Review by JoshB
I've had a little time to sit on this review, to think about what I want to say about this offering from Shocker Toys. I want to be diplomatic, and not give in to just outright bashing this company who has such a controversial reputation. I want to give Shadowhawk his fair shake.
I have to admit, I've had a soft spot for the Indie Spotlight series. Year after year, Shocker has had prototypes for these on display at various conventions, saying release dates are just around the corner. Each time they were shown they looked a bit better and better. As hard as is it is to believe, I actually kind of became sympathetic to this cause. Not that I cared about any of the characters in the line, but it's like the "Little Engine that Could". Its as if someone told Geoff Beckett that if you believed hard enough, and long enough, you could do it, and what do you know - against popular belief, he did it. Indie Spotlight figures are here, finally, in the flesh. In my hands. For achieving this goal, I congratulate you. It's been a long hard road.
That being said.... (how many times do I say that?)
Shadowhawk, measured up against any other major action figures of similar scale (ie Marvel Legends etc..) falls short. It's a remarkably average action figure, with a few serious QC issues. But the fact that I am just floored that these things have finally seen the light of day makes me want to like them a little bit more. It's hard to explain what I am trying to say here. Lets just move on to the figure.
The Indie Spotlight series is made up of characters that only hard-core comic collectors who have been buying books since the early 90s would remember. I would guess the MAXX would be the most popular, followed by Kabuki, Scud, Katchoo from Strangers in Paradise, and then Shadowhawk.
I have to be really honest here. Shadowhawk was a terrible character, from a terrible comic, born in the worst time in comic book history, when the industry was morally and creatively bankrupt. All of these creators with overinflated egos decided to jump ship from the majors, some talented (Erik Larsen) some absolute hacks (Liefeld) and some who I think got dragged along because he happened to be in the room and promised not to tell anyone if he could come along (Jim Valentino). These creators founded Image comics, and unfortunately influential company that makes me burp up old orange juice into the back of my throat when I think of some of the crap that studio put out.
So yeah, Shadowhawk was probably not the best choice of figures to send out to me. But I'm trying to look past the character and look at the essence of the toy here.
The packaging is rather nice, featuring a collector-friendly wrap around plastic shell. I only had to cut two pieces of tape and the backing card slid effortlessly out. The card graphics are professional and well designed. Unfortunately, with packaging like this you will likely never see it at mass-market retail, because thieves would be opening these things in seconds.
Inside the package is the Shadowhawk figure, a weapon, and a Isz figure. The Isz figure is one of the little dudes that follow around the MAXX, and is kind of a bonus, he has nothing to do with Shadowhawk. He does nothing.
The Shadowhawk figure is 6 inches tall, and is cast in high quality plastic, although the surface of the plastic has slight lines and textures in places like the thighs that are not a result of the sculpt, rather from the material poured into the molds. This is a minor thing, as most mass-market toys can have imperfections like this.
The figure is cast entirely in black, with silver and red paint applications. The paint varies in quality. The red on the belt has some excess paint on the waist, and the silver lining can go from sharp to fuzzy on the same line. But for the most part the paint is good, once again, on par for a mass-produced figure.
The articulation is surprisingly good, but not up to par with Marvel Legends figures. The head is on a single ball joint but has a good range of motion. The shoulders are on a ball joint which can rotate, swivel in and out, and rotate again at the top of the bicep. The elbows are double jointed and the wrists are just a simple pop in ball joint.
The chest is articulated in two places, and provides a great range of motion, but it is in the upper chest the first serious flaw reveals itself. The figure can separate easily at this point, revealing the connection method - a sort of dumbbell shaped connecting pin.
It looks as if this top connection is not firm enough, and can come apart when posing. When trying to put the parts back together, there is no "pop" of the ball fitting into place, and i think that is the root of the issue. I have see no other complaints of this issue, so it is possible I just have a defective sample.
Moving on to the legs, the hips have a great range of motion that while similar to a Marvel Legends style, I actually think they do it better. The joints are less obvious here, and provide a great range of motion.
The knees are double jointed, and the pins in the joint had a bit of flashing left in them from the manufacturing process. These knee joints get a bit loose after a bit of play, and due to the nature of the sculpt can over-extend in the opposite direction, making him look as if his knees have been broken backwards. Proper attention to detail would have made the knees stop leg movement at a natural angle.
The feet, like the hands, are just pop-in ball joints, with no other articulation. However, on a cool note, the feet have peg holes in them, something every proper action figure should have.
Shadowhawk's only accessory is a long bladed weapon that clips onto his forearm. It actually looks a lot like a Garden Weasel Claw. This weapon is actually a very sturdy plastic and does not suffer from floppy weapon syndrome.
Flaws aside, Character aside, Shocker drama aside, the figure isn't that bad in general. Its not spectacular, but from a small little company, its a big accomplishment.
I shot this review with my son Justin, who is 4. He really liked the figure, more than his ML Spidey, so I guess that says something. He's now the proud owner of it.
You can check out Shadowhawk and all of the other Indie Spotlight figures at ShockerToys.com
Background diorama courtesy of Action Figure Displays
|Posted 26 April, 2009 - 21:02 by JoshB|