You know, I don't think it was the Decepticons' inherent evilness that always led to their defeat. No, I think that blame can be laid squarely at the feet of micro-management. Okay, so Megatron's the boss, right? But then there's Starscream, Soundwave, Shockwave, Sliposlap, Sandwichtron and any number of surrogate commanders whose names all seem to start with S, and they all keep dropping by Devastator's cubicle to ask if he's filled out all his TPS reports. And then the Autobots attack and, unquestioningly following the orders of their self-appointed leader, stomp all over the place. Jerks.
The new Energon line is doing its part to recreate these problems yet again. We started out with Scorponok, then Megatron reappeared, and now Shockwave is back. Or not. This guy is technically "Shockblast," which you could almost claim makes him a new character, except that he looks almost exactly like his G1 inspiration... at least in robot form.
Shockblast is a big cool robot. His gray and purple color scheme is complemented nicely by black accents. He's 7 1/2" tall and has plenty of design elements borrowed from Shockwave: the shape of his torso, a big gun for a left hand, and that unmistakeable head. At a glance, this guy is obviously the Decepticons' second-in-command, but he's been updated nicely.
He moves at the ankles, knees, hips, waist, neck, shoulders, right elbow and thumb. The only down point is that the giant green blaster arm doesn't move below the shoulder. Hasbro had to leave room for a missile launcher and a battery compartment, but at least the original had an elbow. Even the box art shows Shockblast with a bend there. Still, that's the only real drawback.
Of course, that's the robot form. Shockwave's alternate mode was a giant blaster, but since toy guns are verbotten these days, the designers had to come up with something else. How do you accommodate the big blaster without just making a gun? Well, in this case, Hasbro decided to make a tank.
Not a realistic tank, or even a pseudo-military device like Armada Megatron, but some weird futuristic rolling cannon. 10" long, this is one goofy-lookin' vehicle. Really, it looks more like Shockblast in a "Lord of the Dance"-style flying leap than a vehicle. Luckily for us, there's still more to be had.
Shockblast's got an alternate attack mode that is definitely not a crappy tank. More spread out and featuring a lot of opened panels, this mode looks like a really cool defense satellite. You can just imagine Shockblast orbitting earth, blasting Autobots from above and only touching down when the situation is most dire. Except for storage purposes, I probably won't have Shockblast in his tank for all that often: it's either robot or satellite for me.
Slide a button on the big blaster, and a missile fires as six translucent green panels open near the barrel. That large, solitary eye on his head is light-piped so it appears to glow. Because of the way Shockblast is constructed means that you can decide if you want the blaster on his right or left - sure, it's supposed to be the left, but why limit yourself? Maybe your Shockblast is different.
Shockblast was an impulse buy, but he turned out to be pretty cool. Definitely a lot better than my last such purchase. This is a fun toy, and if you ignore his stupid tank mode, looks great. He's a lot better than his commander, Megatron, and will serve as a real threat to your Autobots.
Who's your favorite Decepticon sub-commander? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.