COMBINER WARS FALLOUT! Because you demanded it—WINDBLADE and CHROMIA team up with ARCEE to put an end to the menace of the COMBINER WARS—but will they end each other first?!
The one-shot that unofficially accompanies the SDCC exclusive Combiner Hunters box set, obviously sharing its title, is also the first introduction, and so far only look at, the team of character that form and become Victorion, the first all-female Transformer combiner - and you can sort of place it during the Combiner Wars arc, between Windblade #3 and The Transformers #42. If you want.
And some more Chromehide, obvs
Mairghread Scott takes the helm in this insert issue, really, dealing with some not entirely consequential events (as the title unfortunately might suggest) in terms of the overall narrative - for now, at least - and at the same time, some very well-placed exchanges between the main characters of Arcee, Chromia and Windblade.
Like, whatever, I guess
Specifically, Arcee's reaction to Victorion's appearance/arrival. One panel in particular, which I will not spoil here, makes clever use of her IDW backstory to explain and give an actual, good reason to resist Combiners in general, and actually side with Galvatron on the issue (see The Transformers series), and furthers her development with another big step.
Not pictured here
Of course, not to be forgotten, are the Camien team of Torchbearers, their added piece to the combiner puzzle, and how they deal with the sudden change in their team dynamic - though with not enough time to develop some seriously intriguing stories that emerge from the experience. I do hope we see a lot more of Victorion and her individual components, there is much more to say.
Sara Pitre-Durocher, whom we have only seen up to this point working on some pretty well-received cover variants, is the artist for the issue - and her work is absolutely magnificent, and definitely the highest of highlights of the book. Her expressions and proportions, her poses and layouts, the interactions of the characters are stunning. Truly.
In addition, the way that her line-work and Yamaishi's colours blend so effortlessly, really helps convey the feeling of the general atmosphere of the Sea of Rust, and the lighter pause between the phases of the Combiner Wars. There's the sense of something lifting from the heavy reality of the duties of the characters involved, especially as the story progresses.
Something which is also helped by Tom B. Long's lettering work, as he gives some added voices to the characters varying in sizes, tones, volume and size (again). And he creates a great title page. We also get a slew of cover variants, including the sizable main Casey Coller/Joana Lafuente one seen in the preview, the futuristic Livio Ramondelli B cover, the SDCC Pitre-Durocher exclusive, and the excellently apt James Biggie Pan Cybertronian Spaceways incentive in the thumbnail.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Whatever else this one-shot is doing, it's with no doubt a promotional comic to accompany both the Victorion reveal and the Combiner Hunters Arcee, Chromia and Windblade. And that feels like a bit of a shame, really. I am confident that we will revisit the events at some point in Till All Are One (probably), but right now.. it just sort of happened. Which is unfortunate, given its title.
But hey, Victorion!
That said, some of its scenes were really well-thought and executed by Scott, and what does happen is well done, well drawn, well coloured by Pitre-Durocher and Yamaishi - if anything, overall, I am definitely looking forward to future collaborations between the two, as they clearly work well in synergy, and a freer hand at the plot should yield much higher results!
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 Worst Cases of Visible Head Syndrome Among Transformers Toys
I was totally thrown the first time someone told me a transformer had "VHS". I then learnt it was an acronym for "Visible head syndrome" which is when a Transformer's robot head can be seen in alt mode. Sometimes, it isn't noticeable at first glance, but there are times when it is just bad. The worst part is usually how they try to "cover" it, which is usually quite laughable. Lets look at the worst cases of the robot head found on the alt mode.
People seem to really like this mold and I never understood why. Sure, it's accurate to the game but that doesn't mean it is an amazing design. G1 Ironhide was accurate to his debut appearance in Marvel comics and nobody finds that awesome.
Back to these FOC seekers, the robot head is right there, literally center stage for all to see. The face is just flipped on the other side but that doesn't in any way help hide his head which is just a black square front and center. It doesn't blend in with anything and doesn't seem part of the alt mode at all. It is just a vestigial part of the robot, and it happens to be his head. There are many jet transformers where the head is just brought under the jet and we call those lazy, so what's this?
These are both dumb to me. I get that the movie and "aligned" universe take hints from one another and one of them is the boldness of Megatron to have his robot head be exposed in alt mode. I would assume he has optics elsewhere than his head, and this also throws the robots in disguise idea out the window but OK, he wants to be bold. He wants to stick it to the man by exposing his head, fine. So why is there this minute and poor attempt to still "hide" it? In both of these movie toys, there is this ever so small panel that is placed over his exposed face. This, to me, just adds insult to injury. Sure, the idea of a voluntarily exposed robot head is dumb to me and takes away from the robots in disguise idea where you wonder what the point of transforming is, and results in very lazy and uncreative alt modes and engineering, but at least it's justifiable in terms of the creator's intention. Trying to then hide that voluntarily exposed head and have it both ways doesn't make a lick of sense and just results in an even lazier looking alt mode and a terrible case of visible head syndrome. And we are only at number 4.
This guy's visible head is just sad. Like the seekers above, the only "attempt" to hid it is by turning it around to hide his face. But it's worse than Starscream since it isn't in this neat little kibble bed, filling up the alt mode. Instead it is just an extra piece of kibble hanging off the truck's butt. It looks totally out of place and can be spotted a mile away. It's like the engineers got to a point where they had this nice alt mode but were stuck with a left over piece of robot they just couldn't fit anywhere which lead them to set it down randomly. And once again, that extra piece is the head!
This guy is like those earlier mentioned Megatrons only worse due to his exposed face not being intentional (he wants to disguise himself right?). They even have his helmet tilt down ever so slightly to hide his eyes but that doesn't take anything away from having his head and face right there in front of you on top of the truck. This is laughably bad, and I can only think of one toy worse than this.
How could Beast Machines Silverbolt beat Energon Ironhide? Not only is there nothing done to hide the head in any way, which is not boldly meant to be exposed, but it is placed right between his legs! He becomes a literal d%&khead. This was one of the easiest number one picks ever.
In two weeks you will get the Best cases of Visible Head Syndrome, see you then!
Honourable Mentions: He might be loved by all, and might possible be one of the best Transformer toys of the first decade of this new millennium, but Galaxy Force Optimus Prime still has a very exposed noggin. It is stark blue against a full red cab, instantly taking away any illusion. I mean come on, the G1 toy found a way around that. But hey, it’s Cybertron / Galaxy Force Prime, I couldn't put him on this list. But I will give you a picture!
While there are very few lists concerning Transformers toys on the web(world), it’s a different matter for the G1 episodes, which asks for a bit more special attention. So I called upon the help of an expert, Seibertron's own Optimutt, to write this very special list devoted to the 98 episodes of the original Transformers cartoon:
The Top Ten Best Transformers episodes!
Take it away Optimutt!
Since this is an important list, I had to establish a ruling criteria. This will be the same rules for the subsequent lists I write, if this one goes well. In looking at each episode, I considered a number of important points.
- The first is Enjoyment Factor. If we can’t enjoy a cartoon, why bother watching, right?
- The second is Animation. While some of you may claim this is unfair to the notorious AKOM studio, this is an animated show after-all so I can't ignore it, but keep in mind that this is only one of the many factors.
- To this, I also add Story. Yes, this was a 1980’s cartoon. Yes, I know that campiness was a key ingredient of the stories. Indeed, this WAS a series designed to sell toys. And yes, I wholly understand that these were cartoons geared at kids. But all those factors aside, there were also some remarkably mature concepts that the cartoon introduced to the fandom. In many ways, the story-telling of G1 conceptuality set the standard for what was to come: Dinobot in Beast Wars, Cliffjumper in TF: Prime, the brutality of the movies, Furman’s run on Marvel’s and IDW’s comics, and James Roberts’ More Than Meets the Eye, among countless other examples.
- Which leads directly into Cultural Relevance. The Transformers cartoon was the one that started it all. Without the movie, would Optimus Prime be a walking phoenix cliché? I think not. So much of what the Transformers has become is owed to this cartoon series. Indeed, there are some episodes on this list that would absolutely not belong were it not for their significance to the fandom over the past thirty years.
Before the list begins, I want to make a shout-out to the fans who responded to an inquiry I posted on various fandom media. I asked YOU what you thought was the best episode. The results of that is below.
Fans’ Choice – I submitted this question to a number of different media. It turns out that of all the responses, the fandom feels that Galvatron’s descent into madness was the most fun you could have with the 22 minute time slot of the 1980’s! Congratulations Webworld!
Galvatron with Dr. Ratchet.
I also want to thank imdb.com for the episode descriptions and a whole lot of different places for the images. They’re purty.
Finally, an honorable mention. The movie was epic. Watch it, if only for this epic scene. Yes, “epic” is used twice because the whole movie blew minds. Only truly epic things deserve such epicosity of wordage.
Alright. Enough lolley-gagging! Let’s get this show on the road!
Webworld – Written by Len Wein and Diane Duane. Cyclonus is concerned about Galvatron's mental and emotional state and takes him to a planet where he can get treatment.
Galvatron proving he accepts no outside interference.
One thing to note: Len Wein is the guy who wrote Giant Sized XMen 1, you know, the first appearance of Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Thunderbird. These are some of the most influential characters in comics, and he brought them all to life. But this is only one element of his legacy. The fact that his most significant contribution to the TF Fandom is what was chosen as the favorite episode speaks volumes of his abilities as a writer.
Mutiny is no stranger in the cartoon, but in the first two seasons, we would have seen exactly that. In Webworld, that tradition is circumvented by Cyclonus’ loyalty to his leader. This element, by itself, puts this episode in a unique position in the canon.
More important than the Decepticon situation is the psychological one. The whole episode is a social observation on how emotional connection changes not just the target but also the agent. In opening itself up to Galvatron’s psychological mainframe, the planet of Torkulon contracts the same madness that plagues the Decepticon leader. Titled “Webworld,” the episode almost predicted a potential flaw in the Internet (which would not be made public for at least several years after this episode was made), which was of exploitation. Wonderful as it is, ask any artist or creator about creator rights, and you will see how much damage Galvatron’s madness actually is.
The Master Builders – Written by David N. Gottlieb and Herb Engelhardt. Grapple has dreamed of building a solar tower to collect energy from the sun. But when Optimus disapproves, Grapple finds help from the Constructicons, who are secretly working for Megatron.
Grapple enjoys his toy model blueprint.
How far will an artist go to create his art? “The Master Builders” looks right in the face of this question. In Grapple, viewers can vicariously make that judgement call that all artists must wring their hands in quiet contemplation when their ideas are rejected. Do they give up? Do they eschew traditional methods and create the art on their own? Or do they make a deal with the devil and sell out? This is the Faustian myth of blues artist Robert Johnson in animated form. And just like the “Crossroads” creator, Grapple has to pay the price of his deal: betrayal and corruption of the dream.
There is also an unspeakable tragedy of war in this: it is difficult, if not impossible to maintain anything of value during wartime. Wartime consequences will come to play a little later in the list (can you guess which episode I am referencing?) but for now, let me just say how amazing an episode this is. There is no line that is out of place, nor scene that does not work into the overarching story. And for once, Megatron (and Scrapper, and Smokescreen, and Optimus… just about everyone, really) shows how competent a leader he actually is. Perhaps it is that overall competence that we see in this episode that makes it so good. Every thread is about using your skills, and other people’s skills to benefit the populous. Ultimately, despite all the betrayal and heartache that we see, it is a sparkly feelgood episode.
War Dawn – Written by David Wise. Some Aerialbots start to have doubts about their cause, some have started to admire Megatron, and are thinking of switching sides. They get pulled into a time warp, and end up on Cybertron, before the current war began. They'll discover more about Megatron, and the origin of one of their own.
“Pax. Orion Pax. I’ll have a Tesarus, shaken, not stirred.
Who is Optimus Prime? What was he before he became the ultimate Autobot? Why, he was just another chump named Orion Pax, palling around with his girlfriend and buddy. IDW has used this idea as a launchpad for so much of their stories that I would not be able to give the company justice in this review. So I won’t. All I will add about this is that the Cultural Relevance of this episode is mind-bogglingly huge. I mean, Unicron-sized huge.
As far as a story is concerned, it’s ok. There are some serious flaws in the episode (“We must destroy the time machine to save our friends! But now we need to fix it get them back!” paraphrasing courtesy of the author). Despite this, the Aerialbots’ naivete is beautiful. Yes, they are chumps, but it makes sense! How many of us (both young and old) have fallen victim to that crush on that sexy, beautiful person only to realize what a chump they are? I have most certainly made that mistake once. Or twice. So cut Slingshot (Quickslinger) and company some slack. At least they learned from their mistake. Granted, it only nearly cost Orion Pax his life, but who’s counting? We got Optimus Prime out of the deal! Thanks, chumps!
Golden Lagoon – Written by Dennis Marks. The Decepitcons coat themselves with electrum that they find in a golden lagoon. They become impervious to laser fire and attack the Autobots.
I am Golden Supreme!
Above, if you guessed I was referencing Golden Lagoon, give yourself a No-Prize!
The 1980s were a good twenty something years into the Cold War, a period of non-conflict between Capitalist countries (especially the USA) and Communist countries (primarily the USSR, but also China) to see whose dogma is the better one. If the Cold War were ever to run hot, it would look a lot like Golden Lagoon. What begins as a mere skirmish between a handful of Autobots and Decepticons results in a capture of Autobot prisoners. To rescue these prisoners, the Autobots mount a greater force, but again are repulsed because the Decepticons find the lagoon of Electrum and become invulnerable. So the Autobots pull out their big gun, the ultimate defender, Omega Supreme! Yeah. He gets beat. Soundly. So the Autobots manage to find the Electrum and coat themselves, resulting in their defeating the ‘Cons! Yay! We won! Or did we?
See, this episode is not about how wars are won by building bigger and better weapons, instead, it is a commentary about the horrors of war. In The Master Builders, Grapple’s Solar Power Tower is destroyed not because it’s bad, but because the nature of conflict is that has no conscience. It destroys indiscriminately. In warfare, no one is innocent, and those that begin innocent are quickly stripped of it, either by outright destruction or by death. This is an idea that we are seeing more and more of in the fandom: The Battle of Chicago (TF3), Code of Hero (Beast Wars), IDW’s Transformers series (starting back in Retaliation). Sure, using Beachcomber as a narrative shows just another hippie hugging his trees and channeling his inner Disney Princess, but upon a deeper look, this allows the viewer to appreciate the beauty of life. And to mourn death’s loss. Beachcomber’s response at the end, where he looks out at the Arcadia that was now a dismal crater of smoking destruction is one of the most poignant images in the whole of cataclysmic TF images. See and judge for yourself.
The Return of Optimus Prime – Written by Marv Wolfman and Cherie Wilkerson. A group of scientists finds the body of Optimus Prime, and some spores that bring out aggressive tendencies in whomever it contacts. The scientists have a grudge against the Autobots, and use Optimus's body to lure them into a trap. As the spores spread through the Autobots and Decepticons, Rodimus orders Sky Lynx to find a Quintesson in a desperate attempt to bring Optimus Prime back to life. The spores spread across the Galaxy, forcing the newly-revived Optimus to find a cure in the Matrix, which is inside a spore-infected Rodimus Prime. Without becoming infected, Optimus must find a way to get the matrix.
Who could it be?!?
Relevence: Historic. Prime f-bomb comes back to life!
This episode sets two very recurring precedents in the TF mythos, namely that Prime is a phoenix who dies and promptly comes right back to life again, and upgrades will happen! Not just recolored toys and simple retools of previous molds, but full-on upgrades! While Optimus doesn’t get one in this episode, Bumblebee does! Which happens again. And again. And again. This is a perfect story play; especially considering this is an animated show for a toy line, it lets HasTak keep the bodies fresh. I mean, since this episode, certain Transformers have changed bodies as if they are clothes ( Starscream Prime Optimus Primal>).
This is visually one of the best episodes in the whole series. It has elements that we last saw in The Movie, but it also does things that had not been seen before. Like a white Optimus Prime? Yup. Totally original idea, there. Everyone is one color. Haven’t seen that before, either. Not even in Golden Lagoon. I jest. Really, just about every background and every render of the characters are crisp, clean, and they absolutely pop. The story is great, too. Its prime conflict comes outside of the war, forcing both Autobots and Decepticons to find alternatives to direct combat, which leads to ingenuity of story-telling that keeps the double-parter feel fresh. As the principal scribe to this episode, Marv Wolfman shows us why he is such a pillar of creativity in the world. Oh, you don’t know who Marv Wolfman is? Well, one of his biggest accomplishments was the first ultimate DC mashup that resulted in the deaths of Supergirl and Barry Allen’s Flash. Yes, I’m talking about Crisis on Infinite Earths. In addition, he created the Teen Titans, Blade, Nova, Spider-Woman, Deathstroke the Terminator, and he helped create edit/write Beast Machines, I mean, the guy is a living legend of creative genius. And we can add to that impressive resume the fact that he brought Optimus Prime back to life in style. Well done, sir!
“Give me the Matrix, Rodimus!”
More Than Meets the Eye – Written by George Arthur Bloom. As the Energon supply runs low on the planet Cybertron, the Autobots leave to find a new energy source. Their enemies, the Decepticons, follow. After a vicious battle in space, both of their ships crash land on Earth. The Decepticons try to gather every bit of energy that they can, from Earth, in order to get back to Cybertron. The Autobots, along with their new human allies, try to stop them.
Autobot group shot
This is the one that started it all and that Beast Wars copied. Overall, in these three episodes, children all around the world, and of all ages, are given a backstory that grounds the whole mythos. Not only do we get a cool story of resource acquisition and the culture shock of being in a new place a long, long, LONG time after you set out, but we also get complex characters right from the start. Each character, from Thundercracker, to Reflector, to Prowl, to Hound, to Cliffjumper, to Spike and Sparkplug, to Huffer and Gears, gets a very unique voice that is carried throughout the three episodes. And on voices: this sets the standard of incredible voice acting quality. Indeed, without Voice Director Wally Burr’s influence, one of the biggest continuously-praised strengths of the cartoon would never have come to fruition. Can you imagine Prime speaking like his Hong Kong dub of TF: Headmasters? Yeah, I just shuddered a bit, too.
Decepticon group shot
But that isn’t all! Below is only a partial list of what it establishes that Transformers media (and toys) keeps referencing: Prime’s axe. Megatron’s flail. Sideswipe’s rocket pack. Mirage’s invisibility, Skywarp’s teleportation, Ravage’s light sensitivity, Soundwave’s creepiness. Decepticons as tripod ships, Cybertron and Cybertronian forms. The need for human friends. Snarky Starscream. Windcharger’s magnetic arms. Hound’s resourcefulness. Rumble’s piledrivers. In no way can I emphasize the importance of this. Only certain weaknesses in the overall story elements and the hit and miss quality of the animation prevent this from being at the top. To be fair, some of the story elements are hindered by the toys themselves, though I will reflect upon no names.
Cybertronian forms. Sweet…
Cosmic Rust – Written by Paul Davids. The areas of Megatron that get hit by some meteor fragments begin to rust. The Decepticons capture Perceptor to find a cure for their leader. But once cured, Megatron hatches a scheme to infect the Autobots with Cosmic Rust.
An interstellar Transformers colony
This episode does not just look at departing Cybertron for new energy, but it shows that there are more to Transformers than meets the eye. In Cosmic Rust, we get actual Transformer settlements! On other planets! This adds a ton to the mythos, as it suggests that a: there are many more Transformers out there and b: colonies do exist. The next question, logically, is where are all these other Transformers? And while we get few actual answers in the cartoon (Wreck Gar, the Quintessons being exceptions to this point), it is an idea that Simon Furman plays with in his Generation 2 comic series.
The animation is well above par, with each character drawn well and where the growth and detail of the rust as it spreads over various Transformers feeling authentic and gruesome. As a story, it is another character piece, with great humor, the Stunticons shining the way they destroy best, and Starscream’s previous life as a scientist is referenced. Like The Master Builders above, this is an episode all about choice. Perceptor shows himself as being potentially dangerous, but instead of art, everything he does is in the name of science. Does that mean he is less noble for it? Potentially. His nobility forces him to heal Megatron, but in doing so, it puts the world in jeopardy. On the other hand, he doesn’t seem to help Megatron out of a heroic need, but more of a scientific need. “Hey, Percy, here’s a chance to demonstrate your genius. Don’t worry about the consequences!”
Starscream’s Brigade – Written by Michael Charles Hill. After being exiled from the Decepticons, Starscream frees five Cybertronian criminals from prison and re-purposes them into his own troops, the Combaticons. With these new warriors at his command, he challenges Megatron for control of the Decepticons.
Although this boasts some of the worst animation on this list, the episode itself is just so fun that it matters little. This is the real template for sub-team mutiny in the Transformers mythos. And there certainly have been enough civil wars! Starscream is devious but brilliant, showing just how evil and duplicitous a leader he would actually make. Where Megatron rules by fear, Starscream leads by manipulation. While it is a powerful tool, it is exactly why he is forever relegated to second fiddle.
Probably the greatest thing to come out of this episode, however, is the idea of Decepticons that are so violent, so unruly, that they have been imprisoned. I wonder if James Roberts was watching this episode when he came up with his notorious Decepticon Justice Division.
The Ultimate Weapon – written by Arthur Byron Cover. First Aid quits the Autobots over his pacifism. This becomes a problem when Trypticon attacks a malfunctioning Metroplex.
Malfunctioning metropolititan mashing.
The relevance of this is cognitive. Get it? Because of transforming cogs? Before this titan of an episode, people only assumed that Transformers converted form simply because. It was never an idea of internal mecha-organs. This changed that with an excellent story that any doctor would nod at in accordance with the reality of organ transplant. The battle between the monsters (pictured above) is so fun because of the unpredictability of their malfunctioning systems. Going a little deeper under the exo-skeleton, the cogs have become of the three most important parts of a Transformer (brain, spark, and cog). In fact, what is a Transformer without its cog? Action Master? Member of the MMM? James Roberts, are you like me in that this is this your favorite TF cartoon? I only ask because it seems the foundation for a whole lot of what you’re doing with your amazing MTMtE series for IDW.
Animation-wise, this is right up there with The Return of Optimus Prime and Call of the Primitives. Everything is beautiful (just look at the chunks fall off from that contact!), even the setting in Holland! The action is brilliant, where each and nearly every single character gets a spotlight moment. This episode is also as close as the animated series comes to Scramble City. When First Aid quits the team, Defensor is left short-handed in his protecting duties.
The Search for Alpha Trion – Written by Beth Bornstein. Optimus Prime travels to Cybertron to rescue Elita One, the leader of the female Autobots.
Elita-1: LeGENDERy. See what I did there? Yeah.
For the last year or so, whenever a group of fans are given the chance to vote on what kind of character we want Hasbro to produce, we’ve said “WIMMIN!” First, Windblade. Now, Victorion, the all-female supergroup that will kick butt not just alone, but as a COMBINER! Who wants to take bets that this would never have happened were it not for the introduction of Elita-1, Moonracer, Firestar, Chromia, and the other female Autobots from this episode? Yeah. Didn’t think so. The impact of their inclusion is historic. It changed a race of totally “male” robots into something far more complex, both physically, and culturally. While The Challenge of the Go-Bots did this better, including female characters right in their first episode, with this, Transformers established a precedent that is seen in the third season, with a regular character that never got a toy (Generations Arcee FTW!), and in every series since then. While not exactly a feminist’s cry of success, as every one of the females has a male counterpart, the very fact that they are in the series is a mighty victory, indeed. What impresses me most about Elita-1, especially, is her willingness to protect Optimus Prime, even at the cost of her own life. This is not only a woman, but it is woman as hero. And she is beautiful.
In addition to the female Autobots, we also get Vector Sigma, the super-computer that “gave all Transformers life” (despite its various iterations) and Alpha Trion (another one who will get a toy later this year. Takara Legends Ultra Magnus, in case you were wondering). The animation is as good as a regular episode can get, and when Elita uses her special power, things get downright seizure-inducing, which all good cartoons from the ‘80s need. I also want to take this moment to give a special nod to the recently late John Stephenson, who did an incredible and indelible job voicing Alpha Trion. Thank you, sir.
So there you have it! The Top 10 episodes of the original Transformers series. Do you agree? Let us know in the forums!
Previous Top Transformers lists can be found here!
OPENING SALVO! The Autobots and Decepticons’ uneasy peace is threatened by the flames of war! STARSCREAM—ruler of CYBERTRON—makes contact with WINDBLADE’S homeworld—and the only defense against a new CYBERTRONIAN EMPIRE are COMBINERS—multiple CYBERTRONIANS forming together into huge, dangerous forms!
Days of Deception is over, Windblade was over a long time ago, Punishment saw both its digital and print run, and we have been really setting the stage for Combiner Wars for a long long time now. And yet, The Transformers #39 takes another small step, piecing together the various parts leading up to here, preparing the spark, the casus belli, if you will and giving it all just a gentle prod.
Oh hey random Starscream that has nothing to do with this at all
John Barber takes main writing duties for the issues, but both him and Mairghread Scott are palpably present in the plotting of story. The dialogue provides a great framework of power dynamics and hierarchy being subverted at every turn, with some further development for a lot of older faces - and Swindle, of all characters, whose perspective guides the story.
We have Windblade and Optimus and some intriguingly almost 'post-colonial' moments of perspective shifts; we get Wheeljack and Ironhide and Chromia just trying to do their jobs, and being almost entirely confused; we get Starscream being Starscream, and gloriously so; we are introduced to Offroad, and given a *fantastic* explanation for their presence; we get another addition to the chapter in Transformers fiction that is Alpha Bravo, and Powerglide.
The legend continues
As an introduction, the Opening Salvo of Combiner Wars does much more than wht it could've,and is an immensely enjoyable read, with good humour, a good establishing of the playing field and just enough references to older continuity points to keep older fans entertained while bringing in some new ones too. Kapoom.
Livio Ramondelli, as we knew, takes on the whole brunt of the artistic duties for this and the majority. And I have to unfortunately admit this time, we are not seeing the great work he provided in recent publications such as Punishment. The composition is great, and there are really good layouts in the issue, and some of the expressivity is well conveyed.
At other times, however, some of those same faces, especially the newer or less frequently used ones, fall a little short of the full enjoyment of the piece. The tone is captured, and the washed-up, grimy sense of a post everything Cybertron works well - as might Caminus - but sometimes it really does jar a little.
Not as successful
The lettering does work quite well, even so, and Tom B. Long demonstrates once more the craft of a good letterer in some great sound effects and speech modifications. And While we have seen the beautiful Casey Coller/Joana Lafuente regular Menasor cover, and Ramondelli's poster variant for B, the gem of the variants is undoubtedly Sara Pitre-Durocher's Menasor and Swindle - see the thumbnail!
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Being able to follow what is going on on Cybertron from Swindle's perspective is, in and of itself, a treat. Seeing the world how he sees it and through those purple eyes, with the cynicism, degrees of naivete and, well, Swindle attitude, is truly refreshing. We get all of that, plus some very good interactions, and a great cameo from the Lost Light, too.
If this what we are to expect from the crossover event, and the merging of Barber and Scott's plotting minds, then we're certainly in for a fun trip down six or so issues. Combiner Wars is playing on multiple angles without, so far, reaching too far out to be forced to justify the number of players, has a healthy dose of Swindle and Starscream, and is suitable for anyone under or over the age of Galvatron.
In Which Duke Drives Optimus Through a Sea of Quintessons (Spoiler free-ish)
IT GETS CRAZIER! The biggest space battle ever grows to universal proportions! Will the G.I. JOE team and the AUTOBOTS make peace—before COBRA and the DECEPTICONS end the war… the bad way?!
One Woman Army
I realise we have fallen behind on reviewing this series, and we will come back to fill in on the missing issues of the first volume of Transformers vs G.I. Joe. However, after a decent hiatus, the cosmic series by Tom Scioli and John Barber is back with its fifth issue, and we're here to remind you how amazing it is!
We're on Earth and Cybertron, as the latter moves closer to the former at the hands of Megatron, and G.I. Joe and Cybertronians alike are attempting to deal with the impending catastrophe - although each in their own way, with suspicion, and not all plans are working together, at all.
Who nose what might happen
One of the main storylines we follow is that of Rodimus, as the attempts to regain control of Metroplex and the Autobot troops, his clash with one of the G1-est Grimlocks in a while, and the consequences of giant robot egos meeting each other's match, Megatron included, for the first time seen as potentially fallible.
Clash of Kings
The writing is fantastically scattered across the pages and cosmic stage that Scioli and Barber have set up, and even then, there is a lot more coherence than in the first couple of issues. The interactions and uncomfortable alliances between humans and Cybertronians lead to both amusing and fairly tense scenes, and definitely worth following around.
Tom Scioli's double act as writer and artist still delivers in a fantastic correspondence between, arguably, intention and execution. He is not trying to do anything, he is not attempting to capture elements of *something* - this is his style, heavily influenced by early comics art, and it is something to amaze at, every time.
Have a Metropolygon
Every corner of every panel, even the round ones, has something going on, from the little tags identifying new characters to the Quintesson vinetacles, to the sheer amount on miniature scenes taking place across a single page, plus all the colour work, you can spend hours on an issue alone.
Three Are One
The addition of Chris Mowry's stellar lettering and design work make sure that all is in its place and with its own voice, too, and that the package matches the contents, with echoes of those comics art influences showing up in the book as book. Plus, to catch eyes from everywhere, we get an impressive array of covers by Scioli, Nick Pitarra/Megan Wilson on Soundwave and Slither and the thumbnailed Derek Charm [plus a slightly more questionable one by Jamie Tyndall/Ula Mos].
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
The marvellous incoherent cohesion of the multiple overlapping scripts and plots is what makes this series so appealing to many readers who are not generally into Transformers or G.I. Joe fictional universes. It's fine to get lost, we're actually invited to do so, and there's more to gain from it, if you want to.
Laughing one's head off
We get references to Transformers lore, battles of wit, humour and ridiculous amounts of action, and it still feels as though we're being pulled through a story that doesn't care whether we're paying attention or not - much like the rest of the universe. This is a series that does exactly what it wants, and what it wants is to have fun with the medium and the casts. We're along for the ride, so buckle up.
And we're baaaaaaaaack..! Yes indeed, the new year has definitely started by now, and the holiday period has given a lot of Seibertron.com's creative minds and restless hands the right amount of time to get ideas flowing into plastic, ink, paper, digital, celluloid - you name it. We got it. Check out below the first Transtopia round-up of 2015!
THE HELP DESK
OmarJT82 is looking to tighten up some joints - leave any tips you have right here!
Another year has come and gone for every time zone in the world, and Seibertron.com has changed a lot in that time too. We have seen old names resurface, new names rise like shooting stars, staff reshuffles, the occasional (read: frequent) flame war and the only constant has been change.
As is only right, this being a community of Transformers fans! But what actually happened since the end of 2013 and the beginning of the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Transformers? What wonders did the fandom behold? What thrills did we partake of? What did we make of the anniversary of the comics and the cartoons that started it all? Read on below as the staff of Seibertron.com give you some reading material for the end of the holiday season - and let us know what you thought of
Transformers 2014 - A Year in Review
The Year of Riding Dragonsaurs
Joining us on this thunderous ride are:
ScoutBumblebee - The Rule-Enforcer
Autobot032 - The Opinion-Giver
Mindmaster - The Sandwich-Maker
Mkall - The Something-Maker
ScottyP - That Podcast Guy
william-james88 - The New One
mooncake623 - The Not-As-New One
LOST Cybertronian - The Silent One
Va'al - This One
If you've been with us before, you know how it all works: category by category, we look at toys, comics, series, toys, games, artwork, more toys, people, toy-like things and moments that made 2014 our very own Thrilling Thirtieth.
Transformers Figure of the Year 2014
Favorite 2014 Transformers: Age of Extinction Figure
Favorite 2014 Transformers Generations (Thrilling 30) Figure
Favorite 2014 Transformers Build Figure
Favorite 2014 Transformers Exclusive Figure
Favorite 2014 Transformers Masterpiece Figure
Favorite 2014 Transformers Comic
Favorite 2014 Transformers TV/Film
Favorite 2014 Transformers Game
Favorite 2014 Transformers Moment
What you're looking forward to in 2015 for Transformers
We will laugh, we will cry, we will share stories about how each of us lived through the Big Anniversary of the Transformers. Ready? Roll out!
Transformers Figure of the Year 2014 In which we all ignore Ultra Magnus, because Va'al is a deadline fiend
william-james88 - This easily goes to Masterpiece Wheeljack. Sure, it’s expensive and not easily available in North American stores (I picked it up in Honk Kong) but it remains the best new mold to come out of Hasbro/Takara in 2014. Not in a while have I marveled this much at a transformer, he is an absolutely perfect example of a robot in disguise. He feels hefty, has flawless kibble free modes which are also both accurate to their own specific source (a cartoon model and an officially licensed car model).What I really loved about Wheeljack is how robot parts just spring out of him and are nowhere noticeable in his car mode, like his wings. I just love how his feet are formed and look like distinct robot legs rather than a piece of his car. It is a “feet” of genius!
The best Hasbro release this year, however, was the Toysrus 2 pack that came with AOE Evasion Mode Prime and Classics Optimus, both in premium deco. It will be discussed more in depth in the next category.
Mindmaster - Generations Armada Starscream. This was a no-brainer for me. Those who read last year's Year in Review will remember that getting Armada Starscream would've been the ultimate highlight of mine for 2014. Thanks to a generous site owner, I was able to get my hands on this guy as a graduation gift.
Being first exposed to the realm of the Transformers through Armada, Starscream hit all the right nostalgia buttons for me. Articulation is great, robot mode casts a hella shadow, and the jet mode (sans turbines) friggin' nails it. If I had to say one negative thing about him, I would say that I wish they had retained the flip-out Null Ray Cannons. The way the missiles launch now are okay, but had the cannons been retained, he would be 150% perfect.
TL;DR version: I like him a lot because he reminds me of when I was eight.
ScottyP - Assuming Ultra Magnus doesn't dethrone him in two short weeks right before the calendar flips, which he very well might (it does), I've gotta give this to Masterpiece Bumblebee for the time being. This one barely edges out Wheeljack for me, for one reason and one reason alone: Bumblebee is more fun to transform. I think they're both extremely well done, definitive versions of the characters, but the intuitive nature of this Bumblebee mold seals it. Like every MP toy, he's super pose-able, has great detail, and unlike Wheeljack's lunchbox, his accessory is a whole other awesome figure - Exo-Suit Daniel! Never in a million years would have thought I'd have a transforming Exo-suit toy that wasn't third party, so kudos on that addition as well.
LAST SECOND EDIT: Well, ok, after having it in hand for less than 24 hours, Ultra Magnus is the greatest thing since great things were even thought of.
Autobot032 - Figure of the year? Man, that's a tough one. I want to say Arcee, because she's a really nice, solid figure, but figure of the year? No. AD-31 Armor Knight Optimus is really nice, I mean REALLY nice, but it's a recolored and somewhat remolded figure I already have, so I can't say it's exceptional. Jetfire's a good one, but he has some serious flaws, especially the hollowness.
It's a toss up between Generations Arcee and AoE Snarl. I can't decide which one is better.
ScoutBumblebee - Toy of the year... I guess I would say MP Wheeljack. I find his transformation truly enjoyable, and I love his vehicle mode. As a car buff, I also really love his true-to-vehicle form, being a licensed Lancia. Wheeljack is one of the few figures I display that I honestly cannot decide if I like his vehicle or bot mode better, because he looks so amazing in both forms. His coloring is spot on, and I just really dig the overall aesthetic of both of his forms. I was SO excited for this figure I hoped it wouldn't disappoint... And it didn't.
LOST Cybertronian - The 2014 trophy goes to Takara Masterpiece Wheeljack. He was always a favorite in the G1 cartoon as was his toy which I never owned as a kid. Mix all that in with an officially licenced Lancia alt mode and you have a recipe for perfection.
Mkall - This is always a tough question to answer, because it's been a long year with many additions to my collection. When it comes down to it, I tend to look at what figure filled a needed gap, and was pretty fun to play with. For the 2014 figure of the year, I'm going to go with... WHIRL! I'm a huge wrecker's fan, and while that gap was filled with the ROTF Whirl for the past couple of years, it had never felt like a good representation of the character. This Whirl is literally the G1 form updated with modern articulation, with a couple nods to his IDW interpretation if that's what floats your boat. He's fun to play with, transform and he's a very unique character on my shelves. I love you Whirl.
mooncake623 - There are so many awesome figures that came out this year it's really hard to choose. I loved Masterpiece Wheeljack and he might technically be the better toy but the winner for me has to go to none other then Masterpiece Bumblebee! I really don't understand all the complaints, yes he's small, forearms can be better with an extra flap and wrist rotations but in the end none of that matters! When I opened him and transformed him (without instructions) it felt like pure magic! I love it when a transformation is intuitive enough that I just know where everything goes and yet it is still complicated! I have every single Masterpiece mold and they are all amazing and I love them all, but I don't transform them very much. Bumblebee? I can play with it all day! Oh and Exosuit Witwicky is just sugar!
Va'al - My usual disclaimer applies, as I don't really buy that many toys, and the ones I do get tend to be from previous years and lines. However, I was pretty up to date once Takara Tomy's G2 Sideswipe showed up, and I even eventually gave in to the fantastic mold that is Age of Extinction Evasion Mode Optimus Prime - but Sideswipe, with his Yaniger grin, Dredd guns, personal attachment factor and multiple sticker deco possibilities, yeah, I think this one takes the top spot.
Favorite 2014 Transformers: Age of Extinction Figure In which we abandon ourselves to some evasive escapism and revel in --BOOM
mooncake623 - I don't have many, and the ones I bought - SDCC dinobots, Black Knight Leader Grimlock, Takara Lockdown - I never opened... But I do have the Evasion Mode Optimus Prime from that Grimlock two pack.. And I must say it is a fun toy. Great possibility, fun transformation (with some clearance issues), and looks good in both mode. Good toy all around.
Mkall - I restricted myself to getting only the Dinobots from this line, because Dinobots are awesome. Of that subset, I find myself liking Slug the best. He's a big bulky purple presence on my display, kind of like Barney, should be be a sword-toting Autobot knight. His helmet is a cool design and when it comes right down to it, he's pretty articulated to boot.
LOST Cybertronian - My vote goes to Evasion Mode Optimus Prime. There was some amazing engineering that went into this guy. The way it goes from a G1-esque truck alt mode and turns inside out that gives us a very nice robot mode. Very excited for this sexy beast from the moment I saw him.
ScoutBumblebee - Easily Evasion Mode Optimus Prime. Spot on vehicle mode and pretty neat bot mode. Not super easy to transform; he provides a bit of a challenge, which I like. I would've liked to have seen a little less color and a bit more rust on him, but I imagine his coloring was for marketing reasons, so I can live with it.
Autobot032 - I might just have to go with Snarl, here. Seriously, he's a nicely balanced figure, in terms of symmetry, complexity and looks, he's an excellent figure. AD-31 is definitely #2 in the line. All of the figures had their own charm and made them worthy of a purchase, but some were stronger than others, in terms of design.
ScottyP - Leader Grimlock; pick a deco. Looks and feels like a Leader-class toy. Transformation is challenging, but intuitive and fun. Brings out the presence of the character quite well, and has some really great articulation (minus the obvious thing-that-will-not-be-named). While they might not have hit screen accuracy very well on the mold, I can't think of a single Grimlock figure from AoE that really does. I've got to give it to this guy for being just a big pile of fun and passion in a line that was, at times, sorely lacking in it. Honorable mention to Evasion Mode Optimus Prime, who was a hard one to not type for this answer.
Mindmaster - Drift. Honestly, the Age of Extinction line was a bit of a let-down for me. There's something about the quality in them that I don't find appealing. It's not bad, but it doesn't feel as sturdy as things used to be. In saying that, I guess I'll go with Drift. I'm a sucker for a sword 'bot, and Drift fulfills that spot among my movie-oriented shelves.
william-james88 - Never has a “best of” pic ever been easier than the best AOE toy. Even in a toyline dedicated to robot dinosaurs, the winner by a mile is Evasion Mode Optimus Prime. Specifically the one to come in the Toysrus Evolution two pack with Classics Optimus. I never owned either of those molds so owning a premium deco version of them for a reduced price was a no brainer, it's a perfect package. Speaking specifically of the Evasion Prime mold, this is really something else, with no extra kibble in either mode. It is a very involved transformation that mimics the Bay aesthetic of everything turning inside out during transformation, and yet the Bayverse design itself is toned down. The mold gives us more smooth surfaces, often seen in the movie toys that never made it on-screen (like Mindwipe or Skyhammer), reinforcing its homage to G1 Optimus Prime. A true winner.
Va'al - I did mention him above in a struggle with a Masterpiece figure, but Evasion Mode Optimus Prime, in any of its paint schemes, definitely shoots to the top of list for this category. It's a very fun type of engineering, fantastic poses, excellent balance and you can finally make DotM Megatron accurately shoot endangered animals - just like on TV, kids! But seriously, there are very few things this simplified-but-not-really, movieverse-but-not-entirely, red-but-also-blue Optimus cannot pull off.
Favorite 2014 Transformers Generations (Thrilling 30) Figure In which we pretty much ignore the 30 out of 30 line, for obvious reasons
william-james88 - I really want to say Rhinox. I once wondered if they would ever make Masterpiece Beast Wars figures but if the generations line keeps offering us stuff like this, I won't need any. For all intents and purposes, he is Masterpiece Rhinox. Super show accurate, with a flawless robot mode and great detailing. He has the right weapons and they store well in beast mode. It's pretty much everything you would want. Except the toy has some problems in terms of loose joints. I can't make my figure stand and that saddens me greatly. So I am not sure if Rattrap should get the award instead since I can say a lot of the same things about Rattrap, and his joints are tighter. However, I really like how very little of robot mode is seen in Rhinox's beast mode making my vote more for him. I could find a way to fix those joints, making him the flawless figure he is.
Mindmaster - This one was tough for me. A lot of the Generations stuff that came out this year I like a whole lot; the Mini-Con Assault Team, Jhiaxus, Windblade, Roadbuster, to name a few. I'd name Armada Starscream, but it's already really high up on this list, taking the Figure of the Year spot for me. With that said, I guess I'll go with Generations's first Leader-class entry, Jetfire.
I missed out on the original Classics Voyager back in 2006, so between then and now, I repurposed Universe (2008) Treadbolt as the lamely named "Space Exploration" Jetfire. Treadbolt's burden was lifted when I got Leader Jetfire. Getting this guy was a total delight for me. Though the significant difference in paint between what we saw at Toy Fair and the final product is a little troubling, I'm willing to forgive it.
ScottyP - Am I picking Generations, or the Marketing Gimmick 30 of 30 dudes? I'm assuming the former and will go with Voyager Rhinox. I recommend the superior Takara paint job if you can swing it, even though I haven't picked that one up myself. Rhinox is everything you can ask for out of an update to an old character's toy. He looks like he just jumped out of the screen and started hanging out on your shelf. I think the only way to ever top this figure and have a more definitive plastic toy version of the character would be to create a Masterpiece figure, and I'm really not sure what else that could do besides give the Rhino mode some articulation. Rhinox should be in every store that exists now, at least for a little while longer, so pick up some version of him if you haven't. Since I seem to be on the Honorable Mention train, I'll give that to Crosscut on this one, with the caveat that you really need to go buy the Reprolabels set for him to feel that kind of love for the toy.
Autobot032 - *sighs* This one is a tough one. Arcee's really nice. Like, really nice. Her transformation is simplistic enough to master easily, but has enough steps to make you feel like she's worth the money. Her poseability is top notch, even without a waist swivel, and she can make some killer poses with those guns. (I tossed the swords back in the box. I have ZERO use for them.) I do like Jetfire, though. He's a flawed, but nice figure, although most of his flaws revolve around his hollowness and feeling as light as one of those snap together kits you find at your local Wal*Mart. (Fortunately, his construction is much more solid than that.)
...I'm going to say Arcee. I can't deny her awesomeness.
ScoutBumblebee - Can I pick more than one? I have really enjoyed the fembots both on an enjoyment-of-toy level and a brand level. I think it's neat to see Hasbro giving a little more attention to the fembots, as not only are they cool additions to the story lines, they can help get girls into Transformers. The fact that Windblade is one of my favorite comics doesn't hurt, but I enjoy her figure possibly most of the three fembots, followed closely by Arcee.
LOST Cybertronian - This goes to the loveliness that is Brainstorm. After many years we get a brand new headmaster figure. I had many headmasters as a kid so I have a soft spot for them. To top it all off, Hasbro even worked in revealing tech specs. That is a great wink and nod to collectors. If I have one gripe about this figure, it's the arms for the headmaster. I think Hasbro could have worked in more possible arms with elbow joints.
Mkall - Generations is my cup of tea. It's what keeps my interest in collecting Transformers. For this reason, I'm going to go with a figure that I don't actually own yet, and that is Leader Class Jetfire. Why don't I own it yet? Because I'm waiting for the Takara version because it fixes one of the most glaring issues I had with the Hasbro version, and that was the needlessly chromed guns. Classics Jetfire was one of the first figures ever on my shelves, so it was with come sadness that I'm preparing to swap him out. However this new Jetfire looks to be loads of fun, and despite some hollowness issues which don't bother me as much as it does some people. He's a great representation of a great character.
mooncake623 - This is a tough one. This is the bread and butter of my collection and I bought every single figure that came out this year. Some of my favorites are Rhinox, Waspinator, Arcee, Jetfire, Chromia.... the list goes on. But the winner has to be Brainstorm! Lots of QC issues whatever blah blah blah. It is awesome!! But do take a minute to understand the figure and fix those QC issues. This Brainstorm looks like it just jumped out of the comics and it is just amazing! Stupidly easy transformation but I don't care, it's awesome.
Va'al - Another category I'm actually kinda sorta vaguely up to date with and invested in, in terms of purchases and interest! I mean, except for all the stuff that came out after Voyager Rhinox. I do have an order ready for Takara Legends Windblade, but am really not drawn to any of the other figures (as nice as some of them look, granted). Rhinox, on the other hand, is a great update to the Beast Wars toy, shows up in a comic, looks fantastic, and I have one in hand rather than on a production line.
Favorite 2014 Transformers Build Figure In which bricks and clips are clicked together, and some are left aside
LOST Cybertronian - This category goes to Construct-Bots Dinofire Grimlock. It is a very fun build with light up a feature and 9 firing missiles. He even comes with a little Optimus Prime to ride him. With a robot mode that stands around 10 inches, he towers over all the other Construct-Bots.
ScoutBumblebee - I neither collect these, nor get terribly excited about them. But my son, who is also a Transformers fanatic, really liked the Constructbots Strafe. He likes the figure in both bot and robot mode, and he especially likes that he doesn't have to take it apart to transform it; he has no trouble changing it from bot to dino mode.
ScottyP - Kreo "Kreon Class of 1984" set. Uh-oh, I'm double-dipping on exclusives! Whatever, man, ain't no thing. This set is amazing. Boatload of Kreons in one set? Check. Super cool accessories? Check. Absolutely incredible box? Check. Senior Superlatives? Most likely to "Check"! Honorable mention here to Beast Hunters Constructbots Unicron Megatron, for actually being a representation of that character that went beyond a repaint. Sigh.
william-james88 - This would go to Unicron Megatron ConstructBots. For some reason, that Cybertronian flying vehicle mode works much better as a construction figure than as an action figure. The Unicron add ons make Megatron look quite majestic as well and Constructbot Ratbat is a fun little guy.
Va'al - I have eyed up so many of these figures in the lead-up to buying completely different ones, but I eventually gave in on the only representation of a disappointingly plastic version of a character that could've been so much more - and I love it: Constructbot Lockdown, the tiny dude with tiny gun, tiny smirk and tiny scar. No regrets here.
Favorite 2014 Transformers Exclusive Figure In which we pay more money than needed for extra paint and *prestige*
william-james88 - Easy pic for me, TF Expo exclusive Lambor. The car mode is so nice, with no robot parts seen, even underneath, (something rare in car transformers) that the removal of that symbol (you can stick it on yourself) showcases its beauty so much more. Not only is it a perfect mold for a robot in disguise, but it now becomes a beautiful Lamborghini car model as well. This was also my first crack at the Lamborghini MP mold and even though I have no attachment to the character, this toy is the Transformer I never knew I wanted but always wished I had.
Mindmaster - The character of Beast Wars Rampage is awesome, we can all agree with that. Therefore, this year's incentive for joining the Collectors' Club, a retool of Prime: First Edition Megatron into Rampage, is awesome. Yeah, the vehicle mode doesn't quite suit the character, and the head may be just a bit on the diddy side, but overall, I'm so happy I got him.
ScottyP - For exclusives, I've got to give it up for the SDCC Dinobots with Ark playset, and really by that I just mean the Ark playset. Friend of the Twincast / Podcast Matthew Reinhardt did a phenomenal job designing this set in a way that's not only pretty faithful to ol' Mt. St. Hillary, but also in a way that makes it hold up even with figures displayed on it. Easter eggs abound, a front and back, and again, the thing doesn't just fall apart once you put stuff on it. Amazing work, and I hope there's a Nemesis set in the future somewhere. Honorable mention here to Botcon 2014 Scorponok for actually being a Headmaster.
Autobot032 - YOTH Optimus Prime. While I don't own it, I do own the previous use of the mold (Hasbro's release of Masterpiece Optimus) and it's just a well made and well designed figure, all around. While the colors were a tad ridiculous, especially with the trailer being translucent, the cost more than made up for it, especially after the prices of the original skyrocketed.
LOST Cybertronian - This category was close between BotCon Scorponok and Devcon. In the end it came down to heads. The Devcon head looks a bit off while they turned a non-headmaster Scorponok into a bonafide headmaster. I think the bit they added to make the headmaster gimmick work looks a bit ugly but it gets the job done.
Mkall - Once again, The Transformers Club comes out on top in this category. Botcon Scorponok is my favourite exclusive figure. It's the first headmaster in 20 years, beating Hasbro's Generations Brainstorm to market by 7 months. He's an imposing presence on my Decepticon shelves and I cannot help but to look at him whenever I pass by.
mooncake623 - The Team is coming together nicely.. Honorable mentions goes to Subscription Chromedome, again another figure I anticipated so much that I sold the third party equivalent. I just love to go for the IDW look and the team would not be complete without Cloud Rodimus! That's right! It is Generation Springer in Red, it is a helicopter? WTF? $90 for a $20 toy? There are so many things that shouldn't work with this repaint. But guess what? They do! If you are looking for IDW Rodimus, this is it. I don't think I can say anything about this toy that people don't already know, you just have to see it in person and with the rest of the MTMTE crew. It belongs.
Va'al - I never buy into the Exclusive labels, usually. Not on principle, I simply have so little interest and money for regular retail figures that added price for something a little different is just not up my alley. So actually going out of my way to get the TFSS Rampage figure goes to show how much I wanted that thing. *This* much. Seriously. Great mold, fantabulous colours.
Favorite 2014 Transformers Masterpiece Figure In which two are tied, and Ultra Magnus is still ignored
mooncake623 - I'm going to say Masterpiece Ultra Magnus! That's right, I don't have it in hand yet but it does come out this month so it still counts as 2014. This is my favorite Masterpiece figure in 2014 because I love the Masterpiece line and the anticipation of getting him in hand and messing with him, is very exciting for me. And because I don't really play with my collections much my Favorite Masterpiece figure will always be the next one...
LOST Cybertronian - Again, this category goes to MP-20 Wheeljack. This is the perfection that all the Autobot cars should strive for.
ScoutBumblebee - Same as figure of the year, Wheeljack, so no real reason to go back into it, I suppose. But I love this figure. It's my second favorite Masterpiece figure of ALL time! I will always be partial to MP Soundwave, but upon receipt of Wheeljack, I realized that I'll be collecting a lot more Masterpiece figures in 2015. They're definitely worth the cost, especially for genuine figures.
Autobot032 - Prowl didn't impress me all that much, other than he looks really GOOD in both vehicle and robot mode, but the transformation and overly tight joints in some areas and loose bits in others, just didn't sell it for me. Wheeljack's a really nice figure, but something's a bit off about him, and I can't get super excited about him, as much as I want to. I think his transformation is part of my problem with him. I don't own it, yet, but I'd say my vote has to go to Bumblebee. You get two figures for the price of one, he seems to be getting rave reviews, and he just looks fantastic.
ScottyP - I already picked Bumblebee up top, so no need to go into detail again on this topic. So instead, here's a shout-out to every collector that didn't buy any Knock-Off Masterpieces this year. Thank you.
Mindmaster - I was going to take a page from last year's Year in Review and name the reissue of the ever-popular MP-10 Optimus Prime (because he just absolutely friggin' rocks) , but I figured that that wouldn't be fair. So I guess I'll go with Hasbro's domestic release of Masterpiece Prowl, my first Masterpiece that's neither an Optimus Prime or a Seeker. At first, I wasn't very interested in the idea of owning Prowl, but I was able to get him for my birthday, and I haven't regretted it. Cool robot mode, ace vehicle mode, banging deco. Looks great riding out of MP-10's trailer.
william-james88 - I love Wheeljack and TF Expo Lambor, but Hasbro also released MP 10 Optimus Prime as an Asia exclusive figure this year and it was my chance to finally own one at a reasonable price. He is a perfect Optimus. Maybe not as hefty as one would imagine (especially when comparing to MP 01) but him being lighter helps move him around to whatever pose you want and it makes transformation a lot easier. And by far, he is the Optimus with the most thorough transformation of his legs into the back of the cab. I also love his transforming blaster gimmick which can be stored away.
Va'al - I can't do anything more than reiterate just how much I am in awe of G2 Sideswipe. I mean, the Takara name is Rambor - it has Rambo in the name! You cannot get better than that, and I just want to grin my way to sleep with it (after a good lick), grin grin grin. Grin.
Favorite 2014 Transformers Comic In which Va'al goes on for while - bless him
william-james88 - The one that came with Windblade as it is the only comic I got from this year. Want to know why? Language laws where I am from forbid English only material from coming with toys, so the only comic I got was the one that came with the only Generations figure I bought on my trip to Asia. My Quebec politics rant has now ended.
ScottyP - IDW More Than Meets the Eye #34: Births, Deaths, and Interventions. I know this one wasn't the favorite issue of pretty much anyone, but the more I reflect on this, the more I say to myself, "This issue was an achievement". You can know absolutely nothing about Transformers and enjoy this issue, by itself. You've got striking ideas bouncing through multiple threads, including moral dilemmas, revolutionary thoughts, empathy and the lack thereof - outstanding stuff if you enjoy using your brain. Every heartstring is pulled upon at moments where you don't expect it. In the scheme of the overall plot, it neatly sets up the story to move forward in a way that you won't see coming, and oh my god does it make for some additional fan tears in issue 36. This is everything that makes More Than Meets The Eye the, so far, best Transformers fiction ever written, diluted into one amazing package. Honorable mention in this category to the companion book Robots in Disguise (now "The Transformers"), for its gigantic leap in quality since the end of Dark Cybertron.
ScoutBumblebee - Easily Windblade. I liked the art, the storyline kept me on the edge of my seat for the next one, and the character was fascinating to me. I enjoyed all of the story line, and found few things to really dislike about it. Honorable mention would go to MTMTE. I also liked that series a ton, despite a few bits that I thought were a little dry. Overall, also a highly enjoyable line that did some things no one had ever done before. Megatron going Autobot? Who would have ever seen that coming?!
Mkall - MTMTE takes this. The writing is tight, the characters are dynamic and flamboyant, and I find myself laughing at least once an issue, most recently at the "Having a breakdown is nearly a right of passage" line. It also did one of the biggest twists in TF History: making Megatron a legitimate Autobot, and not suffering a massive fanboy assault because of it. Keep it up IDW!
mooncake623 - MTMTE. I can't comment on it too much cause I'm only up to issue 30 but the things this comic is doing is really turning the transformers world upside down and inside out and it is an amazingly fun ride.
Va'al - The work that the creators and editors over at IDW are doing is unprecedented, we're blending genres, exploring a lot of the quirks of the comics medium, formally, visually, story-wise and more. The fandom is being brought more and more to the fore thanks to the comics personalities - variant covers being commissioned to fan artists! fan artists becoming professional creators! world-wide conventions and guests! recognition alongside comics mainstream publications and awards! And if I had to choose one over all the others, it'd have to be Mairghread Scott and Sarah Stone's Windblade (though she was technically introduced by Barber and Roberts with Raiz, Milne, Griffith and Coller). The designs, the colours, the dialogue, the stories. Even the flaws were spectacular. Not to underestimate the triple combo of first woman writer and artist collaboration on the franchise (in 30 years), writing female characters - and introducing a Transformers multiverse of sorts.
As Scotty points out, xRID has leapt so far ahead in writing it was a really strong contender with MTMTE for second place. And Tom Scioli and John Barber's Transformers vs G.I. Joe is still so bonkerishly amazing I can't even.
Favorite 2014 Transformers TV/Movie In which Rescue Bots was about to win, when --BOOM
william-james88 - I really like how Age of Extinction took the criticism of the previous films to heart. It wasn't perfect, but man, talk of an improvement: Clearer action, more scenes with the bots, less dumb humor, better villains, and no Shia LaBoeuf. It feels like the case with the Fast and Furious movies which get better the more they make ‘em.
Mindmaster - Age of Extinction was, hands down, really cool. So happy that there was more involvement with the Transformer cast. If I had to be nitpicky about it, I would say that I wish there had been more going on with Galvatron and Lockdown. The fact that they were never really around at the same time smelled of two separate scripts clashing...
Autobot032 - Definitely Age Of Extinction. Yeah, parts of it are pure popcorn entertainment where you shut down your brain and run on autopilot, but the extra robot screen time is greatly welcomed, plus the lack of filth humor was a really nice change. It wasn't until this film that I realized I REALLY dislike Sam and his whole entourage. I look back on it now and think "Oh, a kid gets his first car and it turns into his alien best friend. Wooo." and I look at Cade, Tessa and Shane and I genuinely care for them all.
No "Sam's Happy Time" (Ugh. Thank you!) No screaming like a girl and running around like an idiot for laughs, no, thankfully all of that's gone. Now we have a down on his luck father trying to be more than what he is, while taking care of his daughter and trying to keep his family together and prosper. That's an everyman story, that's something I (and it seems most of the audience) can connect to. Sam was a petulant child who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but had awesome adventures. Boo hoo.
On top of that, the Autobots were finally fleshed out quite nicely and Hound stole the show in every scene he was in. He was just an excellent addition to the movieverse.
ScoutBumblebee - Rescue Bots. While the show misses a few key elements to my fandom (Decepticons) I enjoy seeing a different"group"of Transformers that operate in a different way. I also really like the theory that the Rescue Bots universe operates parallel to the Prime universe. It's a fun show and I like that I can enjoy it with my kids with nothing that's TOO intense, and a lot of silly, funny moments.
LOST Cybertronian - Not a whole lot of choices for this category this year. I am going to have to give it up for Age of Extinction. While many fans despise the movies, I enjoy them for what they are and that is mindless fun. I am glad Bay was able to work in the Dinobots even for the few minutes of screen time they had.
Favorite 2014 Transformers Game In which we all admit our addiction to that silly little thing
Mkall - I was really hoping that TF: Universe would come to fruition, if only because some of the character designs were pretty cool. Alas it was not meant to be...
ScoutBumblebee - I didn't get into the games too much this year, but I did really enjoy Angry Birds Transformers. I thought it was a nice variance from typical Angry Birds variations, making it fun to learn and play. My only complaint is the sheer volume of ads and requirements to buy things. That's not something I appreciate much but it didn't eclipse the enjoyment of the game.
Autobot032 - Definitely Angry Birds. It's so silly and ridiculous, but addictive. Can't put it down once I get on a roll. Just a lot of silly fun with tractor beam to pull you in. Great for kids and adults alike, the entire family can have fun and that's really important.
ScottyP - I'm going with Angry Birds: Transformers, and only because they got Vince DiCola for the music duties. I actually think the game kind of sucks, but it got us more DiCola Transformers music, so it wins. Honorable mention to Rise of the Dark Spark, it was kind of fun.
Mindmaster - Angry Birds Transformers - this game is addictive. Kinda wish there were more characters, though, instead of rehashings of the same ones (i.e regular Optimus Prime and "Energon" Optimus Prime). What really gets me chuckling, though, is that when Starscream gets to a certain level, he gets his classic crown.
william-james88 - This goes out to the Angry Birds Transformers Game, simply for bringing this beloved brand to a whole new audience. And I love how the combination of the two brands works really well. The designs are imaginative and the whole VHS aesthetic which makes up the marketing campaign and the pause screen is brilliant.
Favorite 2014 Transformers Moment In which things get personal and the picture has nothing to do with the response
william-james88 - Oh man, so many. This is my first year at Seibertron and in this one year I rose from a simple fan with a few posts to a full on staff member. I am so thankful for the warm welcome everyone has given me on this site. I got to make new friends who I actually see physically from time to time or intend to meet soon. This is an amazing community. Due to language laws, I can’t always get some transformers at Toysrus and one guy on the boards told me he would be happy to buy me a MP Grimlock and send it to me. I was quite hesitant about sending money through Paypal and when he told me the shipping was more than he expected and that I didn’t have to pay the extra cost, I became super suspicious. But sure enough, Grimlock came in the mail. He was just being a nice guy who wanted to honor the discussed agreement even if it would be at his loss and that he was just paying it forward for how good the site and its users had been to him. In an era when the internet is known for being louder and angrier than ever, I am amazed at the quality of people this site has introduced me to. Rock on Seibertron!
PS: also, everytime I discover a lot someone is selling in local ads or whenever I receive a package of toys in the mail is an amazing transformers moment too.
Mindmaster - Going to see Age of Extinction the day it opened in theaters, and getting so pumped afterwards that I went to my local Target and bought Whirl, Scoop, Skrapnel, and the Silver Knight Optimus Prime and Grimlock set.
ScottyP - As usual, there are entirely too many to list. I'm going to be somewhat self serving and go with the Twincast/Podcast Episode #100. Not only is that a really cool milestone, but what an episode! Not only were there the usual fun times with weapons, but there were guests galore, including some of the biggest we've ever had on the show. Runner Up nods here to the time I got to spend with friends at both Botcon and TF Con Chicago. Always excellent to see everyone and meet new friends too!
Autobot032 - The anticipation of the new movie figures. Waiting for the street date to be broken (which it was lol) and hoping to be overwhelmed like all the previous movies had done for me. My anticipation was not in vain, the figures turned out to be just as good as I had hoped and some even surpassed my expectations. So, yeah, the waiting for them was my favorite moment. The sheer excitement. (Sadly, nothing else this year has done that for me.)
ScoutBumblebee - My favorite Transformers moment was also my favorite Seibertron moment; staying up late to post all of the influx of news coming in from the UK Toy Fair. It was great fun to work closely with Alex in the early hours of the morning to get everything posted... And first. I felt like I was amongst the first in America to get sneak peeks at all of those exciting new Transformers products.
Mkall - The Universal Studios trip during the Botcon convention was pretty darned cool. I enjoyed the actors in the Prime, Megatron and Bumblebee suits. I also really enjoyed the Transformers Experience ride. Stan Bush in concert was surprisingly awesome!
mooncake623 - Joining the Staff of Seibertron.com! I'm a closet nerd I really don't have anyone to share my interest in Transformers with. It's great being a part of a community of something you enjoy and contributing.
Va'al - What can I say that hasn't been said by everyone else already? Staff life, #100 Twincast Podcast appearance and subsequent hilarity on the boards due to my alleged Britishness, Auto Assembly 2014 and its guests recognising or knowing me before I even introduced myself, receiving toys and art from creators and fellow fans across the globe (some entirely unexpected too!). But I think what topped it all was talking to the then newly-arrived Sarah Stone for Seibertron.com - and my own interest, of course.
and finally What you're looking forward to in 2015 for Transformers In which we all pretty much agree, and say our goodbyes
mooncake623 - Bring on Combiner wars!!! And more Masterpiece reveals! Let's go Toy Fair NYC!!!!
Mkall - Combiner Wars has my interest, and I'm very curious about this leader-class Ultra Magnus. The Robots in Disguise cartoon holds promise, and I'll watch it hoping it'll be of good quality, but I'll reserve my judgement until I see it.
LOST Cybertronian - I am really looking forward to the new cartoon. Transformers Prime's absence left a big hole that I am hoping Robots in Disguise can fill. I am also obsessively waiting for MP-24 Star Saber. There is not a more beautiful Transformer from what we have seen.
ScoutBumblebee - I can't even list just one thing here. I'm excited for everything that comes next. I'm looking forward to what Robots in Disguise will be like, and I'm also really stoked for the return of the Windblade comic. I'm really looking forward to the surprises that we will see this year though - - the stuff we don't know about yet that will come up unexpectedly and surprise us with cool different stuff than we have seen before.
Autobot032 - Definitely Combiner Wars. I love combiners, but aside from that, I just don't find RID (2015) all that appealing, as it's aimed to kids instead of collectors and that's fine. To each their own and I see that there's a market for figures such as RID, so more power to the children and everyone else who plans on collecting them, but my money's going to Combiner Wars in 2015.
ScottyP - Just getting to experience another year in the continuing saga of this silly hobby of ours. The past decade has been somewhat of a "Golden Age" for Transformers, and it seems to be winding down but not quite yet over, so I'm gonna enjoy the year or two we have left before things inevitably get a little quieter again. Of course, I've been expecting that to happen for the last five years, so I'm probably wrong. Either way, knowing that each day is another opportunity to continue to enjoy Transformers and make some really cool friends along the way is enough for me to be excited about the future.
Mindmaster - I'm looking forward to what Generations: Combiner Wars has to offer (please do Bruticus, PLEASE!), and Masterpiece Star Saber looks promising. More Armada homages in Generations too, please!
william-james88 - I am looking forward to the Combiner Wars toys. I love combiners and I am really curious to see what Hasbro has cooked up for us with this part of the Generations toyline. And speaking of combiners, there is a rumoured 6 voyager Titan Class Devastator. If that rumour turns out to be true, you can jot that down as the figure I am most excited for.
Va'al - I would also say Combiner Wars - but not exactly for the toys. It's all about the comics, and the art, and the writing and the art and more art: xRID and Windblade both feed into it, and it's going to be big (pun *always* intended). Maybe my pre-ordered Takara Windblade will eventually arrive too. And I might even buy another toy *gasp* if Prowlestator is a thing that happens. Be a thing that happens, table-flippin' green giant. Be a thing.
And maybe, just maybe, travelling over to North America for one of the conventions over there, if not BotCon (and SDCC) itself. We'll see.
*crackle* --was what 2014, the celebration of 30 years of The Transformers, brought us. We had comics, we had toys, we had movies, we had series, we had more toys, we had a laugh and eventually, a pretty good time. And of course, we had each oth-- *fizz*
*fssh*..eep an optic out for the next Twincast/Podcast episode to hear more opinions on the year 2014, they're bound to show up eventual---
..what about all of you though? What did the thriving, thrilling community of Seibertron.com make of the Year of the Horse 2014, and what type of Goat do you expect from 2015? Comment below, sound out your thoughts, let those fingers fly, and let us know! You know where to find us in the Energon Pub. Next round's on us.
--william-james88, Mindmaster, Autobot032, ScottyP, Mkall, LOST Cybertronian, ScoutBumblebee, mooncake623, Va'al and the staff of Seibertron.com - Roll Out.
You got TRANSFORMERS in my Angry Birds! No, you got Angry Birds in my TRANSFORMERS! ERGH, OOF, MPPHH!!! Hey! Waitaminit! This is actually pretty great! That’s right, comic lovers, two of your favorite IDW comics have morphed into one amazing new comic! When the TRANSFORMERS lose their powerful ALLSPARK, it ends up on Piggie Island and the world of Angry Birds turns robotic! Prepare to meet… the AUTOBIRDS and DECEPTIHOGS!
Philip K. Dick would be hogrified
Before time began, there was the egg. Or maybe it was the bird. The egg, or the bird, what came first..? In any case, there was an egg, and a green pig wanted to eat it. To eat all of them. As they do. Apparently. But the egg was also a cube, and the cube fell, rolled away, and became an egg. With the properties of a cube.
John Barber is having a lot of fun with the script here, letting puns rip every other panel, juggling multiple identities, continuities, storylines and characterisations that fans of the Transformers franchise of the past decade will recognise, and aiming for a fairly contemporary target (with some nods to older fans too).
Some things never change
There is very little one can do to spoil the issue, but I am not going to simply summarise the story of the comic, and I am actually quite glad something as light-hearted and - simply put - silly as this actually exists out there, reminding fans that kids are into our favourite robots too. And the transition page is really quite clever, verbally.
The comic uses Livio Ramondelli to introduce and frame the story as part of a spin-off universe of the Transformers, something based on modern iterations of the Cybertronians, from Bayverse to Rescue Bots and some added G1 highlights to please a bit of everyone. And it works.
The artists who will be gracing the pages of the series from here on, however, are a great addition to my knowledge of visual creators: Marcelo Ferreira has a great sense of visual humour, in facial expressions, character, dynamism and page layout - and the cartoon style art is perfectly apt in tone for the series.
No fowl play here
And of course, all of it catches the eye even more thanks to the wonderful colour work by Nikos Koutsis, making sure all characters jump off the page, vibrantly and energetically, and Chris Mowry's brilliant lettering work, letting himself really go on the fun aspect of the job. Plus, the comic comes with three fantastic covers, that further show off the glorious silliness of the crossover, with Ramondelli, Ferreira and Koutsis being joined by action-packed Jorge Pacheco's variant (thumbnail).
I don't believe anyone was expecting a masterpiece of storytelling or the new rising star of the comics medium, but the issue is a whole lotta fun, pleasingly funny, enjoyably silly and most importantly, never takes itself seriously - something that the IDW Transformers titles can sometimes fall victims of (though less so as series progress).
The art is also extremely refreshing, and the framing of the story by a Transformers regular sets the scene nicely for the very cartoony, series-appropriate Ferreira and Koutis approach to the illustration. The lettering is fun, the writing is fun, the issue is, overall a non-serious
AUTOBOTS VERSUS EARTH! OPTIMUS PRIME and the AUTOBOTS discover the humans’ secret—and they aren’t pleased with what they learn! Will the DECEPTICON’s alliance tear down the peace—and will the world learn the CYBERTRONIANs are back?
A bit hard to miss, really
The past of couple of issues of Robots in Disguise have slowly been building up to the Alpha Trion discovery and recovery, seeding lies and lines about Prowl's true intentions and feelings, Jazz and Arcee's discomfort in their new-and-old roles, Galvatron's connection to it all, the Witwickys, Soundwave, Optimus and the rest of the gang. Slowly.
And then, suddenly, giant spaceships. Stories that were heading one fearfully predictable way go in a direction so different it's almost inwards. Characters more or less established by now are truly revealed for what and who they are. Changes come about so subtly and quickly and yet still make sense with everything teased so far, that reading 28-31 again is almost required to get more out of it all once again.
John Barber does an excellent job at keeping all the threads close, weaving a pattern so intricate that three out of two of us on the comics staff have no idea as to where the story will go from here, but are loving the ride read. This is what RID promised in its initial issues, both seasons, and the heights it can accomplish with its twisted political and social narratives.
And dogs called Buster
And on top of that, the entire issue is a series of well orchestrated, well paced, well placed action sequences, with Prowl and Jazz on one side, the Autobot team on another, and humans and Decepticons between and around the two. With exemplary stand-outs in Thundercracker, Buster and Marissa, as Barber does not forget the series' heart and humour, exactly when needed (the closing sequence is magnificently crafted).
Andrew Griffith is the main artist, taking care of all the gigantic spaceships, stupidly amazing visual references, fights, perspective shifts, interactions and running plot, flashbacks included. The opening scene, the title page, just examples of what Griffith can do with a page, something hinted at in Dark Cybertron. And the amazingness is topped by Josh Perez' colour work on Griffith's pages, giving a grittiness and darker hue to a truly bleak situation - lighting it up by fire, laser and destruction.
Brendan Cahill is confined (I use the term loosely) to four pages in total - but whoah are they some pages! Focusing on the interactions between Prowl and Jazz, and an amazing double page, reader shifting spread that delves deeper into the human connection to the story, both Cahill and Joana Lafuente's colours put the sci-fi back into the Transformers, reminding us of one of the many genres the comics line falls under. And how adorably evil Prowl looks while smirking.
To top everything off, Tom B. Long dazzles in his lettering work, with some wonderfully placed sound effects mirroring the chaos and confusion that must be ensuing during the attack on the human base, and a gorgeous ending sequence caption group. Then add to that the amazing Coller and Bove cover revealed yesterday, and the Coller and Lafuente variant hinting at where the story may be headed (see thumbnail).
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Barber was able to take all my fears as to where this series was heading, and spin them completely around into something unrecognisable and impossible to figure out, nearing its sister series MTMTE for twistedness. Griffith and Cahill's collaboration raises the bar even higher, with some mind-boggling art in terms of perspective and layouts, with the excellent Perez and Lafuente giving a decidedly significant boost, and Long's designer eye operating from the shadows.
You did, RID
Robots in Disguise #32 has action, lots of it. It has mystery, it has scheming, it has humans and Cybertronians. Lots of them. It has a good story, excellent pacing, great dialogue, fantastic art, amazing colouring and letters, gorgeous covers and is reaching a level of comic book writing worthy of any other action series currently published in the industry. I cannot recommend this issue enough. Lots of it.
THE WAR FOR CYBERTRON! Optimus Prime versus Megatron. Autobots versus Decepticons. At the dawn of the conflict, battle lines are drawn and sides are set… now legends will be made. The war that would define a planet begins in earnest—and its revelations will shake the TRANSFORMERS’ world to the core!
Autocracy did some really interesting things by taking politics to a whole other level. Monstrosity brought 'the Quintessons' and Trypticon back into the game. Primacy is supposed to shape the IDW Transformers universe as we know it - so what is the missing link between the fall of Trypticon and the rise of Megatron? It looks like issue 1 starts answering that question.
The focus of Chris Metzen and Flint Dille appears to be shifting between Optimus Prime and Megatron as they both 'recover' from the happenings in the previous two mini-series, with the latter in particular sometimes questioning (?) his actions - and yet, at the same time, we also have some nice interactions between Grimlock and Rodimus, Optimus and Ironhide, Megatron and.. well. You'll see.
There is one major snag in the issue, during Optimus' sections, which I'm hoping will get explained later in the series - but for now it's not too distracting (for me at least), and considering John Barber is editing the work, some kind of patching could always take place at another stage, or there's a better reason for it happening as it does.
All in all, there are some big set-ups for this run, with some nice interactions between the key players, and some past exploration and world-defining, delving into pre-established elements of the franchise and plots hinted at in both Autocracy and Monstrosity, and the wider IDWverse.
Livio Ramondelli resumes his task of showing us the beginning of Cybertron's dark ages, with his trademark darker style and colours, shining on big splash pages and spreads, and I mean BIG. The characters, the scope, the layouts - there's a sense of size and scale that follows from some of the later chapter in Monstrosity sliding into here, and not just in the art itself.
Big city lights
The colours obviously work well with the linework, and there are some nicely contrasting tones in some flashback sequences. The eye differences are a nice touch too, with Grimlock, Optimus and Megatron showing off different optics. And a very nice touch comes from letterer Chris Mowry, helping with giving a voice to the different characters, each in its own slightly unique way, and some great translucent sound effects.
I'll take a little longer on the covers, as the main one by Ramondelli is but a fourth of the series' run, but it is joined by an amazing Optimus Prime revealing the matrix by Windblade's Sarah Stone (a nice echo of one of the moments shown above) and an excellent 30th Anniversary variant by Casey Coller and JP Bove, commemorating the smelting pool and poor Scrounge (see thumbnail).
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Metzen and Dille's writing is slightly different from the rest of IDW's current output, but still holds its appeal with both older audiences and fans of the more modern ongoings. And their style fits the tone and time of the story, without any doubt, focusing on the two main players of the beginning of the war. Ramondelli's art returns to complement them, and I very happy to have Barber on editing, making sure it all fits in together - even with Omega's confusing statements.
And so do we
It's an easing into the story again, definitely. Some big stuff went down in what leads us to this point, and with this issue we're discovering bigger things still slowly emerging from Cybertron's past and leading into its future. And there are much much bigger things to come, if the last pages are anything to go by. Big things indeed.
. out of
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