Snake Eyes (2004)
Yes, it’s yet another Snake Eyes, the man whose overexposure in geek culture/toy circles seems rivaled only by the likes of pop culture juggernauts Wolverine and Boba Fett. To a certain extent, many fans still love the guy, despite the fact he’s been everywhere in the Joe mythos for years and years. Why? Maybe it’s due to his never eclipsing the team leaders or becoming something more than his station warranted, in terms of the Joe team as a whole. Sure, his story has been woven deeply into the comics since the 80s, and his figures still populate nearly every toy assortment, but with few exceptions, I think he’s not been used too far outside his purpose. Compare him to Wolverine, who’s been all over the Marvel universe, led teams, given solo books and movies, and generally become a superstar. Snake Eyes, for all his adventures and interpretations, still seems to me the same character he’s always been. That’s comforting to me, as with age I become more and more of a curmudgeon about this stuff. I really shouldn’t, by the way. They’re only toys, right? Right?
Snake Eyes figures have generally tread a line of commando vs. ninja in terms of uniform design. I can find elements to enjoy in both, just as I can appreciate the blending of military and martial arts in his origins. As far as the toys go,the 1982-83 original holds a place in my collection, as does the 1985 interpretation. I even find the Ninja Force version to be fun alternate look, despite the toy’s lack of full articulation.
I appreciate the design variety of the Snake Eyes figures released in the early to mid 2000s lines. Each new mold presented the character in a new variation or combination of the classic black attired commando or ninja. Some even went outside the bounds of the usual black on black/grey. This one goes more along the route of ninja, but there are enough military touches to maintain interest. You certainly can’t argue with the sub-machine strapped to his right thigh. There’s also no confusing this figure with the original 2002 relaunch version, or even the pure commando appearance of the era’s final Snakes. If you want an even more stripped-down deco of this mold, check out the 2005 single pack discount retailer version. It’s very basic and monochromatic, in a retro sort of way.