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Old 2007-06-21, 02:59 AM   #1
Zisteau
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Thumbs up Megatron: Origin discussion

Didn't see a thread for this, Denyer usually has one up ahead of time.

Anyway, the first issue came up today. Overall I enjoyed it quite a bit. Getting a glimpse of Sentinel Prime was cool, and the gritty miner background Megatron has was well done. I thought the whole working class blue collar man wronged by the system angle was pretty weak, but overall I enjoyed the issue quite a bit. Its nice to see an Ancient Cybertron storyline that looks nothing like War Within, which didn't really seem like a story taking place millions of years ago for some reason. The art direction here lends itself to the feeling of age, the designs of the robots are more...primitive I guess, much more simple the hyper articulated War Within stuff. Some of them look downright Gundam, with the senators having that ancient soldier Alpha Trion look. Nice start. Can't wait for the inevitable Sentinel Prime/Metatron throwdown.
 

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Old 2007-06-21, 03:43 PM   #2
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Read it.

I enjoyed this issue, but I'm somewhat frustrated that the full potential of this tale may not be reached because of the very cramped Pat Lee-like pencilling of Milne.

Storywise, I'm really digging the "Megatron as victim of corrupt Autobot politicians" angle. The idea that Megatron might not have become what he is today if it weren't for the Autobots is very intriguing, and its nice to see Holmes going this route. I'm really excited about seeing how this all plays out in the next three issues. This is something that's going to be memorable. Nice to see that Megatron hooked up early with Rumble and Frenzy, who maintain their classic brattish characterization.

But the pencilling.....Unfortunately, this particular issue will also be memorable for being completely indecipherable from an artistic standpoint regarding the action sequences. Seriously, I could not make heads or tales of the battle sequences. What was an arm could have been a leg, what was a leg could have been a shoulder. It was that unclear. And just to make things a bit more unclear, every one of the miners had to look just like Megatron! Why???

But the pencilling wasn't all bad. Giving credit where credit is due, the layouts of the planet and the backgrounds and locations were beautifully rendered. Cybertron itself looks fantastic.

The dark inking and grainy coloring style fits perfectly, and I'm pleased to see this coloring scheme was chosen.

So overall, where this could have been an easy "A" for me, I have to deduct points for the disappointing lack of clarity regarding the action sequences. A "B+". Looking forward to more.
 
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Old 2007-06-21, 04:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by Zisteau
Denyer usually has one up ahead of time.
Denyer's drowning a bit under paper, and it hadn't really registered as it still isn't on the IDW site despite being listed by Diamond...

Quote:
every one of the miners had to look just like Megatron!
Wouldn't that make sense if they're generics?

Hope I can either find scans or Steve's delivery comes in before the end of the week. After that I'll be leaving you lot to things for a couple of months -- dalek and zigzagger are in charge, should be fine.
 
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Old 2007-06-21, 05:23 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Denyer
Wouldn't that make sense if they're generics?
Might make sense, except they weren't all generics. There were some Megatrons, some Rumbles, some nobody's, etc.

Milne could have made them a little bit more distinct, even if they were generics, so we could accurately identify Megs out of the crowd.
 
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Old 2007-06-21, 06:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Commander Shockwav
Might make sense, except they weren't all generics. There were some Megatrons, some Rumbles, some nobody's, etc.
By generics I wasn't thinking everything had to be the same model, but if miners are brought off the assembly line in large batches and kept in service until retired, the odds are that each bodyshell design might be reused hundreds or thousands of times.

Individuality isn't a high priority, and I guess this may have been included in the script rather than made as an artist decision -- the whole point is that Megatron is just one of many like him.

(Disc: haven't seen it yet, obviously.)
 
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Old 2007-06-21, 11:09 PM   #6
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Oh, forgot to mention that
SPOILER! (select to read)
Rumble and Frenzy
show up in the prison scene, with no sign of
SPOILER! (select to read)
Soundwave
. I had always assumed they were created with or by him. This also means, at least in IDW continuity, that they're quite a bit older than they seem. They're not named in the issue, but I'd be really surprised if it wasn't them after the blatant
SPOILER! (select to read)
arm piston
action.
 
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Old 2007-06-23, 11:59 AM   #7
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Thumbs up

It's good to see that Prowl has always been the frustrated second in command. I also really liked the portrayal of the Autobots as a kind of police force (very DW Armada) rather than a nation state.

Were there any "proper" Decepticons in the crowd scenes other than Megs and the cassetes? Generally I thought the art we better than many on here, if not up to Milne's Energon work. I could always follow what was going on at least (though it is now impossible to see that panel without thinking of Kareoke. Who do we have to thank for that mental image?).
 
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Old 2007-06-23, 10:40 PM   #8
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Picked it up today at a comic shop on the way home. I liked it a lot overall, and I'm excited about where this story will go.

I also thought the tragic villain angle was weaksauce, but they still have room to give us more reasons why Megatron became what he was other than being laid off. I like the art except during combat. This was the first bit of IDW stuff that felt like DW material because of the confusion during the battle sequences.

Liked that Sentinal Prime was kind of an ass, but also not really in touch with the corrupt Autobot politicians. Gives him a little bit of sympathy, but you also feel like, "Yeah, Prime's so much better than you."
 
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Old 2007-06-23, 11:34 PM   #9
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Read. Enjoyed. Story-wise it could've been done in fewer pages (partly because there weren't any surprises for anyone who'd skimmed the couple of lines of solicitation, partly because I'm familiar with the equivalent period of UK history) but the visuals add interest, and it all adds up to give the impression of a suitably expansive and populated TF civilisation.

Looking at the Movie adaptation covers, Milne suits robots better than humans, doesn't he?
 
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Old 2007-06-25, 02:39 AM   #10
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Well, if you visit the Allspark and Tfans.net, I don't think I've seen such a negative response to the art since Rob Ruffolo on Micromasters.

The pencilling really, really detracted from the story. And that's tough to do, if the story is good, which I think this one is.
 
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Old 2007-06-25, 02:54 AM   #11
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Um, Tfans is at www.tfans.com, Transfans is www.transfans.net, and www.tfans.net doesn't exist... which one you thinking of?

Didn't find it hard to follow, and you know how much I hated Micromasters (which had ludicrously distorted heads/limbs.) Here the grimy and pitted surfaces fit the story, nobody's hugely out of scale, etc.
 
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Old 2007-06-25, 03:01 AM   #12
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It only distracted for me in that I did note while reading that I actually had to take time to figure out what was going on in a panel. It wasn't major, and hopefully won't become habitual as it was with DW.

I really felt the weakest part was the whole tragic villain cliché. That's been done to death recently in popular media, and I'm really expecting more to happen than Megatron turning into an evil megalomaniac just because he flew into a rage and killed someone.

I still have to say, I thought it was ****ing awesome, regardless.
 
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Old 2007-06-25, 03:05 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sir Auros
I'm really expecting more to happen than Megatron turning into an evil megalomaniac just because he flew into a rage and killed someone.
I'm hoping we'll see a fair span of time -- discovering that at rock bottom the only mech he can depend on is himself, building support, terrorist strikes.

And what the rest of pre-war Cybertron is like. It'd be a shame to move away from the history without a look at what things are like for the "haves" as well as the "have nots".
 
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Old 2007-06-26, 05:48 PM   #14
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I did think it was a bit odd that for a comic called Megatron: Origin we got more of an idea about Sentinal Prime and early-Prowl's character than than the stars. We could have done with maybee a bit of development of YoungMegs before the change (though there's still time yet).

I also found it odd that- on the run and desperate to go into hiding- Megatron takes the shuttle down to the same city as the main security/Autobot headquarters. Which is like Bin Ladden holding up in a cave down the road from the Pentagon.
 
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Old 2007-06-26, 06:29 PM   #15
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The Autobot base seems to have been built to police a specific hotspot... presumably it's a good place to go unapprehended.

I'm not going to get this finished, but these are the notes I started, might be of some use to a review...

There's something perverse and faintly hilarious about a race of robots facing the industrial development of automation -- why wouldn't this have been the case from the beginning of the mines? If technology exists for ...

Because this is printed on matte stock, clarity would have benefited from increasing the gamma factor of the source images. Indeed the production values, for $3.99, drop the ball. IDW primarily use two publishers... the one for which there's a longer lead time does glossy thick stock, but Megatron #1 evidently was rather a rush job with another printer who can do quick turnaround. The result is matte, which suits the dark palette badly, and the paper feels disappointingly flimsy next to other IDW comics. There are also dialogue errors scattered through the issue: redatriation, agian, sentinal prime.

---

Senator Decimus shares some design elements with Alpha Trion from the 1980s cartoon, who in turn shares some design elements with Vector Prime from the recent Cybertron series. He comes across as doddery and patronising, most sentences ending with "hmm?", and considers the miners degenerates.

The Autobot security guards seem to take some design cues from Victory Leo, Deszaras and other Japanese characters, with 'wings' splayed across chestplates and horns protruding from the side of heads. They aren't developed as individual characters, but the mono-optics and fixed faceplates suggest a businesslike or military approach to duty; the situation at the mining outpost doesn't phase them. As mentioned above, the Autobot logo seems exclusive to the security force rather than a general designation for all characters.

Megatron is difficult to get a handle on; the main speech of the miners goes to a redshirt who is summarily cut down and whose deactivation sparks off the riot. Megatron's first reactions are to immediate circumstances; simple and rather self-satisfied impulse to lob an axe at the senator, fear at being challenged by a guard. He's devious later, though, realising that crippling the senator's vessel means that rescue will be more of a priority for the Autobots than hunting the miners.

Rumble and Frenzy (not named) retain their familiar piledriver arm configurations and insubordinate natures. They restart the rebellion aboard the Longshot shuttle, giving others a distraction and opportunity to free themselves.

Prowl ...

Sentinel Prime has a retractable faceplate and a somewhat bolshy attitude towards his co-workers, despite the fact all he's doing is standing around testing weapons or doing target practice. He hints at something "down here" which on current evidence could be anything from activists based subterraneanly to the Cybertronian equivalent of big rats.

---

Timing is indeterminate; "Long ago. Peacetime."

The mining outpost refines energon from crystals to a liquid or solution form, then into energon cubes.

The captured miners are wearing shackles and inhibitor claws (not named in the narrative, but they're familiar devices in previous Transformers comics that lower resistance and prevent full transformation.)

Along with Kremzeek designs (a cartoon reference) there are 'female' designs on the Cybertron vidscreens. Because clearly what Transformers stories for grown-ups need is the suggestion that robots pose like humans in beach commercials... hopefully just a easter egg rather than in the script.

Ads in the back are for Megatron #2, the Movie Prequel, Transformers posters, the Movie Adaptation, manga-size editions, trade paperbacks, Greatest Battles of Optimus Prime and Megatron, Cover Gallery 2, and Star Trek Year Four.

 
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Old 2007-06-26, 07:16 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Denyer
...IDW primarily use two publishers... the one for which there's a longer lead time does glossy thick stock, but Megatron #1 evidently was rather a rush job with another printer who can do quick turnaround. The result is matte, which suits the dark palette badly, and the paper feels disappointingly flimsy next to other IDW comics.
This I can personally vouch for. I set up a subscription for the 4 issues through IDW, and paid a little extra for shipping (it was nice getting the Escalation issues the day of release, or on some rare occasions, a week early. So, I have no qualms about paying extra). But I digress, I still haven't received my first issue!!! I messaged IDW inquiring about it, and their reply pretty much suggests what you said; they we're having problems with one of their printing branches, or something along those lines, (I think it was somewhere in Quebec ), thus hadn't received enough copies.
 

Last edited by zigzagger; 2007-06-26 at 07:18 PM.
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Old 2007-06-26, 07:41 PM   #17
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So it could be just some copies that are affected? What I meant above is that there are different printing companies that are typically used [two in particular, as far as I'm aware] depending on how much time IDW have before the issue is needed -- the top quality place (which did the first covers book, IIRC) requires a long lead time.
 
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Old 2007-06-27, 05:00 PM   #18
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And how stupid are the guards for letting Rumble and Frenzy keep their pilearms active? Even if it's not standard equipment you'd think they'd automaticaly check all prisoners for in built weapons.
 
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Old 2007-06-27, 05:27 PM   #19
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Apparently Octane and Blot were the only other non generics in the crowd scene although i haven't spotted them yet.
 

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Old 2007-07-03, 02:09 PM   #20
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Kinda like the idea of Megatron as a surpressed worker coming to an uprising against his Leaders.

Reminds me of the Communist uprising in Russia with Megatron being kinda like Lenin. Too bad though that writers always seem to think that communism doesn't work so the Decepticons will have to fall to evil as well...
 



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