I’m the first to admit that I despised the overabundance of ninja characters that permeated the end of the Marvel’s run of GIJoe. It seemed that every five minutes we were treated to either a gratuitous martial arts battle or another retelling of the death of the Hard Master. When the title was revised to include “Starring Snake Eyes & Ninja Force” I had had enough and had vowed to never purchase another “Kung-Fu Joe” ever again. It’s amazing how a rash vow can be forgotten over time. For example, when watching Valor vs. Venom recently, I was shocked by just how much I really liked the characters of Slash and Slice. Sure, they were over-the-top but no more so than Tomax and Xamot were in the old Sunbow animation. Slice had already been released in his new sculpt but with mixed results. He was a figure that was saddled with “action attack” and therefore mostly useless. However, at the GIJoe Collector’s Convention in Orlando, fans were treated to their first look at the Slash & Slice two pack. I eagerly awaiting this pack after watching the film and was as giddy as a five-year old on Christmas morning when it arrived. Did it live up to the hype? Read on, fellow Joe collector… read on.
There is something oddly appealing in the simplistic design of Slash. Okay, I’m as puzzled as you are as to why he’s wearing what appear to be sunglasses on his forehead but the rest of the design works quite well. His color scheme is not too over-the-top; the red gei over what would appear to be a gray uniform, with black straps and white piping is visually striking. Moreover, his uniform appears to be completely functional—no extraneous piping, straps, pouches, pockets, or grenades as seem to have plagued the earlier waves of Valor vs. Venom. The only downside to his uniform is that the rubber skirt extension of his gei limits his leg poseability. I realize that Hasbro adds these miniskirts on for some variance in design, but I wish they weren’t so restrictive. While not nearly as bad as the wave 4 Kamakura, this skirt does limit his side-to-side mobility. His expression is decidedly cold—as if he is the more ruthless of the pair. Yet, this cold expression also belies a calculating intelligence that makes this figure appear all the more deadly. It may just be me, but everything about this figure says that he’s the one to watch out for. My only complaint about the design is that he appears to have been given the wrong name. If Slash and Slice are the updated versions of Slice and Dice, then you would expect Slice to be the ninja with the swords and Slash to be the one with more brutal tearing weapons. However, this is not the case and this figure (who just looks like a “Slice” to me) is instead called “Slash”. It’s a minor quibble but one that has me constantly referring to him by the wrong name.
Slash’s accessories are another reason to get excited about this figure. Let’s face it—we’re getting tired of the seeing the same two swords used over and over and over in GIJoe. How many of your characters appear to have stocked up at the last sale at “Hatori Hanzo’s Sword Emporium” by carrying the same weapons? Slash breaks this mold with not only a brand new sword but also a slick new carrying case as well. His weapon of choice appears to be a standard katana variant until you realize that it is actually two swords that snap together! Honestly, remember how cool it was seeing Darth Maul ignite the second lightsaber blade in “The Phantom Menace”? This is the same type of situation—in the middle of fierce swordfight, Slash is backed against the wall. Suddenly, one blade becomes two! The tables are turned, Nunchuck goes down bleeding, and Slash emerges victorious! Okay, maybe I have an over-active imagination but in my opinion, Slash is cool.
As with Slash, I feel this character is mis-named. The word “slash” implies a brutal tearing while “slice” implies a clean precise cut. Nothing about this figure indicates to me that he is subtle in any way. I have previously reviewed this figure when he was released with action attack. Back then I stated that I liked the figure design but felt he was a bit mis-named. I stand by that statement today. However, let me state what a difference an o-ring can make! Whereas the previous figure stood in the back of my display with all the presence of a coat rack for the Dreadnoks, this new version is dynamically posed in the middle of my Cobra Arashikage clan. Not much has changed with his design—except now he has a full range of motion at the waist and hips. Even his belt decoration doesn’t interfere with the poseability of this figure! Slice has been given new life in this, his most recent incarnation.
Slice also is the recipient of some new weaponry—a pair of short bladed weapons that I’m honestly too lazy to go and look up their real name. A combination of a nightstick and a trench knife, these paired weapons look like they could slash through anything short of Kevlar and could end the career of anyone who got in their way. Once again, these weapons seem to suggest the name “Slash” over the name “Slice” but I’ve already beaten this into the ground. It’s great to see new weapons for the martial arts contingent of the line. If we have to have them, it’s best that they’re not all packing the same equipment. Slice has already replaced my “action attack” version (who is now sitting the parts bin) and is a welcome addition to my Joe collection.
I know that a lot of people found Slash and Slice irritating at best in “Valor vs. Venom”. For me, they were just quirky enough to be interesting and yet still served a useful purpose. Okay, Tunnel Rat and Jinx both beat them down pretty easily but I still found something appealing about these two mis-matched warriors. I can easily see them being used as the “go to” guys when Storm Shadow isn’t around. They’ve both got interesting designs and some great new weaponry and the fact that they’re packaged together means that you won’t have one without the other. In all honesty, this is one of the two-packs that I’ve been the most excited about since seeing the film so this was a no-brainer for me to like. All bias aside, however, they’re pretty solid figures with some great gear so grab them when you see them—I can guarantee that you won’t regret it.