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Silverhawks Ultimates
by yo go re

The Bluegrass review revealed that I had two Silverhawks as a kid. The other one was Steelwill. If Series 2 had chosen a different villain other than Mon*Star, it could have been a perfect update!

Steelwill is a human law enforcement officer modified into a cyborg to withstand the effects of hyper-travel through space. This grants him enhanced strength, agility, and speed. He has a hawk-like face plate that protects him during tough situations. Unique among the Silverhawks, his face plate is a football helmet, unlike the hawk-like covers of his teammates. He has built-in wings for atmospheric and space flight, as well as being shown to have a built-in fire extinguisher. For combat, he has a built-in laser within his arm, and retractable talons in his feet for attacking while flying. He and his sister, Steelheart, have an enhanced psychic bond - enabling communication from vast distances.

Steelwill was the team's muscle, but also its mechanic/engineer - a rare double-whammy combo that would have been a lot more impressive if this wasn't coming out at the same time as Thundercats, where Panthro was the exact same thing. His physical build definitely sells the "muscle" idea, with him being insanely broad-chested and having massive shoulders, huge arms, and then tiny little hands that seem far too dainty for him. Eh, you can't win them all. His left arm is exposed to the vacuum of space, which I'm sure is fine for blood flow, and there's a band around his right thigh and right bicep.

That chestal bulk does mess with the articulation, though. He's got all the same joints all the Ultimates have had, but the breadth of his torso means you can't actually turn the chest on its balljoint, and the waist looks bad when you turn that because it has to push the rubber trunks out of the way. The chest also doesn't want to tilt more than a few millimeters either forward or sideways, limiting how well you can pose him. The wrists are surprisingly loose (which is great when you want to swap alternate hands, but not so great the rest of the time).

The figure includes three heads: two unmasked, one masked. The unmasked heads (one serious, one smiling) have metal hair around a flesh face. Presuming the Silverhawk suits mimic the way the person looked before, Steelwill combed his hair straight back, Coach Ditka-style, and had a C. Everett Koop chin-beard. What a looker! No wonder he volunteered to be sent away into space.

The masked head, like the boring text on the back of the box says, looks like a football helmet. While the other Silverhawks just get a simple faceplate that drops into place, Steelwill's not only does that (which is why he still has his "beard"), it also gains a helmet from somewhere that covers his hair and forehead, and features a bar across the mouth area. Why does he get to be so extra special? Did he rufuse to join the team unless he could place dress-up?

On the '80s toys, all the 'Hawks had spring-activated arms that would allow them to spread their softgood wings. That wouldn't fly today (no pun intended), so instead we get alternate arms that lack an elbow joint, but have a PVC wing sticking out of it. The far edge is shape to line up with the body, creating a seamless look. This is way better than similar attempts, simply by virtue of not trying to make the wings happen on the normal arms.

Since it's hard to wield a weapon when you're holding your arms out at your sides, so the Silverhawk suits have blasters embedded in the front of the shoulders. The wing arms have a small hole where you can plug in the two translucent laser beams, either by themselves or with am extra flare on the tip.

But when he's not flying, he can use whatever weapons he wants, which is why this set also includes two guns, both from Season 2 Episode 21, "Sneak Attack, Part 2." First we have the Screamer, a sonic weapon that has a mouth on the end that opens when it fires. Rather than make it hinged, like you'd expect, there are swappable mouths. Sure, why not. After the Screamer we get the Steamer, a heat gun that features a removable translucent yellow muzzle flash. He's got hands to hold those, plus fists, flats, relaxed hands, and gripping.

When Mon*Star began mass-producing his robotic Sky-Shadow pet, the Silverhawks decided they all needed their own sidekicks, too, so Steelwill got to work welding metal onto birds. The one included in this set is Stronghold, "the Claw Hawk," which may or may not be right, depending on your personal preferences: the intro to "The Fighting Hawks," where they debut, mistakenly switches the names of Steelheart and Steelwill's birds, assigning him Stronghold and her Rayzor; but in the rest of the episode, Rayzor is clearly Steelwill's bird. A later episode, "The Chase" paired Steelwill with Stronghold extensively, and the vintage Kenner toys paired them like that, as well. So this is a real FIBRIR/FIRRIB situation: if you go by (most of) the cartoon, this is the wrong bird, but if you go by the toy, it's right.

We get two versions of Stronghold, technically making this a three-pack; one is perched, the other has its wings spread wide. The bulk of Stronghold's body is a slightly lighter blue than Steelwill's body, with a white chest and face and darker blue on the fronts of his wings, the center of his head, and the comically oversized feet. Yes, they allow the bird to mount on Steelwill's arm, but they really were shown to be this big in the cartoon. Stronghold's gimmick was strength - he could clamp onto things and move them - so the giant talons made him look appropriately powerful.

In a typical example of Super7's clockwork-like precision, Silverhawks Ultimates Series 2 came out before Series 1. Steelwill is fine, but not great; he'll be helped once there's more of the team around him to fill out the scene.

-- 07/23/23

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