Transformers: More than Meets the Eye Season One #1-22

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Post by Death's Head » Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:54 pm

In all the excitement everyone's missed the rather excellent/groanworthy pun right there on page 2.
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Post by Skyquake87 » Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:09 pm

...I haven't actually read this preview of the preview (what is the world coming to - will we shortly have a one panel preview?)

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Post by Summerhayes » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:50 am

Skyquake87 wrote:...I haven't actually read this preview of the preview (what is the world coming to - will we shortly have a one panel preview?)
Roberts does sometimes give a one line preview over on the IDW board.
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Post by Terome » Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:04 pm

Arm The Lonely is a fantastic title.

I do like though how these previews cause intense discussion over minor events: 'WILL DAI ATLAS RECOGNISE HIS OLD BUDDY, CYCLONUS? WAIT TWO WEEKS TO FIND OUT?'

I wonder how long that 'Great sword / Certainly impressive,' line has been waiting for a chance to come out. Also, my prejudice is blazing strong because while I thought Drift's soul-sucking great sword was a dumb concept before, now I reckon it's kinda neat. It's true, writers. Readers will like your ideas more if you wrap them nicely. Also the twist to make it work on devotion rather than vague soul power is fun.

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Post by Skyquake87 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:17 pm

Summerhayes wrote:Roberts does sometimes give a one line preview over on the IDW board.

...argh!

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Post by zigzagger » Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:34 am

...And here's the full preview:
http://tformers.com/transformers-more-t ... /news.html

Oooh. A lot of juicy tidbits in this one.

And Skids and Getaway are just precious :)

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Post by nhy3888 » Sat Aug 24, 2013 10:49 am

I kinda enjoy reading the previews because, for me, speculating on what comes next is most of the fun. This only really works because Roberts manages in some small way to take the story or the minutiae in a different direction than I'd imagined. So I'm frequently wrong, but I like that and I'd happily read eleven pages every two weeks to get more of my speculation (and UK comics nostalgia) hit.

I don't remember, are both Getaway and Skids part of the New Institute? Does or did Prime condone these Special Ops working as Autobots, if he was even aware of them in the first place? Or does he leave the details to ethical and moral pragmatists like Prowl? I seem to remember they kept Prime well away from the doings that transpired in LSOTW.

I feel like Roberts is putting flesh on the bones of characters that aren't even in or barely mentioned during his stories. He's turning the major players into the more mythical characters they should be.

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Post by inflatable dalek » Wed Aug 28, 2013 7:18 pm

READ AND SPOILERS FROM NOW ON!




























[Anyone wanting to remain surprised after reading this will have to use the binary gun on themselves]


















Ravage! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Ahem, me liked that a lot. Hardly surprising at this stage (and despite my cunning plan to torment Roberts, I couldn't find any obvious Red Dwarf parallels. Curses).

I was actually surprised Roberts mentioned in one of the Auto Assembly related podcasts that he doesn't really read science fiction, because this series is exploring proper "BIG" hard SF concepts, very successfully (in terms of the purest form of the genre: taking a scientific idea and exploring its consequences within a certain set of circumstances).

Transformers, even the best of it, is normally just a war story dressed up with robots. The average episode of Columbo (which traditionally explored how new technology could be used FOR MURDER) is more hard SF. Now, there's nothing wrong with more pulpy science fiction (and most stuff put out falls under that category), but I do love big ideas that get you thinking and the memory gun adds a new one to a series that is overflowing with them. Fantastic.

And it's another, very densely written issue. From Ambulon's fate (fantastic scene for Ratchet and First Aid, did Ratchet's actions remind anyone else of Pax's imaginative use of a corpse in Chaos Theory?); to the neat explanation for why Pharma is there, to how everything set up as being in the cell is used in the escape; to DIE Altas (plus Cyclonus and Whirl's continuing to create the sense of thing not going to end well); to Tailgate looking for a moral boost from a Ratchet in no position to give it, to the Killswitch actually working, to all the cameos at the end...


Phew.

The "Bigger picture" stuff in the final was the perfect example of how to do this sort of thing as well, it's not just "Hey, wouldn't it be cool to see Prowl!", it's instead used to show the true scale of the threat- Huge numbers of Cybertronians are about to die horribly all over the Universe. Gut-retching stuff (and still found time for a laugh with Grimlock!).

Oh, and I liked that Getaway already knew what was going on avoiding the problem of Tyrest having to explain it a second time so our heroes could have a clue as to what to do.

Stuff that didn't work? I'm not sure Skids erasing his memory when he did actually makes sense. Wouldn't it be more practical to wait to be debriefed before going for the plausible deniability route? If Shock and Ore had still been alive how would they have been able to report to Prowl if Skids had succeeded or not?

Plus, it seems really odd that he'd crawl a foreboding but vague message of doom on the inside of the ship as a warning rather than just remember the situation he's in and erase the memories after he's out of danger. It's such a convoluted way of going about things it makes me wonder if it was Skids who recorded the cryptically worded message from the future after all.


Random Speculation of the Month:


Tyrest's defence in his office works on the minds of Transformers... now who's laying on the floor with his head missing? And seems to have had more of a masterplan than we thought if Getaway is to be believed? Pre-programed Ambus corpse to the rescue?

EDIT: Ah, I suppose pre-programed Magnus armour would actually make more sense, it is kind of odd it's been put back together all neatly when Tyrest doesn't seem to have any future plans for it...
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Post by Denyer » Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:23 pm

inflatable dalek wrote:The "Bigger picture" stuff in the final was the perfect example of how to do this sort of thing as well, it's not just "Hey, wouldn't it be cool to see Prowl!", it's instead used to show the true scale of the threat- Huge numbers of Cybertronians are about to die horribly all over the Universe.
I did like that there were several pages given over to establishing shots of checking in on characters, but not really sold on the "suddenly everyone everywhere is affected" -- it's very new Who, and the characters involved mean that a reset button is very likely. (The "all linked through the allspark, time is an illusion and they can flit in and out" of previous continuities and use of similar handwaving plot devices with Ironhide in this one is unbalancing to the narrative and any sense of tension or consequence as well.)

Instead, it's a chance to fill in some details about who was created how, which is worthwhile enough in itself.

Will hopefully get chance for a slower read tomorrow...

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Post by Knightdramon » Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:55 pm

I don't think it really works, it'll probably blow itself off next issue.

Great issue so far, too bad that Skids' past ended up being sort of...unremarkable. Was expecting him to be a DJD agent as well, but there's no reason they can't add that later on.

Really enjoyed the scenes all over the world showing some bots affected. Anybody still thinks Tarn isn't Roller? He practically says Prime's words to Kaon in a different way.

A shocking battle scene regarding Atlas and Sabre, and actually quite gruesome. Star Sabre impaled Atlas with his HAND and then twisted his spark? Wow. To be honest, I thought an original Ark to be crew member like Atlas would be near unbeatable. The scene also puts a stop to any thoughts of Star Sabre faking it or working undercover; he's really nuts.

Sadly this leaves Whril and Cyclonus versus Star Sabre in the next issue.
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Post by Warcry » Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:43 am

Knightdramon wrote:Really enjoyed the scenes all over the world showing some bots affected.
I didn't. If it was left ambiguous who was forged and who wasn't, it would have left the question open about whether or not Tyrest would succeed. But since Roberts can't kill off half of Barber's main cast in one fell swoop, we know that the killswitch will be reversed somehow before any of our cast can die from it.

I was actually surprised by how light this issue felt compared to the standard Roberts fare. I read through it a lot quicker than usual, and nothing that happened really took me by surprise. We knew the heroes would escape and try (and, since it's not the final issue of the arc, fail) to foil Tyrest, and so they did. I also saw the Dai Atlas/Star Saber fight coming and wasn't particularly surprised by the outcome, since neither one of them are really established characters in this universe. More than anything it felt like a setup issue, moving the pieces into place for the last act, something that Roberts has skillfully avoided in his multi-issue arcs most of the time.

Still, looking forward to seeing how it ends.

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Post by inflatable dalek » Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:48 am

Denyer wrote:I did like that there were several pages given over to establishing shots of checking in on characters, but not really sold on the "suddenly everyone everywhere is affected" -- it's very new Who, and the characters involved mean that a reset button is very likely. (The "all linked through the allspark, time is an illusion and they can flit in and out" of previous continuities and use of similar handwaving plot devices with Ironhide in this one is unbalancing to the narrative and any sense of tension or consequence as well.)
Warcry wrote:I didn't. If it was left ambiguous who was forged and who wasn't, it would have left the question open about whether or not Tyrest would succeed. But since Roberts can't kill off half of Barber's main cast in one fell swoop, we know that the killswitch will be reversed somehow before any of our cast can die from it.
I'd disagree on both counts. Even though it's virtually (and I say virtually rather than certainly because Shockwave's plot in Dark Cybertron looks to be involving an ore that can resurrect the dead, meaning the outside chance of the losses here and the desire to get them back forming part of the backbone of the crossover) certain everyone is going to be OK in the end... would that really not be the assumption even if we hadn't seen other main character affected?

It's going to be about how they get out of it rather than if, and I can't believe any of us thought that wouldn't be the case last issue (after all, just law of averages means there would have to be a fair few main RID characters who'd be in danger anyway). Whether it works or not will depend on if it cleverly uses elements that have been set up in advance or if it's a total cop out (of which I'd say "Well it wasn't really working after all" would qualify).

What I liked about the choice of sideways glances is, that three years ago (and any point all the way back to Dreamwave) we'd have had at least one panel full of totally randomly chosen obscure Japanese characters there as Easter eggs for fanwank. That's resisted here in order to show the impact on the actual current lead characters in both series, the ones we (in theory anyway, YMMV of course) are supposed care about the most. That's much better storytelling (with the added bonus that with everyone so spread out it suggests the extent of the effect as well. Neat).
Really enjoyed the scenes all over the world showing some bots affected. Anybody still thinks Tarn isn't Roller? He practically says Prime's words to Kaon in a different way.
Nah, what that means is Tarn was Optimus Prime all along. :p
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Post by Knightdramon » Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:49 am

Warcry wrote:I didn't. If it was left ambiguous who was forged and who wasn't, it would have left the question open about whether or not Tyrest would succeed. But since Roberts can't kill off half of Barber's main cast in one fell swoop, we know that the killswitch will be reversed somehow before any of our cast can die from it.
Yeah but what most people miss is that Tyrest says the name is misleading, the switch can't be turned OFF once it's turned on, yet Tyrest has used it twice already, on Pharma and bots from the Crystal City.

But I do agree that the switch is used a tad poorly at this time, only because you know most of these bots are advertised to be around in Dark Cybertron.
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Post by Warcry » Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:34 pm

inflatable dalek wrote:I'd disagree on both counts. Even though it's virtually (and I say virtually rather than certainly because Shockwave's plot in Dark Cybertron looks to be involving an ore that can resurrect the dead, meaning the outside chance of the losses here and the desire to get them back forming part of the backbone of the crossover) certain everyone is going to be OK in the end... would that really not be the assumption even if we hadn't seen other main character affected?
Not necessarily. Red Alert, Flywheels, Pipes, Rewind and Ambulon certainly weren't OK in the end, even though we certainly would have expected at least some of them to pull through. Roberts hasn't been shy about subverting expectations, so while I'd expect Blaster, Getaway and the other afflicted Lost Lighters to survive I couldn't be sure of it. But once you start showing main characters from a totally different book? That's completely different.

Would you think even for a second that Spider-Man was going to be killed off for real in an X-Men book, or believe that Batman was going to die in a completely non-hyped appearance in Green Lantern? No, because that would be insanely stupid on the publisher's part.

And killing them off just to handwave them back to life with magic Energon would be even worse, in my opinion.
Knightdramon wrote:Yeah but what most people miss is that Tyrest says the name is misleading, the switch can't be turned OFF once it's turned on, yet Tyrest has used it twice already, on Pharma and bots from the Crystal City.
Fair point. Obviously it can be turned off in some form or another, since it was used before and Tyrest needed to turn it back on again. And of course, "can't be turned off" isn't synonymous with "can't be stopped", since I'd imagine that blowing the thing up would cut short whatever it's doing.

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Post by Blackjack » Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:57 pm

Oh man, it was pretty hectic. The issue started off rather slowly, with a bit of a recap going on, but mainly given to Getaway and Skids. The backstory is... well, what I've kind of pieced together, although Red Dave Prime's review making me reread issue two probably helped me understand the flashback a lot more than I would trying to remember a two-year old issue... not as impressed as past issues, but it's a nice story nonetheless. Getaway's escape routine is pretty awesome.

Was frankly worried that many of the other characters -- Chromedome, Rung, Brainstorm, Swerve and Perceptor in particular -- have basically turned into pretty background fodder. There's no reason why any of them couldn't have been left on the Lost Light or whatever and not clutter up the scenes and only show up for one or two panel in the entire issue.

Still liking the Cyclonus/Whirl pair-up, though disappointed that they didn't do much after what the preview implied.

Dai Atlas fighting Star Saber... of course Dai Atlas was going to lose, I saw that coming as soon as they charged towards each other. That Dai Atlas would die within three rather generic-yet-awesome traded lines... well, I don't think Dai Atlas has really been much of a proper character in his own right, he's very much a cipher in both the Drift mini and Monstrosity, and frankly a rather unlikable one too, so his death certainly doesn't concern me. Does set up Star Saber to be the jackass 'crazy fanatic' type, and for a beatdown with Whirl and Cyclonus.

Pharma and Tyrest continue to entertain, though there is a lot less Pharma here. Tyrest is pretty much just yakking along, which is neither good nor bad.

I do like Ratchet and First Aid's little argument, and Ratchet actually not just scrabbling in the corpse attempting to revive Ambulon or being a jerk to First Aid, and just BOOM YEAH CORPSE LIVER CANNON! Pretty awesome if a bit cold.

Despite logic telling me that Roberts wouldn't be allowed to kill off two main characters from the Barber story (Prowl and Starscream, at least, won't survive even if Hardhead can die without adversely affecting the story), I was really, really tense through those three or four pages, after the 'can't be turned off' speech. First, well, we get the Lost Light boys first. Poor, poor hole-in-his-stomach Blaster, the prone Red Alert, Chromedome and Getaway...

And suddenly we cut to Hardhead screaming next to Optimus Prime, and instead of thinking of titles and whatnot, I think of 'holy shit, if Tyrest succeeds a lot of people will die!' Then we see Prowl, all the way back on Cybertron, and Soundwave cradling the dying Ravage (AWWWWWW you heartless bitches this is adorable)...

Then back to the MTMTE cast as Tarn goes all 'tell me what's wrong so I can help you' with Kaon, but when Starscream gets hit, well, it sank in that the effects won't be permanent. Killing off Hardhead and Ravage won't matter much, and Roberts can almost get away with the plot-relevant Prowl, but Starscream? That's way too much, I think. Really effective set of pages, though, weaving quickly through the various small groups throughout the two main series.

Of course, Barber and Roberts are no stranger to working together, and what if this was something that was thrown off the left field to set up the Dark Cybertron prelude? Starscream's death, or near-death, would work in well with him eventually getting an upgrade from Wheeljack nearby, and Prowl is all but Roberts' character anyway, just puppeteered by Barber (literally).

Of course, we get the rather long and welcome sequence with my boy Misfire! The little moment with munchies was fun, and then it cuts straight back to the horrifying unmoving bodies of the rest of the Scavengers... and Grimlock playing blocks! Great visual gag.

It's a glorified build-up issue, but it's the moment in the movie or a novel where the cards are down, the stakes are made clear, and up until Starscream was shown the suspension of disbelief was straight in my face. Crap, Tyrest's going to kill everyone! I mean, after reading it, it dawned on me that Tyrest's crazy killswitch was going to be stopped, but it made me even more antsy for the finale, which I think as an issue it did a good job of. To sum up: nowhere as powerful as Roberts' past work, but as that building-up-for-climax part of a story, pretty effective for me.

EDIT: Still not buying Magnus is dead just yet.

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Post by inflatable dalek » Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:54 pm

Warcry wrote:Not necessarily. Red Alert, Flywheels, Pipes, Rewind and Ambulon certainly weren't OK in the end, even though we certainly would have expected at least some of them to pull through. Roberts hasn't been shy about subverting expectations, so while I'd expect Blaster, Getaway and the other afflicted Lost Lighters to survive I couldn't be sure of it. But once you start showing main characters from a totally different book? That's completely different.
There's still the possibility of a subversion (though despite suggesting it tying into the Dark Energon thing doesn't hugely excite me either), but killing off that many of the entire species in one stroke was never going to be more than very unlikely. If any of the Lost Lighters go it'll be stopping the machine rather than being victim to it.

And indeed if, say, Whirl has to make the ultimate sacrifice we've had the stakes he's dying for properly established for us rather than just being told about them.

I do expect there to be full consequences from this (and if the two authors are doing it right it should have an impact on RID as well, half their numbers suddenly doubling over in pain without explanation should ratchet up the tension just for starters), and that it will feed into the Big Event in some form.

Mind, pulling off Big Scale stories is always tricky (Denyer already made the New Who season final comparison, worryingly of course part of the "Soundtrack" for this story is some of Gold's music from that show), so there's the risk I'll be facepalming hard next month.

Fair point. Obviously it can be turned off in some form or another, since it was used before and Tyrest needed to turn it back on again. And of course, "can't be turned off" isn't synonymous with "can't be stopped", since I'd imagine that blowing the thing up would cut short whatever it's doing.
I just assumed that after testing and then revising it to shoot outwards rather than just a small local field Tyrest also removed the off-switch (which seems an odd thing to do mind, he wasn't expecting anyone to be there who might want to turn it off and it would have been awkward if he'd hit the on button by accident before he was ready).

It's presumably a coincidence (as it'd be odd to homage something that's widely seen as a plot flaw) but that bit did remind me of The Time Destructor from The Daleks Master-Plan ("Bugger, why didn't we put an off-switch on this thing that took us 50 years to make and can only be used once! Now we're all de-evolved!").
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Post by zigzagger » Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:12 pm

Some quick notes here...

Ratchet and First Aid -- For me, their scenes were probably the issue's strongest moments. The mood, the tension... it hit all the right notes. First Aid's big character moment since Delphi, the manner Ambulon's fate was revealed, and Ratchet's arguably dubious actions; it was all brilliantly handled.

A touch disappointed that Pharma didn't stick around to gloat, but Ratchet and First Aid's exchange more than made up for it.

The Killswitch -- Have no doubt that everyone (anyone 'important', at any rate) will make it out just fine, but that montage was still pretty intense and, as Dalek said, gave a good sense of scale of the threat.

Also pleased that Tyrest got a chance to use the thing -- and it actually working -- before Rodimus and co. foil his plans.

A pleasure to see what the Scavengers are up to, as well.

And, it turns out Prowl and Starscream were constructed cold. Kinda makes sense when you think about it in a social context. Chaos Theory, etc, established that there had been a lot of apartheid toward constructed cold types. I'm reaching, of course, but with those two especially, it could go some way to explaining their ambitions since they had a lot to prove.

Plenty of storytelling potential with that reveal :)

Quibbles:

Star Saber and Hi-Then-Die Atlas -- In terms of storytelling economy, there just wasn't enough room for these two. The confrontation didn't last particularly long, either. A recurring issue throughout this series, to be honest.

Dai Atlas is taken down before being properly reintroduced... or really having much to say. Which is odd, as it was kind of an important plot point in the annual. Similarly, aside from some expository dialogue, I'm just not getting a good sense of Star Saber as a character at the moment. Thinking about, we haven't seen much of him throughout the arc.

Though, to be fair, I fault the solicitations for playing him up as this big, scary threat. I really should know better not to set my expectations by those.

Still, the confrontation... sorry, didn't really mean much to me.
Knightdramon wrote:Sadly this leaves Whril and Cyclonus versus Star Sabre in the next issue.
A little curious about that look Cyclonus gave Dai Atlas as he shot off to fight Star Saber. Not quite sure what to make of it.

--

Other stuff:

Re: Ultra Magnus -- One idea I've been entertaining, and fully expect to be proven wrong, is what happened to the original Ultra Magnus's body. Was it completely destroyed or did Tyrest somehow get his drill-fingered mits on it?

Maybe that's the coffin someone's not supposed to open.

Oh, look. The cable connected to Brainstorm's briefcase snapped. With Swerve nearby, too...

--

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Post by Inaction Master » Fri Aug 30, 2013 12:07 am

zigzagger wrote: And, it turns out Prowl and Starscream were constructed cold. Kinda makes sense when you think about it in a social context. Chaos Theory, etc, established that there had been a lot of apartheid toward constructed cold types. I'm reaching, of course, but with those two especially, it could go some way to explaining their ambitions since they had a lot to prove.
I have to say, some of those revelations I found kind of surprising. One I was kind of expecting that most of the crew would have end up having been constructed cold, and most current characters walking around to date. Characters like Optimus and Rodimus having been forged is no real surprise I suppose, but Grimlock, Rattrap and Misfire as well? 1.) If he had the knowledge of that you'd think it'd kind of disprove Tyrest's own "theory" regarding constructed-cold being pre-disposed to evil if some of the more amoral figures in their recorded history turned out to have been forged. And 2.) this does leave me wondering about just when some of the previously mentioned characters were created, or if there were still some forged albeit at low rates what with most folks being constructed cold?
Oh, look. The cable connected to Brainstorm's briefcase snapped. With Swerve nearby, too...
I almost kind of want to see by the next issue that what's in the briefcase is something like that 4th-wall weapon from book #15 and Swerve had used it to start speaking to Tyrest and convince him to walk through the bridge... and it ends up like disintegrating him or something. Just for laughs.

Though it's probably gonna end up hiding like a legion of phase-sixers or something. If only Misfire were there to see that.

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Post by inflatable dalek » Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:21 pm

Considering it's just been established that cold construction both started (and seemingly ended, though that still seems a bit vague and odd- if they couldn't do it anymore after the Matrix was stolen then everyone is the same age as Tailgate give or take..) it's not that surprising their number include some of the very established characters.

It was interesting we didn't see either way what Megatron was, keeping the answer to the question back in Chaos Theory nice and vague, I liked that.


Ohhhh, you know who also doesn't have a head and would thus also be immune to Tyrest's mind-mojo?

Red Alert!

OK, I'm stretching now...
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Post by Auntie Slag » Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:40 pm

Although I enjoy the Remain in Light story, the thing that's sullied it for me is the numbering convention; Remain in Light: Part 1 of 5 and so on... for me that breaks down tension and expectation. I don't remember Shadowplay being numbered like this. Sure, Shadowplay part 2 may have said Part 2... but it didn't say Part 2 of 3. I would much prefer if they don't do the Remain in Light numbering thing in future, it has affected my enjoyment of this pretty damn cool story.

That aside, I love Getaway straight off the bat. If James kills Whirl next issue then I hope Getaway is around to pick up the baton. He's lovably quirky in a completely different way. Also, I dig his maroon colouring, it's the best.

So, that notches up Skids, Getaway and Jazz (as per All Hail Megatron) in the Special Ops team, I wonder who else there is?
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