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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 Ironhide #3: Ironing out the Details
Reviewed by Blackjack

Issue Review

”So you brought me back to exterminate bugs? Well, that makes me feel good.”

Weaker than the previous issue, mostly because we get a lot of introdumps here. Alpha Trion and Vector Sigma’s introduction feels shoehorned. While I admit I’m not a fan of Alpha Trion, he doesn’t really seem to be the cryptic old sage in the original cartoon. Rather, he feels like an amalgram of Marvel comics’ Primus (a high-and-mighty jerk) and Xaaron (lots of unorthodox plans). However, like Ultra Magnus he seems to be too much of a jerk. The fact that he’s actually dressed makes this look even more stupid. As if it’s not enough, the whole Jedi mind trick thing makes him feel like something that worked out of a fanfic. Costa seems to be trying to turn Cybertron back into a habitable planet, perhaps in anticipation of a future arc to tie in with the ongoing. However, knowing that there’s only one issue left means that whatever Ironhide’s going to do is probably either going to work or fail miserably. Also, more prominent this issue, Metroplex seems to be what Alpha Trion has set up shop on. Perhaps Alpha Trion is the mysterious ‘IT’? After the intrigue last issue, the introdumps doesn’t really feel interesting.

That said, I could live with Alpha Trion. What made me really cringe was the fact that Sunstreaker had survived. His death was a scene that was actually well-scripted in AHM, if only it hadn’t been rendered meaningless by the next issue, and if only it had some build-up. However, Sunstreaker had just died, oh, less than a year earlier. I mean, IDW seems intent on trying to copy bigshot comic companies by not letting any second-stringer die permanently. Sunstreaker’s death feels like a retcon; Costa seems to pick and choose whatever he wants for his new direction, which feels a little unprofessional. Another quibble is that the art is too clean. For something that’s supposed to be ‘Ironhide’s trip through hell’ or something along that line, the wasteland of Cybertron seems really, really clean. Even Sunstreaker’s half-dead body, other than the injuries to his face and missing leg, looks nearly sparkly-clean.

It’s starting to decline; with the overall plot is basically Ironhide playing exterminator. Granted, Costa’s got a great handle on Ironhide’s character, playing him as a tough guy loyal to his friends. He has several nice moments with Sunstreaker and Alpha Trion. Alpha Trion’s dialogue is a little horrible, though, altering between introdumps, self-important declaring and insults. How many times do we need to hear him say ‘I am Alpha Trion’? The whole concept of a new body not remembering what he has done in his previous life (for lack of a better term) is an interesting concept, though. While it’s still readable, the finale might foul it up if Costa doesn’t do it properly.

Notes

Alpha Trion’s dialogue puts this issue roughly a year after the first issue of the ongoing.

Alpha Trion and Vector Sigma are, of course, references to the original cartoon. Alpha Trion’s mustache is shorter than his usual appearance. Alpha Trion also refers to himself as ‘A3’ at one point, referencing the pre-war name he had in the G1 episode ‘Forever is a Long Time Coming’. IDW’s Alpha Trion has the ability to control a Transformer by mere touch, which is probably why he couldn’t go out of his base if it was really Metroplex.

Alpha Trion mentions that the Transformers’ war has moved out across ‘a dozen worlds’. While the Furmanverse alone had taken place on nearly twice that number, there’s nothing to say that Alpha Trion is only mentioning the most significant outposts. Among the planets on the screen, Gorlam Prime is recognizable as being a near-identical copy of Cybertron.

Ironhide finds Sunstreaker in exactly the same position in AHM #14. Turns out that it wasn’t his decapacitated head lying around—his body is just covered by the Swarm’s corpses! The whole ‘Replay’ story is retconned revealed to be Sunstreaker’s mind playing itself in a recursive loop instead of, well, replays.

Sunstreaker references Ironhide beating up on Mirage in AHM #6.

The copy of Ironhide is built after his first ‘death’ in Ironhide #1. Presumably Alpha Trion attempted to rebuild Ironhide for years, only for his spark to return to his original body from Vector Sigma. This original Ironhide must’ve done all the things for four million years until he died in the Ongoing. After that, his spark, sans the memory, returns to the Alpha Trion-constructed shell, forming this Ironhide 2.0.

Goofs

If Alpha Trion is able to control a Transformer by mere touch and all that, why didn’t he just control Metroplex and use him to squash what remained of the Swarm? Megatron made approximately three thousand, and a huge chunk was destroyed in AHM. There couldn’t be that many left…

How did Sunstreaker survive an explosion that decimated that many Insecticons with only losing a leg and otherwise cosmetic damage?

How is he able to survive four years, half-dead, in a supposedly still-radioactive Cybertron? Even if it has become more habitable than it was in Stormbringer, you try spend four years with open wounds, in the middle of corpses in a radioactive wasteland.

How does the Swarm’s presence affect whether the planet could be habitable?

Quote/Unquote

Ironhide: “Uh— who are you?”
Alpha Trion: “Who—what? Who am I?! I’m Alpha Trion!”
Ironhide: [beat] “Oh. Okay. Hi. Do you know what’s going on here?”

Ironhide: “Razzafrazzen…”

Ironhide: [on Alpha Trion] “Guy spent ten billion years or whatever counting every rivet on his butt, he’s gotta have some—”

Sunstreaker: “Is that Alpha Trion?! Am I finally being judged?”

Ironhide: “Because I’ve been driving around with one of my best friends half-dead and babbling about a bunch of stuff about me I don’t remember, and I can’t take much more of this!”

 
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