Storm Shadow (2004 Operation Avalanche)
I recently picked up this figure, one of the last I needed to complete my new sculpt collection. By the way, is there a true consensus among GI Joe collectors on what to call all the various post-Real American Hero era lines? We collectors like to categorize and label these things, don’t we? I suppose it helps to give them a bit of context, but does the average reader really care? For the moment then, I’ve decided to randomly call each era of GI Joe whatever strikes my fancy.
Storm Shadow comes from the Operation Avalanche, the “battle in a box” set released exclusively at K-Mart during Valor vs Venom. These value packs, loaded with figures and vehicles, have been spread fairly thinly across the history of the small GI Joe lines. I’ve always thought of them as a sort of distant kin to the Adventure Team sets of old, with an entire little storyline contained in a box. In this set, Dusty and Snake Eyes attack a Cobra mountain outpost on a four wheeler, while Cobra counter with Stormy and an Iron Grenadier piloting gliders. This particular set included mostly repackaged vehicles and figures, but Storm Shadow showed up in a unique color scheme.
Granted, this is the third recolor of the mold after the white and red original from the rebirth of small Joes in 2002. It us my favorite of the bunch. Being a holdover from that debut assortment, he’s constructed with a T-crotch rather than the O-ring. It’s unfortunate that a proper Storm Shadow never saw a refit to the old construction style, although the mold itself did see release with an O-ring as other characters.
Being an early 2000s figure, the accessory complement is confusing. The pack included a bevy of weapons, yet not a single one was appropriate for a ninja. So according to this set, Storm Shadow can carry a shotgun, several machine guns, a common plain pack, or a Tele-Viper backpack. It’s not a huge problem, as I have countless swords to give him, but still a frustrating byproduct of the era.