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THE TRANSFORMERS: COMICS, BOOKS AND MANGA

IDW Publishing
(2005-now)
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(2003-2007)
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CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Adaptation
Reviewed by Blackjack

| Notes for issue #1 | Notes for issue #2 | Notes for issue #3 | Notes for issue #4 |

Summary Review

As with the first movie, the limitations of the printed paper don't really do justice to the on-screen CGIs of the Transformers. Newcomer Jon Davis-Hunt does okay with most of the art, but he sure can't do humans, no sir. Even Alex Milne, who stepped in for issue 3, drew humans with more expression than he did. Well, as long as the humans are in the foreground. For those familiar with Milne's art, that's saying something. Jon's art with the robots, especially those who we're familiar with (i.e. Megatron, Prime) look rather nice, but in the case of Alice, Mudflap or the humans, look absolutely horrible. Let's be kind and chalk that up to not using actor likeness, but still... Morshower and Simmons in particular look nothing like their actors.

Story-wise, it's sufficient to say that at four issues it's too short. However, I doubt anyone would fork over money for a fifth issue if they could see a better version of this in the movie. Longtime scribe Simon Furman adapted this, so a few Furman-esque dialogues replace some present in the movie. Also, most of the dirty jokes are absent. Naturally.

The comic adaptation worked on an earlier draft of the script, with notable changes reflected in both the novelization and the comics. Namely the Doctor's death, a slightly different Alice scene, the police chase in Cairo, Skids and Mudflap being bumbling punks instead of swearing punks, Arcee combines, Sam calling Lennox's wife to deliver the message and a slightly different ending (the Fallen tries to retreat into the portal, trapped by Prime, begging for Megatron's help but Megs refuses), among others. Of course, there are a few minor changes in art as well.

The dialogue flows better than the first movie adaptation, but there's only so much you could cram into so few pages, so many characterization and action scenes got cropped out. Most of the characters just feel like dead weight being lugged around, whilst in the movie we could at least see them bicker around. Seriously. Watch the movie instead. If you're that interested in the changes, read the novelization. It's much cheaper.
 

ISSUE #1

Notes

Demolishor has the alternate mode of a normal excavator instead of the gigantic Terex Excavator featured in the movie. In most of the chase in Shanghai, Demolishor stays in vehicle mode, and does not transform until Prime arrives. In the movie, Demolishor immediately transforms upon encounter with the humans.

Sideways has a German license plate. The license number "HH-BA 740" is taken straight from a commercial for the Audi R8 (Sideways' alt mode).

The dummy corporation McClaren Robotics is held responsible for Mission City, just like Transformers: Alliance. In the novel, however, it's Massive Dynamics.

Mudflap and Skids are never shown changing from an ice cream truck into Chevrolets. Thus, Skids appear suddenly in his new Chevy mode out of the blue, while Mudflap disappears for this issue right after the Shanghai scene.

The three Arcee bikes speak in triplicate, and refer to themselves as 'my', so in this continuity it seems that they are one entity. They speak in a very Reflector-esque way.

Even when adapting a movie, we are not free of Furmanisms. Ironhide says "End of the road!", Prime says "It never ends", while many of the Autobots speak in very Furman-esque dialogues.

Scenes with Judy and Ron are mostly cut, with good reason. Sharsky and Fassbinder, instead of being in a nearby room, are shown only in Leo's computer. The farewell scenes between Bumblebee and Sam, and later Sam and Mikaela, are chopped and diced. Leo's lines and attempts to woo Alice are missing as well. The scene where Bumblebee drove Alice off is cut as well.

One of the Appliance-bots mutated by the AllSpark is the toaster-bot Ejector from a Mountain Dew commercial and the toyline.

Instead of merely blowing up Sam's room, Bumblebee blows up the entire house. This is also reflected in the novelization.

Instead of ejecting the marble bots through a glass pipe, Ravage exhales them through his nostril into a more classic ventilation tube. The panel where they combine into Reedman (name according to TFWiki) and steal the Allspark shard is very unclear if you don't know what's going to happen. From the art, it seems like Ravage exhales some microscopic things, an Alien-like shadow materializes, and heads towards a bright light.

Bumblebee's line to tell Sam to meet Prime is "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss." A reference to the song The Who's Won't Get Fooled Again, and possibly the movie Tommy (Thanks, Inflatable Dalek). He also says "No regrets, no tears, goodbye" and "But it's all over now", by Midge Ure and The Rolling Stones, respectively. Unlike previous comics, the lyrics are not changed.

Skids appears in the graveyard with Prime and Bumblebee for no reason.

The graveyard scene is at night, keeping in terms with the fact that Bumblebee picked up Sam in the evening. In the movie, Bee picked Sam up in the evening, but in the graveyard it's already in the morning/afternoon.

The panel where Ravage and two Constructicons jump into the ocean is so badly drawn that the Constructicons look like Bumblebee and Skids. Only two Constructicons are shown (seemingly Long Haul and Scrapper. Thanks Halfshell for the help), but only for one panel.

Judging from the dialogue, The Doctor repairs Megatron first, then injects the Allspark shard. This scene is also present in the novelization, but cut from the movie.

In the movie, Morshower is in the army. In the comics he appears to be part of the navy.

Okay, here's a breakdown on the new characters and concepts here. Arcee is based on her G1/Movie self, while the three-part-Autobot concept harks back to G1 Reflector's gimmick. However, her physical appearance is very similar to BM Thrust. Skids and Mudflap are newly created characters, although the name Skids harks back from G1 while the name Mudflap was first in Cybertron. The concept of two small robots forming the back and front of a vehicle is a nod to G1's Micromaster Combiners. Sideswipe is loosely based on his G1 self. The names 'Demolishor' and 'Sideways' first appeared in Armada, but for entirely different characters. The Constructicons, Soundwave and Ravage all reference their G1 counterparts. The Doctor/Scalpel and Wheels/Wheelie are all-new characters. The name Wheelie harks back to G1, though. A dead Megatron being resurrected is no stranger to the transformers fiction, although usually it comes with a renaming of Galvatron. Still, the Marvel comics did resurrect Megatron without the renaming.

Quote, Unquote

Skids: "Too tight. Won't make it."
Mudflap: "Will. Just you- SEEEEEEE!"
Skids: "Told ya."

Arcee: "This is Arcee. Twins..."
Arcee: "...fumbled the ball. So it's..."
Arcee: "...my play now!"

Megatron: "And now...let there be terrible retribution and carnage unbound. Megatron is reborn!"

 

ISSUE #2

Notes

A few notable differences. The meeting between Megatron, Starscream and The Fallen took place in the Nemesis, which is on a deserted planet. The Fallen is trapped in the sarcophagus like in Defiance and the Novelization. Thus, Megatron broadcasts the signal to the humans instead of The Fallen. In the movie, the place they meet appears (but not stated) to be Cybertron, while The Fallen sits on a chair.

Again, many human scenes, most notably Judy and Ron, the NEST agents, Leo and Simmons, are chopped up.

The scene with Alice is a little more expanded. Leo, Sharsky and Fassbinder watched a commercial advertising the animatronic Alice in Wonderland (from which the Decepticon Alice took her form), revealing Alice's true nature. Instead of her skirt (like in the movie), Alice's scorpion-like tail came from the back of her head. In the movie, Mikaela just throws the box containing Wheels at Alice, but here (and the novelization) Mikaela hits Alice with it, driving Alice's head 180 degrees around, before throwing the box at her. Apparently this is based on an earlier draft, so...

The dialogue between Megatron and Sam, though rather funny, is not present in the movie, with Megatron asking Sam to say 'Please'.

Also, the Doctor (referred to as such here) is shown killed by Prime. This is also seen in the novelization, so probably it's a scene cut from the movie.

Megatron transforms between the jet in his first movie and his ROTF's tank mode. An early draft reportedly wanted to introduce triple-changing with Megatron, but was dropped.

Furman's name appears a lot in this issue. The boy sitting in front of Alice on page 4 wears a shirt with Furman. On the next page, Wheels pass a soda can branded Furman. A poster behind Fassbinder advertises a movie 'Awesome Weapon' starring S. Furman. As if Simfur isn't enough...

Throughout the issue Sam wears a T-Shirt with the symbol 'Perez', referencing colourist/artist Josh Perez.

A shop on page 5 (near Mikaela) is named 'Denton', referencing Denton J. Tipton.

Bumblebee's hands are oversized when he picks up Mikaela and Leo. Also, Grindor's death, instead of Prime tearing his face apart like in the movie (and novel), is drawn in a very pathetic way. When Prime punches Starscream's face, Grindor's face for no apparent reason blows up, although the helicopter Decepticon was standing behind Starscream.

Arcee's combined mode is shown briefly when the Autobots chase off Megs and Starscream. Also, in a scene not shown in the movie, Ratchet examines Optimus' body and says 'he's nearly gone', so Prime's not dead yet.

Frenzy's head is nothing like it's supposed to look.

Skids is supposed to have a giant right arm, but in this issue he has a giant left arm.

The Fallen, of course, is based on Dreamwave's The Fallen. Although there are some differences. The body is completely different, and he doesn't have his BURNING HEAD anymore. He's supposed to be a multiversal singularity, so he exists in all the transformer continuities. How this gels with his multiple deaths remains to be seen. In a TFWiki Q&A, Hasbro says we three-dimensional creatures cannot understand it. The name 'Grindor' harks back to Armada again. The concept of a Witwicky storing important transformer data in his mind is a nod to Marvel's Buster Witwicky, who had the Creation Matrix in his head.

Quote, Unquote

Starscream: "Megatron? Is that really y-you?"
Megatron: "Back from the dead, Starscream. Your worst nightmare... resurrected!"

The Doctor: "Going to squeeze your brain dry!"
Sam: "Look, look! Okay, I killed you, yes, and I can see you're pissed, but they've done nothing. Just... LET THEM GO!"
Megatron: "Please?"
Sam: "Please."
Megatron: "No. Brain. Table now."


 

ISSUE #3

Notes

The panels on the first page are arranged vertically instead of horizontally.

Among the photographs of the Seekers, one is a steam train which sort of resembles G1 Astrotrain, and a jeep that's nearly identical to G1 Hound.

Wheels (I'm referring to him as such here, as 'Wheelie' is never mentioned in-movie or in the adaptation. Same thing with the Doctor) disappears after the humans arrive in the Museum. So he never defects to the Autobots.

Again, a lot of scenes are cut. The comedy part between the humans going into the museum are cut, no mention of tasers and Mikaela doesn't land on top of Leo anymore.

The comic adaptation constantly refer to 13 Primes instead of the 7 in the movie. Whether an error or an earlier draft, you decide yourself.

Not mentioned in the movie, Optimus is described by Jetfire as "an orphan from the Prime Dynasty, ignorant of his destiny", another possible tie-in to Defiance.

Two of the Decepticons on Jetfire's flashback are coloured like G1 Banzaitron and Bludgeon's shell.

Bumblebee and co are chased by Egyptian police cars in a city in the night. This scene was shortened in the movie, and took place in the day and on a deserted road.

Instead of directly calling Major Lennox, Sam calls Sarah Lennox, who, with the help of Epps' wife (Monique in the novelization) relays the badly disguised message to Epps and Lennox. The reason being Galloway insisting all calls must be on speakerphone. This scene (with extended dialogue) also made it into the novelization, so it's probably a scene cut from the script for time.

An error: Galloway could still talk while being yanked away by the parachute.

Megatron's original jet mode appeared blatantly in the novelization, thus giving credit to the triple-changing theory. In the movie he's a winged tank.

A scene shortened from the final movie but present in the comic and novelization featured a bigger role for Soundwave. Morshower's satellite tried to get images from Egypt. However, Soundwave edited the images so that the Decepticons are absent, and there doesn't seem to be any hostile movements. Also, for some reason, the satellite captured image is from ground-level. Also, the Constructicons are block-coloured, making identification a nightmare. Scavenger and Long Haul are easy enough. The other three... the gray one is most likely Mixmaster, and I'm assuming the yellow and orange ones are Scrapper and Hightower. But one of them could be Rampage, Overload or the Bonecrusher doppelganger.

Bumblebee, Skids, Mudflap and the human quartet are shown in a group shot with NEST and the other Autobots, but they aren't supposed to meet each other until much later..

Also, The Fallen appears on top of the pyramid. How he got out of the sarcophagus is never explained (which is probably why they changed the script). The Fallen arrived early in the battle, before Devastator was formed.

Again, the Constructicons reference their G1 counterparts, although normally their ranks constitute of Hook and Bonecrusher instead of Hightower and Rampage. This is most likely due to Hasbro losing the trademark to 'Hook' (and anyway, Hightower had been a substitute name for Hook for a long time) and Bonecrusher being, well, dead. Space Bridges are concepts used in both G1 comics and the cartoon, although each incarnation is different. Energon, mentioned several times in the movie, is the energy for Transformers in various continuities, including G1. The name 'Jetfire' had been used first in G1, although in that continuity he's the most modern Autobot instead of the oldest. The concept of him defecting from the Decepticons also came from the cartoon/comics.

Quote, Unquote

Skids: "Y'know, Mudflap... I could get to like being a fugitive!"

Galloway: "I have heard 10,000 wiretapped conversations, and you know what I've learned? The wife is always right!"

Mudflap: "Aww. What's the matter, Skids? Scared of the shadows?"
Skids: "Scared of your ugly face!"
Mudflap: "Oh, right. Looked in a mirror recently? We're twins, stoopid!"
Skids: "Oof!"
Agent Simmons: "Anyone else figure we got the dregs of the Cybertronian genepool?"
Mudflap: -ignoring Simmons- "Cretin!"
Skids: "Butt-crack!"

 

ISSUE #4

Notes

Starscream, Jolt and Arcee are absent in the entire issue. Instead of Jolt combining Jetfire and Prime, Ratchet does it, attaching them the old-fashioned way.

The Fallen wants our world to 'die screaming'. Yet another Furmanism.

The final battle played out differently from the movie. The Fallen arrives early, before Devastator does anything. Devastator is also killed much later, right after Jetfire's sacrifice.

There are considerably fewer Decepticons in the final battle. Of the two sets of Constructicons, only Rampage and Long Haul are shown apart from Devastator. Also, Devastator is seemingly shown combining from robots (Scavenger's face is very visible in their combination scene) instead of seven construction vehicles that the movie and novelization used.

Sam and Mikaela's chase are cut short. All the scene hiding in the house are removed in favour of them running on rooftops while attacked by Starscream.

Rampage is yellow (like the toy) as opposed to the movie's red.

Soundwave edited the satellite images, making Morshower's men looking at only NEST and the Autobots instead of a battle-scene. This scene, also mentioned in the novelization, is changed in the movie. In the movie, Soundwave merely blocked all satellites, necessitating the use of the Predators.

The art shows Mudflap getting sucked by Devastator (as in the movie), but the dialogue called him Skids. Furthermore, the art and further panels confirms it's Mudflap. Instead of being sucked in by Devastator on the ground, Mudflap is sucked in when Devastator attacked the pyramid.

Instead of duelling with Mixmaster, Jetfire blows up a truck-mode Long Haul. Also, Jetfire is never shown killing Scorponok.

The final battle between Prime, Megatron and The Fallen worked on an earlier script, present in the Novelization and various other tie-in books. Prime damages Megatron first. Apparently The Fallen promised Megatron the powers of a Prime. Optimus tells Megatron that Primes are born, not made. The Fallen creates a portal. Somehow, barbed tendrils shoot out of nowhere and tie The Fallen up. (Apparently this renders the powerful being helpless.) The Fallen begs Megatron for help, but Megatron, angry at being misled, refuses and enters the portal. Then, Prime pierces The Fallen's head.

Another seemingly deleted scene: Megatron witnesses his new army rise from the protoforms aboard the Nemesis.

Optimus Prime being killed and resurrected has been done many times beyond counting. Optimus Prime combining with something else has been done many times as well, the first being Powermaster Optimus Prime in G1. Optimus Prime combed with Jetfire to form a super mode in Armada, and throughout Armada, Energon and Cybertron, he combined with various other Autobots. They never had to die in order to combine, though. The concept of the villain (Megatron) betraying his dark master (The Fallen) is reminiscent of Galvatron betraying Unicron in the 1986 Movie or the Marvel comics.

The name Rampage first appeared as a G1 Predacon.

The Solar Harvester might be an unwitting reference to G1 cartoon's Solar Needle weapon from the episode Changing Gears. Of course, it's a pretty elementary sci-fi weapon.

The Protoform army that rose up in front of Megatron resemble Beast Wars protoforms, although the pods are more egg-like than BW's stasis pods.

Goofs

Rampage: "Human! The Matrix or your protoform batch initiators."

Leo: "Um. What are they doing?"
Simmons: "Making little robots?"
Mudflap: "Worse."
Skids: "Much worse."
Mudflap: "Combining."
Skids: "Making a big robot."

Sam: "Go, Bumblebee! Kick his aluminium aft-quarters!"

Mudflap: -punches Devastator's face- "UUULK! Something you ate disagreed with you!"
Skids: "Heh. Indigestable. Should'a known!"

Optimus: "There can be only one Prime!"
Megatron: "You lie! The Fallen promised me the power of a Prime."
Optimus: -butchers Megatron- "Primes are born. Not made! You were betrayed."
The Fallen: "You have won a battle, Prime. The war goes on..."
Optimus: "No. I told you... it ends here."
The Fallen: "Megatron- help me. I'll make you a god."
Megatron: "Your promises are empty ones. Your time is past. From now on, Megatron answers to no being!"

Megatron: "Let my new army arise!"

 
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