Black Dragon (2003)

Black Dragon was a spy warlord, the leader of a new faction introduced in the 2003 con set. Though it was the second set after the legendary Crimson Strike Team, this one seemed to set the standard for the future. Featuring a small squad of Joes battling a Cobra leader and his forces, it introduced not only con exclusive Joe team members, but also new Cobra troops. The origins of the Black Dragon organization go back to the time of the original Joe team, according to the file card. It’s a small detail, but a nice little attempt at bridging the 60’s and 80’s GI Joe mythos. It’s also something the collectors club continues to do.

The figure is made up mostly of Ninja Force parts. I’ve been a fan of the Mortal Kombat ninja molds, and was also happy to see the Scorpion/Sub-Zero/Every Other Ninja head incorporated into the GI Joe line. Getting a new adversary faction and leader is one of my favorite aspects of the con sets. I hope the club can get back to that idea someday.

The colors are striking, without being overwhelming, with yellow and gold accenting the primarily black outfit. I like the angle they took on the file card, stating that he doesn’t particularly care for any assumptions that he’s a ninja. Funny, considering the same name was later used twice for actual ninjas. So whatever happened to Black Dragon himself? Don’t know, but in this economy, I hope he’s not out on the street selling velvet paintings out of the back of a van.


  • Technically, his head wasn’t used for every other ninja–it was only used for Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Reptile, and Smoke. A customizer with the name GI Trekker used an extra Scorpion to make Ermac, Sub-Zero for Rain, and one he doesn’t recall (Smoke most likely) for Noob Saibot. Besides, all those characters had the same model in the original game.

    The Ninja Force mold used here in particular is Dojo, which was also used for Shang Tsung in the Mortal Kombat line. Shame they didn’t retool the torso to have a screw exposed in the back…

  • It is nice to have a different faction to make the Joeverse more interesting, even if they were more ninjas. I like this figure but I don’t think the repainted Ferrets quite worked.

  • I love the Black Dragons faction idea. Wish they’d done more with it after such a great start.

  • I kind of scoffed at the idea of him looking so much like a ninja but everyone in MC insisting he wasn’t even though he came with a bunch of Ninja weapons and Snake Eyes’s Uzi. I always found that weird.

    To me, he’s a ninja.

  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    You know, that head would be perfect for a Red Ninja. Just change the colors and there you go. I’m not very familiar with this character, but I’ve gotta say that I like the overall look of it.

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