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Transformers Animated: The Arrival #5
Reviewed by Blackjack

Issue Review

'Survival Skills' is the closest thing to a spotlight for Optimus in the Arrival series. The simulator concept is okay, kinda like the facsimiles in Furman's 'Wreck and Rule'. This story establishes Optimus' potential whilst not making Megatron look weak. However, it is executed poorly. Brizuela's art is not necessary bad, and certainly nowhere as bad as 'Stilletto' (sic), but it's not good either. Also, Optimus' monologue is simplistic and pretty boring. A nice short story, but it's a few drafts short of real characterization.

'Everything Must Go', meanwhile, is a charming little story spotlighting Swindle, Blitzwing and Lugnut. Whilst it has absolutely no plot and is a large departure from the more 'serious' stories in the Animated TV show, it does deliver a nice laugh. Some of the art, like Blitzwing being 'popped' back from being compacted back into full size but the head remaining in the body is reminiscent of 'Looney Tunes'. Boo's exaggerated facial expressions are suitable for the story, especially for Lugnut. He draws an ugly Swindle, sadly. The light humour harks back to Earthforce. A nice story.


Survival Skills:

Survival Skills seemingly takes place before Sentinel and Optimus became Primes, and is well back when they are still cadets for the Elite Guard, and well before Elita-One's conversion into Blackarachnia in 'Along Came a Spider'. Sentinel's name is most likely 'Sentinel Minor' or somewhere along those lines, as that was his name in 'Autoboot Camp'. But I can't be sure, as they are all referred to only as Sentinel and Optimus throughout the story.

Optimus uses most of his gimmicks in the TV show, namely the foam-thing, grapple lines and his axe.

Everything Must Go:

The opening sequence of this story takes place in the middle of 'The Thrill of the Hunt'. Blitzwing and Lockdown's conversation is lifted directly from that episode.

Lots of obscure planets and weaponry from past Transformer series gets some love. Here I list them one by one. You gotta love TFWiki!:
-Andellorian Anti Gravity Cannon. Andellor is a planet from Blackthrone's Transformers in 3D, while Anti Gravity Cannon is featured in a 'Find Your Yay' Transformer book. Alternatively, it could also reference Skullcruncher's Anti gravity gun in Marvel comics. You know, the one that shoots bubbles.
-Talosian Triple Crusher Cannon. TFWiki thinks that Talos is a reference to Taros Four, in Official Transformers Fan Club exclusive story 'the Dark Heart of Sandokkan'. The Triple Crusher Cannon is G1 Nautilator's weapon of choice.
-Torkulonian Decompression Pump. Torkulon is a planet filled with psychotherapists in the G1 cartoon episode 'Webworld'.
-While not named, it is pretty clear that Swindle sells Blitzwing glass gas. The glass gas is G1 Cliffjumper's weapon of choice.
-Swindle mentions a planet named Dahros, which according to Swindle has an inhospitable northern hemisphere. A similar planet named Darhos is present in the Japanese Headmaster series, right down to the northern hemisphere part.
-Swindle uses a Menosian super glue (seriously, super glue? No Insecticon regeneration beam?) to fix up the glass gassed Lugnut. Menosia is an exiled magical planet in the G1 episode 'Madman's Paradise'.
-Omega Bomb. The Omega Bomb is a Quintesson weapon from the G1 episode 'the Quintesson Journal'. Yes, the G1 omega bombs are supposedly able to blow up planets as well.
-Nemesis Shield. The Nemesis Shield is a Minicon shield in the Armada Playstation game.

This episode features Animated Swindle's Cybertronian mode. Compared to his Animated earthen mode, it is very plain. Oh, and both Blitzwing and Lugnut have their Cybertronian modes as well.


Survival Skills:

Elita-One's ponytail is missing throughout the two panels where she appeared. Perhaps she got a haircut?

Optimus slices off Megatron's fusion cannon without any apparent damage in subsequent shots.

The simulator requires Optimus to wear a VR helmet. However, this should be impossible for Optimus to wear due to those spiky horns on the sides of his head.

Everything Must Go:

As usual with Boo, some of the expressions are... oddly drawn. An example would be Lugnut when he's firing the triple crusher cannon. His expression is... odd.

Mass shifting, which had not been used much in Animated appears in this episode. Lugs and Blitzy carry their omega bombs (which are big enough to engulf the Decepticons) on backpacks. Of course, there's nothing to discredit subspacing or stuff like that...

Lugnut lacks his smaller eyes on the scene where he's being super-glued together by Swindle.

If Swindle had access to planet-destroying omega bombs that could shrink to a backpack, why didn't Megatron send one to blow up Cybertron ages ago? Also, Blitzwing and Lugnut are pretty lenient towards Swindle considering the Animated Decepticons are more hardcore and won't hesitate to kill.

Quote, Unquote

Survival Skills:

Optimus (monologue): -actually, panic is about the only logical response here. So I'll just have to do something illogical!

Ultra Magnus: "I expect great things from you, young 'Bot."

Everything Must Go:

Random Blitzwing: "Oh! I wanna see him turn into a firetruck! Can I? Huh? Huh? Can I? Hahahahaha!"

Random Blitzwing: -Lugnut's crusher cannon crushes Blitzwing- "Ooh, look! Now I'm a compact! Get it? Compact? Ahahaha!" -beat- "ngh... I feel funny... and I don't mean ha-ha funny..."

Blitzwing: -after being pumped back to full size, but his head's still stuck in his body- "Funny... I still feel light-headed. Ahhahahaha!"

Swindle: "Besides, as a loyal customer I'm willing to make you a deal on this fabulous omega bomb, capable of destroying--wait for it... An entire planet! Now, how much would you pay?"

Icy Blitzwing and Lugnut: "Fool! Your doomsday weapon is useless against my nemesis shield!"
Icy Blitzwing: "Swindle?"
Lugnut: "You too?"

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