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Spider-Man Legends
by yo go re

All right, class, get your giggles out of the way now so we can get started.

Herman Schultz suits up in battle armor that produces intense shock waves, earning him the notorious name Shocker.

Heh. "Notorious." We see what you did there, anonymous and overlooked Hasbro copywriter. You may think your job is thankless and invisible, but you decided to have a little fun when you were writing this bio, and we appreciate it. The Shocker was invented by Stan Lee and John Romita, either of who should have looked at a dictionary before deciding on his name: the gauntlets he built work via compressed air, while the name "Shocker" implies electricty. Implies it so strongly, in fact, that the '90s cartoon just went ahead and had him fire electric bolts. Stan (if he's the one who created the name) was probably thinking of shockwaves, but then, why not just call the guy Shockwave? It would have saved a lot of trouble over the years. "In this issue! It's Spider-Man vs. the sinister Shockwave!" See, it could totally work.

Years ago, ToyBiz made a Shocker toy that featured a fully unique sculpt by Phil Ramirez. Every inch of him, from head to toe, was given molded details that could never be used for another character, and never were. This new Shocker toy has the same body as everyone else, but at least gets new hands and forearms to create his vibro gloves. Also new kneepads, but that's less impressive. The gauntlets have a rough, dinged-up design that looks really nice and totally matches what we seen in the comics, so it's nice that Hasbro didn't skimp on them.

Buuuuut then there's the rest of the body. Yes, we realize ToyBiz's Shocker toy was a decade ago, and that the economics of the toy industry have changed. But that figure had a sculpted suit that made it clear he was wearing protective padding, while this one gets black lines criss-crossing his body that make him look like "what if Spider-Man and First Appearance Daredevil had a baby?" He's not quilted, he's netted. The paint is mostly good (mine was painted with one eye larger than the other, like a Deadpool squint), but no matter how good it is, it's still just paint.

This toy represents Shocker's modern costume, as seen in Superior Foes of Spider-Man. Though he's always worn brown and yellow, the costume has varied in where those colors can be found. This one has the quilting on the face and neck, then on the inside of the arms, down the ribs, and the outside of the legs. Compare that to his last costume, which had solid yellow arms and solid brown legs, or the original, where the legs were fully yellow, too. The head is a new mold, not the Blizzard/Eel mold again, which we can tell because the brown portion on top has a sculpted edge.

One place where this Shocker has the advantage is the articulation, by virtue of having exactly the same joints that every other version of this mold has sported. You may recall that the previous figure of Shocker had an action feature (because it came from a line where action features were the name of the game) which meant that his arms were solid from the shoulders down; well this one can wiggle his arms freely, thanks to the swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, and swivel/hinge wrists! You're moving up in the world, Herman. It's a bit of a shame they didn't use that new Spidey 2099 torso with the pec hinges, since Shocker's powers mostly work by pointing his arms straight forward. To represent said powers, he comes with orangey-yellow versions of Havok's wrist effects, which aren't perfect, but do the job.

The figure also has the left leg of Sandman, the Series 5 Build-A-Figure. There's nothing fancy going on here, it's just a big leg in brown pants.

Shocker makes for a nice toy, but ultimately, thanks to the way he was made, the old ToyBiz one is still superior. Yes, even without any elbows or wrists. This is an okay substitute, in the same way that McDonald's is an okay substitute for a steak: it'll immediately fulfill your basic need, and while you have it, you may not even be thinking about the fact that there's something better out there.

-- 07/10/17

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