This week Darth Bombshell has decided share another of his articles with us. Last week Darth Bombshell shared his thoughts on Dreamwave's Generation One More Than Meets The Eye Profile Series. In this weeks article Darth Bombshell shares his thoughts on Dreamwave's Armada More Than Meets The Eye Profile Series. If you missed last week's article check out Seibertron.com's Article Section. Without further delay here it is the latest article by Darth Bombshell:
Armada MTMTE Overview
Throughout 2003, Dreamwave released the eight issue “More Than Meets The Eye” series. Despite the numerous problems that the series had, it was well received. It was perhaps this response that encouraged the staff at Dreamwave to create a sequel of sorts by writing a series based on the other Transformer franchise that the company was writing at the time: Transformers Armada.
Because of the vastly different scope of the series, changes had to be made in the way it was presented. Instead of eight issues, Armada MTMTE would instead be done in three, no doubt due to the fact that Armada has less than a third of the characters that the Generation One series had to cover. Instead of drawing on previous writings, the biographies and tech spec quotes for most of the characters had to be invented by the writers, since only a select few had officially written bios. And since this series was drawing on both a completed comic and cartoon series, the creators had to attempt to cover elements of both series, while maintaining the fact that they have to try to arrange it all in the comic universe.
All of these changes were perhaps made to make the series more understandable, since the information presented would be fresh in the fans’ minds. Unfortunately, this probably lead to it being as convoluted and confusing as its predecessor.
The first and most obvious problem that the series has was the previously stated attempt by the writers to somehow manage to take elements from both the comic and cartoon and find a way to make them both work. Three bios in this series show how disastrous that attempts was: Galvatron, Nemesis Prime and Sideways. Galvatron, with the exception of the toy comics, was never a part of the regular comic to begin with, was somehow given a life as part of the regular comics, although the conditions and time that this occurred are purposely left vague, no doubt meant to cover up the fact that they have no actual way to describe it. The biography for Galvatron, narrated by Leader-1, gives a very interesting insight to the character. It is just a shame that it is not really part of the comic universe.
Like Galvatron, Nemesis Prime also falls into the category as a toy character needing to have an comics origin. Unlike Galvatron, who was given a believable, yet implausible, comics life, the writers of the comic saw fit to merely rehash the plot of the Armada episode “Puppet”, trying to incorporate the events that occurred in the episode to the comic timeline. This doesn’t work for two reasons: there was no way that this event could have occurred in the comic, and they made the mistake of incorporating Run-Over, the Mini-Con partner who came with the Nemesis Prime toy that never appeared in the episode in question, into the character’s history. By all rights, Nemesis Prime should not be in the comic at all. Much like Galvatron, the only reason for his inclusion in this series was because he was a toy character who needed to be explained.
Sideways, however, falls into a different path. Unlike Galvatron and Nemesis Prime, Sideways actually was in the comic. Yes, it was in two very brief appearances, but he was there. I expected that his biography would state that he was a mercenary playing both sides of the Transformer war. And I was right. That is how he was presented However, they made the big mistake of including elements of the cartoon into his bio, and said that he was a servant of Unicron. This makes no sense as far as the comic goes, since his first appearance was a good four issues before Unicron’s presence was ever confirmed, and his second was during Unicron’s ill-fated attack on Cybertron cowering with a bunch of Decepticons. This especially makes no sense, because if he was truly Unicron’s herald, would he not be rampaging around causing chaos?
The writing, as previously stated, had to draw heavily on the imaginations of the writers of the series since, with a few exceptions, there were few “official” biographies made for the Armada characters during its run. This lead to a great many of the characters having fairly unsuited character biographies and tech spec quotes that sound incredibly horrendous. I do believe that a great many of these will be making an appearance on the Trannies “Worst Tech Spec Quotes” ballot next year.
The artwork in the series, like in the Generation One MTMTE, is another round of “one good for every five bad” deal. Ironically, much of the good art in this series has made appearances on the toy boxes or promotional art made during the run of the toyline, also drawn by the various artists in this series. A good deal of this art takes up much of the space in the books, making me wonder why the artists were lazy enough to include this art. Couldn’t they do new artwork for this series? Isn’t it what it was meant to do?
Another problem this series has in its artwork is the fact that the Mini-Con teams that were repainted during the toyline each had two pages of artwork devoted to them, one for the color in which they were first released and their “powerlinx” recolors. I found this to be an incredible waste of page space, with the only acceptable color changes coming from the Road Assault (Race) Team and the Star (Dark) Saber sword, since the bios for these weapons state that the characters would change color depending on how long they were held by an enemy.
Finally, much like the Generation One MTMTE, the Armada MTMTE had a prologue and epilogue story designed to explain they reason why this information is being presented. Unlike the story in G1 MTMTE, the Armada one is meant to be part of the actual timeline. The prologue explains that a machine by someone that Alexis has possession of and is using to be prepared for the return of the Transformers. The epilogue explains that the device was left by Over-Run, who wants to prepare Alexis for the return of the Transformers. This would appear to make Alexis the focus of the Energon story, a fact we know to be false, as it is Kicker whose fate is ultimately linked to the Energon story…at least in the cartoon, anyway.
The Armada MTMTE was written shortly after the end of the series, with Energon firmly in the minds of the people behind the Transformers. This fact, combined with the haphazard way that the series was written and the apparent poor production values, have lead many to look down upon this series. It could have been better, though, had it been written later. But as it is, it exists merely as a way for Dreamwave to earn an dollar by any means.
After all, it’s what they’re known for.