CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers Regeneration One #80.5: Counterpoint
Reviewed by Blackjack
”Witness – the beginning of the end!”
So Simon Furman decides to start a petition in order to fund a sequel for the Marvel US timeline – whilst ignoring Marvel UK and Generation Two, arguably as good, or even better, than the US material. Despite the Marvel US run not having much hanging plot threads and wrapped up quite nicely (if anything, Generation Two was the one which ended on a cliffhanger), Simon Furman managed to rally enough support to get this thing going. This issue is just a preview, and it’s free, so I can’t be too hard on it.
Half of the issue is filled with flashbacks to significant moments of Marvel comic history in order to debrief people who don’t memorize this by heart (shame on you all!), told through a swirling mess of images shouting ‘WITNESS!’ at us, which leaves very little in lieu of actual content. Basically, the Decepticons are evil and are rising again, Optimus Prime is a grumpy douchebag, Ultra Magnus and Kup are the only ones taking action, the Last Autobot dies. All this issue seems to do is to establish the groundwork, and the death of the Last Autobot. The Last Autobot was killed off pretty unceremoniously, although he’s not exactly the most interesting character out there… he was put on a bus in Generation Two without it being too prominent, after all.
However, Furman is starting to lose his touch, and it’s pretty painful to watch as he simply just strings together a bunch of roundabout words for every character, making the characters all feel very generic and uninteresting, compared to his far more catchy scripts of days past. Andrew Wildman’s art is supposed to evocate the days of the Marvel comics, but with the pretty digital colouring, it really makes his art stand out as… incomplete in places. It’s not terrible, but it’s not spectacular either. Some characters straight-up don’t have their faces drawn in. This is the first issue, though, and as thus these mistakes are still not very prominent. It’s a nice first issue, establishing everything, but it’s just a shame that the series eventually doesn’t build up to this promise.
Regeneration One is a petition-induced sequel for the original Marvel Comics run of the Transformers, written by longtime Transformers comic writer Simon Furman (who wrote the final 24 issues of the original Marvel US run, as well as the entirety of the Marvel UK material), and featuring art by Andrew Wildman and inks from Stephen Baskerville, both who worked near the end of the Marvel run as well. Regeneration One completely ignores the existence of the UK comics and Generation Two comics, both arguably more popular than the US run. However, this does not stop Simon Furman from adding in concepts he introduced in Marvel UK and Generation Two.
“Issue 80.5” is a preview issue released during Free Comic Book day.
The events of Regeneration take place 21 years after issue 80, which is also the approximate real-life time gap between the releases of the original Marvel comics and Regeneration One.
That man on the first page is the new updated look of Spike Witwicky, former Headmaster partner of Fortress Maximus, and has grown out his hair and looked more like a cyborg than a guy in a mechanical suit.
First appearances of the Clones in Marvel comic continuity, although they have appeared in the Sunbow cartoon and IDW comics. As we will learn later, Pounce and Wingspan apparently have different faces. The one here is Wingspan.
This is the first appearance of the Micromaster Combiner Battle Squad anywhere outside profile books, although they are not Miromasters here.
The Asteroid-Smasher is a nice callback to the first issue, where the reason the Ark was constructed was in order to destroy asteroids that threaten to destroy Cybertron.
Characters who appear in flashbacks are coloured as similarly as they can with their appearances in the comic which they appear in, such as Soundwave coloured purple in flashbacks and cartoon blue in the modern day scenes, or Megatron’s flashback to the first issues of the Marvel comics being drawn similarly to his early character model with a slightly different helmet.
Ultra Magnus is treated as a major character here, despite never appearing in the Marvel US continuity. (He is, however, a very major leader figure in the UK continuity, which Simon Furman is supposed to be ignoring.)
The Wreckers, again, are a major aspect in the Marvel UK continuity, but never make an appearance in the US continuity. Magnus is very loosely affiliated with the Wreckers in Target: 2006 although nowhere else, although other continuities (Dreamwave’s G1, Transformers Prime) have placed Magnus as being a Wrecker. Kup has never been affiliated with the Wreckers in the Marvel comics, and have only been so in the IDW series. However, both are apparently members of the Wreckers now.
Jhiaxus appear for one panel in the Zero Point, despite Generation Two being ignored by Regeneration One. This is not exactly a goof since a Jhiaxus may also exist in the Regeneration One splinter continuity.
Flywheels was killed in the UK 'Time Wars' arc, but we're apparently ignoring that. Battletrap was, too, but he shows up in the Marvel issues taking place after that, so it's not an error here.
The flashback to the Underbase Saga shows Starscream killing Perceptor, Cliffjumper, Blaster and Bluestreak. While Blaster and Bluestreak did die during the Underbase saga (see goofs below, though), Perceptor was not shown to die on-screen although was later listed among the casualties. Cliffjumper never appeared after the Underbase saga.
A generic on page four is using a communicube, first appearing in the Target: 2006 arc of the Marvel UK comics. The same Cybertronian pokes fun at “it’s over – finished!”, one of Simon Furman’s own ‘Furmanisms’, phrases which often crop up in places in his works.
Optimus Prime angsting about the future at Nova Point is very similar to the Marvel UK Annual text story “Another Time & Space”, itself a possible future after the Marvel US/UK run.
Fort Scyk originally appeared in the Marvel UK text story “The Magnificient Six”, although here Fort Scyk is in Polyhex instead of Stanix, where it originally is.
This issue includes flashbacks to (in order of appearance):
-Darkwing and Dreadwind flying over Nebulos, issue #42
-Jhiaxus from Generation 2
-Galvatron II being harpooned, from issue #67
-King Grimlock sitting in his throne, issue #32 or thereabouts
-Ratbat attacking Buster Witwicky in the carwash of doom, issue #31
-A Demon, issue #76
-Optimus Prime’s head removed by Shockwave, issue #5
-The merged Ratchet-Megatron creature, issue #70
-Primus and Unicron battling in their astral forms, Unicron in planet form eating planets, and the first Transformers rising from Cybertron’s surface, all from issue #61
-Autobots and Decepticons battling on Cybertron, roughly based on the first pages of issue #1
-The Ark blasting the asteroids, the Decepticons attacking the Ark, the Ark crashing, plus Optimus and Megatron battling on an Earth street, all from issue #1
-Shockwave walking through a hall with Autobot bodies hanging from the ceiling, issue #5
-The Dinobots battling Megatron at a snowy mountain, issue #8
-Defensor and Bruticus battling at a rail depot, issue #35
-Scorponok and Fortress Maximus battling in the volcano on Earth, issue #38
-Starscream killing Autobots with the power of the Underbase, issue #50
-Thunderwing opening the Matrix and being corrupted and possessed by it, issue #66
-Unicron munching on Cybertron’s surface, issue #75
-Optimus Prime dying after unleashing the Matrix upon Unicron, issue #76
-Megatron battling Galvatron, issue #78
-The Neo-Knights discovering the Last Autobot, issue #79
-The final battle between Optimus and Bludgeon, issue #80
On page one, Dreadwing and Darkwing are miscoloured as Slingshot and Skydive (complete with thunderbolt decals!). This error is corrected in the trade papaerback.
On page one, Galvatron’s Decepticon brand is missing on his chest. Like above, this was corrected in the trade paperback.
Sparkstalker was accidentally killed by Cindersaur off-screen in issue 80, but he shows up well here.
The flashback to the Underbase Saga shows Blaster and Bluestreak dying with Perceptor and Cliffjumper, whereas Bluestreak died with a bunch of Autobot cars on a bridge, whereas Blaster battled Starscream one-on-one on top of the bridge.
When Optimus Prime is talking to Ultra Magnus and Kup, “assault” is mis-spelled as “assualt”.
The flashback to Unicron munching on Cybertron lacks his facial hair.
The flashback to the discovery of the Last Autobot has the wrong head, complete with a mouth.