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THE TRANSFORMERS: COMICS, BOOKS AND MANGA

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CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING

Transformers Regeneration One #94
Reviewed by Blackjack

Issue Review

”Again with the again. Is he insane?”

I’m really not sure what I feel about this issue and the general progression of the plot. The main attraction of this issue, of course, is the big Ultra Magnus vs Galvatron brawl, which, like so many things in something that’s supposed to ignore the UK and G2 comics, is yet another thing borrowed, almost wholesale, from the UK comics. It’s rather lazy writing, and unlike the original iconic Magnus/Galvatron fight which was probably the ROTF Forest Battle of its day, the stakes in this fight didn’t really feel all that high. Taking things into perspective, back in the original UK comic Galvatron was this unstoppable monster that took out practically every large player thrown at him, forcing an alliance between the Autobots and Decepticons and bringing in the ‘strongest warrior from Cybertron’, Ultra Magnus. It was intense, an entire issue was devoted to Ultra Magnus and Galvatron just fighting with no interruptions, and it was the big event.

Here, though? It’s probably meant to be the successor, or spiritual successor, to the ongoing and aborted UK plot arc about how Ultra Magnus can never win against Galvatron, and he’s so traumatized by it that Galvatron has become his personal demon of sorts. But this? Nevermind the fact that this is a different Ultra Magnus fighting a different Galvatron. Nevermind Ultra Magnus spends 80% of the issue going ‘who the hell is this guy and why is he psycho’ – which would be true; Magnus never met Galvatron – and the other 20% going ‘hey man I’ve got to deal with this Decepticon invasion bug off you crazy man’. The end result makes the entire fight really feel like a distraction, like just some random thing shoved in the middle of the far more interesting Bludgeon plot. It would have had more impact if done properly, and the fight could’ve overshadowed the higher stakes of the Bludgeon plot, but between the premise and the general tired feeling of seeing a fight so similar to another one in the past, and the whole battle really felt hollow. Would it be so hard to have, say, Ultra Magnus and Galvatron battle each other on Earth during Loose Ends? It certainly wouldn’t, and could’ve been the other high-stakes event instead of yet another ‘missiles threatening to nuke everyone’ bullshit. We could’ve had that first unresolved fight, and have this be an actual climax. But no, Ultra Magnus is just so freaking pissed off that this dude he never met just come out of nowhere, and the battle ends because Bludgeon is tired of the whole thing as I am and nukes the area.

Granted, it is a nice-looking fight. Guido Guidi’s art is wonderful, really looking like Wildman when he was at the top of his game, and Furman at least tries doesn’t ape Target: 2006 fully. But the whole fight feels like a distraction – it was even interrupted long enough for Blades to give Magnus a status update!

The Bludgeon plot should, by rights, feel really awesome and critical, the way it felt when Bludgeon pulled the same stunt on Earth in Generation Two – an unstoppable army of Decepticons just wrecking the ever-loving shit out of everyone. But instead we get these ugly-looking drones and as many flowery stuff you want to throw and say to make them feel badass ‘oh my god they can regenerate and adapt!’ it really feels like a wasted opportunity on why Bludgeon doesn’t just upgrade his Decepticons with Matrix energy or do something similar. The chicken-looking Blitz Engines just feel weak, and the lack of any Decepticon activity is just rather idiotic despite the whole ‘Soundwave has plans!’ Where is Spinister’s group on Cybertron? Why are Bludgeon’s forces just standing around? Certainly seeing super-powered Decepticons murder random Autobots would be more interesting than seeing the chickendrones murder random Autobots. Oh, look, Catilla died. Big whoop. Oh, look, Windbreaker, who I had to look up to identify, dies with a fart sound. I don’t care.

Prowl gets a nice scene going all flustered over not knowing where to deploy the Wreckers. Omega Supreme gets a rather dramatic entrance after being absent from the Marvel comics since his death, and I don’t really mind – even if it’s an obvious IDW unused idea it isn’t as on-the-nose as Magnus and Galvatron is. The Autobots whip out a big dude, the Decepticons whip out theirs. And it’s worth it just to watch Prowl go ‘Omega Supreme! Assume ARMAGEDDON ATTACK MODE!’ Oh, Prowl, you big ham. Blaster and Soundwave, though, feels like it’s going to be a disappointment though we don’t see much of that here.

And then there’s this massive whole bullshit about Primus-Grimlock, though I am rather surprised the scene with Grimlock being Primus lasted as short as it did. I am never a fan of stories that randomly reference the multiverse – Furman did it during his Dreamwave Armada stint – because whatever you do, Furman won’t be allowed to touch, oh, Armada and Beast Machines and Animated and whatever, so it’s a moot point which makes any tension in the whole plot pointless. It works in some series, of course – Transformers: Universe’s point was to pluck random people from different universes for mad hijinks, and even the fan club comics’ take on the multiverse is relatively isolated to the ones they create. But the whole mention of multiversal singularity is pretty moronic and undoes one of the better things in the Marvel run – for all the shit that Primus is supposed to be able to do, he ends up dying quickly in a panel because he’s weaker than Unicron, leaving the future to his children. The fact that all that stuff getting retconned, just like so many other things, leaves a sour taste in the mouth even worse than the exhausting Magnus/Galvatron fight. And we're going to take an extra issue just to have Rodimus go on a mumbo-jumbo vision? Sheesh. They wouldn't have to do this if they were a bit more economical with the Megatron and Scorponok arcs now, would they?

Overall? Overall it would’ve been a nice little fight issue marred by a general feeling of it being a distraction. Like I keep saying about Regeneration One, it really feels like Furman is just taking all the plot threads he hasn’t had a chance to resolve in US, UK and IDW and just ticking one of them off one by one. This is Ultra Magnus versus Galvatron, ticked off. And it’s rather disappointing.

Notes

In Simon Furman’s UK comics, the first Galvatron and Ultra Magnus (neither of which, mind you, appeared in the US comics) had a rivalry that ended up being unresolved – Galvatron died during the Time Wars in which the present-day Ultra Magnus didn’t even participate in. This story acts like some kind of a spiritual successor despite using a different Galvatron and an Ultra Magnus who’s never met a Galvatron.

Magnus references Xaaron, who gave him the ‘greatest Autobot warrior’ moniker. This never took place in the US continuity, but sorta happened during the Target 2006 UK series.

This issue marks the first appearances of Turbofire, Meanstreak and Windbreaker in Marvel continuity (though they’ve shown up as cameos elsewhere), as well as Catilla in the US continuity. Catilla showed up in the UK comics and died there. Windbreaker dies with a ‘parp’ sound effect, which is the noise for farting in British comics.

Bludgeon’s forces are made up of the group he had during the end days of the Marvel run. Krok in particular acts as his advisor, a position he enjoys during Bludgeon’s run as leader in the late Marvel comics.

The pods carrying the Blitz Engines fired down by the Warworld are based by safety missiles used by Italian toy company GiG which released Diaclone toys before the Transformers line. Guido Guidi grew with these ‘Trasformer’ line, and snuck them in as an in-joke.

Ultra Magnus swears by ‘Great God Ginrai’, a reference to God Ginrai, the protagonist of the Japanese-exclusive Super-God Masterforce toyline.

The idea that Primus exists simultaneously across time and space is a concept Furman made for the Ultimate Guide, and even though it makes absolutely no sense outside Fan Club comics, Hasbro reps in particular swear by it. This issue sort of retcons Primus’ death in Transformers #75 by having him existing in other dimensions. Or something.

Zero Space, foreshadowed several times throughout the series, makes a proper appearance into the plot. Hot Rod’s journey through Zero Space will take place in Regeneration One #0, while everything else will take place in Regeneration One #95.

Prowl name-drops Straxus and the Smelting Pools.

Omega Supreme (or, for that matter, Jetfire, which has been showing up a couple issues back) hasn’t been seen in the Marvel comics since his death during the Underbase saga. Presumably they were among those brought back by Nucleon, but just remained off-screen until now?

There are various visual homages to the Ultra Magnus/Galvatron fight throughout this issue, mainly Magnus driving down a highway with Galvatron clinging on top, though obviously the fight itself isn’t identical. The climax of the issue, with the victor dragging the loser out of a fireball, also stems from that issue though this time Magnus is the survivor as opposed to Galvatron.

At one point, Galvatron paraphrases the ‘I will crush you with my bare hands’ line from the 1986 movie.

Omega Supreme and Monstructor battling seems to homage their IDW history, establish in the Furman-penned Spotlight: Optimus Prime. Likewise, Soundwave and Blaster facing off, despite never having actually met in a significant capacity throughout the entire Marvel run, seems to be based on the rivalry Furman set up in Spotlight: Blaster from IDW, but ended up being something that just got ignored.

Goofs

Ultra Magnus shot one of his missiles at Galvatron to do the time-delayed explosion thing, but when the battle reaches the highway he inexplicably has both of them again for around two pages and launches both to collapse the bridge.

While most of the Decepticons abroad the Warworld are identifiable, there is one green dude to the left that seems to be quite random.

 
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