When Scrap Hits The Fan A Seibertron.com semi-spoilerish review of IDW Revolution #4
SILENT INTERLUDE! One human has the skill to break into AUTOBOT CITY—but what is SNAKE EYES going to do when he finds himself face-to-knee with OPTIMUS PRIME? And outside, MILES MAYHEM and the M.A.S.K. team wait to see who walks out alive…
1 on 1 on 1... My votes on the little guy
Well, we've reached the next to last issue, the one where we generally get the majority of the major reveals of the whole storyline. The one where the ending will leave you wanting more, with the heroes on the ropes and the bad guys all standing tall in place for their final victory. And, in the case of crossovers, the place where everything generally all comes together.
In some of those respects, Revolution #4 did not disappoint.
The entirety of the Crossover is finally revealed, with everyone falling into place and everyone's adventures finally crossing their final paths, set for the big-named characters conclusion (well, save one that only appeared very briefly so far). At least with regards to bringing everyone together for that big ending, the story has worked out and is good. And the ending of the issue does make you want issue #5 to be here soon.
So, why am I not in love with this comic? Let's take a closer look...
If you think that sonic blast was bad, just imagine if SIREN was in this comic
I can understand the difficulties of bringing together multiple big-name characters and making them all coexist alongside one another. I've seen it done well, and I've seen it fall flat. There is a very specific rhythm you need to set, a very precise way to make the gel that holds it altogether. Unfortunately, this crossover has just not done that. Getting everyone into the comic feels too forced, too clunky, and it is throwing in way too much to handle within the pages of the book itself. It feels rushed at times, underdeveloped at others, and overall just a bit too crazy for my liking. The ordering of the releases is not helping matters either, considering some important expositions have been revealed after they were needed and in some cases entire releases being spoiled by stuff coming out first. It's just not working for the Revolution storyline as a whole.
Art duties have been taken up by Fico Ossio, and there are some places in the book where the art really works and it looks pretty nice. The Micronauts benefit from Ossio's style of art, and ROM and Snake Eyes are not bad either, and considering both do get a fair bit of exposure in the comic, there are some good highlights.
But then there are other parts that just don't work at all. I'm not sure why, but most of the Cybertronians in this issue feel too far removed from their regular designs. Victorion, Arcee, and Windblade in particular feel off this issue, with Arcee being a recurring art difficulty throughout the crossover. It just feels too organic and too stylized for me to like. And the faces are not turning out too well either. Some of the Joes - mainly Scarlett - also suffer a bit in the artistic department, which is strange considering how well the Micronauts have come across.
See, this just doesn't work for me
Sebastian Cheng joins in on coloring duty, and he does a pretty good job of adding some extra spice to the pages, so to speak. His backgrounds do work well, such as the starry night seen below, and the big double-spread battle sequence is helped out by his colors setting parts of the action apart. I particularly liked his work with the Dire Wraiths, despite how bland they are supposed to be.
Now THIS does (just make sure you're looking at the skyline)
Tom B. Long takes up lettering duty, and does not fail to keep the story moving as well as it can with his speech bubbles. The conversations from the viewpoints of the Micronauts are particularly good, seeing as how they give us some good perspective on not being able to understand a single noise others are saying.
You can also check out a full database that shows off all the covers for this issue (as there were many) as well as a list of all the others who helped contribute to Revolution #4, art and otherwise!
Oh Miles, what a gift you have given us this day
As I said before, there is some stuff to like about Revolution, and let's face it: a large crossover with big names does sound like a cool idea. And there are some things that are coming out of the event well (I'm still trying to decide if Action man is better off for not being in this, considering how well his Revolution comic went and I do like him). But as has been said for a couple reviews now, it is just not working out as well as it should have and could have been. This should have been the Avengers of the Hasbro properties world. It could have been a big thing that jumpstarted a comic, continued another excellent comic, and given life to some new comics. Instead, it feels clunky, off, and more like a chore to read than an enjoyment.
I will finish off reading Revolution, but I cannot wait to get back to regular comics. I just wish I could have gotten the enjoyment out of the crossover it truly did deserve, like I did with Transformers: Revolution and Action Man: Revolution.
The new IDW Publishing cross-franchise event REVOLUTION is not limited to ROM the Spaceknight, the Transformers and G.I. Joe, though the latter two are probably the biggest players so far and the foundation of the setting, and the former was reintroduced into the IDW universe almost explicitly for and due to the event. Other licensed properties are part of the mix, with M.A.S.K., Micronauts and Action Man taking a little slice of the action for themselves too!
This occasional feature on Seibertron.com is a one-off (three-off?) write-up on those other titles that don't fall under the robots categories, so you may go find more comics if you like what you see. The reviews are brief, with an eye to connecting them to the wider story and what readers might enjoy coming from a Transformers perspective, so please keep that in mind. [For an alternate and more systematic look at how Revolution is currently working out, see ScottyP's comics FAQ here!]
With order then...
Micronauts #1-#6, Revolution #1
Cullen Bunn, whom regular comics readers will undoubtedly recognise from several Marvel and other titles, dives deep into the Microverse, reigniting a spark in a very very old and dormant fire that not many may have remembered. However, he does so with such gusto and charm, even in the obnoxiously 80s patina that most of these properties have, that you can't help but chuckle at the interactions and overt cheese of some of the scenes. The Biounits, Acroyears, names - they just made me giggle so much, reading them in 2016. At the same time, Baron Karza is beautifully nuanced as a villain, and actually has a good characterisation through the Revolution book itself.
Bonus: Direct and unexpectedly good link to Cybertronian lore. Ties up with Transformers franchise in general, with things discussed in Titans Return, and with the covers teasing
Malus (but not really): The cheese. The name Shazraella.
M.A.S.K. Revolution #1
As it hasn't had enough time to go anywhere significant, there's not really too much to say about this one-shot comic - if not that it's probably the most played down and yet the most direct in terms of how G.I. Joe and Earth in general are planning to respond to the Cybertronian contingent and the perceived threat that Optimus's annexation of the planet to the Council of Worlds constitutes for, well, us. Written by Brandon Easton, with visuals from Tony Vargas and Jordi Esquin, the book is a crisp if slightly by the numbers origin story of the Kommand at the hands of Miles Mayhem, building to some interesting dynamics with the Joe envoy Scarlett. And then, it just... stops. Which is a shame. (But will start/continue in November as its own series!)
Bonus: Ego trips all over the place.
Malus: Ego trips all over the place.
and ROM the Spaceknight #1-#3, Revolution #1
(takes place in between issues. maybe. possibly. or before.
Currently running through three issues of its new ongoing series, with Chris Ryall and Christos Gage at the helm, the return of the Solstar order knight had a very promising beginning, with a bit of a plateau after the second issue hit. With a giant team taking control of the art, there are some really sweet spots visually too, but sometimes the story just doesn't hit the right beats enough to hold it all together.
Bonus: The designs (Wraiths and Rom in particular) are fantastic, and the book is the one that will providing the biggest cohesive for the various threads and titles so far, with its planet/universe wide conspiracies.
Malus: May not be one to follow too closely if it doesn't catch you immediately, and it does have a lot of Ryallisms (compare: Onyx), but that may be your thing!
Welcome, Seibrtronians, to the Combiner Wars Review Extravaganza! In a celebration of the Machinima Combiner Wars series and it's conclusion, I'll be posting episode 7's reivew and then, later today (or potentially tomorrow), I'll share my review of the finale (along with some final final thoughts) as well! It'll be one big day of celebration and thanking primus it's over. Let's look at Episode 7.
We open on Cybertron once again, and see Starscream has finally formed into his "Combiner Combiner" mode. Megatron takes a shot at him, but is thrown across the city, smashing into a building.
While Optimus runs to Megatron, Starscream deals with the amount of power he posses. He envelops him, and he explodes. Bits of the various combiners are thrown across the landscape, and a piece of Computron tries to take out Prime. Ah, Geez, Rick, what are we gonna do now?
Starscream emerges from the rubble, now only a ball of Galactic Glitter Glue with a head, and launches some missiles(?) from his shoulders(?) at the city below. Optimus and Co. dodge the incoming debris, as Starscream starts making a black hole, sucking all of his loose parts in. Pictured: Starscream
He "throws" the black hole at Optimus and Megatron, but here comes Windblade, saving the day again with her Turbine Attack, which can apparently stop the force of an inverted star.
Never knew. I...I hate this episode
Windblade follows this up by rushing the literal Screaming Star, while he shoots what sounds to be lasers trying to connect to dial-up internet out of his mouth.
If they lasted any longer, you would have started to hear the Windows XP boot-up noise, too
Windblade is somehow able to block the large, continuous beams of pure energy with her thin sword, but is finally taken down by a lightning blast from Starscream. She falls, many stories, and lands on the ground. Optimus and Megatron have a moment to mourn her before Starscream jumps at them, Screaming and laughing. I...I really hate this episode
Okay, Final thought time:
Why? Why? You had potential here, those couple of episodes in the middle of the series were great, compared to what has come before and after them. Why make Starscream's plot a cliche Starscream plot? You already had one of the most interesting Megatrons we've ever gotten, why couldn't you have left Starscream be and have one of the most interesting Starscreams we've ever gotten? I want you to challenge my perception of what I already know about these characters, or I want to be pleasantly surprised with a interesting continuation of what I know and love. This series can't decide which of those it wants to be, so it fails miserably at both. It's not a good new idea, or perhaps just poorly executed, and it's not a good continuation of the same old same old. What is it trying to be? -gasp- Father! Please! Help!
I think this series could have been good, (heck, it could have been great) if it would have picked a lane. As it sits, it comes across as a slapped together mess, with 0 pacing and no cohesive, understandable plot until halfway through act 4. And even then it makes no sense.
If your going to go back on your set idea of different, more civil, changed Starscream, give him a viable motive. He is literally already one of the rulers of Cybertron. He couldn't climb the latter more if he tried. He even said how he convinced the public to trust him. He's where he wants to be! Where he's always wanted to be. Why would he ruin that? Why? To be continued
Tune in later today/tomorrow when we continue our celebration and conclude the series with the review of episode eight!
And, as always, I'm the Nostalgia Critic, I remember it so you don-wait, wait, no. Wrong thing.
And, as always, keep it right here, on seibertron.com for all your latest Transformers news (and reviews!).
Guess what day it is! It's Tuesday, and that means one more installment of the new Machinima Combiner Wars Series. Spoiler Alert: It's good, again. I know, I know, two good episodes in a row? What is this? Have the pigs finally taken flight? I'm serious. I actually enjoyed this one. I really liked it. It worked with the 5 minute time slot perfectly.
But we're jumping the Ion cannon here, let's take a few steps back, start looking to the skies for aerial swine, and break the new episode down.
We open with Starscream reflecting on the death of Menasor and Computron, as the remains of both combiners have been delivered to the Council's tower from Caminus. The former decepticon feels directly responsible for the death of Computron, as he was the one who sent the combiner to take Menasor down, when he should have just done it himself. This is the kind of exposition I want. Something that challenges our previous perceptions of these familiar characters. By doing this, we subconsciously realize how different this world or continuity is, and how much those characters have changed. The Starscream we know would never mourn or regret the loss of an Autobot. This is not to say that some of the more random mood swings of other characters (ahem, Windblade) fall into the same category. Challenge our perception, but have it make sense in context.
Rodimus argues it wasn't Starscream's fault, and that he did the right thing.
Meanwhile, we see Optimus sneaking around the council's building, and Windblade is jumping from the rooftops. Megatron seems to just waltz in, which is kind of one of my favorite moments from the episode. I love the "Don't Care" attitude that Megatron has in the series. It seems he, Windblade and Optimus are all ready to mobilize. He suggests that they just go in and kill the entire concil, destroy the enigma. Windblade's on board, but Optimus naturally won't allow that to happen.
You just know he's humming the Mission Impossible theme
The council watches them approach through security cameras. The Mistress is afraid they've come to finish the job and kill them all, and it seems Starscream agrees. Rodimus knows Prime wouldn't do that, but Starscream argues Megatron would. Here's one of two main problems I have with this episode (I know, I know, "Only two?" Hold on, we'll get there): Rodimus says that they "have no forces that can stand in their way". What? Why? Why does the council, the leaders of all of Cybertron and Caminus have no security force? At a time of war, no less!!! They're the leaders of multiple planets! There should be tons of guards there normally, but in a time of civil unrest, you shouldn't even be able to sneeze without a dozen guns being pointed at you.
Aaaaaanyway, they again consider using the Enigma to control all combiners, this time to stop Optimus and co. The enigma sure has a lot of different powers... I'm bugged that it's sort of becoming a Dues Ex Machina (heh, more like Dues Ex Machinima, amirite? -badumtiss-) device for the series. Got a problem? Any problem at all? Use the enigma! Next comes this week's clunkiest line, delivered by Rodimus. The combiners wouldn't stop "Prime. Nothing stops him once he's set on a course. And that's doubly true for Megatron." This line just suffers from bad writing, plain and simple. There's about 15 better ways that line could have been written, 13 of which excluding the word "Doubly", which just sounds odd anywhere, in any setting.
Starscream and Rodimus want to try for a peaceful resolution first, given how they don't know if it would actually control the combiners well enough. They don't have enough time do make a decision, however, as the attackers rush the main building. The Council goes to a ledge to greet them, as Prime explains they're not here to fight, just to destroy the Enigma. The Mistress tells them no, and also gives us problem #2. It's an issue with the sound effects again, as The Mistress tries to be menacing and intimidating by smacking her staff on the ground, but the sound given is so small and quiet, the attackers probably didn't even hear it. It's laughable. It's like a toddler getting all huffy and upset, crossing their arms and saying "It's not funny!" You can't take it seriously! So, just like with the gun in Episode 2, the sound effects fail again.
KNOW YOUR PLACE, CITY SPEAKER!*tink* *tink*
Megatron tries to pander to Starscream, but doesn't do a very good job of it, telling him he's too stupid to handle the power of the enigma. Starscream accuses Megatron of only helping because he wants the Enigma for himself. Megatron jumps and takes a shot at Starscream. The council runs inside, and Optimus, Windblade, and Megs start taking out the castle's defense cannons. Windblade gets a creepy, ominous warning from a disembodied voice. "Don't let this happen" it says. Who is this? We don't know, but it'll be interesting to find out.
Use the Force, Luke
Starscream survives the shot from Megatron, and is concerned about the attackers. Rodimus says no one is going to die, but then it's revealed the constructions have made their way to Cybertron, too. They combine to form Devastator and break through the Council room's floor, taking Rodimus with them, tearing his arm off triumphantly.
This moment actually made me gasp. It was so unexpected, and with a character I absolutely didn't expect to die, that it actually evoked some emotion. For once this series achieved not only a satisfying cliffhanger, but it achieved a near-perfect mix of talk and action for it's 5 minute run-time. The characters were good, the writing was a lot better than what we've seen in the past, and the animation seemed to be more accurate and smoother than normal. It had a great, unexpected twist, and it actually has me looking forward to the next episode for once. This is by far the best episode yet, and the template I hope they follow to a T for the rest of the series. I can really sum it up in three words: I enjoyed it. The previous episodes haven't really been "Enjoyable" per se, and I'm not the first person to point that out by any means, but this one was. They struck such a good mixture of all the good things from past episodes, and got rid of almost all the bad things. I wish it had been this good from day one. I think we all would have enjoyed it a lot more.
The Jolly Green Giant, after tearing another life form in half
Haven't seen the episode yet? Well, then, what da heck are you doin' here, lettin' me spoil the whole thing for ya'? Getchaself over to GO90 to watch it in the U.S., or check out our announcement article here for possible alternate viewing options. And, as always, keep your optics and audio sensors tuned to Seibertron.com for all the latest news and reviews!
Seibertronians, it's review time! As reported on earlier, Machinima's Combiner Wars series now has a second episode, and it's now online! After a less than satisfactory first episode, this episode will really tell the fate of the series. Yay or Nay? Let's break it down to find out.
We start on Cybertron this time, as apposed to Caminus in the first episode, and we quickly change to a shot from what I'm assuming is Starscream, as it cuts back and we see him flying just a moment later. Starscream is on a reconnaissance mission, to gather information on the state of Cybertron. On his flyover, he witnesses some bombs going off on the surface below.
From this vantage point it almost looks like Starscream was the one that dropped the bombs, but I seriously doubt this is the case.
We pan backwards, as mentioned before, to see the Decepticon fly to a large silver building. Here again we have an issue with the choppy animation. As mentioned previously on the boards, Starscream appears really choppy, while the background moves fluidly with the camera.
Starscream enters the building
Starscream enters the building from a top landing bay, and slowly descends using the thrusters on his feet. He lands and meets with Rodimus and, randomly, the Mistress of Flame. These bots are apart of the "Council" we've been hearing about.
They discuss the state and threat of the combiners, and how word of Computron and Menasor's fight has broken out on Cybertron. This is why there's so much unrest on the planet. Peace has been achieved between the AutoBots and Decepticons - and the council doesn't want to ruin that. They all consider using the "Enigma of Combination" for one reason or another. Rodimus wants to use it to take over an army of combiners, turning a threat into an asset. The Mistress wants to use it to wipe out all the combiners in one felled swoop. Starscream has an objection to this, as the combiners are transformers, too. Wiping them all out would be genocide. Besides, some of the Combiners have been loyal to, even fought for, the council.
Rodimus and the Mistress of Flame are introduced to the series
The Mistress feels it isn't Starscream's place to talk about killing other transformers, given his past. We also learn in this discussion that not only is Optimus Prime in hiding, but Megatron as well.
See, now we're getting somewhere. Now we have a story to work with. One that plays with the original concept that was proposed, and not too terribly I might add. There are still some issues, such as some of the lines delivered are a bit stiff, and the mouth-movement-to-actual-voice-and-words is way off and not ignore-able, but it goes leaps and bounds above episode one. But we're not done yet.
We start to view the council meeting through the scope of a sniper rifle. It targets Rodimus, Starscream, and the Mistress. The council walks over to the Enigma of Combination, and agree they should study all it's powers before making any brash decisions.
A sniper sets up an attack on the council
The sniper is revealed to be Windblade, set on stopping the council one way or another. She decides to fire at the Enigma, and somehow misses. She hits Starscream in the shoulder, and he falls. Another problem I have is right here. There's such a weird, delayed reaction to Starscream being shot by the rest of the council. There's a good two seconds before they really do anything. The Dialogue and sound effects become a little clunky here, as the Mistress raises the alarm and Rodimus checks on the former Decepticon.
The Enigma of Combination
We return to Windblade. She hears a noise behind her and immediately jumps and turns around. It's revealed to be Optimus Prime, now out of exile. He still doesn't say anything, and the episode ends pretty much on the same shot as the previous one.
Overall, episode two is a lot better than episode one. It gives us actual emotions, and actual dilemmas for the characters to face. It still suffers from that 5 minute time constraint, and trying to make people understand a whole new continuity with a new story line in 5 minutes in near-impossible. My only wish is that the past to episodes would have had a bit more of each other in them. Meaning, episode one, the hard-to-follow action-feast that it was, could have definitely used a little more (or, a lot more) story. And, on the flip side, episode two could have used a bit more battles and action. But, all in all, you're starting to win me back Machinima. That Wheeljack name-drop didn't hurt, either.
Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment
(Or: I Swear This Isn't a Site Article) (Unless Va'al swoops in on Alpha Bravo and makes it so...) (Which just happened.)
Note: This article is an editorial, and as such, it reflects the views of the authors and the author alone. Much like our reviews, top lists and other articles, it is not indicative of Seibertron.com, the site owner, or the staff.
The Transformers: Deviations one-shot came out this week and I was extremely excited about this book. I love the 1986 The Transformers: The Movie with a passion, and any addition to its lore, imagery, and self-contained universe is something I jump at with fervor.
There's a reason this movie has withstood the test of time. It's likely most accurate to say that there are a multitude of extremely good reasons this has happened and not just one on its own. From the iconic music (whether or not you enjoy it ironically being outside the scope of things here) to the sublime voice cast to animation that put the weekly TV series to shame, this movie's lasting appeal is one of a hundred factors responsible for the brand's sustained success. Success which, it should be noted, has far surpassed a majority (though not all) of the 80s and 90s nostalgia act properties that have gone away for a time then re-emerged into current pop-culture awareness. TF:TM as I'll call it a lot from here on out was the first time the brand evolved, and it did so in the most amazing way for me.
I should really elaborate on some of those points in regards to TF:TM a bit more. First, to get it out of the way since I've already brought it up perhaps somewhat pointlessly, the music in TF:TM is a time capsule of everything 80s movie soundtracks did, for better or worse. This helps give the movie some lasting appeal. Since the ultimate point of this article is about a comic book which inherently doesn't get a musical element, that's all that will be said about that.
The voice cast for the original movie was comprised of a great mix of the talents from the Sunbow cartoon, interspersed with Hollywood stars such as Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Eric Idle, Orson Welles, and even the pop-culture star John Moschitta - the "Micro Machines Guy". Some could say it's odd to bring this up when setting the frame for why a comic disappointed me, and there's some merit to that. This said, the "voice" of a comic is found through elements such as the art, coloring, scripting, and even the letters. More on this later.
Same goes for the animation of TF:TM and the merits of bringing that up as a comparison element in this writing. While a comic is by the very nature of its own medium a static entity in visual presentation, recent works have set the bar extremely high for pencil, ink, flat, and coloring work, with outliers in quality usually relating more to stylistic choice rather than, well, any perceived quality.
Hopefully this has so far established the level on which I revere 1986's Transformers movie. If it didn't, hopefully that "revere" word tells you what the last few paragraphs may not have. I really, truly consider TF:TM to be that era's magnum opus for Transformers material, as it hits almost every beat in perfect harmony with what you'd expect out of Transformers while being simultaneously fun, scary, tragic, celebratory, uplifting, depressing, piquing, and imaginative.
Given this, works that have come out over the years which have expanded on or had fun with TF:TM have been both welcome and fantastic. We've had DVD commentaries expand greatly on the production and decisions made through out it. We've had the amazing material unearthed and preserved by Paul Hitchens, whose YouTube channel is the gift that keeps on giving. Then there was the 20th Anniversary's retelling of the movie from IDW Publishing. While more or less faithful to the original work, this gave us something extremely cool: a two-page spread showing Omega Supreme, Superion, and Defensor defending The Ark from a Decepticon attack staged by Menasor and Bruticus. Retcons can be dubious, but this one was quick, effective, and satisfying.
It hasn't all been perfect either. Let's not forget the "Battle in Space" toy pack-in comic from 6 years ago, which had additional canonical material involving Tracks, Grapple, and Warpath, and while that wasn't the best in production either it's also not something anyone wanted me to spend extra money on. The set cost the same as two deluxe toys did at the time anyway, and now I can imagine that those guys had something going on during all that. Autocracy also did some fun stuff with the iconic Optimus v. Megatron battle, though that was more homage (in fact) and Flint Dille apologizing (in tone) than anything else. Even then, that was also only dedicated to a few pages of a work that was setting out to accomplish something completely different.
I could keep listing examples of works inspired in ways good and bad by TF:TM for eons, but that's not what this is for. Suffice it to say that if you need any objective measure of its impact, look no further than the amount of times Transformers fiction will trot out lines such as "One Shall Stand, One Shall Fall."
This all leads us to the announcement of Transformers: Deviations. Part of a series of one-shot comics for various properties for which IDW has licensing rights, the Transformers iteration of this little side non-canon "What If?" series was going to deal with The Transformers: The Movie and the pivotal battle between eternal rivals Optimus Prime and Megatron. As anyone reading this site is surely aware, Megatron not only defeats Optimus Prime, but kills him, albeit not right there on the spot. Optimus survives on an operating table long enough to pass the Autobot Matrix of Leadership on to Ultra Magnus. All the while, Hot Rod, the Autobot that many Transformers fans "blame" for Optimus' death just because he failed at run-in interference during that fateful battle, stands by observing.
The rest, is silence. Er, the rest is history. Sorry, Beast Wars Anniversary and all that on the brain.
Deviations' premise is set to have fun with history and imagine what would have happened had Optimus Prime lived through this encounter. This is immediately where disappointment started to creep in upon publication of the book's standard preview pages released online in advance of its print publication today. The most predictable thing to do is to say "well, guess Optimus would have killed Megatron if he hadn't died himself, right?" That's ok though, predictable stories can still be entertaining and there's still a whole world of interesting paths to take beyond that with the rest of the movie's material. Still, from the outset the book pigeonholes itself into path B leading to path C, when instead path B could have lead to paths D, E, F, G, 42, Z, Primax 1023.1 Alpha - really anything at all.
If you can't tell, my biggest gripe with this book is the story. I'll come back to it to wrap things up, but let's get the production elements out of the way.
The colors, letters, and in fact most all of the art is fantastically done and lives up to the legacy of TFTM to which it will be compared. These parts of the book's "voice" are, generally, very good. The disappointment sets in with a handful of pages/panels where the pencils and inks are just not the quality one would expect from a real talent like Tramontano. The inconsistency is even more glaring when I think about how really, truly beautifully done some other parts of this comic are. If this is due to deadlines happening then I can forgive.
Let's pause to consider some of the worst offenders in inconsistent style such as:
Leaving off Astrotrain's wing upon takeoff on Page 6
Ultra Magnus' downright weird looking glare on Page 7
The entirety of pages 20 and 21
The downright goofy looking Rodimus Prime in the last two panels of the book
If these were stylistic choices, then in my opinion they were poor ones. I could find more, but again, the production of the book outside of plot/story and dialogue really aren't the big issues that led to my disappointment.
It's the story. It's the characterization. Deviations stopped being a fun "what if" and turned into the worst kind of parody, and it did so in one glaring moment: the first time Ultra Magnus speaks. This is where the voice of the comic got overridden despite many of its other elements being sound. The message behind the voice wasn't of reverence, it wasn't of disregard for one factor (big as it may be) of the original story, it was one of bitter disregard for what had otherwise followed Optimus' death in TF:TM.
If you're going to change an existing story based on one element, in this case Optimus Prime and Megatron's fates being swapped, and then choose to start things out en medias res then you better approach the setting of the rest ceteris paribus. Or at the very least, honor the little bit that came before that was not re-written. Magnus' first words to Hot Rod felt wrong. Off. They just weren't a thing this Ultra Magnus would say. Would Kup? Yes, so why didn't he?
Changing gears to paint my disappointment another way, I'll admit, I really did enjoy Megascream. I really wanted to like this book and I really tried to have fun with it. I kept trying to have fun with it when the Dinobots pre-emptively attacked the Sharkticons, or when the Decepticons combined just like Trailcutter told us they would for no reason, or when Unicron just sort of snacked on dead Decepticons such as Thundercracker and Skywarp instead of reformatting them.
Yet this is where the disappointment mounted and the book started to spiral into a bad place for me. For every Megascream there was cringeworthy dialogue meant to evoke TF:TM that instead bastardized the original intent of the words. For every Dinobot attack there was the underlying pointlessness of their presence on Quintessa and a potentially super fascinating storyline with Kranix of Lithone (which couldn't even get spelled correctly - and it was done twice so tell the wiki folks to put that one under "errors") that was dropped like a hot potato. For every Decepticon combiner there was confusing scene building accompanied with overly busy layouts. What Moon Base got eaten? One? I think? For every Unicron snack, there was the realization that this "What if" was not a well-informed, "pick up the ball and run with it" dream engagement for the author, it was an indictment on the movie I love so dearly.
"Indictment" is a rather strong word, and maybe it isn't the right one since I don't think there was any ill intent, but that's really how it came across to me emotionally. Clever dialogue turned shallow. Alien worlds humming with the otherworldly imaginings of Floro Dery instead used as mere set pieces for your Action To Come After These Messages. Fascinating, fun new characters like Springer and Arcee thrown into the Planet Junkion in a flaming, doomed Autobot shuttle, barely to be mourned. At least they got to show up at all, and at least then without having their characters assassinated.
That's the other part where I felt like this book was an indictment of its forebear: the complete and gratuitous character assassination of Hot Rod.
If you didn't like Hot Rod as a kid, I understand. If you don't like him now, I understand. Hell, my wife doesn't like Hot Rod. "Hot Rod's a punk bitch" is probably what she'd tell you, or something to that effect. All the same, the best versions of Hot Rod through the years all make you "love him or hate him" but they keep one factor pretty consistent: he's competent and brave. While Deviations hits the brave factor, it does so while putting Hot Rod into the part of The Fool. The Hot Rod one should expect here is the one that yes, indeed, shot at the attacked shuttle carrying the Decepticons into Autobot City, but that Hot Rod knew what he was shooting at. That Hot Rod had a plan when trying to help Optimus while he fought Megatron, even if it backfired. That Hot Rod had a semblance of leadership skills, and could bank a shuttle into a safe crash onto Quintessa then regroup and find his friends, "And then save Cybertron!"
This Hot Rod insults fallen comrades, makes shuttle damage worse to the point where the thing explodes, has to be told to get Daniel to safety, then runs in and saves the day at the last minute by a stroke of luck and not of guts and will like the Hot Rod that defeats Galvatron within Unicron's innards. Then he dies so he can personally redeem his earlier failure, because he's so incompetent this time that he can't escape? What even happened there?
At the end of my reading of the book, I felt the tinge that every geek like me into any Sci-Fi property does from time to time of what's colloquially known as "nerd rage". I had to take a few hours to calm down from this to collect my thoughts on what exactly I didn't like, because I could certainly "nerd rage" for hours and not do anyone any good in the process.
But after some days of processing it and then re-reading my paper copy today, I was able to distill my disappointment and find its source. The author of this book was well intended, and was clearly just trying to have fun, but ultimately penned an indictment on one of the Transformers franchise's most important works. If you're going to just have fun, go hire Tom Scioli to do the art and go absolutely crazy, then I can follow the intention. The accompanying poor dialogue choices, inconsistent art, and sometimes positively confusing scene building makes this a book I won't look back fondly on, rebuy three times, and pine for years for more like Last Stand of the Wreckers, it makes it something I'll file away and never read again like Continuum.
There's a certain subset of Transformers fans that will love this book. Some of them are on this site, hell even in this very thread. Enjoy it. This is your G1, the version that basically doesn't exist after early 1986. This book is for you and this post is my last word on it, because no one likes a hater.
But for me? I enjoy the rich history of all soon-to-be 32 years of The Transformers. Ups and downs alike, I can find something to enjoy. I found some things to enjoy in this book that I never want to read again! While I can appreciate the idea of Deviations, the execution of the book left me so bitterly disappointed that it led to a realization. That is this: the creative team behind The Transformers: The Movie all those years ago realized that the brand had to evolve or die. Optimus dying wasn't a choice, it was a necessity. Since it's NCAA Tournament season, we'll say the franchise had to "Survive and Advance". IDW has helped some of our favorite Generation One characters survive, by advancing and evolving the narrative scope and quality of their ongoing books. Deviations is an indictment on this progress as well, and looking on social media, the loud corner that wants "G1 back", despite it being here all along, often twice a month for the past decade, wants you to go buy this book in triplicate so you can vote with your dollars.
Do that if you want, but also realize the subtle indictment it implies.
CONQUERORS: CONCLUSION! The most dramatic action ever taken by an AUTOBOT sets the stage for next month’s mammoth issue 50. Earth and CYBERTRON. OPTIMUS PRIME and GALVATRON. SOUNDWAVE and COSMOS. It all comes together at four billion miles an hour.
Here we are, at the end of the big build up everything after Dark Cybertron, through Combiner Wars, across the Transformers universe as we know it, with old gods, fake gods, heroes, villains and conquerors converging into one single spot, one moment in time: Earth, Now.
And to be entirely honest, it falls short of ..well, everything. All of the build up, all of the hype. It feels rushed, glossed over, reasons and motivations don't hold up, the major arcs created for however many past issues are just half-resolved without much else to go on. The various settings and scenes are just glomped together.
I am not sure what John Barber did with this issue, as his big landmarks usually pan out much better. It is likely that issue #50 will develop those shortcomings into something that sticks better together as the piece of a wider, universal puzzle. As it stands, however, the pieces are all mismatched and a little scattered.
See, there, that is Windblade's character
The characters do, to an extent, still work, of course - but some of them just feel like they're going along with whatever Optimus has decided to do, for whatever reason. Galvatron's side of the story may be the most interesting here, and the repercussions it has among the Decepticon idealists hit hard - but everything else is just - there.
On the other hand, I have no complaints whatsoever with the art. Sara Pitre-Durocher's style is a delight to follow through the various scenes, with some peaks in Skywarp's moments to shine (heh) and there is heavy emotion felt by the various characters - and the readers. The moments with Soundwave and Cosmos carry some serious weight, in light of the events taking place.
The colours are also magnificent, blending fantastically well with Pitre-Durocher's lighter linework. Josh Perez and Josh Burcham are a wonderful team, and bounce off each other's style easily and seamlessly, bringing one of the crispest issues I've noticed in a while.
Tom B. Long has a lot of playground space in the lettering sandbox, too, to work his own stuff, filling in the various silent spaces with good-looking sounds. Why do letterers never get enough praise? With all that action, we are still able to see what is being said. The covers are also great, with Alex Milne/Perez continuing the massive mural (thumbnailed), Casey Coller and Joana Lafuente dabbling with Victorion's hefty presence, and Andrew Griffith emulating Klaus Scherwinski.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
If I sound disappointed, it's because I am. I had been seriously looking forward to the development, and preliminary conclusion, to this arc - to see what Galvatron was to do, to see how the Autobots would respond, how Soundwave in particular would respond, how the various characters would play out against each other and together, depending on their circumstances. I don't feel we got any of that, unfortunately.
or Spotlight: Thundercracker
A less coherent, more Soundwave/Cosmos/Skybyte response: Seriously? Windblade and crew are just going along with Optimus' decision? Sideswipe, Alpha Trion and Arcee in a shuttle forever, just to get punked by Brawl and Needlenose? I do hope that the next issue, and All Hail Optimus in general, has more time, and space, to start straightening the puzzle out. I really do.
Will you look at that? 2015 went. Gone. Poof. No Transformers live-action movie either. The festivities have officially come to a close in most festivity-celebrating areas too. So what did happen this past year? How many changes to the fandom, to the franchise, to the robots? How did the year look compared to our hopes and dreams from the end of 2014?
Join us for our annual roundtable discussion in...
Transformers 2015 - A Year in Review
Who will brave the past and bring thoughts to the present? Take a look right here:
Burn - SHIZZLESNIT
william-james88 - Top 5er
megatronus - The New Yorker
ScottyP - Definitely Sober
Counterpunch - Definitely Serious
Cobotron - More like CoBROtron
xRotorstormx - ..wait, what comics?
mooncake623 - Sorry guys, I'm on vacation
LOST Cybertronian - Aaaaallways watching
carytheone - Rookie 1
Hellscream9999 - Rookie 2
Va'al - whodat?
How are we doing it this year? Well, not too different from usual, though we have rejigged the categories a little, and expanded: we look at everything Transformers from the past 365 days. Each and every one who contributed to this piece has something different to bring to the table, so buckle up, tuck yourselves in, and get ready to hit overdrive - it's gonna be a long one.
Transformers Figure of the Year 2015
Favorite 2015 Transformers: Combiner Wars/Unite Warriors
Favorite 2015 Transformers: Robots in Disguise/Adventure
Favorite 2015 Transformers: None of the Above Figure
Favorite 2015 Transformers Masterpiece Figure (Hasbro or Takara)
Favorite 2015 Transformers Exclusive Figure
Favorite 2015 Transformers Comics-moment
Favorite 2015 Transformers TV/Film-moment
Favorite 2015 Transformers Game
Favorite 2015 Transformers Moment Overall
What you're looking forward to in 2016 for Transformers
Ready? Set... Go!
Transformers Figure of the Year 2015 Other than Alpha Bravo, of course
WJ88 - This was an AMAZING year for Transformers toys. Both Takara and Hasbro felt like they complimented eachother well and fans were ultimately rewarded for their loyalty to the brand with the two companies working together to give the best toys possible with today's restrictions and engineering. Out of the many that I adored, Legends Arcee and Combiner Wars Blackjack were really close to the top but they get the bronze and silver medal respectively with the gold going to: Takara's Unite Warriors Devastator.
What a behemoth of a toy. I just love how Hasbro let Takara design this particular toy for a change, and Takara gave those duties to Shogo Hasui, the designer of all those Masterpiece figures we love so dearly. He did not disappoint. What fascinates me is how this toy can both look perfect and also be really fun to simply play with. For a giant detailed combiner such as this one, you wouldn't expect it to be so easy to take him apart and build him back up and yet every mode looks good. Of course, I can only speak for the Takara version which I opted for since this was the end result the designer was going for. With a toy so fun to assemble and disassemble, having the individual robot modes be their best adds to the enjoyment. The individual toys feel really good, with a nice balance between light and durable, and while the transformation is sometimes simple (not for all of them), it takes nothing away from either mode and just makes it take less time to alternate between the modes. There is also exceptional articulation all around and the combiner technology implemented here to give us a solid Devastator is on a level that has never been reached before. Definitely, this year's best toy!
megatronus - Only one figure got me to play at the Thanksgiving table with parents and in-laws awkwardly looking on like Jane Goodall with a chimp: Titan Devastator.
Devastator's massive, stable, intuitive, and FUN. This Titan specifically (and Combiner Wars figures generally) strikes the perfect balance between toy and collectible. Are there comprises? Yes. Areas that can be improved upon? Sure. But as someone who had Devastator as a kid, this toy perfectly blends nostalgia, modernity, and playability - that's an amazing thing.
xRotorstormx - Oh goodness, this is really a tough one to answer. I think in previous years it would have been a lot easier for me to choose a favorite figure but 2015 seemed to be on fire. I really enjoyed everything that was coming out and it was the first time in a while that I had really started to open the figures I was buying instead of just throwing them into a storage bin when I got home from the store. It seemed like Hasbro had finally gotten on the right path to bring the fun back to Transformers.
For 2015, I would have to say my favorite has been Devastator. It’s super impressive, especially in a display case and the nostalgic factor is wonderful. Hasbro did a great job paying homage to the the G1 Constructicons and its things like that, that really rekindle my love for this franchise.
carytheone - 2015 is the year I jumped into the Transformer collecting game feet first and I still haven't touched the bottom. This year has been a whirlwind of figure acquisition. Combiner Wars has taken a hold of me and doesn't show any sigh of letting go. While I have enjoyed all the combining and non combining figures that have been released; there is one toy that has filled me with wonder and joy like no other. One toy that literally stands above the rest. Combiner Wars Devastator.
No matter which flavor of Devastator you own (Hasbro or Takara), forming the big green guy is pure construction bliss. With the scramble combiners I always start with the torso and work my way around. With Devastator I start from the ground and slowly build my way up until I have a tower of devastation. The individual bots are a little sketchy here and there and the debate over elbows will rage on for some time, the real show however is Devastator himself.
Burn - 2015 was a fantastic year for Transformers, previous years have been rather "meh" for me as evidenced by previous year reviews. But this year? This year was GOOD! There was a lot to look forward to.
One figure most of all though. Move over! Fanboy coming through! Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus (Hasbro version).
This is how a modern take on a classic character should be done. While we don't have an individual cab transforming into its own robot before combining with the car carrier like the original G1 figure, instead, we have IDW's twist on the old "smaller robot in bigger armour".
Minimus Ambus, the plucky little robot that could. Little whit robot in a bigger robot shell. Put them together and that is one damn fine impressive looking robot mode. My one gripe is the hammer "gimmick". Seriously, who puts rockets as the head of a hammer? ugh.
mooncake623 - Figure of the year for me, goes to Takara legends Ultra Magnus. The Hasbro version is really nice too and I do like the Minimus Ambus it comes with over the Alpha Trion, but the extra Paint apps on the Takara version takes it for me. This Ultra Magnus is everything I ever wanted in a classics Ultra Magnus and I've wanted a great classics Ultra Magnus for a very long time. Every since 2010 when I first started collecting I've had place holder and when this guy was announced they all went up for sale and I couldn't be happier with that decision.
What I also liked about this release is that it is IDW Magnus! which means I needed two one for my classics shelf one for my IDW shelf and I'm very happy to buy all the Magnussssss!
Counterpunch - Masterpiece Ultra Magnus [allowed because it came out after the 2014 review - Va'al] - Magnus walked so hard off the G1 cartoon screen that he proved people wrong and embarrassed them in their lack of attention to detail. Was his bumper really red? You're damn right it was. Thought his gun was white? No sir.
In addition to giving fans what they only thought they wanted in cartoon accuracy, Magnus is the height of Masterpiece engineering and design. Complex and fun, his transformation is especially notable amidst the sea of unofficial MP figures. While there isn't a little white Prime hiding inside a suit of armor, Magnus is faithful to the source material and shows just how well engineering can be done even when confronted with challenges such as Magnus' various appearances, toys, and expectations.
Cobotron - It's been an intense year of collecting for me. Like no other I can recall. I have gotten a ton of amazing toys, old and new. It's hard to pick just one, so I'll pick two. The loophole being, they are the same character.
The year started with a gigantic bang in the form of MP-22 Ultra Magnus. Masterpiece? Like a Da Vinci in plastic perfection. He sports a phenomenal and fully functional vehicle mode, and an even more impressive robot mode. The way he feels in hand is like no other. But the thing that brings it all together is his amazing transformation. I am usually in a hurry to get anybot into robot mode, so the battle can begin. It's rare for me to stop and enjoy the "puzzle", but with this Magnus, I truly love the process.
My other favorite, Takara Legends Ultra Magnus. For years there has been a gaping glaring hole in my Classics collection. It has finally been filled. Much simpler than his MP brother, but no less elegant. Vehicle mode is outstanding, especially crammed with all the Legends scale cars I can muster, and his robot mode is an awesome action figure. Big and imposing. I like the IDW character design route they chose, making him a refreshing modern update. Some have remarked that the hammer gimmick was poorly executed, but I'm so glad his Energon Gavel of Justice has become a mainstay.
ScottyP - MP-24 Masterpiece Star Saber. Victory's iconic Supreme Commander in a nearly perfect form.
Slightly more wordy explanation follows.
It took me a bit to warm up to this figure. My out of the box reaction was that of disappointment. Thankfully, opinions and feelings can evolve over time - I know this may shock some of you, it's cool. Saber's Transtector is really perfection, and maybe the Brainmaster himself could be or do a little more but I'm ok with what's included. Great poseability, scuplting, and colors. The interaction with the yet bigger Transtector, the V-Star, is also dead on point. The use of extra parts such as the shield to create a flight stand is pretty genius.
The combined Star Saber robot has a presence about it that screams "I am important". Sure, it's a bit tricky to get Saber locked in there, and the sword grip isn't the best thing, but not a lot of poses are truly hindered and it's a blast to transform this guy back and forth once you get used to all the tolerances. I hate picky tolerances, but I don't find these so much picky anymore as I do "I had to take two attempts to learn it rather than one". On the whole, this may not be my personal favorite figure of the year, but if I had to say what The Figure of the Year is, I can think of nothing better to represent the global year in the Transformers brand. Let's 整合!
LOST Cybertronian - Hands down this category belongs to MP-24 Star Saber. The original Star Saber was my introduction to the Japanese G1 family and also my first experience with the Brainmaster gimmick. Let's be honest, the original toy was so spot on that really the only thing they could possibly do to make the Masterpiece better was add articulation. They even went so far as to tweak the Brainmaster gimmick to allow for head rotation.
Hellscream9999 - Considering how much of the CW line that I've collected thus far, no moment has yet to top my initial assembly of Superion.
I have always loved combiners, and the scramble-city figures seemed to really epitomize the idea of what combiners could actually be. I was never able to complete RID Ruination as a child, nor did I get many of the Energon combiners. So, when pictures first arose of a new line featuring an extensive use of scramble-city style figures, I was cautiously overjoyed (as Hasbro's last attempt was still fresh on my mind) - this was what I had always wanted, and I swore I would not miss out on this opportunity; and happily enough, Superion delivers on all fronts.
Utilizing an intuitive robot-torso mode transformation, and sleek, well proportioned limbs, we got the best scramble-city combiner ever made. Not only did it manage to capture the look of the G1 Superion, but it also managed to be a sturdy, well built, and enjoyable toy that really captured the essence of what the line was aiming to achieve. No other combiner has surpassed it, regardless of the version - Superion is perfect.
Va'al - Guess. Go on. Guess. It can't be hard to figure out what me, Va'al, will nominate in this category. Uh-huh. Yep. Our Lord and Saviour, His Helicopter Orangeness: Alpha Bravo. Putting aside the ridiculous campaign I've been single-handedly conducting on the boards (I was never really serious, still am not, but it was so much fun!), I love this little 'copterbot. It's a new character, with pretty much no backstory in the comics, but a fun toy, good modes, a wonderful personality for a piece of plastic, willing to travel over the world with me, and being a thorn in the side of purist fans everywhere - I could not ask for more .
Favorite 2015 Transformers: Combiner Wars/Unite Warriors Will we ever agree? Apparently not
Va'al - Yeah, this kind of builds on the above, really, but Superion as a combiner was a truly excellent piece of work. The single robots were good, there was coordination in paint schemes and enough difference between each mold. It was an entirely new way of looking at combiners since PCC (who still hold a dear place in my heart), a good update to a character, and a massive presence in the comics (heh). Shame it decided to jump off its shelf at the beginning of December, and broke. I am now Superion-less.
WJ88 - I wanted to pick a combiner for this category and my pick goes to Unite Warriors Superion. This Combiner is far superior (ha!) to the others that came out with how well proportioned it is. It stands tall with a lot of shoulder clearance to pose in any way you want and unlike other attempts at combiners, this one stays well together thanks to the phenomenal port system developed. Mix and matching these quadruple changer limbs is some of the most fun I ever had in this hobby. As for my choice with Takara, well aside from getting all the correct Aerialbots in one go, the slight deco changes in the Takara version mean a great deal to me. This is by far the combiner with the best transformation from voyager figure to torso and the deco takes advantage of that smart transformation by having the chest be different colours. It matches really well with the G1 show (unlike Hasbro which puts red everywhere making it look more like the G1 toy which didn't benefit from such a smart torso transformation). There are also other subtle details Takara weaves in, like extending the paint on the wings beyond the wing hinge to make the wings of the smaller jets longer. This is easily the best combiner of the best scramble city port system ever done in the brand.
mooncake623 - I believe the best Combiner from these lines is Superion. It is all basically the same jet but they all work as a team beautifully. As the first combiner wars team we got I also felt the magic of this line before all the repaints took that away. So I believe it is technically the best one we got and the timing of its release (being the first one) helped it.
Cobotron - Again, it's so hard to pick just one, so I won't. This whole iteration has been one of the more exciting things to happen to the Generations line in a long while. Combiner - As much flack as old Uncle Hasby got for this decision, there was one fanman out here waiting the better part of his life for this... Ultra Prime and the '84 Ark bots. I have been dreaming of a combiner made from the classic characters since I was boy. Proof that dreams CAN come true. Voyager - I already loved Silverbolt's robot mode, but once I had Cyclonus in hand there was no doubt. Great vehicle mode, fabulous bot mode with that great head sculpt and facial expression, and all that PURPLE. And the out-of-left-field Galvatronus torso mode is an absolute feast for my hungry head canon. Deluxe - Originally I had thought Rook. He kind of stole the show with those boxing gloves. I also really dig Off Road. But straight out of the gate it was Drag Strip who stabbed me in the heart. The alt mode is slick. I love his proportions in robot mode, and that head sculpt exudes "evil jerk". He makes a great appendage, top or bottom. Probably my favorite arm. And the Mirage version kicked me right in the nostalgenitals. Hurt so good! Legends - It's hard not to say Powerglide, but the title goes to Huffer. For me he is the best use of this mold. He may not have been rocking his signature "hoodie" but in those colors, and with that neat little head sculpt, I find him packed with personality.
Hellscream9999 - Despite my all of my gushing, Cyclonus/Galvatronus was easily the figure I was most anxious to get this year. When images first came out, I immediately took notice of Cyclonus and his mysterious Galvaron-esque designs on what would eventually become the combiners torso. I thought "This was it, this was the torso that would unite my wayward Stunticons after the slight fiasco that was Menasor". I searched hungrily for pictures of the combined mode - that would one day become my first news credit - until he was mine.
Though completing his combined mode lacked the magic that Superion's had, I have enjoyed Galvatronus far more than I have Superion. He takes everything that was amazing on Silverbolt/Superion and ramps them up a notch by being evil - an important point in my books...
Burn - Can I say Ultra Magnus again? HA! Okay just for a bit of variety, and to do something different I'm NOT going to nominate a combiner or any of the teams, instead I'm going to go with Thundercracker. When I first saw the figure I was impressed. Jetfire? Not so much. But the retooling done to produce Thundercracker (and then Starscream and soon to be Skywarp) made a very fine figure.
Like Ultra Magnus, I consider CW Thundercracker to be a great take on a modern figure.
But Burn, what about the Constructicons?
What about them? They're great figures (I don't care about the articulation) and Devastator is damn impressive, but to me they're only good for posing. They're not something I can sit in the lounge chair and tinker with like I've done with many of the figures this year.
xRotorstormx - It has to be the Armada Megatron /Megatron figures… I mean, come on! Who could say no to working tank treads? Talk about the only figure to come out in recent years that turns me into a little kid again driving him all over the house (ha-ha).
LOST Cybertronian - It's kind of funny that in a line where the main gimmick is combining that my pick in this category would go to one who doesn't combine. I am looking at you CW Ultra Magnus. IDW came up with a unique take on Ultra Magnus with Minimus Ambus and this toy pulls it off. I get why G1 purists hate the idea of Minimus Ambus and the Magnus armor but not everything has to be G1 (there is the MP for that). He pulls off both modes nicely. The only real draw back is that Minimus has nowhere to go in alt mode.
carytheone - I could just be lazy and slot Devy in here, but I won't. I feel that Combiner Wars is a really solid line and has cemented my interest in the franchise. While there is a lot of samey sameness and repaints I've enjoyed the line as a whole. Each team has their own strengths and weaknesses, but to my surprise the team that has become my favorite is the one with the most repaints, a limb with a busted waist and is the new kid on the block: Bruticus.
I just love this set. The colors just work for me, the mold choices for each bot make sense, and the subtle changes from Hot Spot to Onslaught define a new figure. Bruticus is just a tightly knit combiner: Shoulders lock-in rock solid, the wide thighs fit the wide leg bots, the arms are sleek and that Bruticus head sculpt is spot on. And don't forget his purple lil pew pew buddy that likes to ride piggy back!
ScottyP - Titan Class Devastator. Big, fun, and more intuitively engineered than expected. Holds together satisfyingly. Head sculpts are completely on point. Pick your favorite variation here, they're all fun. This was a pleasant surprise and well worth the money.
megatronus - Individual: Motormaster. I love this voyager mold as the Stunticon leader. The hulking visage fits the character perfectly, with to-die-for detailing. Torso mode falls short, but Motormaster competes for best robot and vehicle modes in all of CW. Really, he just does it for me.
Team: Protectobots. Defensor is less elegant than Superion, but - and this is the key - Defensor collects the 4 best CW deluxe molds in a single combiner. Where the Aerialbots are variations on the same theme, the Protectobots are visually dynamic and differentiated. Then there's Hot Spot, whose wrap-around ladder gimmick might be the best thing ever.
Counterpunch - Alpha Bravo - Aside from rescuing G1, Alpha Bravo is one of the most important characters in Transformers History. A founding member of the Aerialbots, his contributions to the development of Superion and...
Seriously. The uproar over Alpha Bravo and the way that fans owned the strange way in which he was inserted into the mythos makes him the defining toy of the line for me. Is Alpha Bravo a great toy? Not especially. Has he been well treated in the corresponding fiction? No. But he's ours and now and forever, when fan rage threatens to tear us apart, when history is being re-written, when we just can't understand far-fetched corporate mandates backed by half-assed marketing, we have an option.
We can always get to the 'choppa and Alpha Bravo will take us away.
(Va'al approves of this choice.)
Favorite 2015 Transformers: Robots in Disguise/Adventure THE DINOPILE
WJ88 - The TAV line was very good to us this year with Takara using it as a catch all line helpîng fans get rereleased figures (animated Dinobots and United Frenzy/Rumble) as well as giving us new toys fans wanted (voyager Grimlock and leader Prime). However, none of this awesomeness compares to their Drift. This mold rocks. The alt mode is super sleek giving way to a gorgeous robot mode which takes pride in its Samurai callbacks, including some great facial hair (which Takara had the kindness to paint). I love that two sided chest panels which is a very efficient way to have new robot mode detail while using the alt mode kibble. This transformer reassures me that a simpler transformation doesn't mean lazier engineering and in fact ups the stakes. Along with the Combiner Wars figures, Hasbro and Takara have proven that there is just as much wit and originality in streamlining transformation and making these toys fun for both older fans and new young fans. Also, that Takara deco on TAV Drift is super sweet!
Cobotron - Back to basics for this little line. So much simple = so much fun.
I've had fun with all the Warrior Class toys. Crushed on Strongarm enough to even customize her paint, but Drift is the real winner. A lot of things in that figure take me back to my fondness for the Cybertron line, but with better articulation. That Tron-esque alt mode is a joy to look at, and he's just a fun figure to play with.
Then you have Takara over here, doin' their "thang". Optimus Prime taco Supreme Mode is pure win. The interactivity with the other size classes is a hook I will bite on anytime. He brings a unity to the entire line, and with that sword, and that sweet sweet deco, he does it with style.
With Battle Grimlock, Takara is the first to prove to the world that, yes, indeed a turd CAN be polished!
LOST Cybertronian - Takara pulled out the surprise of the year with the heavily retooled Battle Grimlock. Despite the hollowness of the base figure, this is one sexy RID Grimlock. Thank you Takara for going the extra mile to bring us a voyager sized RID Grimlock that takes more than 3 steps to transform.
Va'al - Despite the size, despite the scary marks created by the odd elbow joints, despite the loitering arms in robot mode: Warrior Grimlock. It's a fun little fidgety figure, with a good paint scheme, great character in the series and comics, and enough to make me want to sneak it in to any photos I take of the flat (or beyond). DINOPILE AHOY!
ScottyP - TAV-33 Optimus Prime Supreme Mode. There's so much playability in this mold - "just complex enough" transformation, a library of sounds and phrases so extensive you'll think you're learning Japanese, tons of accessories, can haul other toys in the trailer, other toys can have a tailgate party in the trailer, Mini-con compatibility, and this version gets the nod for the slick deco.
xRotorstormx - While none of the Robots in Disguise figures really stood out for me, I thought that the Minicons were the best. It was a nice idea for Hasbro to bring back the concept of removing parts from spurs!
carytheone - Well this is a line that completely caught me off guard. At first glance I thought they looked a little too Playskool to me. Compared to the Combiner Wars line the Robots in Disguise figures all looked like they had weird chunky smooth plastic. I picked up Bee on a random sale to test the waters and with each figure I got more and more hooked. After spending so much time drenched in Combiner Wars, it was refreshing to have a unique transformation for each figure. Crazy as it may sound the stand out from this line is Mini-con madness.
Mini-cons; who knew those little simple figures with no articulation would grab so much of my attention. Gotta catch em all fever maybe? I find their simple auto-morph transformation fun to fiddle with and they compliment the warrior figures perfectly.
mooncake623 - I'm going to go with legion class fixit. It's a cute little toy, and fun to mess around with. It's also the only RID figure I brought but it's a fun one.
Burn - To be honest, I've only collected the Autobots. The Decepticon characters in the cartoon have been an embarrassing joke (not that the Autobots have been much better) and I've just never liked them. So instead, I stuck with the Autobots and only the Deluxe class. With one exception.
He's a fun little figure. There's no need for him to be overly complex, and he is far from that. A one-step Legion class figure suits him perfectly! Plus he's probably the best character on the show.
Hellscream9999 - I honestly don't know if this is breaking the rules of the list, but as I got Fracture at the beginning of December, I think that qualifies him to be on this list
Having enjoyed all of the new s that RID brought to us, I was disheartened when only one of them made it to normal retail release... So, needless to say, when the opportunity arose to nab this new Lockdown, I pounced - and received what could only be described as an exceptional figure.
Beyond being yet another successful motorcycle Transformer (an excellent trend of late), he has incredible poseability, an awesome multi-purpose weapon, and absolutely oozes character - as if he had just jumped out of the show to collect a bounty on my head. He's an amazing Transformers character, and an even better toy, what more do you want?
megatronus - Transformers Adventure is definitely an island of misfit toys as well as a line of hidden gems and second chances. That said, one really stands out: TAV29 Grand Vehicon General.
I'm not an Arms Microns fan, and passed on that Vehicon General, so I jumped on TAVs. PRID Vehicon is a modern classic, and TAV reprises this all-star with a winning deco that (bonus!) hides the ugly, terrible, no-good faction sticker in robot mode. I've been waiting for this figure a long time, and it's satisfying to have him, especially since it brings back the best of TF:Prime.
Counterpunch - TAV Ultra Magnus - An unexpected and incredibly welcome update to the TF Prime Beast Hunters Ultra Magnus, this is my favorite figure from the line. Beast Hunters Magnus was a well intentioned reuse of the TF Prime RiD Optimus. Yet in a line where the show and toys so closely follow one another, you really had to squint to accept the old G1 toy colors on this figure as he sat amidst your other TF Prime figures.
This simple redeco offers show accurate coloring and a more accurate and detailed Forge of Solus Prime accessory. Sometimes plastic color and a few dabs of paint application make all the difference. This is one of those times. I fully expect this figure to be lost amidst the shuffle of Combiner Wars excitement and in a few years to be going for 2-3 times its currently (very) affordable price.
Favorite 2015 Transformers: None of the Above Figure or, Go Platinum
LOST Cybertronian - How do you get me to buy a new release of G1 toys I already own? By releasing them in a new deco. That's right I am talking about the delicious Platinum Edition Blitzwing and Astrotrain set. I feel for those that wanted a straight reissue of the original figures but those wouldn't get a second look from me. Hasbro took a chance on these guys and they look deliciously gaudy.
Cobotron - The absurdly outrageous Platinum Triple Changers Astrotrain and Blitzwing, or Bomb Pop and Cherry Danish as I like to call them. But why Cobs? Because they are pure ridiculous whimsy.
mooncake623 - Platinum edition Trypticon! I've always wanted a G1 Trypticon and the fact that I can get a brand new minty one from Amazon for around $100 bucks was amazing! I also can't believe they kept those loud electronics in there. Having him set up next to my G1 Metroplex in City mode was something I've always wanted to do.
ScottyP - Platinum Edition Seeker Squadron. A woefully under-appreciated set. First reissues of Ramjet and Thrust in the US ever, really nice touches on the decos that are subtle enough to not mess with the aesthetics of the toys, and sharp looking metallic sticker sets that actually stick unlike the Commemorative Series decals.
WJ88 - I feel so lucky that the Transformers brand keeps rereleasing older products (like Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers does). As I extend my knowledge on the brand (I grew up on Beast Wars thinking there was nothing before that), I get the need to get acquainted with what came before. With the Platinum line, I get to have band new minty fresh G1 toys without having to break the bank (and without feeling guilty to take them out of their packaging). I got most of the G1 reissues this year and my favourite is the Platinum Perceptor and Blaster set, especially Perceptor. It is an amazing toy to own to get a taste of the brand's history, seeing how this was supposed to be a vehicle/mech for Microman toys which would pose as a normal sized microscope not to arouse suspicion on earth. I love how that disguise extends to it being a working microscope (which Hasbro took full advantage of in this release) and how you can still use all its Microman features which were not included in the instructions (either now or back in 1985), like turning him into a tank, that rolls beautifully, for toys to sit on.
Counterpunch - Takara Legends Windblade - I feel the need to point out this figure. With the growing ties between media and figures, especially figures who are prominent in the fiction and our collective discussions, it strikes me how frequently careless Hasbro is. I don't know or understand the reasons why the Hasbro version of Windblade could not get her basic color scheme or deco correct, but once again I am looking to Takara to correct it.
Legends Windblade gets the overall color palette for Windblade correct and dramatically improves her face deco. The Windblade mold is full of engineering issues, but she's an important character and she deserved better. When every bit of fiction she's in has her very clearly appearing one way, it would be nice for the majorative audience of that fiction to not have to import at twice the price in order to get an accurate figure.
I know. I know that's how it's always been, but it needs to improve.
Va'al - You know, I had almost forgotten that Windblade is part of 2015. I had pre-ordered it so long ago, and it was all before I moved flats, it just always existed on my shelf/box/desk. As many on the boards know, she's part of my trinity along with Grimlock and Alpha Bravo - so it's only fitting really that she'd show up here too. The Takara version is soooo nice, and a lot more accurate to the IDW design, face in particular.
Hellscream9999 - This was a top contender for figure of the year, but Nightbird Shadow wins this category hands down. No matter how I tried, I could never reconcile Generations Arcee running around with all of those weapons while wearing that smile on her face; Nightbird Shadow takes that irreconcilable image and runs with it - and then slits your throat when you're not looking.
Nightbird is a stunningly realized re-tooling of Gen. Arcee, based on a bit character in one episode of the G1 cartoon, and I couldn't love her more than I already do. Sporting the no-nonsense femme-fatale ethos of Arcee, but in a much more appropriate ninja guise, Nightbird is just an incredible figure that I knew I had to have. She sports a pair of newly-tooled sai and head that just capture a magic for me that I never got with Arcee, plus, her sai remind me of one of my favorite Dynasty Warrior's 8 characters: Wang Yi, so there's that too.
megatronus - AoE Black Knight Optimus Prime. This overseas TRU exclusive Scourge-style redeco of the AD31 Armor Knight Optimus Prime is a double whammy. The best transformable version of Age of Extinction Optimus, with a sexy black, teal, and red premium paint job? Yes, please.
Burn - Like every year, because this is about the only chance I really have to pimp them to the masses, is Kabaya. This years "big" release were the Seacons. Fun little figures that combine into a much larger King Poseidon, sure the articulation is lacking, but they're different and a fresh change from all those fancy articulated RID and CW figures you kids have these days.
xRotorstormx - Prices aside, I really like the new waves of Loyal Subjects figures. They seem to be a bit more durable, way more posable and the colors are bright and look amazing on the shelf compared to older waves.
carytheone - This one was hard, I had to peer around my collection looking for something that was released in 2015 that wasn't CW or RID related. After a couple disappointed google searches showing the release dates were 2014 I spotted TAV15 Lockdown. An old mold I know, but it was a new experience to me and possible the gateway into collecting Animated figures. So by default Lockdown gets it, but that's not to say he isn't a good figure. I had a lot of fun transforming, posing, photographing and just letting him get into trouble on my shelves. The deco is superb and I just love the matte paint. Lockdown is a tall, slender and menacing bounty hunter.
Favorite 2015 Transformers Masterpiece Figure
(Hasbro or Takara) Smoke, mirrors, drama - Hasbro vs Takara!
ScottyP - MP-18B Bluestreak, because it's about time this deco happened again.
Cobotron - The MP release I was most excited for, post Magnus was MP-18B. Bluestreak is my guy. Has been for 31 years. It was the toy accuracy of 18S that pulled me into the Masterpiece line hard. With my adoration for the Takara SF Land diaspora, and it being my absolute favorite character, blue Bluestreak and his nod to pre-Transformers history made him a must have. I hold a funny resentment towards Prowl for always stealing the spotlight from Streak, so the even more toy accurate details his mold carries were a surprise treat for me.
I'm gonna catch heat from Billy Jim for this, but Exhaust smoked Wheeljack. I can't nail it down, but there is powerfully evil and habit forming magic inside that collectible. Plus the fact that I bagged him in the wild, in the U.S. of A., made for my most thrilling hunt of the year!
WJ88 - I greatly disliked the first attempt at Masterpiece Starscream (MP 03) and thus was never enamored by the idea that the new Masterpiece Starscream was a retool of that same mold. So I stayed away with no regrets. This year however, Hasbro gave me an offer I couldn't refuse with the Masterpiece toy being just about the same price as the Leader Seekers that were on the shelves at the same time (which were just simple Jetfire retools/redecos). I gave it a shot and loved it. There are problems it can never fix unless they make a new mold from the ground up but that doesn't stop it from being the best ever effort by Hasbro to have an MP in North America. Let me run by some quick points of why this one was awesome:
- Trilingual box, making it available all over North America (FINALLY!)
- A price which made it worth waiting for the Hasbro version
- Improvements over the Takara version like more paint (silver on the sigils), nicer colours (personal opinion) and mostl importantly, a tighter connection between the pelvis and torso.
mooncake623 - Tracks was great, StarSaber cool but surprisingly simplistic, but the winner has to be It has to be Toys R Us Starscream for the simple reason that you can get a $200 Takara figure in the States for $60 bucks. That is just amazing value.
carytheone - This is another category where the figure wins by default. I only grabbed one MP this year and I feel it was a pretty good one. None other than the master plotter and wannabe usurper himself, Starscream. Another old mold that I don't really need to elaborate on. I will share my experience with him though. He shipped in alt mode and that was a nerve-racking transformation into a bot. MP Starscream is dead sexy as a plane and poses great in bot mode. Bonus, he comes with a exhaust stained booger pilot!
megatronus - I was tempted to pick MP11-SW Skywarp because completing an MP11 Seeker trio was such an exultant moment. Still, MP of the year has to be MP23 Exhaust.
The hype and drama surrounding Exhaust's glorious release was unparalleled; I'm thankful we got this figure at all, even if in a somewhat abridged form. It's amazing how a white, red, and green redeco of white, red, and green Wheeljack could be so different than, well, Wheeljack. Plus, in my head-canon, Exhaust is basically an MP Vehicon who can help fill the Decepticon ranks with multiples. Good thing they've gotten so cheap.
LOST Cybertronian - Takara made a ballsy move by announcing the legal shitstorm that is MP Marlboor Wheeljack Exhaust complete with Marlboro trademarked markings. No other Transformers toy in my memory has caused this much trouble. That alone makes Exhaust Masterpiece Transformer of the year. Even though in the end Takara relented on the deco but this is still one sweet figure with a beautiful head sculpt and new accessories that make it stand out from Wheeljack.
xRotorstormx - Wheeljack of course! Not only has wheeljack been my favorite character since the G2 cartoon sucked me in to Transformers, the paint scheme and mold was exactly what I had envisioned a masterpiece version to look like.
Honorable mention: MP23 Exhaust – for the love of drama!
Burn - You'd think after the fanboy rant above the answer would be obvious wouldn't it? Well no. As good as MP Ultra Magnus was, I was left a little disappointed. Overall, I found this year to NOT be a year for Masterpiece figures.
Favorite 2015 Transformers Exclusive Figure In (and outta) da Club
megatronus - Club Subscription Krok and Gatoraider. It's pleasing to finally see a character that does this mold justice - Megatron and Dreadwing deserve larger figures, but it's like this mold was made for Krok. The head sculpt is perfect, the colors pop, and the way Gatoraider combines with Krok's stock weapon to form a full-fledged rail gun is magnificent. 10s across the board.
As a side note, I'm a fan of the way the Club has been handling Action Masters generally - just look at Sherbert, I mean Circuit, for an example of another job well done.
ScottyP - Transformers Collectors' Club Figure Subscription Service 3.0 Krok with Gatoraider. Cool mold, absolutely fantastic new head sculpt, stunning paint job, and an Arms Micron partner that's appropriate and helps it correctly homage the source material. A+ execution.
xRotorstormx - Honestly, I was pretty impressed with this year’s TFCC Subscription Service. The choices they made were unique and that is what keeps things interesting for me. Out of all of them, I loved Serpent-OR. I was never a G.I Joe collector but loved the cartoon and Serpentor was always a favorite of mine. I have an original Serpentor figure siting on my desk and it was amazing, when that figure arrived, how cool they looked standing next to each other.
Counterpunch - eHobby Grand Scourge - This figure is everything that an exclusive should be. It is tempting to those who are unaware of the backstory by virtue of its appearance and it is a welcome and happy call back to a figure that always should have been but never was.
Grand Scourge was a planned or at least optioned redeco of Energon Optimus Prime. Unfortunately, it was only ever available in a small model kit format that most collectors have no real knowledge of. More than ten years later, we have a viable Grand Scourge who can reside with our modern collections or who can go back and haunt your Energon shelves with equal parts glory.
The real challenge thrown down by this bad boy, is putting together a team of bots to make up his combined form...
mooncake623 - All the Black Optimusssss. Transformers Legends LG-EX G2 Black Convoy (Nemesis Prime) Tokyo Toy Show 2015 Exclusive, Transformers: The Lost Age Black Knight Exclusive - Optimus Prime, Transformer Unite Warriors Decepticon Grand Scourge. Just love adding new ones to the collection.
LOST Cybertronian - BotCon 2015 Oilmaster: Whether you love them or hate them, FunPub has done some extraordinary retools in the last couple of BotCons (see also 2014 Scorponok). This year they went above and beyond the call of duty by taking an unreleased G1 Double Pretender concept and giving it a modern update. The fact that they had a newly sculpted Pretender Shell created is beyond awesome and cements Oilmaster for Transformers Exclusive of the year.
WJ88 - I don't get many exclusives since I am more about the engineering of the toy and exclusives are usually just redecos but I did get Cloud Shockwave and he is pretty awesome. It is so strange how a difference in deco alone can turn an ok toy great. The Whirl mold looks amazing in purple and it totally works for a classics Shockwave with the creepy claws and single eye.
Let's take a break, shall we? Have a video that has made many a fan send submissions to the news staff, but never actually made it to the front page.
Favorite 2015 Transformers Comics-moment More than Meets the Knowing
ScottyP - More Than Meets The Eye #44: The Not Knowing. See my review/gushing fest for why. Honorable mention to Sins of the Wreckers #1 which was also really damn good.
Counterpunch - MtMtE #44 - Megatron seeing a symbolic representation of the death and chaos he has wrought. The potential for Megatron to grow as a character and to play a new role in upcoming conflict is ripe. I hope it bears fruit.
WJ88 - The final shot of MTMTE 44 when Megatron gets a clear picture of how many deaths he has caused. It had no lines, just the excellent art and that was all that was needed for this perfect character moment.
carytheone - Well I started late on this one, I've been binge reading in-between long breaks and now I'm about 5 or 6 issues behind. It's hard for me to pin down just one of the crazy antics that happen in More Than Meets the Eye. It's all the little interpersonal relationships that really stand out to me. If Rodders and crew are heading out, sign me up. I love a good quest.
Burn - At the start of the year, More than Meets The Eye ... not so much now. It's good, but the humour has been replaced with "everyone has to be in a relationship", and I could watch Days of Our Lives for that.
megatronus - This is undeniably the age of the antihero, and so I clearly choose the most Mad Max-esque Transformers comic to date: Redemption #1.
War is ugly. War is sin. And absolution isn't at the bottom of an Engex bottle. This issue finds the Dinobots taking on an odd job: transporting something deep into the Sea of Rust for the Camien Torchbearers. In the process, Slug reflects, does the antihero thing, and otherwise kicks ass. We meet some surprising adversaries, with a twist.
So, yes - standard. But the gritty, atmospheric art by Livio Ramondelli and the equally gritty Dinobots set this series apart from the cleaner lines and themes of the other ongoings/mini-events. I'm excited to see where this one goes.
Va'al - The dark horse that is Minimus Ambus. Proof below.
Favorite 2015 Transformers TV/Film-moment Rescuers in Disguise
WJ88 - Robots in Disguise is a fun show. While it is a bit young for me, I do love the design for the Decepticons. It is fun to see the show creators be this original in the Transfomers brand again.
xRotorstormx - I never enjoyed sitting at my computer watching shows so unfortunately I was only able to see 2-3 episodes of RID (come on ... 6:30am on a Saturday??) . Even though I was not the target audience of the show, it was entertaining.
carytheone - Getting up before daylight to catch Robots in Disguise. RID came aired Saturday morning at 5:30 AM in my neck of the woods. I set an alarm and would drag my groggy butt out of bed, fix a bowl of cereal and plop down in front of the TV in my jammies. I did that for a couple weeks until I found out I could binge watch all the episodes on the internet. While it lasted I chased that dragon and enjoyed the ride.
Burn - I wanted to enjoy Robots in Disguise, and it was good. But honestly, for another year, Rescue Bots was easily the most enjoyable series on TV.
megatronus - Rescue Bots! Season 3 hit Netflix a few months ago, and I binge watched like none other. It's been a long time since we've gotten a show that's human-centric, with the Transformers an interesting part of the scenery in an immersive, convincing world. Season 3 was a slight change, as we saw a huge number of Transformers-centric stories in this human-centric show - and it made for great viewing.
ScottyP - Q-Transformers. I have no idea what's going on. I love it.
Favorite 2015 Transformers Game Go Big or Go Bust
LOST Cybertronian - Transformers: Devastation is button pounding excitement. The game looks gorgeous with its cell shaded G1 aesthetic and is very fun to play.
xRotorstormx - Devastation, hands down! Seeing that Japan has gotten a few G1 inspired games over the years, it was nice to finally have one released stateside. I didn’t get it right when it came out, only got it only a few weeks ago, but the game play is really fun and keeps me entertained (which is REALLY hard to do now a days!). I thought the character selection was really neat and refreshing instead of seeing just the same old popular characters. Looking forward to more games like this!
Counterpunch - Transformers Devastation - How is this even a question? It could have only been better if it was longer or included Bayonetta.
ScottyP - Transformers: Devastation. Partly by default, but there were mobile titles to choose from. Oozes the G1 cartoon in the best way, and fun too! Please, someone, officially release the soundtrack.
Worth mentioning: ScottyP's round-up before the Devastation release here!
carytheone - I didn't play the mobile, browser or the one console/PC release this year. As a gamer I hang my head in shame. I did however pick up a bunch of older Transformer games this year. Even though I've already played/finished War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron, I found them on clearance and decided to pick up a copy. I played these games years ago before I was back in the TF fold.
It was a fun experience to play the story again with a different perspective.I picked up a couple TF games for my 3DS as well. TF: Prime and TF: Rise of the Dark Spark. TF: Prime is just WfC and FoC lite, but Rise of the Dark Spark is a completely different beast on 3DS. It's a turn based strategy game with 2D sprite graphics and a little 3D battling bots thrown in for flavor. TF: RotDS on 3DS is my TF game of the year. It's a fun and surprisingly hard game, definitely worth the $5 spent.
megatronus - I don't have a game console at the moment ( ), so I can't speak to this one too much. I hear great things about Devastation... do the Fan Votes count? Honestly, that's as much of a game as anything I've seen, and not just because many fans suspect Hasbro is 'gaming' the process (see what I did there?).
Favorite 2015 Transformers Moment Overall Bunch a' soppy bots
WJ88 - There are two elements of the year that really made it amazing:
I just loved seeing Takara in action all year. I like Hasbro but Takara just has this secret formula with the fans since we are its dedicated market. Everything we could ask for they gave. I wanted an updated Beast Wars Blackarachnia and got it. I wanted elbows on my Devastator and got it. I wanted more size classes in the Robots in Disguise line (like for Grimlock and Optimus) and better paint apps (since some were appaling) and got that too. Also, quite randomly, I wanted the Rumble and Frenzy tanks along with Animated Swoop and they rereleased them as well. The week-end of Botcon 2015, while Hasbro was showing some good stuff, in a totally different show at the other end of the world Takara brings out their improved Devastator along with MP Optimus Primal, MP Ironhide, their new trio of female robots and their Leader Optimus for robots in Disguise/TAV. In that Botcon week-end, my thoughts were just about Takara, I would have never expected that.
The other cool stuff of the year was discovering all these affordable reissues. As a newer collector (longtime fan though) who was born in 88, G1 doesnt come easy. Especially in nice condition with all accessories. But this year with the platinum line, I got a bunch of beautiful fresh and minty G1 toys for a price that gives me no guilt in opening the box and playing with them. Speaking of reissues, it is this year that I discovered the Sonokong releases of many Takara products. Korean company Sonokong distributed a bunch of Japan exclusive toys in their local market and those releases (which comes in amazing boxes) are really cheap. So I was able to get a bunch of figures I would have never thought of owning for the price of retail or less (like Big Convoy, Sky Garry and a bunch of others). This was really a year of finding affordable ways of getting brand new vintage toys and I couldn't be happier.
Hellscream9999 - Putting 3/5 of Superion together after hunting for his components all of January. Though I only had enough limb-bots to give him a pair of arms, all I could do was sit at my desk and swap his limbs around all day - after longing for a nice update to the scramble-city combiners for so long, sitting there, holding the realization of my dreams was absolutely magical.
megatronus - I got to join the Podcast in early 2015 after a lengthy trial at the end of 2014, and it's been a blast. The job is harder than it sounds, but hopefully I'm getting better! That's just a lead up to my actual favorite moment: TFcon Charlotte. I got to go to my first Transformers convention, with mooncake623, and met most of the folks I record with. I'm thankful for the opportunity & experience, and look forward to more shows & conventions!
mooncake623 - TFcon Charlotte was pretty awesome, it was great meeting everyone and spending time talking and drinking and buying toys.
xRotorstormx - Botcon, is always a highlight of my year. In the beginning it was all about the special guests and toys but over the years it has become a family gathering. I love being able to travel around to different locations each year but walk in the door and see all my friends. No matter what happens leading up to the convention, we always make the best of it and have a blast. It is always nice to be around people that share similar interests and you can have conversations about what you are really passionate about.
Counterpunch - I have 100% enjoyed the bizarre and fun nature of the Takara Legends comics. In terms of parody, these have made me smile and kicked my imagination into high gear more than anything else. The remainder of my response will now be pictures I find to be amusing:
ScottyP - I'm going to edit my earlier longer answer here and just pick one. So I'm in the parking lot of Toys R Us and this dude in a shirt, tie, and black slacks wearing a back-pack while carrying a book in one hand and MMC Feral Rex in the other walks up and asks if I'd seen the light and heard about our lord and savior, Third Party. I punched him in his face and he burst into a pile of coins. I used them to walk in and buy a Masterpiece Starscream. It was a fun time. I think a car ran over the Feral Rex, then it disappeared and got sent back to a spawn point.
Burn - I'm going to throw this in here much to Va'als chagrin as it's not really a "Transformers moment", but hear me out. The Seibertron.com forums.
Yes there's been a few problem members, but in all honesty, there's been a batch of new members come through who have gone absolutely ballistic and really defined what a "discussion board" is suppose to be about! So much so I've found myself at times barely able to join in the conversations because by the time I wake up or get home from work, any where from 2+ pages have been added, and that's a lot to catch up on!
So that's my moment for the year. The great discussions that have taken place on the forums. Don't think I'm going soft though, check your signature sizes and bloody stay on topic!
carytheone - My favorite TF moment of the year is all the time spent on Seiberton making new friends and becoming a news staff member. It's been a blast getting to know everyone and goofing off on the various boards. Even though I've learned a lot about my new favorite hobby, I still feel like a complete noob when the heavy hitters come around. It's been an amazing experience and I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Cobotron - This whole damn year has been one giant Transformers moment for me. I joined Seibertron in September of 2014. In 20 years of collecting I've never really had anyone to share/talk about the hobby with. I do now! The past year has been a real thrill cutting it up with the peeps in here. I've been inspired to build an Ark diorama, try a custom paint job, create some TF-centric art, and learned to digibash. I've completely overhauled my displays and for the first time ever have all my Transformers, and other Takara goodies on display in the Collect-O-Tron (where I push my secret Microman agenda ). I've made some really great friends via the forums over the past year and am elated to be a part of this awesome community. I must have been drunk on Transformers fun when I said yes to Burn's recruitment to be a Forum Moderator.
So like the Chief said, play nice, check your sig size, and for Primus's sake, stay on topic!
Va'al - This, after not too much thought, would have to be the secret mission that myself and Seibertron went on, as we met for the first time in London in November! There was much nerd talk, a lot of robots, several moments of fond memories, a meeting with Simon Furman, the SUPER SECRET STUFFS we can't talk about, and a little more nerding out. It was a good couple of days, with some good people, in a very surreal but pleasing situation. 10/10, would do again!
(Note to the photo: I then proceeded to eat Simon Furman, as Burn suggested, of course.)
What you're looking forward to in 2016 for Transformers DON'T LET YOUR DREAMS BE DREAMS
Va'al - Nah-hah, this one is a ponderous question. My interest in the toys has been waning for a loooooong time now, and I keep chipping away at the collection in one way or another. I am, however, intrigued by what the anniversary of Beast Wars might bring to the table, other than what we have already seen.
I am even a lot more interested in Victorion, after the wonderful work done with her by John Barber, Mairghread Scott, and Sara Pitre-Durocher in the comics - plus I have a combiner-less shelf now! That, and the continuation of the IDW multiverse with Till All Are One.
Burn - Titan Masters and Titans Return have me wary. I want Powermaster Optimus Prime, and of course, I want Fortress Maximus. But others...not so sure about.
What I am looking forward to a lot though is what Takara will be doing in regards to their version of the Combaticons. Will we be getting a new Blast Off? Here's hoping ...
xRotorstormx - Titans Return! If Hasbro can continue down this path of bringing us fan favorites, I think this will definitely keep the spark alive in fans young and old.
LOST Cybertronian - I am excited for Masterpiece Shockwave and Powermaster Optimus Prime. Both look like great contenders to be on this list next year.
WJ88 - This year wasn't so hot on MPs and I didn't buy a single one from Takara since none appealed to me particularly. Next year however, looks to be amazing with MP Primal and Shockwave. Also, Hasbro has commented that they will be doing more G1 reissues and I can't wait to see what they pick. I have so few G1 toys that this is very exciting to me. It's like having another line full of new toys to buy and experience.
megatronus - MP Shockwave. Shockwave!!!!! I've been waiting for this robotic cyclops for aeons, so needless to say, I plan on acquiring him immediately. Beyond my irrational desire and compulsion, he's important for 3 reasons:
(1) Shockwave himself: he'll fill out Decepticon ranks (my 'Exhaust = MP Vehicon' head-canon can only go so far), and will look amazing doing so. I'm sure the wait will be worth it.
(2) Like Titan Devastator, Shockwave represents something in terms of Hasbro and Takara's battle with 3rd Parties. Or not. But the comparisons are inevitable.
(3) By the time of Shockwave's release, all 3 of Megatron's main lieutenants will have assumed modern MP form. That's either a lead up to the Decepticon Leader himself, or a mega-letdown.
Counterpunch - Masterpiece Shockwave. I should have a more complex answer, but I don't. Titans Return will carry on as any mainline does. The movies will do their thing. A new show will probably get started, but MP Shockwave...
I'm eager to get a hold of it and get some official leadership on my Decepticon shelves. I also hope that it inspires a viable Voyager Class Generations Shockwave. Someone needs to keep their glowing yellow eye on that ball...
Cobotron - All of it? I'm really excited for the coming Masterpiece releases like Shockwave and Ironhide/Rachet. All of Titan Returns and its play-packed gimmicks. I'm a sucker for little dudes riding/piloting bigger dudes, populating even bigger dudes. I am really looking forward to Takara's Grand Galvatron. He is just such an interesting and entertaining concept.
Speaking of little dudes driving big dudes, I am super excited for Takara's Diaclone reboot, Dia Battles. This plays into my love for all things pre-Transformers Takara history. I'm also very interested to see how Hasbro's Micronauts/Transformers crossover plays out.
Hellscream9999 - Well, if anyone knows me at the most basic level, it should be a little obvious (like Va'al + Alpha Bravo) it's...
. SKY REIGN
Yes! The big, bad dino-bird-shuttle-thing is back in all his glory, except instead of being some sort of duo-con/combiner, he's packing a torso mode for a combiner that has the visage of an angry Egyptian god for a head, how can you not love that?
mooncake623 - Toy fair I always look forward to Toy fair.
carytheone - With all the fun I've had with Combiner Wars, I'm very excited to see how Titan Returns plays out. HeadTitan Masters really don't do much for me, but base mode sounds interesting. The most exciting part of Titan Returns is that the figures don't combine, so here's to bots with unique transformations.
But what has me the most intrigued is the Transformers Machinima series. Very little is know at the moment, so it's easy to hang positive exceptions on the series. I put toys above the media it's based on, so hopefully the art style will be there and spawn some cool figures.
Last but not least; what I'm looking forward to most in 2016 is hanging out here with all my new robrobuddies!
ScottyP - The same thing I look forward to every year - having fun. That's what it's all about.
Very much so, ScottyP, very much so. There are other thoughts to be thunk on 2015, and you can find the Twincast Podcast episodes doing so here and here - for your auricular pleasure. But that's pretty much it from us, we want to know what made your 2015 the Transformersest there is! Was it a toy, a line, a comic, a book, an episode, a grail achieved, any at all robot-related? Pull up a chair in the Energon Pub, ignore the two Tankors at the back, and let us know what you thought. Feel free to use the categories, or just spill out your inner cogs - we're all robuddies here.
“I'd argue there isn't actually a lot of nostalgia here. I'd argue that every page, every moment is built on innovation. And Tom's looking to the past for some of the cues, but what he's actually building is what comics will be like in the future, not the past.”
“I think every page, every panel of this comic is Tom on a tightrope without a net, and he's trying a complicated jump that he's never really done before.”
I don’t think truer words have been spoken about this title… Or there's that.
THE SYNOPSIS (what’s the, so far)-
OPTIMUS PRIME returns—-in time to fall to Megatron. Now the undisputed ruler of Cybertron, the Decepticon leader has impaled the planet Earth. The surviving G.I. Joe team remains on the alien planet, confronting a harsh new reality: there is no hope.
Subtle reminder: each issue of TF VS GIJOE is meant to be read as a stand alone adventure, but there is a string and overall story running through. Last issue was an issue about Destro’s past, nay his entire family history, and how it was effected and changed by the ark even with the Transformers lying dormant.
This issue picks up a bit after #8… when that very big thing happened to Earth with those very long spikes coming from Cybertron. Oh and that other big event where you-know-who bad guy seemed to destroy the just-returned-savior good guy. Believe it or not it's all about change though. Adapting.
We are BORG...
In this installment, the Joes are learning how to survive on their new home. Cobras and Deceptions are celebrating their victory and alliance. There’s some history explained and a cool prose only story included at the end.
Tom Scioli provides it all—lines, inks, colors— with unique perspectives, and daring visuals to push the story boundaries. Often criticized, and rarely understood, Scioli continues to work his vision channeling so much from resources obscure and not obscure.
Of note, though, is the fantastically detailed, gorgeous subscription variant cover of a gargantuan Metroplex done by Ulises Farinas. Just pick-your-jaw-up-off-the-floor awesome!
I serve the will of the Primes...
MY THINKS- Contains spoilers SPOILERS...sad face
I’ve been critical. I understand the criticisms. But something about this being an otherworldly ‘What If’, ‘Elseworlds’-type, ‘Deviations’ if you will story… makes it all okay, and (mostly) acceptable. I read comics for enjoyment, and this series, never seems to fail in surprising me--although, I'm not sure I would characterize how I interact with this series so much as 'enjoyment'. I love to read the mainstream stories much more than this. But this has its place for me, and maybe it has found its place for you. I read on to see what Tom and John can come up with—what they 'cook' up—. And after I have my own thoughts, I like to read their banter on what inspired their choices when it's done.
I seem to remember it differently. I got a V.A.M.P., Starscream, and Prowl that year. It was the best though.
Speaking of cooking up, this issue doesn’t disappoint, it's a gourmet feast for the eyes and mind. With a few, ‘oh-no-you-didn’t’ moments that may just have you shaking your head, one we already saw in the preview—Megatron becoming a connoisseur of human flesh now…and the poisoned feast…W..O..W! There's also clever dialogue dropping some excellent one-linersn for easing those hard to take moments.
We all knew that there were Autobot and Decepticon chefs and bakers, right? CONFEKTOR...bake!
Hit and Run is one of my all-time favorite Joes, stating the obvious.
For me, the most interesting parts of this issue came near the end. I’ll try not to spoil it for those reading the series, but there are some really thought-provoking Transformers history moments presented with verbal and visual references that any fan of the brand, and pre-brand will embrace with a sense of interest and a little awe… at least I did.
I'm a chef too...I cook up life!
AND THE BONUS-
At the very end of the issue we get a nice bonus, instead of the normal Barber and Scioli back and forth breaking down pages and giving us the behind-the-scenes, we get a short-story called ‘Black Cybertron’ (along the lines of the now infamous Wreckers story,‘Bullets’) involving Ravage, Snake-Eyes, Shockwave, and the cassettes. A journey into Hades or is it the workshop of Daedalus? Either way, it shows the length that some will take for a loved one...loved one...really? Expect the unexpected.
If you’re still with TF VS GIJOE, you know what to expect, and that’s to not know what to expect! This issue doesn’t disappoint, but adds a great morsel for consumption at the end.
CONQUERORS, part 3! It all comes down to this… the fate of the AUTOBOTS, the survival of the human race, and the existence of a post-war CYBERTRON depends on the two greatest heroes in TRANSFORMERS history: BUSTER the dog and D.0.C. the drone.
We've had two parts of this new storyline already in the ongoing The Transformers series from IDW Publishing, and John Barber has chosen to take a peculiar type of break while not putting anything on hold. At all. But how does the strange POV issue work, you might ask? Find out some thoughts below.
The dialogue is riveting
It's impossible to escape the similarities with the Eisner-winning Fraction/Aja Hawkeye issue of Pizza Dog with this chapter of The Transformers series, and for a comics fan, this works suprisingly well without falling too much into heavy-handed homage. (Much like Redemption and Fury Road, really.)
Having two points of view, undoubtedly, helps the narrative to flow, and switches between two characters that have found their way into the fandom and the new followers of the series. Buster, as an Earth dweller close to Thundercracker, and D.O.C. as a Cybertronian AI close to the Autobots do both bring a new perspective on the characters surrounding the otherwise main cast.
Which leads quite nicely to the crux of the story, really, and something that I am obviously not going to spoil here, but has a lot to do with several theories that many fans have been speculating on for a while now, revolving around long-established lore and recent developments in ..well, everything.
I have to commend Griffith on the clear work on an otherwise extremely hard script to master in terms of layout. The smaller amount of dialogue and narration means that most of the story has to be told with the visual component of the medium, and he does a stellar job with the frames and angles from both character perspectives.
Good transitions, too
The same perspectives are maintained, solidly, throughout their different takes in the book, by the magnificently subtle (though not that much once you realise) colour palettes and coding for the two. In the case of Buster in particular, Josh Perez' chromatic contrasts and blending of greys is just really well done, and makes the foreground even more prominent and incisive.
Points in cases
Also to be commended is the work of letterer Tom B. Long, as Buster and D.O.C. occupy two very different styles of font, tone and voice, which are worked incredibly well with a truly complex script for human dialogue during the Buster segments. The covers, on the other hand, have very little to do with the issue, though are pretty excellent in both the Archie tribute by Andy Pepoy and the Alex Milne/Perez triumphant Starscream (thumbnailed).
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Is the reveal present at the end of the book that surprising? No, not really, not at this point in the series. Is it pleasing? Yes, actually. It's brought about in a satisfying manner, with some good power and attention grabs, and a sustained if lighthearted narrative throughout the whole issue.
Narrative, right here
The real treat, however, is how the book looks, from the layouts and art to the colours and lettering. Griffith, Perez and Long work wonders together to really convey the multiple angles and pairs of eyes/optics through which we're looking at this small world growing bigger and smaller in equal measure. If you take anything from this, it's a treat for your own image processors.
. out of
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