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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: Foundation #3
Reviewed by Blackjack

Issue Review

"There's only one Autobot that makes an entrance like that."
Still great stuff. Unlike the horrible G1-based stories that IDW has been churning out, John Barber clearly has writing talent. However, Rising Storm was great up to issue three as well, before collapsing like a house of cards in issue four. But let's not be negative yet, shall we? The art is simply gorgeous. Both the line art and the colouring are simply stunning, especially the splash page where the Smelting Pool lands on Optimus and Ironhide. Now this is a splash page! It's spectacular, it gives Megatron a chance to monologue... Just compare it with randomly drawn shite from Nefarious... Megatron's monologue, unlike in Rising Storm, is not as repetitive. His comparisons between freedom and power, between doing what is necessary and stuff, are so well done. Megatron is so well-defined, viewing himself as a self-styled beacon of hope in the chaos. Starscream and Shockwave, while having less roles here, are fun characters to bounce off dialogue off.

Optimus Prime is so well done, as is to a lesser extent Sentinel Prime and Ironhide. Optimus' early idealism and self-doubting, coming to accept that he is a Prime and his insistence that they follow the Autobot way and not massacre the Decepticons in one fell swoop, compared to his mentally-corrupted self where all he thinks is KILL MEGATRON KILL MEGATRON... now this is how you do mental games, not the lazy attempt the ongoing tries to do. This is how you break the hero, turning him into something he is truly against. While not perfect, it is still well-written and Optimus is well defined. Sentinel Prime basically plays the role of Devil's Advocate, giving sage advice and stuff to Optimus. Ironhide is the staunch, trigger-happy guy, again well-defined. The other characters that have lots of page time here would be the sisters. Elita suffers from over-dialoguing, and I'm not really sure what Barber is aiming with her. Arcee and Chromia are well-defined, though, for what little we see of them. Wheeljack freaking out after seeing the battle is pretty fun as well. What I like most is the continuity. Snippets from Defiance are taken, and we are shown where guys like Sentinel Prime and Soundwave are in the whole shebang. Lobbing the Fallen in, recognizing his driving force behind the war, is a nice touch as well. Megatron's monologue drips with sweet irony, and it is a gem to read.

There are things that I do not like, of course. Sentinel's torch seems to be a random plot device pulled out of thin air, and his offering to kill all Decepticons seems to be too convenient a plot point to use. Also, somebody who has yet to read Defiance would be confused with the sudden appearance of relics and stuff. There are places where the art seems to be rushed, but it is nowhere as terrible as Magno's art. We draw closer to a conclusion between Optimus and Megatron. While it is obvious that the two won't come close to killing each other, it would be interesting to see what happens. For once, I am kept at the edge of my seat by a comic book. However, while it might seem easy for Barber to finish this series decently, Rising Storm has told me to expect otherwise...

Notes

The framing story, of course, picks up where we left off from the last framing stories. Optimus' flashback is a retelling of the Decepticons' ambush in Defiance #3 when Megatron sends Starscream to assassinate Optimus Prime. Most of the dialogue and action is lifted, although Chromia and Ironhide weren't seen during Defiance. Likewise, Megatron's speech in front of the giant tower with the Decepticon insignia also happened in Defiance. The launch of the Nemesis with the Fallen's relic in it also happened in Defiance. The rest of the flashback sequence happens during the big gap between the outbreak of the war and the Nemesis' launch.

Megatron pours melted metal from a Smelting Pool at Optimus Prime and Ironhide. Longtime Transformers readers would recognize the Smelting Pool, an execution area belonging to Lord Straxus in the early Marvel comics.

Optimus transforming while jumping and shooting with a massive rifle down at Decepticons is based on the iconic transformation leap in 1986's animated Movie. It is even lampshaded by Sentinel Prime that there is only one Autobot who makes an entrance like that

Now that we get a better look at her, Chromia seems to be based on the blue Scout-class repaint of Energon Arcee from the first movie toyline, sold as Arcee. Her kibble placement, however, is made uniform with Arcee and Elita's Cybertronian designs. Chromia's alternate mode is identical to Arcee's Cybertronian mode.

Last issue, I had thought it was merely artistic preference, but here, with a full-body shot I realize that Soundwave is using a different design than his ROTF-toy based body every other appearrance in robot mode gave, including the concurrently-released Rising Storm. Maybe a new robot mode design in Dark of the Moon? We didn't see him transform in ROTF, after all...

The Solar Harvester is referred to here as the Star Harvester, a more appropriate name since it harvests stars, not Suns. The Sun is a proper noun for our local star.

Apparently Soundwave was the only Decepticon onboard the Nemesis, accounting for his disappearance between the war era and Revenge of the Fallen.

Page 14, Sentinel Prime says 'fate rarely calls upon us at a moment of our choosing', something that Optimus Prime would later repeat to Sam Witwicky in Revenge of the Fallen. Well, like teacher, like student, eh?

On page 15, the screen that Optimus Prime is looking at has art directly lifted from Tales of the Fallen #2, the ruins of Sideswipe's colony.

Again, Chromia references Ironhide and Arcee's penchant of hunting turbofoxes.

Goofs

Not so much as a goof as an artistic preference, but Optimus Prime is in his red-and-blue colour instead of his gray Protoform colours, even in the Defiance-era scenes.

Ravage is considerably much larger here, being nearly half the size of Optimus Prime.

Why didn't Optimus and the others try to sabotage the launch of the Nemesis?

On page 17, Prowl's mouth is drawn in Don Figueroa-style grill instead of the more conventional mouths seen throughout the issue.

 
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