Arctic Threat Storm Shadow
I have to credit Hasbro for their diabolical level of genius. It seems like every so often, they make a figure that I didn’t necessarily want because of its design but then they deck it out in a paint job that hits all my nostalgia buttons hard and I snap it up. A prime example of this is the Rise of Cobra Arctic Threat Storm Shadow. This figure is basically a rerelease of Rise of Cobra Ninja Mercenary Storm Shadow with a recycled coat. It shouldn’t be that interesting, but then Hasbro went and added the dark gray geometric camouflage on it, and since that was my Storm Shadow look, I’m a sucker for it. I still don’t know if I need a winter-garbed Storm Shadow, but I have to admit that the paint work looks great on it and it’s definitely a version of Storm Shadow we haven’t seen before. Considering Arctic Threat Storm Shadow was the thirty-sixth version of this character, at least that’s saying something.
Arctic Threat Storm Shadow was another one of the transition wave figures that shifted the brand from Rise of Cobra over to Pursuit of Cobra. This means that there are still a lot of movie influences, but there are enough nods to the Pursuit of Cobra concept here that it fits in well there as well (and Arctic Threat should not be confused with Arctic Assault which was another subtitle for another Storm Shadow figure). This figure is a straight-up repaint of the first Rise of Cobra Storm Shadow, but there was one important change that made me like it more: the loss of the skirt piece. The skirt piece was meant to evoke the look of a long coat, but it really restricted the leg articulation. Without the skirt piece, I’m more of a fan of this figure. The legs have a great non-military look, but it looks more functional than Storm Shadow’s traditional ninja garb. I like the ninja garb, but it’s not exactly inconspicuous. I like that in Rise of Cobra, Storm Shadow kept the ninja vibe while rocking a bit less eye-catching look. Yes, a guy in an all white suit is a little unusual but in Paris, fashion capital of the world, that’s not something ridiculously out of the ordinary. The upper body is a bulkier and reminds me of the thick leather jackets that professional BMX riders wear. I think it’s a good call for Storm Shadow. It’s something thick enough that it will protect him from some sword strikes, but it’s lightweight and flexible enough that it’s not going to impede his movements all that much. Plus, there are all sorts of great details crammed into it. I really love the wraps on his forearms. They’re a nod to the classic Storm Shadow figure, but they fit with the movie aesthetic very well. The high collar is a nice, and screen-accurate, look for Storm Shadow, however I’m not sure I like it paired with the jacket. When it was used on the original figure, I was okay with it because it was clear that the torso was meant to be the jacket. However, with the added jacket it just seems a little odd to me. Up top, the figure is using the great masked head that they developed for the Rise of Cobra line. Much like the torso, I like that they were able to reference the classic ninja look while making it something that would be a little more protective. The mask feels thicker than standard fabric and much like the jacket I see it being like leather. It would provide a little more protection than regular cloth but wouldn’t be excessively more restrictive. To distance Arctic Threat Storm Shadow from the original Rise of Cobra version, he’s also wearing Paris Pursuit Snake Eyes’ coat over it. I like Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow having the same taste in coats. It’s a great design and it fits well for both of them. As someone who wears a duster a lot, the long coat is a great call for cold, windy places. It really helps keep out the elements while not being nearly as bulky and hard to move in as a parka. The chest strap is great and it can pull double duty keeping the jacket looking nice and providing a place for you to store his sai when not in use. The jacket really helps make this figure for me. I think had it just been a straight-up release of Ninja Mercenary Storm Shadow (like Retaliation’s later Sneak Attack Storm Shadow was), it would have been an easy pass. However, with the jacket on over everything, it really does feel like a great winter-equipped Storm Shadow and I like how well the look comes
Of course, to sweeten the pot for me, I have to talk about this figure’s paint work. Like most versions of Storm Shadow, he’s wearing a lot of white. From head to toe, this figure’s base color is white. If that were all he brought to the table, I’d have passed on him pretty easily. However, he’s once again wearing the geometric gray camouflage that Storm Shadow first wore in 1988. That was my first Storm Shadow, and (along with Battle Armor Cobra Commander and Tiger Force Flint) one of the figures I have early strong memories attached to. It looked great on him back in 1988 and it looks good here as well. The “V” on his face is applied a little low, but other than that, the paint is spot on. It covers the white well and adds a little bit more visual weight to the figure compared to another all-white version of Storm Shadow. I should note, however, that I’ve noticed that my Arctic Threat Storm Shadow has begun to yellow a little bit. His coat, sword backpack and knee joints aren’t nearly as white now in person as they were four or five years ago when I took the pictures you see attached with this review. It’s something I haven’t seen happen with modern figures before, so I feel I should mention it here. I guess I’ll get to experiment with some of the solutions I’ve read online to reverse figure yellowing.
While Arctic Threat Storm Shadow may be a transition figure into Pursuit of Cobra, his gear is more in line with the Rise of Cobra line than the Pursuit of Cobra one. His biggest accessory isn’t pictured. It’s a standard Rise of Cobra spring-loaded launcher, but at least Storm Shadow gets the grappling hook launcher. However, unlike its other uses, this time there’s a handle he can hang on to and ride it like a zipline. It’s a great piece for Storm Shadow to have and is at least a little more useful than the gigantic launchers the other Rise of Cobra Storm Shadow figures came with. The rest of his gear is all very ninja-oriented. Like the 1988 version, this Storm Shadow gets the cool climbing/fighting claw. I’ve always loved this piece and thought it was cool even before I knew who Wolverine was. Unlike other the classic Ninja Force versions of it, though, this one actually attaches to his hand in a realistic fashion. The back end still has a c-clip, but up front, there’s a piece for his hand to actually grab a hold of. This little change that makes it a bit more realistic really makes me like this piece. Storm Shadow’s other small weapon is a sai. It looks nice in his hand and I really do like Storm Shadow being equipped with this classic ninja weapon. Watching an expert in sai combat in action on the now-cancelled SpikeTV show Deadliest Warrior really made me appreciate them as a martial weapon. Yes, it is an effective stabbing weapon, but it’s more effective as a weapon to turn away your opponent’s blade to open them up for a counterattack and its heavy butt end also makes it a very effective blunt force weapon. While I do wish Hasbro had developed the splayed-grip ninja hands that fit the sai better, it still looks nice enough in Storm Shadow’s hands that I like him using it. Like most other Storm Shadow figures, he also comes with a pair of swords, one with a long blade and one with a slightly shorter one. It’s a classic pair of Storm Shadow accessories and I like seeing this modern Storm Shadow using them. Storm Shadow looks great doublewielding them and it fits with how I’ve always used Storm Shadow in combat.
Much like most of the members of the earlier Extreme Conditions: Arctic set, I never thought I needed a winter-garbed Storm Shadow running around in a long coat, but this figure works so well that I have to admit, it’s a nice addition to my collection. I’ll admit, most of what drew me to the figure was nostalgia, but it did allow me to gain an appreciation for a figure that I’d passed on numerous times before. The detailing on the mold is great and the added coat really brings everything together and makes him look different enough that I don’t feel like I got suckered into buying a figure I didn’t want before just because of his new paint job. The yellowing does concern me a little, but it’s still a great figure and does a good job of bridging the line from Rise of Cobra to Pursuit of Cobra.