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THE TRANSFORMERS: COMICS, BOOKS AND MANGA

IDW Publishing
(2005-now)
Devil's Due
(2003-2007)
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(2002-2004)
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(2001-now)
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CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING

Transformers: All Hail Megatron #12
Reviewed by Inflatable Dalek

Issue Review

They’re going to need to rebuild and recover from this devastation.

In retrospect, the early issues fooled us into a false sense of security. True, they were mostly terrible but the first three or four all had a scene of perfection (Rumble, Starscream and Megatron’s first intelligent chat), something that worked really well and suggested McCarthy might still turn the ship around. It’s been a long time since we had a moment like that. Since before the midpoint, we’ve been on a downward spiral, and we weren’t very high to begin with.

This spiral culminates in what is, without doubt, the single worst issue of a Transformers comic I have ever read. I didn’t think we’d ever beat Man and Machine so soon, but IDW have excelled themselves.

Exactly where to start with what’s wrong is hard to decide. As should be obvious by this point of the review characters continuously act out of their established personalities, frequently in the space of pages. Even Thundercracker, someone whose behaviour has had some foreshadowing, is undone by the fact his dissatisfaction was mentioned once in issue 7 and has been ignored since. He hasn’t even had any lines since then, but his sacrifice is supposed to mean something. It doesn’t.

The fact we’re supposed to forget Omega Supreme is there for his defection to work shows how random and on the hoof the plotting is. Hell, how hard would inserting an “Omega’s out of fuel!” line have been?

The rest of what’s wrong is what’s wrong with the entire series. It’s derivative of Transformer comics that weren’t very good the first time around, there’s too many characters (what was the point of the humans in New York bar Spike? All they do at the end is some cheerleading), fights are badly drawn, Drift is a tit, and the whole thing seems designed to piss on the fans who enjoyed any of IDW’s prior output (hello gratuitous Hunter death).

It’s hard to see what IDW can do to salvage their G1 continuity. The fact that they’ve not only added four extra issues to try and sort it out, but also plotted the ongoing as yet another new new new direction (new) that’s not going to directly involve McCarthy, suggests that despite all the claims of the series success they know this has been a giant cock up as well as we do. With such a monumental task though such repair work could well be too little to late.

Notes

No, seriously. That’s what happens in the issue.

Octane is both based on his Universe toy and given the same copyright dodging name of Tankor. Modern TF comics have featured several characters Hasbro no longer own the copyright for the use of their names on toys (Hot Rod, Bombshell and Jazz to name a few), but this is the first time an alternate name created for a reissue/homage toy has made it into the fiction. Considering the reason for several characters now looking like their Universe toys is apparently to plug that line, it’s likely this is a slightly random and forced bit of last second promotion (after all, Tankor is a large and expensive toy).

Tankor also seemingly has the ability to alter his colour scheme from a more military green to those of his actual toy. What a guy.

The Statue of Liberty has been the site of several past Transformer fights, most notably Decepticon Graffiti from Marvel US #23.

We see in a fair fight Megatron would beat Optimus, in keeping with their last encounter in Escalation. Several poses in the fight mimic those from their struggle in the 1986 film, most obviously Prime rising from the ground to deliver a punch and a battered Megatron falling to the ground.

The Decepticons using a Nuclear bomb falling on a city as cover for doing a runner and then a flier going up to destroy the bomb is copied almost directly from the end of Dreamwave’s Prime Directive miniseries.

Characters from both sides unseen this issue whose final fate is unknown: Springer, Blaster, Hot Rod, Perceptor [Likely still recovering somewhere], all cassettes bar Laserbeak [likely in Soundwave’s chest], Mirage, Tracks and Trailbreaker. What state the Constructicons are in is unclear, but none are seen escaping and there are an awful lot of pieces of Devastator that fall in the sea.

The death of Hunter is contentious, especially as it comes from the character that has no idea how reversible the process is and was banging on about the sanctity of all life just a few issues before. The killing of the main human identification character during the initial IDW arcs can be read fairly easily as a condemnation of those storylines. Ho hum.

The many lose ends (what’s the EU going to do now? Where are the Decepticons going and what will they do with the Matrix? What about the rest of America?) may or may not be dealt with in the four issue Coda or the forthcoming ongoing that starts in November. The remaining loose ends from Furman’s stuff (facsimiles, super Energon, etc.) stand an even slimmer chance of being dealt with down the road.

Kup’s cigar is not a cigar. So what the hell was it?

Goofs

Dear Lord…

Why does Tankor bother getting the colour right but not adopt an alt mode that would actually be used for the nuclear payload?

Megatron goes to all this effort to convert New York and then deliberately drops a nuke on it for shits and giggles?

Megatron passes up a chance to kill his defenceless nemesis, instead preferring to leave him at the mercy of an elaborate death trap.

The complete failure of Megatron’s plan shows up what complete nonsense all his “Ha, this is what I wanted all along” talk for the last few issues has been. Yet Starscream still puts enough stock in his “Your time will come” speech last issue to rescue his leader? Even Prime points out this as out of character.

Where does Omega Supreme go after killing Devastator? He’d finish off the other Decepticons in about five seconds, but seems to go for a sit down with Perceptor and Mirage. Which is lucky for Thundercracker, because if he stayed around the Autobots would have a flier who’d probably take out the bomb easier than he did, thus rendering his noble act pointless.

Why do Megatron and then Starscream order the abandoning of Earth just because one city is going to get nuked? Why not relocate to Bromsgrove? [Ah wait, this is All Hail Megatron. America in general and New York in particular are all we care about].

Then again, the bomb is the size of an F-15 - bigger than the bomb at Hiroshima - so perhaps it’s some sort of super duper Earth destroying nuke? The EU as portrayed in this title would be evil bastards enough to use it. Either way, on this scale the end of Doctor Strangelove would be impossible without the character-sitting sidesaddle on the bomb.

No one cares about the fact a nuclear bomb has just exploded over their heads.

Skywarp kills Thundercracker for being a traitor. The same Skywarp who, on at least two prior occasions, has helped Thundercracker in a scheme to overthrow Megatron and put Starscream in charge (Infiltration and Devastation).

Colonel Witwicky forgets all his prior concern for his son and just sits around chatting with Kup once the crisis is over rather than staging a reunion. Or say getting on the blower to his superiors to tell them the crisis is over and would someone tell the EU not to send any more nukes.

Prime’s “Our people are free” when talking to Spike should be “Your people are free”. Technically not true anyway, as most humans weren’t enslaved or even bothered by the Decepticons.

Spike, who doesn’t know anything about the Autobots, thinks it’s a good idea to have a go at Prime for all this being his fault. Way to build diplomatic bridges there. What if Optimus had turned out to be a git who just squashed your badly drawn generic face?

The doors to the building Hunter is kept in are a rusty brown, suggesting it’s not one of those mysterious appearing/disappearing purple buildings Megatron built in New York. So was Bombshell keeping the secret of their success in an old aircraft hanger or barn with minimal security?

The solicitation for Transformers: All Hail Megatron: Coda: Issue 16 has two story 1’s in it.

Quote/Unquote

Not a single one I’d sully my hands with.

 
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