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Transformers #10 [UK]: Bring Me The Head of Optimus Prime
Reviewed by Inflatable Dalek

Issue Review

OPTIMUS PRIME SNAPS! screams the cover, and the end of the issue really tries to make you think Prime will kill an unarmed man. Unfortunately, even though this would be perfectly in keeping with Movie Prime you don't believe it for a second because the preceding 7 page have been nothing (bar some slightly random and out of place violent extra death) aimed so squarely at five year old kids you'd never believe the strip would end that way.

The kiddified atmosphere is a large part of the problem here. I like good childrens entertainment but it's several steps back from even the more simple last few months and is poorly done. “Hunting endangered animals is wrong M'kay” is a decent enough message but not coming from a robot who routinely hacks enemies faces off whilst laughing. There's almost certainly an intentional degree of irony in Prime being threatened by the same fate he gave Grindor and the Fallen but it falls flat on its arse.

Length is also a problem, the point of The Most Dangerous Game is the life and death struggle between hunter and prey. In just 8 pages we have to get Prime captured immediately and rescued almost right after that. No tension is built up and the whole thing ends with Prime admitting it was all a jolly jape on his part anyway.

It also suffers from the All Hail Megatron problem of trying to do things from the original cartoon in a more “gritty and realistic” fashion. So we have an attempt to do Prime Target in the move style that falls flat because the attempts to make “Trophy” seem more credible than Lord Chumley are undone by the fact however grounded in reality the idea of nutty gun touting Americans in the mountains is he's still a daftly named man with a silly scar who does over the top evil things because he's evil. In comparison Chumley works better because he's more in keeping with the fiction he's in.

The whole thing feels suspiciously like an unused Animated script that was quickly pressed into service, lets hope this is the case rather than the sign of things to come as it's easily the worst issue since we had BOO inflicted upon us back in the original issue 7.

Etherington, who wrote for Titan's Animated comic becomes the first person other than Simon Furman to write for the main strip. Hard to tell at the time of writing if this is a one off fill in or something more permanent. Lets hope it's not the later as when a Transformers comic can no longer afford Furman the fat lady has well and truly sang.

The story contains several nods to other Transformers media. The basic plot is the same as the original cartoon episode Prime Target (with both of course based on The Most Dangerous Game), the idea of sticking an Autobots head on a wall mount was previously seen in issue 23 of the Marvel US comic and Trophy has the same face scar (and similar stupid name) as Lazarus from the first Dreamwave Mini-Series. Prime's last line about the joke comes from Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Epps first appearance in the Titan comic. We're told NEST are off hunting Seekers, this may be either setting up future plot points or just be an excuse not to have them in the story.

This is surprisingly bloody for what's probably the most kid orientated story the title has done for a good two years. The Free Men emphatically kill everyone at the base in order to lure Prime in (Bumblebee's even seen lugging bodies about at one point) and Epps lets loose with a big gun at the militants (though the arts careful to show him only hitting their body Armour).

More signs of cost cutting this month, the main strip is now only 8 pages (though if this is a filler issue it might be a result of that rather than long term plans, next month will tell) and the cover is now of the same quality as the interior pages rather than the fancy la-DE-dah glossy magazine style it was before. The price at least goes down ten pence.

Surely Optimus should be immune to EMP pulses considering we have military equipment now that is (proof if proof were needed that Furman was uninvolved here as he'd have remembered A View to a Kill having such chips as a plot point a quarter of a century ago). Prime's inner monologue when he wakes up makes it clear he was genuinely knocked out rather than him faking as part of the plan. Indeed, the monologue makes him seem much more surprised about what's going on than he claims at the end of the issue [He's just bullshiting to Epps so as not to look a twonk for being held captive by such a crap opponent].

Where did Trophy find a tiger to kill in Montana?

Fantastic Free Gift!

Another shooty gun thing.
Pop Quiz Hotshots (Part Duex!), quiz on the film;
Way Past Cool, more Bumblebee reviews;
Soundwave Profile;
Cover based poster;
Prime Targets (I wonder what inspired the choice of name?), more quizzes;
Competitions for Ben 10 and LEGO toys;
Law and Disorder (including Starscream's Stars), where a forty year old man sends in a detailed drawing of Megan Fox that looks like the sort of thing Angelus would do when crazy stalking someone.

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