JETFIRE and KUP lead a team to investigate the mysterious ONYX system. Meanwhile, GALVATRON… well, GALVATRON just doesn’t like anybody.
There is a web being woven, in which each piece of the puzzle so far seems to slot, slide, slip and get trapped. SkyLynx, Kup, D.O.C., Jetfire, Soundwave, Galvatron, the Onyx system, Blackrock, Faireborne, even Thundercracker and Buster. How does it hold together? Perhaps it doesn't.
John Barber, a long while ago now, talked about what was then Robots in Disguise as being the intrigue, thriller, Rome/Borgias/Game of Thrones-esque counterpart to the sitcom/space opera of MTMTE - and if anything were to prove that point further, it's this issue, with no doubt. The main plot carries on the workings of devious Blackrock mostly...
Evil Steve Jobs is still evil
...but also those of Galvatron - perhaps even more so - as the Autobots are used for purposes that are still not entirely clear at this point. In fact, they seem to be the flies of that web. Galvatron's goals are shrouded in what comes across as pure cruelty, almost for the sake of it, if we are to take the example of Skywarp's function in his eyes - a repeated, ongoing agonising torture.
What Barber is setting up is big, very much so, and informed by Combiner Wars in more ways than one, but giving some really emotive aspects to the lesser used characters, while keeping the spotlight pointed just to the side of the key players of something even bigger about to go down.
Andrew Griffith continues a very strong stretch of regular work with this series - though I sometimes still find myself wondering at some of the human jawlines. His Galvatron is magnificently terrifying, and the way in which the art is laid out just ensures that, yes, he is in control of the space he inhabits. Not to mention some splash pages that...
...with the addition of Josh Perez's colour-work, really drive the 'point' home. A lot of the action, if not all of it, takes place in a strange, ethereal locating of spaces that are both inside and outside - and then you have the snow scenes. So much snow. So much.
I snow, right?
Tom B. Long is busy on this one, for pages and pages, in a sequence that I do not want to spoil for anyone reading, but the fontwork gives a fantastic sense of the scale of it all, and of what is at stake in the longer narrative of the upcoming issues. As for covers, the Griffith and Perez take on the main variant, while Casey Coller and Joana Lafuente add their own spin to the Autobot crew (thumbnailed). And of course, we have seen the Kei Zama and Yamaishi incentive variant Galvatron, being diplomatic.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
If you were paying attention to other aspects of the Transformers universe, not just its fiction, you might start spotting some patterns emerging that were not there initially. Barber's weaving is intricate, logical, underlying a slower pace than MTMTE at times - but this month, this is definitely the book that delivers the most punches, in my view.
I'll.. just wait shall I?
There are several moments - stunningly and darkly rendered by the visuals team - that feel not too dissimilar from major game-changing episodes or scenes in those same shows that stand as inspiration, and no one is really in control of their fate or condition, except for whoever is actually pulling the strings. Read this.
The One Where Grimlock is Possessed by Unicron (Spoiler free-ish)
Make a list of every single DECEPTICON. Remove the warriors, the high-rankers, the loyal foot soldiers, the over-achievers, and anyone who’s ever made even a modest contribution to The Cause. You should now have five names left. Welcome back, guys.
IN STORES NOW!!!
Let's leave aside the storylines being run so far in More Than Meets the Eye, and dip into the lives and troubles of the bunch of misfits introduced all the way back when the DJD was still just a name. In issue #45, MTMTE brings back the Scavengers, Grimlock, and their ship - the Weak Anthropic Principle. Has anything changed? Read on and find out.
James Roberts knows these characters, and the Scavengers are in fact one of the best example of how he operates as a writer, giving the spotlight to minor, lesser-known faces, in order to (sometimes) address a wider narrative. That has been the case for MTMTE, but Krok, Spinister and the crew show it even more.
Sounds.. sensible (goodie?)
There is a narrative, obviously, though it will feel really quite distanced from everything else currently happening in the IDWverse for the Transformers - at least until much later in the book. What I find both a positive and negative here, are the parallels with the group's first introduction to the readership, in terms of plotlines.
Some parallels are wonky, fine
Nevertheless, the read is extremely enjoyable, the humour is plentiful, the characters all have their voices, and we do circle back in time for tea to the wider plots left dangling in season 1, while also exploring the single characters along the way. More thoughts overall included below.
Alex Milne and Brian Shearer team up for some slick linework (layouts, pencils and inks), and the initial pages are an excellent nod to the regular ongoing issues with a Scavenger spin (check out this article, too). The flexibility and dynamism of the different styles condensed in the opening alone are enough to reinforce the rep of the visual team of the book - and it only continues strong from there.
Just a matter of..
The visual team, of course, also features the excellent work that Joana Lafuente brings to the colours, complementing and complimenting the lines and inks that the artists provide. Shading, mood, tone, and the same dynamism of layouts are accentuated and made even more lush to look at throughout.
There is a specific running gag relating to the Scavengers, too, and Tom B. Long's work is the only means of achieving it - which is a nice recognition of the importance of lettering in the medium, even to convey humour. As for covers, the main recurring group shot by Milne and Josh Perez stand triumphant, as Nick Roche and Josh Burcham take on cover B (thumbnailed) a little less seriously. We've seen Kei Zama and Yamaishi's take on MTMTE's big baddies of the past too, but still pretty, yes?
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
This issue is definitely filler material, until it's not. Not entirely, at least. But until that point, a lot of what you're reading is predominantly Roberts enjoying his own writing skills with a bunch of misfits, and their interactions, dragging in popular culture references and callbacks (though much less so than the Swerve issue from a couple of months ago). It's a fun romp, with exceptional visuals, and both good characterisation and well-placed twists.
However, and I realise this may just be me, so far it just sort of hangs there, at the periphery of the wider story, much like the first time we came across the WAP and its crew. The next issue will undoubtedly fill us in more, given that last sequence and last page, but I kept finding myself thinking about the overall relevance of the issue in terms of narrative. Think of it as a bottle-episode, with a twist, if you will. It may be more your thing.
There's a long history of Transformers video games, and with the upcoming release of Transformers: Devastation from Activision and development team Platinum Games, we wanted to take a look back at some of the games you should play if you're wanting a Transformers fix on your console right now. The rankings here are mostly just my own opinion, of course, but there is some extra input from other members of the staff here as well. If your favorite didn't make the list, let us know by replying to this topic and chatting with your fellow Seibertronians!
Without further ado, let's get to the list.
#5: Transformers: Dark of the Moon Platforms: XBox 360, Playstation 3
Some folks may be surprised to see a movie tie-in title on this list at all. With the first two movie tie-in games for 2007's Transformers and 2009's Revenge of the Fallen being not terrible, but also not great, it made sense that not a lot of fans gave this game much of a look. While it was certainly a bit of a let down after War for Cybertron, this effort from High Moon Studios still retained a lot of the fun gameplay elements found in WFC.
Transformation remained important in this game, as characters' vehicle modes were given special "Stealth Force" modes to tie in with the weaponized designs in the movie, as well as with the almost M.A.S.K. like toy sub-line of the same name.
The story presented in the game is a bit of a departure from standard movie game re-telling fare. Rather than give you a plot you already know, this serves as a very serviceable official prologue to the events of the movie. In fact, some elements of the movie itself manage to come off making more sense after playing the game.
While this one isn't going to garner a lot of replay, it's worth taking a look at if you're a fan of the movies. It's certainly the game on this list that likely least deserves inclusion, but hey, that's why it's number five!
#4: Transformers Prime: The Game Platforms: Wii U, Wii
Another easy to overlook media tie in comes in at number 4. Transformers: Prime has a pretty vast extended universe, and this game only adds more layers to it. Featuring a story that runs (supposedly) concurrent to the events of Season 2 of the show, the game has Team Prime battling Decepticons across the globe, trying to stop the ever-present menace of Dark Energon.
The gameplay itself isn't on any elite level, but it's a pretty fun romp with some clever combat mechanisms hiding just under the surface. The game isn't a graphical powerhouse, but the Wii U version offers up some delightful visuals regardless and quite honestly, the backgrounds in this game are often more interesting and alive than many of those found in the TV show itself.
To be honest, this one really adds one killer thing to the Prime universe: Thunderwing.
Just as with television leaving out the great characters and events in the Prime comics, it also leaves out any mention of this guy, and that's a real shame. Prime fans everywhere should give this one a run through, though with a pretty short story mode and only limited multi-player, just don't expect it to last long.
#3: War for Cybertron Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC
2010's War for Cybertron was High Moon Studios' first effort with the Transformers brand license, and what a debut it was! Kicking off the new "Aligned Continuity" with a story set at the beginning of the Autobot vs. Decepticon war was this robust cover shooter. Incredible visuals, great voice acting, and a rich story awaited players everywhere.
Possibly the most notable contribution the game gave to the brand was a re-kindling of credibility for Transformers, as a franchise/brand, to produce an environment for great gaming experiences. The sprawling landscapes of Cybertron really come to life in the game, and for the first time I felt some real scope in regards to just how darn big this planet would have to be. The tone hits perfectly, lending great immersion into the games world.
It's hard to come up with much negative to say about this one, but since that feels necessary to only place it third on our list, I will say that there are times the difficulty felt a bit high. That's not a bad thing necessarily, it just felt like there were a few too many ambushes by a few too many enemies once in a while. The sequel took a few steps to correct this, but not entirely.
That said, this is one that not only Transformers fans, but most gamers, should give a go at if it has not been experienced.
#2: Transformers Platforms: Playstation 2
It'd have to take a pretty special game to unseat one of High Moon's more recent two headlining efforts on this list, and there is one game that not only myself, but much of the staff, remember quite fondly. 2004's simply named Transformers is based in the Armada franchise, though it doesn't canonically tie in with either the TV show or comic series. From publisher Atari and developers Melbourne House, this third person shooter let gamers control their favorite Armada Autobots in a quest to collect Mini-cons and stop the Decepticons.
This game was hard, didn't have a lot of playable characters, and while the graphics were phenomenal for the time, they certainly look dated today. It was, however, extremely fun, and gave fans some moments where our toys suddenly seemed even more out of scale than they already were.
There's another very important reason to praise this game. At the time, Transformers videogames were considered to be among the very worst examples of franchise tie-in games ever. The positive reception and sales of this game made it possible for more to follow later on, and that's probably the biggest accomplishment of the game. Too bad the Cybertron inspired sequel got canceled.
#1: Fall of Cybertron Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC
This one's pretty much automatic.
The sequel to the already great War for Cybertron was followed up two years later by another stellar effort from High Moon Studios with 2012's Fall of Cybertron. Picking up some time after the events of the first game, this one follows the end of the war all the way to the departure of the Autobots on the Ark.
With improved graphics, stellar gameplay, and a multiplayer mode that remains active to this day, Fall of Cybertron is hands down the best Transformers videogame ever created, and should be on any fans "must-play" list. I can watch the E3 trailer from before this games' release and still get hyped to this day.
Combine into Bruticus, stomp around as Grimlock, or scorch the earth with Metroplex - this game has it all. If you're reading this article and you haven't played this game, do yourself a favor and go do so. Right freaking now.
We hope you enjoyed this look back. Don't forget that Activision's Transformers: Devastation comes out soon on October 6th for virtually every platform on the planet, and you can pre-order your copy today. Where will that game fit in with the other Transformers gaming efforts of the past? We'll know very soon, and it certainly looks quite promising!
WINDBLADE and STARSCREAM race to claim the lost colony lead by the mysterious ELITA ONE! But who will recruit the brutal army so long removed from CYBERTRON—and can ELITA’s forces bring anything home... but war?
She seems so nice
This is, for a number of reasons and alignments, the last issue in the second run of Windblade. And it attempts to tie up the colonies, literally and story-wise, preparing the ground for what will come next in the wider Transformers IDWverse - as the same cast will return in Spring 2016 with Till All Are One. But how does the conclusion shape up?
Starscream's wet dream
Mairghread Scott has a good sense of character, and the concepts she puts in place are really quite excellent at times. Windblade and Chromia, Starscream and Windblade, Ironhide and Chromia in previous issues, now Elita One and both Windblade and Starscream - the characters' voices and interactions are played out really well, in terms of dialogue and comebacks.
We do also have a small addressing of Chromia's dirty secret, though it still remains unclear to me how much longer it'll remain so - surely someone will exploit it down the line in the next series. Another mystery is Rattrap, who steps back in the shadows for the majority of the issue, but also without any leads as to who he is working for.
There is enough intrigue, and darkness, and general sense of unease - a lot of which just plays along on the edge of something bigger promising to happen. But even until the very end, the gun barrel is just being loaded, with the final pages bringing in a potentially additional threat that has been prepared for a while now, too. More thoughts below.
The art by Corin Howell brings the last motherload of Animated references, with the addition of some more cameos from previous Transformers fiction too, from Beast Machines, in the shape of Strika and Obsidian. But there are so many more showing up (Animated Sentinel Prime's, Prime Dreadwing's silhouettes), and it's really quite enjoyable to spot them all. Plus, the ship looks fierce, unwelcoming, and definitely strained - even in its discipline.
Thomas Teyowisonte Deer is joined for the issue by John-Paul Bove on colouring duties, and they work really quite well together, ad there is very little transitiom between the two - and very good shading, light sources and choices of colour for the grittiness of Elita One's Carcer and its crew.
Tom B. Long is still here, doing his multi-fonted thing. The scenes with Metroplex are, unsurprisingly, some of the best fonting overall, with multiple colours, symbols and voices being assigned to the Titan - and the same is true elsewhere. Cover-wise, Priscilla Tramontano's main Elita is triumphantly glorious, as Casey Coller and Joana Lafuente's variant (thumbnailed) has some excellent shadow/light play, and Kei Zama and Josh Burcham bring MegaCity One to Cybertron, as seen previously.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
As a final issue, there is an overall sense of cohesion and tying up some preliminary loose ends, with more than enough seeded for the next series to pick up on, and hopefully expand, now that the Council is established as A Thing. The visual team, with Howell, Deer and Bove will be a felt absence, and I will miss the structured/Animated look and references of the art, but am equally looking forward to the new team. The back matter is really worth a read, too, as Scott wraps up her thoughts on Windblade as series and character.
What is unfortunate, on the other hand, is just the general sense that here, this is an ending, have it, read it, see you in a couple of months. As much as I thought the issue felt much less rushed than the previous one, even in the new page format, it still felt as though a little something was missing. And a shame too, as the underlying stories and references were pointing to so much more possible explorations. I suppose, however, we will see all of that develop next year!
Every 2 weeks, Seibertron.com brings you a top 5 list related to all things Transformers usually written by william-james88. However, today we have the list is brought to us by guest-analyst D-Maximus_Prime. These are opinions of one person, so what matters most is what you guys think of the topic or list, and I hope to see your own lists or comments on omissions and ranking. Let's have fun! All previous lists can be found here.
Top 5 Best Transformers Holomatter Avatars
Throughout history, the Autobots have a habit of taking on a holomatter avatar as a vehicle mode stand-in driver. Some Decepticons are also known to use this trick. The reason for the avatar is to give the impersonation of an actual vehicle with an actual driver. Sometimes though, they are used for other purposes, such as going places where transformers cannot go or on occasion just for fun. What this list does is rank how well an avatar relates to the transformer that generates it as well as how important it is to the character using the avatar. So without further ado, let us get rolling….
5. IDW G1 Megatron
To almost every reader of Transformers fiction, Megatron is the big bad, the ultimate villain. He has no need for an avatar since he does not worry about disguise. But in the G1 IDW-verse, he has become an Autobot, and has stayed that way for almost a year and a half. He has been an Autobot long enough to have generated his own avatar, which in this case is a scarred old man with bad-guy styled clothes and a cane (for a brief moment with a Decepticon symbol). This is the first time we have got to see Megatron with an avatar, and it shows how unused to it he is: He cuts himself on glass within pages of generating the avatar. While the avatars appearance is important—considering it shows just how old and tired he feels—it is more how he interacts with it that is important. He remarks about how fragile the frame is, and he realizes that sometimes strength can come from not very durable sources. That, and it is yet another historical moment in his historical Autobot run.
4. IDW G1 Ultra Magnus
For anyone that has read the IDW comics, we have come to know Ultra Magnus as a no-nonsense, very straight by-the-book law enforcer. He has only smiled twice in his current incarnation. He does not appear as the type to develop a likeness for anyone or anything, yet we have seen one person who made a big impact: Verity Carlo. She stayed on his ship for a while, becoming like a family member to him. Heck, she gave him the nickname “Uncle Magnus.” We often wondered what effect she had on him, so when we first saw Magnus use an avatar in More Than Meets The Eye, we finally got proof of how much she meant to him too. His avatar was created in her likeness, even though he had the option to auto generate, he made one himself in her image. This shows to all of us just how close the two came in their time, and how they both wish they could reunite again.
3. IDW G1 Sunstreaker
When headmaster technology was introduced in IDW, it was Sunstreaker who fell victim first. Unlike previous incarnations, this version of headmaster technology was grotesque and horrifying, the results of terrible experiments initiated by Scorponok. To make matters worse, when he was kidnapped and experimented upon, a human he was escorting, Hunter O’Nion, was also taken and turned into a headmaster. To defeat this organization, known as the Machination, and Scorponok, the 2 teamed up, forming an interesting pair. They constantly argued, and Sunstreaker’s attitude and vanity did nothing to help them. When in vehicle mode, Hunter was a part of the car and so was a generated avatar. While this makes complete sense, it is worth noting and also worth being on the list since Sunstreaker’s avatar changed with his conversion to a headmaster, and it became a human he did not really like yet was stuck with. This avatar also makes the list since this is so far the one and only Autobot headmaster and it shows just how far the victims were willing to go to save themselves and many others. Plus there were several interesting “talking to themselves” moments.
2. IDW G1 Swerve
This is an interesting deal. Swerve’s main avatar is a short, rotund male surfer dude, but in More Than Meets the Eye 43, a glitch caused Swerve to develop 3 avatars at once. This makes the list since these 3 avatars did such a good job of showing off Swerves different personality traits and just how much he fought within his own mind. On one hand, he was a scientist/doctor, on another religious and another a prankster. These 3 avatars capture those 3 perfectly, and their constant arguing shows just how much Swerve doubted himself and wished he was better. In the end, they merged into his regular avatar and he was brought back from the brink, but this rare case of triple avatar generation so wonderfully shows what each character is made of and much they wish they could be a better person.
1. IDW Movie Optimus Prime
Thought all the members of this list would be IDW G1 huh? Well, the number 1 seed is as far away from G1 as possible, yet it is the best and most representative avatar ever. In the Alliance comic, as the Autobots are evacuating the Mission city area, Optimus requires an avatar to remove suspicion on the road. Who does he choose? The person who has brought life to Optimus Prime for 31 years: Peter Cullen. While this was only used for this single comic, it has to be the best use of an avatar ever. It is essentially Optimus Prime driving Optimus Prime! Nothing can ever beat this (unless IDW G1 Optimus uses an avatar like this). So it is with pride that I say Movie Prime’s Peter Cullen avatar is the best transformers avatar.
Honorable mentions go to IDW G1 Skids, who’s avatar as several versions of the doctor from Doctor Who greatly fit his character and IDW MTMTE Rodimus, who’s avatar is ungodly 1980’s and combines Judd Nelson (the original voice of Hot Rod) from Breakfast Club and Marty McFly makes for a great looking avatar and an awesome take on the character. Here it is:
Here is Skids as the 9th (and least obvious) Doctor
And here he is as the 11th (and far more obvious) Doctor
And here is one that really should be mentioned before this article is over: Cyclonus as an old school headmistress.
Every two weeks, Seibertron.com brings you a Top 5 list related to all things Transformers written by me, your fellow editor. These are my opinions (just like movie or game reviews hosted by sites are still just the opinion of one person) so what matters most is what you guys think of the topic or list, and I hope to see your own lists or comments on omissions and ranking. Let's have fun! All previous lists can be found here.
Top 5 Best Transformers Prime Toys
Last time, we looked at the Transformers Prime show and who were its best characters. Now, it's time to discuss this series' toys. For the life of me, I do not know why the Prime toyline isn't as venerated as other classics like Animated or Galaxy Force, since I believe it can stand toe to toe with those. The engineering on many of this line's toys is at an all time high, taking cues from all that was learnt in the past, and the designs are stellar. They combine the movie aesthetic with a more classic approach, making me wish these were the designs used in the movies. There are a bunch of great toys in this line, making these top five not just some of the best Prime toys ever but a also some of the best Transformers toys out there. For simplicity's sake, we will stick to just the Hasbro releases (First Edition, Prime Robots in Disguise and Beast Hunters).
A smooth and sleek car mode with an interesting cybertronian design, giving way to an agile but fierce looking robot mode. It's an interesting take on Wheeljack and still gives some classic elements while reinventing him. I love how his forearms and lower legs form with a series of pivoting parts that give a solid result. He also has poseable and rotating fists on a ball joint, clear plastic, spot on paint apps, ankle pivot, 2 different ways to keep the weapons in vehicle mode, this is the true heyday of the deluxe class.
This one is special. First Edition Prime could have been in this position as I hear he is excellent but I always give favour to molds that incorporate more of the alt mode. The Prime RID mold that this Ultra Magnus toy is based on was the only Prime mold (aside from the cyberverse mold) that actually used the windshield as the chest piece and did not have to rely on fake kibble. Yet, it wasn't as screen accurate as the First Edition Prime. However, this very same mold retooled for Ultra Magnus makes it look like it was meant for him all along especially with those new tall shoulder pieces which also work as missile launchers (so much G1 love here). With the Peterbilt truck alt mode, this version of Ultra Magnus is far more accomplished than the previous mold he was given, making him as screen accurate as possible. Even his Hammer is more screen accurate than any previous version of Prime Magnus. So to sum up, I am amazed at how well this Prime mold, with all its alt mode integration wonder, works better for Ultra Magnus, to a point where it is better than the mold that was actually made just for him.
This is one of the best seeker molds of all time. The design choice to have the robot mode be so slim and sleek makes him look creepier than any version of Starscream before. I am so impressed with how they were able to pull off a robot mode as skeletal as the one depicted onscreen and yet still have him perfectly transform into a tight and smooth jet mode where no robot limb protrudes, as is often the case with jets.
Transforming this Cliffjumper for the first time is one of my fondest Transformers memories. The alt mode is a 70s dodge challenger/charger type car with the distinctive long front (nose). However, the robot mode has the windshield chest with the headlights right below it. It's an interesting design for sure, but I had no clue how they could pull that off on the toy. Where would the front go? And it's just the headlights, without the distinctive grill that connects them in alt mode. How can it be possible to actually have a screen accurate toy? Well, the RID version of the mold (which I had first) gave me the answer to this question. You give him a fake kibble chest piece. With this in mind, you can imagine how amazed I was while transforming the First Edition Cliffjumper toy the first time. The windshield split from the front to form his chest and the long nose pegged into the back and then the headlights flipped forward, disconnecting themselves from the front grill and landing just below the windshield pieces to give the exact same look he had on the show by only using the pieces found in the alt mode. It was genius. In terms of engineering, this is a masterpiece figure at a deluxe scale. This is why it pains me that this actual Cliffjumper toy, seen in the picture below, took so long to make it to the US (for everyone to get in on the awesomeness). His hands also flip around to become canons but that's just gravy at this point along with the subtle fact that this marks Cliffjumper as having his own mold for once and not being a mere repaint of Bumblebee.
This is one of the all-time best Transformer designs. The architect Mis Van Derho, who created the glass skyscraper, had the motto of "less is more". And this mold evokes this notion by showing us how a great design could come from something so simple. Basically, this is a run of the mill shellformer in alt mode. However, in robot mode, the shell retreats and folds onto itself to fill out his legs to the point that it entirely disappears. This toy has a sleek robot mode that is very distinct from its vehicle mode, showing mostly new parts only seen in robot mode, and yet it has a simple transformation, a sturdy design, and no leftover kibble whatsoever. Having him be a shellformer and yet not having a hint of the shell in robot mode is as big a design feat as they come and makes him not only be the very best toy of this line but one of the best Transformers Toys of all time.
Honourable mentions: First Edition Bulkhead and Optimus Prime are obviously great pics too but I am a bit more impressed with how the others on this list turned out, like when the result comes from having less to work with, such as the smaller deluxe class. Sometimes, less is more, as Vehicon shows us.
But still, these two right here are also some of the all time best Transformer toys ever, man was this line good!
With our charming and prestigious Comics Editor and News Administrator Va'al otherwise indisposed, it's fallen on me to take up the reigns for this week's review of IDW's More Than Meets The Eye #44. As warned already, this one will be spoiler heavy throughout, because there's no way I can adequately review this thing if I'm trying to not tell you things about it. Since some of the text gets front paged, I'm just typing up things to delay the start of the actual review. This is your Swerve recap. Need a review with no spoilers? Here it is: stop reading my stupid words and go buy this. Now. Stop, really, and go spend $4 right the hell now on this book. I'm serious, if you want to read this issue (you do), and you read this review beforehand, you will regret it. Don't have regrets, the internet can wait.
So with all that out of the way, let me tell you what author James Roberts has done here. This is an issue about the value of life, dogma, love, hope, expectation, and consequences. Oh, and Transformers, I suppose. Strap in your feelings, we're going for a ride.
We'll start with Rodimus, like you do when writing about MTMTE. We're joined on the first page with Rewind attempting to tell Rodimus a story, this time about the mysterious, legendary Necrobot. Rodimus, naturally, seems to not care. There are more important things that can be done, like get attention for being The Best Guy because he's carved a map to Cyberutopia on a table. Forget this side-quest, The Best Captain has done a thing, so naturally, we have to follow up on this.
Only this doesn't go to plan for him, as Megatron, The Other Captain, thinks one more little side quest isn't such a big deal. Under the guise of continuing to be very, almost unusually, caring about Rewind, off they go to look for the Necrobot. Why do they do this?
Well that's something, isn't it? So off they go, eventually landing on the Necrobot's planet. Without going into too much plot summary (much of the above was in the previews anyhow), and without spoiling too much of the absolutely stunning art by Hayato Sakamoto, colored by Joana Lafuente in images, there are some other themes and points worth serious note.
First, the buddy cop duo that never was/is likely never to be: Nightbeat and the Necrobot.
At the start of this issue, we know positively very extremely little about the Necrobot. Within the confines of this one single comic, we learn a gigantic ton about him. The Necrobot, through his interaction with Nightbeat, is wholly fleshed out as a character. The storytelling here is simply marvelous, touching on Nightbeat's expectations that maybe, just maybe there's something more to the ideas of religious dogma, or supernatural powers existing in the universe. It turns out that the Necrobot doesn't live up to this, he's really just a guy (I told you there would be spoilers) named Censere. Censere tells him, in my favorite panel of the book, that he should still hope anyhow if he wants to. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
Oh, and his cape. I want one. Just go read it, you'll see what I mean.
Next, but not last, it's time to reflect on the latest goings on in my favorite romance in fiction these days: Chromedome and Rewind.
Salt in the wound
As a guideline, I'm never much into fictional romance. Love is a fickle thing and it's extremely hard to make a compelling story about it without falling into, literally, a gillion tropes, cliches, and stretches of cringe-worthy dialogue. Roberts continues to utterly avoid all of this and provide a story about two souls on a journey that deeply care about one another to their core. I should also point out that this is yet more consistent, meaningful, and impacting character development that's handled in just the fewest of pages. It doesn't take a lot of time to be satisfying, and this is where I point out that the lettering of Tom B. Long really helps in setting the dialogue's tone appropriately. The voices in your head won't emphasize the wrong words, which can't always be said in comics.
Finally, the least obvious (until the end, that is) featured story in the issue. Who is this issue about, really?
To think, I once thought that smirk would never conceal anything except "evil"
The renaissance of Megatron is continued here, and he's always there in this one, just off to the side, sometimes being snarky, but then... well, I'm not going to post the last two page spread because it's incredible. With the last sentence of this book, any emotions I had to spend were spent. Sometimes consequences aren't as material as you want them to be. Instead, they end up being something more, something worse - true guilt.
This one's an embodiment of Samwise Gamgee's very famous lines from Tolkien's The Two Towers, but everyone knows those, I think. Is this the best comic I've ever read? Probably. As I said at the start, go buy this. Maybe buy one for a friend too.
. out of
Bonus! James Roberts' soundtrack suggestions for this issue:
The Smiths - Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want
Summer is coming to a close, and you can feel the cool breeze of autumn slowly creeping in around certain parts of the internet too - but Seibertron.com Transtopia visitors and dwellers are no strangers to coolness, as the round-up below proves! Check out the wonderful array of custom paintjobs, mods, builds, decos, art, writing, photos, comics, repurposing and general creative output of the boards. If you like what you see, make sure to let the author know in their thread, too.
In a piece of good news out there for Combiner Wars fans, it looks like the combiner hip design found on Wave 1's Optimus Prime and Wave 2's Motormaster torsos, which didn't allow a squared hip pose in the Combiner mode, has been corrected with the release of Wave 4's Battle Core Optimus Prime. I received my BC Prime today from Amazon, and grabbed some pictures of this design change to help explain what you can expect if you pick this figure up.
First, the original issue:
The hip assembly on Optimus Prime and Motormaster don't allow Menasor and a Combiner using the Optimus Prime torso to stand straight legged when the hip panels are locked into place. You can see that Optimus Maximus, on the right, is able to stand in a straight legged pose with no issues, even with the hip panels locked in.
Here I've illustrated the same thing with just Menasor and Optimus Maximus.
Attempting to bend Menasors hip inwards, while leaving the hip lock intact, leads to imbalance as well. Battle Core Optimus Prime also holds on to Legends Rodimus much more securely than Motormaster or Optimus Prime can, though I can't find any obvious engineering reason for it.
If we look at just the torsos, it highlights the issue with the initial runs of this mold. And yes, I need to clean my table. I'll bring my dog over to your living room and we'll see how long yours stays clean
The problem here clearly comes down to the hips of the Voyager torso itself. This mold has angled feet, so the individual robot mode really wasn't intended to stand hips-squared, but the original Optimus Prime usage of it and the subsequent Motormaster release both allow this.
Upon opening up the hips, you can see this pretty clearly. This is the default position of the hip ratchet when you open the figures, with Battle Core Optimus Prime on the left and the original Optimus on the right. It isn't extremely obvious here what they did to fix it. They couldn't have just changed the position, because then mere clicks one way or another on the original mold would solve the problem. What did they do?
See it yet? Don't count teeth, it won't help.
As you can see in the pictures above, this single piece is the change. By shifting the gear teeth by half a tooth, the Combiner that you can build with the figure can now give you a tall, proud, standing-up-straight pose.
With Motormaster scheduled to be re-released in Wave 4, will a running change be made to him as well to allow for sturdier Menasors? You know, there's hope in not knowing If you do get a Motormaster out of this wave's case assortment, give it a look and be sure to let our News Team know if this fix has been applied to his re-release as well.
ROAD RAGE! While a DECEPTICON called TRANSIT wreaks havoc on afternoon commutes, Team Bee gets an unexpected visit… but will these new rivals combine forces without trusting each other?
Can they even deal?
With only a couple of weeks left until the end of season one of the animated series, the second issue of Robots in Disguise still falls a little behind plot-wise, but Georgia Ball delivers an entertaining, intriguing and suspenseful enough script to keep interest even in older readers.
After my own heart, the humour - a Cybertronian perspective on Earthling behaviour, media and general popular culture - allows for a number of puns, plays on concepts, wordplay via Fixit's pixlexia (yes yes yes I know that's not it but bear with me). All within a frame that does not jar with the silliness, at all.
Additionally, it keeps the light side in the running mystery we had been made aware of since the FCBD issue #0. While team Prime does make its appearance, and that is not spoiling anything, something else is definitely afoot with the various cast members, and Ultra Magnus in particular. Plus another special cameo, too...
Priscilla Tramontano delivers an excellent arrangement of panels - though I might have some comments at a later stage on the fluidity of the layouts - with some fan-tastic cameos from across the multiple incarnations of the Transformers fictions, not only Prime. Plus, we get some magnificent expressivity across the entire board, from background to main cast.
Oh hey Spike and Carly
You wanted a colourist? Well, you get three, as Tramontano is joined by the Joshes, Perez and Burcham, in colouring in her own linework. And as much as they usually have their own identifiable styles, the transitions and collaboration here are strikingly fluid. Which is never a bad thing, and leads to some excellently vibrant pages, in tone with the series.
Also, a title such as this one allow, nay, calls for some fun on the fonts and letters side of things, and Tom B. Long does not disappoint. Enjoying the multiple opportunities to play with soundwords and squiggles, Long adds the finishing touches of lightness even where scenes may get more serious. Cover-wise, Burcham returns from interior colours to overall cover work in the Subscription variant (thumbnailed), while Tramontano still has the great main cover we've seen for a while now.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Again, as for last month and the first issue, the target audience of the book is obvious, and may deter some of the older readers (who do have three other series at least, to be fair) - but what Ball brings to the table is the same good blend of lighthearted humour with enough of a twist to keep the mind intrigued and willing to go along for the (bus)ride.
But no DINOPILE?
And of course, the visual result of Tramontano, Perez, Burcham and Long are a feast for the optic sensors, too. The vibrancy, cameos, hints, slapstick and more subtle humour are excellently enjoyable, and work well as a parallel reflection of the animated series - obviously with its own take, and all the better for it.
. out of
Goto Page: 1, 2, 3 ... 89, 90, 91>> 904 total news articles in this section, 10 per page.