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Spider-Man Classic
by yo go re

In terms of toys, the only character who could possibly come close to the assortment of foes that Spider-Man has carried with him into permanent plastic glory is He-Man. Batman may have tons of crazy enemies, but toy companies have always been too preoccupied with Iron Lung Batman and Underwater Basket-Weaving Joker to bother with them. Counting bad guys, Spidey is where it's at. Coming in just under the wire, it's one of the few Spider-Foes that still hadn't received a good single-release version, Electro.

Electro Struck by lightning while repairing a power line, Maxwell Dillon experienced a mutagenic change that turned him into a living electrical capacitor, powered by the micro-fine rhythmic muscle contractions that normally regulate body temperature. Realizing that his powers could be used for personal gain, he donned a colorful costume and took the name Electro.

The only time Electro has been released in the post-Classics lines was in an extremely limited box set, so this was a release we really needed. He hasn't even had a Marvel Select figure that we could pretend was in the right scale! This guy's part of the original Sinister Six, for crying out loud, but even perennial loser Kraven has gotten more action figure love than Electro.

Bucking the trend of ever-increasing villain size, Electro actually doesn't stand a full head higher than Spider-Man. Sure, the tallest bolt on his mask is brushing up against the 7" mark, but his head is right at 6", as it should be. The sculpt is good, with the various lightning bolts on his costume as raised elements. The costume has always looked kind of silly, but it's duplicated here nicely.

Articulation is good, with a notable exception. Most of his body gets the standard ToyBiz super articulation: toes, ankles, shins, knees, hips, waist, torso, shoulders and neck. Notice what's missing from that list? Arms. Fingers, wrists, gloves, elbows, biceps... Electro doesn't have any of it. Like Shocker, his joints have been sacrificed upon the altar of action features.

Yes, Electro has an action feature to suggest his powers. His arms are solid from the shoulders down, and he can fire lightning-shaped missiles from his palms. It's... really a pretty crappy feature. His arms are in a permanent bend, and his hands are flexed back. Yeah. Woo. On the plus side, the missiles actually fit into his arms really well - they don't have that extra inch of shaft that so many toys leave hanging outside the launcher - and the buttons on his elbows are relatively small and unobtrusive. Still, Electro would have been a lot better without the action feature.

In addition to the two palm-bolts, Electro's got some sort of electric hulahoop. He can't hold it, since his hands aren't molded to do so, and he can't launch it, since it isn't a missile. At best, you could drape it around another figure. If Electro had arms, this might have been a neat little accessory. As it is, though? No.

We desperately needed an Electro figure to fill out our Spider-Man rogues gallery, and you have to give ToyBiz credit for recognizing that and throwing us a bone. For those of us who never got a shot at the box set version, it's an acceptable substitute, if not overly impressive. Beats paying $40 for a loose Electro on eBay. But if you already have the Sinister Six version, you definitely don't need this one.

-- 11/11/06

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