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Red Dave Prime
2013-08-10, 10:16 PM
Transformers Autocracy #3
“The Hunt for Soundwave”

Published Date: February 15th 2012
Written by: Chris Metzen & Flint Dille
Art by: Livio Ramondelli
Colours by: Livio Ramondelli
Edited by: John Barber & Carlos Guzman
Cover price: $0.99

Synopsis:

Orion Pax briefs his troops on their target – the Decepticon Spy Soundwave. Pax informs them that not only is Soundwave carrying vital intel on Zeta Primes plans, but that he is also considered responsible for the massacre of the old senate. Pursuing him through the streets of Iacon, they split up into small groups.

Providing air coverage, Silverbolt alerts Hound and Bumblebee that Soundwave is near their location and the chase is on. Soundwave unleashes Ravage to slow down the two Autobots and though they incapacitate the jaguar robot, they are too damaged to continue pursuit.

Soundwave heads to the Neurospan bridge where he confronts Prowl and Ironhide. He ejects Rumble, who destroys the bridge with Ironhide and Prowl on it. Soundwave heads to a local market place but is confronted by Pax. This time its Frenzy who helps Soundwaves continued escape, turning the local civilians insane with his disruptor weapons. They converge on Pax, allowing Soundwave to move on. Looking to avoid being spotted by Silverbolt again, Soundwave sends Ratbat after him, causing the aerialbot to crash land.

Near the Kaon border Pax finally catches up to Soundwave, blasting Frenzy from behind and damaging Soundwaves eject mechanism to stop any further minions being unleashed. The two battle before Pax gets the upper hand, just as the other Autobots catch up. Before they can take Soundwave into custody, they are confronted by a squad of seekers led by Skywarp who proposes a sit-down conference between Orion Pax and the leader of the Decepticons – Megatron.

Characters featured [in rough order of appearance]:

Orion Pax, Hound, Ironhide, Bumblebee, Prowl, Silverbolt, Soundwave, Ravage, Rumble, Frenzy, Ratbat, Skywarp, Dirge, Thrust, Ramjet, Astrotrain, Blitzwing

Notes:

Soundwave never gets to deploy anymore minions after he is damaged by Pax but he does try to eject Buzzsaw. It’s possible he was also carrying more.

Kaon is established as Decepticon territory, following on from the events in Megatron: Origins. The Autobots have no jurisdiction in Kaon. Going by the dialogue in this issue, Kaon possibly borders Iacon.

Somewhat explaining Starscreams presence in the senate scene last issue, it is indicated that Soundwave is considered the assassin who destroyed the last senate and that there were no Survivors (again, see
Megatron:Origins)

Frenzy is able to cause insanity in the civilians with weaponry which is somewhat at odds to how he achieves it in AHM. He is also very coherent when speaking. Pity, one of the few good ideas from AHM has been nixed.

Ratbat makes an appearance in his new animal form – quite a drop in stature for the ex-senator.


Quote / Unquote:
“Ravage eject! Operation Evisceration!” – Soundwave is speaking a-la the sunbow cartoon and not the more vocal character Furman first introduced in Spotlight:Soundwave.

“Curious Flaw Detected Within Autobot Commander. Designation: Over Confidence” – But he still gets to give the odd put-down (puttup)


Review:

A straight-forward action issue, and all the better for it. Autocracy number 3 is an entertaining 12 pages which might not break any new ground, but does show off how dangerous Soundwave and his minions can be. It may be nothing new, but I liked how Soundwave had a minion for every situation. It almost feels like a “new toy” episode of the cartoon, where the new toy is shown in a great light with all their gimmicks on full display.

This issue is also a good showcase for Livio and his artwork. In other issues the reduced page/ panel count will hurt his work, especially in action scenes where he has to cram a lot in. Here though he has plenty of room to breath and everything is much easier to follow because of it. His colouring is also really nice, especially the border scenes at the end.

Another nice touch are the little bits of information that is dropped throughout the issue. We now know why Starscream wasn’t under any suspicion in issue 2 and that the Decepticons are more than an underground movement at this point – they have control of Kaon, even if it’s not clear if this control is recognised as legitimate occupation. It’s possible that Starscream is the Kaon delegate, although that would make Zeta Prime a bit of an idiot.

So while not an amazing issue, this is a fun and pacey twelve pages, highlighting Soundwave and his crew. Nothing more and thankfully nothing less

4 out of 5

Blackjack
2013-08-11, 07:37 AM
Technically, it is kind of a 'new toy' episode promoting the then-at-sale Decepticon data discs, no? Or theoretically, anyway, considering the bad distribution...

I like this issue as well. Autocracy is generally decent if not spectacular, whereas Monstrosity really pissed me off at a lot of points.

Red Dave Prime
2013-08-11, 08:28 AM
Not to spoiler ahead, but I agree with you on the two series. Autocracy is actual ok up to the end, but I found Monstrosity lacks focus as to what its really about and has a real teenage fanboy feel about it. The Dynobot alt modes, Megatron cutting through just about everyone on his own, while near death and Trypticons babies that make no sense really. Each issue isn't terrible (well, not completely) and there is one or two nice ideas but it reads a lot like that Dinobot combiner story from way back.

Blackjack
2013-08-11, 08:43 AM
Not to spoiler ahead, but I agree with you on the two series. Autocracy is actual ok up to the end

I'm a little miffled by shoehorning Fall of Cybertron's METROPLEX ARISE scene for the ending since it doesn't make sense in the IDW continuity (not before Barber and Roberts did the Spotlight issues, anyway), but that is probably the only thing that outright pisses me off.

It's like, say, changing Perceptor into being a supercold sniper in All Hail Megatron. I like it now due to it being explained in the Coda issue, and eventually being put to spectacular use in LSOTW, but back when it first appeared it still pissed me off.

but I found Monstrosity lacks focus as to what its really about and has a real teenage fanboy feel about it. The Dynobot alt modes, Megatron cutting through just about everyone on his own, while near death and Trypticons babies that make no sense really.

It really lacks focus, doesn't it? It tries very hard to tie in stuff to the High Moon games, shoehorning in everything from those games into the IDW continuity -- the Dinobots going all Hulk with their beast modes, Trypticon wreaking havoc, Metroplex running out of energy... it's such a blatant and stupid way to shoehorn those stuff in.

And the suddenly-competent Terrorcons show up for no reason other than to sell the modern Terrorcon toys out there. Megatron gets turned into the Hobo DOTM look again for no reason other than just being there. Bulkhead showing up randomly. Trypticon Beast Hunter babies. Randomly ripping off TFTM and even Dreamwave. Junkions. So much bullshit is going on, so much continuity inconsistency (the Dinobots have beast modes now despite only getting them in Spotlight Shockwave).

The only good ideas from that series -- Scorponok's original betrayal of the Decepticons that caused him to become the rogue we saw in the Furman series, the Quintesson and the Dai Atlas 'me right you wrong' extremism -- are all shadowed by the soup of nonsense that is the rest of the plot.

Like you said, it's like bad fanwank, only this time it's trying to shoehorn the game plot and Prime toys at the same time. I don't mind the High Moon game backstories, but they just won't work for the already established IDW continuity.

Blackjack
2013-08-11, 09:10 AM
-Rereads issue 3-

Ratbat is back to being mindless, huh?

Also, didn't notice that Frenzy's now sane, which is a shame... really liked crazy berserking Frenzy from AHM. He gets to keep the insanity scream, though, which is good.

Red Dave Prime
2013-08-11, 09:16 AM
Yep, the ratbat issue will be brought up in the Rid #1 review. Much as I like the character, how did he get in a position to be ranked higher than Soundwave?

One thing from Monstrosity that really got me though is the logic with the dynobots. You have an issue (spotlight:shockwave) where they willingly give themselves beast modes and there is no fear in them that something similar may happen. Bearing this in mind, why use the dinobots. The Monsterbots would have been a much better team to have here and it wouldn't stamp all over your continuity (and it would link in with their maximum dinobots portrayal)

I'm never up on the toy pushing side of things but if even half of what you say is correct and all these events are just there to push something else, than I really feel sorry for an TF writer. Why Hasbro cant just advertise in the comics I dont know.

Blackjack
2013-08-11, 09:26 AM
Yep, the ratbat issue will be brought up in the Rid #1 review. Much as I like the character, how did he get in a position to be ranked higher than Soundwave?

I really, really like the verbal politician Ratbat from the early RID issues, but it certainly portrays it at odds with the illiterate animal here and in AHM, as well as the generic scout from... Devastation, I think. Would be consistent if after his change into the cassette body he became less intelligent, but he suddenly became smart in RID.

Not a bad change, since Marvel Ratbat > cartoon Ratbat, but just one that's a little jarring.

You have an issue (spotlight:shockwave) where they willingly give themselves beast modes and there is no fear in them that something similar may happen. Bearing this in mind, why use the dinobots. The Monsterbots would have been a much better team to have here and it wouldn't stamp all over your continuity (and it would link in with their maximum dinobots portrayal)

Agreed. I've never considered the Monterbots before, but it works very well here. It's just trying to force the Dinobot backstory from the Fall of Cybertron game into the IDW continuity and it's just horrid. FOC did it well, but it's a fresh continuity and thus acceptable.

Spotlight Shockwave has them act like this is the very first time they consider adapting a beast mode.

And in any case, the Dinobots' beast modes in Montrosity are monstrosities themselves that don't resemble dinosaurs, so what's the point, really?

I'm never up on the toy pushing side of things but if even half of what you say is correct and all these events are just there to push something else, than I really feel sorry for an TF writer. Why Hasbro cant just advertise in the comics I dont know.

Have you played Fall of Cybertron? Monstrosity and to a lesser extent Autocracy is shamelessly ripping off scenes off the game, and it's very, very painful to read.

I mean, giving Scoop, Metroplex or Waspinator screentime because they have new toys incoming, or upgrading Prowl, Ironhide and Sunstreaker into Universe bodies, that's one thing. Changing the entire plot to fit with an unrelated continuity is just stupid.

Red Dave Prime
2013-08-11, 09:32 AM
I played the war for Cybertron game and wanted to like it a lot more than I did. Finished the decepticon campaign and got about 3/4 through the autobot before I just got too bored.

One thing with the Dynobots super alt modes in monstrosity is the power levels of the monster modes. We go from Grimlock tearing Autobot and Decepticon to pieces with ease to Prime grabbing him in a headlock, squeezing his nose and saying "Now, Now. Get a hold on yourself son."

The whole thing might have worked better if we weren't trying to fit in Trypticon rising, Scorponoks leadership push, Dai Atlas leaving, the energon crisis, Primes doubts as a failed leader and Megatrons discovery of a quinntesson & rampage back to cybertron. If the series focused on 2 or maybe 3 of these things, I feel it would have been much better. These are all big events that deserve some focus but spread into 4 issues nothing leaves much of an impression.

edit: also, with everything that goes on here, suddenly thunderwing doesn't look that big a deal.

Blackjack
2013-08-11, 09:35 AM
Well Monstrosity is a ripoff of the second game. Only far, far messier.

Yeah, Grimlock was pretty overpowered (more HP and the ability to one-shot anything that's not an Insecticon) in Fall of Cybertron, and a good deal was made to how he keeps feeling that he can't control his beast mode, and how he only transforms if his rage meter is high. Maybe because the player is the one controlling it.

Trypticon was kind of ripped off from War for Cybertron, except without the spectacle of the Decepticon space station transforming into Trypticon and the air battle and everything.

There's too much going on, and as a result it reads similar to Dreamwave's War and Peace mini where a lot of shit is going on and it ends up being a bunch of poorly-developed plot threads.

Proofed and uploaded into the site. :up:

Cyberstrike nTo
2013-08-11, 11:57 PM
I really, really like the verbal politician Ratbat from the early RID issues, but it certainly portrays it at odds with the illiterate animal here and in AHM, as well as the generic scout from... Devastation, I think. Would be consistent if after his change into the cassette body he became less intelligent, but he suddenly became smart in RID.

I think there is a line in an early issue of RID where Starscream mentions something about Ratbat's intellengece being restored or something like that. Honestly I never really like Ratbat in any of the comics or the TV show. I think Laserbeak and Buzzsaw were and still are cooler than Ratbat.