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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 #12: International Incident Part 4: All My Sins Remembered
Reviewed by Blackjack

Issue Review

"That's a human thing, right? Nightmare? Like, you're watching this thing happen, but you just can't do anything about it."

Forget thirteen, twelve seems to be the unlucky number with IDW. You know, I've been handing out 'zero cubes' reviews out at an alarming rate. The never-shall-be-spoken-of-ever-again issue #8, one of the Nefarious issues, the finale of the Bumblebee series, and now this...you know, when you take the fact that I am of the few people who like TF: Micromasters, Reign of Starscream, Drift and Alex Milne, it speaks volumes about IDW's recent output, doesn't it?

Nefarious I can't really blame, because it's like Furman's little revenge against IDW for dropping him out of the limelight. But the ongoing, when Costa had clearly shown talent in writing... I'll admit it, as an individual writer, Costa's writing is much better compared to Shane's AHM. But Shane had a story in mind when he wrote AHM, with a beginning, a middle and an ending. It's just the execution that made it go haywire. Anal as it is, I actually kind of enjoyed AHM's funner moments, which isn't something I could say for the ongoing so far.

In 12 issues, Shane had finished his plot, albeit by having Thundercracker fly a nuclear missile out of New York. With the same amount of issues, Costa did the exact same thing, only this time the conclusion is so much messier and he had Cosmos do it instead of Thundercracker. At the very least, Shane understood the need for fun parts, and never subjected us to six back-to-back pages of portraits talking to each other repetitively. This particular issue is so dull, uninteresting and repetitive. In fact, the whole 'International Incident' arc is so full of stupid plot holes that it causes me to wonder what Mike Costa has in mind.

Instead of following on his better plot lines -- Rodimus is still AWOL from issue six, so is Ultra Magnus. We never see the aftermath of the Autobot infighting, or the Menasor battle, or whatever Skywatch did with the captured Decepticons, or follow up on the Ironhide mini and the Decepticons in issue 7 is seemingly forgotten about. Costa spends four months telling a story that came out of nowhere and is basically a hodgepodge of half-thought concepts, bad continuity and incorrect characterizations. It just drags on at a pace worse than All Hail Megatron, mostly because Costa spends no effort to make it readable, causing this to feel like a filler issue, something that is really expected in an ongoing...only that it stretches three issues longer than it should.

The art is still in Guido's crisp pencils, but like the rest of International Incident, it lacks the 'oomph' that will make it spectacular.

This issue has more kinds of the same crap that plagued the previous two issues, only much worse than the messy (but serviceable) conclusion in issue six. The whole 'each country has their own Transformers' thing isn't terribly interesting after being dragged on for three issues with half-assed battles, and instead of doing something cool like having the whole embarrassing ordeal as part of Onslaught's master plan to infiltrate human governments, the whole idea felt rubbish with the Decepticons acting like total buffoons.

The Skywatch chick is just like one of those Scooby Doo villains—introduced, placed aside and later shows up as the 'surprise' traitor. Coupled with numerous plot holes...and the main threat turned out to be another nuclear strike. And it's averted by Cosmos riding it and pulling out wires. Which is similar to Thundercracker throwing the nuclear bomb into orbit at the conclusion of AHM. And Superion flying head-on into the nuclear bomb during Dreamwave's disastrous first arc.

It's as trite as 'I still function' quotes, and more painful to look at that. Bumblebee being shot by a human with a superweapon isn't terribly surprising, and the whole 'speaking in public' is yet another unoriginal, repetitive speech similar to the ones we saw throughout the ongoing.

The Predacons and Combaticons accomplish jackshit other than acting like complete buffoons. The whole 'Decepticons are in communist countries' thing is unprofessional. And they can't take the Combaticons prisoner because they don't have the resources to detain Transformers? Bloody hell? Skywatch spent the first six issues, plus the Bumblebee miniseries, revolving on the fact that Skywatch is a human organization that catches and detains Transformers. If Costa can't even keep his ideas straight, what hope does this ongoing series have?

On the upside, at least this arc is over, and with 'Rodimus in Space' next, hopefully Costa would be able to repair the damage he had done. 'Hopefully' being the operative word. Sadly. With how things are going it seems that subsequent Earth-bound issues would focus on whoever that high-ranking-guy is Spike was afraid of in issue eight.

Notes

The IDW version of the Predacons, like the Dinobots before them, have updated beast modes that don't look like boxy blocks of plastic, and instead resemble mechanical versions of the beasts they are based on. Despite their recurring appearance throughout IDW's output, this is the first time they adapt Earth modes.

Rampage has blades attached to his wrists, which kind of resembles that of Brawl (Devastator) from the first live-action movie, only longer.

According to Rampage, they respect the and patience of the Chinese republic. This is kind of similar to the very-patient leadership of their missing leader (currently in space) Razorclaw.

Upon closer inspection this issue, Thundercracker's alternate mode seems to be an upgraded F15 (sleeker and whatnot) instead of simply reverting back to his GEEWUN design. Looks like an amalgam of his F15 and F22 modes, although since I'm not much of a jet person I could be spouting nonsense here.

The president of the United States is named 'Browne'.

Bumblebee being blown apart by a human had been done before in Marvel's GI Joe crossover, only that time the Joes blew up Bumblebee due to a wrong case of identification.

Goofs

Optimus Prime says that they have no resources to take prisoners... yet the whole point of the first six issues, plus the Bumblebee miniseries, is the capture and imprisonment of Transformers. Skywatch is still supposed to have quite a bunch of Decepticons under their custody, too.

On page three, Tantrum's hands are blue instead of black. Ditto for Headstrong's upper limbs.

Are the Predacons that stupid that they didn't realize it was Onslaught who opened fire?

Kind of hard to believe that a super-secret organization, with Transformer-sized crash suits and funky futuristic vehicles, wouldn't have satellites that the Skywatch guys at the base couldn't simply just hack.

On that, having the satellites beam the misleading footage of farmers to Bumblebee's team is stupid.

Previously, the Predacons (Rampage, at least) have been shown to be crack troops, from what dialogue implied of them. While it's possible that Razorclaw being stranded on the asteroid would cause them to do this, it's kind of hard to believe that Razorclaw would leave them on Earth. How many Decepticons are left on Earth off-screen, anyway?

Why is Thundercracker still wearing the Decepticon badge if he's fighting with the Autobots? Probably the same reason why Prime is calling the shots when Bee is supposed to be the leader.

How did Sandra leave the compound without the Skywatch commander knowing? They are in a crisis, right?

Why the hell didn't Onslaught call for North Korean military to help him against the Autobots if he had radio access?

Why didn't Thundercracker fly up to stop the nuclear bomb? He did the same thing in AHM. Wouldn't it be the priority compared to destroying energon facilities?

Why would the Combaticons and Predacons need to depend on humans for energon facilities when they could've rounded up the Constructicons to rig one up?

There's also no reason for the Combaticons or Predacons to remain under Korea or China's employ after they have been re-energized if it isn't some kind of complex plan.

How did the protesters figure out Skywatch's base? They are this super-secret multi-national team, what?

All those 'tripled armour' in Bumblebee's new body turned out to be useless, no?

Bluestreak is called Silverstreak. What? I never get tired of repeating this.

Quote/Unquote

Rampage: "How dare you insult our dedication to [China] while engaging in a skirmish on her borders, acting as a cat's paw of your 'enlightened' America?"

Prowl: "Right now, I see seventeen different scenarios as to how this could play out. Only five of them involve casualties, but to minimize that, we'll need [Thundercracker]."

Pennington: "We'll pray for a near-sghted analyst."

Cosmos: "After this, I better get a lot more respect around here."

Bumblebee: "People of Earth. Wow, that... that really sounds just so weird, doesn't it? But, look- people of Earth."

 
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