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Blackjack
2014-08-04, 03:48 PM
Transformers Regeneration One #100: The War to End All Wars, Part 5
19 March 2014
Written by: Simon Furman
Pencils by: Andrew Wildman (pg 1-10), Geoff Senior (11-20), Guido Guidi (21-32)
Inks by: Stephen Baskerville (Wildman and Guidi pages), Geoff Senior
Colours by: John-Paul Bove
Letters by: Chris Mowry
Edited by: John Barber

Synopsis: Rodimus Prime’s forces return to Cybertron, finding that the planet unresponsive. Upon landing they find that the planet seems to have been aged and transformed, with no one around. Rodimus, in his horror, realizes that the absence of the Autobot forces has been orchestrated, and concludes that a dark entity has been posing as Primus, dangling half-truths and goading them into confronting Jhiaxus. Suddenly, what appears to be living shadows attack and suck the life out of Hosehead and Slingshot. The Autobots prepare to battle, and Blaster manages to trap one of them in a sonic bubble. Perceptor finds out that the creature was once Iguanus, and that all these ‘Shadow-leeches’ are former Transformers, transfigured into undeath alongside their world. Jetfire is dispatched to retrieve the Sword of Primus. The Dinobots, having survived the transfiguration arrive and back up the Autobots. Grimlock reveals that his brief possession by the Anti-Matrix has somehow given him immunity against the Shadow-leeches, and the other Dinobots have been saved by their proximity to Grimlock during the transfiguration. Jetfire returns with the sword, and Rodimus is able to use it to drive off the creatures and create a safe zone for the Autobots.

The Dinobots bring Rodimus up to speed, how everyone on the planet except for them were transformed by a wave, as well as Galvatron’s attack on the space bridge nexus, taking the entire network down other than the portals linking Cybertron, Earth and Nebulos. Rodimus is reminded of something from the Covenant of Primus about a ‘trinity’ of planets that holds the gateway to the other realities of the ‘multiverse’. Rodimus tells Magnus to lead the others to deal with Galvatron and retake the Star Chamber, while he prepares to deal with the creature in Zero Space.

Zero Space: Circuit Smasher is continued to be mentally tortured by the Anti-Matrix, this time materializing as his father and continue to guilt-tripping him. The Anti-Matrix creature notes how the crack in Zero Space is widening, how he can glimpse other universes, instigated by the mental torture on Spike, as well as the chaos of Galvatron razing Nebulos, the last of the three planets to remain intact.

Rodimus realizes that the Anti-Matrix has been pulling his strings, stroking his ego, and the only time it failed to do so was when it dangled the Sword and the Covenant before him in an attempt to drive him to commit genocide upon the Demons. Rodimus uses the Covenant to open a portal to Zero Space, which Rodimus notes to be the void that Primus left when he left this particular plane of existence. Rodimus confronts the Anti-Matrix, the corrupted Creation Matrix that once possessed the Deathbringer, who claims everything is progressing as he wants to.

Star Chamber: As the Autobots arrive on the locked-out Space Bridge nexus, Kup and the Dinobots elect to tear their way through the doors instead of waiting for Nightbeat hacking the system. The Shadow-leeches arrive, however, claiming Streetwise’s life. Grimlock holds the creatures off, while Magnus divides the present Autobot into two teams to Earth and Nebulos, expecting to find Galvatron.

Zero Space: Rodimus watches Spike being tortured, unable to reach the human. The Anti-Matrix entity reveals that he had been teleported to Cybertron alongside the other Transformers by Primus before the Unicron battle. Seeking refuge in one of the Unicron cultists, the Anti-Matrix discovers a graveyard of Transformers in Primus’ chamber, and started draining the remaining spark energy. It also took command of the Demons and ordered them to abduct living victims. Integrating itself into Cybertron in place of Primus, the Anti-Matrix creature thrived as Cybertron was plunged into chaos, and when peace came, it instigated the lingering flames of war by influencing Soundwave to take out the ever-watchful Last Autobot, and manipulated Scorponok to sow even more chaos. Growing as much as it can within the universe, the Anti-Matrix wishes to ascend into the multiverse but requires a Matrix to do so. The creature somehow summons three Optimus Primes and has them attack Rodimus. As the rift grows bigger, Rodimus recalls his past vision of the multiverse, and launches the Covenant to send ripples through it. As he is overwhelmed by the three Optimus Primes and the Anti-Matrix, an army of alternate universe Hot Rods and Rodimus Primes arrive to answer his call for help.

On Nebulos, Ultra Magnus’ team arrives to find the destruction wrought by Galvatron. On Earth, the Autobot team sent there is briefly assaulted by Linda Chang’s forces, but Roadbuster, knowing the humans, is able to broker a peace to help them find Spike. Magnus’ team launches an assault on Galvatron. Ultra Magnus personally charges in and kills Galvatron by crushing his head, but before he could be blindsided by the mind-controlled Fortress Maximus, the humans and the Earth team arrive, and Kup is forced to put down the turned Autobot.

Earth: The team led by Kup and Prowl is met with fire from the distraught Linda Chang, but Roadbuster, recognizing them, is quickly able to calm her down and they team up to rescue both Optimus and Spike.

Zero Space: As the Rodimus army assaults the Anti-Matrix entity, Rodimus manages to snap the real Optimus Prime out of the Anti-Matrix’s control. Optimus tells Rodimus that the entity cannot be truly destroyed. Rodimus understands that Primus’ grand plan spans multiple realities to create an optimum universe, and to prevent it from being contaminated by the Anti-Matrix, their reality must be severed from the multiverse. Optimus tells Rodimus to make his choice as he struggles against the Anti-Matrix’s influence, who knocks back all the other Rodimi.

Rodimus talks to the imprisoned Spike, getting him to deal with his guilt. And as Rodimus denies the Anti-Matrix, Spike finally breaks free of his bonds. The Anti-Matrix makes a run for the rift, which is closing thanks to Spike and Galvatron being taken out of the picture, but Rodimus stabs it with the Sword of Primus. In a flash of light, Zero Space, the Anti-Matrix and the alternate-universe Primes vanish, depositing Rodimus Prime, Spike and the dying Optimus Prime in Primus’ chamber. Optimus thanks Rodimus for saving Primus’ dream, before passing away.

Eons later, an aged Rodimus Prime walks the molten surface of a dead Cybertron, reflecting on the events that had transpired before. Having been cut off from the multiverse and Primus himself, the Transformers have slowly become mortal. After the Anti-Matrix creature’s demise, Cybertron has been so corrupted that the remaining Transformers (even former Decepticons like Starscream, Shockwave and Ravage) had spread out across the galaxy, bringing peace to other races. Earth and Nebulos join together in harmony to rebuild both their ruined worlds. However, now, Rodimus is the last remaining Cybertronian and had returned to their ruined homeworld to die. As the elderly Autobot finally dies alone on the planet, the remaining traces of his energy touch the cocoons created by the Demons, and like a blooming flower it cracks open to reveal the first of a new generation…

For after all... it never ends.

Featured Characters: Jhiaxus’ Body, Rodimus Prime, Blaster, Blurr, Jetfire, Primus Head, Ultra Magnus, Prowl, Kup, Wheeljack, Nightbeat, Bumblebee, Shadow-Leeches, Hosehead (killed), Slingshot (killed), Mirage, Highbrow, Perceptor, Iguanus, Tailgate (killed), Swoop, Slag, Grimlock, Snarl, Galvatron (killed), Scattershot (killed), Circuit Smasher, Sparkplug Witwicky (vision), Alternate-Universe Transformers, Anti-Matrix (killed), Demons (flashback), Jazz, Red Alert, Hardhead, Streetwise (killed), Topspin, Unicron Cultists (flashback), Runabout (flashback), Dreadwind (flashback), Darkwing (flashback), Soundwave (flashback), Last Autobot (flashback), Optimus Primes (killed), Backstreet, Linda Chang, Alternate Rodimus Army, Fortress Maximus (killed), Gordo Kent, G.B. Blackrock, Borx, Starscream, Ravage, Shockwave, Botanica?

Notes:
Having double the content of a normal Regeneration One issue, this issue contains several extra features: the ‘King of Shadows’ short prose story (covered in a separate review), some lineart and scrip extracts, a couple of pin-ups, a complete cover gallery of the US Marvel series and Regeneration One, a farewell letter from Andrew Wildman, another one from John-Paul Bove and finally from Simon Furman.

The Guido Guidi cover homages the cover of the first Transformers comic, though replaces Laserbeak with Swoop, Gears with Kup, Earth with Cybertron and the father-and-son Witwicky with Spike.

Those killed by the Shadow-leeches (Hosehead, Slingshot, Streetwise, Tailgate) are turned gray as they are deactivated, which is an indication of death in the original cartoon. Primus’ head also turns completely gray as the Anti-Matrix disappears, signaling the death of the parasitic creature. While Optimus Prime doesn’t completely turn gray, his vibrant red and blue noticeably dulls in the panel of his death again as a homage to the 1986 Movie.

Blaster has the ability to create a sonic bubble.

Basically everyone one left on Cybertron has been turned into Shadow Leeches, so anyone not with Team Rodimus for the past three issues and this one is basically dead. Those that can be confirmed to be alive at the end of the Anti-Matrix saga include Rodimus, Shockwave, Starscream, Ravage, Grimlock, Slag, Swoop, Snarl, Blaster, Ultra Magnus, Kup, Roadbuster, Whirl, Topspin, Broadside, Sandstorm, Rack’n’Ruin, Bumblebee, Jazz, Mirage, Prowl, Wheeljack, Perceptor, Jetfire, Nightbeat, Red Alert, Blurr, Hardhead, Highbrow, Chromedome and Backstreet. All these have either shown up on crowd scenes as the Autobots escape the Hub (some people like Getaway seem to not make it out) and aren’t seen to be killed by Shadow Leeches.

Grimlock claims that he has ‘the Touch’ while slicing through Demons, named after the iconic song from TFTM. Rodimus Prime also repeats the oft-quoted ‘light our darkest hour’ with the Sword of Primus. Optimus Prime’s dying line, ‘do not grieve’, is lifted from his death scene in TFTM.

The Shadow-leeches seem to be based on G2’s Swarm visually if not by origin, as greenish-black clouds that can kill anything on touch. The death-touch ability is shared by the inhabitants of the Dead Universe.

Sludge is absent throughout the entire issue. Did he actually die in #97 and his appearance in the group shot last issue is an error? Or did he die because he wasn’t standing close enough to Grimlock?

The alternate universe transformers seen through Zero Space include Gas Skunk (from Robots in Disguise), Blackarachnia (from Beast Wars), Jetstorm (from Animated), what appears to be Leobreaker (from Cybertron) and Starscream (from Prime). As Rodimus summons his alternate-universe counterparts it seems like we are shown a glimpse of the Transformers: Animated episode ‘Transwarped’, where that universe’s Rodimus Prime is fighting on an asteroid.

As he attacks the Shadow-leeches in the Star Chamber, Grimlock’s sword makes the ‘Zarak’ sound effect.

The Anti-Matrix claims to have been recalled to Cybertron alongside the rest of the Transformers in #73 (Out of Time) and possessed one of the Unicron cultists accosting Optimus Prime. Apparently it’s been feeding on the sparks of the underground (the corpses are seen in #93 by Hot Rod), and claims responsibility for driving the Demons to attack living creatures in Transformers #76 (Still Life). Runabout’s death at the stinger for #75 is recreated here. Apparently by feeding on spark energy the Anti-Matrix manages to make the planet unstable up until the Last Autobot’s arrival, causing all the earthquakes and stuff from Transformers #77 (Exodus). It also claims responsibility for whispering into Soundwave’s ears and causing him to begin an uprising in Regeneration One #80.5 leading to the death of the Last Autobot, as well as Galvatron’s awakening in #85. It also took credit for fanning Scorponok’s pursuit of the Gene Key, sorta tying in into the random motion of him trying to further Primus’ plan. The Anti-Matrix possessed Grimlock, pretending to be Primus, in #93-94. Also basically anytime Primus speaks in this series (other than Hot Rod’s Covenant-given vision about the Demons) it’s the Anti-Matrix.

Soundwave is coloured in his Marvel purple in the flashbacks here as well as flashbacks in #80.5, meaning that his blue colour is an actual in-universe change instead of artistic choices.

The three Optimus Primes represent Optimus Prime’s three bodies throughout the Marvel continuity: his original body, his Powermaster body and his current Action-Master-based body which can be distinguished by the wounds on the chest.

The army of Rodimuses is first seen in #93. On the first panel, from left to right are Excellion (Hot Rod-themed redeco of Hot Shot from Transformers Cybertron), Animated Rodimus Prime, what I think is the unreleased Japanese toy, IDW Rodimus (based on his MTMTE body), Alternators Rodimus and Classics Rodimus.

The Anti-Matrix creature, in one of his ramblings, quotes the final words of the mysterious Liege Maximo at the end of Generation 2, ‘evil… is infinite’. Considering the two have similar designs as dark-green horned ultimate-evil entities, well…

As Rodimus destroys the crack, he says “I am Alpha. I am Omega. I am the beginning and the end.” It’s a biblical-based quote that has appeared in the episode ‘Nemesis, part 2’ of the Beast Wars cartoon, where it’s part of the Transformers’ version of the bible, the Covenant of Primus.

Throughout the issue we’ve got several mentions of ‘but it never ends’, with the truncated phrase forming the last words of Regeneration One. The phrase is one of Simon Furman’s often repeated Furmanisms and is one he often uses while talking about the Transformers franchise as well.

The details of how Ravage ended up with Starscream and Shockwave is detailed in the prose story ‘King of Shadows’.

The first of the new generation that emerges from the Demon cocoons resembles Beast Machines Botanica.

Goofs:
Iguanus died in ‘King Con’, so he can’t really be turned into a Shadow-leech.

Scattershot’s gun is found on Cybertron and it’s pretty specific it belongs to him, meaning he was turned into a shadow leech. However, he was part of one of the strike teams from two issues ago, making either that or this appearance an error.

Despite being shown to have their chest burst apart as they are pierced by the Shadow-leeches, Hosehead and Slingshot’s chests are intact when Nightbeat points at their corpses.

In the Star Chamber the number of Autobots inexplicably grows to nearly fifty, even though throughout the story only around ten to twenty Autobots can be glimpsed.

Between the Geoff Senior and Guido Guidi bits the Anti-Matrix creature changes its shape. While not inconceivable for it to transform, Guido Guidi draws the Anti-Matrix as it is traditionally drawn with horns and a slightly-detached skull head, while Geoff Senior draws it as being more heavily-built and having a traditional head, almost seeming like a dark version of Rodimus himself.

As Rodimus is transported into Zero Space, the Sword and the Covenant disappear and reappear randomly as they are needed.

If the Anti-Matrix wants to manipulate Rodimus into going off into space and bother Jhiaxus, why show Rodimus its origin as part of the Creation Matrix that possessed Deathbringer? Or Spike? It is nice foreshadowing, but one that doesn’t particularly make sense in the context. Practically everything else either fed him through the power of hate™ and basically causes conflict, but revealing those two tidbits made no sense and if anything helps Rodimus connect the dots faster.

Why can’t the Anti-Matrix turn everyone else other than Rodimus and Grimlock into Shadow-leeches? Rodimus ends up going to Zero Space and Grimlock leaves the group to hold off the existing ones, so why didn’t it come and either possess them and/or turn them?

While the two other Optimus Primes might just be random constructs, it’s never explained where ‘our’ Optimus Prime came from. We last see him being operated by Blackrock, and the humans don’t act as if he has been abducted by anything, so how did the Anti-Matrix take over Optimus Prime and transport him into Zero Space?

For that matter, how did the Anti-Matrix transport Hot Rod into another universe to obtain a Matrix when he claims he needs the ‘trinity’ and a Matrix to breach the multiverseal walls?

Ultra Magnus has a small army of Autobots with him, and none of them saw the gigantic Fortress Maximus approaching? And none of them sees the army of humans and other Autobots?

What happened to the Shadow-leeches is never resolved. A good amount seem to be killed by Grimlock while holding them off, but whether they were all exterminated or just disappeared after the Anti-Matrix is gone is never told.

Review:
”When first we met, you threw down a gauntlet. Insisting that somehow, you and I are destined to fight again and again and again. Win or lose. Live or die. Well, no more. It's over...finished!”

I’m going to talk about the things that are flat-out horrible. Fortress Maximus? For all the buildup, he shows up for all of one panel to get randomly put down by Kup. Again, it feels like a wholly unnecessary addition to the plot since he adds nothing to it. Galvatron, while probably needed to scourge Nebulos as a plot device, ends up getting a very anti-climatic end to his character and his rivalry with Ultra Magnus. He’s just rampaging like a mad dog before Ultra Magnus literally just comes, punches him and crushes his head. The fight ends completely without tension and it’s just blah. Likewise, the inclusion of Linda Chang and practically everything on Earth serves as a massive random distraction that goes nowhere. They could’ve dealt with Fortress Maximus rampaging there or something, but no. The Rodimus army and the three Optimus Primes also do absolutely nothing but act as a distraction and that ‘oh snap’ factor, but all it manages to do is to take up space and generally distract me when one of the Optimuses brought into play by Bob the Anti-Matrix is, in fact, the real Optimus Prime.

Optimus Prime himself gets a really bad showing throughout the entire series, that I really wonder if his death would be better served being in a mutual kill with Megatron back in the first arc, because save from brokering the Space Bridge with the humans (which ends up furthering the Anti-Matrix’s agenda) Optimus Prime does jack shit throughout the issue other than some talks with Spike which really could be filled by any other Autobot. His only contribution here is to act as a puppet before giving Rodimus an Obi-Wan speech. It’s certainly something that could’ve been worked in if Optimus is dead and a revived ghost, which in my opinion would actually be more dramatic. The fact that he randomly moves from Earth to Zero Space with no explanation (Roadbuster asking Linda Chang ‘where is Optimus Prime’ gets ignored by the issue itself) only adds to it. And Optimus Prime’s death really falls flat, just a little afterthought and him just randomly quoting TFTM again.

Also not a big fan on how inconsistent the Anti-Matrix’s plans are. While his recap is pretty nice and seems well thought-out to connect the dots, and dangling the Sword and Covenant is a nice way for Rodimus to subvert the entity’s plans by doing the right thing… it’s never really explained why the plan to abduct Spike seems to hinge on Optimus Prime’s idea of building a Space Bridge… which, to recap, was entirely Optimus’ idea and not a Primus-given vision or whatever. I do like the idea of it posing as Primus, screwing everyone over with visions that they blindly follow, and the idea that the Anti-Matrix wants to invade the multiverse. Not so much the explanation that they are cut off from Primus’ grand plan by severing their ties with the multiverse, though that’s just my personal aversion to the multiversal singularity things that don’t make sense. Most of the things that led to the Anti-Matrix’s revival seems to be mostly coincidence, and hinges so much on things that could go wrong randomly. His death is also rather anticlimactic, with the Rodimus and Optimus armies doing basically nothing and Rodimus hitting Zero Space… and it somehow kills him? The final confrontation between Rodimus and the Anti-Matrix after the monologue ends up being very clunky and the Anti-Matrix turns from this intelligent master manipulator to just screaming ‘ATTACK! ATTACK!’ and ‘NOOOO!’

There’s also the problem of it wanting to infect the multiverse, which doesn’t work to increase tension at all because this is the last issue of a dying series and you’re not going to see this creature show up randomly in, say, Animated or Armada or Beast Wars. It works in Fan Club comics because they have their own invented universes they can play around with, but here? No.

The idea of Shockwave and Starscream suddenly becoming good is also pretty idiotic. They did absolutely nothing that progresses their character throughout the series. Starscream spends half of it as a barely-literate lobotomized zombie that is only trying to survive, and the other half as possessed as the Underbase. The only scene where he really is Starscream was when he plotted to take over Galvatron, and that’s still pretty evil. Shockwave? Shockwave did jack shit, just asking questions and generally being mister exposition until suddenly he discovers emotion out of nowhere and rescues Starscream last issue and making the fangirls go wild. They randomly turn good and it’s just infuriating because it seems that Furman just doesn’t know what to do with them. We could’ve condensed the Megatron and Scorponok arcs and have the two of them be villains of another arc, but no, they become good out of nowhere.

Also, Spike. For the love of shit, do we really need him around? He takes up so much space, it’s never really explained how torturing him mentally makes the rift grow wider – Galvatron scourging Nebulos and generally causing chaos at least sorta makes sense – but beyond vague trinity stuff it doesn’t really make sense. Spike ends up being a plot device that really distracts and suddenly goes all ‘oh yes, I am good guy now and I won’t cry.’ The alternative to that poorly-written Spike regaining his senses would be to see a lot more of Spike, though, so I suppose it could be worse. The whole thing feels stupid, though. Surely Fortress Maximus would be the perfect trinity, having been joined to both a Nebulan and human? Granted Fort Max hasn’t been a proper character at all, whereas Spike has been a constant throughout the issue, but the whole thing just doesn’t make sense, and Spike’s acceptance of his role (but his bigotry is never addressed) feels just clunky and unnecessary.

I highly enjoy Rodimus throughout the issue and indeed throughout the series, though. While it’s clunky, his character arc taking up responsibility and braving through his insecurities and visions, acknowledging that he caused everything because he is so easily manipulated, only to find out that they are manipulated and finally taking the difficult choice of severing their immortality, and finally as an old man recognizes that despite all their mistakes and sacrifices at least they manage to do good in the world before collapsing to the ground. It’s wordy and is done in Furman’s normal super-wordy way, but it’s still rather enjoyable to see Rodimus’ growth throughout this issue and indeed this series. Rodimus is a lot more likable than the Optimus here, who caused an apocalypse thanks to not doing anything and ends up doing absolutely nothing afterwards but angsting and dying again.

Grimlock also shows up – of course he survives – and somehow gains the immunity against the Shadow-leeches. I personally found his inclusion not as obnoxious as it should, and found him just chopping stuff up pretty entertaining. He basically disappears about halfway through, though. Kup also only shows up to be the only Autobot who is crazy enough to mercy-kill one of their own, Ultra Magnus shows up to put Galvatron down like the mad dog he is, Roadbuster to talk to the humans and Jetfire to grab the sword. The entire issue is basically just Rodimus confronting the Anti-Matrix, though throughout Regeneration One no secondary character really gets to do anything in the climax anyway, so it’s at least familiar territory.

The idea that everyone on Cybertron just dies off-screen is rather stupid on first glance, and this includes everyone like Bludgeon, Soundwave… hell, basically anyone who’s not from the cartoon and not a Wrecker dies. But considering Furman’s burn-the-earth-and-salt-the-ground, burn-all-bridges take on this finale, basically killing everyone off by old age in the Rodimus epilogue, it actually feels appropriate. I still wish they used Bludgeon or Soundwave or Sludge or someone we will recognize and be surprised as as the one Perceptor identifies instead of Iguanus, who feels like a completely random choice. Bludgeon being a Shadow-leech would actually be good, as it would be a karmic and appropriate punishment to be turned into an undeath creature after his whole ‘I want a glorious death’ thing.

The Shadow-leeches themselves seem to be another revisit of Furman’s favourite ‘dark entity that can kill with a single touch’ and certainly more than visually resembles the Swarm, and while a lot of questions regarding what exactly happens to the Shadow-leeches remain unanswered. It feels a little tired out, though the idea of all of Cybertron getting corrupted is certainly a nice one and the fact that they didn’t manage to repair the damage done to it (unlike the endings of the original G1 and G2 comics) is certainly a nice variation.

The Anti-Matrix is just connecting the dots of every evil thing that has happened throughout the final stages of Marvel G1 and Regeneration One, and while it’s not perfect it’s certainly made rereading and reviewing the series somewhat less boring as I go ‘ah, that is part of the evil thing’s plan’. It’s not a particularly foolproof plan and there are a lot of plot holes, but at least there is some planning involved and it’s not completely pulled out of Furman’s ass.

The Demons, basically ignored after turning into cocoons, end up basically hibernating until millions of years later where they emerge as the new generation. I’m perfectly neutral about this – it’s not what I expected what the Demons would be doing, and on my first few readings I missed the fact that ‘Botanica’ emerged from a Demon’s cocoon and thought they were just ignored, but it’s a nice little concept.

The art is pretty good as well, though not particularly spectacular. Andrew Wildman returns for the finale, drawing the first third, and for once seems to be at the top of his game. Other than the rather odd-looking face of Rodimus illuminated by the Sword, his art really looks pretty nice, unlike the rushed feeling of his past work in Regeneration One. Geoff Senior takes the middle part, and while his style clashes somewhat with Wildman and Guidi-imitating-Wildman, it isn’t so bad as to distract. Highlights include the rather horrifying picture of Sparkplug’s face melting off to show a skull, Galvatron blowing up Nebulos, the flashbacks and the sketchy, abstract take on the Anti-Matrix creature in general. However, there are some spots where Rodimus feels unfinished, and the inconsistency between Senior and Guidi’s art regarding the Anti-Matrix feels odd. Senior also drops the ball completely drawing the alternate-universe Transformers – Leobreaker and Prime Starscream in particular seem pretty badly drawn. Guidi’s art is pretty impressive as well, though I’m not a big fan of his take on Animated Rodimus.

Overall Rodimus’ monologue throughout this entire issue feels so melancholy, and at times I’m not quite sure if I’m reading Rodimus the character or Simon Furman the writer. There is a distinct sense of passing the torch onwards to a new generation throughout this issue, from Optimus to Rodimus and later on Rodimus to the new generation of Transformers. From Furman just wiping out the slate clean by killing off everyone, and Rodimus having to sever his universe from the multiverse to allow ‘Primus’ grand plan to create the perfect world based on the mistakes of the others’ seems to be somewhat symbolic of Simon Furman letting go of his hold on the Transformers as a writer to allow the newer generations to craft new Transformers lore based on the foundations and mistakes he’s made. The whole thing with Rodimus seems pretty evocative of Furman just facing his own Demons. The powerful Guidi image of an old, wizened Rodimus reflecting on his long life and how the fight has gone out of the Transformers, before accepting the state of things and making way to a new generation… yeah, Rodimus’ melancholic monologue near the end seems to be at least somewhat inspired by Furman’s current state of mind.

The issue’s not that good of a climax. On one hand, I do like Rodimus’ confrontation with the Anti-Matrix which feels relatively new unlike the rest of Furman’s Regeneration One plots. On the other hand, he basically ignores everything else and Spike, Magnus/Galvatron, Earth, Grimlock, the Shadow-Leeches, Fortress Maximus and even Optimus Prime all seem to just be random distractions to take up space. The climax can certainly be served better by exorcising several of them – Fortress Maximus and Earth being the most egregious, though I wouldn’t say no to Spike being exorcised as well. It could’ve used some better wrap up regarding the Shadow-Leeches in the end, though overall the melancholic tone and the finality of the ending certainly aren’t that horrible. It's just strange.

As the final issue of the series I think I need to say a couple words about Regeneration One, as rambling as the review already is. It’s certainly a hate-it-or-love-it topic among fans, with those that crucify it at the stake thanks to being perceived as the final ramblings of a has-been writer, as well as the extremely unpopular (and moronic, in my opinion) decision to ignore the UK and G2 comics… and then proceed to re-introduce those concepts. On the other side of the spectrum are those who really love the art and are sycophantic to no end to anything made by Furman. And then there’s other people who acknowledge that this certainly isn’t anything resembling a masterpiece or even a glorious alternate ending, but not as bad as what it’s perceived as. I’d like to count myself among these, and do admit that there are a few good issues throughout Regeneration One and despite Furman’s tendency to regurgitate plots there are some good ideas spread within. For all the ill he's done, for all the times I've slagged him while writing Regeneration One reviews, Furman has done a lot of good stories in the past and that feeling of farewell and general oldness certainly comes off pretty heavily throughout this finale.

Overall, though, there’s a huge sense of just checking off stories Furman never seem to be able to finish telling, either in IDW or Marvel, and the general poor quality for ending his arcs and stretching stories and truncating some, end up making this entire venture a messy one. I’ve read worse stuff, and continuing the Marvel comics certainly could be done – I would totally read something exploring the days between G1 and G2, and whatever happened after G2 – but what we got isn’t really up to snuff and is just an odd beast altogether mixing so many elements both good and bad. ‘Messy’ and ‘padded-out’ seem to describe it the best, with the Megatron arc being pretty good but taking up too much space, the Scorponok arc being horrible all around, the Bludgeon and Jhiaxus arcs having great (if regurgitated) build-ups and horrible finales, and the Anti-Matrix stuff being a nice goodbye letter if not a really good story. The side-plot of the Demons end up kind of aborted after they go up the surface only to provide a plot device to usher in a new generation, whereas Shockwave and Starscream are needless distractions that show up every time but never do anything particularly Shockwave-y or Starscream-y. Galvatron has so much potential but ends up being a massive disappointment when he has an entire issue to fight Magnus and now when he finally gets put down it is tired-out and pyrrhic instead of climactic. And, I think, that particular word sums up the entire series nicely. Overall the experience of re-reading the series for the purposes of reviewing it hasn't been entirely pleasant, but I can't say it was entirely as unpleasant as what it is in my mind either. It's certainly surplus to requirements to the established US/UK/G2 Marvel continuity, but it's there.

Still... it's over. Finished.

(2 out of 5)

Blackjack
2014-08-04, 03:57 PM
FREEDOM!

I HAVE FINISHED REVIEWING THIS SHIT

I seriously feel so happy right now.

Keep resisting the urge to lob in as many Furmanisms as I can into the final review but ended up not doing it. Also somehow I got through the entire series without going '**** off Spike you shithed'.

inflatable dalek
2014-08-04, 07:10 PM
The thing is, no one is going to read the reviews this far due to the apathy the series induced in the bulk of fans. You could have written literally anything.

Auntie Slag
2014-08-04, 08:38 PM
I read it. No matter the apathy I like to read about the plot points, which Transformers featured in the story and general whatnot. Reading this review in no way enamours me to Regeneration One, but that's the way I felt glancing through the pages of the first few Regen issues. Seeing the Blaster/Soundwave face off, endless robots going "Ghaaaah", and "Fnnnn-t" as they get shot and the all too familiar pacing from twenty-two years ago means I really don't mind missing any of this.

But I'm glad Roadbuster got to do lots of things, and if this becomes a humble bundle one day i'll go for it, if only to see some more Transformers art of the old school variety.

Anti-matrix, shadow leeches, mad Galvatron, and I'm sure Spike continued to the end with his cheesy dialogue and He-Man/pumped-up Metaller look whilst stealing Circuit Breaker's schtick, and the Matrix sword?

All this does feel like it was written for kids. And its not supposed to be is it? You go into this series having known what happened in the comics you were buying over two decades ago. Sales figures showed he was onto a good formula though eh?

Just not my cup o' charr*



* = TF pun.

Blackjack
2014-08-05, 07:16 AM
The thing is, no one is going to read the reviews this far due to the apathy the series induced in the bulk of fans. You could have written literally anything.

Ah, but you have to read them to see if I actually did reviews or just copy-pasted lyrics to, oh, some random song or whatever!

Next up on my list of stuff to do is to whack the Movie tab on top with less fanwanky guides, new reviews, and work the Dark of the Moon and Age of Extinction sections. That's the big plan for the rest of this year inbetween toy reviews, anyway.

But before that... I'm going to do more Last Stand of the Wreckers! I haven't finished that four-year old Bullets review, and apparently I never did Dead Men's Boots either. The hardcover has a bunch of extra stories (the Springer/Roadbuster text one and the Guzzle/Impactor comic, I think) that I never reviewed, so I'm going to do those, which I will certainly have a funner time with compared to Regeneration One.

Reading this review in no way enamours me to Regeneration One

If it did enamour you to Regeneration One, I will feel like a failure as a reviewer. ;)

Seeing the Blaster/Soundwave face off, endless robots going "Ghaaaah", and "Fnnnn-t" as they get shot and the all too familiar pacing from twenty-two years ago means I really don't mind missing any of this.

Blaster and Soundwave doesn't so much face off as they just meet on top, do some shooting and then monologue about their respective powers a little before BOOM Soundwave's gone and Blaster is ignored for the rest of the issue.

The pacing's worse than twenty-two years ago. If anything it resembles Furman's IDW output in pacing with like seventeen different things plodding on at once and none of the resolutions are satisfactory. I mean, it's not quite bad as Furman's '**** it all' Nefarious series, but really, nothing is quite as horrid as that.

But I'm glad Roadbuster got to do lots of things, and if this becomes a humble bundle one day i'll go for it, if only to see some more Transformers art of the old school variety.

Yeah, Roadbuster's pretty cool, and so's Kup. The other Wreckers don't do a single thing worth mentioning, but Kup's a nicely Punisher-styled anti-hero and Roadbuster is the lancer that does all the cool action scenes because Kup likes to hang around the big boys.

I do particularly like Roadbuster's strike in the Hub, leading the rest of the team and just merrily blowing shit up and dropping one-liners like an action hero. I think that's the only real thing I loved about the Jhiaxus arc that isn't 'eh, it isn't shit but I don't care'.

Anti-matrix, shadow leeches, mad Galvatron, and I'm sure Spike continued to the end with his cheesy dialogue and He-Man/pumped-up Metaller look whilst stealing Circuit Breaker's schtick, and the Matrix sword?

Spike keeps bullshitting through the end with the Circuit Breaker stuff and generally acts like a douchebag, though he quickly goes through badass decay from 'I CAN SHOCK ROBOTS TO DETH' to 'I will float around and passive-aggressively threaten to sabotage your operation like a five-year-old kid!' to 'noooo buster nooooo boo hoo hoo i failed'. And he just looks so weird and has nothing in common with the original Spike.

Spike is shit. I'm pissed off Fortress Maximus was the one randomly mercy-killed instead of Spike. If Kup shot Spike through the head in this issue the rankings will probably climb a couple of cubes.

All this does feel like it was written for kids. And its not supposed to be is it? You go into this series having known what happened in the comics you were buying over two decades ago. Sales figures showed he was onto a good formula though eh?

Not particularly paying attention to sales figures, but I don't think it's aimed for kids the way, say, AHM or Windblade are. It relies so much on an encyclopaedic knowledge of the original Marvel comics, and is certainly fan-geared, but at the same time it takes its time to shit on the popular UK and G2 series. And generally combining 'official ending to the original series' with 'altered origins of classic characters' and the general bad writing, reusage of unused IDW ideas and shoddy art makes it just weird overall.

Also despite expecting us to have encyclopaedic knowledge and remember obscure details Furman can't even remember which characters he killed off before, making it all even more glaring.

inflatable dalek
2014-08-05, 11:04 PM
Waiiiiiiiiiiit..... We don't have LSotW reviews yet? Well that's easy then:



It is good.









There you go.

Blackjack
2014-08-06, 01:22 AM
We do! I did it.

We just don't have reviews for Bullets, that other text story and those short comics from the TPB.

inflatable dalek
2014-08-06, 02:46 PM
Phew, I'd have had to have words otherwise.

Ryan F
2014-08-06, 10:04 PM
Just read your entire series of RG1 reviews in one hit, Blackjack (after a bit of twitter prompting by Mr Dalek).

A stupendously monumental effort, especially so given your overall negative opinion of the series - I imagine it must have been a bit of a chore to do!

It's really appreciated though - they're a great read (your reviews I mean, not the comics).

Blackjack
2014-08-07, 08:57 AM
Just read your entire series of RG1 reviews in one hit, Blackjack (after a bit of twitter prompting by Mr Dalek).

Thanks!

Also thanks to Dalek for giving me free advertisement in the tweeters!

A stupendously monumental effort, especially so given your overall negative opinion of the series - I imagine it must have been a bit of a chore to do!

It's really appreciated though - they're a great read (your reviews I mean, not the comics).

It's certainly... a task, I have to admit, but I figured I might as well as get it over with when I had the free time. Regeneration One is just weird all around being all over the place. It's not so much as a chore to review it as to try and not slag off every single issue -- despite the overall shitty pacing and storytelling, there are a few decent ones spread throughout.