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THE TRANSFORMERS: COMICS, BOOKS AND MANGA

IDW Publishing
(2005-now)
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(2003-2007)
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TRANSFORMERS/G.I.JOE COMICS FROM DEVIL'S DUE

G.I.Joe vs The Transformers IV: Black Horizon #2
Reviewed by Inflatable Dalek

Notes

Colton's excuse for not escaping seems a little flimsy considering he could have come back with a full scale attack to sort out Cobra-La. This isn't going in Goofs as he's likely suffering from a form of Stockholm Syndrome and has formed a bond of empathy with his captors (especially Pythona as we see) that means he doesn't really want to escape, and is making excuses.

Hawk says Colton's been missing for 25 years- Assuming that was late 1978 and that the first crossover was early 2003 that just about fits with the 2004 setting for this story implied by the last issue.

Colton gets to use his "Kung Fu Grip!"- The distinctive feature of his toy. Though it's utterly impossible to read the panel without hearing Austin Powers shouting "Ninja Chop!” sadly.

Bludgeon seemingly falls to his death, but it's hard to be 100% certain. Prime clearly thinks the fall will be lethal as he tries to pull Bludgeon up (very Batman Forever), but he's not familiar with Pretender tech. The idea of falling into a bottomless pit will bring Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey to mind for many of us.

The Joes have facilities to repair damaged Autobots. It's probably the same equipment that was used to dissect Megatron and Soundwave.

The Battle Beasts were another 80's Hasbro toy property, one that in Japan was part of the main Transformers line. Considering their appearance here and in Dreamwave's output it's tempting to wonder if Hasbro do a "Buy the Transformers licence, get Battle Beasts free!" offer. It's worth noting that there are more Battle Beasts in this issue than there are speaking roles for Transformers. Only one of them displays any sentience, but it's hard to tell if Unicron's speaking directly through him or not.

This is only the second time ever that Unicron is defeated by means other than the Matrix- The other being The Legacy of Unicron Marvel UK strip that ran from issues #146-151. I suspect this will remain the only issue where exploding mushrooms provide the deus ex machina. Unicron seems to have an organic brain, by the way, which is something we'll explore more in the Goofs section.

And speaking of firsts, this is the debut of Monstructor in a official Transformers comic, nearly 17 years after the Monster Pretenders first appeared in Rhythms of Darkness.

At last we know why Mindbender gets out of his alliance with Cobra-La... he's in charge of tying up scantily dressed young women. The dirty sod. The sacrifice seems to be purely ceremonial rather than for any practical reason. Considering that such sacrifices tend to be chosen for their... purity... I'll leave you to decide what that says about Firewall.

The shots of people reacting to Unicron appearing in the sky are shamelessly cribbed from Independence Day- the greatest "Don't think about the plot" movie of our time. That is except for the panel where he seems to be standing in for the Star of Bethlehem, which is shamelessly cribbed from the Bible, the greatest "Don't think about the plot" book of all time.

At the time of writing it's still uncertain if they'll ever be a volume V, though the ending is left open for a GI Joe Vs. The Transformers IN SPACE!!!! sequel.

Goofs

A caption refers to the Pit as GI Joe’s secret headquarters. That's the headquarters so secret Cobra knew where it was last mini? The one so secret Hawk takes his girlfriend there at the end of the issue (and how did she get to the middle of nowhere so fast anyway)? That secret headquarters?

Why is Nemesis Enforcer all old and decayed before being revived when everyone else hasn't aged a day in a quarter of a century (even Colton doesn't look older bar the beard, whatever keeps them young must be in the water)? Did he not sign up for BUPA?


Without wishing to sound perverted... who undressed Firewall? She's surprised to see Mindbender so it wasn't him, but the Yeti's claws make it unlikely to be her. I suppose they could have told her to change herself, but considering they don't speak English and she doesn't speak Yeti this must have involved enthusiastic mime.

It's also worth noting that the sacrifice is a big deal for Cobra-La, yet rather than grabbing a local Tibetan girl in advance they seem utterly dependant on Firewall falling through the roof right beforehand. Would they have dressed Shipwreck up in a bra and panties if it'd have been him with Cosmos?

"Kung Fu Grip!" seems to be a fancy way of saying "Punch him in the face!” certainly no gripping of any sort seems to be involved. Colton also claims to speak Yeti; did Pythona give him some language tapes? [Or has he simply gone insane through captivity and is talking bollocks?]

In order to take him out before he eats Earth, Cosmos has to unleash the metal-eating virus in Unicrons brain. His organic brain. The one with no metal for the virus to eat. And the fact it apparently takes a long time for the virus to spread makes you wonder why Unicron was so worried by it in the first place when Cobra-La could only chuck it at his leg. All he needed to do was rip the infected body part off and then chow down on the planet.

Where did the Joes get the laser gun they use to kill Monstructor? Surely that's not some of the Cybertronian technology they're supposed to have given back/destroyed?

Why is Prime hanging about on Earth at the end when he's needed back home and there are better medical facilities on Cybertron? Does he really have a huge secret desire to watch Queer Eye for the Straight Guy?

Why didn't the Pretender Monsters kill Prowl and company last issue? I'll leave you to decide if the way none of the Autobots on the medical table seem to have mouths is an attempt to show horrific battle damage or Wildman forgetting to draw them again.

So what was the Black Horizon then?

Issue Review

This may well be the strangest Transformers comic of all time. I've been watching a lot of Monty Python's Flying Circus over the last week and this makes that look sane and normal by comparison. In fact, if Graham Chapman had shown up in full army costume to tell everyone involved to stop all this silliness at once, it wouldn't have seemed out of place.

It's still all hugely entertaining as long as the brain is in neutral, but any comic where some bloke from Action Force tussles with Battle Beasts before throwing exploding mushrooms at Unicron's head tips over the line from "mildly absurd" to "completely insane".

It also has to be said that Wildman's art lets the side down, whilst Cobra-La still look good Bludgeon’s half in/half out Pretender look is silly, and Unicron looks worrying like Charlie Chan in a few panels. There's also no dialogue that's memorable for the right reasons ("KUNG FU GRIP!" may well be the most embarrassing moment in a comic ever.)

It's still very hard to hate this, it's bright Technicolor nonsense that always entertains, but if there's a volume V it may well be time for something completely different.

 
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