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THE TRANSFORMERS: COMICS, BOOKS AND MANGA

IDW Publishing
(2005-now)
Devil's Due
(2003-2007)
Dreamwave
(2002-2004)
Club/Con
(2001-now)
Titan Books
(2001-now)
Marvel Comics
(1984-1994)
Japanese
Manga
Other Books
and Titles

CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING

Transformers: Continuum
Reviewed by Blackjack

Issue Review

Terrible. It is a nice gesture for IDW to make an 'everything in order' book, and that is one gorgeous cover by Ken Christiansen. But the end result is a hastily-cobbled piece of crap that isn't even worth free, let alone paid. Instead of clearing up continuity problems, Continuum is rifle with lots of its own problems due to wrong summarizing. Let's get one example: Skywatch and the Machination are steamrolled into one organization: Skywatch. When one is a group of clueless government agents and the other is a group of humans working under Scorponok. And all stuff pre-war being passed off as 'legend' when everybody present when the war broke out is still alive today. And ignoring plot-relevant details like Sixshot, or Kup, or Nightbeat, or Hot Rod, or Doubledealer... while I could sympathise with removing superfluous details — Doubledealer's arc, for example — it's no excuse when they could shove unconnected standalone issues like Spotlight Wheelie in. We get a rather extensive and meticulous retelling of some parts such as Infiltration and AHM Coda, yet longer arcs like the Dead Universe and All Hail Megatron is really chopped up. Things like Kup being revived and everything, or the gestalt process being developed, or the Pretender stuff, are dropped in favour so we could have one panel each detailing the AHM Coda stories. Because Ironhide considering retiring and Sunstreaker's head replaying images is more important than them. Why do this? Because the bloody Coda TPB is in the stores, is why. Bloodsuckers, IDW.

This led to a lot of fireworks in the IDW forums (which, predictably, was doused and deleted). I, personally, am sane enough not to waste any money on the book and read in the bookshop, and even then it's only for the sake of making a review for the site. Shouldn't have bothered. Andy Schmidt was reportedly made fun of over this book by fellow editors Denton J Tipton and Carlos Guzman. Serves him right. I know it's a bit cruel, but when fans do a much superior job for free by their own will, when he gets paid to make a book it should be better, no? I could get what Continuum offers through TFWiki, or TFArchive or Seibertron or any of the myriad Transformers fan sites out there. Even bloody Wikipedia. Why should you spend money on a half-assed, error-ridden summary that's basically an excuse to get you to reach the end and buy the trade paperbacks and the new ongoing?

Do not waste your money on this. Instead spend them on something more useful. Like a bubble lamp. Or a bunch of highlighters. Or a random ugly vase you can display at your home. Or food. Avoid like the plague. I cannot say that anything could be worse than this patchwork job, and that includes all the shite Transformers had given us.

Any of you think I'm too harsh on this book? I'm the guy who loves ROTF and Drift and Reign of Starscream and Micromasters. I am normally a lenient reviewer, but this is over the limit. Harsh my bleeding arse. The only selling point of this book is the pretty cover. Is all.

Notes

Understandably, the events of New Avengers/Transformers are not included, because Marvel and everything.

This book uses images culled from Megatron Origin, Spotlight Blurr, Spotlight Shockwave, Stormbringer, Infiltration, Escalation, Spotlight Grimlock, Spotlight Arcee, Spotlight Ultra Magnus, Spotlight Wheelie, Devastation, Spotlight Cyclonus, Spotlight Sideswipe, Maximum Dinobots, All Hail Megatron, Coda 13, 14 and 16.

The Darkness is renamed the 'Heart of Darkness', keeping to what it would be called in Infestation and the titular Heart of Darkness miniseries.

At the end is an ordering of IDW's comic books in chronological order.

Goofs

No punctuation is featured at all. Anywhere there should be a comma or a full stop is substituted with a double space. So Megatron's becomes Megatron s and so on.

Many characters and their relevance to the plot are ignored outright: Sixshot, Nightbeat, Hot Rod, Kup, Monstructor, Hardhead, the Reapers (sensibly), Dealer, Omega Supreme, Devastator and the Insecticons in particular are major characters ignored entirely. Also, Jimmy Pink, but nobody remembers him. But wait... let's not list errors of what should be done, but see how an editor knows the thing he is supposed to be editing:

All mention to Ore-13 is omitted, despite it being crucial to the original Furmanverse arcs.

Page one, 'legend' is spelt 'egend'.

Megatron is not a slave. Rather, he is an Energon miner that rebelled because his mine was shut down for no good reason.

Why would origins about Megatron and Optimus not exist? The people that participated in the war — Soundwave, Kup, Ironhide et al — are still serving in the army to this day.

The battle against Thunderwing did not take place on Nebulos. While it is true that Thunderwing razed Nebulos, the last stand happened on Cybertron. The Predacons' participation is also omitted.

On page six, 'While' is misspelt 'Whi e'.

Although Jimmy Pink isn't mentioned during the recap of Infiltration and Escalation, it's weird that he showed up later in the image from Max Dinos.

Wheeljack and Jazz did not discover Skywatch Machination's name, rather, Verity and Jimmy did.

Although after the Escalation recap is followed up by a recap of Spotlight Grimlock and Grimlock breaking free, three pages later they recapped Devastation... and had Grimlock being excavated.

Spotlight Ultra Magnus is said to take place after/during Escalation when it should've taken place some time ago. Even the timeline at the end of the book notes this.

The image of Hunter transforming into Sunstreaker's head is actually one of the evil Headmasters from the Machination.

Sunstreaker wasn't kept on life support so Skywatch can have use for him, they had to reroute the Headmasters' thoughts through Sunstreaker.

The aforementioned Machination being treated as Skywatch problem. Throughout the entire thing, the Machination is regarded as Skywatch and its connections with Scorponok is never made clear.

The Dead Universe guys' backstory is pretty truncated and condensed. No mention is made to Spotlight Galvatron, Spotlight Optimus Prime, Spotlight Nightbeat, et cetera. Nightbeat and Hardhead are eliminated completely. Any mention to Jhiaxus manipulating Thunderwing, Nightbeat and the rest is also omitted. The Pretenders blowing the Nega Cores up is also omitted.

Nova Prime wasn't trying to find the ultimate release (oh, the innuendo!) but was trying to spread the Dead Universe into the real one.

Only one Nega Core is mentioned here, when there were three.

Nova Prime's death was not made explicit.

Galvatron was said to be thrown into the Nega Core, when Prime threw him into the Solar Pool.

The relation that Nova and Nemesis are the same guy was never made clear. The book calls him Nova all throughout, then abruptly switches to Nemesis when recapping Max Dinos.

Scorponok's role in Maximum Dinobots is ignored, instead opting only for a simple Grimlock vs Shockwave.

Spike Witwicky is said to have killed Megatron. In AHM, it's not so much as kill, but rather got a lucky shot in. Plus, Optimus Prime gave the final blow.

Here, Skywarp shot Thundercracker in the back. In reality it's in the face.

And the timeline at the back? Well, I won't argue about the placing of vaguely-timed issues like Spotlight Cliffjumper or Spotlight Sixshot, but Spotlight Wheelie must've happened some time after AHM, unless somebody resurrects Reflector in the meantime. Spotlight Mirage, meanwhile, shouldn't have taken place between Devastation and Spotlight Grimlock. Although Mirage is so rife with problems that it can't really be helped. The rest is surprisingly in order, though.

Not to mention a variety of minor continuity oddities and omissions that I can't be bothered to list.

 
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