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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: Maximum Dinobots #4
Reviewed by Inflatable Dalek

Issue Review

Fellow Dynobots -- it’s been an honour and a privilege.

Now that’s more like it. After two issues that, though fun, left a feeling of treading water the title comes belting back at full force. The entertaining dialogue and action continues, but we get plot progression and even a couple of genuinely emotional moments involving Hunter.

And now most of his duties as chief exposition officer have been fulfilled, Scorponok really comes into his own here. No depth or subtlety (and certainly no where near his later Marvel issues counterpart), but as a black hat moustache twirling super villain he steals all the best lines. Who else could use a word like languorous in casual conversation?

Whilst the idea of making each issue a mini Dynobot Spotlight (and it looks as if Hunter’s preferred name won’t be taking off) seems to have fallen to the wayside, most of them get a nice little moment. Snarl’s cynicism at their current status, Swoop’s “It’s been a pleasure” and Sludge being over enthusiastic in victory are all highlights. Sadly, Slag doesn’t get to do anything but look sullen, but the others make up for it.

That said, the bulk of the Dynobot’s argument on the shuttle is a straight rehash of the one from last issue, with the resolution being equally weak: “Grimlock we don’t trust you and can’t follow you anymore. Ohhhh go on then, into battle lads!” It’s hard not to feel that as good as this is there’s a better four issue series lurking in the middle somewhere.

As nice as it is to see Raiz again it also has to be said that the two art styles don’t mesh very well at all. It might have been a less disconcerting read had he handled all of this issue and Roche all of 5.

All complaints aside, this remains the best thing IDW have done in a long time, unpretentious knock around adventure fun that has a few arm in the air moments.

Notes

With an external power source a Transformer can send messages into outer space. An orbiting Autobot satellite and a communications station on what looks like the moon help Hot Rod. Prowl’s group likely placed these there during the early stages of their occupancy of Earth (i.e. before Infiltration). The fact Hot Rod has to reach off planet to get help suggests there is no current Autobot force on Earth, meaning Optimus and the others must return at some point prior to the flashbacks in All Hail Megatron.

Obviously Sunstreaker isn’t dead as he appears throughout the first seven issues of All Hail Megatron. This does set him up to get rebuilt into the Universe toy based body he has in that series though, and it effectively ends his partnership with Hunter.

By pulling the plug on Sunstreaker’s, Hunter is fulfilling the request the Autobot made of him way back in Devastation issue 2. Doing this finishes the Headmaster menace for good.

Grimlock stealing the contents of Shockwave’s “onboard data-cache” wasn’t seen in Spotlight: Shockwave, but could easily have happened off screen.

Drake appears for the first time since Escalation in a small on screen cameo. He doesn’t seem to have become a Headmaster.

Scorponok specifically refers to the Machination as his Empire tying in with Jetfire’s closing monologue at the end of Revelation. Though, “failed attempt to build a Machination Empire” would have been a more appropriate description on his part.

James Raiz makes a welcome return helping on art duties (presumably for deadline reasons). This is his first interior work for IDW and he handles all the pages involving Soundwave and the Monsterbots.

Goofs

It would take Scorponok all of thirty seconds to seek out Hunter and kill him, but instead he immediately responds to Drake’s message about the ship rather than finish the job. He might think Hunter poses no threat, but that’s ironic for someone just berating Sunstreaker for his hubris. It’s also odd that the head, a vital part of Scorponok’s plans doesn’t even have a single guard on it. Not even a locked door.

Grimlock claims the information from Shockwave’s ship might explain why the planet used to have high amounts of Energon. Up till now (chronologically), there’s been no indication that Ore-13 isn’t still plentiful. I suspect plot trickery to try and get round the absence of super Energon in All Hail Megatron.

Most of the changes in character design across the issue can be put down to the drastically different styles of the two artists, but there’s no getting away from the fact Sludge has two completely different heads depending on who’s drawing him.

Not a goof as such as it’s a common enough name, but the little boy who brought Soundwave being called Jimmy does rather suggest Furman really has forgotten he’s already got a character of that name running about in the title.

Quote/Unquote

Repugnus: Oh now see, you got to do better than that. Me, I’m willing to take a lot on trust but Doublecross and Grotusque here, they lack my finer, intuitive instincts. Which is to say they may just rip your head off and see what they can tip out.

Sludge: What do you think they’re talking about in there?
Swoop: Don’t care Sludge. Havin’ dealings with these three is so wrong on so many levels, the details are mostly irrelevant.
Snarl: Yeah, Swoop. It’s another sure sign of just how far we’ve fallen.

Scorponok: Truly [Sunstreaker’s] hubris knows no limit. You’re just one more loose end…tied…up… [Notices Hunter is gone] …No! No! Where do you think you can hide human? How long do you think you’ll last alone…in terrible, unspeakable pain… nursing a hole in the very fabric of what you might call a soul? Let it end-now. I promise you, it will be all over…before you even know it!

Hunter: Listen Sunstreaker. I’m sorry. Chances are you already know that. But… what I do now I do because I’m out of options, and maybe so are you. What was it you said? Every moment a little bit of me dies? It’s better this way. [Pulls the plug].

Grimlock: What…just…happened?
Hot Rod: I suspect Sunstreaker pulled the plug on himself.
Grimlock: Huh?
Hot Rod: It’s complicated.

Scorponok: My Empire lies in ruins… because of you! But there’s always revenge. Sweet, languorous revenge!
Shockwave: Yes! But it shall be mine.
Hot Rod: Shockwave? Oh brother!

 
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