CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers Regeneration One #82: Loose Ends Part 2
Reviewed by Blackjack
”I like to gloat… we do, us despots… and you are now my audience.”
Surprisingly, a fairly decent story. Despite the title page promising ‘DINOBOT MONTH’ and it being a story written by Simon Furman, Grimlock thankfully doesn’t get a disproportionately large amount of focus. The issue is divided pretty well between the two main things that go here, namely the Wreckers battling against Megatron’s zombie army, and Grimlock’s attempt to figure out the mysteries of Nebulos. The Headmasters’ eventual fate is an oft-forgotten plot hole in the Marvel comics, one which I had personally forgotten existed before reading this comic. It’s nice how Furman ties in Grimlock, the Nucleon plot and the Nebulos plot together so we don’t have too many things going on. The plot on Earth is pretty straightforward, although the appearance of the zombie army is a bit of a surprise.
Furman references old stories whilst still making it relatively accessible, working in both Starscream and Ratchet in a decent introduction. Megatron is handled pretty well, still rather psychotic and his tendency to monologue is brought up here. Kup and Springer aside, all the Wreckers are still identikit, although Whirl’s little reckless behavior and Roadbuster being battle hungry are brought up. Kup’s still pretty fun, and it’s nice to see he doesn’t blame only Optimus Prime for what happened to Earth but instead all the Autobots. Ultra Magnus’ short appearance here makes his dicking around last issue almost forgivable. Grimlock, likewise, still has his late-Marvel ‘team papa’ role on. It’s a shame that Scorponok seems poised to make a return here, since Scorponok’s death scene is one of my all-time favourite scenes in the Marvel comics, and he’s one of the more complex characters in the Marvel run. Though I suppose it’s sort of natural, I don’t really like cheapening death scenes for no good reason at all.
The Nebulos plot intrigues me, and I have to admit the Earth bits catch my interest as well. I’m curious to see where Furman is going with all these. It’s nowhere near the quality of Furman’s best work, certainly, but it still reads quite well even though the script is sometimes weak and unnecessarily wordy. The weakest point of Regeneration One, I find, is the art. All due respect to Wildman, but his art here just feels like a weak shadow of his original Marvel work, with many robots and backgrounds looking underwhelmingly under-detailed, and the issue in general having a rushed feel. Kup and Grimlock still look pretty nice, and Megatron does to at times, but otherwise... a lot of characters get shafted, and anyone in the background is just a vague silhouette only brought up by colours. The action scenes look rather static and generally unimpressive as well. The rather untouched retro colouring doesn’t help to bring out details that Wildman’s pencils fail to deliver. I’m also pretty sure that Circuit Smasher end up as annoying as his ersatz namesake, and I for one am not looking forward to see him.
This issue is part of IDW’s “Dinobot Month”, where the various titles of IDW – More than Meets the Eye, Robots in Disguise, Regeneration One and whichever Fall of Cybertron tie-in title that was out of the moment all have stories that feature Dinobots as a tie-in to the Fall of Cybertron game.
In the late run of the Marvel series, due to a crazy space bridge explosion Megatron and Ratchet were mentally linked in such a way that if one of them died, the other would, too. Ratchet is still kept alive here, albeit as part of a sled thing. Both Ratchet and Starscream were last seen aboard the Ark as it crashed, and presumably Megatron salvaged their bodies from there.
In the Marvel continuity, the Headmasters had removed their heads in Nebulos, and it was stated in the Headmasters comics that the original heads were kept alive and in remote contact with their bodies, although the fact was never brought up again after they left Nebulos. It’s one of the dangling plot-threads. Scorponok, Highbrow, Hardhead and Brainstorm’s bodies (and their Headmaster partners) all fell in battle against Unicron in #75. It is as of yet unclear what had been done with the Headmaster heads.
Circuit Smasher seems to be somewhat based on Circuit Breaker, a relatively prominent human character in the Marvel comics who has the same powers Circuit Smasher displays (flying, shooting energy bolts)… except that Circuit Breaker isn’t part of the Transformers intellectual property and thus out of bounds. Circuit Smasher is apparently a post-timeskip Spike Witwicky, former Headmaster partner to Fortress Maximus.
Marvel issue #42 has established that Transformers were no longer welcome on Nebulos after the destruction wrought by the battles of Fortress Maximus and Scorponok’s crews. Since then Optimus Prime has apparently honoured his word and quarantined the planet.
All of the zombified troops that Megatron command are the casualties of the Underbase Saga, and all of them have been killed on-screen by Starscream during said battle. Ratbat is the only exception, being killed by Scorponok abroad the Ark. Presumably Megatron retrieved Ratbat’s body from there. How Megatron has obtained the bodies and turned them into zombies is not known yet. Skywarp still retains his teleportation ability, and the others are shown to still be able to transform. They can speak, but only rudimentary words.
Koraja, the Plains of Thok and the Grax Communication Facility (the latter unnamed) all make appearances here, after first showing up in the Headmasters mini.
Rack’n’Ruin has been turned into the Wreckers’ equivalent of a medic, something that’s new to the character.
Megatron makes a lot of mention about snuffing out ‘sparks’, a concept first introduced in Beast Wars that a Transformer’s life and soul is tied to the spark. See goofs.
Skywarp’s teleportation sound effect is a ‘VVOP’, a sound effect unique to Skywarp in the IDW continuity.
The whole spark deal being retconned into Marvel continuity just would not work, as the Marvel continuity takes the brain module as the core of a Transformer. It had been described that the brain module as the Matrix-infused critical component of a Transformer’s life, and various cases (the Throttlebots in toy bodies, Optimus Prime as a floppy disc, the second-year Autobot cars as crystal imprints) have shown that the brain module or an equivalent is all that’s required for a Transformer to be alive. Of course, the ‘spark’ Megatron is talking about might be a reference to this, but that seems rather far-fetched.
No mention is made to the poisoning of all fuel sources in Nebulos in Marvel #42 as an attempt to drive all Transformers away from their world. Grimlock may not be around long enough to be affected, or it might be the Nucleon, but the scientists rebuilding the Headmasters should really have known better.
Trailbreaker is missing his forcefield generator, Rack’n’Ruin’s eyes are triangles instead of angled visors, both Leadfoot and Whirl’s robot modes are rather generic, and Roadbuster’s alternate mode is missing interiors.
Octane's wings seem to be snapped off into half their lengths and not jut out from his body like his original character model, but he can still transform into his jet mode.