CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers Regeneration One #95
Reviewed by Blackjack
"Why are we even still here?"
A really messy ending. While I don’t think this arc is anywhere as bad as the Natural Selection one, all the things foreshadowed throughout this arc and previous ones come to a head and it’s basically just Furman checking the villains off the list. Well, let’s have them all match up and fight! Now Bludgeon dies in a crappy, stunted fight. Now Soundwave gets beaten in a crappy, stunted fight. Now the Warworld blows up in a crappy, stunted fight. Now Monstructor gets killed in a crappy, stunted fight. None of the rivalries or battles really hold any tension. Soundwave/Blaster and Omega/Monstructor mostly happen off-screen anyway, and the Autobots and Dinobot charge against the Blitz Engines and Decepticons are really uninteresting – there’s so little of the battle really shown and what we had feels like just dragging the scenes along anyway.
Unlike Optimus and Megatron’s climactic battle in Loose Ends, Bludgeon loses like a bitch. After making a show tearing through – but failing to kill – the Wreckers, issue #0 spoils the big surprise of Rodimus showing up just as Bludgeon is about to execute Kup, making any suspense until that scene naught. And when Bludgeon acknowledges Rodimus as a worthy enemy and monologues about how he wants death… Rodimus just swings him out of a window and exit Bludgeon. There isn’t even any fight. It’s like Megatron’s death at the end of DOTM where dialogue building up to a big fight is exchanged, whoop the villain suddenly dies. It feels really truncated considering how long Bludgeon has been built up, and I’d rather we have a longer Rodimus/Bludgeon showdown than Bludgeon being a badass but failing to kill even a single Wrecker. Considering Regeneration One’s “kill them all” point of view, I’m not sure why they couldn’t allow Sandstorm or Topspin or whoever to buy the farm here. Rodimus himself felt like a Deus Ex Machina, basically there’s no sense in him just showing up randomly just as Bludgeon is about to kill Kup and the whole scene reads off as lazy writing.
Omega versus Monstructor ends up just being panels of them swinging at each other, Monstructor getting the advantage, and then suddenly just as the tide is turning inexplicably Omega realizes he has a gun-arm and blasts Monstructor to death. It’s like every Regeneration One arc before this – as the tide turns thanks to the main character (Optimus, Grimlock, Rodimus respectively) getting a one-up against the main villain, basically every other conflict’s tide turns as well which makes absolutely no sense.
Soundwave and Blaster ends up in the most ridiculous manner possible, with Soundwave somehow being enough of an idiot to forget that Blaster turns into a boom box and can overload his ears. Their fight is the most dull and boring one in the entire series, and that’s saying something. Again, it just feels like Furman checking Soundwave off a list of villains he needs to show, and after Soundwave being shown to be an impressively competent leader we end off in the extremely bland sonic battle.
Grimlock reunifies the Dinobots because he’s a special Furman’s favourite character that can channel the powers of God Primus. That scene was rather cringe-worthy, and recalls the Sharkticon rebellion from TFTM. The Demons’ reunification and the problems around it is solved with Grimlock just roaring and they suddenly randomly become loyal. It certainly would be far more dramatic and made more sense if Rodimus, being newly Prime, was behind that particular ordeal considering how he’s all Demons-Demons-Demons throughout the entire series.
Also, do we really need Starscream and Shockwave? Since when had Shockwave become a good guy? And them helping out to destroy the Warworld seems to stem from them thinking that it’s an alien fleet instead of a Decepticon one. Their inclusion in this whole story seems to be extremely superfluous since Kup was about to blow Thunderwing up anyway, and generally feels like another thing to clutter up the arc.
Considering how hollow and unsatisfactory all the fights are, it really makes all the previous build-up issues feel more glaring. Like that one focusing on Blaster… we could’ve had him take out Soundwave in the issue’s climax, giving it room to breathe. Stuff like that could’ve really made this feel like a less truncated ending. As it is, it’s just ‘Rodimus shows up, all the bad guys inexplicably lose’. Like a lot of Furman’s IDW work (Revelations, Maximum Dinobots, Beast Wars) Furman spends way too much time in the build-up and ends up having a really aborted ending that is wholly unsatisfactory. This one is worse than the other two, including the Natural Selection arc, because that at least shows some sort of planning on the Autobots’ part by having Perceptor be good all along. Here? Reading this issue I went ‘ughhh’ all the time, and the relatively poor dialogue even by Furman’s standards doesn’t help either.
Fortunately, we're at the home stretch and with five issues to go and the only plot threads to wrap up being Rodimus' visions it seems that Furman might just find a way to end this venture with at least some better-planned stories.
This issue marks the first appearances in the Marvel continuity for Jackpot and Cloudraker. Crossblades have shown up in the ‘Rhythms of Darkness’ timeline but nowhere else, whilst Tailgate has only appeared in the UK issues.
Bludgeon says ‘one shall stand, one shall fall’ in his monologue, the oft-repeated line from the 1986 movie. Later on Grimlock instructs the Demons to ‘munch metal’, another line from the movie.
Soundwave apparently can create sonic blasts to launch shrapnel at an enemy, as well as cause so much static as to make Blaster lose his equilibrium. Blaster refers to his own hyper-sensitive ability while under the effects of Nucleon seen in Regeneration One. Bludgeon’s skills of Metallikato is seen again, though this time he apparently can screw with other people’s senses, making them unable to predict where the blade is coming from and making Rack’n’Ruin run into a pillar.
Needlenose refers to Empties and a Smelting Pool, another callback to #15.
During their fight, Monstructor hits Omega Supreme with what appears to be a statue of Japanese Autobot leader Star Saber.
Rodimus says ‘that’s just Prime’, which is the catchphrase of Optimus Primal.
Grimlock’s ‘never look gift dinohippus in mouth’ is sort of a space-mangling of the saying ‘never look a gift horse in the mouth’. A dinohippus is a sort of an prehistoric horse.
Guido’s art shows that the mismatched colouring of Thunderwing seen in previous issues is meant to represent half of the shell cracked open to reveal the rarely-seen inner body.
When Bludgeon demands his glorious death, shortly before chucking him off the Warworld Rodimus says ‘request granted’, seemingly a call-back to the famous scene of Rodimus Prime from Marvel UK #114 to a Decepciton begging for mercy with the line of ‘request denied!’
Whirl joins Leadfoot in being completely absent from the Wreckers team, despite being shown alongside the Wreckers during their last outing to investigate the booby-trapped Fort Scyk.
On page three, the first panel, is a black Autobot jet who was blown up by the Warworld, but doesn’t particularly look like any Autobot jet I can identify (and the rarely-seen ones like Skyhammer and Cloudraker and Dogfight are elsewhere in the scene), maybe one of the Micromasters? The red-and-blue Autobot between Guzzle and Jackpot is coloured like Mainframe but looks nothing like him. The green dude that is cut down by the Blitz Engines when Grimlock got out of the ground looks
like he could be someone, but I can’t identify him either.
Krok is drawn with a mouth in his first appearance, though in his next one it’s replaced with his normal segmented faceplate.
Skullcruncher is miscoloured with a green face, and all the pink in his body is absent. Maybe he’s the mystery green dude from before?