The 1984 Storm Shadow is probably the most iconic G.I. Joe of them all. He looks cool as hell, and might have been a real driving force for the Ninja Craze of the 1980s. His design is timeless, and this version is the most iconic look for a top 3 character in the entire line. So of course he’s a figure often missing all of his accessories and yellowed to match the colour of used tea bags. Such is the state of the COBRA ninja.
Storm Shadow version 1 is an amazing figure. The sculpt includes lots of detail, and unlike the later Ninja Force figures, he doesn’t have grenades or guns strapped to his body. Just a couple of shuriken and a dagger. The white colouring is a classic, even if it’s the exact opposite of what one would think of when thinking of evil ninjas. One aspect of the figure that is hardly ever mentioned, is the unique eye paint app. Storm Shadow v1’s eyes are painted in a way that gives a far more Asian look to it. An under appreciated aspect of a great figure. He also included A LOT of really cool accessories, he has the opening backpack, the nunchucks, the bow and two swords. His swords and bow are probably a tad underscaled, but they still look great, and fit the figure well. His nunchucks are awesome, and probably the most brittle of all of his accessories.
The earliest years of the line placed an importance on accessories, every figure usually had some specific to them accessories that fit with their specialty. Some figures, could look okay when armed with other weapons, Storm Shadow isn’t one of those. His accessories are important to his overall presentation. Other ninja weapons don’t fit the figure the same way, even similar designed weapons like those of Quick Kick.
Storm Shadow’s figure being white is a serious flaw, because no matter what, he’s going to yellow. It’s lends creedence to the theory that everything in life corrodes. It’s a hard thing to accept, but there’s going to be worse tragedies in your life.
Storm Shadow as a character is a bit of an issue. He became a Joe fairly early on, which is a good Story Arc, but I’ve never liked him being a Joe. I think part of it is the fact that the ninja isn’t really a “good guy” kind of job in my opinion, considering they’re hired killers and spies. To me, Storm Shadow got into COBRA, much the same way his character in the old Battle: Action Force comics did, he’d been committing a lot of assassinations, and was running out of both clients and places to run to. He got in with COBRA, because his skills were in demand, and he managed to stick with the organization. After a while he became enough of a presence that’d he be able to keep everyone honest, and upon the elimination of a few people in his way, found himself in the cushy role of Cobra Commander’s personal escort. Rather than going out and ventilating people, he gets to stand with the Commander, and ensure there’s no one thinking about starting any funny business.
I also feel, that Storm Shadow is kind of better suited as a villain, because he was portrayed as being of incredible skill, so it balances out the sides somewhat better. When there are two unstoppable ninja killing machines, it’s a bit much, but it’s even more ridiculous when they’re both on the same side.
Storm Shadow is a character and idea that had a lasting impact on G.I. Joe. He was shipped for longer than the average Joe figure, and was responsible for numerous other Ninja characters coming into the G.I. Joe line. Storm Shadow was also part of the 80s Ninja Craze, and being a visible and popular character of a highly popular toyline probably did G.I. Joe some harm when said Ninja Craze allowed things like Ninja Turtles to become a thing.
This figure benefitted from the factory customs. There’s a Black Major version of the white Storm Shadow, that’s pretty obviously a factory custom, just based on a couple design changes and the fact it’s a brilliant white. I think this is a great thing, because it allows a very important design and colouring to be accessible and usable by collectors. A 35 year old figure you’re afraid to bring out into air and light isn’t really the fate a character like Storm Shadow deserves.