CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers Regeneration One #88
Reviewed by Blackjack
”Aren’t you a little, y’know, dead?”
A slightly faster-paced issue than all the previous ones in the Natural Selection arc, though mostly getting all the setup and monologue over and finally having things happen certainly helps matters. The art is also better this time around, with most characters looking pretty well-defined, and is a rather nice breather from the lackluster look that the previous issues have.
There are some nice scenes which feel rather well-written: I do quite like how the other Decepticons are baffled by Scorponok’s idiotic super-verbose speech (and since when does he suddenly adopt Perceptor’s speech mannerisms anyway?) and they’re just going on with Scorponok like ‘sure, whatever’. I do quite like how Soundwave and Bludgeon are dealing with stuff like business partners, how Bludgeon is politely showing Soundwave around what he has in mind for the Decepticons, whereas Soundwave, while not exactly planning to stab Bludgeon in the bag, still takes insurance by hiding Thunderwing’s body and the Matrix until he is satisfied with the plan. It’s a small thing, but I do quite like how the two aren’t exactly friendly but are pretty polite, like business partners.
I like how Misfire and Spinister are still loyal to Soundwave, though Misfire’s random death scene being killed off gratuitously by Scorponok just as a motivation to keep the Decepticons on his side (though now that he has an Autobot army I’m not sure why he bothers to recruit them anyway).
I also do quite like the scene between Crosshairs and Grapple, how the group of little Autobot troops is dealing with all the global mess Scorponok has wrought. The scene where they recap how their friends suddenly turned on them is, and how Grapple and Crosshairs are prepared to shoot each other until they can confirm their actual personalities, are far more effective in describing the scene than the pages of Autobots blowing stuff up. Blurr’s dialogue is basically unreadable, though. Screw him. Shame that knowing the general premise, none of these guys are going to be able to contribute anything – the likes of Grimlock, Perceptor and Hot Rod are the only ones that are going to be able to do anything.
Hot Rod’s scene does run a bit quite long than it should, with the long action scene followed by a recap being obvious padding, though the Demon subplot is certainly somewhat interesting. Alongside the Soundwave/Bludgeon subplot I do find it far more interesting than the rather messy Gene Key main plot.
Still, despite the various fun little things, the main plot about the Gene Key is still rather mind-numbingly boring. Scorponok’s suddenly ultra-verbose dialogue ends up distracting a fair bit from what he’s trying to say, and he’s acting as this rather ridiculous ‘mwa-ha-ha-I’m-evil’ supervillain that is yanking Grimlock’s chain. The scene where he goes and tells Grimlock to ‘kill Punch if you’re evil now’ is another really annoying one, since Grimlock is sure to not be really evil. The Scorponok/Grimlock thing really feels tedious and I’m not a big fan of it.
We also get a random amount of obscure toy-only nobodies in the background, people like Gunrunner and Skyhammer and Overdrive showing up… and really, be honest now – second stringers like Grapple and Crosshairs won’t end up to doing anything, and these newly-introduced nobodies certainly won’t amount to anything either. There’s also a couple of toyetic references like Punch being immune to the Gene Key which certainly won’t make sense to anyone which won’t make sense to anyone unfamiliar with the G1 toyline. Also, of course, like everything in Regeneration One, despite the whole ‘we are ignoring UK and G2
’ thing, we get a Warworld, and Bludgeon doing literally the same thing as he is doing at the beginning of Generation Two.
This issue feels better paced than the last few we got, juggling several plots like the Gene Key, Hot Rod, Galvatron and the Soundwave-Bludgeon alliance, and moving all four plots along instead of repeating the same old scenes over and over again. Still, the general main plot that takes up most of the space is the Gene Key and Scorponok/Grimlock’s little debate, which certainly isn’t something I’m hugely interested about. Overall it’s surprisingly not a bad read, but with all the problems of this story, I’m not optimistic about the end of this arc.
This is the first appearances for Punch, Pounce, Gunrunner, Skyhammer, Overdrive and Rapido anywhere in the Marvel continuity, though with the exception of Rapido they all cameoed as background characters throughout the IDW comics, whereas Punch and the Decepticon Clones had showed up in the cartoon. Rapido has shown up in the Fun Publications comics prior to this, though.
It’s not identified this issue whether the Clone in the group shot is Pounce or Wingspan, but subsequent issues would draw Pounde with a toy-based head and Wingspan with a cartoon-based head (which kind of misses the point of them looking identical in robot mode now doesn’t it), so the clone here can be retroactively identified as Pounce.
Misfire was last seen in the US continuity caught in the explosion of the cannon that killed Finback in #75, and while his fate remains ambiguous there, here he is explicitly killed.
The Warworld is yet
another thing Simon Furman recycles from his non-US work, this time from the Generation Two comic. It looks practically identical, has the same origin of being assimilated from technology of many different races, is made and commanded by Bludgeon and like in G2, it’s used to create a Decepticon army that requires the Matrix to be brought to life… though instead of new G2 toy characters, this time Bludgeon wants to bring to life a bunch of unimpressive chicken-looking drones.
When Landfill charges through a glass wall he sends some items flying, including Straxus’ head and a Unicron cultist helmet.
Crosshairs misquotes his toy bio’s quote to identify himself to Grapple, namely that he ‘only shoots when he can see the wires in their eyes.’
Crosshairs paraphrases his original bio quote on page 9, remarking that he only shoots when he can "see the wires in their eyes."
Hoist, Landmine, Splashdown and Over-Run are name-dropped as those that were turned, but not seen. (Landmine should be dead, though – see goofs)
The sword and golden disk found by Hot Rod (the sword we saw a couple issues back) resembles the sword and shield that Primus wields while battling Unicron in #61, hinting at a deeper connection between the two beyond the fact that Primus’ original form is basically Rodimus Prime.
Punch is probably immune to the Gene Key thanks to him being a double agent that’s partially Decepticon. Again, it doesn’t particularly make sense with the whole genetics concept, but the Gene Key itself is bonkers anyway.
The idea that Scorponok can control Grimlock by squeezing a piece of crystal seems remarkably similar to how Beast Wars Megatron controls the unstable Predacon Rampage by squeezing an energon crystal containing a portion of Rampage’s spark.
The Sonic Canyons was first mentioned in Siren’s toy profile, and later introduced as an actual location in the Dreamwave and IDW continuities.
Hot Rod seems to come across a Golden Disk, or an object similar in shape to the Golden Disks of Beast Wars.
Needlenose’s lavender arms are coloured in blue like his legs.
Dreadwind is drawn with a mouth instead of having a faceplate.
Speaking of Dreadwind and Darkwing, the two of them were last seen hanging around Bludgeon’s forces back during #80 of the original run, so they can’t exactly hang around on Cybertron.
Grapple says about how Landmine tried to throw him off the balcony, but Landmine was killed by Thunderwing in #66.
Again, the art makes identifying some of the characters rather impossible, such as the Constructicon on page two which could easily be any of them, or one of the G2 Autorollers, or really anyone else. The red-and-white car dude next to Gunrunner on page 6 might
be Skram, or really any other blue car Autobot that looks like that. On the far right of the same panel is a blue-coloured Autobot that looks like an inner Pretender robot, but none of the inner Pretenders are coloured blue, and thanks to the art it’s almost impossible to pinpoint who exactly that is.
Brainstorm and Hardhead still retain their wrong character models.
On the panel where Scorponok tells Grimlock to execute Punch, Darkwing is miscoloured as Dreadwind.