SPAWN (MCFARLANE TOYS)
“When justice failed the innocent, district attorney Paul Johnstone fashioned the silver and black garb of the human Bird of Prey: Shadowhawk! With his powerful weapons, bullet-proof armor, infra-red lenses and natural fighting skills, he has vowed to TAKE BACK THE NIGHT form the monsters that prowl the city’s streets!”
When discussions of early Image Comics come up, Jim Valentino always seems to be the odd man out. He wasn’t the super star that Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, and Jim Lee were, nor did he experience the larger scale notoriety in his original creations like Erik Larsen. He did, however, have a highly enjoyable run on Guardians of the Galaxy, which may well be one of the best things to come out of ‘90s Marvel. When it came time to create his own original work, he delivered ShadowHawk, something of a ‘90s anti-hero take on Batman, but still one of the more unique of the early Image creations. Like so many of those early characters, he found his way into the Spawn line from McFarlane, and I’ll be looking at that figure today.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
ShadowHawk was released in Spawn Series 4. He joined Sam Kieth’s The Maxx as one of two non-Spawn characters in this particular series. There have actually been two different main ShadowHawks over the years. This figure represents the first one, who was still the only one at the time of his release. The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation. ShadowHawk’s sculpt was unique to him, though it certainly feels very similar to the basic Spawn figure from Series 1, at least in the pose and basic build. While the figure looks overall like the ShadowHawk of the comics, it’s far from accurate to the source material. The shoulderpads are separate pieces, rather than sleeker parts of the costume, and there’s a lot of ribbing on the silver parts that wasn’t there in the comics. He’s also got more straps than he usually did. One feels like McFarlane was attempting to give us Rob Liefeld’s Jim Valentino’s ShadowHawk. It’s kind of an odd choice. I mean, it certainly doesn’t look terrible or anything, but it’s a little sad, given that this is one of three ShadowHawk figures ever, and the only one within a decade of its release. The most awkward part of this figure by far is the assortment of weapons that come attached to him. While the shoulder-mounted guns can be easily removed, the two that mount on his arms are permanently attached to the figure via the tubes that go into his back. It’s kind of a strange choice, and seems particularly silly given McFarlane’s whole “action figures for hardcore collectors” angle. I guess he didn’t actually expect anyone to oped the damned things. ShadowHawk’s paint work is reasonable enough. It’s mostly pretty basic, but the colors are bold, and he stands out pretty well. There’s a bit of slop here and there, but nothing atrocious. ShadowHawk included the aforementioned assortment of weapons, most of which are just meant to be mounted on his person.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I picked up ShadowHawk on Small Business Saturday from an antique store I frequent. They had just put out a bunch of ‘90s figures, and I was asking for a few of them from the case. I was mostly grabbing some Toy Biz Marvel releases, but this guy was also in the case, and I sort of impulse bought him. ShadowHawk’s always sort of intrigued me, and the figure’s cool enough. Now I think I might try and track down some back issues, just to see what I think of the source material.