CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers Regeneration One #97
Reviewed by Blackjack
”What wrong with this picture?”
There are, again, some good concepts going on. I do like the image of the Demons being sequestered inside a ramshackle shelter which all too well captures similar images from real life. And I do like how Jhiaxus is basically a semi-atheist sort of dude, who believes that Primus is flawed, and that he could do better. Despite my huge love for the Generation 2 comics, I do quite like this fresh take on Jhiaxus – certainly this embodies the original Jhiaxus’ personality (minus the barely-controlled rage bit stolen by Scorponok) while still managing to keep the concept fresh. I do quite like his swagger as he just brushes off everything the Autobots throw at him. And while the issue takes quite a while to introduce Jhiaxus and how badass the Cybertronian Empire is, I’m not quite sure if it’s something you want to do four issues before the end. Generally you don’t introduce your final villain fifteen minutes before the movie ends. Again, this all stems from Furman just putting all the bad guys in a list and going Megatron, Starscream, Shockwave, Scorponok, Galvatron, Soundwave, Bludgeon… and only now arriving at Jhiaxus.
We get a short interlude with Fortress Maximus returning to his body and basically being possessed by the Anti-Matrix, as well as Starscream slowly being overtaken by the Underbase and Shockwave basically being nothing but that dude who talks to Starscream. You just wonder why Furman went through all the trouble bringing Starscream and Shockwave through nearly twenty issues of Regeneration One if none of them are going to behave as Starscream and Shockwave beyond that time when they booted Galvatron off the Ark. Also, why would you have Fort Max and Starscream around and yet turn them into puppets of plot devices? Fort Max is still excusable, being sorta dead for a long while and basically treated as a power mushroom to humans like Spike and Galen and never really being a character since Headmasters… but we got Starscream every issue from nearly the start of Regeneration One until now, and all that buildup ends up being thrown away in favour for the Underbase, it seems.
Also, we get massive padding with the Primum Fugae massacring the Demons and showing how good they are by beating down the Dinobots. Oh no, they beat Grimlock with one shot! They stabbed Sludge through the chest! It’s a rather effective, if cheap, way to show how dangerous these new enemies are, I admit… granted they would prove to be shit the very next issue, but right now they are sorta badass even if they look silly. One of them is holding a giant saltshaker for crying out loud! It’s still obvious padding and obvious ‘hey these bad guys are stronger than the good guys’. Plus by massacring a good chunk of the Demons (it’s shown later on they didn’t get all of them) that kind of screws up the longer-foreshadowed plot of reunification with the Demons now doesn’t it?
Nightbeat and Bumblebee are identikit. You can just switch one with the other and no one would notice. They’ve basically taken over the role of the smart Autobot. I don’t particularly care. Oh noes, Sludge gets stabbed through the chest! I also don't care, since the non-Grimlock Dinobots are basically interchangeable anyway at this point. And it's explicitly said that there are no Autobot casualties, would it be remiss of me to point out yet another reuse of a Maximum Dinobots plot?
Art is still nice though a step down from Guidi’s normal standard for these issues especially in the Demons/Primum Fugae parts. Overall, a rather solid intro for both Jhiaxus and the Cybertronian Empire, though it’s yet another one that feels really padded out. And while this issue alone is kind of a decent one, it starts feeling tired out. With the Underbase replacing Starscream it's also blindingly obvious what's going to be Jhiaxus' downfall.
Also, I can’t help but wince at the sheer amount of things that need to be resolved in three issues – Jhiaxus, the Hub, Spike, Fortress Maximus, Galvatron, the Demons, the Primus head, the Anti-Matrix, Starscream-Underbase, Shockwave, Rodimus’ visions… while there are some overlap, you just know at least a good chunk of these plot threads will end up unsatisfying and aborted. All we can hope is that Regeneration One’s grand finale isn’t another formulaic one like the end to the Megatron, Scorponok and Bludgeon arcs.
The five members of the Primum Fugae have different head designs and weapons on their right arms. Doesn't really matter which is which because they have the same personality and none ever show up again.
Rodimus Prime, dying in a far-flung future reflecting about the past, is a staple seen in the ‘Aspects of Evil’ series of the UK comics.
The Space Bridge being built on Earth and Nebulos, resemble the Marvel comics’ own unique and very literal take of a Space Bridge.
Unlike his G2 counterpart, Jhiaxus is no mere troop general but the ruler of the Cybertronian Empire.
Jhiaxus’ modern Space Bridge is basically a portal that opens in mid-air without any mechanism, similar to the Space Bridges seen in more modern Transformers reboots like Armada and Prime.
The Hub Network was glimpsed a couple issues back, and was merely hinted at in the Generation 2 comics. While Simon Furman did write a fanfiction called ‘Alignment’ that resolves the G2 story, here it seems that the Hub is going to be given a different function, though its origin – a group of planets wiped out of life, cyberformed and turned into miniature Cybertrons – is still the same. It’s also termed the ‘Hub Network’ instead of merely ‘the Hub’, probably referencing Hasbro’s very own TV channel, the Hub Network.
The Nebulans’ science center is called the Technodrome, a reference to a fortress from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Starscream absorbed the power of the Underbase in Transformers #50, and it seems the power of the Underbase lingers even in his post-death body.
Optimus calls Scoop ‘Landfill’. It could be a case of misattributed dialogue, or bad art, or anything.
Why would the humans (especially Spike) allow additional Autobots Scoop and Landfill to work on Earth?