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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)
Marvel Comics
(1984-1994)
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and Titles

CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING

Transformers #8
Reviewed by Blackjack

Issue Review

"Thin ice."

Right, where to start? First of all, when I saw covers of this issue in the net, I was justifiably excited. Both covers featured Scrapper prominently, and I thought that this would be a mini-spotlight for Scrapper in the style what issue four did with Thundercracker. I was suitably excited, only to be deflated when I read the issue proper. That taught me never to have too high hopes. It's a shame, really. For being featured practically everywhere, the Constructicons never got themselves a decent showcase issue. Oh, sure, you get the odd throwaway line, but they never were featured for an entire episode or an entire comic as proper characters instead of simply mucking around as Devastator. It's a shame, since most of them have rather interesting personalities if developed a little bit more. But no, we get an entire issue re-establishing how macho-macho the new Spike Witwicky is.

See, IDW's original premise was to recreate G1 characters with a twist, so they are similar yet different from their original interpretations. This worked very well for the likes of Wheelie, Sideswipe, Scorponok, Sixshot, Ultra Magnus, Kup and several others. Some writers take a little bit too far. Take Ramjet, or Galvatron, for example. But they are still enjoyable enough. For some, though, the resulting product is too far out from the original character/concept. Costa's Prowl, for example (although he seems to be reverting Prowl back to his original IDW character as of issue four of the ongoing), or Perceptor (though later work done by Roche, Roberts and Schmidt have since made the new Perceptor cool). However, Spike is one of those few characters twisted into something unrecognizable bar the name. I mean, yeah, I don't want to see a nosey goody-two-shoes little kid in a hard-hat, but turning him into, oh, an asshole military commander? Come on. But I didn't mind as much. At the very least, Spike was still tolerable (barely) in earlier issues of AHM, and when Costa took over for the ongoing. However, for a comic that's titled Transformers, it's a little unforgiveable to have a Transformer appear only at the back half, and then only to die an ignomious death, and for the human to basically say 'Transformers sucks, anyone can kill a Transformer with something from a kitchen mwahahaha'. Spike's initial monologue, his little story to fight dirty and whatnot -- it's not entirely bad, I'll grant you that. But the rest? Bah. Spike's already grating on my nerves after all the banal crap we've obtained of him and Optimus Prime being all emotional and pouring their hearts out to each other. The last thing we need is for Spike to receive a spotlight issue.

While the first few pages are okay -- it defines Spike's character, and any characterization is okay in my book -- it all goes downhill afterwards. Blonde chick, Epps-wannabe and Campolonononogo are very dull. I mean, supposedly-professional soldiers wrestling in a canteen like five-year-olds? And getting away with not so much as a slap in the hand? At least the Initiative, dull as they are, act like professionals. The scene where Spike talks with the generals is soporific. Not to mention the logic holes, too. Does Spike really think sneaking out of the base in an unauthorized mission to kill a Decepticon single-handedly would earn him the generals' confidence? More likely they'll lose confidence because Spike seems to be losing his mind. The moment that the generals appear seem to be supposedly a 'moment', but it falls flat. The whole Spike being angry at the Constructicons thing is clunky and handled badly. I mean, wouldn't he be more angry at Ratbat for killing all his team in AHM? Or Frenzy for massacring half the military?

To top it all, Spike's takedown of Scrapper is something I'd expect out of a Batman cartoon episode, except Scrapper would've been some kind of clunky death robot made by the Joker. But Scrapper is supposed to be this construction expert. Won't he know better than to stand under a stack of I-bars? Why didn't he just shoot Spike? Is Spike betting on Scrapper walking under a bunch of I-bars to defeat him? Would kitchen-made acid really melt alien metal that easily? Where the hell did the bitchslap vengeance about Devastator killing Spike's good friend came out from? What would proving that humans are awesome to Scrapper matter? Why did Costa even think this is a good idea? The entire issue is rubbish. And the ending is horrible, with Spike dissing off the entire transformer race as a whole. It probably is supposed to be dark and everything, but it'll put off new readers and old fans alike. Dire; not even the monologue early on could save this. Basically, it's really tethering on the edges.

And to top it all? Considering IDW's track record, Scrapper's probably going to come back to life in a year or so when someone decides they like Devastator and want to use him. Just you wait.

And to think that I used to consider All Hail Megatron or Prime Directive as the worst-ever Transformers series, they had to dig a deeper hole.

Notes

Optimus Prime and the Autobots apparently have 'escaped'. Of course, Spike seems to have released them discreetly and would work with them to gather the Decepticons.

Campologno has got a new haircut.

Spike mocks Scrapper being coloured green, saying that it's an unorthodox colour for construction vehicles. Eh, how did Scrapper manage to elude Skywatch for two/three years anyway if it isn't effective? Um?

Devastator crushing bridges happened in AHM #2. Of all the plot threads Costa could've picked to follow up, he picked this. Come. On.

Goofs

At one point, the center of Scrapper's visor is extended down to his chin like a Cyberjet. In the rest of the issue, he has his normal visor.

Getting away with childish wrestling in a professional, top-secret military base and breaking glass walls? That's acceptable behaviour? Try that, any of you soldiers out there. See if you get a simple 'clean the floor' as punishment.

Seriously, running out of the base and search for a killer robot as part of a personal vendetta to show that you have balls? That isn't something that'll instill confidence in you.

Why didn't the rest of Skywatch find Scrapper first anyway? Campologno and Epps-wannabe (I like that designation, so I'll stick with it) seem very bored...

Scrapper acts like an idiot (see review).

Spike simply bets on the off chance that his terrain might help him to kill Scrapper.

In the flashback, Devastator has a toothed, bestial fang instead of a normal mouth. The hell?

If Spike carries a gun, why the hell didn't he use it in the first place instead of playing with acid? If it was Scrapper's, why didn't he use it to kill Spike?

This isn't really a goof, but having a transformers comic revolving around an ass of a human that kills the single transformer in the issue, then disses all transformers as wimps? That's how you bring new readers in?

Quote, Unquote

[None worth the effort of typing it out]

 
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