake Eyes because he’s a faceless ninja who’s gimmick is dressing entirely in black. There’s only so many ways you can make an all-black ninja figure without repeating yourself; and Hasbro has repeated themselves many times over the course of releasing these 63 figures. But what boggles my mind is how often they’re still able to come up with a new spin on the character that makes me need to own another Snake Eyes.
When the modern era of Joe began with the release of the 25th anniversary collection (classic characters in their best known outfits) I had hoped that they’d get around to making all 3 versions of Snake Eyes that I cared about, the 1982 original commando look, the ’85 visored ninja look, and the ’89 version which was kind of a mix of the two. It didn’t take long for Hasbro to release those 3 versions and then they just kept plodding along with a winter version (had to have it), trench coat version (had to have it), blue version (had to have it), city strike version (you get the picture) and so on and so on. My collection became flooded with Snake Eyes variations, almost all of them cool and unique. The standard Snake Eyes release from the first live action film, The Rise of Cobra, is one of the ones that I would classify as unique but not exactly cool. I felt compelled to buy him because I was caught up in the hype but the rubber bodysuit and sculpted features on the facemask were pretty lame. That was one of ROC’s many frustrating offenses. How could they screw up the look of a character who has been given so many wicked cool costume designs over the years?
Well this time around they got it right. But they didn’t just take the look from the toys and comics and translate it to film. They took elements of Snake Eyes’ many looks, put a new spin on it, and created one of the coolest looking Snake Eyes I have ever seen. When I first saw Snake Eyes’ Retaliation costume I could’ve wept with joy. Not only was it amazing looking but when compared to the Rise of Cobra version it was a god damn masterpiece. I knew an awesome “must have” toy would soon follow.
Sadly, the first wave of Retaliation figures gave us 4 Snake Eyes’ but none of them were film accurate. I skipped the carded version and the one that came with a motorcycle but ended up getting the 3-pack version which was alright but nothing special. I let “retaliation fever” get the better of me when I purchased the Ninja Commando 4×4 just to get my hands on this clunker of a Snake Eyes figure. Well wave 2 has now arrived and brought us two more Snake Eyes figures and one of them is finally film accurate.
This is the first true Retaliation Snake Eyes and it is pretty darn sweet. I absolutely love this mask design. The classic visor is still there but it’s the inclusion of the mouth piece, made out of different material than the rest of the mask, that really shines here. It gives the mask added texture and gives the character a believable way to breath. It looks good on this figure but it looks absolutely stellar on film.
The body design is far superior to the rubber muscle suit he wore in the first movie. This one is slimmer with strategically placed armored plates. This makes much more sense for a ninja to wear as I’m sure being able to move freely is key. It’s got a very Nolan-esque Batman vibe about it and it looks great. The figure is almost entirely black but the excellent sculpting keep it from being boring. There’s a bit of color added on the brown shoulders which I don’t mind but I think they probably would’ve been better in black.
This Snake Eyes has some great accessories: Uzi, two swords, a cool multi-piece backpack unlike any we’ve seen before, knives, pistols, and the obligatory retaliation rope accessory. He’s got multiple holsters and sheaths so a lot of his weapons can be stored right on the figure. His articulation is top notch giving him lots of movement and posing possibilities. I have to be honest and tell you that there’s something about his posture that bothers me that I can’t quite put my finger on. His arms seem to hang at his sides unnaturally when he’s standing in a neutral pose. Maybe I’m crazy, I dunno. Regardless, this is a one of those Snake Eyes figures that you must own. The only way I would forgive you passing up on this one was if you were planning on spending your cash on the face-melting awesome sauce that is the Retaliation Snake Eyes 12” figure from Hot Toys. 9 out of 10.