CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Reviewed by Blackjack
“Bombshell, this situation has continued to deteriorate.”
Actually, if you think of this as out-of-continuity (ignoring AHM and the Furmanverse) and take out the Spike/Skywatch girl bit, this issue is a nice little gem. However, we couldn’t just take shortcuts like that, can we? The original Marvel UK series had excuses by actually having three or four alternate future timelines to tell unrelated stuff like 'Space Pirates' or 'Aspects of Evil', but IDW doesn’t have that leeway, unless they’re going to make their own Target 2006. Most of the characters act out of character from their previous incarnations. (And most oddly, in the case of Starscream, from Costa’s own work.) After so long on Earth, we go into the main Decepticon army in space. Again, like AHM, it's an interesting concept but not really executed properly. Megatron’s monologue, in particular, is well scripted, unlike Optimus’ tedious words in previous issues.
Starscream, last seen someone burdened with leadership and using the Matrix as a propaganda tool to be elected as a leader (in a story penned by Costa), has been turned back to an interpretation of his G1 self. While it's better from his appearance in the -ions and AHM, it's still makes me wince when he says 'the Matrix chose me!'. Sparkplug Witwicky, so far, had been a general who wants what is best for his country, but still loves his son. Here he’s just another asshole to replace Spike, since Spike can't be an asshole because he's pro-Autobot now. I could see Pounce and the Insecticons cannibalizing Dreadwing (shame about his pathetic death, really... it seems that Costa is working on the 'anyone who isn't part of the cartoon = can has kill' formula) but I don’t see Needlenose doing the same thing. And daft fanwank like Darkwing and Dreadwind being brothers… and Costa didn’t take to mind that in AHM, the Decepticons have dominated the Autobots all over the galaxy. Where are those conquered worlds, those outposts? Unless they want another replay of the G1 episode ‘Five Faces of Darkness’, with the random nameless asteroid subbing for Charr, there’s no excuse to ignore stuff like that. And killing guys like Quake just for the hell of it, 'certain' deaths of characters without them even having a one-liner as a homage to their tech specs at least, is simply unprofessional. I won't find it surprising if Costa randomly picked Needlenose and Quake's name out of a list of post-Movie Decepticons. Also, the humans bother me. Spike alone was... tolerable somewhat when he’s not being an ass, but with Sparkplug, and multiple faceless Skywatch guys thrown into the mix, and this mysterious ‘Allenby’… it seems like Costa wants to bring Skywatch to the spotlight. Which is not good. Not good at all.
E.J. Su’s art is nice and clean, with expressions and emotions very clear. However, their insistence to give every single robot leprosy (what are
those patches supposed to be? Dirt? Camo patches? I get the Decepticons being dirty and all, but the Autobots too? And those silly Skywatch mechas?) is simply stupid shit. Oh, and reverting Bumblebee and Jetfire back to their pre-Don models is a slap to Don’s face if it was intentional. Still, all in all, still readable. If Costa bucks up, he might be able to save this title after the disastrous end to the first arc. However, if things go to what this issue hints they might go (i.e. lots and lots of humans) things will, no doubt, deteriorate.
The monologue, with the first page being a splash page of the night sky and a restating of Megatron’s motto, is a mirror of Optimus Prime’s monologue on the first issue.
The cerebro shells look like miniature versions of Bombshell. The shell that Starscream threw flails its legs wildly with a large anime-esque exclamation mark when he lobbed it towards Quake. This actually ties in Bombshell’s recent creation in AHM with Soundwave using him four million years ago. Soundwave might’ve been using a prototype cerebro shell, and Bombshell simply stumbled upon it. Or something.
Decepticons stranded on a dead world with no energon and without proper leadership is reminiscent of the setup in the beginning of the third season of the original cartoon. Razorclaw promoting ‘survival of the fittest’ is vaguely similar to Bonecrusher in the original movie.
Shockwave presumably tracked down the other Decepticons after the flashback events of Last Stand of the Wreckers #3.
It could be presumed from the exchange between Spike and Sparkplug that the Autobots captured by Skywatch (Seaspray, Hoist, Beachcomber, Tracks, Windcharger and Gears) have been returned to the Autobots, or are moving around in Skywatch bases like Optimus.
At the end of the issue, Denton J Tipton uses the Decepticomments section to give a small article. It’s his bow-out for the Transformers title, and he’ll be moving on to edit the Dragons and Dungeons comic. Huzzah! I mean, aw boo.
There’s the aforementioned problem of the disappearance of the total Decepticon victory. Also, what happened to the Thanatos
and all the other ships and shuttles?
Shrapnel’s (or is it Kickback? I’m not much of a leg person) legs are coloured black and red when he says “Look at all this coolant.”
Pounce is purple/dark blue where he should be gray. Also, he disappears entirely once he knocks Dreadwind off his hiding spot.
Shockwave has a Decepticon insignia on his arm, when it should be on his chest.
Soundwave has ‘bulwarked himself in what remains of the craft that brought us here’. In AHM #13, they rode Astrotrain...
Seriously? Quake, of all people that shoots Starscream? “Death to tyrants!”?
Despite having a conversation with Kup at the end of AHM #12, Sparkplug is blissfully ignorant on the existence of good robots and bad robots, something that is getting trite ever since the ongoing begun.
It may be an error on the artist’s part, but Bumblebee is back to his IDW E.J. Su design and Jetfire back to his Classics design. Bumblebee is pretty glaring since we spent an entire miniseries for that. Blurr is also in his AHM character model, but coloured in a darker shade of blue like his appearances in the Don-penned series.
How the hell does a barely active Megatron in a stasis tank know so much about his troops’ conditions and what was happening at Earth? The condition with Starscream et al might be told to him by Soundwave, but on Earth? Other than being poetic, it doesn’t make sense.
Megatron: Peace through tyranny. That’s what I promised them. And when my empire comes to pass, I will give it to them.
Shrapnel: “Hey! I got dibs on the afterburner.”
Starscream: “DIE!” [blasts Quake]
Bombshell: “He, uh… he did. He died.”
Megatron: But I know from treachery. And, ultimately, that’s why we will win. Where there is life, there is hunger. Hunger for safety. Hunger for respect. Hunger for power. To believe that can somehow ‘change’… it’s pathetic.
Megatron: It is in this way he surrenders. Every day he gives more ground. He believes this promotes peace. But it is the peace of subjugation. And what he thinks is a blanket of safety is actually six billion boots on his neck.