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.


  • And that bow would not be reused again until recently, when it was one of the accessories for the “Ash Skullkicker” figure from the Jurassic Park line.

  • I really love thus figure. I call him Zartan, and I’ve used him as the hard masters killer in a toy-comic version of the story.

  • I was so glad to see this version of Storm Shadow on the shelves. I started reading the G.I. Joe comic in high school when they started getting collected in tradepapers and I really liked the look of the “mysterious assassin” who killed Hard Master. The fact that Hasbro was finally willing to pull the trigger on an obscure-ish variant was cool. My only real complaint is that I wish his bow and arrow were in better colors. The blue isn’t bad, but the yellow arrow shaft is a bit much.

  • “2IB” i thought he was a medical droid?

    It might seem odd but arrow based weapons are still good for covert ops because they dont make a noise and the arrow can be used more than once. The crossbow V1 Scarlet came with was based on one used by a British commando in WW2

    This has really cheered me up. I’ve had a pretty bad day with my grandmother in intensive care, none of my freinds talking to me and a run in with a neo nazi at the bus stop.

  • 2-1B! There’s an underrated character. Star Wars and Joes should have their own Spotlight comics the way Transformers enjoy their turn in the sun.

    @Skymate: Sorry to hear about your grandmother. I truly hope she recovers promptly. Always remember that you’ve got friends on this site looking out for you. And ignore those neo Nazi types, they’re already out of touch with modern civilization as it is. Dead cockroaches have more to offer society than those brainless goons.

    Regarding variants, I’ve usually collected them when they have something interesting to offer, such as the neat soft goods cloak and compound bow found here. With the first year of the Joe line and the vintage Masters of the Universe, shared parts were a way of life, so I never viewed them as variants.

    In the 90’s, I would get clear plastic or glow-in-the-dark variants of figures I already had as I loved those but I would draw a line at Kenner/Hasbro’s endless parade of rainbow colored Batman figures.

    Kids dug ’em but they made no sense to me as an adult collector, at least any more than the seven-year-old Clutch would have gone for anything else beyond the standard gray and blue Batman with yellow oval. (Mego and Super Powers were it for me.)

  • Thanks for the support, Clutch. Greatly appreciated

    On the subject of varients. I remeber thinking all those ultrabuff, steroid enduced Kenner star wars figures of 1995 would be worth a fortune because of long or short lightsabres. I cant give ’em away.

    On the subject of 21-B my one [ circa Kenner 82] has seen better days. He lost a fight with a lawnmower

  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    Great Zartan figure!

  • I’d like the bow for my default Stormie and the cloak fro my Pythona but otherwise I can leave this one…

  • I hate the way the cloak discolors the white softer plastic on the upper arm sleeves, lower legs and head. Otherwise this is an interesting figure that fills a niche.

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