Storm Shadow (2008)
As an action figure collector, I’m a sucker for variants. Some folks don’t care for repainted and re-released figures, preferring to stay with the main versions of their favorites. Not me. I’ve always gone in for the recolors and remolds. I think I can trace it back in general to the Masters of the Universe toys. I know that even as a kid, I recognized the fact that many of the He-Man figures shared parts. I was also excited when new versions of the main characters showed up on shelves, complete with variations on their original outfits. My fascination continued through my years as an adult collector, as I bought up all the many variants of Toy Biz’s Spider-Man and Wolverine figures. Yes, I’m sick. With GI Joe however, it all started back in the 80s with the ever lovable duo of tan Grunt and silver pads Grand Slam. Both were characters I already had, yet their new looks drew me in.
With Storm Shadow in the 25th anniversary line, there are plenty of flavors of his usual white getup, along with recolors of his mold in red, black, and even blue. It’s this comic pack version however that stands out as one of my favorites. At the time of its release, I was surprised to see a figure based on a brief appearance of Storm Shadow (and Zartan) from the Marvel comic.
The comic panel from issue #45 with Zartan impersonating Storm Shadow, dressed in this cloak, ready to fire his bow, is etched in my brain. Dressed similarly to that version, as well as in the included Larry Hama scripted comic pack issue 21b, this is a good approximation of an exclusive Marvel comic appearance that I’ve wanted to have in action figure form since the 80s. The cloaked look is mysterious and different, and the compound bow with sound amplifier is itself an interesting variant on a common weapon. In fact, the unique looking bow probably made as much of an impression on me as the cloaked Storm Shadow.
While variants can sometimes quickly wear out their welcome, at least this one gets points for being creative by working in a somewhat obscure, yet fun reference to a classic GI Joe comic storyline.