Tuesday, April 26, 2011

REVIEW: Marvel Universe's Electro

Produced by Hasbro | Released September 2009

You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies. After all, great storytelling isn't just about great heroes - it's about great villains, too. Would Batman be so popular if his nemesis had been an accountant who'd stolen some paper clips? Would Holmes' plunge to his death at the Reichenbach Falls been so memorable if he's simply tripped over a goat? 

In the world of comicbooks, there's one hero with a Rogues' Gallery that's head and shoulders above every other comic character: Spider-Man. Which brings us to today's offering: Marvel Universe's Electro.

Released in 2009, Electro was one of the Series 1 Wave 5 figures. It's interesting to note when you look back at the Series 1 releases just how many were ''classic'' Marvel figures and how the line has moved away a little from that over time. I'm pleased to see that Series 3 has some classic figures in their line-up (such as Doctor Strange) and that the upcoming Greatest Battles double-packs is set to include a vintage Power Man and Iron Fist pack and a Spider-Man Classic Captain Britain set, but I'd love to see Marvel plundering their Silver Age a little more for inspiration.

Anyway, on with the Review...

Electro uses the skinny body sculpt, a basic figure Hasbro has used for its less bulky characters such as Iron Fist, Archangel and Spider-Man. It's ideally suited for the more agile/less powerhouse-style heroes and villains and overall the detail is pretty good. The muscles are nicely ''cut'' and it's a pretty versatile design.

Like all ''kitbashed'' figures from the line, Electro includes a custom head sculpt and - in this case - custom glove fins. The fins take the form of lightning bolts that extend from just below the elbow. They're a great little addition visually and surprisingly solid.

The head sculpt is a real winner for me. I love the classic Marvel supervillains and Electro is no exception. His design is a perfect shorthand for what he does. You wouldn't look at him and wonder what his powers were based around or assume he was a good guy from that look and it's a credit to Steve Ditko, an artist who created some superbly iconic character designs. It's also a credit to the designers at Hasbro that they captured the comicbook look so well. The hood looks great and his facial expression has a superbly smug/borderline insane look to it.

Unfortunately this body sculpt is actually pretty dated now (yet Hasbro continue to use it with no real improvements to this day) and it's quite lacking in articulation in a couple of key places. There's no waist joint, which really limits posing, his feet have no rotator joint, meaning they always point in the same direction and - worst of all - the hip/groin joints have a weird ''spring'' to them that tends to make it very difficult to get him to hold poses.

It's a real shame that the sculpt has these weaknesses but also that Hasbro hasn't addressed these issues yet. I understand it's a money thing but it would be nice to see an extra level of articulation introduced to the line. I can't criticise the figure too much for that but given that GI Joe toys of the same period have much better articulation, this poor construction strikes me as simply being a cost-cutting exercise on Hasbro's part.

Paint-wise, Electro is superb. The character's comicbook colouring is captured perfectly and accentuated with some great tampo print lightning flashes and details. Indeed, it's the presence of these decals that really make Electro pop. Without them he'd be just another repaint of the skinny body but it's easy to look past that when you see the detail and cool factor the tampo prints add to the figure. I like it a lot.

Electro comes with a clip-on electric bolt that fits snuggly over his wrist. He also includes a SHIELD file card but - like all Series 1 figures - does not come with a stand (that's Storm Shadow's stand if you were wondering...)

Final Thoughts
OK, so Electro is a repaint of the skinny body with a new head and a few accessories. But that doesn't really detract too much from the fact that he's also fun figure and a great representation of the character. Like Loki in the Savage Frost Giant/Loki Gigantic Battles Pack, the designers have managed to transcend the basics of the figure and make something pretty cool from it.

Yes, the articulation is sub-standard and yes, we've seen this body too many times before but strangely, it all just works. He's not going to set the world alight and I doubt any casual collector is going to really put any effort into finding him but fans of the Marvel Universe - and especially of the 60s and 70s Spider-Man adventures - will immediately warm to this toy. Sure a big part of that is purely for nostalgic reasons but that's also doing a little bit of a disservice to the excellent head sculpt and transfers, both of which make this figure a surprisingly cool addition to the range.

Production QualityB-
Final ScoreB

Image Gallery


  1. I have never seen this figure before Iok very neat looking and the mask and gloves really sell this figure.

  2. I think it popped-up in a revision case at some point - I've seen him occasionally still on shelves. Although it could be simply old stock. He's pretty cool either way though and a great classic villain to boot.


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