NIGHT CREEPER LEADER v.3 (2015)
Yesterday I reviewed Bombstrike from the G.I. Joe Collector Club’s third Figure Subscription Service (FSS). As a subscriber to the FSS I get 2 exclusive G.I. Joe figures in the mail each month. I was very excited to receive Bombstrike last week, however, I was much less enthusiastic about her pack mate. Bombstrike out shipped out with the Club’s updated version of Night Creeper Leader.
You may recall that I reviewed a couple Night Creeper figures not too long ago. The Night Creepers are a clan of cyber ninjas who work under contract with Cobra. The first Creeper figure was released in 1990. A much uglier version was released in 1993 and an even uglier version was released in 1994. For the first few years of their existence the Creeper clan was without a leader in the toy world but in the sub-par G.I. Joe cartoon produced by DIC in the early 90s the Night Creepers had a boss that fraternized with Cobra high command. The leader in the animated series looked just like the standard purple and grey 1990 Night Creepers but his mouth and nose were exposed. When Hasbro finally released an action figure of Night Creeper Leader in 1993 they decided to go a different route.
The ’93 Night Creeper Leader figure featured a mostly brand new sculpt and he bore little resemblance to his ninja henchmen. Instead of being covered from head to toe in purple and grey armour and camouflage NCL sported tiger-striped orange pants, a blindfold and skullcap, and no shirt. It was a pretty wild design for the leader of a stealth ninja army. I didn’t own Night Creeper Leader version 1 but my little brother Brian did. As was the case with many 90s figures in Brian’s G.I. Joe collection I was not impressed with Night Creeper Leader.
One year later a repainted NCL was released as part of the Battle Corps subset. It was the exact same figure as version 1 only this time it was painted purple and yellow instead of orange and black. I wasn’t a fan of the v1 paint job but I don’t think v2 was an improvement.
I had zero attachment to this character when I was a younger because I was 15 by the time the first NCL figure came out. I didn’t collect the toys anymore, I didn’t read the Marvel comics anymore, and I didn’t watch the cartoons anymore. Even now as an adult, having gone back and watched those cartoons and read those comics that featured him, I was not clamouring for a Night Creeper Leader figure. When the club announced that he would be included in their FSS 3.0 I felt pretty indifferent about it. Now that I have the figure in hand I can tell you that my opinion hasn’t really changed.
This first modern-era Night Creeper Leader is made up of Storm Shadow parts with a Serpentor head. Those parts combined with Snake Eyes’s webgear make for a pretty decent recreation of the classic NCL look. He’s got the wrapped shins, the bare chest and arms, the wrapped forearms, and the fully loaded chest harness. The head works pretty good because it’s not immediately recognizable as Serpentor, since Serpentor always wears his hooded Cobra helmet, but the execution of the blindfold and skullcap fall short. When the Club originally showed us their mock-up prototype of this figure it had a fully bald head. Some fans complained about the lack of his black skull cap so the Club added it on at the last minute before it went into final production. I’m not sure how I feel about it. Would a bald head have been better? At first I thought so but the skullcap is growing on me the more I look at it. As for the blindfold, the original figure’s was sculpted on and it was wide; reaching right up to the cap. This version is equipped with the thin removable blindfold originally packaged with Jinx. It works reasonably well but I think a thicker one would have been better. It looks kind of odd to see his exposed forehead between the blindfold and the skullcap; but honestly, it looks less and less odd to me with each glance.
Color wise the Club opted for the purple and yellow version 2 look instead of the black and orange version 1 colors. Lots of collectors have been griping about that online too. Since I have no nostalgic ties to either version I really don’t care one way or the other. I assume we’ll get a tiger striped repaint at some point down the road anyway. Perhaps they simply didn’t want him to get confused for a member of Tiger Force since that was the Club’s convention set theme this year.
For accessories NCL is fully loaded with a bunch of ninja stuff we’ve seen before. He’s got two swords, two knives, two throwing stars, two uzis, and a crossbow. I wish his webgear allowed for some storage of the smaller weapons because otherwise they just end up in my spare parts bin.
All in all this is a pretty adequate figure. I’m always happy to add new “named” Cobras to my ranks so this guy will find a home on my top Cobra shelf with the Commander, Destro, Mindbender and the others. 7 out of 10.