Let us introduce some Mandarin to your Sunday morning routine, with the first long video review of the upcoming Generations Combiner Wars Titan Class Devastator, via Zhen Yan Reviews on YouKu. The video is entirely in Mandarin, but we get a fairly detail look as the two reviewers show off each individual Constructicon (Scrapper, Hook, Bonecrusher, Scavenger, Long Haul and Mixmaster), in both vehicle and robot mode - as we have seen several times before, including NY Toy Fair. The big Green itself will be featured in a second video, it seems - so take some time to check out the single transformations, below!
Thanks to fellow Seibertronian Kal El, we now have the first video review of the Armada version of Generations Leader Megatron, which was previously reviewed here. The 2015 Toy Fair also allowed us to take a bunch of pictures of him for those interested in seeing more.
Kal El also has a review of the G1 deco version of Leader Megatron and will also be posting a comparison video. You can follow his reviews here.
Fellow Seibertron.com member leakin' lubricant was lucky enough to receive their new Marvel Infinite Series Death's Head figure, and were kind enough to take the time to prepare a pictorial review of this great looking action figure. You'll give it a look, yes?
*Disclaimer: No, this is not a Transformers figure. Yes, it is front page news. The character started out in the Transformers comics, created in this incarnation by Simon Furman and Geoff Senior, and here at Seibertron.com we just really like him. So bear with us.
leakin' lubricant wrote:Well finally got him out of the packaging so I thought I'd do a brief review.
Now this figure has caused a great deal of discussion, the old 'is he isn't he a Transformers character' debate. Personally as a kid growing up in Manchester, England, Death's Head was a huge part of the reason I continued to read the comics, he was such an unpredictable and hard as nails character is was impossible not to be excited by him. This figure perfectly captures the presence he commanded in those old comics. The proportions are perfect and the head sculpt is superb. Now that doesn't mean that this is a perfect figure though, there are two things that bug me a little. The main problem is fixable so I'll start with that. As you can see in the photo above there is a large gap in the mid torso. I've tried to capture this better below.
This causes a huge problem when posing as the whole upper torso/shoulder/cape section just kinda flops around making him quite unstable; as I said this is fixable, I applied a dab of superglue beneath the chest and cape section to secure it to the rest of the figure, which looks much better aesthetically and provides greater stability when posing. See the picture below.
The second issue with this figure is the use of that weird rubbery plastic that all the main toy companies seem to be using these days, I don't mind it in certain areas such as the cape, but it is also used for his weapons and shield which makes it difficult to store them on his back without them constantly falling off, I can't help but feel that if they were to have used a slightly more robust material the weapons would store much more effectively.
Now on to the good stuff: he has good articulation, with a ball jointed head, universal joints on his shoulders, hinge joints on his elbows and wrist rotation (thanks to the ability to swap his hands for weaponry). Moving down the figure there is some movement in the mid torso section, hinge joints on the hips with thigh swivels and finally capped of with some ankle articulation, all of which provide the opportunity for some pretty dynamic posing options. The paints appear of good quality and the metallic finish on both the main body and the armour really make the figure pop.
I took the liberty of adding in some more weaponry in those pictures, just felt they added to the figure a little.
As for scale I would class him as a small deluxe, here's a couple of reference shots.
All in all I feel he is a very good figure, the cape section is a bit of a disappointment however easily fixed with some super glue, and some parts of the figure would have benefited from the use of more robust materials, but the fanboy factor of the this figure more than makes up for the above issues, he looks as though he has leapt right off the comic book pages and I am more than happy to incorporate him into my Transformers collection. He looks good, yes?
We've reported on the various versions of newly redesigned Optimus Prime, from First Editions to Leader Class, but the one everyone seemed to really take notice of was the Voyager Optimus with the shotgun that looked like Megatron's from DOTM and what seemed to be a flat nose alt mode. Turns out he's what everyone thought he was at Toy Fair and thanks to official images, we've seen more detail and the overall design, but we haven't seen the one aspect everyone has wanted to see, and that's the transformation. Well, that is, until now.
Thanks to YouTube reviewer Darryl Laughy we get a look at the actual Transformers: Age of Extinction Voyager Evasion Mode Optimus Prime figure!
You can see the figure, the transformation and hear Mr. Laughy's thoughts by checking out the video review embedded below.
Keep your optics tuned to Seibertron.com for the latest in news and updates, plus the best galleries around!
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.
NEW CYBERTRON! It’s a brand new day—and STARSCREAM is in charge! But running a planet isn’t as easy as it looks… if BUMBLEBEE couldn’t do it, why does the former DECEPTICON think he can?
] He has a plan!
Remember how last issue was about Orion Pax and Gorlam Prime? And the one before about the factions now residing outside Iacon and Arcee, and before that it was Shockwave and D(r)eadwing? If you haven't read them yet, you're in luck, as issue 20 still does not advance the plot much!
Starscream really does take centre stage with this issue, and with him arguably being the best character to come out of Robots in Disguise, that is definitely not a bad thing. Barber has swapped his monologue by captions technique by coming out and calling the issue 'Three Monologues', allowing him to let Starscream speak, pretty much to himself, the whole time.
And to cameras!
It feels a little better than the usual floating voices, and there are ways of showing a 'silent audience' like Metalhawk's body which almost justify it. But Screamer-fest aside, very little happens in the issue, except for the introduction of upcoming toy Scoop and potential upcoming toy Rattrap.
Who also has a distinct.. er.. voice
The characterisation and hints at future developments aren't bad, and I enjoyed it more than other issues along the same lines. But the story really did not do much, at all. Rattrap is a peculiar choice, in terms of personality, especially when placed next to Starscream, and Scoop felt almost unnecessary.
Visually, though, it works really well. From Metalhawk's body and the other ..incapacitated characters throughout the issue to the newcomers Rattrap and Scoop, and the play between blacked-out Iacon and the city once power is restored - it's all really good looking. And Griffith shows off his skills on page 6, with some excellent panel work.
Boy, does Starscream love that pose
The lighting differences mentioned above really pop out thanks to Priscilla Tramontano's colouring work. The story progresses from complete darkness in the heart of night to the first lights of dawn, via artificial lighting coming back in operation - and yes, you can feel it in the tones and shades.
J.J. Abrams directed this scene
Shawn Lee's lettering work gets a few particularly creative moments too, which is very nice to see. The three artists working on this issue have done a stellar job to make a fairly static story particularly aesthetically pleasing, and if anything, pick the issue up for the look of it.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Abandoning the caption monologue was a good strategy, though I'm not sure how I feel about still having the monologues anyway. On the plus side, they fit the character of Starscream perfectly. The art on the issue, also Starscream-centric, is stunning, and if Starscream Starscream, then Starscream Starscream Starscream. So Starscream. Starscream?
Starscream-fest aside, though, it does little to the plot other than introduce two-three characters and hint at some stuff, and it then tries to make up for it with the final page reveal - which is nice, but the gimmick is getting a bit tiresome. Still, as I said, I enjoyed it more than previous similar issues, and Starscream really does shine in this.
Maybe Univerze Like Wazzzpinator? (Spoiler free-ish)
THE DEATH OF A WORLD! Gorlam Prime—the entrance to the so-called DEAD UNIVERSE—holds many secrets… and now ORION PAX—the ’bot who was once OPTIMUS PRIME—pries its secrets loose. But will it be too late for CYBERTRON?
Guest starring: Waspinator!
We're back to looking at Orion Pax' quest after Jhiaxus and Bludgeon, as started in Syndromica. And we actually get a little more agency from the gruesome truesome, not not to mention a good look at what their plans are actually about. Sort of. But the issue features a small but good cast of old faces, bringing everything together so far.
The gang's all here
In the light of recent BotCon Beast Wars toy announcements, the presence of Waspinator is an interesting addition, and Barber manages quite successfully to give him his own idiosyncratic speech pattern without badly damaging the intelligibility or pace of the dialogue - not a small feat!
I felt like we finally get a connection with the 'Prelude' Spotlights and Annuals, too, linking the Metrotitan plot (and the first appearance of Waspinator and Bludgeon in the series) to the main storylines - though not taking it back to Cybertron, yet.
Because it is Waspinator after all
The use of Waspinator is a good one, as he's not just tragicomic relief, Orion Pax seems to have a vague idea of what is going on, there's a fairly nice battle scene, and we get to find out what might happen next. But the ending really bugs me. Not saying what it is, but I found it disappointing.
The artwork for this issue, deviating from the so far established Ramondelli-Orion Pax combo, is done by Dheeraj Verma, who also worked on the Fall of Cybertron comic. And I have to say, despite a lot of people being quite vocal against it, I really enjoyed it. Yes some characters look different, but that's the whole point of having different artists!
Look at Bludgeon, look at him!
The artwork really shines, though, thanks to the colouring work of Joana Lafuente. The whole issue has a great feel about it, keeping the familiar smokey tones and hues we've come to associate to the Orion Pax issues so far in Ramondelli's own colours - just clearer this time, and working perfectly with the linework.
And that scenic shot..!
The lettering by Chris Mowry is good as usual, and some of the soundwords are really excellently executed. One character in particular has a really good speechbubble, but I will not spoil it here. All in all, I really liked the artwork: it's new, it's different, it works. We'll see if Verma comes back later in the series, but I hope so, personally.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Overall, the story holds together pretty well, as we get back to Orion Pax' personal mission chasing Jhiaxus/Bludgeon, and catching up with Wheelie, Garnak and Hardhead (and others). The addition of Waspinator is a nice touch, and the artwork is great, with some gorgeous backgrounds and colours.
Revelation: Megatron is a petty child
My problem with this issue? The ending. Again, I'm not going to spoil it for anyone, but I felt that the conclusion was disappointing after an otherwise enjoyable read, finally moving away from the usual status quo conflict. Do pick it up though, as it ties up nicely some loose ends, and it just looks beautiful - and it sets up the next step really well.
WAR CRY! The conquest of IACON begins in earnest, as SCORPONOK’s game-changing strategy threatens the very nature of what it means to be AUTOBOT... Or DECEPTICON! And HOT ROD begins his own personal odyssey to the very heart of CYBERTRON—where ancient forces are stirring!
So. That's the plot
So Grimlock has accepted Scorponok's offer, and is on his way to Cybertron. After a demonstration of what the Gene Key can do, at least. He's back in his old body, happy as larry, bashing and gnashing, and he has a plan to carry out.
Grimlock, you scoundrel
Meanwhile, Optimus decides that he'd rather stay on Earth and think things through, thank you very much. I suppose this could have been a worse decision, but it does seem to slow down things a lot. Every other character on the planet(s) keeps asking 'what would Optimus do?' - apparently, nothing. Just go for a stroll. Good to know.
But you can abandon everyone on Cybertron. Cool, cool.
And of course, Hot Rod tried keeping everything under control back at home. Even though Grimlock is a bit of a trouble-maker, Scorponok's vanguard has arrived, and there's definitely something going on in the basement.
O hai Primus
The idea of Scorponok changing the moral compass of all Cybertronians is intriguing, but the execution is a bit puzzling. What exactly does the Gene Key do, and why does it even work? If morality is not a black-and-white thing, as they explicitly said in these issues, surely the result would not be this one? Or would it?
Again, it's Wildman and Baskerville on pencils and inks, respectively, and there's quite a wide cast this time round. Some have complained about the three headmasters not looking like their usual selves, or at least previous incarnations, but they do resemble their toys in this form. The usual concerns about expressions do arise, but there's something particularly off with Perceptor.
Bove really shines in this issue though, especially when the skies are concerned. Something I didn't notice on the first read: the Cybertronian sky progresses through this story arc, from a very very dark night to something else for its conclusion, following the pacing of the events. A nice touch, JP.
The artwork seems to work a lot better in this issue! Yes it's Andrew 'Screaming Robots' Wildman, but the human facial expressions have more of a variety this time, and really help convey what is going on in the story. And I like screaming robots, anyway.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
The issue is enjoyable actually, and it does a lot more than the previous one. There are some concerns both in terms of plot devices and artwork, such as the exact functioning of the Gene Key and Perceptor. Poor poor Perceptor. But overall, the story works.
Contemporary cultural reference!
There are some extra bits I haven't mentioned in the review, about some other characters still on Earth, of whom Starscream is one and the others are ..well, I'll leave it to you to find out. Overall, not a bad issue, a good read, still fairly slow but appropriately so this time. Let's see what Scorponok has in mind for next month, shall we?
STEALTH ATTACK! Trailcutter has a problem: the Lost Light has been taken over by the Decepticons—and no one else seems to have noticed! Can the Autobots’ defense strategist singlehandedly see off an army of infiltrators? And even if he does, will it convince his crew mates that he's got more to offer than kind words and forcefields?
Spotlight: Trailcutter takes place between the events of More Than Meets the Eye 5 and 6 (the Delphi happenings and Fort Max's breakdown-Rung's beheading, respectively). So why haven't we seen any of the events from this issue before?
Sticking out like a sore thumb
Ok, so everything else was happening at the time, but surely a massive hull breach and a Decepticon invasion wouldn't go that unnoticed, surely. That is the only negative point though. This Spotlight is a lot more successful than its predecessors in weaving in the Metrotitans plot, whilst still having its own private story.
Don't mind us, we're just titanically hanging here, glowing
Plus, it's Roberts. It's funny, there's good dialogue, Whirl's excellent, there's good humour, Whirl is brilliant. There's an in-story explanation for the change of name for the protagonist, the Insecticons (the coloured ones, not the purple ninjas) show up again, there's a lot of references, plus the return of one of my favourite, spikier kind of Decepticons – you'll be hooked, alright. Did I say Whirl is also pretty good? I think I did.
NO KNOWN WEAKNESSES
In addition, it's a nice refresher after the last MTMTE issue, where tragedy struck. It's good to see Rewind and Chromedome both happy and Ultra Magnus kind of around, and the general atmosphere a lot lighter, even during the Decepticon incursion.
The artist is Matt Frank, another new entry to the Transformers series and a welcome one at that. The style is fairly “cartoonish”, so if you're not a fan of Roche or Griffith, this one is probably not for you. There is a lot of lip biting, face pulling, jaw clenching and Whirl doing impressions. And a lot of cameos!
Again, just hanging in the background
Lee's on lettering, and I don't really have much to say about it. That's not to say it's not good, it's just not as popping as the newcomers on the other titles – although some of the sound-words are excellent. Thomas Deer on colour duty. Now this, this one's good. There is some Burcham reminiscence in here, with the lighter, “grainier” colours. And they really shine (though not literally, except for the shiny shiny medals) during Trailcutter's solo adventure.
Why so blue, guys?
There is something about the comic that can be compared to Nick Roche's work, but as Roche is a one-man-band (including the audience part, at times) I think Frank's artwork really suits Roberts' writing style. So yes, good combination for this Spotlight!
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
The story does not take itself too seriously, and it's a nice break from the emotional suckerpunch that was issue 15 (especially now that we've been told that 16 is even worse). Focusing on a somewhat minor character worked out well, and I hope this will work well for the next one, too!
And team awesome is awesome
Overall a good, entertaining issue. Easily up with Nick Roche's Spotlight: Megatron, and maybe even better. It's nice to see a relatively new artist and colourist working on a title, and successful ones at that. The story works well, except for its time placement (but that may be just me), and it hints nicely at what's to come – Hoist and ...purple reign? A good read, not perfect, but perfectly enjoyable!
. and 1/2 out of
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