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Blackjack
2013-08-11, 11:32 AM
Regeneration One #81: Loose Ends, Part 1
Publication Date: 11th July 2012
Written By: Simon Furman
Pencils By: Andrew Wildman
Inks By: Stephen Baskerville
Colours By: John-Paul Bove
Letters By: Chris Mowry
Edits By: John Barber

Synopsis: Kup runs through a holographic training session in Debris where he kills Bludgeon and Galvatron – both loose ends after the war. Springer interrupts the session just before holo-Megatron defeats Kup, telling him that a group of Neo-Decepticons are threatening to detonate a clutch of warheads in a depot in Kalis. Both Kup and Springer round up the rest of the Wreckers, but when they arrive on the scene, Ultra Magnus inform them that Optimus Prime’s declaration of no hostile actions are still in effect, despite the death of the Last Autobot recently. Magnus also claims that the Neo-Decepticons within don’t seem to be all that sure of themselves, and that the risk that the Decepticons will detonate the warheads is too large. Observing from the nearby crowd, Soundwave slips away and dispatches Ransack, Chop Shop and Venom to ensure the success of the martyrdom of the Decepticons in the depot.

Meanwhile, holed up inside the depot, the four Skyscorchers are, uneasy about their situation. Afterburner and Terradive are arguing, Eagle Eye predicts that they can create a small explosion that can cover their escape (contrary to Soundwave’s wishes) while Windrazor pretends to contact Magnus for their surrender. However, as they attempt to put their plan in motion, Chop Shop and Venom enter and take out the Skyscorchers. The Insecticons put a bug that will detonate the warheads after they get out, but the Wreckers charge in. Springer restrains the Insecticons in a detention sphere, and after a call to Perceptor, Kup manages to disarm the activated warhead.

Nova Point: Ultra Magnus visits Optimus Prime, who refrains from punishing the Wreckers despite breaking orders. Ultra Magnus presses the point, asking for discipline so as not to set bad examples, but Optimus is distracted by a vision of Unicron. Outside the room, Kup and Hot Rod argue over Optimus’ actions. Hot Rod defends Optimus, saying that despite his own brash outlook, sometimes they need to look at the big picture, whereas Kup says that the big picture – giving the Decepticons time to regroup – is exactly what they’re missing. Kup also mentions that what Grimlock did, despite his failure, is admirable. Kup concludes that Prime and Hot Rod has both turned into blinkered, unrealistic optimists. Spurred by the conversation, Kup gathers the Wreckers and announces that he’s going leave Cybertron to go to Earth, Nebulos and other worlds touched by the war to make a difference. The entire team joins him.

Fort Scyk: Soundwave is contacted by Bludgeon, in the depths of space, telling Soundwave that he needs his help in order for enough firepower to retake Cybertron.

The Solar System: Hitching a ride with Berko’s Cosmic Carnival, the Wreckers’ ship arrive and release surveillance drones, only to find that Earth’s cities – including San Francisco, Paris and Tokyo – have been all laid to waste, and not recently. One of the probes find Megatron sitting on a throne, and the Decepticon leader laughs, mocking how long it takes for his actions to be noticed, before launching a nuclear missiles at the Wreckers’ ship and blowing it up.

Transformers Featured: Kup, Springer, Topspin, Whirl, Sandstorm, Rack'n'Ruin, Leadfoot, Broadside, Roadbuster, Ultra Magnus, Soundwave, Venom, Ransack, Chop Shop, Windrazor, Afterburner, Terradive, Eagle Eye, Perceptor, Optimus Prime, Hot Rod, Grimlock (flashback), Bludgeon, Thunderwing's Body, Megatron
Notable Others: Bludgeon hologram, Galvatron hologram, Megatron hologram, Unicron (vision), Berko

Review:
”We can’t afford to keep thinking of this as some kind of difficult phase that will pass.”
Regeneration One actually opens to a rather strong start, all things considered. Things are set up pretty well here, and despite Wildman’s sometimes sub-par art (especially when you compare it to his work 21 years ago) this issue is actually kind of interesting. Furman doesn’t deliver the most eloquent script as well, but it’s very functional, and doesn’t beat around the bush like the previous issue. There are some nice action scenes with the Wreckers, and the little internal Decepticon politics with Soundwave sending the Insecticons to ensure that the Skyscorchers blow themselves up is pretty cool. Also, it’s nice to see some obscure characters who never made it into the Marvel comics have some screentime. The story is nearly told from Kup’s point of view, and it’s very much Marvel comics Kup talking here instead of a modern incarnation, which is something I really appreciate. The surprise reveal at the end that Megatron has gone and destroyed Earth’s civilization in the 21 year gap is pretty well-executed as well.

However, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. Hot Rod being the calm one and advocating for Kup to listen to orders really feels extremely awkward. Optimus and Magnus are both being obstructive bureaucrats and have devolved into being rather unlikable and stupid. Magnus, for one, is trying to get Kup court-martialed even though Magnus’ own actions could’ve gotten the entire city blown up… kind of stupid there. As mentioned above, the art is pretty sub-par. Many times the transformers look rather over-simplified, and some are even lacking facial features if they’re in the background. It’s a shame, considering the pretty art Wildman has given to us during Marvel’s original run.

I’m kind of annoyed that Furman borrows so much from other continuities, though, if the notes section is any indication. This doesn’t really feel like a continuation of the Marvel US stories per se, it really feels more like fanfiction considering the massive Marvel UK and IDW influences. We’ve got MTMTE Magnus, some similarities to the uneasy peace like the RID stories, we’ve got Bludgeon-and-Thunderwing, we’ve got Wreckers, we’ve got Leadfoot randomly in the Wreckers… and the end result is, while not terrible, is very much jarring compared to the original premise of the series. Probably still a bit annoyed that Furman is ignoring all his best work probably just to get the Wreckers alive and running. All things considered, though, a pretty nice opening, which actually surprised me somewhat.

(Three and a half out of five)

Notes:
Nucleon has left the Transformers brought to life with it ‘mental or physical wrecks’, instead of just inhibiting transformation like it did for Grimlock. This is based on an idea about Nucleon dropped by Simon Furman which he frequently mentions.

Ultra Magnus is training a group of CCD (Cybertronian Civil Defense) Cadets, and are worried that the Wreckers will set a bad example for them.

The Wreckers is an Autobot team that originated from the Marvel UK comics, whose members never appeared in the US comics. By this point in time, should the UK comics be taken into consideration, none of the members present save Kup, Springer, Whirl and Broadside should be alive. The membership of the Wreckers is nearly the same, except that Twin Twist has been replaced with Leadfoot, probably a reference for a version of Leadfoot being a member of the Wreckers in the Dark of the Moon movie. Leadfoot is another result of Regeneration One ignoring some continuity, as Leadfoot is a defected Decepticon in the Generation 2 comics. Kup is confirmed to be a member of the Wreckers similar to his IDW counterpart as well.

Debris, the Wreckers’ base, also originated from the UK comics, although this is the first time we see its interior. Debris has a holographic Danger-Room-esque training area that lets you kill Decepticon leaders. The Mayhem Attack Squad also has one of these in their base, seen in the UK strips.

Kup notes Bludgeon, Galvatron and Megatron as the main threats left alive. Bludgeon has escaped with his Decepticons after their failed attempt at subjugating Klo in issue #80, while Megatron and Galvatron II crash-landed on Earth in issue #79. Megatron is last seen unconscious aboard the Ark, while Galvatron was chunked into the ice by Fortress Maximus.

Grimlock’s bid for Nucleon to revive his Dinobots and other deactivated Autobots take place in issues #70 and #74, and Nucleon having side-effects is explored in issue #76.

The Cosmic Carnival make a reappearance since its debut in issue 44. Berko, a human abducted by the Cosmic Carnival (issue 44) and travelling space with Sky Lynx (issues 52-53) has returned to the Cosmic Carnival and taken control of it.

Hologram-Bludgeon is missing one of his helmet-horns similar to his appearance at the end of issue 80. The real Bludgeon has fixed it.

Kup’s weapon is similar to his Targetmaster partner Recoil, but no mention is made to Recoil’s existence whatsoever.

Kup’s line ‘so thrill me, what’s the play’ is a homage to Detective Cameron’s catchphrase in Fred Dekker’s Night of the Creeps.

‘Orbital Torus State’ and ‘the Dark Ages’ are concepts borrowed from Dreamwave comics, whereas ‘Pax Cybertronia’ is a term originating from the Beast Wars cartoon. The concept of Bludgeon trying to revive Thunderwing is similar to IDW’s Stormbringer miniseries. The City Kalis is something that, again, originates from the UK comics (it’s the one with zombies).

Kup refers to Ultra Magnus as ‘Cyebrtron’s greatest warrior’, a title that Magnus is sometimes referred to in, yes, the UK series. In this continuity Magnus seems to have borrowed the officious no-nonsense personality of his IDW counterpart.

This is the first appearances of three of the Deluxe Insecticons in the Marvel US continuity, although Venom and Chop Shop has previously appeared in the UK comics. Chop Shop and Venom were killed in the same battle that killed off all the Wreckers, though. This is Ransack’s first debut in the Marvel comics. The Deluxe Insecticons are revealed to be able to shrink down into the sizes of real insects similar to the other Insecticon team in the Marvel comics.

This is the Skyscorchers’ first debut in the Marvel comics as well, other than a short stint in the obscure European-exclusive G2 comics, and some background cameos in the IDW comics. It’s unclear if any of them died from the Insecticons’ assault, since the Wreckers are seen seeing to them.

Hot Rod sports a more cartoon-based colour scheme, instead of being magenta like the comics or issue 80.5. Megatron’s helmet is still blue-black like his appearances in the Marvel comics instead of the silver like he’s portrayed everywhere else.

San Francisco was also destroyed in Generation 2 comics, although through an orbital bombardment instead of what Megatron did to it.

Goofs:
The Autobots at large shouldn’t know about Galvatron, since the only ones to see him enough to learn about him are Fortress Maximus (who’s on Earth) and Xaaron (who’s possessed by Primus shortly after meeting him). Now this is technically ‘Galvatron II’, the alternate-universe Galvatron that only appeared in the US stories, and the other Autobots are very much aware of the time-travelling ‘Galvatron I’ from a possible future, but Galvatron I only shows up in the, you guessed it, Marvel UK stories, making this a big goof.

The first two speech bubbles for Terradive and Afterburner are switched, which would probably lead to confusion to anyone unfamiliar with the Skyscorchers since those two speech bubbles are the only ones identifying Terradive and Afterburner by name. (Terradive is the black one with tall shoulders, Afterburner is the blue one)

Springer’s chest keeps changing throughout the issue.

On the second-last page, Sandstorm is drawn with his toy head and is missing the kibble behind his head.

Berko doesn’t look like he aged 20+ years.

Blackjack
2013-08-11, 11:33 AM
What's this? A positive Regeneration One review? I must have gone insane.