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Old 2008-04-14, 11:23 PM   #101
Brimstone
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I must say, I don't like the new cartoonish designs.

Wait, let me restate that. If this was a new G1 continuity, a re-do of G1, then I'd be extremely happy. The art is awesome! However, for the new IDW continuity, I was enjoying their designs much better. The designs in Infiltration were really incredible.

To see the Seekers and the Constructicons looking like this...it makes me sad. We're back to blocky transformers.
 
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Old 2008-04-15, 02:36 AM   #102
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I must say, I don't like the new cartoonish designs.

Wait, let me restate that. If this was a new G1 continuity, a re-do of G1, then I'd be extremely happy. The art is awesome! However, for the new IDW continuity, I was enjoying their designs much better. The designs in Infiltration were really incredible.

To see the Seekers and the Constructicons looking like this...it makes me sad. We're back to blocky transformers.
There are certain panels that look really good and exciting, but others just feel like they're straight out of a cartoon, which for me really dampens the intended impressiveness of the action.

Anyway, Cliffjumper, Terome et al, what do you think should have been different about the 'ation series? I can follow your arguments, but I still really like the series overall (though admittedly I don't have much to compare it with). Was it mostly the pacing?
 
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Old 2008-04-15, 06:15 AM   #103
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Cover to #2

http://fromthetip.blogspot.com/2008/...to-future.html


 
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Old 2008-04-15, 07:04 AM   #104
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Anyway, Cliffjumper, Terome et al, what do you think should have been different about the 'ation series? I can follow your arguments, but I still really like the series overall (though admittedly I don't have much to compare it with). Was it mostly the pacing?
Well, I think I liked the -ation series a lot more than Cliffjumper, but looking back, I'd say that the six issue format was not the best way to structure the story. The problem comes in when you've committed the reader to a six-issue arc with an evocative name that takes place over a few days or hours in story-time, but which takes six months to come out and whose story doesn't allow for any kind of diversions or tangents or issues devoted to anything but the plot. Now, the Spotlights offset this considerably and I've been a happy reader on the whole, but it's still hard to disagree with Cliffy on the flaws inherent in the -ation system that will, for what may turn out to be ill or good, reverberate through the story for a while yet.
 
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Old 2008-04-15, 12:31 PM   #105
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For me, a huge part is the pacing - what we've had so far could have fitted in 12 comics, maximum. Possibly less. And that's before some of the mediocre subplots are annihilated. Because things are so languid, there's also a tangible lack of tension and drama - events that should be massive, like the Autobots pulling out of Earth, completely lack any sort of impact, and are something of an anti-climax. The release schedule hasn't helped (I know stores apparently won't take a TF ongoing, but what's the excuse for the minis not coming out back to back again?), though to be fair after the non-event of Infiltration I've managed to read the other two in one jolt, and it didn't help.

We're, what, thirty - forty issues into this counting all the related comics. If this had been an ongoing comprised of four arcs and a few one-parters, would you still be buying? I'm fed up with promises the whole thing's going to kick into gear, and then when the final issue of each mini arrives, I feel like I did at the end of DW Vol. 2 - "Oh, so those six comics were just build-up for the next six". Every damn time. They need to sort the pacing, drop the attempts at middlebrow (which are scuppered by things like Communistya or whatever the place was called, not to mention Furman's dialogue) and give us some serious fun (it doesn't help that at some point in the process, either from Furman's scripting or Su's pencils, the action scenes are falling flat every single time).
 
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Old 2008-04-15, 01:07 PM   #106
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Originally Posted by Cliffjumper View Post
there's also a tangible lack of tension and drama - events that should be massive, like the Autobots pulling out of Earth, completely lack any sort of impact, and are something of an anti-climax.
Part 4 of Devastation's a good example of this.

We've got massive, massive moments that we could end on - Hunter committing to the Headmaster process, Verity and Jimmy's "death" (which loses all drama simply by having however many pages still to go... the fact it wasn't the cliffhanger is probably what made nobody believe they wouldn't be revived)... but instead we end the issue on the massive MASSIVE shock revelation that... Starscream's awake! Which we already knew. :-/
 
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Old 2008-04-15, 03:44 PM   #107
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I've been thinking about Devastation a lot recently - and I'm pretty sure that the story was arranged in the worst possible way. Sticking with the same plot and the same amount of issues, you could have had a set-up like this:

Issue 1: The Autobots move the Ark-19 and are blown out of the sky by Sixshot. Big cliffhanger with the imminent crash. A scene with the Decepticons would set up the Starscream situation.

Issue 2: Hot Rod and Wheeljack set off from Ark-19 to find Ironhide. They encounter the Headmasters, overcome them, find Ironhide and are shocked by the sudden arrival via bounce of a worse-for-wear Hardhead who tells them that they have to leave Earth. Hot Rod refuses, opting to look for Sunstreaker.

Issue 3: Hunter awakens in the Machination facility in Tampa. He sneaks around, finds Sunstreaker, hears some bits and pieces about terrible, terrible things happening in Pensacola, takes the final step towards becoming a Headmaster and escapes from Scorponok. A scene setting up Galvatron's arrival could go here or in Issue #4.

Issue 4: We pick up with the Ark-19 crew and power along with Ratchet as he gets chased across the States by Sixshot.

Issue 5: Prime fights Sixshot to a standstill, receives the call from Garrus Nine and decides to pull out. This is basically what we got in Devastation #5, but with the B and C plots regulated to their own issues, we'd get a better treatment of the Autobot retreat and that weird Verity-Jimmy-not-dead cliffhanger.

Issue 6: The Decepticons find they have a problem with the Reapers and Sixshot, but Starscream manages to put things right (with a little help from Galvatron) and, by the end of this Day Of Devastation, it looks as though the situation on Earth is completely different.



I reckon a structure like that would have quelched the fairly numerous complaints about pace and squeezing of pagespace. I guess that Cliffy's misgivings about the art and excitement would still stand, but I don't particularly agree with those myself.

The reported structure of Revelation sounds like a much better approach to a months-long story, but it is a small wonder that Furman hasn't figured that out yet.
 
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Old 2008-04-15, 04:03 PM   #108
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Mmm. The spotlight approach is sensible.

Used to be that each issue was its own story, and any "arc" came from the next month being a follow-up.

Now, we get half a dozen stories, but structured so we get a sixth of each per issue. Which just results in some things feeling limp, others feeling rushed, and most readers getting annoyed because they have to wait a month between scenes for the interesting strands.

Revs, on the other hand, may well have multiple threads carrying through, but the Spotlight format means that the actual "A" plot (focussed on whichever character) will should actually get tied up before we advance to the next location. Room for the story to breathe.
 
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Old 2008-04-15, 05:16 PM   #109
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Mmm, I have big, big problems with any single issue comic that fails to have something self-contained in - aside from -ation, I can think of very few comics full-stop that don't really manage this. I do like that re-edited plot, though, and the excitement could actually rise from a single strand of the plot being largely covered in a single issue - something like Hot Rod and Wheeljack versus the Headmasters would have a lot more punch in a single issue. Spread out across 12 it had no zap, and felt like it went on forever. As, say, a half-book action sequence without being interspersed with four or five other strands, it would have worked in a Mark Millar-esque "rush it past them!" way (and Furman really does want to be Mark Millar). Same thing with Hunter - the bitty layout of him creeping around the base didn't work because there was no suspense, and it seemed like he spent ages lurking in the same corridor. I kept thinking "Oh yeh, he's still there...".

Just because events are simultaneous is no reason to just paste all the scenes into a timeline and chuck them out in precise order. Comics are one of the few mediums where it's pretty easy to tell things in a non-linear fashion. At the moment, the storytelling is actually identical to Energon...
 
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Old 2008-04-15, 05:34 PM   #110
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Man, I remember being on the TfArchive in 1998 or so, developing a mind of steel as my 26K modem downloaded every issue of the Transformers comic that I'd missed one JPEG at a time. I remember going through the whole Classic Pretenders storyline* and wishing very hard that Furman would never chop a bunch of decent stories up into little pieces and make a story stew ever again.

I just made the connection between that story (can't recall issue numbers, but I seem to remember Optimus Prime standing around for seven weeks while a squad of Micromasters were mean to him) and Devastation. I really thought that it was some terrible combination of the Moon, Jose Deblo and the editors of the U.S comic. He'd evidentally learned his lesson by the time of On The Edge Of Extinction, where every issue until the end sings, despite being ridiculously contracted.

* Checked - Back From The Dead, The Resurrection Gambit and All The Familiar Faces.
 
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Old 2008-04-15, 05:44 PM   #111
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I loved the way pretty much every other Earthbound Transformer turned up to be intimidated by the Air Strike Patrol.

I do think the IDW G1-verse needs a big death, preferably an Autobot who's had a big role - Ratchet, Ironhide or Bumblebee. At the moment, we keep getting told the stakes are high, but there's little tangible to prove it. Twice the Autobots have been at the mercy of the big bad (Megatron in Escalation, Sixshot in Devastation) and still they've effectively unscathed.
 
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Old 2008-04-15, 06:04 PM   #112
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Originally Posted by Cliffjumper View Post
I loved the way pretty much every other Earthbound Transformer turned up to be intimidated by the Air Strike Patrol.
Because the Air Strike Patrol are Awesome. Not quite as Awesome as the Sports Car Patrol, but nearly.

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I do think the IDW G1-verse needs a big death, preferably an Autobot who's had a big role - Ratchet, Ironhide or Bumblebee.
1) I think we're gonna get one in Revelations. Though maybe I'm just being overzealous with my interpretation on a certain something. Fingers crossed Furmo's got the guts to follow through on the tease.

2) Bumblebee??! I forget he's even in it at times. He did a bit of cross country in Infiltration, got shot at a bit in that and then again in Devastation. Beyond that... not much. The Battlechargers have done more.

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At the moment, we keep getting told the stakes are high, but there's little tangible to prove it
Yeah. The whole "not everybody will make it out alive!!!!" portentious guff for Devastation was basically undone by whichever character turning around and saying "and only the Battlechargers bought it... I think that's acceptable losses". Good move... kill off the two least-likely-to-be-missed, then acknowledge it. It's hardly up there with Skywarp being gutted in Infiltration.
 
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Old 2008-04-15, 06:48 PM   #113
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OK, I can see your points, especially about Devastation being a big jumble; though I wonder how much of that was a result of sudden changes in response to reader complaints. Likewise with the constant promises of payoff that never quite come about - it does seem like Furman was writing one story, (a slow, universe-building, serious sci-fi thing), and hyping another (excitement, death and explosions!).

All the same, I think I like the setup of the universe so much that I'm willing to forgive the flaws in storytelling (some of the dialogue does kill me though). The nature of the war, the Transformers' personalities, even the way the humans act - it's all interesting, semi-realistic, and doesn't entirely talk down to the reader. The difference is really noticable when I look at the AHM preview (to marginally bring this back on topic) - there, we have humans acting very comic-booky (a city crowd wouldn't react to giant robots with immediate delight, regardless of whether they know what they are or not), and the Transformers acting very cartoony. The story we get in AHM may be straightforward, with self-contained stories in each issue, but if it feels like it's written for kids, I'm not really going to care.

I do wish Devastation had played out somewhat like Terome suggested, and probably having some consequence like Ironhide dying would have helped keep the more mature promise of the series. Still I think the main series plus the Spotlights have provided a good take on Transformers overall.
 
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Old 2008-04-15, 08:20 PM   #114
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Once it ceases to be spoilerific I'd still like to see the original plot/outline Furman came up with before starting out, just to remove and lingering thoughts that it was much better before AHM forced him to change everything about (which it probably wasn't considering Infiltration was fairly weak as well and that's the one bit of the arc that's almost certainly as planned unless he was chucking out stuff from the get go). I'd certainly like to see if Devastation was actually supposed to have some devastation in it at one point.
 
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Old 2008-04-15, 08:34 PM   #115
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Once it ceases to be spoilerific I'd still like to see the original plot/outline Furman came up with before starting out, just to remove and lingering thoughts that it was much better before AHM forced him to change everything about (which it probably wasn't considering Infiltration was fairly weak as well and that's the one bit of the arc that's almost certainly as planned unless he was chucking out stuff from the get go). I'd certainly like to see if Devastation was actually supposed to have some devastation in it at one point.
I wasn't thinking about the earlier changes, not the ones resulting from AHM. I remember seeing a quote from Furman about how some events were moved up or changed in Devastation (and maybe Escalation), as a result of the complaints over the slowness of Infiltration. I'm thinking that attempt to suddenly pick up the pace is why Devastation came off so rushed; though it doesn't necessarily mean that the alternative would have been better. I suspect there would have been less devastation and more humans in Dev if things had played out as orginally planned.
 
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Old 2008-04-15, 08:38 PM   #116
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How the Hell would they have managed less Devastation than was in Devastation? Was it going to be a six-issue Grapple and Hoist mini where they go around building stuff?
 
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Old 2008-04-15, 08:42 PM   #117
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Sixshot would have missed Ark-19 in #1, and Scorponok would have used the door in #6.
 
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Old 2008-04-15, 09:58 PM   #118
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I was thinking that the Sixshot and the Reapers might have lasted longer, or Galvatron may not have reached Earth until the next arc. Just guesses, though, I don't have any real arguments to back it up.
 
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Old 2008-04-16, 12:02 AM   #119
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a six-issue Grapple and Hoist mini where they go around building stuff
That would be awesome.

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Scorponok would have used the door in #6.
I do wonder why he'd spend 20+ years building up a front company, a new body and a wholly untested new technology and neglect to install a door.

Quote:
All the same, I think I like the setup of the universe so much that I'm willing to forgive the flaws in storytelling (some of the dialogue does kill me though)... The difference is really noticable when I look at the AHM preview...
I'm pretty sure I feel the same way. I really do like the set-up of this incarnation. The conservative nature of the war and the emphasis on structure and resources is a genuinely interesting look at slightly alien warfare. Though it looks as if that's all going to go tits-up with All Hail Megatron. Remember how cool it was when Megatron stepped on that guy who was pissing and smoking at the same time?!? Well, dude, now he just 9/11ed a whole load of people for no reason!
 
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Old 2008-04-16, 02:00 AM   #120
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I do wonder why he'd spend 20+ years building up a front company, a new body and a wholly untested new technology and neglect to install a door.
Well he was just a head. Maybe Dante spent the door budget on 10-gallon hats and didn't tell him.
 
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