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Transformers ROBOTS IN DISGUISE Issue #18 - REVIEW

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Transformers ROBOTS IN DISGUISE Issue #18 - REVIEW

Postby Tigertrack » Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:25 am

Motto: "A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination."
Weapon: Sniper Rifle
I, shamefully, was disappointed that this issue did not continue the Shockwave story that we were introduced to in the last issue of RID, but instead went on to continue where the story left off in RID ONGOING #16. Starscream had rejected all group affiliation badges, and was forcing Cybertronians who would not give up their previous allegiances to leave and go out to the wild of Cybertron making the city a place without war and factions.

This issue picks up a few minutes before the moment of exodus presented at the end of RID 16, when choices are still being made as to who wants to leave Iacon and who wants to go in the Autobot group. Bumblebee’s injuries from the huge battle are brought to the forefront, and as those who will not take off their Autobot badges (or Decepticon insignias) leave the city under guarded watch (seems a little hypocritical, no?) and start to travel to a new location, Bee’s injuries worsen...

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Since the action all happened the last few issues, we see more of the ramifications of the Decepticon sack of Iacon amongst the jettisoned Autobot wagon train.

As the preview pages showed us, many Autobots are trying to figure out where and how they belong now, and what they are about. Prowl, Arcee, and Bumblebee seem to be the main focus because there are trust and or confidence issues in these three from most of the rest of the Autobot group, each of them having played some major part in the previous chaos and ultimately led to this unfortunate situation.

Of note in the story: We have Arcee trying to find out how to be an Autobot, and trying to fit in with a group that she clearly stands out from not only in appearance, but also because of her insane experience on Gorlam Prime with Jhiaxus, and as Jhiaxus’ experiment before that. Barber works hard to get across that Arcee is really struggling with being part of a group, and understanding the ‘sane’ real world and the social dynamics involved.

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Prowl is dealing with being left out of the group--the group he is used to being in the inner circle of, the organizer of, and sometimes defacto leader of. Somewhat coerced into isolation by the rest of the Autobots in the camp because of an admission by Arcee about Prowl’s involvement with Ratbat’s death pre-cerebro shell, Prowl has seen his acceptance back in due to ‘Decepticon mind control excuse’ be cut short by Arcee’s inability to the tenuous relationship and acception. No doubt in his isolation Prowl is calculating how to regain acceptance, and yet coming to terms with all that he has experienced. As he tries to shed the previous horrors, there are those amongst the Autobots who are constant reminders of what happened, and his involvement.

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Bumblebee failed to keep the peace in Iacon, and to lead the Autobots to victory. And in that failure he has lost the Autobots’ faith in him as a leader. They still need him and want him around, but as a leader they see him as incapable, it seems. While Bumblebee’s external injuries seem to be causing him the most discomfort at this time, it’s his inner angst and acceptance of his errors as a leader that has been most problematic. The external injuries catch up with the inner turmoil, and Bee takes a very bad turn for the worse.


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I felt very uncomfortable at times reading this story. For example, it’s really hard to believe that the Autobots can easily accept the group in their midst that just basically destroyed Iacon, and the community that they had worked to establish--and by ‘the group’ I’m not talking about Arcee, Prowl, and Bumblebee--. In fact, the Autobots have made it a point to be very leery of Prowl and Arcee, but openly SEEM to accept their collaborators-- Decepticons--Decepticons who have killed or seriously wounded their Autobot comrades. Even the Dinobots are ready to just forgive and forget over energon shots. Really? I know Ironhide states he doesn’t trust them, I just hope it doesn’t turn into the Constructicons being repainted white and red. While I do believe the feelings toward Arcee and Prowl are warranted, and that the Autobots will be cautious with the Constructicons around, it seems odd. Sure the Bots can be compassionate, and maybe Ironhide is trying to avoid having ‘the craziness’ happen to the Constructicons and then they pull a Superion at night and beat on the Autobots. Maybe it’s a feeling of it’s better to know where they are and what they are doing rather than not know. And the Constructicons do seem to be being rather amicable with the Autobots, but it seems like a weird move right now. The Autobots are also suffering a casualty of command structure which can lead to poor decision making too. Such craziness.

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There are a few more surprises left as the last two pages connect to events in RID #17. The Autobots will have to quickly pull back together some kind of order of command to face this newest occurence, but the issue as a whole, while promising, is a bit hard to read. The art is eye-catching, but in a distracting manner. It’s blocky, and simple, and shows a lot of human like emotion in expressions, but the images seem a step down from the level we are used to in RID. I love reading Transformers fiction, and I surely did find some enjoyment in this issue as characters’ personalities grew, but the crafting of the growth felt awkward. Clearly, I am no writer though, so I trust that the writers who get paid, know what they are doing. I did love the realization about Superion (I didn’t have it until that moment in this issue, and it is certainly a cool new Transformers story point about gestalts!).

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All in all, a somewhat slow-it-down-issue, which was to be expected. It has a few surprises, but not many WOW moments this time. I'm hard on this book because I feel like it hasn't quite caught on as MTMTE has with its blend of story and art, but RID has potential, and continues to surprise at times in with some cool and unpredictable plot points. It's still enjoyable as a Transformers series even if it has to live under it's more popular sibling's shadow.

RID ONGOING #18 hits comic book retailers on Wednesday.
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Re: Transformers ROBOTS IN DISGUISE Issue #18 - REVIEW

Postby sabrigami » Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:29 pm

Weapon: Semi-Automatic Rifle
I'm not really convinced about this issue. Truth be told, I say that every time and end up buying it anyway. I think these issues that are all talk have a very high risk of messing things up. Barber just doesn't have the same flair that Roberts does for dialogue and I think the nice gaping holes become really obvious.

I want to like them, I really do. With the the exception of last issue, I'm becoming tired of these monologues. They really don't bring anything new to the table. I'm really tired of hearing how hard BB failed and sucked as a leader etc(even though he didn't really imo). Same problems same dialogue every issue it seems. Shame because I really like the potential the story has :-?
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Re: Transformers ROBOTS IN DISGUISE Issue #18 - REVIEW

Postby Va'al » Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:51 pm

Motto: "Till all are pun!"
sabrigami wrote:I'm not really convinced about this issue. Truth be told, I say that every time and end up buying it anyway. I think these issues that are all talk have a very high risk of messing things up. Barber just doesn't have the same flair that Roberts does for dialogue and I think the nice gaping holes become really obvious.

I want to like them, I really do. With the the exception of last issue, I'm becoming tired of these monologues. They really don't bring anything new to the table. I'm really tired of hearing how hard BB failed and sucked as a leader etc(even though he didn't really imo). Same problems same dialogue every issue it seems. Shame because I really like the potential the story has :-?


For laziness' sake, I'll just quote you and agree.

Though the Goldbug reference was a little nice. Let's hope for the next issue.
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Re: Transformers ROBOTS IN DISGUISE Issue #18 - REVIEW

Postby sabrigami » Tue Jun 04, 2013 3:40 pm

Weapon: Semi-Automatic Rifle
Va'al wrote:
sabrigami wrote:I'm not really convinced about this issue. Truth be told, I say that every time and end up buying it anyway. I think these issues that are all talk have a very high risk of messing things up. Barber just doesn't have the same flair that Roberts does for dialogue and I think the nice gaping holes become really obvious.

I want to like them, I really do. With the the exception of last issue, I'm becoming tired of these monologues. They really don't bring anything new to the table. I'm really tired of hearing how hard BB failed and sucked as a leader etc(even though he didn't really imo). Same problems same dialogue every issue it seems. Shame because I really like the potential the story has :-?


For laziness' sake, I'll just quote you and agree.

Though the Goldbug reference was a little nice. Let's hope for the next issue.


Welcome Back :D Guess I'll save my final judgement for tomorrow. As much as I like to complain, I still enjoy them well enough on a basic level
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Re: Transformers ROBOTS IN DISGUISE Issue #18 - REVIEW

Postby CaptainMagic » Wed Jun 05, 2013 9:18 am

I also thought Arcee's monologue was pretty bad. She really had nothing of any importance to say, and it really showed because she just repeated herself over and over. That said, I thought everything else was pretty good. I like how there's an almost high school-like dynamic that's showing up between all of these characters. It makes sense to me that these guys would be so awkward about getting along, since they really haven't tried to be peaceful before. I especially liked Sideswipe's little exchange with Arcee, because he seemed so much like a kid even as he's standing guard with his gun at the ready.
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Re: Transformers ROBOTS IN DISGUISE Issue #18 - REVIEW

Postby El Duque » Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:58 pm

Motto: "I ain't got time to bleed!"
Weapon: Gattling Gun
The official Transformers facebook page has shared this week's Creator Commentary for Transformers: Robots in Disguise Ongoing #18 for series writer John Barber. We've mirrored the session below those without facebook access.

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PAGE 1- This issue is told from the POV of Arcee. Was the challenge of finding her voice difficult, given her history as being the only established female character in the IDW universe?

JOHN BARBER: Arcee’s personality was something that Andrew Griffith (the regular RID artist) and I talked about even before the first issue was done. So, the real leg-work on finding my take on her, on getting to know her voice, was really done a while back. I mean, like most of the other characters here, I’ve been writing her for a year-and-a-half or so.

There’s an unusual extra scrutiny on her, for a few reasons. Her basic set-up in the IDW comics is pretty different than her set-up in the classic G-1 incarnation, or in Prime, or wherever. More so than most of the other characters, Arcee as handed to me was different in this universe in some fundamental ways.

Add to that that she IS the only female character that we’ve seen in this comic book universe… well, nobody looks at Ironhide or Swoop or whoever and thinks that their actions at any given moment are a statement being made about all males in the real world. Because there are hundreds—thousands—of other male characters in RID and MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE.

However, if Arcee does something, 100% of the female characters in the comic are doing that exact thing. I’m aware of that—but I try to deal with the specific character that she is. That’s kinda all I can do. Up to now, we haven’t had an issue narrated by her, because—for the sake of the story—the reader needed to be in the same position as most of the other characters, in not knowing her motivations or whose side she’s on. I’m glad to finally get readers into her head and see how she views the world.

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PAGE 2- The late Metalhawk was the NAIL (an acronym meaning Non-Aligned Indigenous Lifeform—slang for neutral Cybertronians who returned to the planet) who got the most attention. Did you intend for him to always be their voice or where there other characters originally just as vocal as he was?

JOHN BARBER: Metalhawk was the de facto leader of the NAILs, and—like Arcee—he has to sort of walk the line between the general people he represented, and the specifics of his personality. But in Metalhawk’s case, it was a thing he was aware of; that was his actual relationship he had with the other NAILs, not his relationship with the reader.

We got a little page-time with the NAILs on the ground—Skybyte, Hipotank, Tappet, Zetca, everybody at Blurr’s bar—during RID’s run, but Metalhawk was definitely the main character from that group, from the onset.

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PAGE 3- Is Starscream purely a believer in his “destiny” to leader Cybertron at this point (See RID 2012 Annual) or could this simply be just another way to have what he’s always wanted?

JOHN BARBER: Starscream absolutely thinks the prophecy—any prophecy—is nonsense. It’s a means to an end, like literally everything else in Starscream’s life. To Starscream, there is no difference between what’s true and false—just what helps him and what doesn’t. But we see more of what makes him tick in issue 20.

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PAGE 4- With the planet still evolving after its restart as seen all the way back in RID #1, is the unknown the greatest fear these guys have for not wanting to leave? And given what Ironhide may have said about what he encountered?

JOHN BARBER: Yeah, they don’t know what they’re facing. Megatron’s program of driving everyone crazy when they leave the city SHOULD be gone… but is it? They’re worried. I think the larger worry is: they lost. They lost to Starscream. And they lost in a way that—at this particular moment—is very difficult to recover from.

They’re not in a position to retake the city of Iacon right now… and that’s certainly what they want to do.

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PAGE 5- Bumblebee and the other Autobots are leaving Iacon—maybe for good. Was this the only choice they could have made given everything that’s happened? Or could there have been other roads they could have been taken?

JOHN BARBER: Well, they could have not lost. Starscream outmaneuvered them, and now—right now, at this moment—there’s no real way for them to stay without making things worse.

Leaving is the less-bad option compared to getting in another shooting war in the city. They know they’d wind up fighting the people they want to protect—and at this stage, it’s not just the Autobots that don’t want to start fighting.

Neither Autobots nor Decepticons wants to start killing civilians, here. Megatron’s out of the picture, but this time, the substitute Decepticon leadership isn’t the maniacal leadership that occasionally takes over—it’s Soundwave leading, not Scorponok, so the decisions are a little more measured.

We’re starting to see the various groups that are coming into being. We have Shockwave in the Crystal City last issue; here we’ve got the Autobots reeling from the battle of Iacon. Next issue we’ll look in on Orion Pax—the former Optimus Prime—as he gets drawn further into the oncoming DARK CYBERTRON event.
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Re: Transformers ROBOTS IN DISGUISE Issue #18 - REVIEW

Postby budmaloney » Wed Jun 05, 2013 9:09 pm

Motto: ""Stupid Autobots""
Weapon: Sub-Machine Gun
I actually liked this issue, for one reason...Arcee. Throughout IDW, Arcee has been misrepresented. I like her crazy character, but it doesn't feel it's Arcee (Or rather Susan Blu's Arcee). In G1 cartoons, Arcee was caring and a genuine Autobot. She was powerful, independent and an important role (Excluding japanese headmasters, I can't remember but I think she was different). In all the comics so far, this whole gender introduction thing doesn't fit well. She's basically the only female in the entire race! How does that make sense? I know it's logical for a robotic race to not have gender etc. But it created a disconnect when trying to understand Arcee, and it also removed any chance of seeing any future female characters unless they inject new ones. At the end of the day it's humans that read the comics, and having a predominantly ambiguous malesque characters makes things bland and a bit boring. But I guess that's Transformers, they're not humans. But when you see shows like TFP, often the best characters are females, humans or bots.

This is the first time we see the side to Arcee we all know too well. A side that Animated touched upon and even TFP. The side that reflects upon her situation. A side that shows her struggle. In #18, Arcee was herself again, and her choice to become an Autobot made us all breathe a sigh of relief.It gave us some concrete ground that we so much needed in this series. When everyone else is caught between factions. She took the hard choice.

Sure this issue doesn't innovate, but it stayed true to the roots, it felt like a classic Transformers comic. But it's WOW factor is lacking.

I'm still sticking with RID, the writing is different than MTME and has more politics which is cool.
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