G.I. Joe: Retaliation - G.I. Joe "Tactical Ninja" Snake Eyes

I reviewed 2/3 of the "Tactical Ninja" boxed set a number of months ago, when I got my hands on a couple pre-production samples of Agent Mouse and Sgt. Airborne, two figures I had really been looking forward to. I could have invested a little cash and gotten an early sample of this version of Snake Eyes as well, but... well... why?

That's not meant to be a strict condemnation of this figure. This particular rendition of the G.I. Joe Ninja Commando isn't necessarily a bad one, especially for folks who don't have the pre-production Jungle Assault Storm Shadow that was unceremoniously canceled a pair of years ago. What I find most odd about this particular figure is that he's made up of terrific parts... the only problem is, when the parts come together, the result is not what you're looking for.

I know the typical saying is "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts"... in this case "the whole is lesser than the sum of its parts". But that doesn't mean the figure's not worth picking up, especially considering his two pack-mates are stellar.

The base figure here is the Pursuit of Cobra Wave 3 Snake Eyes, a figure we all know well by this point. An absolute turning point in the life of G.I. Joe, that particular Snake Eyes was perfection in a 4" piece of plastic. It was so perfect that it sold rather swiftly, and became a tough find on the secondary market, inflating cost to around $30 or so. I'm not sure if that factored into Hasbro's decision to re-release that specific body pretty much fully intact (straight black from head to toe and all) but for whatever reason that's what we have here. There shouldn't really be any complaints about the figure from a quality standpoint. The sculpting is exquisite, the detail work is fantastic, and the articulation nearly perfect. This is pretty close to the best basic commando rendition of a military figure at a 4" scale that I have ever seen. Even if you have Snake Eyes already, you can pop his head off and turn this into almost anyone you want.

It's tough to talk about the paint applications, simply because there really aren't any. There's the Arashikage symbol on his right shoulder, but that is about it.

Where the real discussion should begin, though, is with the accessories.


Okay, let me see if I can make this make sense. The accessories are really pretty great.

Except when they aren't.

Are we all clear on that? Yeah, I didn't think so. As one can probably tell, I'm a little bit torn about the accessory compliment here. First and foremost, I'm thrilled that the figure comes with his pistol, removable silencer, and boot-knife. In many cases, these important accessories were missing, which left some gaping holes in the figure. Not so, here.

Snake Eyes also comes with the same backpack as Resolute Storm Shadow, as well as the pair of swords that go along with it, and the forearm mounted claws. Appropriate, for sure, but nothing ground breaking.

The really cool new stuff we get here is mainly his awesome webgear. Originally slated for release with the aforementioned Jungle Assault Storm Shadow, that figure was canceled, and this terrific webgear was destined for the dustbin. However, now it's accessible to everyone, and I'm thrilled about that. The issue we run into is that Hasbro elected to color it... I don't know. What the heck is that color? Gray/Green? Is that... "seafoam" or something? Whatever color they used, it clashes horrifically with the straight black on Snake Eyes and looks completely and woefully out of place. To make matters worse, because of the holster and pouches on his legs, the webgear is not easily removable. Yeah, you should be able to pop out a couple of screws, remove those pieces, and slide the webgear off, but that's a few extra steps to take to make your Snake Eyes not look like an episode of "What Not to Wear". Ultimately I'm probably over-blowing the conflict of colors a little bit, but since we're finally getting this terrific webgear, it would have been nice if it was a bit more color neutral. I haven't yet experimented to see how well it will work with other figures, but I can't think of many that might match that strange color scheme of gray/green and gold.

Rounding off the accessories here are the leg-mounted claws and those fantastic MAC-10 submachine guns. Seriously I freaking love those things. The fact that they hook onto the webgear makes them all the cooler.

Is this figure bad? No, not by a long shot. But it's one of those weird circumstances where a fantastic base figure, some fantastic webgear, and a slate of really great accessories don't come together to form a very good cohesive package. Thankfully, the wonders of removable gear make that issue almost non-existent, because you can just swap things around how you see fit. But I try to review items based on how they're marketed and sold, not how someone can customize it, so that does impact the review score, even if the individual pieces are all pretty great.