Snake Eyes (G.I. Joe)

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Snake Eyes
G.I. Joe character
Snake Eyes Arashikage Showdown.jpg
Snake Eyes in a variation of his version 2 suit
First appearance 1982
Affiliation G.I. Joe
Specialty Commando
Covert Mission Specialist
File name Classified
Birth place Classified
SN Classified
Rank E-8 Master Sergeant
Primary MOS Infantry
Secondary MOS Hand-to-hand combat instructor
Subgroups Ninja Force
Shadow Ninjas

Snake Eyes[1] is a fictional character from the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero toyline, comic books and cartoon series. He is a ninja who is one of the original and most popular members of the G.I. Joe Team and is most known for his rivalry with Storm Shadow. Snake Eyes is one of the most prominent characters in the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero franchise, and has appeared in every series since its inception. He is portrayed by Ray Park in the 2009 live-action film G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and the 2013 sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

Profile[edit]

Snake Eyes is the code name of a member of the G.I. Joe Team. Much of his history and information, including his real name, place of birth and service number, have remained classified throughout all depictions of his origin. All that is known for certain about him is his rank/grade (originally U.S. Army Sergeant/E-5,[2] and eventually reaching Master Sergeant/E-8), he has undergone Drill Sergeant training, and is a former U.S. Army Special Forces and Delta Force operator. Very little else about his past has been revealed. He was originally billed by Hasbro in 1982 as a commando, but in the pages of Marvel Comics, it became clear that he was also a full-fledged ninja master.

Snake Eyes is quiet in his movements and is a swift and deadly master of multiple martial arts. He is an expert in the use of a Japanese sword and spike-knuckled trench knives, but is equally qualified with and willing to use firearms and explosives. He is also the team's resident hand to hand combat instructor.[3] Making him even more dangerous is that he rarely relies on one set of weapons to the exclusion of others. Snake Eyes did give up much of his ninja training in later issues of the G.I. Joe: America's Elite comic series.[volume & issue needed]

He usually wears what could perhaps best be described as a black "military ninja" bodysuit, along with a balaclava and visor to cover his face, which was disfigured in a helicopter explosion. Since then, Snake Eyes has had extensive plastic surgery to repair the damage to his face; he still has a few scars left, but his vocal cords cannot be repaired. When shown out of his uniform, Snake Eyes is a six feet two inch tall Caucasian with an athletic build, blonde hair, and blue eyes. He has a pet wolf named Timber that has appeared several times in toys, comics, and animation.

Snake Eyes has been shown in the continuities of comics and animated series to at some point being romantically involved with fellow G.I. Joe member Scarlett. The involvement has gone from a close bond building to something more to being engaged. He has also had several apprentices, including Ophelia (deceased), Kamakura, Tiger Claw, and Jinx. His personal quote is "Move with the wind, and you will never be heard."[4]

Toys[edit]

Reproduction of the art of Snake Eyes' "Version 1" uniform from the original packaging as shown on the B Cover of G.I. Joe Declassified Mini Series ©Devil's Due Publishing

Snake Eyes was one of the original figures created for the 334" G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero toy line in 1982.[5][6] He shared many parts with other figures of that series, except for his unique head sculpt. He was actually created to save Hasbro money in the paint application process, as his first figure was made of black plastic with no paint applied for details. Even his head did not require any detail because of the mask.[7] All of the original sixteen figures from 1982 were released with "straight arms". The same figure was re-released in 1983 with "swivel-arm battle grip", which made it easier for figures to hold their rifles and accessories.[8]

A second version of Snake Eyes was released in 1985, packaged with his wolf Timber.[9][10] A third version of Snake Eyes was released in 1989,[11][12] and a fourth version in 1991.[13][14] The 1991 version was also released as a 12" G.I. Joe Hall of Fame action figure in 1992. This Snake Eyes figure introduced a new variation on the trademark G.I. Joe scar by putting the scar over the figure's left eye, instead of on his right cheek as had traditionally been the case during the vintage era (1964–1978) of G.I. Joe.[15]

A version of Snake Eyes with no accessories came with the Built to Rule Headquarters Attack in 2004. The figure featured additional articulation with a mid-thigh cut joint, and the forearms and the calves of the figure sported places where blocks could be attached.[16]

Snake Eyes has been packaged four times with his wolf Timber, and is most frequently paired with Storm Shadow when released in multi-packs or comic-packs. He has been released as a member of several sub-lines of the G.I. Joe line, such as Ninja Force (1993) and Shadow Ninjas (1994). He has also been released in several Hasbro multi-packs such as the Heavy Assault Squad, Winter Operations, and the Desert Patrol Squad Toys "R" Us exclusive. Snake Eyes' custom Kawasaki Ninja Lightning motorcycle has been sold five times at four different scales: once each at the 334" Real American Hero scale and the 12", with the remainder in the Sigma Six line. A common element in almost all Snake Eyes figures, is that his face is covered (except for the 2005 "Classified" series action figure, depicting him before he was disfigured), and he is both a Ninja and a Commando.

International variants[edit]

He has also been released in a few play sets, or with movies in the past. The "Version 1" 1982 mold of Snake Eyes was used in several countries in various forms. In most countries, because he was very different from all of the other G.I. Joe figures available at that time, he was treated as a member of Cobra. In Brazil, his head was recolored and used to create Cobra De Aço, and the entire mold was used with a silver Cobra logo to create Cobra Invasor. The figure was also available without the Cobra logo as O Invasor. In Argentina, Snake Eyes was recolored in red and silver, and released as Cobra Mortal and as a different version of Cobra Invasor.[17]

25th Anniversary[edit]

Snake Eyes was featured in the G.I. Joe team 5 pack for the 25th Anniversary in 2007 as a Commando, using a new mold heavily based on his first design. His ninja design (V2) also was sold in the first line of individual figure packaged with Timber in 2007. He also received an updated version of his "Version 3" (or V3) mold from 1989, which featured for the first time, removable butterfly swords in 2008. Several of these molds have been used in other releases of Snake Eyes including Comic and other Multi-packs throughout the collection. For the finale of the 25th anniversary, Hasbro launched a poll on their website for fans to pick their favorite figures for the special line, Hall of Heroes. Two versions of Snake Eyes were picked for this series. The series features the figure, packaged on their blister card, but also packaged in a special collectors box. The figures were first released in April 2009.[18]

The Rise of Cobra[edit]

In 2009, to coincide with the launch of the live-action movie, Hasbro released four figures based on the Snake Eyes movie character. The first, classified as Paris Pursuit, features Snake Eyes in a uniform similar to his "V2" from the classic series, but features an overcoat and comes with a black or grey wolf.[19] The second, classified as Ninja Commando, is a rendition of his "V2" uniform design.[20] The third figure was classified as "Arctic Assault" in a white winter parka, with a traditional black mask.[21] The fourth figure was classified as "City Strike", and features the head of Snake Eyes from G.I. Joe: Resolute, on a previous body.[22] Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow as they appear in the film were released by Hasbro as 12-inch "ninja figures" with action and sound features. He was also announced to be released as part of the Target-exclusive G.I. Joe Rescue Mission 4-pack, in a mold of the "Paris Pursuit" head on a Resolute body.[23]

Comics[edit]

Marvel Comics[edit]

In the Marvel Comics' continuity, Snake Eyes, Stalker, and Storm Shadow served together during the Vietnam War in a LRRP unit. While Snake Eyes served in combat, he always carried a picture of his twin sister with him in his hat for good luck. On a particular mission, a heavy firefight with the North Vietnamese NVA resulted in the apparent death of his team mates (among them Wade Collins, who actually survived and later joins Cobra, becoming Fred II of the Fred series Crimson Guardsmen). As a helicopter arrived to pick up the surviving team members, the pursuing NVA opened fire, severely injuring Snake Eyes. Despite a direct order from Stalker to leave him, Storm Shadow went back for Snake Eyes. Running through heavy enemy fire, Storm Shadow was able to get Snake Eyes safely aboard the helicopter. Upon returning home from the war, Snake Eyes met with Colonel Hawk, who informed him that his family had been killed in a car accident (which coincidentally, involved the brother of the man who would eventually become G.I. Joe's arch-foe, Cobra Commander).

After some soul-searching, Snake Eyes went to study the ninja arts with Storm Shadow's family, the Arashikage Clan.[24] Snake Eyes' ability to quickly learn skills especially impressed Storm Shadow's uncle, the Hard Master. Over time, Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow became sword brothers, and unintentional rivals for the attention and favor of the Hard Master, who liked pitting them against one another to test their considerable skills. Though Snake Eyes often attempted to throw matches in order that his friend should save face in front of his family, the Hard Master was aware of Snake Eyes' ruse, and knew him to be the true victor. During one of Snake Eyes' training sessions, the Hard Master expressed his desire for Snake Eyes to take over leadership of the Arashikage ninja clan instead of his nephew, Storm Shadow. Snake Eyes refused, but Zartan (hired by Cobra Commander) mistakenly killed the Hard Master instead of him. Zartan used an arrow he stole from Storm Shadow, implicating him in the murder of his uncle. Storm Shadow chased Zartan, who was able to escape in a helicopter piloted by Firefly. With Storm Shadow believed responsible for the death of the Hard Master, the Arashikage ninja clan dissolved, and Snake Eyes returned to America, where he took up residence in the High Sierra mountains.[25]

Cover of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero showing Snake Eyes fighting the Cobra Commander, issue #150 © Marvel Comics

Snake Eyes first appeared in G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #1 (June 1982).[26] In the series, Snake Eyes rejoined some of his wartime buddies, when he was recruited into G.I. Joe. Once on the team, Snake Eyes became very close to Scarlett. One of the first stories established the reason behind Snake Eyes' injuries and muteness. In this story, the team is on a mission in the Middle East. Snake Eyes, Scarlett, Rock 'n Roll, and Grunt were sent to save George Strawhacker from Cobra. On the way, the helicopter they were in started to have trouble and was soon going to crash. It forced the Joes to bail out, but Scarlett was stuck in the burning helicopter and Snake Eyes stayed behind to save her. Snake Eyes managed to save Scarlett, but a window exploded in his face, scarring him and damaging his vocal cords (while he carried Scarlett out of the wreck of the crashed helicopter, his head is actually on fire). Despite his injuries and the warning from Doc that unless he gets medical help immediately he may never speak again, Snake Eyes convinced Hawk to let him continue on with the mission, "without even saying a word". Strawhacker, who was once engaged to Snake Eyes' sister, never learned who the "scarred, masked soldier" who saved his life was.[27] After many battles with Cobra, Scarlett was captured by Storm Shadow. In the famous silent issue (#21), Snake Eyes rescued Scarlett and battled Storm Shadow for the first time since they had last seen each other.[28] At first, Snake Eyes was angered by his sword brother's actions, but he was eventually told the truth by Storm Shadow himself.[25] Storm Shadow, blamed by the Arashikage clan for the murder of Hard Master, joined Cobra to find out who was truly behind the murder. After discovering it was Zartan who killed his uncle, he left Cobra and joined G.I. Joe.[29]

Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow would soon team together for some of G.I. Joe's toughest missions, and the bond between them would be both strengthened and tested. In one of the series' most memorable story arcs (entitled the "Snake Eyes Trilogy"), the Baroness sought revenge upon Snake Eyes, under the mistaken belief that he had killed her brother in Southeast Asia. She captured Snake Eyes while he was sedated (recovering from the surgery to repair his face) and shot Scarlett at extreme close range in the process. Storm Shadow, Stalker, and Wade Collins led a rescue operation coming to the aid of Snake Eyes, while he had already escaped his torture (assembling a new uniform and weapons from those who had been torturing him in the process), and was conducting demolition operations against the Cobra consulate building where he had been imprisoned.[30] After a second rescue mission for George Strawhacker and a run-in with the Night Creepers, he is reunited with Scarlett. For the first and only time in many years, Snake Eyes spoke Scarlett's name, and she woke from her coma, ultimately returning to active duty.[31] As Marvel's G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero comic series was drawing to a close, the battle between Snake Eyes and Cobra Commander finally came to pass in issue #150. For this battle, Snake Eyes removed his mask, and fought with all his might against an armored Cobra Commander, eventually defeating him. However, Cobra Commander would have the last laugh, as he had captured Storm Shadow, and successfully brainwashed him back to the side of Cobra.[32] Snake Eyes and Scarlett would continue to serve G.I. Joe until its disbandment, and were present for that ceremony.[33]

Alternate continuities[edit]

Snake Eyes has been featured in many of the alternate reality/continuity based stories of G.I. Joe.

Devil's Due Publishing[edit]

In order to make the G.I. Joe team younger, Devil's Due and Image Comics are ambiguous about what conflict Snake Eyes and company served in, implying it might not have been the Vietnam War, but a different conflict in Southeast Asia. This change was put in so that the team now appears timeless, and allows for the characters to exist for more than twenty years of comics. Devil's Due Publishing also introduced new elements into Snake Eyes' past during their Snake Eyes Declassified miniseries. These changes show more of the motivation of Cobra Commander's attempt to kill Snake Eyes while training to become a ninja. Snake Eyes was revealed to have had an encounter with Cobra Commander prior to the formation of Cobra. Cobra Commander befriended Snake Eyes and sought to recruit him into a plot to murder a judge. The judge in question had wrongfully convicted Cobra Commander's older brother of arson and insurance fraud, resulting in the ruin of his brother's life, causing him to spiral downward into alcoholism, and ultimately the drunken car accident that claimed both his life and the lives of Snake Eyes' family. Snake Eyes agreed to go along with Cobra Commander, but at the last minute refused to go along with the plan. Cobra Commander killed the judge, and swore revenge against Snake Eyes, resulting in him hiring Firefly (who in turn subcontracted Zartan) to kill Snake Eyes while he was training in the Arashikage Clan.[34]

The first four issues of Devil's Due Publishing's G.I. Joe: Frontline featured Larry Hama's story of one last mission, "The Mission That Never Was". The original G.I. Joe team after the official disbandment had to transport a particle beam weapon from Florida to Joe Colton's location in New York City. This series attempts to clear up a few loose ends from the original series, most specifically that Billy, Storm Shadow, and the Baroness were left under the influence of Cobra as a result of the Brain Wave Scanner. Snake Eyes is on this mission to save Storm Shadow, and at the end of this series, it is revealed that Storm Shadow is returning to his ways as a ninja, and will deal with Snake Eyes when he is ready. Snake Eyes and Scarlett move back to his home. It is revealed that Timber has died during this time period simply due to old age. Before passing, he sired a litter of pups, and Snake Eyes adopts one.[35] The two left the military and became engaged during this period of retirement. On the day of the wedding Snake Eyes disappears; according to Scarlett, this was due to him being unable to accept the fact that marriage would mean settling down and living a normal life.

The following Master & Apprentice miniseries revealed that Snake Eyes, along with Nunchuk, and T'Jbang, was training a new apprentice, Ophelia, to be the last of the Arashikage ninja clan shortly after he and Scarlett had become engaged. As Ophelia's final test, she and Snake Eyes confront Firefly for his role in the murder of the Hard Master. However, Firefly kills Ophelia and escapes, leaving Snake Eyes devastated. As a result, on his wedding day, Snake Eyes breaks off his engagement to Scarlett in front of longtime friend Stalker, then again disappears to his compound in the Sierras, where he is approached by Sean Collins, the son of Wade Collins, another Vietnam War buddy. Sean asks Snake Eyes to train him as a new apprentice, as a way to help put himself together after watching his crew also get slaughtered by Firefly on the night Ophelia was killed. Some time later, Jinx and Budo call Snake Eyes and crew in to investigate new intel on the location of Firefly. He is working for the "Nowhere Man" and has given up his military training to some degree, because of all of the loss it has brought him. Snake Eyes confronts Firefly who is meeting with another masked ninja. It is then revealed that this ninja is Storm Shadow, who has just taken out Sean. Sean was eventually given the name Kamakura, and would later join the G.I. Joe team.[36]

In the pages of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero by Devil's Due Publishing, Snake Eyes and Scarlett would be reunited again upon G.I. Joe's reinstatement. While initially angry with him, Scarlett eventually forgave his actions and the two again became engaged. Later, after many skirmishes with Cobra, the return of Serpentor (in which Snake Eyes was injured by a grenade blast but quickly recovered), altercations with Storm Shadow, his triumph over the Red Ninja leader Sei Tin (which gave Snake Eyes control of the Red Ninja clan), and a close-call defeat at the hands of the heavily armored Wraith, the team is reduced to a smaller unit, and Snake Eyes, Scarlett, and Duke get in serious trouble. A shadowy cabal of influential generals, known as the Jugglers, has Snake Eyes arrested. When Duke attempted to blackmail them into giving up their attempts to wrest control of G.I. Joe from the Joes themselves, he joined Snake Eyes in prison. However, Scarlett secretly met with Storm Shadow (who had broken free of his mind control), and rescued them from a convoy, then escaping to Iceland as vigilantes and hiding out with Scanner, until they could figure out what was going on.[volume & issue needed] However, they are tailed by former Coil agent Overlord, now a freelance mercenary for the Jugglers, who fatally injures Scanner, and locked the Joes in a bomb shelter until federal agents could arrive. Scanner, in his last moments, activated the Icelandic station's self-destruct mechanism, killing Overlord in the blast and saving the Joes, who were in the safe shelter. Days later the team were rescued, and came back to assist Flint, Lady Jaye, and General Philip Rey in dealing with a new menace, the Red Shadows. When the Red Shadows attempted to assassinate Hawk as he recovered at a mountain camp, Snake Eyes sent his apprentice, Kamakura, to save him, then joining him and getting Hawk to safety. Snake Eyes would later put his skills to good use in fighting and defeating the Shadows, before their plot could be set into motion (he even stabbed Wilder Vaughn, although whether it hurt the bio-enhanced Vaughn is unknown).[volume & issue needed] Amidst all this, Snake Eyes and Kamakura traveled to Asia to assist sword-brother Storm Shadow in finding his apprentice, who had been kidnapped by the Red Ninjas. Snake Eyes helped Storm Shadow defeat the Red Ninja leader, Sei Tin, but the mission was a failure. Snake Eyes relinquished control of the Red Ninjas (which he had won before) to Storm Shadow, bidding him to start the Arashikage anew. Storm Shadow left his clan in T'Jbang's care.[volume & issue needed]

Hasbro later announced that all stories published by Devil's Due Publishing are no longer considered canonical, and are now considered an alternate continuity.[37]

America's Elite[edit]

G.I. Joe: America's Elite issue #16 Snake Eyes as a "Commando" once more (homage to version 1 uniform)

Snake Eyes was reactivated as a member of the team in G.I. Joe: America's Elite, in its new, sleek covert status with a reduced roster, and when the team was supposed to be "gone", he along with Stalker, Scarlett, Shipwreck, Roadblock, Flint, and Duke (and Storm Shadow who also joined them) continued to track down Cobra cells and eliminate them. When Vance Wingfield seemingly returned from the grave, and dropped deadly satellites onto major metropolitan areas using equipment supplied by Destro, the team scrambled to find answers. Snake Eyes went his own way, not informing the team where he was going. Suspecting the involvement of the saboteur and explosives expert Firefly, Snake Eyes tracked his quarry to ground zero in Chicago, and interrupted Firefly attempting an assassination on a gang lord.[volume & issue needed] Upon returning to The Rock, the newly commissioned Joe base, Snake Eyes learned that Scarlett had gone missing and revealed that both he and Scarlett had implanted tracking devices in one another, and that only they knew the frequencies. He found her to be in the middle of the ocean and the rest of the Joes (with the exception of Duke, also missing) agreed to accompany him on an unofficial rescue mission. Shipwreck led them to Destro's titanic submarine, the Cataclysm. Together, Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes were matched against Wraith, but Wraith still managed to keep ahead of them, disappearing into the shadows. Destro escaped, but not before he ordered the giant sub to be scuttled. Snake Eyes was killed saving the lives of his comrades, but the rescue of Scarlett was successful.[volume & issue needed]

Snake Eyes' body was stolen by the Red Ninjas from the Joe headquarters moments after the team's return. While Scarlett and the others went searching for clues as to who took the body, the Red Ninjas used mystical arts to revive Snake Eyes, who has now become one of them.[volume & issue needed] The Joe team faced a ninja in red armor that looked and fought like Snake Eyes and were quickly beaten. Snake Eyes then engaged in a one-on-one battle with Storm Shadow. Meanwhile, it was discovered that T'Jbang has had his mind "exchanged" with Sei Tin, thus explaining T'Jbang's evil machinations.[volume & issue needed] As Storm Shadow fought Snake Eyes, he tried reasoning with his friend. Eventually, he held Scarlett at his sword's edge, commanding Snake Eyes to choose between killing him, saving Scarlett, or remaining a part of the Red Ninjas. Snake Eyes responded by wounding Storm Shadow, but not killing him. This act has caused Snake Eyes to return to his normal self, and he subsequently rejoined the Joes.[volume & issue needed] Shortly after, Scarlett observes as Snake Eyes, in a commando-oriented uniform, tests himself in a training session, seemingly abandoning all of his ninja training and focusing solely on his military training instead. Following the session, Scarlett unmasks Snake Eyes and is shocked at the sight.[38] Later, Snake Eyes reveals to Scarlett and Stalker a secret that he learned from Storm Shadow: the Baroness is still alive, and being held captive within the Rock. After this, they confront General Colton on the validity of this and accuse him of lying.[39] When ordered on a mandatory break, Snake Eyes and Kamakura go on a retreat to the High Sierras, where Kamakura tries to rationalize that Snake Eyes could not have died, but must have put himself into a trance. He then argues that Snake Eyes should not have given up his ninja skills, and that he wishes to work with him to restore his faith. Snake Eyes remains unresponsive throughout this conversation.[40] Snake Eyes returns to active duty (still as a commando), and investigates a medical facility with Stalker and Scarlett, where they find a fatally injured Scalpel who informs them that the Baroness is on the loose and wants revenge on both G.I. Joe and Cobra.[41]

In the one-shot comic Special Missions: Antarctica, Snake Eyes is part of the core G.I. Joe team (along with Duke, Stalker and Scarlett, not counting the team's arctic reservists) that is called to investigate an Extensive Enterprises venture in Antarctica. As the mission progresses, the Joe team eventually find themselves at the base of the twins Tomax and Xamot, and the team splits up. Snake Eyes goes with Snow Job and infiltrates the base, where they fight and chase Tomax off.[42]

Snake Eyes is part of the team serving in various battles during the final arc World War III. Eventually, he comes face to face with Firefly, and at first is using a gun. When convinced by Storm Shadow that he has to use all of his training to defeat his enemy, he picks up a sword and strikes down Firefly. After this, he and Storm Shadow attempt to take Zartan into custody for the murder of Hard Master but they are unable to capture him. In the end, Snake Eyes is shown among the members of the fully restored G.I. Joe team.[43]

In G.I. Joe: Reloaded (a new, separate continuity that featured a more modern and realistic take on the G.I. Joe/Cobra war, and explored many differences from established continuity) it was hinted, but never stated, that Snake Eyes was a former Cobra agent who quit and decided to assist G.I. Joe instead. Although he did not serve on the team, it was shown that Snake Eyes was interested in Scarlett, but the series ended before anything further was explored.

Snake Eyes appears in G.I. Joe vs. The Transformers, Devil's Due Publishing Transformers crossover series set in an alternate continuity. As G.I. Joe is organized, Snake Eyes is assigned to a group of soldiers protecting a peace conference in Washington. He is called "Chatterbox" but does not actually speak, because he had been dared by the other soldiers to actually keep quiet for a time. Snake Eyes is terribly scarred, and loses his voice, when a Cobra Commander-controlled Starscream shoots Cover Girl's missile tank out from under him. His family is also killed during the attack.[44] During the assault on Cobra Island, Snake Eyes slices open one of Starscream's optics and shoves a grenade into the socket.[45] During the final part of the first miniseries, Snake Eyes is given a Cybertronian-based Mech that allows him to fight the much larger Decepticons, as well as Cobra agents in Decepticon suits.[44] The second miniseries focused on several Transformers being sent back in time to various time periods, which forced Joes and Cobra to team-up to retrieve them. The first group to be sent back in time included Snake Eyes, Lady Jaye, Zartan, and Storm Shadow, sent back to 1970s California. After recovering all of the Transformers, they arrive back on Cybertron.[46] During the third miniseries, it is shown that Snake Eyes has a developing love interest with Scarlett who returns those feelings to him with a passionate kiss after he rescues her from a Decepticon prison, and removes his mask to show his scarred face.[47] Later, they appear to be in a relationship.[48] During the fourth miniseries, Snake Eyes is only shown in one scene as still being an active member of the Joe team, along with Flint, Lady Jaye, and leader Duke.[49] He appears briefly as a side character fighting several of the Royal Guards.[50]

Transformers/G.I. Joe, originally planned for publication during the same time as G.I. Joe vs. The Transformers, was being published by Dreamwave Productions until they announced bankruptcy leadomg only the first miniseries was completed. The story features the Transformers meeting the G.I. Joe team in 1939, when Snake Eyes was prominent in defeating the Decepticons by opening the Matrix, and then again in the 1980s for the second miniseries. Snake Eyes was a member of the team in 1939, but is somehow still in fighting shape in the 1980s.

IDW Publishing[edit]

IDW Publishing started a new series, that continues where the Marvel Comics series ended. The new series started with a free comic book day issue #15512, and replaces all of the Devil's Due Publishing continuity that was established. This series is again written by Larry Hama.[37]

In 2009, IDW Publishing took over the license for a G.I. Joe comic series that do not connect to any of the past continuity. Snake Eyes is once again a member of the team, and throughout the first storyline, he is a renegade agent of G.I. Joe with whom Scarlet is in communication without the approval of Hawk. In this series, Snake Eyes first appears in the Crimean Rivera chasing Nico.[51] It is later mentioned by Duke that Snake Eyes has gone AWOL. Scarlett sends him a message signed with "Love Red", a code telling him to run. He heads back to Seattle, where he finds Mainframe,[52] and gives him the hard drive that Scarlett requested, containing information about Springfield, which is where the two rogue Joes head. Once there, they find a secret lab and retrieve evidence that Cobra exist, before the town is leveled by a MOAB. With the evidence in hand, the two are accepted back into the full team. Snake Eyes eventually heads to Manhattan, NYC, to meet his old mentor, who helps heal his mind after his defeat.[53]

In G.I. Joe: Origins, Snake Eyes receives an update to the origin of his wounds and his being mute. In the first storyline, Duke and Scarlett, with the help of Connie, find their way to the North Las Vegas community hospital and find in the burn unit intensive care near bed K (BUICK) the only survivor of an explosion at a plastic surgery clinic. The survivor is Snake Eyes, his face and hands are completely bandaged, and he is now mute because of the explosion's damage. Duke and Scarlett are there to recruit this Airborne Ranger, who they escape with before the hospital room is destroyed by the Billionaire/Chimera.[54] Snake Eyes continues to appear with his face wrapped in bandages throughout the first storyline. He later appears in his black uniform with visor and sword, a variation of his original figure's uniform, on a mission in London as part of the second storyline.[55]

A solo title G.I. Joe: Snake Eyes started in May 2011, being part of G.I. Joe: Cobra Civil War saga; after Cobra Civil War ended, G.I. Joe: Snake Eyes continued for the new story arc G.I. Joe: Cobra Command, finally showing why and how he deserted the Joes and what part Storm Shadow had into.

Cartoons[edit]

Sunbow[edit]

Unlike his comic book counterpart, Snake Eyes did not play a major role in the Sunbow's G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero TV series (with the exception of the miniseries specials "The M.A.S.S. Device", "Revenge of Cobra", and "The Pyramid of Darkness", and a couple of episodes). During the first miniseries "The M.A.S.S. Device", some of his origins were explored, but only how he came to have his wolf Timber. He was always portrayed as a trusted and loyal teammate, and even proved to have a sense of humor.[56] In the first miniseries, Snake Eyes appeared in his "V1" uniform, but for all of his later appearances he wore a bluish-grey version of his "V2" uniform. The only hint of his relationship with Scarlett was shown in "The MASS Device" when Snake Eyes sacrifices himself to save the team and he and Scarlett touch palms while separated by a plexiglass wall, which brings Scarlett to tears; when Snake Eyes returns to headquarters alive, Scarlett throws herself into his arms. Additionally, he does not have a rivalry with Storm Shadow in the cartoon, instead picking fights with such characters as Spirit and Quick Kick. Although Snake Eyes does not speak, the vocal effects of Snake Eyes' wolf Timber were provided by Frank Welker.

Snake Eyes is shown in a few scenes of G.I. Joe: The Movie, but like many of the characters of the Sunbow cartoon, he has a very minor role in the final battle (besides appearing in the opening title sequence).[57]

DiC[edit]

Snake Eyes, in his 1991 "V4" uniform, was a character shown during the DiC's G.I. Joe series. He did have a few key episodes, and at this time was shown to be working with his blood brother, Storm Shadow, who now was a member of the G.I. Joe Ninja Force. Snake Eyes was shown more in this series as a ninja, but little more of his origins or his relationships were explored before this series ended.

Direct to video[edit]

Snake Eyes is one of the G.I. Joe members in all of the direct to video CG-animated movies. The continuity of these movies are not believed to tie to the previous history, and more directly (albeit loosely) lead into the events of Sigma Six. The main difference between these movies and previous continuity from DiC, Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow are again on opposite sides fighting each other.

Snake Eyes is shown throughout the G.I. Joe: Spy Troops movie which marked his first appearance as a major character in any animated form. He has some relationship with Scarlett as he is a part of the team that goes to rescue her after she is taken hostage by Zartan, but it is not fully explored. Snake Eyes spares Storm Shadow's life even though he asked to have Snake Eyes end it

Snake Eyes is seen in G.I. Joe: Valor vs. Venom as the master to both of his apprentices Jinx and Kamakura for the first time in animated continuity. Snake Eyes gives Kamakura a sword named "Tatsuwashi", and battles Storm Shadow as well as several of the new Cobra Ninjas.

In the animated short G.I. Joe: Ninja Battles, which was packaged with a set of figures, a new ninja apprentice (who later takes the code name Tiger Claw) is joining the G.I. Joe team and learns of Snake Eyes' and Storm Shadows' past in the Arashikage Clan, as the movie explains their rivalry and shows how they deal with each other to this day. Most of the movie is narration over original artwork and some scenes from the previous two movies, as well as some new footage at the end. This movie is not in the same continuity as the comics, and events here do not seem to progress into Sigma Six.

Resolute[edit]

Snake Eyes appears in G.I. Joe: Resolute series in a version of his uniform that resembles his original appearance. In this series, he first appears during a briefing on the attack of the USS Flagg. During an autopsy on Bazooka, a scroll with the Arashikage symbol on it is found. The instructions on the scroll tell Snake Eyes to go where everything began, where he takes out a team of Cobra Neo-Vipers while Storm Shadow watches and waits. After this battle, a brief history of Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes is shown. In this series, their rivalry comes from Storm Shadow wanting his uncle to teach him the Seventh Step to the Sun technique, a move that allows one to kill an opponent in seven blows. When his uncle refuses, Storm Shadow signals Zartan to assassinate his uncle. Snake Eyes is shot in the throat by Zartan, to prevent him from warning their master, resulting in his becoming mute. Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow face off in a one on one battle. Storm Shadow initially dominates the fight, as he had been taught the Sixth Step to the Sun compared to Snake Eyes' Fifth. Snake Eyes however shows that he in fact was taught the Seventh Step to the Sun technique, and kills Storm Shadow with seven blows, the last perforating his skull. He later rejoins the rest of the team in their final assault on Cobra Commander's headquarters. The love triangle of Snake Eyes, Scarlett and Duke is also explored slightly in this series. Early on in the episode, Duke makes Scarlett choose between Snake Eyes and himself, and she ultimately decides to be with Duke.[58]

Renegades[edit]

In G.I. Joe: Renegades, Snake Eyes is a member of G.I. Joe. He was given the name "Hebi no me" ("Snake Eyes") by his Arashikage clan sensei, Hard Master, because he possesses the "steely gaze of a serpent". He cannot speak after having his throat punctured and shows up just for special missions when called by his apprentice Scarlett, who can "translate" what he is thinking. He is not used to teamwork, but now that he has joined G.I. Joe, his sense of honor and morality would not let him walk away. In the episode "Dreadnoks Rising", Zartan takes off his visor but puts it back on and says, "You need it more than I do". Snake Eyes' wolf Timber made an appearance in the episode "White Out" where he was rescued by Snake Eyes from a bear trap, before they got assaulted by Storm Shadow and Shadow-Vipers; at the end, Snake Eyes asked Snow Job to watch Timber until he returns. In the episode "Revelations, Part 1", Scarlett learns that Snake Eyes briefly met her father and promised him to look after his daughter, and has shown signs of having feelings for her. During the time when Snake Eyes still spoke before his throat injury in the episodes "Return of the Arashikage, Parts 1-2" Snake Eyes was voiced by Danny Cooksey.

Sigma 6[edit]

Toys[edit]

Snake Eyes again makes his appearance as part of the G.I. Joe: Sigma 6 toy series, which does not tie into the continuity of the original G.I. Joe universe. As of September 2006, he has had seven 8" Sigma Six Commando Scale Figures and been packaged with six different 2.5" Sigma Six Mission Sets (most are posed and do not have additional accessories, made at this scale for large vehicles of the Sigma Six Line). Snake Eyes' custom motorcycle has been sold at the 8" scale, with the ability to transform into a hover cycle and equipped with many hidden weapons, and twice at the 2.5" scale. He has been sold with Timber once, at the 8" scale, and this is the first incarnation of Timber which was fully poseable, rather than being a solid molded piece.

Cartoon and comics[edit]

In the Sigma 6 animated series, Snake Eyes is part of the Sigma 6 team. His background history has been substantially changed from the A Real American Hero series but still shares a connection with Storm Shadow, who referred to him as "brother". Although Storm Shadow is a brainwashed Cobra agent, he blames Snake Eyes for the ruin of the Arashikage ninja clan. In Sigma 6, both Jinx and Kamakura serve as Snake Eyes' apprentices and G.I. Joe reserve members. As is in the original series, Snake Eyes is mute, but the reason for this, like in the original series, is not explored. While the A Real American Hero cartoon series never showed Snake Eyes' true face, the Sigma 6 continuity took some visual cues from the A Real American Hero comics. In one episode, when Snake Eyes was fighting Storm Shadow, his visor partially broke and it appears that this Snake Eyes has blonde hair, blue eyes, and his face is not burned, with only a scar near his eye as a result of a training accident. In the sixth episode of the second season, Snake Eyes faces off against a pack of wolves; after saving one, the unnamed wolf begins to work with him, helping him throughout the episode and is later seen howling atop a hill near Sigma Six headquarters. (It was confirmed that it was a Sigma 6 version of Timber when a new Arctic Sigma Six figure of Snake Eyes was released with Timber, the figure's bio card describing the plot from this episode.)

Snake Eyes appeared in the Sigma 6 comic, released by Devil's Due Publishing with direct connection to the related animated series. He took center stage in issue 6, the main plot of which centered on Storm Shadow, as Snake Eyes is sent in to retrieve a stolen electronic device from him, eventually winning the chip after an action-packed fight. Storm Shadow refers to Snake Eyes as "brother" and breaks Snake Eyes' headgear, partially exposing his face, which again is shown to be of a blonde American with one scar.[59]

Live-action movies[edit]

Snake Eyes
G.I. Joe character
SnakeEyeslive.jpg
Snake Eyes in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Printed on his arm is the Ba gua trigram symbols for water and fire: the hexagram symbol for completion. The symbol is also used for the Arashikage Ninja Clan, of which Snake Eyes is a member.
First appearance 2009
Portrayed by Ray Park (adult)
Leo Howard (child)
Affiliation G.I. Joe
Specialty Martial arts specialist
File name Classified[60]
Birth place Classified
SN Classified
Rank Classified
Series G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Child actor and martial artist Leo Howard, and martial artist/stuntman Ray Park, play young Snake Eyes and adult Snake Eyes respectively, in the film adaptation G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.[61] In an early draft by Stuart Beattie, Snake Eyes would have spoken as a gag, but Larry Hama convinced him to drop the joke.[62]

In the movie, Snake Eyes' background is rebooted, with him being an abandoned 10 year old child who found his way to the home of Arashikage Clan, where he battled the young Thomas Arashikage (Storm Shadow) who attacked him for stealing food from them. However, the orphan's natural ability to fight impressed Thomas's uncle, the Hard Master, who gave Snake Eyes his name while bringing him under his wing. While Snake Eyes would initially lose to Thomas, Snake Eyes eventually surpassed Thomas and gained the favor of the Hard Master, becoming recognized as Hard Master's top student. Angered at Hard Master choosing Snake Eyes over him, Thomas appears to kill the Hard Master off-screen, and is then seen running off in midst of the chaos. Since then, Snake Eyes has chosen to take a vow of silence. Learning that Thomas, now known as Storm Shadow, is now a member of Cobra, Snake Eyes fights him before stabbing him, allowing him to fall into icy water in Cobra's Arctic base, and leaving him presumed dead. After this, Snake Eyes returns to The Pit with the surviving members of G.I. Joe.

Park returns as Snake Eyes in the sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation. In the film, Snake Eyes is framed by Zartan for assassinating the President of Pakistan under orders of G.I. Joe. Storm Shadow disguises himself as Snake Eyes to break Cobra Commander out of prison as the real Snake Eyes watches from the shadows. With the help of Jinx, Snake Eyes captures Storm Shadow and takes him to the Blind Master to pay for his assassination of Hard Master. However, Snake Eyes learns that Zartan was the one who murdered the Hard Master and framed Storm Shadow for it, and that Storm Shadow only joined Cobra in order to avenge the Hard Master's death. With this revelation, Storm Shadow teams up with Snake Eyes and the Joes to stop Cobra Commander's plan to destroy several countries to take over the world. During the final battle, Snake Eyes allows Storm Shadow to deal with Zartan by giving him the sword that was used to kill the Hard Master. Snake Eyes and the Joes stop Cobra Commander's plan and are declared heroes, absolved of their accusations, while Storm Shadow avenges the Hard Master's death by stabbing Zartan to his death before disappearing.

Video games[edit]

  • Snake Eyes is one of the featured characters in the 1985 computer game G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.[63]
  • Snake Eyes appears, in his "V3" uniform, as a playable character in the 1991 G.I. Joe video game for the NES.[64] His special abilities include jumping faster and higher than the other characters, and he can use his sword as a projectile weapon that does not use up any ammo. He can be selected for any of the missions from the start, and is actually the team leader for the game's third mission set in New York.[65]
  • Snake Eyes appears, in his "V4" uniform, as a playable character in the 1992 G.I. Joe: The Atlantis Factor video game for the NES.[66] He can be selected for missions after he is found, which is not until late in the game after completing Area E.[67]
  • Snake Eyes is featured as a playable character in the 1992 arcade game G.I. Joe.
  • Snake Eyes is featured as a playable character in the 2009 video game G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

Reception[edit]

Snake Eyes is one of the most popular and recognizable G.I. Joe characters. In 1986, G.I. Joe creator Larry Hama called him to be the most successful character he ever created, believing this is because his mysterious appearance and persona means "he becomes a universal blank slate for projection of fantasy for anybody."[68]

In 2008, TechCrunch used the question "Could he/she beat Snake Eyes?" while evaluating the top video game ninja characters.[69] In 2010, Topless Robot ranked Snake Eyes as the first on the list of The 10 Coolest G.I. Joe Ninjas, calling him "the most popular member of the team".[70] UGO.com included him on the lists of TV's Worst Speakers (in 2010)[71] and the Best Silent Killers of Movies and TV (in 2011).[72]

The character was parodied in the Robot Chicken 2007 episode "More Blood, More Chocolate", in which Snake Eyes was shown communicating with Duke by using an Etch A Sketch.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]