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THE TRANSFORMERS: COMICS, BOOKS AND MANGA

IDW Publishing
(2005-now)
Devil's Due
(2003-2007)
Dreamwave
(2002-2004)
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(2001-now)
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(2001-now)
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(1984-1994)
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and Titles

CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING

Transformers: Maximum Dinobots #2
Reviewed by Inflatable Dalek

Issue Review

Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence three times is enemy action.

A perfect continuation of issue one, Furman and Roche effortlessly combine some snappy dialogue and character development with some amazing artwork. The lack of depth last issue is neatly countered here with what is basically a 22-page monologue by Grimlock. That’s the sort of thing Alan Bennett would do if he ever wrote about giant robots instead of socially awkward old women.

Grimlock is a character who’s very easy to write as a one dimensional cipher. Furman was guilty of this in the War Within comics (“Me Grimlock Badass!” indeed), but here we get a good glimpse at the conflicted but ultimately on the side of the angels character. As Scorponok says he has a brain, and here he gets to use it employing words rather than his fists to solve the problem. Equally, Slag feels like a more rounded character even though he gets no lines. The title has been described by Furman as being a “mini Spotlight" for each Dinobot and if it continues like this they should all come of as more interesting as a result.

The main flaw here is that there’s very little in the way of plot progression amongst the fights and Scorponok continuing to give exposition, with Agent Red going to see Shockwave being the only real forward motion. However, unlike the totally plotless All Hail Megatron, the padding out is very well done and feels a worthy diversion.

My only real complaint is a subjective one, keeping the Monsterbots in shadow despite it being obvious who they are gave me some bad acid flashbacks to how Scorponok’s head was treated in earlier arcs. But for the most part this is a good fun comic, let’s hope Furman can keep it up into issue 3, the point where most of his arcs start to go very wrong…

Notes

Though it isn’t stated directly, Hot Rod presumably found Scorponok by using the Magnificence. Simon Furman has said that if his original plan for Revelation had come to pass, use of the orb would have been shown to have dangerous consequences. We arguably begin to see that here, where it tells Hot Rod how to get to Sunstreaker but not what the result of that would be (having the bolts being beaten out of him and being forced to listen to Scorponok’s exposition). The two of them seem to have met before, or at least be very familiar with one another by reputation.

Hunter is sticking with Dinobots as a name, and I suspect it will catch on. It’s likely unintentional, but Hunter’s behaviour here is very like Vicki in Doctor Who, who would frequently come up with a stupid name for the alien of the week – such as Chumblies – and force it on everyone else repeatedly no matter what more important stuff was going on at the time.

The Ian Fleming quote Agent Red makes is the preface to Goldfinger, which also crops up in dialogue latter in the book. This is the most direct of several recent Bond references on Furman’s part (use of the names Fleming and Markham, Scorponok in a blimp and so on). It may also be a nod in the direction that Scorponok’s plan is basically the same as Goldfinger’s in the novel: Fake a disaster in a American town (there poisoning the water supply round Fort Knox) and then rushing into the rescue as a cover for a nefarious scheme (very little of the “Doctor Goldfinger” riding into save the town on a train subplot makes it into the film version).

Despite grand claims of the Machination Empire, Scorponok’s main goal seems to be making profit of the US Government, though he may have bigger ideas for further in the future once Skywatch is gone. He mentions Nebulos when explaining this to Hot Rod.

Slag and Grimlock first met in the brig. This could be just about reconciled with the Dynobots being together as a team before the war in Megatron: Origin if you assume they were in the army together before this, but coupled with claims about the Matrix starting the war in the concurrent All Hail Megatron #6, the Origin comic seems to have been intentionally retconned.

The Monsterbots are the characters summoned by Grimlock last issue, though they kept in the shadows here.


Here the other Dynobots learn exactly what happened to them and how Grimlock caused it. Despite stopping their attack, they still seem very frosty to their one time leader at the end.

Barring the odd cameo of his arm sticking out the ground, this is the first proper appearance of Shockwave since his Spotlight more than two years ago. Though he has no lines here, Red’s dialogue implies he’s been active and sentient for a while. Skywatch have removed his gun arm, which, though likely to be unintentional, is similar to his fate in Devil Due’s GI Joe Vs. The Transformers: The Art of War.

As the first issue of the title published in 2009, this is also the first with the 25th Anniversary logo on the credits page.

Goofs

If you remove the ambiguity over the potential Megatron: Origin contradiction and accept Scorponok’s inability to shut up, there aren’t really any full on goofs here since the “Everyone fight!” nature of the plot doesn’t leave a lot of room for holes.

Quote/Unquote

Grimlock: SNROARR! Is this it Scorponok? Is this what you wanted? The beast unleashed! A very public monster! Well fine, I’m happy to oblige! Whatever it is you’ve got waiting for me, bring it on!

Scorponok: It’s easy to forget that behind Grimlock’s angry white noise lurks a brain. He understands.

Grimlock: [Recalling meeting Slag] You and me, trying to figure who’d gone furthest up the chain of command in terms of who we’d ticked off and how bad. As I recall you trumped my Field Commander with a Vice Admiral. You shot him in the back to convince the dullard his unit had been outflanked and a forward attack was the only option.

Grimlock: Remember when we first hit on the idea of the Dynobots, you and I? You said there’s only one rule: There are no rules! No conventions, no precedents, no company line. What I did, in the final analysis was so completely and utterly “us”. Now, if you’ll excuse me I feel curiously obligated to put this lacklustre life form out of harms way.

Agent Red: It’s high time you and I had a serious talk.

 
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