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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: Devastation #2 (of 6)
#18 of an ongoing arc
Reviewed by Inflatable Dalek

Issue Review

This is Sixshot. Ark 19 is down.

After the heavily plot driven stuff of last month we get an issue that is effectively entirely devoted to two action scenes; the crash of Ark 19 and the Headmaster/Autobots fight. Whilst this effectively puts all plots on hold for the duration both sequences are handled so well you don't care - just revel in it.

What's especially nice is Wheeljack getting something to do, he was starting to be the Beverly Crusher of IDW, so seeing him not only get more than two lines but also getting the chance to form a good double act with Hot Rod is a pleasure. Most of the fun to be had in the issue comes from their bit, and they get all the best lines.

The Ark 19 crash on the other hand is played completely straight, but is topped off by Su's best artwork to date, and it's appropriate that the splash page features movie in jokes as it's a fantastically cinematic image. Considering his looming parenthood must have been occupying most of his thoughts, his work is extraordinary.

The only really negative thing to say is that with all the action scenes, there's very little to generate debate or much more discussion than "Whoa, that was cool!" The introduction of the Headmasters in particular, whilst well done, is something the audience would have been two steps ahead on for some time now. So hopefully there are some surprises coming from that direction soon before it starts to feel stale.

However, all in all, as a big action issue it's hard to top, and provides some of the best images you'll ever see in a Transformers comic.

Notes

The history between Dealer and Hot Rod was explored in the latter's Spotlight issue. Dealer is in fact a Decepticon spy trying to use Hot Rod to get hold of a powerful artifact called the Magnificence.

Hot Rod's simulacrum looks left and right when Hot Rod is looking in those directions. It's not clear if he actually uses any data from the hologram's vision or if this is just instinctive.

The Machination captured Hunter and Sunstreaker in Escalation issue 1, and began surgery on the human in issue 4. Hunter's trick of avoiding brainwashing by filling his mind with trivia is exactly the same as that used by Dr. Zarkov in the 1981 Flash Gordon film (and considering his official geek status that's where he likely got the idea from).

Blowing up the ship (or at least part of it) to fool an enemy is the same tactic used by the Autobots in the 1986 Transformers film. On the splash page showing the shuttle just pulling up there are two homages to the 2007 film; a newspaper with a story about "Project Iceman" and a yellow sports car with black racing stripes (that don't go as far as movie Bumblebee's, but the resemblance is still blatant).

Though the Headmasters are based on Sunstreaker's original body they can be told apart by their evil red eyes. The one who speaks to Hot Rod and Wheeljack considers themselves to be the next evolutionary step (for humans rather than transformers one would assume).

Hunter stumbling upon Sunstreaker's head is a direct homage to Buster Whitwicky coming upon Optimus Prime's in issue 5 of the Marvel US comic. Sunstreaker's plea of "Kill me!" references on of the most famous deleted scenes in film history; Kane asking Ripley to kill him as he turns into a egg in Alien. Much talked about for twenty five years, when it was finally reinstated to the directors cut it became rather apparent why it had been removed in the first place - it just looked silly and broke the tension of the last act.

From here on in E.J. Su takes a two month break for paternity leave, though he'll still provide covers.

Goofs

The Machination continue their dumb super villain act. Hunter can walk wherever he likes within their base seemingly unhindered and without security cameras observing him.

Without wishing to be indelicate... isn't Mr. Dante a bit too fat to be a Headmaster? He'll be twice the size of the other Sunstreaker heads. One would have thought Mr. Drake would have been a better candidate. [Assuming the mystery head is Scorponok, his head is bigger than Sunstreaker's. -Ed]

The Sunstreakers on Nick Roche's cover have yellow eyes as opposed to the red.

All in all though, this is probably the most error free issue IDW have done yet.

Quote, Unquote

Dealer: Get me to Earth Hot Rod. The sooner the better. You and I, well...we've got history.

Hot Rod: I vote we stick around and show these pale imitators how to fight fire *Blasts flame from exhaust* with fire!

Hot Rod: [as trying not to kill the Sunstreakers in case one is the real McCoy isn't working] Any other bright ideas, Wheeljack? 'Cause, Y'know, much as I, well, tolerate ol' Sunstreaker I'm starting not to care!

Hunter: It's not just external either. I'm different inside, I can feel it.

Headmaster: [We're] in evolutionary terms the next step. Which rather makes you two surplus to requirements!

Sunstreaker: Pehlease…kill me!

 
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