Last Stand of the Wreckers: Part II - Stand Laster (Spoiler free-ish)
THE WRECKERS RETURN! Somebody’s kidnapped PROWL… but does anybody want him back? A lifetime of messing with everybody’s lives comes around to haunt him. Fortunately, he’s always got a plan. In this case… the one team of brutal, broken heroes… the WRECKERS!
Such hero, much broken
It has taken some time to convince Nick Roche and the editorial team over at IDW to bring a bunch of clutch munching piston-lickers back to the stage - but years later, here we are again, sans James Roberts, looking at a very different status quo, a similar roster of names and faces, and a much, much darker (if possible) storyline.
We start from where we left in Last Stand, with the passing of time having passed, and done its thing, Springer still in a coma, Impactor and whatever is left of the Wreckers trying to find their place in the new reality of Cybertron and the Council of Worlds. The transition is seamless, in accounting for the time that sits between the two stories.
We also identify the two majorly major players of the story - from this point, at least - in Verity Carlo and Kup, two people who have all the reasons to dislike Prowl, with a passion, though not necessarily with the knowledge to do so especially in Kup's case.
..and of course, this guy
One concern I do have, though it has been addressed by Roche and IDW more in general, is to do with the exact placing of this story. There are significant scenes with the Ark that do not coincide with The Transformers #47, and something seems to have shifted in Prowl's disappearance, too. That said, in John Barber we trust.
The visual team, linework and layouts at least, is still concentrated in the hands and floppy hair of Roche himself, and he brings, in my opinion, something quite different to the previous Wreckers outing in Last Stand, and something perhaps more fitting to the tone he has set for his own story this time round. That, and a combination of some really dynamic work in the layouts.
A tone, of course, that has been perfectly captured and even enhanced in the chromatic wonders of Josh Burcham, who delivers a variety of lonelinesses depending on the scenes, characters, and environments. Blending a very dirty, gritty colouring and lighting for indoor conversations, and cold colours for outdoors Nome, the isolation is palpable.
Greyscale and sepia - mmhmm
Unsurprisingly, Tom B. Long is taking up lettering duties, and there is nothing I have to say that the lettering doesn't do for itself. Tone aside, we get snippets into the dark humour of the book, and the dynamics established among the cast. A cast which is, for the most part, highlighted on the covers with Roche and Burcham giving a cinematographic feel to the main one, guests Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire offering a magnificent Impactor, and Alex Milne teaming up with Josh Perez for a Springer-tastic LSTOW variant (thumbnailed).
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
We've seen it with Redemption, we've seen it in recent issue of The Transformers, it has been running in the Scavengers arc, and more so in this week's release of MTMTE - the status quo for the TFverse has changed. Some characters have not. Some characters are trying to adapt. Some cannot. This is their story, as told by cruel Nick Roche.
Look at that smug mug
Tight editing on the book will ensure that everything slides into place, I'm sure, removing the only major criticism I have of the issue. There are some surprisingly poignant, powerful, ominous, intriguing moments which you just need to enjoy. Make sure you take a break between this and MTMTE, too.
We Played With Life…. Spoiler-Free-ish (or how much it can be)
FRIENDSHIP ISN'T MAGIC! TAILGATE has a choice to make—and if he had any idea what was at stake, he'd think twice before making it. The crew is ripped apart as MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE begins the sprint towards its shocking 50th issue!
Better hope everyone else has their nerves steeled
For the sake of this review (and the reviewer), there will be no written summary of the book, as it is impossible to say anything without giving something away. There really is no way to make this non-spoilery. Expect pain, gut-punching, emotions, sadness, anger, love, manipulation, politics, post-war statuses, naivety, loyalty, and giant transforming robots.
There really isn’t anything you can do
However, this can be said: Roberts knows how to surprise us and keep us entertained. If you were just starting to nod off, this will snap you awake all too quickly. [Va'al says: And make sure you are ready to squirm uncomfortably at one side of the main plot, as Getaway ..gets away with a lot of morally dubious actions. The emotions in this issue run rampant, and they teeter on the brink of pure anger at times.]
Artwork this week is covered by Brendan Cahill, and he really has been making some good art. With issue 40, we saw just how good he has become and how well he fits the artists for MTMTE, but it is in this issue where he really shines. His art is simply amazing and nothing is left out, no little detail. He does a fantastic job of covering all the bases and making this a great piece of art.
And just when you thought staring out the window was boring
As usual, Joana Lafuente adds all the colors, keeping Cahill's art in keeping with the string of artists that have worked on the series so far (along Milne) and Tom B. Long brings all the magnificent lettering. This issue continues the trends of great art and magnificent artistic team. There really is nothing else to be said there.
Lettering, colors and mystery: all in one panel!
Thoughts (SPOILERISH AHEAD!!!)
Speaking as a grown man who loves transformers and who loves a grand story: I cried this issue. Reading through this made this fan break down in tears. There are great characters, great individual stories, and a larger story that may have gone overlooked for a while that has been 2 years in the making. And it all just exploded. In a very emotional way that no one could ever have anticipated.
No it can’t! You need to get this issue Yesterday!
In a way, the opening of Sins of the Wreckers overshadows this story despite how strong and how big they both were. There was a lot of thought going into this story for some time, and it came crashing in in ways that no one could really imagine. And there are Wreckers connections that cannot be coincidence either.
In conclusion: tears, sorrow, triumph, and understanding all take center stage here. In the words of ScottyP: Crushing. This is one of the best issues to date, and that is saying something considering some of the arcs that we have already got. This is a must have, and the race to Issue 50 has begun in an all out sprint.
We told you we'd be back to regularly scheduled creative round-ups! Two weeks after our general catch-up, the boards have been humming rather than buzzing, but that will not stop us from finding out what Transtopia has been up to in that time: mods, customs, paintjobs, art, tips, tricks, photos and more - check them out below, and let the authors know you like their stuff by commenting in the original threads, too.
THE HELP DESK
Fellow Seibertronian Delta Magnus is looking for alternatives and tips for a Strongarm figure - leave your suggestions here!
Seibertron.com is proud to bring you some great new galleries featuring the highly anticipated Takara Tomy exclusive Transformers Legends Nightbird Shadow, Slipstream and Blackarachnia. The first two are respectively based on the recent Generations/Legends Arcee and Windblade molds while Legends Blackarachnia is a Beast Wars themed redeco and retool of the slightly older Animated Blackarachnia mold (which was the latest mold sporting that name). This set of three lovely ladies serves as a sequel of sorts to the previous trifecta of female Transformers which was issued earlier this year all at once including Legends Arcee, Chromia, and Windblade. It seems that this is truly the year of the female Transformer at Takara and we could not be happier.
CONQUERORS, part 2! OPTIMUS PRIME ventures into the SEA OF RUST, looking for the truth about his role as a PRIME. Instead, he comes face-to-face with the new female combiner, VICTORION, who has some questions of her own!
I want one of all of them
Of the two series from IDW Publishing running right now, The Transformers is undoubtedly the currently most interesting, maintaining a sustained and mostly narrative in a way that More Than Meets the Eye has kept subsided for a while now - and with John Barber at the helm, those narratives run deep, and way into the past.
Join me, Luke
This issue brings together several strands we have already encountered, and briskly moves them forward towards the next big step in the series - and I am seriously hooked onto what that may be - by referencing some of the older events in this incarnation of the Transformers universe, from Heart of Darkness to Dark Cybertron, via Combiner Wars.
Haaang on a second
While some of those may rest uneasy with the established readership, newcomers to the story will find them useful enough to go back and rediscover previous stories, or take the information and run with it - much like Starscream seems to do in the book. Which does not lack several wider scenes with key and major players in Cybertron's ever-changing scape, from Blackrock to Needlenose, to Soundwave and Galvatron, to all of those caught in between.
Off to see the wizard..?
The highlight of the issue, for me at least, was the fantastic sequence with Optimus Prime and the Torchbearers/Victorion (with Aileron playing support). The voices are fresh, the interaction sparking some serious food for thought, and once more a lead into new directions yet to be explored in the series.
The newest addition to the artistic team at IDW Publishing makes her second debut here, as Sara Pitre-Durocher approaches the interior artwork with a fresh brush and some excellently dynamic takes on established designs and characters. The art is clean, the stroke is fine, the layouts are pleasing...
Gravity powers (tm) !
...and Josh Perez makes sure that the transition into a new style is seamless, smooth and slick, as only Perez can do. After the alternative, pastel take on Combiner Hunters, seeing his vibrant (but also contrasting where needed, such as the Victorion scenes) work on the new lineart is a good touch.
Despite one significantly, and poignantly, silent scene, the lettering runs true all through, as Tom B. Long works once more his magic, capturing the new tones, balances and dynamics of the major players in the book. The covers are slightly different this month, featuring main art by regular Andrew Griffith and Perez, with Casey Coller and Joana Lafuente giving a scene that we never see in the book (thumbnailed), but speaks to Soundwave's plans, and Livio Ramondelli teases next week's Sins of the Wreckers debut.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Not only in The Transformers the most interesting, to me at least, of the two books right now, it is also the best example of not needing to refer, any longer, to the established Transformers lore outside of what IDW is creating. Barber, Scott, and Roberts have woven an intricate universe, and the former handles the multiple factions extremely well.
It is excellent to see that universe expand, both in-story and beyond the limits of the page, with new artist Pitre-Durocher back on interiors after her stint on Combiner Hunters. There are many many leads for the stories being told, and I, for one, cannot wait to find out more next month. It'll be a woof wait.
THE ANSWERS! BUMBLEBEE's search for the truth about the rival AUTOBOT TEAM on Earth leads TEAM BEE to a thief with deep connections… but knowing the truth may be worse than getting lied to.
Kid Friendly, Am I right?
With Robots in Disguise now stuck in that rut between seasons show-wise, the comics are the main source of story entertainment, and Georgia Ball does not fail to impress with the finale to the first main story arc.
We finally get the showdown that the previous issues have been leading to, and in true Robots in Disguise fashion, we are not disappointed with all the little things thrown in there for our enjoyment, not to mention Sideswipe. Sideswipe definitely shows his best sides here. And yeah, he does kinda take the issue.
We're all laughing with you, Sides
This issue definitely was the arc finale that we could be hoping for, and it features some of the most classic comic book endings you can find. Plus things do get a bit heated for those who like a little seriousness in your goofy, but there are jokes abounding and references that will just make you smile when you read them.
Priscilla Tramontano once again does not fail to make me smile, as she continues to bring her cartoony look to the book that adds so much fun to just looking at it let alone reading it. Not to mention the great faces that pop up, both funny, mean, serious, and accomplished.
Uh-oh! Angry Buffaloid! Angry Buffaloid!
Josh Burcham once again delivers brilliant coloring that keeps the scenes bright and loud, just as you would expect from this series. He also creates some pretty amazing contrasts, and he is pretty dang good at making a swamp feel…swampy.
And that’s just a taster!
The lettering in the issue is also spot on, but then again, when is it not with Tom B. Long working the letters? Just look at that very first picture in the review. That is all you need to know about how good the words fit the art. And we once again are treated to marvelous covers featuring our favorite Prime and Robots in Disguise characters courtesy of Tramontano and Travis Sengaus.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
This issue was a fantastic issue and one that certainly makes for a great bookend to this first story arc. One could not have asked for a better story to tell, and the entertainment value is there to hold us over for a while until the show starts back up again. And the fact that Prime and Robots in Disguise work so closely together for such a short time yet make such a big impact (and show some big impacts) makes this all the more enjoyable.
Quite the light show eh?
Nevertheless, Ball delivers, and we are ready to receive. Another great issue has arrived and I strongly recommend you seek this out. The whole story arc is fascinating and certainly fun, and the finale definitely is worth anyone’s time. So what are you waiting for? Rev up and Roll out!
What does it mean to be a DECEPTICON in a postwar universe? Was MEGATRON’s rise to power the inevitable consequence of configurative determinism? Is it possible to "disprove" an ideology? Who decided that all the badges should be purple? In this issue, the Scavengers ponder at least one of these questions.
First of all, a note of apology and of due credit. Life this side of the screen gets busy, and a lot of the wording and thoughts for this review are worked in tandem with ScottyP (my saviour). On the other hand, the issues getting in the way of writing the review actually feed 'nicely' into the topics of the issue itself!
Whatever lacklustre comments I made last month for the first part of this story, and of James Roberts' style in approaching it, have definitely redeemed themselves by issue #46. There is plenty of character development, plenty of plot direction, and some really good work in terms of addressing wider post-war issues for the TFverse overall, no longer limited to the other titles.
Some characters clearly stand out, in terms of how they are portrayed and their role to the story, with Krok, Fort Max and Crankcase definitely taking centre stage. The rest of the cast, though, is not set aside, and we have some excellent moments with pretty much everyone involved, through a wide range of (e)motion, too.
Plus a lot of guns, apparently
I do have some criticisms by the time the book comes to a close, though I will mention them more below. The standout point, if a little clunky in some of its execution, was looking at not only physical, not only theoretical, not only ideological consequences of the war - but the repercussions on the mental health of many of those who took however little a part.
The visual team on this issue is gigantic, as Alex Milne prepares the pages, layouts and pencils, while Brian Shearer, John Livesay, John Wycough and Milne conjoin inking powers to bring a very different, multi-faceted look at some of the outer spaces of the Transformers universe currently explored, inwards and outwards.
Both sides of which are cleverly rendered in tone and volume by the excellent colouring, shading and hue work of Joana Lafuente, who deftly includes one of the wider-ranging palettes we had currently seen on this book, at least since the Swerve issue and Hedonia, and some seriously emotional contrasts in dark/light games.
And just look at that sky, again
Multiple inkers clearly (?) required multiple letterers, as regular Tom B. Long is joined by Chris Mowry - and with the Scavengers and Grimlock involved, you just know there's going to be plenty of font-based fun. And there is. The main cover also shows more of spotlight on one of the key players of the issue, as teased in #45, with Milne teaming up with Josh Perez again, as Nick Roche single-handedly Fort Maxes out for the artist edition variant (see thumbnail).
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Practically copying Scott's words now, the issue does a very good job, along with some parts of Transformers: Redemption, at dealing with the often underrepresented consequences of war, and the individual repercussions of that state. It's no longer factions of Autobot, Decepticon, colonies or unaligned, but rather those who can let go of the war and those who hang on to it desperately.
Then, of course, there's that side
The criticism I mentioned? Other than the couple of niggles above, the conclusion feels a little too nebulous, a little too complex and too much of a stinger to a wider story that we have only really started seeing - and it felt like a kick to remind us that, yes, we are still part of a wider narrative. Some will love it, I found it a little ..whelming. That said, definitely worth the read.
Last time in our Creative Round-Up, Burn had just risen like a zombie after falling asleep watching the first episode of the final season of Continuum and Va'al had gone missing somewhere between Italy and England, while Va'al's minions (aka the News Crew), completely forgot to do the round-up for over a month!
After surviving the lacklustre series finale of Continuum, and after receiving a frantic distress call from Va'al, Burn has raced to the rescue ... to post the latest Seibertron.com Creative Round-Up!
PLEASE NOTE: If we missed one of your contributions to the Transtopia section, blame Va'al, and just let us know in the comments. We are catching up to the feature, and some posts slip into the cracks of the internet.
THE HELP DESK
Customiser Glarryg is looking for some tips on Revoltech joints - leave your feedback here!
And Sabrblade is curious about disassembling the CW Optimus/Motormaster figure - any tips? Tell them here!
Howdy fellow Seibertronians and welcome to this week's episode of the Transformers weekly photo challenge.
This week we will be exploring the themes and camera techniques of Film Noir. There are a few ground rules to follow this week. All submissions will need to be in black and white and use low-key lighting.
I want to step out of my comfort zone and challenge both myself and you. This is a technique that I'm not very familiar with, so I've opened a post in the Focal Point: Level Up Those Photography Skills thread and can be found by clicking here. Let's use that thread to discuss tips and technique and come back here to post the final result.
I'm a little late on getting this week's challenge post up, so this challenge will run from 11/04/15 to 11/13/15.
Submission post use TFPC #7 in the subject line. Non submitters, please feel free to join the conversation.
And remember to keep your browsers pointed to Seibertron.com for the latest Transformer news, the largest galleries and the most fun you can have this side of a space bridge.
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. In the spirit of Halloween, I felt like making this list thematic and covering the:
Top 5 Ugliest Transformers Toys
While being aesthetically ugly is a big factor, what is important here is that it cannot be overly intentional (like Beast Wars Injector, who revels in his aesthetic). This is a list of toys that would repulse kids and adults from playing with them. Not necessarily the worst Transformers ever (although none of these are great toys, far from it), but definitely the kind that, were they alive Toy Story style, would just hang out in a corner whispering "kill me". It was actually really hard not to simply include all movie designs. The overly alien look does render several of them quite ugly, like this one...
ROTF Arcee might be ugly and look as female as a big bearded guy cosplaying as Princess Leia, but the design was just so odd that it became interesting. Couldn’t say the same about 2007 Arcee. Her face and the addition of the lipstick and alien robot hair done that way makes her step right into the uncanny valley (and don't get me started on the wheel boobs). The reason she isn’t any higher is because she actually has an amazing alt mode and the transformation is pretty great too. It doesn’t take away from the fact that Springer would only date this Arcee if she put a bag over her head.
These could have been cool toys, and they were once. Back before Transformers existed, you had Diaclone, which dealt with small pilots that rode in vehicles which became mechs. Think Mighty Max, Hotwheels and power rangers all rolled into one !!! Ironhide and Ratchet came from that line and while they might be cool if little figures could pilot their mech bodies, they become pretty darn ugly as official transformer toys. Hasbro removed the small figures, taking away the mech aspect and forcing it down our throats that these headless contraptions were sentient lifeforms with seats for faces. Just to give you an idea that this headless thing is seriously what they were trying to pass off as a sentient being, here is Ironhide's introduction in the comics.
At least your childhood toy was initially comic accurate, not that it's a great consolation prize.
A fellow board member said it best:
Lockdownhunter wrote:Show accuracy:0%
Conclusion:These toys are garbage.
More times than needed, you'll get an almost unrecognizable alt mode in order to get a pretty cool robot mode. The reverse has not been seen as much since G1 (see above) but Mixmaster certainly fills that spot in nicely. His truck mode is great and very nicely done but it gives way to a mess of a robot. This design looks far more alien than robotic and while it may work for some people, it looks quite ugly to me. The proportions are all over the place, on purpose, and that makes the robot look like it is made up of a pile of junk (not in a good Wreck-Gar way) and you cant make heads or tails of what you are seeing at certain angles.
The same can be said for Demolishor who's robot mode is beyond bizarre. He looks like a one legged alien just begging for his life to end (a wish Optimus kindly obliged).
Oh man, speak of a face only a mother could love, here is the greatest abomination to the Bruticus name yet. It really looks like Satan and Cerebus had a child and aborted it. Both modes are atrocious and I don't get what the smart thinking was behind using the same head for the beast mode but wrapping it in ... muscle whiskers ?
1. Beast Wars Optimus Minor
Speaking of just wrapping the robot head... urgh. Here is Optimus Minor. While he is insulting to me as a Transformer, where all you have to do is turn him 180 and move his head up, it's even worse with the way you turn him from a robot to a monkey. Here is a question for you, which is which? Look at the pics. Both heads look like robot monkey heads. And the supposed Beast Mode head is worse since it has an alien edge to it both in looks and the fact that it wraps around the "robot head" like an inverse facehugger. It is like an ugly version of those mutant heads of old instead this time, the mutant head is the head of one of the modes.
I would like to thank fellow Seibertronian Cobotron for these awesome pictures.
Honourable Metions: People find Omega Supreme ugly, but I don’t get it. He is clunky, sure, but he has a fun 80s robot look to him. You know, the ones that go “beep doop beep doop” and spin their heads, like the robot in Toy Story.
Also, I would have loved to include Animated Voyager Megatron simply for his alt mode and failed cannon, but I can’t say he is uglier than those on the list. He might be a worse toy though.
Here are some other ugly faces that I think actually work in the favor of aesthetic and add rather than take away (hence why they didnt make the cut). The best examples are from beast Wars, like Injector, Iguanus and Transquitto as well as G1's Transformers G1 Repugnus who's name suggests he takes pride in his looks.