G.I. Joe: Retaliation - Dark Ninja

So yeah, that Red Ninja figure is pretty awesome. Using the tooling from the already incredible G.I. Joe: Renegades Storm Shadow, but going red and comic-accurate, there was a lot to love there.

Now Hasbro has taken it a step further, and done a Red Ninja in black, with a very cool dragon logo on his chest, and called him the "Dark Ninja". Now, I'll admit, my heart did little palpatations thinking back to the Sigma 6 "Dark Ninja Master", but alas, no pale white flesh with translucent red tattoos here. Just a Red Ninja in a black suit.

I do find myself somewhat divided when it comes to this figure. We've seen the tooling here three times already (Dark Ninja makes four, if my math is right) and the question remains, what can they really do to continue making great figures out of it? Well, thankfully the base tooling is fantastic enough to whether this storm. Excellent range of motion, amazingly well detailed, a great overall design. There's a lot to love with the base figure tooling, and it's tough to criticize when it's such an impressive foundation.

That being said, new is always good. When we're fresh off of a Toy Fair that showcased so many cool new items on the horizon, I will admit it can be a bit tough to get excited over a figure using tooling we've seen several times already.

Hasbro does do some good work with the sculpt, going with a black uniform over much of the figure, and a very nice elaborate red dragon logo right on the front of the tunic. It's pretty tough to go wrong with dark gray and red. This dull color shade is a pretty drastic difference from the stark difference of the black and red 3-Pack version. Not dull as in "boring" but dull as in "not glossy". The red and black Red Ninja that we saw in the Ninja Showdown 3-Pack was quite glossy, and this figure is not. The end result is a more subdued looking ninja that doesn't shine in the camera flash quite like the other one.


The Dark Ninja's showcase accessory is a really nice one. He comes with the backpack glider that was previously seen with G.I. Joe: Resolute Snake Eyes and the unreleased Jungle Strike Storm Shadow. It's a really neat glider with real cloth inserts, and the spring-loaded action works quite well. the pattern on the glider with the Cobra symbol and the great color scheme all come together to form a very neat insert aircraft. Incorporating that glider into the Dark Ninja's specialty is a neat touch and makes this guy more than just yet another branch of the Red Ninja tree.

He also comes with a pair of claws and a sword to round off his weapon allotment. Nothing ground breaking, but they all make a lot of sense for ninja gear.

Is this figure amazing? Not especially. Mixed in a wave full of repaints (yes, even Colton and Lady Jaye are essentially repaints with new heads) this figure feels much more "repainty" than the others. I can't deny that the base figure itself is fantastic...one of the best ever made, in fact, but a new coat of paint does little to increase the "wow factor". I like the inclusion of the glider and the new specialization for this character, but I don't see myself going crazy in army building these bad boys.

Not a bad figure...but not an especially thrilling one either.