Blackjack's review: Shockwave
Double Agent, Spy, Mass destruction, pleasing the fans and generally looking wicked awesome
"Secrets are the foundation of power."
Okay. Let's get the cards on the table. The original Shockwave has always been one of my all-time favourite transformers. Perhaps it's because of his solid purple colouring. Perhaps it's because of his unusual body design (single eye, space gun mode). Perhaps it's because he beat Megatron up on his first appearance in the comics. Perhaps it's because he worships logic. Whatever. Shockwave has his place in every transformer fan's heart.
Now come animated. I'm rather impressed with the interpretations and redesigns they've made. While some are not classic per-se (Prowl being a ninja, Starscream being purple) Animated is still one of the best TV shows ever, seconded only by Transformers the Movie and the Beast series.
Despite being a very major player in Generation one, Shockwave didn't appear in Animated until much later. (To be fair, Soundwave got the same treatment...) In Animated, the original Decepticon lineup is Megatron, Starscream, Blackarachnia, Blitzwing and Lugnut. When I first saw Lugnut's concept picture, I thought he was Shockwave.
Anyway, in Animated continuity Shockwave is a long-time deep cover agent. Shockwave has been hiding in Autobot forces ever since Bumblebee and Bulkhead entered the army. Shockers went in under the name of Longarm (what the hell?) and later advanced in rank until he became Longarm Prime, head of information. Now imagine a Decepticon double agent as the head of information in the Autobot army. Now, Shockwave is both invaluable and incompetent. Invaluable as he haven't blown his cover for a couple million years. Incompetent as even as the head of Autobot information, the Decepticons can't rise back into power.
Le sigh. Anyway, this incarnation of Shockwave is unique, and it's only logical that I like him. If only he's purple...
Shockwave first showed his hexagonal mug early in G1, as early as the first episode in the TV series and the fourth issue of the comic (in which he wiped out the Autobots). However, like the Dinobots, his toy was not released until 1985, a year later. This Shockwave transformed into a laser pistol. Unlike Megatron, he transforms into a forty foot long giant pistol. Anyway, cartoon and comic Shockwave are entirely different characters. Cartoon Shockwave is a simpleminded, smart and very loyal lieutenant, kinda like Soundwave. Comic Shockwave, the more popular one, challenged Megatron from day one and overtook his leadership. So popular was he that he became the mastermind behind everything in Dreamwave's reboot and got the first Spotlight issue, as well as seeding Ultra-Energon in IDW's reboot. Of course, it's only logical. However, despite his shocking popularity in G1, Shockwave went silent until the Energon series, where he received a toy as Shockblast. Looks like G1, but, erm. For all it's worth, Armada Tidal Wave is often referred to as Shockwave in the English dub. Tidal Wave's Japanese name is Laserwave (Japanese for Shockwave), so... Anyway, next Shockwave, I mean Shockblast, appeared in the Alternators line, as a Mazda. He's meant to be G1 Shockwave. A toy-only Minicon named Shockwave appeared in Cybertron series. Then came the Movie. Shockwave was in the original Decepticon lineup, but was dropped. He did appear in the game though, as a triple changer with a helicopter and a ground-based cannon mode. Then Animated.
I do believe you've grown tired of my little rant, so let's get on to the review.
VEHICLE MODE- DECEPTICON
Shockers transforms into a futuristic H-tank. The basic shape is similar to Armada Megatron, while the colouring is similar to Beast Machines Tankor. Shockers is multi-referencing here.
When pics of the Shockwave toy first appeared in the net, I liked the robot mode (even though the face was mis-painted in the stock photography) but the vehicle modes are iffy.
Now in person, Shockwave's alternate isn't bad per-se, but it could be much better. Not bad, but not particularly good either. Shockwave's paintjob is a far cry from his classic solid purple. Shockers sports a gray and black paintjob, nearly identical to Beast Machines Tankor.
Shockwave's gigantic turret (which, although this is probably unintentional, more than bears a little resemblance to Shockwave's original G1 gun mode) can rotate, and angle up and down. Smaller red gun ports, or at least what looks like it, flank the main cannon.
That's about it to Tank mode. Not particularly impressive, but nice nevertheless.
VEHICLE MODE- AUTOBOT
Longarm's vehicle mode, meant to be a futuristic crane, sucks. Well, that's frank.
To be entirely honest, the cannon's automorph feature into a crane is a nice touch, but the other parts of the vehicle is not far from the tank mode. You make the tank treads angled and shaped to look like some sort of animal, but that's about it..
Not really my thing. I'd rather change the tank barrel and keep the wheels as they are, but that's a personal preference. Still, with all the features jam-packed into Shockwave, we couldn't have everything, could we?
ROBOT MODE- LONGARM
Quick history, guys and gals. The name Longarm first appeared in Armada, as Red Alert's faithful Minicon companion. In the Cybertron series, a second Longarm appeared, as part of the Giant Planet Minicons team. Then, in the 2007 Movie toyline, an Autobot tow truck was released under the name Longarm.
As you can see, Longarm isn't a very well-known name. I'd rather they use another name for Shockwave's Autobot mode, but ah well.
Longarm, or Longarm Prime, has a Autobot face-- mouths and all. (despite Shockwave's eye being very visible on his forehead) Longarm even has a scuba mask, which is cute. In an attempt to make Longarm distinct from Shockwave, the designs showed different pieces of kibble. For example, in Longarm the lower legs are tank treads, while in Shockwave they are solid gray metallic pieces.
Another thing. Longarm's hands are molded into one flat white piece, which would later form one of Shockwave's fingers. Nice touch, though.
Poseability is very extensive. Knees, legs, head, wrist, shoulder, elbow, ankle... you name it, Longarm-Shockwave's got it. But he's nothing compared to the main reason you're reading this review. Which is-
ROBOT MODE- SHOCKWAVE
Shockwave stands much taller than Longarm, and has more spindly and menacing limbs. Shockwave stands taller than Blitzwing, and with transformation, his sides extend to give his legs some extra height. Shockwave's head changes by pulling it up, which covers the Longarm Prime features with a single black chin. Y'see, this thing about Animated. Everyone has got to have a chin. Even Shockwave. He doesn't have a face, but he has a chin. Ah well...
The scuba mask that used to adorn Longarm's face now point up to become horns similar to that of Armada Megatron. Coincidentally, Shockwave has the same alternate mode and shoulder-tank-treads, so it's possible that it's a deliberate reference.
Shockwave's hands, which became longer due to an extended elbow joint, is fantastic. Longarm's hand becomes a thumb, while two longer pointed fingers become his other fingers. Shockwave's three-clawed hand is very poseable, and can grip small things. For example, choke Swoop to certain death. Shockwave's claws look very threatening... one of the claw is as big as a normal Autobot's hands.
Shockwave's legs are also different from Longarm, which is achieved by turning the lower legs around. Shockwave also has some extra detailing from a flip-up-turn-around piece on his tank shoulders.
Also, let's us not forget. The insignia on his chest is able to rotate between Autobot and Decepticon, just like Universe Dinobot. Shockwave's weapon of choice is his turret. Extended fully, it looks menacing attached to his hands. It's also mildly amusing to see Shockers wield a tow truck grapple, but why grapple when you can just use a big gun? When not in use, you can store it in his back.
Shockwave can achieve a surprising number of poses. Definitely one of the most poseable toys I've ever seen. He can crouch, he can choke Autobots, he can tap-dance, he can suicide, he can type on the computer... The choices are endless.
So in the end, Shockwave is very good. Nice paintjob, superior poseability, a great gun, quad-changing capabilities... Highly recommended.
Marks out of ten for the following:
9/10 Seriously. Tank to robot(s) are easy enough, but changing the robot to tank without the instructions at the first time... it's a headache.
15/10 Let's see... Double agent capability, poseability, tank alternate mode, pincer claws, single optic, scuba mask, big gun, looks wicked awesome and...
8/10 Some of the joints will get loose over time, but he's kinda sturdy.
9/10 Definitely a much better acquisition than Skywarp, Grimlock or Lugnut.
9/10 Shockwave has came close to being one of the best toys there is. Shockers is unlike former double agent toys, like Punch/Counterpunch, who's just a generic toy with a second robot mode slapped behind him, or Doubledealer, which rocks, but has a suck-ish bird mode. Shockwave has four modes. Robot Shockwave and Robot Longarm Prime really rule, and I suggest you leave the toy like that. Tank Shockwave is not bad, but could use some improvements. Crane Longarm I treat as a bonus mode. I never thought of it much ever since I first transformed Shocks into it. So yeah. Nine points, minus one for including the crane mode.