Ninja Viper (1992)
I can’t say it enough–the 1984 Storm Shadow mold is iconic. No matter how many times Hasbro reused it, even as recently as 2004, it still resonated coolness. That says a lot about the designers of the era, to have created something timeless. And it’s not a kitsch factor for me–just good design.
The Ninja Viper, a 1992 mail-in offer, was the first reuse of the 1984 mold. As a youngster, I had high hopes that one day we’d get the Storm Shadow mold repainted as one of the red ninjas first seen in comic issue #21. The first repaint we eventually got was even better to me. I’ve always had a thing for blue and white paint schemes, and being recruited from the Viper corps, it makes sense that Cobra would outfit these guys in blue. Speaking of file cards, again these simple little bits of copy help to create and build a mythos. The file cards were a great little extra that was always welcome, and Hasbro had the forethought to even include them with its mail-ins.
The weapons were as big a part of the success of the original Storm Shadow as the figure itself. Unfortunately the Ninja Viper only included the two swords. My bagged figure actually arrived without weapons, a situation easily rectified.
Ninja Vipers also saw releases in both the Valor vs. Venom and 25th anniversary lines, and both used then-current Storm Shadow molds as their basis. Hey, if it works, why mess with a good thing?