Night Creeper (FSS 4.0)
This figure is kind of a tough nut for me to crack. I don’t normally fall in line with parts of the Joe fandom that think X figure is unnecessary and has taken the spot of someone better, but I really don’t know what to make of the Ice Ninja Night Creeper the GIJCC did in FSS 4. Yes, he does benefit from using some better, modern parts, but the figure itself really doesn’t feel all that inspiring, and that’s a problem for me. I may have had some problems with Barricade’s overall design, but I at least thought that the character showing up again was a good idea. I’m not sure I can really say that about this version of the Night Creeper.
If you’ve read my Field Report on the Defense of Cobra Island Night Creeper, you know my stance on the parts choices there. Hasbro tried to make him look good, but the dated parts they chose really hurt him. From a design standpoint, the GIJCC made a far superior figure, though there are some things from the 25th Anniversary Night Creeper that I would have liked to have seen carried over to this figure. The legs come from the first Retaliation Storm Shadow figure. While I do miss the Night Creeper-specific leg armor and the spike-soled shoes, I do have to admit, these parts do look like something a high-tech ninja would wear. Honestly, though, I’d love to have seen the 25th Anniversary Night Creeper lower legs here. I think they look just a little more striking and the feet have holes that actually work with figure stands. As it stands (or more accurately balances precariously), the Night Creeper is a pretty twitchy figure because those Retaliation Storm Shadow feet don’t fit on any figure stand that well. The torso is shared with 25th Anniversary Snake Eyes, just like with the 25th Anniversary figure, though you won’t know it because of the Night Creeper-specific chest armor. The armor is well designed and reminds me a lot of the vintage figure, which is definitely a good thing. The armor also doesn’t restrict the Night Creeper’s overall ability to move, something I think is very important for a ninja figure. The arms come from Retaliation G.I. Joe Ninja Snake Eyes. They look sleek and high-tech yet still have some great built in armor. It’s a nice look for the Night Creeper and it works well with the rest of the figure. Up top, the Night Creeper uses the same head that the 25th Anniversary version did. It’s a nicely designed piece, though I’m still not wild about the removable head scarf. The cloth face mask looks natural and something a little more old-school ninja while the armored helmet and visor look a bit more high-tech. All in all, the design is well executed and really does a great job of taking the Night Creeper look and updating it. I just wish it didn’t feel so much like something I already have in my collection. Personally, when I saw “Ice Ninja Night Creeper” on this list, I was hoping the GIJCC was going to throw us a real curveball and go with a figure inspired by the Ninja Force Night Creeper. With the fur cape (that was only in the card art), I’d always felt that the Night Creeper was included in that second series of Ninja Force figures to oppose Bushido, the Joe snow ninja. Yes, it would have required the GIJCC to have the Four Horsemen make a new head, but again, I think a Ninja Force Night Creeper would have been a better candidate for a brand new head than Outback. I think that’s part of why I’m a little more down on Night Creeper than I am on Barricade. Yes, Barricade uses almost all Accelerator Suit parts, but at least he doesn’t share the same name as something else I already have in my collection to boot. If you’re going to make a high-end exclusive Night Creeper figure, in my opinion, it should be drastically different than what Hasbro has already produced and this version of Night Creeper just feels a bit too similar for my tastes.
In my opinion, where the GIJCC dropped the ball with this figure was in its color scheme. Back in 1998, Hasbro released an arctic set with Firefly, a Snow Serpent and a Night Creeper. That arctic Night Creeper was used as the inspiration for this figure. I’ve never been a big fan of arctic figures because I tend to find the white look rather boring and this Night Creeper really doesn’t change my opinion of that fact. The gray and blue used on the trim are both great colors, but I’m still bored by what is essentially an all white ninja. Apparently, someone at the GIJCC really liked that 1998 Night Creeper and that’s why it was included in FSS 4.0, but given the choice, I would much rather have seen a different color scheme here. Perfect world, I would have loved to have seen the GIJCC use the Cobra Urban Division Night Creeper colors, but even if that were out of their price range since this is one of the cost savers in FSS 4.0, why not just give us the vintage Night Creeper colors. They’re good colors and truthfully, the execution on the 25th Anniversary figure was a bit lacking. Had they picked any more readily usable color scheme, I think I would be a lot higher on this figure, but as it stands, the colors just seem rather uninspired and that really affects my overall enjoyment of this figure.
Night Creeper’s gear is a bit of a head scratcher for me. Essentially, he’s got all the same pieces the 25th Anniversary figure came with, which is fine, but the one added piece physically doesn’t fit well with the rest of the figure. The one new piece is a cape. I think it’s the same piece that came with the Retaliation G.I. Joe Trooper, but I’m not 100% sure on that. Regardless, the cape does make sense for an arctic ninja, but the cape’s backpack hole doesn’t line up at all with the hole in the actual figure. That means if you want to have him wearing the cape and backpack at the same time, the cape has to be tweaked up higher than it should be, which then in turn runs into the removable head scarf. It’s honestly just kind of a mess. The cape is a nice touch, but it would have been nice if a little more thought had been put into its inclusion. Beyond the cape, the Night Creeper has the same great wavy sword and crossbow that were first released with the 25th Anniversary version and the backpack he shares with 25th Anniversary Paine Brothers Snake Eyes. The gear is all great, but much like the figure itself, I kind of feel like I’m getting a bit gypped by it because there’s nothing really new being brought to the table with the Night Creeper. Considering how many recent arctic figures came with a
climbing axe, why not at least give one of those to the Night Creeper as well? It would fit with the idea of the Night Creeper scaling sheer walls of ice to get to their targets and it would add a little something extra to the figure.
The second shipment of FSS 4.0 figures was just kind of a miss across the board. I didn’t like what the GIJCC did with Barricade, but at least it was a figure that hadn’t shown up in the line already, meaning I didn’t already have a passable version of him. Night Creeper is a better figure than Barricade, but the somewhat uninspired arctic color scheme and repetitive accessories hurt him a lot. He just really lacks the wow factor I’ve come to expect from FSS figures. There are some good things here, like the less-dated parts, but they’re hampered by a color scheme that doesn’t lend itself well to much ninja-ing. There’s a reason ninjas wear black in pop culture, people, and it’s not because it’s cool. It’s because it’s generally a universally stealthy color. Sure, this Night Creeper won’t stand out in the snow, but anywhere else, he might as well be wearing a neon yellow sign that says “I’m Over Here!” The GIJCC really dropped the ball on this one and apparently it was due to one designers’ love of the 1998 arctic Cobra set. I’m okay with David Lane putting the figure that shares his real name in the first round of the Figure Subscription Service (though I do have trouble figuring out why he chose the butt-ass ugly 2002 color scheme over the 1998 one) because at least Sure Fire was something we didn’t already have and is an interesting character. A Cobra Ice Ninja isn’t that cool of a concept and that really hurts the figure. The Night Creeper did need a revisit, it’s just a shame that this is the way it happened.