Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews

Storm Shadow #4
Hama & Robinson

Storm Shadow 4 concludes the opening series arc for this GI Joe spin-off. It is no surprise that in an age where GI Joe is a spy-type comic with covert operations that the Storm Shadow spin-off follows suit.

Storm Shadow aka Tommy is trying to do two things: rescue his niece from kidnappers and protect his family's magic sword. The layers are deep and complex as to who hired whom to do what. The issue in-cover has a nice rundown of what happened in the previous three issues.

Read this information and then disregard it. Double crossings and deception occur on every other page. Even the ending is blurry.

Up to this point most of the players in this series have been outside of the GI Joe main title. This issue shows a major player in the shape of Zartan. Zartan has been missing from the pages of the main title for a while now so this was a pleasant surprise for me. Plus, any fight between Storm Shadow and Zartan is worth the price of admission. This fight has bows, arrows and swords. What more do you want?

The wrinkle in this issue is that there is not one magic sword, but two. One of which Zartan help forge as an apprentice back when he was training to be in the Arashikage clan. The sword blades are switched, re-switched, hidden and switched again over the life of the swords. In the end Zartan is given a sword and Storm Shadow keeps one. I'll let you wrestle with who retains what.

The characters are great. All of have their own agendas and all seem willing to double-cross family members for this sword, money or just on general principle.

One character happens to be a hooded man who is not fully explained or accounted for when the issue concludes. Hmmm.

This issue is fantastic. You can make an argument that I gave away the whole ending but I didn't. Know why? Cause I don’t know that I fully understand the ending. That's what I wanted from this comic. Storm Shadow is complicated. I wanted this story to be complex and it was. I loved it.

The art work is outstanding. To me Storm Shadow never looked so bad-ass. It's that simple. This art style is a perfect match for Tommy and his story.

Complaints are really only questions. My first one would be: why is Storm Shadow so friendly with Zartan? I don't quite get that. The reverse is also true. Zartan regards Storm Shadow as a traitor. Why wouldn’t he kill him or at least try once he gets the sword?

The final complaint is continuity based. If this issue takes place at the same time as the main title wouldn’t Tommy be obligated to let GI Joe know of Zartan's whereabouts? Especially when you consider that's the current arc in the other title: rounding up Cobra one at a time.

For a spin-off series I had my doubts, but I enjoyed the ending of this arc so much I want more. That doesn’t mean I don’t want Tommy in the main title, but I did enjoy this spin-off very much. I hope to see more stories like this. Even if it's a simple two-parter over two Special Missions issues I would take it. Storm Shadow and his universe is more than capable of holding up on its own.

5 out of 5 geek goggles.

G.I. Joe Storm Shadow #4