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Blackjack
2014-07-29, 07:37 PM
Transformers Regeneration One #90: Natural Selection, Part 5
10 April 2013
Written by: Simon Furman
Pencils by: Andrew Wildman
Inks by: Stephen Baskerville
Colours by: John-Paul Bove & James Stayte
Letters by: Chris Mowry
Edited by: John Barber

Synopsis: As Hot Rod announces that the will of Primus was for him to purge all the Demons to make way for a better evolution, the Demons cower in fear. But Hot Rod quickly stops himself, noting that he is not Primus and decides that he will somehow put it right. Taking both the Covenant and the Sword, Hot Rod exits the secret chamber, his wounds healing as he does so. Hot Rod heads off to the surface, promising the Demons, who bow down to him, that he will return to finally unify both races.

Iacon: Grimlock leads the uninfected Autobots to the Civil Defense Hub, taking down all the guards – Autobot and Decepticons alike – that guard the facility. Crosshairs urges them to restrain themselves, and Blurr’s speed allows them to get through the sealing blast doors. They burst into the control room, where Pounce and Wingspan surrender immediately. They find that Scorponok’s data is thankfully not deleted yet, allowing Nucleon sufferers to be cured.

Earth: As Galvatron prepares to take off, Shockwave, connected to the Ark, speaks to Starscream and lifts the mental blocks Megatron had placed on him. Shockwave reveals he was the one behind Starscream being able to overcome them earlier. In his damaged state, Shockwave does not have complete control of the Ark, but has enough freedom to do so. Starscream decides that if there needs to be a pilot on the Ark, he could replace Galvatron in doing so.

Sonic Canyons: Scorponok rages at Perceptor as the Autobot announces yet another delay thanks to a minor technical difficulty, and in his rage kills Roadblock. Scorponok’s ranting is interrupted by Grimlock, arriving on a Sky-sled and lecturing how fear does not equal respect – a lesson he learnt the hard way. Scorponok manages to shoot Grimlock out of the sky and restrain him with his crystal, ordering Perceptor to activate the Gene Key.

Iacon: The orbital defenses open fire, targeting the approaching Valiant. While Blurr tries futilely to use his speed to race through all the possible passcodes for the computer, Crosshairs holds Pounce at gunpoint and demands the code. Pounce calls Crosshairs’ bluff, only for the Autobot to kill Wingspan on the spot. Pounce tells them the code, allowing the missiles to be detonated before they strike the Valiant. The surprised Ultra Magnus orders the Autobots and Wreckers inside to get ready.

Sonic Canyons: As Scorponok gloats while the Pan-global Gene Key is activated, the result ends up returning all the Autobots to normal – though they retain all the memories of their acts. Perceptor reveals that Grimlock never used the Gene Key on him, merely demonstrated it, and Perceptor has been acting as a mole all along. Grimlock charges Scorponok as he is distracted by Perceptor, while the other Dinobots arrive and open fire. Spinister orders the remaining Decepticons to flee, and Perceptor does the same for the Autobots. Swoop destroys the supports of the platform they are on, and while Snarl tries to rescue Grimlock from falling, the Dinobot leader refuses his aid, citing that he has went too far over the line. Still locked in battle, both Scorponok and Grimlock tumble into the canyons.

Earth: Optimus Prime arrives at the Ark too late as it takes off with Galvatron on the bridge, and recognizes the unfamiliar Decepticon as his old foe Megatron.

Featured Characters: Hot Rod, Demons, Roadblock the Pretender, Guzzle, Grimlock, Snarl, Sludge, Swoop, Crosshairs, Grapple, Blurr, Hosehead, Landfill, Crankcase, Runamuck, Sparkstalker, Pounce, Wingspan (killed), Ultra Magnus, Smokescreen, Hound, Galvatron, Starscream, Shockwave, Scorponok, Perceptor, Highbrow, Brainstorm, Spinister, Roadblock the Autoroller (killed), Skyquake, Needlenose, Red Alert, Sideswipe, Cosmos, Skids, Kup, Override, Slapdash, Dogfight, Skram, Landmine, Kick-Off (flashback), Optimus Prime

Review:

”Maybe grand plan starting to unravel. Like all grand plans do.”

The Hot Rod stuff feels rather truncated. After all the buildup from the last issue Hot Rod immediately decides to do the right thing™ and not murder the Demons, and with Covenant in tow kind of just leaves them off for later. It’s rather vexing why he doesn’t really do something about it. Of course, it gives Hot Rod some rather nice characterization which the young cavalier really needs in the Marvel continuity, so I can’t really blame him.

Art is... okay this issue. It's not spectacular, but there isn't any point in the story where I shake my head at the art, which is something I did in practically every issue before this.

The charge on the Iacon defense hub is quick, swift and showcases all the unique participants quickly – Grimlock, Crosshairs and Blurr, and it’s a nice, efficient action scene. Do like how Blurr zips through the sealing doors quick enough to deactivate it and run back while Crosshairs is still in the same pose. I also like how Blurr tries his level best to type in all the passwords to deactivate the missiles, and how Crosshairs just coldly executes Wingspan when Pounce calls his bluff. Blurr’s fun, Crosshairs is cold, and those are both rather memorable scenes for second-stringer characters… which is rare in a Regeneration One issue.

Needlenose and Spinister also gets a scene when he just buggers off when it’s clear Scorponok can’t keep his promises. I do like the pair.

The whole orbital missile thing threatening Ultra Magnus of course doesn’t do a damn thing, and is just like the missiles from the Megatron arc – just something to needlessly raise the stakes that will be resolved as the main villain is taken down. It did get the wholly awesome Crosshairs scene, though.

Shockwave and Starscream plot to take over Galvatron, which I can’t really get excited about. Shockwave's basically a computer instead of an actual independent being so I don't see him really doing much. Optimus Prime arrives and gets shocked, and again it feels like it’s been stretched on and on. We saw Shockwave come online two issues ago, and while it might read quickly on trade paperback form, normal readers had to wait two months to get there and that is ridiculously stretched on.

Scorponok ranting as he goes angrier and just keeps ranting on and on is just really boring to read, and the showdown between Scorponok and Grimlock is kind of just boring grappling. I thought the Skysled might lead to a less boring battle, but no, it’s taken out and the two just grapple and talk and grapple and talk some more. Perceptor ends up being the mole all along, and has been sabotaging Scorponok’s device – and it is rather idiotic for Scorponok not to do the handiwork, despite developing the original Gene Key himself. The Gene Key itself has never been shown to be reversible before, and adding to all the massive plot holes in this arc, how does Grimlock know Perceptor won’t be turned evil by the effects of the Gene Key only temporarily? The art and dialogue makes it clear that Grimlock definitely did turn Perceptor temporarily… so why is Perceptor the only one changed temporarily, while everyone else is going ‘rar rar I’m evil’ all along? Why do I even care about this moronic plot device?

So many plot holes here, and indeed throughout the arc. Why did Scorponok revive Brainstorm, Highbrow and Hardhead instead of, oh, the other Headmasters there? If the Gene Key is reversed, why aren't the Decepticons good? The concept of the Gene Key is idiotic itself. Why didn't Scorponok Gene Key Grimlock? Plus all the plot holes that allowed Grimlock to run amuck. At the end, why didn't all the Autobots just dogpile on Scorponok so he can be arrested and we don't have to have the scene where they tumble off into the canyon? I guess Swoop's just as pissed off at the two of them as I am.

The issue ends with the ‘shocking’ ending of Grimlock and Scorponok tumbling off into a crevice, with Grimlock refusing help because he’s ‘too far gone’. It’s extremely clichéd and probably meant to be a surprise twist ending, but really, I’m just glad that the two are gone for the time being. I mean, Grimlock is unlikely to be killed by a fall, but at least his wishy-washiness won’t be seen for a while, whereas it seems like this is the end of the road for Scorponok and his grandiose plans with numerous plot holes and zero sense. I absolutely hate this take on Scorponok, which spits on the well-written Marvel Scorponok of past, and nothing he does makes sense.

I just want to make this perfectly clear that the single point in this issue have nothing to do with the main Gene Key plot or Scorponok, or the way that it’s resolved. Crosshairs, Hot Rod, Blurr and even Needlenose are the ones that make this issue readable enough. It’s just a big mess all around that I am extremely happy is now ended and dusted.

(0.5 out of 5)

Notes:
This is the first appearance of both Roadblocks in the Marvel continuity, and their first speaking roles – IDW gave them visual cameos but nothing else. The golden Roadblock talking to Guzzle is the innermost robot of the Ultra Pretender from G1, whereas the green Roadblock that Scorponok throws off into the Canyon is the G2 Autoroller of the same name.

In addition to the Roadblocks, this is also Skram and Skyquake’s first appearance in the Marvel comics continuity, though both have appeared before in the IDW comics as minor characters.

Guzzle and Roadblock talk about the Mecannibals, an alien race seen a couple of times throughout the Marvel series.

Grimlock’s crew attacks Scorponok in using Sky-Sleds, last seen in #75 where Transformers without airborne alternate modes utilized them in the fight against Unicron.

Grimlock probably refers to his stint as Autobot leader when he’s talking about how fear doesn’t equal respect or loyalty… although it could just be easily applied to his screw-up in recent events.

Pounce’s password is in Japanese: ‘juu-kyuu-hachi-juushi-nijuu-juu-yon’, which, if taken as ‘juu-kyuu, hachijuu-shi, nijuu, juuyon’, very roughly translates to ’19, 84, 20, 14’, which is probably a very bad attempt at trying to reference 1984 and 2014, the birth year of the series and the thirtieth anniversary. Of course, this in itself is pretty bad usage of Japanese wording structure. The Japanese language phrases years in what would be ‘one-thousand-nine-hundred-and-eighty-four’ (sen-kyuuhyaku-hachijuu-yon) and ‘two-thousand-and-fourteen’ (nisen-juuyon) in English. Whereas what Pounce says is the English phrasing of 1984 and 2014, ‘nineteen eighty four’ (juu-kyuu and hachi-juuyon) and ‘twenty fourteen’ (nijuu and juuyon), which is kinda wrong in Japanese, technically speaking.

Slapdash is definitely alive here, so maybe Brainstorm is just a bad shot?

Goofs:
Sparkstalker is shown to be alive, despite being noted to have been killed by Cindersaur off-screen in Transformers #79. (I also can't identify those other two dudes that Blurr beats up in the panel with Sparkstalker, though they look extremely generic)

Likewise, Runamuck was shown among the dead corpses during Transformers #76, Still Life, and reappears without explanation. Of course, Hosehead, who shows up in the same panel of corpses, also shows up alive, so maybe the deaths from that issue is retconned? Runamuck did show up in the G2 comics, albeit to die again, so…

The Ark is drawn like the cartoon instead of the boxy Marvel shape, but retains the Marvel’s silver colours.

Compared to how the Autobots on the Valiant were laid out last issue, Kup switches from sitting on the same row with Red Alert and Sideswipe to the row opposite to them.

Skyquake is miscoloured as Machine Wars Starscream, a toy which is repainted from Skyquake.

On page 13, Highbrow is colored like Needlenose.

The crystal Scorponok uses to limit Grimlock’s movement is a different shape here compared to two issues ago.

Blackjack
2014-07-29, 07:39 PM
Good lord, finally I got through the Natural Selection reviews. Let me tell you, Crosshairs and Hot Rod aside any real fun I had reading these five issues stemmed from trying to identify badly-drawn background characters.

"Ah-ha this guy has the same chest detail as Dogfight!"

inflatable dalek
2014-07-29, 07:55 PM
You're on an insane ReGeneration One reviewing roll!

Blackjack
2014-07-29, 08:13 PM
You're on an insane ReGeneration One reviewing roll!

Feh, all the dirty jobs... but it can be hurt- it can be killed! Better to fight and die, than to live with the knowledge that I ran. After all, this series is surplus to requirements and it finally is over -- finished! Reviewing it may give me the worst case of indigestion I've ever had, but I'm going to bring this down to earth -- literally! It's about time I made a stand, though it has been a short, sharp lesson in pain. Still, can I do any less? I mean, I never did want to live forever.

(Surprisingly Regeneration One, so far, has been mostly free of Furmanisms)