Review by Chris Chung & Fred Meyer
Pics by Fred Meyer
G.I. Joe Collector's Club Figure Subscription Service 3
Cobra Ninja Commando - Code name: Slice
So… Slice. A ninja in bright red with little designs on his uniform that looks like a 5-year old’s winter pajamas. Okay…
Uh oh… I think I see where this is going. This is why I usually write the intro’s!
That's what you get for letting me take charge! Power corrupts!
I’m not going to even pretend I care about this figure, and I sure as hell think it’s a waste of my time writing about him. Yeah, yeah, every figure is someone favorite, but Slice about as far away from mine as he can be. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a martial arts family, or that a member of my family is a world renowned grandmaster in Chung Do Kwon Tae Kwon Do, but I was never into ninjas. In fact, ninjas were a joke. (Wanna know what they were so popular in the 80’s? Because they had the coolest outfits. That’s it.) A Korean style like Tae Kwon Do ate ninjas for breakfast. Why? Simple geography. Because Korea is between China and Japan, for centuries it was threatened with invasion and conquest from both sides. To combat this, the Koreans had to devise a martial arts style that would counter the Chinese styles, and the Japanese ones. Tae Kwon Do is also a very destructive form that places heavy concentration and power not only on punching, but also on kicking. Thus when you strike, you usually break bones and incapacitate a foe. Quite unlike the balletic fights so tiredly choreographed in films that last for 10 minutes, or the lame mixed MMA fights in which opponents can’t use their fill power lest they kill someone so styles are not properly portrayed in a real-world life of death struggle.
I’m descended from German farmers. Unless they ever release a figure called Agricultural Specialist – Code name: No Till I’ll never been able to produce a paragraph like that!
I digress. At any rate, a ninja in bright un-tactical red was never cool in my book, especially when he could be seen and shot at from at range.
If Slice’s body seems familiar, that’s because Hasbro has used it before—several times in fact. It began life as the Renegades Storm Shadow, returned as both the single carded Retaliation Red Ninja as well as the Ninja Showdown 3-pack version before making one more appearance as the Blind Master. Now, if you’re expected a non-apologist rant about the over-use of existing tooling to save a buck on behalf of the Club, look elsewhere. I actually don’t mind the reuse of what I’ve come to accept as the “Red Ninja body.” (Sorry Storm Shadow—I own more of them than I do of you!) It’s a functional design that has a solid range of articulation and still conveys a very martial arts appearance. I won’t recap my comments from any of the reviews linked above as no one needs to be subjected to my rants too often but I will say that this body makes perfect sense for a 90’s era ninja! Anything to add Dr. Chung or am I in for another lecture on Tae Kwon Do?
Quite unlike the balletic fights so tiredly choreographed in films that last for 10 minutes, or the lame mixed MMA fights in which opponents can’t use their full power lest they kill someone so styles are not properly portrayed in a real-world life of death struggle.
The sum of Slice’s parts work well enough to approximate the look of his original incarnation, but again, that’s only if you like that aesthetic.
As for the deco, the little black design detail is well applied, but again, it reminds me too much of a domesticated pattern like those found on wall paper of pajamas. Kind of sissy for a big, bad ninja warrior. But maybe that’s just me. Fred?
I have to admit—the deco is a bit puzzling to my eye. I know what the Club was going for and it does emulate the vintage look nicely but I can’t help but notice the “+” signs a bit too much. Maybe he’s just trying to really positive or he’s really a closet math fanatic, but once you really see them it’s hard to un-see them. However, I don’t know what a really good alternative would have been.
Slice’s kit includes the following:
I don’t know why he comes with four swords, but maybe because they are of such poor quality that if one breaks, he has extras. Either way, it is very impractical with too much unnecessary and ungainly weight. I was also never a fan of his mask, then or now. And despite this being a new head by Boss Fight Studios, I feel it was unnecessary since we have a very similar mask released a few years ago that would have worked just fine as it was. Furthermore, it reminds me too much of a European fencing mask and I personally think it clashes with his otherwise Oriental aesthetics. Your thoughts Fred?
When I first opened the figure I was shocked as the sheer number of blades that were included with Slice. (Or rather, with this many blades he should be called SLICE!) It’s almost like someone felt that the figure itself didn’t stand out enough on its own and decided to throw everything and the kitchen sink at the included kit. Seriously—it’s like a cutlery store exploded inside that card! I’m exaggerating but in all Slice’s Marvel Comics appearances he was usually seen with only two blades maximum. It gave him a sort of elegant minimalist appearance as if to say that he didn’t need more than a blade or two to accomplish his task. I do like the PoC Storm Shadow swords and I’d have been happy if that was all he came with. The Tiger Hook swords aren’t the greatest fit in the figure’s hands (a problem shared with the Zombie Initiative T’Jbang figure) and they seem a bit out of character for ole Slice. I’ll probably just toss them into a parts bin along with the climbing claws and just stick with the blades on his back. Anything to add, Chris?
It’s worth mentioning Slice’s the card art; like Muskrat’s, was good. Muskrat keeps his original art’s pose, and his proportions and aesthetics look for the most part, to be correct. It’s too bad the art seems to be hit or miss on these figures overall, but I suspect some of the greats are too expensive or unavailable for the Club to hire. At least this art was good.
I’m not a fan of Slice (as I articulated above,) and I don’t really think he should have been in a FSS set. Granted when we got Dice all of us knew it was a forgone conclusion we’d get Slice, but with the mask from the comic pack and the body of the Retaliation Red Ninjas, Slice was right there for everyone to make on their own. As it stands, you’re just paying $40.00 for some black decorations on his clothes and a figure stand. Not worth it to me. Definitely a pass for most collectors not interested in ninjas or named characters. (I actually sold mine.)
Is Slice worth owning? I have to admit—I had stopped reading the Marvel Comics series by the time that he and his hetero life mate Dice showed up and I’d never really paid much attention to the DiC cartoons. However, as fate would have it Slice was one of the reasons that I was excited about FSS 3.0. Sure, he’s mostly a repaint of a Red Ninja but he’s got a nice Boss Fight Studios head that really captures the look of the original! I can’t explain it but I really like this figure even if I am suffering from “ninja fatigue” at this point in my Joe collecting life. (Seriously—just give us the rest of Ninja Force and a PROPER orange Night Creeper Leader and I’ll never ask for another ARAH-era ninja again.) I’ll have to give Slice my endorsement if for no other reason than my FSS 1 Dice figure was looking pretty sad standing by himself. Slice and Dice are like chocolate and peanut butter—two tastes that are good on their own but are much better when combined! So, to paraphrase Sir Mix-a-lot:
“I like red Slice and I cannot lie! Those other ninjas I deny!”
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