CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers #2: New Arrivals, Old Encounters
Reviewed by Blackjack
I think we need to elect a new leader.
And after the semi-promising start last issue, this issue doesn't deliver. Despite Don's gorgeous fight scene with Hot Rod's gang against Swindle's Decepticons, and several wonderful moments for some second-stringer Transformers, the rest of the issue falls flat. Spike driving Breakdown around doesn't make sense. Prime surrendering still doesn't make sense. Hot Rod is all emo because Prime went off the rocker doesn't make sense. Hot Rod wanting to leave Earth instead of, say, calling the Wreckers or Magnus to pick him up doesn't make sense. Swindle and Hot Rod being so chummy doesn't make sense. Omega not stepping on the Decepticons right away doesn't make sense.
The talky bits with Brawn, Ratchet, Bumblebee and Cliffjumper are not as banal as the similar scenes in the Bumblebee miniseries. Costa does show some wonderful dialogue with some of the second-stringers like Swindle, Scrapper, Brawn or Omega. Although I ranted a lot last issue, Prowl acts more into character this issue. If Costa plays his cards right, Prowl could be hanging with Hot Rod while waiting for Magnus or whomever to stop him if needed. However, mostly this issue is just filled with things that doesn't make sense. Hot Rod just got up and leaves and makes an alliance with Swindle just because the plot says so. Even if we consider this as separate with the Doubledealer-killing Hot Rod in the Dead Furmanverse, it's still very off-character. And he's a serious prick this issue, a role that should've been filled by Prowl. Did Costa get the two mixed up? Jeez, and why the heck did he use the trademarked alternate names? Silverstreak, Tankor, Rodimus...
The art continues to impress, and Don is starting to get the hang of drawing faces although it does feel clunky at times. Costa's scripting and dialogue (if not his plot) is good as well. However, it's a shame that he has to keep Spike and Sparkplug in the game, when it would've make much more sense not
to have shifty human organizations in a Transformers comic, although at least the Decepticons feature more here. I don't buy Sparkplug's characterization, though. He had that talk with Kup in AHM, didn't he? He knew that there are good robots and bad robots, so did Spike. So why? But at least Costa gives some attempt at characterization, not a bland chatterbox like Gordon Horiuchi or Lazarus. Oh, oh! And he leaves a whore's house in the first few pages. What, they can't have a little blood in AHM, they can't have a background of skulls for Hardhead's cover, but kids can see a guy taking a leave from his job to visit bitches? Lame. It's like Dreamwave's first issue where the first thing we're greeted with is two people taking a piss and gets squished by Megatron. The only good bits are the fighting scene, and the bits with the main Autobot group in it. But good fighting scenes are solely because of the art. The plot moves in all the wrong directions, and I don't like the new Hot Rod. But it's still more promising than the second issue of AHM.
Don had thankfully restrained himself from drawing too much grills inside the Transformers' mouths. Instead of having grills every single time, the grills function more like teeth now.
Prowl, Mirage, Red Alert, Jetfire, Sandstorm and Silverstreak all go with Hot Rod. The latter two is not seen this issue. I think that Prowl, since he called for Magnus in Wreckers #2, is only staying there to ensure that Hot Rod doesn't do anything too stupid.
Cliffjumper always pegged Mirage as unreliable, a reference to the G1 episode where Cliffjumper insists that Mirage is a traitor.
The Constructicons (well, Scrapper at least) survived AHM. And they have a big grudge against Omega Supreme. Of those seen in AHM, Octane and Reflector (one of him) is left on Earth. Crap, they left lots of people on Earth, didn't they?
Apparently, like Thrust, more Decepticons were on Earth during the events of AHM. Makes more sense if they really conquered most of the world.
Thundercracker was shot by Skywarp at the end of AHM #12. Guess he got better.
Tankor, Mirage and Red Alert seems to all have Don-ized versions of their Classics toys. Drag Strip uses his Universe toy's parts layout, but has his original alternate mode. Octane has jet turbines instead of propellers now, and his original gun. Jetfire has obtained an extreme makeover, with shoulder wing-pieces similar to his ROTF depiction. Omega's tank mode also has undergone an overhaul, so he really looks like a real tank now.
In a sneaky bit to show that IDW's idea of changing everyone to their trademark protected names is shite, Tankor has a OC-10 tampograph on his shoulder. OC-10... Octane... get it?
Silverbolt, last seen in Spotlight: Blaster, is mentioned by Bumblebee but not seen.
Ultra Magnus has traded his red-and-white boxy shuttle for a sleeker, golden craft. This change happened in Last Stand of the Wreckers #2. Magnus' robot mode has been redesigned a bit as well.
Spike drives Breakdown. He drives an alien robot car whom the government deems as a threat. And he uses Breakdown to visit whores. What the hell, man. What the hell.
Silverstreak, not Bluestreak. Despite Bluestreak having been mentioned and named as such before. He could
be Bluestreak's big brother, but still... (sadly, Tankor couldn't get an error since Octane never appeared in an IDW comic before).
Page six, panel two. Red Alert (seen among those leaving with Hot Rod) is coloured as Sideswipe. In the next panel he's coloured correctly
In spite of mentioning Gears and Windcharger being captured by humans, Hot Rod doesn't even bother rescuing them.
In the Decepticons' binocular-thingy, Hot Rod is named 'Rodimus' instead of Hot Rod. In the same vein, the promotional cover also has his name as 'Rodimus', although the final cover would give is as 'Hot Rod'.
It's a bit weird how Starscream's Decepticons never bothered to come back for Devastator, considering that he's their heaviest hitter.
Unseen last issue, Optimus Prime has added some stripes along the side of his vehicle mode.
The chain of command seen all through the Furmanverse and even AHM, which says that Prowl or Jazz or Ironhide or Hound or the next high-ranking Autobot would take command has disappeared. Instead, the Autobots are voting for leadership now. This would be rectified somewhat in Spotlight Prowl, but it's hard to see them agreeing to Prime's tosh idea when he's no longer around.
Bumblebee: "Brawn, let him go. Prime's gone for two hours, and we're gonna start fighting now?"
Hot Rod: "I don't hate the humans. I just don't want to spend the rest of my days with one tooling around in me until he runs me into a wall because of something Megatron did."
Bumblebee: "Who do you guys think would be best to nominate?"
Cliffjumper: "Are you kidding, BB? I'm going to nominate myself."
Swindle: "And someone put that idiot Hot Rod in charge? Guys, this could be our lucky day."
Omega Supreme: "I have made my choice clear. And now I must warn you that there is a phalanx of Decepticons cresting the ridge."
Hot Rod: "What?" -Decepticons attack-
Omega Supreme: "I suggest you take evasive action."
Swindle: "What I'm saying is so what if they are Autobots? What does that even mean anymore? Look, guys, the war is over! There are no sides anymore. Say we win this fight. So what? What then? We're still stuck here, right?"
Prowl: "Saving the life of a Cybertronian is not the same as trusting soldiers we've been at war with for centuries."