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Transformers #9: International Incident Part 1: The Land Ironclads
Reviewed by Blackjack

Issue Review

“Still, it doesn’t mitigate the-”
A step up from last issue. But then, anything would be a step up from last issue. The Combaticons are a novelty, but having nine pages with nary a dialogue balloon is hardly effective, surely? I mean, we don’t need the superfluous dialogue seen in the Spike/Optimus scenes prior to this, but some monologue from Onslaught, and this issue would’ve been much, much superior. Guido’s art is wonderful, but why has everyone bar Bumblebee reverted back to their G1 bodies? It’s like a slap to the face to Don, and anyone who likes (or even tolerates) Don’s art. Apparently, Guido was (like Nick Roche before him) decent enough of a guy to draw Don's designs with his style, but IDW told him to redraw nearly half of the pages this issue to use GEEWUN designs. What for, exactly? It's bad continuity, and wouldn't do anything but confuse readers and bring down the relatively low fandom opinion on the ongoing.

The dialogue on the back half of the book is better than the abysmal scripting from last issue, though. It's something that Costa tends to do... we get some well-written issues (four, seven), some decent ones (two, four, nine) but the rest are shite. It's that kind of inconsistency that pisses me off. Spike’s back to his dry-humour bit seen from issues one through seven instead of the angsty hardcore brooder of last issue, which is good. The Jetfire/Bumblebee moment is well scripted as well. However, the ‘nobody respects Bumblebee’ joke is a little bit trite after five issues of Magnus doing the same thing, surely? Also, at several moments, the character’s expressions go wonky. Epps-wannabe’s face get scrunched up so badly at one point that it seems that someone has kicked his balls off-screen.

However, the whole idea that they’ll be doing stuff in the dark while the President does all sort of political stuff (isn’t Skywatch an international organization?) is, well, nearly as daft as the plot in Nefarious. And some bits of the dialogue are rather inane. Skywatch is able to provide the Autobots with a shuttle how? Optimus never expected the Decepticons to tamper with the power balance of nations, when he’s expecting it as a basic strategy previously? Judging from the title of the arc, ‘International Incident’, it would seem that the whole premise of it would be to have Transformers go sightseeing all over the world mitigating World War III. And that we'll have more defined plots rather than the overreaching stuff we had from Furman or the epic showdown of McCarthy, but it's not necessary a good thing. We’ll just see how things will proceed from here. Again, it shows promise. But promise alone isn't enough to make a good comic.


Spike’s new haircut, shown in issue eight (which nearly nobody noticed) had been declared as a change that would be followed in subsequent issues. Ditto for Campologno. Wait- they care about the consistency of a human's hair, but a Transformer can change designs between issues? Buhwha?

The North Korean leader, Kim Jong Du, is based off the likeness of the real North Korean leader Kim Jong II. However, the American president is nothing like Barack Obama.

The Combaticons are based on a hybrid of their original toys and character models. Brawl, meanwhile, had acquired several additional weapons in tank mode, including three-barreled turrets on either side of his main one, reminiscent of Energon Blight’s. Onslaught’s license plate reads D-64, the Japanese ID number of his original toy.

Bumblebee is back in his new movie/G1 hybrid body after an art error in issue six.

Bumblebee mentioned that Skywatch provided a shuttle for Springer’s people. Presumably this refers to the Wreckers in LSOTW, so the interchange between Prowl and Magnus in LSOTW #5 happens somewhere around here.


IDW told Guido to redraw everyone in their original G1 character models, even though Guido had apparently drawn them in Don's models (thanks to Grayfox for setting me straight). He did promise that next issue would be different. We shall see...

Skywatch can provide the Autobots with an intergalactic shuttle. Without the higher-ups noticing. How the hell does a bunch of humans know more about spacefaring vehicles than the Autobots, who had been doing so for four million years?

‘Upsetting the power balance of nations is something I hadn’t forseen’, yet in the –ions series, the Decepticons have been stated to do exactly just that with their infiltration protocols. At the very least, Megatron is trying to upset a civil war in Escalation.

Quote, Unquote

Spike: “Okay. How many do we have out there?”
Skywatch Personnel: “At least four are confirmed. But, who knows?”
Spike: “Who knows? We are supposed to know. That’s our job.”

Bumblebee: “Our intentions here are pure, and we’re asking them to trust that. To trust us. But if we can’t even trust them… then we don’t deserve that.”

Spike: “We have a situation. I need to talk to your boss.” [all point to Bumblebee] “No. I need to talk to your, uh, other boss.”

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