Alright, now I'm sorry I already used the "Murder Specialist" joke with Bench Press, 'cause Shadow Tracker here just HAS to have the the Jason theme following him around. You know, "Chu-chu-chu-ha-ha-ha...." I can't leave this toy on my bedside table without feeling watched. I swear I felt a tiny plastic knife poke me one night....I think he was seeing how effective plastic knives were against human flesh.
Crap, I better hide my exacto knife.
Wait wait wait, where are my manners? Hello, folks! Yeah, how long has it been since my last review? January? Hey, not as bad as I thought! Well here we are again with Shadow Tracker, the (maybe) literally faceless hunter and wilderness guide for Cobra.
As you can see already, this is a very
distinctive figure! In fact, given the filecard, we haven't had this much innovation in awhile! A brand new character, AND his filecard actually expands on him rather than just tell you he's a tracker for Cobra that uses his accessories really well (though, it's hilarious that - out of ALL his stuff - the only thing under "mission equipment" is his friggin' net.)
So, obviously, what we've got is a real freaky lookin' monster.
It's hard to see (and maybe you already saw some pics online of his mask removed) but I'm pretty sure he doesn't have a face under there.
I think someone revealed that it's a skull under there, but that may be just for effect. If it's not really supposed to be a skull under there, then at least he's missing important fleshy bits like lips and a nose (looks like it if you look close at the pic on the front of his card). So the details on this guy are just awesome. I love the mask, I love the dreadlocks (which look a lot like a Predator, pulling us further into the 90's sci-fi references), and the overall body sculpting makes this guy look like he's just made of muscle and nothing else. Not the big, beefy muscle, but the kind like rubber bands, ready to snap back and knock someone cold with one hand. Just by looking at the figure, you can tell this is a guy who is jumping through trees, leaping at prey from much farther than you'd expect someone to be able to leap, and going from completely still to a flurry of motion in the blink of an eye. I think the effect is much more impressive without the coat on (and there are other reasons to go without the coat, but I'll get into that) but overall, it's still incredibly awesome.
Now, of course, you may not be able to tell from just looking at the package, but this guy has an absolute TON of stuff.
Look at all that! This man is a knife store all on his own! He needs a trench coat to hang it all in so he can open it up and scare camping coeds (who were TOLD about the horrific past of the wooded area they're camping in, but they just wouldn't listen). Thankfully, Shadow Tracker has a few more spots on 'em to allow for some of these items to be stored...but it's still not enough. On top of that, there are complications.
First off, he's got a hole in his leg, so that's cool. There are pegs on one of the knives and the bola weapon thingy, so he can put those there, or:
There's the back of him. There's a cool sheath on the small of his back for his little knife, and there's and extra hole on the bottom there for the bola weapon. Sad part is that the standard backpack hole is completely covered by his dreads! Technically you can plug the quiver in with his head turned, but then his head is always turned! Only other option I've come across is to use that bottom hole so his quiver is situated lower, sorta at his hip (I swear I've seen folks with the quiver in that position, so I think it looks realistic).
Problem is that the hole isn't very deep, so the quiver could fall out while you're messin' with 'em (not the same for the knife or bola, since they have slightly wider and shorter pegs, so they stay in). I suppose it's a minor thing for me, since the figure is so awesome, but any G.I. Joe should never have the standard backpack hole covered up. His hair could have been parted in the middle of the back easily, and it seems like kind of an oversight. The only reason this bothers me more than normal is the fact that you need all the space you can get with this guy: like I said, he's got a TON OF STUFF. I never thought I'd say this, but it's possible he comes with too much stuff! Can you believe that? Me, an accessory fan through and through. It's just, at one point, it starts to get ridiculous. I'm used to everything not fitting on a figure, but if they would have just fixed the backpack hole problem and given him an awesome new backpack that had the quiver built in and a bunch of places to hold all that stuff....well, think of how much more awesome he would have been! He's already freaky as it is, but think of him with a backpack that has ALL those knives 'n things hanging off of it.
Well anyway, that's my gripe. It's just too much stuff and not enough places to put it all. There is an odd peg feature for the spear, but...
...I don't really see the point of it. Another place to put things, I guess. Gets even stranger when the only other option is the bola:
I love features like this, but it just seems pointless in this case. Neither combination adds anything to the effectiveness or coolness of the spear. 'Cause, you know, it doesn't just have to be effective. I'm cool with ridiculous, ineffective weapons so long as they just look cool. This just doesn't cut it, especially since the spear is just so cool on its own.
Alright, moving on! Articulation is VERY nice, save for one hiccup in the case of the coat. The collar is so high that it kinda gets in the way of his head movement. It's not terrible; as you can see my pics have him with his head turned. Nonetheless, they could have shortened the collar and not lost a thing in terms of presentation (especially since I think he looks just fine - and almost better - without the coat on). The dreads actually don't get in the way much, though! I was impressed with them; they're in two parts: one large chunk that goes down his back, and another stringy chunk that fits on top of that and drapes over his shoulders. With the coat on they only get in the way a tiny bit, and with the coat off they're no problem at all! You get all the cool looks of long hair, without the usual restriction.
Next, the hands have the new joints in the wrists that they've been using; a side-to-side movement for his bowstring drawing hand, and up-and-down for his other hand. That allows for poses like this:
And of course, the hands are the perfect mold for using a bow! In fact, I think this is the first time someone has made a tiny figure with the ability to do this realistically; the arrow fits right in the fingers, and the arms are long enough (and the elbows have the perfect range) to allow him a perfect pose.
Well, more or less. I know he shouldn't be holding his hand like that, but it's so dang close that I don't care.
So, finally, this guy has some interesting things going for and against him. If I wanted to add another gripe, it would be that his hands could be better. While I'm impressed with the ability of his two-fingers-out hand to hold things, his normal C-grip hand doesn't do as well as it could. It's basically not possible for him to get a good grip on the tiny handle of the machete, though his right hand can do it well enough. One way or another you can get 'em to hold things, but they're not the best hands they've made. On top of that, there's the coat problems and the fact that you got a ton of stuff to put somewhere, rather than putting it directly on his person and making him even cooler than he already is.
MAN, though...it's easy to overlook that stuff when you have him in hand. He's a ton of fun to play with, even without the ability to really deck him out in stuff. Without the coat he just seems even more freaky, and his filecard fleshes him out to be this mysterious horror that "tastes his victim's fear in the wind." If that sh** ain't cool, I dunno what is. This guy is simply a must have, even with the minor annoyances. It's funny, 'cause he seems to have a similar amount of annoyances to Recondo, but they don't get in the way anywhere near as much as they do with Recondo. Shadow Tracker is not to me missed. If the G.I. Joe line needs new characters like your body needs blood, then Shadow Tracker is a BUCKET OF BLOOD. In more ways than one.
Seriously, lock him in a box when you're done playing with him.
(Alright, that was the short comic. I made another one, but it ended up being 14 panels long! I figured that would be a ridiculous amount to load on top of what I already posted, so if anyone has any ideas on another way to post it, lemme know. Unless you just want me to post it on here anyway...)EDIT:
Alright, I'll post it anyway: