CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers Regeneration One #96
Reviewed by Blackjack
”I can think of no more fitting punishment than to deny you whatever "glorious" death you coveted.”
It’s a cooldown issue and more build-up all wrapped together, and while readable it still comes off as pretty messy. Rodimus’ team straight-away goes off to investigate all the four leads from #0, and I do find it hilarious and at the same time idiotic that Rodimus just ignores Grimlock and the swarm of Demons, despite being such a persistent guy about reintegrating the Demons to Cybertronian society. Rodimus just comes off as this leader who is more proactive as compared to ReGenOne Optimus’ more laid-back, ‘ignore everything that’s going on until it goes to hell’ method. We get a rather cold dismissal of Bludgeon’s request for an honorable, glorious death, which I thought was cool. We also see the destruction and dead bodies all around, which is also more realistic than Scorponok’s aftermath where everyone is just pissed as if they all got drunk.
Bumblebee and Nightbeat appearing out of nowhere seemingly just to fill token appearances as major characters who don’t even show up for Regeneration One. In something that rather subtly resembles his IDW incarnation (the subtlety is certainly a surprise) Nightbeat digs up really old archival footage about people lost to time. I thought the two’s scenes fall really flat, with them just giving introdumps and then patting each other on the back because they reached the same conclusion. Ran on for too long.
Optimus Prime tries to atone for his sins and/or help the humans, while Spike just hovers around being a god damned douchebag. Why do we need him, Furman? Why must the visions involve Spike? Not even Optimus Prime thinks it’s possible for Spike to affect something in the galactic scale. Spike is just a massive bitch all around even though Optimus is just trying to help, basically threatening the human race’s best way to survive – and I thought it was a pretty good compromise on the part of Optimus by offering the Nebulans’ help instead of their own – because of a petty feud. He gets pissed off at Buster being mentioned and why do we really need to see this again? Thankfully Optimus ends up ignoring the little dipshit and would rather progress the plot by talking to Rodimus. The passing-of-the-torch thing ends up really quickly, and so does the recap.
Galvatron, unfortunately, survives. And while the reappearance of the Unicron cultists is certainly welcome, the scene where Magnus tries to take down Galvatron is absolutely poor padding. Galvatron basically becomes a plot device from here on out anyway, so why have him survive at all? He could have had a good, acceptable death at the hand of Ultra Magnus instead of just trudging along and taking up space. The cultists could’ve recovered his corpse and stuff like that (though it’s a rant for another issue). Galvatron and cultists taking out random Autobots like Skram and Gunrunner… does anyone really care? The scene takes too long and as a fan of the obscure Gunrunner I felt truly annoyed he died. Magnus’ search for Galvatron ran for like six pages when one or two would’ve sufficed.
The Nebulos scenes aren’t truly necessary, but it’s short enough to see Quickmix and Micromasters working, some Nebulans getting their sanity back, Chromedome separated from his Headmaster… and Fortress Maximus getting possessed by what appears to be the Venom Symbiote. Like Galvatron, Fortress Maximus will cease being a character and basically be the Anti-Matrix’s puppet – and being puppets of a vaguely defined dark force is really similar to the fates of Sixshot, Thunderwing, Bludgeon and Monstructor in the Dead Universe arc of IDW, isn’t it? Evil Fortress Maximus is a wholly unnecessary addition to the story, and really adds nothing substantial to it.
We also get a little bit of an OCD recap with Chromedome getting separated, whilst at the same time ignoring all the Targetmasters, Powermasters and Decepticon Headmasters whose original heads are all... somewhere. It also begs to question why Scorponok doesn't muck around with Chromedome and Max's original head, questions that could be answered with a quick handwave of 'those with living components are kept in a comatose state' or something like that. But no.
Shockwave and Starscream continue to get a couple panels every issue, acting like a married couple, and Starscream’s sudden mystic visions or whatever seems to imply that the Underbase is taking over which is another plot thread I don’t really need to see. Both these guys are just wasted and I’m not even sure why they are around.
The final page is pretty awesome, though, with that gigantic ship and that armada of Cybertronian jets and Jhiaxus just showing up and not giving time for them to prepare. The rest of it? We get a couple moments here and there but the majority of the issue is just padding and dropping random, poorly-defined plot threads that won’t be adequately resolved by the time this series ends.
This issue marks the first appearances for the Micromaster Construction Patrol (Groundpounder, Takedown, Neutro and Crumble), G2 Drench, as well as the first fictional appearance of the unfortunately-named Erector, one of the Micromaster bases.
“It never ends” alludes to the often said catchphrase in Marvel comics and other Furman words.
Also, other than the Deathbringer flashback in issue #0, this marks the first actual appearances of Nightbeat and Bumblebee, whose absence is odd considering they aren’t dead and should be relatively major players.
Kalis is a city first introduced in the ‘City of Fear’ arc in the UK comics, and has shown up in various other media as well.
The Unicron acolytes/cultists/cosplayers appeared in Transformers #74, ‘the Void’.
Chromedome is the only Headmaster who survived throughout the entire series without being killed in any way (Fortress Maximus’ body was destroyed and disconnected from Spike prior to Regeneration One, while the other three died at the hands of Unicron) and now it’s revealed he has been separated from his Headmaster partner, Stylor. Nightbeat, Siren and Hosehead, meanwhile, are never explicitly stated to be Headmasters in the US continuity.
I haven’t really been paying much attention to covers so far, but the Andrew Wildman cover is a direct homage to Regeneration One #80.5, the first Regeneration One issue, only substituting Rodimus for Optimus and changing the pictures on the mosaic background. The alternate Guido Guidi cover is Rodimus holding the melted upper half of Bludgeon’s skull, a homage to the cover of Generation 2 #5.
A bunch of Decepticon corpses are shown at the bottom of the page spread on pages 2 and 3 near Powerglide’s feet, but they’re so generic they can be anyone. The left one seems to be Darkwing, but again it doesn’t really matter.
If they’re separating Headmasters from their Nebulan partners, what about Targetmasters and Powermasters? It’s relatively odd considering how Targetmasters like Kup and Crosshairs are consistently drawn with their Targetmaster guns (or guns that look like them) but no mention of them being Targetmasters are made.
During the Dinobots’ first appearance Slag’s dinosaur head kibble is coloured gold like the toy, except throughout nearly all of his Marvel appearance (and indeed throughout Regeneration One) it’s coloured gray.
On page 5, Rodimus Prime says ‘it was just a time for a miracles’.