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Old 2014-07-29, 03:53 PM   #1
Blackjack
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Default Comic Review: Regeneration One #89 [uploaded]

Transformers Regeneration One #89: Natural Selection, Part 4
13 March 2013
Written by: Simon Furman
Pencils by: Andrew Wildman
Inks by: Stephen Baskerville
Colours by: John-Paul Bove
Letters by: Chris Mowry
Edited by: John Barber

Synopsis: As everyone on Cybertron goes on a planet-wide manhunt for the Dinobots, Swoop, Sludge and Snarl evade their pursuers, and decide to put their own house in order and draw Grimlock out for a confrontation. The three orchestrate an attack on the Nursery, which alerts the attention of the on-duty officer Treadshot. Grimlock overhears and recognizes it as a summon from the other Dinobots, and smashes Treadshot’s head into his computer.

Sonic Canyons: Scorponok and Perceptor discuss the situation as the massive Gene Key’s construction goes on. Scorponok gives a speech about how his plan will unify the Transformer race, healing the flaw in Primus’ grand plan. Perceptor makes an argument that since chaos is the natural state of things, maybe war is part of Primus’ plan, causing Scorponok to crush a piece of metal in rage, before insisting that he has evolved into a creature beyond mere aggression.

Below: Hot Rod is confused as he realizes he’s supposed to choose between the Sword of Primus and the Covenant of Primus. He decides he needs answers, and is shown a vision of primordial Cybertron, as the Demons, Primus’ first creations, rise up from the planet, and while they initially worship Primus peacefully, as time goes by they go to war and Primus ends up wiping the slate clean by destroying the planet’s surface. Realizing that Primus intends for him to finish the ‘purge’ of these Demons, Hot Rod takes up the sword and engages the Demons that had caught up to him.

Earth: Optimus Prime drives towards the crashed Ark, struggling with his motivations, unsure if it is really out of a desire to help or to clear his conscience. Meanwhile, on the Ark itself, the inactive Shockwave remembers how he had wired his damaged body to the ship’s system after the crash, and starts to come to…

Cybertron: Grimlock arrives at the Nursery and tries to explain that he’s found a way to cure Nucleon, but the Dinobots do not want to hear any of it, saying that he’s gone too far in betraying all of Cybertron, and they attack him. Scorponok, meanwhile, is alerted of Grimlock’s escape and orders his troops to hunt Grimlock down by the help of a homing device, ordering the Dinobot leader’s execution. Scorponok’s forces arrive as Grimlock starts to fight back against his comrades. Grimlock opens fire at Inferno’s containment case, causing the Autobot’s uncontrollable combustion ability to cause an explosion that takes Scorponok’s forces out. Grapple’s team arrives on the site, having attracted by the comm-line chatter, and meet the Dinobots. While Hosehead deals with Inferno’s problems, Crosshairs and Grimlock decide to work together to stop Scorponok.

Meanwhile, Ultra Magnus and the Autobot ship Valiant arrive from Earth, unaware of the happenings of the planet. Pounce and Wingspan, under Scorponok’s orders, provides them with a landing plan with the intention of blowing them out of the sky as soon as they get close enough.

Featured Characters: Highbrow, Needlenose, Windsweeper, Slapdash?, Landmine, Sludge, Swoop, Snarl, Brainstorm, Treadshot (killed?), Grimlock, Perceptor, Scorponok, Erector?, Groundpounder, Hot Rod, Demons, Optimus Prime, Shockwave, Galvatron, Blaster, Slag, Brainstorm, Hardhead, Dreadwind, Darkwing, Inferno, Grapple, Crosshairs, Hosehead, Blurr, Hound, Ultra Magnus, Smokescreen, Red Alert, Sideswipe, Kup, Cosmos, Pounce, Wingspan

Review:

”Take down Scorponok and use Gene Key to put things straight. Most of us die in process, naturally.”

Despite the slight promise in quality last issue, this issue ends up being a tiring wade through the flotsams of Furman’s used ideas. The Dinobots fighting against Grimlock due to a disagreement on Grimlock’s methods and later making up is another repeat of the same conflict that had been repeated two or three times in Maximum Dinobots alone. It takes up far too much space to set up the conflict and the battle ends up looking extremely clunky and nowhere dynamic enough to hold interest. There’s also a shit-ton of random coincidences that is stupidity on the villains’ part that led Grimlock to be able to fight the Dinobots. First, Scorponok somehow doesn’t kill Grimlock outright or use that crystal thing to immobilize him despite Grimlock already trying to kill him last issue. The massive manhunt for the Dinobots don’t bother to check the Nursery, where one of them is imprisoned – and since a majority of the hunters are Autobots, there’s no excuse for not knowing. Then Grimlock is allowed to wander the base safely, and somehow manages to show up on Treadshot’s console just as he registers the attack on the Nursery. And somehow alarms are not raised until Grimlock has spoken to the others. It’s extremely bad management of the scenes, and would be a far better read if Grimlock had just wandered around the city and came across the Dinobots themselves, like, two or three issues ago. Or, hell, just don’t do this at all and have them straight up organize the resistance.

Scorponok himself, beyond being a massively idiotic Bond villain, ends up talking in bullshit ‘oh look I have access to a thesaurus’ manner with Perceptor, which is extremely boring to read. And in addition to pissing all over the original Marvel Scorponok’s sacrifice, we get an ‘explanation’ for his motivations, which is to unite the race and fix Primus’ grand plan, which seems to come right out of nowhere. Also there is this deal where he’s going on about how he has evolved beyond rage while clearly still an angry man himself, which is directly a carbon copy of what makes Generation 2 Jhiaxus interesting… and again, Regeneration One Scorponok basically takes random characteristics of all of Furman’s old villains and blenders them in a soup while sprouting terrible lines, equipped with the nonsensical Gene Key and generally acting like the most uninteresting villain ever.

We get one and a half pages of Optimus Prime driving and being all emo about whether he’s atoning for his sins or really trying to help, and while it’s all dandy and everything after being emo for the past two issues, and considering this is actually the second time that Optimus Prime has died (the first being Afterdeath), it’s starting to grate reading this. Fortunately this particular dialogue isn’t quite as badly written. We also waste like an entire page on flashbacks to hint that, oh noes, Shockwave is actually alive? No one would’ve guessed!

Also, for all his bullshit when he insists to Roadbuster that the Ark is to be blown up and not salvaged or anything, Circuit Smasher and his forces don’t exactly do anything to ensure that the Ark won’t be used by anyone else now, doesn’t it? Stupid Spike. You can’t even do your jerkassness right.

Art also suffers here, with the Dinobot fight looking particularly messy, and several other Transformers looking quite terrible. It’s not quite as bad as before, but main characters aside the art falters on many other secondary characters.

The Hot Rod bit is the only one that holds some semblance of interest, in that we finally get an explanation (well, more of a confirmation, really) for what exactly the Demons are, as Primus’ original ‘experiment’, which are cleaned off the slate by Primus. It’s a nice little nod to Marvel comics’ jerk of a god that is Primus, though again the scene does run a little longer than it should. The fact that Hot Rod is dealing with a circular golden bauble that promises unlimited knowledge, well, that just screams Magnificence now, doesn’t it? It’s not quite as egregious as the Dinobots or Scorponok in the recycling of ideas, though, so I don’t particularly mind as much. Also, the moral ethics about whether he should exterminate the Demons based on a vision is a fun one, considering how most of the time characters have put so much stock in visions, and Hot Rod was last shown to be the type to follow someone's footsteps when he blew up the Hall of Silence -- though I'm sure Hot Rod isn't the type for genocide. All the metaphysical visionary stuff can only be interesting so much, though, and the issue in general feels pretty weak nonetheless. Hell, I was surprised that there is just so much of Natural Selection to go through. It's so exhausting just to read.

(1 out of 5)

Notes:
The golden disk that Hot Rod found last issue is identified as the Covenant of Primus. The Covenant of Primus first appeared from the Beast Wars cartoon (one of it appearances having taken place in an episode that Furman wrote), where it is treated as the equivalent to the Bible in Transformer culture. However, in Beast Wars the Covenant is in the form of a golden metal book as opposed to a Golden Disk, which is totally a couple of varying things in Beast Wars.

This is the first appearances for the Micromasters Groundpounder and Erector, the first being his first appearance in Marvel comics continuity (he’s shown up in both Dreamwave and IDW as background characters) and the first appearance anywhere for the latter.

Galvatron recaps his battle with Shockwave and the Ark crashing, which happens in Transformers #78-79.

As hinted before, Inferno’s Nucleon-bestowed side effect is confirmed to be the ability of spontaneously causing combustions from within his body. Inferno himself is shown to be unable to control the explosions.

As mentioned before in the previous issue, Andrew Wildman draws Pounce and Wingspan with different heads and chest detailing – Pounce is basically the toy, whereas Wingspan is based on the character model as they showed up in the cartoon. they are easily told apart by Pounce having individual eyes whereas Wingspan has a single eye with goggle-like shapes.

Goofs:
Despite being apparently killed by Brainstorm two issues ago, a yellow formula one race car that highly resembles Slapdash is seen among the search party.

Landmine, killed back in #66 of the original run, was mentioned in a seeming goof by Grapple’s group last issue, and shows up in the flesh here.

‘Aggression’ is misspelled as ‘agression’ when Scorponok is talking to Perceptor.

Brainstorm’s character model is butchered as usual, and both Hardhead and Dreadwind have their normal mistakes of having a faceplate and having a mouth respectively.

As usual, Red Alert is extremely off-model, and Sideswipe joins him in that regard – having his head and general look drawn terribly wrong and having many parts miscoloured to boot.

Smokescreen is coloured with a blue head chevron instead of yellow on the last page.
 

Last edited by Blackjack; 2014-08-03 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 2014-07-29, 06:13 PM   #2
Red Dave Prime
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Not a fan then? Never got with the regen stuff but i heard it picks up near the end before jumping off a cliff in the last issue. Look forward to reading your reviews of it all
 
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Old 2014-07-29, 06:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Dave Prime View Post
Not a fan then? Never got with the regen stuff but i heard it picks up near the end before jumping off a cliff in the last issue. Look forward to reading your reviews of it all
Not really a fan, no. The 'Loose Ends' arc, starring Megatron, is mostly harmless if unnecessarily stretched out across five issues. But the Scorponok bit? I absolutely loathe it. I stopped reading Regen One after this issue, I think, only to pick up and read the entire thing in one go nearly a year later.

It does get better when Galvatron, Bludgeon and Soundwave enter the stage, and the Jhiaxus arc showed some promise, but as the series goes on it feels more like Furman is just checking names of villains off a list, and cherry picking all the old ideas he's never done, be it from his IDW work or Marvel. The end result is really a plodding mess that feels regurgitated. There are a couple of good issues here and there, but nothing particularly good. Add the rather poor art to the mix and it's not a very good combination.

I do feel a need to rant, however, and this is as good an outlet as any.
 
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Old 2014-07-29, 07:14 PM   #4
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Doesn't guido step in for the last six or so issues to give it a boost? Have curious to pick all these up as trades just for a read but not being a marvel reader i think i might miss a lot of the references. I remember flipping through an issue and seeing stuff that i couldn't really connect to.
 
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Old 2014-07-29, 07:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Dave Prime View Post
Doesn't guido step in for the last six or so issues to give it a boost? Have curious to pick all these up as trades just for a read but not being a marvel reader i think i might miss a lot of the references. I remember flipping through an issue and seeing stuff that i couldn't really connect to.
Ah, yeah, a second artist did help to spruce up the latter issues; didn't realize it was Guido. Geoff Senior did show up in the finale to draw a couple of the scenes, but the general feel of the series is definitely Wildman, and his art has nowhere of the energy or expressiveness he had when he was drawing the Marvel comics of old.

Regen One really doesn't make much sense if you're not at least somewhat familiar with the late-run Marvel stuff.

If you're going to read something, read the Marvel trades... the Titan ones are cheap around here, and they are generally more cohesive and read far better than Regeneration One, which is a soup of random references, plot threads that don't make sense if you haven't read the original Marvel comics, and unresolved IDW stuff.

Of course, I would recommend reading the UK stuff as well, but I did start off with the US continuity first before branching out to the UK.
 
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