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inflatable dalek
2015-03-18, 09:08 PM
Collects Transformers #39-41 and Windblade Vol 2. #1-3.

- ziggy

----

Well, that was OK. A fast harmless read with some nice mental art by Livio.

Everyone acting as if Starscream has had his leadership legitimised by the people when the elections never happened is still annoying, as is Chromia constantly making snide remarks. She's been let off for mass murder and everyone being being remarkably restrained not throwing that in her face every time she makes some sarky comment.

The real issue though, is throughout IDW history people keep treating the combiners as the amazing next thing, when they've never ever been less than rubbish.

Death's Head
2015-03-18, 11:31 PM
Except Piranacon. He's consistently fabulous, in both name and colour scheme. And, presumably, smell.

Red Dave Prime
2015-03-19, 09:54 PM
I quite liked this, despite not really looking forward to the premise. The dialogue was interesting and I was curious to see where things were going... and utterly let down by menasor appearing so soon. Would have liked some kind of character to the caminus population and government. Also thought that Livos art was very good for this. Faces have never been his strong point but he seemed to be trying much harder here to get them right.

Warcry
2015-03-23, 03:55 AM
I liked this!

Swindle is a mercenary little bastard as always. I usually enjoy when he takes the spotlight, since he's a different kind of bad guy from the violent psychos, fanatics, Space Hitlers and schemers that make up most of the IDWverse's antagonists. He just wants to make a tidy profit, not conquer the world or smite infidels.

Scoop is much more tolerable than the last time I checked in on RiD. Also I'm very surprised that a random Double Targetmaster who was crammed into the series strictly to flog toys is still important a year and a half later.

The Stunticons sort of left me scratching my head a bit, though. First off, there's the implication that Blackjack has been there this whole time (instead of, you know, being a dwarf who helped Galvatron mindwipe Nightbeat way back in the first year or so of IDW books). Then there's the fact that Wildrider could just walk away without repercussions, which only serves to beg the question...why the hell are Drap Strip, Dead End and Breakdown still there? They all hate Motormaster, aren't bound to him by the chain of command anymore and he clearly can't stop them from going. But I like the group's dynamics and I hope they don't just spend the next eleven issues wandering around combined, crushing stuff.

Nothing much really happened aside from setup and toy-flogging, but I was pleasantly surprised that they're using the Combiner Wars series as a vehicle to visit Caminus and possibly the other colonies as well. I was expecting the entire series to be a flimsy excuse for super robot fights, and it's nice to see they're venturing to use it to expand the universe instead.

Oh, and we got the first (I think?) official confirmation that Caminus has both males and females rather than being a female-only society. Not sure how I feel about that.

[EDIT] Livio is still horrible, though. Why in the world do they keep hiring him?

Terome
2015-03-24, 12:48 PM
I too had low expectations but enjoyed this.

I liked Swindle, didn't care about the Stunticon line-up (because who has the energy to care about the Stunticons), felt Livio has come slightly more in line with my tastes and still think that Barber writes a really solid Optimus. The bit where Starscream was picking out his bodies was a bit of a groaner for me though I do like the implication he is going in for a new look every month or so.

My take on combiners is that it's much more of a cultural / psychological thing than an effective weapon in its own right. Did anyone read that Warren Ellis series, Supergod? Where nations competed to make gods out of mad science? I'd like to think that seeing a combiner in action is like seeing King Arthur on the battlefield or something. It's not as though the Cybertronians have ever been shown to be particularly good at warfare or anything.

inflatable dalek
2015-03-24, 03:26 PM
Combiner Wars: Exceeding Our Low Expectations By A Marginal Amount.

There's the back cover quote for the trade.


Scoop is much more tolerable than the last time I checked in on RiD. Also I'm very surprised that a random Double Targetmaster who was crammed into the series strictly to flog toys is still important a year and a half later.

But he's the famous Scoop! A character so beloved he got a new Universe toys over nobodies like Nightbeat and Jhiaxus. Of course he's still a major player now, I'm just amazed that when they had to rename the book book they just didn't call it Scoop: He's Better Than You.

Red Dave Prime
2015-03-25, 09:01 PM
Sooooo... Anyone read this yet?

Really not quite what I expected. Some interesting stuff going on here and its a bit of a head mess to see how it fits with established mythology (actual, are the guiding hands actually a myth in the IDW verse?)

Also sucks if you're a kid who got Menasor - you clearly have the worst combiner ever :)

Art is really nice too, assuming you like Stones previous work.

Am not interested a bit more in this combiner war thing.

Denyer
2015-03-25, 09:36 PM
Mmm. Might follow the series as dead tree.

So does Prime have the (a?) matrix back at this point?

inflatable dalek
2015-03-25, 09:38 PM
More thoughts to follow when I return from holiday, but basically liked a lot.

This book has an insanely cumbersome title though.

Red Dave Prime
2015-03-25, 09:45 PM
The Transformers Windblade Volume 2 Combiner Wars Part 1?

Nah, rolls off the tongue.

Unicron
2015-03-25, 10:22 PM
Mmm. Might follow the series as dead tree.

So does Prime have the (a?) matrix back at this point?

He has the container 'shell' along with Bumblebee's half of the empty inner crystal (the other half being left on Luna 1 when Rodimus poured one out for his homies)

Red Dave Prime
2015-03-25, 11:32 PM
He has the container 'shell' along with Bumblebee's half of the empty inner crystal (the other half being left on Luna 1 when Rodimus poured one out for his homies)

Its actually just the light up matrix from the masterpiece toy. Ssssh....

tahukanuva
2015-03-26, 05:32 AM
Caminus is cool, I like it.

Superion is cool, I like him.

I'm defs intrigued to get more in depth with the IDW mythology, even if only through the negative space of contrasting it with the Camien religion. And Sarah Stone seems to have listened to some of the complaints about her art because this issue was stylized enough to maintain the appeal of her work, without getting too washed out or muddled to follow.

Terome
2015-03-26, 09:57 AM
Pretty enjoyable. The art was lovely, as always, and it incorporated some of the Prime mythology deftly. Like ex-RID, there are some lines that stand out as real clunkers (Alpha Bravo and Powerglide are the main offenders) but that Blackjack sequence was nice and I like how Optimus seems to be on the verge of taking Starscream apart all the time.

I'd like it if some of the mythology was blatantly contradictory to stories we've heard already. As it stands currently it all fits together a bit tidily.

inflatable dalek
2015-03-28, 03:37 PM
Now, my more indepth thoughts:


I liked that.

There you go.


I don't think this is going to be the deepest series, but as a bit of fluff it's very enjoyable and I love the Sisterhood of the Flame vibe to the religious leader.

I'm not sure why they're not just doing 8 issues (or whatever) of Combiner Wars rather than making things needlessly complicated with it being split across two series. It's not as if you can read one or the other by themselves, anyone reading Wind2 is basically going to have to get Ex-RID as well regardless.

inflatable dalek
2015-04-15, 07:29 PM
OUT AND SPOILERS AHOY.

















hoooooooooly crap. He did it. Barber went there. He actually went there. He explained Spotlight: Mirgae. Bloody hell.

Bloody hell.

That just leaves the "I'll get you Soundwave!" ending to Spotlight: Blaster as the only remaining possible lose end pre-Death of Prime IDW continuity to bring back. Will Barber retire after that?

Joking aside, the gag where the sixth person on the shuttle isn't the brand new member of the Protectobots after all was very nice done. Though as the book already has one character in Ironhide who has bonkers visions of possible futures, did it really need another beyond Continuity Hole Filing?

This felt the weakest of the three issues to date, it was still a fairly solid read but it also felt as if it was stalling for time with the small number of Prowl pages being the only real plot advancement. Optimus in particular seems to be procrastinating to drag things out and The Sisterhood of Karn are winding up less interesting than they originally seemed.

It's interesting that, as in the bulk of Dark Cybertron, Prowl seems to be the only person actually talking any common sense (well, up till his last paragraph where he's firmly moved into unequivocal baddy territory).

Livio's art felt much more rushed than the first part as well, even down to drawing characters who aren't Protectobots in the meet the Protectobots scene. Very odd.

Terome
2015-04-16, 11:37 AM
Read it late last night so don't have so firm a grip on the particulars. I remember a lot of Dark Knight Returns TV footage which I enjoyed. Prime went from having everyone kneeling down around him to running off saying he'll explain things later. And Prowl continues to become less interesting by the issue to the point where HE HAS RED EYES NOW. Does he think no one will notice that?

I do remember quite liking it - it's very much about the anxieties of the characters rather than how cool THE ENIGMA OF COMBINATION is. Agree on the rushed art though - very uneven.

I also read Crossed +100 immediately afterwards which is unfair as it blows just about anything else out of the water.

Knightdramon
2015-04-16, 05:16 PM
I also read Crossed +100 immediately afterwards which is unfair as it blows just about anything else out of the water.

Will need to look into it. Though I find the Badlands stories vary wildly in terms of quality. Favourites?

Terome
2015-04-16, 07:12 PM
I'm a complete novice to the rest of the franchise. It was the Alan Moore connection and the premise of +100 that drew me in.

I'm enjoying the hell out of it. The art is some of the best I've seen in a comic and the story is intriguing enough to paper over some of the more egregious Moore-isms that pop up. There's a bit in the latest issue that is paraphrased quite directly from Watchmen but there's novelty aplenty in the use of language and musings on classic science fiction.

It's also hopeful and optimistic in a way that Moore hasn't really indulged in since the ABC stuff.

Shall go and reread Transformers #40 now so I can talk sensibly about that.

Knightdramon
2015-04-16, 07:28 PM
Hmmm...in that case, yeah, you've got some wonderful backtrack reading to do.

Because each 2-3-4 parter [really depending on the story] is by different creative teams altogether, you get very mixed results.

I would wholeheartedly recommend
---Original Crossed Series. Ten parter [00-09].
---Wish you were here [4 volumes] webcomic. I think it is still available for free online. Absolutely amazing and hours of good reading.
---Various bits and pieces of the Badlands series. Can find a list of all the recommended ones later on. Very mixed quality throughout the series, but some real gems in there.

Onto...what was it...oh yes, RID 40.

Mixed issue. Took me a while to understand what was being dragged on. So basically Optimus and Windblade go to Caminus, have a little talk with the Mistress of Flame, Starscream talks along but is ignored, Starscream then schemes, Optimus goes through another midlife identity/leadership crisis, Prowl acts like an angry hormonal teenager [and turns red-eyed], neither cover reflects anything that's actually happening on the issue and...another omnious cliffhanger from Prowl.

I want to know what they were thinking with the Protectobots scene. Like, seriously guys, how can you misdraw them AND let it go through editorial like that?

Overall, political scene is returned but it's nothing extreme. And Starscream's "chosen" status is still...hmmm what? And why is Scoop still following that guy?

Unicron
2015-04-16, 09:21 PM
Overall, political scene is returned but it's nothing extreme. And Starscream's "chosen" status is still...hmmm what? And why is Scoop still following that guy?

Why? Because effectively his religion tells him to. Tends to be a hard thing to go against

Terome
2015-04-17, 11:24 AM
Okay! I've got a better handle on it all now. It was fine. The script did not play to Livio's strengths. Laid lots of pipe, had a funny citizen journalism framing device, tread some water on the Lady of Flame and whatnot... I liked that there is some mild public concern over Monstructor and that nobody knows how to deal with a two-man press industry.

Makes sense that Rattrap is leaving a sinking ship - he's cynical but the secret prisons and superweapons are making him nervous. I like the idea that Prowl is being a baddie to stop the Decepticons but it's not handled very gracefully.

Scoop has evened out a bit in my eyes. He didn't work as a religious fanatic. The initial Flanders salt-of-the-earth approach was much more interesting. This is sort of a middle ground. He is being asked to swallow bitter pill after bitter pill and that's amusing at least.

I would wholeheartedly recommend
---Original Crossed Series. Ten parter [00-09].
---Wish you were here [4 volumes] webcomic. I think it is still available for free online. Absolutely amazing and hours of good reading.
---Various bits and pieces of the Badlands series. Can find a list of all the recommended ones later on. Very mixed quality throughout the series, but some real gems in there.

That is very helpful. There's so much of it that I was quite intimidated and stuck as to where to begin. Just from the covers I was turned off on the series as it seemed to be a descent into self-parody for Ennis - putting the gross-out stuff right at the forefront rather than using it for punctuation. Time for me to catch up.

inflatable dalek
2015-04-17, 01:08 PM
I think the place it faltered was with the TV crew angle. Many a good "Special Episode" has been done from the POV of a camera crew, but this was only intermittent and it was a bit odd, consisting of Circuit asking questions that briefly made the recipient look a bit shifty before they gave a mostly honest answer.

I'm still not sure why this is two separate series, is anyone insane enough to just be buying Windblade?

Terome
2015-04-17, 01:19 PM
That's a good point, actually. It could have been far more effective it was all The Circuit & Longtooth Show. But then I suppose we wouldn't have the introduction and epilogue and that bit where Prime talks to Silverbolt / Superion in confidence - which was a neat bit.

Feels like an idea that could have been saved for later.

Windblade is the focal point to draw in those floating Tumblr new fans. I've no idea how effective that strategy is but I presume that it why she gets a book to herself that is basically every other issue of another series. I'm genuinely curious to know whether this is a good way to start a series or a good way to cripple it from the get-go.

inflatable dalek
2015-04-17, 01:25 PM
I think it's the sort of thing that works better Dark Cybertron style where it's two ongoing books, but doing a crossover between a regular series and a four issue mini where you can't read the later in isolation anyway seems oddly one sided. I doubt anyone is reading just the one book and it presumably will just be collected in one trade. It would have made more sense to just do a separate 8 ? I'm not actually sure how long this is, but I guess RID isn't doing more issues of it than Windblade?) issue series between the two authors (or just make RID bimonthly for the duration) and give Windblade a proper sequel series to her own adventures.

tahukanuva
2015-04-17, 05:15 PM
IIRC Windblade's an ongoing this time, actually. I think they're just kicking it off with the crossover.

Terome
2015-04-22, 08:26 PM
Oh dear. The wheels came off.

inflatable dalek
2015-04-23, 09:10 AM
Well, Terome dropped a hint in the thread on the previous issue...

This really wasn't very good on any level. First up, and easiest to articulate, the art continued to be poor by Livio's standards and looked very rushed. It was made worse by the colouring not being sympathetic this week (and they seem to have gone to the effort to have photoshopped the new Protectobot into a couple of panels but not to do anything about Grotusque and Mainframe. How can Livio not know who the Protectobots are at this point?).

The big problem was Prowlestator doing what Prowlestator does, draining anything remotely subtle or interesting out of a story and making it about a stupid big monster going "RAAAAH".

It doesn't help that, as always, combiners don't really work in the static medium of comics and it's now very clear that every combiner fight in this story is basically going to be exactly the same.

Boo.

Terome
2015-04-23, 09:41 AM
Yeah, it's not great news when the most interesting thing about a comic is the idea that Prime might get a tie-breaker vote on a council.

Good call on how poor comics are at Big Robot Fights. There is no difference between two humans having a scrap, two car-sized Transformers having a tussle and two gestalts having a throw-down.

The art mistakes are the least of it, really. Something like this was bound to happen. The rushed and tossed-off quality of the issue as a whole is a bit depressing - someone like Scott or Milne would be without a paycheque for a month to get this first draft to the stands on time. For years we've been told how good and rewarding the relationship between Hasbro has been. But what kind of relationship means these kind of compromises need to be made to please one party at the expense of another? I know whenever a friend of mine makes me a couple of thousand dollars by using some of my things I always stand on their neck and force them to make a few thousand more by this Summer or else.
That said, IDW and Hasbro did just do a renewal of vows lately, didn't they? I wonder if IDW was going out of its way to be a lickspittle to score that contract. I have the impression that this whole Combiner Wars business was done and dusted a year ago or more.

It's not all Evil Hasbro's fault, of course. How long has Prowlestator been around now? Two years? Has anything interesting or even dramatic come out of that idea? If you squint there's a metaphor in there about ignoring red flags from a friend who is unwell but you have to sift through the boring morass to find it.

Unicron
2015-04-23, 04:28 PM
but not to do anything about Grotusque and Mainframe. How can Livio not know who the Protectobots are at this point?)

According to Livio, Grotusque and Mainframe were the reference art or whatever he was given for those two Protectobots.
I'm not sure which is worse: that someone at IDW screwed when giving him reference material or that Livio didn't double check

Red Dave Prime
2015-04-24, 12:06 AM
Just not a good issue. It feels like theres two things going on here - theres an interesting idea on what happens when the two cultures collide after so long and far apart and then theres the need to have the big monsters smash. Its not gelling and I wish that the other plotline was saved for a regular comic run so it could be done better because I do kinda like whats going on in it. But Starscreams plan is making no real sense from the start - Caminus wants to join up with Cybertron for help. He didnt need to create a false crisis. And the enigma is a pretty stupid contraption (and has felt that way since first introduced). There's no real sense as to how or why it should work or exsist. Its up there with the magnificence for silliness.

Anyway, as Megatron proved, you just need to let five cybertronians wander in the wilderness for a while. After a little scuffle - BOOM - instant gestalt.

zigzagger
2015-04-24, 12:43 AM
I haven't been following too closely, but curiosity got the best of me, if only for the prospect of some Protectobot action. Not that I was at all surprised, but god-****ing-dammit, what a gross misuse of them :(

Disappointed, oh hell yes, but not surprised. Not winning me over, Combiner Wars. Not winning me over.

As for the rest of the issue.... yeeeeaah, I don't think so.

On the plus side, I did catch the extended bios for the CW Protectobots on TFW, or wherever the hell, and those made me smile.

inflatable dalek
2015-04-24, 01:57 PM
Good call on how poor comics are at Big Robot Fights. There is no difference between two humans having a scrap, two car-sized Transformers having a tussle and two gestalts having a throw-down.

Yeah, this is almost the perfect counterpoint to Cliffy's claim that comic's can do anything. With film or TV you can pan and move the camera; plus have a lot more shots than a comic can have panels. Unless every page is a splash a comic just can't pull off scale to the same effect.

The art mistakes are the least of it, really.

Though they are pandemic of the issues. I mean, as well as the artist not recongnising he'd been sent the wrong reference material (I thought Livio was a fan turned pro, this suggests otherwise), it passed two editors and Hasbro who presumably check to make sure the pack in comics at least slightly feature the toy they're with.

And we know from Roberts that the pack in issue is finished and ready to go ages before the street version (hence the pack in version of 22 having different dialogue for Brainstorm at one point, Roberts decided it gave away what he was really up to and changed it for the "Main" release) and still no one tried to fix it for this.

As Unicron says, it's hard to tell which of those is worse.


According to Livio, Grotusque and Mainframe were the reference art or whatever he was given for those two Protectobots.

Still, there's the next round of Combiner War repaints.


On the plus side, I did catch the extended bios for the CW Protectobots on TFW, or wherever the hell, and those made me smile.

The ones written from Rung's POV? Not read any myself yet but that does sound a nice touch.

So what was that random Sunstreaker cameo all about?

And Christ's sake Chromia, the number one rule of being forgiven for murder is you can't keep banging on about how terrible everyone else is.

inflatable dalek
2015-05-21, 01:40 AM
Hmm, well that seems to have picked up a bit, the political stuff Barber does better is more to the forefront and Livio's art looks like he had a bit more time to get it together (not having to draw indervidual Protectobots probably helped) and one eyed Prowl is creepy....






Den dat ending.









I suppose it was inevitable (I did wonder at the totally random Sunstreaker appearance earlier, but assumed they were just putting the pieces in place for later) but...

Well, it made me laugh if nothing else.

Terome
2015-05-21, 07:02 PM
I dunno - there was some neat stuff in here. I thought the integration of Scoop into Devastator in order to give him a religious awe of Starscream was quite clever and the way the Prowl/Optimus conflict is coming to a head with the two of them literally sharing a mind is interesting. Same on the Ironhide/Mirage/Sunstreaker visionquest thing. Lots of neat touches.

Like Wheeljack says, it's an intellectual puzzle. I'm starting to think that it isn't Hasbro breathing down IDW's neck that is setting the story beats here, it's Barber's love of playing with forgotten story beats. I mean, how reference-heavy is this issue? It's throwing nine years of convoluted IDW trivia at us so that dots can be connected... combined, if you will.

And call me old-fashioned but I like Moore gimmicks like 'not quite your colour / show their true colours.'

Still, it's less than the sum of its parts. Which is a shame!

inflatable dalek
2015-05-21, 09:14 PM
Yeah, the continuity stuff was reasonably done for Barber, it's just the arrival of Energon Prime at the end just felt very silly.

I don't mind Scoop becoming a Constructicon, and wouldn't be totally surprised if he's renamed "Scrapper" in the pack-in version.

I wonder if the surprise villain sending out all these visions will turn out to be Mike Costa?

Red Dave Prime
2015-05-23, 08:56 PM
Just not getting the last few issues of RID in terms of an overall scheme. To be honest, since Dark Cybertron I have felt the series has lost some of its identity in a way. Its not badly written, just it seems to be very all over the place in terms of what the big picture is. Or something. It might just be that I don't enjoy some of the angles taken.

Hate the unrealistic, near cartoon earth approach.

Don't like the "religious" mystical stuff being actually real. I prefer it to be myth based on reality - the enigma of combination kinda shits on that.

Bored silly by gestalts as the next big danger. Its not a bad idea by itself but how many times has IDW done this?

I'll be honest, I really wanted to like Windblade but I just don't like the character. She is boring as hell and I have no idea as to why she gets a title named after her. I like the Caminus idea all right, and having different races of cybertronians taking different paths of evolution is a cool idea for transformers, but Windblade doesn't engage me at all.

Also... On second thoughs, lets not go to Caminus. Tis a silly place. Really, if your going to introduce a new world, effectively a new species of TF... Just not Caminus.

So yeah. Not liking this much at all.

inflatable dalek
2015-06-11, 05:24 PM
Interestingly my first reaction on reading this was that it was fairly OK, I especially liked the inner mind stuff between Prowl and Prime.

But...

The more I think on it the more rubbish it feels. It's really not a comic to remotely give any thought on or it all falls apart.

And, as Terome pointed out to me on Facebook (yes, we have private conversations where you can't see them. Oh the things he says about Warcry) it basically ends in the same way as the first Windblade mini-series with everyone having to sort of reluctantly accept the peace as it's better than war.

That coupled with the fact this opening has been a massive "**** off" to anyone that might want to give Windblade a try but doesn't read ex-RID could well kill off the momentum and good will the first series built up. That'd be a shame. Though I'm still not sure if this is now an ongoing or if they're just doing a handful more issues so there's some second Windblade that can actually be read as a story in its own right.

Selkadoom
2015-06-13, 06:26 AM
I'll admit that the issue itself was rather weak but it was nice to see all the different colony worlds in the ending, as well as the first time We've seen G1 Elita one in forever, and we welcome her back as she sits on an Iron Throne of transformer corpses . so, fun times ahead y'all, though Personally I am rather annoyed that it seems they're possibly gearing up to push Starscream out of his leadership role what with Swindle talking to Rattrap briefly before dying

Terome
2015-06-13, 12:21 PM
Warcry is the best!

I am actually having trouble recalling what happened in this issue. Swindle died in an unconvincing way and we had some cameos. Can I just take a second to flag up how much I hate the Ongoing Comic Series trope of presenting a splash page of a returning character in a way that presumes we give the slightest shit about them? It drives me up the wall. Especially in this case where we don't know Elita-One from Adam except through other entities that happen to share her name but are obviously completely different to this version. It reads like:

*page turn*
Dun-DUN-DUUUUNNNN
A baddie!

Fantastic, we have lots of baddies. Add her to the pile. This baddie's really bad though, she sits on a throne of dead people. Though that actually puts her somewhere in the middle of the bell curve of the badness made up of guys like Pharma, Overlord and even plain ol' Megatron.

Only interesting bit to me was Superion getting bummed out that Prime's contractual obligation to combine with Prowl & Sundry had expired. The emotional aspect of combining is kind of intriguing - a shame they went with the angle of these guys being WMDs in a bloodless 'war story' when they open up much subtler story possibilities. That said, the Prime / Prowl resolution was a bit simplistic. Why on earth is Prime surprised that Prowl sees the world in 'numbers and figures' when that has been Prowl's entire deal for as long as they have known each other? Surely that's the entire reason why Prowl is Prime's right-hand guy?

Anyhow, Elita's spaceship looked cool (is it still carrying its hot spot?) and it will be fun to have Tigatron and Airrazor in the mix. I'm already preparing myself to be at peace with whatever tortured logic they will use to have them resemble chordates extant on Earth.

Red Dave Prime
2015-06-15, 01:49 AM
So....

Dark Cybertron was a f***ing good event after all.

I cant say I've gotten near any enjoyment out of the combiner wars. There's little small gems of good ideas floating about here and it does leave us in somewhat of an interesting state with all those new words to explore but over five issues this has been real throwaway stuff to be honest.

The plot (of what little there is) has been near G! cartoon level and has damaged some characters - Windblade by this point is no longer special as the link to her homeworld looks fine, Swindle is dead (thats about as damaged as damaged gets), Starscream seems to be fixed in the "Oh I'm so manipulative I'm like glass" which pretty much takes all the fun out of him and Prowls big showdown with Prime was... well, limp doesnt describe it.

Combiner Wars is such a success, its made me feel that I might just cut down to MTMTE.

Housewife2000
2015-06-16, 07:07 AM
There were three big problems with Combiner Wars for me.

Firstly, the threat: targeting Caminus, a world we've barely glimpsed, meant we had no real investment in what happened to it. There were no characters there we knew well enough to care about. If the Combiner battle took place in Iacon and saw named cast members flattened - building up an On the Edge of Extinction vibe - then I might have believed the WMD comparison. Or earth for that matter. Compounding this problem, the art never really sold the scale of gestalts. Sarah Stone probably did it best, but generally they only fought each other against low or no detail backdrops. It reminded me of the difference between the city-set fights in Pacific Rim where the scale and danger was apparent, and the final showdown in an abstract setting that rendered geography and scale meaningless. Devastator's appearances in AHM and pre-Dark Cybertron RID gave much more of a sense of size and menace.

Secondly, nobody was really changed by the events. Dark Cybertron may have had its flaws, but Megatron and Shockwave both went on redemptive arcs, while Rodimus was forced to confront his failings, and Optimus to realise he couldn't stay out of the picture. The closest Combiner Wars gets to having the plot affect a character is Prowl's 'redemption' - but the moment of change doesn't work. He's antagonistic to Prime's vision right up until the point that he's not, and all that seems to cause this flip is Prime, and the 'Masquerade. gang responding to Prowl's thesis by saying "yeah, we know". The rest of the main cast - Windblade, Prime and Starscream - are really no different in character terms by the end of the crossover than they were at the start.

Finally, as has already been mentioned, the gestalt process lends itself to interesting character work. Five minds needing to work together, and each individuals secrets and foibles exposed by the experience? It's like the staff away day from hell, or if the Big Brother house was inside a Megazord. We almost get there with the 'mindscape' moment in this last chapter, but it's really just Prime and Prowl having a chat.

Terome
2015-06-16, 10:41 AM
Good call - we don't have much stake in Camimus and the 'aftermath' doesn't really look like anything.

I never really felt much stake in New Iacon either although I can see where the effort was invested there. I think we were supposed to see it progress from a one-horse frontier town to a bustling city and then see Megatron and Devastator knock it all down but that isn't really what we saw. We never got the sense of where Kimia is, where Bumblebee lived, where the Alchemy-Seven was or any of that which was intended to be set up.

It's not just the case that Megatron showed up too quickly and that the timeline was nonsensical - it's a problem with inconsistency in the art. You could tell what Griffith was going for but the emphasis in establishing shots was on weird NAILs (hey, what happened to those guys?) and yellow wastes rather than building up a decent geography of the area. And not to put all that on Griffith - Barber should have picked out neat spaceships in the background in, say, issue 2 and made it a location in issue 6. Fill-in artists can really muck things up if they're drafted in at the last minute and aren't able to pay particular attention to place and geography in order to build up to a scene that happens the following year that they aren't even going to draw.

It's surprising, in a way, because one of Barber's real talents is for structure and correlation. He needs to focus that more literally on the physical space his characters live in as he does on the meta-space of the story they tell.

I tell a lie - it's just occurred to me that Blurr's bar was set up really well as a location. We saw it several times, saw it develop consistently, saw characters interact there and then saw it in a whole new, distressing context when the shit hit the fan. It's in the toolkit, it just needs to be applied more liberally.

'Big Brother inside a Megazord' is a brilliant idea and you should flag down some television producers.

Warcry
2015-06-27, 08:57 PM
Warcry is the best!
Yay me!

No yays for the series, though. Although I liked the first issue it went downhill really quickly after that. Caminus was nothing but a plot device inhabited by G2 toys I had as a kid who were used as cannon fodder (plus, er, Hot Shot for some reason?), essentially squandering the most interesting plot point from the first issue.

Meanwhile the Enigma remains completely unexplained magic, the combiners got very, very little exploration as characters and the story implies that the combined forms are their "real" selves now, taking interesting characters like First Aid, Dead End or Skydive completely off the board because it's so much more important that we have bland giants walking around referring to themselves in the third person.

Trying to get an emotional reaction from us by killing Swindle also felt hugely disingenuous, since he's almost certainly going to be back on his feet six months from now when they need to flog the new Bruticus.

(Sidenote: I look forward to Trailbreaker being Hasbroed back to life barely a year after Roberts killed him off "for real" in an attempt to shut up people like me who bitch about all the fake-out deaths he's done.)

Though on the other hand there was Scoop cosplaying as Scrapper, which was an...interesting way to get around Scrapper himself being dead, I guess. But I'm surprised Barber didn't just bring Scrapper back considering how much handwavey nonsense was flying around in CW and the leadup to it. I'm even more surprised Hasbro allowed it considering Devastator is their big toy for the year.

The teaser at the end is mildly interesting, but it would be far moreso if we didn't have random Prime, Beast Wars and Animated characters running around on Cybertron already. Seeing Tigatron and Airazor just isn't that big a deal when Rattrap and Waspinator are hanging around like perfectly normal guys a few pages earlier. I mean, it's nice to have the characters around I guess, but considering Barber has written Rattrap quite poorly and the last page as Elita One sitting on a throne of severed heads, I'm not exactly excited to see this team tackling any of my favourites from other series.

Oh, and the art is terrible.

inflatable dalek
2015-06-29, 02:07 AM
No yays for the series, though. Although I liked the first issue it went downhill really quickly after that. Caminus was nothing but a plot device inhabited by G2 toys I had as a kid who were used as cannon fodder (plus, er, Hot Shot for some reason?), essentially squandering the most interesting plot point from the first issue.

It was sort of a reverse Dark Cybertron wasn't it? In that got better as it went along after a pretty wretched start (though how much it gets better by is a YMMV thing, I thought the last few issues were really solid but not enough to help the series overall), whilst this has slipped slided away down the quality scale.


(Sidenote: I look forward to Trailbreaker being Hasbroed back to life barely a year after Roberts killed him off "for real" in an attempt to shut up people like me who bitch about all the fake-out deaths he's done.)[/quotee]

The Scoop thing suggests Hasbro might at least be a bit more flexible. Perhaps Hoist will randomly decide to paint himself black (using that stealth paint from RID that's been used as the excuse to make Arcee her new toy colours?)? Though some sort of flashbacks/dream sequences would be fine with me.

[quote]Though on the other hand there was Scoop cosplaying as Scrapper, which was an...interesting way to get around Scrapper himself being dead, I guess. But I'm surprised Barber didn't just bring Scrapper back considering how much handwavey nonsense was flying around in CW and the leadup to it. I'm even more surprised Hasbro allowed it considering Devastator is their big toy for the year.

I wonder if the pack-in version will just edit the text to call him Scrapper and remove any references (if there were any?) to him having been an Autobot? Sort of like how the Trailcutter spotlight mucked about with the text so he was never Trailbreaker.

Sure, he doesn't look much like Scrapper, but lack of resemblance to the toys doesn't seem to have stopped the rest of this giant advert.

The teaser at the end is mildly interesting, but it would be far moreso if we didn't have random Prime, Beast Wars and Animated characters running around on Cybertron already. Seeing Tigatron and Airazor just isn't that big a deal when Rattrap and Waspinator are hanging around like perfectly normal guys a few pages earlier. I mean, it's nice to have the characters around I guess, but considering Barber has written Rattrap quite poorly and the last page as Elita One sitting on a throne of severed heads, I'm not exactly excited to see this team tackling any of my favourites from other series.

The Elita thing fails especially hard as it's a reveal that depends entirely on knowing the cartoon. The other characters who show up work regardless of prior-knowledge. Tigatron is a nice Easter Egg if you know Beast Wars, but following the plot of the Space Bridge connecting to the different colonies isn't affected by not knowing that.

The Elita cliffhanger is litterally "ZOMG!!!! LOOK, IT'S THAT CHARACTER LAST SEEN NEARLY 30 YEARS AGO WITH NO PRIOR PRESSENCE IN IDW! If you're not familiar with the TV show you may need to Google". Considering the amount of new readers the comics seem to have been bringing in lately that must have been a head scratcher for a lot of people.

I mean, it's the clunkiest moment in that series, but at least the similar arrival of Impactor at the end of the first issue of Wreckers is slightly set up for people who haven't read Marvel UK with the mention of him and that he means something significant to Springer a few pages earlier.

Oh, and the art is terrible.

Hmm, I'm not sure how Hasbro signed off on some of this visually if nothing else. Either they don't give a toss about what's being stuck in with the toy or they really need to work out a way of making the deadlines more favourable.

Maybe rather than a physical comic (which seems to need to be ready months in advance of when the "Regular" comic has to be signed off on) a code for a digital download that would only become available as the normal copy did? That'd probably be more down with the kids as well.

Warcry
2015-06-30, 05:52 PM
The Scoop thing suggests Hasbro might at least be a bit more flexible. Perhaps Hoist will randomly decide to paint himself black (using that stealth paint from RID that's been used as the excuse to make Arcee her new toy colours?)? Though some sort of flashbacks/dream sequences would be fine with me.
Flashbacks or the like would be hard to do if Hasbro is still pushing the combiner aspect super-hard, but who knows? It's also entirely possible that they won't bother because he's a late-run line-filler and they'll have moved on to shilling Titan Wars by the time he hits shelves.

But just the fact that it's a possibility going forward is pretty funny. The one time that Roberts actually means to kill someone off, and first people don't believe it and then Hasbro might undo it anyway to push a soulless repaint.

I wonder if the pack-in version will just edit the text to call him Scrapper and remove any references (if there were any?) to him having been an Autobot? Sort of like how the Trailcutter spotlight mucked about with the text so he was never Trailbreaker.

Sure, he doesn't look much like Scrapper, but lack of resemblance to the toys doesn't seem to have stopped the rest of this giant advert.
That's a fair bet, I think. The silhouette is right even if the details are all wrong, so he'd still have the Protectobots beat.

The Elita cliffhanger is litterally "ZOMG!!!! LOOK, IT'S THAT CHARACTER LAST SEEN NEARLY 30 YEARS AGO WITH NO PRIOR PRESSENCE IN IDW! If you're not familiar with the TV show you may need to Google". Considering the amount of new readers the comics seem to have been bringing in lately that must have been a head scratcher for a lot of people.
And even if you do know who she is, that context only makes it make less sense. With Chromia and Firestar being Camiens it's strange that she'd be from a different world (let alone evil), since them being a group is literally the only characterization they had pre-IDW (but then Moonracer is apparently on Velocitron so what do I know?) And teaming her up with Obsidian makes even less sense since he already has a female co-conspirator in Strika. Not to mention that the two of them don't even look like they're from the same species, since she's super-cartoony while he (if I remember right) was drawn reasonably BM-accurate.

A ship full of Vehicons actually would have been a lot more intriguing, though I suppose the ship sailed on that when they randomly tossed Tankor into Dark Cybertron. It's a shame that they didn't think through their long-term plans more thoroughly, because he, Rattrap, Rhinox, Sky-Byte and Waspinator could have been used to great effect as a lead-in to exploring the colonies if they'd actually known they were going to do that when they first had them show up. Instead some of the most popular non-G1 characters are already hanging around, dampening the impact of what really should have been a huge, universe-expanding moment for the IDWverse.

I mean, it's the clunkiest moment in that series, but at least the similar arrival of Impactor at the end of the first issue of Wreckers is slightly set up for people who haven't read Marvel UK with the mention of him and that he means something significant to Springer a few pages earlier.
That was foreshadowed well, though, and I didn't even think it was particularly clunky. Everything you needed to know about Impactor was right there on the page, so when he showed up even a newbie reader knew why it was a big deal. Whereas Elita is eye-roll-worthy grimdark nonsense if you don't know who she is, or a complete non-sequitur if for those of us who know that her entire personality is "Optmus's girlfriend".

Maybe rather than a physical comic (which seems to need to be ready months in advance of when the "Regular" comic has to be signed off on) a code for a digital download that would only become available as the normal copy did? That'd probably be more down with the kids as well.
That would be a great idea, actually. It would probably cost Hasbro less, and avoid the embarrassing problems that some of the Dark Cybertron pack-in issues had. Plus it would let them reach a wider audience, at least in theory, by including the download codes with the international figures and not just the US-market ones.

inflatable dalek
2015-06-30, 08:04 PM
Flashbacks or the like would be hard to do if Hasbro is still pushing the combiner aspect super-hard, but who knows? It's also entirely possible that they won't bother because he's a late-run line-filler and they'll have moved on to shilling Titan Wars by the time he hits shelves.

I suppose it depends how bitchin' Hasbro are going to be about it.

The amusing thing about Titan wars is how the characters have gone from being obsessed with Titan's to seemingly downgrading to being obsessed with Combiners, and now will be going back to obsessing about Titans again. Make your minds up!


That's a fair bet, I think. The silhouette is right even if the details are all wrong, so he'd still have the Protectobots beat.

The sad thing is, The Wrong Protectobots are probably what's brought me the most joy out of the whole comic. They're the gag that continues to give (and helped to draw attention to the fact Rook only showed up in one panel where he'd obviously been photoshopped on afterwards).

You could forgive Dark Cybertron some of its oddities considering it was attempting something that neither IDW or Hasbro had tried to that extent before, but here it seems they hadn't learnt from any of its lessons (which I should say were "Go back to doing standalone Spotlights as the pack-ins").


And even if you do know who she is, that context only makes it make less sense. With Chromia and Firestar being Camiens it's strange that she'd be from a different world (let alone evil), since them being a group is literally the only characterization they had pre-IDW (but then Moonracer is apparently on Velocitron so what do I know?) And teaming her up with Obsidian makes even less sense since he already has a female co-conspirator in Strika. Not to mention that the two of them don't even look like they're from the same species, since she's super-cartoony while he (if I remember right) was drawn reasonably BM-accurate.

There's nothing to say Elita isn't a Camien is there? She's currently a woman on a spaceship, she could be from anywhere. Though everything else still stands as a valid point.

A ship full of Vehicons actually would have been a lot more intriguing, though I suppose the ship sailed on that when they randomly tossed Tankor into Dark Cybertron. It's a shame that they didn't think through their long-term plans more thoroughly, because he, Rattrap, Rhinox, Sky-Byte and Waspinator could have been used to great effect as a lead-in to exploring the colonies if they'd actually known they were going to do that when they first had them show up. Instead some of the most popular non-G1 characters are already hanging around, dampening the impact of what really should have been a huge, universe-expanding moment for the IDWverse.

They've also completely forgotten about the NAILs haven't they? The current fuss is all about the 13 colonies even though when the series started the Cybertronians were scattered all over the galaxy, with presumably a lot more still out there. The neutrals who came home are basically treated as either Autobots or Decepticons as default now.


That was foreshadowed well, though, and I didn't even think it was particularly clunky. Everything you needed to know about Impactor was right there on the page, so when he showed up even a newbie reader knew why it was a big deal. Whereas Elita is eye-roll-worthy grimdark nonsense if you don't know who she is, or a complete non-sequitur if for those of us who know that her entire personality is "Optmus's girlfriend".

It was a little forced in that despite being in the comic for years neither Kup or Springer had eveer mentioned this hugely important character in Springer's past until thirty seconds before he showed up. But then, considering the mini-series format and how shite the editing was at the time it could never have been done any other way really.

This has no excuse.


That would be a great idea, actually. It would probably cost Hasbro less, and avoid the embarrassing problems that some of the Dark Cybertron pack-in issues had. Plus it would let them reach a wider audience, at least in theory, by including the download codes with the international figures and not just the US-market ones.

Yeah, as I've said before I'm amazed Hasbro don't take more advantage of the fact that most of the toys target audience (or at least their parents) have smart phones that could scan those square things to bring up all sorts of easy to make added bonuses. Profiles, cartoon clips (whole episodes!), comics and so on. It always feels like a missed opportunity.

Warcry
2015-07-03, 06:09 PM
You could forgive Dark Cybertron some of its oddities considering it was attempting something that neither IDW or Hasbro had tried to that extent before, but here it seems they hadn't learnt from any of its lessons (which I should say were "Go back to doing standalone Spotlights as the pack-ins").
You're quite right I suppose, standalone spotlight issues would make way more sense both from IDW's perspective (not hijacking their ongoing series) and a Hasbro one (a lot less communication and micromanagement to worry about). They could just say "give us a story starring Vroom to go with his new toy" and IDW can just do it without worrying about the fact that he got killed off in the background of Spotlight Guzzle five years before, or trying to make sense of him being a Pretender when that gimmick seems to have been pretty well written off in the IDWverse.

And for stuff like Combiner Wars, they could still make a miniseries of it if they want to, but they could just as easily make it out-of-continuity so that they can concentrate on the characters/setting Hasbro wants instead of dancing around 200 ongoing IDW plotlines as well.

There's nothing to say Elita isn't a Camien is there? She's currently a woman on a spaceship, she could be from anywhere. Though everything else still stands as a valid point.
I think she's on a Titan actually, since Metroplex's space bridge dropped the Combiners on that ship and only the Titans seem to have receivers. Which would certainly imply she's from a different colony than Caminus, which still has its' Titan.

They've also completely forgotten about the NAILs haven't they? The current fuss is all about the 13 colonies even though when the series started the Cybertronians were scattered all over the galaxy, with presumably a lot more still out there. The neutrals who came home are basically treated as either Autobots or Decepticons as default now.
I've completely forgotten them too, so I can't blame IDW too much. The fact that none of them bar Metalhawk got any characterization and only a handful were even named really made it impossible to take them seriously. I guess they're all "Starscream's people" now, anyway.

It was a little forced in that despite being in the comic for years neither Kup or Springer had eveer mentioned this hugely important character in Springer's past until thirty seconds before he showed up. But then, considering the mini-series format and how shite the editing was at the time it could never have been done any other way really.
Was Springer really an important character before Wreckers, though? He was around in Stormbringer, AHM and a few spotlights, but Spotlight: Kup is the only issue that he got a lot of focus in. I guess a mention of how he's trying to save Kup from himself because he failed to save Impactor could be shoehorned in there, in a hypothetical world where they planned everything from day one. But on a scale from zero to Prowl suddenly becoming an evil manipulator for no reason after five years of being a boring rulebook-lover, Impactor ranks pretty low for me when it comes to retcons.

Yeah, as I've said before I'm amazed Hasbro don't take more advantage of the fact that most of the toys target audience (or at least their parents) have smart phones that could scan those square things to bring up all sorts of easy to make added bonuses. Profiles, cartoon clips (whole episodes!), comics and so on. It always feels like a missed opportunity.
You're right, that would be a great way to market the toys. Anything that ties in with the new-media stuff that kids these days are consuming would be a wonderful added hook.

I always figured that a "Skylanders" approach would be good too -- have a Transformers game (maybe even a free-to-play one) where new characters are unlocked when you buy their toys and put in the unique code they come with.

inflatable dalek
2015-07-04, 01:27 PM
You're quite right I suppose, standalone spotlight issues would make way more sense both from IDW's perspective (not hijacking their ongoing series) and a Hasbro one (a lot less communication and micromanagement to worry about). They could just say "give us a story starring Vroom to go with his new toy" and IDW can just do it without worrying about the fact that he got killed off in the background of Spotlight Guzzle five years before, or trying to make sense of him being a Pretender when that gimmick seems to have been pretty well written off in the IDWverse.

Absolutely. I think the main argument against continuing Spotlights was that some of the characters were too obscure to make a comic that would see around them. Which ignores both the subsidising by Hasbro and the fact you can throw in promonet guest roles for better know Transformers (which is basically what Spotlight Hoist did, IIRC all the covers made it look like a Metroplex comic).

Plus, then you can do Beast/Unicron Trilogy/Original RID stories without any fuss or bother, it's a shame for people who really like those other franchises (though I suspect as far we we're all concerned we're just talking Beast Wars) that they've been subjugated to G1 now.

Mind, I'm still amazed IDW had the rights to do tie in comics to the most successful film of 2014 and didn't bother. It's like they suddenly hate money.


I think she's on a Titan actually, since Metroplex's space bridge dropped the Combiners on that ship and only the Titans seem to have receivers. Which would certainly imply she's from a different colony than Caminus, which still has its' Titan.

Ah, got you. I managed to completely miss that. The THRONE OF HEADS ELITA ONE IS HARDCORE thing must have distracted me.


I've completely forgotten them too, so I can't blame IDW too much. The fact that none of them bar Metalhawk got any characterization and only a handful were even named really made it impossible to take them seriously. I guess they're all "Starscream's people" now, anyway.

Maybe they're the ones who are actually happy with Starscream's rule? It's still a flaw of the comic that everyone we meet thinks he's a terrible leader but they don't just get rid of him.


But on a scale from zero to Prowl suddenly becoming an evil manipulator for no reason after five years of being a boring rulebook-lover, Impactor ranks pretty low for me when it comes to retcons.

Oh absolutely, it's worked out great in the long run. Poor old Xaaron wishes someone would pay him that level of love.


You're right, that would be a great way to market the toys. Anything that ties in with the new-media stuff that kids these days are consuming would be a wonderful added hook.

I always figured that a "Skylanders" approach would be good too -- have a Transformers game (maybe even a free-to-play one) where new characters are unlocked when you buy their toys and put in the unique code they come with.


Yeah, I'm amazed they don't do things like bringing Robot Points back so that kids can get an Itunes credit for an episode of the current cartoon everytime they buy a toy. That would help with the erratic broadcast of the series outside of the States as well.

I'm also baffled- considering it's such a big expensive (and, to be euphamistic, "Child Friendly" in its design) toy- that Devastator hasn't been stuck in the new RID cartoon. Old farts/the comics could treat it as the G1 version, but that might actually encourage children to ask for it as they're big Christmas present.

tahukanuva
2015-07-04, 02:32 PM
I always figured that a "Skylanders" approach would be good too -- have a Transformers game (maybe even a free-to-play one) where new characters are unlocked when you buy their toys and put in the unique code they come with.

The new RiD toys do exactly this. You scan their badges and unlock them for play in the app game. It even distinguishes between size classes for unclear reasons.

inflatable dalek
2015-07-05, 07:22 PM
The new RiD toys do exactly this. You scan their badges and unlock them for play in the app game. It even distinguishes between size classes for unclear reasons.


Excellent, it's good they're finally listening to me.

inflatable dalek
2015-07-09, 07:07 PM
Well somebody must have liked this as it's going to be adapted into a "Web Series" cartoon.

I know, I know. Toys.

Though considering how involved it is with the ongoing plots, presumably any adaptation is going to have to be very lose with it. Plus combiner fights should actually work in animation.

Maybe they could put the actual Protectobots in it?