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Spider-Man Retro Collection
by yo go re

When I said we needed a Transformers Tuesday review for this week, this isn't what I meant!

As the villain Electro, Max Dillon wields full control over electricity in his never-ending quest to defeat Spider-Man!

Why is it so hard to get a good action figure of Electro? He's a major Spidey foe, a Ditko creation, part of the Sinister Six... and yet toy companies tend to avoid him. His first toy was in Mattel's 1984 Secret Wars line, but it (like Iceman and Constrictor) was one of the figures only released in Europe. After that? His second action figure didn't come until 1997! The problem was James Cameron: Jimmy-Jam was working on a Spider-Man movie, and planned to use Electro as the villain; not wanting to step on his toes, the creators of the animated series were told not to use Max (the same reason the show featured so much Hydro-Man instead of Sandman). No Electro in the cartoon = no Electro in the toyline, at least until it was clear Cameron was never getting his movie off the ground. Then Electro was Red Skull's son.

Electro is great proof that just because something was first, it doesn't mean it's best. That mask. that mask! Steve Ditko had his talents, including costume design, but Double-You-Tee-ever-lovin'-Eff is up with that mask? The only time it's ever looked good was the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon, where it wasn't a physical object, but rather just a corona of electricity arcing off his exposed skin. Turning it into a solid part of his mask makes him look like Captain Starfish or something. But any time someone has tried redesigning him so he doesn't have it? It's right back to normal by the time the next artist rolls around.

ToyBiz made two 6"-scale Electro figures - one that was hard to get, and one that was lacking articulation. Hasbro's done one as well, but it was in his modern costume. This is his original design, with the electric suspenders, the bolts on the gloves, and the yellow shorts. Boy, the early Spider-Man colorists sure liked green, didn't they? Think about how many classic Spidey foes wear (or are) green. Electro would have looked nice in blue and yellow, but nope, green. Maybe Big Ronnie's Custom Battle Spandex had a sale on green the week they all decided to be evil.

This Electro is in the prime of his life, so he's bigger and more muscular than the last one. Accordingly, Hasbro's used one of their medium-large bodies for him. Did he need to be this big? No. Is it a problem that he's this big? Also no. With 30 points of articulation, he moves at the ankles, head, shins, neck, knees, shoulders, thighs, elbows, hips, wrists, waist, and chest. The forearms are new molds, because the gloves have those jagged bolts on them. The head is reused, though this time the eyes are painted with pupils, not just a solid color.

Electro has a pair of alternate hands with lightning spilling out of the fingertips. They're reused molds, but this is the first time they've been made form translucent yellow plastic instead of blue.

I didn't have a problem with the "modern" Electro figure, but it's no surprise that fans have been looking forward to this Retro Collection release.

-- 11/24/20

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