PDA

View Full Version : Reading MTMTE


Cliffjumper
2013-09-21, 09:16 PM
Thanks to our friendly neighbourhood bubbling lump of hate I have a few MTMTE back issues now and have actually read a few. It's not bad, not bad at all. The open-ended storyline is good, keeping a really nice fluid amount of twists and turns without being too fascinated with itself (hiya Simon! hiya pal!) and just the right amount of structure. It means it's not as good as Last Stand, where everything slots in so neatly but it's still probably the best TF ongoing since about 1991 (G2 is a maxi-series in structure; had the thing staggered on for another year it'd have been a ginormous anti-climax).

Characterisation, surprisingly, has been the only weak point. I'm up to about 7 and the characterisation seems to reach only about as far as "grab someone who's not done much but maybe had a bit of a culty TFU profile, then give them an odd ability and a bit of snappy dialogue". Red's the best so far in that respect. I'm always very torn on fresh approaches to G1 characters, because you want something new without breaking with tradition... Do you rip it up and start again or get restricted by old stuff? Tread a fine line is the way, maybe - Brainstorm's good too. I suppose it depends on attachment as much as anything - a retarded Spinister annoyed me a little because I like Marvel UK Spinister.

But either the likes of Swerve and Rewind really go somewhere from one-joke beginnings or some of you have very low entertainment thresholds...

So yeh, so far, so pretty good, if occasionally feeling like cribbed ideas (characterwise) from the Authority, Ultimates and Zenith that are new to Transformers but not exactly new to comics. And I am loving all these references to events from other IDW comics I've never read - it's like Irredeemable where these things are thrown in and you know that them being told would be nowhere near as epic as the throwaway references make them sound but with the added bonus that the material exists and you can consciously not read it because it was certainly a massive pile of shit.

Denyer
2013-09-21, 10:09 PM
Goes a little overboard with the patter at times, but ideas and novelty plus some non-stock reactions sell it more for me than focusing on character development; with Cybertronian longevity and the war most of the characters don't make huge leaps or really vary all that much from each other. There's still more "off-duty" type characterisation here than in pretty much any other TF fiction.

I see the openendedness as a plus -- a bit like Guzzle/Kup was one more element bubbling under in Wreckers, and didn't have to have a pay-off.

Knightdramon
2013-09-21, 11:41 PM
The neat thing is that it takes concepts and throwaway lines from LSOTW and Chaos Theory [each written 8 months or so to 2-3 years before issue 1] and expands them. It makes reading back that much more rewarding.

MTMTE itself definitely gets better the more you backtrack after a while; a line or sequence here and there might be just that; a throwaway line, but reading back you can sort of see Roberts revealing or nodding towards things that you didn't think of at the moment.

Warcry
2013-09-22, 12:07 AM
Characterisation, surprisingly, has been the only weak point.
This does get better as time goes on. At the start of the series a good 3/4 of the characters read like "Generic Witty British Guy" to me, but as the story moves on a bit more characters like Chromedome, Rewind, Cyclonus, Tailgate, Whirl, Ratchet and Brainstorm all definitely find a unique voice (Rodimus, surprisingly, really hasn't come into his own yet).

Swerve's popularity, alas, is something I've never really understood. A story that's already pretty comedy-heavy hardly needs a heavy-handed comic relief character.

And I am loving all these references to events from other IDW comics I've never read - it's like Irredeemable where these things are thrown in and you know that them being told would be nowhere near as epic as the throwaway references make them sound but with the added bonus that the material exists and you can consciously not read it because it was certainly a massive pile of shit.
As someone who made the mistake of trying (I genuinely couldn't tell you if I finished...) to read the IDW back-issues, you're definitely taking the right approach.

Red Dave Prime
2013-09-22, 03:57 PM
This does get better as time goes on. At the start of the series a good 3/4 of the characters read like "Generic Witty British Guy" to me, but as the story moves on a bit more characters like Chromedome, Rewind, Cyclonus, Tailgate, Whirl, Ratchet and Brainstorm all definitely find a unique voice (Rodimus, surprisingly, really hasn't come into his own yet).

I think Roberts suffers (for want of a better word) in writing in a similar style to Joss Whedon and many others with his characters. Its not that they are all witty characters, as a writer I think he just likes throwing those lines out. I dont see it so much as a character trait as the way he writes and whether you like it or not, it's not likely to change no matter who he is writing (bar one or two characters but I think near everyone has had a "witty remark" moment)

One really nice thing to the references in MTMTE is that some of them havent yet been fully expanded upon but continue to do so over time. Hellspoint, The crucible, Killmaster - it's a nice way to build a world and history for a story without it being massively sign posted as BACKSTORY. It also gives Roberts (and any subsequent writers) a timeline and history to draw on for their characters.

But either the likes of Swerve and Rewind really go somewhere from one-joke beginnings or some of you have very low entertainment thresholds...

I think Swerve is quite a sad figure as you learn more about him, even though it is precisely his one-dimensional personality that has gotten him to where he is.

Rewind is more of a plot point then a character at times. His relationship with chrome dome is obviously a big part of what will come later, but I dont think he was the main star of that arc - its chromedomes reaction to what happens that really stuck with me.

I suppose with MTMTE its important to remember not to believe the hype. I love the series, reallly enjoy it but its held up far, far too highly on some websites. Constant 5 star reviews for every issues mean that when it should genuinely get praise, it just seems business as usual.

Cliffjumper
2013-09-22, 04:03 PM
Curious thing is that I've rattled through the nine issues and annual Dalek sent me but there's a strange lack of desire to carry on, even though I could be downloading the remainder as we speak. It's a page-turner when it's there in front of you but at the same time it's not actually very interesting.

I like a lot of the concepts but do feel the incessant jokes derail it on occasion. Swerve's the comic relief? I thought it was Drift who was comic relief. Or Whirl. Or Red Alert. Or Rodimus. Or Trailbreaker. Or Brainstorm. Or Magnus. Or Tailgate. Or Skids. It can overwhelm the plot and big picture at times.

The off-duty stuff is what felt the most derivative to me, TBH - it's very Mark Millar; new to Transformers but not actually all that new. And again, the balance isn't quite right, in that they seem to spend 18-19 pages an issue knocking one-liners off each other, with the rest handed over to big revelations or neat twists.

EDIT: Sorry Dave, think we simulposted there... The Whedon comparison is pretty apt actually - the dialogue is smart because the writer likes/is good at smart dialogue, not necessarily what the characters might say.

I feel the crazy dozen or so who get the lines would perhaps work better complementing (well, undermining but in a fun way) a more serious main plot, but when Rodimus and Drift are a pair of wisecracking buffoons as well it's difficult to find any direction in the thing - which meant to me things like Swerve stopping to be a knob to talk to the guy stuck in the engine didn't come off as either side of that he's still just an idiot. Same when they did a bit on Whirl and again it's surrounded by him making funny cracks about killing things.

Red Dave Prime
2013-09-22, 04:16 PM
I like a lot of the concepts but do feel the incessant jokes derail it on occasion. Swerve's the comic relief? I thought it was Drift who was comic relief. Or Whirl. Or Red Alert. Or Rodimus. Or Trailbreaker. Or Brainstorm. Or Magnus. Or Tailgate. Or Skids. It can overwhelm the plot and big picture at times.

I feel at this point that (in the same way that Furman has his stock phrases) Roberts is clearly keeping the general feel of MTMTE light hearted. Everyone has a quip or funny moment. There's no strict comic relief - they pretty much all are. For me, it mostly works fine with only Magnus and Brainstorm feeling too far out of place (Magnus is too OTT and Brainstorms gadgets can be quite powerful considering they are meant as gags)

The off-duty stuff is what felt the most derivative to me, TBH - it's very Mark Millar; new to Transformers but not actually all that new. And again, the balance isn't quite right, in that they seem to spend 18-19 pages an issue knocking one-liners off each other, with the rest handed over to big revelations or neat twists.

I think you are correct but I think its both intentional and one of the appeals for me. As you will see when you get to the overlord stuff, Roberts is much more concerned with the characters than the events and how everyone reacts to each other. Issue 12 is a great example as a raid on a Decepticon base is really a backdrop to finding out more about all the various characters and seeing who really is heroic and who isn't.

When Overlord escapes, the main focus isn't on him at all really - its about chromedome and rewind, with some stuff on Drift as well.

edit: just read your edit and I think the comic approach works with most but flat out falls down with Rodimus. He has come good in the most recent issues but I felt that for a good bit between issues 3 to 18 he is borderline Zapp Brannigan - even down to the colour scheme.

Not sure if I can agree with Whirl. There's a general Nihilism vibe to his comments whereas some of the other guys have lines which are meant to be wise cracks, I generally found that Whirls comments show a disturbed mind that has been pushed too far by too many and one that almost sees death as a release.

inflatable dalek
2013-09-23, 08:30 AM
You're not supposed to sort of like it! You were supposed to comically hate it and get the rest of us eye rolling at wacky old Uncle Cliffy. How am I going to get my jollies now?

I'd say at least finish Shadowplay, if that doesn't get you going there's no hope for you you'll probably not wind up as much of a fan as the rest of us.

As far as characterisation goes, though I was initially wary (I thought Ultra Magnus especially was really out of character compared to his previous appearances, recent issues have negated that complaint somewhat) I've actually come round to thinking the series is actually pretty smart on that score.

Everything started out very jolly and funny and with us encouraged to find the wacky personality traits of these people something to laugh at. But the more the series goes on the full extent of how messed up they are and how sad and lonely their lives are as a result really starts to sink in (well, at least for the regulars, I'd like to think Emerite Xaaron is having a gay old time).

Red Alert is a prime example, his excessive paranoia was initially amusing but is slowly builds up that he's having a complete and utter breakdown which gets to the point of suicide (I'd actually forgotten before reading the trades that in issue 1 he's fairly together when vetting people to come on the ship, feeling he's failed in not checking the ship properly when the Spark Eater escapes seems to be the catalyst for his relapse starting).

I'm also really enjoying the ongoing theme of identity. Just about everyone has changed their names or hidden their true purposes. I'm not sure where it's going, but this far it's been an interesting journey .

In terms of Rodimus, I've no problem with him being an aloof dick because the series isn't really about him at all, he just thinks he's the lead character. A series seen where his and Drift's POV was the main focus would be a lot more traditional, instead we're seeing him filtered through the eyes of what are effectively his lower end staff. And your top boss always seems a bit of a dick doesn't he?

Cliffjumper
2013-09-24, 12:24 AM
The "below decks" angle doesn't come across, though, both because we see too much from Rodimus, Magnus & Drift's POV and because after those three everyone else is basically on an even footing. It smacks of wanting to have your cake and eat it too. Aloof isn't a word I'd use for Rodimus; the Zap Brannigan comparison is far more apt.

(Sorry, had that open since 6 and have lost train of thought on rest)

inflatable dalek
2013-09-24, 06:39 PM
I'd disagree with most of that (well, apart from the Zap comparison as I've not seen enough or recently enough Futurama to be sure how well that works).

They seem like big important characters (because after all, we're seeing the story from their POV, and they're going to regard themselves as the most important people in their own lives), but, whilst we're not being beaten over the head with it, there's plenty of references to the fact everyone else on the ship is having their own equally exciting Big Adventures of which the ones we've seen have been only a small part.

The most obvious one being that great little gag in Shadowplay where it turns out Swerve's group had been the third lot of Autobots Rewind had tried to use to wake up Rung, but you've also got stuff like the way everytime Rodimus gives a speech praising the actions of his crew he always mentions characters we haven't even met as having done the most important work (indeed, the one time he did give a speech about one of the regulars in Rung, we didn't even see it. But just so this isn't endless praise I did think Rung's total recovery from having his head blown off was annoying).

Their involvement in the big plots tends to be rather tangential as well, they're either part of a large group of Autobots who are coming along anyway or get involved by accident (they only go down to Crystal City because Rodimus was teleported by the Council whilst he was at Tailgate's ceremony and they just grabbed some of the people with him).

Now, the four main command staff are in the series a lot, but I'd say Ratchet (the closest to a blue collar guy) is the only one who counts as proper "Main" lead independent of the lower down characters (indeed, he's the only one to get a subplot where he has any time by himself).

Of the others, one thing I noticed when reading the trades, is how very few scenes there are with just Rodimus, Drift and Magnus (or any combination thereof) together. There's always at least one of the secondary characters there with them even if it's just someone like Blaster, and usually one of the main ones. The very few we do get, such as Magnus talking to Rodimus about Tailgate or bemoaning how the crew are all criminals, have them talking about the other characters. It's a case where the perspective is being constantly filtered through the minor boys rather than the more traditional way where it would be all Rodimus and company.


[Of course, there's also a plot reason for this, I'm sure like most of us at the time you've tweaked there must be someone very high up on the ship in on Overlord's presence, by never seeing them in a position where they're alone there's no chance for this to come up in conversation meaning no clues can be given as to how many are or aren't in on it.]


And Drift of course is the one who never got a single scene alone.

And for what it's worth, the most obvious genre antecedent for doing a lower decks story in an established franchise, the imaginatively called Lower Decks episode of The Next Generation, still has lots of Picard, Riker and Worf in it. They're just filtered through how they're seen by the ensigns and NCO's (the Babylon 5 version has lots of Sheridan, Delen and Locherly in it, but that's a piss poor show where the low down workers spend the entire hour wanking off over how brilliant the leads are).


Ohhhh.... tortuous analogy alert! Look at something like [i]Are You Being Served. Young Mr. Grace is in virtually every episode, and his ideas for what the staff must do that week drive a great chunk of the plots. But i don't think anyone would say it's a show about a department store manager, he's just the catalyst for what the main leads have to put up with every week. Rodimus isn't Zap Brannigan, he's young Mr. Grace.

Possibly.

I'm not sure that works.


Actually, (free form jazz posting now), I guess the big sign the status quo is going to change after the arc going on at the moment isn't the build up to Dark Cybertron, it's the fact most of the characters were deliberately picked to go on an important mission for the first time.

Oh, what did you make of the RID Annual?

Red Dave Prime
2013-09-24, 10:28 PM
Oh, what did you make of the RID Annual?

I know thats not directed at me, but for what its worth, I thought the RiD annual was the best issue of the RiD run so far. Funnily enough, MTMTEs annual felt like one of the worst (maybe even the worst) issue of its run.

I liked it even less after the whole story set out in issue 17 onwards.

THEY WERE IN HIS BODY FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!! FOR NEW REASON OTHER THAN A SMILE GAG AND FOR WHIRL TO DRAW SOME GRAFFITI!!!! ANY OTHER CHARACTER COULD HAVE BEEN USED TO DEMONSTRATE THE SHRINKING MACHINE!!! GAH!!!!

Ahem, done now.

Auntie Slag
2013-09-24, 10:30 PM
I like Rodimus, and I don't think he's a muppet. He's very cavalier as per his tech spec, but he usually takes a moment to underline this attitude with an explanation; whether he's putting Magnus in his place, or displaying the importance/relevance of the people he has around him. I think it's cool that in terms of rank Ultra Magnus should probably be in control of The Lost Light, but if he were then most of the events wouldn't have happened.

So I don't think Zap Branigan is appropriate. Mal Reynolds perhaps. Mal cares about his crew a lot, does dumb things but is very passionate and inspiring. Rodimus managed that in the first three issues. I hope as the issues advance it becomes evident that he is really someone the crew is prepared to rally around.

Cliffjumper
2013-09-24, 11:30 PM
Yeh, the MTMTE annual was one of the poorer ones. That's the balance being completely missed right there. Magnus never smiled all the time he was hanging out with Jubilee?

Spotlight Trailcutter is just as bad in its' way with the stupid ending with the medals and general all-round stupidity.

Did quite like the RID annual. The eighties Bob schtick was a little grinding but there were some good points in there... I gather the rest of the series isn't as good but concept-wise it's dealing with more interesting material than MTMTE; I suspect the overall chasm in quality is more shallow than is perhaps relayed. Or at least newer - MTMTE has Roberts' TMUK badge shining true and thus feels slightly less fresh to me.

Skyquake87
2013-09-25, 10:07 AM
By rights, RID should be the more interesting book. It has a superb premise, but I was really turned off by Barber chickening out on the 'bastard Prowl' thing by revealing that he was controlled by Bombshell all along and now he's the head of Devastator. Just ...what? None of the potential of RID has been delivered upon and its just nowhere near as good as it should be. Can't say I'm a big fan of Griffith's slightly marshmallowy looking robots either. The covers are generally uninviting too.

Aside : I do wish IDW would knock all this multiple cover crap on the head. Its not the 1990s anymore!

...I liked Spotlight Trailcutter, it was light, frothy and fun with some nice characterisation for him.

I think your points about MTMTE not being as jaw droppingly awesome as everyone makes out are correct, its simply just good comics and on a par with the rest of the current high standard in the industry. I think this is really why folk are so 'amazed' by it - its a Transformers comic from IDW that isn't rubbish!

inflatable dalek
2013-09-25, 06:17 PM
Well, I think the flaws in Rodimus' character were successfully wrapped up by today's issue...

Did quite like the RID annual. The eighties Bob schtick was a little grinding but there were some good points in there...

*Pushes glasses up nose* 80's Macchio and Mantlo schit surely? :p

I suspect the overall chasm in quality is more shallow than is perhaps relayed. Or at least newer - MTMTE has Roberts' TMUK badge shining true and thus feels slightly less fresh to me.

It's not so apparent from the Annual (though there is a little bit of it with the "Secret origin of Monstructor and how Nemesis Prime fell out with Omega Supreme" stuff) but RID is generally much more old business than MTMTE. I guess because Barber has success with tying the Movie comics into the actual movies he's decided to carry it on with G1 so there's lots and lots of explanations for just about every dangling thread from Furman and Costa. I'd much rather have the series pushing in a new direction and accepting the reason bits of Chaos didn't make sense is because Costa was crap.

But, if you're interested, I can post you the equivalent issues of RID as well. As I only have physical copies up to issue ten that has the advantage of being before the wheels fell off on the big storyarc, so you'll probably be seeing the series at its best.

As for Magnus... Issue 13 suggests a few things about his relationship with Verity and more recent plot twists explain his more drastic non-smiling change (though as Blackjack SPOILERises, there's potentially another problem with the Annual in relation to that revelation. Though for me it just about works).

Terome
2013-09-27, 11:34 AM
Curious thing is that I've rattled through the nine issues and annual Dalek sent me but there's a strange lack of desire to carry on, even though I could be downloading the remainder as we speak. It's a page-turner when it's there in front of you but at the same time it's not actually very interesting.


I think that is a pretty fair criticism - in my opinion the series is blindingly good soap opera. There is plenty of interesting stuff in there if one likes hints about Cybertronian culture and history but as I understand it that is a niche market. The big theme of it ties into the soap opera - 'Surprise! Turns out people and things aren't quite what they appear to be!' and there are other themelets but the story itself isn't really about anything but moving the story to amusing places.

I don't regard that a bad thing as I do think it's a deliberate choice and I am right now sitting in a library where I can get a lifetime's worth of texts that will be pored over and scrutinised for generations.

It's also fair to say that a lot of the stuff people are most excited about in it is mostly because it's ground-breaking in the franchise rather than actually breaking any sort of ground that matters. I don't think that's a problem, myself, as it is executed with a higher degree of competence than is strictly necessary and is, well, fun to read.

I do think we as commentators should get out of the habit of comparing it to RID. Now, I've given RID a lot of time and patience and money so I think I'm justified in saying that it's not terribly good. A good comparison to MTMTE would be Saga, which is contemporary and I think shares the same sort of goals and intents. For my money, Saga runs rings around MTMTE. Mainly, I suspect, because the writer is so much more seasoned and the art is of a much higher standard (I'm very fond of Milne's work but you'd have a hard time picking out a single bad panel in Saga).
But there's a compliment in there too - if anything can break out of the franchise ghetto to stand on its own strengths amongst something as superb as Saga, it's MTMTE.

Cliffjumper
2013-09-27, 12:02 PM
I think that is a pretty fair criticism - in my opinion the series is blindingly good soap opera. There is plenty of interesting stuff in there if one likes hints about Cybertronian culture and history but as I understand it that is a niche market. The big theme of it ties into the soap opera - 'Surprise! Turns out people and things aren't quite what they appear to be!' and there are other themelets but the story itself isn't really about anything but moving the story to amusing places.

That is exactly it, with the same pros and cons. It's like EastEnders or something... if it's convenient for you to sit down and watch it you can get quite into it for what it is, you have characters you like, there are good lines in it, a bit of intrigue, mysterious pasts, old betrayals, revelations by the barrel-load, the odd reference to older events you let wash over you... then if for whatever reason you can't find time in your schedule for it, you don't actually mind too much. But if you stick with it dutifully for a couple of years, drip-fed, it probably gets to be part of what you do.

Obviously you could argue quality differences and what have you (though that'd be through the prism of Transformers fans being much more predisposed to liking Transformers), but the actual consumption is startling similar. People like Swerve or Rewind in the same way they like Billy Mitchell or Kat Slater - "Oh, I like him, just don't ask me to actually define why."

It's the direct opposite of the Furman material. MTMTE's storylines are borderline irrelevant with the focus being on making each issue engaging. The Dead Furmanverse relied entirely on promising a future more interesting that the shite you were reading at the time, like it was an obligation to put out six issues building up to the vague threat of the plot starting.

Personally I think IDW ****ed any chance of a breakaway hit with such a terrible first couple of years; getting out of the franchise ghetto involves hitting the ground with genuine quality and then not twatting around too much. It's a shame it's taken them six, seven years to learn the lesson as they could be a lot richer right now; all the warnings were there from the DW material. The PR alone had they kicked off with Death of Optimus Prime and the end of the war... or even AHM, as good sales have rarely had much of a correlation with good comics.

Knightdramon
2013-09-27, 12:56 PM
To be honest they had the herculean task of catering, or trying to cater to, both TF fans and the regular comic reader.

The regular comic reader did dip in at the movie comics sales period, around the movies, but was possibly put off by how nothing in the official movie prequels had anything to do with the actual movies.

Then if he/she tried to get into the actual mainline TF comics, they might have been greeted to Furman's mess, stretching over mini series and spotlights of characters they never heard of, making it hard to track down the actual story. Or they might have read BW and just quit.

As for the average TF fan, as I spend more time in the fandom lately I find myself more and more detached. The average fan is delusional, cheap as hell, always complains and possibly hasn't seen or tried to collect actual high end lines from other franchises when they complain about how an MP car is too expensive or the average deluxe is 16 USD. The average fan complains where there's something genuinely new in the comics, yet when Furman retreads everything again they still don't like it.

So yes, in that regard, IDW is screwed from the beginning, regardless of what they put out. :lol:

inflatable dalek
2013-09-27, 01:31 PM
I wish you people would stop comparing the series to things I've not seen/read so I don't know how fair you're being (I did catch a bit of, what I think was, an episode of Eastenders the other night for the first time in years that seemed to suggest fans of Jon Pertwee Doctor Who are a bit weird. I concur).

I do wish more of the soap fans I'd met were like the ones Cliffy knows, the ones who've cornered me at parties can go on at great length about why they love their favourite characters. Of course, when I corner people at parties my conversation is exciting and interesting (though the great secret both SF and soap fans don't like to admit is they're basically the same in every way. The mutual loathing comes more from recognition than anything else).

I think we may be being slightly disingenuous to the originality of the series. Whilst there are few new ideas in fiction (and of course, the "Lets look at the guys in the background holding guns" things was something Wreckers explored as well. Plus the whole thing is Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead anyway) I think one of the great joys of the series is a lot of the Big SF ideas are new to Transformers, but at the same time something that lends itself to being done most easily within the framework of Transformers. At least outside of an Peter F. Hamilton sized novel of course.

The Chromedome/Rewind relationship is a good example of that. It takes the four million years of war between virtual immortals and asks: "If you lived that long, and had so many around you die on the way, what does love actually mean? How many significant others would you burn through? And if you had the technology to forget those you've lost would you use it?" (cleverly, giving both of them previous partners means it can explore two different ways of dealing with loss over millennia). That's proper hard science fiction that benefits from an economy of storytelling because the set up of the Universe establishes so many of the rules right from the off. It would be hard to do it that well, or at least that neatly, in almost any other comic.

Warcry
2013-09-27, 03:19 PM
It's the direct opposite of the Furman material. MTMTE's storylines are borderline irrelevant with the focus being on making each issue engaging.
I don't think anyone's ever summed up why I like something so succinctly. Good Transformers fiction has always been storyline-driven. Look back at stuff like G2, Target: 2006, the run-up to US #75 and what you see are grandiose plots that don't leave too much room for the characters in them. I love the first Bay movie because it was so different from what we've come to expect from the franchise and I love MTMTE for the same reason. It absolutely is a soap opera and it absolutely has it's flaws, but it's not afraid to break the mold and explore things that the franchise has never touched on before. After consuming TF fiction for nearly 30 years now, that's a huge, huge point in it's favour.

I think that's also why RiD compares poorly to MTMTE in most folks' minds. It's not a bad series by any stretch compared to most TF comics, but it's everything we've come to expect TF books to be over the last few decades. If someone gave you a brief summary of what happened in the RiD series and then handed you the actual comics to read, absolutely nothing in them would surprise you.

The people who talk up MTMTE like its the best thing ever are, like you say, very biased and have a very narrow reference pool. But the comic is definitely a breath of fresh air for a franchise that's gotten very set in it's ways. And with the recent spate of toy releases for characters who've become popular based on the series I think maybe, just maybe, MTMTE's popularity has convinced Hasbro that that sort of risk-taking in the fiction isn't a bad thing.

inflatable dalek
2013-09-27, 03:24 PM
I should also say the early RID issues are standing up very well in trade form, because (for me anyway) it's gone off the boil as it's gone on I'd forgotten how enjoyable I found it at the start.

It's just a shame the One Great Idea ("What if Starscream used his silver tongue to get power legitimately?") of which most of the other good ideas in the book are an off-shoot (Elections, reintegration and so on) was so firmly pissed up the wall so when he takes power he does it by stabbing someone in the back. Almost painfully literally.

Denyer
2013-09-27, 08:38 PM
A good comparison to MTMTE would be Saga, which is contemporary and I think shares the same sort of goals and intents. For my money, Saga runs rings around MTMTE.
Does it get a better after the issues in the first trade? Found it very throwaway and wacky for the sake of it.

possibly hasn't seen or tried to collect actual high end lines from other franchises when they complain about how an MP car is too expensive
Or has a sense of proportionality and thinks "high end" should mean good quality, which is lacking in many such TF products.

I'm sure there's a mark-up at each stage in the chain for the not-Weirdwolf I've got in the post and the not-Tantrum and not-Ironfist that're on order... but bootleggers have demonstrated the ability to turn a profit on a fraction of the official Takara prices whilst offering similar quality, which gives some indication of how much goes to licensing and profit. The designers probably aren't getting rich, and either the bootleggers have much more economic tooling or the moulds aren't staggering expensive provided a prototype can be produced. So official stuff gets less of a pass -- objectively, the Western release of Soundwave is double the retail price of Grimlock or Rodimus, which makes each cassette roughly the price of a deluxe.

Terome
2013-09-27, 09:04 PM
Cliffjumper: But if you stick with it dutifully for a couple of years, drip-fed, it probably gets to be part of what you do.

Which I imagine might be part of the disconnect between the enthusiasm you're seeing for the product and the product itself. A big part of making successful serialised fiction is in the meta-series of timing releases and revelations, allowing the audience to stew on this point or that for just the right length of time. A big chunk of what people are reacting to is the stuff that's happened in their heads during the gaps.

Does it get a better after the issues in the first trade? Found it very throwaway and wacky for the sake of it.


Hmm, I read it as single issues up to #12 in one great binge so it's hard to say. I'd agree that there's nothing profound about it but I found that it was very well put together. Quite a lot of the stuff I consume would probably fit under the 'wacky for the sake of it' banner so my sensitivities may be shot and I would put it on the very mild end of that spectrum.

(Tank Girl or Superjail! would be on the far end of that spectrum, to calibrate.)

Knightdramon
2013-09-27, 09:51 PM
Or has a sense of proportionality and thinks "high end" should mean good quality, which is lacking in many such TF products.

I'm sure there's a mark-up at each stage in the chain for the not-Weirdwolf I've got in the post and the not-Tantrum and not-Ironfist that're on order... but bootleggers have demonstrated the ability to turn a profit on a fraction of the official Takara prices whilst offering similar quality, which gives some indication of how much goes to licensing and profit. The designers probably aren't getting rich, and either the bootleggers have much more economic tooling or the moulds aren't staggering expensive provided a prototype can be produced. So official stuff gets less of a pass -- objectively, the Western release of Soundwave is double the retail price of Grimlock or Rodimus, which makes each cassette roughly the price of a deluxe.

Hmmm, I guess it's all objectively but in a world where I was into Hot Toys figures that were in the range of 200-300 USD, and Macross figures which run roughly the same price, I don't think an MP car of 30-40 USD is much to scoff at. Mind you, in proportion to the "real" world where 40 USD/GBP gets you about 2 months' worth of lunches, it is a lot of money, but for a collectible, it isn't.

I figure that bootleggers bypass a lot of the legal junk Hasbro/Takara go through, usually don't deal with designing a thing or paying licenses when applicable, and that slack is passed on as savings to us.

On the comic front, RID is enjoyable as well, just not as much as MTMTE at the moment. The fact that ever since issue 16, RID has been using issues 17-21 to just set up the stage for Dark Cybertron while MTMTE has actually been going on with a kickass story doesn't help.

I do find that RID has been more consistent in terms of artwork than MTMTE. The few issues where MTMTE has had a different penciler [13, annual and 16] really suffer a lot because Milne [and Roche, occasionally] have been handling it so well, while I don't think RID has gone through such a phase. Sure, Ramondeli does draw differently but you kind of expect heavily stylized robots painted in a goth way when you see his name on the cover, you sort of expect the change. :lol: