Spoiler Warning! The contents of this review may, and likely will, spoil significant parts of this book, and possibly others in the IDW Transformers meta-series. "Trade paperback only" readers should wander away now! This is your one and only warning.
Synopsis and Credits
ALL HAIL OPTIMUS part 4! It's all-out war as OPTIMUS PRIME's forces move on GALVATRON's DECEPTICONS—with Earth caught in the middle! Unusual alliances have formed… and secrets will be revealed.
The story of All Hail Optimus continues with this week's release of The Transformers #53 from IDW Publishing, otherwise known as the book just about every Transformers fan is still calling Robots in Disguise. We join our heroes, I guess, back on Earth where they just did a thing and got attacked by humans and Prime lost an arm or something. Oh, and then he blackmailed some peace seeking Decepticons into joining what amounts to an Optimus Prime led invasion force using some wicked, cunning, downright messed up appeal to Soundwave's more logical side. That part of issue number 52 last month was really good, so I was excited to dive into this next chapter.
Still a fascinating pivot.
The story of Optimus Prime's descent to the dark side of The Force has been really fascinating to witness. While I still foresee some shenanigans on the horizon with a certain police car, if I go with the benefit of the doubt and Prime's head isn't being messed with (this book hasn't earned this benefit over the years, but I'm feeling generous) the subtlety of the character work has been pulled off pretty brilliantly. The normally consistent Optimus has become quite unpredictable, with each new move feeling more desperate even if the end goal is probably as ambiguously defined to this character as it is to readers.
A far less interesting pivot.
On the other hand, we have the leader of our "bad guys" for this arc in Galvatron. Galvatron has been a character in IDW that has been all over the place literally and figuratively. Right now, he feels about as inconsistent as ever. The wise, cunning, eugenics-endorsing guardian of Primus' will (albeit a possibly twisted version of it) has, for reasons I honestly cannot figure out, become an "80's Cartoon Supervillain" to borrow the words of your regular comics reviewer, Dr. Va'al.
Galvatron has gone from Beast Machines Megatron mixed with Armada Galvatron, with the full on David Kaye voice accompaniment, to the bizarre, shrill voiced G1 Season 3 version of the character with a higher pitched Frank Welker madman voice. It's been a quick pivot that is hard to follow and it's been one of the most disappointing aspects of this arc thus far. Sometimes there are shades of it all being a ruse, like during the excellent fight scene with Arcee earlier in the arc, but trust me when I say that really goes out the window in this chapter. See: Cobra Commander Level Cheesy Plan.
Please, make it end.
This book is in dire need of a bad guy with motivation, and he's standing right there making me want to punch him in the face. Just by standing there. I legitimately dislike this character. I read every issue of The Transformers rooting for him to die in the worst way possible. That has little to do with this exact issue of the book, but the fact that he's in there taking up space while the plot wanders in odd directions around him reeks of either poor planning or plans changed by someone in an office in Rhode Island.
Seeds of intrigue, perhaps?
There definitely is some planning going on, with characters that we know will be front and center in the Titans Return toyline (and presumably, story arc) getting some choice moments in this issue as well. Barber manages to get these characters in through smart, unobtrusive methods that a non-toy collector reader won't be caught off guard by. Yes, Mindwipe is around and yes, he's getting a toy soon but were he not, I don't think I'd read the book any differently.
While the majority of the Synergon™ is strong in this book, there are some moments towards the end (including the last page) that warrant mention, though I'll stop short of spoiling them. I'll just mention that I was interested in getting some official canon to go behind some more recent Transformers toy releases, this looked like it was going to deliver, but I ended up with disappointment instead.
Stay tuned next time for more Wacky Races!
Just like some members of Optimus' crew, this book alternates between serious and cartoonish, dramatic and funny, and even has a plot that advances forwards and backwards. I honestly can't say that the plot of this arc feels like it's moved forward much at all, and it's really falling victim to the trade paperback format pitfalls that IDW had previously done a tremendous job at avoiding. The glacial pace of progress continues to be just that for this part of the larger story, whether that feeling is intentional or not.
The art is handled in this issue by Priscilla Tramontano with colors by Josh Burcham and letters by series regular Tom B. Long, and it's definitely a highlight of this issue.
Maybe they just want to report about your silver arm?
From wisely used effects like those found in this panel, to purposeful stylistic differences in the pencils/inks based on the environment in which the action takes place (more on this shortly), the book has a style that is sure to please a majority of Transformers fans. It alternates between serious detail and cartoon-like sketchiness freely, and in some cases you may not even notice the jumps.
There was one case where I was first jarred by the changing depiction of certain characters from panel to panel, and that was with the Combiner characters once they go underwater. Initially, I thought this was just a product of deadlines being a thing that exists, with art that just had to get done at some point, and I was disappointed. Later, I thought this may have been a stylistic choice meant to evoke the original Transformers cartoon series. Upon investigating that train of thought further, I noticed that all of the details in the underwater scenes are more "cartoon-like", for better or worse. At least it's consistent with this, even if I'd prefer some more detail. It seems to fit with the back and forth tonal nature of this issue as well, so that's another thing going for it.
One great, moody page
Burcham's colors lend more to the tone of the story than perhaps the words themselves in this issue, with multiple instances where he takes what could be more instances of inconsistency and makes them a harmonious, fun to look at product. Between work here and on Sins of the Wreckers, comics fans continue to get a look at a colorist at the top of his game.
While the plot's overall direction and progress disappointed me, with this issue ending at a point of rising action just like the last countless many issues of this series, the art and many of the character beats pick this issue up from a potentially boring place.
Why not Zoidberg Tidal Whale?
That said, this book needs to resolve some plot threads soon, and find a more consistent voice. Solicits make me think it's going somewhere at long last, but I've been fooled by those plenty of times before. The more cartoon-styled look is not on accident, as the story reads like a Saturday morning show in many parts as well. I don't mind that, and it's a ton of fun, but what happens when this book wants me to take it seriously again? There are points within this issue where that seems to be the case, but it's a difficult, almost jarring shift in mood. That's probably intentional, and while I appreciate the inherent goofy side of Transformers and like the fun ways this issue uses that side, this feels like a weird place in an arc that was almost all serious business up to this point for that to come into the picture.
I'm conflicted by this issue, as there are parts I love and parts my eyes will just wander over when I pick up my physical copy this afternoon. I'll give this two different ones since different readers will likely find very different levels of appreciation of The Transformers #53
For readers looking for drama and serious plot advancement:
. and 1/2 - out of
For readers that like a fun tone interspersed with a looser overall plot:
THE DYING OF THE LIGHT part 4! Twilight’s last gleaming! The end is nigh. No chance of escape. No last-minute reprieve. But nothing loosens the tongue like imminent death, and the crew of the Lost Light use their final hours to say what—until now—was unsayable.
Geddit? lights dying?
The Light keeps dying, slowly, inexorably, irreparably, and we are witnesses to the events as they unfold, as James Roberts allows them to, and we are left without choice (other than not to read the story, of course) - in a manner very similar to the characters in this issue, faced with choices, the illusion of such, and a lot of emotions.
Average MTMTE reader
And with a lot of emotions, come a lot of storylines: we have Nightbeat's intrigue with the hollow planet, and his co-opting of Rung, we have whatever Minimus Ambus and Brainstorm are doing, we have Ratchet and Velocity, Nautica and her group, Chromedome recovering, Megatron being repaired, the DJD just waiting, Whirl and Cyclonus. I could go on.
New mystery; where are Rung's glasses?
Don't get me wrong, though, there are some stellar character moments for pretty much all of the cast members in the book. And it also manages to deal quite nicely, and deeply (and on multiple fronts) with big themes such as addiction, the overwhelming fears running through the whole cast of the issue, friendship and love, and the pain that the latter two can bring as side effects.
Not pictured: your gut
There's ..a lot in here. And not all of it necessarily meshes that well together. We see it in the opening preview, with Nautica's otherwise very touching moment as she sees the end coming - a moment which feels too short taken within the frame of the whole issue, and that is a real shame. But more below.
Alex Milne is the main artist on the book, though the Whirl/Cyclonus sequence is actually the talented hands of Hayato Sakamoto, and it shows. Not just the parallels, but the issues that come across in the script in terms of pacing are visually redeemed (for me at least) by punching the 'meanwhile' technique is a truly spectacular way. And one panel, that one panel, THAT PANEL, is almost painful.
Not showing it of course
Joana Lafuente's gradual transition in colour palettes, from the arrival on the beautifully lit Necroworld to now
Tom B. Long takes the letters and makes sure we know exactly where to look, what to hear, and how loudly (or softly). In a text that so much unsaid finally spoken, the indication is needed, welcome, and part of the emotional package. The covers, on the other hand, do very little to hint at anything happening inside this book, though great they are! Priscilla Tramontano brings a much happier Swerve memory (thumbnail), as Josh Burcham and Sakamoto show off the threat that awaits, and Milne and Josh Perez look at that thread from our side of the fence.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Reader, I cried. Much like the issue in this series that provided the template for the culprit image, I felt the same build up on the page, in the characters, and inside my emotional chamber, as I was led to the resolution of that particular arc. It doesn't end there, of course, but if I have to talk about one moment, that is the one that stuck. The art, as I said above, is mostly to blame.
There are, I repeat here, some severe pacing issues, trying to fit in a number of personal narratives that just do not survive the composition, either coming across as rushed, disjointed or even shoehorned in - which the visuals do wonders with. It's a collection of character moments, beautiful, each unique in their own way, and well-done taken separately. But we need the climax. It is time.
Fellow Seibertronians, courtesy of fellow user Starsaber468, we get a nice look at the upcoming Leader class Blaster figure along with the Legends class figures Rewind and Wheelie in the form of video reviews. While Blaster's is in Chinese, it offers a fairly comprehensive look at the various features. The other two are in English. Check them out and let us know what you think of them in the comments below.
Welcome folks, today we have quite a treat from Seibertronian native Wolfman Jake. He has poignantly put together his thoughts and pictures for an awesome review of TakaraTomy Transformers Legends LG-EX Rhinox, Rattrap, & Waspinator! Comparisons and insights galore featured below, so take it away Jake!
My LG-EX Beast Wars figures arrived this morning!
As promised, I've got some comparison pics with the previous Takara Tomy releases of these molds. Unfortunately, I sold off my Hasbro versions a while back, so I don't have any in-hand comparison pictures with those versions. Note that for all comparison pictures below, the figure on the left is the original Takara Tomy release, while the figure on the right is the LG-EX release. Without further ado, though, here they are, starting with...
Rattrap (Beast Mode)
Rattrap (Robot Mode)
Rattrap is definitely the least changed of the three. The most obvious difference is that the rat's eyes are now black, to better match Rattrap's on-screen beast mode. There are a few other subtle differences, though. The plastic color for the "fleshy" parts of rattrap, like his paws, is slightly more saturated with pink in the LG-EX version. Likewise, the tan painted parts are every so slightly more saturated with orange. This is easiest to see on Rattrap's robot face and thighs. Finally, the red paint used for Rattrap's robot mouth and eyes is exactly the same shade on the LG-EX version, whereas the previous Transformers Legends release used a darker red for the eyes than the mouth. The matching reds, unsurprisingly, are more screen accurate. There doesn't seem to be much of a difference with the gray plastic used for the rat body of each figure, nor the brown fur highlights on their rumps. For me, the LG-EX version's colors just pop that much better. I switched the rat heads on my two figures to give the LG-EX version screen accurate red rat eyes for robot mode, which is the more important mode to me in terms of accuracy.
Waspinator (Beast Mode)
Waspinator (Robot Mode)
Waspinator has really stepped it up quite a bit with the LG-EX release. The "paint mask" (e.g., the paint operations layout) between both versions is basically identical. The only difference are with the plastic and paint colors, each being lighter, more saturated, and more accurate to Waspinator's screen appearance. The LG-EX release is missing most of the shiny metallic plastic and paint apps, going for a more glossy look instead. The light green, yellow, and medium browns match up extremely well with the original cartoon. The wings are exactly the same, giving a wonderful iridescent effect, like actual insect wings. There is ONE change to the paint mask between the two. The LG-EX version, like the show counterpart, has yellow and black striping on his robot mode head antennae. They are simply left plain gold on the earlier release.
Rhinox (Beast Mode)
Rhinox (Robot Mode)
Last, but certainly not least, we have Rhinox! I think Waspinator gets the "most improved" award, but Rhinox is certainly a contender for that accolade. The LG-EX beast skin is no longer metallic and shiny, going instead for a glossy look that's a bit more natural for an organic rhinoceros. The beast mode eyes are white with black pupils now, instead of just black, again matching the show character model that much better. The rubbery "rump" part on the back matches the harder plastic parts of the body much better now with the LG-EX release. The rhino horn and toe nails are also a slightly lighter shade or bronze now. For the robot mode, there are a few subtle differences that look fantastic, like painting the rhino gums pink. It really is a spectacular little detail to include this time around. Gone are the dark green paint apps on the robot mode forearms. Those were, I believe, a detail of the original toy, but doing without them is more show accurate. The coloring on the robot mode chest bits that flank the lower rhino jaw are also different. The original release paints those robot bits in gold with black trim, while the LG-EX version paints them the same green to match his other robot mode parts. Since these parts are an embellishment on the original show character model, the green technically is more "accurate" simply because it better blends in with the rest of the robot bits and can be overlooked.
Here's a look at the boxes these guys came in:
These boxes are no-frills. Obviously, they are in black in white, which is a common trope for Takara Tomy exclusive figures. Inside, each figure is wrapped in a plastic baggy and secured in the box with a simple cardboard framework. It's basically a folded sheet or cardboard with holes in a few places where each figure is just kinda "crammed" in. Waspinator and Rhinox are boxed in robot mode, for the most part, while Rattrap is boxed in beast mode. Also, of note, apparently Rattrap, according to the box, is an Autobot! Rhinox is properly identified as a Maximal and Waspinator as a Predacon, however. Check the second pic with the "LG-EX" labels. Rattrap is also the victim of some bad Romanization, being named "Rattorp" on the front of his box. Oops! He's correctly named "Rattrap" in the instructions, however.
Thanks for taking a look. If anyone interested in these LG-EX Beast Wars figures has any questions for me, I'll be happy to answer them!
Welcome back everyone, bet you thought we were done with Transformers Titan Return Fortress Maximus for today huh? Well it turns out there's nothing stopping the big guy (or KalEl) from breaking headlines again, this time with a video review! We get to see articulation, stickers, sound effects, and so much more. Check it out below, and stay tuned to Seibertron.com: home for the best Galleries and Conversation around!
UPDATED with Generations Metroplex comparison video!
Australian Transformers fan Nathan sent us some amazing pictures of the Titans Return Fortress Maximus toy he picked up locally. He also offered us a written review. Enjoy:
TF Fan Nathan wrote:I'll be real metroplex is the better toy, there's too much of him in Fort Max's design and it hurts the quality, playability and makes you feel like your transforming him wrong a lot of the time.
I really thought fort max was gonna have more guns, he doesn't even have the wrist gun that metroplex has. The back of the hand guns I can kinda forgive but when metroplex already had the gun? Weird choice hasbro.
Also I would gladly sacrifice the sounds in base mode to be able to have those hip guns. He just looks and feels a lot smaller than metroplex. For a guy called Fortress Maximus, I'm not getting that from his toy. The original had way more features in base mode than his updated counterpart.
Cerebros's shoulders are held in by two small tabs that pop out constantly due the rest of the joints being too tight I'm already starting to get some stress marks in the plastic and I got him yesterday.
I love this toy because I love the character and the line that he's going to be a part of and I was always a headmasters fan, it's just to me this whole figure screams missed opportunity. He's a great toy but when compared to metroplex comes up short in all three modes.
Well, yours truly has managed to snag hold of a Combiner Wars Victorion from Hasbro Toy Show using that good ole 15% off May Mayhem code, and it even managed to arrive 30 hours after ordering. A great story, but one for another time.
Now, it is time to give the Rust Renegades a good pictorial review. Now, most of you will remember that our very own Seibertron did a nice little Video Review as well as his typical and fantastic Gallery, but now it is time for a different type of review. We will be taking a nice pictorial review of the figure that I received today, and we will also bring up some important characteristics of the figure, such as some remolding, some neat little tricks, and a few issues to keep an eye out.
Alright folks, dudes and dudettes, ladies and gents, lets get rolling!
First up, We will investigate the Box and the extra little pieces of paper and posterboard:
That's right peoples, she not only has a massive box, but she comes with a collectors card, instructions, and a poster of herself with her individual bots in alt mode! (Well, except for poor old Rust Dust...)
Alright, now on to the alt modes:
For quick clarification: Stormclash has the visor and the left-side chest-mounted Autobot symbol, while Skyburst has the individual eyes and the right-side chest-mounted Autobot symbol.
And if you use the feet on the underneath side, you can get some nice flying poses!
Now, Jumpstream's front end where the chest tabs to the bumber is a bit messy, but it still pegs in nice and snug. She also looks really good with the Pyra Magna axe as a spoiler.
Be careful with Dust up: her underside likes to drag on the ground. Just a warning.
And here is a nice little look at the new ladder and bucket assembly Pyra Magna is decorated with.
Now, after looking at that, some thoughts:
Dust up to me feels like she could be the winner since, despite the several uses of the mold, besides Dead End I don't have this version of the mold, so it feels cool. I only wish some of her other issues did not exist, but we'll see those later.
Pyra Magna has some issues with the front of her firetruck mode as it won't level out, so the second set of wheels is almost always off the ground. But overall, not terrible. I just wish it leveled out and had some better plastic.
The twins are a choice treat. Yes, they are the coptor mode, but they feel a little bit different and nice, and I love their heads. One issue: Their legs peg together so snug that separating them is a bit scary.
Jumpstream has a bit of a roundish and weird looking head, but overall she is not bad. Mine came with some paint chips off the chest plate, but she transforms well, and may be the most fun one to transform.
Rust Dust may be a repaint, but she is still nice, and I like her, she makes me smile.
A comparison for the Twin's heads
The new head and chest of Jumpstream
And this is where I have another issue with the figure. if you look at the joint close enough, you see stress marks from only transforming her 3 times. The roof joint is very tight and I worry for the longevity of the windshield screen. she has major issues staying together and transforming. Ouch.
Another issue: her chest panel does not want to peg into the main body.
Pyra Magna may use the main Hot Spot body and alt mode, but she did get Onslaught's heel spurs, a nice touch very much appreciated since her ladder assemble is shorter and no longer touches the ground.
and how I find the feet and hands store away the best.
Now, you may notice that the hands are hiding inside the feet. They actually slide in there pretty nicely too. In the images shown below, you can see how this works, but the hands have a little slot on the underside of the hand in the 5mm port that enables them to slide into the feet, and they stay very snug. Nice touch.
Now, for a quick peak at her fantastic new weapon, which is the combined mode of all 5 weapons seen previously:
And now for some combined mode:
This right here is her new chest detail without Rust Dust
Nice little trick here. I have seen several reviewers have the issue of the new coptor arms clashing, but there are 2 different tabs in the arms, so you can rotate them and peg them in like this, meaning that there are no clashing parts in combined mode
She has 2 different limb configurations. Here is the "Flight mode" with the coptor twins as the feet.
And gravity control mode, with the coptor twins as the arms
Dust up is a recurring issue, as her arm mode does not like to stay together unfortunately. If hse is still she won't separate, but if you move her, BAM! She will fall apart.
So, on to my final thoughts.
Box and bonus stuff: Works for me. The poster was a nice touch and I will hang it up somewhere, and the card shall join my other cards lying on my desk. Awesome art though, as per usual boxy stuff.
Pyra Magna: the plastic is very soft and not overly heavy, a major weak point. Her knees no longer want to tab in place and I'm scared to push any farther, and her left arm does not like combined mode. I do appreciate the heel spurs, a great improvement, and she does look good. Her new chest and head are also pretty good. I'd give her an 7/10, with the alt modes, left arm, and plastic quality issues letting her down.
Dust up: The weakest of the group. Alt mode drags the ground, the chest won't tab, and the roof scares me, not to mention sticking together in arm mode. But, she does look awesome, and the Nightbird head is amazing. So, 6/10. She is the one that I fear actually breaking.
Jumpstream: the best of the bunch to me. Decent head, transforms well, the hips are now far more solid than the original Breakdown and she has some nice new arms to go with the head. Plus, she rolls nice, and looks awesome with the axe weapon. 9/10, with the only losing points going to the nose piece.
Stormclash/Skyburst: I love me some twins, and they are no exception. The mirrored paint apps and the slightly different heads make them just different enough, and they transform nice, have new parts, and they make great limbs. They may be the best pair of limbs. 9/10 for both, the legs transformation being the only letdown, due to the scariness of potential breaking.
Rust Dust: Nice little repaint. she works, and she looks alright. tabs in better than Groove too, so 10/10 for what she is.
Victorion: the main event herself, and the best of the combiners in my opinion. The uniform color scheme is awesome and matches and makes her look like a big bot made from a cohesive team. And she has loads of paint, loads and loads of it. You will not get bored looking at the amount of paint apps. this is on par with club or Botcon exclusives! nicely done there. She also looks symmetrical and the new hands and feet are awesome, just wish the hands were a touch bigger. Now, I found that she is more balanced with the coptor sisters as legs, but you can go whatever route you want. It's combiner wars! Mix and Match! And her head, oh wow, it is big and detailed and lovely. she actually has eyes, and then the visor overtop! I really like that, and the detail on the crest is nice touch. Overall, I give her a 10/10 for what she is.
Now, you may be exhausted when you consider she is entirely repaints with some retooling, but she is still well worth it. She is uniform in paint and symmetry, has special new parts, some fantastic heads, and that sword! I'd recommend her, even if you have collected all the other combiner like I have. Take a look, and should you decide to leap: Hasbro Toy Shop still has that May Mayhem coupon, so go get her!
I hope you all enjoyed this review. Let us know what you think of this new gal in the comments section down below, and as always stay tuned to Seibertron.com for all your latest Transformers News and Galleries!
Thanks to our friend Chuckdawg1999 we have our first video review of Minicon Weaponizers Sideswipe and Windstrike, the wavemates to Strongarm and Sawtooth! This Sideswipe is a redeco of the Minicon Battle Packs Sideswipe in Red Alert's colors, while Windstrike is an all new minicon weapon. Check out the review below and let us know what you think, and as always stay tuned to Seibertron.com for all your latest Transformers News and Galleries!
Courtesy of fellow Seibertronian chuckdawg1999, and as a follow-up to the arrival of the Transformers Collectors' Club Subscription Service 4.0 figure, as reported here, we have a video review of the Triggerbot who isn't Ruckus - Grabuge! Check it out embedded below, and keep your optics tuned for the Seibertron.com gallery soon.
Fellow Seibertronians, our fellow user Chuckdawg has posted a video review of Transformers RID Minicon Weaponizers Strongarm and Sawtooth. This is a new figure of Strongarm which includes a Minicon partner, which can now be used as a weapon, when combined with the armor that Strongarm comes equipped with. The review has been posted below, so check her out, and let us know what you think in the comments below.
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