JETFIRE and KUP lead a team to investigate the mysterious ONYX system. Meanwhile, GALVATRON… well, GALVATRON just doesn’t like anybody.
There is a web being woven, in which each piece of the puzzle so far seems to slot, slide, slip and get trapped. SkyLynx, Kup, D.O.C., Jetfire, Soundwave, Galvatron, the Onyx system, Blackrock, Faireborne, even Thundercracker and Buster. How does it hold together? Perhaps it doesn't.
John Barber, a long while ago now, talked about what was then Robots in Disguise as being the intrigue, thriller, Rome/Borgias/Game of Thrones-esque counterpart to the sitcom/space opera of MTMTE - and if anything were to prove that point further, it's this issue, with no doubt. The main plot carries on the workings of devious Blackrock mostly...
Evil Steve Jobs is still evil
...but also those of Galvatron - perhaps even more so - as the Autobots are used for purposes that are still not entirely clear at this point. In fact, they seem to be the flies of that web. Galvatron's goals are shrouded in what comes across as pure cruelty, almost for the sake of it, if we are to take the example of Skywarp's function in his eyes - a repeated, ongoing agonising torture.
What Barber is setting up is big, very much so, and informed by Combiner Wars in more ways than one, but giving some really emotive aspects to the lesser used characters, while keeping the spotlight pointed just to the side of the key players of something even bigger about to go down.
Andrew Griffith continues a very strong stretch of regular work with this series - though I sometimes still find myself wondering at some of the human jawlines. His Galvatron is magnificently terrifying, and the way in which the art is laid out just ensures that, yes, he is in control of the space he inhabits. Not to mention some splash pages that...
...with the addition of Josh Perez's colour-work, really drive the 'point' home. A lot of the action, if not all of it, takes place in a strange, ethereal locating of spaces that are both inside and outside - and then you have the snow scenes. So much snow. So much.
I snow, right?
Tom B. Long is busy on this one, for pages and pages, in a sequence that I do not want to spoil for anyone reading, but the fontwork gives a fantastic sense of the scale of it all, and of what is at stake in the longer narrative of the upcoming issues. As for covers, the Griffith and Perez take on the main variant, while Casey Coller and Joana Lafuente add their own spin to the Autobot crew (thumbnailed). And of course, we have seen the Kei Zama and Yamaishi incentive variant Galvatron, being diplomatic.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
If you were paying attention to other aspects of the Transformers universe, not just its fiction, you might start spotting some patterns emerging that were not there initially. Barber's weaving is intricate, logical, underlying a slower pace than MTMTE at times - but this month, this is definitely the book that delivers the most punches, in my view.
I'll.. just wait shall I?
There are several moments - stunningly and darkly rendered by the visuals team - that feel not too dissimilar from major game-changing episodes or scenes in those same shows that stand as inspiration, and no one is really in control of their fate or condition, except for whoever is actually pulling the strings. Read this.
Takara Tomy's Tranformers Masterpiece MP-25 Tracks has been peeping its head prior to the release date for quite a while now - in some local markets and distributions anyway - but we also have a new addition via Seibertron's podcaster ScottyP in the form of a video review (in Chinese) of the new figure and mold! Check it out embedded below.
The One Where Grimlock is Possessed by Unicron (Spoiler free-ish)
Make a list of every single DECEPTICON. Remove the warriors, the high-rankers, the loyal foot soldiers, the over-achievers, and anyone who’s ever made even a modest contribution to The Cause. You should now have five names left. Welcome back, guys.
IN STORES NOW!!!
Let's leave aside the storylines being run so far in More Than Meets the Eye, and dip into the lives and troubles of the bunch of misfits introduced all the way back when the DJD was still just a name. In issue #45, MTMTE brings back the Scavengers, Grimlock, and their ship - the Weak Anthropic Principle. Has anything changed? Read on and find out.
James Roberts knows these characters, and the Scavengers are in fact one of the best example of how he operates as a writer, giving the spotlight to minor, lesser-known faces, in order to (sometimes) address a wider narrative. That has been the case for MTMTE, but Krok, Spinister and the crew show it even more.
Sounds.. sensible (goodie?)
There is a narrative, obviously, though it will feel really quite distanced from everything else currently happening in the IDWverse for the Transformers - at least until much later in the book. What I find both a positive and negative here, are the parallels with the group's first introduction to the readership, in terms of plotlines.
Some parallels are wonky, fine
Nevertheless, the read is extremely enjoyable, the humour is plentiful, the characters all have their voices, and we do circle back in time for tea to the wider plots left dangling in season 1, while also exploring the single characters along the way. More thoughts overall included below.
Alex Milne and Brian Shearer team up for some slick linework (layouts, pencils and inks), and the initial pages are an excellent nod to the regular ongoing issues with a Scavenger spin (check out this article, too). The flexibility and dynamism of the different styles condensed in the opening alone are enough to reinforce the rep of the visual team of the book - and it only continues strong from there.
Just a matter of..
The visual team, of course, also features the excellent work that Joana Lafuente brings to the colours, complementing and complimenting the lines and inks that the artists provide. Shading, mood, tone, and the same dynamism of layouts are accentuated and made even more lush to look at throughout.
There is a specific running gag relating to the Scavengers, too, and Tom B. Long's work is the only means of achieving it - which is a nice recognition of the importance of lettering in the medium, even to convey humour. As for covers, the main recurring group shot by Milne and Josh Perez stand triumphant, as Nick Roche and Josh Burcham take on cover B (thumbnailed) a little less seriously. We've seen Kei Zama and Yamaishi's take on MTMTE's big baddies of the past too, but still pretty, yes?
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
This issue is definitely filler material, until it's not. Not entirely, at least. But until that point, a lot of what you're reading is predominantly Roberts enjoying his own writing skills with a bunch of misfits, and their interactions, dragging in popular culture references and callbacks (though much less so than the Swerve issue from a couple of months ago). It's a fun romp, with exceptional visuals, and both good characterisation and well-placed twists.
However, and I realise this may just be me, so far it just sort of hangs there, at the periphery of the wider story, much like the first time we came across the WAP and its crew. The next issue will undoubtedly fill us in more, given that last sequence and last page, but I kept finding myself thinking about the overall relevance of the issue in terms of narrative. Think of it as a bottle-episode, with a twist, if you will. It may be more your thing.
WINDBLADE and STARSCREAM race to claim the lost colony lead by the mysterious ELITA ONE! But who will recruit the brutal army so long removed from CYBERTRON—and can ELITA’s forces bring anything home... but war?
She seems so nice
This is, for a number of reasons and alignments, the last issue in the second run of Windblade. And it attempts to tie up the colonies, literally and story-wise, preparing the ground for what will come next in the wider Transformers IDWverse - as the same cast will return in Spring 2016 with Till All Are One. But how does the conclusion shape up?
Starscream's wet dream
Mairghread Scott has a good sense of character, and the concepts she puts in place are really quite excellent at times. Windblade and Chromia, Starscream and Windblade, Ironhide and Chromia in previous issues, now Elita One and both Windblade and Starscream - the characters' voices and interactions are played out really well, in terms of dialogue and comebacks.
We do also have a small addressing of Chromia's dirty secret, though it still remains unclear to me how much longer it'll remain so - surely someone will exploit it down the line in the next series. Another mystery is Rattrap, who steps back in the shadows for the majority of the issue, but also without any leads as to who he is working for.
There is enough intrigue, and darkness, and general sense of unease - a lot of which just plays along on the edge of something bigger promising to happen. But even until the very end, the gun barrel is just being loaded, with the final pages bringing in a potentially additional threat that has been prepared for a while now, too. More thoughts below.
The art by Corin Howell brings the last motherload of Animated references, with the addition of some more cameos from previous Transformers fiction too, from Beast Machines, in the shape of Strika and Obsidian. But there are so many more showing up (Animated Sentinel Prime's, Prime Dreadwing's silhouettes), and it's really quite enjoyable to spot them all. Plus, the ship looks fierce, unwelcoming, and definitely strained - even in its discipline.
Thomas Teyowisonte Deer is joined for the issue by John-Paul Bove on colouring duties, and they work really quite well together, ad there is very little transitiom between the two - and very good shading, light sources and choices of colour for the grittiness of Elita One's Carcer and its crew.
Tom B. Long is still here, doing his multi-fonted thing. The scenes with Metroplex are, unsurprisingly, some of the best fonting overall, with multiple colours, symbols and voices being assigned to the Titan - and the same is true elsewhere. Cover-wise, Priscilla Tramontano's main Elita is triumphantly glorious, as Casey Coller and Joana Lafuente's variant (thumbnailed) has some excellent shadow/light play, and Kei Zama and Josh Burcham bring MegaCity One to Cybertron, as seen previously.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
As a final issue, there is an overall sense of cohesion and tying up some preliminary loose ends, with more than enough seeded for the next series to pick up on, and hopefully expand, now that the Council is established as A Thing. The visual team, with Howell, Deer and Bove will be a felt absence, and I will miss the structured/Animated look and references of the art, but am equally looking forward to the new team. The back matter is really worth a read, too, as Scott wraps up her thoughts on Windblade as series and character.
What is unfortunate, on the other hand, is just the general sense that here, this is an ending, have it, read it, see you in a couple of months. As much as I thought the issue felt much less rushed than the previous one, even in the new page format, it still felt as though a little something was missing. And a shame too, as the underlying stories and references were pointing to so much more possible explorations. I suppose, however, we will see all of that develop next year!
Fellow Seibertronian Cobotron is raving about the newly released Takara Legends Ultra Magnus. He has provided us a quick written review along with some awesome pictures including the box art which had not been seen yet, it's pretty kick ass, enjoy!
Cobotron wrote:This figure is FANTASTIC! This really is the Classics/Gen Magnus I've been waiting all this time for.
I would love to compare and contrast the Hasbro version to this Takara one but I can only speak for the Takara. The more I looked at Hasbro's, the more I wondered if I made the right choice. That Hasbro blue, with it's metallic swirl is supper sleek, and I realize now, closer in color to the OG G1 toy. So, I was elated to find that the Takara blue also has that rockin' metallic fleck, not as predominant as Hasbro's, but oh yeah, he's got it! All the other extra painted details also really seal the deal. In particular the added apps to the feet, and the inside of his head crest. Some of the applications are a little loose around the edges, but I'm too busy transforming this guy to care.
In either version, this toy is really fun! The transformation is a ton o' fun and super intuitive. A fantastic evolution of ye olden Magnus. I feel they took some serious cues from the Masterpiece Magnus. I've always been a strong believer in Magnus is a Prime type truck in a suit of armor, but I'm not afraid of change. The driver gimmick is cool. Can't wait to see who else I can cram in that pilot's chair.
I love the robotic pug nose bull dog look of the truck. An homage to the Mack truck mascot, perhaps? I'm a little surprised Takara left that hinge piece rectangle on the roof red. Seems like a detail they would have been sticklers about.
This sculpt is unmistakably IDW, and I love it! Such a great robot mode. And I love that the hammer is a constant now.
Put it down Mags! Serve that justice! Enforce that accord!
For such a tiny little toy, the paint is impeccable on Alpha Trion. This fun little guy will have all kinds of silly exploits in my collection. And he's my first ever Alpha T toy.
There has been a lot of back and forth between UM's thighs. Red vs. white that is. I initially went for the red thighs because I thought it screamed G1 toy, but what it really boils down to is this is a really great interpretation of this character no matter the pants.
A great transformation, resulting in a really well articulated action figure that's just plain fun to play with. And BTW, I haven't had any trouble getting him to hold his weapons.
The last we saw or heard about the Takara Tomy Movie Advanced Black Knight Optimus Prime, we only had in-hand images of it. Now, thanks to fellow Seibertronian Transformermegazord, we also get a video review, showing off the new deco on the Leader class Optimus Prime from the Age of Extinction toy line! Check it out below.
Seibertron released a gallery for MP-18B Bluestreak recently and while we hope that can give you a good idea of this redeco, we also have a video review here for you. This is courtesy of fellow Seibertronian blurrprime. Let us know what you think of this redeco and if you are gonna pick him up.
Everyone remember the Titan Changer line of Robots in Disguise? We saw it as far back as May but only now are they being accessible to North America through Amazon. Chuck grabbed one and got to review it:
chuckdawg1999 wrote:While many people dismiss the Titan figure line as glorified shampoo bottles, the sales of the various figures show their popularity. Expanding upon the 6" and 12" assortments, Hasbro has decided to add a simple transformation to the figures creating Titan Changers. The quality of plastic on Optimus Prime is nice with a metallic, marbleized finish. Transformation is simple but fun, resulting in truck mode that can roll easily. Obviously most adult collectors will pass on this line but for younger fans, or those looking to keep their hands busy, Optimus Prime is a fun figure.
With our charming and prestigious Comics Editor and News Administrator Va'al otherwise indisposed, it's fallen on me to take up the reigns for this week's review of IDW's More Than Meets The Eye #44. As warned already, this one will be spoiler heavy throughout, because there's no way I can adequately review this thing if I'm trying to not tell you things about it. Since some of the text gets front paged, I'm just typing up things to delay the start of the actual review. This is your Swerve recap. Need a review with no spoilers? Here it is: stop reading my stupid words and go buy this. Now. Stop, really, and go spend $4 right the hell now on this book. I'm serious, if you want to read this issue (you do), and you read this review beforehand, you will regret it. Don't have regrets, the internet can wait.
So with all that out of the way, let me tell you what author James Roberts has done here. This is an issue about the value of life, dogma, love, hope, expectation, and consequences. Oh, and Transformers, I suppose. Strap in your feelings, we're going for a ride.
We'll start with Rodimus, like you do when writing about MTMTE. We're joined on the first page with Rewind attempting to tell Rodimus a story, this time about the mysterious, legendary Necrobot. Rodimus, naturally, seems to not care. There are more important things that can be done, like get attention for being The Best Guy because he's carved a map to Cyberutopia on a table. Forget this side-quest, The Best Captain has done a thing, so naturally, we have to follow up on this.
Only this doesn't go to plan for him, as Megatron, The Other Captain, thinks one more little side quest isn't such a big deal. Under the guise of continuing to be very, almost unusually, caring about Rewind, off they go to look for the Necrobot. Why do they do this?
Well that's something, isn't it? So off they go, eventually landing on the Necrobot's planet. Without going into too much plot summary (much of the above was in the previews anyhow), and without spoiling too much of the absolutely stunning art by Hayato Sakamoto, colored by Joana Lafuente in images, there are some other themes and points worth serious note.
First, the buddy cop duo that never was/is likely never to be: Nightbeat and the Necrobot.
At the start of this issue, we know positively very extremely little about the Necrobot. Within the confines of this one single comic, we learn a gigantic ton about him. The Necrobot, through his interaction with Nightbeat, is wholly fleshed out as a character. The storytelling here is simply marvelous, touching on Nightbeat's expectations that maybe, just maybe there's something more to the ideas of religious dogma, or supernatural powers existing in the universe. It turns out that the Necrobot doesn't live up to this, he's really just a guy (I told you there would be spoilers) named Censere. Censere tells him, in my favorite panel of the book, that he should still hope anyhow if he wants to. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
Oh, and his cape. I want one. Just go read it, you'll see what I mean.
Next, but not last, it's time to reflect on the latest goings on in my favorite romance in fiction these days: Chromedome and Rewind.
Salt in the wound
As a guideline, I'm never much into fictional romance. Love is a fickle thing and it's extremely hard to make a compelling story about it without falling into, literally, a gillion tropes, cliches, and stretches of cringe-worthy dialogue. Roberts continues to utterly avoid all of this and provide a story about two souls on a journey that deeply care about one another to their core. I should also point out that this is yet more consistent, meaningful, and impacting character development that's handled in just the fewest of pages. It doesn't take a lot of time to be satisfying, and this is where I point out that the lettering of Tom B. Long really helps in setting the dialogue's tone appropriately. The voices in your head won't emphasize the wrong words, which can't always be said in comics.
Finally, the least obvious (until the end, that is) featured story in the issue. Who is this issue about, really?
To think, I once thought that smirk would never conceal anything except "evil"
The renaissance of Megatron is continued here, and he's always there in this one, just off to the side, sometimes being snarky, but then... well, I'm not going to post the last two page spread because it's incredible. With the last sentence of this book, any emotions I had to spend were spent. Sometimes consequences aren't as material as you want them to be. Instead, they end up being something more, something worse - true guilt.
This one's an embodiment of Samwise Gamgee's very famous lines from Tolkien's The Two Towers, but everyone knows those, I think. Is this the best comic I've ever read? Probably. As I said at the start, go buy this. Maybe buy one for a friend too.
. out of
Bonus! James Roberts' soundtrack suggestions for this issue:
The Smiths - Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want
A Camp - Song for the Leftovers
Goto Page: 1, 2, 3 ... 110, 111, 112>> 1,115 total news articles in this section, 10 per page.