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View Full Version : What's the point in the Lost Light having a crew of 200 and whatever?


Cliffjumper
2015-03-07, 10:00 PM
This is actually kind-of annoying me... why is MTMTE largely about the same ten or so guys? RID I can kind-of forgive because it's got this big political power struggle format which requires a lot of focus on key players but MTMTE's format is basically that it doesn't have one.

And yet when Rung's memory needs a jog it's the same bunch of guys. When Excalibur Stormwatch Ultra Magnus needs to get drunk it's the same bunch of guys. When they find Tyrest it's the same bunch of guys who get teleported down.

Are Smokescreen and Blaster just sitting around going "Boy, Swerve sure does make jokes!" or what? And yet every couple of issues they find another character sitting around on some random planet or whatever who gets incorporated for a bit rather than bringing someone else from the ship into the mix.

Are the other 190 just generics so someone can get killed off in fight scenes while preserving Hasbro characters? What are they for?

Warcry
2015-03-07, 10:54 PM
I've wondered the same thing myself, actually.

When the series launched, Roberts made a few sweeping statements along the lines of "these guys won't be the main characters forever and you'll see other characters step into the spotlight later". So I figured that the large crew size was setup for that idea -- that when he was done with Chromedome or Cyclonus or whoever, that the likes of Smokescreen or Hoist would step up to become main characters in turn. In that scenario the large crew size makes sense, because it lets him bring in new cast members without having to plot out detailed introductions for each one of them.

Except that basically hasn't happened, as with the exception of Megatron pretty much all the important characters showed up in the first two issues. I sort of suspect that Roberts realized pretty early on that his characters were the reason why people liked the book in the first place and that shuffling them off en masse for new characters that people might not like as much probably wasn't a great idea.

He hasn't even taken advantage of the idea for secondary characters, really. All of the new second-stringers in the post Dark Cybertron batch of books (Nautica, Riptide, Bluestreak, Nightbeat, Ravage, Getaway) were explicitly not on the ship when it launched, which really does make the other 180ish crewmembers seem a bit pointless.

Cliffjumper
2015-03-07, 11:07 PM
Mmm, I get that it would be just as bad if every "plotline" saw six different guys but I don't really see why for once they can't leave Whirl behind (because he's as much of a dead end as Swerve; every few issues he has a moment which might just be a development, then next one he's back to being psycho loose cannon kill guy) and take Inferno or Brawn along. If nothing else it'd actually help the characters move beyond all the predictable one-liners and feuds they bat around between each other over and over again.

Denyer
2015-03-08, 12:16 AM
Are the other 190 just generics so someone can get killed off in fight scenes while preserving Hasbro characters? What are they for?

Probably a mix of that and "to dip into" if the author wants new faces for whatever reason.

Not much different from most Trek series.

inflatable dalek
2015-03-08, 01:07 AM
Well, on the most basic level the size of the crew suggests the size of the ship (without going into too many spoilers, an issue you've not read yet by my reckoning confirms The Lost Light is-by amazing coincidence- the same size as Red Dwarf*), but I also think it works great in terms of the first "Season" being about the "Lower Decks" characters.

A lot of inverted commas there, so to elaborate...

Yes, the conceit of the pre-Remain in Light issues is we're focusing on two tiers of characters: The command crew who drive the plot (Rodimus; Drift; Magnus) and a bunch of utterly unimportant members of the rest of the 200 (with Ratchet drifting between the two, he seems at home with everyone).

So whilst it's lucky the characters the series focuses on happen to get caught up in the monthly A plot, the series is also at great pains to point out everyone else on the ship is having their own Great Adventures that could carry their own comic. When Rodimus reads the eulogy after the Overlord incident, it's about characters we didn't see. When Rewind wanted to get a group together to recount an important story of Rung, the regulars were his third attempt (and that's a lovely little bit of off-screen world building because who doesn't want to know what Siren and Xaaron were up to together that day?).

And the series does acknowledge the accumulative effect of the same handful of characters getting sucked into things by chance, when Rodimus wants to select people to do a thing in the last storyline pre-Dark Cybertron (I don't think you've read that far so the above is trying to be vague) his careful selection process includes most of them- and leaves one out because he has similar issues with them that you do.

Season 2 then moves the goal posts, for various reasons I won't reveal yet.


*Though that scale thing is really buggered even within Dark Cybertron, early on you're told The Lost Light is five miles across, then later how big can it be when it flies into [SPOILER]?

Cliffjumper
2015-03-09, 12:20 AM
Not much different from most Trek series.

Surely RiD is Trek? The one with the storylines that justifies having the captain, the number one, the chief medic, the head of security etc, etc in it every damn time. MTMTE on the other hand is about a bunch of people sitting around running into characters James Roberts wants to write about. The scope is unlimited on paper.

Well, on the most basic level the size of the crew suggests the size of the ship (without going into too many spoilers, an issue you've not read yet by my reckoning confirms The Lost Light is-by amazing coincidence- the same size as Red Dwarf*), but I also think it works great in terms of the first "Season" being about the "Lower Decks" characters.

Yay, there's an in-jokey justification. Always welcome in any media, that. This "season" thing is another big pile of shite - comics are not TV series.

So whilst it's lucky the characters the series focuses on happen to get caught up in the monthly A plot, the series is also at great pains to point out everyone else on the ship is having their own Great Adventures that could carry their own comic. When Rodimus reads the eulogy after the Overlord incident, it's about characters we didn't see. When Rewind wanted to get a group together to recount an important story of Rung, the regulars were his third attempt (and that's a lovely little bit of off-screen world building because who doesn't want to know what Siren and Xaaron were up to together that day?). Nah, calling bullshit on that one. Rodimus' eulogy is another fake-out moment and another way to kill off four or five generics so there are Consequences without Roberts (slash Hasbro) having to lose any of his favourites. Not sure how another dumb joke is much of a signifier either - if anything it was deeply irritating because "off-screen panel world building" could have meant "on-panel change of ****ing faces", but no, because otherwise we wouldn't get Swerve doing crap jokes.

The narrative stream is too constant for anyone else to be having serious adventures, and if there were any given any serious mention ("Of course, Sunstreaker's still having his ears refitted after that business on Planetiainbanksreference!") I must've missed it.

Postmodernism and lampshading are the death of media as a storytelling device. I might as well be wondering who's looking after the bar in the Queen Vic when Danny Dyer's off starting some drama.

Tetsuro
2015-03-09, 07:41 AM
It's so they can suddenly introduce some random obscure chilhood favourite of yours as having been aboard all along only to kill them off so they won't have to off any of the main characters.

inflatable dalek
2015-03-09, 09:18 PM
Yay, there's an in-jokey justification. Always welcome in any media, that. This "season" thing is another big pile of shite - comics are not TV series.

A tip of the hat to one of the main influences on the series (though equally possibly an unintentional one, IIRC the "And us with our map" gag was unintentional channelling Roberts was subsequently quite annoyed about for having done without realising) is hardly Earth shatteringly destructive.

Not sure what the aversion to using the terms "Seasons" is (I think Skyquake has similar issues), it stopped them relaunching with new issue 1's post Dark Cybertron- I wonder if the growth of digital sales and still having every previous issue 1 on sale has played a part in putting them off that idea, it would only get confusing for potential new readers- whilst at the same time having a clear New Jumping On Point. It's harmless enough regardless. If enough comic companies start using it as a term (I've no idea how widespread it is outside of cancelled TV show titles) it becomes a comic thing anyway.

Nah, calling bullshit on that one. Rodimus' eulogy is another fake-out moment and another way to kill off four or five generics so there are Consequences without Roberts (slash Hasbro) having to lose any of his favourites. Not sure how another dumb joke is much of a signifier either - if anything it was deeply irritating because "off-screen panel world building" could have meant "on-panel change of ****ing faces", but no, because otherwise we wouldn't get Swerve doing crap jokes.

Rodimus' eulogy was hardly a fake out coming on the back of the death of one main character and one substantial supporting character, it just firmly showed that the character's we follow are just part of a wider tapestry.

Whilst the fake out death's absolutely are a problem- to the point that well after a year after the last one with Magnus people still point blank refused to believe in a major death a few months ago even though the art made it fairly clear what was happening- I think Pipe's demise was one of the absolute highlights of the series. Roberts dancing around an area he's not to hot on (generally his big fight scenes are a bit rubbish) and rather than having Overlord rip through lots of characters he makes the entire sequence revolve around one little guys horrible, pointless death. Fantastic moment.

Of course, there were complaints during the first season that the focus was just on the same characters. Then when the second season started with an arc focusing mostly on new characters there were complaints that the regulars were missed. I guess you can never win.

I don't think either Roberts or Barber intended for their books to wind up focusing on as tight-knit groups as they wound up doing (well, at least before toy-shilling became a thing, again, all credit to Barber for taking one for the team by doing most of that even if the end result could be messy, "I am Tankor and I must speak!"), certainly both fought to get character's they wound up not doing very much with. Each just found a group dynamic that worked and was popular and wound up sticking pretty much to it on the grounds that if you're doing something right you might as well run with it.

The narrative stream is too constant for anyone else to be having serious adventures, and if there were any given any serious mention ("Of course, Sunstreaker's still having his ears refitted after that business on Planetiainbanksreference!") I must've missed it.

Possibly, there's all sorts of constant references to what other characters are up to, the funneral, the citations for others after they took down Snap Trap's team, the montage of others Rewind has done his talk to, Magnus vision citing the dubious past actions of people he's walking past in the corridor and so on.



Postmodernism and lampshading are the death of media as a storytelling device. I might as well be wondering who's looking after the bar in the Queen Vic when Danny Dyer's off starting some drama.

It'd probably be annoying if it was the only thing the book had, but it's insanely dense reading. Roberts packs a hell of a lot in there that goes way beyond cultural references and self-aware nods, it drips with historical and philosophical and even scientific allusions that the stories don't depend on you to get but do reward closer reading, which is a good part of the reason the threads for MTTME always wind up so long.

Plus, Transformers is generally a self aware pop culture reference full franchise and has been from almost the start, at least since Spider-Man popped up in his wisecracking way. Probably since O made pointed out how like a Spielberg movie the whole thing is. Certainly from the "Prime told me there'd be days like this!" line in the cartoon. It's just at its best, then as now, there's always other stuff going on even when the tongue is in its cheek as well.

Skyquake87
2015-03-09, 10:45 PM
I do have a problem with 'Seasons' used on comics, for exactly the reason Cliffjumper states. Comics are not TV. Buffy Season 8 (from Dark Horse) gets away with it for absolutely being a direct follow on from the TV series. Its a different medium, and aping other media just seems a bit desperate, tbh. If it is as new start, then why not #1's? Marvel in recent years has taken the #1 thing to extremes, randomly rebooting titles with #1s to generate interest from casual buyers (its also something I don't like as they then revert to the original numbering for anniversary issues, which is annoying).

I used to like the old 'volume' system comics used to have. Honestly, if you're buying comics as digital or collected editions, its a nightmare. I can't understand why its so difficult to work out what stories are from what era - comics and trades that have a clear numbering system printed on them that you can see and make sense of in a comic shop somehow turn into a confusing stew online.

I think the characters thing does have some ground as a criticism - especially for MTMTE. We've a crew of 200 characters to choose from, but instead, the current focus is on a bunch of ...new additions to the crew!

Again, the toy pimping Idon't mind when its limited to stuff like the Spotlights (which I wish were a more regular thing) than being jammed into ongoing stories/ crossovers, as Dark Cybetron showed.

Cliffjumper
2015-03-10, 02:12 AM
A tip of the hat to one of the main influences on the series is hardly Earth shatteringly destructive.

But it's also hardly a good explanation for a glaring problem either.

Not sure what the aversion to using the terms "Seasons" is (I think Skyquake has similar issues), it stopped them relaunching with new issue 1's post Dark Cybertron- I wonder if the growth of digital sales and still having every previous issue 1 on sale has played a part in putting them off that idea, it would only get confusing for potential new readers- whilst at the same time having a clear New Jumping On Point. It's harmless enough regardless. If enough comic companies start using it as a term (I've no idea how widespread it is outside of cancelled TV show titles) it becomes a comic thing anyway.

It's not just the term, though it is stupid. It's the idea that 20-odd issues of a comic can be retroactively declared a "season" and we're somehow meant to take that as an excuse for the limited scope and lazy storytelling - "Hey, it was only Season One"; Animated syndrome.

Rodimus' eulogy was hardly a fake out coming on the back of the death of one main character and one substantial supporting character, it just firmly showed that the character's we follow are just part of a wider tapestry.

No, it showed that some nobodies got killed off-panel. Like Matrix Quest.

Fantastic moment.

Passable moment from a Vic Chalker ripoff character. How long do you think he'll stay dead for? Longer than Nightbeat? Longer than Evil Medic Guy?

I guess you can never win.

Or you could try introducing balance and variety from the start considering the title's format allows plenty of space for it. Why not have Rung's magic bullshit brain restore involve Siren, Xaaron etc. with Rung and Rewind as a link to the current cast, then bring a few different bots into the mix? You could even have had a B-plot about Swerve doing something stupid at his bar to keep the sig friendly jokes ticking over and prevent the obviously discerning readership from getting terrified about change.

Each just found a group dynamic that worked and was popular and wound up sticking pretty much to it on the grounds that if you're doing something right you might as well run with it.

The guy behind Mrs Brown's Boys probably has much the same ethos.

Possibly, there's all sorts of constant references to what other characters are up to, the funneral, the citations for others after they took down Snap Trap's team, the montage of others Rewind has done his talk to, Magnus vision citing the dubious past actions of people he's walking past in the corridor and so on.

So that's two debatables, one mention and another visual joke (the past actions... were they all undertaken after joining the Lost Light?).

It'd probably be annoying if it was the only thing the book had, but it's insanely dense reading. Roberts packs a hell of a lot in there that goes way beyond cultural references and self-aware nods, it drips with historical and philosophical and even scientific allusions that the stories don't depend on you to get but do reward closer reading, which is a good part of the reason the threads for MTTME always wind up so long.

Seriously? It's throwaway pap that frequently touches on intriguing ideas and histories only to remain focused on lame jokes, second-hand characterisation, vague mystery, insincere poignancy and a general safe attitude. Roberts needs to trust in his big ideas instead of trotting out cheap crowd-pleasing "HAY BRIEFCASE!!!!" gags.

Again, the toy pimping Idon't mind when its limited to stuff like the Spotlights (which I wish were a more regular thing) than being jammed into ongoing stories/ crossovers, as Dark Cybetron showed.

The toy pimping really has shown that Bob and Si could teach Roberts and Barber a thing or two; Crosscut isn't the worst thing IDW have ever done because there's serious competition, but he's certainly in the top ten. I do think the Nightbeat thing was hilarious, though - for once, IDW got it right and actually killed off a character for proper and in a really funny way. And they just happened to pick someone who'd get a new toy four or five years later, and being corporate stooges they have to get down, suck cock and undo the only brave and unexpected thing they've ever done. And the only reason it stands out so much is because they've been so shit-scared of killing characters off.

inflatable dalek
2015-03-10, 09:16 PM
But it's also hardly a good explanation for a glaring problem either.

But even beyond the other arguments, isn't the important things always happening to the regular characters a basic conceit of all fiction set in a place with a large number of employees? Does anyone other than Columbo investigate celebrity murders? What are all the other people sitting in the NCIS office actually doing? What sort of insane shift pattern does the Enterprise have than means all seven of them work for 8 hours together and then for the next 8 at least one of them has to be on the bridge despite how knackering that must be for everyone who isn't Data?

Plus, it's not as if 200 is an insanely large amount (just slightly more than the full total of people I "work" with), if this were a problem wouldn't it be more of one for the RID/Windblade/The Acy's that are based on Cybertron and dealing with at least thousands living in Iacon? Does anyone other than Swindle do any buisness deals? What are the odds of lead character Starscream being the one the Titan makes a fuss of?


It's not just the term, though it is stupid. It's the idea that 20-odd issues of a comic can be retroactively declared a "season" and we're somehow meant to take that as an excuse for the limited scope and lazy storytelling - "Hey, it was only Season One"; Animated syndrome.

Whilst I think it was a term that they didn't start using till near the end of it (presumably because they hadn't decided on what was going to happen next, due to lead in times the Skids pack was written as a potential last ever issue as either a renumbering or a straight up new title were being seriously considered for post Dark Cybertron at that time), I don't think anyone has been less than enthusiastic in promoting the first season.

Indeed, one thing I really like about the early issues of both MTMTE and RID is the tremendous sense of pace, it really feels like neither book is pissing about anyone after years of drawn out plotting and at the time it was actually mildly surprising to see things like Tailgate's desire to be a Decepticon get wrapped up so quickly with no faffing. The increase in longer stories for both books has-at their best- given them more room to breath by that sense of pelting through gave them a nice zing feeling.




Passable moment from a Vic Chalker ripoff character. How long do you think he'll stay dead for? Longer than Nightbeat? Longer than Evil Medic Guy?

I hadn't heard of Vic Chalker before (assuming you mean the mutant and not the rocker the description of him on the Marvel wiki doesn't sound hugely like Pipes) so it's hard to comment there, but as far as the second point goes... well if you start thinking like that doesn't that completely ruin all Transformers fiction? Or indeed anything where the writer is working for hire on somebody else's franchise?

Roberts himself has been fairly upfront when asked about the Megatron as Autobot thing that he can't control what either Hasbro or his successors might decide down the line, he can only try to make us care about it now. I'd say the same applies to any deaths, just accept it for now on its own merrits and worry about what might happen three or whatever years down the line when it happens.

There's one resurrection early in season 2 (which I'm going to guess you haven't reached yet as I can't see you liking it and using it as exhibit A in your argument) that beforehand I was worried about happening as I thought it would be a terrible idea that would undo the very good work on that character's original departure. I wound up being pleasently surprised at how well it actually worked with a real emotional punch at the end.



The guy behind Mrs Brown's Boys probably has much the same ethos.

That's a bit of a strawman argument though as it surely applies to anyone working in serial fiction and you can find as many good example of writers responding to feedback when it came to characters as bad (Spock, Spike and Rollin Hand just being the first examples of "Hey, this is working, let's do more of it!" that paid dividends which popped into my head).

"I'm enjoying my work and it's proving to be popular... best mess things about then" said no writer ever.




Seriously? It's throwaway pap that frequently touches on intriguing ideas and histories only to remain focused on lame jokes, second-hand characterisation, vague mystery, insincere poignancy and a general safe attitude. Roberts needs to trust in his big ideas instead of trotting out cheap crowd-pleasing "HAY BRIEFCASE!!!!" gags.

Seriously. At it's worst I think MTMTE is still easily the best Transformers fiction in years and a strong contender for ever. At it's best, I'd hold it up alongside my all time favourite writing.

Now, I'm lucky in that it very much runs alongside my own tastes when it comes to fiction (anyone who is a fan who hasn't read him should really check out Robert Rankin, a similar "What actually matters is your mates and a pint" ethos and jigsaw clicking together plot structure) but I think the humour, emotion, plots and silliness do generally all balance out very well.

Now, I do think Roberts has his weaknessess and doesn't get everything right, and to be fair I'll go into that when I'm not posting when I should already be out the door and on the way to work. Stay tuned! (I'll respond to your points in the other thread tomorrow as well).



The toy pimping really has shown that Bob and Si could teach Roberts and Barber a thing or two; Crosscut isn't the worst thing IDW have ever done because there's serious competition, but he's certainly in the top ten. I do think the Nightbeat thing was hilarious, though - for once, IDW got it right and actually killed off a character for proper and in a really funny way. And they just happened to pick someone who'd get a new toy four or five years later, and being corporate stooges they have to get down, suck cock and undo the only brave and unexpected thing they've ever done. And the only reason it stands out so much is because they've been so shit-scared of killing characters off.

Yeah, the toy promotion in Dark Cybertron (and just before it), was pretty much a mess and where both authors struggled. Thankfully they (and Scott) seem to have a better handle on it now, I actually came out of her own series liking Windblade and with all the pitfalls that had to be avoided there that was something of a surprise.

I think the characters thing does have some ground as a criticism - especially for MTMTE. We've a crew of 200 characters to choose from, but instead, the current focus is on a bunch of ...new additions to the crew!

True, but that's sods law that the bulk of new toys that had to be introduced were of characters that definitely weren't on the ship (with Riptide in retrospect a new character you couldn't be sure either way on so as to obscure the truth of the mystery Nightbeat investigates in the bottle issue).

Skyquake87
2015-03-10, 09:58 PM
Now, I'm lucky in that it very much runs alongside my own tastes when it comes to fiction (anyone who is a fan who hasn't read him should really check out Robert Rankin, a similar "What actually matters is your mates and a pint" ethos and jigsaw clicking together plot structure) but I think the humour, emotion, plots and silliness do generally all balance out very well.

I agree with this. This is why I enjoy MTMTE, in all honesty. I like there to be balance between whimsy and genuine drama and sci-fi stuffs, it just makes the book feel more lively and relatable...and human, I suppose. There's a bunch of characters here that I enjoy reading about and have to come to care for. I haven't felt like this about Transformers probably since Beast Wars.

Have you read Garth Ennis' run on Hellblazer, dalek? that might tickle your fancy if you haven't.

Red Dave Prime
2015-03-11, 12:44 AM
Honestly don't know if I think take Cliffjumpers comments that seriously. His dislike of MTMTE seems to be based mostly on how much everyone else likes it. I get it nothing being everyones cup of tea and if someone doesn't like it, no problem. But the

But to make digs at a comic based on an fairly large cast because it doesn't expand to an even large cast?

To keep bringing up his favourite, Swerve, as a dead end that seemingly is always getting more story even though the guy has been nothing more than a background character for the most part and his last major issue was the holiday planet in issue 13 (25 issues ago!). Swerve is a bit of comic relief that you don't like - fine. But don't make out that Roberts forces him into all the main plot lines because that simply isn't the case.

By the way, your other favourite whirl has had a nice additional arc within the current plotline dealing with Megatron. Nothing ground breaking but enough justification for keeping that "dead end" around too.

On both these characters though the feeling I got from CJs dislike of them is simply that they are popular and Roberts relies on them too much - which is bollocks. And why bother creating characters at all if they have to be shelved once their main arc is done?

The dislike of the seasons thing is understandable I suppose (just another word from volume though at the end of the day) but I don't get the connection to the limited scope and lazy story telling. Honestly Cliff, have you read these comics? Like them or not - there is a huge amount of background work that has gone into these things and to still be having fairly solid pay-offs in issue 38 to things that preceded issue 1 (as in the LSOTW text stories and chaos theory) just doesn't match the idea that its all lazy hack work. Even when things don't quite work as planned there have been some nice bits of story telling - the use of Magnus closing hand in his death montage, the pre and post narrative in issue 12, the parallels between Megs and Trail cutter in issue 34....

I could go on but I know you'll disagree with me. But honestly? I just feel you come across like the snob music/movie/comic fan. What everyone likes is clearly wrong and only you can see the wood from the trees.

inflatable dalek
2015-03-11, 01:22 AM
Cliffy broke Dave.

More seriously, I'd say it's unfair to assign ulterior motives to Cliffy's dislike of the book without some sort of mind probe involved. I had the same thing happen to me with Mad Regeneration One fans claiming my dislike of the book was solely down to my Anti-Furman agenda. It was bloody annoying.

Cliffy is at least getting some good debating going even if I think some of his arguments are flawed (as he no doubt does mine).

Plus, he and Cyberstrike, who I believe is the other regular who isn't so hot on the book, are suddenly kindred spirits. This could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

@Skyquake: Yeah, bang on with my own views there. The way the characters behave just feels real (it's certainly basically the same as my place of work) which nicely grounds the big SF ideas.

Cliffjumper
2015-03-11, 11:38 AM
WAAAAAAAH

I'm very, very sorry I was mean about your robot comic that you like.

I'm not.

Response to serious posts will follow when I'm not juggling a toddler (a real-life toddler, that is). Having this folder buried in another layer really does make it a pain to keep an eye on these things. Still, got to keep the grubby unbelievers at arms' length, what?

Cliffjumper
2015-03-11, 04:11 PM
But even beyond the other arguments, isn't the important things always happening to the regular characters a basic conceit of all fiction set in a place with a large number of employees?

"But other things do it".

My point is if Roberts only wants to write ten characters what do the other 190 do? Not a lot apart from dying if they're made up seems to be about the sum of it, and it destroys suspension of disbelief. If the others are always having big adventures a) can we, like, see some of them to break up the #epicbantz and b) it's a strange thing that favoured characters keep getting involved in their own big adventures, usually in the same rough grouping.

It's not below decks stuff because they all go and **** up Tyrest while Sunstreaker and Brawn are talking to their agent about how nice it would have been to get a couple of non-speaking background panel cameos in RiD. It started as below decks and initially it's refreshing to see people who aren't from 1984 but after 20-odd issues they've had more exposure than most Transformers. I'm up to 37 now and TBH the cast refresh hasn't helped - we're just going to have Riptide and Nautica worked into the ground for the next year or so.

the description of him on the Marvel wiki doesn't sound hugely like Pipes) so it's hard to comment there,

Joke character repeatedly comically injured on a semi-regular basis. Then dies. Seriously, all Pipes has to him is "get hurts quite often then dies". He's got a cute toy but other than that it was pretty hard to feel anything. Like I say, I'm on #37 and I don't care to read any further (OMFG WILL BRAINSTORM DESTROY MEGATRON?!?!?! How about "no"?) but it really wouldn't surprise me if the time travelling shakes out that an alive Pipes is back on the Lost Light with his arm in a sling or somesuch.

but as far as the second point goes... well if you start thinking like that doesn't that completely ruin all Transformers fiction? Or indeed anything where the writer is working for hire on somebody else's franchise? Roberts himself has been fairly upfront when asked about the Megatron as Autobot thing that he can't control what either Hasbro or his successors might decide down the line, he can only try to make us care about it now. I'd say the same applies to any deaths, just accept it for now on its own merrits and worry about what might happen three or whatever years down the line when it happens.

No. No-one is making Roberts repeatedly use fake deaths for cheap suspense. There are other ways to inject drama into something beyond pretending to kill someone off, which is one of the absolute cheapest devices in comics. If Hasbro aren't letting Roberts or Barber kill off Hasbro characters they need to stop using it as a plot device.

Well, they need to a year ago, but y'know.

There's one resurrection early in season 2 (which I'm going to guess you haven't reached yet as I can't see you liking it and using it as exhibit A in your argument) that beforehand I was worried about happening as I thought it would be a terrible idea that would undo the very good work on that character's original departure. I wound up being pleasently surprised at how well it actually worked with a real emotional punch at the end.

The cassette guy? Pretty numb by then, TBH, though not enough for how hugely contrived the whole thing is - the DJD suddenly decide they need to record this one, the only recording device avaliable is the only regular from the main crew who's dead at that precise moment, he then manages to run away from the DJD who then shrug their shoulders and wander off. It got that crucial status quo back I suppose.





Yeah, the toy promotion in Dark Cybertron (and just before it), was pretty much a mess and where both authors struggled. Thankfully they (and Scott) seem to have a better handle on it now, I actually came out of her own series liking Windblade and with all the pitfalls that had to be avoided there that was something of a surprise.

Nightbeat

Nightbeat's been the worst thing about the sequel so far for me. Roberts can't write him; he doesn't really get him in Eugenesis where he's just a nice well-rounded Autobot, but in MTMTE he's annoyingly off-key. It's probably just that he likes the guy too much and sort-of panics, the way Furman always wrote a crap Optimus Prime.

Megatron's the highlight so far; Roberts writes a great Prime and Megatron because he really gets inside their heads while keeping them as inspiring quasi-mythical superbeings

Honestly don't know if I think take Cliffjumpers comments that seriously. His dislike of MTMTE seems to be based mostly on how much everyone else likes it. I get it nothing being everyones cup of tea and if someone doesn't like it, no problem. But the

But to make digs at a comic based on an fairly large cast because it doesn't expand to an even large cast?

To keep bringing up his favourite, Swerve, as a dead end that seemingly is always getting more story even though the guy has been nothing more than a background character for the most part and his last major issue was the holiday planet in issue 13 (25 issues ago!). Swerve is a bit of comic relief that you don't like - fine. But don't make out that Roberts forces him into all the main plot lines because that simply isn't the case.

By the way, your other favourite whirl has had a nice additional arc within the current plotline dealing with Megatron. Nothing ground breaking but enough justification for keeping that "dead end" around too.

On both these characters though the feeling I got from CJs dislike of them is simply that they are popular and Roberts relies on them too much - which is bollocks. And why bother creating characters at all if they have to be shelved once their main arc is done?

The dislike of the seasons thing is understandable I suppose (just another word from volume though at the end of the day) but I don't get the connection to the limited scope and lazy story telling. Honestly Cliff, have you read these comics? Like them or not - there is a huge amount of background work that has gone into these things and to still be having fairly solid pay-offs in issue 38 to things that preceded issue 1 (as in the LSOTW text stories and chaos theory) just doesn't match the idea that its all lazy hack work. Even when things don't quite work as planned there have been some nice bits of story telling - the use of Magnus closing hand in his death montage, the pre and post narrative in issue 12, the parallels between Megs and Trail cutter in issue 34....

I could go on but I know you'll disagree with me. But honestly? I just feel you come across like the snob music/movie/comic fan. What everyone likes is clearly wrong and only you can see the wood from the trees.

Well, the thing is that you're proceeding from the false...

Nah, still too funny.

Red Dave Prime
2015-03-11, 06:22 PM
Wow. Zing. Think you are reading far too much agro into my initial reply.

And you go ahead and be as mean as you like to my ickle wickle comic Cliffy. Gotta get some pleasure in life, am I right?

Warcry
2015-03-11, 07:43 PM
My point is if Roberts only wants to write ten characters what do the other 190 do? Not a lot apart from dying if they're made up seems to be about the sum of it, and it destroys suspension of disbelief. If the others are always having big adventures a) can we, like, see some of them to break up the #epicbantz and b) it's a strange thing that favoured characters keep getting involved in their own big adventures, usually in the same rough grouping.
I hadn't thought about it in quite this way, but now that you mention it...it's probably not a coincidence that the A-plot of my favourite recent issue was two second-stringers and two background grunts basically standing around a room talking for a dozen pages.

I do wonder, though...would the main characters doing everything be anywhere near as noticeable if the background crew were a bunch of no-name extras like on Star Trek rather than familiar characters with well-known bios and personalities? If the rest of the crew were people like Ammo, Atomizer, Dipstick and Turbine, I think it would be way less obvious than it is with the likes of Smokescreen, Hoist, Highbrow, Inferno, Blaster etc. mostly standing around not doing anything.

Nightbeat's been the worst thing about the sequel so far for me. Roberts can't write him; he doesn't really get him in Eugenesis where he's just a nice well-rounded Autobot, but in MTMTE he's annoyingly off-key. It's probably just that he likes the guy too much and sort-of panics, the way Furman always wrote a crap Optimus Prime.
I thought it was just me!

Roberts' version of Nightbeat is painful. Why would a self-described lover of the old Marvel books take one of the most fun, lively characters from that continuity and turn him into a joyless, prickly shell of himself? I mean, if he wanted to write an asocial detective as a Sherlock reference, the work-obsessed (but otherwise painfully underdeveloped) Streetwise was literally right there.

Actually, that's been a pattern for me with most of Roberts' characters. The ones who've basically never done anything before, like Chromedome or Rewind or Tailgate or Whirl, I'm a big fan of (except for Swerve, he can **** off). But when he works with established characters in MTMTE, aside from Ratchet they've usually wound up looking pretty contorted. Sometimes he'll make them likeable anyway (Prime, Megatron and Cyclonus are all quite good) but in other cases (like Magnus, Skids, Rodimus and now Nightbeat) it's a train wreck. His take on Drift was especially ugly, a complete parody of what the character is supposed to be. And yes, I know Drift wasn't exactly popular when MTMTE started...but you can rehabilitate a character without effectively shouting "screw you" at the coworker who created him (and yes, I know McCarthy isn't exactly popular either).

inflatable dalek
2015-03-11, 09:17 PM
"But other things do it".

Not so much others as "Everyone".

My point is if Roberts only wants to write ten characters what do the other 190 do? Not a lot apart from dying if they're made up seems to be about the sum of it, and it destroys suspension of disbelief. If the others are always having big adventures a) can we, like, see some of them to break up the #epicbantz and b) it's a strange thing that favoured characters keep getting involved in their own big adventures, usually in the same rough grouping.

Were the Spotlights included in the Bundle? Hoist and Trailbreaker got their own adventures in there.

Remain in Light is perhaps a bad example to hold up of this as it's very much the point where they do stop being Lower Decks style characters, Rodimus goes out of his way to pick them (except Swerve) because of their prior experiences, as opposed to the more random (though yes, still requiring a . It's a shift in focus for the series.

I know it's unusal for Transformers comics, which traditionally love to keep throwing new characters in at a rate of knots, but considering it's far more common for an ongoing series (in any medium) to focus on a small cast even in an environment with a lot of people who may or may not be interesting in their own right it just seems a bit strange to be complaining about it.


No. No-one is making Roberts repeatedly use fake deaths for cheap suspense. There are other ways to inject drama into something beyond pretending to kill someone off, which is one of the absolute cheapest devices in comics. If Hasbro aren't letting Roberts or Barber kill off Hasbro characters they need to stop using it as a plot device.

Oh yes, the fake deaths were a big bugbear of mine.

Not because of characters being in jeopardy or even seemingly being killed, I'm not an idiot and accept the potential of risk to the leads even though they're obviously completely safe is a perfectly normal part of drama and especially the old fashioned serial cliffhanger storytelling of an ongoing comic book.

My issue was simply how it was done so often in the early days. Rung wasn't killed? Fair enough, but after presenting him as such it's mildly rubbish to have him revealed to have survived in such an offhand way in a throaway line in the next issue. Same with Red Alert and the second time Minimus is seemed to be killed (though Magnus' first ressurection I didn't have a problem with as it was an actual part of the mystery).

Thankfully that seems to have stopped now, even if it's legacy lives on and still hurts the book and you get things like many people assuming Trailbreaker hadn't been killed even though the art is fairly explicit on the destruction of his brain module.

The shame is, when Roberts does it right he really gets it right. I love how Tailgate is handled, his terminal disease is introduced and then the story plays with your expectations by introducting three different ways he might be saved (the Miracle Moon, an Ambus who may be the same one mentioned as having researched the illness and Pharma's super lab) and undrmining all of them as the adventure goes along, whilst at the same time introducing the actual solution in a entirely throwaway manner with the reminder that swords like Drift's are supposed to have magic powers.

With the actual McGuffin nature of the sword not mattering a jot as what actually saves Tailgate is Cyclonus not killing Whirl and achieving redemption in his own arc.

From a structural point of view, that's just perfect writing (ironically in a story that otherwise has a wonky structure, MTMTE may not have been hit as hard as RID was by the arrival of Dark Cybertron but right at the end there it does wobble), successfully misdirecting you whilst still playing fair and giving a fantastic payoff (I LOVE LOVE LOVE that Magnus Cyclonus handshake).

I occasionally have delusions of fiction writing (some of you have had the misfortune of seeing various submissions I've made over the years), but that's the sort of perfection that makes me realise just how inadequate my efforts are.

Of course, the irony is, whilst Roberts was being berated for not following through on killing characters, Barber was coming under fire for killing off too many toy based bots. And the bait and switch on that in RID was one of the finest rug pulls in that series, indeed one of the last really great moments before things started to go badly wrong ("It's not a trap if you know it's a trap!" oh **** off and die Bumblebee. Oh, you did. Thanks).


The cassette guy? Pretty numb by then, TBH, though not enough for how hugely contrived the whole thing is - the DJD suddenly decide they need to record this one, the only recording device avaliable is the only regular from the main crew who's dead at that precise moment, he then manages to run away from the DJD who then shrug their shoulders and wander off. It got that crucial status quo back I suppose.

Surely the DJD made him film because they're sadistic bastards tormenting him rather than out of any desperate desire for home movies?



Nightbeat's been the worst thing about the sequel so far for me. Roberts can't write him; he doesn't really get him in Eugenesis where he's just a nice well-rounded Autobot, but in MTMTE he's annoyingly off-key. It's probably just that he likes the guy too much and sort-of panics, the way Furman always wrote a crap Optimus Prime.

Yeah, I've no idea what's going on with Nightbeat (I can only assume Warcry doesn't read my posts as I've been going on about this for ages). I could buy him being different as a result of being in a Dead Universe for years after being shot in the head, but everyone else reacts to him as if he's always been like that. Which he wasn't as recently as the flashback in Shadowplay from the same author. Very odd.

Megatron's the highlight so far; Roberts writes a great Prime and Megatron because he really gets inside their heads while keeping them as inspiring quasi-mythical superbeings

You do like to be contrary ;).

Most people seem to have taken a while to warm up to Megatron because the whole "Now an Autobot" idea is such a reach (it's not so much Magneto leading the X-Men as Hitler being made Mayor of the Isle of White), I think it took till the chat with Ravage for it to really click for most of us.



From the other thread rather than trying to carry on conversations at cross-purposes...

How can you spoil a reveal about a thirty-year old character doing what they've been doing for thirty-odd years?

Well fair enough, if you genuinely think you'd have guessed before turning that page that the Senator was Shockwave (or maybe even did, I'm assuming you read the RID follow up issue first) then more power to you.

But absolutely no one else did. In a series where the way Roberts generally plays fair with set up and that has attentive fans it's not uncommon for the major plot beats of an issue to be worked out in advance (though even at my smartest there's always enough curveballs there to keep it interesting), but I'm not aware of a single person who actually worked that one out in advance.

What I love about that, beyond the surprise and the horror of it, is how it works on multiple levels. If you're a long standing fan it subverts the usual joke about Shockwave being Behind Everything, this time he's the victim of the real puppet masters behind the scenes.

[Probably unintentionally that one though, Roberts didn't know Dreamwave had already done a "Ultra Magnus has a little guy inside him" story and therefore may not have been fully aware of the "Shockwave did it" gag, IIRC he didn't get back into TF comics until Nick Roche got his first gig. But it works.]

If you're not a long standing fan, or even haven't heard of Shockwave, it's the brutal mutilation of a sympathetic (though Roberts nicely doesn't make pre-alteration Shockwave out and out nice, there are edges there) minor character but more importantly an insight into a regular's backstory. That final shot had happened previously to Whirl, and it suddenly brings his entire character into focus. Very nicely done.

The follow up in RID dropped the ball badly (Shockwave just went back to work without comment from anyone else?) and Dark Cybertron played into the "Shockwave did it" cliché wholeheartedly, but Shadowplay does it about perfectly.


I do wonder, though...would the main characters doing everything be anywhere near as noticeable if the background crew were a bunch of no-name extras like on Star Trek rather than familiar characters with well-known bios and personalities? If the rest of the crew were people like Ammo, Atomizer, Dipstick and Turbine, I think it would be way less obvious than it is with the likes of Smokescreen, Hoist, Highbrow, Inferno, Blaster etc. mostly standing around not doing anything.

That's a good point, but it's worth remembering that whatever attatchment we have to their toys and previous iterations, most of these guys are just reccuring background extras as far as IDW (and even beyond, when was the last time Hound got to do anything before his nice and understated role as third in command in the first season? The opening of the cartoon?) are concerned. Off the top of my head Blaster and Sunstreaker and the only previously heavily featured players to be treated in that way (and both have had moments), wondering why Smokescreen never gets more to do is like asking why Star Trek never did an episode about Mr. Leslie.

And sure, Roberts could be taking these long ignored characters and fleshing them out (and hopefully he or someone else will do that one day), but he's already doing that with the actual lead characters of the book. Trying to do everyone would be much less satisfying, and probably more like one of the things I wasn't so hot on with Eugenesis where it hops about madly from character to character and subplot to subplot but only allowing Nightbeat's (funnily enough) thread to properly play out.

Unicron
2015-03-11, 09:35 PM
Yeah, I've no idea what's going on with Nightbeat (I can only assume Warcry doesn't read my posts as I've been going on about this for ages). I could buy him being different as a result of being in a Dead Universe for years after being shot in the head, but everyone else reacts to him as if he's always been like that. Which he wasn't as recently as the flashback in Shadowplay from the same author. Very odd.
Just to randomly comment on a tiny thing...
A possible answer to this is Information Creep. Their memories of what he was like have degraded and their exposure to him now makes them think he always acted that way. Remember, his appearance at the beginning Shadowplay wasn't part of anyone's telling of their recollections, it was part of the framing of the story for the reader's benefit, sort of like the Shockwave reveal at the end.

Of course, that theory falls apart when you remember he was active and alive until a couple of years before Dark Cybertron, though he was a bit of a loner. Could still work, but it's a stretch.

Cliffjumper
2015-03-12, 03:50 PM
Wow. Zing. Think you are reading far too much agro into my initial reply.

And you go ahead and be as mean as you like to my ickle wickle comic Cliffy. Gotta get some pleasure in life, am I right?

Oh, you. Don't be such a tart.

Honestly don't know if I think take Cliffjumpers comments that seriously. His dislike of MTMTE seems to be based mostly on how much everyone else likes it. I get it nothing being everyones cup of tea and if someone doesn't like it, no problem. But the

Assuming there's no closure coming from that last enigmatic sentence fragment, you're proceeding from the false assumption that I dislike MTME. I don't, that's why I've read thirty odd issues of it. I just don't think it's all that for certain reasons I've laid out.

But to make digs at a comic based on an fairly large cast because it doesn't expand to an even large cast?

I didn't say it should expand but instead maybe either rotate or stop tantalising with glimpses of other characters only to trot out the same few.

Swerve is a bit of comic relief that you don't like - fine. But don't make out that Roberts forces him into all the main plot lines because that simply isn't the case.

No, but he is still reliably dug up for a cheap joke.

By the way, your other favourite whirl has had a nice additional arc within the current plotline dealing with Megatron. Nothing ground breaking but enough justification for keeping that "dead end" around too.

I don't think I said he shouldn't be kept around; he just doesn't need to be omnipresent. Trailbreaker is someone who's got about the right level of exposure within the title - it's never quite forgotten he's there so he's not an arsepull when he comes into the mix but at the same time he doesn't need to follow the A plot around every issue.

On both these characters though the feeling I got from CJs dislike of them is simply that they are popular and Roberts relies on them too much - which is bollocks. And why bother creating characters at all if they have to be shelved once their main arc is done?

Your feelings don't seem to actually relate to a lot of what I've said, especially this feeling of absolutism like the idea of shelving characters.

If the rest of the crew were people like Ammo, Atomizer, Dipstick and Turbine, I think it would be way less obvious than it is with the likes of Smokescreen, Hoist, Highbrow, Inferno, Blaster etc. mostly standing around not doing anything.

That probably is part of it. And I know not being on the Lost Light is no guarantee of big action anywhere (ask Tracks and Cliffjumper) but it does seem a waste; Highbrow especially is something of an aberration considering the uses he'd theoretically have whereas IIRC he's only been 'used' as a couple of throwaway punchlines.

Roberts' version of Nightbeat is painful. Why would a self-described lover of the old Marvel books take one of the most fun, lively characters from that continuity and turn him into a joyless, prickly shell of himself? I mean, if he wanted to write an asocial detective as a Sherlock reference, the work-obsessed (but otherwise painfully underdeveloped) Streetwise was literally right there.

I seriously think it's adulation-freeze. Roberts clearly likes Nightbeat so much he's reining himself in too much. I agree with you - I think the nub of his 'problem' is that he has far too much respect for most of what's gone before, and that's why he's largely happier with characters who've had minimal previous work done - Rewind, Ironfist, Whirl, Swerve, Tailgate, Chromedome, Pyro, Guzzle etc. are all blank slates while even the likes of Brainstorm, the Jumpstarters and Impactor are relatively unploughed. Whereas the more exposed Rodimus and Magnus end up as weird exaggerated cariacatures. Ratchet finds the balance a bit better but then he's basically not too far off his Marvel self.

Not so much others as "Everyone".

The better ones have an in-fiction reasoning, though - in Trek it's that the bridge crew are at the sharp end of any exciting situation, making the calls for their various departments. In any cop show it's because your ace detective or team are actively dealing with the situation because they have the skills.

Were the Spotlights included in the Bundle? Hoist and Trailbreaker got their own adventures in there.

No, but I've read Trailbreaker's and it was pretty weak.

[qupte]I know it's unusal for Transformers comics, which traditionally love to keep throwing new characters in at a rate of knots, but considering it's far more common for an ongoing series (in any medium) to focus on a small cast even in an environment with a lot of people who may or may not be interesting in their own right it just seems a bit strange to be complaining about it. [/quote]

It's more a problem because most of them get mined out pretty quickly and there's an easy out - stop taking the psycho loose cannon on missions, etc.

(will respond to rest in a bit, above has been typed over about 12 hours and I keep losing my thread)

inflatable dalek
2015-03-12, 08:43 PM
I seriously think it's adulation-freeze. Roberts clearly likes Nightbeat so much he's reining himself in too much. I agree with you - I think the nub of his 'problem' is that he has far too much respect for most of what's gone before, and that's why he's largely happier with characters who've had minimal previous work done - Rewind, Ironfist, Whirl, Swerve, Tailgate, Chromedome, Pyro, Guzzle etc. are all blank slates while even the likes of Brainstorm, the Jumpstarters and Impactor are relatively unploughed. Whereas the more exposed Rodimus and Magnus end up as weird exaggerated cariacatures. Ratchet finds the balance a bit better but then he's basically not too far off his Marvel self.

I'd think that's fair, Roberts himself has talked about preferring to develop ignored characters.

Ratchet is probably the most consistent G1 character, I don't think any author has ever not done him well (though the Jeffrey Combs voiced "Grumpy old man" he was before getting his new hands was a bit of a departure from how he was before in IDW). The stuff between him and First Aid over Ambulon probably doesn't get as much love as it deserves.


The better ones have an in-fiction reasoning, though - in Trek it's that the bridge crew are at the sharp end of any exciting situation, making the calls for their various departments. In any cop show it's because your ace detective or team are actively dealing with the situation because they have the skills.

There's usually some sort of handwave in MTMTE as well though: Getting grabbed by the Galactic Council, "Compatible Spark types", Swerve and Rewind being the ones out on Punishment Detail when Maximus goes nuts and so on. It is a conceit, but not an especially harmful one IMO.



No, but I've read Trailbreaker's and it was pretty weak.

Ah, so references to everyone's other adventures isn't enough, actually seeing their other adventures isn't enough, you want to see them and for them to be also good? You know what you want? The moon on a stick ;)

Hoist is fairly average as well, that run of Spotlights mainly levelled out as solid rather than spectacular.

Warcry
2015-03-12, 10:27 PM
Thankfully that seems to have stopped now, even if it's legacy lives on and still hurts the book and you get things like many people assuming Trailbreaker hadn't been killed even though the art is fairly explicit on the destruction of his brain module.
You keep saying that, but what the art actually shows is more like "mild deformation" than "destruction".

With the actual McGuffin nature of the sword not mattering a jot as what actually saves Tailgate is Cyclonus not killing Whirl and achieving redemption in his own arc.
I hadn't thought of it that way, but you know...that makes perfect sense.

Generally I'm with you on this...the concept of death fake-outs isn't the problem, it was the frequency of them. And unfortunately for the fairly well thought out story with Tailgate, it had the misfortune of happening right after they playing the "he's dead, Jim...hahaha, fooled you!" card with Magnus twice in the same story arc (three times if you count the big red X over his face in the issue where he got injured), in the same issue as an imagine-sequence that pretended to kill Whirl and not long after pretend-deaths for Rung, Red Alert and all of those crew members who "burned up in the atmosphere" in issue #1.

In isolation I can look at the Tailgate thing and say "you know, that's pretty well done!" but following hot on the heels of all the rest it didn't get much more than an eye-roll and a groan from me at the time.

To his credit Roberts has moved away from that in the recent batch of issues (though not entirely...don't forget the coffin and the fact that he deliberately held Rodimus out of the first couple issues for no reason so we'd believe it might be the real thing), but any points he earned are at least partly offset by bringing Rewind back, so far seemingly just for Tumblr-bait.

Of course, the irony is, whilst Roberts was being berated for not following through on killing characters, Barber was coming under fire for killing off too many toy based bots.
Yes and no. People were annoyed by Roberts playing the same they're-dead-but-not-really game with his lead characters, and people were annoyed by Barber casually killing off named characters for shock value as if they were nameless background extras. But I don't think it was the acts themselves that bothered readers so much as the fact that they did those same things over and over again until they became trite and predictable. I shouldn't be able to assume that Rodimus isn't dead because of course he's not, Roberts is writing this book. Nor should I automatically know that Slugslinger's going to die if he randomly pops up in Barber's work and doesn't have a new toy out.

(I will admit to being genuinely pissed off by the "100 Autobots just burned up in the atmosphere/no wait, never mind, they're perfectly fine except these two generics" thing in MTMTE 1 and 2, though. Never have I seen a story backpedal so fast.)

Yeah, I've no idea what's going on with Nightbeat (I can only assume Warcry doesn't read my posts as I've been going on about this for ages).
I only read your posts to find things to argue about. You can't expect me to care about the rest of the content too! :glance:

That's a good point, but it's worth remembering that whatever attatchment we have to their toys and previous iterations, most of these guys are just reccuring background extras as far as IDW (and even beyond, when was the last time Hound got to do anything before his nice and understated role as third in command in the first season? The opening of the cartoon?) are concerned.
By that logic, the big Batman/Superman crossover movie they're making could feature Bruce Wayne silently standing in the background in every second shot but never actually doing anything and we shouldn't complain because he's not an established character in the Man of Steel universe. :)

If characters that the fans like (and with Transformers, that's basically everyone) show up and don't do anything, then people are going to complain. Fill out the crowd scenes with generics if you don't want that. Only in Transformers does "throw as many well-known characters as you can into every background shot even if you never intend to do anything with them" pass muster as a creative technique. It's not 1986 anymore and the creative team's jobs no longer depend on cramming as many toys as they can into every issue, but I don't think they got the memo.

Also, Hound was a pretty major player in the Furman era of the IDW books and was basically in command of Cybertron at one point when his unit was guarding Thunderwing's body. It was a while ago, but at the start of MTMTE he was already pretty well established in the IDW universe.

Off the top of my head Blaster and Sunstreaker and the only previously heavily featured players to be treated in that way (and both have had moments), wondering why Smokescreen never gets more to do is like asking why Star Trek never did an episode about Mr. Leslie.
Then why is Smokescreen there to begin with instead of some nobody that the fans don't care about?

That probably is part of it. And I know not being on the Lost Light is no guarantee of big action anywhere (ask Tracks and Cliffjumper) but it does seem a waste; Highbrow especially is something of an aberration considering the uses he'd theoretically have whereas IIRC he's only been 'used' as a couple of throwaway punchlines.
Highbrow in particular is the one that really jumps out at me too, actually. The book has made several references to the backstory he shares with Brainstorm and Chromedome, how they're old buddies who were at the Institute together, etc. But in spite of those two being major characters and their social circle being a big part of the book, I don't think he's even had a single line of dialogue.

Terome
2015-03-13, 12:42 AM
I've been thinking about this thread a bit today. I think I agree with the premise - it would be nice to mine some of that potential that has been hanging about for the past three years.

I genuinely thought that Whirl and Cyclonus, at least, would be background characters at this point. And I'm still not completely sold on the Rewind resurrection. The fake-out deaths were cheap and don't age well, especially on a binge-read.

But it's just that I don't mind so much.

Same for cases like Nightbeat. I know he's a totally different character from the guy who got shot in the head and I do wish he'd stayed dead to keep that moment from meaning something. But I like it when he does his things.

I guess my position here is: I am amiable and relatively easy to please. I wouldn't call More Than Meets The Eye the greatest thing in the world but I enjoy it a lot and look forward to reading it.

It's good to reaffirm that perspective!

zigzagger
2015-03-13, 02:44 AM
I guess my position here is: I am amiable and relatively easy to please. I wouldn't call More Than Meets The Eye the greatest thing in the world but I enjoy it a lot and look forward to reading it.



Yep, that's pretty much where I am at with the book too (shocking, I know).

That's not to say I haven't quibbled over MTMTE's shortcomings as well -- I have done so openly (i.e. the DJD, Magnus's OCD schtick, etc) -- and I think it's important to point them out. Keeps discussions balanced and, quite frankly, more interesting :)

And, likewise, I too agree with the premise of this thread. It's crossed my mind.

Thinking on it, it's something I've expressed from time to time in the MTMTE threads. Completely agree with the complaint about Highbrow though, what with his past co-workers being in close proximity, and still have issues with characters like Xaaron or Sunstreaker being under-utilized, both of whom you'd think have something to say or do knowing their history in the IDW-verse.

Sunstreaker in particular was always a baffling one for me, and felt like a huge missed opportunity. Fallout from AHM aside, you'd figure Fortress Maximus would've had words with him, since the invasion of Garrus-9 was partly Sunstreaker's fault. Hell, at very least we should've seen some kind of exchange between him and Ratchet, since both of them go all the way back to the -Ations. So much lost potential there.

Cliffjumper
2015-03-13, 05:36 AM
Surely the DJD made him film because they're sadistic bastards tormenting him rather than out of any desperate desire for home movies?

Okay. So they randomly decided to completely torment the one guy who'd died on 'our' Lost Light and then let him wander off for no apparent reason. It's a massive contrivance either way. To be fair I didn't personally think Rewind was dead for one second (sent off into space locked in a box with a bad guy who'll be back one day and blown up in a nice detail-free explosion when we're talking about a book where favoured characters can survive having heads obliterated), I just didn't expect the Backwards resolution to be used when it shits over both Rewind and Chromedome while also remaining insultingly implausible.

I'm still agog that character deaths in IDW's universe can have any impact on anyone. Transformers is a tough gig in this respect because you never know what Hasbro/future writer is going to come up with that'll cause revertion and the characters have a history of being repaired but I don't think anyone's really cheapened it as much as IDW have; it means the occasions where someone's come in and said "look, you've got to have Nightbeat back" are less forgivable because we're already on X years of having writers who simply do not follow through.

Most people seem to have taken a while to warm up to Megatron because the whole "Now an Autobot" idea is such a reach (it's not so much Magneto leading the X-Men as Hitler being made Mayor of the Isle of White), I think it took till the chat with Ravage for it to really click for most of us.

I think it's a gimmicky concept (like Optimus Prime 'dying' at the start of the MTMTE/RID reboot) and some of the way it's been applied is hokey (making him captain just doesn't fly) but the idea's got potential that's coming through.

Well fair enough, if you genuinely think you'd have guessed before turning that page that the Senator was Shockwave (or maybe even did, I'm assuming you read the RID follow up issue first) then more power to you.

Not so much guessed as wasn't surprised; they're two different things, like the way you'd never guess before reading DW V2 that Magnus is Prime's white twin brother in armour but you're not exactly surprised when it actually comes out. It's the same with the senator - he's obviously going to end up being turned into some big bad, preferably the most ironic and cruel. Who he actually turned into is effectively irrelevant because that he turns into some great soulless evil is quite heavily telegraphed.

And sure, Roberts could be taking these long ignored characters and fleshing them out (and hopefully he or someone else will do that one day), but he's already doing that with the actual lead characters of the book.

No, he's already done that with the leads of the book, most of whom stagnate quite badly. Seriously, between his establishment as dangerous weapons lunatic and his reveal as a Decepticon plant (thanks to a Decepticon insignia being printed on the inside of his faceplate... uhhhh?*) where exactly does Brainstorm develop?

* = the whole Rewind/DJD/alternate Lost Light arc was outright weak to me, I'm afraid. The disappearing characters/ship part was padded and predictable (did anyone NOT guess why people were disappearing before Notbeat? Did anyone for a split second think the Lost Light would be ditched so early on?), the idea that a duplicate ship full of our heroes could be created and then wholesale butchered all without anyone really noticing is cheap (and I have big problems with the power levels of the DJD because we all know if/when they run into the Lost Light crew they're not going to massacre them) and the resurrection was contrived.



There's usually some sort of handwave in MTMTE as well though: Getting grabbed by the Galactic Council, "Compatible Spark types", Swerve and Rewind being the ones out on Punishment Detail when Maximus goes nuts and so on. It is a conceit, but not an especially harmful one IMO.

You keep saying that, but what the art actually shows is more like "mild deformation" than "destruction".

Yeh, he's not dead.

Generally I'm with you on this...the concept of death fake-outs isn't the problem, it was the frequency of them.

Yup. This has probably been exaggerated due to the fact I read the first five or six trades in the space of a few days rather than monthly but you're just numb after a while.

inflatable dalek
2015-03-13, 03:06 PM
You keep saying that, but what the art actually shows is more like "mild deformation" than "destruction".

His brain was pushed into a forcefield! Now, (a seeming minority, as discussed before the reaction on Twitter was mass upset) people not buying it is largely Roberts fault for going to that well too many times before but that's not a problem with the art, indeed it seems to be trying very hard to say "No more pissing about with this" as a statement of intent.

Indeed, the feint with his almost imediate return in the past and the offer of possible salvation seems to be making a similar statement.

Though for my sins, it didn't click until it was mentioned in the podcast interview in the 38 thread (which I may mention again in this post) that the whole "Don't go to that planet" thing with Trailbreaker was a part of the overall Back to the Future pastiche and a variation on Marty trying to warn 1955 Doc about his shooting.


in the same issue as an imagine-sequence that pretended to kill Whirl and not long after pretend-deaths for Rung, Red Alert and all of those crew members who "burned up in the atmosphere" in issue #1.

Oh, I think that one worked great. Partly because it was resolved immediately, but mainly because you really needed something to hammer home that Cyclonus was seriously considering it and would have been fully capable of following through, but chose to change. Without it there'd be some ambiguity that he didn't kill Whirl simply because his Klingon code of honour wouldn't let him slay an unarmed and badly damaged opponent.


To his credit Roberts has moved away from that in the recent batch of issues (though not entirely...don't forget the coffin and the fact that he deliberately held Rodimus out of the first couple issues for no reason so we'd believe it might be the real thing), but any points he earned are at least partly offset by bringing Rewind back, so far seemingly just for Tumblr-bait.

Didn't mind the coffin thing so much as that felt more like a case of "So what's going on here then" than OMG Rodimus is dead! Plus, considering how dickish Optimus was in putting Megatron in joint charge on a civilian mission that a military dictator like Prime should have dubious authority over (presumably it was a condition on being allowed to leave the planet?) I didn't have any issues with Rodimus retreating into a sulk in protest.


(I will admit to being genuinely pissed off by the "100 Autobots just burned up in the atmosphere/no wait, never mind, they're perfectly fine except these two generics" thing in MTMTE 1 and 2, though. Never have I seen a story backpedal so fast.)

Oh yes, I missed that off the list of bad ones, but it's a good call. Issue 1 would have ended just as well if it had been a case of "These guys are in danger, we need to go rescue them!".


I only read your posts to find things to argue about. You can't expect me to care about the rest of the content too! :glance:

And you wonder why I keep repeating myself?


By that logic, the big Batman/Superman crossover movie they're making could feature Bruce Wayne silently standing in the background in every second shot but never actually doing anything and we shouldn't complain because he's not an established character in the Man of Steel universe. :)

Ah, but I didn't say they couldn't add new characters ;)

It's more like how The X-Men movies treat lots of actually proper main characters from the comics, what's the point of giving (and I'm going to have to go for an example whose role increased across the films as my brain is fritted on the rest of background mutants at the moment) a major mutant like Cyclopse background roles and three lines in the original trilogy rather than creating a new character fans won't be disappointed in being marginalised?

Thinking on it, there's probably a dull real world practicality reason for that and things like Smokescreen. You've got a large school/ship to fill, it's just easier and quicker to create the guys in the background from pre-existing fodder than try to come up with all new powers/new robot designs for folks who won't get much page/screentime. Certainly based on his twitter feed, keeping up with Roberts scripts often pushes Milne to the edge of a nervous breakdown, one place he can save time is probably something of a relief.

Only in Transformers does "throw as many well-known characters as you can into every background shot even if you never intend to do anything with them" pass muster as a creative technique.

Well, as said the X-Men movies do it (any comic readers, do crowd shots in the school do the same there?), and that like Transformers is one of the few franchises to have a ridiculous amount of named characters, and I suspect our boys have it beat by a massive margin. Saying "Other people don't really do this" when it'd basically be impossible for most of them to fill out a crowd of a 100 with every one someone the reader will recognise is somewhat unfair, they literally can't do it anyway.

The real problem was that in Dreamwave and a lot of IDW no one was actually keeping track of which characters were where, luckily that's something Barber seems to have a much better handle on.

Also, Hound was a pretty major player in the Furman era of the IDW books and was basically in command of Cybertron at one point when his unit was guarding Thunderwing's body. It was a while ago, but at the start of MTMTE he was already pretty well established in the IDW universe.

I just knew I'd pick the guy who'd done lots I'd forgotten about. Bugger.

Ziggy makes some excellent points about how Sunstreaker in particular could have been used, that is a missed opportunity there and one that hadn't occurred to me.



Okay. So they randomly decided to completely torment the one guy who'd died on 'our' Lost Light and then let him wander off for no apparent reason. It's a massive contrivance either way. To be fair I didn't personally think Rewind was dead for one second (sent off into space locked in a box with a bad guy who'll be back one day and blown up in a nice detail-free explosion when we're talking about a book where favoured characters can survive having heads obliterated), I just didn't expect the Backwards resolution to be used when it shits over both Rewind and Chromedome while also remaining insultingly implausible.

See, that's how I was expecting to feel, but that silent page (and Megatron's lie with the ambiguity over whether it's self-motivated or if he's really trying to be kind) sold it for me.

[Even with the confirmation in 38 that Brainstorm is a Decepticon, I've not entirely abandoned my theory Rewind is in a Vesper Lynd situation and it was him who betrayed the ALL to the DJD as they have Dominus Ambus and were using him to apply pressure.]

To go with Warcry's point about the relevence of bringing Rewind back, I actually think the last story gave him a role only he could fill that neatly justified it. His database is unique, and it's corruption allowed him to fill that Guinan in Yesterday's Enterprise role of letting everyone know there is an alternate timeline, and exactly how bad it is. Without knowing about the Functionist reality it's likely Whirl wouldn't have done what he did in 38 for a start.


I think it's a gimmicky concept (like Optimus Prime 'dying' at the start of the MTMTE/RID reboot) and some of the way it's been applied is hokey (making him captain just doesn't fly) but the idea's got potential that's coming through.

What I like about it so far is how Roberts has walked a line between giving Megatron lots of great speeches and insight into his thought process, but at the same time leaving it nicely ambiguous about how genuine his change of heart is and his goals. His conversations with Pax and Ravage can be read several ways, very nicely done.



Seriously, between his establishment as dangerous weapons lunatic and his reveal as a Decepticon plant (thanks to a Decepticon insignia being printed on the inside of his faceplate... uhhhh?*) where exactly does Brainstorm develop?

Off the top of my head:

His Perceptor obsession has increased from having being insecure about who is the better scientist to an ever growing number of Perceptor pictures and models in his lab to having a pin on monacle(interestingly despite it leading into 38 that seems to have developed from a couple of art gags from Milne that Roberts liked and then extended upon).

Despite being a maker of hideous weapons designed only to kill, he's a complete and utter coward who shies away from all physical confrontation.

He'll lie cheerfully about anything, including his own bravery and how much Perceptor admires him.

I'll spoiler this as, even if you're not going to read it (though it does wrap up so much 38 does make for a nice "Last" issue if you never plan to carry on) it's the most recent issue:

All of which plays into the last issue where it turns out that, despite being a Decepticon, his motivation for changing history is down to wanting to get the great love of his life back, the Perceptor like (to the point of being based visually on the Animated version) Quark.

His cowardice/inability to kill then sees him trying to prevent the war through "Nice" means- saving Terminus; knocking out Past-Rung to try and prevent the bar room brawl- before running out of options means he has to try and shoot Megatron... and then can't bring himself to look another person in the eye and pull the trigger.

That's not bad for someone who was, before the last story, on the second tier of characters.

* = the whole Rewind/DJD/alternate Lost Light arc was outright weak to me, I'm afraid. The disappearing characters/ship part was padded and predictable (did anyone NOT guess why people were disappearing before Notbeat? Did anyone for a split second think the Lost Light would be ditched so early on?), the idea that a duplicate ship full of our heroes could be created and then wholesale butchered all without anyone really noticing is cheap (and I have big problems with the power levels of the DJD because we all know if/when they run into the Lost Light crew they're not going to massacre them) and the resurrection was contrived.

We all seem to have twigged to the truth pretty quickly there, and in interviews I think Roberts has said he played out the mystery one issue more than he should have in retrospect (or at least seeded too many clues).

Not hugely bothered by the DJD doing so well there for various reasons I went on about at length at the time (inside help- and even if he wasn't the one that betrayed them Brainstorm likely didn't help the others by giving them access to his super weapons- and the difficulty of fighting with the confines of a spaceship the crew don't want to damage against an enemy who doesn't care and so on).

Cliffjumper
2015-03-13, 07:41 PM
The thing that bothers me the most is there's something unsettling (and not the intentional kind) about 'their' LL crew who are, give or take a year or two's zany adventures the same guys we all know and know from 'our' Lost Light all being butchered and no-one really seeming to give much of a shit just because there are other versions of them out there. Are there really no other repurcussions to something like that than outing a traitor and getting Chromedome's partner back?

Trailbreaker won't be dead, if for no other reason that Hasbro spent years getting the trademark back and there'll be more toys. It really is a shame that DW and the dodgy first few years of IDW got left to it and now that we have two of the best long-term TF writers since Furman's Marvel days and Hasbro are back to the meddling.

Regarding the hand-waving of taking all the usual characters along for anything, it still fails to make sense. For example, in the time travel one you wouldn't take Whirl along, no-one would. You would never, ever, ever need to take a nihilistic idiot who can't follow orders on a mission to the past.

On the burnt-up generics that one of them's a former Wreckers field leader who left the team for unknown reasons was rather a missed opportunity. Regarding Inferno, Sunstreaker, Xaaron, Smokescreen etc. I realise someone has to be in the background not doing much but I think MTMTE's format could easily have slotted the odd character in for the odd issue without queering the pitch; as it is the cast come across as quite cliquey.

It is something other fiction suffers from but I don't particularly see that as an excuse when the format of the book doesn't really demand it and opportunities to deviate from the approach have been avaliable and ignored. However, I think the comparison with the X-Men films is something of a false analogy; each has, say, two hours to tell what's got to be a single roughly coherent arc and appeal to as many demographics as possible. MTMTE has had two years and many arcs and basically has to keep eight thousand converts happy. Comics are comics, comparing them to other media forms is a bit of a dead end whatever their influences because the bottom line is MTMTE isn't an X-Men film.

Cliffjumper
2015-03-13, 07:50 PM
Regarding RID in general I thought it did largely a good job as a Big Guns G1 book in the mould of, say, DW V3 up until the end of Dark Cybertron. It had a good concept and was involving in its' own way even if it had so many plot twists law of averages meant some were going to be very silly indeed (combiners are either the result of top secret super experiments by an insane genius or of five guys who know each other getting lost).

Characterwise the approach is a bit more of a Marvel one in that Barber just picks half a dozen key characters, a few satellite allies and anyone else is fighting over scraps and the approaches were kind-of a bit mixed. IDW Prowl is basically DW Shockwave, Arcee's still a mad bitch, Bumblebee's a parody of S3 Rodimus but felt Starscream, Metalhawk, Megatron, Ironhide, the Dinobots, Dirge and Blurr all came out of it quite well.

The post-DC relaunch isn't that good, though, far too many loose threads that were best left loose, a very forced-feeling switch to Earth and a really lousy Galvatron.

inflatable dalek
2015-03-14, 02:29 PM
The thing that bothers me the most is there's something unsettling (and not the intentional kind) about 'their' LL crew who are, give or take a year or two's zany adventures the same guys we all know and know from 'our' Lost Light all being butchered and no-one really seeming to give much of a shit just because there are other versions of them out there. Are there really no other repurcussions to something like that than outing a traitor and getting Chromedome's partner back?

Hard to say at this stage with them hitting the ground running right into the next story, though Rewind himself is obviously having trouble coming to terms with what he saw. I suspect the main lasting consequence (as, and I agree with you it's perhaps a shame, I suspect the other characters actually thinking through the horror of their alternate deaths is unlikely to happen) will be to Megatron. Skids speech to him about what wearing that badge means seemed to hit home in particular.

Trailbreaker won't be dead, if for no other reason that Hasbro spent years getting the trademark back and there'll be more toys. It really is a shame that DW and the dodgy first few years of IDW got left to it and now that we have two of the best long-term TF writers since Furman's Marvel days and Hasbro are back to the meddling.

Hopefully if there's ever a mandate to "Do" Trailbreaker again it can be kept nice and simple via flashback, as could have easily been done with Nightbeat tbh (as Warcry says, Streetwise could have easily filled the grumpy detective role). Hasbro seem to mainly want short sharp bursts of promotion for each toy rather than prolonged exposure, his death here wasn't that long after he got an entire issue to himself to pimp his Generations figure so sustainability shouldn't be an issue.

Regarding the hand-waving of taking all the usual characters along for anything, it still fails to make sense. For example, in the time travel one you wouldn't take Whirl along, no-one would. You would never, ever, ever need to take a nihilistic idiot who can't follow orders on a mission to the past.

Depends on how many "Spark compatible" types there were aboard, with them not knowing what Brainstorm was actually up to having as much muscle along as possible was actually not a bad idea, especially as he's proven trustworthy in high tension situations before as when out in the field in Remain in Light (I actually don't think Rodimus- or anyone other than Cyclonus- is aware of his self serving moments like being happy to sacrifice Tailgate and Rewind to kill Cyclonus).

To tie back into the possible disadvantages of reading everything in one go, it might be worth remembering at the point they go back in time it had been about a year since the end of the first season, and both Dark Cybertron and the ALL storyline had only featured the bulk of the main cast in cameos. Rodimus and Cyclonus were the only Lost Lighters to get a huge amount to do in the former (it's really more an RID story guest staring the other book, the fight against the Mini-Cons feels very much like "We've promised a crossover so we better involve them, but let's stick them in an subplot away from the main action till we need them"). Magnus minds the shop and the others tend to have one moment each (punching Prowl, bantering with Arcee) inbetween shooting things. I have the feeling Mainframe may actually get more lines than some of them.

Then with the later, it was mainly about the new characters. So the time travel stuff, though pushing the suspension of disbelief, was about touching base with the core cast again really. And there were people in the discussion threads disappointed we'd seen so little of them in the preceding 12 months.

On the burnt-up generics that one of them's a former Wreckers field leader who left the team for unknown reasons was rather a missed opportunity.

Sandstorm? Punishment might be worth checking out if you enjoy Barber's Cybertron based work as that really goes into Sandstorm and what happened there in quite some depth. It also has a good handle on exactly how ****ed up the Dinobots actually are rather than "Cool".



Characterwise the approach is a bit more of a Marvel one in that Barber just picks half a dozen key characters, a few satellite allies and anyone else is fighting over scraps and the approaches were kind-of a bit mixed. IDW Prowl is basically DW Shockwave, Arcee's still a mad bitch, Bumblebee's a parody of S3 Rodimus but felt Starscream, Metalhawk, Megatron, Ironhide, the Dinobots, Dirge and Blurr all came out of it quite well.

I think I'd agree with that list of who worked and who didn't (though some, like Metalhawk, suffered from having one thing that got a bit tired as it went on) with the exception of Megatron. I just didn't like how Barber tried to write him as a master chess player who had every contingency planned because the plot just wasn't well thought out enough to pull it off. It just wound up feeling that Megatron would go "No honest, I was planning this all along" no matter what unlikely or contrived thing happened that seemed to work against his intent.

Weirdly he's currently writing G.B. Blackrock in exactly the same way.

Plus, it didn't really feel like the guy who thought sticking Prowl's head on top of a monster was a good idea was a good fit for the same guy who would decide to become an Autobot, and the shift in styles as Roberts took over the writing of him during DC is painfully noticeable even though I otherwise thought the two authors got a lot better at meshing in the second half.

I'd add Wheeljack to the list of good characters from that book as well.

EDIT: Cliffy's mention of demographics and sales figures gives me an excellent excuse to segway into mentioning some surprising and good news I don't think has come up elsewhere here, the last issue of MTMTE made the top 20 on American Comixology and top 10 in the UK (apparently all the TF books are selling a lot more digitally whilst physical sales basically stay the same, probably a sign of how the franchise is one that's always appealed more to people who perhaps don't normally buy comics. It still seems to be way ahead of RID though).

Even allowing for the fact we've no idea of actually sales numbers or how many it takes to reach the top of the digital chart... that's actually kind of mental. Between that and the last issue also the third most trending thing on Tumblr (I've no idea what that means as I am old, but apparently it's A Good Thing) it does feel to me as if Roberts may be closer to the end of his time on Transformers than the start.

The only reason I can't see him following Nick Roche into trying to crack more "Mainstream" comic work off the back of this is if he simply isn't that bothered (in the above mentioned podcast interview it's perhaps telling he seems to have put some thought into his prefered successor already- Roche unsurprisingly- but also that when asked about what he'd like to write for a tokenistic mention of Spidey is the only non-TV based property he comes up with. I suspect he's not that into comics generally).

Warcry
2015-03-14, 06:20 PM
That's not to say I haven't quibbled over MTMTE's shortcomings as well -- I have done so openly (i.e. the DJD, Magnus's OCD schtick, etc) -- and I think it's important to point them out. Keeps discussions balanced and, quite frankly, more interesting :)
I think the fact that there are so many things in this book that annoy me but I keep coming back for more just underscores how good a job Roberts does overall. RiD didn't annoy me half as much, but I stopped reading it because it didn't give me any characters to care about (well, other than Metalhawk) and also wasn't anywhere near as much fun. Whereas even when I think a MTMTE issue was stupid or downright bad I still enjoy it because there are so many little good things going on.

Thinking on it, it's something I've expressed from time to time in the MTMTE threads. Completely agree with the complaint about Highbrow though, what with his past co-workers being in close proximity, and still have issues with characters like Xaaron or Sunstreaker being under-utilized, both of whom you'd think have something to say or do knowing their history in the IDW-verse.
I'm constantly forgetting that Xaaron is even there. When Roberts brought him in for Chaos Theory I expected him to be an important character, but I don't think he's even had dialogue since then.

Sunstreaker in particular was always a baffling one for me, and felt like a huge missed opportunity. Fallout from AHM aside, you'd figure Fortress Maximus would've had words with him, since the invasion of Garrus-9 was partly Sunstreaker's fault. Hell, at very least we should've seen some kind of exchange between him and Ratchet, since both of them go all the way back to the -Ations. So much lost potential there.
Sunstreaker is really a failing of every writer post-Furman, though, not Roberts specifically. McCarthy made him a traitor, sure, but then he killed him. Costa brought him back to do nothing and Roberts has only really used him in Spotlight: Hoist. With his backstory and how important he was to the early IDW stories -- almost single-handedly driving the entire Earth-based plot up until All Hail Megatron -- it's a bit of a travesty that he's not one of the universe's major characters.

Okay. So they randomly decided to completely torment the one guy who'd died on 'our' Lost Light and then let him wander off for no apparent reason. It's a massive contrivance either way. To be fair I didn't personally think Rewind was dead for one second (sent off into space locked in a box with a bad guy who'll be back one day and blown up in a nice detail-free explosion when we're talking about a book where favoured characters can survive having heads obliterated), I just didn't expect the Backwards resolution to be used when it shits over both Rewind and Chromedome while also remaining insultingly implausible.
I was happy to overlook Rewind being spared at the time, because I was hoping that bringing our version of the Lost Light back would undo his existence to heap even more tragedy on Chromedome's shoulders. Him surviving without explanation when practically nothing else did, though, is a real head-scratcher and does make me take a more jaded look at the whole contrived series of events that led to it.

I wouldn't be entirely surprised if "our" Rewind is also alive and will show up later, just for the added drama.

* = the whole Rewind/DJD/alternate Lost Light arc was outright weak to me, I'm afraid. The disappearing characters/ship part was padded and predictable (did anyone NOT guess why people were disappearing before Notbeat? Did anyone for a split second think the Lost Light would be ditched so early on?), the idea that a duplicate ship full of our heroes could be created and then wholesale butchered all without anyone really noticing is cheap (and I have big problems with the power levels of the DJD because we all know if/when they run into the Lost Light crew they're not going to massacre them) and the resurrection was contrived.
I enjoyed that arc as a diversion from the norm, and as a bit of sci-fi horror. I don't think anyone reading it didn't expect it to be undone by the end, but as long as the journey is fun I don't mind. It also gave the new guys something to do, which was needed even if it was a bit heavy-handed.

Actually, my biggest complaint with the second "season" is that Roberts hasn't done much to mix and match the new and old crewmembers. Nightbeat is buddies with Chromedome and Nautica has an ill-advised crush on Brainstorm, sure, but when it came time for action we got one arc with the new guys (plus Skids) running around the alternate Lost Light and then one arc with the old guys (plus Riptide) running around in the past. I think there would be fewer "they're overusing characters!" complaints if the current arc had featured something like Rodimus, Chromedome, Rewind, Rung, Riptide, Nautica, Bluestreak and First Aid. That way, even if they're using the same group of characters, the combinations are different and we'd get to see interactions between people who so far haven't had much if anything to do with each other.

Oh, I think that one worked great. Partly because it was resolved immediately, but mainly because you really needed something to hammer home that Cyclonus was seriously considering it and would have been fully capable of following through, but chose to change. Without it there'd be some ambiguity that he didn't kill Whirl simply because his Klingon code of honour wouldn't let him slay an unarmed and badly damaged opponent.
Ambiguity can be a good thing, though!

But either way, the problem isn't any one of them in isolation. It's the cumulative effect of so many of them piled on at once. Three pretend-deaths in one issue is going to make the readers numb, even if all three are brilliantly plotted on their own.

Didn't mind the coffin thing so much as that felt more like a case of "So what's going on here then" than OMG Rodimus is dead! Plus, considering how dickish Optimus was in putting Megatron in joint charge on a civilian mission that a military dictator like Prime should have dubious authority over (presumably it was a condition on being allowed to leave the planet?) I didn't have any issues with Rodimus retreating into a sulk in protest.
Which is okay on its own, but then you have the entire crew treating Megatron as if he's in sole command, with absolutely nobody even mentioning the word "co-captain" or making any reference at all to the fact that Roddy was sulking.

Also, as an aside...why exactly is Megatron co-captain anyway? I don't mean in the "Optimus temporarily went nuts" sense. I mean in story terms...what would have changed it he had just joined the crew as a regular guy, or even an "advisor" to Rodimus? The crew doesn't really seem to take his authority seriously (refer to Magnus and Perceptor completely disregarding him in the latest issue), he wound up locked in a closet with Ravage on the one away mission he led and the only time he's really exercised his authority so far has been to make Trailbreaker the head of security (which was almost immediately rendered moot by TB dying the next time he appeared). It really does feel like it was nothing but a gimmick imposed on the book to increase the WTF factor and try to drive sales.

Oh yes, I missed that off the list of bad ones, but it's a good call. Issue 1 would have ended just as well if it had been a case of "These guys are in danger, we need to go rescue them!".
Not only that, but it would have made way, way more sense.

It's more like how The X-Men movies treat lots of actually proper main characters from the comics, what's the point of giving (and I'm going to have to go for an example whose role increased across the films as my brain is fritted on the rest of background mutants at the moment) a major mutant like Cyclopse background roles and three lines in the original trilogy rather than creating a new character fans won't be disappointed in being marginalised?
Is that really a fair comparison, though? I seem to recall Cyclops being fairly prominent in the first movie. It's wasn't until X2 that he was marginalized. I think the closest comparison here would actually be Red Alert, who was advertised as a main character, showed up in the first couple issues and then proceeded to contribute nothing to the plot until he "killed" himself.

There are a lot of recognizable mutants in the later films who do nothing but hang out in the background, though, and I'll definitely agree with you that it's rooted in the same "the fans will be happy from just seeing their favourites!" mentality.

Well, as said the X-Men movies do it (any comic readers, do crowd shots in the school do the same there?), and that like Transformers is one of the few franchises to have a ridiculous amount of named characters, and I suspect our boys have it beat by a massive margin. Saying "Other people don't really do this" when it'd basically be impossible for most of them to fill out a crowd of a 100 with every one someone the reader will recognise is somewhat unfair, they literally can't do it anyway.
Most franchises couldn't do it to the same extent, sure, but even shows with fairly large supporting casts generally don't. You never saw Barclay or Ro show up on TNG just to stand in the background and not have any lines, for example. Of course there's an element of practicality to that, as it obviously would cost a lot more to get Michelle Forbes or Dwight Shultz than it would to hire some random extra.

You're definitely right that it's easier in comics to use existing character models to fill out crowd scenes, though, and that's probably the main reason why the Lost Light is full of familiar faces. I suppose they could split the difference by using recoloured character models as crowd-fillers, but that would just generate a new series of complaints.

To go with Warcry's point about the relevence of bringing Rewind back, I actually think the last story gave him a role only he could fill that neatly justified it. His database is unique, and it's corruption allowed him to fill that Guinan in Yesterday's Enterprise role of letting everyone know there is an alternate timeline, and exactly how bad it is. Without knowing about the Functionist reality it's likely Whirl wouldn't have done what he did in 38 for a start.
Honestly, it wouldn't have been all that difficult to sidestep the issue if Rewind was absent. It could have been the ship's database that was getting corrupted instead, or the ship could have started picking up transmissions and news reports from Functionist Cybertron.

The thing that bothers me the most is there's something unsettling (and not the intentional kind) about 'their' LL crew who are, give or take a year or two's zany adventures the same guys we all know and know from 'our' Lost Light all being butchered and no-one really seeming to give much of a shit just because there are other versions of them out there. Are there really no other repurcussions to something like that than outing a traitor and getting Chromedome's partner back?
I totally missed that, but that's a good point. Shouldn't a good chunk of the crew be almost as creeped out as Rodimus was when he was confronted with his own dead body? I mean I can totally see the likes of Swerve or Whirl being too stupid to care, but the more thoughtful crewmembers like Magnus should be at least a bit nonplussed by such a blunt reminder of their own mortality.

I would say "well, maybe the newbies didn't say anything about what they found", but I have a hard time believing the likes of Riptide or Nautica would keep their mouths shut.

Sandstorm? Punishment might be worth checking out if you enjoy Barber's Cybertron based work as that really goes into Sandstorm and what happened there in quite some depth. It also has a good handle on exactly how ****ed up the Dinobots actually are rather than "Cool".
I think he's talking about Hyperion, one of the guys whose bodies Skids scavenges in the second issue who (according to some of the text stories) used to lead the Wreckers.

It just wound up feeling that Megatron would go "No honest, I was planning this all along" no matter what unlikely or contrived thing happened that seemed to work against his intent.
Though since that was exactly how Megatron was characterized in AHM, I suppose that might have been on purpose? Barber does really enjoy referencing past continuity.

It definitely doesn't fit with Roberts' warrior-poet characterization, though.

Even allowing for the fact we've no idea of actually sales numbers or how many it takes to reach the top of the digital chart... that's actually kind of mental. Between that and the last issue also the third most trending thing on Tumblr (I've no idea what that means as I am old, but apparently it's A Good Thing) it does feel to me as if Roberts may be closer to the end of his time on Transformers than the start.
I definitely got that impression from the last issue, if nothing else. Tying up all those loose ends at once did feel a bit suspicious otherwise.

Truth be told though, I couldn't blame the man. Last Stand of the Wreckers started in January 2010, which means he's been writing Transformers books for IDW pretty consistently for more than five years now. It doesn't seem like that long, but it's getting to the point where he's probably penned more TF comics than Budiansky did in the 80s. And since he does seem like more of a prose-writing fan than a comic one (based on his interviews anyway), I wouldn't be surprised to see him leave to go looking for a new challenge.

Unicron
2015-03-14, 06:48 PM
I totally missed that, but that's a good point. Shouldn't a good chunk of the crew be almost as creeped out as Rodimus was when he was confronted with his own dead body? I mean I can totally see the likes of Swerve or Whirl being too stupid to care, but the more thoughtful crewmembers like Magnus should be at least a bit nonplussed by such a blunt reminder of their own mortality.

I would say "well, maybe the newbies didn't say anything about what they found", but I have a hard time believing the likes of Riptide or Nautica would keep their mouths shut.

Aside from the fact that unlike Rodimus, none of the crew actually had to look their own corpse in the face, no one has had time to face their own mortality. Megsy and Rewind turned off the alt LL's quantum generators, the shuttles started reappearing and repopulating at about the time the Rodpod contacted our Lost Light to warn them of Brainstorm, which was also about the time he incapacitated the crew. Story-wise not much time has passed, so news of the alt-LL and it's crew getting massacred hasn't had time to spread or be reflected on.
Besides, even if Siren got on the PA to announce it after the news came in, more important matters came up, like saving history and all that.

inflatable dalek
2015-03-14, 07:56 PM
I think the fact that there are so many things in this book that annoy me but I keep coming back for more just underscores how good a job Roberts does overall. RiD didn't annoy me half as much, but I stopped reading it because it didn't give me any characters to care about (well, other than Metalhawk) and also wasn't anywhere near as much fun. Whereas even when I think a MTMTE issue was stupid or downright bad I still enjoy it because there are so many little good things going on.

Whilst I like RID a lot more than many, I'd agree with this too. Sooner or later the crest will end and we'll be back to consistently pap comics, so I'm enjoying it whilst I can.


I'm constantly forgetting that Xaaron is even there. When Roberts brought him in for Chaos Theory I expected him to be an important character, but I don't think he's even had dialogue since then.

Did he say anything where doing the ceremonies at the post-Overlord funeral in his snazzy cape? Agreed he's an odd one to have relgated to the background, perhaps Roberts trying to not indulge every UK fanboy tendency (the same restraint that's seen present day Impactor not turn up)?

Considering he was basically Brainstorm's boss on Kimia hopefully he'll get a moment as the aftermath of that is dealt with, assuming Brainstorm's main role as a double was to pass on Autobot weapon advances (I still wouldn't be surprised if he had a hand in Skyfall. If he didn't, security there really was awful) and also delay their research down blind allies then Xaaron pretty much had a total failure that people should be asking about.

Mind, he was a bit of a **** in Bullets so perhaps it's for the best he's underused lest I have a Nightbeat reaction.


Which is okay on its own, but then you have the entire crew treating Megatron as if he's in sole command, with absolutely nobody even mentioning the word "co-captain" or making any reference at all to the fact that Roddy was sulking.

Well Rodimus is the only one using the actual "Co" word, and Megatron actually making a more effective commanding officer (and how insidious that charisma actually is) is rather the point I suspect. Rodimus being off hiding doesn't actually affect things that much.

Also, as an aside...why exactly is Megatron co-captain anyway? I don't mean in the "Optimus temporarily went nuts" sense. I mean in story terms...what would have changed it he had just joined the crew as a regular guy, or even an "advisor" to Rodimus? The crew doesn't really seem to take his authority seriously (refer to Magnus and Perceptor completely disregarding him in the latest issue), he wound up locked in a closet with Ravage on the one away mission he led and the only time he's really exercised his authority so far has been to make Trailbreaker the head of security (which was almost immediately rendered moot by TB dying the next time he appeared). It really does feel like it was nothing but a gimmick imposed on the book to increase the WTF factor and try to drive sales.

It's definitely an idea it's struggled with. That six month time jump didn't help, I can see why they did it (from RID's perspective two major disasters happened to the characters on the same day, giving some breathing space and bringing things back into "Real time" after some highly compressed storytelling was a good idea) but not seeing the early days of that leadership does hurt the idea.



Is that really a fair comparison, though? I seem to recall Cyclops being fairly prominent in the first movie. It's wasn't until X2 that he was marginalized. I think the closest comparison here would actually be Red Alert, who was advertised as a main character, showed up in the first couple issues and then proceeded to contribute nothing to the plot until he "killed" himself.

Well, I only made a film analogy because you did first. ;)

And like a genius who is subtly rendering his own point meaningless, I of course meant Colossus rather than Cyclops. But this was part of my evil plan all along!



Most franchises couldn't do it to the same extent, sure, but even shows with fairly large supporting casts generally don't. You never saw Barclay or Ro show up on TNG just to stand in the background and not have any lines, for example. Of course there's an element of practicality to that, as it obviously would cost a lot more to get Michelle Forbes or Dwight Shultz than it would to hire some random extra.

Ha, if I picked a bad X-Men example due to a brain fart, your choice of Ro falls down as well. There are episodes of TNG when Michelle Forbes (in what was basically her first big role, she's not "Special Guest Star" status and expense yet) does just sit there at the helm saying "Yes Sir, No Sir", most notably Cause and Effect and her role in Power Play isn't much bigger (which makes a quarter of her total appearances). There's a reason Forbes jumped ship and turned down DS9.

I only really mention this to try and regain some face after the C-Men mix up.


Honestly, it wouldn't have been all that difficult to sidestep the issue if Rewind was absent. It could have been the ship's database that was getting corrupted instead, or the ship could have started picking up transmissions and news reports from Functionist Cybertron.

Well, there's a bit of that with the Magnus vision going dark on Megatron, but just relying on that would have been far less dramatic and certainly having "Lived" through that timeline gives him far more motivation for his 38 actions than someone else just have read about them would have.



I think he's talking about Hyperion, one of the guys whose bodies Skids scavenges in the second issue who (according to some of the text stories) used to lead the Wreckers.

Gottcha. He's no Cyclops though.


Though since that was exactly how Megatron was characterized in AHM, I suppose that might have been on purpose? Barber does really enjoy referencing past continuity.

It was rubbish there as well. I'll give McCarthy this credit though, at least he would have been writing before The Dark Knight Joker made it standard for all villains.


Truth be told though, I couldn't blame the man. Last Stand of the Wreckers started in January 2010, which means he's been writing Transformers books for IDW pretty consistently for more than five years now. It doesn't seem like that long, but it's getting to the point where he's probably penned more TF comics than Budiansky did in the 80s. And since he does seem like more of a prose-writing fan than a comic one (based on his interviews anyway), I wouldn't be surprised to see him leave to go looking for a new challenge.

Yeah, I think he'll definitely want to outstrip Bob, and after that will be game for a change. Which is good as writer burn out is always a worry.

Red Dave Prime
2015-03-15, 10:29 PM
Oh, you. Don't be such a tart.

Deep down, you know you love it.

Anyway, there's a lot of fodder in this thread. Couple of things I'd like to address though.

I will admit to being genuinely pissed off by the "100 Autobots just burned up in the atmosphere/no wait, never mind, they're perfectly fine except these two generics" thing in MTMTE 1 and 2, though. Never have I seen a story backpedal so fast.

Ok, I'm attributing this to Warcry but damn near everyone has come out with this as a complaint and I really think its unfair. Before anyone jumps on me for being an apologist, go re-read the last few pages of issue 1. Rodimus makes his little speech to drift about the 40 bots who flew out of the ship not being dead and that no-one dies on his watch in what I'm guessing is a call-back to his spotlight. He then pledges to find them and fix them. The next bit is Rodimus asking Magnus where to start looking and Magnus points to a supposed meteor shower. Rodimus quips "what, under the metor shower" and Magnus points out that its not a meteor shower, its actually the autobots igniting as they pass through the planets atmosphere (something which Rodimus did himself in his own spotlight). Rodimus mumbles thats its not a good start but thats all. No-one says anyone is dead. The reaction from both Magnus and Rodimus is certainly not compatible with 40 autobots being destroyed. Its a simple joke

Given that of the named autobots who flew out are ever used in a plot its hardly likely that IDW needed to "climb down" on this one. It wouldnt have mattered if they were dead or not. I really feel many have assumed one thing when it was in fact the other. Only roberts I suppose can answer that one so maybe Dalek can ask him? Happy to accept being wrong but I never read it as 40 bots destroyed or killed when it first appeared and it still doesnt read that way now.

Now the rest of my points relate to Cliffjumper - no personal grudges here or anything and as above, I'm happy to be corrected / disagreed with on any of this. But the main point of my comments was that I feel Cliffjumper comes across as unrealisticly harsh with his points, to the point where I honestly wasnt sure if he was just trolling.

why is MTMTE largely about the same ten or so guys? RID I can kind-of forgive because it's got this big political power struggle format which requires a lot of focus on key players but MTMTE's format is basically that it doesn't have one.

Firstly in the first 20 or so issues, MTMTE had main plots relating to Rodimus, Magnus, Drift, Ratchet, Chromedome, Rewind, Rung, Overlord, Whirl, Tailgate, Cyclonus and Skids (12) with a heavy dose of side quest plots linking in Swerve, Brianstorm, Pipes, Tyrest (to an extent, his influence is there from issue 2), First Aid, Fort Max, Red Alert and Tailgate (8). Thats a main cast of about 20, 18 if you take out the two villains, but not including the issues with the scavengers or DJD, or characters who get small cameos. Thats a pretty healthy spread of characters for a 24 page comic. Not saying you couldnt bring in other characters but to what real benefit? As volume 2 began we get a pretty large influx of new characters as well with several of the above put aside bar some small appearances.

Second, regarding MTMTEs format - everything about the first bit of promo work for it (the initial cover with Rodmius flanked by the main cast, the 12 individual covers which focused on the main cast and the back page which listed the crew) indicated that MTMTE was an ensemble piece focusing on a main group of characters. Even Roches promo group shot features no surprises over the main cast. I can understand you not wanting it to be this but whatever gave you the impression it was going to be something else?

To quote Roberts in his issue one intro "MTME is lost in Space. Its Star Trek meets Dark Star, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Its Justice league International as re-imagined by Stephen Moffat. It's Arrested Development with Alt Modes. It's - It's - look, it's a bunch of mechanoids fighting and bickering, right, and havent you always wanted to see that?.

Are the other 190 just generics so someone can get killed off in fight scenes while preserving Hasbro characters? What are they for?


Part of the scenery? I dont mean to be glib but maybe Roberts just fancied a setting which add a sense of scale beyond his main cast while also giving him a handy out for deaths and new characters if he needed it? That he doesnt use the other 190 characters isn't really a valid complaint to me. Maybe at some point he has a plot line devised that would bring 100 of those characters into focus, but even if he doesn't... so what? whats the major (or minor ) problem.

I don't really see why for once they can't leave Whirl behind (because he's as much of a dead end as Swerve; every few issues he has a moment which might just be a development, then next one he's back to being psycho loose cannon kill guy)

I'm guessing the reason we dont "leave" whirl and swerve behind is because for the most part is that those are part of the character that roberts wants to write about and has invested time and effort in plotting out what he wants to do with them.

But there's another problem here - in both Whirl and Swerves case you imply them to be majorly overused. I take thats unfair. But lets be fair and have a look at it.

In Issue 1 and 2, Whirl gets as much time as any. Issue 3, he is part of the Sparkeater hunt for a few pages, but in no way could be considered a major player in this. Issues 4 and 5 we get no Whirl. Issue 6 is when we get the first real insight into how he got to be the way he is. Issue 7 & 8 is mostly the decepticon stuff so not much going on. We get the annual where he pops up as the guy rodimus takes / sends when he expects trouble - given the guys mindset and the fact he is an ex-wrecker makes a lot of sense. Even here though he is very much a background character. Yes he gets jokes but thats Roberts way of writing just about everyone (look at how he wrote the scavengers). Whirl is present again, albeit in a relatively minor role, in the shadow play stories which again makes sense given the focus on Orion Pax and the time linked to Chaos Theory. Next up is issue 12 where we get a major dose of Whirl. We see his love for acting the hard man and leading the charge, but we also see his cowardice in trying to take out cyclonus. So we're getting more on the character. He is not just being thrown in for some background yuks. Issue 13, we could make an argument that he could have been swapped out but the events of the issue fit perfectly with his established character. Its an issue meant as a fun breathing space before the Overlord issues so no surprise that Roberts would pack the more comical side of the crew. Overlord saga hits and whirl takes a major break for the next three issues until remain in light begins where he returns to finish off his arc with Cyclonus. For a character being listed as one of the major 12 none of that feels like over use and in every case we get a bit more of his character or the plots he is involved in.

Swerve has a similar path but appears even less and has no major events outside the annual and shooting Rung linked to him. . In season 2, Whirls main arc revolves around his relationship with Megatron and is suitable charted out and swerve has been pretty much non existent. So to me, the problem seems to be more that you dont like the two characters (and thats fine) rather than Roberts forcing them in where they dont need to be.

Yay, there's an in-jokey justification. Always welcome in any media, that. This "season" thing is another big pile of shite - comics are not TV series.

And TV series are not Seasons either in the truest sense of the word. Its simply used as a way to name a collection of issues. But given how Roberts described MTMTE in issue 1 its not an entirely unjust usage.

It's not just the term, though it is stupid. It's the idea that 20-odd issues of a comic can be retroactively declared a "season" and we're somehow meant to take that as an excuse for the limited scope and lazy storytelling - "Hey, it was only Season One"; Animated syndrome.

This was the quote that probably annoyed me the most. Whatever the feelings about seasons vs series vs volumes stuff, how is it meant to be used as an excuse and more to the point - limited scope and lazy storytelling? Given how so much of "season one" fed off set ups from LSOTW and Chaos Theory and how much it set up into "season two" while still having to deal with the train wreck of Dark Cybertron I dont think there is a limited scope in MTMTE. Its created a better back story to the whole cybertron society and conflict that just about anything that came before and most of it ties together pretty damn well. Roberts has covered relationships, the perverting of dogma, the effects of an all powerful government altering their own population for their own aims, a version of the caste system, along with other issues. Regardless of whether these are new ideas or poorly done, it's not exactly limited in the themes its trying to cover. Do other comics do it better? I'm sure they do. But I still think MTMTE is covering a lot of different ground.

As for Lazy Storytelling, again I could understand you finding it poor or whatever but its clear that Roberts has put a lot of thought and effort into fleshing out his stories and characters. He has tried to surprise his audience. Whether he has succeeded isn't the point. You want lazy? Read the Costa stuff and compare it to Roberts.

Nah, calling bullshit on that one. Rodimus' eulogy is another fake-out moment and another way to kill off four or five generics so there are Consequences without Roberts (slash Hasbro) having to lose any of his favourites. Not sure how another dumb joke is much of a signifier either - if anything it was deeply irritating because "off-screen panel world building" could have meant "on-panel change of ****ing faces", but no, because otherwise we wouldn't get Swerve doing crap jokes.

Not sure how to take this. Rodimus gives a eulogy for one robot at the start and while it is a fake-out of sorts (I always assumed it played up so the reader will assume its Rewind or Pipes maybe) I don't see the "killing off four or five generics" comment as being anyway related here. But hey, another dig at swerve.

Postmodernism and lampshading are the death of media as a storytelling device. I might as well be wondering who's looking after the bar in the Queen Vic when Danny Dyer's off starting some drama.

I genuinely dont get the reference to Postmodernism here and genuinely dont understand its place here. I'm not saying this as a dig at you, I just dont follow what your point is. As for Lampshading - I would have thought it is somewhat essentially for Transformers. But as a wider context, yes we could insist that everything is exteremly realistic but I dont know if would necessarily suit most forms of storytelling if used as a constant. Not really arguing you here, just differing with you.

Seriously? It's throwaway pap that frequently touches on intriguing ideas and histories only to remain focused on lame jokes, second-hand characterisation, vague mystery, insincere poignancy and a general safe attitude. Roberts needs to trust in his big ideas instead of trotting out cheap crowd-pleasing "HAY BRIEFCASE!!!!" gags

If you wondered why I thought you disliked MTMTE overall it was a combination of what I quoted already and this paragraph. And to argue with the paragraph - you can have lame jokes and second-hand characterisations (I differ but for the most part I put that down to both tastes and exposure to the medium which I realise you have a lot more of than me). I'll argue that for the most part the vague mysteries have either been explained or evolved to the point where I think if they were made any clearer you would have a go at Roberts for hand holding his audience too much. Insincere poignancy? I'll disagree but I suppose this is dependant on how much you attach to the cast. You didn't seem to and I did so moments like Pipes death, Rodimus confrontation with Rung over the Overlod situation, Swerves loneliness and Dominus Minimus realising the true horror of their situation worked quite well for me. "HAY BRIEFCASE!"? Well, thats pretty much been dealt with pretty well, in a manner which pays off scenes from 3 years earlier. Not bad for throwaway pap.

The toy pimping really has shown that Bob and Si could teach Roberts and Barber a thing or two; Crosscut isn't the worst thing IDW have ever done because there's serious competition, but he's certainly in the top ten. I do think the Nightbeat thing was hilarious, though - for once, IDW got it right and actually killed off a character for proper and in a really funny way. And they just happened to pick someone who'd get a new toy four or five years later, and being corporate stooges they have to get down, suck cock and undo the only brave and unexpected thing they've ever done. And the only reason it stands out so much is because they've been so shit-scared of killing characters off.

Corporate stooges or just people who have secured a licence with terms and conditions? I mean, sure they could have fought with Hasbro over bringing Nightbeat but... to what end? So a few fans can be happy that at least Nightbeat stayed dead but now Hasbro are giving them less leeway? And given that Roberts is a fan of Nightbeat I'm sure that probably had more to do with him coming back as anything else. Whether he has done the character well or not is a whole different issue.

Anyway, Think I have typed enough. If the tone of my original post was overly confrontational, it wasn't my intention. Hopefully this clarifies why I felt Cliffjumper was being unfair with his criticism.

inflatable dalek
2015-03-16, 09:12 PM
I think Roberts has said that making the whole of DC about the dead horse that is the Dead Universe started from "Hey, we've got to bring Nightbeat back, ****ing awesome biatches! Big role for him". Which shows enthusiasm isn't always a good thing.

Red Dave Prime
2015-03-16, 09:55 PM
I'll take Barber and Roches enthusiasm over Costa, Metzen and Dille any day.

Warcry
2015-03-18, 09:16 PM
Aside from the fact that unlike Rodimus, none of the crew actually had to look their own corpse in the face, no one has had time to face their own mortality.
Fair point. Nobody else was directly confronted with it the way he was. It's a lot easier to write it off as nonsense when you don't have to look at your own coffin.

Did he say anything where doing the ceremonies at the post-Overlord funeral in his snazzy cape? Agreed he's an odd one to have relgated to the background, perhaps Roberts trying to not indulge every UK fanboy tendency (the same restraint that's seen present day Impactor not turn up)?
That's probably got something to do with it...he doesn't want to use the character just because he loves him, but still wants to have him around so he has the option just in case. It ends up looking a bit arbitrary to me as a reader, though.

Mind, he was a bit of a **** in Bullets so perhaps it's for the best he's underused lest I have a Nightbeat reaction.
But Xaaron was always an asshole! Back in the Marvel days he sent Micromaster assassins to kill his own troops when the Decepticons captured them.

It's definitely an idea it's struggled with. That six month time jump didn't help, I can see why they did it (from RID's perspective two major disasters happened to the characters on the same day, giving some breathing space and bringing things back into "Real time" after some highly compressed storytelling was a good idea) but not seeing the early days of that leadership does hurt the idea.
There's not much to suggest that it's not the early days of his leadership, though, is there? It's six months after Dark Cybertron, but I don't think it's specified how long after the even the trial starts, how long it took or how long after it they left. They might have only been in space for a few days or weeks by the time #28 starts.

And like a genius who is subtly rendering his own point meaningless, I of course meant Colossus rather than Cyclops. But this was part of my evil plan all along!
I didn't even remember Colossus being in the movies, so I'll give you that one.

Ha, if I picked a bad X-Men example due to a brain fart, your choice of Ro falls down as well. There are episodes of TNG when Michelle Forbes (in what was basically her first big role, she's not "Special Guest Star" status and expense yet) does just sit there at the helm saying "Yes Sir, No Sir", most notably Cause and Effect and her role in Power Play isn't much bigger (which makes a quarter of her total appearances). There's a reason Forbes jumped ship and turned down DS9.
I completely forgot Ro was in Cause and Effect (she certainly did a whole lot more than an extra in Power Play, though, even if she wasn't the featured character). You know what I mean, though. TV shows usually don't bring in proper actors just to stand in the background the way TF comics do with well-known characters.

I only really mention this to try and regain some face after the C-Men mix up.
Well, you tried. :)

Ok, I'm attributing this to Warcry but damn near everyone has come out with this as a complaint and I really think its unfair. Before anyone jumps on me for being an apologist, go re-read the last few pages of issue 1. Rodimus makes his little speech to drift about the 40 bots who flew out of the ship not being dead and that no-one dies on his watch in what I'm guessing is a call-back to his spotlight. He then pledges to find them and fix them. The next bit is Rodimus asking Magnus where to start looking and Magnus points to a supposed meteor shower. Rodimus quips "what, under the metor shower" and Magnus points out that its not a meteor shower, its actually the autobots igniting as they pass through the planets atmosphere (something which Rodimus did himself in his own spotlight). Rodimus mumbles thats its not a good start but thats all. No-one says anyone is dead. The reaction from both Magnus and Rodimus is certainly not compatible with 40 autobots being destroyed. Its a simple joke
I see where you're coming from, but I disagree with you on a few points there.

First of all, Rodimus did enter the atmosphere of a planet in his spotlight. But he did it on purpose and used a comet as a heat shield. Getting tossed in completely unprepared and unprotected is a totally different story (and doesn't the spotlight itself tell us how risky and dangerous it is? I haven't read it in ages.)

Secondly, I read Rodimus's whole "Oh, we'll go rescue them, no big deal!" speech not as proof that the crew were actually okay, but that Rodimus was a moron.

Thirdly, maybe it's because I'm a space nerd, but "burning up in the atmosphere" isn't something that I'll ever believe you can just walk away from with a few dents and scratches. Chunks of metal the size of transformers burn up in our atmosphere not that irregularly, and by the time they hit the ground there's not much left. And then they have to survive hitting the ground at terminal velocity.

I won't dispute that they could survive, because Transformers in MTMTE seem to be nigh-on unkillable save for when the plot calls for drama, but the fact that everyone (bar two nobody generics) survived basically unharmed does beggar belief. Now if Ratchet had spent the next six weeks rebuilding the victims' ruined bodies (and maybe gone to Delphi looking for help with that), that would be a different story.

Given that of the named autobots who flew out are ever used in a plot its hardly likely that IDW needed to "climb down" on this one. It wouldnt have mattered if they were dead or not. I really feel many have assumed one thing when it was in fact the other. Only roberts I suppose can answer that one so maybe Dalek can ask him? Happy to accept being wrong but I never read it as 40 bots destroyed or killed when it first appeared and it still doesnt read that way now.
I don't think IDW "climbed down" from killing the characters off when they were originally intending to, I think they chose to end the first issue with a deliberately dishonest "OMG THESE GUYS ARE IN PERIL THE STAKES ARE REAL BUY ISSUE #2!!!!!" teaser that they backed off of as soon as the first page in the next issue. It's sadly common in comics of all stripes, but IMO it really hurt the ability of the series to tell serious stories going forward by training the reader to believe that nothing that happened would have any lasting consequences (something that the repeated death fake-outs and returns from the grave have only exacerbated).

Part of the scenery? I dont mean to be glib but maybe Roberts just fancied a setting which add a sense of scale beyond his main cast while also giving him a handy out for deaths and new characters if he needed it? That he doesnt use the other 190 characters isn't really a valid complaint to me. Maybe at some point he has a plot line devised that would bring 100 of those characters into focus, but even if he doesn't... so what? whats the major (or minor ) problem.
Because all of those other characters are someone's favourite, and it's annoying to constantly have them trotted out for cameos by creators who never intend to do anything with them.

Red Dave Prime
2015-03-18, 11:28 PM
Thirdly, maybe it's because I'm a space nerd, but "burning up in the atmosphere" isn't something that I'll ever believe you can just walk away from with a few dents and scratches. Chunks of metal the size of transformers burn up in our atmosphere not that irregularly, and by the time they hit the ground there's not much left. And then they have to survive hitting the ground at terminal velocity.

But anything that enters an atmosphere at any type of veloicty from space will burn - be it meteors, space shuttles or transformers. Every succesfull shuttle landing has involved burning of the shuttle as it enters the atmosphere.

EDIT: Just to add to this - in the annual it is implied that several of the crew who flew out the breach are still offline.

I think they chose to end the first issue with a deliberately dishonest "OMG THESE GUYS ARE IN PERIL THE STAKES ARE REAL BUY ISSUE #2!!!!!" teaser that they backed off of as soon as the first page in the next issue. It's sadly common in comics of all stripes, but IMO it really hurt the ability of the series to tell serious stories going forward by training the reader to believe that nothing that happened would have any lasting consequences (something that the repeated death fake-outs and returns from the grave have only exacerbated).

Disagree that the robots in peril was meant as a cliffhanger. I think it was more of an excuse to keep the Lost light on a planet they HAD to explore so that Skids can have his fight with the guardians and join the crew.

I would completely agree that the fake outs have been damaging. Rungs is pretty bad in that it could have been simply a very damaging chest blast with a "will he survive?" cliffhanger but when his head got blown to pieces I thought that that was a straight out death. The Magnus follow up deaths are also terrible, especially as the next issue Pharma gets his head blown off and we are expected to assume he is dead (or are we ?:glance::glance::glance:)

Because all of those other characters are someone's favourite, and it's annoying to constantly have them trotted out for cameos by creators who never intend to do anything with them.

Fair enough on that one. I suppose the lost light should be a lot more z-list robots (would fit in with them following Rodimus)

A handy solution to this would be to allow other writers to do these stories based on the lost light crew - one shots that are part of MTMTE with Roberts as a sub-editor. It would give him a bit of a break here and there and would be appreciated by fans overall I think.

Ryan F
2015-03-19, 12:11 AM
"Why focus on just a few core characters when there are 200 to choose from?"

"Well, Star Trek does it. CSI does it."

Sorry to paraphrase / misquote people there, but I'm not sure this argument holds much water. Star Trek focuses on a core group of eight or so actors because of the realities of TV production - you pay the regular cast the most money, so it makes sense to utilise the guys already on-contract rather than focus on the guest cast.

Is it realistic for a TV show to hire a good actor for a meaty part and then relegate them to an extra so you can focus on other characters?

At least Star Trek tried to do this, a bit - Chief O Brien was a nothing background character for ages before he got his time in the sun; Voyager's Seska had some small appearances before being revealed as an important character etc.

But as a comic, the only limit is the writer's imagination - he doesn't have to worry about actors' salaries, how many episodes they're contracted for, or worry about George Takei throwing a hissy fit because he only has one line that week.

Why limit yourself to acting like a TV show, when TV writers would die for some of that creative freedom?

Red Dave Prime
2015-03-19, 12:32 AM
"Why focus on just a few core characters when there are 200 to choose from?"

"Well, Star Trek does it. CSI does it."

Sorry to paraphrase / misquote people there, but I'm not sure this argument holds much water. Star Trek focuses on a core group of eight or so actors because of the realities of TV production - you pay the regular cast the most money, so it makes sense to utilise the guys already on-contract rather than focus on the guest cast.

Is it realistic for a TV show to hire a good actor for a meaty part and then relegate them to an extra so you can focus on other characters?

At least Star Trek tried to do this, a bit - Chief O Brien was a nothing background character for ages before he got his time in the sun; Voyager's Seska had some small appearances before being revealed as an important character etc.

But as a comic, the only limit is the writer's imagination - he doesn't have to worry about actors' salaries, how many episodes they're contracted for, or worry about George Takei throwing a hissy fit because he only has one line that week.

Why limit yourself to acting like a TV show, when TV writers would die for some of that creative freedom?

I dont think that TV shows have a main cast just because of cost. After all they are bringing in new actors every episode anyway - if anything it would make more economic sense to have a fresh cast every week (in the style of Twilight zone, outer limits etc.) Not only that but many shows have a good line up of recurring cast members - not just Trek with characters like Q (who appears in about 7 episodes of TNG but can be rightly considered a meaty character) and the main klingons but also comedies like Scrubs and dramas like the Good Wife (i'd argue the good wife has a better line up of b-characters than a but thats another forum)

You also have to consider the concept of each show - Star Trek is set on a space ship so certain main characters will have prominence. But that didnt mean that Picard was front and centre every issue. CSI is based on a division of the police force. Naturally, the officers in that division are going to feature.

As a writer, surely its a benefit to have a set of main characters be in most episodes / issues to allow you to build up these characters, develop them and give the reader/ viewer something to follow. If MTMTE reset the cast list every 4 issues I think it would lose a lot.

Ryan F
2015-03-19, 06:34 PM
I dont think that TV shows have a main cast just because of cost. After all they are bringing in new actors every episode anyway - if anything it would make more economic sense to have a fresh cast every week (in the style of Twilight zone, outer limits etc.) Not only that but many shows have a good line up of recurring cast members - not just Trek with characters like Q (who appears in about 7 episodes of TNG but can be rightly considered a meaty character) and the main klingons but also comedies like Scrubs and dramas like the Good Wife (i'd argue the good wife has a better line up of b-characters than a but thats another forum)

You also have to consider the concept of each show - Star Trek is set on a space ship so certain main characters will have prominence. But that didnt mean that Picard was front and centre every issue. CSI is based on a division of the police force. Naturally, the officers in that division are going to feature.

As a writer, surely its a benefit to have a set of main characters be in most episodes / issues to allow you to build up these characters, develop them and give the reader/ viewer something to follow. If MTMTE reset the cast list every 4 issues I think it would lose a lot.

I take your point; I'm not advocating ditching any of the characters that made the comic such a success, merely resting them every now and then to give other 'bots a chance to shine. Spooks, for example, was a show that freshened up its cast quite a bit, and often benefitted from the new blood.

I was brought up on the old G1 comics, where different groups would drop in and out of the foreground, almost in rotation - you'd have a Cybertron arc, then an Earth arc, then a future arc, then a RAAT arc and so on. Shuffling the pack made the fictional universe seem bigger, more impressive, somehow.

Red Dave Prime
2015-03-19, 09:58 PM
The difference with the old G1 comic though is that it was a catch all comic. IDW has spotlights, several minis and 2 main comics running so thats the diversity. I do agree that it would be nice to see other bots stories (dont agree that the same stories with different characters would have worked though as Roberts was clearly building his main casts back story) but given that there is only 12 issues a year and also the midway break for Dark Cybertron, I would guess that may have held back some of those kind of stories. Certainly I thought the scavengers 2 issue break was nice.

Ryan F
2015-03-19, 10:55 PM
Well yes.. Roberts is obviously doing a lot right, and to pick him up on such a relatively minor point does seem a bit OTT on reflection.

But we debate this comic fiercely because we care so much for it.

Cliffjumper
2015-03-20, 01:58 PM
Holy socks, forgot about this topic totally. NESTED FORUM FOR ONLY ACTIVE TF MEDIA ANYONE IS TALKING ABOUT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA.

Right, beginning to work through everyone's excellent posts.

Hopefully if there's ever a mandate to "Do" Trailbreaker again it can be kept nice and simple via flashback, as could have easily been done with Nightbeat tbh (as Warcry says, Streetwise could have easily filled the grumpy detective role). Hasbro seem to mainly want short sharp bursts of promotion for each toy rather than prolonged exposure, his death here wasn't that long after he got an entire issue to himself to pimp his Generations figure so sustainability shouldn't be an issue.

It would have easily been the most satisfactory way of doing Nightbeat, yeh - or even just leaving him in the Dead Furmanverse TBH. Is anyone major actually dead at the moment in the IDWverse?

It'd be nice to think Trailbreaker's dead as it's a nice, nasty, stupid, pointless random death but comics don't do death well; Transformers comics do it worse; IDW Transformers comics do it even worse and IDW Transformers comics by James Roberts do it worse of all.

Depends on how many "Spark compatible" types there were aboard, with them not knowing what Brainstorm was actually up to having as much muscle along as possible was actually not a bad idea

Nah, I still don't think there was much justification in taking him along, even with the "spark compatible" handwave (which again magically chose a bunch of regulars, rather than Huffer, Crosshairs or Slapdash). He's a loose cannon and promptly showed it; TBH it strains credibility that he was even taken on the second launch after starting all the shit with the Minicons.

To tie back into the possible disadvantages of reading everything in one go, it might be worth remembering at the point they go back in time it had been about a year since the end of the first season, and both Dark Cybertron and the ALL storyline had only featured the bulk of the main cast in cameos.

Knew there was something about Dark Cybertron that I liked.

And there were people in the discussion threads disappointed we'd seen so little of them in the preceding 12 months.

Mmmm, I've read some of the discussion threads.

I just didn't like how Barber tried to write him as a master chess player who had every contingency planned because the plot just wasn't well thought out enough to pull it off. It just wound up feeling that Megatron would go "No honest, I was planning this all along" no matter what unlikely or contrived thing happened that seemed to work against his intent.

Maybe that's why Roberts has latched onto the character - kindred spirits? ;)

Weirdly he's currently writing G.B. Blackrock in exactly the same way.

Tis true - the Earth arc is unmitigated crap.

Plus, it didn't really feel like the guy who thought sticking Prowl's head on top of a monster was a good idea was a good fit for the same guy who would decide to become an Autobot, and the shift in styles as Roberts took over the writing of him during DC is painfully noticeable even though I otherwise thought the two authors got a lot better at meshing in the second half.

Even allowing for the fact we've no idea of actually sales numbers or how many it takes to reach the top of the digital chart... that's actually kind of mental. Between that and the last issue also the third most trending thing on Tumblr (I've no idea what that means as I am old, but apparently it's A Good Thing) it does feel to me as if Roberts may be closer to the end of his time on Transformers than the start.

Nah, archetypal cult book, so it's not much of a surprise. I'd bet a sizeable percentage of MTMTE's readership a) don't read much else and b) double-dip to get the issue ASAP. People who pull twenty titles don't tend to be in such a hurry as they've four weeks of four, five comics. If it's the only comic for the reader in a month they're more likely to be impatient; the series also probably has a higher than average British following too.

I wouldn't be entirely surprised if "our" Rewind is also alive and will show up later, just for the added drama.

Yeh; never really bought the original death that much myself; would even expect Overlord back at some point if Roberts thinks he can do something original with him. The obsession with Megatron being the most likely angle.

Also, as an aside...why exactly is Megatron co-captain anyway?

It does feel like a big grand gesture that quickly became impractical and is now being written around by Roberts... There's a difference between Prime sending him along to find Cyberutopia so he can be judged while perhaps learning something about himself/the Autobots/Christmas along the way - which makes just about enough sense to excuse, but giving him any sort of authority over 200 Autobots or doing much other than chaining him up Overlord-fashion is a stretch.

There are a lot of recognizable mutants in the later films who do nothing but hang out in the background, though, and I'll definitely agree with you that it's rooted in the same "the fans will be happy from just seeing their favourites!" mentality.

Thing is there's different rules for different media. If you're talking about a bi-annual 2-hour film there are certain shortcuts that have to be made. The correct comparison for the Transformers comics is the X-Men comics, where generally characters are either on the team and thus get some focus or not; if the writer doesn't want Shadowcat in the book he/she writes her out, usually in a non-dramatic fashion that leaves her avaliable for other present or future series. She doesn't just show up in the background for the odd frame doing nothing much.

You're definitely right that it's easier in comics to use existing character models to fill out crowd scenes, though, and that's probably the main reason why the Lost Light is full of familiar faces. I suppose they could split the difference by using recoloured character models as crowd-fillers, but that would just generate a new series of complaints.

It's also worth remembering that there are hundreds of Transformers already in existence which have no significant media appearances and are unlikely to have any going forward - Euro, Japanese and G2 characters, some of the Classics peripherals etc.

TBH it hurts more that Roberts likely requested the characters that make up the LL crew (it's hard to picture Barber insisting Smokescreen or Gears were included in MTMTE) and just can't think of anything interesting to do with them. As I say, while I can see why the approach has happened it does throw up some annoying contrivances - Sunstreaker's a hardcore nutcase but a different hardcore nutcase keeps getting the limelight; Highbrow's a genius scientist but etc, etc.

I would say "well, maybe the newbies didn't say anything about what they found", but I have a hard time believing the likes of Riptide or Nautica would keep their mouths shut.

Yeh, bringing back a dead member of the crew would probably have raised a couple of questions.

I think he's talking about Hyperion, one of the guys whose bodies Skids scavenges in the second issue who (according to some of the text stories) used to lead the Wreckers.

:up:

Though since that was exactly how Megatron was characterized in AHM, I suppose that might have been on purpose? Barber does really enjoy referencing past continuity.

It definitely doesn't fit with Roberts' warrior-poet characterization, though.

Mmmm. Both are valid interpretations - it's nice when Megatron is just a big old fashioned bastard supervillain and it's nice when he has some depth - but they probably need to pick one.

Which is good as writer burn out is always a worry.

Good replacement? Graham Thomson. Have a feeling we'll see the titles turned upside down when MTMTE naturally winds down, however. IDW still seem to think they're only one major creative shake-up away from Dreamwave numbers.

That said, I think once the current series tie up most of their ends in a couple of years' time IDW should perhaps look at rebooting... I'd love to see what Roberts and Barber could do with a blank canvas.

inflatable dalek
2015-03-20, 02:03 PM
But Xaaron was always an asshole! Back in the Marvel days he sent Micromaster assassins to kill his own troops when the Decepticons captured them.

The word is hardcore. Marvel Xaaron wouldn't have been overseeing ethics committees and hounding poor old Ironfist, he'd have kicked Brainstorm in the balls.

There's not much to suggest that it's not the early days of his leadership, though, is there? It's six months after Dark Cybertron, but I don't think it's specified how long after the even the trial starts, how long it took or how long after it they left. They might have only been in space for a few days or weeks by the time #28 starts.

It could certainly be a fairly short-time infiction, but outside of it Roberts is writing on the assumption this has been the status quo for a while (I know this because I listen to a lot of podcasts and he does a lot of podcast interviews), hence not really showing everyone adjusting to it.


I didn't even remember Colossus being in the movies, so I'll give you that one.

Nice job for the bloke playing him though, a few days work every four years or so and getting to be all cool going around saying "I'm an X-Man, Hugh Jackman once tossed me" to impress the girls.


I completely forgot Ro was in Cause and Effect (she certainly did a whole lot more than an extra in Power Play, though, even if she wasn't the featured character). You know what I mean, though. TV shows usually don't bring in proper actors just to stand in the background the way TF comics do with well-known characters.

Her bit in Power Play could have been done by anybody though, if it had been Barcley or Crusher (real tangent: My watch of season 7 has reached the "I was fingered by the ghost of my nan's Scots lover and I liked it" episode. If Happy Days hadn't given just "Jump the Shark", "Ghost fingering" would cover the same expression as well. Shame as Gates McFadden, who I'm not normally a big fan of, is clearly trying really hard to do something not shit there) helping with the Science Trap it would have basically worked out the same.

Compare to O'Brien's role in the same episode, which could only have been done by him (or at least would have meant introducing a one-off married character that would have made you go "Why not use the Chief?") and gives him lots of meaty stuff, it's easy to see why Forbes decided fourth string status wasn't for her.

Colm Meany is actually at a convention by me this weekend, but I can only do the Sunday as I'm at the Doctor Who Experience on Saturday and pretty much every other single guest I'd have liked to meet (half the cast of The Living Daylights! Danny Pink! The Italian Woman Sir Roger Moore bangs at the start of Live and Let Die!) is only there on the Saturday. It's like he's the only manly man amidst science fiction circles capable of doing two days in a row of hugging sweaty fat people.

And the term "Proper" actors makes all those reccuring "Yes Sir, no Sir" peeps cry. Mr Leslie is actually in more episodes of Trek than Sulu and Chekov even if you discount the couple where the extra is called by different names (though the fun fan theories as to whether those are Leslie's first name or if his has a twin makes this thread look same), Kyle was in more than Rand (and of course, Wrath of Khan is all his fault, no wonder he was only in that one film), they're going to count as much as "Main" characters to the die hard fans as Smokescreen does to us even if the bulk of the casual audience probably doesn't realise he has a name.


I won't dispute that they could survive, because Transformers in MTMTE seem to be nigh-on unkillable save for when the plot calls for drama, but the fact that everyone (bar two nobody generics) survived basically unharmed does beggar belief. Now if Ratchet had spent the next six weeks rebuilding the victims' ruined bodies (and maybe gone to Delphi looking for help with that), that would be a different story.

Though weren't many of them still in the medical bay as of the Annual (or at least some months in-fiction)? The rest of your point still stands though.

Cliffjumper
2015-03-20, 02:09 PM
I don't think any author has ever not done him well

Whichever ****pipe did the second DD Joe crossover. But yeh, he's good across the board (though curiously I remember him being largely ignored in DW's entire output).

There's usually some sort of handwave in MTMTE as well though: Getting grabbed by the Galactic Council, "Compatible Spark types", Swerve and Rewind being the ones out on Punishment Detail when Maximus goes nuts and so on. It is a conceit, but not an especially harmful one IMO.

Individually? No. That these conceits and handwaves keep happening with the same result? It does strain credibility. In Trek there's the conceit that for whatever reason Starfleet doctine involves beaming down as many key officers as possible ASAP, but once that's established it's established. That freakish coincidences like "Compatible Spark types" keep bringing out the same characters is less plausible; the worst thing is that I didn't expect for one second that Gears, Crosshairs or Blades would have a compatible spark type.

Hoist is fairly average as well, that run of Spotlights mainly levelled out as solid rather than spectacular.

Been inspired to do a chronological IDW read-through; the Orion Pax one is awful and probably nixes any theories that Roberts is intentionally writing Nightbeat as a dickhead due to his experiences in the Dark Universe.

inflatable dalek
2015-03-20, 02:16 PM
Oh, Cliffy's going to reply at the same time as me, when I should be in the bath 'eh?


Mmmm, I've read some of the discussion threads.

Non-committal ftw!




Tis true - the Earth arc is unmitigated crap.

I quite like most of the very silly stuff- after initially being put off by him having had a personality transplant I quite like how ridiculous Galvatron is (though the whole alliance idea would never work with him, countries may make peace with former enemies but humanity teaming up with aliens led by Space Goering and a new character going "I HATE HUMANS" is stupid on every level)- but any time it tries to be serious it falls down badly.


TBH it hurts more that Roberts likely requested the characters that make up the LL crew (it's hard to picture Barber insisting Smokescreen or Gears were included in MTMTE) and just can't think of anything interesting to do with them. As I say, while I can see why the approach has happened it does throw up some annoying contrivances - Sunstreaker's a hardcore nutcase but a different hardcore nutcase keeps getting the limelight; Highbrow's a genius scientist but etc, etc.

Thinking on Sunstreaker, he's the only one of Furman's initial cast of Autobots who isn't currently a main player isn't he? Indeed, the others have mostly stayed at the forefront throughout, Jazz likely currently has the smallest role. For all the other authors to ignore him so hard, they must have really hated the Huntstreaker thing.

IIRC Rodimus and Drift were the only characters mandated to Roberts, the rest was personal choice and arm wrestling with Barber (though presumably at least some of the characters in both books are down to the artists a well).

Good replacement? Graham Thomson. Have a feeling we'll see the titles turned upside down when MTMTE naturally winds down, however. IDW still seem to think they're only one major creative shake-up away from Dreamwave numbers.

That said, I think once the current series tie up most of their ends in a couple of years' time IDW should perhaps look at rebooting... I'd love to see what Roberts and Barber could do with a blank canvas.

I still need to read Globequake, it's only been two years.

I suspect Scott will get the gig of whoever of the two authors stands down first, and I wouldn't have a huge problem with that, depending on how she handles her half of Combiner Wars.

Cliffjumper
2015-03-20, 02:50 PM
The reaction from both Magnus and Rodimus is certainly not compatible with 40 autobots being destroyed. Its a simple joke

It's a bad joke. Rodimus in MTMTE is Zap Brannigan and that scene shows as a (semi-intentional) attempt to show how unsuitable he is for command. One of the things that does work with the alternate Lost Light is that Rodimus really is that stupid, one of the things that really works about Dark Cybertron is that Optimus calls him on being awful and one of the things that works about Megatron being co-captain is that the crew would probably accept anyone after the crap they go through with Rodimus.

Firstly in the first 20 or so issues, MTMTE had main plots relating to Rodimus, Magnus, Drift, Ratchet, Chromedome, Rewind, Rung, Overlord, Whirl, Tailgate, Cyclonus and Skids (12) with a heavy dose of side quest plots linking in Swerve, Brianstorm, Pipes, Tyrest (to an extent, his influence is there from issue 2), First Aid, Fort Max, Red Alert and Tailgate (8). Thats a main cast of about 20, 18 if you take out the two villains, but not including the issues with the scavengers or DJD, or characters who get small cameos. Thats a pretty healthy spread of characters for a 24 page comic. Not saying you couldnt bring in other characters but to what real benefit? As volume 2 began we get a pretty large influx of new characters as well with several of the above put aside bar some small appearances.

I'd strongly disagree with Max, Red, First Aid, Drift, Pipes, Overlord and Rodimus as more than diversions. Most of the above listed are shallow joke characters and tend to appear regularly doing the same old joke; only Tailgate/Cyclonus really get any lasting development. The rest turn up every issue or so to do the same things over and over again.

I can understand you not wanting it to be this but whatever gave you the impression it was going to be something else?

Faith in Roberts' writing ability? Not all of us discovered the guy's work when IDW did. The problem is the lack of development of these characters. They either stay the same issue after issue with no real genuine lasting exploration or they stay the same issue after issue and then have some big melodramatic about-face.

I don't read promo bilge, I'm too busy reading comics.

whats the major (or minor ) problem.

That these guys have potential - certainly a lot more potential than some of the mined-out familiar faces - and they're being ignored in the interest of safety and indulging the readership.

But there's another problem here - in both Whirl and Swerves case you imply them to be majorly overused. I take thats unfair. But lets be fair and have a look at it.

The problem isn't the events and major uses, it's the wheeling them out for a couple of frames to keep the readership feeling nice and safe. In line with the death fake-outs MTMTE has a habit of doing characterisation fake-outs - Swerve admitting to Awe that he's aware he's just a little twat, Whirl showing awareness that he's a psycho - and yet they'll still be relied upon for one-liners. It's like in the cartoon when Red Alert or First Aid or someone would learn A Lesson one week and the next week be back to being Autobot #3. But without any sort of excuse. And it makes the characters played out; Roberts has made his point with each and instead of moving them on falls back on them for reliable audience reaction.


This was the quote that probably annoyed me the most. Whatever the feelings about seasons vs series vs volumes stuff, how is it meant to be used as an excuse and more to the point - limited scope and lazy storytelling?

Because all the really interesting stuff is relegated to sidelines, subplots and flashbacks when the majority of the book is "Lost in Space" or whatever modish pop culture references the writer feels like mentioning. That is the frustration - Roberts can do better but he'd scare the shit out of the readers, so he doesn't.

I genuinely dont get the reference to Postmodernism here and genuinely dont understand its place here. I'm not saying this as a dig at you, I just dont follow what your point is. As for Lampshading - I would have thought it is somewhat essentially for Transformers. But as a wider context, yes we could insist that everything is exteremly realistic but I dont know if would necessarily suit most forms of storytelling if used as a constant. Not really arguing you here, just differing with you.

No, you genuinely don't understand. The problem with post-modernism is you get people (not necessarily Roberts, this is a wider point that does occasionally apply) writing contrived situations and setups with the apparent understanding that as long as they throw in a reference to how contrived the situation is that somehow becomes acceptable, i.e. lampshading, when writing a genuinely plausible situation isn't impossible.

For something more specific to MTMTE, Roberts had the option of developing Whirl better so it becomes plausible that they'd be taken on away teams or whatever, but instead he rolls back the character every time he develops and has to come up with spark compatibility to justify his inclusion.

"HAY BRIEFCASE!"? Well, thats pretty much been dealt with pretty well, in a manner which pays off scenes from 3 years earlier. Not bad for throwaway pap.

Really? It was really worth repeated joke references for an implausible sleeper agent story which basically established that three years' worth of Brainstorm's scenes were just cheap misdirection? So if Swerve turns out to suddenly be a DJD member (and I'm tempted to stick a fiver on it) that will somehow be a payoff?

Corporate stooges or just people who have secured a licence with terms and conditions?

Corporate stooges. Name two properties of IDW's that weren't devised by someone else. Now try for one people have heard of. They're the House of Other People's Ideas.

Cliffjumper
2015-03-20, 02:56 PM
I'll take Barber and Roches enthusiasm over Costa, Metzen and Dille any day.

Kind-of enjoyed the Metzen/Dille trilogy myself. A bit too referential and showing Dille's cartoon roots but variety is the spice and having a few comics about Optimus Prime and the well-known Autobots fighting Megatron and the well-known Decepticons was a nice change of pace. Always a sucker for a bit of early civil war stuff myself too. Pacing was really the biggest problem.

Cliffjumper
2015-03-20, 03:06 PM
Because all of those other characters are someone's favourite, and it's annoying to constantly have them trotted out for cameos by creators who never intend to do anything with them.

Right there. I love Smokescreen; he's got a great character, he looks awesome, he's got a cool job and some great abilities. So why every now and then can he not get a line or do something? These guys are characters and Roberts knows this.

It's hard to look at the Lost Light crew and not see the huge wasted potential of some of the guys relegated to walk-on roles, especially when the regulars are shoe-horned into functions that others could perform without disruption.

Transformers has always had a broad canvas and there have always been some guys who get the shit end of the stick, no argument there. But I still find it baffling that Hasbro ordering Marvel around to the degree they did produced a wider spread of characters and characterisation than IDW's relative freedom (occasionally having to undo a death or update a character model) has done.

Cliffjumper
2015-03-20, 03:14 PM
Fair enough on that one. I suppose the lost light should be a lot more z-list robots (would fit in with them following Rodimus)

See, this is kind of the crux of my point. Why aren't they all Roberts-devised Z-listers apart from the main crew? Basically anyone who dies and looks like staying dead is a Roberts-devised Z-lister and if Roberts wants a HasTak A-lister to join up he just has the Lost Light arrive at whatever planet they're on and hey presto, Skids/Getaway/First Aid join up (and that's even before the Dark Cybertron reset).

If the point is to give Rodimus 200 faceless followers who can be killed off or otherwise used whenever the plot demands it they can be generics. He isn't really dipping into them for fresh faces either as most fresh faces explicitly come from outside the original crew and TBH at nearly forty issues it would now suddenly feel contrived if everyone suddenly remembered Highbrow and Sunstreaker were onboard.

So there are plenty of alternatives to relegating these characters to dead-end background work. They just weren't taken.

TBH I feel Roberts' problem is his desire to keep people happy and his social media profile; he strikes me as someone who reads reviews of his work and genuinely thinks about the responses. I think he set out with a genuine desire to use some of these characters as the book went on and was overwhelmed by the positive response to the first arc and deviated from his original plans in order to keep the tumblr crowd happy.

Cliffjumper
2015-03-20, 03:37 PM
Why limit yourself to acting like a TV show, when TV writers would die for some of that creative freedom?

:up::up::up::up::up:

THIS. A million times this. Comics is the only visual medium where the talent is the limit; even on a licenced book like Transformers the rules are completely different to other media (bar prose). When the Hell are people going to stop justifying this stuff with "ah, but this crap TV show/film series does it"?

I dont think that TV shows have a main cast just because of cost. After all they are bringing in new actors every episode anyway - if anything it would make more economic sense to have a fresh cast every week (in the style of Twilight zone, outer limits etc.)

Wrong, actually. Main casts tend to be on reasonable retainers which have a relatively low salary per episode; generally it's a trade-in you make for the security of six months work or whatever and usually a certain degree is secure even if the show's cancelled midway through the season or whatever.

Guest stars tend to be on a higher per-episode cost which comes out of the budget; the reason your fan-favourite guest character isn't a regular isn't usually because the producers want to keep him/her fresh but because they can't afford to shell out on them every week (and that guest actors largely have a higher profile and the security to pick and choose roles). There's a reason a lot of actors have made careers out of guesting on shows and doing small film roles without ever being regulars on anything, and it's not that said shows didn't want them to be regulars.

It's hidden better now that TV shows have a longer production run-in and can move things around more organically but the old rule of thumb used to be the more guest stars you had the less money would be avaliable for anything else.

If MTMTE reset the cast list every 4 issues I think it would lose a lot.It's not an either/or situation, though. MTMTE has throw up plenty of opportunities to organically switch to the occasional different face on occasion.

inflatable dalek
2015-03-20, 04:29 PM
That these guys have potential - certainly a lot more potential than some of the mined-out familiar faces - and they're being ignored in the interest of safety and indulging the readership.

Or ignored because the book has found a groove that's working well? I'd agree Roberts is following the threads about the book and there have been a couple of instances where this has had a negative impact on the book (most notably the way the Circle of Light are portrayed as killjoy critics who don't "Get" what the book is about. I can't see any point in taking shots at folks who aren't enjoying it when the majority are loving the series, it came across as rather petty), but I don't see the problem in a writer paying attention to the fact that what they're doing is working.

Now, if he were jumping through hoops to change the series constantly to try and keep everyone happy- which is where I think Furman's run especially fell down (how important was Jimmy Pink going to be before things fell apart for him?)- but the message Roberts seems to be taking from the feedback is "Good work, carry on".




No, you genuinely don't understand. The problem with post-modernism is you get people (not necessarily Roberts, this is a wider point that does occasionally apply) writing contrived situations and setups with the apparent understanding that as long as they throw in a reference to how contrived the situation is that somehow becomes acceptable, i.e. lampshading, when writing a genuinely plausible situation isn't impossible.

Post modernism in media generally doesn't bother me (and it's hardly a new thing, it's been a prominent part of popular culture for decades. The Sign of Four opening with Sherlock complaining about how badly written A Study in Scarlet was is the earliest example I can think of and that's, what, a 150 years ago? If it is damaging to entertainment then the damage is a long time done. Of course, the classic Holmes example is him taking Watson to task for not including all the things the reader would have needed to know to work out Holmes wasn't dead at the end of The Final Problem, lampshading of a retcon before the grandparents of the people who coined those terms were born), done well it generally assumes the readers aren't idiots and know full well how fiction works. Other than things like the aforementioned Circle of Light thing I think MTMTE generally does it pretty well.


Really? It was really worth repeated joke references for an implausible sleeper agent story which basically established that three years' worth of Brainstorm's scenes were just cheap misdirection? So if Swerve turns out to suddenly be a DJD member (and I'm tempted to stick a fiver on it) that will somehow be a payoff?

I don't know, I think all of Brainstorm's scenes worked well with the retrospective knowledge he might (as it hadn't been definitely confirmed at the time) be a con during my last reread. I suspect it'll work just as well with the knowledge of his actual motivation next time round as well.


Name two properties of IDW's that weren't devised by someone else.


Ha, easy...

Now try for one people have heard of. They're the House of Other People's Ideas.

Oh, you're harsh. 30 Days of Night?

Kind-of enjoyed the Metzen/Dille trilogy myself. A bit too referential and showing Dille's cartoon roots but variety is the spice and having a few comics about Optimus Prime and the well-known Autobots fighting Megatron and the well-known Decepticons was a nice change of pace. Always a sucker for a bit of early civil war stuff myself too. Pacing was really the biggest problem.

I think the first would have been much better if they'd set it in the cartoon continuity, it would have worked much better set after Pax was rebuilt at the end of War Dawn that supposedly being set right after Chaos Theory despite IDW doing comics coming out at the same time showing Pax was still the strong dramatic leader doing cool stuff and making connections with his future troops rather than all depressed and dead inside. It's odd as Barber is usually a guy who loves his continuity, often above all sense.



:up::up::up::up::up:

THIS. A million times this. Comics is the only visual medium where the talent is the limit; even on a licenced book like Transformers the rules are completely different to other media (bar prose). When the Hell are people going to stop justifying this stuff with "ah, but this crap TV show/film series does it"?

Good TV shows and film series as well. Plus it's not just a visual media thing, most (though of course not all) serialised storytelling does it. Vimes wound up the commander of an impressively large Watch but every book basically had the same core cast that barely shifted after the initial new influx in Men At Arms. And so on. Authors find characters that work and keep them at the front generally.

There's probably be 10'000 replies whilst I've been writing this.

Cliffjumper
2015-03-20, 06:36 PM
30 Days of Night?

A moderate hit with the Hot Topic goth hipster crowd. Five years ago.

Vimes wound up the commander of an impressively large Watch but every book basically had the same core cast that barely shifted after the initial new influx in Men At Arms.

Bad analogy. 1) Ping, Stronginthearm, etc. aren't established characters and 2) Cheri, Reg, Visit and Willikins graduate from the background to supporting cast from Feet of Clay onwards.

It is something a lot of writers do, but often in different circumstances and thus isn't always relevant.

inflatable dalek
2015-03-21, 05:50 AM
A moderate hit with the Hot Topic goth hipster crowd. Five years ago.

Now now, no goal post moving. You asked for a comic people had heard of, not a comic "That is still at the peak of its popularity and heard of by social groups I approve of", hipsters are people too you know.



Bad analogy. 1) Ping, Stronginthearm, etc. aren't established characters and 2) Cheri, Reg, Visit and Willikins graduate from the background to supporting cast from Feet of Clay onwards.

So the influx of new characters over the years is slightly less than Roberts has managed thus far then?

It [I]is something a lot of writers do, but often in different circumstances and thus isn't always relevant.

True enough (though the main reason most writers on serial fiction do it is because it works), but equally Roberts isn't some crazy maverick ignoring all the rules of writing. He's doing something fairly standard and normal. Fair enough if you'd prefer a bigger, more sprawling cast (though on in Transformers would 20ish leads and significant semi-regulars be considered overly contained) but it's not an unreasonable approach.

TBH, I think if Roberts were listening too much to the fans he would be throwing random scenes with Smokescreen (I kind of love how we've all sort of adopted him as the mascot of this idea, there's Waverider crying in the corner because no one cares about him) and the others in because "When are we going to see so and so again?" is pretty much a constant question. And of course, one that pre-dates the current creative teams by a good long margin- it's been a constant part of Q&A's since at least Dreamwave.

I think as a general rule of thumb, whether it's a fannish complaint (which aren't in and of themselves automatically invalid of course) or a legitimate complaint of the writing is to think what non-fans would think reading it, something that's more than just an abstract idea with MTMTE as it's clearly reaching an audience outside the older fan circles. They're obviously going to be aware the same designs are being used fairly constantly for the background crew, but as far as I'm aware no one is clamouring for more of them, or saying "That red and blue guy with the shoulder missiles looks interesting, what's he up to?", they're invested in the book as a series about a specific, and by no means small, number of characters.

Plus, I think your issue is more with how the characters are written than which are included, if Smokescreen suddenly got an issue as a featured guest star you'd be complaining about him being written as a fourth wall breaking smart ass.





Also, I made the news on Seibertron.com yesterday, a mere week after my James Roberts interview. I HAVE ARRIVED.

Red Dave Prime
2015-03-21, 01:49 PM
Wrong, actually. Main casts tend to be on reasonable retainers which have a relatively low salary per episode; generally it's a trade-in you make for the security of six months work or whatever and usually a certain degree is secure even if the show's cancelled midway through the season or whatever.

Guest stars tend to be on a higher per-episode cost which comes out of the budget; the reason your fan-favourite guest character isn't a regular isn't usually because the producers want to keep him/her fresh but because they can't afford to shell out on them every week (and that guest actors largely have a higher profile and the security to pick and choose roles). There's a reason a lot of actors have made careers out of guesting on shows and doing small film roles without ever being regulars on anything, and it's not that said shows didn't want them to be regulars.

It's hidden better now that TV shows have a longer production run-in and can move things around more organically but the old rule of thumb used to be the more guest stars you had the less money would be avaliable for anything else.

The salarys of the regular cast of Friends, ER, Big Bang Theory and many other shows would beg to differ with you. I also reckon that many of the movie star names that have entered the TV world are taking the shorter pay stub to guest starring (as some listed here would show - http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/hollywood-salaries-revealed-movie-stars-737321). But lets be honest - we are both absolutely guessing with our points on this one. Obviously the star power is what really determines the cost of an actor - whether guest or otherwise.

Kind-of enjoyed the Metzen/Dille trilogy myself. A bit too referential and showing Dille's cartoon roots but variety is the spice and having a few comics about Optimus Prime and the well-known Autobots fighting Megatron and the well-known Decepticons was a nice change of pace. Always a sucker for a bit of early civil war stuff myself too. Pacing was really the biggest problem.

I dont think pacing was the only issue there, but what ever, if you liked it you liked it. For me the second two had a lot more problems than MTMTE has, some of which Dalek outlined.

It's a bad joke. Rodimus in MTMTE is Zap Brannigan and that scene shows as a (semi-intentional) attempt to show how unsuitable he is for command. One of the things that does work with the alternate Lost Light is that Rodimus really is that stupid, one of the things that really works about Dark Cybertron is that Optimus calls him on being awful and one of the things that works about Megatron being co-captain is that the crew would probably accept anyone after the crap they go through with Rodimus.

I 100% agree that Rodimus was far, far too much Zap Brannigan like in the first half of the MTMTE comics. But that is neither here or there. The point I was making was that it wasnt a fake out of 40 autobot deaths and that I thought people were misunderstanding what had happened. I tweeted Roberts about it and he confirmed this

The concern was for their welfare - they needed to be found and tended to. If not their injuries might have been fatal. They were *also* hard to find in #2. They would be, having been scattered

Faith in Roberts' writing ability? Not all of us discovered the guy's work when IDW did. The problem is the lack of development of these characters. They either stay the same issue after issue with no real genuine lasting exploration or they stay the same issue after issue and then have some big melodramatic about-face.

Faith in roberts work or just expecting something different and not getting what you hoped for? And really, so what if you know roberts work from before this?

I don't read promo bilge, I'm too busy reading comics.

You are so win. Wish I had such a nice high horse. Still the point of me quoting from that 2 page piece at the end of the first issue was to highlight the main problem I have with your criticisms - they seem to be based on what you wanted MTMTE to be or thought it was going to be rather than what the guy writing it set it out as.

You knock the tv reference stuff even though he listed more tv shows as reference points than other comics.

You knock the overt comedy tone even though one of the shows listed is a flat out comedy with no ties to Sci-fi (and I agree with some of that to be fair - the Magnus and Rodimus stuff veers far too much into flat out comedy, that while funny damages the characters overall)

You knock his continued use of characters and how this is him bowing to his adoring public but as the early blurb showed - those were always going to be his main characters. From the twelve issue 1 covers to the main crew pics - its the same guys that appear. Its clear to me that Roberts always planned to focus on those characters. You assume he had plans to use those characters, a genuine desire and you may be right in the long term . But for his immediate run of stories, he had no interest in Smokescreen or Xaaron, and never implied as such.

But I still find it baffling that Hasbro ordering Marvel around to the degree they did produced a wider spread of characters and characterisation than IDW's relative freedom (occasionally having to undo a death or update a character model) has done.

I go back to my point that the marvel stories were focused through one window. They needed to mix things up by virtue of the comic being a singular run. IDW have RID, the spotlights and numerous mini series. They've covered a lot of characters and I would argue that there is enough there, from Furman all the way to Scott, to match the marvels run. Whether its better or worse is up to you.

Swerve admitting to Awe that he's aware he's just a little twat, Whirl showing awareness that he's a psycho - and yet they'll still be relied upon for one-liners.

But characterisation and development doesn't neccessarily mean they change because they realise they have a flaw. I see what you mean to a point but some people dont change - for exampleI know I'm an argumentative prick (this thread being a case in point) and I try to reign it in but I still indulge in arguments far too often. Swerves last major scene (when he realises Blurr had no interest in him) was a great example of the problems of the character coming home to roost. He kinda realised that all his bravado counts for nothing and he has no real close friends despite always trying to be in with the crowd. IN the end he is a sad lonely figure who cant change. Thats closer to real life than Him changing and suddenly everyone likes him.

That said, I'm still waiting for Rodimus to adopt a more serious approach in light of what has happened. To me , he has been far more a mis-step than swerve.

Corporate stooges. Name two properties of IDW's that weren't devised by someone else. Now try for one people have heard of. They're the House of Other People's Ideas.

I'm not sure what the second sentance has in relation to my question. I asked whether Barber and Roberts (not IDW) can be seen as corporate stooges or Guys who are using another companies characters and to do so, have to accept that they have to tow the line from time to time and therefore need to pick their battles for when they really want ot get an idea over the line. You seem to have gone off on a tangent relating to IDW as a company not creating their own work. Don't see the connection. I do think that if I was a comic writer with limited options for a paying job and I was offered the option of writing some stories relating to characters I already knew and liked with the caveat that occasionally I will have to alter my stories to sell a few toys, I'd probably still take that job. If roberts and barber use it to showcase themselves for something better, more power to them. I work as a Chef, and have a huge control over the menu. That said if the guy who pays my wage demands something goes on the menu, most times I'll go along with it unless I think its a serious mistake. I imagine this is the scenario Roberts and Barber and in.

Really? It was really worth repeated joke references for an implausible sleeper agent story which basically established that three years' worth of Brainstorm's scenes were just cheap misdirection?

You see cheap misdirection, I see Scenes given proper context. Best example is Brainstorm hugging his case way back in issue 16 at the funeral. The brainstorm story took the readers assumption that Brainstorm was a self-centered character and revealed that actually he has devoted his whole life to trying to save someone else. Job very well done in my view but you can have the ending to Primacy if you prefer. (Even though it makes no sense based on the primacy issues, let alone the overall dille arc...)

Anyway, back to you CJ. I do enjoy quote tennis.

Cliffjumper
2015-03-21, 03:49 PM
The salarys of the regular cast of Friends, ER, Big Bang Theory and many other shows would beg to differ with you.

They really wouldn't. You've picked shows that have been incredibly successful and usually involved big contract renewals (which is often the reason successful shows end, because it's just so much money when the cast are free of their initial five-year or whatever deals). I'm talking about basically every other TV show that wasn't a huge huge cultural phenomenon. And all of those would have started off with Aniston, Parsons, Wyle etc. earning relative peanuts (less than, say, Elliot Gould would have done) until that renegotiation came up.

I tweeted Roberts about it and he confirmed this

Writer agrees with reader who gives him too much credit.

Faith in roberts work or just expecting something different and not getting what you hoped for? And really, so what if you know roberts work from before this? It makes me less likely to over-praise the diluted version, which I think is where this clash of opinion is coming from. You seem to think this is the best damn TF comic IDW have done. I'm not interested in relative quality, only final quality.

You knock the tv reference stuff even though he listed more tv shows as reference points than other comics. Which still doesn't mean the faults of a TV series are something to aspire to.

(and I agree with some of that to be fair - the Magnus and Rodimus stuff veers far too much into flat out comedy, that while funny damages the characters overall) That's the book's problem, though - they're all comic relief and it damages the interesting ideas Roberts has. MTMTE would be a great book if it didn't have any of the regular characters in it; TBH it's done little to convince me that prose isn't Roberts' medium of strength, at least without a strong collaborating influence.

You knock his continued use of characters and how this is him bowing to his adoring public but as the early blurb showed - those were always going to be his main characters. From the twelve issue 1 covers to the main crew pics - its the same guys that appear. Its clear to me that Roberts always planned to focus on those characters. You assume he had plans to use those characters, a genuine desire and you may be right in the long term . But for his immediate run of stories, he had no interest in Smokescreen or Xaaron, and never implied as such. So... why are they on the Lost Light? Your logic is circular.

Like I say, I don't read promos, interviews or behind the scenes bullshit. The comic stands on its' own, if my enjoyment is somehow dependent on tweeting James Roberts or reading IDW solicits then the comic's doing it wrong.

IDW have RID, the spotlights and numerous mini series. Earthforce, post-Movie, Autobot resistance, the myriad times Furman and Budiansky were working on different characters in parallel, etc, etc.

You seem to have gone off on a tangent relating to IDW as a company not creating their own work. Because that was what I said before you went off on a tangent.

Skyquake87
2015-03-21, 04:30 PM
I suppose the only problem you can have with a monthly US book is that by rolling in so many characters into a book you can only give them relatively short shrift. For the US Marvel book, this meant you got an issue or two focused on a particular set of toys, before going back to whatever ongoing story you're trying to tell.

IMO, a lot of Budiansky's work was harmed because of this. I still don't like the way a lot of his (potentially interesting) ideas and directions just end up coming to an abrupt halt because we've got to throw in a bunch of characters at Hasbro's request. That his work wasn't total arse because of that is a minor miracle.

Furman, writing and editing a British comic that spent most of its time as a weekly had far more lattitude to cram whatever and whomever he wanted.

I would like to see more of the established inhabitants - Cosmos for example, I'm just intrigued by as he's there as this hulking fatty in most of the crowd scenes and I agree some of these characters could do with some use, if they've been (self -inflictedly) included. However, I know how badly a US comic can quickly go off the rails by changing tack to focus on other characters which can lead to suddenly having too many ongoing plot threads to adequately deal with.

A good example of this would be Sam Kieth's The Maxx (funnily enough currently being reprinted by IDW for....reasons). This book had two lead story arcs, the first got neatly wrapped up in the first 20 issues. This first block of issues also introduced a supporting character whom went on to form the narrative thread for the next 15 issues. Kieth though, began introducing some other characters and setting up their stories and not finishing them. Good as his work was and as enjoyable as these stories were, it was a bit frustrating to see these interesting avenues opened up but never concluded and the book just kind of ...stopping with a very hasty wrap up and 'reset' that I'm still not sure I'm keen on.

If the cost of introducing a boatload of characters is that we only focus on a few key players and have some strong story arcs and some focus to the book, then I am happy with that. The worse thing that could happen is that we end up with a sprawling book that's far too busy for its own good.

I do think it is a bit of a missed opportunity not to have used some of the existing passengers. Waverider could have more than adequately filled Riptide's role, for example (er, if he's on board). It does seem odd to introduce outsiders, but for the most part these have been introduced as the Lost Light crew has met up with them on their jaunts and they've joined the crew as a result, which is fair enough.
Making a big show of , say, the Protectobots and then not have them do anything is a bit like someone hoarding all the toys.

None of this, dents my enjoyment of the book though, which is probably the best Transformers comic EVER.

Red Dave Prime
2015-03-22, 12:27 AM
And all of those would have started off with Aniston, Parsons, Wyle etc. earning relative peanuts (less than, say, Elliot Gould would have done) until that renegotiation came up.


I have no doubt that the regular cast of friends earned less per appearance than Gould in the first years, he is, as they say, a "star". But I doubt one off guys like Jill Goodcare or Cosimo Fusco would have gotten a better per episode. Point being a star name is a star name and paid accordingly, as would a relative unknown. Certain guest stars would get peanuts, those with some degree of pedigree could command more. Kevin Spacey and Robin Penn definitely did not earn less than any guest star in season one of house of cards. I doubt there were many people earning a higher amount of money per episode of season 1 of Buffy than Sarah Michelle Gellar.But as I say, both of us are really only guessing.

Writer agrees with reader who gives him too much credit

While I love the idea that Roberts would change the intention of an issues ending to appease me, my ego doesn't stretch that far.

It makes me less likely to over-praise the diluted version, which I think is where this clash of opinion is coming from. You seem to think this is the best damn TF comic IDW have done. I'm not interested in relative quality, only final quality.


I do think its the best TF comic IDW have done, but more to the point I look forward to reading it each month period. couldn't care less if it was IDW, Marvel, DC or whomever. I like Transformers and I like the MTMTE take on it. I'm not interested in other peoples perception of quality only my own.

And I cant state this enough: I have no issue with you liking or disliking anything in MTMTE. I object to you suggesting that (a) MTMTE has turned into something it wasn't meant to be because Roberts toadies to his fans and (b) you're assessment that MTMTE was lazy and of limited scope in "season 1" and that the first season term was being used as an excuse for this. In the case of (a) I think you are flat out wrong and in the case of (b) it really feels like you just want to be deliberately provocative.

Everything else, be it you're feelings about Swerve being overused, Roberts being too comedic for the storys own good, the use of the background crew I can either agree or disagree with but they are clear opinions of taste and everyone is entitled to their own. I think sometimes you seem to deliberately fudge facts to back your point up (the funeral in issue 16 for example) but I'm sure I've done the same.

So for example...

That's the book's problem, though - they're all comic relief and it damages the interesting ideas Roberts has.

I agree with this a lot. Just because I have Swerve as my avatar here doesn't mean I'm oblivious to the times when he has been really out of place (Overlords rampage - WTF?) I do think you've exaggerated how much he does appear but as much as I like the comic relief, it holds back some of the more serious ideas.

Now, enough agreeing. Back to quote tennis!

So... why are they on the Lost Light? Your logic is circular

My logic isn't circular. I'm just saying the characters you want Roberts to use are at present un important to him. But also no-one else is using them so whether they are on the lost light or not, we aren't getting that follow up that Sunstreaker deserves (bar that nice bit in Dark Cybertron). Barber aint using him. Scott aint using him. Roberts aint using him. So if we filled the Lost light up with a load of Milne designed nobodies, we still would get the focus on the main cast of characters. I think you've even acknowledged this would likely be the case anyway.
Maybe Smokescreen (who actually did get some love recently) and the rest are really just there to make up the numbers when needed. Is it a shame for some of those characters? Yeah a little. Is it a fault of the MTMTE comic as it stands on its own. Probably not because if Roberts didn't use the characters he does use, he would probably still write the other robots in the same manner (as Dalek has suggested)

Trans formers is somewhat handy in that it has a vast array of individually identifiable characters. One thing I hated about Dark of the Moon is that the 'Cons army becomes filled with generics but I understand the economics behind the choice. As has been noted, comics don't have the budget issues of a movie so can fill their background extras with actually known characters. It doesn't mean that they plan to or have to use all those characters in a meaningful way. Its as much a nod to those characters as anything else.

Like I say, I don't read promos, interviews or behind the scenes bullshit. The comic stands on its' own, if my enjoyment is somehow dependent on tweeting James Roberts or reading IDW solicits then the comic's doing it wrong.


You realise a few of your problems with the comic aren't based on the comic alone and more on stuff that you perceive happening outside the pages of each issue? The Hasbro interference, Roberts listening too much to his fans, your opinion of Roberts previous work colouring your view of this work - they are not issues contained within the comic. They're outside issues. So don't imply that you only judge the comic on purely its own merits. That's not the case.

Also in relation to the tweets/ promos and what not - I'm only using these as examples of the writer having one mindset and you assuming that no, he actually had another. Statements such as
MTMTE's format is basically that it doesn't have one.
are wrong, however you want to dress it because Roberts outlined what he wanted to do in that opening piece. He had a format and a style in mind.

I listed the various covers thing because it backs up the idea that he always had a core cast of characters in mind. They not have all evolved how he originally intended (Maximus was to die in issue 6 initially for example)but there was a game plan that came before the fans latched onto whirl, swerve etc.

At no point was I suggesting you need to read anything other than the comic itself.

Earthforce, post-Movie, Autobot resistance, the myriad times Furman and Budiansky were working on different characters in parallel, etc, etc.

Don't get your point. I was making a point that while individually MTMTE doesn't cover as much as the Marvel stuff, the overall IDW run does cover quite a lot, enough to match the variety of stuff F & B did. You've just listed stuff. Is the implication that these things are better? because that's neither here nor there.

Because that was what I said before you went off on a tangent.

Ah no, you really didn't. You said

The toy pimping really has shown that Bob and Si could teach Roberts and Barber a thing or two; Crosscut isn't the worst thing IDW have ever done because there's serious competition, but he's certainly in the top ten. I do think the Nightbeat thing was hilarious, though - for once, IDW got it right and actually killed off a character for proper and in a really funny way. And they just happened to pick someone who'd get a new toy four or five years later, and being corporate stooges they have to get down, suck cock and undo the only brave and unexpected thing they've ever done. And the only reason it stands out so much is because they've been so shit-scared of killing characters off.

To which I said

Corporate stooges or just people who have secured a licence with terms and conditions? I mean, sure they could have fought with Hasbro over bringing Nightbeat but... to what end? So a few fans can be happy that at least Nightbeat stayed dead but now Hasbro are giving them less leeway? And given that Roberts is a fan of Nightbeat I'm sure that probably had more to do with him coming back as anything else. Whether he has done the character well or not is a whole different issue.

And you replied

Corporate stooges. Name two properties of IDW's that weren't devised by someone else. Now try for one people have heard of. They're the House of Other People's Ideas.


To which I basically go "huh?". What does IDWs lack of original ideas (of which I wont argue because everything they advertise does seem to be based on someone elses work) have to do with the original point that maybe Roberts and Barber (who, to the best of my knowledge only seem to work on IDWs transformer output) didn't mind following Hasbros instructions or if they did mind, didn't see it as worth fighting an ultimately unwinnable battle.

None of this, dents my enjoyment of the book though, which is probably the best Transformers comic EVER.

Oh shit Cliff, there's another one!

inflatable dalek
2015-03-22, 01:28 AM
I think talking in terms of TV regular cast salaries is pretty much self defeating for both sides, they're negotiated for a reason and you can have wildly different scales of pay between people on the same show (or indeed film series, there is that claim from Terrance Howard that one of the main reasons he was let go from the Iron Man series was that, as a more reliable "Star" than Downey he'd been paid more money for that first film that the actual lead and someone higher up thought there was some cash to be saved there for the sequel) at the same level of importance.

Probably most notably recently for the huge difference in pay between Gillian Anderson and David Duchovney for the bulk of their time on The X-Files, resulting in it did with mass fall outs, and ultimately her only being in the final year at all because she wanted one season with a Mulder size paycheck.


Writer agrees with reader who gives him too much credit.

Well, be fair, unless Dave either sent a series of tweets spelling out specifically the answer to the question he'd like to hear or Roberts has some sort of mind probe into him (I think he bookmarks and follows the general discussion threads for each issue, I'd be amazed if he's reading this one in depth or even aware of it) it's unlikely to be a questioner specific answer. Especially as trying to mould your answers to old school Transformers fans is pretty much a mugs game because we're a grumpy confrontational bunch (as most fandoms are).

Plus, Roberts has been perfectly happy to say "Yeah, I don't think that bit worked at all" with stuff later than issue one so it's odd he'd be all defensive about that cliffhanger (to pick a random example: The faux death of Red Alert is something he regrets because he thinks it went too far), even though it would be fairly easy to make a crowd placating explanation for it ("I wanted you all to think he'd genuinely died so as to give you an insight into the mind of a genuine paranoid suicidal case might feel").


Which still doesn't mean the faults of a TV series are something to aspire to.

Though if the big advantage of comics is they can do anything... then one of the things they can do is a TV based structure.


Like I say, I don't read promos, interviews or behind the scenes bullshit. The comic stands on its' own, if my enjoyment is somehow dependent on tweeting James Roberts or reading IDW solicits then the comic's doing it wrong.

Though to be fair-again- you (and pretty much all of us) have been making assumptions as to why Roberts has been doing things as we've gone along.

He's trying to please all the fans too hard;

He's playing it safe;

he's a corporate whore;

He's too respectful of the Marvel characters...

are just some of the examples (and not just from you. I also tried to come up with one that couldn't be boiled down to "But he's doing it wrong!" but failed. This is down to it being late at the time of writing rather than there not being any such quote). Someone bothering to have looked through past interviews and go "But even before Issue X came out he was saying Y and Z about why and Y" is a perfectly fair response.



Making a big show of , say, the Protectobots and then not have them do anything is a bit like someone hoarding all the toys.

Who has been making a big show of the Protectobots to you and can they be put on a register for doing so? They've been on the Lost Light, but only First Aid, who has had a decent role as a secondary character, has done a lot. Same as for all the other background LL's, they've not been trumpeted or made a fuss of as if they're going to be important or even worth paying attention to. The series has pretty much played fair there.

The lack of attention drawing to the Protectobots is either impressive or worrying about how things are going to go when you factor in the recent admission they're only all together on the ship because when season 2 started it wasn't clear if Combiner Wars was going to be a full on crossover between the two books so the Lost Light had to have one full team on it just in case.

This seems to have been avoided (and I think this is an example of where Barber doesn't get enough credit as editor for making this stick despite it effectively adding more work to his shoulders) thanks to the "The Lost Light is on a quest... it can't go home once every two years or there is zero progress" argument. The Hasbro compromise being the "Well at least send some representatives in a shuttle to our conference of Cybertronain tribes" scene in Ex_RiD 39.

Which of course will be the Protectobots and Cyclonus. And for all some fans balk at even the suggestion of the later one, he's the only Combiner War toy character on the Lost Light it would actually make sense to go home- he's a patriot with a strong sense of duty who would volunteer for anything if he could be persuaded it'd save his planet.

Skyquake87
2015-03-22, 07:26 AM
Hmm...the other Protectobots showing up doing loady uppy things just really stood out to me. I don't know if I should expect anything from them being there...but then why introduce them? I do agree with such a large established cast already, it would be good to pick up on what some of the others are up to / include them in some arcs mixed in with the semi-regulars. I think I also hilariously undermined the point I was making by mentioning them. Yay me.

Sort of related : One thing I liked about the Marvel Generation 2 book was the split between a 16 page main story and a 7 page 'back up' that dove- tailed into the main story later on. That would be one way to redress using some of the unused cast. Or even some more Spotlights.


Just out of curiosity, do many of you go for solicits and whatnot? I read just a few comics these days and don't really bother with what's going on beyond the existence of whatever it is I'm reading. Unless the comic has a letters page that's worth reading (like Lazarus does). I just find out about things through recommendations or browsing the shelves.

Red Dave Prime
2015-03-22, 11:02 PM
I try and avoid all solicitations at this point - even the cover scans. Too much spoiler and some of it is misleading hype which can be annoying. I stick to the three page preview if someone puts it up here.

Warcry
2015-03-23, 09:58 PM
But anything that enters an atmosphere at any type of veloicty from space will burn - be it meteors, space shuttles or transformers. Every succesfull shuttle landing has involved burning of the shuttle as it enters the atmosphere.
Yes, that's true. It's also true that successfully landing a shuttle requires extreme precision and care, and even a tiny, nigh-insignificant flaw can cause disaster (as the Columbia tragedy proved). Turning a bunch of car-sized robots into uncontrolled meteors and crashing them into the ground at several hundred miles per hour would cause catastrophic damage to all involved, bar maybe Cyclonus since he was in alt-mode at the time and he's capable of spaceflight.

EDIT: Just to add to this - in the annual it is implied that several of the crew who flew out the breach are still offline.
I don't remember this (I thought the only damaged people were the ones they loaded from Delphi) but I'll take your word for it. But the annual was something like a year after the fact. It doesn't retroactively mitigate the complete anticlimax that issue #2 became.

I would completely agree that the fake outs have been damaging. Rungs is pretty bad in that it could have been simply a very damaging chest blast with a "will he survive?" cliffhanger but when his head got blown to pieces I thought that that was a straight out death. The Magnus follow up deaths are also terrible, especially as the next issue Pharma gets his head blown off and we are expected to assume he is dead (or are we ?:glance::glance::glance:)
Yeah, Pharma's clearly going to come back. :(

The difference with the old G1 comic though is that it was a catch all comic. IDW has spotlights, several minis and 2 main comics running so thats the diversity. I do agree that it would be nice to see other bots stories (dont agree that the same stories with different characters would have worked though as Roberts was clearly building his main casts back story) but given that there is only 12 issues a year and also the midway break for Dark Cybertron, I would guess that may have held back some of those kind of stories. Certainly I thought the scavengers 2 issue break was nice.
You're right about IDW having other avenues for other characters to be explored, but the hitch in that is that for as long as they're on the Lost Light, they probably won't be unless Roberts is the one doing it.

Another problem is that the pacing of modern comics is so much slower than in the old Marvel days. Now, credit where it's due -- More Than Meets The Eye is a million times better in this regard than the molasses-slow mainstream books that I've read over the last few years. But the story still moves nowhere near as quickly as what Budiansky or Furman cranked out in the 80s, and neither Scott nor Barber's work is as dense. So while there are two or three books coming out each month, there's probably not any more story per month than in the old days.

It would have easily been the most satisfactory way of doing Nightbeat, yeh - or even just leaving him in the Dead Furmanverse TBH. Is anyone major actually dead at the moment in the IDWverse?
Absolutely! Bumblebee is totally dead and never coming back ever again, nosir! :)

Plus, it didn't really feel like the guy who thought sticking Prowl's head on top of a monster was a good idea was a good fit for the same guy who would decide to become an Autobot, and the shift in styles as Roberts took over the writing of him during DC is painfully noticeable even though I otherwise thought the two authors got a lot better at meshing in the second half.
The worst part of it all is that RiD's timeline makes it pretty explicit that Megatron went from "BURN IACON AND KILL EVERYONE!" to becoming an Autobot in about a day. If he'd stayed gone between Chaos and Dark Cybertron, it could have been fairly believable. But that would have required Barber to stick to his guns when it came to "Evil Prowl", and sadly he didn't do that.

Yeh; never really bought the original death that much myself; would even expect Overlord back at some point if Roberts thinks he can do something original with him. The obsession with Megatron being the most likely angle.
Re: Overlord, I'd be a bit surprised if he didn't come back in the next few issues. The series seems to be moving towards a confrontation between Megatron and the DJD, and Overlord likely has a beef with both.

It does feel like a big grand gesture that quickly became impractical and is now being written around by Roberts... There's a difference between Prime sending him along to find Cyberutopia so he can be judged while perhaps learning something about himself/the Autobots/Christmas along the way - which makes just about enough sense to excuse, but giving him any sort of authority over 200 Autobots or doing much other than chaining him up Overlord-fashion is a stretch.
It's also pretty hard to believe that any Autobots would have stayed on board after Prime dictated to them that they'd have to take orders from Megatron. And that he's not fending off daily assassination attempts from people whose friends he killed. Frankly, I'd sooner join up with Starscream.

Mmmm. Both are valid interpretations - it's nice when Megatron is just a big old fashioned bastard supervillain and it's nice when he has some depth - but they probably need to pick one.
This is one reason why I like Galvatron being his own character. He can be the straight-ahead evil guy who tries to take over the universe while blasting his own minions in the face, while Megatron can be a bit more complex. In practice, though, I don't think they've taken full advantage of the opportunity so far.

And the term "Proper" actors makes all those reccuring "Yes Sir, no Sir" peeps cry. Mr Leslie is actually in more episodes of Trek than Sulu and Chekov even if you discount the couple where the extra is called by different names (though the fun fan theories as to whether those are Leslie's first name or if his has a twin makes this thread look same), Kyle was in more than Rand (and of course, Wrath of Khan is all his fault, no wonder he was only in that one film), they're going to count as much as "Main" characters to the die hard fans as Smokescreen does to us even if the bulk of the casual audience probably doesn't realise he has a name.
I don't know if that's really a fair comparison, though. Star Trek isn't a toy property whose popularity exploded at least partly due to the detailed bios that each character got on their toy packaging. Smokescreen in MTMTE is just sort of there just like Lesley or Kyle in TOS, but outside of the context of the series we all know that he's the Autobots' diversionary tactician, a guy who gambles too much, always has an ulterior motive no matter how nice he's acting, etc. Whereas the TOS extras only got a personality in far more obscure EU stuff that comparatively far fewer people have been exposed to.

IIRC Rodimus and Drift were the only characters mandated to Roberts, the rest was personal choice and arm wrestling with Barber (though presumably at least some of the characters in both books are down to the artists a well).
I seem to recall reading that they went pretty in-depth on which characters went where, too, so I would imagine that even the background extras were a matter of debate between the two.

I still need to read Globequake, it's only been two years.
Yes you do.

There'll be a test, so don't come back until you have. :)

I suspect Scott will get the gig of whoever of the two authors stands down first, and I wouldn't have a huge problem with that, depending on how she handles her half of Combiner Wars.
I'm not sure how well it would work if she (or anyone, honestly) took over MTMTE. As Cliffy has pointed out, there seems to be a pretty big cult of personality thing going on for Roberts nowadays, and I think a lot of his fans would reject anyone new out of hand. Plus, he's established such a zany, over-the-top style that I'm not sure any other writer could (or, frankly, would want to) try and maintain the tone of the book. The best thing might be to get Roberts to wrap up the plot when he's leaving, then axe the book and then let Scott (or whoever) start fresh on a new ongoing series with a cast of their own choosing.

It's a bad joke. Rodimus in MTMTE is Zap Brannigan and that scene shows as a (semi-intentional) attempt to show how unsuitable he is for command. One of the things that does work with the alternate Lost Light is that Rodimus really is that stupid, one of the things that really works about Dark Cybertron is that Optimus calls him on being awful and one of the things that works about Megatron being co-captain is that the crew would probably accept anyone after the crap they go through with Rodimus.
The worst part about that is that Rodimus hasn't always been like that. In Furman's work he was a wily veteran and an experienced leader, albeit one who preferred to work alone and take risks because he blamed himself for the failed mission that Doubledealer caused. Even Costa's Rodimus, while managing to get duped pretty impressively by Swindle, was still trying to keep his comrades safe and get them off of Earth and away from the humans that were hunting them. Try as I might I can't reconcile that Rodimus with the guy who so cavalierly puts everyone's lives at risk while shirking his responsibilities at the slimmest excuse.

And the character only seems to be going backwards under Roberts. In spite of a big "he's learned his lesson!" spot at the end of Remain in Light, he's become even more reckless, stupid and childish in the second "season", presumably just to make Megatron seem like a better option by comparison.

Which rolls nicely into this...

For something more specific to MTMTE, Roberts had the option of developing Whirl better so it becomes plausible that they'd be taken on away teams or whatever, but instead he rolls back the character every time he develops and has to come up with spark compatibility to justify his inclusion.
Yeah. And it's not just Whirl. A lot of characters have had revelations about their own failings as people and it's seemed like they would learn from them and move on in a better direction, but when next issue comes they're all the same. Whirl, Swerve, Rodimus, Tailgate, Ratchet, First Aid and Chromedome, at the very least, have all had potentially character-shifting moments completely wasted because god forbid we change the status quo.

Transformers has always had a broad canvas and there have always been some guys who get the shit end of the stick, no argument there. But I still find it baffling that Hasbro ordering Marvel around to the degree they did produced a wider spread of characters and characterisation than IDW's relative freedom (occasionally having to undo a death or update a character model) has done.
I'm actually not. For better or worse, the Marvel days had a serious amount of enforced casting churn going on. Budiansky's approach of "pick one or two guys from each batch of toys, give them a starring role for a bit and then move on" ensured that we had a long list of interesting characters, even if they didn't stick around for as long as we might have liked.

Modern TF comics are in a strange position -- having a zillion characters, most of which have a fairly well-established personality even if they've never done anything of note. But without the constant waves of new toys crashing down there's not much pressure to actually use that huge cast, and the writers generally wind up sticking to who they're comfortable with without much cast churn. So when characters constantly show up to do nothing (or worse, only show up to die) I think it's only natural that fans will be annoyed by it.

Of course, the down-side of the Marvel approach is that it gives you this:

IMO, a lot of Budiansky's work was harmed because of this. I still don't like the way a lot of his (potentially interesting) ideas and directions just end up coming to an abrupt halt because we've got to throw in a bunch of characters at Hasbro's request. That his work wasn't total arse because of that is a minor miracle.
Which is just as big a problem in its own right. For as many great characters as Marvel gave us, it also gave us a ton of abandoned or hastily tied up character arcs that never really reached a satisfying conclusion. Ratchet, Blaster, Skids and Megatron all come to mind, at least when you look at Budiansky's work on its own.

But characterisation and development doesn't neccessarily mean they change because they realise they have a flaw.
Characterization and character development are two different things, though. And development does mean that the character changes when they have a big self-realization like that. They don't necessarily change for the better (Whirl could, for example, realize he's a walking piece of garbage, decide that he likes it and actually become worse) but if they remain static no matter what the story tosses at them, there's no character development to be found.

Folks like Whirl or Swerve are very well characterized -- Roberts has done a great job of building up who they are and why they became like that. But they've been very poorly developed so far, because they haven't changed one bit from who they were when the series began in spite of multiple opportunities to do so.

I think that dichotomy is why Cliffy finds them grating. Because it was interesting to get to know all these characters and find out why they are the way they are. But we've done that quite thoroughly by now. So what next? If they continue to remain static, they're going to quickly grow boring. The way I see it, there are two choices: either develop the current cast in new directions to keep them fresh, or allow some of them to fade into the background while a few of the scene-fillers take their place. Right now neither of those is really happening, since while Roberts has introduced a few new faces none of the first batch's cast have really faded out yet.

Maybe Smokescreen (who actually did get some love recently)
Where? I don't remember seeing him at all, but my memory might be failing.

Skyquake87
2015-03-23, 10:29 PM
...playing devils avacado, how quickly would beings whom have lived millions of years take to change their ways..? Especially when most of that time has been spent in combat situations. Perhaps something that would be interesting to see explored.

I suppose as in life, there's got to be the desire to change and, for better or worse people "like their same ol' shite too much".

Whilst I'm sure Roberts has his head screwed on, I wonder if having involvement with fans through social media has any impact on creative types that might affect the work they create and/ or the direction they may choose to take things. I'm just mindful of how stupid and excitable people get in this electronic ether, repeatedly over-reacting to the slightest social faux-pas and the impact this has on people in the really real world.

Red Dave Prime
2015-03-23, 11:33 PM
various points about the autobots flying out of the spaceship in issue 1

As my final point on this - and you're points are valid and make sense - I'm just arguing that I never saw it that way and it appears Roberts didn't intend it to be that way (see the quotes in previous posts). If the comic didnt make that clear than thats clearly a fault of the comic but I think to try and imply that the intention was to trick the reader into thinking that the 40 were destroyed while falling to earth is incorrect.

I don't remember this (I thought the only damaged people were the ones they loaded from Delphi) but I'll take your word for it. But the annual was something like a year after the fact. It doesn't retroactively mitigate the complete anticlimax that issue #2 became

Its not trying to though. You anticipated something in issue 2 that wasnt there. Again, maybe thats the fault of the script / art, but it still doesnt mean there was any climbdown come issue 2.

The worst part of it all is that RiD's timeline makes it pretty explicit that Megatron went from "BURN IACON AND KILL EVERYONE!" to becoming an Autobot in about a day. If he'd stayed gone between Chaos and Dark Cybertron, it could have been fairly believable. But that would have required Barber to stick to his guns when it came to "Evil Prowl", and sadly he didn't do that.

I think we can all agree with this. The worst thing about the first major arc of RID is Megatrons return. It turned what was an interesting take on how grey morales can get and put a straight out Bad Guy in there. Not all of RID was working for me but I felt the annual was a great bit of work and seemed to set things on a really interesting path but just as things seemed to get going we got the big bad return and it ruined pretty much everything. To top it off, there is no signs at all of Megatron even contemplating redemption. It even has a scene where Megatron squashes Bumblebees face before casually ordering him put to death - only for (in storyline terms) him to become touched by ickle old Bee a few days later during the DC crisis.

What annoyed me the most though is Megatrons return could have been amazing for RID. His path to his return is his surrender to Prime in Chaos Theory and then he effectively became Cybertrons saviour in Chaos. The story of him trying to convince the autobots, decepticons and netruals that he has begun to change would have been excellent and led really well into him joining the Lost Light crew. Ah well.

Re: Overlord, I'd be a bit surprised if he didn't come back in the next few issues. The series seems to be moving towards a confrontation between Megatron and the DJD, and Overlord likely has a beef with both.

I have a horrible feeling you may be right but I hope not. I thought Overlord has had 2 good arcs. I dont see the benefit of bringing him back to take out the DJD. That has to be Megatrons fight alone.

EDIT: If they want to be really ballsy, they could have Tarn actually kill Megatron and take his name and become the leader of a new army of deceptiocns. Not only does this allow them to get Megatron back to what he was without an impossible character twist, it would create an interesting foil for both Galvatron and Soundwave to bounce off. It could even be done in a way that no-one except the reader knows its Tarn.

I'm not sure how well it would work if she (or anyone, honestly) took over MTMTE. As Cliffy has pointed out, there seems to be a pretty big cult of personality thing going on for Roberts nowadays, and I think a lot of his fans would reject anyone new out of hand. Plus, he's established such a zany, over-the-top style that I'm not sure any other writer could (or, frankly, would want to) try and maintain the tone of the book. The best thing might be to get Roberts to wrap up the plot when he's leaving, then axe the book and then let Scott (or whoever) start fresh on a new ongoing series with a cast of their own choosing.


The only way they can create a successor to Roberts on MTMTE is if they introduce a few guest writers. It wouldnt hurt for Roberts to take a step back anyway and would add some fresh characters and approaches that some of you are looking for. As long as he can keep an overall control on things it shouldnt mess with his overall plots. A bit of diversity would get readers used to different writers so that when he does depart, its not quite the end of everything. If he stays as the only writer than they should just allow him to wrap up the lost light story and start something new. Besides, he has often implied he has an endgame in mind that he can go to at short notice so maybe its for the best if he finishes things.

The worst part about that is that Rodimus hasn't always been like that. In Furman's work he was a wily veteran and an experienced leader, albeit one who preferred to work alone and take risks because he blamed himself for the failed mission that Doubledealer caused. Even Costa's Rodimus, while managing to get duped pretty impressively by Swindle, was still trying to keep his comrades safe and get them off of Earth and away from the humans that were hunting them. Try as I might I can't reconcile that Rodimus with the guy who so cavalierly puts everyone's lives at risk while shirking his responsibilities at the slimmest excuse.

And the character only seems to be going backwards under Roberts. In spite of a big "he's learned his lesson!" spot at the end of Remain in Light, he's become even more reckless, stupid and childish in the second "season", presumably just to make Megatron seem like a better option by comparison.

A big YES to all this. Rodimus at the moment feels like the character pre-furman spotlight (I really liked Furmans take on Rodimus/hot rod).

While I dont think every character needs to "change" even when they know their faults, I think Rodimus is odd in that he should be changing - otherwise his character cant stay where he is. It almost would have made more sense if Magnus had been made captain for season 2 (you could say Megatron as Captain, but I dont buy him being co-captain, especially with a crew with next to no decepticons on board, and I'd buy it even less as the main captain)

Yeah. And it's not just Whirl. A lot of characters have had revelations about their own failings as people and it's seemed like they would learn from them and move on in a better direction, but when next issue comes they're all the same. Whirl, Swerve, Rodimus, Tailgate, Ratchet, First Aid and Chromedome, at the very least, have all had potentially character-shifting moments completely wasted because god forbid we change the status quo.


I think thats a little unfair. The characters may not have changed radically but there has been some change. Tailgate clearly started to change after becoming the hero in remain in light. He is much more confident in himself and in dealing with Cyclonus. Ratchet reconciled with Drift (that was quite a major part to his character in MTMTE). First Aid has clearly been shaken by the events of Remain in Light. Chromedome, in how he acts with the "new" rewind, seems keen to avoid making his previous mistakes. For Swerve and Whirl we got more insights than full on development I suppose but you'd be hard pushed to find moments of clarity for either which would lead to a personality shift. The closest in Swerve in the annual and that bit is more about making his own choice and not following others blindly. Rodimus... well, cant argue on that, he is the one character who I feel needs to evolve for the sake of the overall story.

Overall though, I think there is enough change in MTMTE as things go. Maybe not a constant evolution but I dont think thats always the be all and end of all of a story (comic or tv or book) Its as much as how the characters act during the plot that is entertaining.

Where? I don't remember seeing him at all, but my memory might be failing.

Actually thats my bad. I was thinking of Bluestreak in issue 34.

Skyquake87
2015-03-24, 09:49 AM
Interesting there's a lot of talk about Roberts leaving in this thread. I still feel he has a lot to tell for Transformers, and even though we're 38 issues or so in (which doesn't feel a lot to me), I feel we're still only scratching the surface. I wouldn't want this to end up like DW's ongoing, where some interesting plot developments never get followed up on.

Terome
2015-03-24, 01:49 PM
This is a good discussion!

Have to agree heartily on the perils of applying TV-show rules to comics. I'd like to see more of the Smokescreens but, in regard to Elegant Chaos in particular, I can see why each character was there. Except Tailgate - I suppose he had to accept Cyclonus' apology but why else was he hanging about?

And yes, Riptide could have been Waverider. Waverider looks kind of boring though.

I also agree, broadly, on the difference between characterisation and development. I wouldn't mind seeing Whirl and Cyclonus bow out now for a bit. (I'd argue that Swerve has already bowed out, for all intents and purposes). They've had their turn. Roberts does tend to think in these very long-term arcs that can undercut moments as we experience them - Red Alert is the best example of this. Red Alert has not done anything since he pretended to die. Would have been better to let him die, yes? I know he's up to Cool Stuff on Luna-1 but at this point anyone could be doing that.

Actually, the more I think about, the more Dalek's theory of Cyclonus being shipped back to Cybertron makes sense. The sight of Olde Cybertron and his apology in Elegant Chaos, the thing with Getaway, one final moment of letting loose with the fisticuffs with the spark-eater guy...

I wonder if part of the reason of having all these named background characters is that Roberts is half-hoping for spin-off material and fan fiction in the vein of TMUK and the Big Finish audio plays. This is either endearing or dangerously hubristic, depending on your stance.

inflatable dalek
2015-03-24, 03:57 PM
I don't remember this (I thought the only damaged people were the ones they loaded from Delphi) but I'll take your word for it. But the annual was something like a year after the fact. It doesn't retroactively mitigate the complete anticlimax that issue #2 became.

Their body's all started acting weird because of the presence of the Titan.



Another problem is that the pacing of modern comics is so much slower than in the old Marvel days. Now, credit where it's due -- More Than Meets The Eye is a million times better in this regard than the molasses-slow mainstream books that I've read over the last few years. But the story still moves nowhere near as quickly as what Budiansky or Furman cranked out in the 80s, and neither Scott nor Barber's work is as dense. So while there are two or three books coming out each month, there's probably not any more story per month than in the old days.

It was an outside factor driving the pacing of the older days though, as much as Hasbro may be mucking about with things now that's nothing compared to what Budiansky and Furman had to put up with and that drove a lot of the plot momentum. I'm sure they'd both have loved to explore things more slowly and in more depth, and indeed in the UK Galvatron/future stuff where Furman was basically free of outside constraints he played that out for over three years, including six months of no forward momentum on it whatsoever as he left Galvatron burried so that kids wouldn't see him freed before they read the '88 Annual.

There's also some very odd pacing in the Marvel stuff as well, look at how staggered out the resolution to the Throttlebots/Blaster/Grimlock plots are due to having to bring the Headmasters to Earth and revive Prime. Months go by without some threads being touched on (even longer with UK issues inbetween) and the actually bringing back together of all the Autobots has to happen off page.


Absolutely! Bumblebee is totally dead and never coming back ever again, nosir! :)

Hopefully Hasbro will force IDW to bring him back with Movie Bee's personality so I won't hate him.


The worst part of it all is that RiD's timeline makes it pretty explicit that Megatron went from "BURN IACON AND KILL EVERYONE!" to becoming an Autobot in about a day. If he'd stayed gone between Chaos and Dark Cybertron, it could have been fairly believable. But that would have required Barber to stick to his guns when it came to "Evil Prowl", and sadly he didn't do that.

The bit you're quoting is actually me, Cliffy obviously thought it was such a brilliant point he'd try and claim it as his own. ;)

It just doesn't gel at all, and the cover with Megatron having an Autobrand being revealed months in advance made all the "I am now thinking of changing my ways" dialogue stand out even more like a sore thumb than it might have otherwise because we knew where it was leading (an odd fail that as under Barber they've been much more sensible about solicitations not giving away too much and it would have been just as easy to do an preview cover sans the logo- Megs joining the book would have been a talking point anyway- and then revealed the "Real" one after Dark Cybertron ended).



It's also pretty hard to believe that any Autobots would have stayed on board after Prime dictated to them that they'd have to take orders from Megatron. And that he's not fending off daily assassination attempts from people whose friends he killed. Frankly, I'd sooner join up with Starscream.

Yeah, whilst the way he's insidiously managed to get various people more on side through charisma is nice, it's hard to see how he'd have managed to last long enough for it to happen.



Yeah. And it's not just Whirl. A lot of characters have had revelations about their own failings as people and it's seemed like they would learn from them and move on in a better direction, but when next issue comes they're all the same. Whirl, Swerve, Rodimus, Tailgate, Ratchet, First Aid and Chromedome, at the very least, have all had potentially character-shifting moments completely wasted because god forbid we change the status quo.

Right, of those on your list the ones that have definitely had proper noticeable character development (rather than more ambiguous just because they reveal their secrets doesn't mean they actually change as a result style stuff):

Whirl: After becoming relatively more stable during season 1 he's been shock in rapid succession by hearing Megatron's claim he's never had a fair fight (btw, I was surprised how many people took Megatron literally there and questioned the logic of it, I thought it was fairly obvious Megs was just mind ****ing him) and finding out the truth behind the functionists role in his miserable life (I still don't really understand this myself, but hey, it affects him) meaning that he winds up actually chosing to save Megatron's existence because he hates the idea of a functionist run Cybertron whatever the benefits might be to the rest of the Universe.

Tailgate: Learnt that trying to be a hero and impressing everyone was pointless because the real joys in his life were the little things, but that's a stance that's being challenged by everyone suddenly treating him like a hero, how far will he fall back into his bad old ways (which after all, nearly killed Rewind when he lied about being a bomb disposal expert), we're into a temptation of Tailgate situation- in more ways than one based on Getaways dubious interest in him.

Ratchet: The most straightforward, he got new hands and cheered up. Then became too attached to the idea of staying on despite promising First Aid he'd retire...

First Aid: Has gone to being slightly neurotic to a full on psychological breakdown due to seeing two horrible deaths and giving into his baser instincts and shooting Pharma. It'll be interesting to see if his inevitable role in Combiner Wars will incorporate this as one of the limbs being really deeply unstable could make it more interesting that the "Hey everyone, let's be a team!" stuff it looks like we might be getting for every single group.

Chromedome: Crippled by grief, went very dark, redeemed by refinding and reproving himself to his old love.



Have to agree heartily on the perils of applying TV-show rules to comics.

I don't know, I think a TV analogy works in terms of them both being serial storytelling, that results in a similar structure by default. Certainly the way Roberts seems to think entirely in TV terms works far, far better than McCarthy and his "It's a movie with a unlimited budget" working process.

And sure comics can still do a lot more than most TV (though perhaps not so much the cartoons where Transformers normally finds a home), but basic plotting and structure doesn't change that hugely across the different media.

Plus, "There's no limits on what comics can do!" means that doing a comic that's structured like a TV show should be a thing comics can do and do well for that to be true.


I wonder if part of the reason of having all these named background characters is that Roberts is half-hoping for spin-off material and fan fiction in the vein of TMUK and the Big Finish audio plays. This is either endearing or dangerously hubristic, depending on your stance.

I'd certainly be amazed if he's not giddy at the very idea of fan fic based on his work (though IIRC, like all professional authors, his official stance is he doesn't read it any more).

Red Dave Prime
2015-03-24, 08:06 PM
Interesting there's a lot of talk about Roberts leaving in this thread. I still feel he has a lot to tell for Transformers, and even though we're 38 issues or so in (which doesn't feel a lot to me), I feel we're still only scratching the surface. I wouldn't want this to end up like DW's ongoing, where some interesting plot developments never get followed up on.

It was brought up in the underbase podcast review as well. I can understand why. A lot of his main threads have finished by now - not to say that there are no other plot threads but the other stuff feels much more basic and could be carried by another writer if wished.

Out of interest, here's what I think is left dangling. Curious if others can add or remove some of these.

The other dimension Skids went too
Who messed with Skids mind in relation to the institute
Dominus Ambus
What Rung really turns into
Who is running the lost light insider / Who Whirl was in cahoots with against Megatron (possibly the same plot)
Tyrest re-appearing (sigh...)
Agent 113
DJD / Scavengers (not so much plot threads as will Roberts do something beyond a DJD v Lost Light battle)
Getaway and Tailgate
The Galactic Council (maybe something, maybe nothing)
And, oh yeah, that main quest to find the knights....

Unicron
2015-03-24, 08:40 PM
Out of interest, here's what I think is left dangling. Curious if others can add or remove some of these.

The other dimension Skids went too
Who messed with Skids mind in relation to the institute
Dominus Ambus
What Rung really turns into
Who is running the lost light insider / Who Whirl was in cahoots with against Megatron (possibly the same plot)
Tyrest re-appearing (sigh...)
Agent 113
DJD / Scavengers (not so much plot threads as will Roberts do something beyond a DJD v Lost Light battle)
Getaway and Tailgate
The Galactic Council (maybe something, maybe nothing)
And, oh yeah, that main quest to find the knights....



There's also Real Overlord and Rewind likely floating through space, what's under Aequitas, Springer, Impactor and Guzzle, what the tentacles did with Pharma's headless body, and something else I feel like I'm forgetting.

Red Dave Prime
2015-03-24, 09:21 PM
Think we can add the tentacles to Skids other dimension
Good shout on the Aequitas - forgotten about that one.
I'd like a catch up with Impactor and Guzzle but maybe in a Roche penned spotlight
Springers an interesting one - I think the original plan had him die so I'm not sure if there is an intended follow up. Would love to see him show up again in one of the main comics.
Real Overlord and Rewind... As I said in my reply to war cry, I hope they dont return but I'm not sure if Roberts can resist scratching that itch.

Also we have one eyed star saber roaming about - he may not necessarily team up with Tyrest.

Unicron
2015-03-24, 09:33 PM
Springers an interesting one - I think the original plan had him die so I'm not sure if there is an intended follow up. Would love to see him show up again in one of the main comics.
Real Overlord and Rewind... As I said in my reply to war cry, I hope they dont return but I'm not sure if Roberts can resist scratching that itch.

Also we have one eyed star saber roaming about - he may not necessarily team up with Tyrest.
Springer is going to be back at some point, given his starting to recover in Zero Point. It's just a question of when (and which writer gets him). Could be interesting to see him turn up and find Megatron as an Autobot. Might be a way to backdoor in the crazy reactions and resistance to his commanding the Lost Light that we missed with the '6 months later' bit.

With the way that issue ended; Overlord adrift, still in one piece, his hand obscured by debris (and thus almost certainly holding Rewind and/or Chromedome's severed arm), it was clearly in the plans that he or they would return. It's just a question of if those plans have been altered since then.

I'd forgotten about Star Saber, probably that nagging thing I couldn't think of. Yeah, there's him to deal with, but I feel like he's more now a personal rival to Cyclonus as opposed to the LL in general. I think him showing up again depends on what happens to Cyclonus if he's part of the delegation that's shipped off to Combiner Wars.

And we both forgot about what Fort Max and Red Alert are up to on Luna 1 (and the deal with the engines on said moon).

Red Dave Prime
2015-03-24, 09:43 PM
Oh yeah, the engines! and didnt they have similar symbols to the dialogue spoken to skids by the.... thingy?

Not sure if it means anything but Fort Max was included by Nick Roche in his season 2 group shot

http://th00.deviantart.net/fs71/PRE/f/2014/217/3/7/mtmte_season_2_by_dcjosh-d7tuqiz.jpg

Wonder will there be any follow up with the Legislator in Swerves bar?

Auntie Slag
2015-03-24, 09:59 PM
The crashed Decepticon insignia ship on Clemency containing all the weird institute-like experiments.

What's going to happen with Grimlock.

What's in Krok's hand.

The Necrobot.

The significance of Rung's serial number.

Spinister's unaccountable medical ability.

Something more about Glitch/Damus and perhaps Windcharger.

Misfire being Skids' nemesis.

What was the X-ray thing about during the ship-wide alert when Megatron was in Rungs quarters having a counselling session?

Heretech (though I'm not particularly bothered about him), but more generally the whole Phase Sixer thing and the Autobots determination to figure it out, which may lead to the introduction of Quick Switch.

I really would like to see more of Red Alert, especially his past, and more dialogue between himself and Rung. Well, more between Rung and other people in general.

I'm sure there is more to be revealed about Ambulon, despite him being dead.

Drift's return.

Mirage is on board The Lost Light since it took off from Cybertron carrying Megatron (I think), and he has a fair bit of potential. As does Atomizer, who seems to like stirring things up.

I also can't help but wonder if there'll be more in relation to Springarm & Wheelarch. Valve, their brother (or however they're termed in the IDW-verse) is still alive as far as I know, and hated by the Wreckers. Also, isn't Valve bonkers according to one of their definition's of how you leave the Wreckers?

More info (or the story) on how Rack n' Ruin died.

And perhaps a couple of panels where Cosmos isn't lying beaten on the floor or about to be killed in nasty ways!

Warcry
2015-03-24, 10:09 PM
...playing devils avacado, how quickly would beings whom have lived millions of years take to change their ways..? Especially when most of that time has been spent in combat situations. Perhaps something that would be interesting to see explored.

I suppose as in life, there's got to be the desire to change and, for better or worse people "like their same ol' shite too much".
Your first point is very possible, and your second point is absolutely true. Neither of those make for very interesting ongoing dramatic fiction, though, unless they're contrasted against a more dynamic set of characters.

What annoyed me the most though is Megatrons return could have been amazing for RID. His path to his return is his surrender to Prime in Chaos Theory and then he effectively became Cybertrons saviour in Chaos. The story of him trying to convince the autobots, decepticons and netruals that he has begun to change would have been excellent and led really well into him joining the Lost Light crew. Ah well.
That really would have been the way to go, I agree. I think the problem is that they simply didn't know that Megatron was going to switch sides when Barber started to write that RiD arc. For all the talk about "oh, we've wanted to do this for ages!" it really does reek of a marketing decision designed to reel in new readers who are intrigued by the concept (or baffled enough to want to see if it'll be a disaster). Barber and Roberts have done the best they could with it, I think, but just going by what's on the page it doesn't seem like it was an idea they'd been pondering for very long before Dark Cybertron.

I have a horrible feeling you may be right but I hope not. I thought Overlord has had 2 good arcs. I dont see the benefit of bringing him back to take out the DJD. That has to be Megatrons fight alone.
I'm right there with you -- I don't want to see him tossed into another plot line like that. Now if Overlord comes back looking for a one-on-one showdown with a weakened Megatron and carries a few issues as the primary antagonist? Sure, I'd be down for that. As a last-minute wild card that shows up to ruin the DJD's well thought out scheme, though? No thanks.

A big YES to all this. Rodimus at the moment feels like the character pre-furman spotlight (I really liked Furmans take on Rodimus/hot rod).
Furman seemed to be writing his Marvel Rodimus Prime more than Hot Rod, but I didn't mind that. I tend to prefer the more mature take on the character anyway, and since no modern fiction will ever let him grow into the role of Prime like he did in the 80s (because no modern fiction will ever leave Optimus out of the spotlight for more than a few issues) Furman's approach wasn't a bad workaround.

Actually thats my bad. I was thinking of Bluestreak in issue 34.
Oh, right, that. The colouring on that issue confused me into thinking it was Smokey at first too.

There's also some very odd pacing in the Marvel stuff as well, look at how staggered out the resolution to the Throttlebots/Blaster/Grimlock plots are due to having to bring the Headmasters to Earth and revive Prime. Months go by without some threads being touched on (even longer with UK issues inbetween) and the actually bringing back together of all the Autobots has to happen off page.
That's the downside to the pace that I touched on -- it's great that things move quick, but sometimes they move too quickly for their own good and we wind up with some really awkward, delayed or even nonexistent conclusions to stories that were built up to be important. The Marvel stuff isn't perfect either, and in some cases it really could have used some of the breathing room that modern writers take for granted.

Hopefully Hasbro will force IDW to bring him back with Movie Bee's personality so I won't hate him.
Ooooh, I hadn't thought of that. The widespread fandom rage would make it worth the while even if it only lasts a few issues.

Right, of those on your list the ones that have definitely had proper noticeable character development (rather than more ambiguous just because they reveal their secrets doesn't mean they actually change as a result style stuff):
I disagree! Shocking, I know. :)

Whirl: After becoming relatively more stable during season 1
When, exactly? Admittedly he didn't do anything that would count as a war crime between casually murdering an alien race's leader and the end of Remain in Light, but that's mainly because of lack of opportunity. His behavior and attitude showed no real changes, though.

...he's been shock in rapid succession by hearing Megatron's claim he's never had a fair fight (btw, I was surprised how many people took Megatron literally there and questioned the logic of it, I thought it was fairly obvious Megs was just mind ****ing him) and finding out the truth behind the functionists role in his miserable life (I still don't really understand this myself, but hey, it affects him) meaning that he winds up actually chosing to save Megatron's existence because he hates the idea of a functionist run Cybertron whatever the benefits might be to the rest of the Universe.
So his character development consists of being shocked into doing crazy unpredictable things? That doesn't sound any different from season 1 Whirl.

Tailgate: Learnt that trying to be a hero and impressing everyone was pointless because the real joys in his life were the little things, but that's a stance that's being challenged by everyone suddenly treating him like a hero, how far will he fall back into his bad old ways (which after all, nearly killed Rewind when he lied about being a bomb disposal expert), we're into a temptation of Tailgate situation- in more ways than one based on Getaways dubious interest in him.
But he didn't stop trying to be a hero, because at the first opportunity he attacked Tyrest to try and die as one. And then the next time he had the chance, he pulled a gun on Megatron, neatly showing that he's learned nothing and doesn't think through the consequences of his actions or who might be hurt by them, even though his "bomb disposal" lie nearly killed Rewind.

Things that haven't actually happened yet (re: Getaway) don't count, I'm afraid.

First Aid: Has gone to being slightly neurotic to a full on psychological breakdown due to seeing two horrible deaths and giving into his baser instincts and shooting Pharma. It'll be interesting to see if his inevitable role in Combiner Wars will incorporate this as one of the limbs being really deeply unstable could make it more interesting that the "Hey everyone, let's be a team!" stuff it looks like we might be getting for every single group.
The story told us that First Aid was traumatized by it, but aside from a single shot at the end of Remain in Light it didn't show it. Ratchet makes an off-hand reference to First Aid not having said a word since, but by the time we actually see him again the guy seems perfectly fine, palling around with Trailbreaker, Bluestreak and Mainframe watching a sunset. And if the trauma of taking a life changed anything for him, it certainly didn't show when he tried to refuse a life-saving energon transfusion to a Decepticon. Maybe something more will be touched on during Combiner Wars, but for now, the huge traumatic event that was supposed to change him utterly...hasn't.

Chromedome: Crippled by grief, went very dark, redeemed by refinding and reproving himself to his old love.
Sort of!

I agree that he was grief-stricken for a while, and that was a huge change. But I'm not a fan of how it was handled. Immediately after Rewind "died", he locked himself in his room and pondered erasing his own memories...until Brainstorm came to him, convinced him that it would be terrible to dishonor Rewind's memory like that and he decided to try and pull his life back together. He also seemed to gain some wisdom re: poking around in other people's heads and seemed to be making a genuine effort to stop.

Then Remain in Light and Dark Cybertron happened and he seemed to be doing that...but when season two started, there he was in his room again pondering his needles like the intervening six months or so of story hadn't happened at all. And then Rewind came back, and now he's back to casually mindwiping innocents while clearly keeping secrets from his significant other...or basically the exact same spot he was in at the start of the series. Which seems to be exactly what happens in most comics whenever a main character seems to be venturing too far away from the characterization that made them popular to start with.

I'll give you Ratchet, though.

(The rest of you reply too quickly.)

Skyquake87
2015-03-24, 10:23 PM
The pacing thing isn't exclusive to Transformers. Sometime around the turn of the century, the enitre comics industry went for this 'decompressed' storytelling where nothing happens for hundreds of pages. We seem to be getting away from that now, which is a relief.

Interestingly, one of the reasons I've found comics to be such a quick read is the phasing out of all those 'description boxes' and thought bubbles. I think that's why, very occasionally, some artists can let a story down. Previously where the art may have been unclear, a handy box / bubble would have signposted whats going on.

Auntie Slag
2015-03-25, 10:20 AM
... Sometime around the turn of the century, the enitre comics industry went for this 'decompressed' storytelling where nothing happens for hundreds of pages. We seem to be getting away from that now, which is a relief.

I like slow paced films because to my mind they fit more in. I watched Killer Joe the other day, and you could argue that not much happens in it, but I found it infinitely more exciting than a blockbuster like Avatar.

But do you consider MTMTE to be decompressed? I agree there’s lots of dialogue, but just because someone isn’t smashing someone else over the head every five panels… I don’t consider it slow. Plenty goes on and there’s lots to ruminate over.

The closest Transformers title I could compare it to is G2; and that series shot off like a bullet in its first issue. I don’t think MTMTE has that pace at all, but it can throw a similar punch when it wants to e.g. Rungs head getting shot off, Overlord being Overlord, the reveal in Shadowplay, one of the on-line teaser trailers where you see Swerve without a face. Did G2 know it had only 12 issues to get its story across from the beginning?

The early Dreamwave stuff, now that was decompressed dullness. So dull it rendered the action dull (assisted by the posing fight scenes).

I’m probably underlining Cliffjumper’s point in that I don’t read any other comics, I’m happy with the pace as it is, Roberts did mention at the beginning of MTMTE that all the other characters are there to be used at some point,and I don’t mind their non-appearance up to now because I’m happy with the current set. When he suggested this Season 1 and 2 delineation I really didn’t like it because I felt like we’d lose all the characters I was fond of. That hasn’t really happened, the only thing that narks me is having Riptide and Nautica on board when original crew members could have filled those roles.

In general, I feel we’re only 38 comics in, and seven of those were lost to Dark Cybertron, so in a sense we’re only on issue 31. Taking Whirl back in time was indeed dumb, but Rodimus pointed out at the beginning of the excursion that he wanted a red shirt who was happy to take a hit if necessary... and because he’s still the boss (I’m sure Magnus would never have allowed it) it had to happen. Why Megatron didn’t question it bothers me though.

And as contrast to Dalek’s comments; I think Megatron was being entirely truthful about Whirl having never been in a fair fight. That was a dynamite comment.

So yeah, I like the style and the pace. I agree with the Zapf Brannigan comparison; Rodimus has really taken a step backwards, and perhaps this is because he feels like he’s got two Dad’s running the ship now (in Magnus and Megatron), so perhaps he can afford to be more bullish whilst at the same time having something to prove. Even if that’s the case, I liked him more in the early issues, particularly that bit where he asserted himself to Magnus (“on this ship I am the Captain, you answer to me”). Radius may be a dick, but the others have some sort of begrudging respect I suppose, because Pax/Prime favours him.

On a side note, taking on new characters since the so-called Season 2 may indicate two things; that Roberts got the chance to take play with characters he always wanted, like Bluestreak and Mirage. However, he also had to bring in the other Protectobots, perhaps to tie-in a future storyline with First Aid joining... and maybe this will allow Ratchet to remain ship’s Doctor. It may also be suggestive of another impending crossover with RID to tie in their Combiners storyline and the new toys.

inflatable dalek
2015-03-25, 12:51 PM
I'm off on holiday for a few days so I'm unlikely to be able to sit down and reply properly till next week (though you never know, if I find good wifi I'll do a response on my tablet), but in answer to a question I missed from Red Dave Prime...

I noticed Fort Max on Roche's season 2 print as well, so I asked him at Auto Assembly if he had some insider knowledge from his old mucker that had resulted in that very careful choice of character. The answer will BLOW YOUR MIND:


Nope, it was just done on a whim as he really wanted to draw Max and hadn't put him on the season 1 print.

MikeB
2015-03-25, 02:10 PM
Just on the megatron/whirl front, is there any possibility Megatron knows more about his origin than he lets on? It would be a damn good reason to keep whirl alive all this time, though if I think about it too much it seems like a contrivance too far and is rather it wasn't the case.

I think there are plenty of legitimate criticisms over lack of character progression and rotation, but I'm still finding this the most fun and exciting take on transformers since the best parts of Furman's marvel (UK and US) runs. I'm not a massive comic reader, but I do read more than just TF, and I honestly think this series is a genuinely good comic, not just a good transformers comic.

Skyquake87
2015-03-25, 03:10 PM
oh, no I don't think MTMTE is decompressed by any stretch - quite the opposite. This is a good thing. I hate buying comics and reading them in 2 minutes flat because its just pictures and not much else happening. I blame Image for this!

Auntie Slag
2015-03-25, 09:45 PM
In terms of the characters' development, I think Cyclonus is doing alright proving himself a trustworthy character. That was more or less Rodimus' requirement in order to stay on The Lost Light.

I think Whirl is a dick, and he's happy being so with no intention of changing. He's more or less a Dinobot (Slag or Snarl) in his attitude, and in their absence he provides the muscle and the mouth. If Whirl is going to have any lasting development, maybe it will come when he meets up with Springer or Roadbuster? Although there's previous evidence of a decent side; suggesting the solution for Tailgate's illness, and donating innermost energon to Rewind (even though it was he who nearly had Rewind killed).

Megatron has been compelling and Tailgate seems to have evolved into Swerve but with less of the lip and more actual confidence. I found Brainstorm at his most intriguing at Rewind's wake, I thought he was fantastically well written there, taking his friends feelings into account without dragging it out.

I really feel like Magnus needs to show his strength. For half of MTMTE he's hardly done anything positive; getting stabbed by Overlord, smacked by Tyrest, head crushed by a Legislator and his alternative self shot through by the DJD. I'd feel more confident having Skids, Cyclonus or even Whirl behind me. Roberts needs to man Magnus up a bit.

First Aid is interesting, but he keeps getting sidelined, even with Ratchet off gallivanting with Drift!

If there's one thing I want to nitpick about, its that Whirl seemingly has the dexterity of a Surgeon... I'm referring to his spark transplant on Megatron in issue 38. It goes someway to nullifying his anger at the Functionists/Senate if he can perform what I assume is a complex procedure with his massive claw hands!

Oh, and he rips apart The Heavies in the past pre-Megatron's decree. Fair enough he got the jump on them, but it gives the impression he is strong to rip through seemingly thick armour with his bare claws.

And I can't help but love his expressions.

Red Dave Prime
2015-03-25, 11:38 PM
The pacing thing isn't exclusive to Transformers. Sometime around the turn of the century, the enitre comics industry went for this 'decompressed' storytelling where nothing happens for hundreds of pages. We seem to be getting away from that now, which is a relief.

Interestingly, one of the reasons I've found comics to be such a quick read is the phasing out of all those 'description boxes' and thought bubbles. I think that's why, very occasionally, some artists can let a story down. Previously where the art may have been unclear, a handy box / bubble would have signposted whats going on.

Funnily enough, I've been re-reading a few old x-men comics such as days of future past etc. Its amazing how much inner monologues and thought bubbles are going on - almost like the writer is afraid the reader wont grasp whats going on. Despite that, it does work well. I never warmed to the monologues in RiD, found them a bit too vague to be informative and therefore more intrusive than anything else, but I would like to see it tried a bit more often.

Skyquake87
2015-03-26, 11:17 PM
I think in the days when comics were a lot more disposable and there wasn't the same kind of trade paperback program we have now, these sort of recap things made a lot more sense. Some writers handled it better than others, though. I'm currently re-reading the DeFalco / Ryan run on Fantastic Four, and I love how they work that old school format- its so busy with thought bubbles and whatnot - but none of it feels repetitive or heavy going.

Dead Man Wade
2015-03-27, 05:24 PM
Name two properties of IDW's that weren't devised by someone else. Now try for one people have heard of. They're the House of Other People's Ideas.

Pardon me for replying to something said a page and a half ago, but...

Locke & Key, of the top of my head? As for 30 Days of Night, surely the fact that a Hollywood movie was made and released counts for something? Producers rarely risk their time and money on a property they don't think will carry some name recognition. I mean, 30 Days of Night's premise is hardly so innovative that they had to pay for the rights, right? They could have just made their own substandard vampire movie and called it a day.

inflatable dalek
2015-03-28, 04:00 PM
That really would have been the way to go, I agree. I think the problem is that they simply didn't know that Megatron was going to switch sides when Barber started to write that RiD arc. For all the talk about "oh, we've wanted to do this for ages!" it really does reek of a marketing decision designed to reel in new readers who are intrigued by the concept (or baffled enough to want to see if it'll be a disaster). Barber and Roberts have done the best they could with it, I think, but just going by what's on the page it doesn't seem like it was an idea they'd been pondering for very long before Dark Cybertron.

The odd thing is, it seems to be entirely IDW's own idea (though I can't recall if Barber or Roberts came up with it), Hasbro have just run with it. You think they'd have thought through the implications a bit more. Unless it was a white heat of the moment "Maybe Uhura should dance naked with a fan" style moment that was quickly regretted but too late as the Powers That Be had loved it.




Oh, right, that. The colouring on that issue confused me into thinking it was Smokey at first too.

It's odd, yet rather fun, that Bluestreak's entire purpose has been to set up everyone being exposed to Earth films so that them having seen Back to the Future wouldn't seem so unlikely.



When, exactly? Admittedly he didn't do anything that would count as a war crime between casually murdering an alien race's leader and the end of Remain in Light, but that's mainly because of lack of opportunity. His behavior and attitude showed no real changes, though.

He definately worked more as a team player as it went on, by Remain in Light he's working extremely well with a guy he thinks wants to kill him. That's progress! Even the other robot leader killing thing is him thinking he's helping a race of "Nice" robots, and all the other Autobots present are clearly fine with him doing it.

So his character development consists of being shocked into doing crazy unpredictable things? That doesn't sound any different from season 1 Whirl.

Hey, unpredictable? Certainly not, he was put into a place mentally where him being the only one to actually want to stop the new timeline (the other Autobots at least seem to be considering Rewind's "The Universe is better off without us" stance) made perfect consistent sense.


But he didn't stop trying to be a hero, because at the first opportunity he attacked Tyrest to try and die as one. And then the next time he had the chance, he pulled a gun on Megatron, neatly showing that he's learned nothing and doesn't think through the consequences of his actions or who might be hurt by them, even though his "bomb disposal" lie nearly killed Rewind.

Well, firstly Tailgate had his epiphany after Tyrest when talking to Cyclonus. Secondly, people started treating him as a hero almost straight away after he woke. Effectively he's made a life choice and events are conspiring to put his ego to the test. I mean, you could have had time in-between of him enjoying the simple things (though that'd be mildly undramatic), but it's gone from point A to B on his development at a fair clip.

Things that haven't actually happened yet (re: Getaway) don't count, I'm afraid.

Well, it's not happened past tense but it is happening now, and is clearly having an effect on Tailgate (if Getaway hadn't buttered him up so much would he have pulled the gun on Megatron?).



Then Remain in Light and Dark Cybertron happened and he seemed to be doing that...but when season two started, there he was in his room again pondering his needles like the intervening six months or so of story hadn't happened at all. And then Rewind came back, and now he's back to casually mindwiping innocents while clearly keeping secrets from his significant other...or basically the exact same spot he was in at the start of the series. Which seems to be exactly what happens in most comics whenever a main character seems to be venturing too far away from the characterization that made them popular to start with.

He regressed at the start of season 2 because he was literally being haunted by the ghost of his lover.

Where's the implication he's keeping secrets from Newind?

I'll give you Ratchet, though.


*Doths cloth cap* Thank'ye kindly 'guv.

has anyone actually read the Drift mini-series to find out how badly Ratchet gets mangled there?

inflatable dalek
2015-04-03, 01:20 PM
A double post as there's yet another James Roberts podcast interview, one that has some relevance to this thread as he winds up touching on some of the things we've been discussing, including Rodimus' seeming character regression; the planning out of plots and even the use of TV terms to describe comics:


aqk26mHhaLc

zigzagger
2015-04-03, 06:21 PM
including Rodimus' seeming character regression



Huh. Must've missed that part (had it playing in the background while I was getting ready). Curious to hear what he has to say about this particular issue, as it's something of a quibble of mine. Where is it?

Terome
2015-04-03, 06:25 PM
He's onto us!

inflatable dalek
2015-04-04, 01:24 AM
Huh. Must've missed that part (had it playing in the background while I was getting ready). Curious to hear what he has to say about this particular issue, as it's something of a quibble of mine. Where is it?


I think it's near the end (I listened to the download audio version)... The jist was that Rodimus had been legitimate in wanting to rehabilitate himself; but having Megatron forced upon him had been a massive slap in the face; especially as a fair few members of his command crew get on better with Megatron without even trying (a key idea being that Magnus would never acknowledge it; even to himself; but he works better with Megatron than Rodimus).

Whether that idea works or not is up to the reader (and Roberts conveys it better than I). It's also interesting for the acknowledgement that RID was too far along with CEEEEERRRAAAZZZZYYYY Megatron when the decision to make him an Autobot was finalised; meaning there was some sever whiplash in Dark Cybertron.

It is presumably coincidence; but as Terome says a lot of it does feel as if Roberts is fighting back against this thread. If you assume that, his confusing of "Episodes" and "Stories"* when it comes to Sapphire and Steel can be read as a deliberate attempt to send Cliffy mad.




*Officially "Assignments" now. But I suspect Cliffy is a man who still calls them "Adventures" as twas the case on the videos back in the dark ages.

zigzagger
2015-04-04, 03:18 AM
I think it's near the end (I listened to the download audio version)

Ah ha. Found it ;)

The jist was that Rodimus had been legitimate in wanting to rehabilitate himself; but having Megatron forced upon him had been a massive slap in the face; especially as a fair few members of his command crew get on better with Megatron without even trying (a key idea being that Magnus would never acknowledge it; even to himself; but he works better with Megatron than Rodimus).

Whether that idea works or not is up to the reader (and Roberts conveys it better than I).More or less related; going back to your earlier point about how some folks were welcoming the newer faces while at the same time missing the regulars, for me a lot of it was based on my own (perhaps unrealistic) expectations of where Roberts was going with Rodimus. Have no qualms about the newer faces taking the spotlight while Cyclonus, Ratchet and Chromedome sat out an adventure or two. But I really wanted to see some progress in Rodimus' redemption arc after the seeds were planted in Remain in Light. We have not quite seen it realized. Not to my satisfaction, anyway. I was looking forward to it.

Right now, it kinda reads like Rodimus' character arc was lost in the shuffle in favor of Megatron-centric stories. Which, according to the interview, is entirely the point. Don't get me wrong, the latter has seen some amazing growth under Roberts, so it gets a reluctant pass from me, but all the same, I'm going to have to side with Cliffy (I think it was him) on this one as say I would prefer to see to this actually acknowledged on page at some point, rather than through statements made outside of the fiction by the author. Otherwise, for me, it's a case of 'it didn't happen' regardless of Roberts' intent (and mind you, I do have a lot a faith in him).

I do, however, like the idea of Magnus being conflicted about his attitude towards Megatron.

Terome
2015-04-05, 08:36 PM
Good interview. A bit more technical and specific than usual. Roberts sure is diligent with attending to these podcasts and not repeating himself too badly.

Agreement all around that maybe some of this subtext and innuendo flying around could be solidified on the page, seeing as ambiguity is so often employed as a tool to enrich the plot.

I think the unlikely friendship between Ultra Magnus and Megatron is one of the best things to come out of this whole to-do. I'd like to see a road trip with the two of them.

Interesting to hear that EVIL MEGATRON was written before the SORT OF CONTRITE MEGATRON was on the cards. It certainly reads that way. Perils of the franchise!

inflatable dalek
2015-04-06, 07:55 PM
I'm going to have to side with Cliffy (I think it was him) on this one as say I would prefer to see to this actually acknowledged on page at some point, rather than through statements made outside of the fiction by the author. Otherwise, for me, it's a case of 'it didn't happen' regardless of Roberts' intent (and mind you, I do have a lot a faith in him).

The main thing I'm not sold on is the idea one of them needs to be slightly incompetent for the stories to work, they shouldn't not be finding the Knights because Rodimus is a bit shit.

I do, however, like the idea of Magnus being conflicted about his attitude towards Megatron.

It also nicely works with the idea from way back when that Magnus was supposed to be above factions as the Duly Appointed Enforcer of the Tyrest Accord, he's already had practice at thinking outside the Autobot box.


I think the unlikely friendship between Ultra Magnus and Megatron is one of the best things to come out of this whole to-do. I'd like to see a road trip with the two of them.

I liked the quiet unstated emphasis of Magnus' strength when he was easily able to hold Megatron back when he was having his panic attack as well.

Terome
2015-04-07, 11:03 AM
It also nicely works with the idea from way back when that Magnus was supposed to be above factions as the Duly Appointed Enforcer of the Tyrest Accord, he's already had practice at thinking outside the Autobot box.


I'd forgotten that! It's not exactly independent when your impartial enforcer is sitting in on Autobot High Command detentes, is it?

Maybe some flashbacks of past MagsMegs interaction during the war would be nice.

I liked the quiet unstated emphasis of Magnus' strength when he was easily able to hold Megatron back when he was having his panic attack as well.

Yeah, that was a great bit. And does give some weight to Prime's barmy decision to put Megatron on the Lost Light - that's where Ultra Magnus can best keep an eye on him.

Auntie Slag
2015-04-07, 12:09 PM
He's only easily able to hold him back because of the special fuel concoction that's severely weakened Megatron. At full power I'm sure it'd be a different story.

inflatable dalek
2015-04-07, 07:39 PM
I'd forgotten that! It's not exactly independent when your impartial enforcer is sitting in on Autobot High Command detentes, is it?

It was an idea that never really worked because it never really made sense that the Autobots and Decepticons would agree on a common list of war crimes (they'd likely both want Swindle but the Cons wouldn't give a toss about him messing with the development of a primitive society, it's just the going AWOL and/or the stealing of weapons), nor that there wouldn't be an obvious tactical advantage in the Autobots offering Decepticon fugitives sanctuary in exchange for information, as indeed turns out to be the case in that first Spotlight.
[/QUOTE]

He's only easily able to hold him back because of the special fuel concoction that's severely weakened Megatron. At full power I'm sure it'd be a different story.


True, but Magnus still leaves finger indents on his arm. Hardcore yo.

Death's Head
2015-04-07, 09:42 PM
It was an idea that never really worked because it never really made sense that the Autobots and Decepticons would agree on a common list of war crimes (they'd likely both want Swindle but the Cons wouldn't give a toss about him messing with the development of a primitive society, it's just the going AWOL and/or the stealing of weapons), nor that there wouldn't be an obvious tactical advantage in the Autobots offering Decepticon fugitives sanctuary in exchange for information, as indeed turns out to be the case in that first Spotlight.

Presumably it's all just a bit of show for the galactic council - something to show the community that they aren't just conducting a mindless, psychotic war, for they are in fact gentlemen robots, with a true code of conduct.

inflatable dalek
2015-04-10, 02:19 PM
It's no wonder Tyrest turned out to be a loon.

The latest issue managed 7 on the UK Comixology charts and 11 on the American. Not to suggest sales=quality, that's still insanely impressive. And sure, it's a cult success, but comics is a medium where everything is a cult success (and it can't just be the same people buying the physical copies double dipping or the digital wouldn't be so much higher and growing), even something like The Walking Dead is only selling in figures that are dwarfed millions of times over by the the numbers watching the series. It's all niche.

inflatable dalek
2015-07-24, 01:51 PM
Gratuitous bump because I smiled and was reminded of this thread and the dislike some folks had for the use of TV terms to describe a comic when reading Grimgrams in issue 167 of the UK comic where Grimlock/Furman describes the comic as having "Episodes". Fetch the burning torches!

That is almost, but not quite, entirely not worth bumping things for but it entertained me and that's the important thing.

Skyquake87
2015-07-25, 12:19 PM
:rant:

Damn you Furman!!!! You invoke my wrath!!!

ISSUES not EPISODES!!!!*

Yeah, I'm shouting at the past. What are you going to do about it? :P





*this is like a really rubbish RIRFIB debate

inflatable dalek
2015-07-25, 12:22 PM
Sometimes, he even does pre-credits sequences!

Cliffjumper
2015-07-25, 12:22 PM
Gratuitous bump because I smiled and was reminded of this thread and the dislike some folks had for the use of TV terms to describe a comic when reading Grimgrams in issue 167 of the UK comic where Grimlock/Furman describes the comic as having "Episodes".

How the Hell does "episodes" conflate with television? (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=episode)

inflatable dalek
2015-07-25, 12:44 PM
Whilst the word obviously has a deviation that predates TV (and radio of course), it is, in media terms, used pretty much exclusively to refer to them nowadays isn't it?

Plus, a comic isn't a commentary between two choric songs in a Greek tragedy either.

Though that may have been what Furman was aiming for.

I'm just glad you stopped reading before the treatment of Brainstorm proved most of your points right. I think we got away with it, you'll never know...

Cliffjumper
2015-07-25, 04:58 PM
Not uncommon to see films described as episodic or to have an episode of an illness, it's only really that so many people watch too much TV that it's swamped other meanings.

TBH it's hard to see why it wouldn't apply to a multi-part comic story - dictionary definition is part of a group of related events.

inflatable dalek
2015-07-25, 05:06 PM
Well to be fair then "Season" isn't just a TV/radio term either (even ignoring the obvious other meaning), I've spent most of this month seeing a season of Bond films at the cinema on Sunday's for example.

We are pedantic gits. Joyful isn't it? ;)

Tetsuro
2015-07-27, 01:08 AM
EDIT: Hours later, Tetsuro discovered he made the same complaint in a single thread twice - four months apart.