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Red Dave Prime
2016-07-20, 10:07 AM
Itunes Preview time!

Before I go, on reflection I think MTMTE 54 set up one of the best cliffhangers I've seen in the IDW comics. There was a multitude of outcomes and whether by plan or luck (or likely a mix of both) so many seemed plausible. Would Tarn shoot Overlord instead, after seeing glimpse of Megatrons return? Was it the cannons Whirl had fixed but hadnt used yet? Maybe Deathsauras turned on the two other cons? Or something else? Plenty of options for Roberts to use and so may would have had grounds to be acceptable.

Anyway, here's the link. I like what he did, didn't see it coming and I like where its going.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/transformers-more-than-meets/id1135625559?mt=11

Red Dave Prime
2016-07-20, 03:55 PM
So, from some of what we see it it makes the whole mutiny by Getaway look a lot more reasonable - the plan would have appeared to be that he would give over Megs to the Galactic council and there was no plan to involve the DJD. And this makes more sense that the rest of the crew followed him - they wanted rid of megs (and maybe see him killed) and kinda wanted rid of the Rodimus crew as well for the many other reasons that had many of the crew ready to leave anyway.

It also clears up Overlords repair and why he appeared some what out of nowhere. Good work overall on all this. It ties up some of the issues that were nagging in a perfectly sensible way. Well almost. Why would the Galactic Council feel the need to repair Overlord to get Megatron? They would surely have the tech to take him out on their own. I can only assume they wanted Megatron to die at the hands of another Transformer to carry on the bad rep of the cybertronian race as a bunch of murdering savages

Patapsco
2016-07-24, 03:13 PM
well, another page was added to the preview and...

http://i.imgur.com/FFzr3O1.jpg

Deathsaurus succumbs to the conscience bomb and pulls everyone back, Overlord is all "got mine, f*** you" and leaves, meaning its up to Tarn, Helex, Vos and Tessie to finish the job

Red Dave Prime
2016-07-24, 11:47 PM
Given one of the things mentioned in the issue preview was the decepticon call to battle (you are being deceived)... is it possible that Megatron is playing coward to get Tarn alone (or at least just down to the DJD)?

I'm hoping this spells the end of the DJD as a plot point. Not necessarily that they die but it would be good if the others abandoned Tarn for the same reason nikel does.

Or just see the Lost light take these guys down. Still possible the LL shows up after Getaway realises he has been scammed

Red Dave Prime
2016-07-27, 12:29 PM
Well, that was unexpected, but damn did I enjoy this issue.

Sure, a few stretching of ideas here and there but overall very satisfying end to season 2 and another good cliffhanger to lead us into the Lost Light series.

Major spoiler below

So... Tarn is ****ing Glitch! Did not see that coming at all. I actually had to go back to check the little we see of glitch (shadowplays bank heist) and even then I still couldnt quite get the link. I suppose there is some pointers in hindsight. Glitch maybe learned to speak to individual parts of a transformer which allows him to switch off an opponents spark.

And even though Skids clearly doesnt know who Tarn is, Tarn did seem overly familiar with him in issues 48/49 (although that would have worked if it was Roller too)

We also know that Tarn was heavily rebuilt from the little glimpse in issue 39. But still. How could anyone have guessed this, especially without so many clues hinting to roller.

Enter Thisisunicron. He guessed it a year ago. Well done that man. Click here for the proof https://www.reddit.com/r/idwtransformers/comments/2ym51h/personal_theory_on_the_identity_of_tarn_spoilers/

I did love the Roller reveal though. Just when it seemed like We would see Tran revealed as Roller we get the cutback to the real roller - Had to say, I laughed at that. Very well done.

I'd be curious if we will get a flashback to anything more on Tarn/glitch. I'd still be curious on the hows and whys of it. But the overall impact of this to me was that Tarn was exposed as the sham he was. A Pale imitation of Megatron who begged for mercy despite never showing any. As good a death a villain should get.

And RIP Ravage. The little shot of Soundwave was heartfelt and was an odd callback to the similar scene in remain in light


I thought this was all really good. A very good end and as good a spot as any to end the series.

Patapsco
2016-07-27, 01:36 PM
As Marge Simpson once said: "It's an ending. That's enough"

Patapsco
2016-07-27, 06:30 PM
So how can something so densely plotted, so character rich end up feeling so unsatisfying? That's the main issue I have with this arc, and this issue in particular. It hits the right beats, it gets you right in the feels (read pages 16-18 and try not to feel anything), it's twists and turns in this issue are many and logical within the context of the story but.... that's not enough.

There was precisely no tension at all, and that all boils down to this: in a fight between 500 Decepticons and the 20-ish Lost Lighters, the 20 odd inflict dozens of casualties and fatalities whereas one Lost Lighter bites it at the hand of the enemy. I've said it before but there are multiple instances where one of the more principle characters can die and Roberts has failed to pull the trigger and he's backed away from it. Oh, sure, Skids died but he willingly sacrificed himself for the greater good. And somehow 500 Decepticons could only manage to dismember Ravage? Get. The. F***. Out.

With that said, I'm genuinely glad that pretty much every dangling plot thread got tied up, genuinely didn't like Terminus, Roller et al coming back from the dead, liked Tarn's reveal to be Glitch, didn't like that most of the cast got relegated to background fodder for most of the issue.

However... somehow, some way Roberts should be recognised with some sort of proper award not dished out by a website (sorry Comics Alliance) for the way he's written Megatron in this season. Again, just my view, but he's the best written Transformers character in any fiction by such a large margin, but one of the best characters in comics today and I think that that should be noted and recognised outside of the Big 2 studios

inflatable dalek
2016-07-27, 07:59 PM
Last month it was Brexit keeping me distracted from a full write up, now it's honest-Your-Current-SIM-Will-Fit-In-Your-New-Phone-We're-Not-Wrong-Like-Last-Time-Oh-No!-it. Random thoughts, some pulled from conversations with other people:





I think there's no finer example of James' skill as a writer than the Tarn reveal. On paper there's no way it should have worked. If it's Roller it's an anticlimax because we all guessed. If it's just some guy it's an anticlimax because why make it a mystery? But an epic rug pull made it awesome. And moving.

And for an expected bloodbath, we actually wound up with many more minus fatalities as the final score. And a happy ending!

Not sure about the Nightbeat/Rung/Titans lead in yet. Though it did make me wonder if James has read Ringworld (just a few weeks after I thought the same about Budiansky on the blog), I expected Rung to go "You can learn a lot about a world from studying its underside.." (and perhaps more to the point in the second book they briefly fly under the map of Earth on the way to Mars and see home the wrong way up. And the Ringworld was built by what turns out to be the ancestors of humanity...).

I assume the Geo Bomb was the Other Means the GC were looking at at the start?

Oh, and though we all guessed the crew weren't fully aware of Getaway's plan, I don't think any of us thought even he didn't know the DJD were coming.

Ahhhh, we thought it was a bit contrived Overlord just happened to turn up when and where he did, when it was the DJD who were there by coincidence!

And the Necrobot was a nice man all along. I'm not sure why the DJD didn't go for the "Organics" the first time they were there though. Unless they thought they'd wait whilst they went to get Vos dealt with? Presumably they weren't fooled or they wouldn't have come back.

Actually, what woke the sleepers up?

And I never thought for a second that Ravage would really die. The cut to Soundwave was brilliantly done as well. I actually like how Roberts (as with Pipes back in Overlord) decides to focus on a small number of death's and make you feel them rather than the big blood bath battle. Skids never got to find out his pal Roller survived!

And of course, the lovely ambuiguity over what Ravage was actually asking for at the end there.

So, season 3 (or LL season 1. What is the form here?) is indeed going to be Red Dwarf VI. Which is about the only prediction I made I actually got right! Only Team Rodimus is going to be quite a bit larger...

Actually, is this where I point out that James wrote on my copy of issue 50 that season 3 was going to be entirely based around the Pete two parter? EXCLUSIVE.

Auntie Slag
2016-07-27, 08:46 PM
Sue effing perb!



I loved the pacing of this, the reveals (Tarns identity, what Megatron was doing in his room all this time, the pixel perfect entrance made by Roller). Ravage's dialogue was brilliant and Megatron was willing to go full retard inside the bubble and send himself to kingdom come along with the DJD. Loved the wordless exchange he shared with Rodimus.Brainstorm being put in his place was awesome. Megatron has styled himself on Terminus all this time, they look like brothers. Also, Lieutenant Terminus got new legs!

My only criticism is that the DJD didn't get to fight Megatron. Action scenes were minimised, and even though what happened to each team member was brutal, it felt like a case of 'skip to the end' rather than any full-on ruck (I couldn't even make out what was happening to Tesarus).Is this the first time we've seen Megatron use his anti-matter ability since issue 103 of the Marvel UK series? And the Megatron hug was so cool.

I've a few questions:


How did Glitch/Demus come to leave Pax?
Is the last briefcase now fried?
How did the Necrobot work out that a seemingly empty briefcase was in a fact a time-travel device?
General Neech on Page 1 has facial scarring similar to Tarn, there must be a Transformer-related reason for that!
What's Overlord's motivation now he doesn't need Megatron any more? Will he go on a reading holiday?
In the Roller reveal, standing to the left of him is a Decepticon. I wonder how that guy is going to react and why he went missing in the first place?
Loved the table-flip, referencing Issue 1 and Prowl's tendency to do that. I wonder if that's a link to the fact that Prowl is a knockoff (the penultimate issue of Remain in Light), could Prowl be a knockoff derived from Megatron?

Terome
2016-07-27, 09:05 PM
Loved it. Very satisfying. Lots to talk about. Can't now as am working to a deadline.

Auntie Slag
2016-07-27, 09:16 PM
Yeah, in terms of all the TF comics going back over the years where the finale proclaims 'This one... has it all', 'Nothing will ever be the same' etc. This was very satisfying. Lots of content, lovely colouring, no speech bubbles attributed to the wrong character...


Although I'd have thought a DJD member would go down defiantly yelling "**** you, Megatron", rather than a slightly effeminate "Aaaiieee".


A proper classic issue of MTMTE.

Patapsco
2016-07-27, 09:18 PM
Wow, it turns out that I'm reading a different book to everyone else! Who'd a thought it?

Selkadoom
2016-07-27, 09:28 PM
I'm normally not the biggest voice in the comics sphere here (My usual abscence and long sporadic gaps between posts attest to this) But after reading this issue, and with the utterly delightful lead up into it. I would say that falling flat is a bit of an understatement. It had so much potential to be great but relied far too heavily on assumptions and coincidences regarding Megatrons master plan not to mention the utter flop of his confrontation with the DJD. All I ask is that we have an actual fight between Megatron and Tarn, but instead, it was just wave my hands and make you begone, and any sense of dramatic tension the arc still had for me.

In regards to the necrobots little secret. There's a term out there that can describe it but I'll be damned if I can find it.

All in all, while this comic had some superb art and dialogue, the rest of this issue felt subpar at best.

Auntie Slag
2016-07-27, 09:34 PM
Everyone’s opinion is valid, though. Despite loving this issue I do agree with some of the things you’ve said; the deaths have left me rather non-plussed, I still think somehow Skids will return.

I feel like the action is usually compromised and epic battles scuppered by a long brewing plot device or three. How I wish they could ditch the wanky advertising in the back of the book. Seven pages are lost to it, imagine how much extra could have been shown in this issue i.e. space for fighting/scrapping!

Or failing that (or perhaps preferring it) I’d have loved a text story at the end.

Even with such gripes I still think this is a top job.

Patapsco
2016-07-27, 09:43 PM
The high water mark for me are The One Where They Go To Earth and The Not Knowing, and this doesn't come close to either of those. I think most of my main complaints are that all of the tension was drained in order to tie up the loose ends. I mean, did anyone really think that Brainstorm or Rodimus or Cyclonus or Chromedome or Rewind or Megatron were really going to get offed? We were promised a shift in the status quo, and what we got was an influx of new characters to throw into the background, a removal of five boogeymen and replaced them with one bogeyman and one bogeyorganisation (it's a word). It felt... lazy I suppose.

But as I said in my main post, pages 16-18 are absolute superb, and the arc's had high points, but the flaws in the writing are there for all to see, and they've been there through the whole season

Auntie Slag
2016-07-27, 10:13 PM
The one where they go to Earth; is that the one about Swerve that has the Cheers introduction?

The Not Knowing one I'm a bit lost as to which issue that is.

But if we're going for high watermarks I'd definitely say the Hostage story from issue 6 (Fort Max, Whirl and Rung), and Shadowplay remains up there too. Then the Scavengers two-parter, which also introduced the DJD.

Part of me wonders if its because the early issues are so brilliant, or whether its because I've done far less re-reading post Dark Cybertron that I'm quite hazy on the Second Season.

I'd dig some more Pax right about now!

Red Dave Prime
2016-07-27, 11:27 PM
The issue of the somewhat lacklustre battle is a common issue for MTMTE for meand I've kinda accepted it. I'd see it as a flaw but its a flaw by choice from the writer. Roberts seems to want to focus less on the pyrotechnics and more on the sparks between his characters and to be honest, for the most part thats fine.

But every now and again, a bit more action wouldnt go astray. I felt it in The overlord breaks out issue where I thought the battle between Magnus and overlord should have had a few more panels to even things up would have helped and a few more panels of Overlord running wild would have cemented how dangerous he was.

Similarly here, I think a bit more could have been made of when the Autobots start to loose their powers. As they were all so cocky, I think it would have been a great scene if one or two let their over-confidence get the best of them and had them destroyed by the cons. I think Roberts was aiming for quality over quantity in terms of his deaths but the fact that the cons killed no-one made them seem like less of a threat and did take from the drama. Swerve, Ten, Drift, Whirl - anyone of these would have made an excellent sacrifice.

I must say, I didnt mind the DJD being taken down so easily. I've always thought that they were always way more about their own hype. Not weaklings but what we were shown of them didnt imply that they were as invincilbe as their legend indicated and I think that was perhaps the intention of Roberts. The Alt-Lost Light bit can be explained away in many ways. Otherwise, their victims almost defeated themselves by believing the myth (a bit like the fandom if I'm honest)

But overall, this has been a superb 5 issue arc imo. Some bits could have been done different to my own tastes but each issue has felt solid and relevant. Great stuff. Thinking about it, it's redeemed a lot of the folly of season 2 (dont get me wrong, I've enjoyed it, but it had some serious dips) I'd love to hear what the plans where before the events of Dark Cybertron put Megs into Roberts cast because its worked so well I wonder was this always the plan to bring him to the lost light.

Also @Slag - that Prowl/ Megatron thing has legs. Both are manipulators, both dont quite fit the idealogy they are linked to, both are presented as master planners and both like to flip tables.

Selkadoom
2016-07-28, 02:44 AM
I suppose I can concede that I think the DJD were as feared as they were because they had gotten psych warfare down and even could have conceded having the other three go down easily but... There just feels like such an enormus missed oppurtunity betwen Megs and Tarn to dish out philosophy while they traded blows.

Maybe its the fact I was a marm for Tarn because the second I saw him I just fell in love with the concept of a bot utterly zealotus the point of becoming the worst kind of monstwr for a cause that originally held such good behind it. And the sudden reveal that he was more of a Megatron stalker then a Decepticon zealot, while founded... Just seems to gave really undercut what made the char so interesting. Again maybe this is just bitter griping but, missed opportunities abound.

tahukanuva
2016-07-28, 04:00 AM
I really don't understand the complaints about the lack of main cast deaths in this comic. We've lost a pretty fair amount of the regulars this season, including Ravage, one of the few main cast members to be inportant pre-MtMtE, but still "more people should have died". No one does this with other comics. You don't expect to lose an Aquaman or a Martian Manhunter every single Justice League arc. There's like, 3,000 X-Men and even they kill off main cast members more sparingly than Roberts. Why would you even want to lose more main dudes? That means you can't use them in any more stories! Such a weird complaint.

Warcry
2016-07-28, 04:17 AM
It had so much potential to be great but relied far too heavily on assumptions and coincidences regarding Megatrons master plan
I have to agree.

As a guy who writes a lot, I know that sometimes a writer has a bit of an "oh shit" moment and realizes he's going to need to pull something from his ass in order to make a plot work out the way he wants it to. It's unfortunate, but it happens, and I try not to judge it too harshly if what's going on around it was entertaining. But this issue was nothing but ass-pulls.

Megatron has Trailbreaker's forcefield thingy! Which was never hinted at!

Megatron can use his black hole connection for a power source! Which was never hinted at!

Megatron has actually never been able to use his black hole power before and has been trying since his conversion to do it! Which actually goes against an offhand comment of Ratchet's (I think?) in an earlier issue!

Rewind found a magic guilt weapon! Because why bother writing a couple more panels of dialogue showing Deathsaurus and Nickel coming to their senses when a deus ex machina will do?

Overlord ****ed off because potato, after contributing nothing to the arc at all other than a couple quips and a spread page! Because the guy who murders for fun suddenly has no interest in getting revenge on the Autobots who shot him into space and ruined his life's mission of fighting Megatron to the death!

The Necrobot has Brainstorm's time machine! Which was never hinted at!

You can use a single briefcase as a time machine! Which goes against the whole previously described concept of the thing!

After years of buildup and hints, Tarn turns out to be...some random background guy! Even though that guy had a completely different superpower and zero motivation for joining the Decepticons!

Roller and Terminus and a bunch of other nobodies are magically alive! Because all the Necrobot needed to convince him to change the life he'd been devoted to for millions of years was one self-absorbed lecture from Nightbeat!

And like I said, a few of those in the issue would have been forgivable. But practically every second page there was another eyeroll-inducing "really?" moment. It's a testament to Roberts' ability to make his characters engaging that the issue was still entertaining in spite of that. And you know, I don't think I actually blame him for this. This issue felt like someone pulling the emergency chute on a year's worth of plot and reveals all at once so that all the loose ends are tied up for a corporate-mandated crossover and "new start". Which, as we all know, is exactly what's going to happen in a couple months' time.

If this is actually how Roberts planned to have it all end...well, if it is, he'd be a hack, and I don't think he is. But if this is him rushing to tie everything up on short notice, well, it could have been a lot worse (see Furman, S. and Revelations...) and the fact that it holds together as well as it does would be a minor miracle. It's a real shame it couldn't have ended better, and the increased meddling we've seen from Hasbro over the last few years really doesn't make me feel all that inclined to invest in the successor book. After all, given past patterns all we've got to look forward to more of the same because some suit in Pawtucket as got it in their head that the scant few thousand people who read the books are going to be brainwashed into going out and buy a Fortress Maximus after they torpedoed a popular ongoing narrative to shill him.

It was a find ride while it lasted, but Hasbro seem to be doing their absolute best to strangle it. I don't know if I can muster the energy to care about what comes next, I really don't.

There was precisely no tension at all, and that all boils down to this: in a fight between 500 Decepticons and the 20-ish Lost Lighters, the 20 odd inflict dozens of casualties and fatalities whereas one Lost Lighter bites it at the hand of the enemy. I've said it before but there are multiple instances where one of the more principle characters can die and Roberts has failed to pull the trigger and he's backed away from it. Oh, sure, Skids died but he willingly sacrificed himself for the greater good. And somehow 500 Decepticons could only manage to dismember Ravage? Get. The. F***. Out.
It's even worse than you think! Because the one and only person they actually managed to kill was a fellow Decepticon.

That's right, a five hundred strong army of Decepticon badasses and they didn't even manage to kill a single person wearing an Autobot badge.

However... somehow, some way Roberts should be recognised with some sort of proper award not dished out by a website (sorry Comics Alliance) for the way he's written Megatron in this season. Again, just my view, but he's the best written Transformers character in any fiction by such a large margin, but one of the best characters in comics today and I think that that should be noted and recognised outside of the Big 2 studios
Can't argue with this. The way Megatron was written over the last thirtyish issues was, honestly, amazing. And considering all the eye-rolling that the readership did when it was announced, it's equally amazing just how well received the whole thing has been.

I think Roberts was aiming for quality over quantity in terms of his deaths but the fact that the cons killed no-one made them seem like less of a threat and did take from the drama. Swerve, Ten, Drift, Whirl - anyone of these would have made an excellent sacrifice.
The choice of who to kill off really seemed odd to me too. I mean, Skids can **** off and all, but it really seemed like the character was going to play a big role in the resolution of the Knights arc. I did a little happy dance when he died, but narratively it seemed like an odd call. And Ravage likewise...he was the only one of the newcomers post-Dark Cybertron who managed to get fully fleshed out or to really feel like a member of the crew instead of an awkwardly pasted in appendix. Assuming his new Titans Return toy doesn't mandate an immediate return to life, it's a shame to lose him.

Ravage's death felt a bit odd to me too, because his injuries certainly didn't seem any more severe than...well, than a whole host of people in earlier Roberts-penned issues who easily survived. People have been torn in half or had their faces shot off with barely any comment, but Ravage dies from it? I get that it's a "rule of drama" sort of thing, but honestly the death didn't work dramatically either because the push towards darkness that it gave Megatron was instantly cancelled out by Terminus walking in the door.

I really don't understand the complaints about the lack of main cast deaths in this comic. We've lost a pretty fair amount of the regulars this season, including Ravage, one of the few main cast members to be inportant pre-MtMtE, but still "more people should have died". No one does this with other comics. You don't expect to lose an Aquaman or a Martian Manhunter every single Justice League arc. There's like, 3,000 X-Men and even they kill off main cast members more sparingly than Roberts. Why would you even want to lose more main dudes? That means you can't use them in any more stories! Such a weird complaint.
I don't think the problem is a lack of deaths per se. I think the problem is constantly putting the lead characters into situations where it makes zero sense for everyone to get out alive and then having them do just that, along with the perpetual "end an issue making it look like a main character is dead, only to immediately back out" BS.

If you don't want to kill characters then don't, but don't constantly pretend like you're going to, then back out at the last second while going "ha ha, fooled you!"

Patapsco
2016-07-28, 06:00 AM
The one where they go to Earth; is that the one about Swerve that has the Cheers introduction?

The Not Knowing one I'm a bit lost as to which issue that is.



yeah, the One Where They Go To Earth is the sitcom world one with Swerve. The Not Knowing is their first trip to Necroworld

inflatable dalek
2016-07-28, 06:32 AM
I'm surprised so many people are saying there are ass pulls here, I think just about every plot device used in this story was established in advance. In some case, years in advance (not intentionally in some cases of course, but prior moments are used well to make it work). To take the one m'learned friend Warcry mentions...


Megatron has Trailbreaker's forcefield thingy! Which was never hinted at!

Except when he was holding Trailbreaker's forcefield hand after he died in what we were clearly meant to think was a touching moment of grief (and probably was, what I love about this is as genuine as Megatron is he's also paranoid enough to make sure he's crazy prepared), grabbing the briefcase show's he's keen to half inch any thing that might be useful as well.

Megatron can use his black hole connection for a power source! Which was never hinted at!

Mentioned as a rumour about Megatron in the very first solo comic Roberts wrote, and brought up by Ratchet (who was paranoid about it) early in season 2. So the truth seems to be he's been trying a long time to crack it, but it's only post the work Shockwave did on him that provided a breakthrough and he just needed an anchor and a lot of concentration to achieve it. Along with a few mentions (mainly one from Ravage) about Megs sitting alone in his room and meditating a lot. Megs stomach cramps through the story are explained now as well.

Plus, it's a Tec Spec power! With visual callback to a thirty year old story! You should love that Mr. "Wither the Reak Skids?" ;)


Rewind found a magic guilt weapon! Because why bother writing a couple more panels of dialogue showing Deathsaurus and Nickel coming to their senses when a deus ex machina will do?

The guilt weapon that brought them all to the planet in the first place, the plot device that got them into this mess helping to get them out of it is fairly solid symmetrical writing, and it's actually annoying me that it didn't occur to me to me sooner that would be an option.


The Necrobot has Brainstorm's time machine! Which was never hinted at!

Apparently (and I've forgotten it) I guessed the briefcase had been hidden on Necroworld so it must have been hinted somewhere! And the Necrobot's "portable apothecary" was mentioned way back in issue 30.

You can use a single briefcase as a time machine! Which goes against the whole previously described concept of the thing!

Now I'd agree that's a stretch, I'm happy to allow the Necrobot has access to crazy advanced tech and so could have made it work with his already basically magic teleport system, but it could perhaps have done with a line.

After years of buildup and hints, Tarn turns out to be...some random background guy! Even though that guy had a completely different superpower and zero motivation for joining the Decepticons!

I think it worked for the excellent bait and switch, ultimately (and Tarn told us himself!) his past life really didn't matter. It's also a variation on the heroes of other stories theme that's been a recurring one throughout MTMTE, the one where two characters we don't know got a eulogy post Overlord and two other fellows sorted the Personality Ticks before Nightbeat. This is the villainous variant.

It was really about Ratchet and Megatron getting their lost friends (and some other guys!) back.

Roller and Terminus and a bunch of other nobodies are magically alive! Because all the Necrobot needed to convince him to change the life he'd been devoted to for millions of years was one self-absorbed lecture from Nightbeat!

After what was probably the only conversation the Necrobot had had in centuries though.

I think the only really valid complaints for ass pulls (though they don't hugely bother me) are Overlord deciding to leave--though of course he knows the GC are going to blow up the planet if things aren't sorted soon and so has a motive to run and not tell a bunch of people he doesn't care about once the super forcefield went up and it clearly wasn't going to be over soon-- so he can be in stories another day (Springer is going to be so high on his list for a word) and the forcefield around the Necrobot's palace itself. Otherwise, every blooming thing was foreshadowed in some way or another, either on purpose or Roberts looking through old issues and going "Ahhh, that's a thing I can build on here a lot".

I think you could argue that after Dying of the Light was pushed as a story casual passing buyers could jump in for it's somewhat unfair on them as it's really a grand finale that depends on not only having read but paid attention, but as what's basically the last issue that's fair enough.

And AHO was far more accessible and far bloody worse (though in fairness the final part was more solid, it just floundered in the middle badly).

On the Hasbro mandate slowing ruining things side... Hard to argue that's not a very strong worry, especially if we get more toy promotions and "Hasbro Shared Universe" crossovers. If outside constraints force LL (and OP) into being much worse comics that will be a shame, but I think MTMTE managed to keep its head above the parapet and at the end was probably the most consistantly good TF comic we've ever had, with the best of it being genuinely some of the best stuff I've ever read. And the worse (hello Indie Disco! Actually, in terms of criticisms I don't think I said that playing of Tarn's theme last issue really didn't work at all for the same reason the disco didn't, comics are a mute medium!) never being less than very solid.

If you don't want to kill characters then don't, but don't constantly pretend like you're going to, then back out at the last second while going "ha ha, fooled you!"

Whilst I agree with you that has been a problem, most recently with Cyclonus when Tailgate went odd, I don't think that applies here does it. Allowing for the fact the Megatron cliffhanger was very obviously meant to make you think "So who's really shooting?" rather than "OGM MEGS IS DEAD!" (and of course, the actual reveal did subvert that expectation of it being someone running to the rescue) I don't think there was a single "HE'S DEAD!...ohhh...wait he's not" moment. Lots of "Are they going to die???!" moments but nothing where you think the axe has actually fallen.

Patapsco
2016-07-28, 01:41 PM
If you have to go back through a Wiki article and over a dozen back issues to read the current arc and have it make sense, that either requires the reader to have amazing attention to EVERY SINGLE DETAIL or it's bad writing. I'm going with the latter, and I actually enjoyed the arc, but not as much as it was hyped or I'd hoped. As I've said before, MtMtE seems less to be a comic but more about how much smarter than the average writer Roberts seems to think he is

Warcry
2016-07-28, 04:29 PM
Except when he was holding Trailbreaker's forcefield hand after he died in what we were clearly meant to think was a touching moment of grief
Except that the entire...well, whole body of Roberts' writing to date makes a big deal about how Outliers are special and their powers are inherent and unique, and now suddenly Megatron is playing Heavy Metal War and plugging someone else's ability into his body without any real difficulty aside from "how is he powering it?" Which completely cuts the knees out from the whole concept of Outliers. Roberts was trying to make them like the X-Men to answer the "why can't everyone teleport and use forcefields, then?" question, but the whole thing is for naught when it turns out that, hey, any random guy can do that if you give him the gear and the juice! So what was the point?

Mentioned as a rumour about Megatron in the very first solo comic Roberts wrote, and brought up by Ratchet (who was paranoid about it) early in season 2.
Yes, which I mentioned as well -- Megatron is supposed to already be able to do this! But that's not the specific nit I was picking. I'm complaining about him using the antimatter -- which is described everywhere, including this very issue, as a "destroy the whole planet!" type of ability -- as a power source. It's a weapon, not a battery, and unless Shockwave accidentally connected him to the Enterprise's warp core while making his new body he shouldn't be able to magically use it as a power source without major, major body modifications.

The guilt weapon that brought them all to the planet in the first place, the plot device that got them into this mess helping to get them out of it is fairly solid symmetrical writing, and it's actually annoying me that it didn't occur to me to me sooner that would be an option.
The reason it didn't occur to you is that they haven't mentioned it or acknowledged it for the last six months, even while desperately searching the place for weapons to use to defend themselves from the DJD. That's not symmetrical or "clever", it's lazy.

I think it worked for the excellent bait and switch, ultimately (and Tarn told us himself!) his past life really didn't matter. It's also a variation on the heroes of other stories theme that's been a recurring one throughout MTMTE, the one where two characters we don't know got a eulogy post Overlord and two other fellows sorted the Personality Ticks before Nightbeat. This is the villainous variant.
I'm sorry, no, it's not "excellent". Tarn's identity has been built up as a mystery for four years' worth of stories, almost fifty issues. It's quite possibly the biggest mystery in the whole series, and certainly the biggest one left after Roberts bungled the reveal of who sent the message in issue #1. Whether he turns out to be one of the obvious choices (Roller or Dominus) or someone else, it should make sense. Once the reader finds out who he is, it should be an "aha!" moment as all the puzzle pieces snap together.

But here there's no "aha!" because there's no puzzle pieces, because the whole thing is turned into a cruel joke on people like Knightdramon who've spent countless hours speculating on the character's identity. If Tarn had only debuted for this arc that'd be one thing, but this is right up there with the anticlimactic reveal that the Hobgoblin's secret identity is...actually some guy who died months ago in an unrelated one-shot crossover with Wolverine.

I kind of wonder if Tarn was always meant to be Glitch, or if Roberts had originally conceived of him as Roller or Dominus but changed course once the fandom started to figure it out, just to make it a "surprise".

Whilst I agree with you that has been a problem, most recently with Cyclonus when Tailgate went odd, I don't think that applies here does it. Allowing for the fact the Megatron cliffhanger was very obviously meant to make you think "So who's really shooting?" rather than "OGM MEGS IS DEAD!" (and of course, the actual reveal did subvert that expectation of it being someone running to the rescue) I don't think there was a single "HE'S DEAD!...ohhh...wait he's not" moment. Lots of "Are they going to die???!" moments but nothing where you think the axe has actually fallen.
Fair enough. But once the "whatever, Roberts won't kill anyone important" thought is in people's heads, and has been hammered in so thoroughly (the Cyclonus incident you mentioned being especially egregious...absolutely nobody thought he was dead and he hasn't had more than a couple lines since then), it creeps in on everything. In the hands of a different writer this arc would have been super-tense, but since it's Roberts people have been laughing all throughout about how the 20 Autobots are obviously going to win and come out unscathed. It really guts a story of drama when you know that a writer has a history of putting characters in deadly situations and not following through.

And there's nothing wrong with not wanting to kill off your characters. But once the readers know that a writer doesn't want to kill of his characters, he needs to find alternate sources of drama instead of going back to the old "the cast is in deadly danger but not really!" well.

If you have to go back through a Wiki article and over a dozen back issues to read the current arc and have it make sense, that either requires the reader to have amazing attention to EVERY SINGLE DETAIL or it's bad writing.
Agreed. So often with Roberts' stories people will talk about how plot twist X was hinted at two years ago, or that a throwaway line in issue Y totally foreshadowed what happened in issue Y+15. But that's not how a monthly comic is supposed to work! We read this stuff ages ago, most of us aren't going to remember and if the writing doesn't make it feel natural in the moment, it's going to feel cheap to a lot of readers. And yes, this run will read a lot better in trades. Most of Roberts' issues do. But if the stories are meant to be read in one sitting, bite the bullet and publish them as graphic novels. Don't part them out into bite-sized chunks that don't stand up on their own merits. I know that's an issue with comics in general nowadays rather than just MTMTE, but it's still an issue.

Roberts cut his teeth by writing a novel, and while he's a better writer now his basic style isn't super different now than when he penned Eugenesis. But a novel isn't a comic, and you can't write one while in the mindset of the other. I hate to get all Alan Moore on you, but when it comes to telling a story, the medium you choose is just as important as the words you use and some stories just don't work in a given medium. With Roberts, sometimes it really does feel like he's got a big doorstopper of a prose story in his head that circumstances are forcing him to present in a way that just doesn't do the story any favours at all.

Maybe it's just because I've spent a lot of time reading (really good) comics this year, but seeing what a more experienced hand can do with the medium really throws into stark relief just how many holes Roberts has in his game. Looking at Claremont's X-Men run or, hell, even Furman's 80s UK work, I see writers telling complicated, long-running stories with just as many callbacks and references and hints dropped as Roberts does...but they never, ever leave me feeling lost the way MTMTE has been known to. Even when I drop into random parts of the timeline or only read one part of a bigger crossover, they make sure I know everything I need to understand what's going on in whatever issue I'm reading. And that's something that Roberts, who seems to be increasingly writing with an eye to the big picture rather than the individual issues, has really lost sight of.

A lot of the things that I'm calling out as asspulls would probably work a lot better in a big graphic novel, or a prose book. But when the story is spread out into small bites over half a year, you need to tell it differently in order to make it work.

Auntie Slag
2016-07-28, 06:12 PM
I love all the intricacy and poring back through the issues. Feels fun, detailed and full of meaty goodness for banter in places like this. If I had a choice between MTMTE and G2 levels of details, I'd definitely go for the former.

I've not read a lot of other comics, but I am reading Watchmen at the moment, and I like it and MTMTE equally, even with all the fake out deaths.

However, I'm really interested in your comment about Outliers and how Megatron appropriated Trailcutter's special ability. That does feel rather cheap now you mention it, despite Ravage's comments about Megatron being the smartest guy in the room. Now Megatron's mastered anti-matter AND Ratchet levels of surgery! (although he has spent about two million and two years working on harnessing anti-matter).

There must be a story coming soon about Glitch's heel turn to justify the four year wait. Pax royally screwing him over or something? So even if it stings of cheapness now, maybe this issue isn't the final issue in the TPB.

Auntie Slag
2016-07-28, 06:19 PM
Also, what with Terminus being nearly the spitting image of Megatron, I think Overlord or the Galactic Council are going to blow him to smithereens in a case of mistaken identity. What could possibly send Megatron back into fully Evil Decepticon territory more than seeing his mentor obliterated by organics a smug Phase 6'er?

If he's still the smartest guy in the room he'd insist on Terminus wearing a silly hat or something from this moment on.

Patapsco
2016-07-28, 06:26 PM
I don't mind intricate plots, or callbacks or dense piles of narrative. But if your narrative is so dense, and your call backs so distant that you actually have to tweet "if you're a little lost after the finale, check the Wiki!" you're not doing your job as a writer. In fact you're just telling everyone just how clever you think you are

Auntie Slag
2016-07-28, 06:47 PM
One other thing that bugged me was the panic bubble. "Nothing gets in or out for 30 minutes" (Loosely paraphrased from Trailcutter).

Here though the DJD manage to get inside, and suddenly can't get out again; can Megatron manipulate panic bubbles better than Trailcutter now? When he's this good at everything, there's not much need for other Decepticons, or almost anyone else.

Knightdramon
2016-07-28, 06:48 PM
Briefly touching upon it---I agree with a few points raised and disagree with others.

As a whole, a few things were highlighted in the past, but ever so briefly or fleetingly that it makes sense they only click now.

Megatron's black hole powers were alluded to twice, in passing, by Ratchet. He was also seen holding Trailbreaker's hand when he left the morgue, although that was a bit too convenient [so nobody at the burial noticed that he was missing a hand?].

Other things make sense retroactively, but you have to really think about them.

Overlord leaving made sense. In every single appearance that we have him fighting Autobots and/or Decepticons, he does so to be noticed by Megatron, or to escape a ship of Autobots and head for killing Megatron. He wants to kill Megatron because Megatron has been the absolute bully in Overlord's life. Overlord is a top-tier Cybertronian both in mind and body, but he's always kept under check and intimidated by Megatron. His satisfaction in life would stem from making the universe see that HE is the ultimate bully, not somebody else. As his aggressor seemingly went catatonic, Overlord's purpose just ceased to exist.

Tarn's [and the rest of the DJD's] reveals were both anti-climatic but they also made sense in a narrative way.

The mystery behind Tarn was finding the missing link between him and Roller. We were slowly fed hint after hint and it made sense---the guy had all the credentials. Form, potential disfigurement, addiction, fantastic strength, attachment to a leadership figure, abandonment issues...he had it all.

Even up until the fated speech panel, I thought that it was an epic trolling. Initially I thought that Megatron was not killing them, I thought that some irregularity took place and he was sending them back in time in their primitive forms when the five Cybertronians [inc Roller] emerged. Then it hit me, as Kaon is no longer with them so there's one extra, and then Glitch hits...

In the end, it all boils down to Overlord's perfect line---"you are just a thug with a mask". Because despite the pretense and even the DJD spotlight issue, that's all Tarn ever was. A nobody rising to great heights due to the proverbial strength of the mask he wore, and of course all the power augmentations. That's why it was so fitting and also so anti-climatic--Tarn is Tarn. Whatever story he had disappeared once he put the mask on and embraced what he could do behind it.

The same goes for his other [3] fellows. They were nobodies. Their names were very generic. They reminded me of Ambulon's team; nobodies with generic names pertaining to an appendix or a mode they had. I would not be surprised if Kaon's real name was Chair-on or something.

On the whole, I would rank this season finale alongside Remain in Light but for different reasons. It was weaker in some aspects and stronger in others. It is an excellent Megatron character highlight but to the detriment of others.

Remain in Light had many things going on at once---Tailgate's imminent death, Ultra Magnus's character struggle between his colleagues and the one figure he put beyond all, Rodimus's ego clashes and humbling down, Cyclonus's internal struggle between the berserker and the carer...

Dying of the Light was 85% Megatron and perhaps 15% devoted to others, with prominence to Dominus Ambus. Drift and Rodimus made up within one page. Nautica had her moment in a couple of pages. Skid's story was resolve in a very rushed and almost non-event way.

I do wonder where this will lead us. Megatron is finally unchecked. He's got the power and the abilities to do everything he wants now. Rodimus saving him was a very nice touch---they are slowly but surely getting a younger brother/older mentor type of relationship, where each one is more important to the other than they care to admit. Will this be enough for Megatron to stay, or are we getting a Megatron-less S3 cast?

Auntie Slag
2016-07-28, 07:15 PM
There must still be plenty more to tell about Tarn, because he was Glitch/Demus. The Demus name has not be explained in any way yet. Apart from Roberts love of using old names to describe a character e.g. Helex being Crucible (referring to his hot magma core).

I just looked up Demus in the Wikipedia Bible of all things (I'm not religious) and it says:

But in Pax's second letter to Timothy, Demus deserts Pax, as Pax writes "Try to join me soon, for Demus, enamored of the present world, deserted me and went to Thessalonica..."

Why the two names Glitch/Demus?

And why would super cop Orion Pax hang out with a convicted criminal with Empurata? There must be a big, juicy story there. Is Demus linked in some other way to Pax or Megatron? Will there be a heart breaking back story?

Unicron
2016-07-28, 08:03 PM
For those complaining about Megatron appropriating an Outlier ability from Trailbreaker, technically he didn't. As I recall, the Panic Bubble was something Brainstorm made for Trailcutter.
Why everyone else didn't have one, probably that most would be unable to power it. It would make sense that Trailmix's Outlier abilities let him use it while Megatron had to tap a black hole to power it.
One other thing that bugged me was the panic bubble. "Nothing gets in or out for 30 minutes" (Loosely paraphrased from Trailcutter).

Here though the DJD manage to get inside, and suddenly can't get out again; can Megatron manipulate panic bubbles better than Trailcutter now? When he's this good at everything, there's not much need for other Decepticons, or almost anyone else.
If Megs has enough control over the anti-matter to power the bubble, he likely lowered the energy flow to weaken the bubble, letting the DJD break in and then cranked the juice back up trapping them.

Patapsco
2016-07-28, 08:07 PM
Trailbreaker made the panic bubble, Brainstorm gave it the name and Trailbreaker says that disconnecting from it mentally gives it it's strength so presumably Megs connected to let the DJD in and then disconnected when he was going to blow them apart

Auntie Slag
2016-07-28, 08:08 PM
Brainstorm made it? Cool, I had totally forgotten that. Ok, that's good stuff, will have to look this up. Cheers, Unicron!

Selkadoom
2016-07-28, 08:09 PM
I have to strongly strongly disagree on generalizing Tarn to a Thug in a mask. If that were the case, why bother showing he's actually got depth, that underneath that mask he genuinely hates seeing the carnage he's deemed himself the one to wrought? The character had a decent amount of potential to be expounded on here that feels like it was snubbed for the sake of wrapping up the arc with a pretty pink bow ontop of the ending.

As for Demus, not too hard to believe he suffered his empurata and criminal status for simply being an outlier no? I mean it's just a speculation and credit where its due to Auntie Slag for pulling up that little bit of info, but I recall the senate hating outliers and using Empurata on anyone they wanted. Then again for all I know Demus was running the Cyber natcotics cartel. But just my 2 cents on the matter.

inflatable dalek
2016-07-28, 08:09 PM
Except that the entire...well, whole body of Roberts' writing to date makes a big deal about how Outliers are special and their powers are inherent and unique, and now suddenly Megatron is playing Heavy Metal War and plugging someone else's ability into his body without any real difficulty aside from "how is he powering it?" Which completely cuts the knees out from the whole concept of Outliers. Roberts was trying to make them like the X-Men to answer the "why can't everyone teleport and use forcefields, then?" question, but the whole thing is for naught when it turns out that, hey, any random guy can do that if you give him the gear and the juice! So what was the point?

Megatron must be an outlier/1% as well though surely? And a powerful one considering his variety of gimmicks like black hole and space bridge powers. I think Magnus or Tailgate post power boost would have been able to use the forcefield as well (and if you want to be grizzly, it's the hand that has the special ability, Megatron's presumably just powering it).


Yes, which I mentioned as well -- Megatron is supposed to already be able to do this! But that's not the specific nit I was picking. I'm complaining about him using the antimatter -- which is described everywhere, including this very issue, as a "destroy the whole planet!" type of ability -- as a power source. It's a weapon, not a battery, and unless Shockwave accidentally connected him to the Enterprise's warp core while making his new body he shouldn't be able to magically use it as a power source without major, major body modifications.

You mean like the major modifications the issue specifically mentions he underwent under Shockwave that made the entire thing possible?

I'd certainly agree that--in exactly the same was it's an issue the couple of times he tried to do it in Marvel--it's not an especially realistic use of anti-matter though and as always I wish it was just something made up rather than an attempt to use real science oddly.


The reason it didn't occur to you is that they haven't mentioned it or acknowledged it for the last six months, even while desperately searching the place for weapons to use to defend themselves from the DJD. That's not symmetrical or "clever", it's lazy.

A major part of the set up in the first part of the story becomes a major part of the resolution in the end... I'm really not sure what the issue is there. Should they have brought it up every issue just to make sure? It should have been perfectly possible to work it out in advance, I guess just like the characters I was just focusing too much on the other stuff beforehand.


I'm sorry, no, it's not "excellent". Tarn's identity has been built up as a mystery for four years' worth of stories, almost fifty issues. It's quite possibly the biggest mystery in the whole series, and certainly the biggest one left after Roberts bungled the reveal of who sent the message in issue #1. Whether he turns out to be one of the obvious choices (Roller or Dominus) or someone else, it should make sense. Once the reader finds out who he is, it should be an "aha!" moment as all the puzzle pieces snap together.

And plenty of people who were playing the game guessed the twist would be it that Tarn would just be Tarn and his past identity didn't matter (really, once he firmly wasn't Dominus that pretty much had to be the case if you weren't going with Roller, I'm just glad my Sentinel Prime paranoia turned out to be wrong), it's certainly played fair on that score. It was never the resolution I was worried about, just how it would stop being an anti-climax.


I kind of wonder if Tarn was always meant to be Glitch, or if Roberts had originally conceived of him as Roller or Dominus but changed course once the fandom started to figure it out, just to make it a "surprise".

I wouldn't be surprised if when Tarn was created it was never meant to be much of a thing, but it certainly all seems to have been in place by Elegant Chaos (showing Glitch has started to repair the damage done to him, beginning with more normal hands. And who is the other guy in the panel where Optimus is telling Roller he should read Megatron?).


Agreed. So often with Roberts' stories people will talk about how plot twist X was hinted at two years ago, or that a throwaway line in issue Y totally foreshadowed what happened in issue Y+15. But that's not how a monthly comic is supposed to work! We read this stuff ages ago, most of us aren't going to remember and if the writing doesn't make it feel natural in the moment, it's going to feel cheap to a lot of readers. And yes, this run will read a lot better in trades. Most of Roberts' issues do. But if the stories are meant to be read in one sitting, bite the bullet and publish them as graphic novels. Don't part them out into bite-sized chunks that don't stand up on their own merits. I know that's an issue with comics in general nowadays rather than just MTMTE, but it's still an issue.

But that's backtracking on the complaint you were making, which was that things hadn't been set up at all. Now it's not set up recently or promonently enough. Which considering that includes the aforementioned distress inducing call that was promonently set up front and centre within this story that seems somewhat unfair.

And I didn't need the wiki for most of it (clarifying issue numbers mainly), I had no trouble going "Oh yeah, Megatron was alone with Trailbreaker's body!" or "Ahhh, the black hole thing!", or even remembering the basics of who Glitch was (The other new guy from Prime's cell right? Best go have a flick through the trades..."). Not everything for sure, but enough to get the sense of the whole thing very carefully playing off all sorts of details.

And as I said, this is unhelpful to new readers to be sure, that would be a fair complaint. But it is intended to be the payoff to four years worth of stories, heavily relying on that past shouldn't be that surprising.

Roberts cut his teeth by writing a novel, and while he's a better writer now his basic style isn't super different now than when he penned Eugenesis. But a novel isn't a comic, and you can't write one while in the mindset of the other. I hate to get all Alan Moore on you, but when it comes to telling a story, the medium you choose is just as important as the words you use and some stories just don't work in a given medium. With Roberts, sometimes it really does feel like he's got a big doorstopper of a prose story in his head that circumstances are forcing him to present in a way that just doesn't do the story any favours at all.

I actually think Roberts is more of a frustrated TV writer than a book one and it does sometimes show, what this actually reminds me of (and it's a show I've made an analogy to two months in a row!) is the season 5 final of Buffy, where it turns out various otherwise unimportant things they've collected throughout the season turn out to be very helpful in defeating the God they've got as the Big Bad that year. I'm now imagining you sitting there going "That thunder god's hammer hasn't been mentioned in ten episodes! And they don't even properly explain where it came from beyond "Hey, remember this Plot Device? Let's use it!" Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeedon!".

Maybe it's just because I've spent a lot of time reading (really good) comics this year, but seeing what a more experienced hand can do with the medium really throws into stark relief just how many holes Roberts has in his game. Looking at Claremont's X-Men run or, hell, even Furman's 80s UK work, I see writers telling complicated, long-running stories with just as many callbacks and references and hints dropped as Roberts does...but they never, ever leave me feeling lost the way MTMTE has been known to. Even when I drop into random parts of the timeline or only read one part of a bigger crossover, they make sure I know everything I need to understand what's going on in whatever issue I'm reading. And that's something that Roberts, who seems to be increasingly writing with an eye to the big picture rather than the individual issues, has really lost sight of.

Though Furman and Claremont were both working in an era where there were no (or very few) reprints and you couldn't write a comic on the assumption that everyone has read it or can go back and check anything. Hence lots of very awkward but understandable "As you well know" dialogue.

Or to go with the TV analogy again, before DVD took off shows with big massive story arcs that depended on viewers really paying attention were reletively rare, especially on American TV where the "Show it in any order" post-cancellation syndication market. The ability to collect shows in boxsets--and now to stream them on dedicated binge watching networks like Netflix--changed that. Being reasonably sure a large part of your audience has been following from the start even if they only just started watching/reading changes the stories you can tell.

Now, I don't profess to be an expert on modern comics, I read a reasonable amount but as I have little interest in the Big Crossovers I tend to avoid them. So I can't comment on how they handle things, but I'd be amazed if they still do it the Furman way and don't place a lot more trust in the readers to have kept up (though obviously there's a difference between how an issue of Batman references something that happened in an issue of Superman that isn't guaranteed to have been read by the same people even in a crossover than there is in Batman referencing something that happened in his own book four months ago).

Because I was interested in how many people seemed to think there had been no set up for these things and because I thought my post had a good attempt at addressing some of the issues I actually shared it on twitter, and Roberts actually left some thoughts of his own on it 9as, to be fair, did people who agreed with some of the things Warcry said), I thought I'd share here as well for some from the horses mouth stuff (though anyone who feels that most of this being planned out rather than being desperately improvised at the last second would make it a poorer story will be disappointed/vindicated): https://twitter.com/InflatableDalek/status/758553630265999360

Auntie Slag
2016-07-28, 08:16 PM
Hey Selkadoom, I was just blipping idly through the TF Wiki and came to issue 45 (the one with the Scavengers being hunted by Fort Max), and they meet a Decepticon scrap merchant called Demus.

I know there's a precedent in MTMTE that more than one character can have the same name (e.g. Prowl, and the other Prowl who changed his name to Dent and was sliced up by Drift on Delphi during the rust bomb disease).

Its interesting Roberts chose to call this guy Demus as well. Maybe there's a reason for it, otherwise it would have been just as easy to call this guy Deimos, to avoid confusion.

Definitely agree with you're "He's not a thug in a mask" comment.Vos was a thug in a mask. Tarn was a beautifully sadistic, conflicted bunny and could've done with some time with Rung, who he interestingly never met because Rung wasn't on the Alternative Lost Light when the DJD tore it apart.

Patapsco
2016-07-28, 08:23 PM
http://i.imgur.com/0eYTNdM.jpg

again, this shouldn't be required reading. We shouldn't be constantly have to re-read nearly previous 30 issues to find the solitary details (remember, Megs and Trailbreakers hands are TWO PANELS out of 30 issues) which are relevant to a series ending arc. And this coming from someone who has pretty much loved MtMtE right up until Roberts chickened out of killing of Cyclonus

Unicron
2016-07-28, 08:37 PM
Brainstorm made it? Cool, I had totally forgotten that. Ok, that's good stuff, will have to look this up. Cheers, Unicron!
Went back and had a look, Patapsco is right. Brainstorm only named it.
I really should have followed the instinct to double check before posting. I could have sworn it was Brainstorm-gadget. Oh well, being wrong happens.

Patapsco
2016-07-28, 08:40 PM
Went back and had a look, Patapsco is right. Brainstorm only named it.
I really should have followed the instinct to double check before posting. I could have sworn it was Brainstorm-gadget. Oh well, being wrong happens.

well... it's not said who made it. The inference is certainly there that Brainstorm could have made it, but Trailbreaker also infers that he made it. Call it a score draw

Selkadoom
2016-07-28, 08:46 PM
Thanks Auntie. And you make a few good points. There's quite a few bots that share name, one such duo being distinguished by their height abd width over in the sister comic, but I am legitimately curious as to why he chose the same name for the two. Perhaps the names have multiple meanings, perhaps it was a slip up. I can't pretend to know.

And YES Tarn had such potential to sit there with Rung and face a thorough psychoanalysis from him. Its established that he was rebuilt and made who he is by Megs to hurt optimus, and I wanna know what made him willingly submit to it.

Also bit of a personal preference but I would have been a bit happier if for just one panel Megs thought about the fact he's the one who warped Tarn into what he is, that he created this monster. That maybe Tarn could see the same light he had. But alas we may never know.

Edit: An addendum is that I looked up the meaning of Demus as a name and found that its a variant of the word/Demos, the Greek word for people or the common folk. Make of that what you will.There's also a Latin word demus that means at last or finally. Which is a bit more on the nose

Edit 2: Ok this has become a bit grating. I've also found a latin source that says it also means no other possibilities.

Knightdramon
2016-07-28, 08:59 PM
I have to strongly strongly disagree on generalizing Tarn to a Thug in a mask. If that were the case, why bother showing he's actually got depth, that underneath that mask he genuinely hates seeing the carnage he's deemed himself the one to wrought? The character had a decent amount of potential to be expounded on here that feels like it was snubbed for the sake of wrapping up the arc with a pretty pink bow ontop of the ending.

As for Demus, not too hard to believe he suffered his empurata and criminal status for simply being an outlier no? I mean it's just a speculation and credit where its due to Auntie Slag for pulling up that little bit of info, but I recall the senate hating outliers and using Empurata on anyone they wanted. Then again for all I know Demus was running the Cyber natcotics cartel. But just my 2 cents on the matter.

I believe that Tarn was very conflicted---he plays the part of a laid back philosophical smooth talker leading a band of assassins, but at the same time he's deeply conflicted about what he's doing, how he's doing it without Megatron and why he's doing it. You can't shy away from carnage and go on and decapitate your comrade.

Issue 39 paved the way for a redemption story for him, but Dying of the Light actually made him irredeemable. It's almost as if all control he tried to maintain and keep vanished as soon as he spoke with Megatron.

He went from the guy that tried to kill himself and found a reason to exist in a Cybertronian he himself saved and valued as a colleague to a murderous thug that willingly sacrificed however many cons were still standing towards the end of 54.

Auntie Slag
2016-07-28, 08:59 PM
This makes me want to go through the entirety of the second season again. I forgot Megatron picked him to really hurt Optimus/Orion. It makes me suspect Megatron knew Demus/Glitch from a previous point in time.

I really want to see that story now! This is the kind of thing that will make Tarn and Dying of the Light especially poignant.

Also, I was wondering just why this story is called Dying of the Light. They've lost Skids and Ravage. Getaway sold them up the river to have Megatron killed, but neither has Megatron returned to his Decepticon ways... so there's no real dying of the light, per se. And when they all return to the Lost Light, they'll learn the crew wanted Megatron gone, but didn't really want Rodimus and Co. dead, not as such.

Unless the dying of the light refers to Tarn? With Skids gone, only Megatron and Roller remain aboard with memories of Glitch/Demus. How is Roller going to take this news? Will he also lose love for Pax if he finds out what made Glitch leave to join Megatron's team?

This just leaves Windcharger missing, right? Yeah, this is not the end of the Tarn story by a long shot (I hope).

Selkadoom
2016-07-28, 09:13 PM
I believe that Tarn was very conflicted---he plays the part of a laid back philosophical smooth talker leading a band of assassins, but at the same time he's deeply conflicted about what he's doing, how he's doing it without Megatron and why he's doing it. You can't shy away from carnage and go on and decapitate your comrade.

Issue 39 paved the way for a redemption story for him, but Dying of the Light actually made him irredeemable. It's almost as if all control he tried to maintain and keep vanished as soon as he spoke with Megatron.

He went from the guy that tried to kill himself and found a reason to exist in a Cybertronian he himself saved and valued as a colleague to a murderous thug that willingly sacrificed however many cons were still standing towards the end of 54.

Ok. Your explanation helps soothe me a bit there. Yes he utterly lost himself in his bloodlust to gut Megatron, Overlords constant goading probably helping to push him to the point of no return. But I can't call him irredeemable because as bad as he was Megatron was still worse. Megs was a butcher and he still had the chance to give up the ghost and acknowledge how far he had fallen, and to say Tarn couldn't is a bit on the aggrivating side.

Now by no means am I the type to advocate that a character should always be forgiven. But a big part of the story arcs as of late are second chances and such, and seeing Megatron not even hesitate to consider giving Tarn one just felt like a missed oppurtunity to me.

Red Dave Prime
2016-07-28, 10:54 PM
Just a thought but is possible that Glitch was a big fan of Roller and felt betrayed by Pax when Roller disappeared? And that the Tarn design was a warped homage to a fallen friend?

Just a quick point on Roberts calling back to past issues and all that. I'm a fan of this because he generally seems to have planned it well in advance. I'm not saying that those plans are always effective but I like that he does allow the reader to go back and see the clues. As a contrast, try doing that with Barbers first big arc in RID. Go back to key points and there is no way you could guess what was to come. With Roberts, you can generally see the links when you go back.

And I like that generally all you need is contained within MTMTE. He rarely goes to stuff that has fallen outside of his writing (LSOTW and Chaos Theory often fall in as parts of the MTMTE arc). Its far more appealing than the Marvel/DC plan where you need to buy issue 54 of Batman, but also Issue 22 of Batgirl and Issue 23 of Arkham to get the full story. Its one of my worries with the "expanded" universe that IDW seem so keen to bring us. I dont want non-Roberts writing interfering with his stuff.

Death's Head
2016-07-28, 11:02 PM
Auntie Slag: While you're on the wiki, Glitch was actually called 'Damus'. (http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Damus)

On the subject of the wiki, the list of references to past issues is quite intimidating, and given that I can't see how anyone can say this stuff wasn't planned. It also seems curious to complain that we 'have' to look at the wiki - after all, we're already on the internet and the wiki is just a new tab and a few clicks away. It's what it's there for, and the wonderful Chris McFeely does put a lot into his summaries.

Selkadoom
2016-07-29, 01:47 AM
Well Now I just feel stupid for bothering to look up a words meaning and having it be complete and utter bunk in this context. Time we spent I say

Warcry
2016-07-29, 02:45 AM
I have to strongly strongly disagree on generalizing Tarn to a Thug in a mask. If that were the case, why bother showing he's actually got depth, that underneath that mask he genuinely hates seeing the carnage he's deemed himself the one to wrought? The character had a decent amount of potential to be expounded on here that feels like it was snubbed for the sake of wrapping up the arc with a pretty pink bow ontop of the ending.
I tend to agree with that. The DJD "spotlight" issue that introduced Nickel and Deathsaurus made Tarn out to be a pretty deep character (and, honestly, one who should have been just as succeptable to the "guilt weapon" as the blatantly-telegraphed-to-get-cold-feet Deathsaurus) but the needs of the plot kind of forced him back into the one-dimensionally evil box in this last issue. With all that's going on I don't really blame Roberts for that, but it's a shame for him to go out on that note.

Megatron must be an outlier/1% as well though surely?
Two totally different things, those. He's a Point One Percenter for sure because we see Whirl wire a green spark into him, but there's been no mention of him having any special Outlier powers.

And also, with so many people being revealed to be Outliers and Point One Percenters it kind of cheapens the who idea. If everyone's special then nobody's special, you know?

And a powerful one considering his variety of gimmicks like black hole and space bridge powers.
Those powers were bolted on after the fact though. He wasn't (as far as we know) born with them.

You mean like the major modifications the issue specifically mentions he underwent under Shockwave that made the entire thing possible?
The modifications Shockwave made gave him his space bridge abilities, which let him reach the antimatter. That makes great sense, too, even if it kind of makes a mess of the previous implication that he'd already done this.

It doesn't explain how his body can transform that antimatter (which, as a Trek fan, you know will utterly annihilate any normal matter it touches) into energy, though. Blasting it out as a big last-ditch "screw you" superweapon? Absolutely. Pouring it into his engine and burning it like energon? Not so much.

Like you say, it'd be a lot easier to gloss over this point if we were talking about something made-up like Nucleon.

A major part of the set up in the first part of the story becomes a major part of the resolution in the end... I'm really not sure what the issue is there.
The major issue is that the first part of the story came out in February, and Roberts didn't even drop in an "As seen in issue #50!" box (which comics don't seem to do as much anymore, much to their detriment) or line of dialogue to make it clear what was going on. I shouldn't have to reread the entire ****ing series every time a new issue comes out in order to make sense of what's going on.

Should they have brought it up every issue just to make sure? It should have been perfectly possible to work it out in advance, I guess just like the characters I was just focusing too much on the other stuff beforehand.
The Autobots certainly could have dropped in a mention of it when they were looking for ways to defend themselves. And Roberts easily could have made it more clear what was going on in this issue. Until the moment they used it, I don't think it was even hinted that the Autobots knew what had caused the initial psychic attack, let alone looked for it.

But that's backtracking on the complaint you were making, which was that things hadn't been set up at all. Now it's not set up recently or promonently enough. Which considering that includes the aforementioned distress inducing call that was promonently set up front and centre within this story that seems somewhat unfair.
This is where we'll have to agree to disagree. If I was watching an episode of Star Trek and they used some random bit of technobabble to solve a problem in the cold open, then didn't mention it again at all until the last minute of the show when it saved the day without any indication they were even thinking about it, I'd roll my eyes and call it lazy. Having a six month gap in real time between the intro and the reappearance only makes it stand out worse. It would be like a Trek episode referencing something minor from ten episodes ago without doing the "previously on". Which I'm sure happens sometimes, but it's not exactly something that's audience-friendly.

It's a bad storytelling moment from an author working too hard to out-clever his readers. And that's not the end of the world at all. Every writer has them. It's just that this issue was straight out littered with them.

And as I said, this is unhelpful to new readers to be sure, that would be a fair complaint. But it is intended to be the payoff to four years worth of stories, heavily relying on that past shouldn't be that surprising.
It should still be at least coherent on it's own, though. I've been reading the whole way through and I wasn't entirely clear on what's going on. I can't imagine what a newcomer would make of it.

I actually think Roberts is more of a frustrated TV writer than a book one and it does sometimes show
Yeah, I could see that. :)

Either way, my general point is the same: Roberts is a good writer but not necessarily one who's a good fit for the comics medium. I'm growing frustrated with his foibles as a comic writer, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't enjoy seeing what he could do in a medium with different constraints.

, what this actually reminds me of (and it's a show I've made an analogy to two months in a row!) is the season 5 final of Buffy, where it turns out various otherwise unimportant things they've collected throughout the season turn out to be very helpful in defeating the God they've got as the Big Bad that year. I'm now imagining you sitting there going "That thunder god's hammer hasn't been mentioned in ten episodes! And they don't even properly explain where it came from beyond "Hey, remember this Plot Device? Let's use it!" Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeedon!".
Haven't watched Buffy in ages and only vaguely remember what you're talking about, but when TV shows refer back to previous episodes they'll almost always have a helpful little "Previously on:" collection of clips that shows you everything you need to know to make sense of the episode even if you missed the ones it's calling back to. Unfortunately that doesn't work in the comics medium, which had to develop it's own techniques...

Though Furman and Claremont were both working in an era where there were no (or very few) reprints and you couldn't write a comic on the assumption that everyone has read it or can go back and check anything. Hence lots of very awkward but understandable "As you well know" dialogue.
...and which, as you say, have been all but abandoned now.

And assumptions like this from creators are a big part of why the comics industry is dying. If you're constantly writing for the hardcore audience and assuming that your readership have not only read all the previous issues but are intimately familiar with them, you're going to push away not only newcomers but more casual readers as well.

Being reasonably sure a large part of your audience has been following from the start even if they only just started watching/reading changes the stories you can tell.
And it also drastically reduces the number of potential audience members in the process, because not many people have that much time and energy to commit. That's why you'll see heavily serialized shows landing on HBO or Netflix instead of more conventional channels. As great as those shows may be, that sort of storytelling still alienates more people than it draws in, and it's rare that one of them pulls in enough of an audience to survive on a major network for very long. Thus why most TV shows, even serialized ones, focus on a new monster-of-the-week every episode with the ongoing story usually relegated to the B-plot.

Now, I don't profess to be an expert on modern comics, I read a reasonable amount but as I have little interest in the Big Crossovers I tend to avoid them. So I can't comment on how they handle things, but I'd be amazed if they still do it the Furman way and don't place a lot more trust in the readers to have kept up (though obviously there's a difference between how an issue of Batman references something that happened in an issue of Superman that isn't guaranteed to have been read by the same people even in a crossover than there is in Batman referencing something that happened in his own book four months ago).
Honestly, I think this is less "trusting the readers" and more a case of assuming that there's nobody left reading the things but hardcore fans,so why bother trying to cater to casuals? And it's not a good thing, in my opinion. It's a sign of an industry that is so used to being in decline that it doesn't even try to reach out for new fans anymore.

Because I was interested in how many people seemed to think there had been no set up for these things and because I thought my post had a good attempt at addressing some of the issues I actually shared it on twitter, and Roberts actually left some thoughts of his own on it 9as, to be fair, did people who agreed with some of the things Warcry said), I thought I'd share here as well for some from the horses mouth stuff (though anyone who feels that most of this being planned out rather than being desperately improvised at the last second would make it a poorer story will be disappointed/vindicated): https://twitter.com/InflatableDalek/status/758553630265999360
I'll try to put this as nicely as possible: while it's interesting to hear what Roberts has to say, I'm not going to put all that much stock into it. The man isn't going to toss his employers under a bus even if they did ruin everything, and nor is he going to start saying "nah, it's all made up on the spot, you marks!" He's got a job to do and an image to maintain. Whether he's saying the absolute truth or spouting a bunch of PR BS, he'd kind of have to say the same thing, you know? And I don't mean that as a criticism, just a description of what his job entails.

http://i.imgur.com/0eYTNdM.jpg

again, this shouldn't be required reading. We shouldn't be constantly have to re-read nearly previous 30 issues to find the solitary details (remember, Megs and Trailbreakers hands are TWO PANELS out of 30 issues) which are relevant to a series ending arc. And this coming from someone who has pretty much loved MtMtE right up until Roberts chickened out of killing of Cyclonus
Exactly this.

Having one or two moments that come out of nowhere and force you to glance at your back-issues is alright. Having this many in one issue just feels like, as the Brits around here are wont to say, taking the piss. Hence my initial assumption that the whole thing was a rush job meant to tie everything up.

It also seems curious to complain that we 'have' to look at the wiki - after all, we're already on the internet and the wiki is just a new tab and a few clicks away. It's what it's there for, and the wonderful Chris McFeely does put a lot into his summaries.
I understand what you're saying, but this is another example of what I was talking about before, this assumption that everyone reading the book is a hardcore fan. What's a person whose not active in the TF fandom or "in the know" about things like the wiki supposed to do? Or someone who doesn't know much about Transformers but started to read the book a year ago because someone recommended it to them?

This sort of cavalier "Do the research, plebs! All these things happened in the past but I won't even tell you where!" approach to storytelling is one of the reasons why comic sales have dropped to a tenth or less of what they were in their heyday.

Auntie Slag
2016-07-29, 04:29 AM
... Glitch was actually called 'Damus'. (http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Damus)


You're right, I didn't notice the difference in spelling; Damus (Glitch), and Demus (the dodgy Decepticon monoformer)! Cool, no link there at all.

Selkadoom
2016-07-29, 05:56 AM
Also I suppose I should make a minor addendum here as who Megatron wants to hurt with Tarn isn't specified per se but for lack of evidence Optimus would be the well... Prime Candidate?

I'll show myself out

Death's Head
2016-07-29, 11:06 AM
I understand what you're saying, but this is another example of what I was talking about before, this assumption that everyone reading the book is a hardcore fan. What's a person whose not active in the TF fandom or "in the know" about things like the wiki supposed to do? Or someone who doesn't know much about Transformers but started to read the book a year ago because someone recommended it to them?

I get you, but in this day and age such information is just a google search away, and if someone is enjoying the book and wants to know more I imagine they'll do just that. It's not about forcing people to do the research - it's saying 'look, there's more to this if you want it'. Plus, it also rewards long-time readers which is just as important.

Besides, this is the final part of a multi-part story - anyone coming on board now (indeed, anyone coming onboard a series which is in its 50s) will have to assume that there's some backstory there - and if they're enjoying the story they'll be happy to do that research. Isn't that how we all became fans? I didn't start buying the UK comic until well into the 200s but all the references to RAAT or Centurion didn't put me off - on the contrary, it actively encouraged me to find out more. And we didn't have the wiki back then :)

Death's Head
2016-07-29, 11:08 AM
You're right, I didn't notice the difference in spelling; Damus (Glitch), and Demus (the dodgy Decepticon monoformer)! Cool, no link there at all.

Perhaps we'll discover Damus used to be part of a three-bot combiner team along with his comrades Chaka and Pliers.

inflatable dalek
2016-07-29, 11:50 AM
And also, with so many people being revealed to be Outliers and Point One Percenters it kind of cheapens the who idea. If everyone's special then nobody's special, you know?

I think there would be a higher (ironically much higher than 1% by this point, the name must be a hold over) percentage of those amongst the surviving Cybertronians now, four million years of war means only the tough ****ers made it through.


Those powers were bolted on after the fact though. He wasn't (as far as we know) born with them.

So you can bolt on extra stuff to the guy... like a forcefield hand (presumably what stopped him trying it in situations where it looked like he was going to die--such as the end of 49--was thinking he was on crap fuel that wouldn't power it).



It doesn't explain how his body can transform that antimatter (which, as a Trek fan, you know will utterly annihilate any normal matter it touches) into energy, though. Blasting it out as a big last-ditch "screw you" superweapon? Absolutely. Pouring it into his engine and burning it like energon? Not so much.

Come on man, don't go citing Trek for examples of realistic science, you mad crazy fool you. According to that show it can help you break the light barrier! ;)

Like you say, it'd be a lot easier to gloss over this point if we were talking about something made-up like Nucleon.

And I suspect if he'd known it'd be something he'd build on six years later Roberts would have probably made something up as well.


The major issue is that the first part of the story came out in February, and Roberts didn't even drop in an "As seen in issue #50!" box (which comics don't seem to do as much anymore, much to their detriment) or line of dialogue to make it clear what was going on. I shouldn't have to reread the entire ****ing series every time a new issue comes out in order to make sense of what's going on.

Well on this (and the subsequent wiki issues discussed further down...), how much of these payoffs are more coherent (not necessarily plausible, just understandable) if you go and look at the wiki? "Megatron stole Trailcutters hand" seems fairly self explanatory, it's easy to see how he might have done that without being caught, especially as he has a sneaky sidekick. Flicking through old issues or going to the wiki adds some more information if you've forgotten the specifics, but it doesn't need that.

Same with "He was finally able to get my black hole powers working" or "This thing that was used against us previously is being turned against the enemy" seem to cover the important information, and the fact the characters speak authoritatively as is this is a known thing helps sell it as a follow up.

Would some "See issue" boxes have made a difference? I'm not sure. I think the fact you don't seem keen on any of the plot developments even with a full wiki backed explanation suggests it's not really the way they're revealed that's the issue, you just don't like them very much! ;)

I think Terminus and Roller are the only things to come out of nowhere within the issue with no context as to their importance to Ratchet and Megatron (though of course if Roller had been Tarn, that would have applied as well), for everything else you get the minimum you need for the story to work (and for the arc as a whole I like how their presence was signposted by the missing fate unknown list Rewind kept going back to).


The Autobots certainly could have dropped in a mention of it when they were looking for ways to defend themselves. And Roberts easily could have made it more clear what was going on in this issue. Until the moment they used it, I don't think it was even hinted that the Autobots knew what had caused the initial psychic attack, let alone looked for it.

They did have quite a lengthy chat about it in 50. Actually, I suppose the DJD were after Megatron as they sent the Necrobot's original message and he added the pain factor as a warning. So presumably they came for the hidden guys on the list, realised the Lost Light had been there recently and decided to kill two birds with multiple stones?

This is where we'll have to agree to disagree. If I was watching an episode of Star Trek and they used some random bit of technobabble to solve a problem in the cold open, then didn't mention it again at all until the last minute of the show when it saved the day without any indication they were even thinking about it, I'd roll my eyes and call it lazy. Having a six month gap in real time between the intro and the reappearance only makes it stand out worse. It would be like a Trek episode referencing something minor from ten episodes ago without doing the "previously on". Which I'm sure happens sometimes, but it's not exactly something that's audience-friendly.

How do you feel about Sacrifice of Angels? Just as the Dominion Fleet are about to come through the worm hole the Prophets take Sisko and he persuades them to save the day in a literal Dues ex Machinia. That's about two years (depending on when in season 4 the fake Emissary episode was) since they were last actually in an episode and there's nothing in the first 35 minutes to even hint at that being the resolution. It's perfectly in keeping with the show's own internal logic and history but is done entirely as a surprise to make sense to regular viewers and not anyone else.

Which considering it's part 7 of a 7 part story (and the three preceding episodes in that arc don't have "Previously on..." recaps. Nor do most of the shows in the 10 part series finale either) it's arguable floating viewers are going to expect not to follow everything perfectly.


And it also drastically reduces the number of potential audience members in the process, because not many people have that much time and energy to commit. That's why you'll see heavily serialized shows landing on HBO or Netflix instead of more conventional channels. As great as those shows may be, that sort of storytelling still alienates more people than it draws in, and it's rare that one of them pulls in enough of an audience to survive on a major network for very long. Thus why most TV shows, even serialized ones, focus on a new monster-of-the-week every episode with the ongoing story usually relegated to the B-plot.

And MTMTE has done a lot of that, we've had serial killers wandering the ship plot and personality ticks and the Demons and Angels split crew story all alongside the character development and ongoing plotlines. But serialised shows also tend to have their big tentpole storyarc episodes, usually mid season/sweeps and at the end of the year (it's a very X-Files thing as well, and of course Roberts is a fan), which this basically is.



I'll try to put this as nicely as possible: while it's interesting to hear what Roberts has to say, I'm not going to put all that much stock into it. The man isn't going to toss his employers under a bus even if they did ruin everything, and nor is he going to start saying "nah, it's all made up on the spot, you marks!" He's got a job to do and an image to maintain. Whether he's saying the absolute truth or spouting a bunch of PR BS, he'd kind of have to say the same thing, you know? And I don't mean that as a criticism, just a description of what his job entails.

I get where you're coming from (and I should note his frustration with criticism on this score was born from some of the more eccentric responses on twitter like the "YOU USED TO BE MY IDOL" person rather than my tweet and thus this thread specifically, I think it just gave him a place to vent a little), but equally he didn't have to respond at all and frequently does maintain a polite silence on certain questions. I think he's being entirely genuine there and this has all be planned out a good deal in advance. How that works for the individual reader is subjective of course (my personal issue was with people saying it hadn't been set up at all which was objectively not true, not with whether they thought it succeeded or not).

Wait, I didn't delete that tweet where I was nice about you. Damn, that's ruined our adversarial relationship.

Patapsco
2016-07-29, 12:06 PM
Perhaps we'll discover Damus used to be part of a three-bot combiner team along with his comrades Chaka and Pliers.

This should really get more love imo

Warcry
2016-07-29, 05:35 PM
I get you, but in this day and age such information is just a google search away, and if someone is enjoying the book and wants to know more I imagine they'll do just that. It's not about forcing people to do the research - it's saying 'look, there's more to this if you want it'. Plus, it also rewards long-time readers which is just as important.
I think the problem is that, when an issue is as dense as this one with uncited references, it's almost impossible to enjoy this book without that knowledge. So new people aren't going to do the research, they're just going to toss the book in the bin and go read something else.

Besides, this is the final part of a multi-part story - anyone coming on board now (indeed, anyone coming onboard a series which is in its 50s) will have to assume that there's some backstory there - and if they're enjoying the story they'll be happy to do that research. Isn't that how we all became fans? I didn't start buying the UK comic until well into the 200s but all the references to RAAT or Centurion didn't put me off - on the contrary, it actively encouraged me to find out more. And we didn't have the wiki back then :)
There's a big difference, though. Comics back then worked very hard to make sure that each issue could stand on it's own no matter where it was in an arc because of the very real fact that every issue could be someone's first. So you can jump in almost anywhere and more-or-less make sense of things. There might be a few questions raised but nothing that will detract from your enjoyment of the issue. Modern comics don't do that anymore, and it's not an issue with Roberts alone, but this issue in particular seems to be actively working to make itself as difficult to understand as possible.

If I think back and compare this to the big "event" issues of the old Marvel books, it's not a favourable comparison. You can easily jump into Edge of Extinction or G2#12 or the climactic Magnus/Galvatron fight issue of Target: 2006 and make sense of what's going on. There will be a few unclear bits and pieces. Thinking of EoE in particular, Thunderwing would seem a bit deus ex machina if you haven't read the previous issues (and did come off that way a bit to me as a kid who hadn't read Matrix Quest). But even though Furman's writing it as a capstone to two years' worth of stories and had at least half an idea that this would be the final issue, it's still surprisingly accessible.

So you can bolt on extra stuff to the guy... like a forcefield hand (presumably what stopped him trying it in situations where it looked like he was going to die--such as the end of 49--was thinking he was on crap fuel that wouldn't power it).
But this is where the argument loops back on itself: Outliers are special and that's why they have these powers and nobody else does, but you can slap their powers on anyone if you really wanted to, so they're not special at all. The whole concept seemed to start off as an explanation for why everyone doesn't have force fields, teleporters and gigantic electromagnets in their body, but if those special parts can be wired onto anyone else who can power them then it doesn't solve the original problem at all and after four million years of war everyone should have those abilities even if they don't use them all the time due to fuel concerns.

Would some "See issue" boxes have made a difference? I'm not sure. I think the fact you don't seem keen on any of the plot developments even with a full wiki backed explanation suggests it's not really the way they're revealed that's the issue, you just don't like them very much! ;)
I get where you're coming from, but I think that in some cases the answer is yes and in other cases the answer is no.

The guilt weapon is something that I honestly didn't even remember on first reading, and a reminder there definitely would have made the first few pages more coherent to me -- I'd still wonder about the wisdom of using it when Deathsaurus's characterization was leading there anyway, but it wouldn't have led me to stop reading the story, roll my eyes and say "oh **** off!"

Also, does the issue even allude to the fact that Terminus and Roller (and Glitch!) are people that we've already met? I don't recall but I'm leaning towards 'no'. Though I suspect that if the comic had an extra two pages to work with, like it used to, we'd probably have seen some dialogue making it more clear just how important they were to some of the people in that room.

The stuff with the time case is more problematic, because there really isn't anything to cite or point back to -- we last saw it when Ravage gave it to Megatron fifteen issues ago and everything that has been revealed to have happened since really feels like a deus ex machina.

One thing that absolutely could have used a pointer back to when it happened was Whirl's arm! I remembered that one, but it was two and a half years ago and I'd imagine a lot of folks probably didn't.

How do you feel about Sacrifice of Angels? Just as the Dominion Fleet are about to come through the worm hole the Prophets take Sisko and he persuades them to save the day in a literal Dues ex Machinia. That's about two years (depending on when in season 4 the fake Emissary episode was) since they were last actually in an episode and there's nothing in the first 35 minutes to even hint at that being the resolution. It's perfectly in keeping with the show's own internal logic and history but is done entirely as a surprise to make sense to regular viewers and not anyone else.

Which considering it's part 7 of a 7 part story (and the three preceding episodes in that arc don't have "Previously on..." recaps. Nor do most of the shows in the 10 part series finale either) it's arguable floating viewers are going to expect not to follow everything perfectly.
Actually it's interesting you bring up DS9, because I was thinking about it in the context of this conversation after I made my last post. :)

Deep Space Nine is my favourite Trek series, you know that, and I'll fight anyone who badmouths it. But it's also the least popular of it's generation by far, and only the flop that was Enterprise saves it from being the redheaded stepchild of the franchise. And stuff like this is a big part of why its popularity has never matched its' quality. It was a very, very well-written show, but it also made some stumbles that made it really difficult for a lot of traditional Trekkies to embrace it. The serialized nature wasn't familiar then, people weren't used to needing to watch certain episodes to know what was going on, and sometimes the show wasn't the greatest at keeping part-time watchers in the loop. And the last half of the last season was practically LOST-tier, but since they knew the show was ending I'm assuming they made an active choice at that point to no longer even pretend to give a damn about such things (and yes, "More Than Meets The Eye" is ending, but the story is continuing under a different banner so that's not the same thing).

As far as Sacrifice of Angels goes, honestly, I find it hard to comment. Because I've seen it so many times over so many years, and because I was so young when it was airing (I was 13 when I first viewed the episode you're talking about) I'll happily admit that my mind tends to gloss over the plot holes and silliness that sometimes slip in, much like it does when I rewatch the 80s Transformers movie.

But the point you bring up is an interesting one. The Prophets in this episode are the definition of deus ex machina, and people who aren't familiar with the older seasons would have zero idea what's going on. And, yes, that's a bit of a problem, one that could have easily been patched over by having Damar make a taunting "where are your gods now?" comment when he arrested everyone earlier in the episode.

And you know, I actually really like that scene because of what it says about Sisko. As he takes the ship into the wormhole you think he's a desperate man intent on a suicidal last stand, but as things move along you realize that he knows exactly what he's doing and this was the plan (or at least Plan B) the whole time and the dude is basically Space Batman. But a line or two earlier on in the episode definitely could have changed the initial reaction from a "Huh?" to an "Of course! How come I didn't see that coming?" as all the pieces drop into place.

Though as a teenager I think my reaction was more along the lines of "He's not going to beat them in a fight? Boo!"

I get where you're coming from (and I should note his frustration with criticism on this score was born from some of the more eccentric responses on twitter like the "YOU USED TO BE MY IDOL" person rather than my tweet and thus this thread specifically, I think it just gave him a place to vent a little)
Also, given that you pointed him to my post as an example of people being WRONG about stuff...you folks all know me and you know that I mostly just argue about this stuff for fun and don't take it all that seriously. Or at least I hope you do! Roberts on the other hand isn't (un)lucky enough to have made my acquaintance, and my ranting probably comes across as a lot more serious and angry to someone who doesn't know me. And if he's being bombarded by people saying the same sort of stuff as me and actually, unironically being angry about the comic for it, I can't blame him for being a bit miffed.

Hence why I don't sign up for Twitter myself and bombard him with mountains of "dude you suck!" tweets -- because he doesn't, and it would be incredibly silly to troll a writer because I take issue with his stylistic storytelling choices and the conventions of modern comic book writing. For the most part I think he does a pretty good job, but when he does slip up it's almost always in a way that falls into the "things about comics that annoy Warcry" zone. Other writers with the same overall talent level but different strengths and weaknesses generate a lot less complaining from me because their weaknesses don't happen to align with all the things that annoy me.

Wait, I didn't delete that tweet where I was nice about you. Damn, that's ruined our adversarial relationship.
That's okay, we can still be enemies. :)

Patapsco
2016-07-29, 07:31 PM
Actually, Warcry makes a fantastic point: Deathsaurus was leaning to getting the hell out anyway, why not... just let him get there on his own rather than calling back to a previous issue's deus ex get-them-stranded-on-necroworld-a? It would also have made Deathsaurus a fascinating character when he is brought back: a Decepticon with a conscience who, in a roundabout sort of way, sides way more with Megatron's way of thinking now than Tarn's or Overlord's

Selkadoom
2016-07-30, 02:38 AM
Something that occured to me a bit after a re-read. Whats the expected outcome for the Geobomb? Are we looking at massive casualties? Nobody getting hurt? Or just the bots once again scampering away while the poor world goes kaflooey?

inflatable dalek
2016-07-30, 09:17 AM
The guilt weapon is something that I honestly didn't even remember on first reading, and a reminder there definitely would have made the first few pages more coherent to me -- I'd still wonder about the wisdom of using it when Deathsaurus's characterization was leading there anyway, but it wouldn't have led me to stop reading the story, roll my eyes and say "oh **** off!"

It's worth noting it created an epiphany for Megatron back in issue 50 as well, adding to the nice symetrical feeling of things (and like Deathsaurus, Megs would probably have been swayed towards realising what he'd done to organics given more time, this punched through the denial they were feeling in one go).

Also, does the issue even allude to the fact that Terminus and Roller (and Glitch!) are people that we've already met? I don't recall but I'm leaning towards 'no'. Though I suspect that if the comic had an extra two pages to work with, like it used to, we'd probably have seen some dialogue making it more clear just how important they were to some of the people in that room.

As said I'd agree Roller and Terminus would confusing to new readers as the reminder of them was very sublte with their names on the list, though I don't think knowing who Glitch was is actually remotely important, the key thing is he's not Roller and really was (as far as we're concerned) just Tarn.

The stuff with the time case is more problematic, because there really isn't anything to cite or point back to -- we last saw it when Ravage gave it to Megatron fifteen issues ago and everything that has been revealed to have happened since really feels like a deus ex machina.

But again, I think if you don't remember that story/hadn't read it "We had a time machine that we thought we'd destroyed" is pretty self explanatory as well.


Actually it's interesting you bring up DS9, because I was thinking about it in the context of this conversation after I made my last post. :)

Let's turn it into a Trek thread, old shool style! ;)

Deep Space Nine is my favourite Trek series, you know that, and I'll fight anyone who badmouths it. But it's also the least popular of it's generation by far, and only the flop that was Enterprise saves it from being the redheaded stepchild of the franchise. And stuff like this is a big part of why its popularity has never matched its' quality. It was a very, very well-written show, but it also made some stumbles that made it really difficult for a lot of traditional Trekkies to embrace it. The serialized nature wasn't familiar then, people weren't used to needing to watch certain episodes to know what was going on, and sometimes the show wasn't the greatest at keeping part-time watchers in the loop. And the last half of the last season was practically LOST-tier, but since they knew the show was ending I'm assuming they made an active choice at that point to no longer even pretend to give a damn about such things (and yes, "More Than Meets The Eye" is ending, but the story is continuing under a different banner so that's not the same thing).

I'm surprised anyone would consider it less successful than Voyager tbh, it never hit the iconic heights of TOS or TNG (and I think people downplay how iconic that show was, as someone on another forum I post at recently mused Picard has more internet memes by himself than almost any other contemporary US TV character), but it certainly got more viewers than VOY-a result of how they were broadcast differently of course but still means it was more widespread--and was always more critically acclaimed, especially once it hit that post Worf stride.

And I think that was largely because unlike Voyager, DS9 felt like it was made by people who were aware of klate 90's TV and was moving with the times with shows like X-Files and Babylon 5 (especially of course) and the move towards storyarcs and more serialisation that was so popular at the time and has only gotten more so since.

The best description of Voyager I've ever read was it was the least succesful successful show ever made, running for seven years as the top rated show on its network but even the people who made it think it was a bit shit. I actually think Enterprise has more respect these days, helped by the current films (and especially the most recent) being packed full of references and homages.

And whilst a lot of Trek fans weren't embracing of DS9 (famously it's the Trek show for people who don't like Trek) that's as much to do with things like no space ship like wot proper Star Trek has as the actual quality.


And you know, I actually really like that scene because of what it says about Sisko. As he takes the ship into the wormhole you think he's a desperate man intent on a suicidal last stand, but as things move along you realize that he knows exactly what he's doing and this was the plan (or at least Plan B) the whole time and the dude is basically Space Batman. But a line or two earlier on in the episode definitely could have changed the initial reaction from a "Huh?" to an "Of course! How come I didn't see that coming?" as all the pieces drop into place.

I think my only issue is it's a happy coincidence the Prophets decide to stop for a chat, I think it'd be much better if Sisko had always had a Plan B if the minefield failed, actually planning to go tell God he's a dick who needs to do more is a very Ben thing to do. It's actually quite a bold move considering the outside pressures to downplay/remove the "Dull" Bajoran religion stuff. Instead after a couple of years of "Look, a ship! Worf! Klingons! Space battles!" they go and make the final two years of the show based around the thing they'd been ordered to downplay.

In terms of the show ending though, don't forget the 24th century Trek was continuing in both Voyager and the TNG films (no one knew when season 7 was finishing Insurrection would lead to a big gap and a rethink), with some serious thought given to bringing Voyager home now the Alpah Quadrant was freed up. The show was ending but the overall Universe was carrying on... just as with MTMTE.

Also, given that you pointed him to my post as an example of people being WRONG about stuff...

Aww, now I feel bad. It was only because your post and my my responses to it covered everything I wanted to say generally though (much easier than 50 000 tweets) rather than because you're a WRONG man.

No one tell Warcry every time he posts I tweet a link and go "Look at the WRONG man!"

I think another thing to remember is that where MTMTE has found its audience and its success has been digitally rather than through the physical copies (which-last time I checked-have remained the same level with RID and basically every main comic since Schmidt, you could argue that audience is captive), which does change what you can get away with in terms of audience expectations. Someone coming to the comic this week off the back of someone else's recommendations just isn't going to start with issue 55 as it's promoted as part 6 of a six part story, the fact all the digital issues are out there to buy still means they can jump on with issue 50 and--if they like that--work forward. There's a good chance they'll even start all the way back with issue 1.

That doesn't mean there shouldn't be room out there for the more traditional "Any issue can be your first" generally stand alone comics, any more than there's nothing wrong with TV shows that do standalone episodes (Voyager's big issue was that it tried to do that with a format that actually required more serialisation than even DS9 did and the stories they wanted to tell and the show they were telling them in never meshed), the shifts in how media works now just means there's the option for more variety in how you tell stories. Which is no bad thing.

Auntie Slag
2016-07-31, 05:34 PM
Original Rewind is still missing. Is he on the Galactic Council's ship? In which case they would have access to Cybertron's biggest historical database (more or less). I'm guessing not, because they don't seem that clued up. So maybe someone else rebuilt him and Overlord, the latter escaped and since got tangled with the Galactic Council?

Or was Overlord simply telling the truth, that he really did murder Rewind in the slow cell?

I feel like original Rewind will save Megatron at the expense of the Council killing Terminus.

Patapsco
2016-07-31, 09:15 PM
If Overlord did do what he said and chomped down on his head, original Rewind's deader than dead because his brain module is toast. Delicious, delicious toast. Besides, if he was alive, alt Rewind would have vanished as the universe sets its timey wimey parallel quantum dimensional bullshit to rights

Auntie Slag
2016-07-31, 09:25 PM
Hmm, I guess you're right there. Does it set stuff back to rights? If the alt-Lost Light crew were never slaughtered couldn't the Universe handle two of every crew member? From the point of duplication, they're living separate lives.

There was also the thing about Rung not being on the Alt Lost Light. Was that a stated fact in the comic, or am I loosely remembering that from a thread comment or tweet?

Patapsco
2016-07-31, 09:40 PM
It's cosmic abeyance, or something. Both Lost Lights existed until one got to close to the other, when the actual one got dragged to limbo while the alt still existed. Once the quantum engines were fixed, the alt one ceased to exist, taking all of its duplicates with it... except Rewind because presumably as the original one wasn't there to come back from limbo

Auntie Slag
2016-07-31, 09:50 PM
Oh crap, so he really is the only Rewind in the universe? I wonder if that also meant that Overlord's severed head poofed out of existence aboard the Peaceful Tyranny? Tarn didn't seem overly bothered, although he was busy killing Megatron when Overlord turned up out of the blue a few issues ago.

Red Dave Prime
2016-07-31, 11:29 PM
Rung disappears from the alt lost light when the quantum engine thing happens. Evidently, there can only be one rung in the universe.

Unicron
2016-08-01, 12:56 AM
We don't know that Rung disappeared from the Alt-Lost Light, all we know is that 'Rung was lost in the explosion'. Incredibly vague statement that may or may not point to Rung being some kind of special that only allows for one to exist despite quantum duplication (and that would have to be some kind of special, since if this theory is true, the universe decided to have Rung be on the LL that was going to continue existing...).

As for Alt-Rewind persisting after the engines being shut off, we have no idea why. While it may be because of Rewind possibly being dead, it could also have been proximity to the briefcase and it's paradox locks (that was the only other thing we know of persisting through the engine shutdown).
Alt-Rewind's survival may also have been proximity based, or from a lack there of. Everybody who we know disappeared vanished in relative proximity to the Alt-LL. We have no evidence that Overlord, Drift, or Cosmos temporarily winked out like the others and all 3 of those were on-board at launch but gone by the time of the Lost Light's cosmic abeyance. It's possible Alt-Rewind stuck around after the engine shutdown because there wasn't another one nearby to make him disappear. (The flaw with this idea being the lack of spare Drift, Overlord, and Cosmos corpses floating in space. Though if I were to reach, I could probably explain that away by them being overlooked in the various debris of the big battle over the Alt-LL.)

inflatable dalek
2016-08-28, 01:17 PM
Sharing in here as well as there's lots of talk of Dying of the Light and reader feedback. The podcast interview we did with James at TFN:

http://tfarchive.com/fandom/features/podcast/?name=podcast_maximus_episode_18.mp3

Patapsco
2016-08-28, 03:21 PM
you missed a slashie in your BB code

inflatable dalek
2016-08-28, 05:42 PM
Whoops, ta.

koriand'r
2016-10-24, 06:20 PM
Dying of the Light was 85% Megatron and perhaps 15% devoted to others, with prominence to Dominus Ambus. Drift and Rodimus made up within one page. Nautica had her moment in a couple of pages. Skid's story was resolve in a very rushed and almost non-event way.

i'm still salty about this. drift's and rodimus rift had a lot of juice backing it up, with how it would affect the command structure, rodimus resentment towards himself because he let drift take the fall and also ratchet's conflict with rodimus giving brainstorm 'a slap on the wrist' for almost murdering his co-captain versus drift's exhile.

also the throwback to rodimus ability to burst into flames not being explained is really grinding my gears. can he only use it under some conditions, like when he's powered up? then what about the dinobot issue? did have to do with emotional trauma? or is he simply and outlier?

the comic is slowly becoming megatron centered and while that's fine for an arc, you've got such a rich cast with so many diverse characters and untouched issues, and instead he keeps grinding megatron's worth through issues and issues...

just like the non 'epic' reveal of tarn's identity, skids followed a similar fate, his identity, his forgotten past was a mistery deeply ingrained with more than meets the eye plot since the first issues, and to be brushed of aside like this, so skids can die a cheap death to power the crew up - after megatron finally decided he gave a s*it about organic beings and decided to give a huge ol' speach - is just bad writing in my opinion.

also dominus identity was pretty much brushed aside in favor of who? bingo it's the mister Bucket Head.

also what about developing drift's image of the djd? he's spent most of his time scared of them, even asked ratchet early in the comics to kill him because he couldn't face them. what about some consequence's in his possible hesitation in fighting them?

g.d i'm so angry robert's wasted so many opportunities, i mean i did enjoy this last issues as i love some gay robot drama and drift's reappearence, etc.. but this writing just makes it hard to enjoy it.

robert's focusing too much on him and wasting plot reveals.