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Storm Shadow (GI Joe)

Storm Shadow

(Tommy Arashikage)

Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game


Storm Shadow is one of the more famous G.I. Joe characters, and one of the super-ninjæ.

This is one of our older G.I. Joe writeups, *heavily* borrowing from Firebomb . As a result it describes the character in general, rather than focusing on the early Marvel Comics adventures like our more recent G.I. Joe material.


  • Real Name: Thomas S. “Tommy” Arashikage
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Arashikage clan, Snake Eyes (“brother”)
  • Group Affiliation: Cobra (currently)
  • Base Of Operations: Cobra bases
  • Height: 5’7” Weight: 150lbs
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black

Powers and Abilities

Storm Shadow is a ass-kicking ninja and one of the best martial artists in the world of GI Joe. He sports an arsenal of weapons and mystical techniques giving him superhuman abilities.

He’s pretty much the perfect cinematic ninja.


Tommy was born in San Francisco, but he didn’t spend all of his childhood there, oh no. You see, when his father died, Tommy moved to Japan for a time, in order to study the “family business” with his two uncles. Of course, the family business was that of the Arashikage – a powerful ninja clan !

Tommy stayed with his uncles until his 18th birthday, at which point he defied them to return to the United States, registering for the draft. Soon after, Tommy was in the Army. With his exceptional discipline, the young man quickly went through Airborne – and then Ranger – school.

Winding up in Việt Nam thanks to his prowess, Tommy spent years in the same Long Range Recon Patrol unit as did Snake-Eyes, Stalker, and one Wade Collins/ The latter would wind up getting entangled with Cobra as Tommy eventually did himself. But that’s a tale for another time.

Tommy did get on rather well with Snake-Eyes, however, and the two were constant companions. Tommy seemed to do all the talking whenever the two of them were hanging out together – which was all the time – but the duo became incredibly tight friends during their time together in the ’Nam.

The breathing jungle

On a particularly hairy patrol, two members of their LRRP squad were killed, and it was thought that Wade was also slain. However, he survived and became a P.O.W. for several years. After Stalker called in an extraction, the enemy following the survivors caught up to them.

As Snake-Eyes covered them while they boarded the extraction Huey, he was gunned down from behind. Though Stalker ordered him to leave the man behind, Tommy leapt into action, dodging bullets like they weren’t even moving, and retrieved his friend (and a picture of his twin sister) before leaving the field.

After the War, Tommy returned to Japan, and resumed his martial arts studies with his uncles: the Hard Master and the Soft Master. A terrible tragedy also brought Snake-Eyes to Japan, however, for Tommy had promised his good friend a place in the family business while they were in Việt Nam.

Since he had nowhere else to go, Snake-Eyes took Tommy up on his offer. While Tommy had the edge on Snake-Eyes time-wise, Snake-Eyes’ single-minded drive pushed him such that his mastery of the fighting arts grew in tiger leaps. Soon enough, the two were almost equal in martial prowess.

Ninja brothers-in-arms

In fact, Snake-Eyes had managed to exceed his close friend’s skill in the blade, even though he could never match Tommy’s ability with the bow. While the two were like unto brothers, it eventually became apparent that the Hard Master favored Snake-Eyes over Tommy for eventual clan leadership.

Some of the Arashikage whispered that Tommy was secretly resentful of this, but this was far from the truth. Tommy would’ve never faulted Snake-Eyes for leading the ninjas if he had in fact been worthy of it. These whispers were what ultimately broke up the Arashikage ninja clan, however.

You see, unknown to everybody involved, the brother of the stoned-out Việt Nam vet who had killed Snake-Eyes’ family (the tragedy that drove him to Japan) was insane with grief over the death of his brother. He felt the need to blame someone for his loss. Irrationally, he chose Snake-Eyes.


To this end, he hired not one, but two assassins to take care of his blissfully unaware nemesis: Zartan, a mutant shapechanger, and Firefly, himself a ninja of the Koga clan. Infiltrating the Arashikage to get at Snake-Eyes, Firefly quickly learned that there was no way he could defeat the man.

As such, he brought Zartan in to help him with the plan. But Zartan found he didn’t want to go through with the job once he’d gotten used to his meditative life there in Japan. Yet the man who hired him – the man who would eventually become the Cobra Commander – blackmailed him into finishing the job.

As such, armed with sound amplification gear and a compound bow worthy of his superhuman strength, Zartan went about his plan. He stole a practice arrow from Tommy (in order to implicate him for the deed) and listened to Snake-Eyes to learn the sounds that the man made. Zartan would use this knowledge to kill him from a distance.

That night, the Hard Master was demonstrating the Cloak of the Chameleon to Snake-Eyes even as he offered to make him the heir to clan leadership instead of Tommy. Though he refused the offer, the Hard Master continued to demonstrate the Cloak – at least, until he was stricken down by an arrow.

One of Tommy’s arrows !

Know when to run

Zartan had been listening for the sounds Snake-Eyes makes you see, and these were being issued forth from the Hard Master as he imitated Snake-Eyes – a truly impressive demonstration of the Cloak. As the other Arashikage discovered what had happened, Tommy fled into the night.

He was chasing the assassins down, but they managed to escape in a F.A.N.G. helicopter . Knowing what he must do, Tommy left the Arashikage at once. He left his family to believe it was he that killed his uncle while he went to infiltrate Cobra, hoping to learn who it was that killed the Hard Master.

For years, he worked his way through the organization. He eventually became trusted enough to be Cobra Commander’s own bodyguard. The Commander knew he could keep Tommy in check, though, for he promised to reveal the identity of the assassin for his loyal service.

This ultimately failed, however. For Tommy found himself impressed by the unwavering loyalty that the Commander’s own son, Billy, had demonstrated to those that brainwashed him into an assassination attempt on his father. Seeing what the man would do to his own son, Tommy rescued him.

Know when to leave

This got him on Cobra’s bad side. Those that weren’t behind the assassination attempt assumed that the whole thing was Tommy’s idea. Regardless, Tommy disappeared for a while. He set up shop in a water tower atop a New York City’s buildings, where he trained Billy in the family arts.

Tommy continued to do so until he was approached by Snake-Eyes. His old friend had received the information that Tommy was looking for from the Soft Master. Shortly before he was killed by Firefly and Scrap-Iron in Cobra’s Springfield headquarters, they had learned that Zartan was behind the Hard Master’s death !

Traveling to Cobra Island in a stolen Rattler jet, the two ninjas put the beat-down on everything that Cobra threw at them. But the terrorist nation couldn’t stop two master ninjas bent on revenge. They eventually caught up to the man they thought was Zartan, but was in fact the Joe known as Ripcord.

He had encountered Zartan on his own unauthorized mission to Cobra Island, and was defeated. Thinking this the perfect opportunity to infiltrate the Joes, Zartan took Ripcord’s place while at the same time dressing Ripcord as himself, in order to confuse anybody looking into the mess until it was too late.

However, Cobra picked Ripcord up. Professor Appel (a chief Crimson Guardsman) figured out who Ripcord really was: the Joe that was dating his daughter. When Tommy and Snake-Eyes came to kill “Zartan”, the Professor blocked Tommy’s sword strike with his own body, sacrificing himself to save the Joe.

Know when to fly

Launching the Firebat  that he put Ripcord in as his dying action, the scientist passed even as the two ninjas found their mission to have ended in failure. Moving to get off the island before a concerted effort to eliminate them could be made, the two fought their way to the Cobra Island airport.

By the time they got there, though, it had been pretty much demolished when Destro and the Baroness’ transport helicopter crashed there (after Cutter shot it down, of course). Deciding to try for a boat, the duo then stole a Cobra Hydrofoil, but were ultimately sunk on the island’s rocky shores.

As the Joes nearby collected Snake-Eyes (they were originally there to rescue Ripcord, but saw the ninjas going to town on everybody present), they saw Tommy fighting it out with two Cobra Eels – and a bunch of sharks that were attracted by their blood. Only Tommy survived this encounter.

Only to be shot down by the Baroness as he reached the shore of Cobra Island. Not wanting such ’fine genetic material‘ to go to waste, Doctor Mindbender collected Tommy’s limp body and put him into storage. Mindbender transported him to Springfield after he’d collected everything he needed for another project.

Genetic engineering

This project was, of course, the creation of the ultimate warrior, built from the genetic material of the Earth’s greatest military minds. In addition to the remnant genes used to make this warrior, Mindbender added Tommy’s body in order to ’get some fresh blood into the mix‘… which worked out rather well.

As he activated his apparatus, though, the essences of these dead warlords passed through Tommy’s mind. He wasn’t dead, you see, so much as deep in the trance of the Sleeping Phoenix. He’d been almost-dead this whole time, but the otherworldly energies he was exposed to him brought him back.

Though the experience changed him a whole lot.

Escaping from the city as the G.I. Joe team assaulted the city, tipped off to its location thanks to Ripcord (whose Firebat eventually brought him to the sleepy little terrorist town on autopilot), Tommy spent a short period of time with the Dreadnoks before finally infiltrating the G.I. Joe team’s Pit headquarters.

Once he defeated the Joes that were in his way, he finally got what he wanted – to talk to Snake-Eyes. You see, his bizarre experience with the afterlife – or a small portion of it, at any rate – had made Tommy realize that he’d been living solely for revenge, and he suddenly felt dead inside.

Even if he was no longer dead without. Hoping to help his sword-brother, Snake-Eyes gave Tommy the key to what was left of his cabin in the High Sierras, thinking that would allow him to come to terms with his life. Tommy spent some time there, and did indeed sort his life out once and for all.

Mid-life crisis

Having become quite philosophical, Tommy returned to civilization once he was ready, founding the Arashikage Martial Arts Academy in San Francisco. He ran this school for a time with both Billy (his apprentice) and Jinx, another Arashikage clan member and distant relative of his.

He did this for a time, at least until Zartan came after him with a busload of renegade, former Arashikage ninjas gone bad. The shapechanger believed that Tommy was still after him. He did not know that the ninja no longer wanted to kill him for his many misdeeds of the past, and Zartan was obsessing over this.

To this end, he and his ninja cronies assaulted the Academy with everything the had. The ultimate result was that Tommy almost killed Zartan, his van careening off the side of the Golden Gate Bridge during the two archers’ incredible battle through the city of San Francisco.

Shortly after this, Tommy spent some time with Snake-Eyes and Scarlett (and Timber, of course) in the Sierras. During this time the ninjas that were formerly working with Zartan, the so-called Red Ninjas, tracked them down and tried to kill them. They failed in this, of course…

Seeing that conflict surrounded him, Tommy decided to return to active military duty with Snake-Eyes and Scarlett. He assisted the G.I. Joe team with various tricky operations. This culminated with his becoming the leader of a new G.I. Joe task force, the so-called Ninja Force.

Ninja Force

These guys were the G.I. Joe team’s ultimate dirty tricks squad. They dealt with the growing number of such individuals that Cobra employed, like Slice, Dice, and of course the Night Creepers – thus allowing the more ’conventional‘ Joes to handle the ’normal‘ Cobra operatives on missions.

The Ninja Force was active up to and through the Battle of Millville, at which point they seem to have been disbanded. With the exception of Tommy, Snake-Eyes, and Scarlett, these martial artists journeyed to Harlem to reopen the Arashikage Martial Arts Academy anew. They opened it to anybody who wanted in.

Tommy continued to serve the Joes on covert missions. At least until one fateful day when he was captured in Cobra’s new citadel in Trans-Carpathia, thanks to Doctor Mindbender’s newly-devised, ninja-beating Cyberspace Matrix (which functioned almost like a ’danger room‘, really).

Tommy journeyed there to rescue his former apprentice, Billy, who had been captured by Cobra Commander. Obviously, he had failed. Once they got their grubby little hands on him, Cobra Commander and Dr. Mindbender subjected him to the Brain-Wave Scanner, rewiring his personality.

While he was never really loyal to Cobra’s cause before, the ninja was now truly a servant of the organization – even if unwillingly. As the Commander did with several other former operatives, like Destro, the Baroness, Zartan, and even Billy – he simply tinkered with Tommy’s brain until he was “evil”.

Snake-Eyes attempted in turn to rescue Tommy (and by proxy, the others), but their brainwashing was too complete. In order to avoid hurting his friends, Snake-Eyes had to leave them to the tender mercies of the Commander – though he did beat the snot out of the villain for his troubles.

Shortly after this, the G.I. Joe team was disbanded, and the fight against Cobra was left to a very large contingent of conventional military forces. These ultimately disbanded the terrorist organization. This was possible since the Commander had abandoned the diplomatic safety that Cobra Island offered.

Joes no more

What exactly happened to Tommy at this point is unknown. It is believed that Tommy eventually shrugged off the influence of the Brain-Wave Scanner, possibly thanks to the Arashikage Mindset. After all, it had worked to counter the Commander’s diabolical brain machine in the past. The exact story of what happened has yet to be revealed.

When the G.I. Joe team was reactivated a few years later, once the ’big brass’ figured out that eradicating Cobra wasn’t as easy as was first imagined. Thus, Tommy joined his sword-brother Snake-Eyes once again in the fight against evil, working in a three-man covert ops squad with Lady Jaye.

Something happened shortly after this, though, something that is not fully understood. You see, he has once again signed on with the forces of Cobra. In fact, while working with these evil thugs, even Tommy’s amazing discipline is not enough to stifle his anger upon spying Snake-Eyes’ presence.

It is not known if this is the result of some falling out between the two good friends, or whether Cobra Commander still holds some sway over the guy. Regardless, he’s doing his level best to apply all of his many talents to the completion of the Commander’s mad schemes.

As such, it’s only a matter of time before things come to a head between Tommy and Snake-Eyes – and the results may not be pretty at all…


The costume versions described by Firebomb are the same as for the versions of gear :

Tommy’s first adventurous costume, worn while he was first in service to the evil Cobra organization, is a simple one. It consists of white, loose-fitting trousers, a white, short sleeved shirt under a white vest with a red Cobra emblem on it, white boots, white wrist bands, a white mask, and a black sash.

His second costume, donned upon his activation as a G.I. Joe operative, is a bit different than the first. It consists of white, loose-fitting trousers, a white, long sleeved shirt, a white face mask, a white hood (all of which have a gray ’urban’ cammo pattern on them), white boots, and a white belt.

Tommy’s third, Ninja Force costume, is a further departure from his first. It consists of black trousers that turn white towards the bottom, a black, long sleeved shirt that turns white towards the top, a black face mask, a white hood, a white sash, golden shoulder pads, white boots, and black gloves.

His fourth costume bore essentially the same look; however, in addition to its features, it added special, experimental ’inviso-power‘ devices that allowed Tommy to essentially become invisible. It is believed that these devices were based in part on Zartan’s optic technology.

Tommy’s fifth costume is close to his first in appearance. In fact, it is of the exact same style, save for the fact that it has black speckles on top of the trousers, on the shirt sleeves, and on the bottom of the vest – the latter of which now lacks a Cobra emblem. Additionally, the boots, wrist bands, and sash are gray.

His sixth costume, the one he wore upon his return to Cobra, is essentially identical to his third in style. However, he removed the black coloring from the outfit, and added a Cobra logo to the shirt. Of course, he also changed the shoulder pads to a black on white color, and ditched the gloves.

Tommy’s seventh costume is somewhat different from his others. It consists of white, loose-fitting trousers, a white, long sleeved shirt, a red face mask under a white hood, black boots and gloves with red ankle and wrist bands on top, a black belt and holsters for his gear, and gray webbing to hold equipment pouches.


Tommy is a good guy, really, who is continually in the midst of incredibly bad situations. Despite having had to walk a hard road for the majority of his life, Tommy usually comes out on top, and he hasn’t become a bitter man despite the years of hardship he’s endured thanks to the G.I. Joe / Cobra conflict.

DC Universe History

Cobra is a cool organization in matters of villainy, and superior to most villains organization this side of HYDRA. They certainly can replace some lame villains organization in the DC universe which you do not like – and Storm Shadow has enough skills to take down many superhumans meddling against Cobra.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Storm Shadow

Dex: 09 Str: 04 Bod: 06 Motivation: Brainwashed
Int: 08 Wil: 08 Min: 09 Occupation: Ninja
Inf: 06 Aur: 06 Spi: 07 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 025 HP: 040

Chameleon: 07, Directional hearing: 10, Exorcism: 12, Suspension (Sleeping phoenix technique): 06

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Chameleon only duplicates non-visual aspects (heart rate, breathing rate, sounds, smell…) (-2)
  • Exorcism only works on people who have mastered the Arashikage mind-set technique (-3) and requires eye contact (-1)

Skills: Acrobatics (climbing): 08, Artist (actor): 10, Martial artist*: 09, Military science*: 08, Thief*: 09, Weaponry (ninja weapons)*: 09, Weaponry (firearms): 08, Weaponry (archery): 11

Language (Japanese), Lightning Reflexes, Scholar (survival), Sharp eye, Shtick (paired swords), Misc.: shares a psychic link with Snake Eyes (global range, 25 pts)

Cobra (High), Snake Eyes (High)

Misc.: Storm Shadow is currently brainwashed by Cobra and his Motivation is not his own (25 pts). This may also have caused amnesia.

Storm Shadow’s gear

Storm Shadow has used different arrays of weaponry over the years.Using Firebomb’s versions v1 to v7 in chronological order), those were :

  • v1 gear : Compound bow [BODY 04, Range: 08], Arrows (x20) [BODY 01, EV 03], Katana [BODY 10, EV 04 (05 w/STR, 10 w/Martial Artist)], Wakizashi BODY 10, EV 03 (05 w/STR, 10 w/Martial Artist)], Nunchaku [BODY 10, EV 04 (05 w/STR, 10 w/Martial Artist)], Shuriken (x9) [BODY 03, EV 02, Dart bonus]


  • v2 gear : Compound bow (see v1), Katana (see v1), Katana [BODY 10, EV 04 (05 w/STR, 10 w/Martial Artist)] , NINJA CLAWS [BODY 09, EV 02 (no EV augmentation w/STR or Martial arts), +1 CS to Block slashing edged weapons, good climbing tool] , Combat knife BODY 10, EV 03 (05 w/STR, 10 w/Martial Artist)], Shuriken (x9) [BODY 03, EV 02, Dart bonus]


  • v3 gear: Katana [BODY 10, EV 04 (05 w/STR, 10 w/Martial Artist)], Combat knife [BODY 10, EV 03 (05 w/STR, 10 w/Martial Artist)], Shuriken (x9) [BODY 03, EV 02, Dart bonus], Kama sickle [BODY 10, EV 03 (05 w/STR, 10 w/Martial artist)]


  • v4 gear : NINJA CLAWS (see v2), Katana (x2) (see v1), Wakizashi BODY 10, EV 03 (05 w/STR, 10 w/Martial Artist)] , Nunchaku [BODY 10, EV 04 (05 w/STR, 10 w/Martial Artist)], Shuriken (x9) [BODY 03, EV 02, Dart bonus], INVISO-POWER SUIT [BODY 04, Invisibility: 06]


  • v5 gear : Compound bow (see v1), Katana (see v1) , Wakizashi BODY 10, EV 03 (05 w/STR, 10 w/Martial Artist)], Shuriken (x9) [BODY 03, EV 02, Dart bonus]


  • v6 gear : Katana (x2) (see v1), Combat knife [BODY 10, EV 03 (05 w/STR, 10 w/Martial Artist)], Shuriken (x9) [BODY 03, EV 02, Dart bonus]


  • v7 gear : Katana (x2) (see v1), Combat knife [BODY 10, EV 03 (05 w/STR, 10 w/Martial Artist)], Shuriken (x9) [BODY 03, EV 02, Dart bonus], Uzi [BODY 04, AV 05, EV 05, Range: 05, Ammo: 05, R#02]

Design Notes

This profile is an older one and is set on a different stats scale than our most recent work, representing the characters in their early Marvel career. Discrepancies are thus normal until everything gets redone using the same scale and the same version of the characters.

By Firebomb (original Marvel writeup), converted to DCH by Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: GI Joe universe

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