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View Full Version : Transformers: Heart of Darkness #1-4 / Vol. 4 TPB


Neuronutter
2011-03-24, 06:26 PM
Transformers Heart of Darkness #1 was out this week so reviews please. Brought to you by Dan Adnett and Andy Lanning, with art by Ulises Farinas.

So anyone get this? Any good?

Commander Shockwav
2011-03-28, 02:37 PM
It was okay. Didn't quite like the art, very sloppy faces, and the story seemed kind of slapped together from the pieces of Revelations strewn about in a barely sensical fashion.

But at least it attempts to pick up on the very interesting Dead Universe/Anti-Matrix thread that was essentially abandoned since Simon was off the title. And that's a good thing.

Cyclonus seems....weak. Quite a departure from Furman's take on him. Given that D&A are rather new, I'm willing to let this discrepancy slide. I mean, it wasn't Jazz shooting a human, so why complain, right?

Give it a B-. Could lead to new and exciting things.

Terome
2011-03-30, 12:47 PM
A lot of potential here - apart from some/a lot quite markedly weird and awkwardly rendered robots, I found the art pretty groovy. What bothered me more than the robots were the cheap Photoshop effects on the sphere-thing and whatnot. But hey, it's good to have a guy who can actually draw backgrounds and environments.

Galvatron as a character is straight out of 2000AD - he's got a big gun, a frazzled moral compass, a mission of some sort and knows exactly what to do and how to do it. He's a welcome appendage of this bizarre pile of a continuity.

Red Dave Prime
2011-04-04, 04:30 AM
I found the art too jumpy in style. Some of the faces galvatron pulls are just stupid looking. Although I did like the alt mode. The issue itself isnt terrible and it might be an interesting way to draw a line under the dead universe. For a first issue in a 4/5 part series it felt a bit subdued but I'm curious where its going. Also, I have to say I like an issue where it feels its the characters who are moving the plot along.

Terome
2011-04-04, 05:09 AM
Although I did like the alt mode.

Yeah! I thought it was a legitimately fresh take on Galvatron's configuration. And I like the idea that Transformers would actually, you know, change their alt mode around depending on the circumstances. A trundling cannon or tank isn't much good when you're covering a lot of ground on a dead world.

Neuronutter
2011-04-07, 09:48 PM
Hmmm. Didn't particularly enjoy this, but then the horrible art was probably a factor in that. The biggest thing about this is that I didn't really care. Galvatron is on Gorlam Prime? So what. Arcee and Hardhead are back? Don't care. Also Galvatron's alt mode is horrendous. Who designed that?

I do like the visiting of old forgotten threads and the knowlege of continuity. I just hope this mini does something a little more interesting as right now I'm bored. So the Heart of Darkness is the anti-matrix? And wouldn't Scourge and Cyclonus have perished after so long outside of the DU? There seem to be as many little errors as there are nice nods to continuity. As I said: hmmmm.

Red Dave Prime
2011-04-07, 11:02 PM
There seem to be as many little errors

I think its more a case of sorting out errors. As for the not caring, well fair enough. But after Infestation, Galvatron came across as an interesting and fun character and I'm quite happy to follow his pirate crew across the galaxy.

Although I am hoping to see a bit more of the bat-shit insane Glavatron. This moody start is a little disappointing.

But how can you not like Galvs alt mode? Nicely different, not a cannon, not quite a tank! I like its batmobile-like build.

Neuronutter
2011-04-08, 12:01 PM
I think its more a case of sorting out errors. As for the not caring, well fair enough. But after Infestation, Galvatron came across as an interesting and fun character and I'm quite happy to follow his pirate crew across the galaxy.

The annoying thing is that I want to care. I want to like the issue and Galvy's quest, but reading it I was bored. I'll still read the rest of the series and hope it grabs me.

Although I am hoping to see a bit more of the bat-shit insane Glavatron. This moody start is a little disappointing.

Yeah, I was decidedly underwhelmed.

But how can you not like Galvs alt mode? Nicely different, not a cannon, not quite a tank! I like its batmobile-like build.

I'm not sure it was the alt mode. It was probably the art more than anything.

Red Dave Prime
2011-04-08, 05:12 PM
Oh the art is terrible alright. Galvatron looks almost cute in some panels.

Blackjack
2011-04-09, 11:02 AM
Interesting lead-ups, but horrible arts. Great in some places, but most of the time they look like stick figures wearing chunky armour. That panel where Galvatron looks at the ball of teleportation matter looks like it came out of a chibi comic. The reformatting scene is also horrible. Any panel with Arcee and/or Cyclonus have their faces looking like ugly malformed shite.

It's a nice gesture to give closure to everything related to the Dead Universe, but if IDW has to resort to doing this in the future instead of, you know, covering loose ends in where it's supposed to be covered, well... not that IDW's doing anything correct anyway nowadays.

Lots of horrible inconsistencies (although mainly due to the artist never reading the comics prior to this) but otherwise the story has lots of potential. Cyclonus and Scourge are basically random thugs,and Galvatron is too moody when batshit insane Galvatron would have been infinitely preferable. 1.5 or 2 out of five. Nowhere near the quality of Infestation, though.

Denyer
2011-04-10, 10:15 AM
The art looks like 80s storybook stuff with modern colouring, and the issue seems to be entirely infodump. At least that's what I got from a minute or so's skim.

Having seen Abnett do far better with licensed properties, very disappointing.

Red Dave Prime
2011-04-10, 11:27 AM
I'm hoping this first issue was just to re-set everything and explain a few plot points that have been neglected/ butchered. Galvatron looks like he'll be a pivotal character over the next few months so heres hoping that they dont screw him up too soon.

And please IDW... no unicron. Or at least if you must, put a massively new spin on it.

Commander Shockwav
2011-04-23, 02:16 AM
Eeesh.

The art and dialogue in this are some of the worst yet from IDW. I mean, we're talking early 1980's level dialogue here, something that would appeal to a kid the age of 12 with Bazooka Joe bubble gum wrapper level penciling. Except no gum. Damn.

And there were power level inconsistencies galore throughout, with Arcee and Hardhead single-handedly taking out Galvatron, Cyclonus, and Scourge with ridiculous, sarcastic insult-tossing ease. Seriously, the Decepticons in this are a bunch of lame wusses. Which is even more jarring, given these four are supposed to be amongst the most powerful Decepticons in the TF universe.

Oh, and the Swarm is back! So cool to get back into G2 continuity. Oh wait. Not the Swarm. The, ahem, D-Void. A force on unknown origin that feeds on the life force of robotic sparks. Yeah. I know. The Swarm. And looks like we're getting the ole Autobot/Decepticon team-up to combat it, just as we did with G2.

Give this a "D". If I'm a 12 year-old kid who's never read a TF comic before, I might have liked it. But I'm a grown man who paid $4 for this. Despite it's attempt to tap into the past continuity laid down by Furman, it sure feels like we're in some other universe with this. The premise of Galvatron as defender could be a fun one, but with so many other glaring weaknesses, I doubt I'm going to have something nice to say by stories end. I actually preferred issue #18 of the ongoing to this. At least Costa's work usually gives us good dialogue.

Blackjack
2011-04-23, 09:41 AM
This shit is terrible.

Last issue a whole big deal is made out of Galvatron being a badass, but here he is crippled by a few shots from Arcee? Jhiaxus is also a wuss. And when Cyclonus and Galvatron previously have been portrayed as one-man armies...

And the dialogue, dear god... 'Primus! She's so fast! Ahh, my arm!' 'dear Primus!' shite like that.

And how could Hardhead resist the Dead Universe call when Jhiaxus couldn't...

D-Void (What a terrible name, like they couldn't settle on Devoid or the Void) is like the bad child of Unicron and the Swarm, only less interesting and more faceless. And was it really necessary to have Galvatron in Terminator skeletal form as he witnesses the continuity being torn apart whatever the thing is happening, bitch?

Hate to say it, but apparently you can sink lower than the ongoing.

Red Dave Prime
2011-05-24, 03:35 PM
By the Gods of Cybertron!!

Holy smoke, this is pretty horrible. Rank art, terrible truly terrible, dialogue and characters. I am amazed IDW have managed to put this out and charge money for it. Worse, this is the set-up for the year ahead. Suddenly, AHM doesnt look so bad eh?

Plus points? Well, an all-consuming monster that two opposing sides have to unit against, while done so many times before, can be fun and help erase unwanted plot points from the overall universe. But its done so badly, with such a lack of imagination that I dread to think how this may pan out.

I'm giving this a Z.

Terome
2011-05-24, 11:17 PM
As the only person in the world who likes this series, may I point out that the third issue features crab people who are also pirates? Also, this shit is crazy.

Red Dave Prime
2011-05-24, 11:24 PM
Crab People? Well I'm back in.

Seriously, whats the appeal of this one? Is it so much a car crash that is fun for you or am I missing something?

Terome
2011-05-24, 11:32 PM
I like it because it's really weird. And Galvatron is pretty much a straight-up hero in the Metal Hurlant sense. And while I agree that the character design is uncomfortable to look at, the environments and backdrops are superb.

Yeah, crab people! They hang out in a permanent storm in the atmosphere of a gas giant and they're a million times more interesting than the drab, anthropocentric aliens featured in the Ongoing this week. Those are kind of embarrassing.

Red Dave Prime
2011-07-19, 02:28 AM
Hmm, cant find a thread for parts 3 and 4. Couldnt find them in forbidden planet either so it's one of the rare times I didnt part with cash for IDWs products. And I'm quite glad because this was a dreadful four issues. And it could have been great fun.

It really could have been run as a background story during the ongoing (something IDW really ignore - multiple story threads in the one book). Not a lot happens and what does comes across as very out of character. After the fun of infestation this was a real let-down. The art is horrible, really rotten but I think the writing is even worse. The dialogue is just terrible and would look childish in the old ladybird books.

Some plot points really niggled me. The power levels of the characters really irks - galvatron has been weak as a kitten and near god-like during this run. Arcee and Hardhead are far too strong. Cyclonus and scourge? Couldnt fight their way out of paperbag according to this so why Prime and the autobots should fear this lot is a mystery.

D-Void is a rotten character as well. Apart from the name, he's too blatant a bad guy. A more cerebral entity would have worked much better. And nemisis prime? Dont know why he's here. He's discarded after a couple of panels. Would have been more interesting if NP became D-void (god, I hate that name!)s emissary - a play on Galvatrons role under NP. As it is there was no need for him to resurface. It was a plot line that actually didnt need closing for once.

But at least its over and issue 19, 20 & 21 have been much better (not hard I grant you). I'm hoping that Guido drawing Galvatrons army as all sweeps in issue 20 isnt a mistake - the rag-tag army in Heart of darkness #4 looks as lethal as a bag of marshmallows. And Galvatron himself? Guido at least draws him as he should be - sinister, majestic and just a little mad (love the panel where he rejuvinates the sweep).

But this series really wasnt the best way to kick off the "Chaos" epic. The only way is surely up.

Terome
2011-07-20, 11:54 PM
Yes, it's weirdness was not really enough in the end. Oh well.

Red Dave Prime
2011-07-21, 08:55 PM
God bless you for trying sir :)

Actually, the weirdness was strangely turned off for the final half. It became quite pedestrian once the crab pirates disappeared.

Terome
2011-07-21, 09:10 PM
One must try. One must try.

Actually, the weirdness was strangely turned off for the final half. It became quite pedestrian once the crab pirates disappeared.

They followed Thinkbox on the way to oblivion, leaving us with just a half-arsed Amber Skyglass riff and a silly boss battle. The best bit was Galvatron dismissing the use of a zombie virus out of hand.

Still, no harm done.

Neuronutter
2011-07-21, 10:30 PM
So overall impressions anyone? I've only read the first and I wasn't impressed.

Why'd IDW have to go and make this trade 4 of the ongoing? It makes it much harder to ignore in the grand scheme of things, as well as on my shelf. Having the trades jump from 3 to 5 is annoying. If it's as terrible as it sounds I may have to put up with it as I don't wanna pay for that shit.

Red Dave Prime
2011-07-21, 10:53 PM
The best bit was Galvatron dismissing the use of a zombie virus out of hand.

Remember when Galvatron corrupted the reapers into a shambolic zombie horde (as opposed to their original incarnation as a shambolic horde)?

So overall impressions anyone? I've only read the first and I wasn't impressed.

It's a definite miss, constantly bad art and dialogue throughout. The main problem though is that it would appear d-void is going to be the big bad through the chaos plotline and galvatron will be one of the other main characters so its kind of necessary to give it a glance. Although I couldnt find anything in it thats going to be vital and couldnt be summed up (and most likely will be) in one or two panels , or the intro paragraph at the start of every issue.

So yeah, it's shit.

StarscreamX
2011-08-24, 05:13 PM
As the only person in the world who likes this series, may I point out that the third issue features crab people who are also pirates? Also, this shit is crazy.

Craaaaab People
Craaaab People
Taste like crab
Talk like people

The whole issue should have been about them. It would have saved us from the bizzare appearance of an "Ancient Headmaster" despite the Headmasters having only existed for about four years or Thinkbox, an Autobot from the Great War asking if Galvatron was a Decepticon or an Autobot "This time"...despite the fact Galvatron was NEVER a Decepticon and left Cybertron before the war between the Autobots and Decepticons ever began

Though I liked the scene where Cyclonus thinks that D-Void is all in his crazy leaders head. I'm hoping he's right and D-Void is just something Galvatron's psycho imagination made up

relak
2012-03-30, 12:31 AM
A great story wasted on god horrid art.

Everyone looks like balloon mannequins.

And the writing.........Can anyone confirm that this is indeed Dan Abnett doing the writing?
The same Abnett who also wrote War of Kings, Thanos Imperative and Nova for Marvel, Warhammer 40k, etc?

He can do epic Cosmic stuff liek aforementioned perfectly well!

Heart of Darkness is just such a story line but it feels like his involvement never went beyond the story outline phase.

Cyberstrike nTo
2012-03-30, 05:52 PM
A great story wasted on god horrid art.

Everyone looks like balloon mannequins.

And the writing.........Can anyone confirm that this is indeed Dan Abnett doing the writing?
The same Abnett who also wrote War of Kings, Thanos Imperative and Nova for Marvel, Warhammer 40k, etc?

He can do epic Cosmic stuff liek aforementioned perfectly well!

Heart of Darkness is just such a story line but it feels like his involvement never went beyond the story outline phase.

He co-wrote with Andy Lanning. These 2 have done MUCH better work in the past hell I loved their work on The Legion Lost, Legion Worlds and The Legion and I'm not and never have been a big fan of DC's The Legion of Super-Heroes.

relak
2012-03-31, 12:31 AM
He co-wrote with Andy Lanning. These 2 have done MUCH better work in the past hell I loved their work on The Legion Lost, Legion Worlds and The Legion and I'm not and never have been a big fan of DC's The Legion of Super-Heroes.

Precisely my point.

Are they purposely giving IDW a sub-mediocre turn out JUST BECAUSE IDW aint doesnt pay as well as Marvel or DC?

inflatable dalek
2013-06-05, 11:48 AM
As many as you know, I've been collecting the complete IDW collections as they come out thanks to being turned back into a comic crack whore by Roberts, and it's actually been quite fun watching the train wreck of Costa's run with the benfit of both distance and a complete lack of investment.

So, book 8 kicks of with this series and...






DEAR GOD MY EYES. Terrible art (and colouring) from begining to end. Especially in the way Galvatron has always got exactly the same "Unexpected rectal exam" expression on his face at all times, regardless of what he's feeling or what is happeneing. As if he's taken Kippling's advice about treating triumph and disaster both the same almost too literally. By far the most hidious thing I've seen this week and I've seen up Bonnie Langford's skirt.

But we've endured badly drawn comics before (the poor expressions actually reminded me of Delbo. His art that is, not his face. That would be silly), I can surrvive that if the script carries it. And this was after all the audition for one of the two ongoing books from the authors, so you'd really expect their A-game, else they could wind up just having to "Go away".

Oh.

The big problem, other than lots of it not making much sense (what is D-Ream? By the end I had no idea. And that's just the big one), is how hugely insanely padded it is. The crab men, much beloved by earlier posters, are basically in their own little mini-comic that has nothing to do with anything else. Especially as Headmaster is never seen or heard from again (they may have been trying to do what Roberts did when he spent a lot of time on Pipe's death- show us the full recruitment of one guy in detail so you don't need to do so for everyone else. But, unlike Roberts and his skipping of the other deaths, we then get to go see Galvatron recruit the rest of the dead Transformers anyway).

On top of that, every fight lasts at least a page longer than it needs too, and as Nemesis Lovecraft Prime was just a harbringer and Galvatron learns nothing new from their encounter that was completely pointleess as well. One issue (or, as suggested, a subplot running through the ongoing) where Galvatron comes out THE SOLAR POOL (which it seems can keep you safe in suspended animation for years. Is there anything it can't do?), explains his mission to Cyclonus and Scoure; saves Jhiaxus and collects an army before heading to Cybertron would have covered everything very nicely. Instead you've got two authors desperately vamping without a clue what to do.

Mind, if not for their total failure here we might not have Roberts on a main book, so we should be thankful.


Or we might not have Barber (depending on which of the books Abbott and Costello were going to do), so we should be milding more satisfied.

Speaking of Barber, his attempt to "Fix" what Thinkbox says about knowing Galvattron from a Civil War by adding a pre-Autobot/Decepticon one into the timeline doesn't work as the planet he's found on is emphatically said to have been caught up between Autobots and Decepticons and Thinkbox knows what they are. Which goes to show it's much better to spend your time telling exctiing new stories rather than paper over the cracks in old ones.

Red Dave Prime
2013-06-05, 12:08 PM
Great review of Heart of Darkness. To my mind, up there with Bumblebee as one of IDWs worst minis. Roberts work in Chaos Theory has at least made Megatron:Origins interesting. If not actually good.

Which goes to show it's much better to spend your time telling exctiing new stories rather than paper over the cracks in old ones.

GAAAAH! So true. I like that Barber respects and knows the history of the comic but there's a line that needs to be drawn.

Whats really great about Heart of Darkness is not only does it set-up D-void in a totally meaningless way (the nemisis prime thing is never re-visited) but it fails to explain how everyone Galvatron converts becomes a sweep. Maybe its supposed to be always viewed through Galvatrons eyes or something.

Also, did you enjoy the Anchorman-like dialogue?

By the great beard of Primus!!!

Terome
2013-06-05, 12:50 PM
I'd say that it earns points for being bazonkers. It belongs in the same mental classification as Ladybird or colouring-in books or resturant menu tie-ins. Sure, it's no Battle Beneath The Ice, but it has its own charms.

inflatable dalek
2013-06-05, 02:04 PM
Whats really great about Heart of Darkness is not only does it set-up D-void in a totally meaningless way (the nemisis prime thing is never re-visited) but it fails to explain how everyone Galvatron converts becomes a sweep. Maybe its supposed to be always viewed through Galvatrons eyes or something.

I thought I'd read the army basically completely disappears and Galvatron just has a load of Sweeps later on, but dismissed it on the grounds that no sane editor would oversee such a massive and obvious cock up.


Oh wait, Andy Schmidt. How Pat Lee still gets so much grief when Schmidt wasn't worthy enough to polish his Porsche I'll never know.


I'd say that it earns points for being bazonkers. It belongs in the same mental classification as Ladybird or colouring-in books or resturant menu tie-ins. Sure, it's no Battle Beneath The Ice, but it has its own charms.

I just found it a bit dull, maybe I'm desensatised to these things by having read 12 consecutive John Gardner Bond books on the trot, with their "I'm a good guy... no I'm a bad guy... no I was actually a bad guy all along. HA! Fooled you, no I'm good. The bit where I almost killed Thatcher was just a feint" endless plot twists but this really didn't seem that bonkers to me. Giant lobsters are not enough to make something a bit nuts. If anything I thought it was fairly linear. At least in plotting, if not character motivation.

Neuronutter
2013-06-06, 01:01 PM
As many as you know, I've been collecting the complete IDW collections as they come out thanks to being turned back into a comic crack whore by Roberts, and it's actually been quite fun watching the train wreck of Costa's run with the benfit of both distance and a complete lack of investment.


That's both the advantage and the disadvantage of those hardcovers. You get everything, including paying for some of the sh*te that's been put out. HoD and Bumblebee are truly awful.

I'm so glad I'd stopped buying singles by the time HoD and Costa's run came out. Buying the trades, which I now need to sell, was painful enough but forking out for all the issues of these series would be excruciating. The downside is that I now have to wait long months for RID and MTMTE.

Terome
2013-11-15, 06:33 PM
I have used Ore-14* to revive this thread to post this:

http://comicsalliance.com/judge-dredd-mega-city-two-farinas-wolk-art-idw-2000-ad/

Look like Farinas is getting a chance to show off what he is good on IDW's Judge Dredd comics.

I'm glad. Poor as the character work was, the environments in Heart Of Darkness were striking. Would have been a great shame for a trifle of a comic to have prevented him from getting mainstream work.

* Topical!