Sideshow Collectibles 12" Black Dragon Ninja & Ninja Viper - Guest review by Mysterious Stranger

Ninjas.  They have become as much a part of the G.I. Joe mythos as lasers and guys in masks.  From the original ninja Storm Shadow to the Arashikage clan, the Red Ninjas and now in the IDW comics the Blue Ninjas, there is no shortage of sword swinging assassins in pajamas.  Sideshow has already given us a version of Storm Shadow and the Red Ninja and now I’m looking at their 2011 SDCC Exclusive Ninja Viper and the new Black Dragon Ninja.

These figures are essentially repaints much like the Cobra Sniper and Desert Troopers so I’ll just be going over the visual differences and their accessories.

The Ninja Viper and Black Dragon Ninja are essentially the same figure as the Red Ninja which I have already reviewed so for details about the figure be sure to read that review.  The Black Dragon Ninja is as you would expect clad in black.  This is probably the look that most people think of when they think about ninjas so bringing a black clad ninja into the G.I. Joe universe isn’t that unusual. The Black Dragon Ninja gets the standard hooded ninja head.  The uniform and armor pieces look really good in black and of all the Sideshow ninjas this has become my favorite.

The Ninja Viper is named after the ARAH figure but the similarities end there.  Where the ARAH figure was made in a teal color, the Sideshow Ninja Viper is done in more subtle shades of green.  This works for the figure and definitely helps bring it more in line with the realistic feel of this line.  The Ninja Viper comes with the standard hooded ninja head as well as the great armored head that the Red Ninja came with.  I don’t particularly care for the hooded head so both of my Ninja Vipers sport the alternate head.

The Black Dragon Ninja comes with a small assortment of weapons but they all fit in the ninja specialty.  He has a long handled katana with sheath that is an impressive weapon.  He also gets a small knife with sheath and a curved bladed weapon on a chain that just looks evil.  A handful of throwing stars round out his ninja weapons.  He also comes with a great looking MP5 with suppressor, four spare clips and a satchel to carry them in.  Not a wide assortment to be sure but enough.

The Ninja Viper gets a nice variety of weapons including two swords, a knife, a long polearm, and throwing stars.  He gets the hat that the Red Ninja came with as well as the three throwing knives that fit into the hat. When subtlety just won’t cut it he comes with a nice camo colored Uzi with silencer and spare clips as well as a satchel to carry them in.  The Ninja Viper also gets some cool hands with climbing claws that can be used with the included grappling hook for those midnight ascents into an enemy stronghold.

While the Ninja Viper was the 2011 Sideshow SDCC exclusive he doesn’t get an exclusive version.  But the Black Dragon Ninja does and wow is it a great piece.  The exclusive is a really wicked looking alternate portrait that has a dragon themed face mask and a scarred eye.  This is the kind of great piece that adds some character to what could be just another nameless armybuilder.  I picture this guy as the leader of the Black Dragon Ninjas and he’s just a nasty vile man with no morals who will do any job for the right price.

I really wish there was something more to say about these figures but they really are just repaints with some cool little add-ons.  The Black Dragon Ninja is far and away my favorite of the Cobra ninjas released so far.  The Ninja Viper is a cool enough figure and will look great on the Arashikage diorama but really doesn’t wow me that much.  They are both solid figures but neither are necessary for your collection.  If you have to choose just one I say go for the exclusive version of the Black Dragon Ninja.

My scores are 3 ½  out of 5 stars for the Ninja Viper solely for the lack of anything spectacular about it and 4 out of 5 stars for the Black Dragon Ninja just for that wicked exclusive head sculpt.

Black Dragon GRADE:

Ninja Viper GRADE: