Shocker Toys Indie Spotlight line is one of great mystery and intrigue for most toy collectors. The line has been several years coming and has led to plenty of “hating” from fans and foes alike of Shocker. The little company has up to this point only produced a few figures and many doubted they’d ever really get their comic action figure line out.

And those same people are obviously eating a lot of crow these days. Of course that doesn’t excuse the years it took to get to this point, but it does prove that sometimes even the impossible is… Possible. On my desk in front of me is none other than ShadowHawk from the Indie Spotlight line by Shocker Toys. The folks at Shocker have made this toy possible for me and it’s certainly something I was surprised to see come to fruition. Not only did they make this toy, they’ve made a quite nice toy. How nice? Well read on!

First up a bit about ShadowHawk himself as the name probably isn’t super popular to casual fans. ShadowHawk was one of the first big Image comics back when that company was reshaping the industry. The 90’s were for lack of a better term an “interesting” time in comics and ShadowHawk reflects that. ShadowHawk in a nutshell is AIDs-Power Ranger-Batman.

He was always drawn a bit like Batman, his suit is a power suit (Stephen Sommers would be proud) and he had AIDs. Of course it’s more complicated than that. He got HIV because his half brother crackhead got him into some trouble and gangsters injected him with the virus. I’d say that’s unrealistic, but then again at least he’s not an alien or bitten by a radioactive spider right?

Then ShadowHawk lost his job as a DA because of the disease (Kinda like Philadelphia) and decided to wear a super suit and fight crime. But instead of being all growl at ya like Batman, he’d crack their skulls if need be. Good times. Eventually AIDs killed him and I dunno, I guess that’s it. Now he gets a toy!

Actually this review is of the variant version of this figure, thus not really Paul Johnstone but Eddie Collins. ShadowHawk II as it were. Does that matter? Not really.

Packaging:
For their first time in doing figures of this magnitude and this scale, Shocker has made probably the single best package for a toy I’ve ever seen. At first glance this just appears to be a classic carded packaging with a bubble shell but it is in fact more. Basically the whole front of the card is covered in plastic like a clamshell. So you could spill your whole Hi-C juice box on it and not damage it.

What’s better is that the plastic can then be slid up off the card and reveals your figure. No glue, no 6 pounds of tape and none of those annoying indestructable clamshells. Just cut two pieces of tape and slide it right off. Like getting into the panties of Blanche Devereaux, no muss, no fuss. Perhaps even more surprising is that the card itself is made of a nice thick stock. This thing is durable.

The rest of the card is quite nice with a bright orange color which is certainly different. The logos are bright and there is some individual character art as well as a bit up at the top telling you this is the Maxx series. The back has a great little bio card explaining ShadowHawk’s convoluted origin as well as showing off the rest of the figures in the series, although it omits the variants. HOW WILL THE KIDS KNOW?! Obviously this isn’t for the kids.

I found it quite funny that the card mentions Paul Johnstone, but never together. He’s called Paul and Johnstone, but not Paul Johnstone. It could confuse some folks. But again, this isn’t Paul anyway, so screw him. He’s dead.

Anyway, I can’t say enough nice things about this package. Although the art isn’t as attractive as some other figures on the market, this is easily the best packaged toy to come across my desk in eons. Mattel should put their Masters of the Universe line in something similar.

Articulation:
This actually isn’t ShadowHawk’s first figure. Todd McFarlane made a couple of this guy back when he still made halfway decent articulated figures but this guy is superior in both sculpt and articulation to any incarnation he’s ever had before. In fact this guy has more articulation than most of the last few batches of Marvel Legends!

Let’s see what we have here. A ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders with a swivel, double hinged elbows, swivel wrists, upper torso ball joint/crunch, waist balljoint and swivel, leg ball joint and swivel, double hinge knees and a ball jointed foot.

That’s a ton of articulation and although it can get a bit loose, it all works quite well and holds poses good. Some have criticized these joints for actually moving past where they’re supposed to, thus making it anatomically incorrect, but it makes for sweet break dance moves.

There are a lot of fun poses for this guy, especially using his claw to counterbalance himself. He stands up not only in poses but straight as well, which is a plus. So many super articulated figures can’t stand up straight. He does use some ball joints with swivel capacity in some strange places but it works quite well.

Sculpt:
Since this is the variant ShadowHawk, his costume is a bit less interesting than the normal one. ShadowHawk II as it were doesn’t have all the flash of the original. Although in the comics this tends to look pretty dynamic, it comes up a bit flat in plastic form. That’s not really Shocker’s fault, almost all characters of this sort come up looking a bit bland without some more dynamic elements.

The paint work is crisp with little to no slop on the lines of the costume and that’s good because most of this costume is just straight lines. He does have his little red “T” thing on his crotch but it’s just painted on and it kind of looks like a ribbon. The other version of this figure has the belt and the T sculpted on. Again this does follow the design of the character, but doesn’t do much in three dimensions.


Battle of the kitchen utensils.

I would say this is the basic “buck” body for the line although no other character uses it. I could easily see future Indie Spotlight figures using this body though as it’s reminiscent of the old Marvel Legends Bullseye body. There’s not much wrong with it, but his pelvis may be a tad too big. (That’s what she said!) It’s also just a bit plain. This figure in general is a bit plain.

Most of the details are painted on, including his eyes but that’s nothing that even DC Universe Classics doesn’t do. It’s just part of the deal these days. He does have some cool wrist gauntlets, but sadly no belt. Normal ShadowHawk had a utility belt full of AIDs medicine… I kid you not.

Some have said he has “abs” on his back and I can see that to an extent, but it’s not like the front and back are the same. The back is designed different but does have a bit of a “six pack”. However your back actually does have similar muscles there and I think that’s the look they were going for.

Accessories:
Because this is part of the Maxx series (As in the Maxx comic character) collecting the UPC from every figure will get you the free “mail-away” that is coming down the line. It’s Maxx’s villain Mr. Gone. However there’s nothing on the package to indicate that. Which kinda sucks. Still, keep those UPCs and you can mail in for the mail-away.

Since the UPC does get you an accessory I included it here, but obviously you have to buy all the figures including the variants to get that so it really doesn’t count. So what does count? Well for starters you get a White Isz.

What’s an Isz? Well he’s a secondary character all his own. From the Maxx comics, Iszes are little creatures that live in his land. White Iszs are good, Black Iszs are bad. Collect all the figures and you’ll have a little army of these dudes.

Iszes have been released before from McFarlane toys, but I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this Isz is vastly superior. He makes for a nice bonus. You can pretend this happy little guy is coming to bring ShadowHawk the cure to AIDs… Or he could be a villain. Whatever you can dream up.

He also includes his weapon which looks a nearly identical to a Garden Weasel Garden Claw Gold. So you can pretend that ShadowHawk has taken up cultivating in his spare time. CULTIVATING JUSTICE!

Most of the other figures include detachable hands or something, but not this guy. His weapon just clips onto his wrist. I think maybe it shoots out of his wrist in the comics, but I haven’t read ShadowHawk in years. I only read a few issues anyway. All in all the accessories are nice.

Additional Notes:
How many companies out there readily make toys of stuff like this in the US? You have Hasbro, Mattel, Bandai, Playmates and then the smaller companies like Mezco, NECA and occasionally Gentle Giant. What am I getting at here? Well it’s a refreshing breath of air to get Shocker Toys in on the game.

Whether it took them too long or not, whether they had some leaps or hurdles seems irrelevant in the overall scheme of things because at the end of the day this is a cool figure. The fans as a whole are luckier to be getting these guys. Shocker Toys obviously has some growing pains, but can we really be too miffed when we’re getting new comic figures?

Value:
The prices are a bit all over for these things. That’s a problem because it makes it hard to rate the value. I believe they officially retail for about $13 and you can preorder them at many stores for about that. Some places have them all the way up to $18, so we’ll split the difference and call it $15. At that price it’s not a bad value at all. You’re getting a licensed character, accessories and potentially a mail-away.

The one big issue right now is finding these buggers. They’re not on Ebay and when they are they go for too much. Most stores that did have them sold out. A second bunch is supposed to come closer to the fall and I’d expect to see them around then. Toys R Us may end up with some as well, but TRU’s distribution of smaller lines can be patchy at best.

Track these figures down if you can, especially if you can get them at the $13 range.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 8
Sculpting – 6
Articulation – 8
Accessories – Whitey Isz, Claw
Value – 7
Overall – 7 out of 10

It’s tough to find too much fault with this figure and it looks like the first batch of Indie Spotlight is quite good. With three “heavy hitter” main characters, and two females (Which they should be applauded for alone) makes this a good series. I hope that the second series with the Tick is just as good. I know that Shocker Toys will be appearing at the San Diego Comic Con with some of Series 2 and maybe some Series 1 on sale as well.

I was so impressed with ShadowHawk that I tracked down a SOL from SCUD and bought him as well. Now I just need to get my hands on a SCUD and Maxx, but as I said before that’s easier said than done. ShockerToys.com does have some preorders for these guys though so either wait for those to come in or look around. Be on the lookout later this week when I review SOL.

2 Responses to Indie Spotlight: ShadowHawk Figure Review

  • Todd says:

    Nice review. I had been on the fence a bit about Shocker Toys but I think I’ll try to track some down now. Looking forward to the Scud review.

  • Wes says:

    Cool review! And yeah, he *does* look like he has abs on his back. I don’t have abs on my back! That’s weird. :/

Leave a Reply