Shockwave (1988)

What was the deal with the geometric camo in 1988? Shockwave, Repeater and Storm Shadow were sporting the odd patterns that year. Shockwave however went one better and threw in some yellow. It certainly adds interest to the figure, and makes for a unique and memorable looking toy. I was intrigued by the figures’ looks when I spotted them at a friend’s house. I of course pretended not to be too interested, but picked them up to sneak a look or two. Since I have no nostalgic connection to it, I chalk up my interest in this figure to a simple gut-level reaction: it just looks cool.

The same goes for the cap over the mask. What’s the point? Who cares. It looks cool. His weapons are blue. That’s ridiculous. Weapons shouldn’t be blue, right? You didn’t see Grunt or Zap carrying a blue weapon. I don’t care. It looks cool. The coolness doesn’t stop there, as he’s equipped with a padded vest, dual holsters and a particularly wicked looking knife that stores in his backpack. The mold’s coolness has not gone unrecognized, as its been repainted as part of the Night Force sub-team, and later as a convention exclusive.

The coolness extends to his file card, as Shockwave is not only a capable SWAT officer and a capable door-kicker, but he’s also a talented singer. How many other Joes can boast a secondary MOS of choir? That’s cool.


  • This guy definitely isn’t traditional military themed GI Joe, and I was always ok with that. I loved the look for a swat guy. I loved him even more the next year decked out in black and grey.

  • I always liked Shockwave. He was one of the Joes in my brother’s collection that I always really liked. He just looked so cool and intimidating.

  • Clarity of thought before rashness of action

  • Shockwave is my #2 favorite Joe character, right after Barbecue. Definitely for the same reasons as you: he looks cool.

  • Shockwave turned out to be one the most popular figures from 1988, certainly not due to media exposure since the Sunbow cartoon had ended its run by then and the version that showed up in the DIC series was based on a different figure. Larry Hama did use him often in his two G.I. Joe comics, however.

    Yet, I’d wager that he was the second best selling figure that year next to Storm Shadow. He still commands a hefty price tag to this day sealed on the card. Not unlike Beach Head, if you think about it. Maybe kids really went for masked good guys in the style of Snake-Eyes. Me? I loved the use of geometric camo and otherwise throughout 1988. And besides that, Shockwave was the team’s first SWAT member, had an interesting talent, (choir singer) and included cool accessories. Not a bad deal at all for three bucks.

  • Here’s a figure I more recently acquired in the “grown up” years. The character of Shockwave grew on me when I got what was Sure Fire / Low Light rahc pack. That was one of my favorite packs at that time, and “sure fire” quickly just became Shockwave, since I knew it was just a repaint of Shockwave (to an extent), much like Doubleblast simply was just Roadblock to me. (Could anyone really have 1984 Roadblock next to Doubleblast and really convince themselves it was two different people?)

    I traded for this Shockwave figure, and when I first got it, I thought it was a foreign version or something, since it felt a little softer, and I never noticed that yellow stripe from staring at the small pictures of insert catalogs prior, or the DeSimone guides.

    This Shockwave (’88) has definitely become a strong presence in my collection.

  • @scott

    I’m glad somebody pointed out that wacky Roadblock/Doubleblast comparison or lack thereof because I’ve always thought of it as one of Hasbro’s lamest moves ever. Same goes for Snow Job/White Out and Torpedo/Wet Down. They could have kept them as the same guys from the 80’s with different code names and it would have made more sense.

  • A complaint about Shock-Wave is that’s he’s wearing Cobra colors, though Cobra was moving away from blue at that time. Not sure what “shockwaves” have to do with SWAT, either. But Hasbro liked using existing trademarked names from their other major line.

  • What’s interesting about the geometric blocks (AKA Tetris blocks) is 1988 was before all the big releases of Tetris on the video game consoles (both NES versions and the Game Boy version came out in 1989), though it came out on some computers in the US in 1986. Was Tetris really big in 1987 (when these figures would’ve been designed) or was it just a coincidence?

  • One of the coolest Joes ever…

  • This dude is cooler than Firefly and Snake-Eyes. Easily one of my all-time favorite Joe figures.

  • I will have to admit, I’m a big fan of the Shockwave. Although he came out a little late in the day, I still rank him among the “classic” Joe characters.

  • Shockwave was a great figure, I have a lot of fond memories of him. The sculpt is great, especially the tactical vest, and the SWAT specialty brings a lot to the table for the Joe team. His weapons kit was very impressive, he came equipped with an Uzi and a knife? A knife that goes in his backpack? Sign me up! Also loved his colors and compared to most Alley Vipers, who are also urban tactics specialists, Shockwave’s camo here is downright subtle.

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