Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow. Few rivalries exist in the world of fiction that have been as long-standing, bloody, and confusing. These two ninjas have always been locked in mortal combat... except those tons of times that Storm Shadow has been on the JOE team. Now that Hasbro's G.I. JOE: Pursuit of COBRA figures have been released, it looks like the blood feud has been continued in the current storyline and in celebration of these Arashikage blood-brothers (and their quest to kill one another) we're gonna be doing a dual/duel review!
Lets compare & contrast the two assassins, shall we?
ROUND 1: SCULPT
The sculpts on both figures are top notch work. Of course, so far this has been a hallmark of the entire P.O.C. line to date. Looks like it's gonna be a tight one this round, folks!
Snake Eyes features more of a commando-type appearance, but with the famous visor we all know and love (or hate) that, for the first time, can be lifted! Snake Eyes' eyes can be seen through the balaclava, but strangely there appears to be no scarring of his skin. He's wearing a tactical jacket that has plate armor sewn onto the shoulders, chest, and back. Pistol/SMG mag pouches run down the left hand side with various other pouches on the right. The jacket also has two u-hooks running along the waist seam which allow Snake Eyes to store his Mac-10s. The pants are basic BDU-type but are fleshed out with kneepads and a very cool rappelling harness.
Storm Shadow sees a larger departure from the basic ninja uniform he normally sports. His mask is made up of wrappings instead of one pull-over style piece. This allows for his hair to stick out through a gap in the fabric in the back. This, along with the piece on his chest, make it appear to be more of a shemagh and therefore very relevant to the desert atmosphere. Beyond that, Storm Shadow is shirtless and features scarring on his chest and a COBRA tattoo on his shoulder. His waist is girded by an ornate piece that features pegs for the included ninja stars and a cloth "skirt" which could be the remains of Storm Shadow's top. The rest of S.S. (forearm guards, gloves, pants, and shoes) seem to be re-used pieces from the Rise of COBRA movie figures.
The edge this round goes to Storm Shadow! While Snake Eyes is undeniably epic in his militaristic gear, this is supposed to be for a desert scenario. Black leather from head to toe seems like the exact OPPOSITE of what you'd want. Sure, he's locked into a "look" and all, but jeez man, lighten the hell up cause you're gonna be sweatin' buckets in that stuff! Storm Shadow definitely gives off more of a "scorching-hot-barren-wasteland" vibe than ol' Snake.
ROUND 2: PAINT
The paintjobs on both ninjas are serviceable. Being mass-market figures, you're going to expect to see a little slop and some missed opportunities for detail. The question is: Which sneaky, face-hiding, s.o.b. looks the best?
Snake Eyes is painted in various shades of black. Actually, scratch that. His whole figure is mostly molded in the correct colors (or lack thereof). Hasbro's use of drybrushing gray over top of the sculpt brings out the details and worn look of the leather jacket perfectly. The kneepads are a gloss black with the same technique applied, but they still stand out. His visor is silver/gray and has lines stamped across the front. they line up nicely and there's no errant markings. His eyes are also cleanly painted for such a small figure, and although their covered most of the time, still look good when the visor is raised.
Storm Shadow is also molded in most of his colors. The biggest part of him that gets paint apps is his samurai waist-thing. It's molded in maroon, but gets detailed with gold trim and black belts and straps. The painting on this piece is very, very intricate when you consider how small the edged-areas are. Storm Shadow's eyes are painted clearly and there is no slop or "wandering eyes" on this figure either. Beige-colored paint has been brushed and rubbed into the creases and wrinkles of Storm Shadow's sculpt, giving the impression of sand and dirt. It's a very good effect, but there are some areas, such as the skin, that lack extra detail.
The 2nd round goes in favor of Snake Eyes! While his paintwork is simple, it conveys EXACTLY what it should. Storm Shadow could have won in this category as well; but, after seeing the sunburned torso of P.O.C.'s Zartan, Storm Shadow's bare skin just looks far too simple and, well... quite toy-ish.
ROUND 3: ARTICULATION
What good is a ninja if they can't move, right? Good fer nothin', that's what! Let's see how these acrobatic martial arts masters compare!
Both characters feature: a ball-joint head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel wrists, ball-joint torso, ball-joint hips (featuring the 80's barbell), double-hinged knees, and swivel/hinge ankles.
Looks like this round is a Draw! These two ninjas can perfectly mimic each other step for step, although Snake Eyes does have a slight encumbrance thanks to the bulky jacket. However, simply remove it and he's ready to crunch those abs all day long!
ROUND 4: ACCESSORIES
It's a simple truth: Sometimes you need a knife, and sometimes you need a machine gun. That's just the way of the world! Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow love their weapons, but who packs the most bang for the buck?
Snake Eyes comes equipped with a katana, scabbard (that attaches through the hole in his back), 2 Mac-10 sub-machine guns, a G36 assault rifle (which gets packaged with roughly 90% of all JOE figures nowadays), a figure stand, and his trusty wolf Timber. Timber has his own action feature, in that if you pull down on his tail then his head moves up and down. This is the only time it'll ever be safe for you to yank down on a wolf's tail, so take full advantage of the situation.
Storm Shadow comes with a laundry-list of bladed goodness: 4 throwing stars (that attach on hips), 4 swords, 2 short swords, a backpack/sheath, 2 hand claws (think Wolverine), & a double-bladed chain weapon. 4 of the swords can be stored in the backpack at a time. The swords also feature pegs or holes in the hilt so you connect them to make vicious double-bladed batons! That's not all though, the chain weapon is made using an actual metal chain AND it also has holes which allow the swords to be inserted into the handles. Now Storm Shadow can toss swords and yank em back into his waiting hands. Overkill? Yes. Awesome? Of course!
Storm Shadow barely eeks out a win here. While Snake Eyes has a variety going with the guns, sword, and wolf; well, Storm Shadow has many more options in using and carrying his weapons. Two swords, one combined sword, a chain with swords at the end... really, he's got the sword thing totally covered.
Both of these figures are very cool in their own right; but, by a margin of 3 to 2, it looks like Storm Shadow takes Snake Eyes out of the equation. Sorry man, guess it was just a bad idea to wear black in the desert.