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Blackjack
2013-08-13, 02:16 PM
Transformers Regeneration One #82: Loose Ends, Part 2
Publication Date: 1st August, 2012
Written By: Simon Furman
Penciled By: Andrew Wildman
Inked By: Stephen Baskerville
Coloured By: John-Paul Bove
Lettered By: Chris Mowry
Edited By: John Barber

Synopsis: Formerly California: Upon finding the escape pods that had crash-landed from the Wrecker ship, Megatron urges his army of walking, mindless corpses of fallen Decepticons onwards to hunt down the Autobots. Megatron relishes the simple obedience of his unquestioning troops, although he notes that he allowed two people to retain consciousness – Starscream, who’s similarly lobotomized but left with a semblance of awareness as punishment for treachery, and Ratchet, who’s reduced to a still-living head embedded in Megatron’s sled.

Nearby, the Wreckers regroup, although not in the best shape. Topspin’s arm is injured, and Broadside’s neural circuits are scrambled. Kup blames the Autobots as a whole for causing Earth’s destruction due to turning their backs, and Whirl returns from a recon mission, reporting the arrival of the zombie Decepticons.

Nebulos: a ship piloted by Grimlock arrives, reviewing a science log on ‘Project Lazarus’, which is an attempt by the scientist Borx to reconnect the Autobot Headmasters’ original heads to reconstructed bodies following the deaths of their Nebulan partners and their original bodies during the battle against Unicron. However, their attempts were met with failures as the Autobots merely experienced pain and eventual rejection, and the project was eventually only continued after obtaining data from Lord Zarak’s old facility. Grimlock figures that he could transplant his head (and those of the other Nucleon victims) into new bodies. Despite the quarantine over Nebulos, Grimlock lands anyway. After landing, Grimlock finds the city deserted, only to be attacked by Nebulans with glazed eyes. Grimlock is about to return fire, but eventually stops himself, noting that there are some lines he will not cross. He is eventually taken down, and what appears to be Scorponok approaches him.

Iacon: Trailbreaker informs Ultra Magnus that the Wreckers have stolen a shuttle. After Trailbreaker departs to find whoever had assisted the Wreckers’ departure, Ultra Magnus lashes out in fury, roaring that he wants to join Kup, but he has to obey the rules that has been set, or nothing will work.

Earth: the Wreckers target the Deep Space Network, intending to use it to contact Cybertron. However, they end up having to engage the Decepticons, with others buying Springer and Whirl time to reach the dishes. Kup is taken down by Skywarp’s teleportation, and is brought before Megatron. Megatron monologues about Ratchet’s fate, relishing the chance to expound on his plans, and informs Kup that razing the Earth is merely an attempt to get attention… that of Optimus Prime’s. In the desert, Rack’n’Ruin and the injured Wreckers see a group of humans running away, and an attempt to explain is met with an energy blast coming from a cyborg who introduces himself as Circuit Smasher.

Featured Transformers: Buzzsaw, Ratbat, Megatron, Skywarp, Hun-Grrr, Razorclaw, Astrotrain, Tentakil, Octane, Blitzwing, Starscream, Ratchet, Springer, Roadbuster, Leadfoot, Kup, Sandstorm, Topspin, Rack'n'Ruin, Broadside, Whirl, Grimlock, Hardhead, Brainstorm, Ultra Magnus, Trailbreaker, Scorponok
Notable Others: Borx, Circuit Smasher

Review:
”I like to gloat… we do, us despots… and you are now my audience.”
Surprisingly, a fairly decent story. Despite the title page promising ‘DINOBOT MONTH’ and it being a story written by Simon Furman, Grimlock thankfully doesn’t get a disproportionately large amount of focus. The issue is divided pretty well between the two main things that go here, namely the Wreckers battling against Megatron’s zombie army, and Grimlock’s attempt to figure out the mysteries of Nebulos. The Headmasters’ eventual fate is an oft-forgotten plot hole in the Marvel comics, one which I had personally forgotten existed before reading this comic. It’s nice how Furman ties in Grimlock, the Nucleon plot and the Nebulos plot together so we don’t have too many things going on. The plot on Earth is pretty straightforward, although the appearance of the zombie army is a bit of a surprise.

Furman references old stories whilst still making it relatively accessible, working in both Starscream and Ratchet in a decent introduction. Megatron is handled pretty well, still rather psychotic and his tendency to monologue is brought up here. Kup and Springer aside, all the Wreckers are still identikit, although Whirl’s little reckless behavior and Roadbuster being battle hungry are brought up. Kup’s still pretty fun, and it’s nice to see he doesn’t blame only Optimus Prime for what happened to Earth but instead all the Autobots. Ultra Magnus’ short appearance here makes his dicking around last issue almost forgivable. Grimlock, likewise, still has his late-Marvel ‘team papa’ role on. It’s a shame that Scorponok seems poised to make a return here, since Scorponok’s death scene is one of my all-time favourite scenes in the Marvel comics, and he’s one of the more complex characters in the Marvel run. Though I suppose it’s sort of natural, I don’t really like cheapening death scenes for no good reason at all.

The Nebulos plot intrigues me, and I have to admit the Earth bits catch my interest as well. I’m curious to see where Furman is going with all these. It’s nowhere near the quality of Furman’s best work, certainly, but it still reads quite well even though the script is sometimes weak and unnecessarily wordy. The weakest point of Regeneration One, I find, is the art. All due respect to Wildman, but his art here just feels like a weak shadow of his original Marvel work, with many robots and backgrounds looking underwhelmingly under-detailed, and the issue in general having a rushed feel. Kup and Grimlock still look pretty nice, and Megatron does to at times, but otherwise... a lot of characters get shafted, and anyone in the background is just a vague silhouette only brought up by colours. The action scenes look rather static and generally unimpressive as well. The rather untouched retro colouring doesn’t help to bring out details that Wildman’s pencils fail to deliver. I’m also pretty sure that Circuit Smasher end up as annoying as his ersatz namesake, and I for one am not looking forward to see him.

(Three out of Five)

Notes:
This issue is part of IDW’s “Dinobot Month”, where the various titles of IDW – More than Meets the Eye, Robots in Disguise, Regeneration One and whichever Fall of Cybertron tie-in title that was out of the moment all have stories that feature Dinobots as a tie-in to the Fall of Cybertron game.

In the late run of the Marvel series, due to a crazy space bridge explosion Megatron and Ratchet were mentally linked in such a way that if one of them died, the other would, too. Ratchet is still kept alive here, albeit as part of a sled thing. Both Ratchet and Starscream were last seen aboard the Ark as it crashed, and presumably Megatron salvaged their bodies from there.

In the Marvel continuity, the Headmasters had removed their heads in Nebulos, and it was stated in the Headmasters comics that the original heads were kept alive and in remote contact with their bodies, although the fact was never brought up again after they left Nebulos. It’s one of the dangling plot-threads. Scorponok, Highbrow, Hardhead and Brainstorm’s bodies (and their Headmaster partners) all fell in battle against Unicron in #75. It is as of yet unclear what had been done with the Headmaster heads.

Circuit Smasher seems to be somewhat based on Circuit Breaker, a relatively prominent human character in the Marvel comics who has the same powers Circuit Smasher displays (flying, shooting energy bolts)… except that Circuit Breaker isn’t part of the Transformers intellectual property and thus out of bounds. Circuit Smasher is apparently a post-timeskip Spike Witwicky, former Headmaster partner to Fortress Maximus.

Marvel issue #42 has established that Transformers were no longer welcome on Nebulos after the destruction wrought by the battles of Fortress Maximus and Scorponok’s crews. Since then Optimus Prime has apparently honoured his word and quarantined the planet.

All of the zombified troops that Megatron command are the casualties of the Underbase Saga, and all of them have been killed on-screen by Starscream during said battle. Ratbat is the only exception, being killed by Scorponok abroad the Ark. Presumably Megatron retrieved Ratbat’s body from there. How Megatron has obtained the bodies and turned them into zombies is not known yet. Skywarp still retains his teleportation ability, and the others are shown to still be able to transform. They can speak, but only rudimentary words.

Koraja, the Plains of Thok and the Grax Communication Facility (the latter unnamed) all make appearances here, after first showing up in the Headmasters mini.

Rack’n’Ruin has been turned into the Wreckers’ equivalent of a medic, something that’s new to the character.

Megatron makes a lot of mention about snuffing out ‘sparks’, a concept first introduced in Beast Wars that a Transformer’s life and soul is tied to the spark. See goofs.

Skywarp’s teleportation sound effect is a ‘VVOP’, a sound effect unique to Skywarp in the IDW continuity.

Goofs:
The whole spark deal being retconned into Marvel continuity just would not work, as the Marvel continuity takes the brain module as the core of a Transformer. It had been described that the brain module as the Matrix-infused critical component of a Transformer’s life, and various cases (the Throttlebots in toy bodies, Optimus Prime as a floppy disc, the second-year Autobot cars as crystal imprints) have shown that the brain module or an equivalent is all that’s required for a Transformer to be alive. Of course, the ‘spark’ Megatron is talking about might be a reference to this, but that seems rather far-fetched.

No mention is made to the poisoning of all fuel sources in Nebulos in Marvel #42 as an attempt to drive all Transformers away from their world. Grimlock may not be around long enough to be affected, or it might be the Nucleon, but the scientists rebuilding the Headmasters should really have known better.

Trailbreaker is missing his forcefield generator, Rack’n’Ruin’s eyes are triangles instead of angled visors, both Leadfoot and Whirl’s robot modes are rather generic, and Roadbuster’s alternate mode is missing interiors.

Octane's wings seem to be snapped off into half their lengths and not jut out from his body like his original character model, but he can still transform into his jet mode.

Blackjack
2013-08-13, 02:17 PM
Have to say, I enjoyed the Loose Ends arc far more than I did when I first read them. I have to admit Furman has got the start of something interesting with the early stories. It's a shame when Scorponok and Circuit Smasher started getting screentime all things began to fall apart.

Megatron's hoversled thing seems to be based on something from the Marvel comics, but I cannot place my finger at what.

inflatable dalek
2013-08-13, 03:25 PM
Yeah, there are actually some enjoyably pulpy stuff in there (and as much as I applaud the efforts in the main IDW books to try and give him some depth there should always be room for a version of Megatron who's a big loon).

It's a lot of the basic set up in how the comic works (ignoring the UK and G2 whilst riffing on them in a confusing way) and the lack of anything interesting between the delightfully daft scenes that lets it down.

Blackjack
2013-08-13, 04:18 PM
(and as much as I applaud the efforts in the main IDW books to try and give him some depth there should always be room for a version of Megatron who's a big loon).

But Megatron is a big loon in All Hail Megatron and the Costaverse! ZING

I think considering this is Marvel Megatron it's certainly appropriate that he's crazy nuts.

It's a lot of the basic set up in how the comic works (ignoring the UK and G2 whilst riffing on them in a confusing way) and the lack of anything interesting between the delightfully daft scenes that lets it down.

(I can't believe there's nothing in this issue that contradicts UK and G2. That's a first!)

The early issues are just crazily rife with solving actual Marvel US cliffhangers -- the Last Autobot, Bludgeon, Earth, Headmaster heads, Starscream, Ratchet, Megatron -- and random references that make it really feel that it's part of the Marvel continuity, other than stuff like, well, Magnus showing up and Prime being an idiot.

It really goes south when Scorponok does his hate plague ripoff thing on Cybertron, in my opinion, where every issue is just Hot Rod being emo and Scorponok repeating big grandiose sentences that need a moment for me to decipher. Furman's script was very weak during that period, I think, and combined with the asshole Spike it really gives a big Mike Costa vibe.

inflatable dalek
2013-08-13, 04:20 PM
(I can't believe there's nothing in this issue that contradicts UK and G2. That's a first!)


Half the Wreckers should be dead, Spike should be dead, Megatron should be a tank, Grimlock shouldn't still be an Action Master...

Blackjack
2013-08-14, 12:13 AM
I should've said "plagiarize" there instead of contradict. Contradiction makes sense with the premise; plagiarism's just lazy.