Once again, fellow Seibertron.com user chuckdawg1999 brings us a video review of Transformers figures, and this time it's the turn of the Target exclusive Age of Extinction Silver Knight Optimus Prime and Grimlock! Check out the chrometastic redecos of Dark of the Moon Deluxe Optimus Prime and Fall of Cybertron Voyager Grimlock, including a G1 Predacon sword, in the embedded video below - and make sure to flag these up in the Sightings section and forums if you come across them!
This is the first set I've gotten from the Target exclusive Age of Extinction line. Both Grimlock and Optimus Prime are decked out in nice shinny chrome, especially Prime who is practically covered in Silver. Grimlock features the same accessories from the FOC figure while Prime comes with a G1 Predacon sword. I highly recommend this set especially if you missed out on getting either of these figures.
EARTHFALL! The AUTOBOTS return to Earth—with OPTIMUS PRIME in command! But what brought them back—and what terrifying secret do the humans hold? A bold new era begins here!
Here we are again, on this blue planet of ours. This round, blue, beautiful, peaceful planet of ours: Eart(h). Which is not that peaceful, or round for that matter, or happy to see any more robots after what happened last time robots were around - yes, All Hail Megatron and the 2009 ongoing. Bit of a mess for everyone, really.
Here's a recap, for our viewers at home
John Barber goes back to wearing his writing hat, and back to the Robots in Disguise cast as they see their ranks shifting a little. We get Optimus Prime leading a new team of Kup, Prowl, Jetfire, Arcee, Skylynx, Jazz, Cosmos and Sideswipe - so maybe not entirely the same cast, but it's one with good tensions and chemistry so far. And Prowl being his usual. As usual.
Hellooo Generations Leader Jetfire
The dialogue seems to have lightened up from pre-Dark Cybertron RID, and there is definitely more action, a lot more action, even in the flashbacks scattered throughout the issue, taking place after the first few pages. Pages that feature some glorious fanfiction screenplays written by none other than the only (?) Cybertronian left on Earth last time round: Thundercracker.
Handsome as an F-22 jet fighter
Good dialogue, nice selection of cast and interactions, really nice set-up with both the Cybertronian past, Alpha Trion showing up as a potential goal for the cast, Thundercracker's presence and Earth's inevitable hostility towards incoming Cybertronians. The mix so far is actually pretty good, and everything has freshened up a lot since the Cybertron days!
The artwork duties, for both pencil and ink, flashbacks and present-day settings, are with Andrew Griffith. And my, do his robots and Earth shine. The -ation styled Thundercracker is impressive, and there are so many full page panels in this issue that I'm left in awe at the likes of Skylynx, spaceships, planets, cities and.. well, you'll see. Though I am left a little wondering about some strangely shaped human faces, especially in a couple of Marissa's shots.
Here, have a Metroplex
Colour duties, on the other hand, are split between past and present, between Joana Lafuente and Josh Perez. But they both equally shine their own glossy, refracting, shaded light on their own respective sections. Lafuente's Cybertron looks gritty and grainy, with lasers pewpewing through everything, while Perez' Earth has the right amount of ominous shadows and glorious natural hues.
And a good old purple-badged Megatron, too
The lettering duties fall with Tom B. Long, and dutifully and sparingly does he deliver sound effects and fonts. There are some really good WRUNCH and RUUUUNCH sounds later in the issue. We get three covers again, too, with Griffith and Lafuente on B, Casey Coller and Lafuente on A, and the RI interlocking variant cover by Livio Ramondelli - most of which featuring the big blue face of Optimus Prime.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Starting again almost afresh after Dark Cybertron? In my opinion, it works. It gives Barber and the Autobots a new playing field, a credible threat, complex negotiations with Earth and the possibility to make the running joke of robots being unable to pronounce trills and fricatives (you try, without lips or teeth or tongue). And it's still connected to what has just happened with Dark Cybertron, and some nice references to earlier stuff (and Megatron's trial, which we'll finally see in MTMTE #28).
Cosmos, going all meta
The art crew do some impressive teamwork, too, with Griffith's art only slipping a couple of times, but showing off some amazing skill everywhere else. Add Lafuente and Perez' colours to all of that, with their slightly different hues and tones, top it off with good lettering - it's a comic worth reading, looking at and definitely buying. I am not concerned about the Earth setting at all, if this is telling of what will happen.
WARNING: While the review does not contain spoilers for the issue at hand, it may reveal previous plot points from previous RiD and MTMTE issues.
IT GETS EVEN BIGGER! Okay we lied when we were talking about last issue… but this issue is as big as they come. It’s all come down to this moment—every scheme, every lie, every moment of heroism, every relationship, every rivalry… if CYBERTRON falls, so falls the universe!
What he said
As March comes to an end, ReGeneration One concluded, Conspiracy is over, it's also time for the IDW ongoing Transformers crossover to do the same: the culmination of Dark Cybertron is here, after months of plotting, scheming, stalling and more scheming on behalf of Shockwave, James Roberts and John Barber. And by months, I mean all the way back in Spotlight: Shockwave, Shadowplay and Shockwaves - so years, really.
Things, so many things
If I were to do a summary of where we are in order to get to this issue, I'd be writing for ages, so make sure to check out the Previously page to make sure you're caught up on all that has gone down. But we are here, on Cybertron again, with all the cast in one place - including the dead - the Ammonites attacking en masse (70 billion is a big masse) and Shockwave collapsing time, space, reality, the universe and everything into his giant, one-eyed purple 42 self.
Take Barber's penchant for continuity issues and their stitching, Roberts' flare for dialogue and their overall plotting skills, and this is what you get. Jhiaxus, Starscream and Metalhawk deal with each other in not entirely surprising ways. Brainstorm and the Dead Universe survivors (sort of) banter and bicker. Punches are thrown, blows are received. Dialogues and monologues abound.
Of course you do, Brainstorm
But the overall, overarching main big bad and true protagonist of the story has been, and is up to this issue the once fabulous senator Shockwave. Seeds were scattered way way back, and the reaping comes now - with a conclusion that is actually really satisfying for a number of plots. Not all of them, but more on that below.
Phil Jimenez returns to work on layouts as he did all the way back on Dark Cybertron #1, with pencil work this time by Brendan Cahill and inks by Brian Shearer. And I like it, I really do! They handle very big shots really well, and the panelwork is astounding in some places. They also manage to imitate, without copying, Milne and Griffith's styles in some particularly impressive splash pages, too (see above).
It does help that the colour work is once again attended to by the technimagicolourist Josh Perez. There is a sense of continuity with prior styles while still retaining the differences where needed (mostly in softer hues and lines in faces). And there is a lot of light(s) in this issue, natural, artificial, explosive, fiery, timey - he covers them all well, as expected.
Tom B. Long does a marvellous job with lettering, too. A lot of explosions, fizzes and particularly noisy moments are well worked by him, and there's some nice nifty font work going on in dialogues too. The covers are fewer, but by now means lees impressive: Phil Jimenez and Romulo Fajardo Jr tackle both cover A and the massive Metroplex wraparaound retail incentive, with a gorgeous Casey Coller and Joana Lafuente Shockwave cover B (in the thumbnail).
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
I said above that, while the issue does conclude the Dark Cybertron arc and storyline really quite nicely, it does not show an actual conclusion. Is this a bad thing? No. These are ongoings. The issue has set up the next three (two plus one) series very very nicely, while rounding off what had to be done. We get Megatron's change of ..everything, Optimus' return as a Optimus, the Decepticons a bit at a loss, and a reluctant Cybertron in the hands of a Starscream again.
If the initial issues of the event were a bit slow in build up, the later section of the run definitely picked up, quite nicely too. There wasn't the usual feeling of rushed endings from MTMTE or the lull from RID, and the pivotal role played by everyone's favourite purple cyclopic robot was, well, pivotal, but also nicely, at times movingly, executed. I feel both satisfied about the run and intrigued about Dawn of the Autobots. Bring on next month!
DEATH OF A HERO! BUMBLEBEE! RODIMUS! ULTRA MAGNUS! PROWL! One will fall in final battle with SHOCKWAVE! This one is for all the marbles, folks—it just doesn’t get any bigger than this!
We're almost there, and quite an almost it is. John Barber and James Roberts keep building and building and building, something is going to have to tear (other than the space-time continuum). And here it is. But does it really not get any bigger than this? Read on to find out more, and yet not spoiling the book. Ish. Where I can.
Ok, those are pretty big
Shockwave really takes the spotlight once more, and understandably so, now that we know his plans for everything becoming one (sound familiar?). But the rest of the cast are not neglected, and there are plenty of good moments for individuals throughout the issue overall. Including both Prowl and Bumblebee, continuing from last week's MTMTE.
He's a funny fella, too
And there's a lot of strategy in the fight, too. We get to see Autobots, NAILs and Decepticons actually working together, in some cases quite literally uniting forces, and there are some really good points being made about the blurred boundaries between 'good' and 'evil' - as the two series, but especially RiD has made clear for a while now.
It felt as though it didn't pack as much of a punch as its predecessor MTMTE #27, at least in terms of action. But is the death unexpected? Yes. Completely by surprise? No. But yes, unexpected in terms of the overall scheme of things. And it kind of works, actually. It may not be Pipes and Rewind, but it works.
We've left the Dead Universe pretty much behind us (or have we?), so one artist has been left to rest too - and Andrew Griffith takes centre stage. And it's a good stage to be on. His Shockwave is magnificent, for one thing. There are not one, but two amazing double page spreads, and an impressive splash page, none of which I can really show. But they're good.
Here's an ensemble instead
Let's take a moment to deal with the stratospheric work that colourist Josh Perez has been doing in this event run, shall we? He manages time, styles, places and lights amazingly throughout the whole issue just as he has done so far. Some of the wider shots would really not makes sense without the colours, and those that do just look even better.
Exploshun ond letturs
Tom B. Long is still on letters, and there's a bit more than last time to go on, and brilliant as usual - some defining moments are really enhanced by the soundcolours. Three covers overall, and other than excellent regulars Phil Jimenez and Romulo Fajardo Jr, Casey Coller and Joana Lafuente, we have the quite stunning Bludgeon by Marcelo Matere and Priscilla Tramontano (see thumbnail!).
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Let's see then, penultimate chapter: death death death fighting alliances fight fight fight jokes talk talk fight death. One of which is really meaningful to the story. As I said above, on first reading it did not pack as much of a punch as chapter 10 did, but it may have also been due to *everything* happening at the same time. Including the Jhiaxus toy explanation.
I am really really interested to see what on earth (or Cybertron) the aftermath of this issue will be in the 'conclusion' next issue, because there are a lot of things to be answered for. The issue looks stunning, too, thanks to Griffith, Perez and Long, and it really helps move the story along when the story is mostly action - and keep it in the present when it's needed. It's doing all good things on a different plane than the last issue, so it gets the same mark; but they are not the same book.
THE WAR TO END ALL WARS! Can the Autobots prevail against JHIAXUS’ New Cybertronian Empire? The disastrous invasion ends in dramatic and shocking fashion with twists, shocks and surprises galore, and STARSCREAM right in the thick of things. Dark forces are stirring for the final chapter of the original TRANSFORMERS epic!
Meanwhile, at Hasbro HQ
We are really really almost there this time, with only one issue left after this. And with everything converging and clashing into a massive multidimensional mayhem muddle, readers are left to unravel the threads by themselves. Stream crossing allowed, but not recommended. Let's try making some sense of it.
Example 1: Mayhem
For those keeping count, we have the Dark Matrix Creature, Starscream/Underbase, Jhiaxus, Galvatron and Primus (or is it?), in terms of main plotlines, with most characters involved with Jhiaxus in the Hub Network, Rodimus, Ultra Magnus and Wreckers included. In fact, Starscream and Shockwave might be involved, too.
And if that aspect takes the main stage, it is also resolved way too quickly, with the secondary stories explored not as much in detail - though we do get to see a lot more of Spike, trapped in Zero and dealing with his own issues, and the Dinobots, still on Cybertron, still dealing with the Primordials, still not doing much, really.
Pffft. Was it inside him..?
While Simon Furman is clearly trying to make sure all ends meet, there is not enough space in these final issues to squeeze all the plots and characters and stories that have been, admittedly, slowly building up since #80.5. It's fun, it has action, but it falls short in terms of the longer run, unfortunately.
If there is one thing I really don't have anything bad to say, though, it's the artwork. Guido Guidi does some amazing pencilwork, and Stephen Baskerville's inks feel once more like the perfect complement to the whole show. The Galvatron panel, shown in the B cover too, is exceptional, and some of the wider shots are truly spectacular.
Thinking out of the box?
It's all obviously enhanced, especially by adding an organic and sidereal sense where needed, respectively, appropriately, amazingly by John-Paul Bove's colours. We've come to see the astounding developments in the style, and the multifaceted skills this man has, and he does not leave us disappointed. Nossir.
..the colours, they're too good.. the artwork.. it's..
Add to that Chris Mowry's lettering, in an action packed issue such as this one, and you have one explosive combination. As far as covers go, Andrew Wildman and Jason Cardy bring a powerful Starscream to life on A, Guidi's Galvatron graces B, and Geoff Senior and Josh Burcham go all out for the RI version, attached to this review!
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Was it bad? No. Was it enjoyable? Yes. Did it do a lot of things right? Absolutely. Did it feel rushed? Definitely. This has been a fear for a while, escalating the action and plotlines towards the end of the run, with a conclusive deadline set really not that far away at all. A shame, because these final arcs really came up again.
Oh and this guy's still pretty much dead
As I said though, it's a thoroughly enjoyable issue, with a lot of things done well, excellent artwork, colours and covers galore, including some amazing Shockwave, Galvatron and Starscream (ish) moments. Are we ready for next month's final-definite-forrealsies conclusion?
CYBERTRON FALLS! The monstrous NECROTITAN ravages the world—but is there anyone left to save it? Meanwhile, in deep space, ULTRA MAGNUS and the crew of the LOST LIGHT struggle to make sense of what they find in the depths of the scarlet sea!
Or just punch it in the face
And here we are, probably the last set-up issue before the big show takes place, as was teased for the next chapter. But before we get to the clash of titans, let's take a look at what this issue does, the new characters introduced, reveals and building up of some old fr--enemies, shall we?
Figures sold separately
Once again, John Barber and James Roberts focus on multiple plotlines at once, from the Lost Light's crew dealing with Metroplex, Ammonites and newcomers Chromia and Nautica, via Pax and Rodimus in the Dead Universe, dealing with Nova and Kup, to the chaos on Cybertron, with Starscream uniting with Prowl, Soundwave and the other 'outcasts'.
And then you have the three new additions: Chromia, Nautica and Windblade, who play a fairly big role in the issue, and one that nicely sets up what may happen later (mini-series included). They're nicely characterised, and topically enough, there are echoes of other female trios in the three's dialogue lines.
Nicely done, Roberber
I was a little disappointed in Starscream being shunned once more in favour of other key players, though I suppose ReGeneration One is dealing with his more powerful incarnations. Though what is his actual Chosen role? Megatron is mocked, undermined yet ultimately I can't help but like him on the scene, too - and Bumblebee. Plus we get a better look at Rodimus' hand, and his real thoughts, for once.
We still have the three artists working on different sections. James Raiz masterfully pens the new additions and a magnificent Metroplex; Livio Ramondelli decidedly darkens the mood for Rodimus and Orion, and dastardly Nova Prime; Atilio Rojo expertly blends a beaten Starscream, bombastic Megatron and brilliant Prowl. And Bumblebee.
Rodimus and his fetish, again
And then you have the colours, with Ramondelli taking care of his own sections, with a lighter palette this time round, it seems. And Josh Perez on Rojo and Raiz' interiors. He kills it, again, with two very different approaches on each style, but both equally brilliant.
What does the Ammonite say..?
Tom B. Long's lettering is still pretty excellent too, from the flaming title page to the sound effects. Phil Jimenez and Romulo Fajardo Jr offer a nice cover with this issue's Tailgate toy, Casey Coller and Joana Lafuente tower over cover A - and then there's Alex Milne and Josh Perez' mouthwatering RI cover. Look at it. Just. Look.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
This issue may placate the ire of some readers who thought the whole Windblade affair was going to be blown out of proportion in the April series, beginning to reveal why and how she and the other two, Nautica and Chromia show up, and their importance to the story. We don't get to see much, but it's enough to make want to read more!
Eye'm definitely in!
There was humour, there were revelations, there was a lot of actual rooting for Megatron, after all. There were Nautica, Chromia and Windblade, Rodimus, Whirl, Ratchet - all good characterisation. There was the beginning of the Necrotitan and Metroplex fight we saw teased a while back. There is good art, and an amazing cover. It was good.
A HERO FALLS—AND ONE RETURNS! The struggle in the DEAD UNIVERSE heats up as ORION PAX—the ’bot who was once OPTIMUS PRIME—and RODIMUS struggle with the legacy of PRIMES! Meanwhile, the Lost Light is under attack in deep space—and SHOCKWAVE and the terrifying NECROTITAN threaten CYBERTRON!
And here we are, halfway through the BIGGEST EVENT OF THE EVER HISTORY OF EVERYTHING, according to the solicits since at least two years ago. And I feel like we've hit a bit of a lull, though not an unwelcome one in the issue itself, rather in the plot - unevitable? Maybe. Let's read on.
Eye eye, cap'n!
We're back to the three storylines, following the Lost Light crew inside Metroplex, the boxed lot in the Dead Universe and Starscream's (barely) Cybertron. While the first two actually advance a little, the latter in particular seems to not do much other than re-establish the threat of the Necrotitan and Starscream's connection to it. And a little bit on the 'outcast' faction, I suppose.
And drop in Tankor! Hi Tankor
The other two plotlines, on the other hand, do a little more, with the biggest parts played out in the Dead Universe, especially towards the end of the section. We get some interesting goings-on with the otherwise static situation of the trapped characters, and exchanges are made between Nova Prime and his (ex?) heir Orion - and other things happen.
No, Rodimus, we're not
The final page brings us a fairly big revelation about one of the other players in the story, though see below for more on this. The lull is expected, at this point in the series, and it realy could be worse, and there are still some good moments of characterisation if not plot advancement. I did like the snuck-in addition on Slug's name-change, too.
We're back to three separate art styles, with James Raiz on the Lost Light/in Metroplex' body, Livio Ramondelli in the Dead Universe and Atilio Rojo on Cybertron. And I have to say, I have no major complaints this time round (bar one)! Raiz in particular really shines in this issue, with thinner inks and some crazy panel work; Rojo's lines are a lot nicer too, and really work with the setting; Ramondelli is suited to the DU, until the last page reveal - it took me a while to figure out what was going on, and it detracted from the reveal itself.
Escher-ing in the new year
Josh Perez does is still doing some pretty amazing work, blending into both Raiz' and Rojo's style, and still keeping in tone with the er.. tone of the story being told. Some of the nuances are really cool, especially tha dark/light fade-ins. Ramondelli's colours are also good, as I've said many times before, really suit the Dead Universe - even with the proviso above.
Hardhead is quite the thinker, clearly
Gilbert Lazcano appears to be the regular letterer for now, and I really like some of his more creative moments, like the issue's title page and the Dinobots' speech. All in all, the issue looks good, but that final page really did not do it for me I'm afraid. The two covers by Phil Jimenez and Brendan Cahill are great though, especially the latter!
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
As I've been saying throughout, we've hit the plateau, and it was to be expected, really. Some of the characters (Getaway, Astrotrain, Dinobots, Flatline) get more of an occasion to take the spotlight, even if just for a little while, but the introduction of Tankor so suddenly does feel a bit odd, and blatantly a toy advertising device.
Yeah, sounds about right
I wasn't as bothered with the three different styles this time either, except for that final page (OH I was very annoyed for a bit), and the Escher style scenes are excellent, as are some of the bigger splashes and spreads, with the added bonus of really good, mood-setting colouring too. Next?
. ½ out of
PS: What is going on with the Dinobots' names..? Isn't the big one Sludge? Why is he called Snarl? Just bad speech-bubbles? Halp.
Seibertron.com member Transformermegazord has shared a video review of Hasbro's upcoming Transformers Generations Deluxe Skywarp. The figure is redeco of the now familiar Transformers: FoC Seeker mold, which rounds out the Seeker trio with the previously released Starscream and Thundercracker. Takara Tomy has already released a version of Skywarp using this mold, however it features a much less traditional color scheme than it's Hasbro counterpart. Check out his review embedded below.
DARK FORCES RISE! JHIAXUS—the mysterious senator who deleted himself from Cybertronian history—is back… but as friend or foe? RODIMUS PRIME is forced to question the motives of Primus himself—does he drag the AUTOBOTS into a war they can’t win… or side with an “enemy” who seeks only one thing: universal order?
Because what could go wrong..?
And here he is. Been teased for some time now, we've been developing a back story, dealing with the aftermath of the battle with Galvatron (while Optimus keeps building things in Oklahoma, as you do) and the primordial Cybertronians settling in - and there's quite a message going on with that plot, too - and now, Simon Furman brings Jhiaxus slap bang in the middle of it.
Surprise, he's a show-off
And he seems nice enough, if you ignore the thick, constant judging of everything on Cybertron, and the fact that his minions are terrifying and evil, and he's insanely rational and evil and supervillain-esque. Have I mentioned the minions are terrifying and evil? And racist/specieist? Surely the apple doesn't fall that far from the tree..
Rodimus Prime deals with Jhiaxus, who goes in full-on explanation mode - yet, still works, quite nicely, too. He's been set up to be an arrogant, learned, self-centred ex-senator, and that's exactly what his character is like. And there seems to be a reason behind all his power, too.
He's backed up by Hasbro!
I'm impressed. Furman plays well with his fairly expanded cast, while never losing sight of the threat posed by Jhiaxus. The Dinobots are brought in for a "subplot" of sorts, that ties in with the rest, we get to look at the continuation of the Fort Max plot, even if just for a glimpse, and the conclusion is very very fan-worthy
Guido Guidi is still on art duties, with Stephen Baskerville inking the gorgeous linework. I still sometimes forget that this is not Wildman at his best, as Guidi has done an amazing job at emulating the style while still keeping his own touch in the art. The more organic characters look brilliant, and Jhiaxus' face is something to be in awe.
As for colours, JP Bove once again delivers some stunningly chromed and slick paintjobs to absolutely everything, from organic technobirds to possessed giant robots to gold-shining faces and rubble, guns, skies and more. I'm still not sure how he does what he does, but does it he does, and does it well.
Chris Mowry's letters do a great job of helping out with the more action-based sequences, too, without ever getting in the way of the artwork - which is always a good thing. And make sure you take a look at all the covers: other than Andrew Wildman's classic A cover, Guidi's Fortress Maximus is a thing to behold, and Geoff Senior's cover is a fun as always!
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Ok, this was really fun. Furman's dialogue can get a little our of hand, especially reading this and Dark Cybertron together, but it still fits the characters. The action in this one is well-plotted and justified, and the storyline looks very promising. And I really hope other readers get the kick I got at the two revelatory point in the issue
Next: Another good plan
I'm running out of things to say about the artwork, though it never ceases to amaze me. This is what most older readers will remember from the earlier days, with the new injected into it. It's shiny, it's gritty, it's beautiful, it's face-y and it's all due to the more or less Italians (and Baskerville). Yes, I just went there.
. + out of
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