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THE TRANSFORMERS: COMICS, BOOKS AND MANGA

IDW Publishing
(2005-now)
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(2003-2007)
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CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING

Transformers Regeneration One #91
Reviewed by Blackjack

Issue Review

”Prime got it wrong is all. Not his first lapse of judgment in recent memory, either.”

There is a shit-ton of things borrowed from Generation 2, but is told in the most dry fashion without any of the energy or aplomb of that comic. The scene of Bludgeon unleashing an army of new troops at a random alien race, Jhiaxus ranting about how the Cybertronian Empire is order, opposite to the old race’s chaotic tendencies… why do we even randomly have Jhiaxus anyway? The entire affair seems to be an exercise in trying to revisit and old story and retell it, and failing in the most banal way possible. I think this issue was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me, actually – seeing them randomly shoving Jhiaxus and Rook in put me off Regeneration One that I stopped reading it monthly and only came back after the entire series was finished. The scene with the Blitz Engines blowing shit up isn’t interesting in the slightest either, nor is Bludgeon’s random monologue while they do so. It’s all rather unimpressive, and you’d wonder if Furman is better served by just having Bludgeon create the G2 Decepticons like he did before – certainly an army of Transformers would have more oomph than this.

The scene with Hot Rod trying to pacify a crowd of civilians while Decepticons rile the civilians up feels straight out of a page of IDW’s RID comics as well, only substituting the main players. I do like the idea that the Gene Key has some lasting effects, how the Autobots affected have to deal with the knowledge that they had reveled in their anger, and it actually plays with the general theme of Hot Rod having to deal with being a shit leader pretty well. Do like seeing how Spinister and Needlenose are doing their part to destabilize the Autobot government while their leaders are coming with an army.

I am not really a big fan of the conversation between Magnus and Optimus. Magnus feels like such a flat character, basically a less interesting version of the more candid Kup we see later on. Yes, the fact that a lot of people are disenchanted with Hot Rod’s leadership is certainly an effective way to show, but the conversation between the two just drags on and on, and Optimus is being all ‘ooh, yes, that is how a good leader acts, pissing off everyone and doing what he believes is right.’ Because that worked out so well the last time Optimus did it, now, didn’t he? He did what he believes is right, locking himself up in a secluded space trying to teach Hot Rod and allowing Megatron and Bludgeon and Scorponok to each make their own master plans? What a great leader. Superb! And all those humans wiped off Earth, and all the Transformers who died thanks to everyone rampaging on Cybertron? Splendid leadership.

Not really sure what good sending the Rescue Patrol to Nebulos will do either considering that none of them are likely to be familiar with Nebulan biology, and Fixit’s the only medic among the four.

The various scenes of Magnus, the crowd and Kup voicing their disagreements over Hot Rod’s decision to bring the Demons up, and a general discontent over his inaction during the Scorponok conflict, is actually rather effective. And while it isn’t Hot Rod’s fault exactly, it’s certainly something that feels realistic – that everyone is going to want someone to blame, and Hot Rod, having missed out on all the tragedy, just coming up and saying he wants to reunify with a bunch of crazy monsters from the underground (who, lest we forget, did kill Lightspeed and Nosecone and a bunch of others) is a nice little thing. Hot Rod’s shtick of ‘DESTINY TELLS ME TO’ is ridiculously illogical (but will probably be the right choice later on) is annoying, but actually fits him considering how he’s been groomed to take over Optimus Prime. And I do like how he returns, trying to do something he believes is right, and is hated on by so many people. It’s a nice little character arc, and Furman rather effectively shoves the Dinobots’ own blind faith in Grimlock into it to spur Hot Rod into action. He really looks like he was about to cede command to Magnus there.

Also, we got Galvatron promising vengeance, like the past… four, five issues now? His dramatic return has lost any sense of the holy shit quotient it may have had before. Bludgeon and Soundwave at least have the excuse of testing out their stupid-looking chicken drone army and having a ship without a hyperdrive. Also, the random splash page for Zero Space no one will remember because there’s so many random mystical scenes in this series.

I’m not a big fan of them recapping the last issue for a couple of pages, though at least it paints a nice little picture about them feeling guilt over actions they can’t control. I actually quite like how they kind of glossed over the cure being applied to Slag and everything, when I had expected it to take a couple of pages.

Oh, and the art! It’s… not outright terrible, really, but again, anything that isn’t a main character is rather bad… but this is issue is released in 2013, and while a story published twenty five years ago or so might be excused for missing a mouth or two, it’s really no excuse for the amount of missing mouths or faceless people in the background. Also, I’m not a big fan of Rook or the Blitz Engines’ appearances.

Overall, anything without Hot Rod is kind of either something we’ve seen before (Optimus, Galvatron) or pointless G2 rewrites (Jhiaxus, Bludgeon), but I really do like the Hot Rod character growth even if in a more realistic or pragmatic world it won’t really work all that well. It’s a pretty harmless issue focusing on Hot Rod’s growth. Future issues basically drop Optimus Prime to cameo status and bring Hot Rod up as the main protagonist. And while I don’t agree with his motivations (what are you going to do with the Demons if you got them to the surface anyway?), his characterization certainly isn’t that bad, even if the dialogue feels a bit trite by now. It’s an issue I actually managed to not hate, which is surprising considering this was the one that turned me off reading this series in the first place.

Notes

The Blitz Engines have self-regenerating capabilities thanks to being connected to Thunderwing’s Matrix-infused remains. Either Soundwave or Bludgeon have apparently taken the time to reconstruct the pieces of Thunderwing’s body, since he looks relatively whole now.

Maccadam is seen, using the body he was briefly seen in the Marvel UK black-and-white story ‘Out to Lunch’. He’s coloured blue here, which originates from a piece of art about Maccadam’s from Transformers: the Ultimate Guide.

Galvatron’s alternate timeline originates from Transformers #67, Rhythms of Darkness, a splinter timeline where Galvatron’s forces has emerged victorious and are in control of Earth. Having consumed the Cybertron there, Unicron had moved from that timeline to the mainstream Marvel timeline, though later sent his heralds to abduct Galvatron.

Hot Rod gives his speech on ‘Eugenesis Plaza’, which homages to James Roberts’ fan fiction novel, Eugenesis.

Slag is walking around again, as noted by Hot Rod, so presumably the Autobots have managed to cure them off-screen with Scorponok’s research recovered in the previous issue. Inferno is glimpsed among the security forces so it can be presumed he was cured, but see goofs.

Inferno and Slag were both previously shown to be suffering from Nucleon exposure. As Inferno is part of crowd control, and Slag is with the other Dinobots (and no longer feral) it would seem that the Autobots moved swiftly to put Scorponok's research (recovered in the previous issue) to work. It is possible both were cured of Nucleon's effects via the same process Grimlock was, though this isn't explicitly mentioned.

Rook and Jhiaxus, of course, first originated in the Generation 2 comic as part of the Cybertronian Empire. Jhiaxus looks mostly identical to his original appearance, but Rook has been changed from a green-and-white generic robot to a… spiky silver thing with a visor. Rook also transforms into a spiky silver jet as well. Jhiaxus is also sitting in the middle of the Hub, the network of Cyberformed planets the Cybertronians base their activities in.

Rook notes ‘trace elements of AllSpark source matter’ which helps him to identify the older generation. AllSpark, of course, is the name of various mystical sources of sparks from various post-G1 continuities.

Goofs

While Optimus might have recognized Galvatron as a reborn Megatron due to feelings or whatever, he cannot possibly have known Galvatron’s name. While he certainly would’ve known who or what Galvatron is if the UK events happened, in the US continuity Galvatron only revealed his presence and name to Xaaron (who was possessed shortly afterwards) and Fortress Maximus, and Spike’s certainly not the time to sit down and share war stories.

Which shoulder Perceptor’s cannon is on alternate from panel to panel.

Seemingly for one last time, Brainstorm and Highbrow switch colour palettes. While the rest of them are rather off-model as usual, the Autobot with Highbrow’s paint scheme tellingly has Brainstorm’s wings.

Trailbreaker is missing his forcefield thingy.

Andrew Wildman always draws Magnus with very short shoulder pillars (those white things that jut out of Magnus’ shoulders), but the first panel when he is speaking to Optimus via hologram they are absent entirely.

Needlenose is drawn with a visor instead of individual eyes.

As the next issue would establish, other than Slag the other four Nucleon-afflicted Autobots in the Nursery are still under quarantine, making Inferno's presence among the guards an error.

On the big panning shot of Eugenesis plaza, among the guards on the perimeter are a couple of unidentified Autobots. The white dude next to Inferno seems to be an ugly Streetwise, as identified later on, but the white-and-red dude on Blurr’s right is so badly drawn it could be anybody, whereas the one on Blurr’s left is Springer, who’s dead.

On the panel where Inferno and Whirl are recoiling from the grenades lobbed by the crowd, Inferno is missing his ‘ears’ and Whirl’s claw is rendered as a stump.

Streetwise, when he shows up and is named later on, is coloured like First Aid.

 
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