G.I. Joe: Retaliation - Snake Eyes (Dojo Battle 3-Pack)

Yes, because that's just what the G.I. Joe toyline needs... more Snake Eyes figures.

Already saddled with nearly 60 different versions of the venerable G.I. Joe commando, his major presence in the G.I. Joe: Retaliation film only further cements his place in the action figure line for 2012 as well. But to be honest it's kind of tough to complain about a Snake Eyes figure when Hasbro keeps on doing such a great job with them. At some point it goes beyond complaining about his inclusion and just wondering how many great versions of the character will never see the light of day because there are others out there even better?

And it's not like I'm even comparing this Snake Eyes to the fantastic Pursuit of Cobra Wave 3 version. Even though that is the version against which all others will be measured, I think even compared to the standard Wave 2 single pack Snake Eyes, this one isn't quite as good.

But that doesn't mean it isn't good. It really is.

The figure itself uses a healthy amount of new tooling...well new tooling to me at this early date. Just looking at pictures, this figure definitely shares tooling with the initial single pack release, but because I don't have that one in hand yet, this one gets the "new tooling" trophy. It's really nice new tooling as well. The figure is sleek, yet muscular, and the amount of great detail throughout the torso is impressive. We see some realistic stitching, and even laces closing his uniform in his upper back. He looks somewhat armored, yet still flexible and has some great range of motion.

At first glance his arms look like they might go with the Resolute version of the figure, but there are distinct differences. His elbow pads and shoulder armor is quite different than that version. He's got the great new wrist articulation, which is much appreciated, especially among a line that has grown more notorious for missing articulation than additional.

He shares the Cobra Shock Trooper upper legs, which is fine, but appears to have totally new lower legs to accomodate the awesome new rocker ankles that are included here. Again, the lower legs almost have a Resolute look and feel, but to work with the more poseable ankles, they're obviously new. He also retains the double-jointed knees that have gone unfortunately missing among some other Retaliation figures.

I think, considering what they had to work with, Hasbro did an exceptional job with the paint applications of this figure as well. A dark, almost black gray makes up the bulk of him, but the light gray neck and arm wraps a very cool separations from that color, and really make the uniform look even more multi-layered. His silver shoulders, elbows, and knees also add some great color, and the red logo on his arm stands out nicely.

This version of Snake Eyes has the unique distinction of being fairly simple and straight forward on the surface, yet incredibly well detailed and contoured if you take a closer look. Now with so much shared tooling with the initial single pack release, will a purchase of this version be justified? I'm not entirely sure, but in a way, I think I'd prefer to have this version. He's got more military gear and isn't saddled with a crazy looking spring-loaded rocket glider.

Speaking of gear...

Keep in mind that the accessory compliment here is somewhat guess work. As pre-release items, we don't precisely know exactly what comes with whom, but I think the above is a pretty decent guess.

Snake Eyes comes with some fantastic web gear that is exceptionally well detailed with pouches and cross straps, yet doesn't seem to restrict articulation too much. I think he's got some shells on his shoulder straps as well, and the gear snaps closed very tightly around the figure. It's the same webgear that came with Beachhead, and it works magnificently well. I really like it, and I love that it seems like sort of an homage to his unused concept design from the Rise of Cobra video game:

Not just the webgear either, but the slightly armored mask looks like it is how we'll see him the Retaliation film, as well. Very cool little tie-in to both universes.

Also, the figure is a nice nod to a great piece of Snake Eyes art by Tim Bradstreet. In fact, the webgear is almost certainly based off of this artwork, and the overall figure itself seems pulled straight from this page:

I love how the design team manages to pull these different inspirations together.

He has a backpack sheath which holds two new swords that are actually pretty awesome. Very thin, sleek, and nicely sculpted, the fit his hands perfectly and have a pretty cool design aesthetic. A pair of Sais (initially released with the 30th Anniversary Storm Shadow) are present as well as an Uzi and submachine gun. He comes equipped with the same silencer he came with in the Pursuit of Cobra as well, and hey! It fits the Uzi and the submachine gun. Bad ass.

A pretty simple accessory load out, all told, but it works very nicely and gives him some great commando elements.

So yes...dammit, Hasbro, not only are you cramming more Snake Eyes figures down our throats, you're cramming more great Snake Eyes figures down our throats! I can't decide whether I'm begrudgingly happy about that or resentful. Whatever the case, this is a terrific figure that I think is a great addition to folks' collections, even if they could start a small army with Snake Eyes figures alone.

I would imagine by this time in our Joe collecting careers it should be something we're used to, and I am, by and large, I just wish I could find more of an excuse to showcase all of these great versions of this timeless character. This one deserves some serious consideration, but will unfortunately be largely overlooked by his more elaborate or more movie-accurate cousins. That is a shame. From the new tooling, to the great marraige of ninja and commando elements, this really is a fantastic rendition of Snake Eyes that deserves a lot of attention.