Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Best Character Ever 19: Snake-Eyes

The Sideshow collectibles figure is on my Amazon Wishlist should anyone
have $200 burning a hole in their pocket. 
You can’t get much cooler than Snake-Eyes.

I mean, think about it. He doesn’t talk. He’s nearly invincible and you can almost never take him by surprise. He’s a master of stealth and a master of both hand to hand combat and the use of the Uzi, a.k.a. the coolest submachine gun ever created by man.

And he looked completely different than the rest of the G.I. Joe line.

And he got a pet wolf too!
The fact that he was hard to find made him that much cooler to my brother and I. Eventually we got a hold of him, about the time we first learned that he could shrug off radiation like it was nothing.

He would go on to be a featured player in several multi-part G.I. Joe episodes, but the show never really gave him the respect I thought he deserved, instead focusing too much time on Duke and Scarlett, and later Flint and Lady Jaye. Thankfully, the comic would not do the same.

Still can't believe my
mom bought this cover
for young Nick. 
But it was the first issue of the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero comic that I bought that really cemented my love for Snake-Eyes. The look into the intricate and mysterious origins of Snake-Eyes inside had me hooked (though the appearance by Scrap-Iron and Firefly, my two favorite Cobras didn’t hurt). More importantly, it got my older brother to start buying every issue.

From then on, we were both fans of the coolest ninja ever, especially when he embarked on a quest to save his fallen brother Storm Shadow. The two would settle their differences and become strong friends, a recurring theme through many years and variations of G.I. Joe stories (right up to the second stronger film G.I. Joe: Retaliation.)

His origin, told through a few different short run stories on the title, was filled with pathos. His family was killed by a drunk driver while he was away on a mission that ultimately left him horribly disfigured. He would find inner peace with the Arashikage ninja clan, but would never rest until he found his family’s killer. (A man that ultimately turned out to be Cobra Commander.)

My brother and I would go on to buy every Snake-Eyes figure to come out from the original line of figures, six different toys in all, sometimes more than one.

I am sure much of my fondness for the character comes from the age I was at. I was a child of the 80s, in love forever with the ninja, and to me Snake-Eyes was a ninja but better. He was an American ninja and not just some schmuck from a weak action film. (Sorry, Michael Dudikoff.)

Snake-Eyes would eventually pretty much take over the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero title for much of its later run, going so far as getting top billing during the Andrew Wildman era.

As a mainstay of the Joe team ever since, through dozens of new incarnations Snake-Eyes has remained. Ninjas are damn cool and they will never get much cooler than the silent warrior with the lost family and the hot redhead girlfriend.

And he will ever be the best damn warrior this or any army will ever see.

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