The Storm Shadow mold is a favourite, and when TBM began branching out from strictly Army Builders, it was a figure I was hoping he’d get along to. He did, even though there was a period of darkness between the original announcement and when it actually came about, but it didn’t matter because all of a sudden there were some Storm Shadows done up in COBRA blue.
While there was a wait, it wound up being worth it, because there was finally a long clamoured for figure, and not only was it the v1 Storm Shadow mold, all of his accessories were available (plus the Blue ones originally came with an extra set of Glow In The Dark 84 Storm Shadow accessories), and since this was a figure people were planning on army building, there was also a second head, based off of the Mortal Kombat ninja head, referred to as the “Oni” head. One thing that’s often overlooked when it comes Factory Customs is just how invaluable they are for getting accessories, to be able to get a fully functional assortment of Storm Shadow accessories (With the backpack and bow being based off of the strange “Chinese” Storm Shadow figures from a few years prior), to be able to get them in differing colours that they’d never been domestically released in was especially a godsend.
When I first got this figure I was stoked, but my original plan of using it as a more grounded “Ninja Viper” fell to the wayside pretty quickly. There was already the generic Red Ninja, so having two different generic ninjas was somewhat redundant, and I also found this figure to be so nice, he almost had to be used as the actual Storm Shadow, who despite being bad as hell, is also a fairly fragile and bright white figure. This allowed a very important character a better coloured figure that would be far less nerve wracking to put out into the dirt and mud.
To me, this figure represents Storm Shadow’s earliest days in COBRA Command, when he was less CC’s bodyguard and more a field agent. The blue combat togs are less ornate than the white, and match well with the rank and file COBRA Agents. Storm Shadow hadn’t really proved his immense value to COBRA, yet, and the upper echelon of COBRA Command featured fewer external members and more guys who’d been on the ground floor of COBRA’s rise into the du jour terror organization. Storm Shadow was enough of a known commodity when he joined COBRA, that his ninja specialties were greatly welcomed, he just had to wrap himself in the COBRA colours while proving his worth. In a way to me, this is the Storm Shadow who operated against external forces, while when he had gotten high up enough to wear white, he was more involved against internal forces.
In a way, white is the symbolic outfit colour for who has become COBRA Commander’s pet boogeyman. Once the idea of the White Mortal became known to me, his role was kind of an early COBRA version of the bodyguard and personal assassin role that Storm Shadow would later go on to fill. So this figure and the White Mortal kind of represent the era of COBRA when both were still involved in the organization.
Having a more reasonably coloured, without being too environmentally specific version of Storm Shadow is great. Being blue, grounds Storm Shadow, without removing the uniqueness of his colouring, which generally goes against the traditional black Ninja garb. Plus this figure has a bit of a notorious history behind it. At one point the Argentine overstock figures and battlefield accessories (Like the Mortar Defence Unit) were boxed as a thing called “C.O.P.S.”, occasionally a C.O.P.S. package with a blue Storm Shadow would appear on eBay, leading to people spending some big bucks. Of course there wasn’t an Argentinian Blue Storm Shadow, it was just a custom figure, but that’s partially where the idea for this figure came from.
When this figure originally came out, it was the only colouring available. It wasn’t for a while later that numerous other colours and designs became available. While a lot of them wound up to be pretty cool figures, this blue one is still the top of the heap, and my overall favourite Black Major take on the COBRA Ninja.
The Black Major ninja figures all have fairly high quality control, I haven’t run into any loose arms or jumping out legs. There’s a few oddities to the mold (the arms, and pinched heads), but they’re neither here nor there, considering what the figure represents, so if I had a gun to my head I’d probably rank this release of figures second to the first wave of Cobra De Aços in terms of highest quality Black Major releases.