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Transformers #9 [UK]: Culture Shock
Reviewed by Inflatable Dalek

Issue Review

It’s nice after eight months of meandering to come down to a straightforward self contained little story with no pretensions. Jolt suffers from having the same basic “rookie needs to learn” thing going on as the twins (indeed, a cynic might think this storyline was originally conceived with them in mind) but Bludgeon is great fun. As soon as the toy was announced it was inevitable Furman would use him at some point (don’t expect this to be the last showing for him), but what’s a real surprise is how much fun he is. None of the dark dealings or mystical mumblings of his namesakes, he's just a really jolly Decepticon with a sword out enjoying himself.

Davis-Hunt is also back on form after last months blip, lots of lovely crisp artwork here and, again, Bludgeon looks great.

If there’s a flaw, it’s that a low key comedy issue was probably the wrong thing to run this month as a means of convincing kids put off by now paying the same for less. But lets hope the title can survive this because this story shows there’s life in the old dog yet.
This is the first strip to be set post Revenge of the Fallen, and the first since the renumbering not to feature the twins. Though we compensate with Galloway and Lennox making their Titan début, the later non-speaking.

It's likely very soon after the film as Jolt is still a very new recruit.

Reverb goes unnamed. Exactly how severe the damage is to him and Bludgeon remains unclear, the form based on the films would be for them to be dead but the comic has shied away from the Autobots outright killing things. Bludgeon is seen in a US CR tank (meaning cryogenic in this case), but it might just be them being careful with the body after the whole Megatron coming back from the dead thing.

Bumblebee has rejoined the Autobots, presumably because of Sam being back at collage.

From here on in the IDW reprints are dropped (for possible reasons see last issue). They’re not replaced with anything, meaning the comic is twentyish pages shorter, but still the same price. The editorial tries to make this sound like a good thing, the title now being “leaner and meaner” and I certainly appreciate the loss of All Hail Megatron, but from the perspective of the target audience there’s a lot less bang for their buck now. Sadly I can see this as the death knell for the title, especially as it implies the need to cut costs was indeed the main reason for the downsizing (as there’s less printing the £2.70 goes a lot further).

To try and distract from this the cover is again oversized, this time to accommodate both an Optimus Prime cut out mask and a competition to design your own Autobot and Decepticon that will feature in a special strip.

The cover itself is, as you have probably guessed, different from the stock CGI shot of Ironhide used in the “Next Issue” bit in #8 (the art of the final cover, showing Ironhide in the desert with a tank actually looks suspiciously like an unused one originally done for volume 1 issue 8). Mind, the “Next Issue” bit in #8 also promised the new format would be at a New Price so they’re full of lies.

The NEST plan with Reverb seems to be to trick him into a dead end diversion. They plan to do this by putting up a sign saying “Diversion” next to… a load of heavily armed soldiers. Hmmm.

We’re told Bludgeon specifically came to Vegas for “Something”, but not what it was. Seriously, they’re in the middle of a bunch of casinos, what could he possibly want there? The chance to win on the Deal Or No Deal machine?

Fantastic Free Gift!

A Jet Launcher.
Optimus Prime cutout mask;
More Than Meets the Eye quiz page;
Competitions for Bionicle stuff, Changeling books, Monster Republic books (with a PSP for some reason), a 2010 Revenge of the Fallen calendar (which you’ll get at least two months into the year), no Wii this month. Shocking;
Sideswipe’s Armoury covers the Nimitz-class aircraft carriers;
Law and Disorder with Starscream’s Stars.

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