CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers Last Stand of the Wreckers #3
Reviewed by Blackjack
This issue still keeps up with the fast pacing, wonderful characterization and snappy dialogue of the past two issues. However, some scenes are blatantly padding, such as Twin Twist falling through the air and the whole redundant scene with Treadshot. However, they are so wonderfully done that it’s hard to really blame it, and they don't really effect the story per se. Roche's art continues to impress, although this issue seems to have been rushed a little to meet the deadline. Guido has been brought back since his stint in AHM to fill in art duties for several pages. And boy, his artwork blends in almost seamlessly with Roche's own art. It's nice to see that Guido is back to form after faltering a little during AHM. Guido has a knack to follow another guy's art style, whilst maintaining the integrity of his own. I honestly didn't realize Guido was subbing until I read the thing for the second time. The colouring, however, leaves something to be desired. The quality of the shading differs from scene to scene. For example, during Rotorstorm’s death scene up until Perceptor and co charges Overlord, they are coloured with moody lighting. However, several scenes after, when Overlord beats the shit out of the Wreckers, it is in cartoon-style again, before settling on a mix of the two styles afterwards. While it’s not as jarring as, say, Maximum Dinobots #3, it’s still a bit… weird.
Rotorstorm’s death is rather emotional and upsetting, and rather reminds me of Hot Spot’s brutal, unnecessary death in Generation Two. Like Hot Spot’s, it’s played out so nicely that it doesn’t seem sudden or redundant (like those random deaths in Revelation
or Ironhide’s stunt in the Ongoing). More charmingly, Rotorstorm’s death carry a dramatic effect throughout this issue, much like how Ratchet and Scorponok’s deaths in the Marvel comics of old did. Suddenly, the Wreckers aren't just having fun anymore... their mortality is on the line, and any one of them can die anytime. Nobody's safe, not even Springer or Impactor. Guess that's why they called it 'Last Stand'. Rotorstorm's wit will truly be missed, although I'm afraid it's time to move on. He does deliver one of the best lines in transformers history, though. Furthermore, Topspin and Ironfist’s scene afterwards is so wonderfully scripted. It must be harsh for poor ol' Ironfist, being told off by one of his idols. Topspin’s dialogue really hurts
and you feel sorry for the little guy. It’s realistic, too- one of your friends die, and you’ll do crawl up and cry as well. However, the other deaths in this issue seem poorly executed. Treadshot (while his death is not confirmed) didn’t get a line or even a name-drop. At least Skyquake managed to net himself some characterization. Kick-Off’s off-screen death took me by surprise, though. Seeing Kick-Off’s scene in the first issue, I thought for sure that Kick-Off would either be turned into an Action Master, or serve as either a new Wrecker or one of Overlord’s inner circle. It’s a testament of how Roche and Roberts are able to twist the story against the reader’s expectations. However, much of the issue is spent on evading or battling generic Decepticons, although the Overlord fight is superb.
The rest of the Wreckers are progressing as characters. Topspin and Ironfist are golden, as is Springer and Impactor’s friction. Pyro is finally progressing as a character, having displayed a selfish/arrogant streak, which seems to slip off his mask of politeness. Guzzle’s got several good lines, revealing that he isn’t just a trigger-happy guy with a cute face (look at his face! Awwwww.) but rather a guy who has grudges with Kup. The Jumpstarters’ mind-link might be a done-to –death plot device in science fiction, and the attention spent on it is a little too much. But it doesn’t bother me too much, unlike, say, shifty (and shitty) Transformer-hunting human organizations. Overlord is a massive arrogant ham, and I haven’t enjoyed a Decepticon head honcho this long since, oh, Scorponok’s Bond-Villain-portrayal in Maximum Dinobots or Beast Wars Megatron.
It’s nice to see Shockwave, and his two-page scene is wonderfully done. And if Shockers is around, we might perhaps see Grimlock or Scorponok down the line. Anything’s possible. Again, the only problem is Verity. Unless her function is only give the robots some dialogue to bounce off, she is redundant and is a waste of space that could’ve been filled by another Wrecker. Overall, it’s superb work, although it seems to be declining a little. The scene where Springer, Impactor and Twin Twist get deactivated is just poor. However, it’s a small scene compared to the excellence of the rest of the issue. The ending, like last issue, is a cliffhanger, this time with the Wreckers discovering who/what Aequitas is. And most wonderfully, it’s a nice touch to have what the general public view the Wreckers as (Ironfist’s ‘manual’) being contradicted in every line by the Wreckers in Garrus-9. Superbly ironic. All in all, another golden issue from the R'n'R team.
According to the writers, this issue suffered the heaviest pruning. A notable deleted scene was Perceptor's group escaping the Pit via an outdoor expressway, pursued by Predator jets. Ironfist, perched on Pyro, would shoot down the jets with a makeshift gun cobbled from rubble he gathered on the Pit's floor, while trying not to pass out from his brain damage.
Shockwave is last seen being hauled off to Garrus-9 after being knocked out by Grimlock in Maximum Dinobots #5. In a nice touch of continuity, the scene where his head is reattached to his body is similarly drawn to Arcee’s reconstruction in Spotlight: Arcee.
Overlord has an ‘Achilles Virus’ implanted in him by Megatron (and now removed by Shockers), which gives him a tactical blind spot, causing him to be unable to be certain on how to destroy Megatron. Presumably it's something along the lines of Sixshot's 'off switch' seen in Devastation. Shockwave’s line of Overlord not being the first Phase-Sixer to cross Megatron might mean that Black Shadow had tried to cross Megatron (since Sixshot is happy to serve Megs in Devastation) sometime between the flashback events of LSOTW #2 and Spotlight Shockwave.
Overlord’s chamber is named ‘the Pit’, an often-used transformer curse word synonymous with ‘Hell’ in Beast Wars.
Guzzle’s Cybertronian alternate mode is a quadrupled tank, seen the Cybertronian modes of several transformers from the Animated toyline (Shockwave, Ratchet, Ironhide), as well as Universe 2.0 Warpath, among others.
Pyro putting Verity in his chest (and Verity’s subsequent line about her bones not supposed to bend that way) might be a veiled reference to the Powermaster Optimus Prime toy.
Treadshot was last seen in Spotlight: Arcee, as a barely-seen cameo among Banzai-tron’s Secret Service. He might or might not be killed by Impactor's grapple thing, can't be sure.
Springer references the Reapers (last seen in Devastation) when describing Kick-Off’s death.
Overlord quotes a famous line of the Master from Doctor Who with his line “please attend carefully”. James Roberts has said that in his head, Overlord sounds like him.
Topspin tells Ironfist that ‘this isn’t role-play!’, probably referencing some fans' penchant to play role-playing games in forums. Fitting, considering what Ironfist is supposed to be. This site’s got one too. Ironfist is assigned to the Wreckers while the other three were voted in.
Guzzle’s pals apparently died rescuing Kup in Spotlight: Kup. Foreshadowing?
It is confirmed that Pyro is a big fan of Optimus Prime, referencing Prime’s name in every second dialogue he says. Considering how he looks, this isn’t surprising. A form of cosplay? This would later be confirmed in Pyro's profile in issue five, where it is revealed that he suffer from Primus apothesis, a mental disease where he really aspires to be like Optimus Prime, kind of an extreme fan.
The Spark Extraction Chamber has been re-named Spark Extrinction Chamber, and Stalker tortures the Wreckers in there. Another nice use for an otherwise forgettable toy-only character…
Nick Roche says that Rotorstorm has been ear-marked as the first Wrecker to die, even from the earliest scripts. Shame.
Last issue there was no profiles, and two profiles were promised this issue to make up for it. Still no profiles in this issue, though…
Rotorstorm’s guns are coloured wrongly than last issue, placing the pink in front than in the back.
Not so much of a goof than an artistic preference, but Nick Roche draws his Autobot and Decepticon insignias, while Guido Guidi waits for photoshop to add them in. This results in Roche’s art to have slightly more… stylized insignias while Guido’s have stock-photographed white-rimmed insignias.
Instead of, you know, shooting Overlord with their big weapons, Ironfist, Perceptor and Topspin charge Overlord. Of course, wanting revenge for Rotorstorm’s death would factor…
Page 16, panel three, Perceptor’s blue is all rendered as black, and Ironfist’s face is messed up.
One of the generic Predator-esque Decepticons gets mis-coloured as Snare, when Snare should be elsewhere.
Overlord: “A good strategist is half psychologist, half sadist. And I was the best. I could look into my enemies’ souls and know, with giddy certainty, how to crush them. Except when it came to one person… Megatron.”
Shockwave: "You think you're enjoying this, but you're not.”
Sockwave: “The open graves. The torture chambers. All just hollow theatrics. This is an exercise in provocation. This is you trying to get Megatron's attention."
Overlord: “Having one eye makes you see the world in unusual ways, Shockwave…”
Rotorstorm: “Bold words, Overlord. But you reckoned without one thing… Wreckers, combine
!” –beat- “Well, I thought it was funny.”
Guzzle: “Ha-ha! Look! Their heads blow up! Every. Single. Time. For this cerebro-centric ammo, Ironfist, we are truly grateful.”
Overlord: “Again! And again! And again! How many more times must I beat you back before you realize… that you are all hopelessly out of your depth?”
Ironfist: -mumbling- “No. No. I mean… he just… he just stood there and…”
Ironfist: "He shot him in the head
, Perceptor! In the head
! This isn't what being a Wrecker's about... saving lives, yes. Dramatic rescues, yes. And having adventures! What's wrong with just having adventures? But that? Back there? With the laughing and the gun and all the… all the viscera? That was not part of the deal."
Topspin: “How’d you even land this gig, Ironfist? Pyro, Guzzle, Rotorstorm- we voted them in. Not you… we were just told you were coming along! You’re a hanger-on! A tourist! This isn’t role-play. People die in stupid, pointless ways. Deal with it."