Shadow Strike Ninja (2013 Wolverine)
When the Renegades Storm Shadow was released, I made a comment that it was such a cool figure, I would buy the mold in any flavor. So far, I’ve kept up with that promise, from the myriad ninjas from the Retaliation line based on the mold, even to the point of buying this new version from the Wolverine line. I guess I should use the term new version lightly, as although the sculpt itself retains much of the detail of the Joe figures, the poseability is greatly reduced. I know, I know. It’s a GI Joe mold with five points of articulation. Don’t let the nerd rage get the better of you. Repeat this phrase with me: “I must not rage. Nerd rage is the mind-killer. Nerd rage is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my nerd rage. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the nerd rage has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” See? Don’t you feel better now?
As much as it pains me as an adult collector, I completely understand Hasbro’s reasoning in producing less articulated figures. The trend started a few years ago with the vehicle drivers from the movie based Marvel lines, and I suppose that’s why I wasn’t all that surprised when it happened with Joe. Hasbro of late at least seems to be applying some kind of consistent pattern to its action figure lines. Even the Star Wars juggernaut hasn’t been immune to cost-cutting this year.
The Shadow Strike Ninja retains the great detail and style of its Joe cousins, and the paint scheme is at least interesting, particularly the eerie looking pupil-less eyes. Accessories aren’t much to speak of, simply a flimsy katana and a bow that can’t be held too well.
Without ball joints, the sculpt itself really shines through, and though the figure can’t obtain too many poses, it does look good sitting on a shelf. It’s also quite durable, with no worry of hands or feet popping off while the kiddos bash it about. Though it’s probably an oddity and even an aberration to most GI Joe collectors, I found myself weirdly drawn to the figure. Maybe it’s just the inherent coolness of the mold, but then again, maybe I’ve just been spending too much time with vintage Star Wars figures these days.