CONQUERORS: CONCLUSION! The most dramatic action ever taken by an AUTOBOT sets the stage for next month’s mammoth issue 50. Earth and CYBERTRON. OPTIMUS PRIME and GALVATRON. SOUNDWAVE and COSMOS. It all comes together at four billion miles an hour.
Here we are, at the end of the big build up everything after Dark Cybertron, through Combiner Wars, across the Transformers universe as we know it, with old gods, fake gods, heroes, villains and conquerors converging into one single spot, one moment in time: Earth, Now.
And to be entirely honest, it falls short of ..well, everything. All of the build up, all of the hype. It feels rushed, glossed over, reasons and motivations don't hold up, the major arcs created for however many past issues are just half-resolved without much else to go on. The various settings and scenes are just glomped together.
I am not sure what John Barber did with this issue, as his big landmarks usually pan out much better. It is likely that issue #50 will develop those shortcomings into something that sticks better together as the piece of a wider, universal puzzle. As it stands, however, the pieces are all mismatched and a little scattered.
See, there, that is Windblade's character
The characters do, to an extent, still work, of course - but some of them just feel like they're going along with whatever Optimus has decided to do, for whatever reason. Galvatron's side of the story may be the most interesting here, and the repercussions it has among the Decepticon idealists hit hard - but everything else is just - there.
On the other hand, I have no complaints whatsoever with the art. Sara Pitre-Durocher's style is a delight to follow through the various scenes, with some peaks in Skywarp's moments to shine (heh) and there is heavy emotion felt by the various characters - and the readers. The moments with Soundwave and Cosmos carry some serious weight, in light of the events taking place.
The colours are also magnificent, blending fantastically well with Pitre-Durocher's lighter linework. Josh Perez and Josh Burcham are a wonderful team, and bounce off each other's style easily and seamlessly, bringing one of the crispest issues I've noticed in a while.
Tom B. Long has a lot of playground space in the lettering sandbox, too, to work his own stuff, filling in the various silent spaces with good-looking sounds. Why do letterers never get enough praise? With all that action, we are still able to see what is being said. The covers are also great, with Alex Milne/Perez continuing the massive mural (thumbnailed), Casey Coller and Joana Lafuente dabbling with Victorion's hefty presence, and Andrew Griffith emulating Klaus Scherwinski.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
If I sound disappointed, it's because I am. I had been seriously looking forward to the development, and preliminary conclusion, to this arc - to see what Galvatron was to do, to see how the Autobots would respond, how Soundwave in particular would respond, how the various characters would play out against each other and together, depending on their circumstances. I don't feel we got any of that, unfortunately.
or Spotlight: Thundercracker
A less coherent, more Soundwave/Cosmos/Skybyte response: Seriously? Windblade and crew are just going along with Optimus' decision? Sideswipe, Alpha Trion and Arcee in a shuttle forever, just to get punked by Brawl and Needlenose? I do hope that the next issue, and All Hail Optimus in general, has more time, and space, to start straightening the puzzle out. I really do.
Will you look at that? 2015 went. Gone. Poof. No Transformers live-action movie either. The festivities have officially come to a close in most festivity-celebrating areas too. So what did happen this past year? How many changes to the fandom, to the franchise, to the robots? How did the year look compared to our hopes and dreams from the end of 2014?
Join us for our annual roundtable discussion in...
Transformers 2015 - A Year in Review
Who will brave the past and bring thoughts to the present? Take a look right here:
Burn - SHIZZLESNIT
william-james88 - Top 5er
megatronus - The New Yorker
ScottyP - Definitely Sober
Counterpunch - Definitely Serious
Cobotron - More like CoBROtron
xRotorstormx - ..wait, what comics?
mooncake623 - Sorry guys, I'm on vacation
LOST Cybertronian - Aaaaallways watching
carytheone - Rookie 1
Hellscream9999 - Rookie 2
Va'al - whodat?
How are we doing it this year? Well, not too different from usual, though we have rejigged the categories a little, and expanded: we look at everything Transformers from the past 365 days. Each and every one who contributed to this piece has something different to bring to the table, so buckle up, tuck yourselves in, and get ready to hit overdrive - it's gonna be a long one.
Transformers Figure of the Year 2015
Favorite 2015 Transformers: Combiner Wars/Unite Warriors
Favorite 2015 Transformers: Robots in Disguise/Adventure
Favorite 2015 Transformers: None of the Above Figure
Favorite 2015 Transformers Masterpiece Figure (Hasbro or Takara)
Favorite 2015 Transformers Exclusive Figure
Favorite 2015 Transformers Comics-moment
Favorite 2015 Transformers TV/Film-moment
Favorite 2015 Transformers Game
Favorite 2015 Transformers Moment Overall
What you're looking forward to in 2016 for Transformers
Ready? Set... Go!
Transformers Figure of the Year 2015 Other than Alpha Bravo, of course
WJ88 - This was an AMAZING year for Transformers toys. Both Takara and Hasbro felt like they complimented eachother well and fans were ultimately rewarded for their loyalty to the brand with the two companies working together to give the best toys possible with today's restrictions and engineering. Out of the many that I adored, Legends Arcee and Combiner Wars Blackjack were really close to the top but they get the bronze and silver medal respectively with the gold going to: Takara's Unite Warriors Devastator.
What a behemoth of a toy. I just love how Hasbro let Takara design this particular toy for a change, and Takara gave those duties to Shogo Hasui, the designer of all those Masterpiece figures we love so dearly. He did not disappoint. What fascinates me is how this toy can both look perfect and also be really fun to simply play with. For a giant detailed combiner such as this one, you wouldn't expect it to be so easy to take him apart and build him back up and yet every mode looks good. Of course, I can only speak for the Takara version which I opted for since this was the end result the designer was going for. With a toy so fun to assemble and disassemble, having the individual robot modes be their best adds to the enjoyment. The individual toys feel really good, with a nice balance between light and durable, and while the transformation is sometimes simple (not for all of them), it takes nothing away from either mode and just makes it take less time to alternate between the modes. There is also exceptional articulation all around and the combiner technology implemented here to give us a solid Devastator is on a level that has never been reached before. Definitely, this year's best toy!
megatronus - Only one figure got me to play at the Thanksgiving table with parents and in-laws awkwardly looking on like Jane Goodall with a chimp: Titan Devastator.
Devastator's massive, stable, intuitive, and FUN. This Titan specifically (and Combiner Wars figures generally) strikes the perfect balance between toy and collectible. Are there comprises? Yes. Areas that can be improved upon? Sure. But as someone who had Devastator as a kid, this toy perfectly blends nostalgia, modernity, and playability - that's an amazing thing.
xRotorstormx - Oh goodness, this is really a tough one to answer. I think in previous years it would have been a lot easier for me to choose a favorite figure but 2015 seemed to be on fire. I really enjoyed everything that was coming out and it was the first time in a while that I had really started to open the figures I was buying instead of just throwing them into a storage bin when I got home from the store. It seemed like Hasbro had finally gotten on the right path to bring the fun back to Transformers.
For 2015, I would have to say my favorite has been Devastator. It’s super impressive, especially in a display case and the nostalgic factor is wonderful. Hasbro did a great job paying homage to the the G1 Constructicons and its things like that, that really rekindle my love for this franchise.
carytheone - 2015 is the year I jumped into the Transformer collecting game feet first and I still haven't touched the bottom. This year has been a whirlwind of figure acquisition. Combiner Wars has taken a hold of me and doesn't show any sigh of letting go. While I have enjoyed all the combining and non combining figures that have been released; there is one toy that has filled me with wonder and joy like no other. One toy that literally stands above the rest. Combiner Wars Devastator.
No matter which flavor of Devastator you own (Hasbro or Takara), forming the big green guy is pure construction bliss. With the scramble combiners I always start with the torso and work my way around. With Devastator I start from the ground and slowly build my way up until I have a tower of devastation. The individual bots are a little sketchy here and there and the debate over elbows will rage on for some time, the real show however is Devastator himself.
Burn - 2015 was a fantastic year for Transformers, previous years have been rather "meh" for me as evidenced by previous year reviews. But this year? This year was GOOD! There was a lot to look forward to.
One figure most of all though. Move over! Fanboy coming through! Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus (Hasbro version).
This is how a modern take on a classic character should be done. While we don't have an individual cab transforming into its own robot before combining with the car carrier like the original G1 figure, instead, we have IDW's twist on the old "smaller robot in bigger armour".
Minimus Ambus, the plucky little robot that could. Little whit robot in a bigger robot shell. Put them together and that is one damn fine impressive looking robot mode. My one gripe is the hammer "gimmick". Seriously, who puts rockets as the head of a hammer? ugh.
mooncake623 - Figure of the year for me, goes to Takara legends Ultra Magnus. The Hasbro version is really nice too and I do like the Minimus Ambus it comes with over the Alpha Trion, but the extra Paint apps on the Takara version takes it for me. This Ultra Magnus is everything I ever wanted in a classics Ultra Magnus and I've wanted a great classics Ultra Magnus for a very long time. Every since 2010 when I first started collecting I've had place holder and when this guy was announced they all went up for sale and I couldn't be happier with that decision.
What I also liked about this release is that it is IDW Magnus! which means I needed two one for my classics shelf one for my IDW shelf and I'm very happy to buy all the Magnussssss!
Counterpunch - Masterpiece Ultra Magnus [allowed because it came out after the 2014 review - Va'al] - Magnus walked so hard off the G1 cartoon screen that he proved people wrong and embarrassed them in their lack of attention to detail. Was his bumper really red? You're damn right it was. Thought his gun was white? No sir.
In addition to giving fans what they only thought they wanted in cartoon accuracy, Magnus is the height of Masterpiece engineering and design. Complex and fun, his transformation is especially notable amidst the sea of unofficial MP figures. While there isn't a little white Prime hiding inside a suit of armor, Magnus is faithful to the source material and shows just how well engineering can be done even when confronted with challenges such as Magnus' various appearances, toys, and expectations.
Cobotron - It's been an intense year of collecting for me. Like no other I can recall. I have gotten a ton of amazing toys, old and new. It's hard to pick just one, so I'll pick two. The loophole being, they are the same character.
The year started with a gigantic bang in the form of MP-22 Ultra Magnus. Masterpiece? Like a Da Vinci in plastic perfection. He sports a phenomenal and fully functional vehicle mode, and an even more impressive robot mode. The way he feels in hand is like no other. But the thing that brings it all together is his amazing transformation. I am usually in a hurry to get anybot into robot mode, so the battle can begin. It's rare for me to stop and enjoy the "puzzle", but with this Magnus, I truly love the process.
My other favorite, Takara Legends Ultra Magnus. For years there has been a gaping glaring hole in my Classics collection. It has finally been filled. Much simpler than his MP brother, but no less elegant. Vehicle mode is outstanding, especially crammed with all the Legends scale cars I can muster, and his robot mode is an awesome action figure. Big and imposing. I like the IDW character design route they chose, making him a refreshing modern update. Some have remarked that the hammer gimmick was poorly executed, but I'm so glad his Energon Gavel of Justice has become a mainstay.
ScottyP - MP-24 Masterpiece Star Saber. Victory's iconic Supreme Commander in a nearly perfect form.
Slightly more wordy explanation follows.
It took me a bit to warm up to this figure. My out of the box reaction was that of disappointment. Thankfully, opinions and feelings can evolve over time - I know this may shock some of you, it's cool. Saber's Transtector is really perfection, and maybe the Brainmaster himself could be or do a little more but I'm ok with what's included. Great poseability, scuplting, and colors. The interaction with the yet bigger Transtector, the V-Star, is also dead on point. The use of extra parts such as the shield to create a flight stand is pretty genius.
The combined Star Saber robot has a presence about it that screams "I am important". Sure, it's a bit tricky to get Saber locked in there, and the sword grip isn't the best thing, but not a lot of poses are truly hindered and it's a blast to transform this guy back and forth once you get used to all the tolerances. I hate picky tolerances, but I don't find these so much picky anymore as I do "I had to take two attempts to learn it rather than one". On the whole, this may not be my personal favorite figure of the year, but if I had to say what The Figure of the Year is, I can think of nothing better to represent the global year in the Transformers brand. Let's 整合!
LOST Cybertronian - Hands down this category belongs to MP-24 Star Saber. The original Star Saber was my introduction to the Japanese G1 family and also my first experience with the Brainmaster gimmick. Let's be honest, the original toy was so spot on that really the only thing they could possibly do to make the Masterpiece better was add articulation. They even went so far as to tweak the Brainmaster gimmick to allow for head rotation.
Hellscream9999 - Considering how much of the CW line that I've collected thus far, no moment has yet to top my initial assembly of Superion.
I have always loved combiners, and the scramble-city figures seemed to really epitomize the idea of what combiners could actually be. I was never able to complete RID Ruination as a child, nor did I get many of the Energon combiners. So, when pictures first arose of a new line featuring an extensive use of scramble-city style figures, I was cautiously overjoyed (as Hasbro's last attempt was still fresh on my mind) - this was what I had always wanted, and I swore I would not miss out on this opportunity; and happily enough, Superion delivers on all fronts.
Utilizing an intuitive robot-torso mode transformation, and sleek, well proportioned limbs, we got the best scramble-city combiner ever made. Not only did it manage to capture the look of the G1 Superion, but it also managed to be a sturdy, well built, and enjoyable toy that really captured the essence of what the line was aiming to achieve. No other combiner has surpassed it, regardless of the version - Superion is perfect.
Va'al - Guess. Go on. Guess. It can't be hard to figure out what me, Va'al, will nominate in this category. Uh-huh. Yep. Our Lord and Saviour, His Helicopter Orangeness: Alpha Bravo. Putting aside the ridiculous campaign I've been single-handedly conducting on the boards (I was never really serious, still am not, but it was so much fun!), I love this little 'copterbot. It's a new character, with pretty much no backstory in the comics, but a fun toy, good modes, a wonderful personality for a piece of plastic, willing to travel over the world with me, and being a thorn in the side of purist fans everywhere - I could not ask for more .
Favorite 2015 Transformers: Combiner Wars/Unite Warriors Will we ever agree? Apparently not
Va'al - Yeah, this kind of builds on the above, really, but Superion as a combiner was a truly excellent piece of work. The single robots were good, there was coordination in paint schemes and enough difference between each mold. It was an entirely new way of looking at combiners since PCC (who still hold a dear place in my heart), a good update to a character, and a massive presence in the comics (heh). Shame it decided to jump off its shelf at the beginning of December, and broke. I am now Superion-less.
WJ88 - I wanted to pick a combiner for this category and my pick goes to Unite Warriors Superion. This Combiner is far superior (ha!) to the others that came out with how well proportioned it is. It stands tall with a lot of shoulder clearance to pose in any way you want and unlike other attempts at combiners, this one stays well together thanks to the phenomenal port system developed. Mix and matching these quadruple changer limbs is some of the most fun I ever had in this hobby. As for my choice with Takara, well aside from getting all the correct Aerialbots in one go, the slight deco changes in the Takara version mean a great deal to me. This is by far the combiner with the best transformation from voyager figure to torso and the deco takes advantage of that smart transformation by having the chest be different colours. It matches really well with the G1 show (unlike Hasbro which puts red everywhere making it look more like the G1 toy which didn't benefit from such a smart torso transformation). There are also other subtle details Takara weaves in, like extending the paint on the wings beyond the wing hinge to make the wings of the smaller jets longer. This is easily the best combiner of the best scramble city port system ever done in the brand.
mooncake623 - I believe the best Combiner from these lines is Superion. It is all basically the same jet but they all work as a team beautifully. As the first combiner wars team we got I also felt the magic of this line before all the repaints took that away. So I believe it is technically the best one we got and the timing of its release (being the first one) helped it.
Cobotron - Again, it's so hard to pick just one, so I won't. This whole iteration has been one of the more exciting things to happen to the Generations line in a long while. Combiner - As much flack as old Uncle Hasby got for this decision, there was one fanman out here waiting the better part of his life for this... Ultra Prime and the '84 Ark bots. I have been dreaming of a combiner made from the classic characters since I was boy. Proof that dreams CAN come true. Voyager - I already loved Silverbolt's robot mode, but once I had Cyclonus in hand there was no doubt. Great vehicle mode, fabulous bot mode with that great head sculpt and facial expression, and all that PURPLE. And the out-of-left-field Galvatronus torso mode is an absolute feast for my hungry head canon. Deluxe - Originally I had thought Rook. He kind of stole the show with those boxing gloves. I also really dig Off Road. But straight out of the gate it was Drag Strip who stabbed me in the heart. The alt mode is slick. I love his proportions in robot mode, and that head sculpt exudes "evil jerk". He makes a great appendage, top or bottom. Probably my favorite arm. And the Mirage version kicked me right in the nostalgenitals. Hurt so good! Legends - It's hard not to say Powerglide, but the title goes to Huffer. For me he is the best use of this mold. He may not have been rocking his signature "hoodie" but in those colors, and with that neat little head sculpt, I find him packed with personality.
Hellscream9999 - Despite my all of my gushing, Cyclonus/Galvatronus was easily the figure I was most anxious to get this year. When images first came out, I immediately took notice of Cyclonus and his mysterious Galvaron-esque designs on what would eventually become the combiners torso. I thought "This was it, this was the torso that would unite my wayward Stunticons after the slight fiasco that was Menasor". I searched hungrily for pictures of the combined mode - that would one day become my first news credit - until he was mine.
Though completing his combined mode lacked the magic that Superion's had, I have enjoyed Galvatronus far more than I have Superion. He takes everything that was amazing on Silverbolt/Superion and ramps them up a notch by being evil - an important point in my books...
Burn - Can I say Ultra Magnus again? HA! Okay just for a bit of variety, and to do something different I'm NOT going to nominate a combiner or any of the teams, instead I'm going to go with Thundercracker. When I first saw the figure I was impressed. Jetfire? Not so much. But the retooling done to produce Thundercracker (and then Starscream and soon to be Skywarp) made a very fine figure.
Like Ultra Magnus, I consider CW Thundercracker to be a great take on a modern figure.
But Burn, what about the Constructicons?
What about them? They're great figures (I don't care about the articulation) and Devastator is damn impressive, but to me they're only good for posing. They're not something I can sit in the lounge chair and tinker with like I've done with many of the figures this year.
xRotorstormx - It has to be the Armada Megatron /Megatron figures… I mean, come on! Who could say no to working tank treads? Talk about the only figure to come out in recent years that turns me into a little kid again driving him all over the house (ha-ha).
LOST Cybertronian - It's kind of funny that in a line where the main gimmick is combining that my pick in this category would go to one who doesn't combine. I am looking at you CW Ultra Magnus. IDW came up with a unique take on Ultra Magnus with Minimus Ambus and this toy pulls it off. I get why G1 purists hate the idea of Minimus Ambus and the Magnus armor but not everything has to be G1 (there is the MP for that). He pulls off both modes nicely. The only real draw back is that Minimus has nowhere to go in alt mode.
carytheone - I could just be lazy and slot Devy in here, but I won't. I feel that Combiner Wars is a really solid line and has cemented my interest in the franchise. While there is a lot of samey sameness and repaints I've enjoyed the line as a whole. Each team has their own strengths and weaknesses, but to my surprise the team that has become my favorite is the one with the most repaints, a limb with a busted waist and is the new kid on the block: Bruticus.
I just love this set. The colors just work for me, the mold choices for each bot make sense, and the subtle changes from Hot Spot to Onslaught define a new figure. Bruticus is just a tightly knit combiner: Shoulders lock-in rock solid, the wide thighs fit the wide leg bots, the arms are sleek and that Bruticus head sculpt is spot on. And don't forget his purple lil pew pew buddy that likes to ride piggy back!
ScottyP - Titan Class Devastator. Big, fun, and more intuitively engineered than expected. Holds together satisfyingly. Head sculpts are completely on point. Pick your favorite variation here, they're all fun. This was a pleasant surprise and well worth the money.
megatronus - Individual: Motormaster. I love this voyager mold as the Stunticon leader. The hulking visage fits the character perfectly, with to-die-for detailing. Torso mode falls short, but Motormaster competes for best robot and vehicle modes in all of CW. Really, he just does it for me.
Team: Protectobots. Defensor is less elegant than Superion, but - and this is the key - Defensor collects the 4 best CW deluxe molds in a single combiner. Where the Aerialbots are variations on the same theme, the Protectobots are visually dynamic and differentiated. Then there's Hot Spot, whose wrap-around ladder gimmick might be the best thing ever.
Counterpunch - Alpha Bravo - Aside from rescuing G1, Alpha Bravo is one of the most important characters in Transformers History. A founding member of the Aerialbots, his contributions to the development of Superion and...
Seriously. The uproar over Alpha Bravo and the way that fans owned the strange way in which he was inserted into the mythos makes him the defining toy of the line for me. Is Alpha Bravo a great toy? Not especially. Has he been well treated in the corresponding fiction? No. But he's ours and now and forever, when fan rage threatens to tear us apart, when history is being re-written, when we just can't understand far-fetched corporate mandates backed by half-assed marketing, we have an option.
We can always get to the 'choppa and Alpha Bravo will take us away.
(Va'al approves of this choice.)
Favorite 2015 Transformers: Robots in Disguise/Adventure THE DINOPILE
WJ88 - The TAV line was very good to us this year with Takara using it as a catch all line helpîng fans get rereleased figures (animated Dinobots and United Frenzy/Rumble) as well as giving us new toys fans wanted (voyager Grimlock and leader Prime). However, none of this awesomeness compares to their Drift. This mold rocks. The alt mode is super sleek giving way to a gorgeous robot mode which takes pride in its Samurai callbacks, including some great facial hair (which Takara had the kindness to paint). I love that two sided chest panels which is a very efficient way to have new robot mode detail while using the alt mode kibble. This transformer reassures me that a simpler transformation doesn't mean lazier engineering and in fact ups the stakes. Along with the Combiner Wars figures, Hasbro and Takara have proven that there is just as much wit and originality in streamlining transformation and making these toys fun for both older fans and new young fans. Also, that Takara deco on TAV Drift is super sweet!
Cobotron - Back to basics for this little line. So much simple = so much fun.
I've had fun with all the Warrior Class toys. Crushed on Strongarm enough to even customize her paint, but Drift is the real winner. A lot of things in that figure take me back to my fondness for the Cybertron line, but with better articulation. That Tron-esque alt mode is a joy to look at, and he's just a fun figure to play with.
Then you have Takara over here, doin' their "thang". Optimus Prime taco Supreme Mode is pure win. The interactivity with the other size classes is a hook I will bite on anytime. He brings a unity to the entire line, and with that sword, and that sweet sweet deco, he does it with style.
With Battle Grimlock, Takara is the first to prove to the world that, yes, indeed a turd CAN be polished!
LOST Cybertronian - Takara pulled out the surprise of the year with the heavily retooled Battle Grimlock. Despite the hollowness of the base figure, this is one sexy RID Grimlock. Thank you Takara for going the extra mile to bring us a voyager sized RID Grimlock that takes more than 3 steps to transform.
Va'al - Despite the size, despite the scary marks created by the odd elbow joints, despite the loitering arms in robot mode: Warrior Grimlock. It's a fun little fidgety figure, with a good paint scheme, great character in the series and comics, and enough to make me want to sneak it in to any photos I take of the flat (or beyond). DINOPILE AHOY!
ScottyP - TAV-33 Optimus Prime Supreme Mode. There's so much playability in this mold - "just complex enough" transformation, a library of sounds and phrases so extensive you'll think you're learning Japanese, tons of accessories, can haul other toys in the trailer, other toys can have a tailgate party in the trailer, Mini-con compatibility, and this version gets the nod for the slick deco.
xRotorstormx - While none of the Robots in Disguise figures really stood out for me, I thought that the Minicons were the best. It was a nice idea for Hasbro to bring back the concept of removing parts from spurs!
carytheone - Well this is a line that completely caught me off guard. At first glance I thought they looked a little too Playskool to me. Compared to the Combiner Wars line the Robots in Disguise figures all looked like they had weird chunky smooth plastic. I picked up Bee on a random sale to test the waters and with each figure I got more and more hooked. After spending so much time drenched in Combiner Wars, it was refreshing to have a unique transformation for each figure. Crazy as it may sound the stand out from this line is Mini-con madness.
Mini-cons; who knew those little simple figures with no articulation would grab so much of my attention. Gotta catch em all fever maybe? I find their simple auto-morph transformation fun to fiddle with and they compliment the warrior figures perfectly.
mooncake623 - I'm going to go with legion class fixit. It's a cute little toy, and fun to mess around with. It's also the only RID figure I brought but it's a fun one.
Burn - To be honest, I've only collected the Autobots. The Decepticon characters in the cartoon have been an embarrassing joke (not that the Autobots have been much better) and I've just never liked them. So instead, I stuck with the Autobots and only the Deluxe class. With one exception.
He's a fun little figure. There's no need for him to be overly complex, and he is far from that. A one-step Legion class figure suits him perfectly! Plus he's probably the best character on the show.
Hellscream9999 - I honestly don't know if this is breaking the rules of the list, but as I got Fracture at the beginning of December, I think that qualifies him to be on this list
Having enjoyed all of the new s that RID brought to us, I was disheartened when only one of them made it to normal retail release... So, needless to say, when the opportunity arose to nab this new Lockdown, I pounced - and received what could only be described as an exceptional figure.
Beyond being yet another successful motorcycle Transformer (an excellent trend of late), he has incredible poseability, an awesome multi-purpose weapon, and absolutely oozes character - as if he had just jumped out of the show to collect a bounty on my head. He's an amazing Transformers character, and an even better toy, what more do you want?
megatronus - Transformers Adventure is definitely an island of misfit toys as well as a line of hidden gems and second chances. That said, one really stands out: TAV29 Grand Vehicon General.
I'm not an Arms Microns fan, and passed on that Vehicon General, so I jumped on TAVs. PRID Vehicon is a modern classic, and TAV reprises this all-star with a winning deco that (bonus!) hides the ugly, terrible, no-good faction sticker in robot mode. I've been waiting for this figure a long time, and it's satisfying to have him, especially since it brings back the best of TF:Prime.
Counterpunch - TAV Ultra Magnus - An unexpected and incredibly welcome update to the TF Prime Beast Hunters Ultra Magnus, this is my favorite figure from the line. Beast Hunters Magnus was a well intentioned reuse of the TF Prime RiD Optimus. Yet in a line where the show and toys so closely follow one another, you really had to squint to accept the old G1 toy colors on this figure as he sat amidst your other TF Prime figures.
This simple redeco offers show accurate coloring and a more accurate and detailed Forge of Solus Prime accessory. Sometimes plastic color and a few dabs of paint application make all the difference. This is one of those times. I fully expect this figure to be lost amidst the shuffle of Combiner Wars excitement and in a few years to be going for 2-3 times its currently (very) affordable price.
Favorite 2015 Transformers: None of the Above Figure or, Go Platinum
LOST Cybertronian - How do you get me to buy a new release of G1 toys I already own? By releasing them in a new deco. That's right I am talking about the delicious Platinum Edition Blitzwing and Astrotrain set. I feel for those that wanted a straight reissue of the original figures but those wouldn't get a second look from me. Hasbro took a chance on these guys and they look deliciously gaudy.
Cobotron - The absurdly outrageous Platinum Triple Changers Astrotrain and Blitzwing, or Bomb Pop and Cherry Danish as I like to call them. But why Cobs? Because they are pure ridiculous whimsy.
mooncake623 - Platinum edition Trypticon! I've always wanted a G1 Trypticon and the fact that I can get a brand new minty one from Amazon for around $100 bucks was amazing! I also can't believe they kept those loud electronics in there. Having him set up next to my G1 Metroplex in City mode was something I've always wanted to do.
ScottyP - Platinum Edition Seeker Squadron. A woefully under-appreciated set. First reissues of Ramjet and Thrust in the US ever, really nice touches on the decos that are subtle enough to not mess with the aesthetics of the toys, and sharp looking metallic sticker sets that actually stick unlike the Commemorative Series decals.
WJ88 - I feel so lucky that the Transformers brand keeps rereleasing older products (like Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers does). As I extend my knowledge on the brand (I grew up on Beast Wars thinking there was nothing before that), I get the need to get acquainted with what came before. With the Platinum line, I get to have band new minty fresh G1 toys without having to break the bank (and without feeling guilty to take them out of their packaging). I got most of the G1 reissues this year and my favourite is the Platinum Perceptor and Blaster set, especially Perceptor. It is an amazing toy to own to get a taste of the brand's history, seeing how this was supposed to be a vehicle/mech for Microman toys which would pose as a normal sized microscope not to arouse suspicion on earth. I love how that disguise extends to it being a working microscope (which Hasbro took full advantage of in this release) and how you can still use all its Microman features which were not included in the instructions (either now or back in 1985), like turning him into a tank, that rolls beautifully, for toys to sit on.
Counterpunch - Takara Legends Windblade - I feel the need to point out this figure. With the growing ties between media and figures, especially figures who are prominent in the fiction and our collective discussions, it strikes me how frequently careless Hasbro is. I don't know or understand the reasons why the Hasbro version of Windblade could not get her basic color scheme or deco correct, but once again I am looking to Takara to correct it.
Legends Windblade gets the overall color palette for Windblade correct and dramatically improves her face deco. The Windblade mold is full of engineering issues, but she's an important character and she deserved better. When every bit of fiction she's in has her very clearly appearing one way, it would be nice for the majorative audience of that fiction to not have to import at twice the price in order to get an accurate figure.
I know. I know that's how it's always been, but it needs to improve.
Va'al - You know, I had almost forgotten that Windblade is part of 2015. I had pre-ordered it so long ago, and it was all before I moved flats, it just always existed on my shelf/box/desk. As many on the boards know, she's part of my trinity along with Grimlock and Alpha Bravo - so it's only fitting really that she'd show up here too. The Takara version is soooo nice, and a lot more accurate to the IDW design, face in particular.
Hellscream9999 - This was a top contender for figure of the year, but Nightbird Shadow wins this category hands down. No matter how I tried, I could never reconcile Generations Arcee running around with all of those weapons while wearing that smile on her face; Nightbird Shadow takes that irreconcilable image and runs with it - and then slits your throat when you're not looking.
Nightbird is a stunningly realized re-tooling of Gen. Arcee, based on a bit character in one episode of the G1 cartoon, and I couldn't love her more than I already do. Sporting the no-nonsense femme-fatale ethos of Arcee, but in a much more appropriate ninja guise, Nightbird is just an incredible figure that I knew I had to have. She sports a pair of newly-tooled sai and head that just capture a magic for me that I never got with Arcee, plus, her sai remind me of one of my favorite Dynasty Warrior's 8 characters: Wang Yi, so there's that too.
megatronus - AoE Black Knight Optimus Prime. This overseas TRU exclusive Scourge-style redeco of the AD31 Armor Knight Optimus Prime is a double whammy. The best transformable version of Age of Extinction Optimus, with a sexy black, teal, and red premium paint job? Yes, please.
Burn - Like every year, because this is about the only chance I really have to pimp them to the masses, is Kabaya. This years "big" release were the Seacons. Fun little figures that combine into a much larger King Poseidon, sure the articulation is lacking, but they're different and a fresh change from all those fancy articulated RID and CW figures you kids have these days.
xRotorstormx - Prices aside, I really like the new waves of Loyal Subjects figures. They seem to be a bit more durable, way more posable and the colors are bright and look amazing on the shelf compared to older waves.
carytheone - This one was hard, I had to peer around my collection looking for something that was released in 2015 that wasn't CW or RID related. After a couple disappointed google searches showing the release dates were 2014 I spotted TAV15 Lockdown. An old mold I know, but it was a new experience to me and possible the gateway into collecting Animated figures. So by default Lockdown gets it, but that's not to say he isn't a good figure. I had a lot of fun transforming, posing, photographing and just letting him get into trouble on my shelves. The deco is superb and I just love the matte paint. Lockdown is a tall, slender and menacing bounty hunter.
Favorite 2015 Transformers Masterpiece Figure
(Hasbro or Takara) Smoke, mirrors, drama - Hasbro vs Takara!
ScottyP - MP-18B Bluestreak, because it's about time this deco happened again.
Cobotron - The MP release I was most excited for, post Magnus was MP-18B. Bluestreak is my guy. Has been for 31 years. It was the toy accuracy of 18S that pulled me into the Masterpiece line hard. With my adoration for the Takara SF Land diaspora, and it being my absolute favorite character, blue Bluestreak and his nod to pre-Transformers history made him a must have. I hold a funny resentment towards Prowl for always stealing the spotlight from Streak, so the even more toy accurate details his mold carries were a surprise treat for me.
I'm gonna catch heat from Billy Jim for this, but Exhaust smoked Wheeljack. I can't nail it down, but there is powerfully evil and habit forming magic inside that collectible. Plus the fact that I bagged him in the wild, in the U.S. of A., made for my most thrilling hunt of the year!
WJ88 - I greatly disliked the first attempt at Masterpiece Starscream (MP 03) and thus was never enamored by the idea that the new Masterpiece Starscream was a retool of that same mold. So I stayed away with no regrets. This year however, Hasbro gave me an offer I couldn't refuse with the Masterpiece toy being just about the same price as the Leader Seekers that were on the shelves at the same time (which were just simple Jetfire retools/redecos). I gave it a shot and loved it. There are problems it can never fix unless they make a new mold from the ground up but that doesn't stop it from being the best ever effort by Hasbro to have an MP in North America. Let me run by some quick points of why this one was awesome:
- Trilingual box, making it available all over North America (FINALLY!)
- A price which made it worth waiting for the Hasbro version
- Improvements over the Takara version like more paint (silver on the sigils), nicer colours (personal opinion) and mostl importantly, a tighter connection between the pelvis and torso.
mooncake623 - Tracks was great, StarSaber cool but surprisingly simplistic, but the winner has to be It has to be Toys R Us Starscream for the simple reason that you can get a $200 Takara figure in the States for $60 bucks. That is just amazing value.
carytheone - This is another category where the figure wins by default. I only grabbed one MP this year and I feel it was a pretty good one. None other than the master plotter and wannabe usurper himself, Starscream. Another old mold that I don't really need to elaborate on. I will share my experience with him though. He shipped in alt mode and that was a nerve-racking transformation into a bot. MP Starscream is dead sexy as a plane and poses great in bot mode. Bonus, he comes with a exhaust stained booger pilot!
megatronus - I was tempted to pick MP11-SW Skywarp because completing an MP11 Seeker trio was such an exultant moment. Still, MP of the year has to be MP23 Exhaust.
The hype and drama surrounding Exhaust's glorious release was unparalleled; I'm thankful we got this figure at all, even if in a somewhat abridged form. It's amazing how a white, red, and green redeco of white, red, and green Wheeljack could be so different than, well, Wheeljack. Plus, in my head-canon, Exhaust is basically an MP Vehicon who can help fill the Decepticon ranks with multiples. Good thing they've gotten so cheap.
LOST Cybertronian - Takara made a ballsy move by announcing the legal shitstorm that is MP Marlboor Wheeljack Exhaust complete with Marlboro trademarked markings. No other Transformers toy in my memory has caused this much trouble. That alone makes Exhaust Masterpiece Transformer of the year. Even though in the end Takara relented on the deco but this is still one sweet figure with a beautiful head sculpt and new accessories that make it stand out from Wheeljack.
xRotorstormx - Wheeljack of course! Not only has wheeljack been my favorite character since the G2 cartoon sucked me in to Transformers, the paint scheme and mold was exactly what I had envisioned a masterpiece version to look like.
Honorable mention: MP23 Exhaust – for the love of drama!
Burn - You'd think after the fanboy rant above the answer would be obvious wouldn't it? Well no. As good as MP Ultra Magnus was, I was left a little disappointed. Overall, I found this year to NOT be a year for Masterpiece figures.
Favorite 2015 Transformers Exclusive Figure In (and outta) da Club
megatronus - Club Subscription Krok and Gatoraider. It's pleasing to finally see a character that does this mold justice - Megatron and Dreadwing deserve larger figures, but it's like this mold was made for Krok. The head sculpt is perfect, the colors pop, and the way Gatoraider combines with Krok's stock weapon to form a full-fledged rail gun is magnificent. 10s across the board.
As a side note, I'm a fan of the way the Club has been handling Action Masters generally - just look at Sherbert, I mean Circuit, for an example of another job well done.
ScottyP - Transformers Collectors' Club Figure Subscription Service 3.0 Krok with Gatoraider. Cool mold, absolutely fantastic new head sculpt, stunning paint job, and an Arms Micron partner that's appropriate and helps it correctly homage the source material. A+ execution.
xRotorstormx - Honestly, I was pretty impressed with this year’s TFCC Subscription Service. The choices they made were unique and that is what keeps things interesting for me. Out of all of them, I loved Serpent-OR. I was never a G.I Joe collector but loved the cartoon and Serpentor was always a favorite of mine. I have an original Serpentor figure siting on my desk and it was amazing, when that figure arrived, how cool they looked standing next to each other.
Counterpunch - eHobby Grand Scourge - This figure is everything that an exclusive should be. It is tempting to those who are unaware of the backstory by virtue of its appearance and it is a welcome and happy call back to a figure that always should have been but never was.
Grand Scourge was a planned or at least optioned redeco of Energon Optimus Prime. Unfortunately, it was only ever available in a small model kit format that most collectors have no real knowledge of. More than ten years later, we have a viable Grand Scourge who can reside with our modern collections or who can go back and haunt your Energon shelves with equal parts glory.
The real challenge thrown down by this bad boy, is putting together a team of bots to make up his combined form...
mooncake623 - All the Black Optimusssss. Transformers Legends LG-EX G2 Black Convoy (Nemesis Prime) Tokyo Toy Show 2015 Exclusive, Transformers: The Lost Age Black Knight Exclusive - Optimus Prime, Transformer Unite Warriors Decepticon Grand Scourge. Just love adding new ones to the collection.
LOST Cybertronian - BotCon 2015 Oilmaster: Whether you love them or hate them, FunPub has done some extraordinary retools in the last couple of BotCons (see also 2014 Scorponok). This year they went above and beyond the call of duty by taking an unreleased G1 Double Pretender concept and giving it a modern update. The fact that they had a newly sculpted Pretender Shell created is beyond awesome and cements Oilmaster for Transformers Exclusive of the year.
WJ88 - I don't get many exclusives since I am more about the engineering of the toy and exclusives are usually just redecos but I did get Cloud Shockwave and he is pretty awesome. It is so strange how a difference in deco alone can turn an ok toy great. The Whirl mold looks amazing in purple and it totally works for a classics Shockwave with the creepy claws and single eye.
Let's take a break, shall we? Have a video that has made many a fan send submissions to the news staff, but never actually made it to the front page.
Favorite 2015 Transformers Comics-moment More than Meets the Knowing
ScottyP - More Than Meets The Eye #44: The Not Knowing. See my review/gushing fest for why. Honorable mention to Sins of the Wreckers #1 which was also really damn good.
Counterpunch - MtMtE #44 - Megatron seeing a symbolic representation of the death and chaos he has wrought. The potential for Megatron to grow as a character and to play a new role in upcoming conflict is ripe. I hope it bears fruit.
WJ88 - The final shot of MTMTE 44 when Megatron gets a clear picture of how many deaths he has caused. It had no lines, just the excellent art and that was all that was needed for this perfect character moment.
carytheone - Well I started late on this one, I've been binge reading in-between long breaks and now I'm about 5 or 6 issues behind. It's hard for me to pin down just one of the crazy antics that happen in More Than Meets the Eye. It's all the little interpersonal relationships that really stand out to me. If Rodders and crew are heading out, sign me up. I love a good quest.
Burn - At the start of the year, More than Meets The Eye ... not so much now. It's good, but the humour has been replaced with "everyone has to be in a relationship", and I could watch Days of Our Lives for that.
megatronus - This is undeniably the age of the antihero, and so I clearly choose the most Mad Max-esque Transformers comic to date: Redemption #1.
War is ugly. War is sin. And absolution isn't at the bottom of an Engex bottle. This issue finds the Dinobots taking on an odd job: transporting something deep into the Sea of Rust for the Camien Torchbearers. In the process, Slug reflects, does the antihero thing, and otherwise kicks ass. We meet some surprising adversaries, with a twist.
So, yes - standard. But the gritty, atmospheric art by Livio Ramondelli and the equally gritty Dinobots set this series apart from the cleaner lines and themes of the other ongoings/mini-events. I'm excited to see where this one goes.
Va'al - The dark horse that is Minimus Ambus. Proof below.
Favorite 2015 Transformers TV/Film-moment Rescuers in Disguise
WJ88 - Robots in Disguise is a fun show. While it is a bit young for me, I do love the design for the Decepticons. It is fun to see the show creators be this original in the Transfomers brand again.
xRotorstormx - I never enjoyed sitting at my computer watching shows so unfortunately I was only able to see 2-3 episodes of RID (come on ... 6:30am on a Saturday??) . Even though I was not the target audience of the show, it was entertaining.
carytheone - Getting up before daylight to catch Robots in Disguise. RID came aired Saturday morning at 5:30 AM in my neck of the woods. I set an alarm and would drag my groggy butt out of bed, fix a bowl of cereal and plop down in front of the TV in my jammies. I did that for a couple weeks until I found out I could binge watch all the episodes on the internet. While it lasted I chased that dragon and enjoyed the ride.
Burn - I wanted to enjoy Robots in Disguise, and it was good. But honestly, for another year, Rescue Bots was easily the most enjoyable series on TV.
megatronus - Rescue Bots! Season 3 hit Netflix a few months ago, and I binge watched like none other. It's been a long time since we've gotten a show that's human-centric, with the Transformers an interesting part of the scenery in an immersive, convincing world. Season 3 was a slight change, as we saw a huge number of Transformers-centric stories in this human-centric show - and it made for great viewing.
ScottyP - Q-Transformers. I have no idea what's going on. I love it.
Favorite 2015 Transformers Game Go Big or Go Bust
LOST Cybertronian - Transformers: Devastation is button pounding excitement. The game looks gorgeous with its cell shaded G1 aesthetic and is very fun to play.
xRotorstormx - Devastation, hands down! Seeing that Japan has gotten a few G1 inspired games over the years, it was nice to finally have one released stateside. I didn’t get it right when it came out, only got it only a few weeks ago, but the game play is really fun and keeps me entertained (which is REALLY hard to do now a days!). I thought the character selection was really neat and refreshing instead of seeing just the same old popular characters. Looking forward to more games like this!
Counterpunch - Transformers Devastation - How is this even a question? It could have only been better if it was longer or included Bayonetta.
ScottyP - Transformers: Devastation. Partly by default, but there were mobile titles to choose from. Oozes the G1 cartoon in the best way, and fun too! Please, someone, officially release the soundtrack.
Worth mentioning: ScottyP's round-up before the Devastation release here!
carytheone - I didn't play the mobile, browser or the one console/PC release this year. As a gamer I hang my head in shame. I did however pick up a bunch of older Transformer games this year. Even though I've already played/finished War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron, I found them on clearance and decided to pick up a copy. I played these games years ago before I was back in the TF fold.
It was a fun experience to play the story again with a different perspective.I picked up a couple TF games for my 3DS as well. TF: Prime and TF: Rise of the Dark Spark. TF: Prime is just WfC and FoC lite, but Rise of the Dark Spark is a completely different beast on 3DS. It's a turn based strategy game with 2D sprite graphics and a little 3D battling bots thrown in for flavor. TF: RotDS on 3DS is my TF game of the year. It's a fun and surprisingly hard game, definitely worth the $5 spent.
megatronus - I don't have a game console at the moment ( ), so I can't speak to this one too much. I hear great things about Devastation... do the Fan Votes count? Honestly, that's as much of a game as anything I've seen, and not just because many fans suspect Hasbro is 'gaming' the process (see what I did there?).
Favorite 2015 Transformers Moment Overall Bunch a' soppy bots
WJ88 - There are two elements of the year that really made it amazing:
I just loved seeing Takara in action all year. I like Hasbro but Takara just has this secret formula with the fans since we are its dedicated market. Everything we could ask for they gave. I wanted an updated Beast Wars Blackarachnia and got it. I wanted elbows on my Devastator and got it. I wanted more size classes in the Robots in Disguise line (like for Grimlock and Optimus) and better paint apps (since some were appaling) and got that too. Also, quite randomly, I wanted the Rumble and Frenzy tanks along with Animated Swoop and they rereleased them as well. The week-end of Botcon 2015, while Hasbro was showing some good stuff, in a totally different show at the other end of the world Takara brings out their improved Devastator along with MP Optimus Primal, MP Ironhide, their new trio of female robots and their Leader Optimus for robots in Disguise/TAV. In that Botcon week-end, my thoughts were just about Takara, I would have never expected that.
The other cool stuff of the year was discovering all these affordable reissues. As a newer collector (longtime fan though) who was born in 88, G1 doesnt come easy. Especially in nice condition with all accessories. But this year with the platinum line, I got a bunch of beautiful fresh and minty G1 toys for a price that gives me no guilt in opening the box and playing with them. Speaking of reissues, it is this year that I discovered the Sonokong releases of many Takara products. Korean company Sonokong distributed a bunch of Japan exclusive toys in their local market and those releases (which comes in amazing boxes) are really cheap. So I was able to get a bunch of figures I would have never thought of owning for the price of retail or less (like Big Convoy, Sky Garry and a bunch of others). This was really a year of finding affordable ways of getting brand new vintage toys and I couldn't be happier.
Hellscream9999 - Putting 3/5 of Superion together after hunting for his components all of January. Though I only had enough limb-bots to give him a pair of arms, all I could do was sit at my desk and swap his limbs around all day - after longing for a nice update to the scramble-city combiners for so long, sitting there, holding the realization of my dreams was absolutely magical.
megatronus - I got to join the Podcast in early 2015 after a lengthy trial at the end of 2014, and it's been a blast. The job is harder than it sounds, but hopefully I'm getting better! That's just a lead up to my actual favorite moment: TFcon Charlotte. I got to go to my first Transformers convention, with mooncake623, and met most of the folks I record with. I'm thankful for the opportunity & experience, and look forward to more shows & conventions!
mooncake623 - TFcon Charlotte was pretty awesome, it was great meeting everyone and spending time talking and drinking and buying toys.
xRotorstormx - Botcon, is always a highlight of my year. In the beginning it was all about the special guests and toys but over the years it has become a family gathering. I love being able to travel around to different locations each year but walk in the door and see all my friends. No matter what happens leading up to the convention, we always make the best of it and have a blast. It is always nice to be around people that share similar interests and you can have conversations about what you are really passionate about.
Counterpunch - I have 100% enjoyed the bizarre and fun nature of the Takara Legends comics. In terms of parody, these have made me smile and kicked my imagination into high gear more than anything else. The remainder of my response will now be pictures I find to be amusing:
ScottyP - I'm going to edit my earlier longer answer here and just pick one. So I'm in the parking lot of Toys R Us and this dude in a shirt, tie, and black slacks wearing a back-pack while carrying a book in one hand and MMC Feral Rex in the other walks up and asks if I'd seen the light and heard about our lord and savior, Third Party. I punched him in his face and he burst into a pile of coins. I used them to walk in and buy a Masterpiece Starscream. It was a fun time. I think a car ran over the Feral Rex, then it disappeared and got sent back to a spawn point.
Burn - I'm going to throw this in here much to Va'als chagrin as it's not really a "Transformers moment", but hear me out. The Seibertron.com forums.
Yes there's been a few problem members, but in all honesty, there's been a batch of new members come through who have gone absolutely ballistic and really defined what a "discussion board" is suppose to be about! So much so I've found myself at times barely able to join in the conversations because by the time I wake up or get home from work, any where from 2+ pages have been added, and that's a lot to catch up on!
So that's my moment for the year. The great discussions that have taken place on the forums. Don't think I'm going soft though, check your signature sizes and bloody stay on topic!
carytheone - My favorite TF moment of the year is all the time spent on Seiberton making new friends and becoming a news staff member. It's been a blast getting to know everyone and goofing off on the various boards. Even though I've learned a lot about my new favorite hobby, I still feel like a complete noob when the heavy hitters come around. It's been an amazing experience and I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Cobotron - This whole damn year has been one giant Transformers moment for me. I joined Seibertron in September of 2014. In 20 years of collecting I've never really had anyone to share/talk about the hobby with. I do now! The past year has been a real thrill cutting it up with the peeps in here. I've been inspired to build an Ark diorama, try a custom paint job, create some TF-centric art, and learned to digibash. I've completely overhauled my displays and for the first time ever have all my Transformers, and other Takara goodies on display in the Collect-O-Tron (where I push my secret Microman agenda ). I've made some really great friends via the forums over the past year and am elated to be a part of this awesome community. I must have been drunk on Transformers fun when I said yes to Burn's recruitment to be a Forum Moderator.
So like the Chief said, play nice, check your sig size, and for Primus's sake, stay on topic!
Va'al - This, after not too much thought, would have to be the secret mission that myself and Seibertron went on, as we met for the first time in London in November! There was much nerd talk, a lot of robots, several moments of fond memories, a meeting with Simon Furman, the SUPER SECRET STUFFS we can't talk about, and a little more nerding out. It was a good couple of days, with some good people, in a very surreal but pleasing situation. 10/10, would do again!
(Note to the photo: I then proceeded to eat Simon Furman, as Burn suggested, of course.)
What you're looking forward to in 2016 for Transformers DON'T LET YOUR DREAMS BE DREAMS
Va'al - Nah-hah, this one is a ponderous question. My interest in the toys has been waning for a loooooong time now, and I keep chipping away at the collection in one way or another. I am, however, intrigued by what the anniversary of Beast Wars might bring to the table, other than what we have already seen.
I am even a lot more interested in Victorion, after the wonderful work done with her by John Barber, Mairghread Scott, and Sara Pitre-Durocher in the comics - plus I have a combiner-less shelf now! That, and the continuation of the IDW multiverse with Till All Are One.
Burn - Titan Masters and Titans Return have me wary. I want Powermaster Optimus Prime, and of course, I want Fortress Maximus. But others...not so sure about.
What I am looking forward to a lot though is what Takara will be doing in regards to their version of the Combaticons. Will we be getting a new Blast Off? Here's hoping ...
xRotorstormx - Titans Return! If Hasbro can continue down this path of bringing us fan favorites, I think this will definitely keep the spark alive in fans young and old.
LOST Cybertronian - I am excited for Masterpiece Shockwave and Powermaster Optimus Prime. Both look like great contenders to be on this list next year.
WJ88 - This year wasn't so hot on MPs and I didn't buy a single one from Takara since none appealed to me particularly. Next year however, looks to be amazing with MP Primal and Shockwave. Also, Hasbro has commented that they will be doing more G1 reissues and I can't wait to see what they pick. I have so few G1 toys that this is very exciting to me. It's like having another line full of new toys to buy and experience.
megatronus - MP Shockwave. Shockwave!!!!! I've been waiting for this robotic cyclops for aeons, so needless to say, I plan on acquiring him immediately. Beyond my irrational desire and compulsion, he's important for 3 reasons:
(1) Shockwave himself: he'll fill out Decepticon ranks (my 'Exhaust = MP Vehicon' head-canon can only go so far), and will look amazing doing so. I'm sure the wait will be worth it.
(2) Like Titan Devastator, Shockwave represents something in terms of Hasbro and Takara's battle with 3rd Parties. Or not. But the comparisons are inevitable.
(3) By the time of Shockwave's release, all 3 of Megatron's main lieutenants will have assumed modern MP form. That's either a lead up to the Decepticon Leader himself, or a mega-letdown.
Counterpunch - Masterpiece Shockwave. I should have a more complex answer, but I don't. Titans Return will carry on as any mainline does. The movies will do their thing. A new show will probably get started, but MP Shockwave...
I'm eager to get a hold of it and get some official leadership on my Decepticon shelves. I also hope that it inspires a viable Voyager Class Generations Shockwave. Someone needs to keep their glowing yellow eye on that ball...
Cobotron - All of it? I'm really excited for the coming Masterpiece releases like Shockwave and Ironhide/Rachet. All of Titan Returns and its play-packed gimmicks. I'm a sucker for little dudes riding/piloting bigger dudes, populating even bigger dudes. I am really looking forward to Takara's Grand Galvatron. He is just such an interesting and entertaining concept.
Speaking of little dudes driving big dudes, I am super excited for Takara's Diaclone reboot, Dia Battles. This plays into my love for all things pre-Transformers Takara history. I'm also very interested to see how Hasbro's Micronauts/Transformers crossover plays out.
Hellscream9999 - Well, if anyone knows me at the most basic level, it should be a little obvious (like Va'al + Alpha Bravo) it's...
. SKY REIGN
Yes! The big, bad dino-bird-shuttle-thing is back in all his glory, except instead of being some sort of duo-con/combiner, he's packing a torso mode for a combiner that has the visage of an angry Egyptian god for a head, how can you not love that?
mooncake623 - Toy fair I always look forward to Toy fair.
carytheone - With all the fun I've had with Combiner Wars, I'm very excited to see how Titan Returns plays out. HeadTitan Masters really don't do much for me, but base mode sounds interesting. The most exciting part of Titan Returns is that the figures don't combine, so here's to bots with unique transformations.
But what has me the most intrigued is the Transformers Machinima series. Very little is know at the moment, so it's easy to hang positive exceptions on the series. I put toys above the media it's based on, so hopefully the art style will be there and spawn some cool figures.
Last but not least; what I'm looking forward to most in 2016 is hanging out here with all my new robrobuddies!
ScottyP - The same thing I look forward to every year - having fun. That's what it's all about.
Very much so, ScottyP, very much so. There are other thoughts to be thunk on 2015, and you can find the Twincast Podcast episodes doing so here and here - for your auricular pleasure. But that's pretty much it from us, we want to know what made your 2015 the Transformersest there is! Was it a toy, a line, a comic, a book, an episode, a grail achieved, any at all robot-related? Pull up a chair in the Energon Pub, ignore the two Tankors at the back, and let us know what you thought. Feel free to use the categories, or just spill out your inner cogs - we're all robuddies here.
“I'd argue there isn't actually a lot of nostalgia here. I'd argue that every page, every moment is built on innovation. And Tom's looking to the past for some of the cues, but what he's actually building is what comics will be like in the future, not the past.”
“I think every page, every panel of this comic is Tom on a tightrope without a net, and he's trying a complicated jump that he's never really done before.”
I don’t think truer words have been spoken about this title… Or there's that.
THE SYNOPSIS (what’s the, so far)-
OPTIMUS PRIME returns—-in time to fall to Megatron. Now the undisputed ruler of Cybertron, the Decepticon leader has impaled the planet Earth. The surviving G.I. Joe team remains on the alien planet, confronting a harsh new reality: there is no hope.
Subtle reminder: each issue of TF VS GIJOE is meant to be read as a stand alone adventure, but there is a string and overall story running through. Last issue was an issue about Destro’s past, nay his entire family history, and how it was effected and changed by the ark even with the Transformers lying dormant.
This issue picks up a bit after #8… when that very big thing happened to Earth with those very long spikes coming from Cybertron. Oh and that other big event where you-know-who bad guy seemed to destroy the just-returned-savior good guy. Believe it or not it's all about change though. Adapting.
We are BORG...
In this installment, the Joes are learning how to survive on their new home. Cobras and Deceptions are celebrating their victory and alliance. There’s some history explained and a cool prose only story included at the end.
Tom Scioli provides it all—lines, inks, colors— with unique perspectives, and daring visuals to push the story boundaries. Often criticized, and rarely understood, Scioli continues to work his vision channeling so much from resources obscure and not obscure.
Of note, though, is the fantastically detailed, gorgeous subscription variant cover of a gargantuan Metroplex done by Ulises Farinas. Just pick-your-jaw-up-off-the-floor awesome!
I serve the will of the Primes...
MY THINKS- Contains spoilers SPOILERS...sad face
I’ve been critical. I understand the criticisms. But something about this being an otherworldly ‘What If’, ‘Elseworlds’-type, ‘Deviations’ if you will story… makes it all okay, and (mostly) acceptable. I read comics for enjoyment, and this series, never seems to fail in surprising me--although, I'm not sure I would characterize how I interact with this series so much as 'enjoyment'. I love to read the mainstream stories much more than this. But this has its place for me, and maybe it has found its place for you. I read on to see what Tom and John can come up with—what they 'cook' up—. And after I have my own thoughts, I like to read their banter on what inspired their choices when it's done.
I seem to remember it differently. I got a V.A.M.P., Starscream, and Prowl that year. It was the best though.
Speaking of cooking up, this issue doesn’t disappoint, it's a gourmet feast for the eyes and mind. With a few, ‘oh-no-you-didn’t’ moments that may just have you shaking your head, one we already saw in the preview—Megatron becoming a connoisseur of human flesh now…and the poisoned feast…W..O..W! There's also clever dialogue dropping some excellent one-linersn for easing those hard to take moments.
We all knew that there were Autobot and Decepticon chefs and bakers, right? CONFEKTOR...bake!
Hit and Run is one of my all-time favorite Joes, stating the obvious.
For me, the most interesting parts of this issue came near the end. I’ll try not to spoil it for those reading the series, but there are some really thought-provoking Transformers history moments presented with verbal and visual references that any fan of the brand, and pre-brand will embrace with a sense of interest and a little awe… at least I did.
I'm a chef too...I cook up life!
AND THE BONUS-
At the very end of the issue we get a nice bonus, instead of the normal Barber and Scioli back and forth breaking down pages and giving us the behind-the-scenes, we get a short-story called ‘Black Cybertron’ (along the lines of the now infamous Wreckers story,‘Bullets’) involving Ravage, Snake-Eyes, Shockwave, and the cassettes. A journey into Hades or is it the workshop of Daedalus? Either way, it shows the length that some will take for a loved one...loved one...really? Expect the unexpected.
If you’re still with TF VS GIJOE, you know what to expect, and that’s to not know what to expect! This issue doesn’t disappoint, but adds a great morsel for consumption at the end.
CONQUERORS, part 3! It all comes down to this… the fate of the AUTOBOTS, the survival of the human race, and the existence of a post-war CYBERTRON depends on the two greatest heroes in TRANSFORMERS history: BUSTER the dog and D.0.C. the drone.
We've had two parts of this new storyline already in the ongoing The Transformers series from IDW Publishing, and John Barber has chosen to take a peculiar type of break while not putting anything on hold. At all. But how does the strange POV issue work, you might ask? Find out some thoughts below.
The dialogue is riveting
It's impossible to escape the similarities with the Eisner-winning Fraction/Aja Hawkeye issue of Pizza Dog with this chapter of The Transformers series, and for a comics fan, this works suprisingly well without falling too much into heavy-handed homage. (Much like Redemption and Fury Road, really.)
Having two points of view, undoubtedly, helps the narrative to flow, and switches between two characters that have found their way into the fandom and the new followers of the series. Buster, as an Earth dweller close to Thundercracker, and D.O.C. as a Cybertronian AI close to the Autobots do both bring a new perspective on the characters surrounding the otherwise main cast.
Which leads quite nicely to the crux of the story, really, and something that I am obviously not going to spoil here, but has a lot to do with several theories that many fans have been speculating on for a while now, revolving around long-established lore and recent developments in ..well, everything.
I have to commend Griffith on the clear work on an otherwise extremely hard script to master in terms of layout. The smaller amount of dialogue and narration means that most of the story has to be told with the visual component of the medium, and he does a stellar job with the frames and angles from both character perspectives.
Good transitions, too
The same perspectives are maintained, solidly, throughout their different takes in the book, by the magnificently subtle (though not that much once you realise) colour palettes and coding for the two. In the case of Buster in particular, Josh Perez' chromatic contrasts and blending of greys is just really well done, and makes the foreground even more prominent and incisive.
Points in cases
Also to be commended is the work of letterer Tom B. Long, as Buster and D.O.C. occupy two very different styles of font, tone and voice, which are worked incredibly well with a truly complex script for human dialogue during the Buster segments. The covers, on the other hand, have very little to do with the issue, though are pretty excellent in both the Archie tribute by Andy Pepoy and the Alex Milne/Perez triumphant Starscream (thumbnailed).
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Is the reveal present at the end of the book that surprising? No, not really, not at this point in the series. Is it pleasing? Yes, actually. It's brought about in a satisfying manner, with some good power and attention grabs, and a sustained if lighthearted narrative throughout the whole issue.
Narrative, right here
The real treat, however, is how the book looks, from the layouts and art to the colours and lettering. Griffith, Perez and Long work wonders together to really convey the multiple angles and pairs of eyes/optics through which we're looking at this small world growing bigger and smaller in equal measure. If you take anything from this, it's a treat for your own image processors.
There's a long history of Transformers video games, and with the upcoming release of Transformers: Devastation from Activision and development team Platinum Games, we wanted to take a look back at some of the games you should play if you're wanting a Transformers fix on your console right now. The rankings here are mostly just my own opinion, of course, but there is some extra input from other members of the staff here as well. If your favorite didn't make the list, let us know by replying to this topic and chatting with your fellow Seibertronians!
Without further ado, let's get to the list.
#5: Transformers: Dark of the Moon Platforms: XBox 360, Playstation 3
Some folks may be surprised to see a movie tie-in title on this list at all. With the first two movie tie-in games for 2007's Transformers and 2009's Revenge of the Fallen being not terrible, but also not great, it made sense that not a lot of fans gave this game much of a look. While it was certainly a bit of a let down after War for Cybertron, this effort from High Moon Studios still retained a lot of the fun gameplay elements found in WFC.
Transformation remained important in this game, as characters' vehicle modes were given special "Stealth Force" modes to tie in with the weaponized designs in the movie, as well as with the almost M.A.S.K. like toy sub-line of the same name.
The story presented in the game is a bit of a departure from standard movie game re-telling fare. Rather than give you a plot you already know, this serves as a very serviceable official prologue to the events of the movie. In fact, some elements of the movie itself manage to come off making more sense after playing the game.
While this one isn't going to garner a lot of replay, it's worth taking a look at if you're a fan of the movies. It's certainly the game on this list that likely least deserves inclusion, but hey, that's why it's number five!
#4: Transformers Prime: The Game Platforms: Wii U, Wii
Another easy to overlook media tie in comes in at number 4. Transformers: Prime has a pretty vast extended universe, and this game only adds more layers to it. Featuring a story that runs (supposedly) concurrent to the events of Season 2 of the show, the game has Team Prime battling Decepticons across the globe, trying to stop the ever-present menace of Dark Energon.
The gameplay itself isn't on any elite level, but it's a pretty fun romp with some clever combat mechanisms hiding just under the surface. The game isn't a graphical powerhouse, but the Wii U version offers up some delightful visuals regardless and quite honestly, the backgrounds in this game are often more interesting and alive than many of those found in the TV show itself.
To be honest, this one really adds one killer thing to the Prime universe: Thunderwing.
Just as with television leaving out the great characters and events in the Prime comics, it also leaves out any mention of this guy, and that's a real shame. Prime fans everywhere should give this one a run through, though with a pretty short story mode and only limited multi-player, just don't expect it to last long.
#3: War for Cybertron Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC
2010's War for Cybertron was High Moon Studios' first effort with the Transformers brand license, and what a debut it was! Kicking off the new "Aligned Continuity" with a story set at the beginning of the Autobot vs. Decepticon war was this robust cover shooter. Incredible visuals, great voice acting, and a rich story awaited players everywhere.
Possibly the most notable contribution the game gave to the brand was a re-kindling of credibility for Transformers, as a franchise/brand, to produce an environment for great gaming experiences. The sprawling landscapes of Cybertron really come to life in the game, and for the first time I felt some real scope in regards to just how darn big this planet would have to be. The tone hits perfectly, lending great immersion into the games world.
It's hard to come up with much negative to say about this one, but since that feels necessary to only place it third on our list, I will say that there are times the difficulty felt a bit high. That's not a bad thing necessarily, it just felt like there were a few too many ambushes by a few too many enemies once in a while. The sequel took a few steps to correct this, but not entirely.
That said, this is one that not only Transformers fans, but most gamers, should give a go at if it has not been experienced.
#2: Transformers Platforms: Playstation 2
It'd have to take a pretty special game to unseat one of High Moon's more recent two headlining efforts on this list, and there is one game that not only myself, but much of the staff, remember quite fondly. 2004's simply named Transformers is based in the Armada franchise, though it doesn't canonically tie in with either the TV show or comic series. From publisher Atari and developers Melbourne House, this third person shooter let gamers control their favorite Armada Autobots in a quest to collect Mini-cons and stop the Decepticons.
This game was hard, didn't have a lot of playable characters, and while the graphics were phenomenal for the time, they certainly look dated today. It was, however, extremely fun, and gave fans some moments where our toys suddenly seemed even more out of scale than they already were.
There's another very important reason to praise this game. At the time, Transformers videogames were considered to be among the very worst examples of franchise tie-in games ever. The positive reception and sales of this game made it possible for more to follow later on, and that's probably the biggest accomplishment of the game. Too bad the Cybertron inspired sequel got canceled.
#1: Fall of Cybertron Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC
This one's pretty much automatic.
The sequel to the already great War for Cybertron was followed up two years later by another stellar effort from High Moon Studios with 2012's Fall of Cybertron. Picking up some time after the events of the first game, this one follows the end of the war all the way to the departure of the Autobots on the Ark.
With improved graphics, stellar gameplay, and a multiplayer mode that remains active to this day, Fall of Cybertron is hands down the best Transformers videogame ever created, and should be on any fans "must-play" list. I can watch the E3 trailer from before this games' release and still get hyped to this day.
Combine into Bruticus, stomp around as Grimlock, or scorch the earth with Metroplex - this game has it all. If you're reading this article and you haven't played this game, do yourself a favor and go do so. Right freaking now.
We hope you enjoyed this look back. Don't forget that Activision's Transformers: Devastation comes out soon on October 6th for virtually every platform on the planet, and you can pre-order your copy today. Where will that game fit in with the other Transformers gaming efforts of the past? We'll know very soon, and it certainly looks quite promising!
ROAD RAGE! While a DECEPTICON called TRANSIT wreaks havoc on afternoon commutes, Team Bee gets an unexpected visit… but will these new rivals combine forces without trusting each other?
Can they even deal?
With only a couple of weeks left until the end of season one of the animated series, the second issue of Robots in Disguise still falls a little behind plot-wise, but Georgia Ball delivers an entertaining, intriguing and suspenseful enough script to keep interest even in older readers.
After my own heart, the humour - a Cybertronian perspective on Earthling behaviour, media and general popular culture - allows for a number of puns, plays on concepts, wordplay via Fixit's pixlexia (yes yes yes I know that's not it but bear with me). All within a frame that does not jar with the silliness, at all.
Additionally, it keeps the light side in the running mystery we had been made aware of since the FCBD issue #0. While team Prime does make its appearance, and that is not spoiling anything, something else is definitely afoot with the various cast members, and Ultra Magnus in particular. Plus another special cameo, too...
Priscilla Tramontano delivers an excellent arrangement of panels - though I might have some comments at a later stage on the fluidity of the layouts - with some fan-tastic cameos from across the multiple incarnations of the Transformers fictions, not only Prime. Plus, we get some magnificent expressivity across the entire board, from background to main cast.
Oh hey Spike and Carly
You wanted a colourist? Well, you get three, as Tramontano is joined by the Joshes, Perez and Burcham, in colouring in her own linework. And as much as they usually have their own identifiable styles, the transitions and collaboration here are strikingly fluid. Which is never a bad thing, and leads to some excellently vibrant pages, in tone with the series.
Also, a title such as this one allow, nay, calls for some fun on the fonts and letters side of things, and Tom B. Long does not disappoint. Enjoying the multiple opportunities to play with soundwords and squiggles, Long adds the finishing touches of lightness even where scenes may get more serious. Cover-wise, Burcham returns from interior colours to overall cover work in the Subscription variant (thumbnailed), while Tramontano still has the great main cover we've seen for a while now.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Again, as for last month and the first issue, the target audience of the book is obvious, and may deter some of the older readers (who do have three other series at least, to be fair) - but what Ball brings to the table is the same good blend of lighthearted humour with enough of a twist to keep the mind intrigued and willing to go along for the (bus)ride.
But no DINOPILE?
And of course, the visual result of Tramontano, Perez, Burcham and Long are a feast for the optic sensors, too. The vibrancy, cameos, hints, slapstick and more subtle humour are excellently enjoyable, and work well as a parallel reflection of the animated series - obviously with its own take, and all the better for it.
Filling in for Va'al this week because he's a super-busy, super-desired, and super-successful dude, it's me, reservist-and former news admin, and comic reviewer Tigertrack. (I hope you check this out any way).
“I feel not unlike a small boy, waking from a bad dream to find reality not much of an improvement.” -John Byrne
Story so far:
Okay—Despite what we told you last time, it turns out GI JOE is real…and they’re the last line of defense against the Decepticobra alliance. With battlefronts on Earth and Cybertron, hope seems a a losing proposition—until Optimus Prime returns!.
In our last episode, Scarlett in paradise...lost and then found, and Bumblebee's head is returned!
Spoiler free review:
This issue continues to tell the story of the seemingly mad reality that Earth and Cybertron are in as Koh-Buru-Lah has started to cause havoc on Earth with the Decepticobras battling the Joes, and Cybertron has started to look more and more like a certain planet-eater that is feared from Transformers religion—that is also bearing down on the Earth with conflicts on it, and in it, as well.
Using creative layouts and lettering, and exaggerated characterization often inspired from sources both familiar and those you will have to do a bit of research on, Tom Scioli continues to drum out a very wide mix of feelings for us; from fun and silly, to horrific and mind-boggling, unreal to all too real.
We are now 8 issues in, and if you’re still with this critically-acclaimed series, you’re probably past your personal feelings about art and layout, and just trying to enjoy the ride and appreciate all the work and creativity that has actually gone into this series. And of course...Transformers. You’ll continue to be surprised in this issue in several ways… I won’t spoil them all, but a couple of my favorite moments involve Omega Supreme’s unexpected entrance into the fray, heralding the return of the Astro-train (I love this silly, but cool design ), and the commentary about a love-it or hate-it classic generation one gimmick(most of 'us' dislike it anyway)! Some perfect examples of fun/creative ways to rethink what has been thought before.
Ramifications from Issue #6 are continued as we see GI JOE take full responsibility for the protection of the Earth, violently wrenched from government control in issue #6 by FLAGG! Optimus Prime returns to Cybertron after retrieving Bumblebee's body from GI JOE--Cobra Commander celebrates on Earth with his disciples over a feast of...Snake Eyes? In this issue, we also seemingly learn the fates of favorite sons Billy and Bumblebee...and of course, one shall stand and one shall fall...
There’s plenty of human and robot action in this page turner, although as in previous issues, some of the leaps between chapter breaks are a bit too profound! The changing from Cybertron to Earth in separate sections/chapters can be a little jolting and confusing, unless you have followed along from previous issues and know who is where and use some powers of inference.
There are also a few rad splash pages that just leave you a bit awe-struck…in a good way mostly…and a surprise ending that no one ever saw coming.
Ultimately, if you’re still reading this series, you’ll continue to enjoy it, as I am, probably despite your personal feelings toward what should be done here or there, or how characters are or are not being treated with respect to your understanding of them from other media. The art and layouts are interesting and fun, and the fact that Barber and Scioli take time at the end of each issue to discuss the creative process and inspirations make this an enjoyable series for those who have a real taste for comic book history and wanting to know the inner workings on creating and publishing a book. And of course, there are Transformers too, some re-imagined and re-mixed in ways that were not thought possible before. I’m to the point where I can enjoy this for what it is…and I was very much against this after the very first issues. It’s gotten much less childish and random, and grown much more complex and a bit more dark--and still a bit random though.
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!
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