G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero was a comic book and cartoon series based off of Hasbro’s 1980’s military action figure toyline. While both series covered the same characters and concepts, they had vastly different continuities. The cartoon’s stories were far more fantastical (and often silly) while the comic was far more realistic and gritty.adventures like our more recent G.I. Joe material.
G.I. Joe’s story focused on the ongoing struggle between the G.I. Joe Team (a group made up of soldiers hand-picked from the four main branches of the U.S. Armed Forces) and the sinister Cobra organization (who were dedicated to world conquest).
Our write-ups specifically cover the first 56 issues of the 1982-1994 Marvel comics series which took place in it’s own universe. They thus exclude any events found in any other comics (IDW, Image, etc.) or television/movie series.
Storm Shadow is G.I. Joe’s #2 “bad-ass”. He filled the role of cinematic ninja in the comics and was the Yin to Snake Eyes’ Yang.
The new version of our notes *finally* replaces the content borrowed from Firebomb , who has a lot of 1980s G.I. Joe content.
- Real Name: Thomas “Tommy” S. Arashikage.
- Former Alias: “The Young Master”.
- Marital Status: Single.
- Known Relatives: “The Hard Master” (Uncle, deceased), “The Soft Master” (Uncle, deceased).
- Group Affiliation: Formerly Cobra; Ally of G.I. Joe.
- Base of Operations: The High Sierras.
- Height: 5’10” Weight: 175 lbs.
- Eyes: Brown Hair: Black
Powers & Abilities
Storm Shadow is the last living master of the Arashikage ninja clan. He is a consummate martial artist and holds black belts in five different martial arts. While he is a master of kenjutsu (both iaido and kendo), he truly shines with the bow. He is an expert archer with near-perfect accuracy.
Storm Shadow’s ninja training transformed him into a superb athlete and Olympic caliber acrobat. He is a world class sprinter and can leap to unusual heights. His training also included skills that make assassinations simpler. He is a skilled lock-pick, can climb sheer walls with his bare hands, and can literally “hide in plain sight.”
Outside of his ninja skills, Storm Shadow has received extensive, advanced infantry training. He is a qualified expert with most standard firearms. He used this training to great effect during the Vietnam War.
Storm Shadow has demonstrated three “mystical” ninjutsu techniques in the past.
- The first is the “Arashikage Mindset”. When Storm Shadow employs this techniques his resolve becomes unshakeable. This allows him to endure unspeakable amounts of pain or fear for extended periods of time.
- The second is the “Sleeping Phoenix” technique. Storm Shadow can use this technique to slow his vital functions to their minimum. When Storm Shadow uses this technique, he appears to be dead.
- The third and final technique is “The Ear that Sees.” This technique has made Storm Shadows sense of hearing exceptionally acute. He can hear a creatures heartbeat and the sounds of respiration from over 20 feet away. He uses this technique to target individuals that he cannot see.
Storm Shadow normally arms himself with a set of daisho, a modern bow with steel tipped arrows and several shuriken.
When warranted, he has been known to carry a collapsable sniper rifle on his person as well.
No one knows when Thomas “Tommy” Arashikage joined in the family business. What we know is that he was already a full-fledged master of ninjutsu when he enlisted in the US armed forces.
Then they put a rifle in my hands
Tommy’s prowess allowed him to fast-track through both the Airborne and Ranger schools. After his graduation, he found himself embroiled in the Vietnam War. Near the close of the war, Tommy was assigned to a six man Long Range Recon Patrol.
It’s members included: Lonzo Wilkinson, Wade Collins and Snake Eyes. As Tommy had already served a tour with Snake Eyes, the two were already close. The two spent their down time reminiscing about home and making plans for their return.
While Snake Eyes spoke about his sister, Tommy often spoke of his family business in Japan. He often hinted that once the war had ended, there would be place in it for him. One day, while on patrol, the group stumbled onto a large force of regulars who attacked them on sight. Tommy, Lonzo and Snake Eyes escaped the ambush while the rest of the patrol died.
The three men signalled for a pick-up, hoping to escape the battle zone without any further losses. Unfortunately, the regulars caught up with them as the helicopter arrived.
A s they boarded the helicopter a hail of bullets filled the sky and Snake Eyes was badly wounded. Lonzo (thinking he was dead) ordered Tommy to leave Snake Eyes behind. Tommy ignored the orders and after retrieved his friend’s unconscious form.
The Young Master
After the war, Tommy journeyed to Japan and joined the family business. He picked up his training from where he left off under his uncles, the Hard and Soft Masters. Soon, he earned the title “Young Master” and became a partner in the Arashikage ninja clan.
A short time later, Snake Eyes surprised Tommy at the gates of the family estate. He told Tommy that his entire family had died after the war. After sharing a moment of grief, Tommy welcomed Snake Eyes into the Arashikage clan.
Years passed and Snake Eyes’ skills greatly grew. His martial skills were superior to Tommy’s in every aspect with only one exception. While Snake-Eyes’ archery skills were excellent, Tommy’s were exceptional.
While Snake Eyes could hit any target he could see, Tommy could hit targets he couldn’t. Unfortunately, Tommy needed to kill to hone this skill. Snake Eyes found this distasteful and the first crack in their friendship was born.
The Master is slain
Over time, it became common knowledge that Snake-Eyes had earned the favour of the Hard Master. The assumption was that he would inherit the family business instead of Storm Shadow.
The Hard Master was murdered by one of Storm Shadow’s arrows on the night he offered the clan to Snake Eyes. The clan assumed Storm Shadow shot the Hard Master out of jealousy. Snake Eyes knew better. When the Hard Master was murdered, he was imitating Snake Eyes’ heartbeat. It was he who was the intended victim.
But still, the truth was even more convoluted than even Snake-Eyes knew. While Tommy had been present that night, he hadn’t been the one to fire the arrow. Instead, it was a faceless assassin who fired the arrow and then fled into the night.
Enraged, Tommy gave chase but lost the assassin who escaped in a Cobra helicopter. By the time he had returned, the Arashikage clan had come to its own conclusion and sought his life.
Left with little choice, Tommy set out to discover his uncle’s murder the only way he thought he could. He offered his services to Cobra, and spent years working his way up through their ranks. He eventually gained the attention of the organization’s leader; Cobra Commander.
The two formed a unique bond, one born out of need. Cobra Commander needed a body guard he could trust with his life. Storm Shadow craved to know the identity of his uncle’s murderer, which the Commander knew. Cobra Commander promised to reveal the assassin’s name if Storm Shadow protected him.
Storm Shadow agreed to the terms and protected the Commander from any and all dangers.
Versus the Joes
Storm Shadow first directly encountered the G.I. Joe team when he kidnapped Scarlett. Cobra intelligence discovered where she would be executing her yearly qualification HALO jump. Storm Shadow used a jetpack to snatch her out of the air as she fell through a bank of clouds.
With Scarlett in tow, he returned to a private castle where Destro waited. Before the Cobra forces could interrogate Scarlett, Snake Eyes infiltrated the castle. He then proceeded to defeat Storm Shadow’s minions and helped Scarlett escape.
Snake Eyes tore his sleeve during the escape, revealing the mark of the Arashikage ninja clan. Storm Shadow recognized the mark and deduced that it was Snake Eyes under the mask.
Storm Shadow next fought the Joe’s while guarding Cobra Commander in Switzerland. The Commander was meeting Major Bludd there. Bludd was blackmailing the Commander for a failed attempt to kill Destro.
A brief capture
Cobra Commander had no intention to pay the Major. He planned to have Storm Shadow kill Bludd when the mercenary showed himself. Unfortunately for Cobra Commander, the Joes had been following Bludd all along. When the meeting started, the Joes attacked and took Cobra Commander prisoner.
Storm Shadow tracked the Joes all the way to the American Rockies and staged a daring prison break. He then stayed behind to keep the Joes busy while Cobra Commander escaped. The Joes captured him but only after he wounded Gung Ho.
The Joes took the deadly ninja to Alcatraz Island in the hopes of containing the assassin. Even while he was being put into his cell, Storm Shadow boasted that no mere prison could hold a ninja. His words proved to be true as he disappeared off of the island less than a day after his imprisonment.
Truth between brothers
Storm Shadow could have gone anywhere but instead he chose to go to New York City where the Soft Master lived. When he arrived, he overheard a conversation between Snake-Eyes and the Soft Master. While they spoke, the Soft Master produced the arrow that had killed the Hard Master.
At that moment, Snake Eyes spotted Storm Shadow and opened fire on him. Storm Shadow dodged the bullets and snatched up the fallen arrowhead. He then fled into the crowded streets of New York.
Snake-Eyes chased him and the two eventually ended up fighting on the top of a subway. Storm Shadow stopped running and turned to fight. In doing so, he failed to notice that he was about to strike a low hanging bridge and fatal speeds.
Snake Eyes, unwilling to watch Storm Shadow die, goaded Storm Shadow into tackling him. The two struggled on the ground briefly until Storm Shadow realized that Snake Eyes saved his life.
With that, Storm Shadow threw away his weapon. He then told Snake Eyes the truth about the Hard Master’s murder. With the truth revealed between them, Storm Shadow once again fled.
Storm Shadow returned to Cobra Commander’s side in Springfield. There he reaffirmed his loyalty to the Commander. He kept his word until the Baroness and Major Bludd attempted to kill him.
The two traitors recruited the Commander’s son Billy to kill him during a rally. Storm Shadow stopped the assassination. In the aftermath, he watched as Billy resisted the torture he was subjected to and refused to tell who hired him.
Billy’s resolve and sense of integrity impressed Storm Shadow. He was so moved, that he broke him out of the Cobra prison. The two fled Springfield and returned to New York City. There, Storm Shadow spent the next several weeks training Billy in the art of ninjitsu.
Billy took to the training like a fish to water. His presence brought Storm Shadow’s troubled soul a measure of piece. This wasn’t to last. One night while Storm Shadow was getting supplies, Billy left their secret dojo. He decided to return to Springfield to confront his father.
After a few days, Snake Eyes confronted Storm Shadow in his dojo with a telegram from the Soft Master. The message was simple, it told the two ninjas the identity of the Hard Master’s murderer; Zartan.
Zartan had pretended to be a member of the Arashikage clan for months until the time was right. He then used sound amplification equipment and a compound bow to murder the Hard Master.
Enraged, Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes set out on mission of vengeance. They flew to Cobra Island where they knew Zartan was stationed. They and used every ounce of skill and subterfuge they possessed to fight their way to his side.
Despite their rage and thirst for vengeance, Zartan escaped their wrath. With Zartan gone, the two fought their way to the beach where they hoped to steal a boat to escape the island.
The desperate ninjas left a path of bodies in their wake, but the numbers caught up with them. Snake-Eyes managed to elude the Cobra forces with the help of a team of Joes that came to rescue him. But the Baroness shot Storm Shadow dead before he could escape Cobra Island.
Storm Shadow’s corpse was preserved by the Cobra scientist Dr. Mindbender. He planned to add Storm Shadow’s genetic material to his experiment to create a Cobra super soldier. When the experiment began Storm Shadow returned to life. In truth he was never actually dead. In the moments before he died, he had willed himself into the Sleeping Phoenix state.
Upon his awakening, Storm Shadow fled once more into the night. After spending a few days gathering his thoughts, Storm Shadow sought out Snake Eyes. He found him in the Joes’ secret base, the PIT.
His sudden appearance there caused several of the Joes to attack him. He dispatched them with ease, only stopping when Scarlett confronted him. He then begged to speak to Snake Eyes. The two had a one sided conversation, which ended in Storm Shadow asking for help. He told Snake Eyes that he felt “hollow” since his resurrection and needed a place to heal.
A place to heal
Snake-Eyes responded the only way he could; he gave Storm Shadow the key to his cabin in the High Sierras. Storm Shadow thanked his best friend and left in peace. After reaching the cabin, Storm Shadow spent the next several weeks re-centering himself. He prepared to live a life of hope, instead of one driven by vengeance.
To his surprise, the next person he interacted with was not Snake Eyes. It was Scarlett. She told him that Cobra forces captured Snake Eyes on their last mission and he was taken to New York.
The Baroness was holding him prisoner in the Cobra Consulate building where the US government had no jurisdiction. The Joes couldn’t retrieve him. But Storm Shadow could. The two immediately returned to New York and infiltrated the Consulate building. After a short (and bloody) battle, the two freed Snake Eyes and escaped the Baroness’s clutches.
Storm Shadow is an average looking Asian male of middling height. He is exceptionally lean in build; his form resembles that of a classic gymnast or swimmer. His eyes are a deep brown and his short black hair tends to stand up on his head.
He has very few distinguishing characteristics save the six thick lines that are tattoed upon his right forearm. The lines are all red and are stacked atop one another in an alternating broken line, solid line pattern.
When expecting combat, Storm Shadow wears an all white gi of sorts. The gi fits relatively loosely and leaves his arms bare from under the shoulder. A large red Cobra emblem is emblazoned on the left-hand side of the chest. He wraps his forearms and calves with tight strips of white cloth and ties a white belt around his waist.
Over his feet, he wears a soft souled shoes that resemble traditional Japanese tabi socks. And of course he, he wears a mask and cowl to cover his face and hair.
Storm Shadow’s personality evolved considerably over the course of the series. As a youth, he was idealistic, honourable and unquestionably loyal. He loved Snake-Eyes like a brother and would have done anything to protect him or to improve the quality of his life.
After his uncle’s murder, he became filled with rage and a need for vengeance. This anger consumed him to the point where he was capable of performing unspeakable acts of violence in order discover the identity of the murderer.
This all changed after: he trained Billy, his “murder” at the hand of the Baroness and his resurrection. These events brought Storm Shadow’s life back into focus. He realized that his pursuit of vengeance had made his life a hollow one. He then chose to retire from a life of violence.
“A prison is just a building. It can’t hold a ninja.”
“I’ve no grudge against you, Snake-Eyes. I loved you like my brother ! But I won’t let you stop me from what I have to do !”
” … they probably mistake his integrity for stupidity, their type always does …”
“His only defense up till now was secrecy. But now that I know, nothing will stop me from taking my revenge ! Nothing!”
“There is no cover… when you deal with ninjas !”
“Fight hard, Eels ! Even if you live through the sharks… you’ll still have me to contend with !”
“Revenge is the dream of the weak.”
Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG
|Dex: 06||Str: 03||Bod: 05||Motivation: Seeking Justice|
|Int: 07||Wil: 06||Min: 04||Occupation: Soldier|
|Inf: 04||Aur: 06||Spi: 04||Wealth: 002|
|Init: 021||HP: 035|
Extended Hearing: 02, Directional Hearing: 10, Jumping: 01, Mind Over Matter: 05, Running: 04, Super Hearing: 02, Suspension: 06, Ultra-vision: 03
Bonuses and Limitations:
- All Powers are Skilled Powers (+20 BC each).
- Ultra-vision is Night Vision Only (-1FC).
Accuracy (Perception): 08, Acrobatics (Climbing): 08, Acrobatics (Athletics): 05, Evasion (Ranged Only): 08, Martial Artist (+techniques): 06, Medicine (First aid): 02, Military science: 04, Thief: 06, Thief (Stealth): 09, Vehicles (Sea, Land): 04, Weaponry (Melee): 06, Weaponry (Firearms): 05, Weaponry (Archery): 08
Expertise (Military Equipment and Protocols, Mountaineering, Skydiving, Survival), Iron Nerves, Languages (Japanese), Lightning Reflexes, Scholar (Martial Arts Lore), Schtick (Paired Weapons).
G.I. Joe (Low), Scarlett (Low), Snake-Eyes (High).
- Medium-powered bow [BODY 03, Enhance (EV): 01 (cap is 04), Enhance (Range): 03 (cap is 06), Ammo: 01, Recommended STR: 03, R#02, Limitation: Low Penetration, Descriptor: Piercing].
- Katana [BODY 09, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 08), Descriptor: Slashing, Piercing].
- Wakizashi [BODY 09, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 05), Descriptor: Slashing and/or piercing].
- Shuriken (x9) [BODY 03, EV 02, Dart bonus].
Source of Character: Marvel Comics Series G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero Issues #1-56, written by Larry Hama and illustrated by Herb Trimpe.
Helper(s): Firebomb (original Marvel writeup), Jobe.
Writeup completed on the 24th of August, 2017.