Battle Damaged Snake Eyes
This is a hard figure for me to review. I generally like variations on a theme, however, my least favorite variation is the “battle damaged” version. The modern Joe line has done it well with the Battle Damaged BAT from the Defense of Cobra Island set, but I think part of what made that particular figure work is that they included parts to make it non-battle damaged. The biggest problem with battle damage is that it’s a very limiting look. No one is going to wander around in a tattered uniform for longer than they have to. It’s a nice option to have if you want to have a character get absolutely beaten down and have the figure reflect that, but it’s still a very limited use. I bought the Issue 22B comic pack more for the more interesting Storm Shadow and the sticker for the Doc mail-away than I did this figure. Battle Damaged Snake-Eyes isn’t an awful figure, but at the same time, he does feel rather lacking. We’ve never gotten a battle damaged version of him before, but just because it’s something we haven’t seen before doesn’t mean Hasbro actually needed to give us that particular variation on a theme.
Issue 22B is an alternate take on the often imitated, seldom topped “Silent Interlude” issue of the G.I. Joe comic drawn by Jeremy Dale (who I learned from GeneralsJoes died a couple of days before I wrote the initial draft of this Field Report—RIP, Jeremy Dale…while I didn’t have much of his comic work, I have to say I enjoyed it. He really brought his A-game for something that was a glorified pack-in and I appreciate that he took his job for Hasbro very seriously). It was an interesting between-the-panels take on that famous issue. However, choosing that comic for a comic pack is a bit limiting when it comes to figure choices. If you’re doing “Silent Interlude”, you have to do Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow. That wouldn’t be so bad if Hasbro hadn’t done a traditional “Silent Interlude” comic pack in the first wave of comic packs. Even with the different takes on both characters, it still feels a bit rehashed. I didn’t buy that comic pack because I wasn’t interested in it, and really, the figures here aren’t that much more interesting. At least Battle Damaged Snake-Eyes is different enough that I don’t feel like I got suckered into buying the pack to get the Storm Shadow figure I wanted more, but at the same time, there’s a lot of sameness going on here. Battle Damaged Snake-Eyes uses most of the original 25th Anniversary Snake-Eyes tooling. He does lose the diaper crotch which helps because both my other early 25th Anniversary Snake-Eyes figures have that problem, but he still has the very visible torso gap. I still like the general look of the classic Snake Eyes uniform, but I’ve already got one of those and I’m not totally sure what they did made this version different was enough. Battle Damaged Snake-Eyes gets a new right arm, upper torso and upper left arm. Considering how much of his exposed chest is covered by his harness, I think it’s a bad call that Hasbro didn’t do more with it. One of the few battle damaged figures I liked as a kid was a battle damaged Spider-Man figure from the old ToyBiz line and the reason I liked it is that Spidey legitimately looked like he’d been through hell. The bottom of his mask was torn off, there were tears through the back of his suit, I think one arm or one leg was mostly exposed and there were rips on a couple spots on his chest. In other words, there was a lot of visible, sculpted battle damage. Here, while Snake-Eyes has the nearly bare right arm, that’s all that’s readily visible. You can see the cut on his left shoulder if you do more than glance, but beyond that, all the really bad battle damage is covered up. I know the figure was kind of designed to look like Dale’s art from the end of Snake-Eyes’ big fight with Storm Shadow, but I would have loved it if Hasbro had let Dale show a bit more battle damage and they’d been willing to invest more tooling dollars to make it work. Yes, it’s a one-off figure that won’t have a lot of reuse potential, but that is the problem with battle damaged figures. I’m a firm believer that if you go the battle damage route, you really have to commit to it. I’m glad they molded some new pieces, but Snake-Eyes came out pretty well from his knockdown, drag out fight with his nemesis. I will have to say, though, while I think Hasbro needed to go a lot further with the battle damage, they did impress me with what they did. I just wish they would have done it as well all over the figure. The fabric on his arm is just barely hanging on and he’s got a pretty impressive bullet wound scar sculpted into his right bicep. That torn sleeve shows us that Snake-Eyes is clearly someone who’s been through a lot before Issue 22, I just wish they’d really done more with the battle damage. Give me some cracked goggles or a torn spot on his mask, tear up his shirt even more, tear up the left arm more, rip up his pants a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I love that Hasbro did it with sculpting for the most part rather than just painting on battle damage, but it still does seem a little lacking in the battle damage department, at least in my opinion. Also, weirdly, I have one more criticism of the figure that has nothing to do with the battle damage. For some reason, the right hand on my figure didn’t get properly pulled out of the mold and the thumb and middle fingers are fused to each other, so he really can’t hold his guns well. I have found he can hold his knife by the blade like he’s about to throw it, but that’s about the only accessory he can actually hold in that hand.
Snake-Eyes’ color scheme is also a bit interesting here. I like what they did to make it different, but at the same time, it again feels like something I already passed on once. Much like the earlier 25th Anniversary Comic Pack version of Snake-Eyes, this one is rocking a rather dark blue shirt and pants with black used for the boots, straps, goggles and webgear. I like this color more than the one used on his comic pack predecessor because it’s a few shades darker. It looks much closer to the charcoal gray than the earlier figure but it’s still clearly blue rather than black. It’s a slightly different take on it and I like that. The paint work on his battle damaged arm, though, leaves a bit to be desired. First of all, it’s clear that that the arm was molded out of dark blue plastic and painted flesh tone. The paint work around some of the fabric is pretty shoddy and even worse, the bullet scar isn’t fully covered on the front. With the dark blue center, it looks almost like the bullet is still in Snake-Eyes’ arm. There are also two scars painted on his exposed arm, but the paint work doesn’t really do a good job of making them pop. The one on his lower arm is better, but the one on his bicep really blends in with the flesh tone. The Arashikage tattoo on his right arm is applied very well and it’s a great reference to the original Silent Interlude because that was how we all first learned that Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow were in the same ninja clan. It was a great moment and Larry Hama drew it very well. It is nice to have a figure reflect that. The paint work on his exposed chest is good and the scars stand out very well, it’s just a shame they’re so well covered by the removable webgear. Finally, the two scratches on his upper left arm get fleshtone painted in them as well. Considering how narrow the cuts are, I am quite impressed that there’s no slop there. They look good, but again, all the paintwork goes to my meta complaint on this figure that Hasbro should have done more here. Why not have one of those slashes be a fresh cut? If it’s not a fresh cut, apparently it must be laundry day at the PIT because there’s no other logical explanation for Snake-Eyes to be wearing a uniform that’s so torn up if he’s not freshly injured.
While the design and paint work may not be classic Snake-Eyes, his gear is all 1982 and that’s fine. Snake-Eyes is carrying the same Uzi, knife and pistol the first 25th Anniversary figure came with. They’re all good pieces so I’m okay with them being used here. Over his shoulder, he’s carrying an explosive satchel, but as a nod to the comic book, it’s got a Cobra sigil on it. You’ll remember that Snake-Eyes stole a bag of explosives from a Cobra Trooper and later used it against the Cobras. I like that little detail being changed here and it makes me smile whenever I see it. It’s a detail Hasbro could have easily overlooked, but they changed it to make it a little more comic accurate. My only complaint is that Snake-Eyes doesn’t have a sword this time around. The cover of Issue 22B has Snake Eyes crossing swords with Storm Shadow. Why not give him the eagle-pommel sword just to add a little bit of ninja Snake-Eyes flair? It would be the first time this style of Snake-Eyes ever came with a sword, so it would be a nice little addition.
Much like Retaliation Blind Master, I was a bit unsure about this figure when I started writing about him and as I’m closing the Field Report on him, I’m still not sure where I stand on this particular version of Snake-Eyes. While I applaud Hasbro for trying something different that could have become “just another Snake-Eyes”, I still feel like they kind of half-assed the execution. Battle Damaged Snake-Eyes just doesn’t feel all that battle damaged. Maybe had they done up some new webgear that was only hanging on by one strap (since how on Earth did his shirt get so badly torn up but his webgear is still intact) to add a little more damage and highlight the chest rips, I’d be okay with it. Really, that’s the problem with the figure as a whole. There are quite a few solutions that could have fixed the problem with the lack of battle damage. They would have required new tooling, but I think it would have made things work a little bit better and considering how Storm Shadow required a grand total of no new parts aside from his fancy bow, why not throw a few more tooling dollars at Snake-Eyes to really make it look like he got beaten down. I think that’s why I liked Snake-Eyes in the early issues—yeah, he was a main character and while he was awesome, he hadn’t reached Wolverine-levels of awesomeness. He’d still get beaten down and he might not actually get back up right away. That changed as the series went on, but circa Issue 22, he was still more human than Mary Sue. If Hasbro had given me a Snake-Eyes like that, that was a guy that got beat down hard, I’d be okay with it. However, this halfhearted attempt just doesn’t do it for me and is one of the worst sufferers of “What Might Have Been” Syndrome.