Transformers (2019-?) #1 [SPOILERS]

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Ryan F
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Transformers (2019-?) #1 [SPOILERS]

Post by Ryan F » Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:04 am

Okay, here we go...!

First off, I think it's a pretty good idea to use Rubble as the audience identification character. He almost reminds me of a Doctor Who assistant - someone to ask questions the audience would ask, someone who's enthusiastic and excited (rather than jaded), someone for whom - like us - all this is new. Yes, it's a writing technique as old as the sun, but as a way to give information to the reader quickly and concisely, it works well. My one concern is that there's the potential for his wide-eyed wonder to become grating as the story progresses - there's a thin line between endearingly innocent and cloyingly annoying.

In terms of character choice, at the moment it's just the 'evergreen' regular cast plus Rubble at the moment. I'm hoping that, going forward, we'll see some other names who perhaps never got their time in the spotlight. Maybe Ruckley can do for Vroom and Inferno what Roberts did for Swerve and Brainstorm, and give some lesser-developed characters their time in the sun. I had a bit of trepidation when Brainstorm was mentioned (of all the G1 Transformers, why go back to someone who has already been 'done'?), so it was a nice surprise to see him be the sacrificial lamb. (Well, actually it wasn't much of a surprise if you'd read the solicitations and knew that someone was going to be murdered, but you know what I mean).

However, my main bugbear is that, well, we've seen much of this before. Megatron and Orion Pax are at opposite ends of the political discussion (although we don't yet know what Megatron's exact beef is yet), and we know there's going to be an uprising of some sort and that the war will begin as a result. Now, Ruckley might be able to put a new and interesting spin on things - he deserves the benefit of the doubt - but at the moment the concept is yet to grab me.

When Furman started the IDW ball rolling all those years ago, his idea of Infiltration and undercover Decepticons genuinely seemed like a brilliant new take, a breath of fresh air, something we'd never seen before. This, in comparison, just seems a lot safer, and entrenched in the status quo, from what I've seen so far. What's the use of a reboot if you're just going to re-tread old ground?

But there are many ways to skin a cat, and Ruckley could end up surprising me. It's difficult to judge how good a series is going to be from the first chapter alone (Encounter at Farpoint says hi). But surely the whole point of an episode one is to 'wow' people, to grab them, to get them tuning in to the next installment. The TV show Lost may have gone a bit crackers in the end, but that first episode had me on tenterhooks. I think back to issue 1 of MTMTE and remember being instantly pulled into that universe, and itching to read issue 2. This issue, though... my immediate thought is not, 'wow, I wonder what's going to happen next!', but rather 'huh, okay, I'll give it a few more issues, maybe it'll get better'.

Technically, it's... solid? While the Pax/Megatron conversation reads a bit stilted, the more freely conversational stuff between Rubble, Bee and Windblade shows that Ruckley has an ear for dialogue. There is a lot of set-up (the Titans are a Chekhov's Gun if ever I saw one), and the art is fine (helped, it most be said, by some lovely atmospheric colouring by Joanna LaFuente). The fact that there are two different artists is quite obvious: Cachét Whitman, who does the Prime/Megatron scene, draws the characters so on-model that you'd be forgiven for thinking that he's just tracing over photos of the actual toys, whereas Angel Hernandez, who does the Bee/Rubble/Windblade stuff, is more loose and dynamic, although the proof of the pudding will be in how they pull off action scenes.

My major gripe with the art is that there's a lack of emotion in the characters' faces. We all know that Milne/Roche/Lawrence can draw transformers that are extremely expressive, but even back in the day, Senior and Wildman could show you that Optimus Prime was emoting just by how they drew his eyes. There are just too many impassive stares here for my liking, I think.

I don't want to hate on this too much, because it's only the first issue and it might get a whole lot better. But at the moment, the best I can describe issue 1 is simply, 'mildly intriguing'. 2/5.

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inflatable dalek
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Re: Transformers (2019-?) #1 [SPOILERS]

Post by inflatable dalek » Fri Mar 15, 2019 5:43 pm

Generally speaking, I liked it a lot. It was nice and eerie and whilst largely just characters talking, it was good talking. Maybe it didn't hit the ground as hard as MTMTE 1, but that was a creative team that had built up to it through prior TF work, Ruckley is getting his feet under the table here.

Some of the dialogue was bit clunky, especially the trying a bit too hard to be James Roberts Prowl conversation, but I think that'll smooth over. It being fortnightly probably helps with the pacing as well, 40 pages a month means it can be a bit more deliberate in its thinking.

It'll be interesting to see how the murder mystery goes. I know a few people felt killing Brainstorm was an FU to the old continuity (which I can sort of see, it's certainly a not in Kansas anymore moment) and also bordering on bury your gays (more unfairly considering everyone bar Cindersaur and his wife were were LGBT in some form in the old timeline). But if it gets a good hook going, it should be fun.

Bet the killer will be the monkey brain thing.

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Re: Transformers (2019-?) #1 [SPOILERS]

Post by Denyer » Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:22 am

Much better than the solicitation copy makes out -- wasn't expecting to find much to like from that, or the choice of characters, but it gets across scale and character depth plus nice touches (eg dormant titans). Reminds me a bit of the FoC art book -- grand and alien.

Isn't a slugfest or cartoon circle-jerk, so it might struggle to win fans, but if I can remember it's out and the eBay prices stay the same will nab singles.

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