Friday, September 6, 2013

Crime Doesn't Pay When You're All Thumbs

Name This Marvel Villain??

It's tempting to call this guy "Mattress Man" or "Freezer Man," since he would seem to be bundled up for--well, battling inside a freezer or doubling as his own bed. But the Shocker wouldn't take too kindly at being mocked like that. Still, you have to hope he has the good sense to take a hiatus during those sweltering New York summers--otherwise, "the Stinker" may well become his off-season villain name.

A petty safecracker who was put behind bars easily enough, the man who would become the Shocker secretly worked on technology which would basically allow him to become a more efficient safecracker--vibrating a safe door loose in seconds. (You've gotta love those fully-stocked prison workshops--as well as guards who don't raise an eyebrow at heavy machinery being assembled by an inmate.) After shattering his way to freedom, the Shocker made improvements on his equipment, and designed a costume for himself that would absorb the shocks caused by his power.

The odd part is that his goal--silently vibrating safes open--seemed to have slipped his mind. Because if your power now vibrates whole building walls while doing your looting, you're going in the wrong direction. And if you're vibrating building walls, chances are it's only a matter of time before you attract the attention of a wall-crawler:

The Shocker would seem to have all his bases covered, in terms of handling himself in a fight. Not only can he fire his shock blasts from a distance, but his power provides him with the means to safely mix it up with Spider-Man:

As well as defending against even a super-powered foe:

So Spider-Man, already at a disadvantage due to his injured arm, gets his webbed head handed to him and is laid out by this new villain.

So how do you stop a villain like the Shocker? The same way you'd stop any opponent who uses mechanical means to deliver their power. Cyclops, for instance, wouldn't be much of a threat if he couldn't open his mechanical visor to release his eye beams. So in his next encounter with the Shocker, and now with two functioning arms, Spidey brings an end to his threat:

A variation on this theme leads to another defeat at Spider-Man's hands in their next battle: Spider-Man webs the Shocker's mask so that he's rendered blind, after which Spidey delivers a knockout punch (which succeeds because the Shocker can't see it coming and thus press his control buttons to cushion the blow). But it's to the Shocker's credit that he's dealt into many more stories in the Spider-Man title and others. His power and name have "threat" written all over them--he just needs to spend a little more time at the drawing board.


Anonymous said...

The Shocker is one of my favorite Marvel villians, simply because he seems to me a rarity among supervillians: he's not a complete lunatic, he's not a mutated monster, he isn't driven by revenge or a lust for power. He's just trying to make a simple dishonest buck. His reaction to Spiderman was more like exasperation than anything else. He just wanted to knock him out and escape with the loot. I hope doesn't turn him into a weird demonic vengeance-driven character (unless they already have).
Shocker's the kind of villain who, if he got his hands on the cosmic cube, he'd probably say, "Gee, I wonder what I can fence this for."

Comicsfan said...

That's really an excellent way of interpreting his character. Good points all around.