CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers Tales of the Fallen #2: Sideswipe
Reviewed by Blackjack
"What is this? Slow Motion? Get out of my way!
More action oriented than the first issue, and Sideswipe monologues a lot in this issue, making it seem more like the Spotlight it's supposed to be. Furman handles his monologues and grudges well, but directly lifting the plot from Beast Wars loses some marks. I mean, what is it with authors and lifting plots? However, I appreciate Furman giving us all an explanation why Demolishor is 'hiding' in Shanghai. While it's strange that Sideswipe is given this grudge against Demolishor (instead of Sideways, whom he actually kills in the movie), it's a decent issue.
I still think that each character should get half-issues, so we get Bumblebee/Sideswipe, Jetfire/Fallen and Ravage/Arcee, thus making each story shorter and have more impact, like the UK black-and-white stories. The one-issue-per-character becomes just too verbose and repetitive.
However, Carlos Magno's art suffers terribly in this issue, and we get a feeling that it is rushed in some places. There are many instances where the detailing is horribly omitted (Demolishor's first appearance, all the flashback scenes, anything where Sideswipe's back is faced towards us), while some are block-coloured. The flashback sequences are so badly drawn (characters look like blobs of liquid) that they made me cringe. The story itself is good, though. Ironhide provides a decent voice of reason, being a more interesting version of Kup. It's nice to see him being adamant to bring Sideswipe back to the path of good before Optimus Prime goes all homicidal, and finally being the reason why Sideswipe respects the Autobots. It's a little unnerving to see Optimus Prime so ready to terminate one of his troops just to maintain good relations with NEST. Meanwhile, Demolishor is a decent villain, obviously enjoying tormenting Sideswipe and blowing stuff up. After the more light-hearted Bumblebee issue, we get a more moody and dark Sideswipe. While not perfect, it's a decent read and gives Sideswipe some characterization beyond 'that cool guy with swords!' However, it does
feel too long for what it's worth. It could do better as being half an issue.
The specific date of the events of this comic is November 17, 2008. If we take the Veiled Threat as its own separate micro-continuity (and you should. With Alan Dean Foster ignoring IDW's work after Reign of Starscream, it's just a bucket of continuity headaches) there's about half a year between this issue and the events of Alliance 4 (particularly Sideswipe's arrival) and ROTF. Also, this means that Morshower is elected by the mysterious president seen in the first movie instead of Barack Obama.
This is the first mention of colonies that Autobots live in after Cybertron is lost. The idea that a colony's protector being the only one left standing after a super-powered Decepticon/Predacon kills everybody else, and turns into a loner, has been used in Beast Wars with Depth Charge and Rampage.
Optimus Prime is prepared to kill Sideswipe for the sake of maintaining good relations with NEST. Damn, we know that Prime is a little sword-happy, but to kill one of his troops to please humans...
NEST use those Sector Seven buggies (Landmine in the toyline).
Demolishor hides in populated areas so that lots of Autobots will come, thereby leading to more Autobot kills and more collateral destruction. Now that we know this, Demolishor hiding out in Revenge of the Fallen is more... sinister. Take that, all you Decepticon sympathizers!
Demolishor's appearance is red, like his toy and all his fictional appearances other than the movie itself. However, his character model fluctuates almost randomly from the proper movie design (thick tires and hands with fingers and proper elbows) and his toy design (folded out treads, elbows pointing sideways and no fingers).
When he's in the C117 jet, Ironhide's GMC emblem is block-coloured gray. Everywhere else in the issue it's red.
Ironhide's design is really messed up when we first see him. It's as if someone squashed his head and punched his nose flat. When he arrives to talk to Sideswipe his head is closer to the proper movie design but is still off.
Sideswipe's Cybertronian design is very messed up.
I am not going to pretend that that fugly-drawn giant Decepticon with a circular maw is supposed to be Devastator.
Bumblebee is among the Autobots. Early in Alliance #4 (before Sideswipe's arrival), Bumblebee had already been transferred back to Sam Witwicky.
How did NEST get the Argentine Air Force to stand down? The Argentines' priority would be to blow up the three big robots tearing their city apart. Unless the Argentine Air Force actually knows about NEST, there's very little chance of them actually cooperating...
Sideswipe: I am a warrior. I bleed conflict. I will find him. Kill him. Or die trying.
Sideswipe: The enemy cares nothing for the local lifeforms or their fragile world. Neither do I.
Demolishor: "Ah. 'Bout time! It's tough t'classify one Autobot as a massacre. Tradition demands a plural."
Sideswipe: I'm an idiot. The enemy was waiting, yes, but not for Decepticon reinforcements... for Autobot reinforcements.
Demolishor: "You're an irritation. Nothing more. And when I get an itch... I scratch it!"
Lennox: "Tell them to stand down -- NOW! We have men on the ground." [pause] "What? Well, find someone who speaks Spanish!"