TRANSFORMERS TITLES FROM TITAN BOOKS / MAGAZINES
Titan Transformers Dark of the Moon #3: Dealing with the Devil
Reviewed by Inflatable Dalek
A definite step in the right direction. After a fairly lengthy run of throwaway strips Etherington gives us some nice meaty character development that actually (allowing for him not having the final script to work form) feeds into the movie.
The plot going on around Epps with Soundwave and Prime is pretty much irrelevant, but that's very much the point. Epps is overwhelmed by the world he's fallen into and can't get his head around it anymore. Him accepting this isn't the life for him anymore and walking away is one of the more adult (as in mature, not “Whoa! Violence and scantily dressed ladies!” as Mike Costa seems to think it means) bits of storytelling we've had from the Titan comic, and makes for a very welcome upsurge in quality.
It's also helped by some really nicely done art by newcomer Brizuela that's bright, crisp, clear and once again shows the movie designs can work perfectly well in comics.
Intelligence like the Epps through-line couple with a more well thought-out plot could see the title bring back its A-game, so here's hoping for the upward swing to continue into the next issue.
After some slight ambiguity in the last issue (where it could have been a prequel to Dark of the Moon or a sequel working from a draft of the script that didn't have Soundwave die) this story is firmly before the events of the movie, giving an explanation as to why Epps retired from active NEST duty. Arguably the browbeaten weary take on him here doesn't really gel with his happy, relaxed and perfectly willing to get involved again attitude in the film, but that may well be down to an earlier draft being used again so we'll give it some leeway. Unsurprisingly at this stage this is completely different from his reason for changing jobs in the IDW comics.
Epps' internal monologue confirms what his red beret in the films suggests, that he survived the USAF “Superman” training.
Exactly how Soundwave's weaponry was supposed to have been disabled isn't clarified, but a fight with NEST is the most likely option. Because of the cold open (if you'll pardon the pun) and lack of knowledge of what led to these events it's really hard to say what made the higher ups at NEST think the sending in Epps to alone to track Soundwave idea was a good one.
The cover is again lager to accommodate a Shockwave face mask. The inside cover also includes a new Decepticon code created by Soundwave, which can be used in conjuncture with the various games within.
Soundwave has his satellite alt mode from Revenge of the Fallen
, but his car robot mode from Dark of the Moon
. [That's a hard to qualify one as he could well be a triple changer who is able to assume his original form still, much like the way Revenge of the Fallen
Megatron does in most of the tie in fiction. However, as Soundwave probably shouldn't have a car mode at this stage, as that was assumed specifically to ensnare Carly, this posibility doesn't stop it being a goof].
Optimus Prime is really out of character, compare the pragmatic soldier of the films with the guy here who happily suggests giving himself up in exchange for just two prisoners. It's like he's G1 cartoon Prime or something. Soundwave also feels off despite us having seen far less of him, would he really expect the Autobots to leave Earth just to save two people? Plus, the Decepticon plan in the film is dependant on them being around to resurrect Sentinel (you could argue he's playing his own game here rather than following Megatron, but again, the film version seems completely loyal).
How does Soundwave expect Optimus to disarm himself when he has all sorts of built in weaponry? Even if there is some way of deactivating them he doesn't even give Prime a chance to do so.
Fantastic Free Gift!
An “Energon Blaster” [Does not shoot actual Energon].
[Those marked * involve Soundwave's code in some way]Ultimate Smackdown: Starscream Vs. Megatron
;Bumblebee's Guide to the Galaxy
* explains the Space Bridge and Sentinel Prime's role in its invention and misuse;
Competitions for Mechtech
and Yu-Gi-Oh!: Bonds Beyond Time
Double sided poster of a stylised Sentinel Prime and some promotional images from the film;Search for Barricade
* quiz;Megatron Speaks!
, spoof interview very like that in issue #18 of volume 2;How to Draw Megatron
, using the grid layout as seen in previous issues;Starscream's Stumpers!
* quiz page;Mega Mouth
;Dark of the Moon Wordsearch
, a wordsearch about Dark of the Moon