Storm Shadow was created by Larry Hama, an American comic book writer and artist. The character made his debut in Marvel comics in March 1984, making his first appearance in the series G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #21.
Storm Shadow was born in San Francisco to a family of Japanese immigrants as Tomisaburo Arashikage. As a child, he was known as Tommy, and he grew up in an American lifestyle while still learning about his own culture. As a teenager, Tommy traveled to his family home in Japan. He learned that his family was also a respected ninja clan. Tommy studied with his uncles, the Soft Master and the Hard Master. He also spent time with his younger cousin, Kimmy, also known as Jinx.
Tommy became quite skilled and was granted the title of the Young Master. When he was old enough, Tommy enlisted in the army to fight in Vietnam. Serving as a Long Range Recon Patrol (LRRP), Tommy honed his skills, learning the art of stealth better than he could at home. During his time in Vietnam, Tommy met Snake-Eyes. On their first tour of duty together, they became friends, as close as brothers.
Tommy even offered Snake-Eyes a place in the "family business" when they returned home. Their first tour came to an abrupt end when a battle resulted in the deaths of the rest of the soldiers in their unit. They were eventually assigned to a LRRP unit under the command of Lonzo "Stalker" Wilkinson, accompanied by three other soldiers: Wade Collins, Ramon Escobedo and Dick Saperstein. The group stumbled upon an encampment of North Vietnamese soldiers and a firefight ensued. Collins, Saperstein and Escobedo were all believed killed in the attack. Snake-Eyes, Stalker and Tommy all retreated to a landing zone for rescue. As the three soldiers ran across a field toward the extraction chopper, they were fired upon.
Snake-Eyes was hit badly and Stalker ordered Tommy to leave him. Tommy refused, running back to save his friend and to Stalker's amazement, he evaded all enemy fire and retrieved Snake-Eyes, plus the photo of his sister that was so important to him. Recovering from his injuries, Snake-Eyes was sent home only to find his family had died in a car wreck, on their way to meet him.
After the deaths of his family, Snake-Eyes accepted Tommy's offer to join his ninja clan and study in Japan. As the months wore on, Snake-Eyes became as skilled as Tommy, and in some ways surpassed him.
Tommy was still the most skilled at the bow, but he often hunted animals to prove his skills. He could shoot a target blindfolded or from behind a solid wall. All he had to do was listen for his opponents heartbeat and he could figure out were it was heading and kill it with a single arrow.
This skill was known as, "The Ear That Sees." A rift started between the two friends since Snake-Eyes did not approve of Tommy's unnecessary killing. What made matters worse was that Snake-Eyes was starting to replace Tommy as the Hard Master's favorite student. Soon, Tommy's world was shattered when the man who would be Cobra Commander hired two assassins, Zartan and Firefly, to kill Snake-Eyes. The Hard Master was instead the one killed, and the assassin had used Tommy's arrow to commit the murder.
After the murder, Tommy saw the true killer escape, and he knew that he would be blamed for killing his uncle. He fled Japan and sought out his uncle's assassin to exact his vengeance. He eventually joined Cobra, to get closer to his uncle's killer, and took the name "Storm Shadow," a rough translation of his family name, "Arashikage."
Several years after leaving Japan, Storm Shadow was guarding Destro's castle in Trans-Carpathia, the Silent Castle, where Scarlett was being held prisoner. He fought a mysterious commando, who defeated him and escaped with Scarlett. Storm Shadow was not certain, but he thought the mysterious commando may have been Snake-Eyes. Storm Shadow was acting as Cobra Commander's personal bodyguard when he was captured by the Joe team.
Though he escaped, Gung-Ho had seen the clan tatoo on Storm Shadow's arm and noticed Snake-Eyes wore the same tatoo. This sent Snake-Eyes to track down the Soft Master, who had been investigating the murder his brother for years. Soon, the two former friends confronted each other, and Storm Shadow revealed that he did not murder his uncle. Despite that fact, Storm Shadow could not totally reconcile with Snake-Eyes. He hoped that after his revenge was carried out, they could be the brothers they always should have been.
When Cobra Commander's son, Billy, attempted to kill his father, he was captured by Cobra and treated as a criminal, even being subjected to the Brain-Wave Scanner. They knew Billy hadn't acted alone, but his accomplices did not speak up, allowing Billy to be treated badly by Cobra.
Disgusted by the actions of Billy's accomplices and by the mistreatment the boy received, Storm Shadow freed him from prison and the two fled to his dojo in New York. This branded him a traitor to Cobra, and he never again worked for the organization. For a time, he trained Billy in the art of ninjitsu, but was disappointed when Billy went off on his own to confront Cobra Commander.
Soon afterward, Snake-Eyes arrived at Storm Shadow's Manhattan dojo. He received a telegram from the Soft Master, confirming that the Hard Master's assassin was Zartan. The two friends landed on Cobra Island, fighting their way to Zartan. When he eluded Storm Shadow's vengeance, Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow had to fight their way off of the island during a G.I. Joe rescue mission. They stole a Cobra Hydrofoil, but were attacked, and Storm Shadow had to fight vicious sharks and Cobra Frogmen before being washed back onto the island. When he walk up onto the beach, he was met by the Baroness, who shot the ninja, apparently killing him.
In reality, he had forced himself into a trance-state known as the "Sleeping Phoenix," slowing his heart rate down to near-death. Storm Shadow's body was taken and kept in storage by Dr. Mindbender for use in a special project. Mindbender was about to use advance technology to create Serpentor, a soldier who would be the amalgamation of the greatest warriors in history. Mindbender threw Storm Shadow into the mix, using his body to help create Serpentor.
Somehow, the process revived Storm Shadow. He infiltrated G.I. Joe headquarters to find Snake-Eyes and ask him for help. Storm Shadow saw how vengeance had consumed him, and he needed time alone to recover from the scars of vengeance. Snake-Eyes offered him the keys to his cabin in the High Sierras. There, Storm Shadow lived in seclusion for a time, healing his soul.
Storm Shadow's retreat was interrupted when Scarlett came to tell him that Snake-Eyes had been captured by Cobra. With his help, Scarlett snuck into the Cobra Consulate in Manhattan. They fought Cobra soldiers and the mysterious red ninjas before Snake-Eyes was freed. The three friends barely survived the ordeal. Shortly afterward, it was discovered that Billy, long thought to be dead, was still alive. He had come out of a coma whilst in his father's care, but the boy could not deal with his father's involvement in Cobra, and left.
He made contact with Jinx and the Blind Master, both members of the Arashikage clan. Through Snake-Eyes, Jinx had become involved in intelligence for the G.I. Joe team. Billy was brought to see Hawk and to tell the Joes what had happened to the Soft Master and Candy, Ripcord's girlfriend. He revealed that they had died in the accident that nearly took his life.
While Billy was reunited with Storm Shadow, the Joes got a call from Flint and Lady Jaye in Grenada. They, Snake-Eyes and Scarlett were vacationing there when Snake-Eyes and Scarlett, escorted a blind man across an open field, and apparently stepped on a mine, and were incinerated. Storm Shadow knew something was wrong. "A ninja does not step on a landmine." He ascertained that the blind man was actually the Blind Master. With Jinx and Billy's help, Storm Shadow tracked his friends to Borovia.
They had faked their deaths with the help of the Blind Master so that they could illegally rescue Stalker, Snow Job and Quick Kick. The three men were being held in a Borovian gulag and had been "written off" by U.S. officials. The three Joes were rescued by the team of ninjas and they all returned home. Storm Shadow, Jinx, Billy and the Blind Master travelled to San Francisco, where Storm Shadow had grown up.
He ran and lived in the Arashikage Martial Arts Academy along with Billy and Jinx, who was stationed at the Presidio army base. Months later, the G.I. Joe team was involved in the Cobra Island Civil War. After the war, the Joes were forced to take the fall for the failure, and Hawk and General Hollingsworth were being held in a psychiatric hospital by corrupt government officials. The Joes who had evaded arrest rescued Hawk with the help of Billy, Jinx and Storm Shadow.
A short time after Hawk's rescue, Billy's mother tracked down her son and revealed why Zartan had killed the Hard Master: Cobra Commander's brother died in the accident that killed Snake-Eyes' family. He blamed Snake-Eyes for the death of his brother, and sent Zartan to kill him, who mistakenly killed the Hard Master. Billy left to live with his mother while he went to school. After Billy left, Zartan and the Red Ninjas attacked the martial arts academy, trying to kill Storm Shadow. The ninja defeated the others, but because of the incident, he was forced to abandon the academy.
Storm Shadow returned to Snake-Eyes' cabin in the High Sierras with Snake-Eyes, Scarlett and Jinx. They were attacked again by the Red Ninjas, led by Firefly. During the battle, the Red Ninjas' leader revealed that the Red Ninjas were actually remnants of the Arashikage clan. They blamed Storm Shadow for the downfall of the clan after he brought Snake-Eyes, an outsider, into the clan. They had been working with Zartan since Storm Shadow first attempted to exact his vengeance. Though the heroes survived, Storm Shadow lamented, "Will my past ever stop catching up to me?"
While undergoing reconstructive surgery in Switzerland, Snake-Eyes was captured by Cobra and again brought to the Cobra Consulate. Scarlett was put into a coma during his capture. Storm Shadow, with the help of Stalker, attacked the consulate. When he arrived, Snake-Eyes had already escaped and was waging a one-man war, to get out of the building. The Joes and Destro rescued the ninjas, but not before much of the consulate was destroyed.
Unfortunately, Scarlett remained in a coma. Seeing Snake-Eyes was distraught over Scarlett's imminent death, Storm Shadow used the "Arashikage Mind Set" to turn Snake-Eyes into a killing-machine and send him on a mission into Borovia, hoping to make him forget Scarlett. Scarlett inexpectedly recovered the moment Snake-Eyes touched down in Borovia.
When she learned what Storm Shadow had done to Snake-Eyes, she confronted him and almost killed him. Soon, Snake-Eyes returned and with his help, Storm Shadow survived. Now a full member of the G.I. Joe team, Storm Shadow participated in many missions, including the Battle of Benzheen, a conflict in which several Joes lost their lives. While training a new group of ninjas for the Joe team, Storm Shadow was reunited with Billy when the Joes helped protect Destro from a death warrant issued by Cobra Commander.
The young ninjas performed well in that mission and Storm Shadow was given command of the G.I. Joe Ninja Force. The team fought with the Joes in Trans-Carpathia, where they learned Firefly's part in his uncle's death, and they fought in the Cobra-controlled town of Millville, where they helped free the town from Cobra's influence.
When Storm Shadow discovered Billy had been captured by Cobra, he travelled to Trans-Carpathia to try and rescue his former student. While there, Storm Shadow was captured and brainwashed by Dr. Mindbender's Brain-Wave Scanner, and forced to work for Cobra. Snake-Eyes and the Joes tried to free him, but they were unsuccessful. In 1994, a short time after the Joes' failed rescue attempt, the team was disbanded by the U.S. military.
Storm Shadow took part in one last mission against former members of the Joe team, even confronting Snake-Eyes. Their fight was short-lived and the ninja left the scene before anything could be resolved. Soon afterward, Cobra forces fell to a unified attack by regular military forces. Most of Cobra's "high command" disappeared in the wake of the conflict, Storm Shadow included.
Some time after the Joe team was shut down, Storm Shadow took on a freelance mission under the command of Duke, who was now working for a secretive military "Black OPS" group.
A man named Mikhail Derenko had been contacting former agents of Cobra to recruit them to work with someone known only as Nowhere Man. Per Duke's orders, Storm Shadow made himself available to meet with Firefly, who was helping Nowhere Man contact the former Cobras.
On this mission, Storm Shadow encountered Snake-Eyes, who had been tracking down Firefly for his own reasons. Storm Shadow revealed to Snake-Eyes that his mind was not yet completely clear, and that his conditioning included an enhancement of his once antagonistic attitude toward Snake-Eyes. After helping foil the plot of the other former Cobras, Storm Shadow left his friend, hoping that he could one day break free of his brainwashing.
Afterward, he headed to Japan, where he came upon the scene of Yakuza, Japanese organized crime, members attacking a lone woman. He instinctively lept into the fray to help her and defeated the thugs. He learned that she was Junko Akita, a woman who had just carried out her revenge against the gangster who killed her father. The fight left her injured, and Storm Shadow nursed her back to health. He identified with her need to avenge the death of a loved one. Storm Shadow believed their meeting was destiny, and they became master and apprentice, and eventually lovers. The coming years would bring Storm Shadow back into the service of Cobra, but he managed to keep Cobra Commander from learning about Junko.
Years later, reports of Cobra operations led by Cobra Commander himself surfaced, and he was eventually spotted in the United States. The Commander called together his former high command, but Storm Shadow was not among them. The Commander soon became a prisoner of Destro, and was driven mad by microscopic machines called nano-mites, that the Commander was about to unleash on the world. In reality, it was Destro's son Alexander who had posed as his father and taken over Cobra.
As Alexander waged his battle against the world, and a reinstated G.I. Joe team, the Commander was rescued from his cell by Storm Shadow, though it is still uncertain how he got word to his ninja bodyguard. Storm Shadow was used as a threat against the Commander's lieutenants to never betray him again. It was obvious he hadn't broken free from the Commander's mind control. When he was sent to assassinate General Hawk, Storm Shadow came face-to-face with Snake-Eyes.
As they fought, he told his old friend that he had never gotten over the rivalry between them. As Storm Shadow escaped, he slashed at Snake-Eyes, leaving a new scar on his long healed face.
After serving the Commander faithfully for some time, Storm Shadow nearly broke free of his brainwashing but needed Snake-Eyes to help heal his mind with an Arashikage trance. He called on Billy, who was now free of his brainwashing, for help, and his former student called Snake-Eyes to help him.
By the time they found Storm Shadow, Cobra Commander was all ready there. He had subjected the ninja to the Brain-Wave Scanner once again, and after a brief fight, Storm Shadow escaped with the Commander, leaving Snake-Eyes to wonder if he had lost his sword brother forever.
While traveling back to Cobra headquaters, agents of the Coil, troops serving a revived Serpentor, took Storm Shadow by surprise and captured Cobra Commander, bringing him to Cobra Island. Soon after, the Joes, Cobra and the Iron Grenadiers invaded the island to rescue their lost teammates, and to stop Serpentor.
In the wake of that battle, Cobra Commander escaped and went missing, until he reappeared in Tibet. Storm Shadow was at his side. They went into hiding in a Red Ninja retreat hidden in the mountains of Tibet. This group of Red Ninjas had moved beyond their association with the Arashikage clan, and helped to fight off a group of Joes including Snake-Eyes and Jinx as Storm Shadow hurried Cobra Commander out of the caves. After Storm Shadow accompanied Cobra Commander back to a Cobra base, he was not seen working with Cobra for some time.
When a mission into the Cobra-infiltrated town of New Moon, Colorado that included Snake-Eyes and other Joes ended disastrously, the Jugglers took the opportunity to take control. Snake-Eyes and several other Joes were arrested, while the Jugglers cut down the team's roster to about a dozen members. They also placed General Philip Rey in command of the team. After Duke's subsequent arrest, he and Snake-Eyes were rescued by Scarlett and her surprise companion, Storm Shadow. He revealed to his friend that he had finally broken free of Cobra's mind control permanently and asked for Snake-Eyes' help in healing himself.
Storm Shadow then made his way to Hong Kong on a kind of sabbatical, looking forward to a new future. He returned to Junko, and introduced her to his old apprentice, Billy. He confided in them about the lingering effects of his brainwashing, including occasional hallucinations and visions of devils. The ninjas' reunion was cut short by the sudden arrival of Cobra Commander, a group of Night Creepers and the Cobra ninjas; Slice & Dice.
The battle that followed left Storm Shadow injured, and his home in ruins. Storm Shadow awoke in a hospital a day later, and learned that Junko had been kidnapped. He, Billy, Jinx and Budo assertained Junko's location after a long time of searching, and headed to the Red Ninjas' mountain retreat in Tibet. Months earlier, Snake-Eyes, who was made the leader of the Red Ninjas, had left T'jbang to lead in his stead, but he had recently been deposed by the ninjas' former leader, Sei Tin. Sei Tin had been left severly injured after a battle with Snake-Eyes but was later brought back to health thanks to Cobra Commander.
Junko was brought before him and had her will broken after relentless mental and physical torture. When Storm Shadow and the others arrived, they found a brainwashed Junko ready to fight and kill Storm Shadow. It had all been ordered by Cobra Commander to punish Storm Shadow for turning his back on Cobra yet again. Storm Shadow and his friends, later joined by Snake-Eyes and Kamakura, fought with the Red Ninjas.
A brutal swordfight between Storm Shadow and Junko began. He pleaded with her to break free of her brainwashing, but she would not listen, and beat him back to the edge of a cliff. When she was about to strike the final blow that would kill Storm Shadow, Billy arrived, yelling at her to stop and told her she was about to kill the man she loved. She stopped herself, but decided she could not live with her damaged psyche and threw herself off the cliff into an underground river below. Days later, Storm Shadow and the others helped the surviving loyal Red Ninjas bury their dead.
Sei Tin had nearly been killed, and the remaining Red Ninjas pledged their loyalty to Snake-Eyes, who passed the leadership on to Storm Shadow. Referring to his recent rebirth, Storm Shadow was given the title Phoenix Master of the Arashikage Clan.
After the Joes stopped a plot by Cobra to unleash the weapon known as the Tempest, and defeated a new threat, the Red Shadows, the military again disbanded G.I. Joe. One year later, the team was reformed with a smaller roster of active members, including Storm Shadow, Snake-Eyes and Scarlett, under the command of Joe Colton. Some of the Joes were suspicious of Storm Shadow, especially Shipwreck, but Stalker vouched for his old friend, and Colton agreed to keep him on the team.
Storm Shadow then joined the effort to stop the terrorist Vance Wingfield's plot to cause the crash of many orbiting satellites into populated areas. During that operation, Scarlett went missing, and the Joes learned she had been captured by Destro, and was being held on his submarine. The Joes then went on an unauthorized rescue mission as Colton looked the other way. During the mission a fight between the Joes and the Iron Grenadiers ensued.
To stop the sub from flooding and killing the others, Snake-Eyes locked its blast doors from the inside as Storm Shadow watched in dismay. He tried to stop his friend, saying that it should have been him who sacrificed himself. When the Joes were able to get inside they found Snake-Eyes' lifeless body. By all indications Snake-Eyes was truly dead. Storm Shadow examined Snake-Eyes' body, hoping to find signs that he had used the ancient Arashikage techniques to slow his body to near death, but he found none.
As the Joes grieved, the body was somehow stolen. Grief turned to anger as the Joes attempted to track down his body. They were all shocked to discover that the Red Ninjas, led by Sei Tin had not only stolen his body, but they had miraculously revived him. But Snake-Eyes, now dressed all in red, had been brainwashed by the ninjas to be used as a weapon. Some of the Joes were captured by the ninjas, and pleaded with Snake-Eyes to get their old friend back.
Eventually, Storm Shadow fought his friend, and was being beaten until he threatened Scarlett's life, hoping to bring his Snake-Eyes' mind back to the surface. He eventually succeeded, and the Joes freed the Red Ninjas from their new leader's influence.
After the Red Ninjas were defeated it was revealed that Sei Tin was bedridden, nearly comatose, and no longer held the evil ninja's mind. Through some unknown ancient mysticism, Sei Tin transferred his mind into the healthy body of T'jbang, and T'jbang's mind into his own broken body.
Though the man who the Joes were faced with when tracking down Snake-Eyes appeared to be their old teammate T'jbang, it was in reality Sei Tin. The battle with the Joes left Sei Tin confined to a bed and in intensive care. Storm Shadow vowed to help free T'jbang from the prison of the body he was trapped in and was allowed to take the two men from The Rock via Army helicopter. Storm Shadow is currently on an extended leave of absence from G.I. Joe.
Skills and Abilities
Storm Shadow is considered one of the most dangerous and skilled fighters in the world. He can move faster than the human eye can follow, scale sheer walls with his bare hands and feet, and endure unbearable pain and hardship. He has demonstrated the ability to dodge bullets as well as deflect them with his sword. His sword brother Snake-Eyes is one of the few people in the entire world who can come up against him and survive the occasion.
Storm Shadow is a Grand Master of the Arashikage ninja clan, and an eighth degree blackbelt in five martial art systems. He has demonstrated knowledge of pressure points and nerve strikes, as well as Dim Mak techniques. He can trace his lineage back thirty generations of elite assassins. He is a master swordsman and an expert in all melee weapons, all small arms, and an exceptionally skilled marksman with both a bow and using various throwing weapons. He has underwent extensive military training in addition to his martial arts background and is proficient in sabotage, demolitions, intelligence, covert operations, and wilderness survival. In Southeast Asia Storm Shadow served as a Spec Ops LRRP (Long-Range Reconnaissance Patrol) for the U.S. Army.
Beyond his mastery of martial arts and close quarters combat Storm Shadow also utilizes a variety of unique abilities in his operations. He is an exceptionally skilled acrobat, a master lock picker, an expert thief, and a brilliant infiltrator. He can break into nearly any structure no matter how secure, and vanish without a trace. He can move stealthily and undetected through heavy security and fool motion detectors and other sensory equipment. He also has displayed a number of semi-mystical techniques such as "The Ear That Sees", "The Arashikage Mindset", "The Blind Sword", "The Cloak of the Chameleon", and "The Sleeping Phoenix" among others. These techniques allow him to fight completely blind, control the functions of his body such as heart rate, breathing, and blood flow, accelerate healing, fight beyond the point of exhaustion, swap consciousness with others, and clear the mind of brainwashing.
Danger Girl/G.I. Joe
After the acquisition of the Danger Girl characters by IDW it was decided to first launch the characters under the IDW banner with a crossover with one of the major properties at IDW, G.I. Joe (as they are owned by the same company it seems possible that these characters exist in the same continuity, though this is never confirmed).
The series starts off with a dog chase involving Scarlett and Flint and they are soon shot down. It is revealed that they were providing escort for a shipment of rediscovered missiles with great destructive power. They are soon shot down though and the missiles are taken by Cobra , who also take the two prisoners. Once in Cobra custody they come across Abbey Chase who is acting undercover, though the two members of G.I. Joe do not know this. Elsewhere the American president arrives to the USS Flagg and informs the Joe team to stand down and to not seek to free their teammates.
General Flag orders them to stand down. The remaining female members (Cover Girl, Lady Jaye and Jinx) come up with a plan where they will contact the Danger Girl team (Cover Girl had previously met Johnny Barracuda) The team shows up and exposes the U.S. president as Zarana in disguise. Soon enough it is revealed that the Danger Girl team already has an operative in place and she informs them of the plan.
Firefly is to head to Moscow and detonate one of the missiles while Major Bludd is to go to Beijing to detonate another. Three teams head out, one to each of the two cities and the third to the Cobra base. By now Abbey is under suspicion of Baroness, Destro and Cobra Commander and is captured by Zartan when she attempts to free Scarlett and Flint. While they are trying to escape a team of Low Light, Snake Eyes and Stalker arrive to free them.
Meanwhile in Beijing a team of Jinx, Johnny Barracuda and Sonya Savage stop Major Bludd while a team of Sydney Savage, Cover Girl and Roadblock stop Firefly. It is soon revealed that there is another missile which is headed for the homing beacon which Zarana has placed on the USS Flagg. Silicon Valerie, Duke and Lady Jaye quickly deal with it. Meanwhile at the Cobra base Storm Shadow has arrived to stop the Joes and he engages Snake-Eyes in combat. Eventually this group is also able to escape, while blowing up the base and they are all reunited on the USS Flagg.
Storm Shadow was portrayed by actor Lee Byung-hun in the 2009 movie, G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra. In the movie, Storm Shadow was a member of Cobra and was defeated by his sword brother, Snake Eyes.
Actor Brandon Soo Hoo portrayed the ten year old Storm Shadow in flashback scenes to when he and Snake Eyes were kids. Actor Lee Byung-hun will reprise his role as Storm Shadow in the upcoming G.I. Joe: Retaliation.