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G.I. Joe Classified Series Retro Storm Shadow Review

I was going to be content with the previous Storm Shadow. It was about 95 percent fine, with the only difference being in the wrist area. But then Hasbro made him even retroier, on a retro card, and bam-kablam, this is now my favorite storm Shadow EVER.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m sorry I bought the previous version. I still like that one quite a bit, since it’s about 95 percent this figure anyway. And I like the “Arctic” Storm Shadow that came earlier in the line, which is basically a Ninja Force Storm Shadow.

But yes, this one is up and down the Storm Shadow I’ve been waiting for this line to provide.

When GI Joe the toyline introduced an evil ninja in 1984, it felt so so right. I didn’t necessarily know that there was a gaping ninja-sized hole in the line, but once I saw that menacing all-white card art I knew that this was now going to be my favorite toyline. And considering the powerhouse lines I was collecting at the time, that’s saying a lot.

But it was Storm Shadow. The coolest name for a ninja ever, and as a ninja-crazed kid that begged his mom for nunchucks and swords and throwing stars (none of which I ever got, which might be a good thing for the health of myself and everyone around me) this was the next best thing.

So far, the retro line featuring vintage-styled cardbacks have been my favorite versions of the figures so far, mainly because they push the figures closer to my ideal aesthetic, which is vintage purity. I know, I’m that guy, but I apologize for nothing!

This time around, Storm Shadow is even whiter and brighter than the previous Storm Shadow figure. This is a ninja that has discovered the power of bleach. He kind of spits in the face of the whole “shadow” thing, but I do respect a man who practices the art of stealth while wearing so much blinding white. You know he’s good at his job if he can sneak up to you wearing this.

Storm Shadow moves like melty butter. The hips are silky. He’s capable of a ton of motion, because due to the design most of his articulation points are relatively unencumbered. Nothing would poop in the pancakes more than a ninja that was unable to move in as ninja-y way as possible.

Storm Shadow carries over most of the accessories from the previous release. All his weapons can be stored on his backpack, but the bow is kind of fiddly and falls off while posing him, so I’m choosing to leave that off. If I’m being honest the bow itself doesn’t look quite right when “in use”, as trying to draw the string bunches up things and throws off the entire illusion. Apparently, what I want is a fully working miniature compound bow? We don’t want much.

I do love that there’s a place to store his singly separate arrow. This time around the feathers are white, where the previous release had red arrows.

The swords slot into the scabbards on his backpack nicely. He has one up and down hinged hand and one left and right, so it’s not quite perfect, but it works pretty well. I would like to see a little more tilt in the up and down hinge.

This time around he doesn’t come with the hood that the previous release had, but he does have the hood-down fabric piece that hangs around his neck. I removed that as well for my default Storm Shadow look. For me, later Storm Shadow costumes have hoods, but this one doesn’t have any trace of one.

He also comes with a black stand. There are a pair of extra hands: one with a throwing star tucked in the grip as if he’s about to throw it, and a fist. If I were making a hand wishlist, a fist for each hand along with a pair of expressive grabby hands would have put the accessories over the top.

One final note, this time about the eyepaint, which has been a little less refined on recent releases including Falcon, Cover Girl and Outback. That trend does carry forth with this figure. It’s not what I would consider terrible, as it does seem to be at least aligned with the sculpt, but you can see with the earlier Storm Shadow figure that the eye printing on that one is tighter, and just looks a little better overall. If the whites matched, I’d be tempted to put the older head on the newer figure, but as it is I’m just going to leave it. It’s not bad enough to be a figure ruiner, but it is something that has changed recently.

Outside of that, I am very satisfied with this Storm Shadow. I feel like we’ve hit definitive this time around. Now I want a V2 version as soon as possible.