Storm Shadow (1988)

As luck would have it, Storm Shadow had a new figure released the year after I stopped buying GI Joes. I had also stopped reading the comic, and had stopped buying comics altogether, so I was oblivious to this new look, and to his turn to the roster of the “good guys”. The first sight I had of his figure was at a friend’s house. His little brother was five or six years younger than us, so he was in the prime of Joe collecting, while we had moved on. By the way, this is the same younger kid to whom I had sold most all of my old Joes [sniff]. I promised myself I wouldn’t cry…

Where was I? Oh yeah, so when I saw this figure back then, I was tempted to just snatch it up and stick it in my pocket. I know, I know theft is terrible, but this guy looked wicked awesome. His uniform reminded me of the ninjas from any number of cheesy 80’s flicks, with the distinctive leg wraps, hood, and shortened sleeves. It was like Sho Kosugi in plastic form! He even had the I Ching symbol on his forearm, a cool nod to the comic. As excited as I was by the figure, I didn’t steal it, though I was tempted for a second to buy it from him, but the potential for embarrassment was too strong to broach the subject. This was a time before I had embraced by geekness, when I was still trying to appear to the world at large to be cool. I obviously have no such hang-up now.

At the time I first saw the figure, the only accessory on him was the arm claw. My joy may have been tempered had I seen his red sword and backpack. They’re the only gripes I have with this figure.

I still wonder just what the pattern on his outfit is supposed to represent. Is it some sort of camouflage, or was Tommy just wearing Tetris themed pajamas?


  • This figure is on my list of which ones I hope to acquire at some point.

  • Still love this figure. My favorite accessory was the compound bow, by far the best bow of the ARAH line.

  • I have a lot of fond memories of this version of Storm Shadow. He’s one of the first Joes I ever got (alongside Tiger Force Flint, by process of elimination since those two are the ones I have the most and strongest memories of) and I just think the look is so iconic. Honestly, any time I see a Storm Shadow decked out like this, I have to buy it…that even includes the RoC/PoC transition wave Storm Shadow which was an okay figure to be sure but considering how similar he was to all the other RoC Storm Shadows I passed on, I think the affinity has to be that they channeled this one in his color scheme. I agree, I always loved the bow because it looked so great, but I used it very seldom since I prefered my Joes and Cobras to duke it out hand-to-hand for some reason.

  • When Stormy first appears in this suit, Billy mentions how “rad” his “urban camo” is. It’s a nice transition to the good guys’ side for Tommy, but I don’t get why the accessories couldn’t be all done in black. That bright red reminds me of licorice candy or something.

  • My favorite of all the Joe figures. Wish I had kept all mine. Ugh!

  • Isn’t it kind if weird this storm shadow has the claw thing and it came out way before Larry Hama started writing wolverine. To be honest a few years ago when Hama was writing the storm shadow book for devels due I thought the claw was a nod to him wolverine run. Very cool figure

  • @Acer. I have an extra Storm Shadow (88) with bow. If interested, contact me :

  • While this figure isn’t completely without faults, I really like it and prefer it as Storm Shadow’s default look. My ’84 had broken thumbs, so getting this version was a major upgrade. The fact that he was a Joe allowed him to tread the line of double agent, too. The bear claw was a ninja answer to Freddie (big at the time), so many a Cobra met their end by slashing.

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  • The costume is meant to momentarily disorient opponents, who see his costume and get plunged into a Tetris-playing flashback, complete with music. They end up not knowing what hit them.

    By the way, this figure came out (early 1988) well before Tetris really took off in the US with the Game Boy (Summer 1989) and NES (Fall 1989) releases (though Tetris itself goes back to 84 or 85).

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  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    Easily the best Storm Shadow figure ever produced after the original.

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  • I Remember when I first obtained him, it was at Toys r us (R.I.P). backing 1989

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