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IDW's Transformers Sector 7 Issue #4-- Review

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IDW's Transformers Sector 7 Issue #4-- Review

Postby Tigertrack » Thu Dec 30, 2010 7:03 pm

Motto: "A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination."
Weapon: Sniper Rifle
Reviewing Transformers movie-verse history... Transformers Sector 7 Issue #4 (of 5)...(in stores Wednesday, December 29th).

For anyone who has been reading Sector 7, and I’m still not sure why I bother with movie-verse related comics, you know what’s been going on. For those who haven’t, I offer you the blurb review below from issue #4.

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I have to say, I am not as much of a detail junky as many (like, oh say, the writer in this series). While the series is a ‘somewhat interesting’ step into the past of what is possibly the ‘most interesting’ new part of what came out of the whole movie thing, it is of the movie, and based on humans, so this series probably did/does not call out to many Transformers fans because...well...it doesn’t feature many Transformers. No Transforming robot appears until page 15. Mechs in the previous pages though, yes. No actual named/known Transformer until the 4th to last page. Not much for a giant sentient robot fan to enjoy there.

And then there are those who will buy anything comics, merchandise, and/or toys with the Transformers name on it. I tend to be that way with comics, mostly because I think I am still looking for that perfect Transformers story. Sector 7 is not that story, but could be of interest to SCI-FI/conspiracy theory/X-Files type fans. But not so much Transformers fans (minus HARDCORE movie fans, you know who you are).

The writing of the series is not entirely bad. It certainly has not stood out to me to be distracting, or entirely ground-breaking, just the writing is doing a good job doing what writing should do... help to clear up the details in the story that the art work does not make clear, using dialogue, setting narration, etc. Except the German parts in this issue have started to irk me. I now find that piece of the writing to be utterly annoying--no translations--you can guess some phrases meanings, but many go unknown or unexplained. German dialogue is a large part of many of the last 10-12 pages.

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Gutentag herr doktor. Gib mir all deine Transformers Spielzeug ... JETZT!

Anyway, issue #4 continues telling Sector 7 history as family members of its original 7 continue with ‘the family business’ that founding member Walter Simmons started. This time the story is set during 1944. A new Simmons, Bill or Billy, has been asked to carry on in Sector 7 activities and he is none to happy about it. Currently a soldier, he feels he should be in battles fighting the Nazi threat, not participating in “wasting his life like his mother (Margo)", who we find out in this issue (Five page preview spoiler alert!!!) has passed since we last left her.

Reluctantly, Bill agrees, convinced by his grandfather (General Walter Simmons, Margo’s father), to join a group of 6 other operatives (Yo Joe!) to go behind enemy lines and destroy an NBE (non biological entity) that the Nazis have gotten their hands on, and have started reverse engineering tech from (We all know the United States is the only country responsible enough to have reverse engineered tech from the Transformers, right?). Who is the new NBE under NAZI control? Somebody we already knew about and I was surprised to see based on the earlier issues. Surprises are good in stories, so consider that a plus.

What struck me most about this comic, it was a decent read, but violent. As soon as the mission starts it basically falls prey to the Nazi’s new tech (human-piloted, transforming tank mechs), and Barber (writer) and Kang (artist) waste no time in adding in some gross out elements. Limbs here, missing limbs there, it wasn’t as excessive as January’s INFESTATION crossover is sure to bring about, but it just seemed...oddly placed or even unnecessary. You’re welcome IDW, I may have sold a couple more copies for you there.

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How does a guy get his hand blown off (yes, it cauterized the wound, but pain!!!), and still continue on his mission looking no worse for wear (minus a hand)?
-I'm Simmons, Bill Simmons. Chuck Norris can lick my boot straps.


It is meant to be a suicide mission and for most of the group it is--thus, the violence, but not before Simmons carries out the group’s task, and destroys a large portion of the base, along with the projects and people (at least one, pretty cold-blooded killing) involved. However, for Simmons, the act was meant to be totally selfless for his country, but as the Transformer the Nazis were using to reverse engineer weapons from awakens, it destroys the Nazi tech and monster, deliberates, decides humanity may be mostly okay based on a few minutes with Simmons, and helps Simmons to finish his mission parameters, then flies them both away into the wild blue yonder sunset. Happy trails soldiers. Oops, dropped the spoiler there.

The artwork is pretty well done most of the time. It’s crisp and clear, no cluttery details. All lines have their purpose. The humans are able to emote, without looking like they stepped out of Bugs Bunny. The tech, weapons, and armament are nicely, accurately, and again simply detailed. Overall, an enjoyable presentation. I’m a bigger fan of the detailed work done in ‘Tales of the Fallen’, and ‘Nefarious’, if it has to be movie than make sure to put the details in intended in movie designs, but this is good work.

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The colors are more vivid than previously seen in other issues, assuming that this is meant to be a progression through time, and previous art and color were meant to represent the eras they were telling stories about. The colors are still limited though, as most of this takes place in a nighttime operation setting, thus using more muted, dark colors. While aboard the plane we have a lot of red, from the emergency lights. So the colors are effectively used to express the settings.

I do have a problem with both of this issue’s covers though. If you didn’t like the Jazz/Hubcap cover of the last issue, I’m not sure how you can like either of these any better. A pile of scrap shooting something--courtesy of the retail incentive cover--, or a tank with legs chasing some soldiers depicted on the regular cover (meant to connect with the other covers to create a dossier of the NBE/Sector 7 activities). Take your pick. The very realistic and detailed, dirty, painted regular cover is the best of the two, but the tank on legs kind of makes it silly (is there commentary in here?), and ruins the presentation of the rest of a beautiful piece of military art. Probably not going to get many Transformers fans interested in a book with either of those designs.

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Something about the mech designs as I flip back through the issue. The transformation from tank to mech is fudged...a lot, and the mech modes seem to retain nothing of the tank-- minus the treads/tracks and the cannon. They also seem faster and more maneuverable than the tanks they were, which for experimental tech, is quite amazing, as tanks were fairly high-tech devices for quite awhile. Where did the the hisstank (G.I. Joe) like cockpit come from?

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Ultimately, this issue is, as I stated, an alright to fairly enjoyable fiction. If you could read the German phrases than maybe it is even more fun, or meaningful, but without knowing what they translate to is frustrating. I find the book to be a decent short war story with a little bit of robots in there. Not much “Transformers” though.

I have to say, I’m not sure if others enjoy them or not, but I like the final page of the issue, where Agent John Barber (the writer) has his ‘Field Notes’ and explains ideas, relationships, inspirations, and easter eggs along with artist Lou Kang (Mortal Kombat lover here?). I loved this kind of after sharing when WIZARD did it for DC’s Kingdom Come, and then MARVEL did it for their MARVEL’s series. I really like to be made aware of facts, etc., that inspire work, or are hidden in the work that many of us may never even be aware of.

I have read much more exciting issues. I’ve read a lot worse issues and series. This one works as a stand alone story, and as a part of the Sector 7 mini, making it effective for what it is... a book about a group of humans involved with the Transformers and how they evolve over the decades, but not much of a Transformers comic book.

Ratings (out of 5):

Art- 3
Colors- 4
Writing- 3
Covers- 2


Check out the five page preview for a little taste of the issue for yourself.
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Tigertrack
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Re: IDW's Transformers Sector 7 Issue #4-- Review

Postby Blurrz » Thu Dec 30, 2010 10:46 pm

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Nice review Matt!
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