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Cliffjumper
2004-03-06, 12:59 AM
What follows is Tom's template for the Marvel/Titan TPB reviews. Everything else comics has been tacked onto the end of it for as long as we've had comics after Dreamwave.

http://tfarchive.com/comics/

—Denyer

* * *

At the moment I think we're only after 1 review per TPB, not fussed it it's hardback or not [as long as you state which in the review]. After we've got them all covered, and if people want to, we can have multiple reivews... Okay, example with annotation.

Beginnings TPB Title
Reprinting: The Transformers [limited series] #1-4, The Transformers #5-6 The Comics reprinted
Written by: Bill Mantlo [#1-2], Jim Salicrup [#3-4], Bob Budiansky [#5-6]
Pencils by: Frank Springer [#1-4], Alan Kupperberg [#5-6]
Inks by: Kim deMulder [#1-3], Janet Esposito [#3], Ian Akin & Brian Garvey [#4], Alan Kupperberg [#5-6]
Colours by: Nel Yomtov basic credits - editor etc not essential

In a nutshell: A quick, one sentence summing up, or at least as succinct as possible Reprints of Marvel's first six issues of Transformers, concerning how the heroes and villains arrive on Earth.

The stories: This part of the review should concentrate entirely on the quality of the material, i.e. how good is the story/stories There's one thing which really sums up the first two-thirds of "Beginnings" - the Transformers are aliens. Not cutesy robotic Morks. Aliens. There are strange speech patterns, bizarre actions by both sides and an unworldy feel helped by Frank Springer's pencils, which really convey the scale of the Transformers. It's also something of a mess... The original mini-series was clearly produced as the character models were devised, and for someone new to Transformers, the way characters change from frame to frame must be baffling. The look of the thing's not helped by Nel "Crayola" Yomtov's alleged efforts on the colouring front, and visually it's not very appealing. However, much of the plot redeems this. Unlike in the cartoon, where it's a matter of "hmm, we've crashed on this planet. We're here now, let's just carry on", there's a genuine sense of adjustment to the new surroundings, notably in the Drive-In Movies sequence, where the Autobots grapple with the idea of organic life. On top of that, the Autobots are in trouble from the start, drained of fuel and taking hits from the Decepticons left, right and centre. Think about that - there's an actual sense of war. While Buster and Sparkplug aren't exactly paragons of realism, both are likeable enough [you especially get the impression that Sparkplug's fascination with the mechanics of Bumblebee overrides his disbelief, which means in about a page the comic version is more developed than the cartoon cypher].

Sadly, they probably get about the best of the character work in the first four parts. Most of the Transformers feel rather stilted, and the dialogue's wildly overblown. It does, however, effect another alien mannerism, albeit one that gets a bit grinding. The plot itself isn't superb, but it does manage to be more or less coherent. Spider-Man actually works much better than most people give him credit for - he provides some good comic relief without the stupidity factor of turning Blue Streak into a Saturday Night Live stand-up within a few days on Earth. That said, it's probably best it was a one-off, and with retrospect keeping away from the conventional Marvel Universe did Transformers a power of good.

I did find the mini-series more readable than I expected, though the cliffhanger doesn't pack much of a punch, possibly just through 20 years of hype.

I actually found the remaining third of the book, reprinting #5-6, the first two issues penned by Bob Budiansky, to be less enjoyable. The first of these does a fair job of portraying just how much trouble Ratchet, the remaining Autobot, is in, but lots of the drama is undermined by Alan Kupperberg's unstable pencils, and some pages that would be very impressive [the spread of dead Autobots hanging from the Ark's ceiling], but again Yomtov's work is poor. Still, Shockwave has enough instant prescence to keep the story interesting, and Ratchet grows nicely. The second part's similarly mixed, with a well-scripted Shockwave and a potentially superb fight scene countered by Kupperberg's wooden pencils, and the silly oil-rig sequence that introduces G. B. Blackrock [looking uncommonly like a porn star] and Josie Beller [who looks about the least like a porn star as the poor girl will get].

The package:This concerns the actual TPB itself - extras or the lack of them, the cover, the quality, the stories selected There's a nice, if slightly irrelevant, new cover from Andy [or is it Andrew now Transformers is a creditable nostalgia format?] Wildman, though it's rather bland, and not at all like his work on the title in the 1980s, or even much like his Dark Ages output. It's also on nice glossy paper, and there's a foreword from Jim Salicrup, which explains a bit of background info. There's also Titan's poorly presented cover pages - why do these need to be about 60% size, and offset at about 30 degrees? Why not just print the things full page, and assume that between the number on the cover and the story title printed in the damn strip that even the thickest Transformers fan would be able to piece it together? While four of the covers are below par, the work of Bill Sienkiwicz on #1 and Mark Bright on #5 are really worthy of full-page status.

But for extras, Beginnings is full of missed opportunities, mainly for material freely avaliable. A cover gallery including the UK exclusive covers used for the reprints of the stories would have been great. So would inclusion of the alternate ending for #4. Plus things like the Transformers Bible would have been great. We can find all of this online, but it'd be nice if Titan had taken a stab at making this book definitive. On top of this, would it have been too much trouble to track down the likes of Frank Springer, Bob Budiansky, Jim Shooter and Ralph Macchio to get their input?

The verdict:Sum it all up - is this worth buying? Ironically, Beginnings is not the best place to start reading Transformers comics. You'd be better scanning a few online plot summaries and taking the plunge at All Fall Down, then reading this when you've got a taste for Marvel's work. There is a lot of good work done here, especially considering the task set for Marvel, but it's far from an easy read. For fans, it's good for what it is - a slightly over-priced reprint collection to replace fading 80s back-issues.

Osku
2004-03-06, 07:34 PM
Originally posted by Cliffjumper
All others up for grabs - Dark Designs, Rage in Heaven
Here.

inflatable dalek
2005-07-09, 11:58 AM
Dark Star tbp: Review By Inflatable Dalek.

Reprinting: Transformers US 46-50

Written by: Bob Budansky

Pencils by: Jose Delbo.

Inks by: Danny Bulanadi (46, 48, 50) Dave Hunt (47, 49)

Colours by: Nel Yomotov.

Editor:Don Daley.

Editor in Chief: Tom DeFalco.

In a nutshell: Have you ever wondered what The Dark Phoenix saga would be like if Toad had got the Phoenix power? Well Bob Budansky did as well…

The stories: The stories in this collection are a more muted bunch than those in the preceding Maximum Force tpb, there’s still plenty of badly thought out silly ideas, but nothing quite as barking as Monstercon From Mars. You’re left with the impression that one of the editors has briefly woken up and told Bob to tone it down a bit before nodding off again… The end result is a much duller set of issues that tend to become a chore to read as the wackiness in the previous issues was the best thing about them…

First up is Ca$h and Carnage, the only standalone issue in this collection. In this Lord Zarek invents a device that can completely immobilise Transformers. Exactly the sort of machine that could, en mass finally let the Decepticons win the war. So naturally, rather than launching a full scale offensive of Decepticons armed with these jammers, he instead gives them to some Mad Max reject Bounty Hunters. And then offers them money if they hunt down Autobots and Decepticons. And is then surprised when it all backfires on him. Plus, he releases three Autobots he’s already captured because he couldn’t find any on Earth to test the devices on (why not just have the prison guards test them on the Autobots in their cell?). Another annoyance is the blatant toy advertising in featuring six new Autobots even though there’s only enough plot for three of them. And as for the art… Well, as I don’t want to repeat myself to much throughout this review I’ll say it here, just the once: Jose Delbo draws slightly less well than three blind hedgehogs in a sack, whilst Nel Yomotov’s only possible excuse is that he was smacked up to the eyeballs.

Next we have the first part of the alleged epic that is The Underbase Saga!. Club Con (which has a wonderfully camp pink logo) has the Decepticon’s running a holiday resort on their island base for… well for very little good reason except to make sure the Autobots know exactly where they are without having to bother with any of that tedious searching. Which was nice of them. It also gives Bob a good excuse to put Jesse in a bikini, but wouldn’t it have been more entertaining to see Sparkplug in a pair of Speedos?

A major revision to established continuity is the revelation that the Autobots always knew Prime and the others were on Earth, and there was a good chance they were still alive. So naturally, rather than sending a full rescue force, they just send Prime a couple of cassette’s warning him that something bad might happen in four million years. Strategies like that explain why the Autobots so firmly got their behinds handed to them after the Ark vanished. Then again, the Decepticon’s don’t do any better, after seeing Blaster on the island, they don’t think to keep an optic out for any red boom box’s, even though Jesse makes no attempt to hide him whilst in a seeker cockpit. And as if to prove all species are equally stupid, the humans merrily go to a resort ran by the robots they’ve been fearing and hating for nearly fifty issues. All in all, this issue conclusively proved that whatever Nel smoked was handed round the Marvel offices regularly.

Issue 48- The Flames of Boltax!, has a cover which promises The Return of Megatron… The End of Optimus Prime?!?. Sounds exciting don’t it? Well, don’t get worked up, it’s just a flashback, courtesy of the message on the tapes that were so fussed over in the previous issue, recounting Prime’s shocking discovery of the Underbase! (Yes, even though the message was meant for Prime, it contains a lengthy recording of events he was present for, thoughtfully helping any enemies that intercept the cassettes rather more that a shorter “The Underbase is coming!” post it note would).

It’s also worth noting that Bob was obviously a fan of the then newishStar Trek: The Next Generation, first we have Hi-Q bearing a uncanny resemblance to Patrick Stewart, now we have what is a Holodeck in all but name used for playing back the message. Poor old Ratbat and Starscream clearly haven’t watched much Trek though, as they don’t seem to grasp it’s an old recording as they’re constantly surprised at Prime’s survival.

Ultimately this is pure filler that could have been covered in a few lines. Having Prime be responsible for the seeming destruction of Cybertron’s greatest store of knowledge is a interesting bit of character background, but other than that it just seems to be a reminder to readers of Megatron in advance of his forthcoming resurrection (telling one of the “See issue…” boxes refers to Megs as just having “disappeared” rather than killed- Up to now US readers have had no reason to assume the latter wasn’t the case).

The penultimate Underbase story- Cold War, is easily the best in this collection, which isn’t a huge boast to be sure, but there is fun to be had in Starscream’s manipulation of Raty and Skorpy’s troops into fighting so he can scarper away to collect the Underbase whilst no ones looking. We also get a nice dilemma for Buster, does he freeze to death or use the Autobot distress beacon he’s been given to summon them into a trap? We also have a fine display of unarmed combat from Apeface.

Unfortunately there are still negatives, you have to wonder why Screamer just doesn’t kill Buster and set off the alarm himself, and the fact Ratbat trusts Screamer enough to make him second in command in the first place stretches credulity a tad. We also get horrible, horrible dialog in the big fight- Stuff along the lines of “You taste good Soundwave”. Still, it does set things up fairly well for the big conclusion, it’s just such a shame the next issue firmly throws it all down the pan…

Dark Star, it’s the double length conclusion to a four issue epic, kills off even more TF’s than the movie and features Skorponok getting a genuine bit of character development at the end. So it really speaks volumes that the one thing everyone remembers about it is the infamous Ratbat/Fort Max fight. The whole things just so bland, as if Bob’s really just going through the motions at this point. Basically Starscream becomes super powerful, all the pre-1987 toys line up to get zapped (though it’s very hard to tell who’s dead and who’s just injured- Mirage gets ripped apart in the first few pages but shows up again latter for another grizzly death) before Prime uses the age old “trick ‘em into absorbing to much power so they blow up” routine (which every sci-fi franchise does at least once, you can see it in Doctor Who and the Ghosts of N-Space, The Avengers[/I] episode Thingamajig and just about any episode of Star Trek with a super smart computer in it). This should be the crowning achievement of Bob’s run, instead it all falls apart. The only remotely interesting thing is Skorponk’s revelation that Prime was working in their best interests all the time. Though his final “And then this truce will be ended” speech (which would have caused UK reader déjà vu as Furman cheekily used almost the same ending a few weeks earlier in Time Wars) suggests a reset switch will be thrown for the next issue, this become the basis of the Prime/Skorponok friendship that Furman will craft when he takes over the comic. But really, other than that one page, this is all throwaway stuff. The really staggering thing is that Bob somehow managed to produce a worse script for the next issue.

The package:

Oddly the extra features in this collection are at the front rather than the back as with the others (they probably just didn’t want Jose Delbo art to be the first thing you saw when you opened it). They’re completely irrelevant, being Bob’s pencil sketches to the covers for issues 29 and what would eventually become 36 (though at the time it was 34, before the Man of Iron reprint forced it back). That’s correct, two issues that aren’t in this collection. I’m assuming that despite being involved with Titan since they began reprinting his issues it’s only just occurred to them to ask Bob if he’s got any interesting stuff lying about that could be included- hence them having to force it into a collection it doesn’t really belong in. Apart from that, all we get is covers and an advert for the Aspects of Evil collection that’s mildly interesting because it has a different cover to the book as eventually published- Plus it claims the black and white volumes will let you “Complete your collection!”, which is a barefaced lie.

The verdict: Whilst it isn’t quite the worst Transformers stories ever told, it does come awfully close at times. One for the dedicated fan only I’m afraid.

inflatable dalek
2005-07-09, 12:01 PM
Finally finished after I've been writing it for what feels like years... Ironicaly a couple of very ****y weeks gave me the incentive to focus on it so as to distract me from what was going on in real life. I don't think it's as good as my previous review (I found it insanely hard to find anything worth talking about in this collection), but I hope y'all enjoy anyway.

Denyer
2005-07-09, 01:04 PM
Sweet. This is so much better than 90% of the rants being by me. :)

I found it insanely hard to find anything worth talking about in this collectionThat's because most of what's left is crap.

I've got a decent bit done for Trial By Fire. Will see if I can catch up on mail and blag out the end of that over this weekend.

inflatable dalek
2005-07-09, 01:15 PM
Originally posted by Denyer
That's because most of what's left is crap.



Tell me about it... How many different ways of saying "Delbo can't draw, Yomotov can't colour etc" can there be? The real breakthrough in finishing the review was deciding to attack the art just once, and then ignore it.

And 'ta for the compliment. :D

inflatable dalek
2005-11-18, 08:59 PM
Last Stand TPB Review

By Inflatable Dalek

Reprinting: The Transformers #51-#55 (Marvel US)
Written by: Bob Budiansky (Also Layouts on pages 1-10 of #55)
Pencils by: Jose Delbo (51-54 [Credited as [I]Pencil Breakdowns on 54]), Jim Fern (55 [Also Layouts Pages 11-22])
Inks by: Dave Hunt (51-53) Danny Bulanadi (54 [Also Finishes]) Mike Gustovich (55)
Colours by: Nel Yomotov
Editor: Don Daley
Editor in Chief: Tom DeFalco.

In a Nutshell: Bob Budiansky takes his final bow as a Transformers writer, unfortunately he seems to have written these issues whilst on his way out the door…

The Stories: Oh dear oh dear oh dear… I try to come to these reviews with a positive mindset, to look for the best in the work and allow for extenuating circumstances (in this case Bob is clearly desperate to move on after more than five years but the bosses won’t let him…), but sometimes you have to just throw your arms up into the sky and scream at the sheer rubishness of what your reading…

First up is The Man in the Machine!, which has the honour of being the least offensive strip in the collection. Still not very good mind. It’s noticeable for two things; the first is that it’s the last appearance of the original human supporting cast of Sparkplug and Buster, cruelly cast aside in favour of Spike for no better reason than him having a toy. The second is that it’s the first appearance of the “Spike wants a normal life but gradually realises that his destiny is to be Fort Max” plot we’ll see twice more, done almost exactly the same, before the end of Generation 2.
It also suggests some interesting things about the Headmasters. Max is mothballed when Spike quits, which not only implies there are no more spare Nebulons to take his place, but that the Headmaster process is irreversible (else why else would a short staffed Prime let one of their strongest surviving soldiers sit about in a cupboard gathering dust?). Other than that the only redeeming feature of this fairly dull winter survival story is Jose Delbo’s attempts at drawing surreal dream images, something so far beyond his merger talents it’s actually quite funny.

Issue 52, the first of a two part story, is Guess Who The Mechannibals Are Having For Dinner?, signposts a lot of what’s wrong with these issues. The idea of the Mechannibals (as the name implies, robot eating robots), whist not particularly brilliant is ripe for a fun B-Movie spoof something that Delbo seems, surprisingly, to be in on as her draws them like the stars of Attack of the Killer Tomato’s). However, the execution here is so bland and listless there’s no real sense of the creative team having a knowing wink at the reader. Even Dreadwind and Darkwing are muted in comparison to their previous appearance, whilst some resolution to a fairly unmemorable dangling plot thread about Skylinx can’t keep the interest levels up. Having two non-entities like Cloudburst and Landmine as the starts doesn’t help either.

Of course, it might be a lot more bearable if they’d kept it to just one issue, but unfortunately the story is rather artificially padded out into issue 53, Recipe For Disaster”. The padding comes in the shape of a journey by our two (insanely bland) heroes’ to that favourite SF standby, the Planet Ruled by Women! (In fact, as they’re Transformer sized you might say this is about an Attack of the 50 foot women). There’s some fun to be had with Cloudburst being pursued by the female leader (who then gives Landmine head…), but other than that these two issues represent the nadir of Bob’s entire run.

Of course, once you’ve hit bottom the only way to go is back up, and King Con! (surely an example of the title being thought up first and the story coming second) is a moderate improvement in quality. Perhaps because it features a return to ground Bob is more comfortable (human innocents getting caught up in and playing crucial roles in the war), or perhaps because Delbo takes a two month vacation from this point… king Kong is an obvious source to rip-off… I mean homage and the story doesn’t quite go far enough for the parallels to work (it really needs some air-born Autobots swoshing round Iguanus at the end to make it work), but it’s good to have some Decepticon machinations centre stage again. Even if Skorponok is still in his third rate Bond villain phase.
The noticeable thing about this issue is the introduction of the Autobot Micromasters (and readers of the latter Dreamwave series should not the term Guzzler first appears here). The big problem with the Micro's is that if you were to look up “Bland” in a dictionary you’ll find a picture of these characters… They’re such stock “Angry hot-heads” it’s hard to tell one from another (hell, I’m not even sure which one of them is supposed to be on the front of this collection), it’s telling that only Roadhandler stands out for his amazing long distance fisting ability. There’s little help from the human supporting cast- Cecilia Santiago is the very cliché of a female journalist (and for UK readers she’s hard to distinguish from Susan Hoffman), just itching to be described as “doesn’t suffer fools gladly”.
To be honest the absolute highlight of this issue is professional Pat Stewart look-alike Hi-Q going to all the effort of dressing up as a trucker in order to not arouse suspicion, only for Prime to transform to robot mode in the middle of a dinner car park in broad daylight (why have the Micromasters beam down in such a public place anyway?).

And so we come to issue 55, [DEEP BREATH] The Interplanetary Wrestling Championship!, not just the last issue in this collection but the last issue by Budiansky- He’ll continue to do the tech-spechs for a while and Simon Furman credits him in the introduction to End of the Road with a unofficial supervisory role on the latter days of the comic but as far as written fiction goes this is it for Bob. I’d love to say the guy who contributed so much to the Transformers goes out on a high, but if you’ve been paying attention you’ll know that’s sadly not the case.
This story blows any chance of credibility out of the water on the very first page- Roadhandler goes on a TV chat show. Now up until this point the American government has been keen to stamp out the evil alien invaders at any opportunity, but now an Autobot can be booked onto TV without anyone seemingly noticing (and Circuit Breaker must be slipping as she managed to hunt down Skullgrin a few issues earlier with a lot less to go on). Yes, latter on Furman will reveal RAAT has been disbanded, but the idea that no government agency would be interested in this is stretching things a tad. As is the idea that in more than five years no one has managed to take a good picture of Optimus Prime, hence Cecilia whipping out a dodgy pencil drawing of him.
As for the plot… Well Roadhandler takes up wrestling because… Well because wrestling was quite popular with the kiddies at the time and someone at Marvel clearly thought it might pep up sales. Other than that there are only two things of interest here:
The first is that the insanely camp gay stereotype interior designer guy from Mannequin seems to have taken up a job ringside since the events of that film (the bloke who gets nearly throttled by Swindler for suggesting Roadhandler might loose… He’s the spiting image).
The second is that, unusually for one of Bob’s silly stories there’s a very downbeat ending. It’s hard not to imagine that Roadhandlers disillusionment and rage are an example of Mary Sueing on the writer’s part. All in all a hugely disappointing last bow.

The Presentation: Right, before I begin I want you to pour yourself a stiff drink and make sure you’re sitting comfortably less you fall down from shock… After several disappointingly barren collections Last Stand not only has a fair amount of bonus material, but it virtually all interesting and very nearly all relevant to the issues in this trade!. There, I said you’d need that drink didn’t I?

First up is the least exciting- A checklist of the US reprint books in chronological order. Though for the more casual buyer this will prove handy to keep track of what order these should go on the shelf I imagine for most of you reading this it’ll be fairly irrelevant.
Then we have a cover gallery of all the hardback-editions art. It’s not essential by any means but speaking as someone who stuck to the cheaper paperbacks I found it an interesting flick through.
Now we come to the good stuff… Bob’s original treatment for the Creation Matrix, not anything to do with the stories contained herein but still a worthwhile read. It’s particularly fun to note that years of “Where do baby Decepticons come from?” arguments are pre-empted with the simple sentence This is only one method of creating new Transformers. There are others.
Following a somewhat crude design sketch for a Mechannibal we come to the real meat of the extra features: The third draft of Bob’s submission to Hasbro for the “New Generation” storyline- In other words the introduction of the Action Masters. It bears no relation to what we’d eventually see, being full of stuff about Black Holes and properly featuring the action master partners… Anyone who’s seen the first Darn’N’Blast letters page from the UK comic will recognise it as the source for the explanation Blaster gives for himself there. What’s really noteworthy is that it’s dated the 29th September 1989, a year and a half before Action Master Gimlock made his debut in the March 1991 cover dated US #76. This not only shows how far plots were being worked out in advance, but I think gives credence to the long standing rumore that Simon Furman’s first few issues were written from a Budiansky synopsis. Certainly this storyline treats Megatron as being active right from the get go (it being his idea to use Nucleon on the Decepticons) suggesting his return was planed before this. All in all it’s a fascinating glimpse into what might have been had Bob stayed on, though all in all the Furman version is vastly superior (sample Megatron dialogue: “Anything the Autobots can do, we can do better. And badder!”).

Rounding of the interesting stuff we get the rough pencil outlines of the pages Bob had a hand in from issue 55. One thing that afflicts these (and the New Generation storyline) is that the originals must not be in existence anymore forcing Titan to resort to using poor quality photocopies. Still, I’d rather have grainy photocopies than a random interview with a cartoon voice actor any day.

Add to that the standard cover gallery (including the famously censored Jim Lee cover to issue 53) and the “It’s the wrong cover Gromit” Aspects of Evil advert and you have Titan ending their US reprints on a high.

The Verdict: What we have here is a trade paperback where the bonus material is vastly more interesting than the actual comics contained therein. It’s hard not to feel sorry for Bob being stuck in a unrewarding job on one of Marvels less regarded titles for far to long, it’s just a shame he couldn’t find the enthusiasm to make even his last issue a winner. Still, the British invasion was just around the corner, and whilst Furman’s initial arc wouldn’t be exactly Earth shattering, it did begin the process of bringing the comic back to the top of its game.

inflatable dalek
2005-11-18, 09:03 PM
For reasons best known to itself my computer suddenly spat this out again today, so here it is for your consideration. Bear in mind I may have bigged it up a tad in the other thread...

Denyer
2005-12-01, 08:26 AM
Cheers. I've added it in, and will frontpage it with the other stuff I'm hoping to do today. Like getting a replacement bloody guestbook sorted, finally.

It's worth pestering me via PM for anything to do with the comics section, as I only drop by the Toys forum when I've got some free time (which I'm also hoping to find to format reviews.)

May as well get the Trial By Fire one in too... don't s'pose you're up for doing Treason? :)

inflatable dalek
2005-12-01, 04:50 PM
Good grief. ther fisting and giving head jokes stayed in... I half suspected they'd be taken out as sub-Carry On. Looking over it again I'm annoyed my last minuet revision to remove the constant repitition of the word "Disapointing" still managed to miss a few...

And I'd be happy to try and fill any remaining gaps... Though I might try one of the UK collections before doing Treason, as there's only so long you can do in depth analasis of late period Bob without needing somthing of a break...

Denyer
2005-12-01, 08:04 PM
Second Gen needs doing if you've got it/scans. Would be nice to get that one out of the way, 'cause it's near the top of the page...

inflatable dalek
2005-12-02, 03:05 PM
I shall give it a go... Incidently, does Cliffy have plans to do a Amarda UK guide in the style of the Marvel/Dreamwave ones? If not, I might have a crack at it... Assuming he doesn't mind me doing a Douglas Adams and shamelessly stealing his format...

Denyer
2005-12-02, 05:03 PM
Cliffy has actually done one, looking at the bundle of files I have here... I'll stick it on the list of things to get formatted and uploaded...

Cheers for the TBF stuff, I'll add in something to that effect in a bit.

inflatable dalek
2005-12-02, 08:38 PM
Originally posted by Denyer
Cheers for the TBF stuff, I'll add in something to that effect in a bit.

no worries, doing this sort of stuff is probably more enjoyable than reading the actual comics...

Cliffjumper
2005-12-31, 10:20 AM
I stole the format off someone else anyway. Thankfully he stole it off someone else too, so it must be just about public domain by now... Of course, I've covered my monopoly by only missing the TF in 3-D series so far...

inflatable dalek
2005-12-31, 11:15 AM
Originally posted by Cliffjumper
I stole the format off someone else anyway.

It's the Cornell/Topping/Day format is it not? If only they'd thought to copyright it they'd have made a fortune by now...

I've started on Treason (yes, I know I said I'd do Second Generation next, I tend to lie a lot...), and assuming the computer doesn't take great offence at my work again it should appear some time in January.

Oh, and on the main review menu page the cover for Fallen Star needs to be updated. They would up going for one that's actually in the collection, but not one with Starscream on...

inflatable dalek
2006-03-31, 09:53 PM
Treason TPB Review
By Inflatable Dalek
Reprinting: The Transformers 31, 32, 35-37 (Marvel US)
Written By Bob Budiansky
Pencils By Don Perlin (31, 32 [Credited as Breakdowns on These Issues], 35) Jose Delbo (36-37)
Inks By: Jim Fern (31 [Credited as Finishes]), Ian Akin and Brian Garvey (32-37 [Credited as Finishes on 32])
Colours By: Nel Yomotov
Edited By: Don Daley
Editor In Chief: Jim Shooter (31, 32) Tom DeFalco (35-37)

In A Nutshell: The cracks have been showing for a while, but it’s with this collection Budiansky really begins to loose his touch and quality control begins to nose dive… Which oddly coincides with the arrival of Jose Delbo. Fancy That. As for the content of the issues themselves, things take a turn for the truly bizarre as Bob seems to be writing down the first thing that comes into his head…

The Stories: There’s an episode of Star Trek called Spock’s Brain, in which the titular Vulcan has his noggin removed and put back in without even messing up one hair. It’s often held up by Trekies as the very worst episode of that noble franchise ever, despite the fact it’s not even the worst episode in that season. In fact, it’s a wonderfully OTT piece of knowing camp that’s infectiously fun as long as you don’t think about it to hard. Now, I can hear you asking, “Dalek, you handsome chap you, this is meant to be a review of mid to late period Budiansky, so why the devil are you blabbering on about Star Trek? Well my well spoken friend, the very first issue up for our consideration- Buster Witwicky and the Car Wash of Doom, is the Transformers equivalent of that episode.
What we have here, is really the last “silly” plot Bob wrote that comes closes to working, and that is down to one factor: Ratbat. The purple cassette is the type of Decepticon leader we haven’t seen before or since- Not a “Bwahahahahahahaing” maniac, he’s a efficient businessman with his eye on the bottom line and a nice sardonic attitude. Frankly every scene with him in sparkles, weather it’s mercilessly taking the piss out of Shockwave or his charming way of calling a retreat (“It’s time we searched for a healthier economic climate!”).
Yes, his plan here (brainwashing humans with a dodgy carwash) is silly B-Movie stuff, but that’s supported by the rest of the comic from the cover onwards, making it feel like a gentle spoof of clichés rather than a story succumbing to them.
It isn’t perfect by any means, Jessie, who you may remember has already appeared in skimpy leotards and bikini’s, is once again used to fulfil Bob’s private fantasy life- Here she finds cars unbelievably sexy and songs Buster like there’s no tomorrow, and the idea of the Decepticons stealing an empty fuel tanker does undermine their credibility a bit. Still, with your brain switched of, this is a lot of harmless fun, and a fine example of a type of story Bob is shortly going to spectacularly loose the ability to write even remotely well… Oh, and as an aside, I believe that, bar flashbacks this is the first time since issue 13 we’ve had no Autobot’s in the comic.

Next up, the strain Bob was under really begins to show as he gives us Used Autobots!. This picks up where issue 30 left of, with Blaster and his whipping boy Goldbug (plus the other Throttlebots) on the run from Grimlock’s increasingly OTT leadership. RAAT, never the most capable of organisations, is here shown to be utterly inept. They have to hang round gas stations on the off chance the Autobots come tootling past, seemingly oblivious to the whopping great battle between Blaster’s Barmy Army and Vortex just down the road. This is compounded when Billy Dee Williams look-alike Walter Barnett refuses point blank to believe the bots and cons aren’t allies even when they’re virtually saying it to his face.
But that’s jumping ahead… First we have to endure the Autobot’s hiding out in a used car lot, which lets Bob embrace every second hand car cliché you’ve ever seen, from knocking the milometer back to marking up prices. As satire it’s about as biting as the average Chuckle Brothers episode, we’re meant to feel the imaginatively named Big Steve has got his comeuppance when his car lot is destroyed at the end, but considering the Autobots use very heavy handed intimidation techniques to get his help in the first place (and demand fuel without offering payment!) it’s hard not to feel sorry for him. Not even a Protectobots/Combaticons smack down helps much as the fighters seem more interested in reminding each other of their names repeatedly, just in case the reader still doesn’t know who’s who at this point. Still, the cliff-hanger, where the Protectobots capture Blaster for immediate execution after his defection is actually very good, and promises great, exciting drama in the next issue…

Oh dear oh dear. We’ll come to why issues 33 and 34 are missing further down the page, but number 35 Child’s Play, is almost the exact moment where it all goes pear shaped for the rest of Bob’s run. He was under a lot of pressure at this time, writing the Headmasters mini simultaneously, but overwork is really is no excuse for such sloppiness… Effectively what we have here is an exercise in treading water- A rather blatant attempt to pad out the climax to the Blaster/Grimlock arc till the Headmasters can join the plot in issue 41.
The plot itself is fairly simple and direct- Blaster brings the Protectobots round to his way of thinking during a fight with Bruticus- It’s the supporting cast of irritating, clichéd children (and their little bear to) that drags the whole thing down. When Blaster, who you may recall opposes Grimlock on his attitude toward the sanctity of human life, takes the kids on a joyride on a captured Blast-off you’re seriously hoping Grimlock will toast his electrons.
A quick note on the art of Don Perlin who here bows out from the comic. Whilst it’s never going to win any awards it suit’s the cartoon style of the last few issue like a glove, and is especially welcome after reviewing several volumes where Delbo is the main artist (more on him shortly). Sadly, as always Nel’s crayons let the side down- the cover to this issue being the low point of his entire TF work. Two large robots both block coloured (one of whom in pink!) on the cover, the thing that’s meant to look great and eye-catching in the shop. No wonder the UK team found it so embarrassing they let Dan Reed of all people draw a near identical replacement.

And so with a heavy heart we come to issue 36 Spacehikers! and the dawn of the Delbo. Things actually start fairly promising with the debut of Sky Lynx, a nice sarky character who a genuine drop out from the war, a relative rarity amongst the Autobots and a refreshing change. Unfortunately Delbo’s trademark random character models (in unusual poses) is evident from the second page where several characters who shouldn’t be there are shown on ancient Cybertron. No wonder the UK team didn’t bother removing Skids from latter in the issue as they had before, his appearance actually fits the art style.
The story itself is deadly, concerning the further wacky adventure of those crazy kids and their space suit wearing bear. Claims that Furman made Grimlock a likable leader are shown to be false as his cavalier attitude to the kids lives here make him my hero.
The Autobots are also incredibly dumb here, Big Grim is breaking all the rules of the Autobot code, treating his troops badly and generally of the deep end but they all meekly go along with it and then pin all their hopes on Blaster, rather than say ganging up on him and chucking him of the Ark. The story ends with another cliff-hanger as Blaster surrenders to protect the children- a cliff-hanger that won’t be resolved till issue 41- but by this point I doubt many reading would have cared enough to get excited.

The final issue in this collection is the marvellously self referential Toy Soldiers (which should have been used as the title of this collection instead of boring old Treason) returns us to the fate of the Throttlebots, captured by RATT back in issue 32. Yes, there seems to be a trend of leaving plotlines dangling long enough for the reader to have stopped caring around this time.
Thankfully, and I suspect it’s to do with the return of Ratbat (who wreaks revenge on Buster for interfering with his carwash of doom), this issue leans more towards good silly than bad silly, though not quite as entertainingly so as the first issue in this collection.
Our hero’s are scheduled for crushing, but luckily don’t have to bother with cleaver ruses or intelligent escape plans as Walter Barnett- who for years now has refused to believe in any difference between Autobots and Decepticons despite all the hard evidence to the contrary- takes about five minuets to come onside after a speech from Goldbug. His cunning plot involves putting the Autobots bodies in his sons toy cars. Which they can talk through. And drive. Utterly absurd but a fun comment on the nature of the title as a big toy advert. It also features my favourite ever (at the moment) piece of comic exposition in the classic “If just one bullet punctures a tank of that liquid nitrogen this plant will go up like the fourth of July!”.
Sadly it’s the last appearance of ‘ol Walt, and the last we see of him is handing all his problems over to poor old Buster.
Actually, lets take a moment to feel sorrow for Sparkplug Witwicky, over the last 36 issues he’s had a heart attack, been brainwashed, kidnapped and generally had a bad time. Here, in the ultimate indignity his auto repair shop is brought own on top of him by a big purple bat. Some people get all the breaks, though it does bring a much welcome element of danger in a comic that’s been heading towards having it’s own laughter track I doubt that’s much consolation for William. Or Irving.
The issue ends with a quick tie in to the Headmasters title that see Goldbug sending a distress signal from the Arks former resting place in Mt. St. Hilary and a cliff-hanger where Ratbat looms over to attack… All in all an entertaining end to a somewhat lacking collection.

The Presentation: Oh my, time for a rant. As the numerically minded amongst you may have realised this collection skips issue 33 and 34. This is due to these issues been reprints of the very first story originated by Marvel UK, The Man of Iron (originally presented in UK 9-12) and presenting them here would interrupt the flow of the story or some such (something Budiansky manages fairly well without help). This wouldn’t be such a huge problem if not for editor Simon Furman’s decision to not do any UK collections predating issue 45, effectively this was our only chance to see this hugely important strip in book form. We do at least get an explanation and the American covers (both absent from the next trade to skip an issue) but it’s a real missed opportunity. One odd note is that the cover to issue 33 is slightly different to the one I have at home- Mine has a gloriously OTT picture of Shakespeare (just to hammer home the point) in the barcode box.
As for other extra’s we got the obligatory cover gallery and a random introduction by Grimlock voice actor Greg Berger. At least his character plays a large role in the issues herein, but unfortunately he clearly hasn’t been given a copy to read (unlike the actors who introduce Titan’s James Bond) so we have to endure the old clichés about how TV casts are like one big happy family.

At this point Wildman’s covers for the trades were in a real rut, and this is indeed one of the poorer ones. Though there is some amusement to be had from the fact it looks as if Defensor should be holding the Big Issue in his outstretched hand…

The Verdict: though toped and tailed by good silly fun this collection is ultimately a very hollow one, and not helped by the meagre extra’s. Sadly this will be par for the course on the remaining Budiansky written collections.

inflatable dalek
2006-03-31, 09:56 PM
Well, slightly later than promised but once more I deliver. this is slightly more rambling than usual but i hope it's still up to specs. :)

Denyer
2006-04-01, 02:21 PM
http://tfarchive.com/comics/marvel/reprints/review.php?tpb=treason

Absolutely. :)

Quick query: have you done anything on Second Gen yet, or shall I start on it?

inflatable dalek
2006-04-01, 02:31 PM
Originally posted by Denyer
http://tfarchive.com/comics/marvel/reprints/review.php?tpb=treason

Absolutely. :)

Quick query: have you done anything on Second Gen yet, or shall I start on it?

I've reread it in depth and made some notes (mostly along the lines of "Dear God Will Simpson what were you thinking?!?!?!". there's a classic bit where he draws Buster looking like a shaven monkey...). Now I've unpacked some of my books and have easy access to the blighters it should be fairly easy to do (unlike this one, the first half of which was written before Christmas).

Do you still need a TF/GIJ DD 3 #1 review as well? My initial concern about not having a clue who the Joes were has abated slightly as (in one of the nicer concesions towards peeps who aren't fans of both franchises) everyone seems to be refered to by name at least once.

Denyer
2006-04-01, 02:37 PM
Originally posted by inflatable dalek
Do you still need a TF/GIJ DD 3 #1 review as well? Sounds good if you've got chance to do.

inflatable dalek
2006-04-01, 02:44 PM
Excellent, I'll have a quick note making sescion when i get back home. It'll be nice to review somthing that hasn't allready be done instead of trying desperately not to make sound like a tired copy of Cliffy's comic guide.

For the sake of all our sanity's I probably won't bother with the B&W stuff, as my naturally verbose style would make a review of that many stories weigh more than War and Peace...

Denyer
2006-04-01, 02:50 PM
I'm keen to do 'em, just haven't got around to it yet. :)

Haven't bothered reading the guides before reviewing, personally. Particularly on the B&W stories (many being comic relief) my opinions tend to diverge.

inflatable dalek
2006-04-01, 02:52 PM
Originally posted by Denyer
Haven't bothered reading the guides before reviewing, personally. Particularly on the B&W stories (many being comic relief) my opinions tend to diverge.

I often flick through it in order to double check certain facts about issues not in the trade (such as the number of the issue where the clifffhanger to Blasters capture gets resolved). Effectively i let Cliffy do the hard research work and I steal all the credit. :)

inflatable dalek
2006-04-08, 03:10 PM
GI Joe Vs. The Transformers Vol.3: The Art of War Issue 1
Review By Inflatable Dalek
Script: Tim Seeley
Pencils: Joe Ng
Inks: Rob Ross With M3TH
Colours: Kevin Yan, Rob Ruffolo and Tom Liu
Letters: Brian Crowley
Editor: Mike O’Sullivan
Art Produced By Voon
Voon Chief: Erik Ko

Synopsis: Following the defeat of Shockwave and the liberation of Cybertron (see volume 2) Optimus Prime sends a team to Earth to decommission all the Cybertronian technology still in the hands of GI Joe. But unbeknownst to both groups the American government has the remains of Soundwave and Megatron deep under the Joe base and has used them to retro engineer a new bio mechanical weapon: Serpent O.R. Zarana has infiltrated the scientists and given Cobra Commander information on the project, resulting in a full scale Cobra attack on the base. Though the combined Autobot/Joe force holds of the attack, the Commander makes it into the bunker and activates Serpent O.R. Unfortunately for him the weapon has access to Megatrons memories, and regards his liberator with little kindness. Taking out the remaining Cobra troops he decides to pursue the ultimate source of power in Megatrons memory… The Autobot Matrix of Leadership.

Characters featured: Megatron [Head only, plus flashback to the first Gi Joe crossover and to War Within era Cybertron], Soundwave [Head and War Within flashback], Serpent O.R, Mainframe, Perceptor, Grimlock, Bumblebee , Perceptor, Arcee, Optimus Prime [Pre-recorded message, now also in his G1 Body], Roadblock, Snake Eyes, Scarlett [All three also seen in the exo suits given to GI Joe at the end of Vol. 1], Cobra Commander, Zartan, Zarana. Plus, amongst Megatrons memories we see: Optimus Primal, Alpha Trion, Some Quintessons and possibly Unicron [See goofs].

[B]Notes: For the moment this doesn’t seem to be following up on the cliff-hanger Cobra-La/Unicron team up that ended Volume 2 (Though as Megs has memories of Unicron and Optimus has a new Earth mode there may well have been a missing adventure in-between).
Bumblebee obviously really liked his Volkswagen alt mode as he’s returned to it between mini’s- Grimlock presumably also prefers his dinosaur mode to his original tank body.
The designs Don Figueroa did for Megatron and Soundwave during the War Within comic are used for the flashbacks. Ironically the second mini used entirely new Cybertronian designs for the characters seen in it.
Megatron having memories of Optimus Primal suggests that they may have meet at some point in this continuity- Either a result of time travel escapades or something as mundane as Primal being created several million years earlier in this timeline.
It seems, based on her “I get that a lot” comment that Arcee is the only female Transformer in this continuity ala the Marvel comics. For the most part however this is following the cartoon setup- With Transformers created by the Quintessons and “Autobot Matrix of Leadership” rather than “Creation Matrix”.
Since the last mini the few remaining dedicated Decepticons have been driven back to the Gladiator zones. It’s not stated if Shockwave and Starscream survived Cobra Commanders bomb from the end of volume 2- But considering ‘ol one eye can’t seem to stay dead I’d imagine he did.
In-between mini’s Cobra have developed B.A.T’s that can combine en-mass to form “Cobratron”, a foe so fiendish and strong it takes all of five minuets to defeat him.
Unlike with the previous crossovers the company holding the Transformers licence (now IDW) has not put out a corresponding crossover of their own, and hopefully won’t be as one a year is more than enough.

Goofs: It’s somewhat naive of Optimus to expect the US Government to meekly hand over all the Cybertronian tech in their possession. Equally the Government is daft for letting the Autobots visit the base they’re hiding Megatron and Soundwave.
The base is not doubt one of the top top security instillations on US soil, surrounded by all sorts of surveillance equipment, but Cobra Commander can march a large army right up to the front door and no one notices until he opens fire.
Bad page layout makes what is a flashback (to Megatron trapped in gun mode on Cobra Commanders belt in the first mini) look like it’s part of the current action. Similarly the drawing accompanying the “Worlds of Junk” caption is a little odd- It only includes one world and Unicron- And you’d think Serpent O.R. would focus on the latter if he’s after power (unless Unicron has been defeated and the Junkions have moved into his dead body…)
Why does Optimus have a new Earth mode when he clearly has no intention of ever visiting the planet again? Did he like being a 1920’s truck so much in the last mini he thought he’d go for the latest model?

Review: The preview pages weren’t promising- The Arcee/Scarlett conversation is so embarrassing as to induce vomiting and Cobratron is about as menacing as Barry Chuckle. But surprisingly the rest of the comic is good old fashioned pulpy fun that’s best read with the brain of for maximum entertainment. It could still turn out to be a disaster if it starts taking itself seriously, and it won’t be giving IDW a run for its money for title of best TF comic of 2006, but is still worth a look. Scarlett comes across as a right slapper when she’s trying it on with Snake Eyes though (especially as that’s the longest conversation they’ve had to date in these crossovers!).

[Three Energon cube thingies out of 5].

inflatable dalek
2006-04-08, 03:11 PM
Thought I'd just post it in here rather than start a new thread. If anyones spotted any Joes/Cobra's I've missed (I only noticed the ones named out loud) feel free to point them out.

Denyer
2006-04-10, 02:16 PM
Cool. Not ignoring ya. Apologies, haven't been online much last few days, will aim to do summat with later. Shada is still best audio so far. :)

inflatable dalek
2006-04-11, 04:47 PM
That's allright- I haven't been online since posting that anyway.

The real irritant about Shada is the half hour Ford Prefect gag, just because it's the sort of thing Adams liked to do doesn't make it a good idea...

inflatable dalek
2006-05-09, 08:07 PM
GI Joe Vs. The Transformers Vol.3: The Art of War Issue 2 of 5
Review By Inflatable Dalek
Script: Tim Seeley
Pencils: Joe Ng
Inks: Rob Ross
Colours: Kevin Yan [Flats By Tom Liu]
Letters: Brian Crowley
Editor: Mike O’Sullivan
Art Produced By Voon
Voon Chief: Erik Ko

Synopsis: On Cybertron preparations for a big party celebrating the end of the war are underway when Optimus Prime is notified of the Cobra attack on the Joes base.
Meanwhile, the Autobots on Earth defeat the last of the B.A.T.’s and move underground just in time to save Bumblebee from Cobra Commanders wrath. Under interrogation he reveals his plan to steal the new Serpent O.R. weapon, finishing just as it launches an all out attack on the Joes and Autobots. Serpent O.R. is able to override the Joes battle suits but can’t affect the Autobots bodies, so instead he brings the roof down and departs for Cybertron, planning to continue the legacy of his “father” Megatron. Upon arrival he commandeers the Predacons and Seacons, the first troops in his new army.

Characters Featured: Optimus Prime, Hot Rod, Grimlock, Arcee, Perceptor, Cobra Commander, Zarana, Zartan, Bumblebee, Roadblock, Snake Eyes, Scarlett, Serpent O.R., Err, some girl Joe with a gun, any ideas people?, Nautilator, Razorclaw, Divebom, Tantrum, Rampage, Headstrong, Predaking, Piranacon.

Notes: It’s confirmed the Joes had no knowledge that the government had Decepticon body parts in their possession. A shame as it might have added some tension to proceedings.
According to Cobra Commander Serpent O.R stands for Serpent Organic Robot, and it a weapon of mass destruction. See if you can spot the little bit of political satire there.
Serpent O.R. can’t control or override Transformers as he can with other electrical systems, but he can input information into them. It’s by this means he convinces the Decepticons he finds on Cybertron he’s Megaton’s “progeny”.
Bumblebee carries a “spark (lol) for Arcee it seems. I’ve a horrible feeling I’ll be writing that a lot as the series goes on. Between the Arcee love and the big close up on Scarlett’s arse as she does the splits in mid air I expect the Baroness to show up wearing nowt but a leather thong next issue.
Also, based on the way he over reacts to just having his hand held by a girl I’d say Bumblebee is a virgin as well. But then we all knew that didn’t we?
It’s not entirely clear yet how Serpent O.R. got from Earth to Cybertron, the ship Perceptor’s team used would be the best bet, but they were shown walking into the base last issue whilst whatever means Serpy used was within it. Next issue will reveal all no doubt.
In jokes here include Serpent O.R. saying “This I command” and Cobra Commander banging on about file cards at one point.
Optimus was originally a data clerk, as he was in Dreamwave’s War Within comic. In fact, the basic plot (Super powerful being arrives on Cybertron and uses his mojo to bring one of several Decepticon fractions under his command) is more than a bit like The Dark Ages.
Grimlock is good at parties because he’s “insane”.

Goofs: *DEEP BREATH*

Hot Rod tells Optimus about the situation on Earth and the latter seems surprised by the news, even though he’s watching the events on not one but several TV screens. And if the Autobots have some sort of surveillance on the Joe base why didn’t Prime get on the phone and warn them when a large Cobra army showed up?
Isn’t it a bit premature of the Autobots to declare peace and have a big party when there are still several groups of heavily armed Decepticons out there? That’s a bit like the Allies declaring World War II over but leaving the Nazis on Jersey alone.
Serpent O.R. hates Cobra Commander, so why does he so politely wait till old hoody has finished his exposition speech before attacking everyone?
Scarlett is such a tough babe she can survive several tonnes of concrete falling on her. No wonder Snake Eyes likes her.
Cobra Commander pays his staff with cheques. Where does he bank (looks like a Halifax man to me)? Does he sign cheques “Cobra Commander”? Are terrorist activities tax deductible? If, as he says, the only reason he lets Zartan and Zarana try and escape with him is to get the cheque he gave them back, why doesn’t he just leave them to get captured/killed by the Joes? Surely Uncle Sam doesn’t let arrested terrorists cash cheques in?
Everyone on Cybertron bar Hot Rod has a Earth mode. We’ll have to put it down to a fashion craze sweeping the planet and all fractions-perhaps started by Jazz after his return home?- but then that doesn’t explain why a cool dude like Hot Rod doesn’t have one.

Review: Do you hear that sound children? It’s any potential this comic had in its first issue flushing down the toilet. This is effectively an exposition issue, nothing really happens to move the plot forward till the last few pages on Cybertron and everything else is just characters explaining things. Everything that is bar the handful of pages given over to a rubbish fight (and the Autobots should be ashamed for loosing to a man who throws snakes, no matter what other powers he has).
With so little happening you really need witty and memorable dialogue to make it work, unfortunately every line is horrid (Optimus Prime says “peashooters”!) and the more people explain the plot the less it makes sense.
Still “Art of War” is an appropriate title for a book drawn by Joe Ng as the art is slightly less pleasing than a photo of mutilated limbs on a battlefield. Truly dire.

[One Energon Cube, but only because I suspect the next issue may well be worse…]

Denyer
2006-05-10, 09:34 PM
Cheers. :)

Right -- memo to self: this, FCBD, WWT, manga. For starters.

If the female Joe is in army fatigues, it's probably Lady Jaye. If in a furlined flying jacket it might be Cover Girl / Agent Courtney Krieger.

http://www.myuselessknowledge.com/joe/joeenc.html

inflatable dalek
2006-05-12, 11:06 AM
I believe it might be Hawk in drag. I'll have to double check the jacket when I get home.

inflatable dalek
2006-06-06, 02:08 PM
GI Joe vs. The Transformers, Volume 3: The Art of War #3 of 5
A review by Inflatable Dalek [With Special Thanks to Aardvark for help with character identification]

Script:: Tim Seeley
Pencils: Joe Ng and James Raiz
Inks: Rob Ross & M3TH
Colours: Kevin Yan & Rob Ruffolo (Flats By Tom Liu)
Letters: Brian Crowley
Editor: Mike O'Sullivan
Art Produced By: Voon
Voon Chief: Erik Ko
Special Thanks To: Mark Powers.

Synopsis: The Autobots and the Joes pursue Serpent O.R. through the space bridge- which is so badly damaged it can only manage one trip before breaking leaving Hawk without backup to call on.
Arriving in the Gladiator Zone they are attacked by Canabalizers- derelict Transformers after spare parts. This soon becomes the least of their problems when Serpent O.R's new Decepticon army- now also including the Stunticons- arrives. Serpent O.R kills Bumblebee as a sadistic gesture and has the rest taken as potential hostages to the Predacon base he is using as a headquarters.
An increasingly worried Optimus sends Hot Rod in charge of a team to investigate why his troops materialised in the Gladiator Zone and why they now seem to have vanished. But Springer and Sandstorm, already on a scout round completely miss the gathering Decepticons thanks to Serpent O.R's inbuilt stealth technology.

After adding the Terrorcons to his ranks Serpent O.R. launches a full on attack on the Capital City where the peace celebrations are underway. Omega Supreme sees of the Triple Changers and Six Shot, but seems certainly doomed when three combiners launch a full scale attack on him...

Characters Featured: Hawk (also seen as a young boy in flashback), Perceptor, Bumblebee (Killed by Serpent O.R.), Roadblock, Mainframe, Scarlett, Snake Eyes, Serpent O.R. (In flashback and the living synthetic flesh), Megatron (Flashback), Firewall, Grimlock, Shockwave's arm, Piranacon, Predaking, Dead End, Wildrider, Drag Strip, Breakdown, Motormaster, Optimus Prime, Hot Rod, Razorclaw, Sandstorm, Springer, Headstrong, Divebomb, Rampage, Hun Grrr, Tentakill, Nautilator, Viewfinder, Rippersnapper, Blot, Six Shot, Octane, Blitzwing, Laserbeak, Skids, Omega Supreme, Astrotrain, Menasor. We also see on a monitor screen file pics of: Quick Kick, Lady Jane, Storm Shadow, Beach Head plus two others yet to be identified. There are also two other characters in the Decepticon crown scene that could be any Combiner members really...

Notes: Serpent O.R should have had fail safes stopping the Megatron downloads becoming the controlling force but they seem to have failed through Meg’s sheer force of will. He has access to an information web vastly superior to the Internet that specialises in Military history. The name originates from the scientists thinking the Cybertonian technology was as tempting as the snake that offered Eve the apple (and yes, naming your project after something that seemed to good to be true that promptly went badly wrong is a stupid idea. No doubt if they were building a boat they'd have called it Titanic...)

They mystery of how Serpent O.R got to Cybertron last issue is explained here: There is a spacebridge terminal at the Joe's base. How it got into it's damaged state here though is yet to be explained (did Serpent O.R. rig up a explosion to go off after he went through?).

One of the Canibalizers seen here has Shockwave's arm- an unusually subtle (for this comic) way of confirming he did indeed die at the end of the last mini. Or at least is mostly armless now anyway...

It is possible the death of Bumblebee is leading up to an appearance by Goldbug, but Serpent O.R's sarcastic remark before delivering the killing blow ("Perhaps with some medical attention he could recover") and the fact he senses something leave Bumblebee's body (his spark no doubt) suggest a more permanent death,

Serpent O.R. now has just about every combiner and triple changer in his ranks (except the Combaticons oddly enough) including Reflector.

When faced with certain death Snake Eyes and Scarlett face their feelings and snog like no tomorrow. Awwwwwww. Hawk and Roadblock politely ignore whatever they do when the camera pans away from them and talk about Tyra Banks instead.

Omega Supreme seems to be the main defence for Cybertrons Capital City.

For this issue fellow Dreamwave refuge James Raiz (mostly recently seen making Death's Head 3.0 the mediocre failure it was) helps Ng with the pencilling. No pages are credited but he almost certainly did the pages of the Joe's in the box.

This issue has not one, but two almost identically worded adverts for a competition to get taught self-publishing by Josh Baylock (one in the Devils due nues). I mention it as one of the things entries will be judged on is effective marketing ideas, which presumably would include not running the same advert twice in one comic…

Goofs:
Bumblebee drives right into Predaking’s leg seemingly without seeing two giant combiners and four Stunticons standing right in front of him until he bashes his brain out. I suppose it’s possible Serpent O.R is using his amazing stealth technology to hide them from Bumblebee till it’s to late- But Perceptor detected roughly twenty movement signals- A total that only makes sense if it includes the nearby Decepticons.

Similarly the New Decepticon army is able to get right to the centre of Capital City even though there’s no indication the stealth tech makes them invisible- did none of the 100’s of Autobots on the street see them before they opened fire?

Springer and Sandstorm’s speech bubbles are swapped making it look as if Sandstorm is talking about himself in the third person. Also, when Divebomb shouts out to Tantrum that Hun Grrr has insulted him Headstrong runs over [Headstrong is just very protective of his fellow Predacons]. Did Ng even bother reading the script?

Generally the art is awful, from Scourge doing the Highland fling on the cover right the way through to Astrotrain having a different colour scheme on the back cover advert for next issue to the one he actually has in the comic. As can be seen in this thread here: http://tfarchive.com/community/showthread.php?s=&threadid=34382&perpage=10&pagenumber=8 the vast majority of discussion about this issue was give over to debating who half the people in it were. It shouldn’t take someone with a fairly decent knowledge of TF’s five minuets to work out that yes; it is Six Shot looking fat leading the air bound Decepticons. Other bad art highlights include the Autobot with mad blue eyes who needs to switch to decaf and Arcee’s bizarre expression when tied up by Energon bonds. Does bad art count as a goof? In this case I say it does because this would be so much better without the modern day versions of Jose Delbo and Nel Yomotov handling art and colouring chores…

Review: After last issue I’d decided this title had jumped the shark fully and stood no chance of becoming as enjoyably camp as the first issue. So I was in for a pleasant surprise when this turned out to be a vastly improved read- Still not as good as the inaugural issue but it seems that having got the dull exposition stuff out of the way last month this has settled down into being a fun romp fight.
It isn’t quiet all rose’s though. The Arcee/Bumblebee interaction reaches a new low with him chasing for a kiss (but at least that ceases to be a problem here) and lots of dodgy dialogue abounds, especially in the Scarlett and Snake Eyes getting it on scene.
Rather amazingly though, there’s also some great stuff, here. Bumblebee’s death is genuinely unexpected and rather nasty (lets just hope he stays dead). The idea of the Decepticons venerating Megatron as an almost mythical legend they’d do anything for is fantastic, and such a pleasant change from the infighting we normally see. In fact this is the best comic portrayal of Megs in a long time and he’s only in the comic for one panel!
If it keeps up this momentum then it could win a “Most fun TF comic of 2006” award, lets just hope the quality doesn’t nosedive again next month.
And Shockwaves arm rocked frankly.

[Three out of five Energon cubes]

inflatable dalek
2006-06-06, 02:22 PM
*IGNORE THIS POST*

Denyer
2006-06-08, 02:53 AM
Aces!

inflatable dalek
2006-06-08, 02:02 PM
I've edited a rather glaring phrasing mistake on my part ("Astrotrain being in the wrong cover..." Rather than "Astrotrain being in the wrong colour scheme) but it should be mistake free now.

He says.

Denyer
2006-06-09, 07:38 AM
That look alright now?

http://tfarchive.com/comics/idw/gijoevstransformers3_3a.php

inflatable dalek
2006-06-09, 02:23 PM
Apart from the words it looks great.

inflatable dalek
2006-07-11, 11:06 AM
GI Joe Vs. The Transformers Volume 3: The Art of War Issue 4 of 5
A Review By Inflatable Dalek.

Script: Tim Seeley
Pencils: Joe Nig, James Raiz & Alex Milne
Inks: Rob Ross, M3TH & Alan Tam
Colours: Rob Ruffolo, Kevin Yan & Tom Liu
Letters: Brian Crowley
Editor: Mike O'Sullivan
Art Produced By Voon
Voon Chief: Erik Ko
Special Thanks To: Mark Powers.

Synopsis: Omega Supreme falls, and Optimus Prime is presented with an ultimatum: Surrender himself and the Matrix to SerpentO.R or the carnage continues. Prime agrees on the condition that the human hostages are released- When this is agreed to the Decepticons withdraw with him as their prisoner.

At the Terrordrome in Siberia Cobra Commander is now convinced what he has learnt of SerpentO.R will give him the power of a God.

Back on Cybertron SerpentO.R visits Hawk, and admits confusion as to why he feels no emotion over his achievements, to date in his short life only killing Bumblebee- and see his spark die- has given him any sort of emotional response. When Hawk points out he's a machine doing what he does not out of any desire but because he doesn't know how not to SerpentO.R briefly looses control and angrily strikes his prisoner. He quickly regains his composure however and promises to consider what has been said- and to guarantee the Joe's a quick death when the time comes.

Snake Eyes is able to use his amazing Ninja powers to mentally take control of one of his cell guards- who promptly shoots the other and lets the captives go before falling asleep. The Joes them go and release Perceptor's team but are soon severely out gunned as more Decepticons arrive.

As Hot Rod assembles a rescue team Prime is brought before SerpentO.R- Who reveals his ultimate goal isn't anything as grand as power over Cybertron or the universe, he wants to use the Matrix to give him a soul or spark, something that will allow him to experience the full range of emotions. When SperpentO.R is distracted by an alarm alerting him to the escape of the prisoners Optimus frees himself and prepares to deliver a killing blow...

On Earth the Warpgate has been repaired and a full scale Joe army has assembled. Even though they're limited on what they can take by the size of the portal they still intend to go to Cybertron as "GI Joe doesn't leave anyone behind... no matter what".

Characters featured: Onega Supreme [Deactivated], Optimus Prime, Sixshot [Deactivated-Smashed into Piranacon's face] Piranacon [Deactivated by Sixshot smashing into his face], Astrotrain, Menasor, Reflector, Jetfire War Within/Stormbringer design], SerpentO.R, Zartan, The Baroness, Cobra Commander, Dr. Knox, Hawk, Roadblock, Breakdown ["Ninja'd" by Snake Eyes], Nautilator [Deactivated- Shot by a "ninja'd" Breakdown], Snake Eyes, Scarlett, Hot Rod, Sideswipe, Ultra Magnus, Tracks, Kup, Ratchet , Prowl, Clifjumper, Warpath, Ironhide, Tantrum, Rampage [Deactivated by Grimlock], Hun Gurrr, Motormaster, Grimlock, Perceptor, Arcee, Buzzsaw, Headstrong, Divebomb, Drag Strip, Rippersnapper, Firewall, Mainframe, Stalker, Duke, Lady Jane, Storm Shadow, Beach Head, Sci-Fi, Flash, Gung-Ho.

Notes: Since the nuking of Cobra Island in volume 1 the organisation has set up base in the Terrordrome in Siberia. It's confirmed that the Baroness also escaped capture by GI Joe at the end of volume 2- Meaning poor old Mindbender was the only definite capture they got that time.

The cliffhanger to the second volume is given an off-hand mention by Cobra Commander- He thinks SerpentO.R. means he won't need Mindbender's "Lobster wearing friends". Which is somewhat ironic as in [I]GI Joe: The Movie SerpentO.R. is the creation of Cobra-La.

Hot Rod seems to be in a much higher position of authority here than in other continuities- He's in charge of Prime's rescue mission and seems to outrank such big players as Ultra Magnus, Prowl and Jetfire.

Snake Eyes has mystical Ninja training that allows him to exert an influence over any sentient mind- even alien ones as drastically different as the Transformers [See Goofs]. This presumably doesn't last very long as Breakdown is promptly put to sleep when a cannon fodder zombie could well have come in handy. It also seems to take a prolonged period of staring, as Snake Eyes doesn't simply "Ninja" the next Decepticons he comes across (or indeed any of the ones he's meet previously).

Two (fairly strong) humans can just about carry an average sized Transformer gun.

Another Dreamwave survivor joins the art team this issue, former Energon drawer Alex Milne joins Raiz and Ng. Based on style he did at least the page of Hot Rod's briefing, but other than that the three artists mostly mesh well (Hun Gurr and Motormaster are more stylised that in previous issues is about the only other difference I spotted) and it's hard to tell them apart. Three different colourists working with them do lead to some wacky inconsistencies though [see Goofs- Again].

SerpentO.R's memories from human generals are detailed enough to include their feelings on being captured and held prisoner at different points in their lives, but he has little understanding of or empathy with emotions. His desire for a "soul" seems to have been brought about by his first experience of real emotion when killing Bumblebee (or rather what he experienced when he saw the Bug's spark leave his shell)- This effectively changed his plans for the Matrix from a grandiose need for a object of ultimate power to a much more personal desire for something more in his life.

The Stargate... Err Warpgate can only be extended to a certain size- Seemingly about that of three tanks in a row.

Goofs: Lets get the big bug bear out of the way: I'm not familiar enough with GI: Joe to comment on how atypical Snake Eyes Ninja powers are in this issue- But I do know that as far as this continuity goes there's been absolutely no set up or indication the guy with a big sword can hypnotise anybody, a breaking of Checkov's Law that shows what an important part of storytelling it is (for those who don't know, Checkov's law roughly states: "If your character fires a gun in the third act it must be seen hanging on the wall in the first act"- In other words if our hero's use any device or ability to save the day you need to establish they have that device/ability beforehand so it doesn't seem contrived. Aliens has a great example, five minuets near the start is given over to shown that Ripley can not only use the Power Loaders but can use them well, setting up her kicking of the Alien Queens arse at the end of the movie). Even mentioning Snakey can hypnotise people would have helped. And the idea it would work on Transformers is pushing suspension of disbelief to its limits. How can you make someone look you in the eye when their eye is bigger than your whole head?

Speaking of poor story telling- the end of the last issue set up a huge Omega Supreme Vs. The Combiners fight that is curtailed down to one panel of Omega falling over here.

Astrotrain is now in his "albino" colour scheme rather than his "vimto" scheme he was in last issue.

Sixshot's definition of a coward is a man who does a single-handed attack on a heavily armed foe and wins. What's his definition of a bally hero I wonder?

Why is Optimus Prime making a "Digital Log" in the middle of a pitched life and death struggle? No doubt he was inspired by Captain Kirk's amazing ability to make his Captain's Log in all sorts of frenzied situations without moving his lips. Also, both the logs we've seen Prime make so far in this mini have involved some very Rodimus like moaning about how the responsibilities of leadership weigh heavy upon him and his longing for his pre-Matrix life, all of which seems a tad out of character. I'll let his seeming stupidity in surrendering to SerpentO.R. go for now as it seems it may well be part of a cunning plan.

Why, out of all the Autobot army does Hot Rod include Cliffjumper and Warpath on his team? They won't be much use against Predaking or Menasor now will they?

Last issue the Decepticons had to drill air holes in ammo boxes because they didn't have human sized cells for GI Joe- Yet here they suddenly do here (probably a result of whoever drew the pages of the Joe's in jail here not knowing what their cell was supposed to look like...)

How long would it take the Joes to carry that gun across even one Transformer scale room? A few hours? I suppose it's possible that much time elapses, but it does make SerpentO.R's security look rubbish.

Why is Optimus tied up in chains rather than Energon bonds as Perceptor and co were last issue? Again, I'll leave the issue of his easy escape till next issue has a chance to explain it.

Review: Fun, very flawed fun but fun anyway. SerpentO.R is shaping up to be a great baddy, not particularly original (he evokes memories of the Fallen and Sunstorm from Dreamwaves era) but very well executed. His conversations with Hawk and Prime are fantastic and almost make you believe you're reading a quality comic for a second- it's hard not to sympathise for a guy whose only experience of joy is killing Bumblebee.
Elsewhere things aren't so solid, bad art and plot madness (hello Ninja'd Breakdown) have you hitting your head against the wall- but apart from the Snake Eyes thing it mostly just stays on the right side of kitsch. And as long as the next issue doesn't try to cram too much in (I'm hoping the Cobra Commander plot is a set up for a fourth cross over rather than something that'll be dealt with next time) we should be heading towards an enjoyably camp final.

[Three Energon Cubes out of Five]

inflatable dalek
2006-07-11, 11:07 AM
Four down- One to go.

Denyer
2006-07-14, 12:45 AM
Gracias.

inflatable dalek
2006-10-14, 04:32 PM
GI Joe Vs. The Transformers Volume 3: The Art of War Issue 5 of 5
Review by Inflatable Dalek

Script: Tim Seeley.
Pencils: Alex Milne, Joe Ng & James Raiz.
Inks: Rob Ross.
Colours: Rob Ruffolo & Kevin Yan
Letters: Brian Crowley.
Editor: Mike O'Sullivan
Art Produced By: Voon.
Voon Chief: Eric Ko.

Synopsis:
Optimus quickly bests Serpent O.R, but the combined forces of the Decepticons soon overcomes him- But not before he has chance to order Hot Rod to begin the joint Autobot/Joe attack.
Serpent O.R takes the Matrix, and is changed into Serpentor Prime, a Transformer sized mechanoid. However the change is more than just physical, the Matrix has given him new perspective on life and he now sees the error of his ways. Unfortunately he gets little chance to enjoy his new outlook as a device planted on him by Zarten in issue one kicks into effect, giving Cobra Commander complete control of his body. He quickly takes great pleasure in attacking the Transformers in the vicinity, including the Autobots who have just beaten the bulk of the Decepticon forces.
As the Commander prepares to deliver a killing blow on Arcee, Hawk rushes forward and climbs the mechanical body in order to reach and touch the Matrix, which instantly finds him a more worthy host. This leaves Cobra Commander a vegetable back in his mind control chair back in Siberia, and Hawk a mystical being of unknown powers, even after the Matrix is returned to Optimus.
As things return to normal on Cybertron a monument is built to Bumblebee, Scarlette and Snake Eyes pursue their relationship and Optimus knows that even though the current threat has passed there will be others, but the combined Human/Autobot forces will be more than able to handle it.

Characters Featured: Optimus Prime, Serpent O.R/ Serpentor Prime [Mind wiped By Cobra Commander], Razorclaw, Motormaster, Hun Grrr, Octane, Onslaught, Hot Rod, Ultra Magnus, Kup, Jetfire, Ironhide, Cliffjumper, Stalker, Duke, Lady Jane, Storm Shadow, Beach Head, Sci-Fi, Flash, Gung-Ho, Hawk, Roadblock, Rippersnapper, Overkill, Snake Eyes, Scarlett, Grimlock, Runamuck [Arm torn off by Grimlock], Perceptor, Arcee, Trypticon, Scourge (Or Possibly a Sweep), Four Sweeps (One of whom may be Scourge...), Shrapnel, Brawl, Vortex, Blast-Off, Swindle, Barrage, Venom, Thrust, Rumble/Frenzy (Take your pick), Wildrider, Snarl, Kickback, Cobra Commander , Omega Supreme [Reactivated Since Last Issue], Doctor Mindbender [In a "Flash-forward of the threats Optimus imagines they will face in the future. He's wearing a kinky Cobra-La outfit], Nemesis Enforcer [Flash-forward], Several Royal Guard, Iron Klaw, Dusty, Spirit, Flint, Rock'N'Roll, Fast Draw, Cover Girl.

Notes: Serpent O.R. is specifically referred to as Serpentor Prime once he has the Matrix, weather Cobra Commander and Hawk also deserve the distinction I'll leave up to you gentle reader.
The exact nature of Dr. Knox's mind control chair is left unspecified, bar the fact it operates through a device placed on Serpent O.R back in the first issue. It's most likely the product of Cybertronian technology Cobra got their mitts on in Volume I.
The idea that the Matrix brings out the better nature of the bearer was established in the [i]Generation 2 comic, the concept it could have long term effects on organic life even after being separated from it was seen in the Matrix Quest Arc (Marvel US issues 62-66). This however is the first time we see a human wielding the power, and the long term effects on Hawk are unclear bar the glowing eyes. Optimus does think he'll go onto lead humanity into a new golden era though.
Bumblebee, against all expectations, is indeed as dead as a parrot. He has a rather badly drawn statue built in his name though, which prompts Arcee to cry.
The Autobots are more than happy to turn a blind eye to Grimlock torturing a prisoner for information. Though ironically they ultimately don't need the stuff he prises from Runamuck in order to find Prime once the Matrix light show starts.
Overkill has fantasies of a harem full of blue and red "Girl-Bots", killing any claims of asexuality the Transformers might have in this continuity.
Cobra/Serpentor Prime states that Starscream is indeed dead.
The appearance of Cobra La is another reference to the cliff-hanger of the second volume, but thankfully just seems to be a sly reference to those who care rather than a serious suggestion there's any plans to follow up on this. Indeed, the ending seems to be fairly closed- Though volume IV is in the works at the time of writing.

Goofs: Octane is not only all purple, he seems to be hanging out with the Combiner leaders.
Once again Snake Eyes is easily able to kill advanced outer space robot people by stabbing them with a sharp bit of metal. Though at least it stops Overkill going into to much detail on his sexual fantasies.
Someone needs to point out to Grimlock that if he went through on his threat to remove Runamucks head the poor Battlecharger won't be able to tell him anything (though considering how sexed up these Transformers are Big Grim might well not mean the head on his shoulders...)
Where did Hawk buy that nice cloak from on Cybertron? Why do none of the Joe's seem that fussed about going home?
Throughout the preceding issues Serpent O.R's name has been constantly spelt that way- Here he's suddenly changed it to the plain Serpentor even before he gets the Matrix (for consistencies sake the above review sticks to Serpent O.R throughout, but Serpentor Prime for the super version).

Review: There's no depth or subtlety here, it's just a big "Everyone fights!!!" issue. It is however, a worthy climax that entertains as long as you don't think about to much- A almost perfect conclusion of the entire series. Good points include Bumblebee staying dead, and permanent changes being made to characters like Hawk which will have to be followed up on in the next mini. Bad points include a non-humanoid cassette having sexual fantasies about "Girl Bots" which conjures up disturbing Transformers/Animal Farm crossover imagery and that most of the main cast bar Optimus and Serpent O.R being sidelined. All in all though, a surprisingly good climax to a surprisingly good crossover.
[three Energon cubes out of five]

inflatable dalek
2006-10-14, 04:35 PM
A very late final review... I'm no where close to having all the Joes in here down, so if anyone can fill blanks/correct mistakes I'll love them long time. Especially if they nake the Skeleotor knock off on the last page...

LKW
2006-10-14, 09:38 PM
Okay, got out the issue, checked out a hunch, and have some answers for you, Inflatable Dalek:

Firstly - I think it's meant to be that "Paradron" nurse TF telling Prime to be careful with his repairs on page 21.

As for "Skeletor" - I remembered a filler line of G.I. Joe, Sgt. Savage, and thought that might be the bad guy from that line. I checked yojoe.com... and it's not. But - the next year, 1996, brought a follow-up line I'd forgotten about, G.I. Joe Extreme - ooo! :rolleyes: - and that 's where Seely got Mr. Ree Hee Hee from. The baddie's name is Iron Klaw (yes, they managed to rip off two Marvel villains, Doctor Demonicus and Klaw, master of sound, with one guy), and he fights Joes including Sgt. Savage in 2010. (On this page, though, he appears to be fighting Duke, in one of his more recent outfts.) Oh, and the troops in the Cobra-La-la-lalalala picture are called "Royal Guard" (hmm... MOTU, Marvel, now Star Wars - is it a coincidence that some of the worst G.I. Joe ideas also seem to be derivative rip-offs?).

Page five/ "Yo Joe" Joes also include, from left: Dusty (desert camo guy); Spirit (left background; despite a splash of green, I believe that's supposed to be his black hair. The outfit is one he wore circa the G2 crossover - and which wasn't available as a figure until the recent Direct-to-Consumer line. They also made a figure of the previously comic-only Medi-Viper from that same storyline, and have continued the comic three packs, which have given us other comic-exclusive charaters such as Kwinn and the full Oktober Guard, and comic outfits, including the pretty nifty Stalker/Snake-Eyes/Storm Shadow Vietnam LLRP set. ...Oops, where was I?); Flint (beret guy front and center); Rock'n'Roll (yellow beard; also on page nine, right side); and Fast Draw (red helmet with visor guy on the right).

Page nine - Cover Girl (very right middle of the page, to the right of Hot Rod and Rock'n'Roll. She's also, albeit with shorter hair [the style of her original figure] the woman on the front right portion of the "B" cover.).

That's all the missing that I see. Good luck with your - very good - review, Mr. Dalek; nice work describing both the plot and the goofy-yet-entertainingness of the thing!

Denyer
2006-10-15, 05:07 PM
Shall I hang fire until you've got the ID bits edited in?

inflatable dalek
2006-10-15, 06:48 PM
Originally posted by Denyer
Shall I hang fire until you've got the ID bits edited in?

Tis all done nowm so feel free to do with it what thou wilt. Thatnks a great deal LKW, I love you long time.

I'm currently doing a Shockwave Spotlight review just for the sheer joy of reviwing a comic with just half a dozen or so non-obscure peeps in it.

LKW
2006-10-15, 07:19 PM
Happy I could be of assistance!

inflatable dalek
2006-10-16, 03:29 PM
Transformers Spotlight Issue 1: Shockwave
A Review By Inflatable Dalek

Written By: Simon Furman
Art By: Nick Roche
Colours By: Josh Buacham
Cover Art By: James Raiz and Nick Roche
Letters By: Sulaco Studios.
Edits By: Day Taylor

Synopsis:
Millions of years ago: Shockwave, realising the war on Cybertron will son devastate the planet, sets in a motion a plan that sees him seeding Energon on several uninhabited planets, including prehistoric Earth. Arriving there to collect samples he is unknowingly tracked by the Dynobots- a crack team under the command of Grimlock out for revenge after Shockwave showed them up when they attempted to steal Energon from him previously.
The high Energon build up on the planet forces them to adopt alternate modes with an organic covering, with Grimlock deciding the fossils of long extinct Dinosaurs are the perfect choice.
Announcing their presence by destroying his ship the Dynobots initially have the upper hand in battle, until Shockwave examines their attack and decides to create a "synthetic" rage to counter the extreme anger they exhibit. After beating the Dynobots into Stasis Lock Shockwave attempts to leave the planet in their ship, but learns Grimlock leaves nothing to chance as the ship attacks him, burying them all in lava.
On Cybertron Megatron has Bludgeon launch an investigation into Shockwaves disappearance.
2006: In Eureka, Nevada an archaeological dig uncovers a large purple hand...

Characters Featured: Shockwave ( :) ), Grimlock, Swoop, Sludge, Snarl, Slag, Optimus Prime [flashback], Megatron Bludgeon.

Notes:
Shockwave's concerns over the future of Cybertron were shown to be true in the Stormbringer miniseries. Similarly, the Energon Shockwave plants on Earth here will go on to be uncovered by Starscream in Infiltration.

The main plot is a reworking and expansion of the fight between the same combatants in the Savage Land seen in flashback in issue 7 of the Marvel US comic. The idea of prehistoric Earth being seeded with Energon, the partly organic alt modes to prevent Energon build up and the notion of Stasis Lock all originated in the Beast Wars television show. The name Dynobots, their Cybetronain modes and indeed the very notion of Shockwave being behind everything were part of Dreamwave continuity. So in other words, there's a lot sourced from other places here.

Shockwave refers to the Predacons as one of Megatrons tactical assault units, a role they still seem to be filling in Stormbringer.

During battle the Dynobots communicate by internal radio, which Shockwave can tune into [Most likely this is normally done in code, but here they don't give a toss if Shockwave listens or not]. This is something we very rarely see in other Transformer fights so it may well be a Dynobot thing.

This is the first IDW comic to confirm that the War has been going on for at least a few million years, with Megatron in command of the Decepticons for the bulk of that time.

At the moment Shockwaves full plan for the super Energon isn't entirely clear, but it no doubt involves a coup of some sort.

Shockwave states that after stabilising the Energon will become inert, explaining why the Transformers in Infiltration don't need the organic covering (no doubt they've developed better shielding as well).

For the first time since... Ohhhh, his original stint as Autobot leader in the Marvel comic Grimlock manages to get through an entire issue speaking completely normally. Though if I were a betting man I'd put good money on the fight here doing permanent damage to his vocal circuits.

By the end of the issue the majority of the organic covering has been burnt/shoot/ripped off the Dynobots- Thus leaving them in their "classic" G1 look for their next appearance.

Irish artist Nick Roche has previously done covers for Infitration and the British DVD releases of Masterforce and Victory, not to mention a well-received fan comic A Rage In Hell. This is however his first interior work on a Transformers comic.

Goofs:

Shockwaves seeding of Earth with large amounts super energon does rather raise the question of why humanity has never found or been able to exploit this amazing fuel source (in Beast Wars the Energon placed here by the Vok is destroyed by them long before we start strip mining places). Of course, the same applies to the naturally occurring energon in (duh) Energon.

It's deeply illogical of Shockwave to assume that there wouldn't be some sort of booby trap stopping just anyone stealing it.

Despite what Jurassic Park teaches us the odds of finding any DNA on dinosaur fossils are very high indeed.

A minor shame is the time scale established here (after being implied in Stormbringer). One of the best things about Infiltration was the loss of the four million years the Autobots spent asleep in the Ark. The idea of a war going on that long without someone wining is idiotic, as is the relatively small changes in status quo. Unfortunately this issue not only makes it clear this is a very long running war, but by showing Megatron's been Decepticon leader for that long without actually achieving much does rather undo the new sense of menace Infiltration gave him.

Review: I wasn't really looking forward to this one. Whilst I know it makes sense for Spotlight to kick off with well known characters the thoughts of the hugely over exposed Shockwave and Grimlock getting more screen time failed to excite me. As did the fact that the whole story is little more than a remake of a perfectly good comic I already have. Frankly I was just waiting for the Nightbeat one to get all my praise.

I was wrong in almost everyway. There's nothing new or shocking here, Shockers and Grims behaviour will only surprise those who haven't read a Transformers comic before, but as a rollicking action issue that serves to re-establish this characters in this continuity it's very hard to beat. The subtle way it plays off plot points already set in motion and sets up future ones is fantastic, it was only when preparing this review I realised exactly how much foreshadowing is slipped under the radar. Another plus point is the art; Roach infuses every panel with personality and does an amazing job (more please).
All in all, one of the best things IDW have doe to date.
[4 Energon cubes out of 5].

inflatable dalek
2006-10-16, 03:31 PM
There we go peeps, a wonderfully easy eview to do (and it was nice to be reviewing something good and relatively goof free for a change).

When I finish the other 50 things I'm doing at the moment I'll probably do a "Super Special Edition" reworking of the Art of War reviews- Put them on one page ala Cliffy's comic guide, remove a few redundancies from the earlier ones and gennerally update everything now the whole things out.

chiasaur11
2006-10-17, 04:25 PM
Cons could take a long time to win or lose. I mean- this is an intergalactic war. Lots of skirmishes to do, and takes a while to do it. Maybe not 16000000 years type war, but still much longer than human wars. Also the dino might just be how it looks. It could be mammal style leather on top. Interesting to note (I may be wrong) Slag seems to be the tech guy.

inflatable dalek
2006-10-17, 04:30 PM
Originally posted by chiasaur11
Cons could take a long time to win or lose.

Well yes they do. And it makes them look utterly rubish. Evil warriors Vs. Pansy Pascifists lasting longer than five seconds is just daft.

inflatable dalek
2006-10-20, 08:46 PM
Transformers Second Generation review By Inflatable Dalek
Reprints: The Transformers #59-65, 93, 145, 198 and Dreadwing Down from the Transformers Annual 1989. [Marvel UK]
Plot: Barry Kitson (#59, 60), Simon Furman (#145)
Written By: Simon Furman (#59-64, 198, A89), James Hill (#93) Ian Rimmer [Uncredited on the TPB Credits Page] (#145)
Art: Barry Kitson #(59, 64) Will Simpson (#61, 62) John Stoakes (#63) Tim Perkins (#64) Jeff Anderson (#65) Dan Reed (A89)
Pencils: Barry Kitson (#60), Martin Griffiths (93), Jeff Anderson (#145), Andrew Wildman (#198).
Inks: Tim Perkins (#60, 93), Stephen Baskerville (#145, 198).
Colours: Josie Firmin (#59) Tim Cooks (#60), John Burns (#61, 62), J Firmin, (#63) W&D (#64), Tony Jozwiak (#65) Steve White (#93) Euan Peters (#145, 198, A89).
Letters: Annie Halfacree (#59, 60, 65, 145), Mike Scott (#61-64), Robin Rigg (#93), GLIB (# 198 A89).
Editors: Ian Rimmer (#59-65, 93) Chris Francis [Pseudonym for Simon Furman- Only used In house and un-credited on actual comic] (#145, 198, A89).

In A Nutshell: A rare example of the UK comic being used as a gratuitous toy advert as Furman has to come up with a way of introducing the combiners before they're created in the US reprints- Dream sequences ahoy. And also, a very merry Christmas to those of you at home...

The Stories: For the most part Simon Furman was allowed to do what he liked on the UK comic strip- The US reprints that filled half the years issues took care of the advert nature of the comic and generally neither Hasbro or Marvel never seemed to shown very much interest in the contents as long as nothing absolutely insane happened.
There are only really three instances of Hasbro directly insisting the UK strip do some toy advertising. The second is the World's Apart! two parter (#130-131) that served to give the Headmasters a main strip debut whilst the American mini-series that introduced them was run as a back up, it was simply a matter of giving the characters a little side adventure set during their own title. The third and final time saw Furman being asked to focus on all his favourite characters in the comics latter black and white days so as to plug the classic hero line, something that was more of a joy than a chore for him. The first time round however he was presented with a perhaps insurmountable problem, writing a story about the special teams (Protectobots, Combaticons etc) some months before the American strips that showed their creation were to be reprinted. This arc makes up the bulk of this trade and perhaps unsurprisingly represents some of the weakest UK strip material.

Things kick of with the two part Robot Buster!, a prelude to the main action but easily the most enjoyable part of the Second Generation storyline. As the title suggests the focus is very much on the Autobot's human ally, young Buster Witwicky, and it tells a very old story seen numerous times across various versions of the franchise- Optimus forbids one of the kids from getting more involved in the War, they go behind his back and wind up proving their worth.
Except this does it with a twist. Prime's anger and shock at Wheeljack and Ratchet wasting time they should be spending on fixing wounded soldiers building a robot suit for Buster instead is ultimately vindicated. Buster might just be able to hold his own against Shockwave when he inadvertently stumbles across him but if the Autobot's hadn't arrived when they did he'd have been toast very shortly after. Sadly this affirmation that the War is a dangerous place for any humans to be is undone by Optimus letting Buster have a room on the Ark- Something I don't believe is ever referenced to again. This is more than made up for however by some of the best character work Shockwave ever received. His post traumatic stress after not one but two prolonged periods buried alive is fantastically realised.
Art wise, Barry Kitson (who also potted this two parter) does a mostly fine job, though his Shockwave seems to have a cute large head. As the story ends with Shockwave making dark hints about the importance of Buster the comic seems to be setting up another excellent arc.

Sadly though the wheels come off with the next two parter- Devastation Derby!, a weak and clichéd story that barely has enough real plot for one issue. The main meat of the story is Buster's Matrix induced dreams of the combiners, and Soundwave's realisation of the importance of this- Interspersed with "wacky" action at a Demolition Derby.
The realisation of the latter is hampered by awful, awful art by Will Simpson, probably the worst penciler the UK comic ever produced. Dan Reed is an acquired taste, but at least his wobbly Transformers seemed a deliberate attempt at style, Simpson frequently seems to be only half trying- and if you're going to do an action story an artist who can't draw action is a serious hindrance. He also manages to make Buster look like a shaven ape on several occasions.
Buster's plot is also filled with extreme silliness- From his father's straw man characterisation (Going from hating the Autobot's in previous issues to going to them for help here, and then right back to the former viewpoint by the end) to the fact that Soundwave just doesn't grab Buster when he realises his importance everything seems half baked. And one does have to wonder why the Matrix just doesn't tell Optimus directly about its plans for "The Second Generation" rather than going through the mind of a small boy.

Second Generation! is a three part story that, despite the umbrella title, is effectively two stories tenuously linked. The first two issues are to all intents and purposes a dream sequence wrapped up in technobable- all that's missing is Patrick Duffy coming out the shower. The framing McGuffin is Prime is using a mind link device to watch Busters dreams to learn about the combiners whilst the two Deception Waves listen in via Bombshell's cerebral shell.
This is just an excuse for one big extended fight sequence between the various combiners that doesn't need the context of a actual plot. The main saving grace in a return to quality artwork by Jon Stoakes on issue 63 and Barry Kitson on 64. In fact, as a child Stoakes' panel of Shockwave decapitating Ratchet and Jazz became one of my favourite every bits of Transformers art when it was enlarged and recoloured for use in one of the "story so far" sections in one of the Annuals (ironically representing the climax to US issue 4 despite the fact Ratchet's non death in that issue is a rather pivotal plot point...).
Issue 64 also features one of the most well known mistakes in the comics entire run- Menasor getting the name of his own arm wrong (Dead End instead of Drag Strip). The fact that everyone remembers that long after the rest of the plot has been forgotten says a great deal.

Issue 65 sees a rather sudden change in story, effectively being a big fight between Shockwave and Megatron with wry TV commentary by Robot Master. Exactly why Robot Master is being allowed to comment, nor where the TV crew came from, nor indeed why Soundwave arranged for the fight to be broadcast in the first place is all unexplained. At the end it just feels as if someone had realised that they needed an extra issue in a hurry and Furman knocked an extra part out quickly. A sign of the haste is that the potentially interesting joint Decepticon leadership Megs and Shockers begin here turns out to be a dramatic dead end that would only be mentioned once more- and then only in some dialogue changed by the UK team for one of the American reprints.
Jeff Anderson takes over on the art chores, and whilst he's never been a particular favourite of mine (he always seems somewhat lifeless) he produces some of his best work here, and indeed the best in this collection. But frankly, the best part of this whole arc is Mixmasters sarcasm at becoming yesterday's news on learning of the special teams.

The rest of the collection can effectively be summed up as odds and sods- Anything post-Dinobot Hunt that hasn't been reprinted elsewhere by Titan. The bulk of these are the traditional annual Christmas story the UK would put out (not just out of a desire to be festive- A weekly comic published Christmas week probably won't stick in the minds of younger readers amid all the excitement so continuing any of the big epics would be a bit pointless).

Because of Furman's strange embargo on the early UK stories seeing the light of day again Christmas Breaker is AWOL from this collection, so things kick off with The Gift- A straightforward anthology style story of Jetfire telling Buster about his struggles to adapt to sentient life. It's slight, but Jetfire was always a somewhat underutilised character after his initial debut and the chance to give him a bit of attention is very welcome. The art by Martin Griffiths is fine if unspectacular, though not helped by unusually sub par colouring for the UK comic.

A year latter issue 145 gives us Stargazing, the fist story since Raiders of the Last Arc that doesn't easily fit into continuity. Starscream is somehow released from the stasis tube he was place into in Target: 2006 and ditched in a snowy field to learn the true meaning of Christmas from a excessively irritating passing human who, for reasons best known to himself, isn't scared of giant killer robots.
Guest writer Ian Rimmer does get some nice moments from showing up Streetwise when Starscream comes over all nice, and Jeff Anderson is solid if not spectacular. The stories highlight though is that the bus full of OAP's Starscream rescues are bound for the Sunnydale Retirement Home. So no doubt they were bitten by vampires, eaten by demons or blown into a hell mouth as soon as they arrived.

The final colour Christmas strip, Cold Comfort and Joy, is most notable for the debut of Andy Wildman- who's Transformers career has spanned two decades and at least four different companies. It's not his best work, but bears all his trademarks and is a respectable debut. The story itself is a light bit of fluff about the Autobot Powermasters "hilariously" misunderstanding Christmas. Unlike the other two strips there's a darker undercurrent here though- Optimus rediscovering his love of Earth after his death and resurrection. It's well handled and gives a much needed edge to the rather damp squid of his return in the US comic. The issue ends with a hint of a storm coming, thread left dangling for Time Wars to pick up on.

The collection is rounded off with Dreadwing Down!, from the 1989 UK Annual. It's very much aimed at the younger market, with a slight plot about the Autobots needing to rescue a power crystal from a crashed Dreadwing that needs to be used in a medical machine to save the life of a human injured in a Autobot/Decepticon fight. Much hilarity ensures as Slapdash makes an arse of himself in water. And if you're thinking of the obvious punch line about metal robots in water, it does indeed close the strip.
Dan Reed's art is either love or hate it- I rather don't mind it- but as one of the last original Annual comics it's hard not to feel they need a better send off.

The Presentation: The main bonus feature- simply called Transformers UK- is a three page condensed version of the series of articles covering the history of the comic that accompanied earlier trades but with more of a focus on behind the scenes stuff rather than the contents of the comic. I believe this was the first time the names of the titles last two editors, Euan Peters and Harry Papodolous, have been revealed. It's a nice enough read, and contains some nice pics of the Marvel offices, but there's so much more that could have been included. If nothing else they could have thrown in the corrected Collected Comic page where Menasor gets Drag Strips name right (all the more irritating considering the James Bond collections have included alternate versions of panels produced for other countries...)

As much as I'm a Lee Sulivan fan, his cover here is awful. Not only is it seemingly inspired by the Pat "Porsche" Lee school of art, but it's a thinly disguised reworking of this cover he did for the UK comic: http://tfarchive.com/comics/covers/?dir=Marvel+UK&gal=061-120&img=UK+105.jpg.

The Verdict: Second Generation contains much of Furman’s weakest stuff for the UK comic and ends the colour reprints on a low note. It's only really worth getting for the Christmas stories, and mostly for their kitsch value rather than their quality. Somewhat disappointing for a team that was capable of so much more.

inflatable dalek
2006-10-20, 08:48 PM
I bet you thought you'd never se this one did you? Three reviews in a week, you lucky peeps!

Denyer
2006-10-20, 08:55 PM
Bloody hell.

Will do something with this after I've done the toy review section recovery job.

Looks like good stuff. :)

inflatable dalek
2006-10-20, 09:07 PM
I'll try and knock a quick Nightbeat one out as well before the end of next week. Then I'll be bang up to date review wise!

inflatable dalek
2006-10-21, 04:23 PM
Transformers Spotlight Issue 2: Nightbeat
Review By Inflatable Dalek

Written By: Simon Furman.
Pencils and Inks By MD Bright
Colours By: John Rauch
Cover Art By MD Bright, Nick Roach and James Raiz.
Letters By: Sulaco Studios.
Edits By: Chris Ryall and Dan Taylor.

Synopsis: Autobot freelance investigator Nightbeat is on a routine patrol when a mechanoid named Krakon offers him a chance to solve one of the greatest mysteries of Transformers history- The almost mythical disappearance of the Ark 1 spaceship on her maiden voyage. The chance to get hold of the flight recorder to the ship is something Nightbeat can't resist, but when he arrives at the rendezvous Krakon is dead and the recorder stolen. The mechanoids enigmatic last words are "There's a hole in the world".

Arriving on Gorlam Prime, the planet the flight recorder came from, Nightbeat follows a clue in Krakon's log to an archaeological site that has found evidence that the planet had began its technological evolution much earlier than previously though- suggesting outside/alien interference.
At the site he finds evidence of Cybertronian technology, and even though he suspects a trap he goes down underground, unaware he's being watched by unusually small Transformers.

Deep under the dig he is staggered to discover a enormous, pool like interdimensional portal- the "Hole in the World". Before he can investigate his watchers make themselves known, clearly mindless drones that attack him, whilst watched by almost ghostlike creatures from the portal.

Nightbeat tries desperately to escape, but is outclassed by his opponents and captured. Awakening strapped to a table he realises the whole thing had been a set up specifically to capture him. A cerebral implant is placed in his brain module, along with other, viscous, modifications that will let his as yet unknown attackers take control of him at a time of their choosing. Eventually he looses consciousness...
Sometime latter, Autobot freelance investigator Nightbeat is on a routine patrol, and feeling rather bored, when he gets a call from Optimus Prime ordering him to rendezvous with his leader on Ark 32 en route to Earth, Optimus has needs of his talents. Nighbeat sets of, but is left with the feeling he's missing something important...

Characters Featured: Nightbeat, Detour, Hyperdrive, Road Hugger, Blackjack, Optimus Prime, Plus at least two as yet unnamed mysterious mechaniods who's plot is set in motion here...

Notes: The first Ark was launched Six Point Two million mega-cycles ago in order to plot safe passage between the Cybertronian Quadrant and the Benzuli Expanse. She vanished twenty thousand astro cycles after leaving Cybertron and has become something of a Marie Celeste style mystery.

Ships called the Ark have a troubled history in various Transformers continuities. If you're ever offered a ride on the maiden voyage of one it's best to politely decline.

Gorlam Prime is a advanced (by 2006 human standards) technological society where the organic population is augmenting itself with cybernetic implants. As the origin of Transformers is lost in the mists of time Nighbeat wonders if his own race had similar origins.

Nighbeat has never encountered Micromasters before (though he is posted out in the sticks) and learns to his cost they're more advanced than he is. The Micromasters are not referred to as such, or even named here. They seem to have completely blank minds. Though if this is how they were built by the inhabitants of the portal or if they were originally sentient but captured and reprogrammed like Nightbeat here remains unknown.

And speaking of unknowns- Where the portal leads, who it's owners are and the exact nature of their plans have yet to be explained, though Nightbeats presence in Escalation suggests at least some of that will be dealt with there. Before succumbing to the brainwashing he does hear references to "Dead Universe" and "Emissary" [Probably not Captain Sisco despite IDW's recent acquisition of the Star Trek licence].

In at least one interview Simon Furman has mentioned 24 as one of his favourite TV shows. Nightbeats fate here is very like of the various "moles" seen over the years in that program. Except with the added twist that the Mole here doesn't even know they're a double agent.

Artist MD Bright has a small but memorable previous Transformers connection, having drawn the iconic cover to Marvel US #5. You know, ...Are All Dead!.

Though it was released generally on October 18th, this comic was made available
earlier with an exclusive cover at Botcon 2006.

Goofs:
It might be an intentional joke, but Nightbeats "incognito" alternate mode looks nothing like the other vehicles we see on the planet.

Nightbeat also suffers from an art oddity- He starts and ends the issue with his head handlebars, but doesn't have them on the planet. The latter might be the result of his brain alteration, but why remove them in the first place?
The Cranial implant looks so large there shouldn't be room in Nightbeats head for anything else when it's implanted.

Why wait to grab Nightbeat until after he's seen the portal? If they got him after going underground but before seeing it they reduce the risk of him being able to tell Prime anything useful if the brainwashing goes wrong...

Review: This one isn't quiet arm thumping in the air brilliant as Shockwave or Stormbringer, but it still makes an entertaining read. Surprisingly the main inspiration isn't Raymond Chandler but H.P Lovecraft (ancient evils underground) with a touch of espionage thrillers.

It's also a surprise to see a third party of villains introduced when we already not only have the Decepticons buy also the Earth authorities in Infiltration. Hopefully everything will tie together in the end, but there's a strong chance there's to many threads up in the air at the moment, and the "Ancient evil from the Transformers past" threat is one that Furman really needs to leave alone.

The art is also something of a weak point, looking rather rushed and half arsed. It's rather staggering to think this is by the same guy who drew the single most memorable cover in the entire Marvel comic's history.

Whilst that may sound rather negative, taken on its own merits, this is still a fine read, mainly because Nightbeat remains a great character. The mental rape of him at the end is horrific, and sets up something very interesting for Escalation to follow up on.
[Three out of five]

inflatable dalek
2006-10-21, 04:25 PM
I'm not entirely sure about the ID of the Decepticon Micromasters, but they look like the Back From the Dead guys...

I'm just so glad to have gotten the millstone of the Second Generation review off my neck. That was a torturously long process...

inflatable dalek
2006-10-29, 08:25 PM
Transformers: The Animated Movie: Issue 1 of 4
The Gathering Storm.

Writer: Bob Budiansky.
Artist: Don Figueroa.
Colourist: Josh Burcham.
Letterer: Robbie Robbins.
Designer/Leterer: Neil Uyetake.
Chris Ryall: Editor.

Synopsis: This issue covers roughly the first twenty minutes of the 1986 Transformers film- From Unicrons attack on Lithone through to Optimus proclaiming he will join the Matrix when he dies.

Notes:
Right, Transformers 101 time: Bob Budiansky was the chap who developed most of the characters, names and format of our favourite giant robot show- As well as writing the bulk of the first 55 issues of the Marvel US comic, as well as Headmasters, The Transformers Universe and editing the original comic adaptation of the Movie. This is his first credited work on the franchise since US #55.

Ron Friedman- Writer of the script this comic is based on- is un-credited.

The purpose of this title is to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Movies release. And to provide a bit of tie in promotion with Sony's forthcoming special edition DVD.

Just about every line of dialogue is changed or altered in some way, and I'm not going to list every instance, but here's the major differences:

The reference to the year the story is set in is gone, a sad sign of our lost tomorrows. However, once you accept that Spike and Daniel’s space suits aren’t likely to be what all the cool kids are wearing that year, there’s nothing to say this isn’t 2005. Or 1986, or indeed 1973.

Ironhide no longer gets his last line, whilst Megatrons response of "Such heroic nonsense" is also lost.

Lookout Mountain goes unnamed. The entire sequence with Megatron destroying the mountain, Hot Rod’s encounter with Blitzwing and teaming up with Kup is gone as well.

Beachcomber is dead on the floor next to Wheeljack and Windcharger.

Snarl is with the Dinobots full time.

Megatrons "I'll crush you with my bare hands!" line is missing (an odd deletion that, as it's recurrence in the film is important is reemphasising Megs and Galvatron are indeed the same person with the same mind).

Hot Rod's exchange with Kup over Prime needing his help is gone.

When he sees the purple gun Megatron says "One last chance to snatch victory from defeat"- A somewhat silly thing to do as it must surely tell Optimus he's up to something...

Goofs:
[This only refers to new mistakes in this adaptation, I'm sure we all know the flaws of the film off by heart...]

Many, many speech bubbles are misplaced- Resulting in Perceptor speaking to himself, Hot Rod proclaiming Prime's wounds terminal (a bit suspect that...) and Ironhide finishing Jazz's call to Moon base two. See how many you can spot, then marvel at the fact it took two people to make that many mistakes.

Arcee and Springer transforming Autobot city doesn't really work on the page- One panel they're in a room pressing buttons, the next they're running down a trench being shot at by Starscream with no clue as to how they got there, or what they're doing.

According to a caption Perceptor "Mans his observation post"- A fancy way of saying he's sitting about on the floor in microscope mode. In the film he changes to his alt mode to get a closer look at the explosions in the distance, here the implication is one of the Autobot's greatest scientists in employed as a full time look out.

Review:
An exercise in pointlessness. There is actually a lot of potential in doing a "Super edition" version of the Movie with various flaws ironed out, deleted scenes included ect, but this isn't it. It's just a straightforward adaptation that has more deletions than additions. Having gone to such trouble to get him on board wasting Budiansky on a non-original story seems almost perverse.

The comic also seems to be aimed at a much younger audience than usual, with most of the dialogue dumbed down and the already infamous box out explaining that Autobot City makes Energon after Prime has told Ironhide to go to Autobot City to fetch some Energon. It's as if Bob's just assumed he's writing for the same age range as he was when he knocked out The Interplanetary Wrestling Championship!, but I can't see many 8 year olds being likely to buy this.

Don's art, whilst generally good, has a few funny moments as well (Most noticeably Bombshell's oversized head antenna on the page of the Constructicons combining). The cartoony colouring is fab and very appropriate though.
A huge and staggering missed opportunity.
[one cube out of five]

inflatable dalek
2006-10-30, 02:08 PM
Woops, I've just reedited the review as I managed to miss off two big changes (most obviously the loss of the Lookout Mountain attack...).

Denyer
2006-10-30, 03:39 PM
Okay, think I've got those in -- juggling tasks at the moment, will hopefully get more stuff up in a bit once I've finished trying to get TinyMCE to work...

inflatable dalek
2006-10-31, 03:19 PM
Sorry D, I hadn't realised you'd allready put it up- I wasn't deliberately trying to give you more work.

Though I'd have to querry:

I'd consider this to be deliberate retro, personally. —Denyer

Are we defining retro as "Something that was a bit crap so people stoped doing it"? ;)

Denyer
2006-10-31, 10:27 PM
It's a comic-ised kid movie, from a decade when 70s comics writers were still around in full force, and a kid movie that stole freely from Star Wars. From what I've seen the adaptation is bit like "Carwash of Doom" -- the kitsch is entirely deliberate, down to the "is this the end of Optimus Prime?!" teaser at the end of the issue... a comic presented as if what's happening in it is new, by the guy who was writing the comics in 1986 and in a 70s holdover style -- with all of the caption boxes and explication that suggests.

Whether people see it as a classic style or crap, it is intentional, conscious, etc.

inflatable dalek
2006-11-01, 03:37 PM
The thing is, we've never seen Bob write in any other style (even his best issues would be considered "retro" now), so it's hard to view it as anything but buisness as usual from him. Though if anyone who's read any of his non-TF stuff can confirm if his writing style can do anything else...

inflatable dalek
2006-11-02, 10:02 PM
Transformers: Perchance To Dream TPB Review By Inflatable Dalek

Reprints: The Transformers #255-260, 230-233, 241, 242, 287-289 (Marvel UK).
Written By: Simon Furman.
Art: Andrew Wildman (241, 242, 255, 257, 260), Staz (256, 258, 289), John Stoaks (259), Lee Sullivan (230, 231), Jeff Anderson (232) Geoff Senior (233).
Pencils: Pete Knifton (287, 288).
Inks: Pete Venters(287, 288).
Letters: GLIB (232, 233 255, 256, 289 [Credited as Gary Gilbert on this issue]), Stuart Bartlett (231, 241, 242, 257-260, 287, 288), Helen Stone (230).
Editor: Euan Peters.

In A Nutshell:
Five classic character and one mystery Decepticon get solo stories, whilst Nightbeat dons his trench coat for the first time, Decepticon Micromasters are created and a journalist gets to close to the war. Then it's the end of the original UK strips, and the moment hasn't been prepared for...

The Stories:
I have a soft spot in my affections for the black and white stories- I started reading the comic relatively late in the day (Space Pirates fact fans!) so many of my memories of the UK strip come from the dying days. Here we have some of the very best stuff the monochrome strips produced, albeit let down by a weak final arc that sadly ended the home-grown strips rather suddenly.

Perchance To Dream (#255-260) came about at Hasbro's request for some product placement for the contemporary Classic Heroes toyline (the very first reissues to trade on the "classic" nature of the toys/characters). Though oddly Silverbolt is featured instead of the actually released Inferno. Getting to write for some of the more established characters again was very welcome to Furman, and would lead directly into the Earthforce stories that would come to dominate most of the black and white era.
It features a narrative device Furman was very fond of- stand alone stories linked by a overarching plot. We saw it all the way back in Dinobot Hunt, plus Matrix Quest and Aspects of Evil (indeed, this was pushed as a Autobotcentric semi-sequel to that arc at the time). The framing device in this case is a totally mysterious and unknown Decepticon using a device to watch the memories of deactivated Autobots in stasis on a oddly unoccupied arc, looking for examples of un-Autobot like characteristics and behaviour.

First up is Prowl, in what is the first time he's had more than a few lines in any issue of the comic (something that can be said of most of the characters in this arc- As much as we think of them as "established" most of the first wave of characters never got much chance to shine pre black and white).
This story effectively lays the foundation for Prowl's development as Grimlock's straight man (which we'll see latter in this collection)- He's the guy who thinks he knows better that the bloke in charge and is out to prove it. In this instance it's hard not to agree with him- Optimus may be worried about collateral damage if the Autobots go head to head with the Battlechargers on the streets (in a flashback set during Decepticon Grafiti) but considering they're causing chaos anyway the order to do nothing doesn't seem right somehow. Certainly the totally unguesable mystery Decepticon finds it to be exactly what he's looking for.
This is the first of five issues in this collection to be drawn by Andrew Wildman- Who now admits that the bulk of his black and white work isn't something he's particularly fond of as he rather rushed it. There's nothing in here as bad as all that- but in none of these strips does he take any advantage of the medium- It all looks like a strip waiting to be coloured rather than one meant to be in black and white.

Part two sees Stewart "Staz" Johnson take over the art reigns on a Ironhide Vs. Middle Eastern Terrorists story (can you imagine a kids comic doing that today?). Unfortunately Ironhide's dilemma is virtually the same as Prowl's- He finds Prime's orders restrictive, strikes out on his own and winds up frustrated with the way things are. It might have helped if the Sunstreaker strip had come between them to make this seem less obvious, but on its own merits it's a nice enough but slight story, but with improved art that feels more appropriate for black and white. We also get a good look at Mr. Mystery's chin. It looks almost familiar...

Part three is my single favourite of all the black and white strips- and indeed one of my favourite Transformers stories in any medium full stop. Prowl and Ironhide were shown to be basically good people who's mindset didn't quiet let them fin in with the Autobot chain of command. Sunstreaker on the other hand is shown to be a complete and utter bastard of the first order. He's so completely self absorbed that not only does he run rather than help a wounded Jazz for fear of messing up his bodywork, but at the end of the story is more interested in checking out his reflection than worrying about the humans who've died as a result of his actions here.
What's even more shocking is that there's ultimately no comeuppance for Sunstreaker as would normally be the case in most kids comics, in fact in the long term he's rewarded as it's his behaviour that singles him out for reanimation by the as yet unknown Decepticon (we see the back of his crowned head this time- but still no clue as to who he is). The idea that the good guys can be complete gits absolutely blew me away when I first read this all those years ago, and it still stands up as one of the finest examples of blurring of the lines between Autobots and Decepticons you'll see. Even Wildman's art is the best it gets in this collection.

Wheeljack can't help but be a slight comedown after that, but still stands up very well. Most action franchises do the "Good guy A wants good thing X that only bad guy B can give him, but said bad guy will only do it in exchange for bad thing Y" story at some point, and here as in most others Wheeljack ultimately refuses to brainwash Jetfire for the Decpeticons in exchange for advanced medical knowledge from Ravage. The real surprise is the reader winds up almost believing that he will do it- After all, Wheeljack's defining phrase in his A-Z profile is "mad scientist", and anyone even half familiar with the Universal and Hammer horror films know mad scientists can't stop messing with the contents of people's brains. As he watches the Blackrock factory where the secrets he wanted were go up in smoke, it hard not to have the unsettling feeling that even now Wheeljack doesn't know if he made the right choice in the end.

Silverbolt is the least effective part of this arc, partly because it's a very fragmented story as we join it half way through and the Autobots wake up before the end, but mainly because Silverbolt is a bit dull and Furman can't do a lot to make him interesting. Effectively the other Arialbots learn Silverbolt is afraid of heights when they're Superion and he gets so annoyed he bears the bolts out of Menasor when there are humans around to get hurt. And that's it really.
It's hard not to long for an Inferno story in its place as that could have been much more interesting, the fact he was alive when we last saw him seems a poor excuse not to do one when they could have had him bumped off in a unseen adventure.
John Stoaks art is Jeff Anderson functional, nothing spectacular but nothing horrendous. Just there, rather like the strip itself. The ending does set up the grand climax though, with the Autobots all accidentally revived by the machine probing their memories and ready to face their mysterious foe. Who as well as the crown head seems to have a giant sex toy strapped to his arm when we see him in shadow. But who can it be? Have you guessed yet children?

Oh all right, it's Galvatron. A fact that's painfully obvious from his first half hidden appearance- Even to readers at the time who would have considered him rather permanently dead. The debate over where this fits in continuity is one to leave for another time and place, but what really stands out as odd is that in Time Wars Galvatron had to be returned to the future else the entire Universe would be destroyed, a possibility no one seems worried about here when he gets put in cold storage on the Ark (in fact, if you place this before The Last Autobot and subscribe to the theory that this is a third Galvatron that means that Megatron and two Galvatrons are on the Ark when it crashes. Which really should annihilate the entire space/time continuum).
Effectively this is the no doubt Hasbro required reaffirmation of the good characters of the Autobots who's motives we've been questioning through this story. Galvatron has a device that he thinks will unleash their dark sides (and make them call him master- the kinky sod)- but it doesn't work because deep down Autobots are gosh darn hero's despite their flaws (though we don't see the mind controller used on Sunstreaker, the most morally ambiguous one). Then we discover this Galvatron isn't as tough as his namesakes who single-handedly defeated entire armies as five Autobots take him down easily and Wheeljack finally gets to screw with someone's mind by trapping him in a VR headset where he'll be spanked by Rodimus Prime for all time (the kinky sod).
Now, that sounds a little daft and perfunctory when you write it down in a paragraph, but it's the little details that make this a joy, Wheeljack just punching Galvatron in the face as soon as he sees him, the way the whole continuity issue is resolutely ignored with a cheeky "A different Galvatron I think", Prowl and Wheeljacks casual shooting of Galvatron when they reveal their true colours (in fact Wheeljack steals the show, his Blue Peter style "Here's one I made earlier" mind control helmet is a joy as well). Wildman even seems to be putting effort into drawing Galvatron.
All in all, by leaving us with a revived cast of old characters to carry the bulk of the future monochrome strips this seemed to promise great things for the future strips that would build on this foundation (not all that promise was delivered upon though, as we'll see).

But before we can go forward we have to go back. Not just twenty or so issues, but back to the 1950's for the inspiration to the next story in this collection. The two part Big Shutdown! is probably the only Transformers comic that actually demands to be in black and white. And so of course it was one that got reprinted in colour.
Film Noir is a genre that seems to work well in a Science Fiction setting- not just in Blade Runner but in every SF TV show that's done a homage at some point. Of course, Transformers has done- well "homage’s" is the polite way of putting it, "Rip offs" is the impolite way- to different movies/TV shows ect before, but never has the story been so immersed in the style of the genre. If you don't know where this is going from Nightbeats opening voiceover you're probably a very young reader.
Nightbeat himself is a fantastic character, as all those hard boiled detectives usually are. He doesn't really get very much detecting to do here as his comedy sidekick Siren effectively tells him everything that's going on as soon as they meet up in the second part (though Nightbeat has at least worked out the bulk of it) but this is more about the style of storytelling and creating a mood rather than the plot.
Which is good because the idea that the final exam for Thunderwing (another new character who'll go onto great things. Despite the fact in his case he's a bit rubbish...) to become Decepticon leader is to hunt down and kill some unarmed Autobot prisoners- rather than say, demonstrating he has a decisive plan to fight and win the war- is rather daft. And the whole "Nightbeat uses his head" ending is risible at best. However, as an exercise in style it's hard to beat. And Lee Sullivan's square jawed art fits it like a glove.

Next up- in original publication order for a change- is A Small War!. A comic that was presumably supposed to show the origin of the Micromasters but in retrospect seems an attempt to make Thunderwing seem less like a total fool.
Unlike their initial appearances in the US comic (being reprinted as the "lead" strip in the UK comic as this was published) this makes us like Roadhandler and the other Autobot Micromasters. The fact that even Emerite "I love peace and life and fluffy bunnies" Xaaron considers them utterly disposable and orders them to go blow up some colleagues that the Decepticons have captured to learn Micromaster secrets from makes the reader get right on their side.
The fact the Micromasters ultimately decide that, yes, their lives do matter as much as the big boys is a obvious one, but well played. As is Xaaron's ultimate apology. The bit with the bomb is fantastic as well. Ultimately this story has a very downbeat ending, with the Autobots getting the moral victory but with Thunderwing getting the tactical advantage he wanted.
Jeff Anderson handles art on the first part, and does a workmanlike job. Though either he doesn't know Roadhandler is a Micromaster or thinks Emerite Xaaron is a midget. Geoff Senior's art on the second part is stunning- The panels of the partially disassembled Battle Patrol hanging from the ceiling are chilling and amongst his best work.

For issues 241 (Rage! and 242 (Assault on the Ark!) we get a sequel to The Big Shutdown. Unfortunately it's told in a more traditional way and the flaws stand out more. To recap, Thunderwings rise to power goes like this:
-He completely fails his final test thanks to Nightbeat.
-He then beats the stuffing of the Decepticons sent to bring him home.
-He then launches a completely suicidal and insane attack on the Autobots most heavily defended spaceship just to get revenge on Nightbeat. He even fails to kill Optimus Prime at point blank range when Nightbeat does a Hot Rod and distracts his leader at the wrong moment in the battle.
-He then gets made Decepticon leader because he knows when to run away (all those "Decepticons retreat!" from the cartoon start to make sense).
Oddly enough the story almost manages to make all that look sensible thanks to some nice dialogue, but once you spot the sheer daftness of Thunderwing getting anywhere in the Decepticon army it starts to fall apart.
It's not helped by Wildman's weakest art on the strip as well, for the most part the interior of the Ark is a featureless white void. This ones best read as a dumb action movie rather than anything of depth. But compared to what comes next, it's poetry.

In the years since Furman has said that the final black and white strips were written with no idea if the comic would last long enough to see them published (in fact, the separation between the UK and US material that happened at this time can most likely be put down to everyone assuming that the title would be cancelled before the US strips that contradicted everything would be seen). At a time when most long running UK comics and magazines were beginning to boast "Now in full colour!" on the cover a black and white comics days were numbered {Doctor Who Magazine did keep it's strip in black and white till the turn of the centuary, but that was always presented as a secondary bonus to the main full colour magazine rather than the centrepiece). In the end, it did manage to stumble onto the end of the US comic, but only at the expense of loosing the home-grown material that many of us had come to cherish. This collection finishes with the dying days of the UK comic, and each of the three issues in this arc reeks of "Bloody hell, are we still here?"

The focus is on journalist Irwin Spoon (yes, Hunter O'Nion was not the first example of Furman's silly name syndrome). When a writer features in a story it's often hard not to wonder if the author is Mary Sueing. Irwin is a bright young thing who wants to aim for the top of his profession but is sucked into and trapped by the world of Transformers and can't escape no matter how hard he tries. At the end he's just a mindless hack knocking out drivel about the war without even thinking about it. I'll leave it to you to decide if Furman sees any of himself in there...

First up is Inside Story!, the seemingly obligatory Fantastic Voyage spoof (the cartoon did it in Microbots). Unlike other homage’s the twist here is that Irwin isn't made small, he just goes into something very large- A mind controlled Superion in order to remove a Cerebro-shell before a town gets destroyed. Unfortunately that small twist, and the funky typewriter style font used for Irwin's narration are the only remotely interesting thing here.

Things start of worse with the next part (strictly speaking called Frontline!, but on the page it looks as if it either doesn't have a title or it's Comic Convention Scandle!). For a short strip to not only waist space on a big mocked up newspaper (the source of the title confusion) but also several panels on a mostly pointless recap of last week in extremely poor story structure. The fact that the preceding arc ended with Starscream a willing Autobot prisoner but here as free as a bird without explanation is almost cartoon level insulting.
However, things do pick up, simply because of the fantastic Grimlock/Prowl odd couple relationship. Grimlock's thundercloud thought bubble is nearly the equal of the legendary Prowl brick one. Unfortunately the ease with which Motormaster breaks into Earthforce HQ to steal Spoon rather undoes this good work. It also leads into the next, final ever UK strip...

End of the Road!. Yes, this is the first appearance of that title, but not the last. The best part of this issue is Motormaster effortlessly proving he's the king of the road by running down just about all the pursuing Autobots. At least until Bumblebee gets the better of him that is. Unfortunately it all to bitty and inconsequential. The complete absence of Grimlock makes this a very odd ending to the Earthforce as well.
The final twist- Irwin has been taken over by Bombshell to write a anti-Autobot story doesn't feel particularly shocking as it seems to want to be, mainly because it's hard to care about Irwin. Perhaps if it had been Susan Hoffman?
Peter Knifton and Staz do some good work on the art over the three issues, but it's hard not to want Geoff Senior seeing out the British strip.
It's nice to have a downbeat ending for a change, but the UK strips deserved something of better quality.

The Presentation: There isn't a great deal to say here, the reproduction quality is mostly fantastic, though the art was clearly drawn with a larger layout in mind it stands up well. Bar an advert for the other manga sized collections there's nothing in the way of extra's, but for the price this is a barging.
One gripe though, they've gone for the rather bland Andrew Wildman cover to issue #259, when the piece of art crying out to be used is this gorgeous Geoff Senior cover to the following issue: http://tfarchive.com/comics/covers/?dir=Marvel+UK&gal=241-300&img=UK+260.jpg. The only reason I can think they didn't use it is to keep Galvatron's presence a surprise twist. Which is silly if you've been following this review...

The Verdict:
For your money you get three top draw, absolutely fantastic story arcs. Plus one daft but fun one and one awful but important one (as in if you're a fan of the UK comic you're going to want a copy of it's last ever strip even if it's not very good). All for a RRP of under six pounds. You really can't say fairer than that, so this is highly recommended. As someone once sang, sweet dreams are made of these.

inflatable dalek
2006-11-02, 10:04 PM
Yes, that is a awfully big rambly one. But I did find a lot to say...

LKW
2006-11-08, 02:44 AM
The following post contains my review of IDW's TFTAnimatedM #1. I'd hoped to have it done by, like, Saturday, but some bleh health got in the way (better now). There wasn't QUITE a uniform review form from what I could see on the site; if anything needs to be changed, just let me know. :)

LKW
2006-11-08, 03:13 AM
Title: The Transformers: The Animated Movie #1
Reviewed By: LKW
Creative Credits:
Writer: Bob Budiansky
Artist: Don Figueroa
Colorist: Josh Burcham
Letterer: Robbie Robbins
Designer/Letterer: Neil Uyetake
Editor: Chris Ryall

Synopsis: The mechanoid inhabitants of an unnamed planet find their daily routine interrupted by the arrival of a planet-sized mechanical sphere which they recognize as Unicron, the Planet-Eater. At least one ship appears to escape from the planet as chunks of its surface begin to be drawn into Unicron’s maw. Cut to the moons of Cybertron, where narration explains that the Autobots are headquartered and making preparations to free the planet from the dominion of the Decepticons. Autobot leader Optimus Prime orders the launch of a shuttle to Earth, on a run to retrieve Energon Cubes to power their attack. But Decepticon spy Laserbeak reports the mission to the leader of the Decepticons, Megatron. Megatron and an assault force take control of the Autobot shuttle, killing the Autobots Ironhide, Ratchet, Brawn, and Prowl in the process. The Decepticon plan to infiltrate Autobot City through this shuttle is stopped just short of its goal, thanks to the observational skills of the young human Daniel, son of Autobot ally Spike, and the Autobot Hot Rod. The Decepticons nevertheless launch an assault on the city, which leads to injuries on both sides as the attack continues into the following morning. Just as the Decepticons have penetrated the city, Optimus Prime arrives with reinforcements. While the Dinobots attack the Decepticon gestalt warrior Devestator, Prime plows a path through much of the rest of the Decepticon force en route to a showdown with Megatron. Both leaders are severely damaged in their battle; Megatron uses a hidden laser pistol, and the well-meaning interference of Hot Rod, to deliver one more blow to Prime. But Prime manages to muster up the strength for one last swing at Megatron, knocking him several stories down over the edge of the damaged city. The Decepticons retreat at the fall of their leader; but the surviving Autobots soon learn that their own commander was fatally wounded. The issue ends as Prime mysteriously declares “…soon… I shall be… …one with the Matrix!”

Locations and Characters Featured:
Locations: as-yet unnamed planet (presumably Lithone); Autobot Moon Base 1; Autobot Moon Base 2; an Autobot shuttle; Autobot City, on Earth. Characters: Unicron, Arblus, Kranix, Ironhide (destroyed), Optimus Prime, Jazz (on monitor), Bumblebee, Spike, Cliffjumper (face in monitor), Prowl (destroyed), Laserbeak, Shockwave, Megatron, Starscream, Soundwave, Ratchet (destroyed), Scavenger, Brawn (destroyed), Daniel, Hot Rod, Kup, Huffer, Scrapper, Bombshell, Thundercracker, Kickback, Shrapnel, Skywarp, Long Haul, Perceptor, Blurr, Arcee, Ultra Magnus, Springer, Blaster, Rumble, Ravage, Ratbat, Frenzy, Eject, Rewind, Steeljaw, Ramhorn, Blitzwing, Wheeljack (apparently destroyed), Windcharger (apparently destroyed), Devestator, Astrotrain, Grimlock, Swoop, Snarl, Sludge, Slag, Hound, Sunstreaker, Thrust.

Notes:
Though never stated explicitly within the issue, this story takes place within the continuity of the Transformers cartoon of the mid-1980s, using the character models from that series, and presenting a “blue” – really, more purple – Rumble and a red-and-black Frenzy with pile driver arms, a “female” Autobot, and a brunette Spike.
Unicron is recognized by at least Kranix.
While the Decepticons were completing the conquest of Cybertron, the Autobots were apparently busy constructing their fortified Autobot City on Earth. Megatron considers the destruction of this base, not the Autobot posts on Cybertron’s moons, the key to defeating the Autobots once and for all.
The issue includes an advertisement for Alternators Optimus Prime, seven pages dedicated to previewing The Transformers Spotlight: Nightbeat, ads for Transformers posters and the Infiltration TPB, and a back-cover ad for the Transformers: the Movie 20th Anniversary DVD.
And if not for that ad for the movie, incidentally, the author of the movie which is being adapted here, Ron Friedman, would receive no credit (blame?) for his work anywhere in this issue.

Errors:
Strictly speaking, this would be an error carried over from the movie script, but at least one of the Autobots’ moon bases isn’t as “secret” as the narration claims, as Laserbeak is spying on it, and none of the other Decepticons seem surprised at what he is doing.
There are two attacks of “The Dreaded Drifting Voice-Bubble Syndrome”: in the second panel of page 10, Blurr calls Perceptor “Ultra Magnus” and addresses him with Perceptor’s own lines; Perceptor reciprocates by saying “In other words, Perceptor –”. And on the second panel of page 22, while less blatantly obvious, Hot Rod delivers Perceptor’s line “I fear the wounds are… fatal.”
While Don Figueroa’s page 19 layout generally does a very good job of portraying the Prime/Megatron fight, it doesn't show at what point Megatron loses his fusion cannon; it’s just suddenly gone after page 18.
On page 10, Arcee’s… um, trunks… are colored charcoal gray instead of pink.
And, in the third panel of the page, those “trunks” are a THONG, showing us that Arcee has, by human standards, a… shapely posterior. I suppose this deviation from the character model could be considered an artist’s choice – though it’s basically gone by panel five of that same page – but if so, it’s a bad choice. Yikes.

Review:
Well, it’s an adaptation of Transformers: the Movie, and whatever the debatable merits of that story, this issue does a pretty good job of presenting it – certainly a far, far better job than the Marvel Comics adaptation of 1986. This script - working, granted, with the obvious advantge of being able to view the finished product - is far closer to an accurate retelling of the movie, Don Figeuroa’s art is a quantum leap over Marvel’s in both attractiveness and story-telling, and Josh Burcham’s colors are easily more accurate, clear, and vibrant. And Bob Budiansky does find room to make a bit of a mark, adding narration and both tweaking and adding lines of dialogue. Some of the changes seem somewhat pointless – turning “Every time ah look into a monitor, Prime, my circuits sizzle” into “I’m tired of this waiting game, Optimus Prime,” for example – but several do add to the story. It always seemed to me as though dialogue was missing from the chemical-delivery bit at the start of the movie; Budiansky fills that in here. This issue does a good job of presenting the famous battle between Optimus Prime and Megatron – despite the one glitch I noticed above, Figueroa does very well at portraying it in limited space - and, without almost completely re-writing all of the dialogue, as Marvel did, Budiansky gives Optimus one new line and Megatron two which I felt really added to this scene. Hot Rod’s “Nooo!!!” on page 21 also makes sense. There is a bit of a sense of lost opportunity here – with the notable exception of Snarl, the rumored possibility of “missing characters” appearing has not been carried through. And some memorable fights and lines – including “Such heroic nonsense!” and “…we’re all gonna look like burnt-out toaster ovens!” – are left out. But overall, this issue does a good job of presenting the first twenty minutes or so of one of the best known Transformers stories in comic book form. If that’s what one is looking for, this comic delivers pretty well – certainly much, much – MUCH – better than the old Marvel adaptation. Whether this series will begin to sag as it gets to the more… iffy parts of the movie remains to be seen; but as a presentation of what many consider to be the best part of the movie, IDW’s Transformers: the Animated Movie #1 does a rather good job.

Three Energon Cubes out of five

Denyer
2006-11-08, 07:58 PM
Thanks. Will have it up in a bit.

There wasn't QUITE a uniform review form from what I could see on the siteThere isn't -- people are free to choose their own structure as long as they cover the main bases. Reads fine. :)

inflatable dalek
2006-11-10, 10:10 AM
Originally posted by Denyer
There isn't -- people are free to choose their own structure as long as they cover the main bases. Reads fine. :)

Myself, I'll be droping the "Characters Featured" bit from ther next GI Joe crossover reviews as picking the brains of half of Europe and beyond to ID the the obscure Action Force bint poking their nose up behind a sexually aroused Overkill is a pain in the arse.

Nice job BTW LKW, I'm glad at least one of us enjoyed it.

Errr, Denyer, you did notice the preceeding big Perchance to Dream review didn't you? ;)

LKW
2006-11-11, 02:19 AM
Thanks, Denyer, and Dalek! Nice job with your review, too, Dalek! I avoided reading it (and other feedback on the site) until I was done with writing mine – and was pleased to find that our reviews approached it from somewhat different directions and do provide a couple of nicely different viewpoints on the thing. So, cool! :)

inflatable dalek
2006-11-11, 03:27 PM
Originally posted by LKW
and was pleased to find that our reviews approached it from somewhat different directions and do provide a couple of nicely different viewpoints on the thing. So, cool! :)

I aproached mine from a "How do these people sleep at night viewpoint"? ;)

I'm annoyed I missed the lost fussion cannon though...

LKW
2006-11-11, 06:29 PM
Meanwhile, dead Beachcomber slipped totally by me…

inflatable dalek
2006-11-14, 03:30 PM
Way of the Warrior TPB
A Review By Inflatable Dalek

Reprints: #219-222, 229, 237-239, 272-274, 282, 283, 249, 250 (Marvel UK).
Written By: Simon Furman.
Art By: Dan Reed (219, 220), John Stoaks (221, 222), Simon Coleby (229, 237), Lee Sullivan (238), Geoff Senior (239), Staz (249, 250, 273, 282)
Pencils By: Pete Knifton (272, 283), Jeff Anderson (274)
Ink By: Michael Eve (272), Stephen Baskerville (274), Pete Venters (283)
Letters By: Glib (219-222, 237, 238, 272, 273, 282, 283 [Credited As Gary Gilbert on these two issues]) Helen Stone (229, 239, 250) Stuart Bartlett (249, 274)
Editor: Euan Peters.

In A Nutshell: Carnivac huffs and puffs and blows Snarler's house down. A collection of comics so good the bulk of them were treated to the colour treatment in both the last ever Annual and the last ever Collected Comic. The latter used the "Death of a Decepticon!" cover to issue 321, so that should give you a clue to where this is going...

Oh, and it's nothing to do with Worf's first episode on Star Trek: Deep Space 9.

The Stories: The bulk of this collection is taken up with the longest running arc the black and white strips attempted, the defection of Decepticon Pretenders Catilla and Carnavic to the Autobots and the fall out from it.

First up is Survivors!, a strip that suffers from the change over from colour to black and white- Written and drawn with the intent of being a two part colour story it wound up as a four part monochrome one.
The thing that suffers most from the change is Dan Reed's art, always something of an acquired taste it looks awful uncoloured (and tellingly this was the last time he worked on the comic), with only (a seemingly coincidental?) use of what would become Crosscut's character model for Skids being of any interest.
It's a shame because the story is quite interesting, dealing with the fallout from Time Wars- In particular Skids return from limbo after over a hundred issues trapped in limbo after being displaced by Galvatron. In his case his inner demons are literally personified and brought to life in a nuclear power plant. And in the other thread picked up from Time Wars it's up to Springer and the surviving Wreakers to save him, with a little hep from two remaining members of the Mayhem attack squad.
Effectively the story is built up around two dilemma’s- Should Skids sacrifice himself to kill the demons? And should Catilla and Carnavic disobey orders to help the Autobots' that saved their lives during the Galvatron battle? The answer to both questions is fairly obvious (and in the end Skids doesn't need to die after all), but it's well written and John Stoaks' art on the second half is a distinct improvement. The only real duff note is at the end Catilla seems far too eager to accept the Autobrand. Surely he'd have never been considered for the Decepticons crack unit if his loyalties were that easily swayed? However, Carnavic's spurning of the logo whilst still unsure of where he stands with the self styled "Survivors" sets things up nicely for what's to follow.

Next we have a personal favourite- The Hunting Party (#229), a comic that introduces many characters who'll go on to bigger things, such as Bludgeon and Spinster. It's a simple plot designed to show how hard core the new Mayhem Attack Squad is by having them take down "Solid light simulations" of various Autobot big wigs on a training mission. It's the details that make it so great, from Bludgeon's casual decapitation of Prime through to Spinster covering for Needlenose's cowardice at the end. Everyone makes an instant impression and the art by Simon Coleby is fantastic. It also makes it clear that this new squad is more than up to the task of hunting down their erstwhile former comrades, which leads us into...

A three issue mini arc from issues 237-239 (Way of the Warrior, Survival Run and A Savage Place!), which is one of the strongest dramatic stories of the comics entire run and easily shows the short B&W format could be used for so much more than light comedy fluff.
Everything seems to be pointing towards Carnavic making the noble sacrifice(tm) that Furman was so fond of. He starts of venting his built up fury at living the Autobot way on Springer, but comes to learn the value of human life and seems ready to lay his own down for it. He doesn't say, "It's better to die on your feet than live on your knees" but veers very close to doing so. So far so predictable, but just as you expect him to be taken out of action (ala Ultra Magnus in Vicious Circle!) Catilla shows up and winds up taking a sword through the chest for his friend. Something that probably helped make Bludgeon the comics top bastard more than anything else in its last few years.
Only Skorponok's death in On the Edge of Extinction beats it for emotional impact, and Carnavic's rage at the end as he cries vengeance is something that'll stick in the mind of the reader for a long time.
Coleby's art on the first part isn't as good as his Hunting Party work- though at least Skids has his own face back- but Lee Sullivan and especially the peerless Geoff Senior do wonderful work on the next few issues. Bludgeon especially looks fantastic in the Senior look.

Another three part story brings the arc to a wonderful conclusion in issues 272-274 (Cry Wolf!, Wolf In The Fold! and Where Wolf?. Carnavic has a Wolf alt-mode/Pretender shell if you didn't know...). As the title implies Cry Wolf! features a bot who keeps telling the same lie till no one will believe him when it really happens. In this case the story picks up on Needlenose's internal fears from The Hunting Party, as he remains the only Mayhem who thinks Carnavic poses a real threat and makes constant drills testing the others battle readiness. Unfortunately they grow sick of his paranoia and ignore him the time his call for help is genuine. The relationship between Spinster and Needlenose is fantastic, and the latter’s growing sense of fear helps make Carnavic seem a credible threat without featuring him. If only Furman hadn't felt the need to hammer home the meaning of the title in dialogue it'd be very near perfect.
Wolf In The Fold has the feeling of a bit of a bridging issue, by setting up the appearance of the Autobots in the final part by having Springer debate what the Survivors should do to help Carnavic. Whilst this goes on the main plot at the Mayhem base stalls a bit, with most of the issue taken up with Carnavic trying to sneak up on Bludgeon whilst talking loudly. The issue ends with Carnavic's seeming death, but you don't have to be a genius to realise how a Pretender might fake his own death.
After that slight wobble the climax sees a return to form- Opening with a comedy gold Grimlock/Prowl scene when Springer goes cap in hand for help from Earthforce.
Then Snarler discovers to his cost what most of last weeks readers would have guessed already to his cost (it really would have made sense to check the Pretender shell wasn't empty before declaring Carnavic dead though).
The Autobot/Mayhem fight that follows is a bit static and un-engaging, but saved by three fantastic bits of characterisation. First we have Bludgeons anger at Carnavic not getting a decent warriors death, followed by Spinsters disgust at his comrades joy in destruction (sadly he seems to kick the bucket as well, but if you place this before Matrix Quest both he and Needlenose get repaired at some point) and finally by Carnavic stopping Springer killing Bludgeon, not out of a Autobotesque sense of morality but from a desire to stop the Decepticon getting the sort of death he'd crave.
All in all a fantastic end to a brilliant storyline. The only real shame is we'll only see Carnavic once more in Divide and Conquer! (#279) as a cameo. Some follow up on his integration into Earthforce would have been very welcome.
The art is solid more that spectacular, with Staz' middle instalment being stronger than Knifton's surrounding ones.

Issue #283 is a semi sequel, showing the remaining Mayhem Pretender's escape from prison in the Earthforce base. Again, the title is apt as Shut up! is literally what the Mayhems are-completely silent. Their guard, the ever-luckless Inferno, finds the lack of noise deeply disconcerting, before learning to his cost that Bludgeon really needs to concentrate before he can levitate things.
It's a strong spooky story that plays up Inferno's paranoia wonderfully- though once again the Grimlock/Prowl scene nearly steals the show with Grimlock clearly not giving a toss if Inferno will recover or not. Staz once again does well on the art chores, with only the way the original cover giving away the moment where Inferno gets stabbed as a problem (and not one that affects this collection!).

Manoeuvres! from the following issue is a much slighter story that is closer to the "comedy punch line" style of monochrome strip. There is a bit more bite here as a desperate fuel laden Octane begs for help from Blitzwing and Astrotrain after becoming a sitting duck in a US army training exercise is actually slightly unsettling. Especially as they abandon him to die after learning he only wound up in the situation after stupidly trying to run a human car off the road. However, the "twist"- That the car was Jazz all along is hugely, painfully obvious. Even with his Autobrand hidden you have to wonder how Octane failed to recognise him (and even if they've never meet and Octane hasn't been briefed on the alt-modes of high ranking Earthforce members the lack of a driver is a big giveaway). Knifton provides a higher standard of art this time, and it is nice to see the Decepticon triple changers again, the story is one that'll be very quickly forgotten.

This collection closes with two linked stories. Whose Lifeforce Is It Anyway? provides a small lead into Matrix Quest, as Longtooth remembers how Optimus Prime once gave him a fragment of the Matrix to save a comrades life, only for him to keep it an use it as a guarantee of invulnerability in battle.
Normally the introduction of a darker side to an Autobot is a welcome thing, but it doesn't work here. Mainly because Longtooth comes across as whineier that conflicted.
Staz does well once more, but it would have been nice if someone along the line had remembered that Pretender shells shouldn't feature in flashbacks set more than a few years previously (though that's not a problem exclusive to here, and I can understand the desire not to feature the bland Pretender inner robots more than needed).

The issue ends with Longtooth returning the Matrix to Optimus before embarking on his part of the Matrix Quest, which plays into the 250th issue story The Greatest Gift of All!.
Previous milestone issue have been marked by multi-character storylines, but the reduced page count and the fact the story would be published in Christmas week require a most welcome change of pace. It's a simple story of Optimus having to decide which of the many deactivated Autobots he should revive with the Matrix fragment. Optimus' inner monologue as he tries to pick is fantastic character work, adding depth without making him angst ridden. His final choice of giving the Matrix energy to Earth to revitalise the biosphere feels absolutely right and manages not to be schmaltzy. All in all, a little gem, and as both the last Christmas and the last "Big issue number" story it stands proud.
The only real problem is that whilst Staz does do well, his PM Prime is a little to toy based and as such the head seems oversized.

The Presentation: Whist the reproduction is generally fine some of the pages seem to have been gathered from less than pristine sources. The first page of A Savage Place! is particularly badly smudged and faded. The art of Dan Reed doesn't shrink very well either, meaning the first dozen pages look even worse than before (though unlike my original issue from childhood the lack of porridge stuck all over the first part is an improvement).

Picking a cover must have been a headache- Obviously they want to stick a character everyone with even basic Transformers knowledge is going to recognise (as they do here with Springer), but the choices available aren't amongst the best resulting in a so-so front piece taken from issue 222. Wouldn't it have been great if they'd gone for the "Optimus Prime having a Christmas drink" cover from #250 though? As a title for the collection I'd have pumped for Wolf In The Fold as well, it's less generic and sums up both Carnavic’s infiltration of the Mayhem base and his place in the Autobots very well. Other than that the extras are limited to an advert for the Metrodome G1 DVD's.

The Verdict: For your six pounds you get some of the very best work the last days of the UK comic produced, with even the weaker stuff standing head and shoulders above the American issues reprinted alongside them. An utterly essential purchase for anyone who doesn't already have it, not just as an example of quality Transformers work but as a collection of some of the best of British comics.

inflatable dalek
2006-11-14, 03:31 PM
I'm hoping to get Fallenstar done whilst I'm off this week as well (mainly because I have nothing else to do between now and my Birthday :( ). Which'll leave Earthforce to Denyer's wit and wisdom. :)

Denyer
2006-11-14, 03:42 PM
Aw. I'm tempted to make some comment about catching up on plunger-polishing...

Nifty, we'll have a round-up complete-stuff update session then.

Question: do the cube ratings here --

http://tfarchive.com/comics/marvel/reprints/

-- seem reasonable? It was done before I did a half-cube graphic.

inflatable dalek
2006-11-14, 03:45 PM
I'd up the amount given to Perchance to Dream, but I supose it doesn't matter that much considering it says clearly that the Energon rating is your verdict rather than the reviewer's (When the two aren't the same of course).

Denyer
2006-11-14, 03:55 PM
Yeah, it probably deserves an extra point -- at the time, the thing in my head was probably "ah, 's those bloody awful Irwin Spoon or whateverhisnameis strips the UK comic fizzled out on, isn't it?"

Gonna name the reviews on the index when tidying up, I think.

inflatable dalek
2006-11-15, 03:09 PM
Originally posted by Denyer
"ah, 's those bloody awful Irwin Spoon or whateverhisnameis strips the UK comic fizzled out on, isn't it?"

And people think Hunter O'Nion is a silly name...

EDIT: Just edited the Way of the Warrior review to add some credits that must not have cut and pasted.

inflatable dalek
2006-11-21, 07:04 PM
Transformers Spotlight Issue 3: Hot Rod
A Review By Inflatable Dalek

Written By: Simon Furman.
Art By: Nick Roach.
Colours By: Liam Shalloo.
Cover Art By: Nick Roach and James Raiz.
Letters By: Robbie Robbins.
Edits By: Dan Taylor.

Synopsis:
On the planet Ki-Aleta Hot Rod takes his first command of a unit on a mission to steal the Magnificence- An Oracle that will give the Decepticons the ability to find all exploitable resources in the Universe. The mission starts well, but soon the team comes under attack from Omega Guardians, and as per his secret orders Hot Rod leaves them to die as he escapes with the Magnificence, which he hides. Though the missions failure is blamed on a unsecured com and faulty equipment Hot Rod blames himself, and becomes a reclusive lone operative.

Some time latter, Hot Rod seeks redemption by infiltration the brutal Decepticon penal colony Styx, and rescues Dealer, the last surviving member of the unit. Once restored to health at an Autobot base Dealer forgives Hot Rod despite the brutal torture he suffered, and offers the young Cavalier the hand of friendship.

But Dealer was a double agent who was responsible for the missions failure. Using Hot Rod's guilt he plans to find where the Magnificence is hidden...

Characters Featured: Hot Rod, Dealer, Gizmo [Killed], Backbeat [Killed], Download [Killed], Gutcruncher, Banzaitron.

Notes: Simulcrums first appeared in Infiltration. Presumably the same technology is responsible for Hot Rods hologram generator he uses to disguise himself as a Decepticon.

There's no indication of who built the Magnificence. The presence of ancient Omega Guardians on the planet might indicate a Cybertronian connection, or alternately the Autobots are just using a term of their own to describe something alien that's similar.

Gutcruncher and Banzaitron have their first speaking roles in an official Transformers comic. The latter’s toy name was two words- we won't know until he appears again if this is an intentional change or a minor mistake.

And speaking of names- Though Banzaitron makes a joke along the lines of "We'll have to call you Doubledealer" there's no indication the dodgy double agent intends to adopt his toy moniker.

The other Autobots on Hot Rods team are all new characters created for this comic, and as per tradition serve the red shirt duties here. "Backbeat" should tell you which Autobot detective Furman has just written for and still had on the brain.

When this title was first announced long serving Transformers Andrew Wildman was down for art chores. He ultimately pumped to do a more substantial body of work for Devils Due on their forthcoming Transformers/GI Joe volume four crossover instead.

The week this comic was originally released IDW announced a sixth title had been added to the initial Spotlight line up, Soundwave.

Goofs: Hot Rod's team consists of three brand new canon fodder characters and Dealer. The guy who's entire bio is about his dual Autobot/Decepticon nature. That makes the last page about 50 billion times more obvious than it would have been if the team had been made up of all toy based Autobots.

Why does Dealer call Banzaitron at the end? Other than to give exposition? It's a highly dangerous thing for a deep cover agent to do that and it's not as if he really needed to check in. He already had his orders and the Decepticons would soon have known if he'd been found out.

Review: A fun read but a very slight one. The big problem is that if you're familiar with the toys the ending is blatantly obvious and comes as a bit of an anti-climax. Even if you're not familiar with Doubledealer it's still all very linear and straightforward despite the flashback narrative. You never get any sense Hot Rod could fail in his mission even before you learn there was no way it would go wrong.

However, the more bitter Hot Rod is a well developed, and Roach's art is fantastic- It could so easily have wound up visually confusing with the flashbacks and characters disguised as other characters, but flows wonderfully. And fans of 24 will find it impossible not to hear the closing beeps as Dealer's mole nature is revealed.

Whilst this is the weakest Spotlight to date that mainly shows how good the preceding two issues were, and it's still well worth you're time.

[Two and a half out of five]

inflatable dalek
2006-11-21, 07:05 PM
Didn't have time for Fallenstar after all, so here's Hot Rod instead!

Denyer
2006-11-21, 07:17 PM
Originally posted by inflatable dalek
But Dealer was a double agent who was responsible
Hot Rod's guilt he plans to find where the Magnificence is hidden... Is this meant to be in blank verse?

I think Soundwave's more likely to be part of a separate set.

inflatable dalek
2006-11-23, 10:25 AM
Originally posted by Denyer
Is this meant to be in blank verse?

Yep, who says you can't bring culture into a review. Either that or you should never cut and paste when in the last thirty seconds of your internet time. But as if by teh magic, it is now changed.

I think Soundwave's more likely to be part of a separate set.

A good chancer, but that doesn't stop it also being the sixth title announced. :)

Denyer
2006-11-28, 03:28 AM
Got 'em in. Will try to finalise some other stuff tomorrow, just not sure how much time I'll have.

inflatable dalek
2006-11-28, 06:19 PM
Transformers The Animated Movie: Issue 2 of Four.
To The Death-And Beyond!
A Review By Inflatable Dalek

Writer: Bob Budiansky.
Artist: Don Figueroa.
Colourist: Josh Burcham.
Letterer: Robbie Robbins.
Designer: Neil Uyetake.
Editor: Chris Ryall.

Synopsis:
Issue two covers events from the death of Optimus Prime through to the Autobot shuttle crashing on Quintessa as shown in the 1986 feature film.

Notes:
One of the great recurring questions of Transformers fandom- right up there with what colour is Rumble? - Is who became Scourge and who became Cyclonus? Don's (and I say Don rather than Bob because this comic seems to have been written the Roy Walker way- Watch the Movie and say what you see) answer in this adaptation is:
Thundercracker becomes Scourge, Bombshell becomes Cyclonus, Kickback and Shrapnel are the Sweeps and Skywarp becomes the near legendary Armada.

Galvatron is in his animation "Purple fruit pastel" colour scheme as opposed to his Marvel comics "Charles Grey" scheme.

Movie scriptwriter Ron Friedman is still un-credited (nor was he on the original Marvel adaptation, but at least in that case Ralph Macchio is credited as "Adaptor" rather than "writer").

Though the publicity for this comic promised many additional scenes and "surprises", Budiansky has admitted in interviews the end of this issue is the only major addition- This consists of just one page showing the Autobot shuttle crashing and Hot Rod being thrown clear into the water.

The other changes in this adaptation are:

The dialogue in Megatrons first meeting with Unicron has been moved about so that now the Planet offers his terms (A new body, new troops ect...) as Megatron is being transformed. This means we loose the "And?" "And nothing!" exchange and "I belong to nobody!" (As with "I'll crush you with my bare hands" last issue this removes part of the effort to emphasise Megs and Galvy are one and the same. Oddly Galvatrons repeating of this line is left intact latter in the issue).

The coronation scene is shortened, we no longer have musical Constructicons and Galvatrons "Does anyone else want to fill his shoes" line is replaced with the less catchy "And my name is now Galvatron!~{!1~}

Spike and Bumblebee no longer try to blow up Moonbase Two, and are eaten on the planet rather than sucked in on a shuttle afterwards. This of course, deletes the swearing to the disappointment of all 8 year olds.

It looks as though Armada gets blown up over Autobot City whilst Ultra Magnus is ordering Hot Rod to get the Dinobots on the Shuttle.

Kup doesn't get chance to start his war story, nor does Hot Rod fight the training droid. Kups attempts to recall how to inverse the polarity is gone as well.

Goof:
[Again, this refers just to new oddities in this comic rather than flaws with the film as a whole].

Page Four has a * box that doesn't lead on from anything (The one that starts "*Starscream is referring...").

Review:
Well, at least this time the speech bubbles all point to the right people. Other than that this is probably the least interesting Transformers comic since... ohhh the original Marvel US GI Joe crossover. It's been suggested that this is a deliberately retro comic, if so then I'd argue that this perfectly shows why no one makes them like this any more. The random cutting of all the best lines (but the leaving in of stuff like "And his Armada") is hardly compensated for by the much hyped "New bit" which has less point to it than the bulk of the cut material. Read this and bemoan the trees that died for it.

[One cube]

inflatable dalek
2006-11-28, 06:21 PM
Another revie, just to put more work on Denyer. :)

LKW
2006-12-02, 02:03 AM
Following is my TF:TAM #2 review. Turned out a little bit long...

LKW
2006-12-02, 02:27 AM
Title: The Transformers: the Animated Movie #2

Creative Credits:
Writer: Bob Budiansky
Artist: Don Figueroa
Colorist: Josh Burcham
Letterer: Robbie Robbins
Designer: Neil Uyetake
Editor: Chris Ryall

Synopsis: Optimus Prime lies dying, following the events of the previous issue. He names Ultra Magnus as the new Autobot leader, despite Magnus’ protestations of unworthiness, and presents to him the Matrix of Leadership. Prime says that one day an Autobot will use the Matrix to “light our darkest hour”. He then dies, to the distress of all witnesses… including Unicron, who has observed this scene by tapping into Autobot City’s video system.

Meanwhile, Megatron has not died, but he and several other wounded Decepticons are cast out of Decepticon escape vessel Astrotrain, ostensibly to increase the chances of the rest of the party of returning to Cybertron. Starscream makes a bid for leadership, which is challenged by both the Constructicons and Soundwave, leading to an eruption of fighting between the opposing sides. Unicron greets the adrift Megatron, persuading him to become his agent and destroy the Autobot Matrix. Unicron unleashes his power on Megatron, creating a being he dubs “Galvatron”. The other abandoned Decepticons are also used as the base material for several Unicron-designed Decepticons: Cyclonus, Scourge, the Sweeps, and Cyclonus’ armada. Given a new spacecraft by Unicron, these new/old Decepticons return to Cybertron just in time to obliterate Starscream at his coronation and take control of the rest of the Decepticon forces.

Unicron arrives in Cybertron’s system and promptly attacks the two Autobot moonbases. Jazz and Cliffjumper get a distress call out to Autobot City, but their escape craft is pulled into Unicron’s maw. Bumblebee and Spike’s message to Earth from Moonbase 2 is cut off, and the moon apparently explodes. Galvatron is enraged at Unicron’s attack on what he considers his property, but Unicron demonstrates the ability to inflict pain on Galvatron even from a distance, prompting Galvatron to obey his order to attack Ultra Magnus’ Autobots.

Galvatron’s force arrives just as the Autobots are preparing to leave for Cybertron. The Autobots manage to lift off, but the Decepticons catch up with them in space. The shuttle carrying Hot Rod, Kup, and the Dinobots crashes; Ultra Magnus orders the emergency separation of the cabin section of his ship. The Decepticons are fooled by the destruction of the abandoned portion of the spacecraft, but Unicron uses his long-distance torture to summon Galvatron back to him. Ultra Magnus’ group sets course for the Planet of Junk, seeking a place to make repairs. Meanwhile, Hot Rod, separated from his disintegrating shuttle, falls into a yellow ocean populated by mechanical animals.

Locations and Characters Featured:
Locations: Autobot City, space, Cybertron, Moonbase 1(destroyed), Moonbase 2 (destroyed), unnamed planet (Quintessa). Characters: Perceptor, Optimus Prime (destroyed), Hot Rod, Ultra Magnus, Daniel, Arcee, Kup, Blurr, Unicron, Astrotrain, Starscream (destroyed), Soundwave, Hook, Long Haul, Bonecrusher, Scavenger, Scrapper, Mixmaster, Blitzwing, Bombshell (used by Unicron as the basis for a new warrior and essentially destroyed), Kickback (used by Unicron, essentially destroyed), Thundercracker (used by Unicron, essentially destroyed), Shrapnel (used by Unicron, essentially destroyed), Megatron (used by Unicron, debatably destroyed – see Errors), Rumble, Frenzy, Devestator, Laserbeak, Skywarp (used by Unicron, essentially destroyed), Galvatron, Scourge, the Sweeps (two visible), Cyclonus, Cyclonus’ “armada”, Jazz, Cliffjumper, Blaster, Spike, Bumblebee, Springer, Swoop, Grimlock, Snarl, Sludge, Slag.

Notes:
Optimus Prime’s eyes glow during his final moments, and his body loses color after he dies, turning to shades of gray. Starscream’s body also grays after destruction.
Unicron makes several displays of power, including tapping into the Autobot City internal camera network, radically restructuring Transformers into his own creations, inflicting intense pain at will over at least one of those creations, Galvatron, and surviving a large explosion unscathed.
The Decepticons shown being used to create Unicron’s minions include: Megatron, for Galvatron; Thundercracker, for Scourge; Kickback, for a Sweep; Shrapnel, for the other depicted Sweep; Bombshell, for Cyclonus; and Skywarp, for “[Cyclonus’] armada”. Galvatron is the only one of the Unicron Decepticons which shows any sign of remembering the existence of its template.
Autobot shuttles, at least of the make used here, are capable of inverting the polarities of incoming missiles and of separating the forward quarter of the ship as an escape craft.
The issue includes three separate pages advertising various IDW Transformers TPBs, an ad for the 20th anniversary Transformers: the Movie DVD release, a four-page preview for Escalation #1, an ad for IDW Transformers posters, an ad for IDW’s first five Transformers Spotlights, and a back cover ad for a Hot Topic-exclusive retro-style G.I. Joe figure.
And again, Ron Friedman, Flint Dille, and the rest of Sunbow Productions receive no credit for the original story which this series is adapting.

Errors:
Very little to report in this issue (despite the amount of type needed to describe what is there to be discussed).
Arcee’s face is more pink than it was in at least parts of the first issue (on close examination, the color in that issue seems to fluctuate between pink and off-white), and certainly more pink than in the Movie.
There is one possible attack of “Dreaded Drifting Voice Bubble” when, on page 17, Kup says “Come on, you big bozo – get in the shuttle!” a line which was delivered by Hot Rod in the film. However, Budiansky did re-assign at least two other lines in this issue, giving to Hook Bonecrusher’s retort “Who are you calling inferior?!” on page 5, and having Cyclonus deliver Scourge’s line “The Autobots have been terminated!” on page 21, so this could be a deliberate authorial choice rather than an error.
And, while not strictly an error of this comic as much as an addition to a problem created by the Movie, one of Budiansky’s added lines of dialogue helps to further cloud a muddy issue – does Galvatron retain Megatron’s mind as well as his memories, or, as seems to be the case with Unicron’s other creations, is he a new being created from the base material of an old Decepticon? Budiansky has Galvatron follow up on his “Here’s a hint!” crack to Starscream by declaring “And my name is now Galvatron!” That “now” certainly implies that this being is Megatron, albeit with a new appearance, name, and perhaps personality. On the other hand, Budiansky carries over from the Movie script Galvatron’s declaration, as he attacks Autobot City, that “I, Galvatron, will crush you just as Megatron crushed Prime!” – a line which clearly seems to show that Galvatron considers Megatron to be a separate being. Identity issues?

Review:
Well, I was somewhat dubious going into this issue, knowing that arguably the best part of the Transformers: the Movie story had basically been covered by the end of the first issue, and that more questionable parts of the plot lay ahead. But, I have to say that overall I was pretty impressed with issue #2.

As though sensing that reader interest could wane as the story leaves behind most of the original Transformer characters, Don Figueroa steps up his artistic attack, consistently providing illustrations even better than those featured in the first issue. Some highlights include Optimus Prime’s death, Ultra Magnus firing at Galvatron and Cyclonus (page 15), the two-page spread of pages 20-21, centered around the Unicron-tortured Galvatron, and, particularly impressive, the death of Starscream. Josh Burcham delivers some remarkable work, capturing memorable colors from the creation of Unicron’s minions, making the scenes of Galvatron’s torture spectacular, and overall greatly aiding the clarity and quality of the storytelling from first page to last.

And Bob Budiansky continues to put his own stamp on this work, tweaking and adding dialogue, at times perhaps as dictated by limited space, but at other points just improving the story, and adding clarifications, such as explaining how Unicron was able to monitor Prime’s death. One wonders if Budiansky’s heard about some of the derision of Ultra Magnus, as he and Figueroa appear to have conspired to make Magnus look as impressive as possible. He appears dynamic and in charge – for whatever reason, his confusion at Perceptor’s dialogue is left out of this issue – and just Budiansky’s addition of “--we have our own problems!” to Magnus’ infamous “I can’t deal with that now!” does wonders at improving the impression made. Another “coincidence or conspiracy?” change involves Megatron’s confrontation with Unicron. It’s possible that space constraints were the only consideration, or it may be evidence supporting Budiansky’s recent expression of affection for the character, but Megatron comes across a little more impressively here than in the original film. Beyond his initial “Who… said that?” all of his lines are delivered as though he is at full strength, as opposed to the strain heard in the movie. A calm “State your business,” is shown coming from a tiny white dot in the face of Unicron’s gigantic glowing maw. And Megatron now declares “But I have already crushed Optimus Prime! The Matrix died with him!” to which Unicron simply replies, “No. The Matrix has been passed on to…” rather than bickering about Megatron’s characterization of the fight. And the much-reported “new scene,” showing Hot Rod plummeting into the ocean of Quintessa, is quite short, but it does smooth over an awkward patch in the plot, improving upon the original film’s lurching “The ship is starting to crash, up above this weird planet/ Hey, I’m underwater, all by myself!” transition.

Some scenes are very close adaptations, but not quite duplicates, of the Movie versions, such as the death of Prime, which gets a couple new lines, and shows the reactions of some of the Autobots after Prime’s body goes gray. The Decepticon mini-civil war aboard Astrotrain is also presented almost exactly as seen in the film (with slight alterations of dialogue), but, the further the issue goes, the more scenes begin to get truncated and compressed. The last that is seen of Bumblebee and Spike – after their tag-team call to Autobot City is almost exactly re-created – is a blank viewscreen and an exploding Moonbase. Blurr’s struggle with the Dinobots is completely omitted; in fact, the closest he comes to having dialogue at all in these first two issues is when Perceptor’s voice bubble about “tactical deficiency” drifts his way in issue 1. Guess now he knows how Kup felt after his speech-free (and anonymous) appearance in the Marvel adaptation’s first issue. Speaking of Kup, while he still has a significant role, the bulk of his tales about “the shrikebats of Dromedan” and “Ick-yak” monsters hit the cutting room floor here, as does Hot Rod’s Skywalker-esque in-flight fight with a battle droid. While the latter doesn’t feel like much of a loss, the new brevity caused by so much cutting does lead to a bit of awkwardness, as Kup (in new dialogue) exclaims “Good point, Hot Rod - - the Decepticons just started shooting at us!” a whole two panels after Ultra Magnus declares “we’ve lost them!”

A couple other minor disappointments: several lines are altered, or even added, in order to provide characters’ names to the audience. At times, it grates a bit – but, on reflection, much less than the Marvel adaptation’s paragraphs-of-exposition-style added dialogue (“I do, Starscream! I - - who was Megatron… and now have become Galvatron! You attempted to take my place as ruler…” – it continues on like this for four more sentences…). And, given the opportunity to make more sense of the creation of Unicron’s minions, and to clear up or even just get rid of the second Cyclonus known only as “his armada” – Budiansky and Figueroa change nothing at all.

Overall, though, I found the issue to be a surprisingly enjoyable read. Once again, IDW’s adaptation is head and shoulders (and more heads and more shoulders) above the old Marvel attempt, in accuracy, entertainment value, and overall quality; in fact (not to damn with faint praise), this book may be better than the film which it adapts.

Three Energon Cubes out of five

inflatable dalek
2006-12-05, 11:20 AM
Would this be the place to point out that the links on the main page are the wrong way round so that the one claiming to lead to LKW's (funky) review in fact gives them mine and vice versa? No doubt anyone who doesn't know us klicking on the "Likes it more" review will be wondering what the doesn't like it review must be like...

Denyer
2006-12-05, 03:39 PM
Mmm. Whoops.

Turned out a little bit long...
No worries. No worries at all. :)

LKW
2006-12-05, 11:29 PM
Originally posted by Denyer
No worries. No worries at all. :)

Cool. :) I'm re-watching the relevant potion of the movie as I work on the review; some of the bulkiness probably came from the notes from that.

Yeah, it seems safe to say that I'm liking the thing more than poor Dalek ;). It feels like the contrast works out well for our reviews - though that won't lead me to give the next issue a pass if it disappoints. I just found Figueroa's art - and Josh Burcham's colors - to be especially impressive this issue, and enjoyed it a surprising amount overall. Junk food, to be sure; but I find I'm enjoying reading an actually halfway good adaptation of TF:T(A)M

inflatable dalek
2006-12-06, 05:07 PM
It's the fact they killed Armada that ruined it for me. how can they knock off the greatest ever Transformer?

Tetsuro
2006-12-06, 05:32 PM
Originally posted by inflatable dalek
This of course, deletes the swearing to the disappointment of all 8 year olds.
I don't know about that. If I was about to be eaten by a planet, I'd cuss too.

And seriously, it's not like he started rapping on spot or something.

Originally posted by inflatable dalek
It's the fact they killed Armada that ruined it for me. how can they knock off the greatest ever Transformer?
The same way they killed Flywheels offscreen.

inflatable dalek
2006-12-07, 10:16 AM
Transformers Escalation: Issue 1 of 6
A Review By Inflatable Dalek.

Written By: Simon Furman.
Art By: E.J. Su.
Colours By: John Rauch.
Colour Assist By: Zac Atkinson and Aaron Myers.
Letters By: Chris Mowry.
Edits By: Chris Ryall & Dan Taylor.
Cover By: E.J Su.
Variant Cover: Klaus Scherwinski.

Synopsis:

At the Machination Field Unit in Michigan Mister Drake is putting his team through their paces by using a VR machine to practice ambushing Transformers. However, there has been no "Alien Mech" activity for several days, and he is beginning to loose patience.

At Ark 19 Hunter, Verity and Jimmy are upset to learn the Autobots- against Ratchet's wishes- are to dispense with their help and send them home. Ironhide and an unhappy Sunstreaker are given the task of transporting them. Meanwhile, the newly arrived Optimus Prime is greatly worried that Jetfire has found evidence that both Shockwave and Soundwave have been active on Earth in the past. Where are they now?

At the Decepticon Command Bunker Megatron is greatly excited at the discovery of seemingly natural Energon on Earth. After giving his troops a dressing down for their recent activity under Starscreams command he orders the activation of "the Facsimiles".

As Ironhide and Sunstreaker leave the Ark they are detected by Machination agents, and Mr. Drake stages a huge diversionary road accident in their path, leading to his agents seemingly destroy Sunstreaker, with Hunter inside him...

Characters Featured: Mr. Drake, Ratchet, Hunter [Seemingly killed], Runabout, Runamuck , Jimmy, Verity, Ironhide, Jazz, Megatron [Still in his Cybertronian mode], Astrotrain, Sunstreaker [As a computer character and as the real deal. Seemingly killed], Optimus Prime, Jetfire [On a comms channel], Springer [Comm], Ultra Magnus [Comm] Silverbolt [Comm], Prowl, Thundercracker, Skywarp, Blitzwing.

[B] Notes: This takes place after Stormbringer for Prime, and a few days after Infiltration for the Earthbound Autobots. The present day segments of Nightbeat and Shockwave have also happened by this point.

It's not yet clear how many of the Stormbringer cast have come to Earth with Prime, but it would seem Springer and Jetfire are not on board as they're taking part in the tele-conference rather than just coming into the same room as Prime. Though not seen here Nightbeat was picked up by Prime on route to Earth in his Spotlight issue.

Exactly what happened to Shockwave, and the part he played in placing Energon on Earth, can be seen in his Spotlight issue. The mystery of Soundwave's presence on Earth will be explored in another Spotlight in March 2007.

On page 15 a car of the same make of Sunstreaker's alt mode can just be seen in the Machination truck. This coupled with the fact that the car targeted in the sights of the bazooka doesn't have the EMP missile shoot into the side of the real Sunstreaker a few panels earlier would suggest a cleaver substitution has taken place. The cliffhanger itself is very like that of the Furman written Energon issue 26.

If not for Hunter's protest Sunstreaker would happily have fired at unarmed humans. Whilst this is in keeping with his G1 character, it seems the rest of the Autobots also have a more pragmatic approach than in previous continuities. Ironhide has no problem smashing his way through cars with people in, whilst Prime doesn't want to get to close to their human visitors because he might have to sacrifice their species.

Megatron her forgives the bulk of the Decepticons for their actions under Starscreams command in Infiltration, but makes it very clear this is a last warning. We don't as yet know what the Facsimiles are.

Pages 6, 9 and 10 were previewed in various IDW Transformer comics in the build up to the issues release.

Goofs: As the humans themselves point out, why do the Autobots go to the effort of programming a Sunstreaker staring arcade game for them? And even if they would, why would the humans want to play it? They were nearly killed a few days earlier in similar events to those in the game. Would a July 7th survivor want to play a game called Tube Bomber!?. It's like Dreamwave Spike and his giant robot T-Shirt all over again...

Considering the Autobots themselves are still Decepticon targets even if the humans aren't, wouldn't it be safer just to take Verity and co to the nearest train station rather than driving them all the way home?

Review:

This issue is very strong opening instalment. We have lots of fantastic character work on both the Autobots and Megatron and lots of threads from preceding comics picked up on and developed.
The big problem is that we have more pages of people playing computer games of fighting Decepticons than actually doing it for real- The main plot itself is rather stationary.
However, this is still a very entertaining read, and even if the bluff over Sunstreaker's seeming death doesn't quiet work, it sets up the new arc nicely.

[Three out of five]

inflatable dalek
2006-12-07, 10:19 AM
Yes, it's me again. Reviewing the main title this time!. I finished this review whilst sitting next to a man who stinks of beer. Just thought you should know...

Denyer
2006-12-07, 11:53 AM
Cheers. In.

inflatable dalek
2006-12-16, 02:34 PM
Transformers: The Animated Movie: Part 3 of 4 Terror On Two Worlds
A Review By Inflatable Dalek.

Writer: Bob Budiansky.
Artist: Don Figueroa.
Colourist: Josh Burcham.
Letterer: Robbie Robbins.
Designer: Neil Uyetake.
Editor: Chris Ryall.


Synopsis: This issue adapts the 1986 Feature film from Hot Rod being attacked by fish on Quintessa through to the Autobots on Junk realising Galvatron has gone with the Matrix "And with it, all hope".

Notes:
Ron Friedman. Un-credited. I'll stop mentioning it when they stop doing it.

The cover seems to be inspired by the issue 2 cover to Marvel's adaptation of the film.

For this issue the individual chapter title ("Terror On Two Worlds!") is repeated on the first page of the actual comic rather than just on the credits page.

The big changes from the Motion Picture:

Hot Rod has some more exposition dialogue when fighting the fish (" don't know where the rest of the Autobots from the shuttle landed...") in order to bring people who haven't read last issue/seen the film/been smart enough to read the recap on the first page up to speed.

Kup says "End of the road!" at one point on Junkion, which may well be a reference to one of Simon Furman's long-standing in-jokes.

The "Beryllium Baloney" exchange between the Dinobots is cut short, Grimlock doesn't refer to himself as a king (here or latter in the issue) and thankfully doesn't join in the rhyming thanks to the "Me Grimlock say we're on our way!" being dropped.

Unicron reiterates to Galvatron that the Matrix is the only thing that can threaten him.

Wreak-Gar's reaction to the arriving Decepticons is cut.

There are no Insecticons on Junk.

There's an additional exchange between Kup and Hot Rod in the Sharkticon pit- "Looks like they're not done with us". "You got it backwards lad, we're not done with them!”

Grimlock encouraging the Sharkticons to start a revolution is gone.

Wreak Gar's TV is tuned to "ABC's TV".

There is no song and dance on Junk.

Goofs:
[Only referring to new mistakes in this comic rather than those of the film]

Daniel is drawn way to small on the last page- At that scale it's hard to imagine him having done any damage when he runs Scavenger down.

What happens to all the Sharkticons? One second they're fighting the Dinobots hard, the next they've all buggered off (thanks to the loss of the "Me Grimlock say..." sequence).

Review: Ironically, it's the weakest part of the Movie that makes the best issue of this adaptation to date.

That's mainly thanks to the changes generally making the structure stronger, Grimlock's not an Junkion snogging idiot, and whilst people still feel compelled to remind each other of their own names the dialogue is mostly left as was and doesn't become so clunky as in the previous two issues.

However, that doesn't disguise the problem the Movie has that the entire Junk/Quintessa sequence is just padding in the Quest Narrative to stop our hero's achieving their goal before the hour and a half is up. It also isn't enough to hide the complete pointlessness of this comic either.

An improvement then, but the last issue will have to be even more of one to elevate the comic above Generations as the most worthless thing IDW have done to date.

[A Half More Cube Than What I Gave The Last Issue]

Denyer
2006-12-17, 10:54 PM
I think you're being a tad harsh, at least to the point these reviews work better in pairs.

We should probably standardise on scoring a bit... this is what I've been using since the beginning, on the Marvel and other stuff --

5 - Good as it gets.
4 - Very good.
3 - Decent stuff.
2 - Notably lacking.
1 - Avoid.

inflatable dalek
2006-12-19, 08:02 PM
Originally posted by Denyer
I think you're being a tad harsh, at least to the point these reviews work better in pairs.

But I said nice things! I'm sure I did. Somewhere. Though LKW's reviews are being a little fairer on it to be honest, judging it as a comic in its own right rather than a adaption.

We should probably standardise on scoring a bit... this is what I've been using since the beginning, on the Marvel and other stuff --

5 - Good as it gets.
4 - Very good.
3 - Decent stuff.
2 - Notably lacking.
1 - Avoid.

Sounds good to me.

inflatable dalek
2006-12-24, 09:02 PM
Transformers Escalation Issue 2 of 6
A Review By Inflatable Dalek

Written By: Simon Furman.
Art By: E.J Su.
Colours By: Zac Atkinson.
Letters By: Neil Uyetake.
Edits By: Chris Ryall and Dan Taylor.
Cover By: E.J. Su.
Variant Cover By: Klaus Scherwinski.

Synopsis:
Nine Months ago: In Washington, Louisiana Senator Alexander Holt meets with a U.S. General to get reassurances for some oil companies that support him that the current difficulties in the Middle East will continue for some considerable time to keep profits high. Unknown to him he is targeted by Runabout.

Now: Optimus Prime, Jazz and Wheeljack leave Ark 19 and prepare to retrieve Sunstreaker's remains from a Police compound in Springfield.

Ironhide takes Verity and Jimmy back to the ship, explaining on route that despite their human appearance the people responsible for the attack may well have been facsimile avatars- Decepticon made clones that act as sleeper agents.

Megatron has Skywarp and Thundercracker attack and destroy a Power Plant in El Jira, with the intent that the Americans will be blamed for it and the region will become hugely unstable. He then has Runabout and Runamuck activate the replaced humans.

Jazz and Wheeljack break into the compound, and catch Machination agents in the act of stealing Suntreakers body, something they nearly succeed in doing thanks to some advanced weaponry. However, just as their escape seems assured the truck with Sunstreaker on it crashes into Optimus Prime.

Back at the Ark, Ratchet discovers that the remains are just a car, and therefore Sunstreaker and Hunter may well still be alive. As Ironhide brings the good news to Verity and Jimmy, a news report reveals the now inhuman Alexander Holt is not only advocating military action in El Jira, but is also planning to run for President of the United States...

Characters Featured: Senator Holt , Runabout, Optimus Prime, Jazz, Wheeljack, Ironhide, Sunstreaker [Flashback, plus the fake body], Jimmy, Verity, Megatron, Runamuck, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Prowl, Ratchet.

[B]Notes:
According to Ironhide, if that had been Sunstreaker there would have been no chance of him surviving. We've seen Transformers recover from far worse in previous continuities, suggesting they're either not as tough here or they don't have the resources to effect repairs.

El Jira is a fictional place, though it's predicament is obviously based on the current situation in Iraq.

Skywarp had to spend some time in a C.R chamber to recover from his wounds inflicted by Megatron in Infiltration 6. He implies that something rather awful has happened to Starscream.

Megatron now has a Earth handgun alt-mode- Making him the first IDW Transformer to have to deal with the thorny issue of giant robots shrinking down to a small size in defiance of all logic. He doesn't do it here though, and it's as yet unclear if any attempt to rationalise this will be made (such as the fan subspace theory), or if as with every example of people shrinking in Science Fiction the physics will just be ignored.

According to procedure Megatron should just install a new unit commander to replace Starscream and then return to headquarters- However, he likes his new design so much he decides to stay on and have some fun.

The Facsimile Avatars are standard Decepticon kit, and come complete with the source's memories. Often they don't even know they're not the original. The Decepticons normally keep the original human on ice in case the copy fails and they need to make a new one. The corpse Verity found in the original Decepticon base in Inflitration was one such human that had been left behind in the move.

Though the Machination weaponry is clearly very advanced, Transformers can withstand it given enough warning (unlike Sunstreaker last issue).

Optimus Prime seems willing to cause the death of a human in order to retrieve Sunstreaker, though he may not be aware of how frail Earthlings are. Or perhaps he thought any sensible top secret agent would be careful to look where he's going whilst driving...

Verity seems much more affected by Hunter's death than Jimmy, stirring hormones perhaps?

In-jokes this issue include Optimus referring to Sunstreaker's body as being "More than meets the eye..." and a news reporter being called Arcee Arthur.

This issue sees the letters page being handed over from Chris Ryall (in the guise of Chrischarger) to fellow editor Dan Taylor (in the guise of Shockdan). Once again Nick Roach provides the art. Ryall still gets to be represented in comic form though, thanks to being featured in the advert for the CSI mini-series Dying In The Gutter (Which is about murder at a comic convention, with a bunch of real comic creators as suspects. If Ryall does turn out to be the one that done it his editorship of this title may well be cut short by a stint in the big house...)

The first five pages were previewed online by IDW.

Goofs:
What sort of secret agent is the guy in charge of the Machination retrieval team? Knowing their are hostile giant robots in the area he decides not to concentrate on the road ahead and instead looks behind him cracking gags about explosions- Resulting in him not seeing the giant stationary red robot he crashes into (shades of Bumblebee's death in the most recent Devils Due Transformers/GI Joe crossover). One also has to wonder why Prime wouldn't try harder to capture him alive as the poor guy could answer a lot of the questions he poses at the end of the issue.

If Megatron really wants to make the World think America attacked the Power Plant, why not have Skywarp and Thundercracker adopt USAF markings for the mission?

Megatron acts as if the only reason he has for staying on Earth is to have some fun with his new alt-mode. Why adopt it in the first place if he planed to leave straight away? And isn't the super Energon enough of a reason to stay in personal control of the mission?

Review:
This is the strongest main comic issue IDW have put out to date, the action, plot and character development are all balanced perfectly to make a great read. It's great to see Furman finally bring the restored form he's shown on the Spotlight comic into the "..tion" titles.

Highlights include Jazz's wounded pride at getting shown up by humans, Ironhide's very real anger at Sunstreaker's seeming death and Prime's fascinated expression in his eyes as he watches the human die (even if the logic of that scene is a bit dodgy).

Another asset is that the political aspect, which could so easily be a "War is bad, M'kay" style rant, is kept very much in check and serves the story rather than dominating it. A fantastic 22 pages that shows the Transformers comic is in very safe hands.
[Four out of five]

inflatable dalek
2006-12-24, 10:42 PM
Transformers Spotlight: Sixshot.
A Review By Inflatable Dalek.

Written By: Simon Furman.
Art and Colours By: Rob Ruffolo.
Cover Art By: Rob Ruffolo & James Raiz,
Letters By: Robbie Robbins.
Edits By: Chris Ryall and Dan Taylor.

Synopsis: After devastating the planet Ys'Devian one robot army Sixshot returns to base to find the Terrorcons- a group that desperately wants to be like him and tends to follow him about despite his best efforts to shake them off- have vanished on a mission to pacify the planet Mumu-Obscura. All follow up missions have been repulsed and the rumour is that the planet has fallen to the fearsome Reapers, semi-mythical bogeymen with a terrifying reputation.

Feeling bored, Sixshot decides to investigate, and after passing through a series of orbital defences he finds the planet's surface utterly destroyed, even more so than the Decepticons would bother with.

Upon landing six Reapers, all members of different races, approach him and offer him the Terrorcons if he can best them in combat. The fight ultimately ends in stalemate, with Sixshot feeling he's merely being tested.

The Reapers present the Terrorcons, and explain that they're now sick of fighting and intend to end war, by ending all life. They want Sixshot to join them as they believe him to be a kindred spirit, and want him to kill the Terrorcons as a way of cutting of his ties to his past life. Sixshot ultimately refuses, feeling that despite being a loner he still has empathy for some of his colleagues, and that will keep him with the Decepticons, for now.

Characters Featured: Sixshot, Ransack, Squawkbox, Pounce, Treadshot, Hun-Grrr, Cutthroat, Blot, Rippersnapper, Sinnertwin. Sixshot is stationed at a Decepticon space station in Trypticons colours- It's not clear if it's supposed to be him in a Cybertronian mode, a homage or just a coincidence.

Notes:
Sixshot is powerful enough to destroy an entire planet unaided. Presumably he's usually called in as part of the final phase of what we're seeing the Decepticons do in Infiltraion/Escalation.

The six Reapers we see include:
A Deathbringer (a "Bio-mech" bred for combat), a Ravenous (a mechanical bird with a berserker cy-virus), a invertebrate jellyfish thing which projects a force field and a robot weapon of mass destruction (which looks like a evil Johnny 5), a humanoid dragon and a thing in a robotic cloak.

We don't learn anything of the race behind them (though Sixshot describes them as "frightened beings"), nor how the different races were recruited.

The Terrorcon name is a unofficial one they call themselves (Squawkbox has to think for a few seconds before placing it). The same may turn out to be true of the other sub-groups as well (only the Dynobots have been referred to by name in a IDW comic so far). There's no indication they're combiners at this stage.

"Deathbringer" was the name of a equally deadly mechanoid that stared in the eponymous two part story in the Marvel UK Transformers Comic issues 235-236. He also cameos in Dark Creation (Marvel US #65).

In another in-joke, Sixsot's guns make a ZARAAAK sound on the opening page. This is a corruption of the name of Skorponok's Nebulan partner in the original toyline/comics/TV show ect.

Rob Ruffolo previously drew the Micromasters mini for Dreamwave.

Goofs:
Why is Sixshot so impressed by the six Reaper's managed to destroy an entire planet? At the start of the issue he's boasting of having done the same single handily.

Squawkbox has a grey chest on his first panel. It makes him look not unlike Motormaster.

The Terrorcons seem a tad non-plused about being threatened with death, they don't make any effort to fight back or escape.

Review:
A very pleasant surprise. I've never been very interested in Sixshot, who's something of an identikit noble character, and Ruffolo's art for Dreamwave was staggeringly bad.

Thankfully though, here his work is much improved (though Raiz's cover makes you long for what might have been), and whilst Sixshot is still a dull variant on Bludgeon the story itself is well told, and it's nice to see some camaraderie between the Decepticons for a change.

The main problem is that it doesn't feel very connected to the ongoing plotlines as the other Spotlights did, and whilst it's not necessary for everything to tie together it does make this issue feel slighter and more throwaway.

Despite that, this is another solid win for the Spotlight series, which is rapidly on its way to being the best IDW title.
[Three out of five]

LKW
2006-12-29, 03:19 AM
Following is my review for Transformers: Animated Movie #3. Holidays and an illness or two made it hard to find a few solid hours to work on it. I should be able to get the next review in much more promptly - though I'm sure not as quickly as Mr. Dalek...

LKW
2006-12-29, 03:56 AM
Title: The Transformers: the Animated Movie #3

Creative Credits:
Writer: Bob Budiansky
Artist: Don Figueroa
Colorist: Josh Burcham
Letterer: Robbie Robbins
Designer: Neil Uyetake
Editor: Chris Ryall

Synopsis: Hot Rod finds himself alone at the bottom of a yellow ocean, attacked by mechanical sea creatures. Freeing himself, he follows Kup’s cries for help, rescuing him from a gigantic mechanical squid. Meanwhile, Ultra Magnus’ shuttle crash-lands on the Planet of Junk. The crew set out to make repairs, but are observed by an apparently hostile Wreck-Gar and his fellow Junkions.

Hot Rod and the repaired Kup set out across the surface of their planet, but are stopped by first a lagoon and then a group of alligator-like mechanical guards. An orange robot witnesses their capture. They are imprisoned by the Quintessons, observing their execution-based judicial system on the way to their cell. They encounter Kranix, captured after escaping Unicron’s destruction of his planet. The Autobots gain some information from Kranix, but are unable to prevent his fatal judgement by the Quintessons and their pit of Sharkticons. Elsewhere on the planet, the Dinobots have been fruitlessly searching for the two Autobots. Wheelie, the robot who observed the capture of Hot Rod and Kup, points them in the right direction.

Galvatron arrives at Unicron, protesting that he has done as Unicron asked. Unicron corrects him, informing him of the survival of Ultra Magnus and the Autobot Matrix, noting that “the Matrix is the one power in the universe… that can threaten me” and charging Galvatron with destroying it. The Autobots on the Planet of Junk have been busy working on the repair of their shuttle; but the ship is promptly destroyed upon the arrival of the Decepticons. Ultra Magnus orders the Autobots to flee while he tries to use the Matrix to defeat the Decepticons. Failing, he is blown apart by the Sweeps. Galvatron gloats that he will use the Matrix to enslave Unicron, to Unicron’s roaring displeasure.

Back on the Quintessons’ planet, Kup and Hot Rod are judged and dropped into the Sharkticon pool. Transforming, they propel themselves out of the pit by creating a whirlpool. Crushing more Sharkticons in both car and robot modes, the Autobots still appear to be doomed by the sheer number of Sharkticons until the timely arrival of the Dinobots turns the tide. Wheelie points out a ship which they can use to escape the planet. Back on the Planet of Junk, the Autobots barely absorb the sight of Ultra Magnus’ remains before they are attacked by the Junkions. The conflict is halted by the arrival of the Autobots in the Quintesson ship and by Hot Rod’s use of the “universal greeting”. Wreck-Gar and his Junkions are able to repair Ultra Magnus despite his seemingly fatal dismemberment, but the Autobots’ joy is tempered by the news that their Matrix of Leadership is gone.

Locations and Characters Featured:
Locations: The Quintessons’ planet (known in other media as “Quintessa”), space, the Planet of Junk. Characters: Hot Rod, Kup, Springer, Blurr, Daniel, Arcee, Ultra Magnus, Wreck-Gar, unnamed Junkions, Quintesson sentries (“Alligatorcons”), Wheelie, Quintesson court personnel, the Quintesson imperial magistrate, Sharkticons, Kranix, Sludge, Grimlock, Swoop, Slag, Snarl, Unicron, Galvatron, Perceptor, Scavenger, Long Haul, Cyclonus, the Sweeps.

Notes:
At least according to Kup, the “universal greeting” is “Bah-weep-gra aagnah wheep ni-ni bong”. It doesn’t appear to have much influence on the Quintesson guards, but the Junkions seem to recognize it, or at least like it.

Daniel is given an “exo-suit” which was once used by his father. It greatly enhances his strength, and transforms into a wheeled vehicle, with its user inside.

The Junkions are scrap metal Transformers, able to rebuild both themselves and other robots. They have picked up speech patterns from Earthly TV signals.

Whatever the Autobots’ “darkest hour” is, it apparently is not Galvatron and his Decepticons attacking Ultra Magnus, as the Matrix won’t open to combat this situation.

Blurr finally speaks in this issue – letterer Robbie Robbins combines dashes with, well, overlaid gray blurs, to depict his style of speech.

IDW continues to add to the “Galvatron is/is not Megatron?” question in this issue. In the recap section of the credits page, on the inside front cover, Galvatron is called “the Decepticons’ powerful new leader resurrected from the wreckage of Megatron” – which, actually, kind of labels him as new and old at the same time. Page 12, meanwhile, describes Galvatron as “the Decepticon [Unicron] created from the wreckage of Megatron,” which would seem to lean to the “different beings” side.

This issue includes full-page ads for the Transformers: Infiltration TPB, the 20th Anniversary Movie DVD, the Transformers Spotlight series, IDW Transformers posters, various IDW Transformers TPBs, Transformers: Escalation issue #1, two Transformers Manga editions, Transformers: Generations, CSI and 24 comic books, and Hot Topics’ retro 12-inch G.I. Joe figure.

And as with previous issues, movie writer Ron Friedman, story consultant Flint Dille, and the rest of Sunbow Productions receive no acknowledgement for their creation of Transformers: The Movie.

Errors:

Taking the “Brace for impact!” panel from page 4 and using it for the credits page illustration is an error in judgement, as it really isn’t all that impressive a drawing, even compared with many other panels in this issue.

Speaking of bad judgement, there’s a possible re-occurrence of Arcee’s thong on page 21, though the thick inking here helps to cover it up.

And page 18 keeps a major scaling problem from a scene in the original movie and even adds to it. The Dinobots are notably larger than the Autobots throughout this series; however, they should not dwarf the Sharkticons as greatly as they do here. Sludge chews on a Sharkticon barely larger than his dinosaur-mode head; Grimlock fits one in his mouth. Meanwhile, in the same panel, Swoop flies overhead with another Sharkticon – which is almost the size of his entire torso. The latter depiction is closer to the correct one; but together, along with the size of the Sharkticons next to Hot Rod and Kup, the result is just an inconsistent mess.


Review:
Well… ultimately, a mixed bag, this. It’s still light years better than Marvel Comics’ 1986 adaptation – for one thing, IDW’s version doesn’t depict Grimlock being captured by the Quintessons alongside Kup and Hot Rod…. And, Bob Budiansky (and/or editor Chris Ryall) does choose a very effective closing for the issue, ending with Kup’s line about the Matrix being gone: “And with it… all hope.” But… basic problems with the story begin to become more prominent – the detours on alien planets, the Autobots suddenly thinking either that the Matrix can solve their every problem or else that being attacked by some Decepticons on the Planet of Junk is their “darkest hour” - and more substantial moments from the film begin to be left out.

Don Figueroa continues to deliver attractive and generally clear work, though perhaps without any standout moments to rival those of the previous issue. Josh Burcham once again provides excellent colors, notably the yellow of the Quintessons’ ocean and its creatures, and Unicron ‘s eerie glow at the top of page 12. And Bob Budiansky continues to improve upon the film’s script in new touches of dialogue: Hot Rod gets some nice new wisecracks on pages 2-3, Kup a good one on page 17. And he gets a very useful new line on page 6, his “End of the road!” making it clear why he and Hot Rod transform back into robot mode so soon after they began to drive around the planet, and also explains that their bonds have loosened as they drop into the Sharkticon pit on page 16. This format also works well in clarifying some of Wreck-Gar’s less-intelligible dialogue. Budiansky does change the odd Wreck-Gar line, having him ask “Did Wreck-Gar hear bah-weep…” and having him give a ninety-NINE day warranty on Ultra Magnus for some reason. He also tweaks Wheelie’s dialogue (what of it he uses), giving us the improved line “Just stare over there!”

Snarl still has no dialogue, but continues to tag along with the other Dinobots. And, unlike the missed opportunity with “his armada” last issue, Bob and/or Don do avoid one confusing bit of the original movie here. Daniel now encounters Scavenger and Long Haul on the Planet of Junk, rather than Scavenger and Shrapnel-or-one-of-his-clones.

The drama of Kup and Hot Rod’s meeting with Kranix, and the latter’s execution, is captured well here, enhanced by an added line for Kup which reviews the destruction of the Moon Bases while still feeling natural. However, this is immediately followed by Wheelie meeting the Dinobots, a scene which is shortened slightly from the film, but which remains rather silly. Speaking of silliness, for better or worse, Daniel’s struggles with his exo-suit, and "the great Autobot-Junkion dance party," are casualties of space constraints (or editorial judgement) here. To fill up the space “Dare to be Stupid” took up in the film, several Autobots have new dialogue as they flee the Junkions, though none of it is particularly memorable. On the other hand, Springer’s fight with Wreck-Gar; the Autobots’ cries of “Til all are one!” Ultra Magnus’ “Open! DAMMIT, open!” and “You’re… all alive!” and any references to “King Grimlock” (among other lines); and, perhaps most significantly, the Sharkticons stopping their attack and then rebelling against the Quintessons, are all left out of this adaptation. Also, for some reason, Kranix now declares “I’m the last survivor of my planet!” leaving the name “Lithone” entirely out of this series. (Slag does still get to say a particular fan-favorite line, however.)

Overall, the issue does provide a pretty good adaptation of the animated movie, improving some bits, while also leaving a few things out. It is a marked improvement over Marvel’s version and its gigantic inaccuracies and laughably bad paragraphs of exposition from an unusually-eloquent Sludge. (Though, to be fair, Marvel’s does manage to keep the Dinobots consistently in-scale with the Sharkticons, unlike either IDW’s or the actual movie, and their version does include the Sharkticon revolution.) However, it ultimately did not feel as satisfying a read as the prior issues. The weakness of the source material may be beginning to show through more strongly while the art isn’t quite as strong, and the cuts from the movie a little more noticeable. Still a decent read, but – unless one is a sworn devotee of TF:T(A)M (and perhaps not even then, depending on how much the changes bother her/him) – not as solid of one.

Two and a half Energon Cubes out of five (Made with consideration of the above descriptions of 1-5; you can change it if you'd prefer not to have half cubes)

Denyer
2006-12-31, 04:45 PM
Thanks all. I think I've managed to post the Escalation one without really reading it (my copy's somewhere in Royal Mail right now) but the Sixshot one was clear of pretty much anything that'd need proofreading.

Dalek, you still okay to do / have part-written Fallen Star? I can probably bang something out if it takes the heat off, and then that comics section can be given a tidy and finished.

No problem with half-cubes.

inflatable dalek
2007-01-04, 01:50 PM
Originally posted by Denyer
Dalek, you still okay to do / have part-written Fallen Star?

Indeedy, there's not a huge amount of it done thatnks to the Christmas rush at work breaking me utterly, but with January being a dead time work wise it should be done soon. Next January at the latest.

I'm actually enjoying doing the indervidual issue reviews- Despite the fact I was put off for a long time by the thought of trying to review something without knowing how it's going to end/what bits are important ect...

EDIT: And it may have a element of throwing a stone in my glass house (and there are some huge mistakes in a few of my trade reviews)- But in the otherwise lovely Earthforce review this comment on Starting Out stood out:

(And I should probably mention that in earlier UK stories — mostly to be found in the Fallen Star collection from Titan — Megatron and Shockwave have been deposed as Decepticon leaders by a Soundwave/Starscream alliance.)


I think you meant to say in latter issues, as Secrets, the strip that starts off that arc is a good few issues away yet. Unless there's some new convoluted Earthforce theory that places them earlier...

Denyer
2007-01-04, 05:24 PM
No, I'd put that because Internal Affairs places before The House That Wheeljack Built, Divide And Conquer, 4M Year Itch and Makin' Tracks -- then shifted some paragraphs around.

Does this sound alright, moved to after Divide and Conquer?

Note in case that didn't quite make sense: as chronicled in the earlier volume by Titan, Fallen Star, Megatron and Shockwave have been deposed as Decepticon leaders by a Soundwave/Starscream alliance. The printing order is mixed because Furman had lots of ongoing story strands running through the black-and-white stories, whereas Titan have chosen to reorder into story arcs so that each book is more themed.

inflatable dalek
2007-01-05, 12:21 PM
That is now very near perfect (anyone who points out I've managed to confuse Sussan Hoffman with whatsherfacetheTVjournalistwoman no less than twice in my Trade reviews will feel firey death).

inflatable dalek
2007-02-02, 08:49 PM
Transformers Spotlight: Ultra Magnus.
A Review By Inflatable Dalek

Written By Simon Furman.
Art By: Robby Musso.
Colours By: Kierran Oats.
Cover Art By: Klaus Scherwinski & Robby Musso.
Letters By: Neil Uyetake.
Edits By: Chris Ryall & Dan Taylor.

Synopsis: Ultra Magnus- A Autobot peace keeper who enforces the rules of war for both sides- tracks the Decepticon fugitive Swindle to the planet Zull and arrests him for illegal arms sales. Swindle then offers Magnus a deal, his freedom for the whereabouts of the notorious Scorponok. Though it goes against his principles, Magnus lets Swindle go (albeit after secretly putting a tracker on him) in order to capture the bigger fish.

Arriving at the planet Nebulos, he uses a Simulcrum to infiltrate the headquarters of the Zarak Corporation. He believes that the company's inner circle of maverick scientists- the Cranium- and their leader Mo Zarak are in league with Scorponok to get hold of advanced Cybertronian technology illegally.

In the most secure lab the Simulcrum finds Nebulan's who have undergone a staggering level of bio-engineering to become "Transformable men". But the scientists detect the intruder in their midst’s, and destroy it, resulting in Magnus deciding to launch an all out attack. Easily destroying the robot sentries guarding the building he comes face to face with his quarry, and they fight- With the also altered Zarak inadvertently being killed by Scorponok. The enraged Decepticon escapes through a artificial wormhole, leaving the Autobot more determined than ever to capture him.

Sometime latter Ultra Magnus, catches up with the re-offending Swindle and is offered another deal...

Notes:
The bulk of this issue is set before events seen in Stormbringer (where large chunks of Nebulos gets toasted by Thunderwing), and presumably before the Decepticon Infiltration Unit seen there was established as the fugitive Scorponok would be a fool to set up camp right on top of the people he's running from. Magnus catches up with Swindle "29 stellar cycles" latter, so this is probably decades ago. However, the last page takes place at the same time as the first issue of Infiltration- The call Magnus makes reporting his capture of Swindle is one of the conversations Prime is listening into when we first see him.

The Nebulan's seen here are a different colour from those in Stormbringer more sickly yellow than green. That is with the exception of Zarak, so it's probably a nice attempt at showing different ethnicity amongst the aliens than a colour goof.

Zarak was, of course, the headmaster to the G1 Scorponok, this is the first time he's been blessed with a first name though. Whilst it's fair to assume that the process the Nebulans are undergoing will create headmasters (and the name "The Cranium" heavily implies it) there's no firm evidence on screen here, and it might well all be a double bluff (as of course, the appearance of Zarak turns out to be). Certainly, despite having undergone the process Zarak isn't joined with Scorponok as the latter has his own separate head. Either as a bit of foreshadowing, or just random coincidence, Sixshot's guns made a ZAARAK! sound last issue.

The name the Zarak Corporation is probably a play on The Z[arak] Foundation as seen in the Budiansky written Cas$h and Carnage! (Marvel US #46)

Ultra Magnus is effectively a neutral policeman enforcing the "Rules that all sides obey, even in war". He claims to be authorised by the Tyrest Agreement- As Tyrest is a region on Cybertron in other continuities this suggests that this agreement was reached between the Autobots and Decepticons before the planet was abandoned. Supplying weapons to less advanced cultures is forbidden by the agreement (though no doubt Swindle's deserting is the main thing the Con's want to punish him for), and Magnus has enough faith in it to feel safe taking Swindle to the Regional Deception Command Hub without fear of being imprisoned himself. See Goofs for why this is a tad odd...

Scorponok is in the big league of private enterprise, and he and Magnus have fought many times before. Normally he betrays his partners and destroys everything to cover his traces [He does seem genuinely concerned for Zarak though- But it might well be because of the technology within him rather than personal like. The fact he gives up on the fight as soon as Mo dies at least suggests that Scoropok would have had little chance of making a similar pact with whoever replaces him].

There's no mention of Swindle ever having been part of a group here- Certainly if he was a Combaticon his defection will not have left him on best terms with his team mates. One of the weapons he's selling to the Warlord Lorcha draws it's heat from the energy of a collapsed star.

Simulcrums can alter their appearance to that of anyone they come across, and unless the controlling Autobot disconnects his cognitive functions he fells any pain inflicted upon it (shades of Optimus Prime's relationship with Roller). Simulcrums can also be detected with special glasses, supplied by Scorponok just in case no doubt. It has to be said that the top secret lab full of alien technology and glasses that have a secret double purpose is somewhat like of the scenes with the 3D Glasses in the 2006 Doctor Who two parter Army of Ghosts/Doomsday. Considering the direct quoting of a earlier episode in Nightbeat this probably isn't a coincidence.

Scorponok's artificial wormhole presumably uses to much energy to transport troops en mass as to date we've see the other characters all sticking to space ship travel rather than this more efficient form of getting from place to place instantly.
New artist Musso has stated in a interview he drew Magnus' transformation to make it clear that, unlike the Dreamwave version of the character, Magnus isn't just a white Prime in a suit. This was the last of the initial line-up for the Spotlight title, though the titles success has guaranteed at least three more at the time of writing.

The first five pages were previewed on line. The comic close with a preview of IDW's new Star Trek: The Next Generation comic, the first time a non-Transformers title has received this treatment.

Goofs:

Lets deal with the biggy first: The idea that the Autobots and Decepticons could ever come to some sort of agreement that would allow a freelance operator to police the rouge element of both sides is completely daft. There might be "Rules you don't break, even in war", but getting such ideologically different sides to agree what those rules are is hugely unlikely (Even allies can take a drastically different takes on things- Just compare the way the Nazi's generally stuck to the terms of the Geneva Convention in WWII but the Japanese didn't).
Certainly, whilst the Decepticons would certainly want a defector back, it's highly unlikely they'd give a toss about Swindle's interfering with the development of a primitive world (which is, after all, exactly what Megatron's doing to Earth in the main arc).
The Autobots are also fairly daft to just hand these individuals over rather than offering them deals for information, especially as doing that here gets Magnus closer to Scorponok than he's been in years. And, from a more moral point of view, Magnus is almost certainly handing Swindle over for summary execution. That doesn't sound very Autobot does it?
And one final point on this issue: If he really wants to be neutral in this, Magnus really shouldn't still be a badge wearing Autobot...

What are the odds that the Nebulan letter which starts Zarak's name happens to look exactly like a Z? .

Despite being undercover Magnus doesn't seem to bother to adapt to a Nebulan alternate mode (It's hard to tell with the cab, but certainly his robot mode stays the same throughout the issue suggesting he makes no changes to the car carrier).

If Scorponok is so worried about Simulcrum's getting into the Corporation that he provides the Cranium with those funky glasses, why not give them to the guys on the door so that Magnus wouldn't have gotten right into the heart of the operation and seen so much? [It's possible the glasses are actually just part of the bio-engineering process and the detection of Magnus is just a coincidence].

On the last page Swindle's "lets make a deal" speech bubble is duplicated higher up. it makes it look as if the Stargate thing is talking to Magnus...

Zarak’s first name is Mo. Mo Zarak. Not a goof as such, but it’s lucky he dies here as there’s to many people with silly names in the IDW canon already…

Review:

Absolutely fantastic. Despite some flaws in the set up to get Ultra Magnus into the story, this rounds of the first bunch of [i]Spotlights in considerable style.

Furman always seems to give Swindle good material on the few occasions he's written for him, and here is no exception, with the Combaticon almost playing Quark to Magnus' Odo.

From this good start, through the infiltration of the Corporation (making this the third out of five Spotlights to feel like a spy show. Is Furman working through his 24 boxsets as he writes?) to the fantastic, subversive death of Zarak everything’s on song here. And after the more standalone Sixshot the way this plays into the big arc again is more than welcome. With Scorponok almost certainly now on Earth, the stage is set for exciting developments.

The only way this comic could be better would be if, instead of “Zarak!” Scorponok had instead screamed “Mo!” when his friend got shot…

[four out of 5]

inflatable dalek
2007-02-02, 10:12 PM
Transformers: The Animated Movie: #4 of 4: Matrix Quest!
A Review By Inflatable Dalek.

Writer: Bob Budiansky.
Artist: Don Figueroa.
Colourist: Josh Burcham.
Colour Assists: Rob Ruffolo, Robby Musso, Matt Moylan, Evan Gauntt, Mark Bristow.
Designer/Letterer: Neil Uyetake.
Editor: Chris Ryall.

Synopsis Issue 4 covers events from the resurrection of Ultra Magnus through to the end of the 1986 theatrical film.

Notes: "Matrix Quest" was of course the title of a Furman written story arc that run between issues 62 to 66 of the Marvel US comic. "End of the road Galvatron!" isn't a Furman joke this time, it's a actual line from the film (as if you didn't know).

That "See issue..." boxes reach epidemic levels, with just about every reference to previous events having one, written in the patent Stan Lee style (you half expect to be called a True Believer).

Ron Friedman manages to go all four issues without credit.

At the time of writing it's uncertain if Bob will do any more work for IDW, in interviews he seems less than keen despite having been offered a few things.

A nice touch is the issues ending with the faux newspaper piece about the forthcoming preview comic for the new Movie (Oh, and the Star Trek Preview as well).

Major changes between film and comic:

As with last issue we get new exposition dialogue at the start, here from Ultra Magnus.

Kup tells Hot Rod he's never seen anything like the Junkion ship before. This means that when he latter claims to never have seen anything like Unicron before the see everything warrior has managed two new experience in a few hours. good for him.

Rather than the random generics he has in the film Shockwave has actual TV characters under his command on Cybertron- Namely Reflector, Dirge Ramjet and Thrust- All of whom seem to be killed by Unicron. Whist Shockwaves death was in the script of the film, his death by being crushed doesn't resemble his death by eye beam here (It'd be interesting to see the original comic script to learn if this was Bob's idea or Figueroa working in his own touches).

Daniel breaks the acid cover with his first shot.

When the Junkion ship is destroyed Wreak Gar (who by the way is never referred to by name in the actual film, so this adaptions tendency to have him- as with the other characters- say his name repeatedly seems rather odd) says "Ashes to Ashes, Junk to Junk".

Rodimus makes it absolutely clear who's talking to him by saying "the voice of Optimus!" as he opens the Matrix (A understandable change really as you can't hear Cullen's voice).

Kup, losses his "I knew you had potential lad" line.

Goofs:
[Referring to new mistakes in this adaption].

How much use is Reflector going to be in a space battle against a planet sized foe?

When Hot Rod falls inside Unicron, what’s supposed to be two drawings showing his descent is buggered by one of them being coloured like Megatron.

This one is a goof from the film, but I'll mention it as it's my favourite Movie mistake: Springer leaves Unicron in helicopter mode, even though it wouldn't be able to fly in a vacuum [Then again, everyone else seems to be a flying car...].

Rodimus seems to have made abolishing the Autobrand his first act as leader as his is missing on the last page.

Poor old Unicron looks constipated as his head orbits Cybertron.

Of course, as this comic was released in January 2007, we're now into the 21st Anniversary despite what the cover claims.

Review:
The real shame about this adaption is that- after previously coming to appreciate Bob's early work on the Marvel comic- I now wouldn't care if he never wrote for the franchise again. The cynical, and almost half arsed nature of this adaption has made this the most disappointing thing IDW has done to date- by a margin large enough to suggest it won't be challenged anytime soon.

With the writing here being the weakest of the four issues, the art also seems rushed and isn't up to Don's usual standards (the fact that everyone in the office seems to have helped with the colours suggests this had to be knocked out quickly as well).

If I were a cynic, I'd assume the whole thing was just done to make the adaption of the new Movie look good in comparison...

[half out of five]

inflatable dalek
2007-02-10, 06:07 PM
Transformers Escalation: #3 of 6.
A Review by Inflatable Dalek.

Written By: Simon Furman.
Art By: E.J. Su.
Colours By: Zax Atkinson.
Edits By: Chris Ryall and Dan Taylor.
Cover By: E.J Su.
Variant Cover: Klaus Scherwinski.

Synopsis:

In the breakaway Russian state of Brasnya, both head of a splinter faction and a Decepticon facsimile, goes to meet the newly arrived Megatron. The Decepticon leader has taken advantage of the super Energon to achieve "Mass displacement" allowing him to shrink down to a insanely powerful hand gun. In this mode he destroys a oil pipeline and waits for the Russians to arrive and investigate.

At Ark 19 Optimus reveals he has summoned reinforcements to help out, and that- Despite Ironhide's request to be allowed to investigate- they're going to concentrate solely on the immediate crisis rather than looking for Sunstreaker.

However, Jimmy and Verity have discovered that the faux-Sunstreaker was made of a light alloy that has a limited number of manufacturers, and convince Ratchet to disobey orders and help them follow the trail.

As the Autobots use their satellite technology to detect Megatrons energy signature in Brasnya, the Russians arrive and are attacked by Blitzwing, whom they mistake for a separatist tank.

the Autobots arrive and split up to capture the facsimile and draw Megatron out. But unknowns to Prime, Blitzwing has him in his sights...

As Ark 32 arrives in Earth orbit with Nightbeat, Hot Rod and Hard Head on board, Prowl and the humans have found the buyer of the alloy, and are prepared to leave to investigate when Ironhide steps out of the shadows and asks to come as well...

Notes:

As with El Jira last issue Brasnya is a fictional country based on real world politics- In this case Chechnya.

Megatron's shrinking is down to "Mass Displacement", a long standing fan theory [Though the term "sub space" is never used here]. Shrinking whilst transforming causes lots of electrical discharge and nearby Transformers are advised to stand well back. It would seem that Megatron needs to both be carried and fired by a someone whilst in this mode- It's not entirely clear though as Megs may well just be enjoying ordering his facsimile slave about so the oddness of this won't go in goofs for now.

In this mode he is "The Galaxy's greatest living weapon!", and even at pint size his gun fires a energy signature the Autobots can recognise.

Optimus states he hasn't seen Mass Displacement for a long time and that Megatron can only be achieving it now thanks to the Super Energon- The implication being that the fuel substitutes the Transformers have been using since leaving Cybertron don't provide enough of a kick to manage it.

Another long standing Transformers mystery is solved here as well: "Where does Optimus Primes trailer go when he transforms?". When the Autobots beam down, his trailer is transported a few seconds latter- So presumably when he doesn't need it he just has it sent back to base the same way. The Command Deck, though only seen from a distance, seems to be the same as the original toy.

Prowl seems to take the summoning of reinforcements as a personal slight on his leadership of the Earthbound Autobots, and vents his frustration on Ironhide for speaking up in the briefing about Sunstreaker.

Jimmy is enough of an expert on cars to recognise the alloy the decoy is made of on sight.

Blitzwing is capable of cloaking himself when required. He feels compelled to ask Megatron permission to shoot at Optimus- Even though the latter must be number 1 on the Decepticon kill list. This isn't going in goofs as Blitzwing is probably being over eager to stay in Megs good books following Infiltration.

The Autobots can use a intact [and note he says "intact" rather than "alive"] Facsimile’s cellular template as a access point to all the faux humans on Earth. though it's not mentioned they've presumably tried this on the Machination corpse from last issue and now he was a real human (though Prime doesn't say how intact it has to be, the poor guy may have been to damaged in the crash).

Nightbeat was summoned to Earth in his Spotlight issue, and though he doesn't know it he's a brainwashed mole for the mechanoids he meet there. Though it's not entirely clear, Hot Rod is presumably seen here shortly after his own Spotlight as well. Hardhead is of course, the odd one out in that regard.

As usual the first five pages were previewed online.

Goofs:
Why does Megatron feel compelled to explain his entire plan to the facsimile? He's little more than a drone who does whatever he's told, so why would he care?

The abandoning of Sunstreaker seems very forced- Do they really want him spilling his guts on all he knows to a unidentified foe whilst being tortured? It just seems a way to give the humans something edgy to do whilst everyone else gets on with the plot.

The Russian soldier describes Blitzwing as "Soviet armor", when he probably means Brasnyan [Whilst the Brasnyan's would almost certainly be using ex-Russian tanks, referring to them as such does make it sound as he thinks the Russkies are fighting themselves. The British Navy has just sold several of it older ships to foreign countries but I doubt they'll ever be described as "English ships!" by anyone fighting them...]

As with James Bond taking his invisible car to Iceland in Die Another Day you have to wonder why Blitzwing is bothering with the cloak when his tracks are clearly visible in the snow still.

So, ignoring for the moment the possibility he can't fire himself in gun mode- you have to question what value Megatron sees in mass substitution when he can't even stand near his own troops when he transforms? And even if he can somehow fly about unaided he's hardly going to be able to keep up with the jets and tanks is he? All old problems of course, but at least in the original comic/cartoon Megatron had no choice in his alt-mode, here he's acting like it's the bee's knees.

Review:
As we reach the halfway stage Escalation is setting up the final pieces for the end game in exceptional style. Megatrons plan is logical and well thought out for a change, as is Optimus' counter plan.
Both Furman and Su are at the top of their game here, with only the Sunstreaker sub plot seeming out of place, though hopefully that will come more into focus in the next few issues.
All in all, unless they really drop the ball in the second half, Escalation is going to be an absolute blinder.

[four out of five]

inflatable dalek
2007-02-10, 06:13 PM
I've also stuck a extra paragraph into the Ultra Magnus review thanks to Nevermore pointing out the link to Excalation 1.

If possible, I'd also like to add this to the notes section for Nightbeat, as it's ben buging me I forgot to include it the first time...:

At one point Nightbeat describes the mechanoids last words as a “Message from beyond the grave”- “From Beyond the Grave!” being a now infamous line from the 2006 Doctor Who episode Rise of the Cybermen (Infamous for the insane level of overacting from Roger Lloyd-Pack rather than the line itself). Whilst it may be a coincidence it’s worth noting that not only is Furman a fan, but the people of Gorlam Prime are effectively turning themselves into Cybermen.

Denyer
2007-02-12, 07:59 AM
Thanks. I'm clawing my way back to up-to-date, spring cleaning the section a bit as I go along...

inflatable dalek
2007-02-12, 08:10 PM
Oi Denyer, no putting editor's notes in that are the best part of the reviews. I do the jokes.

Still, ta for doing the amendments to Nightbeat. Of course, I now realise I've forgotten to do the cast list for Magnus and Escalation 3, so those'll be another insert at some point...

LKW
2007-02-15, 03:50 AM
Title: The Transformers: the Animated Movie # 4

Creative Credits:
Writer: Bob Budiansky
Artist: Don Figueroa
Colorist: Josh Burcham
Color Assists: Tim Barnett, Rob Ruffolo, Robby Musso, Matt
Moylan, Evan Gauntt, Mark Bristow
Designer/Letterer: Neil Uyetake
Editor: Chris Ryall

Synopsis:
Ultra Magnus tells the Autobots of the loss of the Autobot Matrix of Leadership to Galvatron. Learning from Wreck-Gar that Galvatron was going to Unicron, Hot Rod declares that they must destroy Unicron. The Junkions enthusiastically agree to help, unveiling a spacecraft which had been hidden underneath the surface of Junk. Taking both the Junk ship and the Quintesson vessel, the Autobots and their new allies head off.

Meanwhile, Galvatron threatens Unicron with the Matrix, but is unable to use it against the planetoid creature. In retribution, Unicron transforms, into an enormous robot mode, and begins assaulting Cybertron. Shockwave leads a Decepticon counter-attack, but the effort is as ineffectual as Galvatron’s blasts at Unicron’s face. Unicron seizes Galvatron and drops him into his mouth.

The Autobots and Junkions arrive, and attempt their own attack on the gigantic robot. The Autobot ship crashes through Unicron’s left eye, dropping Hot Rod, Kup, Springer, Arcee, and Daniel into the middle of the monster automaton. Hot Rod is caught on a spike, getting separated from the others, and finds the Matrix… and Galvatron. Galvatron begins to propose an alliance; but another mental attack from Unicron causes him to fire upon Hot Rod instead. The other Autobots inside of Unicron are menaced by an internal defense system of pursuing pincers, and a flood, which separates Daniel from the group. He is washed into the chamber holding Unicron’s “digestive operations”, where he finds and is able to save his father, Spike, and Bumblebee, Cliffjumper, and Jazz, from being smelted in a gigantic vat of acid.

After a scuffle, Galvatron is finally able to grab Hot Rod, beginning to crush his neck even as Unicron crushes the Junkion ship. But as he is being choked, Hot Rod is brought into contact with the Autobot Matrix. He grows and is transformed into the being which the disembodied voice of Optimus Prime dubs “Rodimus Prime”. Rodimus Prime quickly overpowers Galvatron, hurtling him out of Unicron and off into space. He then opens the Matrix, unleashing an explosion of energy which begins to destroy Unicron from the inside out. Rodimus Prime finds the reunited Autobots and humans, moments after the two groups had found each other, and leads them out of Unicron’s right eye just before the gigantic creature explodes. The Autobots gather on the battered-but-intact Cybertron, declaring the start of a new age, as the shattered head of Unicron begins to orbit the planet.


Locations and Characters Featured:
Locations: The Planet of Junk, space, Cybertron, the interior of Unicron. Characters: Daniel, Wreck-Gar, Ultra Magnus, Snarl, Arcee, Grimlock, Kup, Hot Rod (changed into Rodimus Prime), Sludge, Springer, Slag, various Junkions, Unicron (destroyed), Galvatron, Shockwave (possibly destroyed), Reflector, Thrust (possibly destroyed), Dirge (possibly destroyed), Ramjet (possibly destroyed), Perceptor, Swoop, Spike, Bumblebee, Cliffjumper, Jazz, Rodimus Prime, Optimus Prime (voice only).

Notes:
The Junkions have a spaceworthy ship hidden under the surface of the Planet of Junk. (Despite Wreck-Gar calling it “new, improved Junkion planet,” it does not appear that the entire planet actually becomes the ship.)

Unicron is capable of transforming from a planetoid into a gigantic orange and silver robot, with horns and a “moustache” and “goatee”. His interior has various tunnels, some spiked walls, pipes transporting water (possibly consumed from victimized planets), an automated digestive system for robotic victims, and a security system featuring long cables armed with pincers.

Unlike when he touched it in issue #2, grabbing and holding the Autobot Matrix during his fight inside of Unicron with Galvatron increases Hot Rod’s size and strength, transforming him into Rodimus Prime.

Unicron appears to be the “darkest hour” for which the Matrix is destined, as Rodimus is able to open it and unleash its power against the planet-devourer. (It is unclear whether the fact that Rodimus actually used the fingerholes in the Matrix’s handles when attempting to open it made any difference.)

The Decepticons seem to have disappeared by the end of the issue (in fact, Galvatron is the only Unicron-created robot who appears in this issue at all; it’s unclear where he left his entourage after leaving Junk.). The ending may imply that they were destroyed fighting Unicron.

Issue #4’s contribution to the “Galvatron is/is not Megatron” question leans towards the “is” side, carrying over the dialogue from the Movie’s fight with Hot Rod which suggests that Galvatron at least thinks that he is Megatron. He re-uses the “I'll crush you with my bare hands!” line, and begins a list of Autobots he’s killed with Optimus Prime.

The issue includes a two-page interview with IDW Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall regarding the comic book prequel to the Transformers (2007) film, a six-page preview of a Star Trek: the Next Generation comic, an advertisement for Hot Topic’s exclusive 12-inch G.I. Joe figure, an ad for Alternators Optimus Prime, and a back cover ad for the Transformers: the (animated) Movie special edition DVD. This issue also moves the “Cover Checklist” to the inside of the front cover, moving the credits/recap page to page 1 of the comic itself.

And, as with every previous issue, Transformers: the Movie creators Ron Friedman, Flint Dille, and Sunbow Productions receive no credit (and/or blame, depending on your disposition) for the creation of the work being adapted in this series.

Errors:
Just a handful of minor things:

There is a typo in the “The Story So Far” paragraph: “the giant, planet-eating orb know as Unicron.”

Galvatron’s appearance is different in the full-length views of him on pages 4 and 11; at the least, the red details on the front of his “kneepads” have changed from a six-sided shape into squares.

There’s a possible balloon misplacement on page 21, as Rodimus Prime tells Spike and Daniel to “Jump in!” before saying “Autobots -- transform and roll out!” and transforming himself.

And, while several pages’ art prevents the use of page numbers, there doesn’t appear to be any reason for the absence of numbers on pages 14-15 and 20-21.


Review:
Well… and so concludes Transformers: the Movie, old school style. IDW’s fourth and final issue in this adaptation is again impressive visually, and provides a fairly accurate re-creation of the original film, with an occasional added touch here and there. If that’s what one is looking for from this issue, it should deliver pretty well for you.

The art is perhaps the most standout feature of the issue. Don Figueroa continues to deliver excellent pencils, at times largely recreating memorable shots from the movie, and in other places composing new presentations. Space restrictions force a bit of a truncation in the depiction of both Unicron’s transformation and his destruction (we don’t even get to see him rip his own leg off), but what Figueroa is able to present is very well-rendered. And the colors continue to impress, bringing both clarity and energy – it is not apparent which work was done by Josh Burcham and which was done by the assistants, a pretty fair accomplishment considering the standard of coloring quality set by the rest of the series. And, speaking of creative staff changes, series designer Neil Uyetake is able to match the lettering of Robbie Robbins without any noticeable differences.

And then there’s writer Bob Budiansky. One of the founding fathers of the Transformers story, adapting a twenty-year old work by a different creator may have seemed an odd choice for his first IDW project. But, while restricted by working within the movie’s established plot, Budiansky is also able to find the room to make his own additions and tweaks to the story, adding new lines and moments easily discernible to anyone very familiar with the original film, often improving the piece. Some new dialogue is there just to help clarify actions which may be unclear in the unmoving frames of a comic book, as when Galvatron exclaims “I -- I can’t unleash its power!” as he tries to open the Matrix to use against Unicron. And Budiansky continues to add or change dialogue to fill in readers who may have missed a previous issue. At times, this can seem somewhat obtrusive, as when he makes sure that every main character is addressed by name (though, to be fair, at least most of this issue’s examples would probably blend in nicely, if not for the bold type used for the first appearance of the names). But, Ultra Magnus’ page 2 re-cap of the loss of the Matrix actually makes sense, as none of the other Autobots witnessed it; the added detail actually would have improved the original story. Not every change works as well, though - even without the benefit of Peter Cullen’s voice speaking the words “Arise, Rodimus Prime!” I’m not sure that it was necessary to change Hot Rod/Rodimus’ awed whisper of "…Optimus!” into an exclamation of “The voice of Optimus!” (Although, it could have been worse – “The voice of Optimus Prime!” or something even more explanatory.) Other notable added dialogue adds to dead zones of the Movie, which noticeably lacked any dialogue before – Hot Rod warning the other passengers of the Quintesson ship to “Hang on!” Galvatron speaking before firing on Unicron and Unicron addressing him as he “swallows” him. I also enjoyed Wreck-Gar’s line as the Junkion ship is being crushed (spoiler warning for anyone who’d rather wait and be surprised by the line when reading the issues her/himself): “Ashes to ashes! Junk to junk!” In all, while an occasional memorable line is lost – “I knew you had potential, lad!” here (probably due to a lack of space to dedicate to a picture of Kup) – again, Budiansky adds positively to the Transformers: the Movie story.

Another change which longtime TF fans will probably appreciate, which could have been the idea of Budiansky, or Figueroa, or even editor Chris Ryall, is the addition of a little more detail to the Decepticon attack on Unicron. It’s still unclear what Cyclonus, Scourge, etc. are doing during the attack (the Unicron-given spaceship is not seen in this depiction, even), but Shockwave is in this version shown to lead the attack on Unicron himself. The story may also give a clue to Shockwave’s absence from the post-Movie seasons of the cartoon, as half his body is obscured by a blast from Unicron’s eyes, though ultimately there’s not a definitive indication if the blast was fatal. Another regular character from the series who was oddly absent from the film, Reflector, also joins in the attack here.

Speaking of characters oddly absent from the original version of the Movie, Snarl continues to be present right along with the other Dinobots. He participates in the otherwise (perhaps surprisingly) accurate depiction of the Dinobot attack on Unicron, and is prominent on the opening splash page, as Figueroa manages to give his stegosaurus face a look of saddened shock. On the other hand, Blurr fans may be disappointed by the prominence of his absence. However, while he has gotten dialogue and actions cut here and there in previous issues, his non-appearance here is in fact an accurate adaptation, actually just pointing out how completely he disappeared from the climax of the film. In both the original movie and this adaptation, Blurr is seen as Ultra Magnus awakens from his repair by the Junkions; in the film, he doesn’t show up again, at all, until the “ ‘til all are one!” speech on Cybertron. In issue #4, he is basically deprived of even that appearance – he may be one of the little dots seen by the Dinobots as the readers’ perspective of the gathering begins to pull out into the atmosphere. (What was he doing – babysitting the Planet of Junk or something?)

I would have to say that I found this issue, and the series overall, to be a pretty enjoyable read. It can’t fix the plot problems which the Movie possesses, but this series does add some nice lines of dialogue, missing characters (to some extent), and other bits, enhancing the original story. The battle against and within Unicron gets a very attractive presentation here, and the flaws in the original work don’t serve to drag things down as much as they did in the previous issue. This issue and series do an overall very good job of transferring the Transformers: the Movie story to the comic book format – certainly far, far, far better than the 1986 attempt by Marvel Comics (though the final issue of that series did at least try to explain how the Quintesson-crashed Autobots were able to track down the others, with some [heavy-handed] explanatory dialogue about tracing exhaust and calculating probable trajectories). If you don’t like the Movie, you may want to knock an Energon cube off of my ratings (maybe more if you actively hate it); and if you’re a fan of it, you might want to add a cube (unless you’ll be disappointed by the, generally minor, omissions). Personally, I’m somewhat ambivalent about the film; but I’ve found myself appreciating it more after reading IDW’s version, and have find their series to be both a good adaptation of Transformers: the (Animated) Movie, and maybe even an improvement upon it.

Three Energon Cubes out of five

inflatable dalek
2007-02-15, 10:28 AM
*Applauds*.

Very well done Sir. As I know you're a Joe fan as well, might I suggest doing reviews of Black Horizon as well? I'll be doing mine as soon as I can track down a list of all the Joe?Cobra/Cobra-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA characters featured, but a perspective from someone familiar with both franchises could be fun as well.

Oh, and Denyer, isn't issue 3 of Escalation actually issue 13 of the overall title?

Denyer
2007-02-16, 01:33 AM
What'd I got it as? Oh, bugger.

Many thanks, both.

If I get on top of my reviews at the weekend, I'll do character/location bits where necessary in the others.

inflatable dalek
2007-02-16, 02:19 PM
Originally posted by Denyer
What'd I got it as? Oh, bugger.

The worrying thing is, if even the guy who did the road map gets confussed, what hope the rest of us?

Denyer
2007-02-16, 03:44 PM
I just tend to get confused with cut-and-paste when I've got a dozen or so documents on the go at once... all of the reviews should now be in the slightly neater format, though.

inflatable dalek
2007-02-17, 09:56 PM
Fallen Star TPB A Review By Inflatable Dalek

Reprints: The Transformers #215-218, 248, 243, 244, 268, 270, 275-277, 284-286 (Marvel UK) [Note: The credits page of the Trade paperback erroneously repeats the issue numbers for the preceding Way of the Warrior trade].
Written By: Simon Furman.
Art By: Andy Wildman (215-218), 248 Staz (243) Geoff Senior (244)
Pencils By: John Marshall (268, 286) Peter Knifton (270, 275, 285) Jeff Anderson (276, 284) Simon Coleby (277)
Inks By: Stephen Baskerville (268) Michael Eve (270, 276, 277, 284) Pete Venters (275, 285) Jeff Anderson (286)
Letters GLIB (215, 216, 244, 268, 270, 275) Helen Stone (217, 218[Credited as Hel on these issues], 248) Annie Halfacree (243) Stuart Bartlett (276, 277, 284) Julie Hughes (285) Peri Godbold (286)
Editor: Chris Francis (215-218) Euan Peters (243-286) [The trade credits claim Ian Rimmer as the second editor, but that contradicts information in the other trades- Most obviously the article in Second Generation- that Euan Peters was editor from the early to late 200's. So most likely another mistake] .

In A Nutshell: We follow Starscream from death to life in some of the best character work he ever got. Plus some significant stories for Prowl and Soundwave. Not to mention the beginning of Getaway's run of bad luck...

The Stories:
In early 1989 Transformers celebrated a major milestone- 200 issues, a remarkable feat for a tie in comic, and even more remarkably the title was now the second longest running Marvel UK publication behind Doctor Who Magazine.
However, cracks were beginning to show- Sales had now fallen to the point where the comics future was uncertain, and even if it did continue Simon Furman's move to writing the US comic meant there must have been a degree of uncertainty as to who exactly would be writing the home-grown strips. As such, Time Wars- the story that celebrated the bicentenary reads like several plotlines that were supposed to play out for longer have been rapidly condensed in case the comic or the writer didn't last long enough to see them through (most obviously in the way the long promised final Ultra Magnus/Galvatron fight is undelivered on).
In the end, the comic did continue for nearly three years, and Furman did manage to juggle writing two continent's comics (though he did have to give up the UK editorship), but at a rather drastic price. First the length of the strips were reduced from 11 pages to 6 (with the other half of the Transformers content supposedly being new American material, though it would frequently be reprints of old strips when deadlines clashed), and two issues latter by the loss of colour from the UK strip. At the time "Rising production costs" rather than "Falling sales" were blamed, but the net result was the same- Lots of annoyed readers.

As an attempt to placate them into thinking the new format was workable Race With the Devil (#214-218) has the odds stacked against it. Written and drawn as a two part colour story both the art and the pacing suffer from the change. One immediate obvious goof as a result of this is that despite the events in this comic seemingly being consecutive caption boxes claim part one is set on the 24th of April whilst part three starts on 1st May suggesting that the editorial team had more pressing concerns than keeping the continuity straight.

It's somewhat ironic that- considering the black and white era is often remembered for not fitting in well with the corresponding US strips- they start off with a direct tie in to the American comic, in this case Furman's first arc on the American title as we see the Decepticon Powermasters retrieve Starscreams body (seemingly destroyed in The Underbase Saga, this would herald a period where no seemed capable of staying dead for long) for their currently unknown employer.
The problem is, there isn't enough plot in this to sustain the length or maintain the interest for the originally planed two weeks, let alone four. So we have padding involving the Triggerbots (investigating what the Decepticons are after) having to blow their ship up, and Archaeologist Susan Hoffman's latest miss-adventure with giant robots.
Part three finally gets to the meat of the plot- Starscream's corpse is still active and has both Screamer and the essence of the Underbase vying for control of it- but despite Dogfight and co acting as if it's the biggest threat they've ever faced a slow moving corpse doesn't come across as the ultimate foe. Something that's emphasised by the fact the late Decepticon is ultimately defeated by a hug from Hi-Test and Throttle. The whole thing is saddled with a comedy skit involving Susan (a character so unmemorable the astute reader may notice I've confused her with Joy Meadows in no less than two of the reviews I've done for this site) having to ask the Autobots to rescue her friends from man eating cannibals.
The story ends on a pessimistic note, with the Decepticons getting away with what they came for and the Autobots worrying for the future, a concern that would have been shared by many of the readers.
Another negative is that Wildman's art is amongst his weakest, whilst this is understandable considering he was drawing with colour in mind his battle damaged Starscream is awful, though the archaeology team being the Real Ghostbusters is a nice touch and the sort of art joke that's now commonplace in Transformers comics. Ultimately the only redeeming feature is Dreadwind and Darkwing's sarcastic banter with each other.

The nest issue not only takes us from the sublime to the ridiculous, but from a story setting up Furman's first American story to one dealing with its aftermath. Fallen Star shows the resurrected Pretender Starscream (and this is the only time we'll see a classic Pretender shell in the UK comic, which should give you a clue as to what Furman thought of the gimmick) trying to reacclimatise to life a menial Decepticon after being a God.
It's utterly fantastic from start to finish, and the best writing Starscream has received in any medium full stop. The irony of Starscream thinking he's a washed up has been whilst not noticing everyone around him is scared oiless of him is superbly handled, and the fact he gets his grove back by beating up three Autobots (and as such starting a small tradition of bad things happening to Getaway in every appearance) makes it not only of the few times a story ends with a happy ending for the Decepticons but the only time the reader will be cheering on such a thing. This was the first part of a loosely themed trilogy of stories leading up to the Christmas issue with characters giving a internal monologue over their private plights, something that makes a nice change from the usual big battle story arcs and was very welcome (even if Longtooth's entry was less successful than either this or Prime's Christmas effort).
Wildman's art here is hugely improved, and indeed may be the best he did for the UK comic, the amount of emotion he manages to make Soundwave's featureless face convey is especially impressive.

Next up we skip back a few issues to #243-244, as we again deal with the fallout from the Back From the Dead arc Furman had written for the American comic- Though in this case the two parter was printed alongside the story it was dealing with to effectively try and counter the letters confused readers would be sending in regarding Megatron's presence in the colour strip before they could be written. It didn't work and All In The Minds! and Two Megatrons! effectively opens a can of continuity worms that was never closed properly.
To recap: Megatron had been seemingly killed in American issue #25, and whilst the UK comic dutifully reprinted this in issues #107-108 Furman decided to bring Megatron back almost as soon as he could (which was fairly easy to do as Megs had vanished on the Space Bridge, it was easy enough to simply have him be "beamed" somewhere else) on the grounds that it was a bit pointless treating him as dead when a future version of him was running around in the UK comic as well (and no doubt the Megatron/Galvatron team up was already planed at this stage).
All fine and good, and at this stage Furman would have been unworried about Megatron returning to the American strip as that would only be likely to happen in the event of a new Megaton toy being released, and at that stage toys that were new versions of old characters were a very small part of the Transformers line (Galvatron being the first ironically enough). Fast forward a few years though and his first job as writer on the American comic is to reintroduce Megatron as a precursor to the Action Master line, toys that were 90% new versions of classic characters.
So what we have here is a massive ret-con, Megatron from the last 100 odd issues was in fact a clone made by Straxus circa issue 100 in order to hold his mind, and upon learning this he blows himself up to allow the original to resume his place. It's a rather bad fit, and the fact that the characters in the American comic think he's been dead all along despite all the evidence to the contrary they've experienced in the UK comic is never properly dealt with, and as such this is one of the most derided stories in the entire run.
Which is a shame to a certain extent, because taken on its own merits (which when I had no choice but to the first time I read it all those years ago as I'd started collecting the comic long after the stories this messes with were published) there's a lot of amazing stuff here- Ravage's torn loyalties as he realised his leader and friend is beginning to go of the deep end, Straxus' mind gloating as he begins to take control and the fact clone Megatron chooses suicide than becoming what he hates are all very well done. We also have some fantastic art from Staz on the first part (in a nice touch he's careful not to show Megatron's fusion cannon when he's hidden in shadow, making it actually a surprise when he reveals himself at the end, unlike Galvatron in Perchance to Dream) and the peerless power of Geoff Senior on the second. Taken as part of a wider Transformers continuity though this is all rendered exceedingly poor, which is a great shame.

Continuity is a moot point in our next story though as it comes from the Earthforce cull de sac that Furman had invented to try and avoid these problems. Flashback! (though I prefer to think of it by the jokey title given to it on the Transformation page, "You Only Die Twice!") is effectively Quantum Leap in six pages.
Megatron uses a Quantum Accelerator Flashback Doorway to go back a posses Snap Trap and have him steer away the Seacons from their death at the hands of Super Starscream. Prowl follows back into his own body and stops him, and them has to suffer being killed all over again before returning. It's fast paced, witty and exceptionally well drawn by John Marshall. The highlight is a quick insight into Megatron's psyche when he assumes that the persona who's followed him back and taken over Prowl has to be Prime- He genuinely looks terrified. Fantastic stuff that stands proud amongst the UK strips.

Issue 268- The Bad Guys Ball!, is hands down the best of the comedy black and white strips. The idea of the two rival factions of Decepticons (lead by Megatron and Shockwave, neither of whom was in any state to do so in the corresponding US strips but lets leave that for now...) having a big party to settle their differences is fantastic, and artist Pete Knifton perfectly captures the "I'd rather be anywhere else" look on Megatrons face, as well as taking the chance to put lots of nice visual images in (Ravage and his dog bowl for example).
There's a nice use of the Classic hero's as Ironhide gets a rare chance to show his smart side by setting the two sides against each other into a drunken brawl and Jazz starts his own party in the wreckage. Sunstreakers disdain for the whole thing is perfectly in character as well. And the "Why not try the PUNCH!" line is the best gag in this entire trade.

Back to the serious stuff and story arcs with Secrets! (#275), a shining moment of characterisation for Soundwave as he tries to hide the fact he's a double agent working for Shockwave from Megatron. As with Fallen Star there's a great use of inner monologue to convey his increasing desperation to provide a traitor, and some nice black comedy as he sets up Wildrider to take the fall for him. It's also nice to see aspects of his profile- the mind reading and duplicity- getting a rare airing in the comic. Knifton's art again rises to the occasion with style.

All this is part of a set up that continues with the following issue- Bugged!, which also returns us to both the Starscream theme of this collection and the comedy.
There is some good stuff here, the Insecticons completely failing as spies is fun, as is Starscreams boredom at being reduced to a security guard by Shockwave. Unfortunately the idea of defeating trained Decepticon warriors with a bug hoop veers more towards the Chuckle Brothers level of comedy. Ultimately it's throwaway, but sets up Starscream manoeuvring the two rival Decepticon leaders into a fight, which takes us into...

Internal Affairs!, effectively a big fight between Megatron and Shockwave. Something like that depends strongly on the visuals, and Simon Coleby's art doesn't quiet rise to the challenge, Megatron in particular has a fat jaw for some reason. The only notable thing is some of the dialogue would latter be reworked and reused by Furman in the Scorponok/Shockwave fight in US #72 ("Fifty says the purple one wins!").
Whilst the epic fight is going on Starscream and Soundwave steal the leadership of the two Decepticon groups from under them and start a joint command. A nice touch is that Soundwave is effectively being blackmailed into this as Starscream has threatened to expose his double agent nature. This fits perfectly with the notion of him as a reluctant leader (on previous occasions he's taken charge when there's no one else around, but always handed it back when Megatron or Shockwave has returned).
Unfortunately this nice touch is undone by the idea of Earthforce having a phone line which anyone can call despite the fact their base on Earth is still supposed to be a secret at this stage. Does Prowl have to fend of many calls from Double Glazing salesmen?

With the two leaders reluctant partners its no surprise that Assasins (#284) sees the relationship fray at the edges at Starscream comes under attack from various assassins and assumes Soundwave is out to get him. Starscream's banter with the various killers as he takes them out is great fun (love his weary "It's gonna be a bad day!", but the fact he automatically assumes Soundwave is the only possible being who could have it in for him is a stretch, as is the end of issue cliff-hanger where we learn Screamer is the only person who can give Snarl a life saving "system boost" for Corrodia Gravis.
Jeff Anderson's art is a functional as ever, but he does have some fun with the designs for the bounty hunters. Sadly, unlike All In The Minds! there's no attempt to hide the silhouette’s of the two Transformers who are really behind it all, making the big reveal of the next issue even more anti-climatic.

External Forces! (for some reason called External Affairs! in the next issue box of the preceding story) has two moments of glory- The first being from Soundwave when- upon being attacked by Starscream he reveals a pre-recorded speech with the classic "Here's one I prepared earlier!", marking him out as a Blue Peter fan. The other comes from Prowl who, when he's forced to remind Grimlock why Starscream dying is a bad thing for them, has a thought bubble with a little brick in it. I actually laughed out loud when I first read that all those years ago.
Other than that it's very much a bridging issue where the plot is a bit stationary (three of the five pages are give over to the fight) that doesn't stand up well in isolation. The big reveal- That *gasp* Megatron and Shockwave were behind it all along falls down from being simply so obvious even without the poorly disguised cameos last week. Knifton at least draws the moment very well though.

The Lesser Evil! finishes this story somewhat prematurely. We have a short, mostly off page fight where the Earthforce manage to beat the Mayhems and Shockers and Megs with hardly any effort (Sludge's line of "Hey, they were good but not that good!" just makes you shout "But they are supposed to be that good!" at the page). We then have no idea what happens to Soundwave (surely the Autobots didn't let him go?) or the other Decepticons who were no doubt stationed at the base. Starscream then agrees to help Snarl so he can have the Autobots protection, even though as leader he has the entire resources of the Earthbound Decepticon army to do the same. Even more annoying, the next time we return to them in two issues time Soundwave and Starscream are back in their joint leadership position with no explanation. Though the 1989 Annual story Destiny of the Dinobots would show Snarl still suffering from the illness, the canon of that story is doubtful and it doesn't resolve any of the plots left dangling here.
Though John Marshall's art does well, it's ultimately a disappointing end to the collection, and a indicator of the mediocre nature of the few remaining UK strips that followed this.

The Presentation:

Generally the shrinking down doesn't affect the art greatly, though in a few places it doesn't do it full justice. Oddly the last page of Bugged! is missing the Next Issue caption, suggesting that Titan might have managed to get hold of the original master for that page at least for a change (or they just cropped the page wrong...).

The cover art by Simon Coleby from issue #277 is probably the best chosen of the five B&W trades- and indeed is a better piece of art than anything in the actual issue itself. Though considering the fact this is a Starscream themed collection the #286 cover might have been a more sensible one to go with.

A minor annoyance is that Divided Loyalties- a vital part of the Starscream/Soundwave arc from issue #279 isn't present having being instead printed in the Earthforce collection. By the same token, it would have been nice if Fallen Star itself had been presented with the following two issues considering the first person narrative connects them all.

The only extra of any sort is the DVD advert, but for the price that's fine.

The Verdict:
Fallen Star is a collection that will often make your ears bleed if you try and fit it in with the rest of the Marvel Transformers universe, but there's still much to recommend here even if the stories that open and close it are sub par. Flashback and The Bad Guys Ball are worth the cover price alone, and even the worst of the rest has one or two redeemable moments. Well worth your time.

inflatable dalek
2007-02-17, 10:04 PM
We now have all the Titan trades reviewed!

I would like to point out though that the section on the origin of the B&W stuff was written a few weeks ago rather than being inspired by the thread in the Transformers forum discussing it. It actually replaced a section I'd written placing the B&W stuff in the context of it's original publication (opposite the Joe crossover and the darker US strips) that was made moot by Denyer doing something similar in his Earthforce review.

As a aside, when I was checking a few things I noticed on this page here: http://tfarchive.com/comics/marvel/?s=uk_281_290

There's a small mistake on the titles by the issue numbers which claims that the B&W strips in both 286 and 288 are called External Forces when that story was actually in 285.

LKW
2007-02-17, 11:42 PM
Originally posted by inflatable dalek
*Applauds*.

Very well done Sir. As I know you're a Joe fan as well, might I suggest doing reviews of Black Horizon as well? I'll be doing mine as soon as I can track down a list of all the Joe?Cobra/Cobra-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA characters featured, but a perspective from someone familiar with both franchises could be fun as well.

Thank you for the compliment, Mr. dalek! Most kind. And may I return the applause and say excellent work on your newest reviews, as well! (The thought of Scorponok yelling out an anguished "Mo(ooooo)!!!" is pretty dang funny.)

As for reviewing Black Horizon - thank you for the offer! Assuming Denyer would be okay with it, I'd be up for giving it a shot. First, I would have to find the issue - I forgot to look for it the last time I went to the store. But now I know that there are two comic shops close by and at least two more in the area, so even if I missed it at mine, I should be able to find it somewhere.

inflatable dalek
2007-02-17, 11:49 PM
Originally posted by LKW
Thank you for the compliment, Mr. dalek! Most kind. And may I return the applause and say excellent work on your newest reviews, as well! (The thought of Scorponok yelling out an anguished "Mo(ooooo)!!!" is pretty dang funny.)

From a British perspective, the fact Mo is very small compared to the Transformers means he is in fact Little Mo. Which is the best thing ever:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mo_Mitchell

I think Denyer is fine with double reviews- especially when they can add a different perspective (which is why with my trade reviews I try to differentiate them as much as possible from Cliffy's guide to avoid redundancy). Certainly he hasn't sent me a horses head for doing Escalation even though he no doubt plans to review it as well at some point.

Denyer
2007-02-20, 11:41 AM
Fixed the titles, I think, plus a few other things. If anyone has time to read through the Marvel guide, could they do quick list of which "Later Reprinted In:" bits are incomplete? Since it was done, the rest of the Titan reprints came out, plus various new IDW reprints, plus information came to light about the final UK Collected Comics / specials.

Two perspectives on an issue is a decent balance, IMO -- wouldn't really want more unless the content was wildly different, and not of the THeSE CRaYOLaS TAsTe FuNNy type.

Yeah, I've got Escalation reviews underway, including a preview for #4.

inflatable dalek
2007-02-22, 01:15 PM
Originally posted by Denyer
Two perspectives on an issue is a decent balance, IMO -- wouldn't really want more unless the content was wildly different, and not of the THeSE CRaYOLaS TAsTe FuNNy type.

All right, how'd you know what my review of Blacvk Horizon said?

A thought I had the other day: For the new issues hows aboutr including the date the review was put up at the end? Just so anyone reading this site in five years time won't read me say in Escalation 4: "Optimus Prime clearly doesn't like cheesecake"- Only for them to go "You petty fool Dalek, we all know in issue five Prime clearly states Cheesecake is the right of all sentient beings, clearly your opinion of that of a mook".

Denyer
2007-02-22, 04:40 PM
Hopefully it'll be very obvious that reviews are written from a current perspective from comments like "the burning issue now is what Prime will make of the cheesecake he was presented with at the end of the issue" ... might add cover dates to the reviews, though.

Even my remaining two BW reviews, if/when they eventuate.

Seriously, a good chunk of my Stormbringer reviews was the ongoing chant of "blow up the planet, blow up the planet, you can do it."

inflatable dalek
2007-02-24, 04:44 PM
GI Joe Vs. The Transformers Volume 4: Black Horizon. Issue 1 of 2. A Review By Inflatable Dalek.

Writter: Tim Seeley.
Artist: Andrew Wildman.
Colourists: Wes Ozioba & Art Lyon.
Letterer: Brian J. Crowley.
Nemesis Editor: Mike O'Sullivan.
Cover A: Tim Seeley, Jeremy Freeman & Jean-Francois Beaulieu.
Cover B: Time Seeley, Robert D. Atkins & Rob Ruffolo.
Cover C: Time Seeley, Clayton Brown & Jean-Francois Beaulieu.

Synopsis: 1978: The American Military Adventure Team, lead by "G.I." Joe Colton is on a mission in the wilderness of Tibet when they come under attack from Chinese aircraft. This battle is swiftly joined by Cobra-La Troops and their ally Bludgeon who kill the Chinese and two members of the Adventure Team. Joe and local guide Chok-Pa are captured alive as pets for Pythona.

The 21st Century: The Joes have returned to Earth following volume three, but Hawk has resigned in disgust at the fact the American government developed Serpent O.R, and is now seen a disgraced nut by the American media. However, he's also secretly working with the similarly resigned Firewall and the a force of Autobots lead by Prowl (who no longer trust the Joe's fully) to track down and stop the trade of Cybertronian based weapons, whilst at the same time avoiding their former colleagues.

As Prowl's team stop Destro from selling such technology hawk receives a Matrix induced vision of impending doom and calls Optimus Prime to Earth. The Autobot leader comes alone out of a desire not to see any more comrades fall following the death of Bumblebee. Hawk also calls in a favour from Flint, and the three of them quickly head for Tibet, where he feels the new danger is coming from.

But unknown to the Autobots the ship Destro had used to travel on had mushroom spores hidden upon it, that Cobra-La can use to locate their base of operations. Golobulus sends the Pretender Monsters to deal with this one obstacle to their plans.

In deep space Unicron attacks and eats a pirate spaceship about to pillage Earth, whilst Prowl's ship comes under attack. Only Cosmos and Firewall manage to escape unharmed.

In Tibet, Bludgeon and Cobra-La troops attack Prime and the Joe's. Though he's now in a new body Optimus still recognises the Decepticon who tried to assassinate him the day he became Prime, and Bludgeon relishes the chance to correct his failure. Though his new body's metal eating slime seems to give him the advantage Hawk uses his Matrix powers to briefly overwhelm Bludgeons mind with useless information, and they escape in Cobra-La's tunnels. Golobulus is uneasy at mechanical beings being free in their base but Dr. Mindbender assures him that if all else fails "The Enforcer" can deal with them.
Pythona visits the now aged Colton to gloat at him over the imminent death of the group that bears his name. But mention of Hawk leads him to find the motivation to escape. Meanwhile Firewall contacts the Joe base and asks Duke for help.

In the caves the Joe's and Prime find hieroglyphs that tell the whole story of Cobra-La- When Unicron once tried to attack Earth they held him off with a metal eating virus. But they then agreed to let humanity spread over the planet and become technologically adept so that Unicron could one day return to harvest them for his own purposes, leaving Cobra-La the dominant life on the planet. Prime is shocked to see the legends of the Chaos Bringer have some basis in fact, but has little time to ponder as a recovered Bludgeon once more leads an attack on them. Just as it seems they'll have to make a last stand, Joe Colton appears and tells them to follow him...

Characters Featured: Joe Colton (both 1978 and century 21 versions), Atomic Man (killed by Bludgeon), Nemesis Enforcer, Bludgeon, Pythona, Crimson Guard, Hawk (Matrix Powered), Cosmos, Destro, Eject, Prowl, Sideswipe, Armada [The Cobra character, not the Cyclonus look-alike...], Skids, Firewall, Optimus Prime, Hot Rod, Ultra Magnus, Snake Eyes, Duke, Flint, Lady Jayne, Golobulus, Dr. Mindbender , Unicron [Present day and flashback], Birdbrain, Bristleback, Icepick, Scowl, Slog, Wildfly, The Baroness [On a GI Joe status screen- At large], Destro [On screen- At Large], Zartan [On Screen- At Large], Firefly [On Screen- At Large], Iron Claw [On Screen- At Large], Tomak [On Screen- In Custody], Overlord [No, not the [I]Masterforce baddy, on screen and in custody], Darklon [On Screen- In Custody].

Notes: Joe Colton is based on the legendary "Kung Fu Grip" GI Joe toy who's reissue is currently available. "Adventure Team" was the catch all name for the bulk of the Joe toys released in the 1970's. It's implied his name inspired that of the modern GI Joe, though there's no firm confirmation of that and Pythona may well simply be guessing wrong. He knows Hawk at least.

Cobra-La and Unicron were the new foe's in each respective Franchises 1986 Movie.

The present day segment is- according to a newsreader- a year after the events of the first crossover. Assuming that was set in 2003 (tying in with the publication date and the fact two characters talk about Eliza Dushku and Jennifer Garner suggesting it's set around the time of the formers guest spot on Angel that year) this is late 2004 at most. The American public still believe that the Autobots and Decepticons were simply mechs controlled by Cobra, and Hawk's attempts to convince them otherwise and to bring to light his governments illegal use of Cybertronian technology (creating Serpent O.R.) has resulted in him being branded a traitor and a loon. Firewall seems to be the only other Joe who resigned in the aftermath of the third mini, perhaps surprisingly considering her limited involvement there. Snake-Eyes is still with the main Joe's, but the fate of everyone else who went to Cybertron is as yet undisclosed (though it's fair to assume that Snake-Eyes would only stay if Scarlette did as well).

Though Optimus made grand proclamations about Hawk changing the future of humanity so far he's only used his Matrix power to fiddle with his TV [Not unlike Buster when he became a Matrix bearer in the Marvel comic] and to have vague visions of doom. His love life is suffering as a result. Sadly he seems to have ditched the nice green cloak he picked up on Cybertron.

Prowl's group of Autobots are operating from a spaceship under the sea, are on a mission to retrieve all the rouge Cybertronian technology whilst avoiding the main Joe forces. Firewall is a good enough hacker to break into the main Joe mainframe when they do need that extra help though.

Cobra-La have been based in Tibet for millennia (the Tibetan translation of Cobra-La appears to be the amazing Kohbrala), secretly watching over humanity until they're ready for Unicron (Who here also keeps slave workers in his innards as opposed to just eating them). As per the Tibetan cliché they have a Yeti, who marvellously looks like a man in a unconvincing monster suit.

Despite their seclusion they do have some contact with the outside world, they can contact Destro without him asking what the **** they are.

Bludgeon's attempted assassination of Optimus as he became Prime seems to be based on a event seen in the Dreamwave War Within comic- though in that case it was a nameless generic Decepticon who was caught in the act and killed. The Pretender shell is something given to him by Cobra-La, presumably to stop his mechanical nature contaminating them. He's also mastered Metallikato since leaving home. There's no indication as to how he and the Monster Pretenders came to Earth. Hawk distracts Bludgeon by filling his head with Cybertronaian songs, the lyrics to one of which goes Protoform, Protoform, what will you be? 1110001**.

Despite claiming not to understand his own base's computer Duke is obviously tech savvy enough to get some action on Myspace.

Though there's a reference to him being banished from his world, there's no direct linking to the Primus/Fallen Gods Marvel origin for Unicron. Though there is a link to the old comic in Prowl's blue for black colour scheme. In a cartoon homage Prime uses the Energon Axe first seen in More Than Meets The Eye.

Earth is apparently a fair bit away from the nearest "United Universe" outpost- A name that suggests inter-galactic travel is possible (Or it could hardly be a United Universe if confined just to the Milky Way). The space Pirates are obviously familiar with Unicron as they respond to the sight of him with a resigned "Oh... Crap" (a likely reference to Spike's "Oh ****" under similar circumstances in the 1986 Transformers movie).

This arc, which follows on from the cliff-hanger to volume 2, was originally mooted by Tim Seeley as the plot for what became The Art of War. At the time it was rejected, but here has been rejigged to include stuff such as Hawk's Matrix power. Despite the sheer number of them in recent years Seeley here becomes only the second person to have written for both franchises at once on more than one occasion, following in the footsteps of Simon Furman (who penned Ancient Relics and a couple of issues of the Generation 2 comic featuring the Joes). It was originally intended to be a four part mini, but was compressed to two bumper size issues so as to avoid competition with the various Movie tie-ins latter in the year.

Artist Andrew Wildman's debut Transformers work was the cover to Marvel UK #183, with interior work following on 198. The free booklet with issue 200 described him as a relative newcomer but someone who's going to be around for a long time- prophetic words as he subsequently drew the Robots in Disguise for Marvel US (including the Generation 2 comic and part of the preceding GI Joe arc featuring the characters), Dreamwave, Panini, covers for IDW and now Devils Due. Only Furman himself has matched the same number of companies (replacing DD with Fleetway). It seems he turned down the chance to do IDW's Hot Rod Spotlight to work on this, his first significant Transformers work not written by Furman.

Goofs:

The deal between Cobra-La and Unicron is rather odd- It entirely favours the chaos bringer even though Cobra-La have the ability to destroy him. Effectively they have to give up their ownership of Earth, go into hiding, let the technology they hate consume the planet and then allow Unicron to strip mine the place when he returns. What exactly are they getting from this?

Why do Cobra-La attack the Chinese jets at the start of the issue? It's possible they come to close to Cobra-La's hidey hole, but surely they can't blow up every jet that flies overhead without attracting attention?

Optimus is consumed with guilt over Bumblebee’s death. Hey Prime, how about all those robots (including crazed caffeine eyed guy) who died in the attack on Capital City in that mini whilst in attendance of a party thrown by you? No guilt there? What about, say, Trailbreaker who died back in the first crossover? Why such guilt over Bumblebee when you weren't even there when he died?

What was the point of Cobra-La breaking Mindbender out of jail back in volume 2? All he seems to contribute is saying "Yes Sir" to Golobulus. And what exactly is he getting out of the attempted genocide of his race? Even Destro, who has no idea of the full plan, seems unnerved by helping them with the mushrooms because he senses they’re up to no good. Considering he’s a scientist who deals a lot with machinery he’s effectively putting himself out of work at least.

Nitty picking time: If the events of the first crossover were "Last year", and the second picked up the action a year after the first, that means the last three mini's have happened in a insanely compressed time scale.

If Hawk is trying to keep his current involvement with the Autobots a secret, how does he explain a UFO regularly picking him up from his back garden to his neighbours?

Ultra Magnus is missing his mouth on his first panel. On the one below Hot Rod joins him.

For some reason Prime's groin is dark grey throughout [Has he had it repainted since the last mini?] and whilst it's a nice touch Prowl's black bits were actually black last time as well.
Where did Bludgeon learn Metallikato on Earth? Considering their hatred of non-organic technology it’s not a likely name for a Cobra-La invented martial art.

How did Colton recognise the name Hawk? The code name was assigned back in the first crossover in 2003. And where did he get that spear from on the last page?

Review:
The Art of War was a very pleasant surprise last year- After the first two crossovers no one expected much from it but it delivered entertaining if daft fun. This doesn't equal that for the most part- despite having the page count of two issues and taking us to the half way mark not a lot actually happens and it feels very drawn out.

However, there's still lots of entertaining daftness, from Eject and Firewall watching bad TV through to the cliché of Colton marking the number of days he's been in prison on the cells walls.

Though his art does have a lot of rough edges (absent mouths and all) Wildman's Bludgeon shows why he was so well regarded back in the day. He also does full justice to the Cobra-La characters, making them appropriately gross.

So not brilliant but above average, hopefully the conclusion will provide a more satisfying read.

Denyer
2007-03-01, 10:25 AM
Crap, sorry, I just didn't get chance to do any proof-reading whilst I was finishing the E#4 review... will get onto this shortly. :)

inflatable dalek
2007-03-09, 10:23 PM
Transformers Escalation: Issue 4 of 6. A Review By Inflatable Dalek.

Written By: Simon Furman.
Art By: E.J Su.
Colours By: Zac Atkinson.
Letters By: Neil Uyetake.
Edits By: Chris Ryall & Dan Taylor.
Cover By: E.J Su.
Variant Cover By: Klaus Scherwinski.

Synopsis:
Hunter awakes on a medical table surrounded by Doctors and unable to talk. As he begins to loose consciousness again he hears he's to be prepped for surgery.
Ironhide, Ratchet and the other humans arrive at the most likely buyer of the alloy used to make the Sunstreaker duplicate. Though it seems a innocent auto-dealership Ironhide detect sophisticated security equipment inside, include holomatter sensor's that prevent them sending Simulcrum's in. As he ca over power mot of the other security measures he reluctantly agrees to let Jimmy and Verity go in.

Three hours earlier in Brasnya: Optimus Prime uses Roller to take out Blitzwing, whilst Prowl and the other Autobot's attempts to capture Koska result in him being separated from Megtron, who then orders to facsimile to self-decommission by wandering into the battlefield. As Prowl's group gives pursuit they are attacked by Skywarp and Astrotrain.

Hardhead and Hot Rod arrive from orbit and quickly join the fray. But whilst Hardhead manages to save Prowl by blasting Astrotrain, Hotrod screws up by crashing into him just as the facsimile is in his grasp. Worse though, the shock of impact forces him to Transform, revealing his robot nature to the baffled Russian and Brasnyian troops. But before they can contact their bases energy produced by Megatron transforming back to robot mode blocks al non-Cybertronian transmissions. An enraged Megatron declares he wants to finish Prime for good.

At Fort Wayne, Verity and Jimmy find a secret room so well hidden it didn't even show up on Irohide's security scan. But as Verity finds a Machination calling card a gas is released which renders them unconscious, and ten minuet countdown begins...

Characters Featured: Hunter, Ironhide, Verity, Jimmy, Ratchet, Optimus Prime [And Roller, if he counts as a character that is...], Blitzwing , Prowl, Wheeljack, Jazz, Koska Facsimile, Megatron, Astrotrain [Blasted by Hardhead], Skywarp, Hardhead, Hot Rod, Nightbeat.

[B]Notes:
It's not as yet clear what procedure Hunter is being prepared for, but it is suggestive of the attempts to create a Cybertronian/Nebulan hybrid seen in Ultra Magnus. If something similar is being done here then Hunter having a X-Files "I want to believe" poster on his wall back in Infiltration may have been a nice bit of foreshadowing as Scully in that show was memorably kidnapped by the Government as part of a program to create a human/alien hybrid.

Ironhide clearly states that the technology being used by the Machination is probably to sophisticated for unaided humans. Indeed, the shielding around the hidden room is able to hide it even from his equipment.

We get a better look at Prime's command deck (called "Remote tactical" here) and Roller. Both are indeed base on the original toy, though the pilot's seat on the former has been replaced by what seems to be a targeting sensor, whilst Roller has a very large phallic gun.

It looks as if the facsimile’s don't come with a inbuilt self destruct ability (probably to avoid anything odd showing up in a autopsy) as Koska has to wander into a battlefield to try and kill himself. The fact that Megatron doesn't just shoot him would seem to confirm that he can't fire himself or move under his own power in gun mode (and see goofs).

Hardhead and Hot Rod don't have Earth alt modes yet (so they've probably broken all sorts of protocols by coming out in the open like this), with Hot Rod's having been seen previously in his Spotlight.

According to Megatron it's been a long time since he and Prime have meet, and even longer since they fought. This suggests the last face to face encounter was during their brief alliance against Thunderwing as seen in flashback in Stormbringer. Alternately, there my well have been attempts to end the war diplomatically (or negotiate things like the Tyrest Agreement mentioned in the Ultra Magnus Spotlight) that required a non-combative meeting.

Several of Furman's recent comics have had a 24esque feeling to them, with moles, double agents and various spy motif’s, but here we get a direct homage to Jack Bauer as the issue end with close up of a digital clock (all together now: Beep, Beep, Beep...).

Lots of injokery this issue (all in the Verity and Jimmy sequences, and mostly Japancentric):
The auto shop is called Idea and Design Works Custom Wheels.
There's a magazine advertising "Seibertron Car", next to a Binaltech air filter (Seibertron being the Japanese name for *gasp* Cybertron whilst Binaltech is their equivalent of the Alternators toy line, but with more die cast).
A sign in the window of the shop reads Date 070407, which is, in the American format, the release date for the live action DreamWorks Transformers Movie. Of course, this also lets us firmly date Infil/Escalation (both of which occur over less than a week remember).
By the Machination card lies a book simply called "Takara" (the Japanese counterpart to Hasbro).

The Decepticoments letters page is entirely given over to ShockDan bigging up both the forthcoming Movie and IDW's comic tie-ins, followed by a six page preview of the, ahem, Preview Comic.

As per usual the first five pages were previewed on-line.

Goofs:
If Megatron is so keen to see the facsimile die, why not simply Transform? The huge electrical storm caused by his mass-shifting should easily fry the little human clone, especially when you consider that it was dangerous for the other Decepticons to stand close to him during the change last issue. It's also a little odd that Megatron spends at least a few minuets just lying in the snow doing nothing [Does the difficult of mass shifting mean he has to work up to Transforming? This whole ego trip of Megs is seeming more and more like a silly idea].

Considering he's under orders to go kill himself Koska manages to wander across a vicious battlefield without getting shot/blown up/maimed.
The secret door to the top secret Machination secret room- protected by technology more advanced than what Ironhide's got- can be opened by Jimmy wriggling a knife in the crack. It also takes Verity, who has yet to display Holmsian deductive skills, about ten seconds of looking to spot it. They then go into the room without contacting Ratchet or Ironhide first even though they know the Autobots can't see in there. And considering their desperate hunt for their friends they show no interest in the two partially completed Sunstreaker decoys laying around the lab.

The Machination also make a schoolboy error by setting the traps to go off when intruders starts fiddling with the office desk rather than, say, when they open the door out of office hours (there's a similar mistake in Ultra Magnus where the equipment to detect Simulcrum's is in the room where they can see everything they need). Hopefully the next issue will come up for a rational for a top secret secret organisation having a calling card (especially a blank one, which is especially pointless). Yes, moving it seems to set off the gas, but is it really wise to let unwelcome visitors even see your logo?

Branyan General Todorf refuses to tell his aide Breski what he can see through his binoculars when Hot Rod transforms, even though they should be standing close enough for Breski to see the giant red robot unaided [extreme denial].
It might be worth noting here that Verity and Jimmy have been wearing the same clothes for about four days now. They must be beginning to stink a fair bit...

Review:
We appear to have an American F-22 Raptor, being shot at by some kind of rally vehicle. And a police patrol car, also American... under attack from a SPACE SHUTTLE?

Again Escalation continues to impress despite being dragged down by some excessive silliness in the Adventure Kids section (even if the above quote, however fab, shows up how daft the robots in disguise angle ultimately is).
Optimus' cool detachment during battle shows him at his very best, whilst Prowl fraying a little at the edges during the fight (he makes a insane suicide run on Skywarp to try and capture Koska that would have killed him if not for Hardhead) makes a nice, and very subtle bit of characterisation, showing that whilst he may be cool under pressure when acting behind the scenes but his strengths don't lie in all out action.
The plot however, is somewhat stationary. The Autobots ended last issue trying to capture the facsimile and are still chasing him at the end of this one, whilst Megatron spends the bulk of part 4 having a nap in the snow. The fact that Megatron's conversation with Blitzwing is repeated from last time and we're once again told why everyone's after the dodgy duplicate (which will make this very repetitive reading in the trade) doesn't help this.
However, snappy dialogue, good characterisation and some superb action keep things on track, and the fact we end with the promise of the first IDW Prime/Megatron smack down makes issue 5 eagerly anticipated.

[three and a half]

inflatable dalek
2007-03-09, 10:25 PM
And another one down. :)

inflatable dalek
2007-03-30, 10:28 PM
Transformers Spotlight: Soundwave
A Review by Inflatable Dalek

Written By: Simon Furman.
Art By: Marcelo Matere.
Colours By: Rob Ruffalo.
Cover Art By: Marcelo Matere & Nick Roach.
Letters By: Neil Uyetake.
Edits By: Chris Ryall and Dan Taylor.

Synopsis:

Following Spotlight: Shockwave Bludgeon is investigating the missing Decepticons projects. But a suspicious Megatron orders Soundwave to keep an optic on him as well. This turns out to be a wise move as Bludgeon keeps many of his findings to himself, including information on the Re-genesis project.

Time passes, and in 1984 Bludgeon and his fellow renegades have followed the trail to Earth and found a seam of super Energon in Texas. They have used Facsimile’s at a construction site to set up an explosion that will allow them to take the Ore easily and without being observed.

But Soundwave has followed and seen everything in the guise of a tape recorder, and has used Ravage to trace Bludgeon to his base beneath Mount St. Helens in Oregon.

But rather than following Megatrons orders Soundwave tries to cut a deal in exchange for a "cut" of the Super Energon. However, when Bludgeon tells him they plan to use the new fuel to resurrect Thunderwing he realises they're insane and- somewhat against his better judgement- he makes a attempt to stop them.
But Iguanus uses a weapon developed by Shockwave to trap Soundwave in tape deck mode, and, once the Ore is loaded onto their ship they depart for Cybertron and blow up the base behind them.

1985: A Skywatch team lead by Joshua Red uncover the remains of Laserbeak, and are excited at the thought of the funding this will bring them.

2007: In Portland a teenage decides to go all retro and buy a small blue tape player from a second hand shop...

Characters Featured:
Soundwave, Megatron [Flashback], Bludgeon, Iguanus, Bomb-Burst, Ravage, Laserbeak, Joshua Red. .

Notes:

This is a direct sequel to the first [i]Spotlight issue, in which Shockwave created seems of Super Energon on Earth before being buried in lava by the Dynobots. The flashback page of Megatron ordering Bludgeon to investigate directly recaps the end of that issue.

For Bludgeon and co. this takes place before Stormbringer (the abandoning of Cybertron having taken place between Shockwave's vanishing and 1984). It seems it that even with the Ore13 it still took over twenty years for the proto-Pretenders to restore Thunderwing.

"Skywatch" have just made their present day debut at the end of Escalation #5, taking over the evacuation of Shockwaves body (so full circle for them really).

The kid on the last page claiming he'll stick to his I-Pod is a jokey reference to the debate amongst both fans and the IDW staff over what alt-mode Soundwave should take now that tape players are defunct. Based on comments made by Furman made at the Auto Assembly UK convention they still hadn't decided what to do with the characters appearance in the run up to the start of Infiltration. In the end they found an excuse to keep him as was, probably due to him being one of the most iconic characters and there not being an easy fit for a modern day counterpart (it's easy to make Jazz a new Porsche, but a I-Pod doesn't really translate well into a Soundwavesque robot mode).

After all that his Cybertronian mode is kept very much in the shadows on the one page where we see it.

1984 was, of course, the year Transformers first debuted in the West. Oregon in general and Portland in particular was where the bulk of the Transformers adventures in the Marvel comic occurred- Though in that case it was Mount St. Hilary rather than St. Helens that had the secret Transformers base beneath it (the change is probably inspired by Helens eruption in 1980. We'll assume this is meant to be a separate explosion rather than Furman fudging the date).

Goofs:

The main events of Shockwave happened at least a ten thousand years ago, even allowing for a bit of time for anyone to notice his disappearance did Bludgeon really manage to stall Megatron for that long?

In Escalation Megatrons mass displacement causes a huge electrical storm when he Transforms that not only disrupts all local communication but is dangerous for other Transformers to be near. None of which seems to apply to Soundwave or his cassettes here. Also, Megatron is only able to achieve such shrinkage with the help of Ore 13, which Soundwave doesn't have access to here.

Scale problems means both Soundwavers tape deck mode and Laserbeak vary hugely in size throughout the issue [Inconsistent mass displacement].

Whilst vinyl still has a great deal of appeal to people, it hard to imagine anyone getting excited by a tape player nowadays. Where is the kid planning to buy the tapes from anyway?

How did Soundwave get from the volcano down to the second hand shop? Did a Skywatch agent find him, completely miss the big purple badge he shares with the metal bird and take him down the pawn shop before leaving town? How did he survive a bloody big explosion happening on top of him unscathed?

Review:

Effectively a linking issue playing of themes from previous issues whilst setting up subsequent ones, Soundwave still manages to tell an entertaining, if slight story.
Oddly enough we don't learn a great deal about Soundwave here, though it's always nice to see the more manipulative and opportunist side of him rather than the "Yes Sir/No Sir" cartoon version.
It does say a lot about the quality of the rest of IDW's recent output that something as entertaining as this is in the middle ground, but ultimately it'll be best enjoyed if you're deeply involved in the stories it feeds off.

[Three out of five]

inflatable dalek
2007-03-30, 10:30 PM
Anyone who can fill in the other Pretenders for me will get a big, manly, hug.

Denyer
2007-03-31, 04:50 PM
Awesome. I've almost got Esc5 done, will stick 'em up together.

Going to restructure things in a bit, so I'll probably put this thread in the main comics forum. :)

Clay
2007-04-11, 09:27 PM
Had to do a media critical review presentation for my early American lit class today. It was the 'fun' presentation since we could pick anything we wanted and examine it for historical accuracy. Easy enough, I picked up the Hearts of Steel series and looked at that.

Presentation went OK - quick little five minute thing. I used Masterpiece Starscream as a visual aid along with the cover that had Starscream's artwork to show how the characters were altered for the series.

Oh, and nobody complained that he was green! :)

Anyway, it's attached below if anybody wants to have a gander.

///
Clay Wyatt
ENG 311
Media critical review
Transformers: Hearts of Steel

Transformers: Hearts of Steel (HOS) was a four issue limited comic series that was part of the Transformers’ franchise. The core idea of the comic was to take the general premise of Transformers (big, shape-shifting robots fighting each other) and juxtapose it into a scenario other than the mid-1980s. Specifically, HOS has the Transformers running around as trains in the American West during the 1880s.

A very brief plot summary: the Transformers (both factions) wake up in the late 1800’s in the American west after being offline since they crashed on earth in the ice age. The Decepticons enlist the help of an engineer to learn of the world’s technology, and of big business to help them acquire the raw materials needed. The Autobots learn of this and, with the help of John Henry, Mark Twain, and some other fictional characters, stop the Decepticons from reaching New York City, where all the resources required for world domination reside, courtesy of the port trade.

Giant transforming robots aside, it’s hit and miss as far as accuracy goes. Most of the robots presented in the comic transform into some sort of railway equipment (some can make new track on demand, so they’re not limited to pre-existing railway lines). Some are anachronisms, though – a few of the Decepticon characters that normally transform into jets instead turn into mechanical biplanes a few decades before even the Wright brothers’ first flight. Instead of simply making the jet transformers into boxcar engines like the rest, the reality of the 19th century is secondary to preserving the syntax of a modern fiction.

Another passing glance at 19th century America is the inclusion of Mark Twain. Twain is characterized as an intelligent, older gentleman that is simultaneously both skeptical and full of wonder. While this may or may not be accurate of Clemens, it’s not tightly woven into the plot why he, an American known principally as author, hangs around with a casino owner whose son-in-law is an engineer who just happens to be dealing with the antagonistic Depecticons. Twain could just as easily be Henry Thoreau or Frederick Douglass, or a completely fictional character, none of which would have made as much sense as Thomas Edison or Alexander Graham Bell. Twain’s inclusion is thus a bit glib, thrown in simply because he’s a recognizable and popular figure from the era.

The comic uses another historical character (albeit a bit more mythical), John Henry. John Henry makes sense within the context of the story. John Henry was, essentially, the human story of railroad expansion. Since the Transformers turn into trains, it’s a solid plot for the Autobots to meet John Henry: since he knows the US railways like the back of his hand, Henry can help the Autobots cut off the Decepticons before they can make it to New York. Henry’s inclusion is beneficial in two ways: he provides an obvious and logical historical character to reinforce the plot, and also delivers the human element.

Finally, a far more subtle feature of attempted verisimilitude is the coloring of the pages. With a heavy brown tint, they’re altered to look like photographs of the time. This is a clever way to underscore the way modern media portrays the American past – not in full, vivid color with its own dynamic, but just a few simple shades mixed together.

inflatable dalek
2007-04-15, 08:21 PM
Escalation Issue 5- A Review By Inflatable Dalek

Written By:Simon Furman.
Art By: E.J. Su.
Colours By: Zac Atkinson.
Letters By: Robbie Robbins.
Edits By: Chris Ryall & Dan Taylor.
Cover By: E.J. Su.
Variant Cover By: Klaus Scherwinski.

Synopsis:
At a secret base in Florida Mr. Dante of the Machination is reporting to a mysterious, extremely badly injured (he's just a head) Decepticon. He reveals that their latest test subject is responding well to the implants.

in Brasnya Optimus and Megatron start a huge battle, but whilst Prime draws the first blood by blasting Megatrons fusion cannon off the Decepticon leader has larger reserves of energy thanks to the Ore 13, and quickly gets the upper hand.

Meanwhile Prowl and Hot Rod try desperately to stop Koska walking over to the Russians and goading them into shooting him. Despite the best efforts of Skywarp and the badly damaged Astrotrain they succeed and convince the humans to retreat, though they once again have to reveal their robot modes in order to do so.

In Indiana the Autobots get worried about the humans who's last check in is overdue. Ironhide smashes through the shops window and, as ratchet picks up on incoming police, risks sending his simlucrum into the secret room- finding Jimmy and Verity and the computer countdown now down to three minutes.

In Brasnya the super powered Megatron ultimately overcomes Optimus, destroys Roller and seemingly knocks Prime off line- leaving Megatron disappointed at the lack of any notable last words.

In Eureka Skywatch have taken over the archaeological dig that has uncovered Shockwave and the Dynobots.

Characters Featured: Mr. Dante, Big Giant Head, Megatron, Optimus Prime [Pushed to the point of shut down, Roller is destroyed], Skywarp, Wheeljack, Jazz, Hardhead, Astrotrain, Hot rod, Prowl, Ironhide, Ratchet, Verity, Jimmy, Koska, Shockwave [Deactivated], Snarl [Deactivated], Grimlock deactivated], A third Dynobot is also visible in the pit but so little is showing a ID is impossible, it doesn't seem to be Swoop though.

Notes:

Though he isn't named the successful test subject is almost certainly Hunter. The unnamed Decepticon refers to a test "Transformation", backing up the theory that this is a adaptation of the Headmasters process seen in Spotlight: Ultra Magnus, with said Decepticon being Scorponok (he certainly has the head antenna). A Decepticon who's nothing but a head was previously featured in the Marvel UK strips written by Furman around issue 100, in the shape of Lord Straxus.

Megatron's strength and stamina is greatly increased by the Ore 13, he's also a lot more cocky and arrogant according to Prime.

Megatron describes Roller as a "drone", and unlike in the original comic Prime doesn't seem to be mentally linked to the little fellah, he doesn't feel any symbiotic pain when Megatron burries it under rock.

Skywarp makes a reference to reinforcements at one point, suggesting more Decepticons will be joining us soon.

Shockwave and the Dynobots were buried several million years ago, and then uncovered in the present day, in the one eyed monster's Spotlight. The dig at Eureka was one of the things on Hunters computer screen in the flashback in Infiltration issue 1. Skywatch made their debut digging up Laserbeak from the rubble at Mt. St. Helens in Spotlight Soundwave. The main speaking role here may well be the same Joshua red we saw there, but that's as yet unconfirmed (if it is him he hasn't aged much in twenty years).

In jokes this month are a bit thin on the ground, but Megatron claiming his bear hands will suffice in crushing Prime is a reference to one of his most famous lines in the 1986 theatrical film. The last line from the Skywatch agent about their work being in "The National Interest" refers to the title of a Furman written Marvel UK arc that run from issues #74-77. Characters in that story use the phrase in a similar context throughout the story.

Goofs:

It's a shame the faux shop doesn't have a similar device to that seen in Ultra Magnus that destroys simulcrums, considering they've got access to so much advanced technology this seems an oversight on the Machinations part.

Prowl's claim about the geo-political situation being resolved seems rather naive, surely without any clue as to who the robots are each side will just blame each other? Or at the very least file reports on these robot invaders with American vehicle alt-modes that will piss of their respective governments and have them blaming the USA (especially as Hot Rod runs down the Russian general at one point).

Skywatch are so secret and stealthy they wear nicely inconspicuous black suits in the middle of the desert. You'd have thought the men in black would have adopted a different dress code since The X-Files. No wonder Hunter finds it so easy to track their movements.

Review:
As you can probably tell from the slight synopsis, this is effectively a big fight issue between Prime and Megatron. It's a well drawn and written confrontation that avoids cliché (no dramatic last words for Prime) but it does mean that the other plot points don't move very much, nothing happens in the human sub-plot at all, though at least Prowl finally catches the facsimile after two issues of chasing him.

The most interesting stuff comes at the beginning and end with the two interludes introducing new players into the game, the mystery presented by the Machination is potentially the most interesting thing IDW have done.

So, an action issue, but still entertaining and hopefully the conclusion will regain some of the momentum of the previous few instalments.

[two and a half out of five]

inflatable dalek
2007-05-05, 05:52 PM
Transformers Spotlight: Kup.
A Review By Inflatable Dalek

Written and Illustrated By: Nick Roche.
Colours By: Andrew Elder.
Cover Art By: Nick Roche and Alex Milne.
Letters By: Robbie Robbins.
Edits By: Chris Ryall and Dan Taylor.

Synopsis:
On a unnamed planet a lone mechanoid survives a spaceship crash. Seeing an Autobot approach he thinks salvation has found him, but he is killed by Kup before he can even finish explaining his predicament.

Kups’ in a bad way, during the day the planet isn't so bad, its energy rich crystals sing him a wonderful song. But at night they come for him, and he doesn't know how much more he can take.

Returning to the wreckage of his own ship, he muses on the crystals, and how potent they are. So potent that when they first arrived a transmitter he and fellow survivor Outback built powered by them exploded. outback doesn't talk so much since then. in fact Outback doesn't do much of anything since then, but even as a corpse he's the only friend Kups’ got.

As night falls a ghastly green ghost appears and tells Kup They're coming to get him, as a hoard of decaying Zombies begin calling his name outside.

Come daybreak Kup goes outside to bathe in the energies of the crystals, and as he listens to the song he vows not the let the monsters separate him from them. But as the ghost appears that night Kup realises he's left the shutters open and the Zombies can get in. Rushing out he manages beats the Zombies off with a hand from Outback (literally) and manages to kill most of them when his Spark core starts to overload and nearly explodes. One escapes however, and calls for an Orbital Jump...

...and is transported up to Ark-17. The Zombie is in fact the Autobot Siren in a radiation suit, and he reports to Perceptor about their failure to rescue the addled old timer. They need to act quickly because if Kups’ damaged spark does go it will take most of the planet with it due to the explosive nature of the crystals. Siren angrily demands to know when the Specialist they were promised will get there.

Wreaker leader Springer- who authorised the mission- arrives and is dismayed by the lack of progress. He's been trying to contact Kup through Outback’s holo-transmitter but has no dies if its worked or not.

In a communicator conference with Prowl on Earth Springer is berated for wasting so much time, energy and lives on rescuing just one Autobot. It's only when the Wreaker points out that Optimus Prime would be leading the rescue mission personally if he knew about it that stops Prowl from making an official report to their leader to get it stopped. Springer latter confides to Perceptor that no matter the cost they must get Kup back because they owe it him, without his training none of them, even Prime would be here today. He's then relieved to be told the Specialist has arrived at last.

On the planet night has again fallen and a increasing deranged Kup once more fights his zombie foes. As his spark approaches meltdown point he suddenly runs into Trailbreaker (the specialist), who uses his force filed to contain the explosion. Kup is taken up to the ship where he's given a placeholder powercore to maintain his spark. But his reluctance to upgrade over the years means most of his parts aren't compatible with current technology, and his mind may well never heal. As Springer looks at him in the life support unit he wonders if it was worth all they've lost to rescue Kup...

Characters Featured:
Kup, Outback [Deceased], Siren, Perceptor, Springer, Prowl [Hologram], Sizzle, Trailbreaker. Just about anyone could be in the other radiation suits, it's actually quiet fun to think that say, Silverbolt could die horribly here without even getting his face on page...
Notes:

This issue likely takes place during the three day gap between Infiltration and Escalation (or right after Stormbringer for Springer). It's unlikely that the Wreaker leader would normally have to contact the Earth based Autobot commander so Prowl is likely acting as Primes overall second in command whilst he's on the planet. Springer claims to have left the Wreakers fighting "The real Big Bad", so they've most likely gone back to the mission they were on before being called to fight Thunderwing (The use of the phrase Big Bad is most likely a reference to Buffy which made popular calling a shows principle villain by that moniker). Prowl, unlike Springer, is on the Autobot High Command.

Autobots trained by Kup include Siren, Springer, Prowl, Optimus Prime, Sideswipe, Sunstreaker and Hot Rod. Perceptor seems not to have been, he states on one point "the values he imparted in you" rather than "imparted in us". Which makes sense considering his scientific background.

The suits the Autobots are wearing are antiques, their normal stealth armour won't work in the high radiation levels (a deliberate statement on the value of old things, even if Siren has issues with the suits).

Kup should be virtually powerless by this stage but is somehow maintaining full energy during the attacks. The implication is he's being recharged by energy from the Crystals though it's not made explicit as Kup is somewhat of a unreliable narrator...

When badly damaged a Spark breaks through a Transformers outer casing and if unchecked will exploded. The glow seen emitting from Prime's chest in during the flashback in Stormbringer may be down to this as well. Trailbreakers force field is powerful enough to both contain this and protect him from the radiation without a suit.

The scenes with the dead Outback are similar to a sequence in the Red Dwarf episode Kryten where a deranged robot pretends the bodies he's surrounded by on his crashed spaceship are still alive.

Despite Springer's claim that Optimus would risk everything to rescue Kup that doesn't really gel with what we've seen elsewhere. In Escalation he refuses to let Ironhide investigate Sunstreakers disappearance so as not to get distracted from the matter at hand even though it could have a bearing on their current mission. Assuming that prime just doesn't like Sunstreaker very much Springer is probably bluffing and as he knows Prime better that Prowl does he gets away with it.

Nick Roche has previously drawn covers for various IDW titles and interiors for the Shockwave and Hot Rod Spotlights. He's previously written and drawn several fan comics and here becomes only the fourth person (after Barry Kitson, Mike Collins and Bob Budiansky) to have both penned and done art for a official Transformers comic.


Other characters he considered pitching his Spotlight on included Roadbuster and Blur before settling on Kup. He deliberately picked a character who hadn't appeared yet as he wanted to do a standalone story that wouldn't contradict anything Simon Furman was planning.

The comic also includes five pages of design sketches, including the rough pencils for a page that was eventually dropped.

As usual the first five pages were previewed online, but in a more unusual publicity step Kup joined other fictional characters such as Doctor Who companion Martha Jones in having his own Myspace page: http://myspace.com/lostkup. Written by Roche Kups’ friends include some familiar faces from IDW and British writer Paul Cornell.

Goofs:
[As much of the issue is seen from Kups’ kooky point of view 98% of any flaws can be put down to his cracked worldview. having said that...:]

The Crystals on the planet may be unstable, but are a potential great source of energy. Yet the Autobots, who've been surviving on poor Energon substitutes, seem completely uninterested by this. Perceptor at least would be excited by this.

Kup is a insane, ancient, badly damaged Autobot yet he manages to kill half a dozen fully sane and powered colleagues by beating them with Outbacks arm. The training he gave them can't have been all that.

Considering the mission has resulted in deaths shouldn't Prowl be pushing harder for Springer to discontinue with the rescue efforts? If he's High Command surely he should have a bit of clout over Springer?

Quote Unquote:

Kup: "Last thing I need is another pair of eyes staring into my soul".

Kup: “It’s this place. This world. These crystals. I know life is worth livin' cos' they sing me so".

Kup: “He’s a good kid, that Outback. Always willing to lend a hand".

Kup: “I’d do anything to feel like this all the time. Anything".

Siren: “Where the Hell are the Wreakers during all this?"
Springer: "On the other side of the Galaxy protecting 'Bots like you from the real Big Bad".

Trailbreaker: "Look, I'm not judging Springer".
Springer: "No, but everyone else will. And so will history, I guess. And what would he think if he knew what I sanctioned just to get him back in this state? Look at him, trapped mind, body and soul... was it worth it?"

Review:
Kup! Kup! Kup! Kup!.

Gorgeous, brilliant stuff. As a writer Roche excels, deftly handling action, plot and characterisation. But it's his art that really stands out, being the best we've yet seen on any IDW comic. The switch between the caricatured style used for Kups’ viewpoint and the more conventional aboard Ark-17 is wonderfully done.

I really can't heap enough praise on this, the only change I'd make is that I'd have liked to have originally seen Outback as Kup sees him- alive- keeping the reveal for latter in the issue. But other than that, magnificent and a essential purchase.

And as an added bonus this comic makes Trailbreaker cool for the first time since… well, ever. Albeit mainly because, thanks to those Nescafe adverts (Tasters Choice if you’re Colonial) it’s impossible not to hear him being played by Tony Head after that opening line. Mind that does add a previously missing element of repressed sexual tension to his relationship with Kup, but still a wonderful comic.

inflatable dalek
2007-05-05, 06:49 PM
I've fiddled with the format I use slightly with this one putting a quotes section in. I'm still not a 100% convinced by the new format for the guide (I prefer having all the info for the issue on one page), but it may grow on me.

Denyer
2007-05-07, 05:16 PM
Yeah, I'm not thrilled with it myself -- the masses of text (some duplicated between reviews) a huge lists of issues were getting a bit much, though.

I'll probably do a separate page just listing all of the reviews, much like the previous index.

If you want to do quote selections for other issues I'll edit them in. :)

Denyer
2007-05-08, 03:31 AM
One thing -- Mike Collins both wrote and drew for the UK comic... can't think of anyone else right now, but there might be others...

inflatable dalek
2007-05-08, 12:48 PM
Originally posted by Denyer
One thing -- Mike Collins both wrote and drew for the UK comic... can't think of anyone else right now, but there might be others...

Bugger, I knew there was someone I missed. Mind, you missed me calling Kup Prowl at one stage.

If you want to do quote selections for other issues I'll edit them in.

I may get round to it at some stage but its low priority at the mo, I just wanted to bring the format I was using a little closer to ther Cornell/Day Topping model (hence the fact the reviews now start with a sum up quote as well).

EDIT: I have however put in the clsoing paragraph I someohow didn't cut and paste, and change the Collins thing as well.

Denyer
2007-05-08, 01:18 PM
Originally posted by inflatable dalek
you missed me calling Kup Prowl at one stage.
In the review on the site, or the review above?

If there are corrections other than those mentioned, add them into another post if the review's already up please -- if I copy-paste a review out of this thread it means I need to proof read the whole thing again.

inflatable dalek
2007-05-08, 01:25 PM
Originally posted by Denyer
In the review on the site, or the review above?

Woops, I hadn't actually noticed the review had gone up when I made the original post. Yep, you did spot my Prowl/Kup mistake, curses.

If there are corrections other than those mentioned, add them into another post if the review's already up please -- if I copy-paste a review out of this thread it means I need to proof read the whole thing again.

Your wish is my command:

And as an added bonus this comic makes Trailbreaker cool for the first time since… well, ever. Albeit mainly because, thanks to those Nescafe adverts (Tasters Choice if you’re Colonial) it’s impossible not to hear him being played by Tony Head after that opening line. Mind that does add a previously missing element of repressed sexual tension to his relationship with Kup, but still a wonderful comic.

Osku
2007-05-08, 02:31 PM
Originally posted by inflatable dalek
And as an added bonus this comic makes Trailbreaker cool for the first time since… well, ever.
Without reading anything else (clicked accidentally wrong thread) I must disagree with this.

One of the very few good things I can remember from Dreamwave's first G1 mini-series was Trailbreaker defeating Grimlock by using his force field. In one or two panels and without any kind of characterization expect, "Now you'll pay, traitor!", but still. :o

Of course it could have been just an art error by Lee, but I like to think it was originally in Sarracini's script.

Denyer
2007-05-08, 05:56 PM
http://tfarchive.com/comics/idw/

Done a bunch more "guide" pages -- any obvious mistakes / broken links you can spot?

Devil's Due will be getting its own section.

Cliffjumper
2007-05-08, 06:37 PM
Originally posted by Denyer
Devil's Due will be getting its own section.

*usual Blackthorne-related pedantry and "but he feels up children" Josh Blaylock libel*

Denyer
2007-05-08, 06:41 PM
Blackthorne will also get its own section if people can be bothered to write stuff about it...

(Was there anything in that archive? Been months since I saw it.)

Cliffjumper
2007-05-08, 07:06 PM
I'm halfway through #2... whenever I think "Ahaha, I'll crack on to that Blackthorne guide" I spent about three hours looking for the one pair of 3D glasses I own, and get sidetracked when said search unearths a load of Tintin/Asterix books... I can do you a Tintin guide, if you like?

Denyer
2007-05-08, 07:25 PM
Only if it includes Captain Haddock and Seacons. Possibly a story in which Snowy hijacks the Decepticon gestalt team as part of a cunning canine plot to reclaim his co-star status in the books?

Cliffjumper
2007-05-08, 07:38 PM
It was only the last couple he really didn't do anything in. Hell, I couldn't swear he was even in the last one :(

And yep, that download did work :) 3D scans are just a pain to read... Work progresses (i.e. I've opened the file in dw and am staring at it blankly).

inflatable dalek
2007-05-10, 09:04 AM
Originally posted by Osku
One of the very few good things I can remember from Dreamwave's first G1 mini-series was Trailbreaker defeating Grimlock by using his force field. In one or two panels and without any kind of characterization expect, "Now you'll pay, traitor!", but still. :o

He actually defeated Grimlock by hitting him on the head with a big bit of metal.

Oh, and whilst we're adding bits to reviews I have to ask for this thing I just noticed in Soundwave to be added to the notes section of that issue because I feel a fool for not noticing it before:

The two facsimiles are called Fleming and Markham- Ian Fleming was of course the creator of James Bond and the writer of 12 novels and two collections of short stories about the character. The 13th Novel, Colonel Sun was by “Robert Markham”, who like his facsimile namesake was not a real person but- in what’s regarded as the worst kept secret in publishing history (the truths even mentioned on the inside sleeve of the original hardback)- was a pseudonym for Kingsley Amis (the publishers idea being that each new Bond book would have a different author behind the name, in the end despite being regarded as the best of the continuation novels it didn’t sell well enough for this to happen and a decade latter John Gardner would pick up the mantle under his own name). I’m betting Furman looked at tow adjacent books on the shelf for inspiration for names. In fact, considering the Machination Agents in the main comic tend to have names of a bookish bent we can begin to put together the complete Furman library ™. See folks, who says these reviews aint Educational?

I'll have a potter round the new guide to give it the once over when i get chance.

Osku
2007-05-11, 09:50 AM
Originally posted by inflatable dalek
He actually defeated Grimlock by hitting him on the head with a big bit of metal.
If you look at the panel I mean, you can interpret it so that he's using his forcefield to strengten the blow. :o

inflatable dalek
2007-05-11, 01:05 PM
Originally posted by Osku
If you look at the panel I mean, you can interpret it so that he's using his forcefield to strengten the blow. :o

So Trailbreaker can't even deal a hefty blow with a big metal bar without the aid of his forcefield? See, so uncool.

And lets face it, being Tony Head will get you more sex than being drawn by Pat Lee ever will.

Having looked at the new format I've got one big request to make really: Though I'll happilly work to the new layout for future reviews I'd really like the overall issue review to be put back at the end for the ones I wrote. Those bit are very much written (or at least attempted to be anyway...) as the final summing up of the whole issue and I don't really think it works coming at the start now.

inflatable dalek
2007-05-26, 07:20 PM
The Transformers Escalation Issue 6: A Review by Inflatable Dalek

Written by: Simon Furman.
Art by: E.J. Su.
Colours by: Zac Atkinson.
Letters by: Robbie Robbins.
Edits by: Chris Ryall and Dan Taylor.
Cover by: E.J. Su.
Variant Cover By: Klaus Scherwinski.

Synopsis:

Brasnya: Megatron gloats over the dead body and orders the Autobots to kneel before him. Jazz, Hardhead and Wheeljack launch an all out attack on the Decepticon leader but barely make a mark thanks to his Ore-13 power up.

A short distance away Prowl orders a reluctant Hot Rod to stay with Koska and wait for Nightbeat to use their teleport to take him back to the ship. Prowl himself goes to join the battle, hoping Prime isn't really dead.

The Autobot Leader is in fact still alive, having moved his mind into his Command Deck. Whilst en route in Transitional Space he has a strange vision of a unknown Transformer calling his name.

In Indiana Ironhide and Ratchet are working on getting the humans out of the cellar. Ratchet cuts a hole in the floor and Ironhides Simulcrum lifts them up through it. Ratchet manages to get clear just as the countdown reaches zero and the building explodes. But Ironhide had to be much closer to get his Simulcrum in the room and he gets badly damaged by the blast. All they have for their troubles is the Machination calling card.

Back in Brasnya, Hot Rod comes under attack from a returning Skywarp and new arrival Thundercracker before Nightbeat can retrieve him.

Prime contacts his troops and explains he knows the weakness of Ore 13 (thanks to his experience with Tunderwing in Stormbringer) and knows how to stop him. Putting his mind back into his body and blasts Megatron in the back of the head at point blank range. A now powerless Megatron is forced to retreat. But despite the slight victory the main object of the mission a failure. Not only was Hot Rod so badly damaged he had to be put into a CR Chamber but, according to Nightbeat the Facsimile of Koska didn't make it.

At the Machination Headquarters Mr. Dante shows a now conscious Hunter to the Big Giant Head and explains the procedure is now a success. Telling Hunter his purpose is now served, Dante ponders if perhaps he could be part of their New World Order, which involves several Headless Sunstreaker duplicates.

In Washington Skywatch leader Joshua Red learns of what has happened in Brasnya. The dig at Eureka won't give them anything useful for a while, but the long captured and chained up Ravage and Laserbeak are ready and raving to go.

Back at Deceptcion HQ a angry Megatron demands Sixshot be summoned even though it's to early for his level of devastation to be used on a World. On Muma Obscura the Reapers prepare to follow him to Earth...

Characters Featured: Megatron, Optimus Prime [Dead, then alive], Hardhead, Jazz, Wheeljack, Prowl, Hot Rod, Koska Facsimile [Dead], Giant Floating Head [The first of two this issue], Ratchet, Ironhide , Jimmy, Verity, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Nightbeat, Hunter, Mr. Dante, The Other Big Giant Head, Joshua Red, Ravage, Laserbeak, Astrotrain, Sixshot, The Reapers.

[B]Notes:

Ahhhh, the many deaths of Optimus Prime. Prime surviving by putting his mind elsewhere is similar to what happened in Marvel US #24 Afterdeath, though there it was an ordinary floppy disc he put his mind into. Though it's slightly hard to say due to most of his "Deaths" not being anything of the sort (as here), this is probably the shortest time he's ever spent "declared" dead.


Prime, wisely, has practised this before, though not over such a distance or under combat conditions. Megatron presumably doesn't know Optimus is capable of this.

We have confirmation that Megatron can't do anything without help in gun mode. He seems to be about to use his 'ol Anti Matter eyes at one point before Prime blasts him.

Prowl and Hot Rod are the same rank, but on Earth the local commander has seniority.

The floating head in transitional space is as yet unexplained (though he does have a strong Big Convoy/Nemesis Prime look to him). Furman has said he's planning to avoid using Unicron, but that doesn't rule out this being Primus.

Prime learnt that Super Energon can be countered by strong concentrated fire power at close range in Stormbringer. This is much more of a leap of faith than Prime lets on though, Thunderwing took a lot more concentrated fire from a far larger army over a longer period of time. Megatrons lack of a Pretender shell probably hinders him in this regard.

When a Facsimile dies they turn into green goo. This is a long standing SF staple, the two most obvious influences being the infiltrating aliens of The Invaders and the alien/human hybrids of The X-Files. Considering he's (unknown to himself) a brainwashed double agent one has to wonder if Nightbeat killed Koska, as well as damaging Hot Rod enough to ensure he won't talk for a while (though in that case killing Hot Rod outright would have been the obvious choice).

Skywatch captured Ravage and Laserbeak in the spotlight (which was Joshua Red's debut). Presumably they're going to be used to track the Transformers to their various bases and have had their brain modules tampered with in some way to make them more servile. The fact the attack on Brasnya is the first they've heard of the planets new arrivals is firm confirmation they're not associated with the Machination at all.

Astrotrain is shocked at the thought of bringing Sixshot to Earth, presumably the Decepticons would normally strip the planet of energy before having him toast it. Muma Obscura and the Reapers first appeared in Sixshot's [i]Spotlight.

Oddly enough both Hot Rod and Megatron reference the *ahem*popular*ahem* British reality show I'm a Celebrity- Get Me Out of Here! when calling on someone to, well, get them out of there.

The Giant Head running the Machination is almost certainly Scorponok, the Sunstreaker doubles being used to replicate the Headmaster process.

As usual the first five pages were previewed online. Events will continue latter this year in Devastation after IDW spend the Summer concentrating on the Live Action Transformers Movie...

Goofs:

So, doesn't Megatron notice the giant robot sneaking up behind him? Was Optimus on tip toe? I bet he's regretting that choice of alt mode now as well. Even without knowing Primes special skill you think he'd kill the Autobot leader a bit more definitively as well, Prime doesn't have to spend more than a few minuets out of his body before he can reoccupy it. If Megs had ripped his head of it would have gone very differently.

Why are Ironhide and Ratchet going through the elaborate cutting through the floor thing rather than Ironhide just carrying them out of the building, which he could easily do in less time? If they're to heavy for him to carry both Ratchet could send his Simulcrum down as well. And why does Ironhide need to be so much closer to the shop than Ratchet when the medic is parked right over our human heroes?

The Decepticon cloning technology really is a bit rubbish if the Facsimiles turn to green goo when they die. Even if you assume that the Decepticons replace them quickly when they die asleep in bed what if one gets hit by a car or has a heart attack in McDonalds?

Skywatch- A top secret Government agency dedicated to tracking aliens with a vested interest in the Transformers doesn't hear about the Brasnyan incident until after it happens from a spy in the country. Don't they have people watching satellite recording like prowl was a few issues ago? Aren't they hacked into all the main government mainframes and monitoring military communications for just such a thing? It's not as if Russia going to war is a small obscure thing they might have overlooked. No wonder Skywatch is so dependant on the Cassettes to do their work for them.

Sixshot is completely grey on the last page.

Not a goof as such, but does anyone else find the idea of a army of Sunstreaker hilarious? Obviously the Machinations New Order will involve a lot of personal preening and saying how great you are all the time.

Quote, Unquote.
Megatron: Hear me Autobots! Optimus Prime is dead! The final battle in this long and bitter struggle belongs to Megatron! Kneel before me or share his fate!

Hardhead: Knell my A- [Very Joss Wheedon that].

Prowl : Seems Megatrons got no real long-range weaponry at his disposal and no way to access his alt-mode without someone to hold him.

Prowl: And if Starscream and his little infiltration unit have ironed out that little quirk [From the Ore-13]?
Optimus: Then we're as good as dead.

Optimus has his Arnie moment: Megatron... BURN!

Ratchet: Sunstreaker, Ironhide, who's next? And still we have no idea who's behind all this!

[B]Review:
I did not invite debate. Let there be Devastation!.

One of Simon Furman's big weaknesses as a writer is that the conclusions to his arcs often fall apart after a strong start. Thankfully this isn't quiet the case here, things aren't as good as the previous few issues but generally this is good stuff.

The nicest thing is the subtle differentiation between Optimus and Megatrons attitudes. The Decepticon goes in guns blazing and without thinking things through (the useless alt-mode could even be seen as an acceptable extension of this flaw if it weren't so insanely stupid), but Prime takes time to think things through, plans them out in advance (such as his mind transfer) and has taken the time to study Ore-13 properly.

We also get a fun Megatron/Autobots battle, an intriguing turn in the Skywatch saga and some nice mystery over Nightbeats motivation.

The flaws include Megatron descending into full comedy stooge mode (he goes from certain victory to utter defeat in less than 22 pages, a record even for him), the plotline with the humans having treaded water for two issues now and the fact that it's the weakest of the initial Spotlights that seems to be going to play the biggest part in future events (did anyone want to see the Reapers again?)

Still, a good solid conclusion that sets things up well for the next phase.

[Three out of five]

inflatable dalek
2007-05-26, 07:21 PM
And I'm sure that you'll all be pleased to know that the Yo Joe! site has been updated so a Black Horizon 2 Review will follow shortly...

Denyer
2007-05-27, 07:25 PM
Cheers.Originally posted by inflatable dalek
Having looked at the new format I've got one big request to make really: Though I'll happilly work to the new layout for future reviews I'd really like the overall issue review to be put back at the end for the ones I wrote. Those bit are very much written (or at least attempted to be anyway...) as the final summing up of the whole issue and I don't really think it works coming at the start now.
Mmm. How much would you say would need tweaking to get the review in at the start and flowing? (The spotlight reviews, for instance, read well enough with the sections in any order, IMHO.)

Open to any tweaks, but notes/goofs/quotes are more the extra bits a reviewer's picked out that someone'll find complements the more-or-less objective information (summary, who's in it) and reviews.

All my fault, anyway... the reviews have thus far been almost freeform (Bombshell used a slightly different breakdown to me, and we've both used a slightly different breakdown to you...)

Has Matt/Skywarp said anything to you about the News forum? I was going to give you editing abilities before I go for any comics stuff, but there's no particular reason to wait a month.

inflatable dalek
2007-05-27, 07:32 PM
Originally posted by Denyer
Cheers.
Mmm. How much would you say would need tweaking to get the review in at the start and flowing? (The spotlight reviews, for instance, read well enough with the sections in any order, IMHO.)

With the Escalation 6 Review I've tried to do it so the Review can go easily at the start or end easily depending on how things settled down (though it probably doesn't show that well). Tweaking the others is possible, just a case of finding the time.


All my fault, anyway... the reviews have thus far been almost freeform (Bombshell used a slightly different breakdown to me, and we've both used a slightly different breakdown to you...)

I based mine closely on the format Cliffy used for his guide as that's the definative one for me. So really we can blame him.

Has Matt/Skywarp said anything to you about the News forum? I was going to give you editing abilities before I go for any comics stuff, but there's no particular reason to wait a month.

Nope- I'm assuming editing facilities means the ability to change peoples posts, yes?

Denyer
2007-05-27, 07:54 PM
Originally posted by inflatable dalek
Nope- I'm assuming editing facilities means the ability to change peoples posts, yes? Yeah -- specifically the sticky one of mine at the top, but if you feel like general modding in that forum, that's cool too, and it's just a case of following Nevermore's lead (leastways, that's what I do...)

inflatable dalek
2007-05-27, 07:56 PM
Originally posted by Denyer
Yeah -- specifically the sticky one of mine at the top

That's nifty, though I'd be unlikely to be as prompt as you are with most of the updates being on a Sunday/Monday- the two days I'm least likely to have internet access (and yes, I am writing this on a Sunday. Oh the irony). Don't we all follow Nevermore's lead?

Denyer
2007-05-27, 08:32 PM
IDW have (recently? lost track) added official dates a week or three in advance on their site, so it's a bit less needed now...

http://idwpublishing.com/newreleases-upcoming.shtml

edit: In fact, I may retire the info in title thing, and just list useful links.

inflatable dalek
2007-05-31, 05:02 PM
GI Joe Vs. The Transformers IV: Black Horizon Issue 2
A Review By Inflatable Dalek

Writer: Tim Seeley.
Artist: Andrew Wildman.
Colourists: Wez Dzioba & Art Lyon.
Colour Assists: Timothy Straub.
Letterer: Brian J. Crowley.
Nemesis Editor: Mike O'Sullivan.
Cover A: Tim Seeley, Jeremy Freeman, Stephane Peru.
Cover B: Andrew Wildman, Stephane Peru.

Synopsis:

Cosmos and Firewall arrive in Tibet, but are quickly separated when the young Joe falls through the ice and is captured by the Yeti. Underground, Golobulus berates Pythona over Colton's escape and orders her to revive Nemesis Enforcer, which she does with her blood.

Back at the Pit Duke convinces General Flagg to launch a full scale attack on Cobra-La despite the political ramifications of military action in Tibet. As Unicron approaches he overwhelms N.O.R.A.D.'s satellite tracking station with his scream of I WILL RETURN.

In the caves Optimus and the Joe's follow Colton- who has frequently escaped to explore and map the tunnels over the last quarter century- to a narrow bridge over a deep chasm. Here Optimus fights Bludgeon, ripping open his Pretender shell before pushing down into the depths.

As Unicron appears in the skies over Earth Firewall is prepared for Sacrifice to Unicron by the Yeti. Colton and Flint make their way through a passage to narrow for Prime to where the Metal eating spore is grown. The veteran explains that despite leaving his cell many times over the years he's never tried to escape as he knew Cobra-La had to be stopped so he ought to keep close. They are set upon by Yeti but rescued by Cosmos blasting his way down. Luckily Colton can speak enough Yeti to interrogate one over Firewalls location.

The Joe reinforcements arrive in Tibet and are attacked by Monstructor, though a Joe unit with a honking big laser gun quickly deals with him.

Flint and Cosmos go off into space with the spores in order to destroy Unicron with them, whilst Prime and the other two Joes gatecrash the ceremony for Firewall's sacrifice. Nemesis Enforcer comes close to killing Colton, but when Joe appeals to her better nature Pythona kills the winged one and breaks down crying. The arrival of the other Joes quickly turns the battle in the good guys favour.

In space Flint and Cosmos find Unicron's servants (blooming Battle Beasts![/i] easy to deal with as they destroy is brain with the spores.

With the day saved, Prowl and the other Autobots are repaired, Optimus sits down to watch some trashy reality TV (no, really) and Hawk sorts out his love life. And GI Joe put Colton in charge of a space faring team going to give aid to survivors living on Unicrons body. It's going to be an awfully big adventure.

Characters Featured: Cosmos, Firewall, Golobulus, Pythona, Lady Jaye, Duke, General Flagg, Flint, Hawk, Joe Colton, Optimus Prime, Bludgeon [Seemingly Killed], Crimson Guard, Nemesis Enforcer [Killed], Unicron , Dr. Mindbender, Snake Eyes, Birdbrain, Bristleback, Icepick, Scowl, Slog, Wildfly, Monstructor [Head blasted of by the Joes, it's unclear if this killed his individual components], Battle Beasts, Airtight, Bushido, Cover Girl, Flash, Mainframe, Outback, Scarlett, Sci-Fi, Snake-Eyes, Snow Job, Prowl, Skids, Sideswipe, Eject.

[B]Notes:

Colton's excuse for not escaping seems a little flimsy considering he could have come back with a full scale attack to sort out Cobra-La. This isn't going in Goofs as he's likely suffering from a form of Stockholm Syndrome and has formed an empathy with his captors (especially Pythona as we see) that means he doesn't really want to escape and is making excuses.

Hawk says Colton's been missing for 25 years- Assuming that was late 1978 and that the first crossover was early 2003 that just about fits with the 2004 setting for this story implied by the last issue.

Colton gets to use his "Kung Fu Grip!"- The distinctive feature of his toy. Though it's utterly impossible to read the panel without hearing Austin Powers shouting "Ninja Chop!” sadly.

Bludgeon seemingly falls to his death, though it's hard to be 100% certain. Prime clearly thinks the fall will be lethal as he tries to pull Bludgeon up (very Batman Forever), but he's not familiar with Pretender tech. The idea of falling into a bottomless pit will bring Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey to mind for many of us.

The Joes have facilities to repair damaged Autobots. It's probably the same equipment that was used to dissect Megatron and Soundwave.

The Battle Beasts were another 80's Hasbro toy property, one that in Japan was part of the main Transformers line. Considering their appearance here and in Dreamwaves output it's tempting to wonder if Hasbro do a "Buy the Transformers licence, get Battle Beasts free!" offer. It's worth noting that there are more Battle Beasts in this issue than there are speaking roles for Transformers. Only one of them displays any sentience, but it's hard to tell if Unicron's speaking directly through him or not.

This is only the second time ever that Unicron is defeated by means other than the Matrix- The other being The Legacy of Unicron Marvel UK strip that ran from issues #146-151. I suspect this will remain the only issue where exploding Mushrooms provide the dues ex machina. Unicron seems to have an organic brain by the way, which is something we'll explore more in the goofs section.

And speaking of firsts, this is the debut of Monstructor in a official Transformers comic, nearly 17 years after the Monster Pretenders first appeared in Rhythems of Darkness.

At last we know why Mindbender gets out of his alliance with Cobra-La- he's in charge of tying up scantily dressed young women. The dirty sod. The sacrifice seems to be purely ceremonial rather than for any practical reason. Considering that such sacrifices tend to be chosen for their...purity I'll leave you to decide what that says about Firewall.

The shots of people reacting to Unicron appearing in the sky are shamelessly cribbed from Independence Day- the greatest "Don't think about the plot" Movie of our time. That is except for the panel where he seems to be standing in for the Star of Bethlehem, which is shamelessly cribbed from the Bible, the greatest "Don't think about the plot" book of all time.

At the time of writing it's still uncertain if they'll ever be a volume V, though the ending is left open for a GI Joe Vs. The Transformers IN SPACE!!!! sequel.

Goofs:

A caption refers to the Pit as GI Joe’s secret headquarters. That's the headquarters so secret Cobra knew where it was last mini? The one so secret Hawk takes his girlfriend there at the end of the issue (and how did she get to the middle of nowhere so fast anyway)? That secret headquarters?

Why is Nemesis Enforcer all old and decayed before being revived when everyone else hasn't aged a day in a quarter of a century (even Colton doesn't look older bar the beard, whatever keeps them young must be in the water)? Did he not sign up for BUPA?


Without wishing to sound perverted...Who undressed Firewall? She's surprised to see Mindbender so it wasn't him, but the Yeti's claws make it unlikely to be her. I suppose they could have told her to change herself, but considering they don't speak English and she doesn't speak Yeti this must have involved enthusiastic mime.

It's also worth noting that the sacrifice is a big deal for Cobra-La, yet rather than grabbing a local Tibetan girl in advance they seem utterly dependant on Firewall falling through the roof right beforehand. Would they have dressed Shipwreck up in a bra and panties if it'd have been him with Cosmos?

"Kung Fu Grip!" seems to be a fancy way of saying "Punch him in the face!” certainly no griping of any sort seems to be involved. Colton also claims to speak Yeti; did Pythona give him some language tapes? [He's simply gone insane through captivity and is talking bollocks].

In order to take him out before he eats Earth Cosmos has to unleash the metal eating virus in Unicrons brain. His organic brain. The one with no metal for the virus to eat. And the fact it apparently takes a long time for the virus to spread make you wonder why Unicron was so worried by it in the first place when Cobra-La could only chuck it at his leg. All he needed to do was rip the infected body part off and then chow down on the planet.

Where did the Joes get the laser gun they use to kill Monstructor? Surely that's not some of the Cybertronian technology they're supposed to have given back/destroyed?

Why is Prime hanging about on Earth at the end when he's needed back home and there are better medical facilities on Cybertron? Does he really have a huge secret desire to watch Queer Eye for the Straight Guy?

Why didn't the Pretender Monsters kill Prowl and Company last issue? I'll leave you to decide if the way none of the Autobots on the medical table seem to have mouths is an attempt to show horrific battle damage or Wildman forgetting to draw them again.

So what was the Black Horizon then?

Review:

This may well be the strangest Transformers comic of all time. I've been watching a lot of Monty Pythons Flying Circus over the last week and this makes that look sane and normal by comparison. In fact, if Graham Chapman had shown up in full army costume to tell everyone involved to stop all this silliness at once it wouldn't have seemed out of place.

It's still all hugely entertaining as long as the brain is in neutral, but any comic where some bloke from Action Force tussles with Battle Beasts before throwing exploding mushrooms at Unicrons head tips over the line from "mildly absurd" to "completely insane".

It also has to be said that Wildman's art lets the side down, whilst Cobra-La still look good Bludgeon’s half in/half out Pretender look is silly, and Unicron looks worrying like Charlie Chan in a few panels. There's also no dialogue that's memorable for the right reasons ("KUNG FU GRIP!" may well be the most embarrassing moment in a comic ever).

It's still very hard to hate this though, it's bright Technicolor nonsense that always entertains, but if there's a volume V it may well be time for something completely different.

[Two and a half].

inflatable dalek
2007-05-31, 05:07 PM
And now I'm up to date. So no doubt IDW will release 50 new comics whilst I'm on holiday.

Denyer
2007-05-31, 05:39 PM
Aces. Devil's Due section is coming together...

http://tfarchive.com/comics/devilsdue/

inflatable dalek
2007-06-12, 05:20 PM
Originally posted by Denyer
Fixed the titles, I think, plus a few other things. If anyone has time to read through the Marvel guide, could they do quick list of which "Later Reprinted In:" bits are incomplete? Since it was done, the rest of the Titan reprints came out, plus various new IDW reprints, plus information came to light about the final UK Collected Comics / specials.


Right, having started to have a look at this, Cliffy seems to have up to the end of the colour Titan collections, so what needs to be added are:

The last Collected Comic [Same stuff as the 1991 Annual]

The 5 B&W collections.

12 issues of American Generations + Trade for the first six.

IDW Target 2006 (not actually refered to as Generations anywhere in the issue itself, might be worth still using that overall title for ease of reference though), presumiably to be followed by trade and more UK stuff starting with Time Wars.

Best of Furman, Don, Megatron Vs. Optimus Battles trades.

Is that the lot?

Most of the contents of those is easily findable on the site, but if if it's needed I can try to put a complete list together and PM it either to Denyer or whichever one of us is going to be puting up reviews and whatnot whilst he's away (Clay isn't it?).

Oh, and [i]The Complete Works Volume 1 ha sa random panel of Geoff Senior art from Crisis of Command replacing the original at the top of the Autobot roll call page from US#1. My useless fact of the day!

Denyer
2007-06-12, 07:07 PM
Originally posted by inflatable dalek
The last Collected Comic [Same stuff as the 1991 Annual]
Minus the first story (if my notes are correct) unless someone can confirm otherwise.

If you've got chance to do a list in the form --

#UK234
-Reprinted in Generations #G
-Reprinted in One Thousand Best Explosions
-etc.

-- that'd be nifty and speed things up a lot; I wasn't expecting to be in this evening, and will be away until sometime ~Friday after tomorrow. Had forgotten about the Marvel guide altogether, TBH. Capital initiative on your part. :)

Have almost got reviews wired in and have tidied up the directories everything is in / found pics for most issues now, though. All old page links should still be valid.

inflatable dalek
2007-06-13, 03:32 PM
Originally posted by Denyer
#UK234
-Reprinted in Generations #G
-Reprinted in One Thousand Best Explosions
-etc.

That's what I was thinking as well- Including the relevent UK issues that will need changing for each coresponding US issue as well (but I'm not going to list every single entry-collected comics, annuals with reprints ect- that might need changing in order to save my sanity, so that'll be down to whoever uploads it).

Probably best to stick to what's out rather than forthcoming in case anything does a DW V 3 and vanishes.

inflatable dalek
2007-07-07, 04:18 PM
Megatron Origin: Issue 1

A Review By Inflatable Dalek.

Written by: Eric Holmes.
Art by: Alex Milne.
Colours by: Josh Perez.
Colour Assist by: Zac Atkinson.
Edits by: Chris Ryall.

Synopsis:

Long ago, during a time of peace, Megatron was a worker at an orbiting mining outpost within the Cybertron system, but when Senator Decimus arrived at the excavation site to announce, during a work-site assembly, that the mine would become fully automated and that all the workers were to loose their jobs, Megatron's life would irrevocably change thereafter. During the Senator's announcement, a worker vocalized his anger at the Senator in an attempt to encourage the other workers to protest, but was viciously put down by an Autobot guard. Outraged, Megatron attacked and wounded Senator Decimus before killing the Autobot guard, which resulted in a brief riot. Additional Autobot guards arrived to quickly quell the protesting workers, killing many while the rest, including Megatron, were shipped off to a penal facility.

While on board the repatriation shuttle, Longshot, en route to the penal facility H-3 (or “The Rig”), Rumble, with the help of his pile-drivers, attacks a guard, freeing Megatron and the others. After quickly taking control of the Longshot, Megatron and the surviving members of the mine revolt managed to escape after firing upon the Senator’s ship, with the intent of keeping potential Autobot pursuers preoccupied, who Megatron inferred would be more concerned with rescuing the Senator rather than chasing them. Following their escape, Megatron and company then fled to Kaon, the worst place on Cybertron, to lie low. Meanwhile, at the nearby Security Services Headquarters in Kaon, a bored Sentinel Prime is alerted to the situation by Prowl. Dismissing its level of priority, Sentinel tells his subordinate to deal with it, certain that the problem couldn’t be as bad as what has already to be found in Kaon.

Characters Featured: Senator Decimus, Megatron, Rumble, Frenzy, Prowl, Sentinel Prime. Kremzeek can be seen on one of the advertising boards in Kaon.

Notes:

Megatron's secret origin as a miner is a take unique to IDW. In the Marvel and Dreamwave comics he was a gladiator, whilst the cartoon had him being built by the Constructicons.

Though he's a new character, Senator Decimus is based on Alpha Trion from the original cartoon. Sentinel Prime was Optimus' immediate predecessor in both the Marvel and Dreamwave comics (though, it may not turn out to be the case here, in the former he looked like Rodimus Prime's brother). IDW have designed him - and indeed most of the new Autobots seen here - in a style like that of the characters in the Japanese Transformers Victory toyline. Also, with his orange colour scheme and retractable faceplate, he looks not unlike a long lost Predacon.

At this stage, the Autobots would seem to be a more of a police force or security service, roughly in keeping with their portrayal in the Dreamwave Armada comic. Though Prime seems to be in charge of the Autobots, he is in turn answerable to the Senate that governs Cybertron’s (mostly unaligned it would seem) population.

According to the miner that gets shot, despite plenty of energon being produced the workers are under fuelled whilst the Senate hordes it. Exactly why the mine hasn't always been automated isn't exactly clear. Giving sentient Transformers a dull and difficult job when they could build a non-alive digger with the same abilities seems odd. The change, and the energon hoarding, may well be down to the start of the energon shortage we've seen in the present day stories.

Rumble, making his IDW debut, would seem to be the Red one. Mind, neither cassette is called by name, so it could still be up in the air if they're both supposed to have the same pile driving attachments to mine with.

Prowl's presence as Sentinel Prime's second in command ties in with Springer's comment that he's "Always been High Command" in the Kup Spotlight.

In Kaon we see an advertising board with a Lizard Man on it; even if it's supposed to be fanciful it still implies the Autobots have contact with organic species at this point in order to be able to know what a lizard is in the first place.

We also see a couple of adverts with fembots on. Make of that what you will.

A Kaon is a subatomic particle in real life.

Writer Eric Holmes is a computer game designer by trade; this is his first published writing. He previously submitted the basic outline to Dreamwave, but got nowhere with it.

Alex Milne makes his debut on a main-continuity IDW book, though illness meant that the first issue was delayed by a few weeks.

Goofs:

Why on Earth is Rumble still able to use his pile drivers whilst in prison? Wouldn't it be routine to disable all transformation abilities before tying them up?

Don't they have radar on Cybertron? Because following Megatron’s ship to Kaon should be as easy as pie. Plus, Megatron and company leave convenient, muddy, large, footprints as they depart the ship. That should make following them far too easy as well.

The Cybertronian’s really are ahead of their time. Amongst the ad boards we see the smiley face that simple humans won't invent for a few million years after this.

Unfortunately, the page showing Megatron mining with his tool (if you'll pardon the expression) manages to look exactly like he's breaking into tears whilst singing karaoke in a dodgy bar.

Review:

A bit of an odd one this, despite being called Megatron: Origin we don't really learn very much about old Megs here. He's strangely quiet for most of the issue, but just when you put him down as a dumb grunt he comes out with a full sentence when talking with Rumble. It comes to something that it's a generic nobody that gives the big "mad as hell" speech in the meeting rather than the ostensive star. On the other hand, we do get good work on the new characters, with Decimus (who speaks like William Hartnel's Doctor Who, which is fab), and Sentinel Prime being well defined. It's also nice to see that Prowl has always been the frustrated second in command as well. It's also good to see the Decepticons being given more reason for uprising here than "evil is always fun". The portrayal of slimy politicians putting down the little man may be a cliché, but it does help create reader empathy for the future 'cons. Milne's art is perhaps the real weak link. Whilst I don't think it deserves the kicking it's received in some quarters, it is genuinely hard to work out what the hell's going on at some points - such as how Megatron escapes from his chains whilst Rumble attacks the guard. Considering that the first time Megatron kills an Autobot should be a "big" moment it's also strangely lacking in impact. In fact, that's the issue in a nutshell. Lots of potentially great stuff but somehow without finesse. Hopefully the fascinating premise will be given the story it deserves starting with the next issue.

[two and a half out of five]

zigzagger
2007-07-07, 11:04 PM
Okay, I just finished the initial read through/edit for you, as requested. The only major revamping occurs during the synopsis. The rest I left mostly untouched, only fixing the grammatical errors that I was able to notice, keeping your "voice" intact.

inflatable dalek
2007-07-09, 06:51 PM
Originally posted by zigzagger
Okay, I just finished the initial read through/edit for you, as requested. The only major revamping occurs during the synopsis.

The Synopsis is always the weak link for me. A excellent job.

zigzagger
2007-07-11, 10:45 PM
So, ummm, wasn't someone supposed to post this in the review section? ;)

inflatable dalek
2007-07-12, 09:29 AM
Originally posted by zigzagger
So, ummm, wasn't someone supposed to post this in the review section? ;)

It's all in hand. Sectret handshakes and knowing winks have been exchanged along with a suitcase full of unmarked notes.

redman prime
2007-07-14, 06:53 PM
Quick question on some books i saw on IDW's site, but hadn't read any reviews on here.

has anyone read the Target:2006 stuff? and if so, is it worth the fiver to pick up the first?

Dalek: bang up review on Meggy's origin #1.

zigzagger
2007-07-14, 09:50 PM
Originally posted by redman prime


has anyone read the Target:2006 stuff? and if so, is it worth the fiver to pick up the first?


Actually, it has been reviewed here:
http://www.tfarchive.com/comics/marvel/reprints/review.php?tpb=target2006
and here:
http://tfarchive.com/comics/marvel/?s=uk_081_090

I wouldn't know anything about scans of the issues, though....nope, nope, nope....so don't ask.

redman prime
2007-07-14, 10:12 PM
ok, so i'm a chimp on the computer..

my plot has been foiled.

thanks ziggy.

I wasn't aware that they were all reprints, I was under the impression it was new material kinda re-shadowing old material..
hmm.

Funny that maccadams is involved.

zigzagger
2007-09-13, 06:48 AM
Here's 'Zeeks "Doom Review" of NA/TF #2.


THE NEW AVENGERS/TRANSFORMERS: MAN AND MACHINE #2 OF 4
THE DOOM REVIEW BY KREMZEEK75

Issue Review:
Well, well, looks like Moore upped the ante a bit by leaking in some crucial information regarding the story itself. It would seem Megatron and company discovered, and subsequently stole Dr. Doom’s mind controlling Psycho-Prism, which now permits the Decepticons to absorb the anomalies present in the physiology of the Avengers. Surprise! Prime and the Avengers have to stop them.

It seems history does indeed repeat itself, as inflatable dalek mentioned in his review for the first issue, man and machine meet, squabble, then side with one another to conquer the opposition. However, those that make up the sides are not who you would normally think! The last notable time Doom teamed up with “the good guys” was during the Onslaught Crisis in the Marvel Universe. But in true Doom fashion, there is something else going on here, Doom just up and leaves to find a diplomatic solution with the country of Symkaria, which was pitted against Latveria as a result of Megatron using the Psycho Prism.

The alliances are uneasy at best, I was quite shocked to hear Prime utter “Autobots… standard human containment techniques! No killing…unless absolutely necessary.” I never thought in my wildest dreams that Prime had the faintest inkling of that kind of brutality, I mean, didn’t we all grow up with Prime protecting humans “no matter the cost” (i.e. Remember the episode “Megatron’s Master Plan” from the original cartoon series? The Autobots were set up, and likewise, deported due to a plan concocted by Mayor Sean Burger and Megatron.)? Even in the very end, he never had a single thought of retribution against the humans who left the Autobots in the dust. In terms of actual dialogue, the issue is mainly carried by the Avengers with a few speech bubbles thrown in by the Autobots, particularly Ratchet. The main Transformer dialogue is all from Megatron, who is siphoning Spiderman’s blood molecules and placing his anomalous power within the Decepticons. Of course, it is mostly along the lines of “We are superior, we will rule the Universe, all will fall to me, blah blah blah,” and in true Spiderman fashion, a couple of wise-cracks are thrown in to offset the “seriousness” of Megatron’s usual power speech.

On the Avengers side of things, Captain America is still carrying the team leadership quite nicely. Wolverine is still an animal, and the last page appearance by Iron Man was a nice twist - definitely not your usual Iron Man visage. Also, Ms. Marvel throws a fit about Ratchet implanting a counter active device to the Psycho-Prism, which seemed to be more important at viewing versus the actual interaction between man and machine. Nevertheless, the last page does promise something better to come, so my anticipation of the next issue is high.

Notes:
Since I am the resident Latverian Authority at the Archive, my concentration on this review is pure Doom. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Transformers, but my allegiance is with the Marvel Universe and Doom himself. Moore captured Doom in all his glory, the ego, the pattern of speech that always includes his own name in his dialogue, his superiority over enemy and ally alike, and the honor that Doom holds personally for his own country. Make no mistake; no one is going to harm a single hair on a Latverian without being scalped entirely by Doom. When I saw the subduing of Wolverine by Doom, it showed his mastery of cunning and logic in mastering the animalistic tendencies of everyone’s beloved pin-up boy for Marvel. And then of course, the ego, “You may now give thanks…to Doom.” Fact of the matter is; Doom is important to the story and the Universe itself, even if he needs to toot his own horn once in a while. If he had not explained the entire mess to both the Avengers and the Autobots, they would still be beating each other over the head with severed limbs due to the madness implanted by the Psycho-Prism. The one thing that bothers me about this is the sudden retreat to find “diplomatic solutions.” This worries me about because, if it turns out that Doom is actually aiding the Decepticons, that would totally destroy his honor in the story. Then again (and I truly hope this is the case), he just might come up with something that will turn the tide in the Autobots and Avengers’ favor.

Zeeks’ favorite quote:
Wolverine: “Seems like all you want is for us to do your dirty work!”
Doom: “Very perceptive, mutant. What else are one’s lesser for?”

Zeeks’ wishes for something better:
I prefer the Autobots talk for themselves instead of using their simulacrums (? - ed), which they used throughout the second half of the issue.
When Megatron reveals his whole plan is to just destroy the Avengers, I was kind of let down. Since when did one as great as Megatron ever really care about the puny Earth Creatures?

This issue gets 3 1/2 Doombots out of 5.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v322/kremzeek/Signatures/3andahalfdoombots.jpg

inflatable dalek
2007-09-13, 06:53 AM
Crikey, that reminds me, I've got about five reviews on the go.... I'm just waiting for my new Thesaurus to arrive so I can find more variations on bloody awful for my Megatron Origin reviews...

zigzagger
2007-09-13, 08:14 AM
Yep. Speaking of which here's your polished review for the Titan Transformers #1: Optimus Prime, with the usual tweaking in the synopsis, leaving the “voice” intact through out the rest. Blah, blah, blah.

I do have one question, regarding the synopsis. Mind you, I haven’t read this issue so this could be confusion of my part; you mention that Prime is debating over his decision when a drone suddenly attacks a building. What building, and who is he arguing with (himself, nameless comrades…)? I’ll edit this post, unless someone else gets to it first, if you got any other specifics to offer. Or, you know, just ignore it, it’s not really an important detail.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Titan Transformers #1: Optimus Prime.
A Review by Inflatable Dalek

Note: This issue also consists of two reprinted back-up strips of IDW material; Pages 1-7 of issue 1 of the Official Prequel Comic, and pages 1-6 of issue 1 of Beast Wars: The Gathering.

Optimus Prime:
Script: Simon Furman.
Art: Geoff Senior.
Colours: Robin Smith.
Letters: Jimmy Bentancourt/Comicraft.
Editor: Steve White.

Synopsis:
On Cybertron, a desperate Optimus Prime prepares to launch the Allspark into space in an attempt to stop Megatron from getting his hands on it. As Prime continued to internalize the morality of his decision (in light of a debate with his assistant Arctus), a Decepticon drone attacked the general base. Having traced Prime through the Energy Matrix of his Spark, the drone was now intent on killing him.

Though Prime puts up quite a fight, the struggle inadvertently revealed the location of the Allspark to the drone, who then altered its priorities and raced off to retrieve the cube. Prime makes a suicide run for it, resulting in the drone’s destruction and him being thrown clear of the building. As he recovered, Prime had a vision of the Transformer war reaching a new world of strange, fleshy, creatures, causing him to reevaluate his plan to loose the cube, but it's too late - his assistant has already fired it into space...

Characters Featured: Optimus Prime, Megatron, Arctus.

Notes:

Titan acquired the UK rights to the Transformers license shortly after the Panini Armada comic folded, but have sat upon them until the Movie’s release to maximise sales. Editor Steve White had provided art for various issues of the Marvel UK comic and was extremely keen on the chance to run the title. As is the norm with British comics this is effectively an anthology title, with IDW reprints making up the rest of the comic. Beast Wars might seem an odd choice, but the TV show was broadcasted in a loop on Saturdays on Channel Five a couple of years ago, the only Transformers series to be broadcasted in its entirety on British terrestrial television, so it's likely to be the best known after the original in the UK. The Gathering also has the advantage of being the same length as the Movie Prequel, meaning if sales aren't good enough to sustain it after the Movie hype wears off, the title can end there without leaving any stories dangling.

Apart from a few covers for the Armada UK comic, this is Geoff Senior's first TF work since A Rage in Heaven 13 years ago. Colourist Robin Smith also worked on the Marvel UK title, so this is something of an old school reunion. At ten pages this is the longest UK originated strip since Time Wars Part 7 back in 1989.

The events here take place towards the end of issue 1 of the IDW prequel comic, or around issue 3 of this title if the page ration stays the same.

The Movie itself doesn't comment on how the Allspark was lost. The idea of Prime firing it into space, as seen here (and IDW's output), is likely inspired by The Flames of Boltax! (Marvel US #48), where Prime shoots the Underbase- Cybertrons greatest source of knowledge - into space to stop Megatron from getting his mitts on it (and it later arrives on Earth). Here it's actually Prime's assistant, Arctus, who presses the button as Prime is busy at the time.

And to round of the in-jokes, the drone that tries to kill Prime is seemingly based on the Leige Maximo from the Generation 2 comic (which as noted above, was the last interior art Geoff Senior did).

The idea that the Allspark can give visions of the future is taken from issue 2 of the Prequel comic. It seems to show Prime exactly the same vista of Mission City it gives Captain Whitwicky.

Goofs:

Though he turns into the protoform spaceship thing, Prime's robot mode is clearly based on his Earth body. It's like someone provided Geoff Senior with reference photos of two different toys by mistake (and it's nothing like the robot mode we'll see Prime have latter in the Prequel comic).

The fuel container has "FUEL" written in English in large letters (a possible Jose Delbo tribute?).

The intro page encourages readers to go see the new Movie right now even though it wasn't yet released in the UK when this issue was published. Even more oddly, the letters page is full of comments from people that have seen the film at the cinema.

In the advert/feature on the original Movie there are several stills taken from TV episodes rather than the feature film.

Fantastic Free Gift!:

Want to be as cool as a soldier without having to do all that nasty killing? Well, now you can with amazing Autobot dog tags!

Extras:

Also included is a Optimus Prime poster (based on the cover), a run down on who'd win in a fight between Ratchet and Barricade (written by Furman) and two thinly disguised adverts for tie in merchandise and the Metrodome DVD release of the 1986 film.

Review:

Expectations were high. Geoff Senior is generally regarded as the best single Transformers artist of all time, and his self imposed retirement for so long has made fan excitement at his return huge. It would have been very easy to be disappointed - as happened with the return of Andrew Wildman - but he hasn't lost his touch. Despite the goof over Prime's robot mode every page sings with crisp, beautiful art.

As for the story, it's a standard Furman monologue for Prime. But as an intro to Transformers comics to new fans it works well and shows something significant that, surprisingly perhaps, happened off page in the Prequel Comic.

For anyone who's collecting the IDW material there's not enough new stuff here to justify the cover price (hopefully they'll be some Summer Special type titles collecting the original strips together as it goes along), but for anyone who isn't, it's well worth getting for Senior's triumphant return alone (and the back up strips are decent as well).

[three out of five]

inflatable dalek
2007-09-13, 08:23 AM
Originally posted by zigzagger


I do have one question, regarding the synopsis. Mind you, I haven’t read this issue so this could be confusion of my part; you mention that Prime is debating over his decision when a drone suddenly attacks a building. What building, and who is he arguing with (himself, nameless comrades…)?

The building is the one where the Allspark is launched from (it seems to be a general baase as well so may be headquarters- The chap he's externalising his internal debate with is Arctus.

EDIT: Denyer- if you want a introduction section to the new comic the opening paragraph of the notes section was designed for easy adaption as such.

zigzagger
2007-09-13, 10:50 AM
Thank You.
There we go. All better! Even fixed up a few more bugs that I initially missed. Shame on me, shame on me :o

inflatable dalek
2007-09-13, 06:53 PM
Originally posted by zigzagger
Thank You.
There we go. All better! Even fixed up a few more bugs that I initially missed. Shame on me, shame on me :o

Yes, shame on you. I am of course, perfect.

inflatable dalek
2007-09-15, 02:45 PM
Megatron Origin Issue 2.
A Review by Inflatable Dalek.

Written By: Eric Holmes.
Art By: Alex Milne [Pages 1-11, 20-220, Marcelo Matere [Pages 12-19].
Colours by: Josh Perez.
Letters By: Chris Moway and Robbie Robbins.
Edits By: Chris Ryall.

Synopsis:

Following his escape Megatron and the other miners join a highly illegal underground Gladiator team. Quickly rising up through the ranks to team Captain he comes to reveal in the carnage.

The Autobots become aware of both the contests and the equally illicit trade in recordings of the contests being sold afterwards. Sentinel Prime sets up a massive operation to find the combatants and shut the sport down. Corrupt Senator Ratbat has also become aware of the contests and sees an opportunity for profit.

At the sight of the next fight Megatron has the Constructicons start on building an arena. They are interrupted by the arrival of Soundwave, who offers Megatron access to advanced weapons in exchange for them being used well. Soundwave then detects the presence of two Autobots- Fasttrack and Bumper, who are soon captured. Using his mind reading abilities he learns that the High Command has no firm leads, and Megatron kills the Autobots.

Characters Featured: Megatron, Cy-Kill [Killed by Megatron], Clench, Spinster, Sunstreaker, Overlord, Slugslinger, Skyquake, Rumble, Frenzy, Crasher, Ratbat, Huffer, Hook, Scrapper, Mixmaster, Scavenger, Long Haul, Bluestreak, Red Alert, Hun Grrr, Tantrum, Prowl, Blades, Hound, Roadbuster, Whirl, Jazz, Bumper [Killed by Megatron], Fasttrack [Killed by Megatron], Sentinel Prime, Blaster, Scrounge, Soundwave, Ravage, Laserbeak.

Notes:

The Gladiator origin of the Decepticons was first put forward in the 1986 Marvel UK Annual story State Games. In that Sunstreaker was one of the other Gladiators, by way of tribute he's in the crowd here. Dreamwave also used this back story in flashback during the War Within comic and had Go-Bots character Cy-Kill in one of the fights. Again, here we have him as Megatron's first kill. Go-Bot Crasher also appears.

Bumper is a character based on a variation on the Bumblebee mould that was accidentally released on packaging for both him and Cliffjumper back in the 80's. Though more commonly called Bumblejumper by fans he appeared under the Bumper name in various issues of the Dreamwave ongoing.

Megatrons team badge is a early form of the Decepticon logo.

Ratbat is a Autobot senator. His more humanoid robot design is different from that seen in The War Within, being more inspired by the Victory look that's also influenced most of the new characters in the comic. Despite his status he's involved in many illicit activities to make money on the stock market, including- Encouraging hostilities between workers and managers to prolong a labour dispute so as to allow him to buy major ownership cheaply, and causing a company with new levitation technology to crash so he can buy it at a low price.

"Till all are one" was the Autobot battle cry in Transformers the Movie- Here's it's twisted for use by the Decepticons.

Amongst the weapons he has Soundwave offer Megatron are what will become Shockwaves gun arm, the Seeker arm guns, and Megatrons mace.

The two down and out Transformers seem by where the Constructicons build the arena are based respectively on Scrounge from Marvel US #17 The Smelting Pool and a decrepit inhabitant of the Dead End region of Cybertron seen in US #58 Back From the Dead. Scrounge being thrown into a smelting pool to provide material for the arena is similar to his fate in his Marvel appearance.

Artist Marcelo Matere was drafted in to help bring the comic back on schedule after Milne's pneumonia pushed the launch of issue one back.

Goofs:

Sentinel Prime's plan to track down the Gladiators seems needlessly complicated. Surely the fights must be advertised somewhere? Or the people selling the recordings could be tracked down. Or at a pinch, the recordings give a good look at the crowd- Surely it wouldn't be hard to track down, say, Sunstreaker and interrogate him?

Ratbat also seems to be having a bad day plan wise. He wants to make money from the fights, but doesn't seem to realise that the profit is in the selling of the recordings. But rather than try to get in on the distribution deal he instead heavily arms Megatrons team- So they'll win faster making shorter, less exciting matches that will sell less well. It's like a American Senator deciding to make some money from dog fighting by giving Mick Vick Uzis to make the fights more exciting.

Megatron goes from being a lowly new recruit to seemingly running the whole show just by killing his own team captain. Don't the other teams have issue with a rival choosing and supervising the building of the fight arenas?

Soundwave uses his TV speech patterns rather than the perfectly normal style he used in his Spotlight.

When Sentinel Prime enters the room Prowl says "Prime on deck!". They'd only be on a deck if they were on a ship. they're in a building.

Ratbat is interested in a firm that's developed a levitation machine. But the ships we saw in issue one had artificial gravity, and if the Transformers can do that they should already be able to make anti-gravity just as easily.

Review:

It's recently come to light that when this was originally submitted to Dreamwave it was as a six issue mini. The loss of material is nowhere more obvious that here, where it seems as if massive amounts of story has been skipped between issues as we jump from Megatron being on the run to being a Gladiator. It's a huge, jarring jump and leaves you reading the rest of the issue expecting a flashback covering the missing time (which could be anything from weeks to years...).

But that's not the only problem here. The many brief fights are dull and badly drawn leaving you with little idea what's going on. We also have Transformers behaving either out of character with their previously developed IDW persona's (Soundwave), or acting is as dumb a way as possible (just about everyone). We also have no real insight into Megatrons psyche, the leap from his reluctant first kill to him merrily ripping apart Autobots is a large one.

Frankly, this is rushing towards being the worst main continuity book the company have done, and will need an amazing upturn to save it now.

[two cubes]

inflatable dalek
2007-09-15, 02:48 PM
IDing all the characters in this one was a struggle (and involved much pouring over the Generations book). If I've missed anyone, feel free to point it out.

inflatable dalek
2007-09-16, 06:40 PM
The New Avengers Transformers Issue 2
A Review by Inflatable Dalek.

Writer: Stuart Moore.
Penciler: Tyler Kirkham.
Inker: Sal Regla.
Colourists: Annette Kwok & Blond.
Letterer: Todd Klein.
Cover Artist: Jason Pearson.
Asst. Editor: Alejandro Arbona.
Editor: Bill Rosemann.
Editor in Chief: Joe Quesada.
Publisher: Dan Buckley.

Synopsis:

As the Autobots and New Avengers fight Doctor Doom enters the fray and provides enough of a distraction for Ratchet to start fitting Inhibitors to the humans that he has designed that counter the effect of the building.

With order restored Doom explains that the device Megatron is using was designed by himself- It was stolen from a nearby laboratory at the same time the building first appeared. Having now fulfilled his exposition duties Doom leaves to go to Symkaria to brook a diplomatic solution. Captain America contacts a incoming Iron Man who confirms the Autobots story as he's been aware of their presence on Earth for some time.

Within the dome Megatron starts to power up his troops with the energy taken from Spider-Man, but refuses the recently arrived Ramjet as he doesn't trust the Seeker enough with that power.

Launching an attack the Spider-cons quickly get the upper hand, until Iron Man in a giant costume turns up...

Characters Featured: Captain America, Optimus Prime, Spider-Man, Prowl, Wolverine, Bumblebee, Luke Cage, Ratchet, Ms. Marvel, Jazz, The Falcon, Dr. Doom, Iron Man, Runabout, Astrotrain, Blitzwing, Thundercracker, Skywarp, Ramjet, Runamuck.

Notes:

Ms. Marvel claims to have seen examples of worlds ravaged by the Decepticons whilst out in space with the Starjammers. Meanwhile, Iron Man has being hearing rumours of giant robots for some time (Machination connections?), but has never bothered to tell anyone.

Wolverine isn't fooled by the Simulacrums.

In order to break mind control it's best to place the Inhibitor as the base of the neck. Doom seems to break Wolverine's conditioning just by electrocuting him though.

According to Megatron it's standard policy that if a target world has Super Hero's the Decepticons will learn to adapt/syphon those Powers for their own use.

In terms of fitting this in with main IDW continuity: The big problem is that the Autobots are all shocked when they see the spider-cons even though they should just assume their new powers come from Ore-13.

The saga of Ramjet: Before issue one hit the shelves it was announced this comic would be featuring a new character who'd then go on to get their own Spotlight issue. So when preview pages for this issue were put on line and featured a character of entirely new design it was assumed this was the Con in question. It turned out though that "new character" in this case just meant new to IDW, and it was in fact Ramjet. The strangely drawn fellow was in fact supposed to be Thundercracker and was redrawn as such for the issue proper. [Note to the editor: Perhaps include a link to the original preview art here? Possibly put in the Misc section?]

Quote, Unquote.

Optimus Prime: Humans- You must leave this place.
Wolverine: RRRRRR.

Dr. Doom: I am a man like you- A citizen of this planet. And my first priority is my people. I will not see them destroyed by mere machines.
Ratchet: Huh!

Iron Man: Man and machine. What happens when they meet? You call in an expert... know anybody like that?

Goofs:

Why on Earth does Megatron give ramjet a hard time over loyalty when he's the only Decepticon currently on Earth who hasn't tried to usurp him?

Meet Dr. Doom- master of exposition. he randomly turns up, explains the plot and then wanders off again. Why didn't he head of to the other country straight away? Is he really planning to walk there? How much diplomacy does he plan to do with a bunch of crazed soldiers in his way?Megatron tells Skywarp to stand in the Spider-power chamber but in the next panel it's Thundercracker in there.
Then in the panel below that he's morphed into Blitzwing. Meanwhile Ramjet is so annoyed at being sent out the room he forgets to take his wings with him (he doesn't have a conehead either, but we'll put that down to artistic variation).

Whilst the Autobots are mostly in their IDW designs the Decepticons seem to be in their original character models- with it being most obvious on the Seekers.

Review:
Big outer-space robot war. Got it.

The many problems with this issue can be summed in by the fact they use it to introduce a major new character, yet all he does is get told to go stand in another room away from the plot.

The whole thing is badly plotted (Doom seems to be their for no other reason than him also having a Movie out), drawn staggeringly badly (those chins are still there) and has dialogue that would make a Galactica 80 writer die of shame.

All in all, completely without merit and best only brought for use if you ever need toilet paper really, really badly.

[One out of five]

inflatable dalek
2007-09-17, 08:03 AM
Titan Transformers #2
A Review by Inflatable Dalek.

Note For the other two strips this issue reprints the following IDW material:
Pages 8-15 of issue one of the Official Prequel Comic.
Pages 7-12 of issue one of Beast Wars: The Gathering.

Megatron:
Script: Simon Furman.
Art: Nick Roche.
Colours: Laim Sharloo.
Letters: Jimmy Betancourt/Comicraft.

Synopsis:

On Cybertron Megatron sees the Allspark launch and realises his current battle with Bumblebee is just a diversion Prime has set up to trick him [See the Movie Prequel]. He sees the Allspark is heading for the Alkaris Anomaly- a wormhole that could shoot it anywhere and so he quickly sets of in pursuit in order to catch it before it enters the event horizon.

Just as his victory seems assured, a tractor beam from Cybertron grabs him. Enraged, he smashes the projector, but fearful of loosing the Allspark he chooses not to rain retribution on the Autobots operating it but instead summons Devastator to deal with them whilst he continues his pursuit. But they delay was long enough, and Megatron is forced to follow the Allspark into unknown space.

Back on Cybertron, Ratchet, Jazz and Ironhide are shocked to see Megatron has left Devastator with an illegal Foldspace Warhead. Sadly the Decepticon is to dim to care that he is in the weapons range, and activates it leaving a smouldering Crater.

Megatron emerges from the wormhole with no idea where he is in relation to either Cybertron or the Allspark. But he's determined to find that which he pursues, and sets of at full speed.

Characters Featured: Megatron, Bumblebee, Ironhide, Ratchet, Jazz, Devastator.

Notes:
Optimus Prime launched the Allspark into space last issue, whilst Megatron's assault on Bumblebee is taken from the end of issue one of IDW's Prequel comic (or the next issue of this one if you will). There's no indication of Megatron getting caught in a tractor beam in that issue, but Bumblebee- the stories narrator- is having a bad time of and may not have noticed.

For those who don't know- There is some debate as to what the tank Decepticon's "official" name is- The Movie itself goes for Devastator but the toy pumps for Brawl. This issue sides with the onscreen name, even if the letters page to issue 1 went with the toy. The gun belts he carries are most likely inspired by the generation 2 comic where numerous characters were similarly dressed.

The Alkaris Expanse is a wormhole with only one entry but multiple exits. The script doesn't clarify if it's a natural occurrence or an experiment gone wrong- Though perhaps tellingly the tech Spec given for Megatron in this issue claims he has a similar ability built into him.

According to Ironhide Foldspace weapons were outlawed Deca-Cycles ago- Suggesting there's still some sort of law enforcement and inter-fraction agreements despite the war going on.

Artist Nick Roche has worked previously for IDW- Making him the first ever person to have gone from working on an American Transformers comic to a British one rather than the other way round.


Goofs

The Allspark looks completely different from how it did last issue- Whilst it's now closer to it's appearance in the film (and the IDW material) it's still the wrong colour- brown in this case instead of the blue it was or the silver it is in all other fiction.

Why is Devastator just flying about in Protoform mode like that? Is Megatron actually the only Transformer to have a proper alt-mode on their home planet? Also, on his first panel Devastator is drawn as if he's entering an atmosphere but seems to be far to far away from Cybertron for this to be the case.

Fantastic Free Gift! Amazing Transformer Tattoos! Place them on your lovers face as they sleep for hilarious consequences.

Extras:
A profile on Megatron (oddly Titan don't seem to have been provided with a reference photo of his spaceship mode, so they have to use a panel of art from the Prequel comic that looks oddly out of place in amongst the CGI renderings).
Jazz V. Blackout Smackdown (Credited to Furman).
A competition to win a Transformers bed sheet- only available in single it would seem so they have the demographic down pat..
A poster based on the cover.
An interview with Transformers computer game designer Andrew Burrows.
A thinly veiled advert for merchandise in the Top Gear section.
The Mech mail Letters page, which this time seems to be mostly genuine letters.

Review:

Ironically this shares the same problem as IDW's concurrent Megatron: Origin comic in that despite being named after him the titular star is barely present.

The slapstick comedy with ratchet and co Vs the dumbest soldier of all time is fine. but feels likes its distracting from the selling point of the story. What we do learn about Megs is nothing new, he likes power, prepared to risk anything for it, considers everyone beneath him yadda yadda yawn yawn. This will hopefully be of more interest to younger readers with no prior familiarity with the character beyond the Movie (who are of course the main audience), but they really don't get any more from this that they would have from Megartron's cameo in the film.

Art wise, Roche is clearly having fun going for a art style aimed more at youngsters, with all his quirky exaggerations added to more than usual. Everyone's wide eyed or comically open mouthed and it's very nicely done- even if it perhaps doesn't quite gel with some of Megatrons more ponderous dialogue. And after the Prime's Earth Mode Debacle of last issue it's good to see him go to the effort of matching Bumblebee's Cybertronian mode to how it looks latter in the IDW reprints exactly.

So despite some nice art it's fairly inconsequential and should really only be brought if you don't already have the back up material.

[two and a half].

inflatable dalek
2007-09-17, 08:08 AM
Oh yes, I'm on a roll. My plan is to try and get completely up to date by Friday (four more reviews, optimus, Megatron, Avengers and Titan- the last three all issue 3 oddly enough).

Should be doable- The Titan one is nice and short- Optimus is fairly light on incident (the plot being "Prime has a fight and goes home") despite the supposedly big revalations and Origin and the Avengers crossover are both so amazingly bad they don't deserve a huge amount of time spent on them anyway.

inflatable dalek
2007-09-19, 07:06 AM
Transformers Spotlight: Optimus Prime.
A Review by Inflatable Dalek

Written by: Simon Furman.
Art by:Don Figueroa.
Colours by: Josh Burcham.
Cover Art by: Don Figueroa and Gabriel Roderrigues.
Letters by: Chris Moway.
Edits by: Dan Taylor.

Synopsis: Following the events of Escalation a repaired Optimus Prime is feeling both dejected at his near defeat by Megatron and confused by the vision he had of a previous Autobot leader- Nova Prime- whilst his mind was in limbo.

Seeking answers he leaves Earth and goes to a remote asteroid where he meets with Omega Supreme, an Autobot who knew Nova Prime.

Omega explains that Nova and he disagreed about the future of the Transformers race, with the Prime firmly taking the view they should expand and explore the universe whilst he cautioned a more measured and slow approach. The launch of the original Ark was part of Nova's expansionist agenda. Omega concedes that despite the ship being lost with all hands- including Nova- the former Prime may well be still alive.

Their talk is suddenly interrupted by the arrival of a giant Transformer who swears vengeance on Omega before attacking him. Despite being one of the most powerful Autobots Omega is no match for his assailant, and he and Prime are quickly blown into space. With a quick respite Omega quickly explains that the Transformer- Monstructor- is actually a gestalt made up of six different Transformers. They ere a experiment carried out by Nova's assistant Jhiaxus, but any advantages of their combined form were countered by their devolved intelligence. Once the Ark vanished Omega sealed them in a Dimensionally Placed Prison, but now they've escaped and have come to get payback.

Prime is shocked at Omega's actions and now considers him no better than Nova and the others. He attempts to reach out to Monstructor and offer him help, but fails to get through and is forced to disable him by shooting at his one vulnerable spot. Summoning a group of Autobots lead by Jetfire to take the six Decepticons to where they can get help in a secure environment Prime is left with more questions than he began with, and the sense that the title he holds is not as pure and sacred as he thought.

Characters Featured: Optimus Prime, Wheelie [On screen], Ultra Magnus [On Screen], Hound [On Screen], Springer [On Screen], Prowl, Megatron [Flashback], Sentinel Prime [Flashback], Nova Prime [Flashback], Omega Supreme, Bristleback, Icepick, Wildfly, Scowl, Birdbrain, Slog, Monstructor, Jetfire, Dogfight, Backstreet, Override, Pointblank, Sureshot, Crosshairs, Scattershot, Strafe, Lightspeed.

Notes:

Optimus Prime's fight with Megatron was seen across issues five and six of Escalation, whilst we first learnt of the fate of the first Ark in Spotlight: Nightbeat before having it expanded upon in Galvatron. This is the first time we've learnt the name of Nova Prime and the fact he was on the ship. He isn't visible in the flashbacks in either of the two previous Spotlights but may well have been on the loo.

The communications screens Optimus is watching at the start of the issue contain the following references to other IDW stories:

Ultra Magnus has a new lead on Scorponok following his Spotlight.
Hound is moaning about Sideswipe as seen in Galvatron (this most likely places these events just before that as afterwards the stealing of Thunderwing would be far more important).
Springer reveals that Kup is fixed physically but not mentally (a step up from Kup's Spotlight where his badly was badly bashed up).
Wheelie is the odd one out as his plea for anyone to talk to is a dig at the characters un-popularity.

The main events of the issue take place between Esca and Deva in the ...tion main arc, long enough after for Prime to have been repaired. We learn that the Autobots have no way of tracking the missing Ironhide, that Nightbeat is about to begin investigating the storage device Verity stole back in Infiltration issue 0 and the humans will sadly suffer no ill effects from their gassing.

Omega Supreme is in hiding as an ultimate weapon to be used only as a last resort. His asteroid within the Muta-Gaath Nebula is hidden by sensors but the Decepticons seem to find it by following Prime- So they're not that devolved as they were able to work out logically that as both a friend and the person who'd have to summon him if the Autobots ever needed him that following Optimus would eventually lead them to Omega.

Monstructor's weak point is on his chest. Whilst this seems a very silly place to have a weak spot (and is reminiscent of Scorponok in the Japanese Headmasters cartoon) it's worth remembering that this is a untried prototype rather than something built specifically to go into battle in the field and so is likely to have more rough edges. The group name for the toys was the Monster Pretenders, obviously that isn't used here as they don't have outer shell technology at this stage. They're not strictly speaking Decepticons either as Galvatron established the time of Nova Prime predated factions, but they'll be refereed to as such in the rest of this review simply for expediency's sake. The purple grid they're standing on as Omega recounts their story is a homage to the opening credits of the second season of original cartoon.

Optimus didn't recognise the face he saw in Escalation, he came to the conclusion it was Nova Prime at some point whilst being repaired. He claims the presence he felt was more akin to Thunderwing or Megatron than a Matrix bearer. He never meet Nova- though what he was at the time- or even if he'd been built yet- goes unspecified. His name is a reversal of Prime Nova, one of the previous Matrix bearers in the Marvel comic. As well as Sentinel Prime we see two other predecessors to Optimus in shadow.

One thing that isn't expanded upon is how Nova passed on the Matrix if he vanished without trace. It could be he left it behind before embarking on his mission, or that it is in some way replaceable (a computer program perhaps as it was in the early days of the Marvel comic?)

Jhiaxus was the name of the demented leader of the Cybertronians in the Generation 2 comic. The name might seem odd to the uninitiated, it's a play on "Gee, axe us" and refers to the fact everyone involved in the G2 comic assumed it would be cancelled after the initial 12 issues (which it was).

There were originally no plans to do a Prime Spotlight (and indeed, all the characters featured to date have been making their IDW debut) but it was ultimately felt it would make a good counterpart to the concurrent Megatron: Origin Mini.

By way of bonus features the issue also includes a page with a series of sketches of Optimus Prime transforming (in blood red for some reason) and design sketches for both Sentinel and Nova Prime, which is the first occasion we have seen either's alternate mode.

Quote, Unquote

Optimus Prime: But it was not my brush with mortality that weighs heavy on my mind... it is what I sensed beyond. In mid-download, in the virtual nothingness we call Infraspace I sensed a presence. Not just any presence, a Legend. A whole rea of Cybertronian history personified. A Prime.

Optimus Prime: You knew him didn't you? Nova Prime. Could he have changed that much?
Omega Supreme: He and I... Disagreed.

Omega Supreme: [On Monstructor] They were supposed to represent the ultimate fusion of mind and body, creating a whole of vastly superior intellect and strength. Instead... they de-evolved into a monster.

Optimus Prime: Jetfire, do what you can for them, but handle with extreme caution.

Goofs:

What are the odds that on the very day that Optimus Prime decides to visit Omega Supreme and ask about Nova Prime and the old days is the same day that some Decepticons with links to Nova Prime and the old days would choose to attack Omega Supreme?

If you were selecting candidates for your "Future of the species" program would you pick ones with names like Birdbrain and expect them not to go horribly wrong [The names must loose something in translation].

It doesn't seem to occur to Omega to just shoot Monstructor in the chest himself.

Review:
The visible scars will fade, but I know with dire certainty others never will.

A bit of a odd'un this- On first read through it seems to be revealing big important plot points but on closer examination there really isn't anything new except the fact that Nova Prime was a bit of a dodgy type and he was on the first Ark. Both facts that could easily have been included in the Galvatron Spotlight with the insertion of two lines.

The issues other two main selling points are Monstructor and Omega Supreme. The appearance of the latter had its thunder stolen by this years GI Joe crossover, whilst the lattes Revelation that- as in the cartoon- the Autobots keep their most powerful soldier hiding away from the rest of the action is less than inspiring.

Ultimately the books main selling point is the on song art from Figueroa that's just gorgeous to look at. But other than that it's all somewhat average, if harmless enough.

Oh, and jokes as obvious as "No one likes Wheelie HA HA HA!" should really be below Furman.

[Three Cubes]

inflatable dalek
2007-09-19, 07:16 AM
And if anyone can ID the orange chap with a grey gun on his arm between Optimus' leg and Override on the last page I will love them longtime.

zigzagger
2007-09-19, 10:24 PM
So, I am or Denyer (or whoever) polishing these? Not that I mind doing them, just wondering so I don't do something that is/was already being/been done.

inflatable dalek
2007-09-20, 05:56 AM
I think Denyer's in overall charge again. But I'm not sure if the editing things going to be shared out or kept close to his manly bosom. Only the Shadow Denyer knows.

inflatable dalek
2007-09-21, 08:39 PM
Megatron Origin Issue 3
A Review By Inflatable Dalek.

Written by: Eric Holmes.
Art by: Alex Milne.
Colours by: Josh Perez.
Colour Assist by: Mark Bristow.
Letters by: Niel Uyetake.
Edits by: Chris Ryall.

Synopsis:

Soundwave brings Megatron some air support in the shape of Starscream, Thundercracker and Skywarp. Despite their eagerness to fight in the arena Megatron instead has them kidnap Senator Decimus. Meanwhile (at the funeral of Bumper and Fastback) Sentinel Prime vows to catch those responsible.

At the new Arena, Megatron assembles the largest ever gathering of gladiators and makes an impassioned speech summoning them to his cause, before bringing Decimus out for execution. But before he can carry out the act the Autobot forces arrive and subdue everyone with a great deal of effort.

In prison, Ratbat orders Soundwave be released, whilst Starscream seemingly offers to confess everything he knows to the authorities. A dejected Megatron reveals the Seeker knows everything...

Characters Featured: Soundwave, Swindle, Scrapper, Scavenger, Mixmaster, Thundercracker, Starscream, Skywarp, Airraid, Sentinel Prime, Ratchet, Warpath, Mirage, Irohide, Gears, Bluestreak, Orion Pax,Ultra Magnus, Elita One, Alpha Trion, Wheeljack,Bumblebee, Hubcap, Cliffjumper, Bumper [Hologram], Fastback [Hologram], Senator Decimus, Ravage, Ratbat, Sunstreaker, Sideswipe, Motormaster, Wildrider, Dead End, Razorclaw, Tantrum, Rampage, Grimlock, Rumble Frenzy, Sixshot, Slag, Divebomb, Hun Grrr, Runabout, Runamuck, Prowl, Blades, Crasher, Onslaught.

Notes:

This issue, even more so than the previous two, features numerous continuity references and in-jokes at other parts of the franchise. These include:

After losing his arm in a fight Megatron is fitted with a new one that contains the energon mace first seen in the More Than Meets The Eye three parter that opened the original TV show. The fact that this weapon was one of those offered to him by Soundwave and that the Arm is a perfect match for his body would suggest it's purpose-built despite the art making it unclear if the other robots in the surgery are being medically treated or used as spare parts.

Soundwave has a Decepticon symbol hidden in a rubsign on his chest -- as well as being a fondly remembered part of the original toys, rubsigns also featured in the Dreamwave War and Peace comic though there they hid members of the Autobot (rather than Decepticon) resistance.

The Constructicons seem to be Megatron's medics as well as his constructors -- as they've effectively rebuilt him before the issue starts this may be a reference to them having built him in The Five Faces of Darkness TV episodes. Normally I'd call that a stretch, but considering the rest of the list...

Bumblebee, Cliffjumper and Hubcap are all standing together by Bumper's coffin -- all four of them are linked by very similar toy moulds.

At the front we have a character with the head of Orion Pax and the body of War Within Optimus Prime. Orion Pax was the character who became Optimus in the cartoon. To his left is Pax/Prime's girlfriend Elita One and to his right their "Father" Alpha Trion (who is also as he was in War Dawn with the shorter beard.) Behind them is a white version of Prime that is most likely supposed to be Ultra Magnus in a reference to the end of War and Peace where it was revealed he really is a white Prime repaint beneath the armour. The Titanium toy based on War Within Prime was also issued as a white Ultra Magnus. Sadly we don't get more than a blur for his face, leaving his resemblance to Orion left unknown.

Grimlock was both a Gladiator and proto-Decepticon in Dreamwave's continuity. The issue also picks up on #2's State Games tribute by showing more of Sunstreaker's involvement.

Megatron mentions various City States as seen across different continuities, including tarn, Vos, Altihex, Uraya, Kalis and Kaon.

And more general points:

Senator Decimus has recovered from his experience in issue one and here has a statue built in his honour. He mentions to "The House of Decimus" reaffirming that Transformers do have something akin to family relationships.

As well as Elita One there are fembots in the crowd for his speech, the first firm confirmation of them in IDW's continuity.

Rumble and Frenzy have been altered -- somewhat reluctantly -- to be partnered with Soundwave, the beginning of the road to them being cassettes.

The groups that will one day come to be called Predacons and Stunticons seem to be working as units already. Perhaps surprisingly the only other Dynobot who seems to be in evidence is Slag.

Megatron's team badge has been redesigned to become the standard Decepticon logo (did he get a PR person in to give it a makeover? Perhaps it was Sunstreaker...), with the issue's key moment being him suggesting to the crown they never take the badges off. Thanks to all the rebuilding he's pretty much in his standard IDW Cybertronian body by the end of the issue.

The end of the issue seemingly brings another signature moment with Starscream's first betrayal of Megatron. Though whether or not this is all as it seems will have to wait till the finale...

Goofs:

Why is Soundwave the only one with a super-secret rubsign when everyone else has to wear their badge on a a chain? Why does he bother showing it to Swindle when Swindle must know who he is? Does no one ever ask him about the big black square on his chest?

When first introduced the Seekers all have slightly different designs, but latter they all have identical alt modes and Starscream's robot mode look clearly changes [The Constructicons did some quick enhancements?]

At the funeral Bumper and Fastback both have their names written in English on the top of the coffins -- somewhat overkill considering the Cybertronian versions on the bases are clearly just English text messed about a bit anyway.

During Sentinel Prime's speech he gets so emotional he completely changes colour to a funeral black. Sadly this occurs during a sequence where he's presumably supposed to be "suiting up" to the battle mode seen in issue one, but the colour mistake makes it seem as if someone else is suddenly talking.

Grimlock follows Soundwave's example and starts talking like his TV counterpart despite not having done so in other IDW appearances.

Why is Senator Decimus' statue suddenly in the arena where Megatron gives his speech? Did he have the Seekers steal it the same time they kidnapped him in order to really humiliate him- in which case why did no one see them flying about with a honking big statue behind them -- or did he have the arena built where the statue was -- in which case why so public? No wonder the Autobots finally caught him after three issues of being unable to find their recharge sockets with both hands.

For some reason the order to release Soundwave clearly has a barely disguised Decepticon logo on it, but none of the Autobots reading spot it.

Review:

As this comic enters its final stage the big problem becomes apparent -- Megatron talks about the oppressive Autobot regime but we haven't actually seen anyone get oppressed since the start of issue one. We've no real idea what drives Runabout or Mixmaster or Crasher to feeling downtrodden. We're told Decimus is an evil despot but he comes over as a mostly harmless doddery old man. The effect is that the Decepticons just seem a bunch of thugs who garner no sympathy.

We also have the issue of Megatron -- three parts down and he's a bland blank slate. "Hnn" and variations on it make up most of his lines. It's been mentioned by the writer that this comic wasn't called Megatron: Origin when first pitched and it really shows.

Then you throw in the bad, cluttered artwork filled with rubbish in-jokes that directly contradict what other people working for IDW have claimed to be aiming for (including no fembots and no Ultra Magnus as white Prime.) Apparently most of the background characters were inserted on Milne's whim so things like Elita One wouldn't have been in the script Furman would have glanced over to offer tips on, but when the editor saw the art he should have asked for changes. In fact, poor editing is pandemic: the whole thing feels so much more like a Dreamwave comic than anything IDW have done so far and it reminds you why so many of us were so glad to see that company die in the end.

In short, if the thought of a page where all variations on the Bumblebee mold are standing next to each other gets you aroused, this is for you. If you would like a comic with a degree of intelligence, action, fun or entertainment of any sort, avoid it like it's a rabid ferret.

[one cube]

[edited]

inflatable dalek
2007-09-21, 08:42 PM
Once again a lot of the ID's are best guesses due to both horrid art and a sudden increase in generics... Sixshot for example is pretty much based soley on the colour scheme of the guy standing behind Grimlock on the splash page...

With the delay on Devastation the date to ctach up by has been put back a bit, but I should get the remaining two done before it comes out unless Facebook confuses me to death...

Denyer
2007-09-29, 02:45 AM
Originally posted by zigzagger
So, I am or Denyer (or whoever) polishing these? Not that I mind doing them, just wondering so I don't do something that is/was already being/been done.
Go for it; I don't usually work offline for extended periods -- I edit either as I'm doing the HTML just before putting stuff up or in the thread beforehand.

Have I missed anything with what I've just done?

zigzagger
2007-09-29, 03:53 AM
Originally posted by Denyer
Have I missed anything with what I've just done?
Nothing at the moment. Looks like we're update...I think.
Next week, assuming that there are no more shipping delays, should be busy. Yay!

English student/instructor senses kicking in, I take it. You must of finished polishing up all of those reviews in one sitting.
What am I saying, of course you did.

inflatable dalek
2007-09-29, 06:07 AM
Originally posted by Denyer
Go for it; I don't usually work offline for extended periods -- I edit either as I'm doing the HTML just before putting stuff up or in the thread beforehand.

Well, even though it's gone up New Avengers 2 isn't on the main page- But that's understandable really. I'm looking at issue three right now, straightforward choice between that and eating dog crap...

EDIT: Oh, and it claims Zeeks did a review of Megatron rather than The Avengers...

inflatable dalek
2007-09-29, 10:33 AM
The New Avengers Vs. The Transformers Issue 3
A Review by Inflatable Dalek

Writer: Stuart Moore.
Penciler: Tyler Kirkham.
Inker: Sal Regal.
Colourist: Annette Kwok.
Letterer: Todd Klein.
Cover Artist: Ed McGuinness.
Asst. Editor: Alejandro Arbona.
Editor: Bill Rosemann.
Editor in Chief: Joe Quesada.
Publisher: Dan Buckley.

Synopsis:

Whist Iron Man and the combined Autobot/New Avengers forces fight the Decepticons outside the Dome Ratchet, Prowl and Luke Cage break their way in to rescue Spider-Man and destroy the Psycho Prism.

Ratchet and a tetchy Prowl disagree on the importance of keeping the humans alive and so go their separate ways. Prowl finds Ramjet guarding the Prism, but is ambushed by a duplicitous Dr. Doom. Meanwhile Ratchet and Cage get to Spider-Man but are arse whipped by Megatron.

Outside the Dome, Iron Man takes a power up from the Autobots that allows them to finish off the competition. Megatron and Doom contact them and order a surrender- but when this doesn't happen despite Doom promising it to Megs the irate Decepticon zaps the Latverian and leaves the Dome in order to sort things out personally...

Characters Featured: Captain America, Optimus Prime, Spider-Man, Prowl, Wolverine, Bumblebee, Luke Cage, Ratchet, Ms. Marvel, Jazz, The Falcon, Wheeljack, Thundercracker, Iron Man, Runabout, Runamuck, Skywarp, Megatron, Ramjet, Dr. Doom.

Notes:

In terms of continuity this seems to be no longer compatible with the bulk of IDW's material- There Prime and Megatron's meeting in Escalation is their first in many years yet this issue (set before) ends with them face to face. Unless everyone gets a mind wipe in the next issue this is strictly What If territory.

Iron Man's giant suit was built especially to fight Transformers. It burns up it's power supply quickly in combat but is compatible with Autobot technology enough to allow them to recharge it.

Prowl's irritability with Ratchet refers to their conflict in Infiltration (so some bits are part of this Universe). There as here ratchet placed saving individual lives over the mission objective and Prowl's orders.

Megatron can shoot beams out of the palms of his hands. Is he a secret Go-Bot?

Goofs:

Runabout and Runamuck attack Iron Man in car mode. Wolverine seems to think the best way to attack them is to smash their windscreens rather than...say slashing the tires or going at the engine.

Prowl really thinks it's a good idea to give his big "**** the humans, **** them right in the eye" speech when standing next to an agent of the US Government. Way to build bridges Prowl.

Why does Doom suddenly want to help Megatron enslave the world? How did he get back to the Dome without anyone seeing him (especially as there seems to be only one entrance). During the hologram conference Spider-Man, Doom and Cage are the same height as the Transformers. And finally on this subject, why doesn't Doom take this perfect opportunity to un-mask Spider-Man (this is pre-Civil War remember)? Is he suddenly a villain from the 60's Batman TV show?

Quote, Unquote:

Captain America [As he flies a plane thing into battle]: "O say can you see, by the dawn's early light?" I can.

Prowl: Save it ratchet. Go with the human, keep him from getting his fleshy little body crushed. I'll just save the planet myself.

Ramjet: Ha! Sucker!

Megatron [On Doom]: Useless human.

Review:

Enough!

Utter cack. After three issues the two groups of hero's are still loitering outside the Dome with all the purpose of a group of kids playing knock-door-run. As well as all the other team up cliche's we've had to endure we now have the two teams of villains teaming up and then betraying each other- in less than ten pages.

Art wise it's insipid, with most of the Transformers fighting in their useless car modes and terrible renderings of the characters.

Ultimately this doesn't even achieve a certain kitch grander, it's just so bad it's bad. Find a wet wall to stare at for five minuets instead.

[one half cube]

Denyer
2007-09-29, 10:51 AM
Originally posted by inflatable dalek
EDIT: Oh, and it claims Zeeks did a review of Megatron rather than The Avengers... Bugger. Fixed.

Will be back end of the weekend. Gotta dash.

You must of finishedEr, have. Have.

inflatable dalek
2007-09-29, 04:10 PM
Titan Transformers Issue 3
A Review by Inflatable Dalek


Note: For the back up strips this issue reprints the following IDW material:
Pages 16-22 of issue one of the Official Prequel Comic, and pages 13-22 of issue one of Beast Wars: The Gathering.

Lost In Space Part 1: Ratchet.
Script: Simon Furman.
Art: Andrew Wildman/Wild-Ideas.
Letters: Jimmy Betancourt/Comicraft.

Synopsis: The Foldspace Warhead explosion [See last issue] has scattered the four Transformers in its range through space. Ratchet finds himself on a world where war wages between the A'Ovan and the Thraal, with the former on the brink of utter defeat.

Ratchet attempts to keep his view on the conflict a dispassionate one and to focus on the issue of locating a Level Seven Signal Beacon with which to both locate where Jazz and Ironhide were sent and to find his own way home.

But upon seeing Thraal leader Durguth lead an vicious attack on a A'Ovan village the Autobot medic steps into challenge the despot- having learnt that their culture will accept his leadership if he wins. Easily disabling Durguth's battle suit ratchet wins, but rather than becoming the new leader he simply helps to negotiate a ceasefire and warns the Thraal both that he will return and unpleasant things will happen if the War starts again.

This then leaves the Autobot to ponder exactly how he can get home...

Characters Featured: Ratchet, Megatron [Flashback], Jazz [Flashback], Ironhide [Flashback], Dirguth.

Notes: This is both the first original story put out by Titan to be billed as a multi-part adventure (perhaps a sign of the comics long term future being secured by good sales) and the first to have a title that isn't just the lead characters name. Lost In Space was of course the tittle of a American 1960's science fiction TV show the watching of which will remind you exactly how good Star Trek was for the time.

In another possible TV reference Traal is one extra A away from being the name of the species sharing the planet Skaro with the Daleks in Doctor Who (which is almost enough to make you wonder is A'Ovan is a play on Avon from Blake's 7[i]).

Andrew Wildman here continues his achievement of being the only person who's worked for as many different companies on [i]Transformers as Simon Furman- 7 each (counting Marvel UK/US and Panini as three separate firms) with Simon having worked for Fleetway in place of Andrews stint at Devil's Due. This is the first time his company Wild Ideas has been credited on a Transformers title, though they have worked on projects including the British Power Rangers comic.

Though it was unclear at the time the Foldspace Bomb used at the end of last issue can teleport its victims great distances through space. Despite being all next to each other when it went off Ratchet Ironhide jazz and Devastator have all ended up in different places. It also clarifies that last issues action occurred on Cybertron's second moon rather than the planet itself.

One request from Hasbro was that the colour schemes for the Transformers alt modes be more muted than their Earth mode- this comes into play here despite it causing a slight continuity error with last issue (see Goofs). We learn that when a Transformer scans a alt-mode they can also download any information on computers contained therein. Ratchet also gets to use the spinning blade things in his arms.

This is the first issue where the cover star- in this case Bumblebee- isn't the focus of the original comic strip. This may well be at least partly due to ratchet looking nothing like he did in the film in the strip.

Goof:

Last issue Ratchet was green as he is in the Movie, rather than the off white here. his head design is also different (the whole look is reminiscent of the Micromaster Big Shot:http://www.tfu.info/1989/Autobot/BigShot/bigshot.htm). This can't just be down to changes brought by the new alt-mode as he looks different before scanning the military vehicle. Even more oddly when ratchet remember Ironhide and Jazz they look slightly different from last issue and Jazz is brown instead of silver.

Megatron had Devastator attack the Autobots with a bomb that doesn't kill/damage them, but just moves them about a bit? That's awfully kind of him. Unless his cunning plan is to force the Autobot's to increase their carbon footprints when getting home thus causing evil climate change it's hard to see how much use it is as a weapon. As a means of travelling great distances in order to search for the All-Spark however...

Fantastic Free Gift!: In a cunning attempt to make people buy two copies of the issue (or more likely rob off two in Smith's) it comes with a choice of two key rings based on the Autobot or Decepticon logo's.

Extra's:
Profile on Ratchet,
Ironhide Vs. Starscream Smackdown (by Furman),
A competition to win some DK published Transformer books (which seems to think Punish and Enslave is the Decepticon's motto rather than just Barricade's little joke),
A Bumblebee poster based on the cover,
The Top Gear section covers the Soundtrack, the Megatron toy and the Blaster (with competitions to win all), A "Review" of the Movie game,
Mech Mail.

Review:

A somewhat lack luster start to the first multi-part Titan story, Rachet's story is somewhat old hat and we learn so little about the combatants it's hard to care or even know which side is the "right" one (Ratchet pretty much decides the side that's loosing is, which is dodgy thinking really).

Andrew Wildman's art has been variable across the modern Transformers comics, a trend that continues here with weak character designs and dull and bland colouring.

The very definition of inessential, it's to be hoped that a focus on the more fun Devastator next issue will see a return to form for the fledgling tittle, but this is for completest only.

[two cubes]

zigzagger
2007-09-29, 09:00 PM
Originally posted by Denyer
Er, have. Have.
Silence, Word Nazi! My occasional flaws are all a part of my charm. The flaws are what keep me humble. :glance:

Besides, I deliberately planted the "of" to prove...umm...something.
......

I'm going to go do "drugs" now :(


edit: gezzzz, fixed. Happy now?

inflatable dalek
2007-09-30, 12:48 AM
It doesn't matter what flaws Ziggy finds in my reviews now I have that to use against her...

edit: ahem....Him, not her. Him
- ziggy

Denyer
2007-09-30, 04:20 PM
Originally posted by zigzagger
all apart of my charm.I'm assuming that one was deliberate or a stuck space bar...

zigzagger
2007-09-30, 08:53 PM
No, it was the drugs writing that time.


edit: Eh, you know what, nevermind...

Touché

zigzagger
2007-10-01, 04:11 AM
...And here is a polished NA/TF #3 review to add to the others.

_________________________________

The New Avengers Vs. The Transformers Issue 3
A Review by Inflatable Dalek

Writer: Stuart Moore.
Penciler: Tyler Kirkham.
Inker: Sal Regal.
Colourist: Annette Kwok.
Letterer: Todd Klein.
Cover Artist: Ed McGuinness.
Asst. Editor: Alejandro Arbona.
Editor: Bill Rosemann.
Editor in Chief: Joe Quesada.
Publisher: Dan Buckley.

Synopsis:

Whist Iron Man and the combined Autobot/New Avengers forces fight the Decepticons outside the Dome, Ratchet, Prowl, and Luke Cage break their way in to rescue Spider-Man and destroy the Psycho Prism. Inside, Ratchet and a tetchy Prowl disagree on the importance of keeping the humans alive, consequently going their separate ways. Prowl finds Ramjet guarding the Prism, but is ambushed by a duplicitous Dr. Doom. Meanwhile, Ratchet and Cage locate Spider-Man, but are met and arse whipped by Megatron. Outside the Dome, Iron Man, whose reserves had depleted, takes a power up from the Autobots, allowing them to finish off the competition. Megatron and Doom contact them to order a surrender, but when this doesn't happen despite Doom promising it to Megs, the irate Decepticon zaps the Latverian and leaves the Dome in order to sort things out personally...

Characters Featured: Captain America, Optimus Prime, Spider-Man, Prowl, Wolverine, Bumblebee, Luke Cage, Ratchet, Ms. Marvel, Jazz, The Falcon, Wheeljack, Thundercracker, Iron Man, Runabout, Runamuck, Skywarp, Megatron, Ramjet, Dr. Doom.

Notes:

In terms of continuity, this seems to be no longer compatible with the bulk of IDW's material. For example, in the IDW continuity Prime and Megatron's meeting in Escalation is their first in many years, yet this issue (set before) ends with them face to face. Unless everyone gets a mind wipe in the next issue this is strictly What If territory.

Iron Man's giant suit was built especially to fight Transformers. It burns up its power supply quickly in combat, but is compatible with Autobot technology enough to allow them to recharge it.

Prowl's irritability with Ratchet refers to their conflict in Infiltration (so some bits are part of this Universe). There, as here, Ratchet placed saving individual lives over the mission objective and Prowl's orders.

Megatron can shoot beams out of the palms of his hands. Is he a secret Go-Bot?

Goofs:

Runabout and Runamuck attack Iron Man in car mode. Wolverine seems to think the best way to attack them is to smash their windscreens rather than...say slashing the tires or going at the engine.

Prowl really thinks it's a good idea to give his big "**** the humans, **** them right in the eye" speech when standing next to an agent of the US Government. Way to build bridges, Prowl.

Why does Doom suddenly want to help Megatron enslave the world? How did he get back to the Dome without anyone seeing him (especially as there seems to be only one entrance)? During the hologram conference Spider-Man, Doom, and Cage are the same height as the Transformers. And finally on this subject, why doesn't Doom take this perfect opportunity to un-mask Spider-Man (this is pre-Civil War remember)? Is he suddenly a villain from the 60's Batman TV show?

Quote, Unquote:

Captain America [As he flies a plane thing into battle]: "O say can you see, by the dawn's early light?" I can.

Prowl: Save it, Ratchet. Go with the human, keep him from getting his fleshy little body crushed. I'll just save the planet myself.

Ramjet: Ha! Sucker!

Megatron [On Doom]: Useless human.

Review:

Enough!

Utter cack. After three issues, the two groups of hero's are still loitering outside the Dome with all the purpose of a group of kids playing knock-door-run. Also, of all the other team-up cliché’s we've had to endure, we now have the two teams of villains teaming up and then betraying each other in less than ten pages!

Art wise it's insipid, with most of the Transformers fighting in their useless car modes and terrible renderings of the characters.

Ultimately this doesn't even achieve a certain kitsch grandeur; it's just so bad, it's bad. Find a wet wall to stare at for five minuets instead.

[one half cube] [/B][/QUOTE]

zigzagger
2007-10-01, 05:15 AM
...And here's the other one!

__________________________________

Titan Transformers Issue 3
A Review by Inflatable Dalek


Note: For the back up strips, this issue reprints the following IDW material:
Pages 16-22 of issue one of the Official Prequel Comic, and pages 13-22 of Beast Wars: The Gathering #1.

Lost In Space Part 1: Ratchet.
Script: Simon Furman.
Art: Andrew Wildman/Wild-Ideas.
Letters: Jimmy Betancourt/Comicraft.

Synopsis: The Foldspace Warhead explosion [see last issue] has scattered the four Transformers within its range through space. Ratchet finds himself on a world where war wages between the A'Ovan and the Thraal, with the former on the brink of utter defeat.

Ratchet attempts to keep his view on the conflict a dispassionate one while focusing on the issue of pinpointing a “level seven” signal beacon, with which to both locate where Jazz and Ironhide were sent and to find his own way home.

But upon seeing Thraal leader Dirguth lead an vicious attack on a A'Ovan village, the Autobot medic steps in to challenge the despot, having learnt that their culture will accept his leadership if he wins. Easily disabling Durguth's battle suit, Ratchet wins, but rather than becoming the new leader he decides to help negotiate a ceasefire, warning the Thraal that he would return if the war were to start again, with unpleasant consequences.

This then leaves the Autobot to ponder exactly how he can get home...

Characters Featured: Ratchet, Megatron [Flashback], Jazz [Flashback], Ironhide [Flashback], Dirguth.

Notes: This is both the first original story put out by Titan to be billed as a multi-part adventure (perhaps a sign of the comics long term future being secured by good sales) and the first to have a title that isn't just the lead characters name.

Lost In Space was of course the title of a American 1960's science fiction TV show, the watching of which will remind you exactly how good Star Trek was for the time.

In another possible TV reference, Thraal is one extra “A” away from being the name of the species sharing the planet Skaro with the Daleks in Doctor Who (which is almost enough to make you wonder if A'Ovan is a play on of Avon from Blake's 7).

Andrew Wildman here continues his achievement of being the only person who's worked for as many different companies on Transformers as Simon Furman - 7 each (counting Marvel UK/US and Panini as three separate firms), with Simon having worked for Fleetway in place of Andrews stint at Devil's Due. This is the first time his company, Wild Ideas, has been credited on a Transformers title, though they have worked on projects including the British Power Rangers comic.

Though it was unclear at the time, the Foldspace Bomb used at the end of last issue can teleport its victims great distances through space. Despite being all next to each other when it went off, Ratchet, Ironhide, Jazz, and Devastator have all ended up in different places. It also clarifies that last issues action occurred on Cybertron's second moon rather than the planet itself.

One request from Hasbro was that the colour schemes for the Transformers alt modes be more muted than their Earth modes - this comes into play here despite it causing a slight continuity error with the last issue (see Goofs). We learn that when a Transformer scans an alt-mode, they can also download any information on computers contained therein. Ratchet also gets to use the spinning blade things in his arms.

This is the first issue where the cover star, in this case Bumblebee, isn't the focus of the original comic strip. This may well be at least partly due to Ratchet looking nothing like he did in the film or in the strip.

Goofs:

Last issue Ratchet was green as he is in the Movie, rather than the off white here. His head design is also different (the whole look is reminiscent of the Micromaster Big Shot:http://www.tfu.info/1989/Autobot/BigShot/bigshot.htm). This can't just be down to changes brought by the new alt-mode, as he looks different before scanning the military vehicle. It’s even odder when Ratchet remembers Ironhide and Jazz, they look slightly different from last issue and Jazz is brown instead of silver.

Megatron had Devastator attack the Autobots with a bomb that doesn't kill/damage them, but just moves them about a bit? That's awfully kind of him. Unless his cunning plan is to force the Autobot's to increase their carbon footprints when getting home, thus causing evil climate change, it's hard to see how much use it is as a weapon. As a means of traveling great distances in order to search for the All-Spark however....

Fantastic Free Gift!: In a cunning attempt to make people buy two copies of the issue (or more likely rob off two in Smith's) it comes with a choice of two key rings based on the Autobot or Decepticon logo's.

Extra's:
- Profile on Ratchet
- Ironhide Vs. Starscream Smackdown (by Furman)
- A competition to win some DK published Transformer books (which seems to think Punish and Enslave is the Decepticon's motto rather than just Barricade's little joke)
- A Bumblebee poster based on the cover
- The Top Gear section covers the Soundtrack, the Megatron toy, and the Blaster (with competitions to win all) and a "review" of the Movie game
- Mech Mail

Review:

A somewhat lack luster start to the first multi-part Titan story, Ratchet’s story is somewhat old hat and we learn so little about the combatants it's hard to care or even know which side is the "right" one (Ratchet pretty much decides the side that's loosing is, which is dodgy thinking really).

Andrew Wildman's art has been variable across the modern Transformers comics, a trend that continues here with weak character designs and dull and bland colouring.

The very definition of inessential. It's to be hoped that the focus on the more fun Devastator in the following issue will see a return to form for the fledgling title, but this is for completist only.

[two cubes]

inflatable dalek
2007-10-01, 06:29 AM
Excellent! Though in this bit here:

Originally posted by zigzagger

In another possible TV reference, Traal is one extra “A” away from being the name of the species sharing the planet Skaro with the Daleks in Doctor Who (which is almost enough to make you wonder if A'Ovan is a play on of Avon from Blake's 7).

It should be Thraal not Traal. Typical I spelt it wrong in the paragraph where it mattered...

EDIT: And do I get £5 for spotting the deliberate mistake here? http://tfarchive.com/comics/idw/review.php?s=spotlight_galvatron_a

Aardvark
2007-10-03, 08:06 PM
Noticed some errors in your "Spotlight: Prime" review.

The issues other two main selling points are Monstructor and Omega Supreme. The appearance of the latter* had its thunder stolen by this years GI Joe crossover, whilst the lattes** Revelation that- as in the cartoon- the Autobots keep their most powerful soldier hiding away from the rest of the action is less than inspiring.

*Former

**Latter's

Edit: Oh, and you've given it one cube too many IMO. :eyebrow:

inflatable dalek
2007-10-03, 11:28 PM
Originally posted by Aardvark
Noticed some errors in your "Spotlight: Prime" review.



*Former

**Latter's

Edit: Oh, and you've given it one cube too many IMO. :eyebrow:

I'm saving the really bad cube ratting for Megatron and New Avengers 4...

inflatable dalek
2007-10-31, 08:42 PM
Transformers Devastation Issue 1
A Review by Inflatable Dalek.

Written by: Simon Furman.
Art by: E.J. Su.
Colours by: Zac Atkinson.
Covers by: Chris Moway.
Edits by: Dan Taylor.

Synopsis: Three weeks after Escalation: Nightbeat examines the data storage device stolen by Verity (way back in Infiltration #0) and finds a sophisticated homing device hidden upon it. Theorising that whoever built it followed them to the Ark he has Bumblebee search the surrounding area- Where numerous high tech surveillance equipment lies abandoned. With their only clue the M card found in Verity's hand Nightbeat can give Prime no firm answers, except that they should move their location as soon as possible. Meanwhile Bumblebee starts to create a program that might be able to follow the tracer signal back to the source

In better news, after weeks of searching Ratchet has finally located Ironhide, in a automotive scrapyard waiting to be crushed. Hot Rod and Wheeljack race to reach him in time, unawares that they themselves are being followed.

At the Decepticon command bunker a non-plussed Sixshot is ordered by Megatron to begin the decimation of the planet. The other Decepticons, realising that their leader is beginning to loose it big time realise only one of them has the nerve to tell him so. Against their better instincts they go down to the CR chamber Starscream is being held in.

After ordering Hounds team on Cybertron to come to Earth at the behest of Sideswipe, Prime orders the launch of Ark-19. But unknowns to him, not only has Ratbat observed the lift off, but back in Brasnya Skywatch has put the mentally controlled Ravage on the Transformers scent.

En route to their new base under the Gulf of Mexico the Autobots are attacked by Sixshot. Badly damaged Ark-19 plummets down towards the town of Knoxville Tennessee...

Characters Featured:Nightbeat, Bumblebee, Optimus Prime, Prowl, Runamuck [Flashback, and in the flesh], Runabout [Flashback and in the flesh], Skywarp [Flashback and in the flesh], Verity [Flashback etc], Ratchet, Hot Rod, Wheeljack, Megatron, Sixshot, Thundercracker, Blitzwing, Astrtrain, Sixshot, Agent Red, Ravage, Jimmy, Sideswipe, Hound, Ratbat, Jazz, Hardhead.

Notes:

Nightbeat's investigations help to clarify a few things- that the Machination always intended the computer to be captured by the Decepticons, but ultimately just needed any Transformer so didn't need to adjust their plans hugely when the Autobots captured it instead. We also learn the Machination observation of the Ark has only started after they captured the computer.

Thunderwing's body was stolen in the Galvatron Spotlight, which is where Sideswipe began his pleas to come to Earth to help find Sunstreaker. In the gap between series Optimus has also visited Omega Supreme in his own Spotlight, but that isn't refereed to here.

Hot Rod has a new alt mode based on a modern sports car. Though we don't get a good look at him Hardhead would seem to have upgraded as well. We learnt in Spotlight: Galvatron that the Autobots had been unable to locate ironhide's transponder. Finding it now is therefore their firs break in the three week gap.

Either as a result of the Ore-13 or his battle with Prime, Megatron is becoming increasingly unhinged. Whilst Sixshot ultimately goes along with his wishes the other Decepticons are worried enough to take the ultimate risk and reactivate Starscream- the first time the fate of the Seeker after Infiltration has been made clear.

Skywatch has enough technical know how to place ravage under mental conditioning. He seems to be following the Transformers by smell, but hopefully it will be revealed he's also using super advanced scanners at some point as orbital bouncing Transformers won't leave a scent. Joshua Red claims he's waited 22 years for this- that would tie in with Spotlight: Soundwave being set in late 1984 and this in the first half of 2007.

It's not clear if r
Ratbat has just arrived on Earth or has been with the Decepticons all along but unseen. Based on his back he would seem to turn into a portable CD player- Somewhat ironically he finally gets a updated alt mode just as Cd's are on their way to becoming as obsolete as tape players.

Bumblebee's role on the Ark when in flight (seemingly monitoring communications) would seem to require him to plug directly into the ship in a way none of the others seem to need to do.

Goofs:

In the three weeks since Escalation, what have our hero's been up to? Not a lot it seems. Nightbeat has only just gotten around to looking at the computer, no ones thought to have a look round the base for spy equipment even though they know they've been compromised. And why didn't the tracker show up when the device was examined back in Infiltration? Is Nightbeat the only one who knows how to use the equipment properly? If Ironhide is still alive he should hand in his resignation as security chief for failing to spot a tracker signal being sent from their own base as well.

Also,whilst Furman sensibly wanted to bring new readers up to speed, did he have to give to pages over to Nightbeat explaining the plot so far to people who already know most of it? Hmmm, I begin to wonder if Nightbeat is the only one with any brains at all.

And one also has to wonder what the hell Jimmy and Verity have been up to in the last three weeks. Bitching at Jazz every day? And they're still in the same clothes and must stink like Johny the Cobbler by now.

Whilst not necessarily a goof, it is inadvertently hilarious that after all his big "I can destroy planets me" speeches in his Spotlight that Sixshot can't even completely destroy a small shuttle with one blast.

Quote, Unquote

Ratchet: According to their on site logs in a clutch of wreaks scheduled for the pneumatic presses when they open at 8:00 AM.
Hot Rod: Well then, given that it's now 5:17 AM we're hardly, er, pressed for time. Still, any excuse. C'mon Wheeljack, let's burn!.

Optimus Prime: We've been on the offensive long enough. It's high time we kicked back!.

Megatron: I no longer care. We are beyond the structure of phases here. two..three... it barely matters anymore. These are exceptional circumstances and as such require extreme measures!
Sixshot: OK.

Joshua Red: They were here weren't they? Others like you!

[B]Review:
[i]I think what we need here is a fresh perspective

The middle of 2007 has been a somewhat mediocre time for IDW. The Megatron: Origin and New Avengers titles were amazingly bad, whilst the Optimus Prime and Galvatron Spotlights were entertaining enough but still only average.

Luckily, with the resumption of the ..tion arc we also get a return to high quality writing. With the exception of the clumsy info dump and slightly odd three week gap in which nothing happens every page sings. We get decent character moments (such as Prime's irritation at being on the back foot), decent juggling of three or four ongoing plots and a big epic action scene that creates one of the great cliffhangers of Transformer comics.

Hopefully this will mark the start of a upward quality turn across the board, but by itself it more than manages to wash away the unpleasant taste of a sub par Summer.

[four out of five]

zigzagger
2007-11-01, 05:12 AM
All polished. Some of the usual tweaking in the synopsis, but your voice remains intact through out.

______________________________


Transformers Devastation Issue 1
A Review by Inflatable Dalek.

Written by: Simon Furman.
Art by: E.J. Su.
Colours by: Zac Atkinson.
Covers by: Chris Moway.
Edits by: Dan Taylor.

Synopsis: Three weeks after the events in Escalation: Nightbeat examines the data storage device stolen by Verity (way back in Infiltration #0) and finds a sophisticated homing device hidden within it. Theorising that whoever built it traced them back to the Ark, thus comprising their position, Nightbeat has Bumblebee search the surrounding area of Lake Michigan, who discovered numerous high tech surveillance equipment left abandoned. With their only clue being the M card found clutched in Verity's hand after her close call in Fort Wayne (see Escalation #6), Nightbeat was unable to give Prime any firm answers, except that they should move their location as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Bumblebee starts to create a program that might be able to follow the tracer signal back to its source.

In better news, after weeks of searching, Ratchet has finally located Ironhide, whose body is in an automotive scrapyard scheduled to be crushed in the pneumatic presses. Hot Rod and Wheeljack race to reach him in time, unawares that they themselves are being followed.

At the Decepticon command bunker, a non-plussed Sixshot is ordered by Megatron to begin the decimation of the planet. The other Decepticons, realising that their leader has begun to loose it big time, conclude that only one of them has the nerve to tell him so. Against their better instincts, they go down to the CR chamber where Starscream is being held in.

After ordering Hound’s team on Cybertron to come to Earth at the behest of Sideswipe, Prime orders the launch of Ark-19. But unknowns to him, not only has Ratbat observed the lift off, but back in Brasnya Skywatch has put the mentally controlled Ravage on the Transformer’s scent.

En route to their new base under the Gulf of Mexico, the Autobots are attacked by Sixshot. Badly damaged, Ark-19 plummets down towards the town of Knoxville Tennessee...

Characters Featured:Nightbeat, Bumblebee, Optimus Prime, Prowl, Runamuck [Flashback, and in the flesh], Runabout [Flashback and in the flesh], Skywarp [Flashback and in the flesh], Verity [Flashback etc], Ratchet, Hot Rod, Wheeljack, Megatron, Sixshot, Thundercracker, Blitzwing, Astrtrain, Sixshot, Agent Red, Ravage, Jimmy, Sideswipe, Hound, Ratbat, Jazz, Hardhead.

Notes:

Nightbeat's investigations help to clarify a few things; that the Machination had always intended that the computer to be captured by the Decepticons, but ultimately just needed any Transformer, thus didn't need to adjust their plans hugely when the Autobots captured it instead. We also learn the Machination observation of the Ark has only started after they captured the computer.

Thunderwing's body was stolen in Spotlight: Galvatron, which is where Sideswipe began his pleas to come to Earth to help find Sunstreaker. In the gap between series, Optimus has also visited Omega Supreme in his own Spotlight, but that isn't referred to here.

Hot Rod has a new alt mode based on a modern sports car. Though we don't get a good look at him, Hardhead would seem to have upgraded as well. We learnt in Spotlight: Galvatron that the Autobots had been unable to locate Ironhide's transponder. Finding it now is therefore their firs break in the three week gap.

Either as a result of the Ore-13 or his battle with Prime, Megatron is becoming increasingly unhinged. Whilst Sixshot ultimately goes along with his wishes the other Decepticons are worried enough to take the ultimate risk and reactivate Starscream - the first time the fate of the Seeker after Infiltration has been made clear.

Skywatch has enough technical know how to place Ravage under mental conditioning. He seems to be following the Transformers by smell, but hopefully it will be revealed he's also using super advanced scanners at some point as orbital bouncing Transformers won't leave a scent. Joshua Red claims he's waited 22 years for this - that would tie in with Spotlight: Soundwave being set in late 1984 and this in the first half of 2007.

It's not clear if Ratbat has just arrived on Earth or has been with the Decepticons all along but unseen. Based on his back he would seem to turn into a portable CD player, which is somewhat ironic that he finally gets a updated alt mode just as CD's are on their way to becoming as obsolete as tape players.

Bumblebee's role on the Ark when in flight (seemingly monitoring communications) would seem to require him to plug directly into the ship in a way none of the others seem to need to do.

Goofs:

In the three weeks since Escalation, what have our hero's been up to? Not a lot it seems. Nightbeat has only just gotten around to looking at the computer and no one has thought to have a look round the base for spy equipment even though they know they've been compromised. And why didn't the tracker show up when the device was examined back in Infiltration? Is Nightbeat the only one who knows how to use the equipment properly? If Ironhide is still alive he should hand in his resignation as security chief for failing to spot a tracker signal being sent from their own base as well.

Also, whilst Furman sensibly wanted to bring new readers up to speed, did he have to give the pages over to Nightbeat explaining the plot so far to people who already know most of it? Hmmm, I begin to wonder if Nightbeat is the only one with any brains at all.

And one also has to wonder what the hell Jimmy and Verity have been up to in the last three weeks. Bitching at Jazz every day? And they're still in the same clothes and must stink like Johnny the Cobbler by now.

Whilst not necessarily a goof, it is inadvertently hilarious that after all his big "I can destroy planets" speeches in his Spotlight that Sixshot can't even completely destroy a small shuttle with one blast.

Quote, Unquote

Ratchet: According to their on site logs in a clutch of wreaks scheduled for the pneumatic presses when they open at 8:00 AM.
Hot Rod: Well then, given that it's now 5:17 AM we're hardly, er, pressed for time. Still, any excuse. C'mon Wheeljack, let's burn!.

Optimus Prime: We've been on the offensive long enough. It's high time we kicked back!.

Megatron: I no longer care. We are beyond the structure of phases here. Two..three... it barely matters anymore. These are exceptional circumstances and as such require extreme measures!
Sixshot: OK.

Joshua Red: They were here weren't they? Others like you!

[B]Review:
[i]I think what we need here is a fresh perspective

The middle of 2007 has been a somewhat mediocre time for IDW. The Megatron: Origin and New Avengers titles were amazingly bad, whilst the Optimus Prime and Galvatron Spotlights were entertaining enough but still only average.

Luckily, with the resumption of the ..tion arc we also get a return to high quality writing. With the exception of the clumsy info dump and slightly odd three week gap in which nothing happens, every page sings. We get decent character moments (such as Prime's irritation at being on the back foot), decent juggling of three or four ongoing plots, and a big epic action scene that creates one of the greatest cliffhangers of Transformers comics.

Hopefully this will mark the start of an upward quality turn across the board, but by itself it more than manages to wash away the unpleasant taste of a sub par summer.

[four out of five]

inflatable dalek
2007-11-01, 07:03 AM
Bloody hell. That was fast.

inflatable dalek
2007-11-02, 09:39 AM
The New Avengers/The Transformers: Man and Machine Issue 4.
A Review by Inflatble Dalek.

Writer: Stuart Moore.
Penciler: Tyler Kirkham.
Inker: Sal Regla
Colourist: Annette Kwok.
Letterer: Todd Klein.
Cover Artist: Tom Raney.
Asst. Editor: Lauren Sankovitch.
Editor: Bill Rosemann.
Editor in Chief: Joe Quesada.
Publisher: Dan Buckley.

Synopsis:

Spider-Man inexplicably escapes his bonds, whist Dr. Doom suddenly decides to switch sides again and fries Astrotrain Prowl and Ratchet then quickly explain the need to destroy the psycho-prism.

Outside, Iron Man and Megatron fight, but the Decepticon soon trounces the armoured human. Just as he is about to explain his odd decision not to fight Prime, Megatron realises the remaining Autobots have vanished- For suddenly remembering they have a teleporter device, Bumblebee Jazz and Wolverine just beam into the base.

Inside, they find that Spider-Man has agreed to let the Autobots use Megatron's device to give them Spider-Powers. Ratchet and Prowl power up and head back to the fight, whilst the other Autobots, Wolverine and Doom go to destroy the Prism.

With the battle joined Megatron is soon badly battered. Back in the dome the Prism is found guarded by Ramjet, who seemingly unbothered lets Wolverine smash it. As the base explodes around them they all flee except for Doom, who for reasons best known to himself prefers to whittle on to himself instead.

Megatron has the other Decepticons retreat, but plans to finish off the New Avengers personally until Spider-Man ties him up and Luke Cage pushes him over. With that final humiliation Megatron teleports away making "Next time gadget" proclamations.

The Autobots slink away and the New Avengers prepare to leave, but are left with the strange feeling their Quintjet is a Transformer... [No it isn't].

Characters Featured: Captain America, Optimus Prime, Spider-Man, Prowl, Wolverine, Bumblebee, Luke Cage, Ratchet, Ms. Marvel, Jazz, The Falcon, Wheeljack, Iron Man , Astrotrain, Dr. Doom [Killed-or IS HE?!?!] Megatron,Ramjet, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Runabout, Runamuck.

[B]Notes:

Attempts to fit into the main IDW continuity are a bit schizo at this point- Megatron refuses to fight Prime in order to tie in with the claim in Escalation they haven't fought in battle for a long time- but the same issue claims they've also not meet in nearly as long which this issue contradicts flatly. At the end, Megatron claims it'll be many Stella Cycles before his troops recover, which doesn't tie into their full health in either. Stuart Moore will be writing the forthcoming [i]Spotlight: Ramjet that will helpfully answer exactly how this fits into the companies canon, if at all.#

Don't worry crazy dictator fans, despite seemingly dying here Dr. Doom has appeared in Marvel comics set afterwards.

Inside his giant suit Iron Man is wearing his regular outfit. Like a Russian doll.

The page of Megatron being tied up by Spider-Man is a direct homage to the cover of issue 3 of the original Marvel US Transformers comic: http://tfarchive.com/comics/covers/?dir=Marvel+US&gal=01-40&img=US+03.jpg Not only is the pose copied almost exactly, but the positioning of the background characters (left to right: Luke Cage, Captain America, Wolverine, Ms. Marvel, Optimus Prime) exactly mimics those on the original (Rumble/Frenzy, A Seeker, Ravage, Another Seeker, Frenzy/Rumble). You get the feeling if they could have put Spidey in the black costume they would have...

Despite the sequel hunting ending, there has as yet been not even a hint of a follow up. However, as at least the first issue sold insanely well, it would seem inevitable.

Goofs
[The whole issue is pretty much a mad house, a mad house- so we'll try to keep this brief...]

How does Spider-Man escape his bonds so easily? Even if you assume he suddenly got back to full strength (despite being drugged...) the Decepticons know how strong he is from their scans, the should know what strength of bond to use.

Dr. Doom changes sides for no less than the third time with no explanation. If anyone has a clue as to his motives for any of his actions here send them on a postcard to the Webmaster's address.

Megatron simply throws Luke Cage away rather than just crushing him with his bare hands.

Megatron's reason for not fighting Prime now in his vulnerable state makes little sense, but at least he offers a reason. Other that a token "I can give you some more power if you want Iron Man" Prime just stands on the sidelines as his official nemesis pummels Tony Stark.

So, after three issues of standing outside the Dome desperately trying to get in, what cunning plan do our hero's come up with? "We could just use the teleport". Why would Megatron bother with a force field that doesn't stop his enemy using their main form of transportation to get in, and why don't the Autobots remember they can orbital bounce?

The tech screens in the Deceptiocon lab are written in English. Which is lucky as they tell Wolverine his blood will be as good as Spider-Man's in giving the Autobot's a boost. Except it shouldn't as he was rejected by that same computer back in issue 1.

On the page where they thump Megatron Prowl clearly has forgotten Ratchet's name and is forced to call him "Medic" instead.

Within on panel Megatron goes from being web free to being tied up completely. Even more worrying you can see the other end of Spider-Man's webbing isn't attached to anything- So somehow he jumped thirty feet up in the air to be next to Megatron's head, despite his weakened state (ah, the perils of imitating a cover that doesn't have to make narrative sense).

What do the New Avengers tell their superiors about the alien robots one wonders?

Quote, Unquote

Spider-Man: Heads up crankshaft!

Spider-Man: How about you? Are you rooting for him now, or against him?
Dr. Doom: Doom does not explain his actions.

Iron Man: You know, I normally prefer house music, but who says metal's dead?

Prowl: Keep it up medic!
Ratchet: Yes Sir!
Megatron: Autobot trash!


Review:
You speak nonsense

You may have noticed a certain lack or objectivity in synopsis of this issue- But this really is- by a considerable margin the single worst issue of a Transformer comic ever published. No mean feet considering the preceding three issues are such strong contenders as well, but this plummets amazing depths of banality. About the only redeeming feature is that unlike the almost as lack lustre Megatron Origin it makes no great stakes on the rest of IDW's output.

But other than that, every line of dialogue, every pencil stroke of art and every desperately contrived bit of plotting seems to be conspiring to create something of slightly less merit than a rabid ferret. Most importantly, unlike the last two Devil's Due published G.I. Joe crossovers, it doesn't even manage to be so bad it's good. It's just bad. If you ever feel like you're spending to much money on your Transformers hobby reading this will put you off for life. But other than that, avoid like an STD.

[zero cubes]

inflatable dalek
2007-11-02, 11:08 AM
Titan Transformers Issue 4
A review by Inflatable Dalek

Note: This issue also consists of two reprinted back-up strips of IDW material; Pages 1-7 of issue 2 of the Prequel comic, and pages 1-7 of issue 2 of Beast Wars: The Gathering.

Lost In Space part 2: Devastator[/B]

Script: Simon Furman.
Artwork: Don Figueroa.
Colours: Robin Smith.
Lettering: Jimmy Betancourt/Comicraft.
Editor: Steve White.

Synopsis: Having also been flung through the universe by the foldspace bomb, Devastator find himself on a planet ravaged by war and uninhabited. After travelling through numerous ruined cities with no one to fight his already slim grasp on sanity is slipping and he finds himself randomly smashing stuff even though he knows he's depleting the energy he needs to get off planet.

After finally locating a potential energy source and setting of to it he is confronted by a hologram that claims "The Flame" up ahead will destroy him as it did their race by consuming him with anger and rage. uncaring Devastator still proceeds.

He is then shocked to be confronted by a mocking Starscream, who he promptly destroys in a fit of rage. Barricade and Bonecrusher swiftly follow and are equally swiftly dispatched. Devastator is left uncertain if any of what has just occurred really happened or if it was The Flame getting into his mind, but decided he doesn't give a damn, takes the energy and blasts off in an attempt to get home...

Characters Featured: Devastator, Starscream [hologram/hallucination], Barricade [hologram/hallucination], Bonecrusher [hologram/hallucination].

Notes:

Devastator was lost in space as a result of the foldspace bomb explosion in issue 2. Though he is ultimately unsure if Starscream and company were real or not, the fact this is set before the film means the reader can be sure they aren't.

Exactly what The Flame is, why the race built it, whey they didn't wind up destroying it as the rage took them over all goes unspecified. The idea of a external device causing violent tendencies in Transformers has been used by Furman before, in Marvel UK #100 story Distant Thunder and the Generation 2 #3 story Primal Fear. Though he we get the twist of the main character already being a violent psychopath and not caring about what's happening to them.

Thanks to Don Figueroa's prolific output he becomes the first artist to have drawn all the comic content of a Titan issue.

Goof:

As with Ratchet last month Devastator looks totally different to how he did in issue 2 even before he scans a new alt-mode.

Bad page layout makes what is presumably supposed to be Devastator turning into his protoform mode and blasting off into space look like his head explodes and goes shooting off into the sky.

In the top left hand corner box on the cover, next to the legend "Devastator- Brute Force!" is a picture of Starscream.

Fantastic Free Gift!:

A set of four badges (For Americans and other aliens read: buttons), a selection of Optimus Prime, Megatron and the Autobot and Decepticon logo's.

Extras:
A Optimus Prime Vs. Megatron smackdown (written by Furman, the first instance of this feature covering two characters we see fight one on one in the film],
A poster based on the American one sheet for the film, the cover of the issue is a close up of Prime and Megatron's faces.
A profile on Blackout.
The Top Gear section covers Optimash Prime ("Hilarious" apparently), Barricade and Ratchet toys and the new edition of The Ultimate Guide book (with competitions to win all but the book).
A "How to draw Optimus Prim" feature, written by Steve Merchant (in between writing episodes of Extras no doubt) and drawn by John McCrea and Lee Bradly.
Mech Mail- And if the drawing of G1 Mirage and accompanying letter by Ben Pirrie really is the work of a 9 year old then I'm Lord Lucan.

Review:

A nice step up from the last few issues, we have nothing hugely original or complex here (Devastator sees some ghosts, gets bored, goes home), but it's the characterisation that makes it work. Devastator is just a fun character to read about, his refusal to take an interest and the frustration he feels at not being able to simply kill things is hugely well done. Mech Mail asks for suggestions on which Transformer people would like to answer questions, based on this Devastator would be perfectly suited to follow in the footsteps of the disgruntled Marvel UK letter answerers.

Throw in some top artwork from Figueroa throughout we have a issue that, whilst still aimed very much at younger fans, won't bore any grown ups who buy it for them and have a quick glance through first.

mind, the newly created cliffhanger to the Prequel comic (Megatron lands!) is the worst yet...

[Three cubes].

inflatable dalek
2007-11-02, 11:12 AM
I make no appolgies for the general ****ty nature of the synopsis for the New Avengers issue, but another two minuets spent on it would have been longer than the issue took to write.

Looking at the page for the UK stuff:
http://tfarchive.com/comics/idw/guide.php?s=titan

I think it's a bit redundant to have "UK" in the story title bit for every issue, I know I do it with the reviews but that's because they're in a thread with a lot of non-UK stuff. Oh, and the story in issue 3 is actually called "Lost in Space Part 1: Ratchet" rather than just Ratchet. :)

zigzagger
2007-11-03, 02:13 AM
The NA/TF #4 review is all polished and stuff...and actually, thanks to my very subtle tweaking, the synopsis is even more cynical in a few areas.

Though I have refused to read this crossover, but my imaginary god, this sounds absolutely dreadful.

_____________________________________

The New Avengers/The Transformers: Man and Machine Issue 4.
A Review by Inflatble Dalek.

Writer: Stuart Moore.
Penciler: Tyler Kirkham.
Inker: Sal Regla
Colourist: Annette Kwok.
Letterer: Todd Klein.
Cover Artist: Tom Raney.
Asst. Editor: Lauren Sankovitch.
Editor: Bill Rosemann.
Editor in Chief: Joe Quesada.
Publisher: Dan Buckley.

Synopsis:

Spider-Man inexplicably escapes his bonds, whilst suddenly Dr. Doom, once again, decides to switch sides and fries Astrotrain. Meanwhile, Prowl and Ratchet clarify the need to destroy the psycho-prism.

Outside, Iron Man and Megatron come to blows, but eventually the Decepticon is able to trounce the armoured human. Just as he is about to explain his odd decision not to fight Prime, Megatron realises that the remaining Autobots have vanished, who, miraculously, remembered that they have a teleportation device (i.e. orbital bounce), allowing Bumblebee, Jazz, and Wolverine to simply beam into the base.

Inside, they find that Spider-Man has agreed to let the Autobots use Megatron's device in order to give them Spider-Powers. Ratchet and Prowl power up and head back into the fray, whilst the other Autobots, Wolverine, and Doom go off to destroy the Prism.

With the battle joined, Megatron is soon badly battered. Back in the dome, the Prism is found guarded by Ramjet, who seemingly unbothered allows Wolverine to smash it. As the base explodes around them they all flee except for Doom, who for reasons best known to himself prefers to whittle on to himself instead.

Megatron orders the other Decepticons to retreat, but plans to finish off the New Avengers personally, until Spider-Man ties him up allowing Luke Cage to push him over. With that final humiliation, Megatron teleports away making "Next time Gadget" proclamations.

The Autobots slink away while the New Avengers prepare to leave, who are left with the strange feeling that their Quintjet is a Transformer... [No it isn't].

Characters Featured: Captain America, Optimus Prime, Spider-Man, Prowl, Wolverine, Bumblebee, Luke Cage, Ratchet, Ms. Marvel, Jazz, The Falcon, Wheeljack, Iron Man , Astrotrain, Dr. Doom [Killed-or IS HE?!?!] Megatron, Ramjet, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Runabout, Runamuck.

[B]Notes:

Attempts to fit into the main IDW continuity are a bit schizo at this point; Megatron refuses to fight Prime in order to tie in with the claim in Escalation that they haven't fought in battle for a long time. Mind you, this is also the same issue that claims they've also not meet in nearly as long, which this issue contradicts flatly. At the end, Megatron claims it'll be many stellar cycles before his troops recover, which doesn't tie into their full health in Escalation either. Stuart Moore will be writing the forthcoming Spotlight: Ramjet that will helpfully answer exactly how this fits into the companies canon, if at all.

Don't worry crazy dictator fans, despite his seemingly death in this issue, Dr. Doom has appeared in Marvel comics set afterwards.

Inside his giant suit, Iron Man is wearing his regular outfit. Like a Russian doll.

The page of Megatron being tied up by Spider-Man is a direct homage to the cover of issue 3 of the original Marvel US Transformers comic: http://tfarchive.com/comics/covers/?dir=Marvel+US&gal=01-40&img=US+03.jpg Not only is the pose copied almost exactly, but the positioning of the background characters (left to right: Luke Cage, Captain America, Wolverine, Ms. Marvel, Optimus Prime) exactly mimics those on the original (Rumble/Frenzy, a Seeker, Ravage, another Seeker, Frenzy/Rumble). You get the feeling if they could have put Spidey in the black costume they would have...

Despite the sequel hunting ending, there has as yet to be even a hint of a follow up. However, as at least the first issue sold insanely well, it would seem inevitable.

Goofs
[The whole issue is pretty much a mad house, a mad house - so we'll try to keep this brief...]

How does Spider-Man escape his bonds so easily? Even if you assume he suddenly got back to full strength (despite being drugged...) the Decepticons know how strong he is from their scans, they should know what strength of bond to use.

Dr. Doom changes sides for no less than the third time with no explanation. If anyone has a clue as to his motives for any of his actions here send them on a postcard to the Webmaster's address.

Megatron simply throws Luke Cage away rather than just crushing him with his bare hands.

Megatron's reason for not fighting Prime in his vulnerable state makes little sense, but at least he offers a reason. Other than a token "I can give you some more power if you want, Iron Man", Prime just stands on the sidelines as his official nemesis pummels Tony Stark.

So, after three issues of standing outside the Dome desperately trying to get in, what cunning plan do our hero's come up with? "We could just use the teleport". Why would Megatron bother with a force field that doesn't stop his enemy using their main form of transportation to get in, and why don't the Autobots remember they can orbital bounce?

The tech screens in the Deceptiocon lab are written in English. Which is lucky as they tell Wolverine that his blood will be as good as Spider-Man's in giving the Autobot's a boost. Except it shouldn't, as he was rejected by that same computer back in issue 1.
On the page where they thump Megatron, Prowl clearly has forgotten Ratchet's name and is forced to call him "Medic" instead.

Within on panel, Megatron goes from being web free to being tied up completely. Even more worrying, you can see that the other end of Spider-Man's webbing isn't attached to anything. So, somehow he jumped thirty feet up in the air to be next to Megatron's head, despite his weakened state (ah, the perils of imitating a cover that doesn't have to make narrative sense).

What do the New Avengers tell their superiors about the alien robots one wonders?

Quote, Unquote

Spider-Man: Heads up crankshaft!

Spider-Man: How about you? Are you rooting for him now, or against him?
Dr. Doom: Doom does not explain his actions.

Iron Man: You know, I normally prefer house music, but who says metal's dead?

Prowl: Keep it up medic!
Ratchet: Yes Sir!
Megatron: Autobot trash!


Review:
You speak nonsense

You may have noticed a certain lack of objectivity in synopsis of this issue, but this really is by a considerable margin the single worst issue of a Transformer comic ever published. No mean feat considering the preceding three issues are such strong contenders as well, but this plummets amazing depths of banality. About the only redeeming feature is that, unlike the almost as lack lustre Megatron Origin, it makes no great stakes on the rest of IDW's output.

But other than that, every line of dialogue, every pencil stroke of art, and every desperately contrived bit of plotting seems to be conspiring to create something of slightly less merit than a rabid ferret. Most importantly, unlike the last two Devil's Due published G.I. Joe crossovers, it doesn't even manage to be so bad it's good. It's just bad. If you ever feel like you're spending too much money on your Transformers hobby reading, this will put you off for life. But other than that, avoid like an STD.

[zero cubes]

zigzagger
2007-11-03, 12:41 PM
And here is the Titan #4 review, all clean and sparkly.

________________________________

Titan Transformers Issue 4
A review by Inflatable Dalek

Note: This issue also consists of two reprinted back-up strips of IDW material; Pages 1-7 of issue 2 of the Prequel comic, and pages 1-7 of issue 2 of Beast Wars: The Gathering.

Lost In Space part 2: Devastator[/B]

Script: Simon Furman.
Artwork: Don Figueroa.
Colours: Robin Smith.
Lettering: Jimmy Betancourt/Comicraft.
Editor: Steve White.

Synopsis: Having also been flung across the universe by the foldspace bomb, Devastator finds himself on a uninhabited planet ravaged by war. After traveling through numerous ruined cities with no one to fight, Devastator’s already slim grasp on sanity is slipping as he finds himself randomly smashing stuff even though he knows he's depleting the energy he needs to get off the planet.

After finally locating a potential energy source and setting off to retrieve it, he is confronted by a hologram that claims "The Flame" up ahead will destroy him, as it did their race, by consuming him with anger and rage. Uncaring, Devastator still proceeds.

He is then shocked to be confronted by a mocking Starscream, who he promptly destroys in a fit of rage. Barricade and Bonecrusher promptly follow and, in the same manner, swiftly dispatched. Devastator is left uncertain if any of what has just occurred really happened or if it was The Flame getting into his mind. Ultimately however, Devastator decides he doesn't give a damn, takes the energy, and blasts off in an attempt to get home...

Characters Featured: Devastator, Starscream [hologram/hallucination], Barricade [hologram/hallucination], Bonecrusher [hologram/hallucination].

Notes:

Devastator was lost in space as a result of the foldspace bomb explosion in issue 2. Though he is ultimately unsure if Starscream and company were real or not, the fact this is set before the film means the reader can be sure they aren't.

Exactly what The Flame is, why the race built it, why they didn't wind up destroying it as the rage took them over all goes unspecified. The idea of a external device causing violent tendencies in Transformers has been used by Furman before, in Marvel UK #100 story Distant Thunder and the Generation 2 #3 story Primal Fear. Though, we get the twist of the main character already being a violent psychopath and not caring about what's happening to them.

Thanks to Don Figueroa's prolific output, he becomes the first artist to have drawn all the comic content of a Titan issue.

Goof:

As with Ratchet last month, Devastator looks totally different to how he did in issue 2 even before he scans a new alt-mode.

Bad page layout makes what is presumably supposed to be Devastator turning into his protoform mode and blasting off into space look like his head explodes and goes shooting off into the sky.

In the top left hand corner box on the cover, next to the legend "Devastator - Brute Force!" is a picture of Starscream.

Fantastic Free Gift!:

A set of four badges (or buttons for Americans and other alien readers), a selection of Optimus Prime, Megatron, and the Autobot and Decepticon logo's.

Extras:
An Optimus Prime Vs. Megatron smackdown (written by Furman, the first instance of this feature covering two characters we see fight one on one in the film].
A poster based on the American one sheet for the film, the cover of the issue is a close up of Prime and Megatron's faces.
A profile of Blackout.
The Top Gear section covers Optimash Prime ("Hilarious" apparently), Barricade, and Ratchet toys, and the new edition of The Ultimate Guide book (with competitions to win all but the book).
A "How to draw Optimus Prime" feature, written by Steve Merchant (in between writing episodes of Extras no doubt), and drawn by John McCrea and Lee Bradly.
Mech Mail…and if the drawing of G1 Mirage with an accompanying letter by Ben Pirrie really is the work of a 9 year old, then I'm Lord Lucan.

Review:

A nice step up from the last few issues, we have nothing hugely original or complex here (Devastator sees some ghosts, gets bored, goes home), but it's the characterisation that makes it work. Devastator is just a fun character to read about, his refusal to take an interest and the frustration he feels at not being able to simply kill things is hugely well done. Mech Mail asks for suggestions on which Transformer people would like to answer questions, and based on this, Devastator would be perfectly suited to follow in the footsteps of the disgruntled Marvel UK letter answerers.

Throw in some top artwork from Figueroa throughout and we have an issue that, whilst still aimed very much at younger fans, won't bore any grown ups who buy it for them and have a quick glance through first.

Mind, the newly created cliffhanger to the Prequel comic (Megatron lands!) is the worst yet...

[Three cubes].

inflatable dalek
2007-11-03, 04:54 PM
Excellent. Though the duplication of "a mad house" was deliberate, it's a Planet of the Apes quote.

inflatable dalek
2007-11-09, 08:35 AM
Megatron Origin: Issue 4
A Review by Inflatable Dalek

Written by:Eric Holmes.
Art by: Alex Milne.
Colours by: Josh Perez and Mark Bristow.
Colour Assist by: Gabe Eltaeb.
Letters by: Neil Uyetake,
Edits by: Andrew Stephen Harris.

Synopsis:
Starscream is brought before Kaon's council and has a list of charges read against him. However, the Seeker pulls out his guns and kills the entire council whilst Soundwave blocks their calls to security. Blasting his way down to the cells he releases Megatron and the others, and hands out weapons from the armoury. Megatron is very pleased with his new fusion cannon.

As the battle spreads to the streets Sentinel Prime and the Autobots take arms and wade in. Ratbat plans to make a hasty exit to Iacon, but is betrayed by Soundwave who removes his spark and places it with a cassette.

Megatron and Prime finally come face to face on the battlefield, and after a long fight Megatron defeats and kills him. Shocked, the Autobots retreat leaving Megatron in command of a army and a city. But he doesn't plan to stay there long...

Characters Featured: Starscream, Megatron, Soundwave, Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, Beastbox, Ravage, Motormaster, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Rumble Frenzy, Megatron's Fusion Cannon, Runabout, Kickback, Mixmaster, Longhaul, Grapple, Inferno, Sentinel Prime [Killed by Megatron], Trailbreaker, Bluestreak, Ratbat [Humanoid form destroyed, moved into smaller body], Hound, Prowl, Ironhide, Mirage.

Notes:
Starscream's killing of the Kaon council is seemingly based on his massacre of the Iacon Council in Dreamwave's The War Within: The Dark Ages. Though his betrayal here was all a cunning plan his dismissive description of Megatron as a "cretin" at one point suggests he's already beginning to fall out of love with ol' bucket head.

On of the council guards is based on the Decepticon Lord Straxus from the Marvel comic (it's been a good year for Straxus in jokes, a Time Lord of that name appeared in the BBC7 Doctor Who radio play Human Resources as well).

With the addition of his fusion cannon and the loss of his gladiatorial markings Megatron takes on the Cybertronian mode from Stormbringer.

Exactly what happens to Ratbat isn't entirely clear, but it seems as if Soundwave puts his spark in a new body. In Devastation present day Ratbat still seems to have a personality of sorts and Soundwave claims to be preserving a resource- which in Ratbat's case would be his mind- so it's probably safe to assume his intellect survives on some level. Ratbat also reveals he was behind the automation of the mines that started the whole thing off.

Sentinel Prime's alt mode was first seen in characters designs included as an extra feature in the Optimus Prime Spotlight. His apex armour is so called for the name given to the Japanese God Bomber toy when it was re-issued with Power Master Prime in the United States.

Prime's death at Megatron's hands is taken from the original War Within comic. His last words seem to give Megatron the inspiration for the Decepticon name.

Trailbreaker and Hound seem to take pretty bad hits, but as they show up in the present day it can be assumed they survive.

Around the time of this issues publication Simon Furman directly addressed the issue of Fem-Bots (more of which appear here) in his blog. Whilst stressing the title is part of IDW's main continuity he admitted they had been a surprise to him, but that the forthcoming Spotlight: Arcee will explain everything.

Goofs:

Starscream is allowed to take his guns into the council meeting. And even though Soundwave would seem to be blocking communications why can't the guards outside hear the explosions and screams (as the ones down in the cells can)?

Why is there a prison right under the Council Chambers anyway? If America caught a bunch of its most wanted terrorists would they be banged up in the White House cellar?

Sentinel Prime is winning the fight with Megatron until Megs suddenly... pokes him in the neck hard. Who needs a fusion cannon when you can just poke?



Review:

If you'd have asked me four months ago what a secret origin of the Decepticons (and that's what this is, ignore the Megatron title...) would be like "Dull" wouldn't have been high on the list, but that's what this arc and especially this issue has ultimately been.

Everything in the closing stages has been just to predictable, Starscream's double bluff (yawn), Megatron's fight with Sentinel Prime (Yawn- Dreamwave and Marvel did his death in just one panel and made it more exciting), Ratbat getting his comeuppance (snooze), a battle featuring lots of toy based characters where only especially created generics die (ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ).

On the plus side Megatron actually gets whole sentences to speak for the first time, but it's to little to late. I'm still no wiser as to what the hell his motives are as the through line from "Disgruntled miner" to "Ultimate Evil" only makes sense if you're Maggie Thatcher. The most telling part of the poor characterisation of Megatron is the way the introduction of his gun is handled- It's clearly supposed to be a "Indiana Jones putting on the hat for the first time" style moment, but lacks the sense that the character you know has arrived you get from The Last Crusade. Instead the message seems to be that Megatron's character is he has a big gun.

Milne does a little better on the art this time (with a little help from a new colourist), but the fight sequences still make no sense- How does Megatron get the upper hand from Prime with just a poke? What does Soundwave do to Ratbat?. It's moved up from awful to slightly less than functional, which is damning with faint praise indeed.

So, in conclusion, we have a comic that the fan base seems desperate to ignore, that reads badly and has so little plot it's hard to imagine it was ever six issues long. Whilst not the worst thing IDW have done to date, it's the most wasted potential by far (after all, no one expected the Animated Movie or New Avengers crossover to be any good, and they weren't disappointed). Lets just hope it gets quietly forgotten...

[One out of five]

zigzagger
2007-11-11, 03:15 AM
The review for Megatron The Decepticons: Origin #4 is polished. I also made some additions to the synopsis.

Other notes: Yay! You mentioned the fusion cannon in the character's featured section. If you didn't do it, I would have slyly slipped it in there anyway. Seriously.

Also, it was mentioned somewhere on the IDW's forums that Sentinel Prime did in fact not die (I think it was Milne that said it). I'll try to find the link unless someone else finds it first. All the same, I didn't change anything in the review regarding it. At this point, most readers believed he was killed.

_____________________________


Megatron Origin: Issue 4
A Review by Inflatable Dalek

Written by:Eric Holmes.
Art by: Alex Milne.
Colours by: Josh Perez and Mark Bristow.
Colour Assist by: Gabe Eltaeb.
Letters by: Neil Uyetake,
Edits by: Andrew Stephen Harris.

Synopsis:
Pleading for an audience (see previous issue), Starscream is brought before Kaon's council for an emergency hearing, during which the Seeker is read a list of his charges. However, Starscream pulls out his guns and kills the entire council whilst Soundwave blocks their calls to security. Following through with the plan that he and Megatron had earlier discussed, Starscream then blasted his way down to the cells releasing not only Megatron and the others, but all other inmates at the prison facility. Afterwards, Soundwave and company hand out weapons from the armoury. Megatron is very pleased with his new fusion cannon.

As the battle spreads to the streets, Sentinel Prime and the Autobots take arms and wade in. Meanwhile, Ratbat, who revealed that he played a part in instigating the events that lead up to this point, plans to make a hasty exit to Iacon, but is betrayed by Soundwave who removes his spark and places it within a cassette.

Megatron and Prime finally come face to face on the battlefield, and after a long fight Megatron defeats and kills him. Shocked, and perhaps demoralised, the Autobots retreat, surrendering Kaon to Megatron, who now commands an army. But he doesn't plan to stay there long...

Characters Featured: Starscream, Megatron, Soundwave, Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, Beastbox, Ravage, Motormaster, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Rumble Frenzy, Megatron's Fusion Cannon, Runabout, Kickback, Mixmaster, Longhaul, Grapple, Inferno, Sentinel Prime [Killed by Megatron], Trailbreaker, Bluestreak, Ratbat [Humanoid form destroyed, moved into smaller body], Hound, Prowl, Ironhide, Mirage.

Notes:
Starscream's killing of the Kaon council is seemingly based on his massacre of the Iacon Council in Dreamwave's The War Within: The Dark Ages. Though his betrayal here was all a cunning plan, his dismissive description of Megatron as a "cretin" at one point suggests he's already beginning to fall out of love with ol' bucket head.

One of the council guards is based on the Decepticon Lord Straxus from the Marvel comic (it's been a good year for Straxus in jokes, a Time Lord of that name appeared in the BBC7 Doctor Who radio play Human Resources as well).

With the addition of his fusion cannon and the loss of his gladiatorial markings Megatron takes on the Cybertronian mode from Stormbringer.

Exactly what happens to Ratbat isn't entirely clear, but it seems as if Soundwave puts his spark in a new body. In Devastation, present day Ratbat still seems to have a personality of sorts and Soundwave claims to be preserving a resource - which in Ratbat's case would be his mind - so it's probably safe to assume his intellect survives on some level. Ratbat also reveals he was behind the automation of the mines that started the whole thing off.

Sentinel Prime's alt mode was first seen in characters designs included as an extra feature in the Optimus Prime Spotlight. His apex armour is so called for the name given to the Japanese God Bomber toy when it was re-issued with Power Master Prime in the United States.

Prime's death at Megatron's hands is taken from the original War Within comic. His last words seem to give Megatron the inspiration for the Decepticon name.

Trailbreaker and Hound seem to take pretty bad hits, but as they show up in the present day it can be assumed they survive.

Around the time of this issues publication Simon Furman directly addressed the issue of Fem-Bots (more of which appear here) in his blog. Whilst stressing the title is part of IDW's main continuity he admitted they had been a surprise to him, but that the forthcoming Spotlight: Arcee will explain everything.

Goofs:

Starscream is allowed to take his guns into the council meeting. And even though Soundwave would seem to be blocking communications why can't the guards outside hear the explosions and screams (as the ones down in the cells can)?

Why is there a prison right under the Council Chambers anyway? If America caught a bunch of its most wanted terrorists would they be banged up in the White House cellar?

Sentinel Prime is winning the fight with Megatron until Megs suddenly... pokes him in the neck hard. Who needs a fusion cannon when you can just poke?



Review:

If you'd have asked me four months ago what a secret origin of the Decepticons (and that's what this is, ignore the Megatron title...) would be like, "Dull" wouldn't have been high on the list, but that's what this arc, and especially this issue, has ultimately been.

Everything in the closing stages has been just too predictable; Starscream's double bluff (yawn), Megatron's fight with Sentinel Prime (Yawn- Dreamwave and Marvel did his death in just one panel and made it more exciting), Ratbat getting his comeuppance (snooze), a battle featuring lots of toy based characters where only especially created generics die (ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ).

On the plus side, Megatron actually gets whole sentences to speak for the first time, but it's too little too late. I'm still no wiser as to what the hell his motives are as the through line from "Disgruntled miner" to "Ultimate Evil" only makes sense if you're Maggie Thatcher. The most telling part of the poor characterisation of Megatron is the way the introduction of his gun is handled. It's clearly supposed to be a "Indiana Jones putting on the hat for the first time" style moment, but lacks the sense that the character you know has arrived you get from The Last Crusade. Instead the message seems to be that Megatron's character is he has a big gun.

Milne does a little better on the art this time (with a little help from a new colourist), but the fight sequences still make no sense. How does Megatron get the upper hand from Prime with just a poke? What does Soundwave do to Ratbat? It's moved up from awful to slightly less than functional, which is damning with faint praise indeed.

So, in conclusion, we have a comic that the fan base seems desperate to ignore, that reads badly, and has so little plot it's hard to imagine it was ever six issues long. Whilst not the worst thing IDW have done to date, it's the most wasted potential by far (after all, no one expected the Animated Movie or New Avengers crossover to be any good, and they weren't disappointed). Let’s just hope it gets quietly forgotten...

[One out of five]

Denyer
2007-11-11, 03:20 AM
Prime's also confirmed alive by the author. No worries, I'll change to "apparently killed". Ta.

inflatable dalek
2007-11-11, 08:42 PM
Hey? So why the hell didn't Megatron kill him? Why did Prowl just bugger off and leave him? THIS COMIC MAKES NO SENSE!!!!!

Denyer
2007-11-11, 08:46 PM
Originally posted by inflatable dalek
Why did Prowl just bugger off and leave him? He doesn't. We don't see the Autobots do anything from that point.

Taking Starscream into account and assuming Ramjet isn't permanently deactivated, Megatron's very keen on bringing opponents to the brink of destruction -- it says "you took your best shot and I can kill you any time you want". Rather effective psychology.

inflatable dalek
2007-11-11, 08:53 PM
Originally posted by Denyer
He doesn't. We don't see the Autobots do anything from that point.

Prowl refuses point blank to answer the "He alive?" question and just tells everyone to leave. It feels like a bit of instant retconing to me. Has someone decided the character needs a better send off?

Denyer
2007-11-11, 09:24 PM
The way I read it is that Prowl doesn't know for sure. What he does know is that Megatron took out his boss, even with the Apex battle suit.

Retcon would depend on what's in the script. It's possible the calls for Prime to be developed more (given that he's a cypher in this series) influenced the decision, sure.

Holmes' angle is that Megatron was looking to beat fear into Prime and the neo-Autobot force, and letting Prime survive to spread the word is a more effective way of doing that. It also indicates Megatron isn't afraid of Prime coming back to kick his aft.

inflatable dalek
2007-11-21, 04:30 PM
The Transformers: Devastation Issue 2
And Transformers Mosaic: Rain.
A Review by Inflatable Dalek

Devastation Issue 2:
Written by: Simon Furman.
Art by: E.J. Su.
Colours by: Zac Atkinson.
Covers by: E.J. Su and Nick Roche.
Letters by: Neil Uyetake.
Edits by: Dan Taylor.

Synopsis:

Before leaving Ark 19 Hot Rod is contacted by his old friend Dealer, who asks for his help in getting assigned to Earth. A few hours latter en route to the junk yard he and Wheeljack are suddenly attacked by five cars of exactly the same design as Sunstreaker, complete with weaponry.

Above Knoxville the Autobots struggle desperately to regain some control of their ship as it plummets towards the ground. With their radar jamming now broken a local airforce base scrambles planes to intercept them. Luckily though they are just able to pull up and avoid destroying the town, but can go no further than the nearest ocean. After ushering the humans- with Ratchet to watch them- into the escape pod Prime orders the auto destruct sequence activated so as to leave no trace and has the remaining Autobots go to the cargo bay to await impact.

Upon seeing the explosion Sixshot is convinced all on board have perished, but Megatron orders him to track down the escape pod to finish the job. As Megatron seems more and more unhinged Astrotrain is almost relieved to be told Starsceam is now awake.

Wheeljack and Hot Rod manage to take out two of the cars, but are shocked at the abilities they show. Transforming to robot mode they are even more surprised when not only do the Sunstrekers follow suit, but ones head detaches and reveals itself to be a "Headmaster"- a human in a exo-suit.

Back at Machination headquarters, a similarly attired Hunter has finished his conditioning and is now declared a blank slate under Machination control. But Hunter has in fact fooled his captors, and as they leave the room he also sneaks out looking for answers as to what has been done to him. He is shocked to discover the real Sunstreaker's disembodied head, begging for death...

Characters Featured: Dealer [Flashback], Hot Rod, Wheeljack, Mr. Drake, Bumblebee, Ratchet, Prowl, Optimus Prime, Nightbeat, Jazz, Sixshot, Megatron, Jimmy, Verity, Astrotrain, Blitzwing, Mr. Dante, Hunter, Sunstreaker's Head.

Notes:

The history between Dealer and Hot Rod was explored in the latter's Spotlight issues. Dealer is in fact a Decepticon spy trying to use hot Rod to get hold of a powerful artifact called the Magnificence.

Hot Rod's simulcrum looks left and right when Hot Rod is looking in those directions- It's not clear if he actually uses any data from the hologram's vision or if this is just instinctive.

The Machination captured hunter and Sunstreaker in Escalation issue 1, and began surgery on the human in issue 4. Hunter's trick of avoiding brainwashing by filling his mind with trivia is exactly the same as that used by Dr. Zarkov in the 1981 Flash Gordon film (and considering his official geek status that's where he likely got the idea from).

Blowing up the ship (or at least part of it) to fool an enemy is the same tactic used by the Autobots in the 1986 Transformers film. On the splash page showing the shuttle just pulling up there are two homages to the 2007 film- A newspaper with a story about "Project Iceman" and a yellow sports car with black racing stripes (that don't go as far as movie Bumblebee's, but the resemblance is still blatant).

Though the Headmaster's are based on Sunstreaker's original bonce they can be told apart by their evil red eyes. The one who speaks to Hot Rod and Wheeljack considers themselves to be the next evolutionary step (for humans rather than transformers one would assume).

hunter stumbling upon Sunstreaker's head is a direct homage to Buster Whitwicky coming upon Optimus Prime's in issue 5of the Marvel US comic. Sunstreaker's plea of "Kill me!" references on of the most famous deleted scenes in film history- Kane asking Ripley to kill him as he turns into a egg in Alien. much talked about for twenty five years when it was Finlay reinstated to the Directors cut it became rather apparent why it had been removed in the first place- it just looked silly and broke the tension of the last act.

From here on in E.J. Su takes a two month break for paternity leave. Though he'll still provide covers.

Goofs:

The Machination continue their dumb super villain act- hunter can walk wherever he likes within their base seemingly unhindered and without security camera's observing him.

Without wishing to be indelicate... Isn't Mr. Dante a bit to fat to be a Headmaster? He'll be twice the size of the other Sunstreaker heads... One would have thought Mr. Drake would have been a better candidate.

The Sunstreaker's on Nick Roche's cover have yellow yes as opposed to the red.

All in all though, this is probably the most error free issue IDW have done yet.

Quote, Unquote:

Dealer: Get me to Earth Hot Rod. The Sooner the better. You and I, well... we've got history.

Hot Rod: I vote we stick around and show these pale imitators how to fight fire *Blasts flame from exhaust* with fire!

Hot Rod: [As trying not to kill the Sunstreaker's in case one is the real McCoy isn't working] Any other bright ideas, Wheeljack? 'Cause, Y'know, much as I, well, tolerate ol'Sunstreaker I'm starting not to care!

Hunter: It's not just external either. I'm different inside, I can feel it.

Headmaster: [We're] in evolutionary terms the next step. Which rather makes you two surplus to requirements!

Sunstreaker: Pehlease kill me!

Review:
This is Sixshot, Ark 19 is down.

After the heavily plot driven stuff of last month we get an issue that is effectively entirely devoted to two action scenes- the crash of Ark 19 and the Headmaster/Autobots fight. Whilst this effectively puts all plots on hold for the duration both sequences are handled so well you don't care- just revel in it.

What's especially nice is Wheeljack getting something to do, he was starting to be the Beverly Crusher of IDW, so seeing him not only get more than two lines but also getting the chance to form a good double act with Hot Rod is a pleasure. Most of the fun to be had in the issue comes from their bit, and they get all the best lines.

The Ark 19 crash on the other hand is played completely straight, but is topped off by Su's best artwork to date- It's appropriate the splash page features Movie in jokes as it's a fantastically cinematic image. Considering his looming parenthood must have been occupying most of his thoughts his work his is extraordinary.

The only really negative thing to say is that with all the action scenes there's very little to generate debate or much more discussion than "Whoa, that was cool!". The introduction of the Headmasters in particular- whilst well done is something the audience would have been two steps ahead on for some time now- so hopefully there are some surprises coming from that direction soon before it starts to feel stale.

However, all in all, as a big action issue it's hard to top, and provides some of the best images you'll ever see in a Transformers comic.

[Three and a half]

Transformers Mosaic: Rain
Original Story by Linda Cormack.
Art and colours:by: Kris Carter.

Synopsis:

On Earth Hound is amazed at how rain on the planet differs from the acid rain found on Cybertron. He takes a few moments just to stand in and enjoy the experience of water falling on him.

Characters Featured:
Hound, Jazz.

Notes:

Transformer Mosaic was originally a fan fiction project put up on the IDW website. The idea was to tell stories in one page that could be in any continuity. They were rapidly well received and starting with this issue selected ones will be reprinted across IDW titles. Appropriately Rain was the first.

Though republished by IDW the copyright blurb is keen to point out this is still a unlicensed comic not affiliated with either the publisher or Hasbro.

This is set in a generic G1 continuity- Hound is either leaving the Ark or a parked spaceship, seemingly in the desert.

Linda Cormack has the distinction of being the first woman to write a published Transformers comic.

Review:
Just enjoying the rain.

Slight, but very lovely. Hound gets more character in this page than he has in twenty three years of stories, and it's rather sweet to see a Autobot relaxing rather than fighting. IDW reprinting these is a fantastic step, and the forthcoming ones will not only provide great entertainment, but give a wider range of writers the chance to show what they could do if given a full issue to play with. Good stuff.

[three out of five]

Halfshell
2007-11-21, 04:39 PM
Originally posted by inflatable dalek
The history between Dealer and Hot Rod was explored in the laters Spotlight issues. Dealer is in fact a Decepticon spy trying to use hot Rod to get hold of a powerful artifact called the Magnificence.

Hot Rod's simulacrum looks left and right when Hot Rod is looking in those directions- It's not clear if he actually uses any data from the holograms vision or if this is just instinctive.

Latter's. I think it's simulcrum. Hologram's. ... wait, if I start spellchecking your work I'll be here all week. Point: considering the actions of Ironhide's avatar in the bodyshop during Escalation, I'd assume they do have visual capabilities.

Without wishing to be indelicate... Isn't Mr. Dante a bit to fat to be a Headmaster? He'll be twice the size of the other Sunstreaker heads... One would have thought Mr. Drake would have been a better candidate.

Dante's dying. Which is why he needs it.

inflatable dalek
2007-11-21, 04:47 PM
Originally posted by Halfshell
Latter's. I think it's simulcrum.

That's a result of me clicking the wrong spellcheck option...


Dante's dying. Which is why he needs it.

Oh, I can see why he wants to do it. But the Headmaster process is going to have to remove a lot of weight for him not to look like a deformed pat Lee drawing on Sunstreaker's shoulders.

You completely failed to spot me not actually reviewing the Mosaic piece as promised though (now cut'n'pasted in).

EDIT: And yeah, the Simuthingies obviously have some sort of independant vision- I was more curious at Hot Rod's looking left and right in reaction to what he's seeing at a point where there's no need for the act. Does he use the hologram's vision as well or is it just instinctive programing?

Halfshell
2007-11-21, 05:14 PM
I'd think it's as well. Every resource at one's disposal, after all.

I doubt Dante will get as far as being upgraded, to be honest. So it likely won't make a difference.

It's certainly in no way quantifiable as a goof.

The Machination aren't that rubbish, anyway. I still think your old criticism of the workshop security is harsh. Yes, they could rig the place to blow immediately, but what if an intruder sneaks in whilst there's still somebody on the premises? Gives them time to get a gas mask and shut it all down.

inflatable dalek
2007-11-21, 05:26 PM
Surely that security procedure was only for use when the place was shut at night? After all, there'd be people in the shop during office hours.

I doubt Dante will get as far as being upgraded, to be honest. So it likely won't make a difference.

It's still his intent to do so though, the fact that he and the programers/Doctors/ect doing the surgery seem to think it's viable is what makes it so... odd.

Halfshell
2007-11-21, 05:32 PM
Originally posted by inflatable dalek
Surely that security procedure was only for use when the place was shut at night? After all, there'd be people in the shop during office hours.

Prove it.

It's still his intent to do so though, the fact that he and the programers/Doctors/ect doing the surgery seem to think it's viable is what makes it so... odd.

- The Transformer We Presume To Be Scorponok is vey large.

- Most of his inners are going to be replaced with wires anyway, if Zarak's anything to go by.

- "I think he's a bit too fat for the procedure" doesn't really qualify as an error. I think Megatron adopting a gun mode is a stupid and unnecessary concession to certain fans, but wouldn't stick it in a review as a goof.

Which reminds me - I seem to remember a discussion about "why didn't Megatron just nuke the facsimile by transforming" - if the energy discharge would have fried him, it would have done so the first time he changed. As such Megs only ordered the Decepticons away, so we can assume the manner of the radiation involved has no effect on [facsimile] fleshies.

inflatable dalek
2007-11-21, 05:43 PM
Originally posted by Halfshell
Prove it.

Because it only really makes sense if it's for out of hours. In order to set off the death trap the intruder would have to walk through the secret door, into the lab and pick up the card. they'd never get that far into the lab if there were people in there even if they somehow got past the guys in the shop. Of course, having a door that can't be opened by thirty seconds of wedging a knife in it would probably make a better security system.


Which reminds me - I seem to remember a discussion about "why didn't Megatron just nuke the facsimile by transforming" - if the energy discharge would have fried him, it would have done so the first time he changed. As such Megs only ordered the Decepticons away, so we can assume the manner of the radiation involved has no effect on [facsimile] fleshies.

I don't have the issue to hand so my memory is a bit rusty on this- But didn't Megatron just yell get back without specifically refering to the Decepticons? I assumed he was talking to the facsimile as well and he did. Plus, from the way its drawn the amount of electircal energy produced is as much as a problem as radiation. It's hard to fathom something that could do serious harm to a Transformer but not a human clone made with transformer tech.

Halfshell
2007-11-21, 05:53 PM
Originally posted by inflatable dalek
I don't have the issue to hand so my memory is a bit rusty on this- But didn't Megatron just yell get back without specifically refering to the Decepticons?

Nope. Specifically addressed Skywarp and Blitzwing. Koska FC was standing right next to him, and Megs was still crackling wildly when he landed in his hand.

It's hard to fathom something that could do serious harm to a Transformer but not a human clone made with transformer tech.

Organic, though. Plasma Energy Chamber at all?

Anywho. Better for the Russians to shoot Koska than for Megatron to do it. Otherwise the whole destabilisation thing is slightly undermined. Of course that happened swiftly anyway, but still.

inflatable dalek
2007-11-22, 09:35 AM
Transformers Spotlight: Ramjet.
A Review by Inflatable Dalek.

Written by: Stuart Moore.
Art by: Robby Musso.
Colours by: Josh Burcham.
Cover Art: Robby Musso and Guido Guidi.
Letters by: Chris Mowry.
Edits by: Chris Ryall and Andrew Stephen Harris.

Synopsis:
New arrival on Earth ramjet summons Skywarp to a clandestine meeting where he offers his fellow Decepticon the chance to join him in overthrowing Megatron. Skywarp is unimpressed by talk of non-linear plans and destiny, but gives Ramjet a Earth solar cycle to come up with something truly impressive to change his mind.

Ramjet then puts his plans into play, which include:

Having his "Min-Constructicons build a Universal Cybertronic Tracker that will allow him to locate every Transformer in the Universe.
Placing a facsimile construct within the Pentagon and through him acquiring the missile activation codes that will allow him to launch America's Nuclear arsenal and destroy the country.
Placing electronic bugs within fliers taken into a EU energy research base that will allow him to know the second they develop a fuel source that can substitute for Energon and thus give him full independence from Megatron.

The ultimate goal of this plan is the new fuel source will bring the other Decepticons under his control, the missiles will destroy America throwing the planet into chaos and his brand new "Micro Constructicons" will allow him to control the remaining humans. then a new space bridge technology he is developing will give him dominion over the Universe.

Before all that though Ramjet decides to test his Tracker device, first by locating Megatron. It works wonderfully by telling him the Decepticon leader is right behind him. Megatron easily beats ramjet in a fight, scattering his body parts over the places he's visited and keeping his head as a trophy. Ramjet was ultimately betrayed by Skywarp, who knows to always bet on the leader...

Characters Featured: Ramjet [Killed by Megatron], Skywarp, Megatron, Blitzwing, Koska, Optimus Prime, Runabout [Ramjet's fantasy sequence], Runamuck [Fantasy], Soundwave [Fantasy]. The same page spread also includes Hunter, Verity and Jimmy as controlled zombies.

Notes: Ramjet came to Earth in the same authors New Avengers/Transformers crossover. Somewhat thankfully- due to it not fitting in with the main canon very well- there is no reference to that here beyond Skywarp commentating on Ramjet having recently annoyed Megatron.

Ramjet's design is based near enough exactly upon his Classics toy. This makes him the first IDW Seeker to have an alt-mode based upon a F-15 as were the original toys. It's actually rather in keeping with his character here that he's chosen a out of date vehicle that doesn't blend in so well.

Skywarp seems to have picked up some Terran expressions as he describes Ramjet's plans as "Crap"- the first instance of real world swearing in a Transformers comic.

Events here take place concurrently with the attack on Braysna as seen in Escalation. Optimus Prime and Koska appear in sideways glances at those events.

The Decepticons must have files on the Autobots human allies that Ramjet has seen in order to be able to know what Hunter Verity and Jimmy look like so he can include them in his vision of the future. One of the other zombie's is based upon Sparkplug from the original cartoon- The person next to him may be supposed to be Spike but the resemblance isn't so strong there.

The Mini Constructicons appear to be drones built by Ramjet. they've taken on Earth speech pattens from radio broadcasts and are in the same colour scheme as the full size Constructicons. In Ramjet's fantasy the Micro Constructicons are exactly the same but much, much smaller.

Harrison- the facsimile ramjet has within the Pentagon- is made from a inferior process to that normally used. Not only is he very slow and in possession of a limited vocabulary but his life expectancy is much shorter. As he dies his face melts as if made from plastic.

Whilst the rest of his plan is barking, the universal Cybertronic Tracker does appear to work, and Megatron ends the issue in possession of it.

Goofs:

Why does Skywarp feel the need to remind Ramjet "Always bet on the leader" is a Cybertronian saying? Shouldn't he know that? It's be like one Englishman saying to another "Remember the old English saying "Nowt as Queer as folk".

Presumably Harrison is based on a real person, and the facsimile has been leading his life whilst impersonating him. Do none of his co-workers, friends, family or neighbours notice he's become a complete dribbling fool? How does he manage to do his job properly? Is it just that everyone working in the Pentagon is that dim anyway?

You'd assume that in order to work at the world's leading energy research centre you'd have to be a smart cookie. yet none of the staff express any surprise at a military jet dropping fliers for a competition on them. They then all keep the bits of paper as told even though there's no information on how the competition works, who's running it, nor even how to get in contact with them. Are these the same people that phone in those late night ITV Quiz shows one wonders...

As he walks away to die Harrison's name badge is blank.

In his vision of the future Ramjet sees Soundwave in his Earthmode as one of his followers. how does he know Soundwave is on Earth, still alive and with a cassette based alt? On the same page the word Decepticons is missing from the first speech panel.

Quote, Unquote:

Skywarp: You know what Ramjet? That's the biggest bunch of crap I've ever heard.

Ramjet: [On the Mini Constructicons] It was a mistake to equip you with satellite radio receivers. You've been tainted by this planets foul culture.

Ramjet: Megatron, Megatron. Do you sense the solar winds turning against you yet? Can you feel the noose tightening around your neck?

Ramjet: Once I have activated the tracker all will be revealed. Starting with the location of Megatron- *Megatron hits him* UHHHH!

Mini Constructicon: [Surveying Ramjets remains] Harsh.

Review:
Yo Yo, R.J. Whassup?

A new comic by the writer of what is officially the worst Transformers comic of all time wasn't very appealing, nor was the idea of it focusing on a character introduced in that. Thankfully Moore redeems himself with a fun romp that unlike his previous work actually stays on the right side of that narrow line between "Silly fun" and "Silly crap".

The character of Ramjet shows what IDW can do so well, taking a non entity in the original cartoon and comics (I mean, how long did Bob spend coming up with his character? "Lets see, Ramjet, Ramjet... He can be a Jet that rams things. Next!") and makes something unique and distinctive out of them. You don't think for a second any of his plans will work, but his complete self delusion is wonderful.

The comic also gives Megatron some of the dignity that he's lost back. The fact he simply kills Ramjet with no fuss or bother overcomes a lot of the stupidity he's shown over recent comics. Though perhaps worryingly the best writing he's had for a while includes no dialogue for him out of the Escalation side steps.

Robby Musso does a great job on the art chores, creating big bold and cartoony art that perfectly suits the story. And the Mini Constructicons are just to cute.

Whilst utterly throwaway, Ramjet still manages to be more entertaining than the last two "serious" arc driven Spotlights and has Moore show he can do good stuff. It almost makes you want to see what Eric Holmes could do with another chance. Almost.

[three cubes]

inflatable dalek
2007-11-22, 09:39 AM
Originally posted by Halfshell

Organic, though. Plasma Energy Chamber at all?

I'd class the idea of the Plasma Energy Chamber not affecting orgianics as complete bollocks as well though- suggesting the writer had just taken a word he'd heard used on Star Trek without really knowing what it means.

Considering the extent of the atmospheric disturbance shown when Megatron Transforms JKoska should at least be knocked on his arse as megs transformers.

inflatable dalek
2007-11-22, 10:52 AM
Titan Transformers #5
A Review by Inflatable Dalek.

Note: This issue also consists of two reprinted strips of IDW material:Pages 8-15 of issue 2 of the Prequel comic, and pages 8-15 of issue 2 of Beast War: The Gathering

Lost In Space part 3: Ironhide
Script: Simon Furman.
Artwork: Guido Guidi.
Colours: Jason Cardy.
Lettering: Jimmy Betancourt/Comicraft.

Synopsis:

Having picked up Ratchet's signal [See issue 3] Ironhide is on his way to rendezvous when he is captured in a tractor beam by a huge spaceship.

taken inside he is confronted by huge aliens that tell him the Allspark was theirs and that they want it back. Attacking him with a mind probe Ironhide is able to resist it by focusing on his memories of an attack on a automated Decepticon prison to rescue a comrade.

With the extra time to think he realises the aliens are all holograms and not real. Blasting through them he finds the real aliens- salvage hunters who'd found the ship abandoned with a device capable of finding the Allspark on board. Instead of the cube it had led them to Ironhide, and their plan became using him to locate it for exploitation. Taking his leaver Ironhide wonders who really built the ship and what their connection to the cube really was...

Characters Featured: Ironhide, Skyblast [Flashback], Signal Flare [Flashback], Strongarm [Flashback], Bumper [Flashback], Slipstream [Flashback], Swindle [Flashback].

notes:

For Ironhide it's been many Solar Cycles since the events of issue 2. This means that for once difference in his appearance here can be put down to him having scanned a new alt mode in the interim.

The mysterious ship is the first time the origins of the Allspark have been touched upon in the comics. The device used to trace the Allsparks looks like a transmetal 2 drive from Beast Wars.

Ironhide's troops in the flashback are all based on Movie toys that are repaints of older Transformer toys. Swindle is in charge of the Prison, which is in keeping with his portrayal in the Prequel comic where he's in charge of Bumblebee's imprisonment.

Ironhide's trick of avoiding people messing with his brain by focusing on irrelevant memories is not only the same as that used by Dr. Zarkov in the 1981 in Flash Gordon but also by hunter in Devastation issue 2 that Furman would have been working on at about the same time as this.

Guido is the latest IDW artist to make the transition from the American comics.

Goofs:

What does Ironhide do with the aliens at the end? Does he really just fly off and leave them in charge of a ship that could have all sorts of advanced secrets on it? Considering his Movie character I always suppose it's possible he killed them but some clarification would have been nice...

Ironhide uses the expression "Duck and cover" at one point at least several thousand years before it will be coined during the cold war on Earth.

Fantastic Free Gift!:

An amazing Neutron Blaster! Or, rather a disc launcher with Autobot, Decepticon, Movie and Sector 7 logo's on the discs.

Extras:

Sam Whitwicky Vs. Frenzy Smackdown (credited to Furman). The first time a human has been included in the feature.
A cover based poster.
Competitions to win the Transformers Scalextric set and Beast Machines season 2 on DVD.
Profile on Jazz.
The Top Gear page covers Blackout, IDW's Art of transformers book and Optimus Prime, Megatron and Starscream Fast Action Battlers. There are competitions to win everything except the book (annoyingly as that's the one I want. pah).
The Mech mail page drops hints that old time Transformers artists "Staz" may be joining the art team soon.

Review:

It's something of a shame that an issue where Ironhide confronts creatures that turn out to be ghosts comes right after one where Devastator has the same experience. Taken on its own merits though, this is good fun- mostly for the lovely Guido art. It's also nice to see the universe expand slightly by including more non-film characters make their debut.

The problem remains though that after five issues there's still no firm sense of direction for the title. With only one more lost Transformer left to go hopefully things will pick up a gear quickly.

[Two and a half]

Halfshell
2007-11-22, 01:42 PM
Originally posted by inflatable dalek
I'd class the idea of the Plasma Energy Chamber not affecting orgianics as complete bollocks as well though

Okay, so he's wearing shoes with rubber soles, and therefore insulated in a way that the Transformers aren't.

There you go. PHYSICS.

Presumably Harrison is based on a real person, and the facsimile has been leading his life whilst impersonating him. Do none of his co-workers, friends, family or neighbours notice he's become a complete dribbling fool? How does he manage to do his job properly? Is it just that everyone working in the Pentagon is that dim anyway?

I was thinking about this whilst, uhm, "archiving" the issue last night. Considering the rate of decay that the Cylon version of Harrison has, I'd guess Ramjet probably only replaced him that morning. No... wait... when did he say he got the launch keys? I can't remember. Oh, bollocks to it. They probably killed the family. If people who work in the Pentagon are allowed families. Isn't it a security risk or something? Maybe the brain was first to go in the melty thing and he did a passable job of intelligent up until that morning... it's not like he's in a position where lots of people talk to him.

... wasn't it a Pentagon landline, too? Surely that would be monitored communication...

inflatable dalek
2007-11-22, 05:46 PM
Well, we have to assume he was replaced at least after his job interview (or else it gets really silly) and he's seemingly a new member of staff so it must have been fairluy recently... But even if it's been just a few days and he's brains only started to go in the last day or so he doesn't seem likely to have fooled anyone for more than two seconds. Especially in a Government building that should be on the lookout for signs of its staff being got at.

I didn't mention it in the goofs bit, but I'm hoping it'll be quickly established that Skywatcht know about the chunck of Ramjet dumped at the Pentagon as well...

zigzagger
2007-11-23, 12:05 AM
Here's the usual polishing for the Devastation #2 and TF:Mosaic review(s).....
__________________________

The Transformers: Devastation Issue 2
And Transformers Mosaic: Rain.
A Review by Inflatable Dalek

Devastation Issue 2:
Written by: Simon Furman.
Art by: E.J. Su.
Colours by: Zac Atkinson.
Covers by: E.J. Su and Nick Roche.
Letters by: Neil Uyetake.
Edits by: Dan Taylor.

Synopsis:

Before leaving Ark 19, Hot Rod is contacted by his old friend Dealer, who asks for his help in getting assigned to Earth. A few hours latter, while on en route to the junk yard to retrieve Ironhide’s body before being pulverized in the pneumatic press, he and Wheeljack are suddenly attacked by five cars of exactly the same design as Sunstreaker, complete with weaponry.

Above Knoxville, the Autobots struggle desperately to regain some control of their ship as it plummets towards the city. With their radar jamming equipment now broken, a local airforce base scrambles planes to intercept them. Luckily though, they are just able to pull up and avoid destroying the town, but can go no further than the nearest ocean. After ushering the humans, with Ratchet to watch them, into an escape pod, Prime orders Prowl to engage the auto destruct sequence so as to leave no trace and has the remaining Autobots go to the cargo bay to await impact.

Upon seeing the explosion, Sixshot is convinced all on board Ark 19 have perished, but Megatron orders him to track down the escape pod to finish the job. As Megatron seems more and more unhinged, Astrotrain is almost relieved to be told that Starsceam is awake.

Wheeljack and Hot Rod manage to take out two of the cars pursuing them, but are shocked at the abilities they show. Transforming to robot mode, they are even more surprised when not only do the Sunstrekers follow suit, but one’s head detaches and reveals itself to be a "Headmaster"- a human in a exo-suit.

Back at Machination headquarters, a similarly attired Hunter has finished his conditioning and is now declared a blank slate under Machination control. Hunter however, had in fact fooled his captors, and as they left the room he also sneaks out looking for answers as to what has been done to him. He is shocked to discover the real Sunstreaker's disembodied head, begging for death...

Characters Featured: Dealer [Flashback], Hot Rod, Wheeljack, Mr. Drake, Bumblebee, Ratchet, Prowl, Optimus Prime, Nightbeat, Jazz, Sixshot, Megatron, Jimmy, Verity, Astrotrain, Blitzwing, Mr. Dante, Hunter, Sunstreaker's Head.

Notes:

The history between Dealer and Hot Rod was explored in the latter's Spotlight issue. Dealer is in fact a Decepticon spy trying to use Hot Rod to get hold of a powerful artifact called the Magnificence.

Hot Rod's simulacrum looks left and right when Hot Rod is looking in those directions. It's not clear if he actually uses any data from the hologram's vision or if this is just instinctive.

The Machination captured Hunter and Sunstreaker in Escalation issue 1, and began surgery on the human in issue 4. Hunter's trick of avoiding brainwashing by filling his mind with trivia is exactly the same as that used by Dr. Zarkov in the 1981 Flash Gordon film (and considering his official geek status that's where he likely got the idea from).

Blowing up the ship (or at least part of it) to fool an enemy is the same tactic used by the Autobots in the 1986 Transformers film. On the splash page showing the shuttle just pulling up there are two homages to the 2007 film; a newspaper with a story about "Project Iceman" and a yellow sports car with black racing stripes (that don't go as far as movie Bumblebee's, but the resemblance is still blatant).

Though the Headmasters are based on Sunstreaker's original body they can be told apart by their evil red eyes. The one who speaks to Hot Rod and Wheeljack considers themselves to be the next evolutionary step (for humans rather than transformers one would assume).

Hunter stumbling upon Sunstreaker's head is a direct homage to Buster Whitwicky coming upon Optimus Prime's in issue 5 of the Marvel US comic. Sunstreaker's plea of "Kill me!" references on of the most famous deleted scenes in film history; Kane asking Ripley to kill him as he turns into a egg in Alien. Much talked about for twenty five years, when it was finally reinstated to the directors cut it became rather apparent why it had been removed in the first place - it just looked silly and broke the tension of the last act.

From here on in E.J. Su takes a two month break for paternity leave. Though he'll still provide covers.

Goofs:

The Machination continue their dumb super villain act. Hunter can walk wherever he likes within their base seemingly unhindered and without security camera's observing him.

Without wishing to be indelicate...isn't Mr. Dante a bit too fat to be a Headmaster? He'll be twice the size of the other Sunstreaker heads. One would have thought Mr. Drake would have been a better candidate.

The Sunstreaker's on Nick Roche's cover have yellow yes as opposed to the red.

All in all though, this is probably the most error free issue IDW have done yet.

Quote, Unquote:

Dealer: Get me to Earth Hot Rod. The sooner the better. You and I, well...we've got history.

Hot Rod: I vote we stick around and show these pale imitators how to fight fire *Blasts flame from exhaust* with fire!

Hot Rod: [as trying not to kill the Sunstreaker's in case one is the real McCoy isn't working] Any other bright ideas, Wheeljack? 'Cause, Y'know, much as I, well, tolerate ol' Sunstreaker I'm starting not to care!

Hunter: It's not just external either. I'm different inside, I can feel it.

Headmaster: [We're] in evolutionary terms the next step. Which rather makes you two surplus to requirements!

Sunstreaker: Pehlease…kill me!

Review:
This is Sixshot. Ark 19 is down.

After the heavily plot driven stuff of last month we get an issue that is effectively entirely devoted to two action scenes; the crash of Ark 19 and the Headmaster/Autobots fight. Whilst this effectively puts all plots on hold for the duration both sequences are handled so well you don't care - just revel in it.

What's especially nice is Wheeljack getting something to do, he was starting to be the Beverly Crusher of IDW, so seeing him not only get more than two lines but also getting the chance to form a good double act with Hot Rod is a pleasure. Most of the fun to be had in the issue comes from their bit, and they get all the best lines.

The Ark 19 crash on the other hand is played completely straight, but is topped off by Su's best artwork to date, and it's appropriate that the splash page features movie in jokes as it's a fantastically cinematic image. Considering his looming parenthood must have been occupying most of his thoughts, his work is extraordinary.

The only really negative thing to say is that with all the action scenes, there's very little to generate debate or much more discussion than "Whoa, that was cool!" The introduction of the Headmasters in particular, whilst well done, is something the audience would have been two steps ahead on for some time now. So hopefully there are some surprises coming from that direction soon before it starts to feel stale.

However, all in all, as a big action issue it's hard to top, and provides some of the best images you'll ever see in a Transformers comic.

[Three and a half]

Transformers Mosaic: Rain
Original Story by Linda Cormack.
Art and colours:by: Kris Carter.

Synopsis:

On Earth, Hound is amazed at how rain on the planet differs from the acid rain found on Cybertron. He takes a few moments just to stand in it and enjoy the experience of water falling on him.

Characters Featured:
Hound, Jazz.

Notes:

Transformer Mosaic was originally a fan fiction project put up on the IDW website. The idea was to tell stories in one page that could be in any continuity. They were rapidly well received, and starting with this issue, selected ones that will be reprinted across IDW titles. Appropriately, Rain was the first.

Though republished by IDW, the copyright blurb is keen to point out this is still a unlicensed comic not affiliated with either the publisher or Hasbro.

This is set in a generic G1 continuity - Hound is either leaving the Ark or a parked spaceship, seemingly in the desert.

Linda Cormack has the distinction of being the first woman to write a published Transformers comic.

Review:
Just enjoying the rain.

Slight, but very lovely. Hound gets more character in this page than he has in twenty three years of stories, and it's rather sweet to see a Autobot relaxing rather than fighting. IDW reprinting these is a fantastic step, and the forthcoming ones will not only provide great entertainment, but give a wider range of writers the chance to show what they could do if given a full issue to play with. Good stuff.

[three out of five]

zigzagger
2007-11-23, 12:07 AM
....and here's one for Spotlight: Ramjet too! I'll get to Titan #5 a little bit later.

__________________________


Transformers Spotlight: Ramjet.
A Review by Inflatable Dalek.

Written by: Stuart Moore.
Art by: Robby Musso.
Colours by: Josh Burcham.
Cover Art: Robby Musso and Guido Guidi.
Letters by: Chris Mowry.
Edits by: Chris Ryall and Andrew Stephen Harris.

Synopsis:
New arrival on Earth, Ramjet summons Skywarp to a clandestine meeting where he offers his fellow Decepticon the chance to join him in overthrowing Megatron. Skywarp is unimpressed by talk of “non-linear” plans and destiny, but gives Ramjet an Earth solar cycle to come up with something truly impressive to change his mind.

Ramjet then puts his plans into play, which include:

Having his "Mini-Constructicons build a Universal Cybertronic Tracker that will allow him to locate every Transformer in the Universe.
Placing a facsimile construct within the Pentagon, and through him acquiring the missile activation codes that will allow him to launch America's nuclear arsenal and destroy the country.
Placing electronic bugs within fliers, which are then taken into an EU energy research base that will allow him to know the second they develop a fuel source that can substitute for Energon, and thus give him full independence from Megatron.

The ultimate goal of this plan is that the new fuel source will bring the other Decepticons under his control, the missiles will destroy America throwing the planet into chaos, his brand new "Micro Constructicons" will allow him to control the remaining humans, and finally, the new space bridge technology that he has been developing will give him dominion over the Universe.

Before all that though, Ramjet decides to test his tracker device, first by locating Megatron. It works wonderfully by telling him the Decepticon leader is right behind him. Megatron easily beats Ramjet in a fight, scattering his body parts over the places he's visited and keeping his head as a trophy. Ramjet was ultimately betrayed by Skywarp, who knows to always bet on the leader...

Characters Featured: Ramjet [Killed by Megatron], Skywarp, Megatron, Blitzwing, Koska, Optimus Prime, Runabout [Ramjet's fantasy sequence], Runamuck [Fantasy], Soundwave [Fantasy]. The same page spread also includes Hunter, Verity, and Jimmy as controlled zombies.

Notes: Ramjet came to Earth by the same authors of the New Avengers/Transformers crossover. Somewhat thankfully, due to it not fitting in with the main canon very well, there is no reference to that here beyond Skywarp commentating on Ramjet having recently annoyed Megatron.

Ramjet's design is based near enough exactly upon his Classics toy. This makes him the first IDW Seeker to have an alt-mode based upon an F-15, as were the original toys. It's actually rather in keeping with his character here that he's chosen an out of date vehicle that doesn't blend in so well.

Skywarp seems to have picked up some Terran expressions as he describes Ramjet's plans as "Crap"- the first instance of real world swearing in a Transformers comic.

Events here take place concurrently with the attack on Braysna as seen in Escalation. Optimus Prime and Koska appear in sideways glances at those events.

The Decepticons must have files on the Autobot’s human allies that Ramjet has seen in order to be able to know what Hunter, Verity, and Jimmy look like so he can include them in his vision of the future. One of the other zombie's is based upon Sparkplug from the original cartoon - the person next to him may suppose to be Spike, but the resemblance isn't so strong there.

The Mini Constructicons appear to be drones built by Ramjet. They’ve taken on Earth speech patterns from radio broadcasts and are in the same colour scheme as the full size Constructicons. In Ramjet's fantasy, the Micro Constructicons are exactly the same but much, much smaller.

Harrison, the facsimile Ramjet has within the Pentagon, is made from an inferior process to that normally used. Not only is he very slow and in possession of a limited vocabulary, but his life expectancy is much shorter as well. As he dies his face melts as if made from plastic.

Whilst the rest of his plan is barking, the universal Cybertronic Tracker does appear to work, and Megatron ends the issue in possession of it.

Goofs:

Why does Skywarp feel the need to remind Ramjet "Always bet on the leader" is a Cybertronian saying? Shouldn't he know that? It’d be like one Englishman saying to another "Remember the old English saying "Nowt as queer as folk".

Presumably Harrison is based on a real person, and the facsimile has been leading his life whilst impersonating him. Do none of his co-workers, friends, family, or neighbours notice he's become a complete dribbling fool? How does he manage to do his job properly? Is it just that everyone working in the Pentagon is that dim anyway?

You'd assume that in order to work at the world's leading energy research centre you'd have to be a smart cookie. Yet none of the staff express any surprise at a military jet dropping fliers for a competition on them. They then all keep the bits of paper as told even though there's no information on how the competition works, who's running it, nor even how to get in contact with them. Are these the same people that phone in those late night ITV Quiz shows one wonders...

As he walks away to die, Harrison's name badge is blank.

In his vision of the future, Ramjet sees Soundwave in his Earthmode as one of his followers. How does he know Soundwave is on Earth, still alive and with a cassette based alt? On the same page the word Decepticons is missing from the first speech panel.

Quote, Unquote:

Skywarp: You know what Ramjet? That's the biggest bunch of crap I've ever heard.

Ramjet: [On the Mini Constructicons] It was a mistake to equip you with satellite radio receivers. You've been tainted by this planets foul culture.

Ramjet: Megatron, Megatron. Do you sense the solar winds turning against you yet? Can you feel the noose tightening around your neck?

Ramjet: Once I have activated the tracker all will be revealed. Starting with the location of Megatron- *Megatron hits him* UHHHH!

Mini Constructicon: [Surveying Ramjets remains] Harsh.

Review:
Yo Yo, R.J. Whassup?

A new comic by the writer of what is officially the worst Transformers comic of all time wasn't very appealing, nor was the idea of it focusing on a character introduced in that. Thankfully Moore redeems himself with a fun romp that, unlike his previous work, actually stays on the right side of that narrow line between "Silly fun" and "Silly crap".

The character of Ramjet shows what IDW can do so well, taking a non entity in the original cartoon and comics (I mean, how long did Bob spend coming up with his character? "Lets see, Ramjet, Ramjet... He can be a jet that rams things. Next!"), and makes something unique and distinctive out of them. You don't think for a second any of his plans will work, but his complete self delusion is wonderful.

The comic also gives Megatron some of the dignity that he's lost back. The fact he simply kills Ramjet with no fuss or bother overcomes a lot of the stupidity he's shown over recent comics. Though perhaps worryingly the best writing he's had for a while includes no dialogue for him out of the Escalation side steps.

Robby Musso does a great job on the art chores, creating big bold and cartoony art that perfectly suits the story. And the Mini Constructicons are just too cute.

Whilst utterly throwaway, Ramjet still manages to be more entertaining than the last two "serious" arc driven Spotlights and has Moore show he can do good stuff. It almost makes you want to see what Eric Holmes could do with another chance. Almost.

[three cubes]

Denyer
2007-11-23, 01:36 AM
Originally posted by zigzagger
Whilst the rest of his plan is barking, the universal Cybertronic Tracker does appear to work It does?

Cheers, will try to get back to uploads now I've got other stuff sorted.

zigzagger
2007-11-23, 01:49 AM
I thought the same thing too. Megatron rips Ramjet apart before he truly gets a chance to test it. I left this alone because I thought it possibly detecting Megatron as he stood behind R.J could have been part of a joke.

zigzagger
2007-11-23, 05:26 AM
And, as promised, here's the review for Titan #5 all sparkly and polished. I did do some revamping in the synopsis, more so this time.

___________________


Titan Transformers #5
A Review by Inflatable Dalek.

Note: This issue also consists of two reprinted strips of IDW material:Pages 8-15 of issue 2 of the Prequel comic, and pages 8-15 of issue 2 of Beast War: The Gathering

Lost In Space part 3: Ironhide
Script: Simon Furman.
Artwork: Guido Guidi.
Colours: Jason Cardy.
Lettering: Jimmy Betancourt/Comicraft.

Synopsis:

Having picked up Ratchet's signal (see issue 3), Ironhide sets out to rendezvous with him when he is suddenly captured in a tractor beam by a huge spaceship.Taken inside he is confronted by huge aliens that tell him that the Allspark was in fact theirs and that they wanted it back. Attacking him with a mind probe, Ironhide is able to resist it by focusing on his memories of an attack on an automated Decepticon prison to rescue a comrade.

With the extra time to think, he concludes that the aliens were all holograms and not real. Blasting through them he finds the real aliens, who upon discovery, are salvage hunters who'd found the ship abandoned with a device capable of finding the Allspark on board. However, instead of leading them to the cube it brought them to Ironhide, thus causing them to change their plans; they were to use him in order to locate the Allspark for their own exploitative purposes. Taking his leaver, Ironhide wonders who really built the ship and what their connection to the cube really was...

Characters Featured: Ironhide, Skyblast [Flashback], Signal Flare [Flashback], Strongarm [Flashback], Bumper [Flashback], Slipstream [Flashback], Swindle [Flashback].

notes:

For Ironhide it's been many solar cycles since the events of issue 2. This means that for once the difference in his appearance here can be put down to him having scanned a new alt mode in the interim.

The mysterious ship is the first time the origins of the Allspark have been touched upon in the comics. The device used to trace the Allspark looks like a transmetal 2 drive from Beast Wars.

Ironhide's troops in the flashback are all based on Movie toys that are repaints of older Transformer toys. Swindle is in charge of the Prison, which is in keeping with his portrayal in the Prequel comic where he's in charge of Bumblebee's imprisonment.

Ironhide's trick of avoiding people messing with his brain by focusing on irrelevant memories is not only the same as that used by Dr. Zarkov in the 1981 in Flash Gordon, but also by hunter in Devastation issue 2 that Furman would have been working on at about the same time as this.

Guido is the latest IDW artist to make the transition from the American comics.

Goofs:

What does Ironhide do with the aliens at the end? Does he really just fly off and leave them in charge of a ship that could have all sorts of advanced secrets on it? Considering his Movie character, I always suppose it's possible he killed them but some clarification would have been nice...

Ironhide uses the expression "Duck and cover" at one point at least several thousand years before it will be coined during the cold war on Earth.

Fantastic Free Gift!:

An amazing Neutron Blaster! Or, rather a disc launcher with Autobot, Decepticon, Movie, and Sector 7 logo's on the discs.

Extras:

Sam Whitwicky Vs. Frenzy Smackdown (credited to Furman). The first time a human has been included in the feature.
A cover based poster.
Competitions to win the Transformers Scalextric set and Beast Machines season 2 on DVD.
Profile on Jazz.
The Top Gear page covers Blackout, IDW's Art of transformers book, and Optimus Prime, Megatron and Starscream Fast Action Battlers. There are competitions to win everything except the book (annoyingly as that's the one I want. pah).
The Mech mail page drops hints that old time Transformers artists "Staz" may be joining the art team soon.

Review:

It's something of a shame that an issue where Ironhide confronts creatures that turn out to be ghosts comes right after one where Devastator has the same experience. Taken on its own merits though, this is good fun, mostly for the lovely Guido art. It's also nice to see the universe expand slightly by including more non-film characters making their debut.

The problem remains though that after five issues there's still no firm sense of direction for the title. With only one more lost Transformer left to go hopefully things will pick up a gear quickly.

[Two and a half]

inflatable dalek
2007-11-23, 12:16 PM
Ta Ziggy.

Originally posted by zigzagger
I thought the same thing too. Megatron rips Ramjet apart before he truly gets a chance to test it. I left this alone because I thought it possibly detecting Megatron as he stood behind R.J could have been part of a joke.

The machine starts beeping like crazy as soon as he activates it, so yeah, the joke is it detects Megatron standing right behind him.

Now I'm up to dateish (I'm not going to attempt BW reviews unless the next issue comes with a flip chart explaining wtf is going on) I'm going to try and get the Movie adaption done. It won't be hugely in depth, I'll probably do one big review broken into sections for each issue showing the differences between it and the film and them one review for the lot.

inflatable dalek
2007-11-23, 10:55 PM
Transformers Official Movie Adaptation.

Story By: Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman and John Rogers.
Screenplay By: Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman.
Adaptation By: Kris Oprisko.
Art By: Alex Milne.
Colours By: Josh Perez.
With Help From*: Zac Atkinson, Josh Burcham, Andrew Elder, Kieran Oats And Rob Ruffolo.
Colour Assist By**: Lisa Moore.
Flatting Assist By*: Mark Bristow.
Lettering By*: Chris Mowry.
Edits By: Chris Ryall.

*Only credited on Issue 4.
**Credited as Flatting Assist on Issue 4.


Issue 1

Synopsis: This issue adapts from the opening of the film through to the attack on the soldiers by Skorponok in Qatar.

Notes:
This Mini series was published weekly, the first Transformers comic to do so since issue #310 of the Marvel UK Comic back in 1991. The trade paperback was published at the same time in another first for IDW.

This was developed from a slightly earlier draft of the film that was finally used- In practise there's very little difference between the two beyond what the adaptation leaves out, but there are minor differences in a few characters and situation.

The car lot includes cars based on G1 Sideswipe and Brawn, as well as Alternator/Bineltech Skids.

As well as a Milne cover this issue also had two retail incentives, a sketch of the main cover and a photo cover showing Frenzy in all his CGI glory. By way of extras the issue has a Blackout poster; an Autobot logo pin up, a Frenzy pin up, an interview with Tom DeSanto; photo's of the Bumblebee and Blackout toys and a Milne poster on the inside back page.

The main differences between film and adaptation are:
Prime's opening narration establishes the Allspark was lost 1 million years ago, and that it emits a signal once every thousand years.

Most of the banter between the soldiers about their perfect day is gone, as is Captain Lennox's conversation with his wife and daughter.

Sam's school project is no longer present, and all references to EBay have been carefully removed. The business of Bumblebee blowing up Bolivia's other car windows has been simplified to the car dealer just agreeing to the lower price.

All appearances by Maggie Madsen (with one exception in issue 3) and Glen Whitmann and their sub plots are gone from the whole series. This reduces Keller's role to an extended cameo. Glen and Maggie still manage to get on the covers though.

Bumblebee no longer plays any songs, presumably in a effort to save in copyright payments (though oddly the Prequel comic was happy to shell out)..

Frenzy no longer has his bit of comedy moving about Air Force 1.

Sam doesn't make his phone recording about Bumblebee transforming.

In order to cover the loss of Maggie two soldiers outside Airforce one have a conversation establishing the virus placed in the Government computers by Frenzy.

Mojo is also completely absent, so we loose the joke about his pills in the police station (though the officers list of drugs Sam may have taken includes Whippets). Once they leave the station Sam and his Dad have a conversation about Captain Whitwicky and if his condition could be hereditary.

The soldiers don't have their local child guide and are just following the phone cables to civilisation.

Goofs: [Referring to new ones created by the Adaptation rather than those inherent to the film]

So as Prime tells us, the Allspark sends out a big signal every thousand years. It's been missing for 1 million. How the hell did the Transformers fail to find it for so long with a honking homing signal pointing them in the right direction? You can see why they dropped that.

The exposition of the soldiers outside Air Force 1 is hugely clumsy. how do the lowly grunts know so much about it and that no anti virus will work against it when frenzy just put it there?


Issue 2

Synopsis: This issue covers from the Skorponok attack through to Optimus Prime introducing themselves to Sam.

Notes:

This issues photo cover is of Barricade. Extras include a poster of the Autobots; a Decepticon logo pin-up, a Barricade pin-up, a interview with Kris Oprisko, photos and the Barricade and Decepticon Brawl toys, and the Milne back page poster.

Cars based on G1 Ratchet, Ironhide, Trailbreaker and Wheeljack can be seeing throughout the issue. As Barricade first Transforms a car behind him has the registration plate ALXMLN.



Differences from the film:
Lennox having to deal with the Indian phone operator is absent,

Sam's "Auction site" username is Hotstud 217 [a Shining reference?].

Mikaela decapitates Frenzy with a chainsaw, and Bumblebee defeats Barricade by pushing him off a cliff, whilst Sam maintains dignity by not loosing his trousers.

Mikaela makes her comments about Bumblebee's alt mode before getting in the car, he them select the 2008 Camero from some sort of internal database rather than scanning a passing one.

Optimus Prime's first words are to reassure the humans he won't harm them, and that "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings".

Goofs:

It's insanely easy to phone the Pentagon from the Middle East. The page layout makes it look as if Lennox doesn't even have to dial, was Middle Eastern man already speaking to them?

Why is there a dangerous unfenced cliff edge right next to a in use car park?

Issue 3

Synopsis: This issue covers from the introduction of the Autobots through to Sam first seeing Megatron.
Notes:

The photo cover is of Optimus Prime facing off against Megatron. Extras include a poster based on that cover, a Autobot logo pin-up, a Megatron pin-up, a interview with computer game designer Daniel Suarez and a back cover Milne poster. There's also a offer for $5 off the computer game at Best Buy stores.

Differences from the film include:

Mikaela coins the term Autobot. Optimus Prime makes it crystal clear that the Autobots are under assumed names as their real ones have no translation. Prime also refers to Megatron as a Brother during the hologram recording. Prime has his faceplate throughout rather than his slightly freaky lips.

The business of Sam coming home and the Autobots outside the house is considerably shortened. We also loose the masturbation conversation. Shame.

Agent Simmons and Sector 7 are played straight with most of their comedy bits gone- Most obviously he isn't forced to strip to his underwear. The Techno virus means their phones don't work after leaving the Whitwicky house.

Keller makes his first appearance and is a General rather than Secretary of Defence.

The subplot about Mikaela's father is no longer in the film despite it being referenced when she was working on fixing Bumblebee in issue 1.

Optimus Prime locates the Allspark and outlines his plan immediately after Bumblebee is captured and before sunrise. He also calls the Autobots his brothers at this stage (so either he just means Brother in arms whenever he says it or Mama Prime had wide hips). He doesn't have the "Roll out!" line.

Thankfully one of the more irritating factual errors in the film is corrected-The ESA Mars probe Beagle 2 is no longer specifically called a NASA project (or indeed called by name).

Maggie makes her one and only appearance on the helicopter talking to Sam and Mikaela about finding the virus.

Frenzy doesn't get within the Dam. Instead he calls the other Decepticons from outside and asks them to bring his body. The dialogue of the Decepticons checking in is gone, meaning Megatron and Starscream are the only named ones in this adaptation.

Simmons agrees to only use passive scans on Bumblebee in exchange for Sam's help.

Goofs:

Really, what was the point of including Maggie for one panel? It refers to a subplot that has no bearing on the rest of the comic and makes no sense by itself.

Why are the Autobots just standing under the bridge listening to Prime's speech about his planed sacrifice when Sector 7 are still after them? Wouldn't it make more sense to escape and regroup to plan latter (as they do in the film)? Why do Sector 7 just bugger off when what they consider to be the enemy is just standing there chatting?


Issue 4

Synopsis: We go from Megatron's unveiling to the end of the film.

Notes:

This issue has a influx of extra credits. Presumably Chris Mowry handled the letters on all four issues- though the fact he's only credited here makes it hard to tell which of the additional colourists worked on more than one issue or just this final part.

Ironhide makes the photo cover. Extras are a poster of the Decepticons, a Bumblebee and Barricade pin-up, A Allspark pin-up, a interview with Hasbro toy executive Michael Verrecchia and a Milne drawn Allspark poster on the back cover.

This issue was published just a week before the films American release.

Differences from the film:

The scene of Lennox and his men being summoned to Hoover Dam is gone, they do turn up though.

The direct reference to Nokia is removed, as is the chat comparing Wolverine and Freddy Kruger's claws.

Megatron has much more dialogue when he awakens, clarifying he was aware of everything happening to him whilst frozen. He's also much friendlier to Starscream and deduces the Autobots have the Allspark from the way they flee rather than making a stand.

The Autobots go to the (unnamed here) City without any plan, they're just running.

Optimus kills Bonecrusher by the Dam [But see goofs], and instead of his Energy axe he retracts his hand to reveal what looks like a gun of some sort.

We then get two sequences filmed but deleted from the final film (though the second made it into the IMAX version): Optimus fighting and killing Barricade, and Captain Lennox going to a pawn shop for the shortwave radios.

Jazz gets of lightly as Megatron doesn't rip him in half. In fact, there's no firm confirmation of his death and he could just as easily be in need of repair at the end.

When Sam runs he again has no firm destination in mind, he just ducks in the building to get out of the open.

Optimus doesn't get his throwback "One shall stand line". But to make up for it he gets to be more proactive by telling Sam to shove the Allspark in Megatron's chest rather than his own.

As well as dropping the Decepticon remains into the ocean the US Government drop a nuke on top for safe measure.

The disturbing image of Sam and Mikaela getting jiggy on poor Bumblebee's bonnet is thankfully toned down to them just holding hands.

The end credits sequences are entirely absent,. meaning it's not clear what does happen to Starscream, nor if the Whitwicky's were ever released from Sector 7.

Goofs:

The absence of Lennox getting brought to the Dam means he and his men just appear out of nowhere.

Optimus' fights with Bonecrusher and Barricade are confusingly laid out- Prime seems to kill Bonecrusher outside the Dam, then fights Barricade straight away but when he kicks his head away it goers across the freeway outside the city. So either the City is right on top of the Dam, Prime has a long kick or he takes the head with him for a bit before chucking it.

In the Movie the military taking the battle into a highly populated are is a bit dubious, but at least they had a plan. Here hundreds if not thousands of people must dies simply because their panicked retreat takes them through the city.

On the page of the Autobots and humans standing by Jazz's body Megatron is drawn so insanely badly he looks more like Starscream (if not for the fact Megs should be there I would have thought it was the Seeker).

Op[Optimus tells Sam to shove the Allspark in Megatron's "Spark" but unfortunately there's nothing drawn on Megatron to indicate to Sam where this might be. Not even a glow, but he still gets it right. What a guy.

Who thought the big pink heart behind Sam and Mikaela's first kiss was a good idea?

Review:

What this adaptation really makes you appreciate is both the changes made to the script and the actors cast to bring the roles to life. Agent Simmons in particular is a pale imitation of his cinematic counterpart, but just about everyone is much less fun and interesting and the plot seems more pedestrian and less entertaining.

It doesn't help that entire subplots and scenes have been cut but with set ups and references to the missing material left in. It creates a choppy narrative that never builds up any steam.

Milne's art is functional, and nowhere near as bad as his Megatron Origin work, but it can't even come close to the films groundbreaking effects. It has to be said the character designs don't really work in a stationary 2D pose, they designed to be seen at speed and work best that way.

It's ultimately entirely irrelevant and throwaway, and it's probably worth waiting for the trade version to show up cheap rather than paying the full price. Disappointing.

[Two cubes]

Denyer
2007-11-26, 05:19 AM
Cheers. I think I'll put Mosaic reviews in their own section...

inflatable dalek
2007-11-26, 07:19 AM
Originally posted by Denyer
Cheers. I think I'll put Mosaic reviews in their own section...

Cool, might be worth adding a note to the main issue saying what was reprinted with it then (though knowing you you've no doubt though of that). I'll only be reviewing the Mosaics that get paper printed though so if anyone wants to take on the rest to make that section more comprehensive they're welcome.

Will you be doing the last two Prequel issues?

Oh, and I might do a review of the Prequel book if I ever finish it.

Denyer
2007-11-26, 07:31 AM
Originally posted by inflatable dalek
Will you be doing the last two Prequel issues? And the last two Gathering issues, but no ETA and don't let me stop you doing reviews for the series to go with, the more the better...

Do we know if Rain has been printed in any other issues? IIRC the plan was one Mosaic per month of comics, but the release schedule is somewhat out of whack at the moment.

Book reviews also welcome. About time I got something more done with the 'misc' section... let's see, what is there?

Hardwired / Annihilation / Fusion
Ultimate Guide
Legends anthology
Movie Adapation / Prequel novels
Ladybird books
Big Looker
Find Your Fate books
Probably other stuff on Steve-o's page

inflatable dalek
2007-11-26, 07:35 AM
We can review the Ladybird books? **** the prequel novel then...

Rain wasn't in Ramjet for what it's worth- I don't know if it made it in the Dinobots issue or not as I gave that straight to a friend.

Denyer
2007-11-26, 06:26 PM
Mmm, seem to recall getting Ramjet before D#2... it's the BW comics I was wondering about...

As far as books go, there's also various photo reference volumes. One of which, fingers crossed, I'll be in a position to review shortly... think those are better off in the toy section, though.

inflatable dalek
2007-12-24, 09:24 PM
Devastation Issue 3 and Transformers Mosaic: Rain

A Review by Inflatable Dalek.

Devastation Issue 3
Written by: Simon Furman.
Art by: Nick Roche.
Covers by: E.J Su and Nick Roche.
Letters by: Neil Uyetake.
Edits By: Andrew Steven Harris.

Synopsis:
At the Pentagon military officials are confused by the events in the Knoxville area and the lack of firm facts. But one of them is a mole reporting to the facsimile of Senator Holt, who decides the story can be turned to his master's advantage with a little spin.

The escape pod with Ratchet and the humans on has landed in Alabama, and upon disembarking the medic destroys the ship to stop it falling into the wrong hands. As they flee Ratchet hopes they'll be to insignificant for Sixshot to follow, but is dismayed to see the Decepticon come gunning down at them.

Back in Indiana, the "Headmaster" reveals he and his colleagues have all of Sunstreaker's knowledge on the Autobots. An unimpressed Hot Rod points out Sunstreaker was a bit slack on reading memo's and was probably unaware of Wheeljack's new Gyro-Inhibitor shell. He turns out to be correct as the weapon reduces the Sunstreakers in range to a out of control state allowing the Autobots to escape in order to reach Ironhide in time.

At Machination headquarters Sunstreaker fills Hunter in on the details, also explaining that the plan is to build a army based on his body. As he is directly linked into all the Headmaster's minds he again asks Hunter to kill him. Instead an outraged Hunter demands to be told to become a Headmaster himself.

As Ratchet flees across country along Ark 19's flight path Sixshot destroys two USAF fighter jets. Taking advantage of the brief distraction ratchet goes into the Florida town of Pensacola and attempts to hide amongst the ambulances responding to the damage caused by bits of Ark 19 falling on the town.

However, Sixshot simply destroys every ambulance in sight, forcing Ratchet to run once more, with the entire scene caught on camera by a TV crew. Arriving at the coast, and with no where else to run Ratchet forces Jimmy and Verity out before making his last stand by the sea. but as Sixshot goes to make a killing blow he is blasted off by Optimus Prime and the other Ark 19 crew members who emerge from the sea.

In Earth orbit a space ship arrives with the Reapers on board, ready to destroy the planet, whilst in the Dark Universe Nemesis Prime tells Galvatron to go to Earth.

Characters Featured:
Senator Holt [Facsimile], Ratchet, Jimmy, Verity, Sixshot, Hot Rod, Wheeljack, Sunstreaker Clones [Lots of them], Ironhide, Hunter, Sunstreaker, Lindy Simmons, Bumblebee, Optimus Prime, Hardhead, Jazz, Nightbeat, The Reapers, Galvatron, Nemesis {Nee Nova] Prime.

Notes:

Within the original cartoon exactly how the Headmasters process worked was a tad vague, but came across as a fairly straightforward "Human piloting the robot whilst the Transformer remains in overall control". Within the Marvel comic it started in a equally similar manner- The Human controlled the Robot whilst the original head maintained contact via radio- but quickly involved into a linking of the two minds called Binary Bonding. A variation on this is what IDW have gone for with the added twist that all the Humans who have undergone the process are linked to just the one Transformer, Sunstreaker. The fact Hunter hasn't displayed any mental link yet (which after all would make Sunstreaker having to give him all that exposition unnecessary) will no doubt be addressed next issue.

We come this close to hearing Sunstreaker name The Big Giant Head, but the scene cuts away before he can get more than a "SK-NK" out. This adds to the already overwhelming supporting evidence for the head being Scorponok.

Senator Holt was seemingly replaced by a Facsimile back in Escalation issue 2. It's unclear if Deacon-his plant on The National Security Council- is also a substitute or just an human lackey unaware of the big picture. The NSC appear to be completely in the dark over the cause of the mid air explosion suggesting they have no links with Sky Watch.

Ratchet has the facilitates to treat human wounds, which is probably a fairly recent addition as it's only been in the last few weeks he's had potential human patients. According to the Doctor there have been no first hand accounts of Sixshot's activities due to the lack of survivors.

The Gyro Inhibitor, as the name implies, effectively screws up a Transformers co-ordination so they either fall over or crash. Wheeljack sends regular memo's on his new inventions which Sunstreaker hardly ever bothers with. The interesting implication being that the Autobots have to read them in the first place rather than, say, just downloading the information directly.

K-IDW journalist Lindy Simmons first appeared in Infiltration issue 3, the panel here of asking her cameraman if he "Got" footage of the Transformers is a direct copy of one from that issue, only here he's actually managed to get Sixshot on tape. Somewhat oddly considering we've had a few made up TV Channels by this stage Ratchet makes a direct reference to CNN at one point.

The Reapers decided to follow Sixshot to Earth in Escalation #6, and appear to have amassed both a a spaceship and a army of comrades to attack the planet. The Dead Universe has been a sub plot across various Spotlights starting with Nightbeat that here makes its presence in the main title for the first time. Nemesis Prime is one of Optimus' predecessors who- under the name Nova Prime- left Cybertron millions of years ago on Ark 1 with a crew including Galvatron. Their main activities so far in the present day include brainwashing Nightbeat and stealing Thunderwing's body from Cybertron.

Injokery this issue includes:

Beneath Ironhide in the crush pile is a Porsche with the registration "DREAM"- a dig a Dreamwave company owner Pat Lee who infamously brought several cars of that make rather than paying his staff (oddly enough Roche himself wasn't one of them).
A gas station called Dark Stone- Which is a variation on the surname of G.B. Blackrock from the Marvel comic.
As he reaches the coast ratchet realises it's "End of the Road!", a recurring Furman phrase that most recently popped up on the Andrew Wildman cover to Infiltration #3.
Ratchet's registration number is SIDW S10 (probably a bit of IDW overkill between that, the TV Station and the Machination shop from Escalation).
Both the Roche cover and the Sixshot/Ratchet chase contain visual homages to the classic Hitchcock film North By Northwest.

With E.J. Su on Paternity leave Nick Roche becomes only the second person to have drawn the main comic.

Goofs:

In the opening exterior shot the pentagon looks remarkably intact considering Megatron demolished a wall then he threw a giant arm through it in Spotlight: Ramjet no more than three weeks before this. That's fast repair work.

So, if all the Headmasters are linked to Sunstreaker why don't they know he's talking to Hunter?

Why is the Headmaster just standing around talking at Hot Rod and Wheeljack rather than fighting them? [Has the mind sharing scheme given them Suntreaker's ego as well?]

As we cut away from Sunstreaker naming the head we get a shot of a fair haired Machination scientist who has the most inanely happy grin on his face, which is somewhat odd as the Headmasters have just received their first major set back from the Gyro Inhibitor.

And in the last panel of the last page Galvatron and Nemesis Prime's speech bubbles are reversed.

Quote, Unquote

Hot Rod: Headmasters? Now I've seen everything. I mean, I can see how you'd want to cover up all that fleshy vulnerability, but really! It'd be laughable if it wasn't so tragic.

Sunstreaker: Pwlease. I...just...Want. this. To. Stop. They're ALL in here, uuusing me to hunt, to hhurt... other Autobots! And this...is hust the beginning.

Verity: I don't want to sound ungrateful or anything, but is that your plan? Hide?
Ratchet: Um. Yes.

Sixshot: It's been fun. Better than some anyway, but it's over. I'll make it quick.
Ratchet: Gee, thanks.

Review:

This issues was always going to have a huge challenge with the first change in the regular team on the main title. We knew Nick is one of the best artists IDW have, but would his art style mesh well enough with Su's so as not to feel jarring?

The answer is a overwhelming yes. Roche shows himself to be the most versatile artist working in Transformers, providing drawing that are still unmistakably him but crafted to the already established look. An exceptional undertaking of a potentially difficult job.

Writing wise Furman continues to show great form (is it really the same guy who currently making Beast Wars a convoluted bore?) as he begins to bring the various disparate threads together. As well as the Reapers and the Dead universe it's great to see things like Senator Holt haven't been forgotten and still have a part to play. Even the surprise pay off to the K IDW joke is well done.

The issue centre piece is of course the ratchet/Sixshot chase, and it's full of great moments both big and small. I especially love how Sixshot finds Ratchet amongst a load of ambulances simply by blowing them all up. Even the old "End of the road" gag is done well enough to raise a wry smile rather than a groan.

On the negative side, the Machination are becoming sillier and sillier the more we learn of them, to the point where I'm beginning to wonder if SK-NK is pulling a massive con on some rick idiots. And the continued refusal to properly name the Head is getting silly now. Unless there's a massive left field plot twist coming it's been done to death.

Still, apart from very minor niggles this continues to impress greatly, and is well worth your time.

[four out of five]


Transformers Mosaic: Rain

Written by: Josh Van Reyk.
Art by: Shaun Knowler.
Letters and Colours by: Kris Carter.
Edits by: Mary Canada and J.J. Price.

Synopsis: As they sit on a alien moon Warpath asks Beachcomber why a pacifist like him fights. Beachcomber explains it's because he doesn't want to see other planets suffer like Cybertron, nor people who can't fight themselves be hurt. But mostly he fights because that's the only way to end the War so he can go back to peace.

Characters Featured: Warpath, Beachcomber, Shockwave [Flashback].

Notes: As with Rain this is set in a non-specific G! continuity. Though Warpath does use his TV speech patterns.

This takes place on a unspecified moon orbiting a Saturn like gas giant.

Beachcomber's memories of war include Iacon's dome burning, Shockwave killing a defenceless Autobot and having to protect a human from an explosion. The final panel of him relaxing by a lake where the sun set makes is appear golden is a reference to the cartoon episode The Golden Lagoon.

Review:
A nice quick bit of character work for a often overlooked Minibot. Whilst it looses some points for giving Warpath his deeply irritating TV WHAM! speech BHAM! style it's brief enough not to irritate hugely and is a good fast read.

And John Van Reyk officially has the greatest name of anyone to work on Transformers.

[three cubes]

inflatable dalek
2007-12-24, 10:28 PM
Titan Transformers #6

Note: This issue also consists of two reprinted back up strips of IDW material; pages 16-22 of issue 2 of The Prequel comic and pages 16-22 of issue 2 of Beast Wars: The Gathering.

Lost In Space Part 4: Jazz.

Script: Simon Furman.
Artwork: Marcelo Matere.
Colours: Liam Shalloo.
Lettering: Jimmy Betancourt/Comicraft.

Synopsis: Jazz has picked up Ratchet's signal but has chosen to ignore it as the Foldspace explosion has taken him to a place with everything he's ever wanted- A planet with a "Information Highway" full of knowledge about countless alien cultures.

But as he lands on the surface to rest he is attacked by the planet, which acquires it's knowledge by draining the Minds of it's visitors. As it plunders his memories- including a time his vanity got a fellow Autobot killed by Bonecrusher, Jazz realises there is no escape and launches a warning buoy to keep others away, before blacking out.

Awakening sometime latter he finds Ratchet and Ironhide have followed the signal and come to rescue him, which they achieve by Ironhide threatening to blow up the intelligence if their comrade isn't released. Fleeing the sentient planet the reunited Autobots head for Cybertron.

Characters Featured:
Jazz, Bonecrusher [Flashback], Clocker [Flashback, killed by Bonecrusher], Ratchet, Ironhide.

Notes:
This ends both Titan's first story arc and their run of stories set before the Movie, issue 7 will bring us back to the present day. Jazz's character is fairly interesting here as- due to the time it's set- the comic can't use his personality as seen in the Movie where he's influenced by the Earth culture he's encountered. Here we see his love of absorbing alien cultures, but generally he comes across more like how Furman writes G1 Sunstreaker, vain enough to leave his spark core exposed because he thinks it looks better and thus causing Clocker to sacrifice himself to save his comrade. Noticeably, despite being forced to relive it Jazz doesn't seem all that bothered about having caused a death afterwards.

Clocker is based on the non Movie toy, a repaint of the Cybertronian toy of the same name.

At the end of the issue they head home to Cybertron, suggesting the planet has yet to be abandoned at this stage.

Matere previously drew [i]Spotlight: Soundwave for IDW.

This issue was first published the week the film came out on DVD in the UK, and thus is a "Movie Special" according to the cover. No doubt the previous five issues weren't "Movie Not Very Special Really" ones. As the December issue there's also a Christmas theme in the sense there are plugs for toys for you to persuade Santa to get you.

Goofs: Ratchet is green again. It's a shame that we're leaving the pre Earth modes behind before anyone drew a standard design for the artists to work from...

As the issue opens Jazz has been on the planet several times before this, so why only attack him now?

The contents page claims this story shows how Jazz came to Earth. Is the Editor not reading the comic?

Fantastic Free Gift!: A tactical target shooter! Lets you shoot a ball at ickle cardboard cut outs of the characters. Or after you've had a few beers on Christmas day you can fire it at the cat.

Extras:
Character Profile on Starscream.
A feature on the new UK Transformers online shop, with a competition to win £2o to spend there.
Interviews with Shia LaBeouf and "Megan-Tron" Fox (with a competition to win the film on DVD).
Top Gear covers the Best of books on Simon Furman and Don Figueroa, a watch, the Cyberstompers and some nice cushions.
The letters page deals deals with the issue of the first issue having letters from those who had seen the Movie before release in the UK, but only gives a sheepish "Who knows?" style response.
Due to the space needed for the extra interviews this is the first issue not to have a "Smackdown" nor a poster based on the cover.

Review:
A nice enough story ruined somewhat by coming right on the back of two others where aliens get into the lead characters head and dredge through their memories. If Furman's already running out of ideas the comic is going to be in serious trouble.

On the plus side, a chance to see the "real" Jazz shone of cultural influences is very welcome, and I'm a sucker for Autobots who are bastards beneath it all. The art is nicely bright and chunky without seeming childish as well.

All in all though it's no great shame we're moving on from prequel stories, and hopefully the new arc will reinvigorate things a bit.

[two and a half cubes]

zigzagger
2007-12-31, 02:15 AM
Okay, here's the polished review for Devastation #3 and TF; Mosaic. You know, the usual. Oh, oh, because I thought it might be fun, we could use fleeing Ratchet's instead of the usual energon cubes for the grading this issue. Ah, come on...it'll be fun!

...Or not

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o256/vyvolute/CopyofRatchetRun.jpg

At any rate, here's the review. Titan #6 coming up next.

______

Devastation Issue 3 and Transformers Mosaic: Rain

A Review by Inflatable Dalek.

Devastation Issue 3
Written by: Simon Furman.
Art by: Nick Roche.
Covers by: E.J Su and Nick Roche.
Letters by: Neil Uyetake.
Edits By: Andrew Steven Harris.

Synopsis:
At the Pentagon, military officials are confused by the events in the Knoxville area and the lack of firm facts. However, one of them is a mole reporting to the facsimile of Senator Holt, who decides that the story can be turned to his master's advantage with a little spin.

Meanwhile, the escape pod deployed from the plummeting Ark 19 with Ratchet and the humans onboard landed in Alabama, and upon disembarking the medic destroyed the pod to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. As they flee, Ratchet hopes they'll be deemed too insignificant for Sixshot to follow, but is dismayed to see the Decepticon come gunning down at them.

Back in Indiana, after revealing himself to Hot Rod and Wheeljack (see previous issue), the "Headmaster" divulged that he and his colleagues have all of Sunstreaker's knowledge on the Autobots. An unimpressed Hot Rod points out that Sunstreaker was a bit slack when it came to reading memos and was probably unaware of Wheeljack's new Gyro-Inhibitor shells. He turns out to be correct as the weapon reduces the Sunstreaker clones in range to an out of control state allowing the Autobots to escape in order to reach Ironhide in time.

At Machination headquarters, Sunstreaker fills Hunter in on the details of what has happened to them, also explaining that the plan is to build a army based on his body. As he is directly linked into all the Headmaster's minds, he again asks Hunter to kill him. Instead an outraged Hunter demands to be told to become a Headmaster himself.

As Ratchet flees across country along Ark 19's flight path, Sixshot destroys two USAF fighter jets. Taking advantage of the brief distraction, Ratchet goes into the Florida town of Pensacola and attempts to hide amongst the ambulances responding to the damage caused by bits of Ark 19 falling onto the town.

However, Sixshot simply destroys every ambulance in sight, forcing Ratchet to run once more, with the entire scene caught on camera by a TV crew. Arriving at the coast and with no where else to run, Ratchet forces Jimmy and Verity out before making his last stand by the sea. But as Sixshot is about to make the killing blow he is blasted off by Optimus Prime and the other Ark 19 crew members who emerge from the sea.

In Earth orbit a space ship arrives with the Reapers on board, ready to destroy the planet, whilst in the Dark Universe, Nemesis Prime tells Galvatron to go to Earth.

Characters Featured:
Senator Holt [Facsimile], Ratchet, Jimmy, Verity, Sixshot, Hot Rod, Wheeljack, Sunstreaker Clones [Lots of them], Ironhide, Hunter, Sunstreaker, Lindy Simmons, Bumblebee, Optimus Prime, Hardhead, Jazz, Nightbeat, The Reapers, Galvatron, Nemesis [Nova] Prime.

Notes:

Within the original cartoon, exactly how the Headmasters process worked was a tad vague, but came across as a fairly straightforward - human piloting the robot whilst the Transformer remains in overall control. Within the Marvel comic it started in an equally similar manner - the human controlled the robot whilst the original head maintained contact via radio, but quickly involved into a linking of the two minds called Binary Bonding. A variation on this is what IDW has gone for with the added twist that all the humans who have undergone the process are linked to just the one Transformer, Sunstreaker. The fact Hunter hasn't displayed any mental link yet (which after all, would make Sunstreaker having to give him all that exposition unnecessary) will no doubt be addressed next issue.

We come this close to hearing Sunstreaker name The Big Giant Head, but the scene cuts away before he can get more than a "SK-NK" out. This adds to the already overwhelming supporting evidence for the head being Scorponok.

Senator Holt was seemingly replaced by a facsimile back in Escalation issue 2. It's unclear if Deacon - his plant on The National Security Council - is also a substitute or just a human lackey unaware of the big picture. The NSC appear to be completely in the dark over the cause of the mid air explosion, suggesting they have no links with Sky Watch.

Ratchet has the facilities to treat human wounds, which is probably a fairly recent addition as it's only been in the last few weeks he's had potential human patients. According to the Doctor there have been no first hand accounts of Sixshot's activities due to the lack of survivors.

The Gyro Inhibitor, as the name implies, effectively screws up a Transformers co-ordination so they either fall over or crash. Wheeljack sends regular memo's on his new inventions, which Sunstreaker hardly ever bothers with. The interesting implication being that the Autobots have to read them in the first place rather than, say, just downloading the information directly.

K-IDW journalist Lindy Simmons first appeared in Infiltration issue 3, the panel here of asking her cameraman if he "got" footage of the Transformers is a direct copy of one from that issue, only here he's actually managed to get Sixshot on tape. Somewhat oddly considering we've had a few made up TV Channels by this stage since Ratchet makes a direct reference to CNN at one point.

The Reapers decided to follow Sixshot to Earth in Escalation #6, and appear to have amassed both a spaceship and a army of comrades to attack the planet. The Dead Universe has been a sub plot across various Spotlights, starting with Nightbeat, that here makes its presence in the main title for the first time. Nemesis Prime is one of Optimus' predecessors who - under the name Nova Prime - left Cybertron millions of years ago on Ark 1 with a crew that included Galvatron. Their main activities so far in the present day include brainwashing Nightbeat and stealing Thunderwing's body from Cybertron.

Injokery this issue includes:

Beneath Ironhide in the crush pile is a Porsche with the registration "DREAM" - a dig at Dreamwave company owner Pat Lee who infamously brought several cars of that make rather than paying his staff (oddly enough Roche himself wasn't one of them).
A gas station called Dark Stone, which is a variation on the surname of G.B. Blackrock from the Marvel comic.
As he reaches the coast, Ratchet realises it's "End of the Road!", a recurring Furman phrase that most recently popped up on the Andrew Wildman cover to Infiltration #3.
Ratchet's registration number is SIDW S10 (probably a bit of IDW overkill between that, the TV Station and the Machination shop from Escalation).
Both the Roche cover and the Sixshot/Ratchet chase contain visual homages to the classic Hitchcock film North By Northwest.

With E.J. Su on paternity leave, Nick Roche becomes only the second person to have drawn the main comic.

Goofs:

In the opening exterior shot the Pentagon looks remarkably intact considering Megatron demolished a wall when he threw a giant arm through it in Spotlight: Ramjet no more than three weeks before this. That's fast repair work.

So, if all the Headmasters are linked to Sunstreaker why don't they know he's talking to Hunter?

Why is the Headmaster just standing around talking at Hot Rod and Wheeljack rather than fighting them? Has the mind sharing scheme given them Suntreaker's ego as well?

As we cut away from Sunstreaker naming the head we get a shot of a fair haired Machination scientist who has the most inanely happy grin on his face, which is somewhat odd as the Headmasters have just received their first major set back from the Gyro Inhibitor.

And in the last panel of the last page, Galvatron and Nemesis Prime's speech bubbles are reversed.

Quote, Unquote

Hot Rod: Headmasters? Now I've seen everything. I mean, I can see how you'd want to cover up all that fleshy vulnerability, but really! It'd be laughable if it wasn't so tragic.

Sunstreaker: Pwlease. I...just...Want. this. To. Stop. They're ALL in here, uuusing me to hunt, to hhurt... other Autobots! And this...is just the beginning.

Verity: I don't want to sound ungrateful or anything, but is that your plan? Hide?
Ratchet: Um. Yes.

Sixshot: It's been fun. Better than some anyway, but it's over. I'll make it quick.
Ratchet: Gee, thanks.

Review:

This issue was always going to have a huge challenge with the first change in the regular team on the main title. We knew Nick is one of the best artists IDW have, but would his art style mesh well enough with Su's so as not to feel jarring?

The answer is an overwhelming yes. Roche shows himself to be the most versatile artist working in Transformers, providing drawing that are still unmistakably him but crafted to the already established look. An exceptional undertaking of a potentially difficult job.

Writing wise Furman continues to show great form (is it really the same guy who is currently making Beast Wars a convoluted bore?) as he begins to bring the various disparate threads together. As well as the Reapers and the Dead Universe, it's great to see that things like Senator Holt haven't been forgotten and still have a part to play. Even the surprise pay off to the K IDW joke is well done.

The issue centre piece is of course the Ratchet/Sixshot chase, and it's full of great moments both big and small. I especially love how Sixshot finds Ratchet amongst a load of ambulances simply by blowing them all up. Even the old "End of the road" gag is done well enough to raise a wry smile rather than a groan.

On the negative side, the Machination are becoming sillier and sillier the more we learn of them, to the point where I'm beginning to wonder if SK-NK is pulling a massive con on some rich idiots. And the continued refusal to properly name the Head is getting silly now. Unless there's a massive left field plot twist coming it's been done to death.

Still, apart from very minor niggles this continues to impress greatly, and is well worth your time.

[four out of five]


Transformers Mosaic: Rain

Written by: Josh Van Reyk.
Art by: Shaun Knowler.
Letters and Colours by: Kris Carter.
Edits by: Mary Canada and J.J. Price.

Synopsis: As they sit on a alien moon, Warpath asks Beachcomber why a pacifist like him fights. Beachcomber explains it's because he doesn't want to see other planets suffer like Cybertron, nor people who can't fight themselves be hurt. But mostly he fights because that's the only way to end the War so he can go back to peace.

Characters Featured: Warpath, Beachcomber, Shockwave [Flashback].

Notes: As with Rain, this is set in a non-specific G1 continuity. Though Warpath does use his TV speech patterns.

This takes place on an unspecified moon orbiting a Saturn like gas giant.

Beachcomber's memories of war include Iacon's dome burning, Shockwave killing a defenseless Autobot, and having to protect a human from an explosion. The final panel of him relaxing by a lake where the sun set makes is appear golden is a reference to the cartoon episode The Golden Lagoon.

Review:
A nice quick bit of character work for an often overlooked Minibot. Whilst it looses some points for giving Warpath his deeply irritating TV WHAM! speech BHAM! style, it's brief enough not to irritate hugely and is a good fast read.

John Van Reyk officially has the greatest name of anyone to work on Transformers.

[three cubes]

zigzagger
2007-12-31, 02:36 AM
...And here is the polished review for Titan #6. Not much else to say here.

___________


Titan Transformers #6

Note: This issue also consists of two reprinted back up strips of IDW material; pages 16-22 of issue 2 of The Prequel comic and pages 16-22 of issue 2 of Beast Wars: The Gathering.

Lost In Space Part 4: Jazz.

Script: Simon Furman.
Artwork: Marcelo Matere.
Colours: Liam Shalloo.
Lettering: Jimmy Betancourt/Comicraft.

Synopsis: Jazz has picked up Ratchet's signal , but has chosen to ignore it as the Foldspace explosion has taken him to a place with everything he's ever wanted - a planet with an "Information Highway" full of knowledge about countless alien cultures.

But as he lands on the surface to rest, he is attacked by the planet, which acquires its knowledge by draining the minds of its visitors. As it plunders his memories, including a time his vanity got a fellow Autobot killed by Bonecrusher, Jazz realises there is no escape and launches a warning buoy to keep others away, before blacking out.

Awakening sometime later, he finds Ratchet and Ironhide have followed the signal and come to rescue him, which they achieve by Ironhide threatening to blow up the intelligence if their comrade isn't released. Fleeing the sentient planet, the reunited Autobots head for Cybertron.

Characters Featured:
Jazz, Bonecrusher [Flashback], Clocker [Flashback, killed by Bonecrusher], Ratchet, Ironhide.

Notes:
This ends both Titan's first story arc and their run of stories set before the Movie; issue 7 will bring us back to the present day. Jazz's character is fairly interesting here as, due to the time it's set, the comic can't use his personality as seen in the Movie where he's influenced by the Earth culture he's encountered. Here we see his love of absorbing alien cultures, but generally he comes across more like how Furman writes G1 Sunstreaker, vain enough to leave his spark core exposed because he thinks it looks better and thus causing Clocker to sacrifice himself to save his comrade. Noticeably, despite being forced to relive it, Jazz doesn't seem all that bothered about having caused a death afterwards.

Clocker is based on the non Movie toy, a repaint of the Cybertronian toy of the same name.

At the end of the issue they head home to Cybertron, suggesting the planet has yet to be abandoned at this stage.

Matere previously drew [i]Spotlight: Soundwave for IDW.

This issue was first published the week the film came out on DVD in the UK, and thus is a "Movie Special" according to the cover. No doubt the previous five issues weren't "Movie Not Very Special Really" ones. As the December issue there's also a Christmas theme in the sense there are plugs for toys for you to persuade Santa to get you.

Goofs: Ratchet is green again. It's a shame that we're leaving the pre Earth modes behind before anyone drew a standard design for the artists to work from...

As the issue opens Jazz has been on the planet several times before this, so why only attack him now?

The contents page claims this story shows how Jazz came to Earth. Is the Editor not reading the comic?

Fantastic Free Gift!: A tactical target shooter! Lets you shoot a ball at ickle cardboard cut outs of the characters. Or after you've had a few beers on Christmas day, you can fire it at the cat.

Extras:
Character Profile on Starscream.
A feature on the new UK Transformers online shop, with a competition to win £2o to spend there.
Interviews with Shia LaBeouf and "Megan-Tron" Fox (with a competition to win the film on DVD).
Top Gear covers the Best of books on Simon Furman and Don Figueroa, a watch, the Cyberstompers and some nice cushions.
The letters page deals with the concern regarding the first issue having letters from those who had seen the Movie before release in the UK, but only gives a sheepish "Who knows?" style response.
Due to the space needed for the extra interviews this is the first issue not to have a "Smackdown" or a poster based on the cover.

Review:
A nice enough story ruined somewhat by coming right on the back of two others where aliens get into the lead characters head and dredge through their memories. If Furman's already running out of ideas, the comic is going to be in serious trouble.

On the plus side, a chance to see the "real" Jazz shone of cultural influences is very welcome, and I'm a sucker for Autobots who are bastards beneath it all. The art is nicely bright and chunky without seeming childish as well.

All in all, though it's no great shame we're moving on from prequel stories, hopefully the new arc will reinvigorate things a bit.

[two and a half cubes] [/B][/QUOTE]

inflatable dalek
2007-12-31, 07:35 AM
Bloody hell Ziggy, I wasn't expecting you to do anything on these till after New Year. I salute you!

Though of course, I meant to sat the Machination are rich idiots rather than Rick idiots....

Oh, and I like the Ratchet's.

inflatable dalek
2008-01-05, 07:13 PM
Transformers #7

Note: This issue also consists of two reprinted strips of IDW material, pages 1-7 of issue 3 of the Prequel comic , and pages 1-7 of issue 3 of Beast Wars: The Gathering.

Starscream's Militia!
Script: Simon Furman.
Art: BOO {no, really].
[B]Colours: Robin Smith.
Lettering: Jimmy Betancourt/Comicraft.

Synopsis:

Present Day L.A: Having seen Megatron defeated by Prime Starscream flees the battle. He realises he is now Decepticon Leader by default, but ironically he has no troops to command.

Deciding to rectify this he takes the Spark energy from several Transformers created during Sam's run through the City and places it within his deceased comrades in order to reanimate them as Zombies.

Engaging the Autobots they initially have the upper hand, until ratchet realises what they are and has everyone destroy them by firing at their allspark energy. Despite the seeming victory Starscream escapes with three bits of energy left to use...

Characters featured:

Blackout [Zombie], Barricade [Zombie], Brawl [Zombie], Starscream, Optimus Prime, Megatron [Dead], Popbot, Ironhide, Ratchet.

Notes:

This is the first piece of Movie tie in fiction to be set in the present day, occurring between Megatron's death and the Decepticon's being dumped in the ocean. Furman picked this setting so as to try and minimise any contradictions between this story and both the Sequel and any IDW tie in stories.

Though Barricade's death was not seen in the film he is amongst the Zombies here. A perhaps odd choice for a story trying not to contradict any future Movieverse stories considering that, whilst there's nothing to say he didn't die, his final scene was cut from the film to allow him to appear in sequels.

The vending machine robot is inspired by the Mountain Dew Transformer created in the Movie- though as this chap looks completely different and sells the amazingly named "Pop" we'll assume he's a different character out of kindness.

This story is loosely inspired by the original cartoon episode Starscream's Brigade, where the Seeker went about creating his own Army from stolen Decepticon personalities and wreaks. Starscream's Brigade may well have been the strip's working title as a press release on Simon Furman's blog still calls it by that name: http://simonfurman.wordpress.com/2008/01/03/tf-uk-a-go-go-7/

This is the first issue to be drawn by a artist who not only hasn't worked on Transformers before, but would seem not to have had any prior professional work. If anyone knows more about BOO, such as his real name or where to send the death threats get in touch.

Based on the "Next Issue" page this is to be the last issue with a photocover for the moment.

Goofs:

In what may be the single biggest goof in the entire history of Transformer comics this story claims the final battle in the film occurs in Los Angeles rather than Mission City. If nothing else the journey times from Hover Damn no longer works (which is no doubt why they went for a fictional city rather than the one they filmed in anyway). And consider this: Furman is trying to write a story that fits seamlessly between scenes of the Movie but hasn't watched it closely enough to know where those scenes take place...

Starscream starts off with more red on him than he had in the film (IE: None at all, it looks like Smith was aiming for a hybrid of his film and G1 colour schemes), has gone back to being completely grey when scaring the badly drawn cop before having a slight bit of red in a different place as he flies off at the end.

Also, unless he runs really fast, the Popbot can't be to far from where the Autobots are standing around Megatron's body. So why do none of them notice Starscream noisily land there?

If Starscream wants troops why not simply recruit the Sam created Transformers rather than killing them? They all have weapons of some sort and the car ones are likely more impressive than Popbot. Why not go get Frenzy as well?

Ratchet's amazing plan to deal with the Zombies is to shoot at their sparks? Considering that seems to be the only really vulnerable bit of a Transformer wouldn't that be normal practise?

On his first panel Ironhide looks more like he should be called Nemesis Prime.

Where is Bumblebee? And Sam? And Mikaela? and Captain Lennox? And all the soldiers? Are they still in Mission City?

Fantastic Free Gift! A pad and pencil, but with a "holographic" cover. More entertaining than anything in the issue.

Extras:

Character profile on Frenzy,
A poster by Geoff Senior showing the Zombie Decepticons in a style similar to Marvel Zombies. Not only the first poster not based on the cover, but so good it makes you weep for what the issue could have been like,
A "How to Draw Megatron" feature written by Steve Marchant and drawn by John McCrea and Lee Bradley,
The Top Gear section covers a few Star Wars: Transformers and the remote control Real Gear toy,
The letters page is renamed Starscreams and is "hosted" by the Decepticon after being the most requested character by readers.

Review:

Dear God, banal on every level this is by far the worst Titan strip to date. Considering Furman's claim to want to write something that would work seamlessly within the Movie it completely fails, characters vanish without explanation and Starscream fighting a vending machine hardly fits tonally with the epic battle that just happened.

We also have the misfortune of the worst art seen since Panini's Armada died a unloved death, characters- both human and robot- seem to have been drawn in about five seconds with the former especially looking like Boo may not ever actually have seen a human before.

With so few redeeming features it's best to save your pennies.

[one and a half cubes]

Denyer
2008-01-10, 05:57 AM
Gracias. Have tried to proof whilst making the pages...