Storm Shadow (Arctic Assault)

If you'd told me two weeks after the Rise of COBRA "street date" that I would own THREE different versions of Storm Shadow, I would have shook my head. If you tried to tell me that I would love them all, I would have said you were nuts! Throughout the run of the Anniversary line, if there was a character that I was quickly getting sick of who wasn't Cobra Commander, it would have been Storm Shadow. On Tuesday I posted a raving review about Cobra Commander, and now,a day later, it's yet another version of a plain white ninja...only Hasbro seems dedicated to making each version unique, which is something the Anniversary line sometimes had trouble with.

See what happens? See what happens when Hasbro doesn't feel handcuffed by twenty-seven years of established history? They don't have to try to mimic what the line has already done countless times, and can kind of think outside the box and go in a different direction? It seemed, for the most part, that most versions of Storm Shadow in the last couple of years were the same. Sure, we got some minor variations like the Devils' Due inspired Comic Pack version, and the Training version (which was different, yet sucked in equal manner). But now, it really seems like we're seeing something relatively fresh on the Storm Shadow take.

Arctic Storm Shadow evidently is captured in plastic shortly after bitter combat with his sword brother Snake Eyes, most likely in the Polar Ice Caps (since that's where MARS is located in the film). At first glance it seems ridiculous that "Arctic Assault" Storm Shadow would run around bare chested, but I think the look works for him, and it's very likely how he looks in the film after a few go 'rounds with Snake Eyes. If the torn shirt and hood didn't give it away, I suppose the cuts all over his torso should have. Now, the first thing a lot of folks notice about the figure are the oversized silver gauntlets. I'm really happy to report that these gauntlets not only come off, but come off very easily! The first time I removed them, I popped off Storm Shadow's hands to do it, but I quickly realized that the gauntlets were soft enough to just slip over his hands, yet still stay firmly on his forearms if you want them to. These gauntlets are actually really awesome...I'm almost tempted to buy a second Storm Shadow so I can use his right armed gauntlet on the left arm and get rid of the bulky blade gimmick one. Most of the images I've seen (including the way the figure is posed in the package) shows Stormy's long sword crammed in that slot on his left arm, but really there's a small blade that he comes with that works much better. With the gauntlets on, the figure is somewhat bulky and combersome, but regardless of that, the figure does look pretty cool, and I'd imagine it reflects a particular scene in the film. With the Rise of COBRA line, Hasbro isn't content to just give us a somewhat movie-accurate statue of a character, they really try to give him some life beyond that. And that's where his accessories come in.

The first couple of assortments gave us a decent number of weapons and accessories, but nothing that especially captivated me. But now, with The Doctor, and with Arctic Storm Shadow, we get some excellent, excellent gear! The COBRA ninja comes with a very cool, sleek-winged "switchblade backpack" as well as his more traditional knives and swords. While the backpack is described as being some sort of bladed weapon, I think it looks a lot cooler as a jetpack, and I might continue to use it that way, even if that's not what it really is. His monster gauntlets add some character to the figure, and give him a somewhat strange little "blade extension" maneuver with that small blade I spoke about earlier. He doesn't come with a huge amount of gear, but what he does come with is pretty awesome and impressive. And, it's the little things. The spring-loaded blades/wings, and the rubberized shoulder straps...the slightly torn tunic, and the wooden staff. Such a cool look.

Like The Doctor, this is a version of Storm Shadow that I can get behind. He could be Rise of COBRA, he could be Resolute, he could be Real American Hero, it works for all of them, and it's just a great looking figure with some great looking gear. Nothing else really to say about it. Even as the third Storm Shadow in the first few waves of release, I can't think of any reason not to recommend a purchase. In fact, I would say this might almost surpass the Paris Pursuit version as my favorite in the line so far. There's just something about the way he looks that screams "awesome", and with the removable gauntlets and the "jet pack" this figure has style, substance, and playability. A must buy.

Buy this figure at Big Bad Toy Store!