Tuesday, May 14, 2019

It's Only Logical

Geek arguments have been around for as long as I can remember. From the more popular all encompassing ones like Star Trek vs Star Wars or DC vs Marvel? To the more specific ones like Batman vs Superman or The Juggernaut vs. the Blob. When I was in grade school, one particular debate that raged on in my class was who was the better Decepticon? Shockwave or Soundwave?

Due to the fact that both their names ended with “wave”, I guess it was pretty inevitable that they would constantly be compared against each other. Aside from their common name ending though, the only other true similarity they had was that they were both Decepticons.

Anyway, if all you watched were the Transformers cartoons, I think the answer would be pretty obvious. With his iconic emotionless & monotonous voice and his cool ability to shoot our minions from his chest, Soundwave definitely was superior. Shockwave on the other hand got the short end of the stick as he was left behind on Cybertron to “man the fort” for millions of years while the Autobots & Decepticons continued their battles on Earth. He literally had one or two lines of dialogue in the entire first cartoon miniseries. And he would’ve easily been forgotten had it not been for his unique look highlighted by his single eye in the center of his face, making him look like a mechanical cyclops.

Despite his rather non-presence in the cartoon, I belonged to the Shockwave is cooler camp for one reason. Aside from watching the cartoon, I also read the Transformers comic by Marvel, and in the comic, Shockwave was a totally different animal.

Unlike his cartoon counterpart who was completely loyal to Megatron, Marvel comics Shockwave was constantly challenging Megatron over leadership of the Decepticons. He did so because logically, he concluded that he would make the better leader. And unlike his fellow Decepticon, the conniving Starscream, who was also a thorn on Megatron’s side, Shockwave actually managed to defeat Megatron and take over Decepticon leadership from time to time.

I remember specifically the covers of issues #5 & #6, more specifically the later one which showed Shockwave defeating Megatron in combat. I remember seeing this cover and being….well shocked. Up to this point I only knew Shockwave as the subservient and loyal Decepticon that he was in the cartoon, and now here was that same bot blowing Megatron away.

Since then, Shockwave has been a bigger character in almost most comics and cartoon series that followed through the years, and more often than not, he is depicted as one of the most powerful and dangerous characters in the Transformers universe. What makes him unique though is that despite being one of the more powerful Decepticons (he took on all five Dinobots and lived to talk about it), Shockwave is best known for his brilliant mind. He’s not an “in your face” type of bad guy, rather is one who hides in the shadow coldly calculating logical ways to defeat his adversary.

In many recent iterations, Shockwave is mostly portrayed as a sort of “mad scientist” constantly experimenting and pushing Transformer physiology beyond its limits. He is often credited with the creation of many of the Transformer with “special” abilities, most notably the duocons, triple-changers, and the maniacal solar powered clone of Starscream, Sunstorm.

Anyway since Shockwave is one of my favorite Decepticons, It’s only natural that I have multiple versions of the guy on my toy shelf. Enough to form my own personal purple cyclops army. With that here’s a rundown of what I’ve got.

Binaltech Shockblast

While this version isn’t part of any cartoon or movie, I figured he’s worth talking about due to his uniqueness. Since for a time Hasbro lost the trademark rights to the name “Shockwave”, this version was released as “Shockblast”. It was part of the Binaltech Transformers toy line, which featured robots that transformed into real world, highly detailed and officially licensed cars. Shockblast was actually a retool of a previous release Miester/Jazz and transformed into a 1:24 scale Mazda RX-8, which was a far cry from the space gun that we were accustomed to. Still it made for a rather gorgeous alt mode, and when transformed, there was no mistaking who he was.

Transformers Animated

Aside from the original Marvel comics, this is one of my favorite versions of Shockwave, from the 2007 cartoon, Transformers Animated. In the series, Shockwave was portrayed as a Decepticon double agent, who infiltrated the Autobot ranks under his alter ego Longarm Prime. And to reflect that, his toy actually had two robot modes and two alt modes! Granted the alt modes, especially Longarm Prime’s crane mode, were a little forced, like his character often did, this toy pushed the boundaries of what we used to in Transformers toys.

Transformers: Prime

In the cartoon series that followed Animated, Transformers: Prime, Shockwave is once again back to his mad scientist ways. His most notable contribution to the series was his successful cloning of the Predacons, who in this series were a extinct race of ancient Cybertronian Beasts brought back to life to wreak havoc on the Autobots.

Dark of the Moon

Next we have Shockwave from the third live action Transformers Movie, Dark of the Moon in 2011. During the films production, Shockwave was announced to be the main “bad guy” of the film. In fact in the prequel comics leading up to the film, he was set up as a powerful Decepticon who single handedly killed a number of Autobots who were featured in the previous films and their accompanying toy lines. Unfortunately, when the movie came out, it tuned out that he was just a red herring placed there to mislead the audience from the true villain of the movie, the traitorous Sentinel Prime. With his purpose served, he was unceremoniously killed off by Optimus Prime in the final battle.

Siege Shockwave

At first glance this version of Shockwave looks quite gimmicky with the extra arms and huge attachments on his shoulders and feet. The more you think about it though, his excessive weapons and attachments would seem at par with a mad scientist. So it works for me. In any case though all of that extra stuff is ultimately removable and when taken off, you are left with arguably one of the best Shockwave toys currently available. The base figure is a no frills back to basics Shockwave and it looks fantastic. The extra parts which can be assembled into a kind space sled for Shockwave make this toy as a whole more interesting and fun.

MP 29 Masterpiece Shockwave

When this figure was first released, a lot of collectors where disappointed since it felt too accurate to the cartoon and not so much to the original toy. He sported a noticeably lighter shade of purple and felt a little undersized for such a “major” Decepticon. But all that didn’t bother me one bit. This masterpiece version is clean and fun to transform. And I am totally on board for this being completely based on the original subservient and loyal cartoon version of Shockwave. It serves that purpose well for my collection.

Cloud 9 Quakeblast

Of course, no true Shockwave line up would be complete without a proper representation of what I consider to be the ultimate version of Shockwave. The one from the original Marvel comics. And for that version of Shockwave, I have 3rd party company Cloud 9’s Quakeblast. Now this the alpha Shockwave of my collection, the way I always envisioned the ultimate Shockwave to look like for my shelf. Unlike the sleeker MP 29, this one is bigger, bulkier and darker. And more importantly, looks like a bot that can easily take down Megatron.

So there you have it. Regardless of which iteration you prefer, there is no denying Shockwave’s importance in the Transformers universe. And I can totally get on board with anyone who identifies him as their favorite Decepticon. It’s only logical after all.