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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)
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(2001-now)
Marvel Comics
(1984-1994)
Japanese
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Other Books
and Titles

CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING

Transformers #14: Revenge of the Decepticons Part 1: The Demolished Man
Reviewed by Blackjack

Issue Review

"Is this the vehicle's top speed?"
Another issue that's better, but again, anything would be an improvement over the International Incident arc. Thankfully none of the dire plot threads there are followed up upon, bar the set-up. There are several gems in this story, and it looks like a nice build-up. The more interesting Decepticon hunt seen in the original six issues is followed up upon, this time by Soundwave coming to Earth and breaking out the captured Decepticons. And the presence of Transformer-killing Megatron guns is a fresh idea and a well-executed one compared to some of IDW's other plot threads.

Praise or criticism first? Criticism it is. Again, there is very bad continuity on the part of the editors. More obscure ones like Blitzwing being on board Astrotrain on AHM #13 are ignorable, but larger ones, like Rumble and Frenzy switching colours, aren't so easy to. Or Frenzy somehow being back in Soundwave's possession despite being left on Earth and captured in the Bumblebee miniseries. While I could sympathize with trying to ignore that dire series, it's unprofessional. Still, the intro on Joe Gladki, while still a little overlong, is mercifully better than the six-page conversations we had before. Also, note Scrapper. See what I meant in my previous reviews of issue eight that all my anger was for nothing? That no one that appeared in the cartoon will ever die permanently? While they had the decency to call Scrapper a corpse, it wouldn't be long until someone revives Scrapper just like what they did with Sunstreaker. Another thing I hate is the introduction of a couple more Skywatch personnel. While Maria is pretty much a yes-man to get Pennington and Magnus to watch the news, Doctor Einstein (that's what I'm going to call him) is an irritating dick. Also, Megatron's head... well, we'll just have to hope Costa didn't forget issues 7 and 13, where Megatron's entire body was in Cybertron.

Praises for this issue is there, though. Events flow more smoothly and don't leave you tossing the comic away in disgust. Pacing is great. The dialogue is much, much better compared to the International Incident arc. More things happen here. Don's art is back, and it's simply astounding. The little changes he made to improve the expressions are great as well. The scripting have gone up a notch as well. Brawn is great fun as always with his attitude, Ultra Magnus is amazing after a seven-issue hiatus, Bluestreak as the overly-excited and easily-panicked not-rookie is nicely executed. The fact that not all Autobots are happy with their alliance is a realistic thing as well. Optimus' little rant, and even Joe Gladki's quick monologue weren't painful to read. The Decepticons breaking free is done quickly and succintly. Enough details of destruction and escaping in two pages instead of three issues that AHM did. Despite the wrong colour, Frenzy got himself a moment of badassery. And poor Pennington was just starting to get proper lines, too! What he did in this issue made him more memorable than Epps wannabe, spiky-hair-turned-crew-cut and traitor girl. Also, we see the return of something I liked from the early IDW days: humans furthering the Decepticon agenda through cloak-and-dagger stuff. Ben, while rather banal, is a nice plot seed and seems to be a better character than Kim the Second from before. If Ben turns out to be a fascimile, I will personally recommend this arc to every fan I see. Another potentially intriguing story arc. But everything starts that way. We'll see how this goes, though.

Notes

The first Transformers issue to have the 'Infestation' mark on the cover, to build up excitement for the multi-property crossover coming up soon.

The events of this issue follow directly from the end of issue 12. Soundwave was last seen last issue on the asteroid, so it must be assumed that either issue 13 happened during the several-month gap between issue 6 and 'International Incident' arc was happening, or they have a handy Space Bridge they haven't used until now.

The BNN report news utilize footage of Devastator wrecking the New York bridge, lifted directly from the pages of AHM issue two. The conspiracy site feature the same picture of Devastator, while the header uses a modified version the Drift portion of the cover of the third All Hail Megatron trade paperback.

Joe has a Ghostbusters T-Shirt. Ghostbusters will be one of the franchises IDW has that will be joining the multi-franchise Infestation crossover. Her daughter has a Mr Potato Head toy.

Don Figueroa has again modified his art style. While still movie-inspired like the first six issues, the facial detailing have decreased so as to be able to convey emotion (Smokescreen still looks as if he has a mustache, though) and instead of beady eyes that don't translate well into the comic medium, transformers now have glassy, traditional eyes. Nice move. Everyone has their faction insignias somewhere on their head. The humans are drawn in a more cartoonish, Roche-ish design as well.

Campologno has a cup with 'Mo Joe' written on it. A shout-out to Mojo from the live-action movie?

The Stunticons were captured in issue six. Scrapper was killed and detained in issue eight. First time we saw Blitzwing (see goofs). Presumably Cindersaur and everyone else Skywatch captured were now set loose.

Rumble and Frenzy (or Frenzy and Rumble)'s designs have been slightly tweaked. Instead of holding their guns now, they are attached to their lower arms or their back. Soundwave is basically the same, only more detailed than before.

Pennington seems to have been killed (or at least mortally injured). Dead End ran him down and the next thing we saw is his blood-stained hand. If it is so, he's the first named Skywatch casualty.

Following Furman's tradition of picking random, obscure cities from the maps, Quetzaltenango is a real city.

The title of this issue is taken from the Alfred Bester book of the same name.

Goofs

Rumble and Frenzy's colourings: it's unclear if it's a deliberate change to be the same with the upcoming HFTD toys, or personal preference on Don's part, or simply an error, but their colours are now the same with the cartoon versions. Namely, Frenzy is red-and-black, while Rumble is purplish-blue. This despite all other appearances and toys ever since the original cartoon having Frenzy is blue and Rumble is red, ending the debate. And Hasbro even insisting as such. And then come 2010 and they reverse the colours to screw with our minds. The Nick Roche cover also follows RIBFIR as well.

Frenzy's sonic scream doesn't cause himself or any other people to go crazy anymore—it's now a basic sci-fi sonic scream. Also, he doesn't have his dentist drills anymore. Also, he's red.

And Frenzy had last been a crazed lunatic left on Earth that was captured by Skywatch-Autobots in Bumblebee #2. (He was blue then) While there's nothing to say that he wasn't sprung out by Soundwave earlier, it seems unlikely.

Where did Optimus' team get the super-cool high tech cargo plane from? Issue 12 gave us the impression that the government isn't exactly happy with Spike's bunch right now...

The lower left corner of the 'Ben Simpson' writing on the screen is slightly cropped off.

In issue 8 Scrapper's head had been blown off. Now, while he's still called a 'corpse', his head is inexplicably attached back on.

Blitzwing is captured by Skywatch despite him being on board Astrotrain in AHM #13.

Blitzwing's tank turret kibble on his back is purple instead of tan.

When they were captured in issue 6 the Stunticons were in a really sorry state, but here they are all smooth and polished. Motormaster even has missiles. While it isn't feasible that Skywatch repaired them, it is unlikely.

At one point, the newscaster Nina is called 'Maria', who is Pennington's aide.

In page 22, the Megatron guns on the first panel don't have those squiggly lines beside the insignia. Every other appearance, including the panel immediately next to it, has them.

Quote/Unquote

Smokescreen: "Yeah? Well you didn't want anyone to know about this mission either, and look what happened. I'm thinking you've got to get your house in order, man!"

Optimus Prime: "Clearly there are some large endemic problems that will need to be addressed. After we tend to Bumblebee, we're going to have a conversation about this situation."

Brawn: "Hey pal, who the hell are you to tell me what I know and what I don't?"

Ultra Magnus: "Enough. I'm stuck here, just like you, and I don't like this either. But if you don't get a hold of yourself now, you will be restrained."

Pennington: "We have been totally decapitated here. I don't give a crap about PR right now."

Ben Simpson: "Also, we are not associated with this so-called assassin, though I take umbrage with that word as well. Who can even qualify these things as being alive?"

Ben Simpson: "If our government won't let us protect ourselves from invaders from space, of what use is our government?"
 
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