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Blackjack
2014-07-28, 07:21 PM
Transformers Regeneration One #84: Loose Ends, Part 4
10 October 2012
Written by: Simon Furman
Pencils by: Andrew Wildman
Inks by: Stephen Baskerville
Colours by: John-Paul Bove
Letters by: Chris Mowry
Edited by: John Barber

Synopsis: Earth: Starscream, despite his lobotomization under the hands of Megatron, still has enough awareness to understand the current situation. As Megatron gloats over the inhibitor blocks he had placed within Starscream’s mind, Starscream agonizes within his own mind, trying to say something of crucial importance, but can only manage ‘kllrtch’.

The Wreckers, meanwhile, split into two groups. The airborne Springer, Sandstorm and Whirl head towards Megatron’s location despite knowing that it’s a suicidal trap, if only to buy time for Roadbuster’s team. They are quickly ambushed by Megatron’s army of zombie Decepticons, and despite their attempt to be unexpected, all end up being ineffective against the zombies and are taken down one by one. Megatron berates Starscream for nearly killing Springer, wanting to do the job himself.

Roadbuster, meanwhile leads the other Wreckers (some of whom are still wounded), Circuit Smasher and the exosuit-wearing humans in Canada trying to retake the Ark while the Decepticons are kept busy. Roadbuster formulates a plan, and Circuit Smasher quickly threatens the Wrecker that they are going to destroy the Ark, not salvage it. After Springer gives the signal that Megatron is indeed preoccupied with them, they charge in and battle the Ark’s Autoguns and mines. In the process Leadfoot is injured, but Circuit Smasher tells the other humans not to help, viewing them as dispensable. However as they approach the Ark, an army of Guardian Units comes out to engage them.

Cybertron: Hot Rod has a vision, in which he kills a Demon while wandering a lava-streaked Cybertron, somehow able to summon a glowing sword to do so. As he recovers from the vision, he tries to brush it off as a product of Optimus Prime departing for Earth, leaving him in command, before thinking of it as a premonition. That is proven quickly true as Blurr rushes in to report that the Decepticons, led by Soundwave, have attacked the Hall of Silence, seemingly intent on going after Thunderwing’s remains.

Earth: Having Springer at his mercy, Megatron gloats over him about how keeping enemies alive to torture them has recently been more interesting to him than outright killing them, something that has kept him entertained for the time being. However, he knows that he needs to use it to make an example, as a deterrent. As he prepares to kill Springer, who defiantly tells him to go to hell, he is interrupted by Optimus Prime. Megatron is delighted that his eternal foe has come. Through all this, Starscream manages to regain some autonomy to approach the Scraplet-inflicted Kup, struggling to give the all-important words he keeps repeating: Kup must ‘kllrtch’… kill Ratchet.

And as the battle of ancient enemies begins, Starscream kneels beside Kup, and struggles to give voice to that important thought pounding in his brain, letting Kup know what must be done to end Megatron's evil. He must "kllrtch"... kill Ratchet!

Featured Characters: Starscream, Blot, Ratchet, Megatron, Kup, Blitzwing, Tantrum, Sandstorm, Springer, Whirl, Broadside, Rack’n’Ruin, Topspin, Roadbuster, Circuit Smasher, Leadfoot, Gordon Kent, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Ratbat, Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, Guardian Units, Hot Rod, Demon (vision), Blurr, Soundwave, Cosmos, Wheeljack, Prowl, Optimus Prime, Ultra Magnus, Hound

Review:
“At last… really, Optimus Prime… what kept you?”
I haven't reviewed this series for a year, so if you're reading the guide in one go please do forgive me if there's a bit of a difference in tone between #83 and #84. At this point in time we see that the rather promising start has started to dwindle down. A huge chunk of the issue, nearly half of it, is just devoted to the Wreckers alternately fighting zombie Decepticons or random autoguns saying more or less the same thing repeated over a couple dozen pages. There is a couple of lines exchanged between Sandstorm and Whirl where Whirl expresses his glee at being sent on a suicide mission, and I do like Roadbuster being an actual field commander, but otherwise it is so much obvious padding, and the only real character consequence we got from the whole thing is that Spike Witwicky is a massive dick that doesn’t want to take the time to flip Leadfoot over. Because not enough of us hate him, apparently. The whole scene in Canada heading to the Ark feels needlessly complicated because apparently Broadside and Topspin (and Rack’n’Ruin, apparently) can still fly, so why don’t they just leave taking out the autoguns, which doesn’t seem to be able to shoot upwards, to the fliers? And with the Guardian robots (yet another UK-inspired thing despite Furman’s alleged claim that they’re ignoring all UK continuity) it seems that that side of the plot is going to be padded some more.

Art is still not quite there yet. I still can’t put my finger on what exactly I don’t like about the art beyond settling in that uncomfortable space between ‘retro’ and ‘finalized’, but the art definitely feels rushed. Vehicle modes look extremely static, and Leadfoot flipped over looks rather badly drawn since all he has on the underside is a single metal plate. Background characters in particular look really bad, some of them lacking faces, and Roadbuster’s face just looks odd with his visor taking up 90% of his face. Everyone also gets the same rusty metal splotches whether they have been fighting all day on Cybertron or just arrived from Cybertron and should theoretically be squeaky-clean.

We get some good character moments for Marvel’s version of the completely insane Megatron which I rather enjoy, where he’s just monologuing to a bunch of zombies about how awesome he is in turning their lives into living deaths. He really likes to monologue and it’s just rather fun to read in general. That absolutely delighted expression that he has on his face when Optimus Prime shows up, knowing that he’s about to have fun, is a rather fun scene.

Starscream finally gets screentime as bookends, where his ego is strong enough to manage to say out those few words to get someone to ‘kill Ratchet’. It’s not really that big of a twist, though seeing what the pragmatic Kup will do is rather interesting indeed.

Other than that though, it’s just all a long-winded setup for a big finale for the Megatron-conquers-Earth arc next issue. Hot Rod’s scene, where he gets a vision about Demons and gets informed that the Decepticons are going to steal Thunderwing, is another setup that feels really padded. And all these padding and uninteresting scenes of generic dialogue being lobbed at each other by identikit characters underlies what is one of the largest problems throughout later Regeneration One issues. It isn’t quite so bad now thanks to Megatron keeping it interesting, and the action scenes still paced quickly enough not to feel dreadful, but there’s a sense of it being stretched out. It’s not a bad read, but not exactly as good as the previous ones either.

(2 out of 5)

Notes:
Megatron and Ratchet being symbiotically linked, one unable to live without the other, happened in the iconic Transformers #70 (The Price of Life), where the two have been merged into one being thanks to a freak Spacebridge incident. The two ended up being separated, and Ratchet was presumed killed alongside Starscream and Megatron during the events of #78 (A Savage Circle) when the Ark crash-landed.

Megatron at one point refers to the Autobots’ attempt to rescue Kup as ‘such heroic nonsense’, his famous, oft-quoted line from the 1986 movie.

The Ark’s computer is once more referred to as ‘Auntie’. The idea of a freaky amount of automatic weaponry outside of an Autobot base in a snowy land has once been done by Furman in an Earthforce comic, though it was played for laughs back then.

The rest of the exosuit-wearing humans are called Rob, Paula and Nel, confirmed by Furman to be named after people who had worked on the US comic series, namely editors Rob Tokar and Paula Foye, as well as colourist Nel Yomtov.

Apparently Rack’n’Ruin can fly.

The Guardian Units have showed up in the US continuity before, but the particular golden humanoid ones seen here is directly off the Guardian unit that appeared in the early UK comic ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, and later ‘the Wrath of Guardian’ and ‘the Wrath of Grimlock’.

The Demons have appeared several times in both US and UK comics, implied to be primordial creatures created by the god Primus before creating the Transformers, but are mostly left unexplored.

This time, Skywarp doesn’t use the IDW ‘VVOP’ sound effect.

Blurr speaks without spaces kindalikethiswhichhehasdonebeforeinMarvelcomics. However, thanks to the letters looking nigh-identical it’s almost impossible to discern the individual words, making reading his dialogue terribly difficult.

Prowl and seemingly Wheeljack are confirmed to be with Optimus Prime's team. Considering that Inferno, Blaster, Slag etc are shown to be unstable and whatnot after ingesting Nucleon, yet some people like Grimlock and the other Dinobots aren't affected, it can be assumed that Nucleon doesn't have adverse effects on everyone.

Goofs:
A lot of characters, especially background ones, are faceless and mouthless. Listing every single one of them would be madness.

“Dispensable” is mis-spelt as “dispensible” when Circuit Smasher is talking about Leadfoot.

Those golden things on Ratbat’s back are coloured purple like the rest of him.

Blackjack
2014-07-28, 07:24 PM
I haven't touched this series since, jeez, early August last year... nearly a full year ago! No wonder I'm so confused about the details of what I've talked about in the comments and what I haven't...

It's holiday right now so I'm going to try and do as much as I can while the review bug's got me. Though I suspect my interest might turn back into toys once I reach the dreadful Scorponok arc... WHY DO I TORTURE MYSELF