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Spider-Man Retro Collection
by yo go re

What better way to mark the occasion of Valentine's Day than with The Shocker!

Shocker's vibro-units allow him to blast through solid metal, or hurl long-range vibrational punches! But they've yet to help him defeat his eternal nemesis, Spider-Man!

That's not really true: he's defeated Spider-Man lots of times, it's just that, being a mechanically-minded guy who just built a machine to help him escape prison and crack bank vaults, Herman Schultz's goals are fairly low-stakes. He doesn't want to take over the world, he doesn't want to hold the government hostage, he doesn't even want to kill anybody (living in fear of attracting the attention of murderous vigilantes like Punisher or Scourge of the Underworld), he just wants to make money. And for a guy who's basically wearing suped-up leafblowers on his arms to get into a fight with a guy who can lift entire buildings and not get pummelled into paste? That's a win. Especially since he tends to win fights when they first meet, with Spidey needing to get him back in Round 2. Saying Shocker hasn't defeated Spider-Man is like saying a shoplifter is unsuccessful because he hasn't locked the Walmart manager in the trunk of a car and pushed it into the river.

Hasbro already made one Shocker in recent years, in Spider-Man Legends Series 5 (the Sandman one), which was done using a standard body with a few select new pieces. So when this figure was first revealed, we thought it would be the same thing. Oh, how wrong we were! Unlike a lot of figures in these Retro lines, Herman did appear in the line this is homaging, so Hasbro went all the way back there.

The last figure represented Shocker's modern Superior Foes of Spider-Man costume, which is a good design, but doing it justice would have required more new molds than they were willing to spend on. Even when ToyBiz did their version, it was an intermediate look that was trying to take this goofball more "seriously." But for the Retro Collection, Hasbro's gone all the way back to the beginning, giving us Shocker with his brown vest and trunks, and bright yellow legs. John Romita Sr. designed Shocker's costume to almost be the opposite of Spider-Man's: the "padded" areas (which protect him from his gauntlets' devastating effect) almost suggest webs, but his go down the insides of his arms instead of the outsides, and cover the legs instead of leaving them bare. The only overlap is their masks and the V-shaped areas on their chests. Plus, while Peter Parker's webshooters are on palms and the insides of his wrists, Shocker's gauntlets cover the back of the hands. Parallel structure!

The really impressive thing is that all those details are sculpted here. On the last Shocker, his "quilting" was just a series of painted lines, dropping his quality below the ToyBiz release. On this one, every one of those yellow areas is molded with the lines etched in, just as they should be. Now, he could really use a light paint wash to bring out the details, but they do exist, and that's a good thing.

Most of his articulation is the same as any other modern Marvel Legend, but the old design of his gauntlets precludes wrist joints, because they basically look like a solid bar of metal running from the back of his hand up to his forearm. There is a swivel at the top of the gloves, though, and the set includes alternate gloves with the hands relaxed instead of clenched into fists. Nice! Like the Series 5 release, he also gets yellowy-orange energy rings to suggest his concussive blasts (though they don't want to fit over his gauntlets very well).

The ToyBiz Shocker is still the more detailed toy, but this one has better articulation and the fully classic costume, so the fact it's a fully new sculpt with all the appropriate bits molded right in makes this loser villain a total winner as an action figure.

-- 02/14/22

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