The Transformers Partwork Discussion Thread.

Comics, cartoons, movies and fan stuff.
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inflatable dalek
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Post by inflatable dalek » Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:15 pm

Having been all over the place the last few weeks, I've only just had chance to start on the last two deliveries.

Really enjoyed diving into the first Windblade again, a nice thoughtful fun series with some stunning art by Sarah Stone. Just a shame the I've still got to plough through the back end of the book with the long awaited by no one return of Jimmy Pink (which is at least hilarious in retrospect as Barber quickly realised what Furman had cottoned on to before side lining him: The character is completely dull and pointless. Meaning the book makes a big thing of him being back before he vanishes never to be seen again. Again) and the version of Blackrock who doesn't know how to shut the **** up.
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Post by inflatable dalek » Fri Oct 20, 2017 3:42 pm

Finally read the Perchance book! Not an art expert so I may be talking out my arse here, but it felt like Bove had refined his Yomtoving technique as those strips didn't stand out as wrong looking anywhere like as much as Survivors/Race With the Devil did. Felt more subtle if that's the right word? It was also helped by Soundwave's one properly coloured appearance in the American issues had been left purple by the lazy ham-fisted bun vendor who did the recolouring there for IDW, so that visual thematic link almost worked this time!

Still felt a bit pointless though, and there are odd nitpicky things like Xaaron having his UK colour scheme but Soundwave his US one. Plus surely, by the logic of the series Perchance to Dream itself should have been given Yomtovitus? Almost all of the flashbacks tie directly in to or are set around American issues (as is the framing sequence, if you go with that being Rhythms Galvatron). If you're going to do it, might as well play it to the hilt.

The strips aiming for more the more UK colours all looked fab though, especially once you allow for the original artists taking different approaches to how they drew for black and white (Wildman clearly did nothing different and his work is immeasurably improved by the colours, whilst Anderson's much more heavily inked and shadowed Demons stuff probably looks a bit weaker for example).
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Post by Skyquake87 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:50 pm

The latest two volumes dropped through my letterbox recently. The first half of All Hail Megatron remains as good as I remember and Guido's art remains brilliant. I do like Starscream's baiting of Megatron "we've won. what now? And is this it? Just messing up Earth for the sake of it?" for which Megatron doesn't really have a clear answer. It does feel like such a quick and decisive victory wasn't quite what Megatron was expecting.

The Death Of Optimus Prime, on the other hand, which collects the 'Chaos' storyline is ...not great. The spelling mistakes and so on were really annoying, and Livio's art is really hard to work out through the entire story. There's so much light and explosions and shadow going on, and sadly, Livio just smothers EVERYTHING with this, which makes a all something of a horrible colourful vomit to look at. His incredibly blocky designs for a lot of the characters also have the habit of making all the characters utterly indistinct. There's two of the Technobots (I think) on Kimia, doing something, but I can't tell who they are or tell them apart. Sunstreaker also looks awful in every scene, with his head bobbling around way above his shoulders, looking like ridiculous radar dish.

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Post by inflatable dalek » Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:09 pm

Aw, I like Livio. Though yeah, Chaos isn't very good. Mind, I'm no AHM fan either, the main selling point being Guido knocking it out the park.
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Post by Skyquake87 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:39 am

I don't mind Livio, he just needs to dial back on the computer colouring/ effects. The volume set in Cybertron's olden days with Trypticon was really good, and his art was very clear and easy to read. Here, on Chaos, its just too busy and you're just looking a speech balloons floating over a lot of colour, like a surrealist painting is talking to you. I genuinely cannot tell what is going on!

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Post by inflatable dalek » Fri Mar 23, 2018 3:36 pm

And as a wee fun heads up, the New Order book out now may well have a contribution by me. See if you can spot it. I won't know for sure if it's been used till my subscriber copy turns up...
SPOILER! (select to read)
I was asked to provide a scan of the TFUK version of the Autobots hanging from the ceiling double page spread.
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Post by Skyquake87 » Sun Mar 25, 2018 11:04 am

I look forward to that when it shows up! My latest issues showed up the other day. It's always a shame with 'any old order' part works fire out the conclusion to a run longing arc before you've read anything that's come before (in this case, the last bunch of issues of MTMTE). I know it's to keep people suscribed/ buying, but it's still pants. Still, I'm reassured that MTMTE will form part of this collection as I was looking at the numbering of what's been released so far and was wondering if MTMTE wouldn't feature at all as there didn't seem to be space in the numbering for it.

...that might be the nerdiest sentence I ever wrote.

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Post by inflatable dalek » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:59 pm

After an adventure at the post depot, my New Order and Crisis of Command have arrived. Sadly it looks like they didn't use my Autobots dancing on the ceiling scan, but I have still contributed to a proper Transformers book as it's thanks to me that Crisis of Command has the right NEXT boxes. A vital role, I'm sure you'll agree.

Sadly, the Dinobot book has the British and US stories the wrong way round. Even though it's actually pretty key Crisis of Command happens after Prime gets his head back. Hachette have done some amazing double speak on their Facebook page about this:
While we make every effort to maintain the original flow and continuity of the Marvel UK/US TRANSFORMERS stories, the self-contained identity and integrity of each individual volume is of paramount importance, especially as the collections aren’t released in chronological order. So, in a heavily UK-centric volume titled Dinobot Hunt, we took the decision to lead with the main/bulk of 'Dinobot Hunt' (and preceding issues) itself. Both UK and US strips are prefaced with a dedicated Story So Far to ease readers into the respective narratives, so they can be enjoyed together or in and of themselves. Naturally, we regret any inherent ‘spoilers’, but our policy is to create coherent and self-supportive volumes that anyone, casual reader or long-time fan, can pick up and enjoy.
So, even ignoring that the best to have a coherent book is to have it happen in the right order and that the series is now at that stage of the partwork where it's being carried entirely by subscribers rather than casuals... The book's recap stuff does a terrible job of providing the right context and will confuse the buggery out of anyone who doesn't know this stuff backwards already.
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Post by Skyquake87 » Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:00 am

Well that's boo. I thought the point of this part work was to present everything in sequence. That one with the Fort Max/ Buster story showing up where it shouldn't (in original published order) was annoying enough. If I didn't know better, this would surely whiff off presenting the 'much better' UK material above the US stuff...

Anyway, I've just read New Order and I liked how the UK and US stories neatly worked together in that volume. Nice.

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Post by Skyquake87 » Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:11 am

Just got done with some Till All Are One as part of the partwork jamboree. This is proper good stuff. Thoughtful, intelligent writing and lots of drama and intrigue. Scott makes the Council/ Cybertron stuff properly interesting and keeps Rattrap to the bare minimum, thankfully. What an ugly fart of a character he turned out to be under IDW. Boo. I like Pitre-Dourcher's art too. It's a bit off here and there, but the more I've looked at her work, the more I see its because its because she has a quite stylised take on Transformers, and in a funny way, it reminds of those slightly leery angles used in the Beast Wars TV show.

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Post by inflatable dalek » Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:39 pm

I do love that series, lots of great fun. Shame that book just stops short of the end of it though.
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Post by Skyquake87 » Mon Sep 03, 2018 6:04 pm

Is that because the end of it is tied up in that Revolutions stuff, which doesn't look like its going to get folded into the collection?

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Post by inflatable dalek » Wed Sep 05, 2018 5:40 am

No, they just didn't know the series was going to be cancelled with the next issue when planning the books out.
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Post by Skyquake87 » Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:26 pm

Oh I see :) I'm on with G.I.Joe vs Transformers. It's funny! I like how it's like Golden Age comic, full of odd layouts and lurid colours.

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Post by Skyquake87 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 8:28 am

So, Second Generation and Earthfall turned up today. Second Generation seems to be missing two pages from the reprint of whatever US issue Joey Slick is in. My copy also seems to have huge creases running through every page. I know this is money for old rope, but come on, at least take some care in what you're putting out. *Writes to Hachette for the 94th time*

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Post by Skyquake87 » Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:27 am

Just got through 'Infiltration' and 'The War To End All Wars' and my, here's two ends of the Furman quality spectrum. Infiltration remains a good, solid read and feels remarkably fresh. The human cast are all likeable, despite two of them having terrible names and there's a real sense of a fresh new take on Transformers. TWTEAW - the concluding part of Regeneration One, on the other hand is definitely something I've now read.

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Post by inflatable dalek » Thu Nov 22, 2018 11:10 am

As I've been on my travels I've only just caught up with the Revelation book. I've been hard on that series over the years, but with distance from it being the current big thing it's actually quite good fun with some fab art, albeit still with a lot of plot holes (the SOLAR POOL still cracks me up. What is it, why is it there in the middle of a coridoor? Why wasn't it established more than two panels before it becomes key to the resolution?...) and an issue of a series that already had a lot to do being wasted on Doubledealer when his plot could have been done in Maximum Dinobots, one of the four should really have been given over to Jetfire, the guy actually sorting shit out at the heart of the plot.

Spotlight Jazz is a little hokey but still a nice sweet story and shows what a shame it was IDW never really cultivated new writing talent in the same way they did artists (though with its framing device being set during AHM it really should have been in the book mopping up the aftermath from that arc).

And Metroplex is by far the best thing Andy Schmidt ever did, managing to be tremendous fun despite trying to make the presence of Metroplex in a story called Metroplex a surprise twist.

Arcee remains terrible on every level even beyond the well discussed issues with the portrayal of the title character (and the more I talk to trans people about the issues they face the more the "They don't reproduce sexually so they're genderless" thing makes me uncomfortable because it's a out of date variation on the "Real women have babies so you're not a woman" argument terfs use against trans women), the dialouge is ridiculously over ripe and clichéd for everyone and Alex Milne isn't having a great day either.

And of course, the title character remains a problem, as every Furman "I can handle everyone else using "He" or being written as Humphrey Bogart, but a "She" IS WRONG AND MUST BE EXPLAINED AND TREATED AS A WEIRD ONE OFF" approach is. I don't think he intended to do such an on the nose trans metaphor, I don't think he put any thought into the implications at all, it was just the next tick on the checklist of old toy concepts to update that he was obsessed with at the time.

But it's a pretty terrible read, and somewhat remarkable, in what is probably the best example of Barber's dogged "There's no such thing as bad old continuity" approach, that subsequent writers managed to both salvage the character and the Transformers approach to gender (though the Hasbro exec who told them Windblade had to be in the comic, killing the "Only one girl" thing deserves credit as well).

So I was kind of taken aback to see this in the introduction:

https://twitter.com/InflatableDalek/sta ... 5579416581

So Arcee was "Contentious" because of subsequent comic. That's...certainly a take.

And he takes the time to go "It's all the fault of other people" rather than mentioning the fan elevation of the Jazz writers, or Metroplex's unique format. Doubling down on defending one of his failures is a bigger thing to him.

The whole surrounding material comes across as kind of bitchy to be honest, the failings of Revelation (which he is happier to call a failure than Arcee) are placed firmly on the compression and he suggests All Hail Megatron did not succeed with its relaunch goal. Which is fair enough, it certainly wasn't the hit the writer tried to make out it was, but it did stem and stabalise the mass loss of readership Furman's work had endured, making it hard to take the high ground.

I genuinely now think these books would have been better with a less revisionist on their own history editor. As with the Titan books, a lot of the odder choices are just down to him being too close to it.

The shame of it is, I know a lot of the younger people coming into the fandom really dislike Furman as both a writer (they regard him as a hack who got lucky to imprint on a bunch of kids who kept him in work long after he should have gotten kicked out of comics) and his attitudes. "There's nothing wrong with my analogy for transition, it's the people after me who added all the other girls who ****ed up!" is one of those things that makes it very hard to argue against, which is a great shame as I would normally say that's a very harsh take.
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Post by Denyer » Thu Nov 22, 2018 7:57 pm

Writers/readers gender alien robots, alien robots largely don't gender themselves or each other (unless they feel like it, ditto playing with other organic concepts).

There's very little worthwhile or redeemable about Furman's take on Arcee (the "instinctual he/she" being widely reasonably regarded as gibberish), ditto the hack writing that followed (it's a struggle to see how anything was salvaged) but what analogy there is is, to a greater extent, construction of the text by readers. Furman's intent and what he came up with both appear, there being no hors-texte, to be a loss-of-control/revenge narrative with this-character-was-defined-as-being-the-only-girl-one-in-the-80s lightly glued on.

What's most cringe-worthy about the take is the idea that alien robots that don't have many problems (other than not liking certain others) forming gestalt consciousnesses and that base some of what they do on other species would have any problem with gender, when the things that define them are political ideology or having particular alt-modes or skills.

What's more interesting is the common ground with characterisations of Cybertronian society by Roche, Roberts, Budiansky, etc of non-elective alteration. Hence you get lobotomisation, building individuals into space bridges, shadowplay, mnemosurgery, empurata, etc. Jhiaxus is just another take on amoral science, on the harsher end of body horror writing because whilst in many cases it's apparently possible to rebuild or replace TF bodies (and they can extract and restore sparks) damage to minds is about as well understood or fixable as it is in non-TFs.

Like the species writing them, TFs do go out of their way to find creative ways to **** each other up psychologically and physically.

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Post by inflatable dalek » Fri Nov 30, 2018 1:43 pm

Oh man.

Oh man.

Oh man.

Despite being fine with it in every other reprint, Hachette have decided to avoid the legal might of Richard Branson and have digitally removed him from Salvage. Enter...

Mr. Johnson.

https://twitter.com/_wilsonjim_/status/ ... 7937736705

Which was a lazy choice, but has turned out to be the best thing Hachette ever did as it has brought much joy to Twitter over the last few days:

https://twitter.com/RockLordsRock/statu ... 1887416330
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Post by Skyquake87 » Sat Dec 01, 2018 4:24 pm

Ha! That's funny. I'm sure Branson probably doesn't care. He's too busy trying to beat Elon Musk into space.

I just read the Combiner Wars story. I had no idea what was going on from start to finish. Best bit for me was Superion. And that one frame "Superion Greives". Rest of it? No idea.

Just started on Primeless, which is my first exposure to Kei Zama's TF artwork (I liked the ABC Warriors strip she did in that FCB 2000AD issue) and ...she blows everyone out of the water. She's incredible. I like her work has that same sort of rough energy that Sean Murphy has. Fantastic.

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