DAYS OF DECEPTION! All-out war erupts on the streets of Tokyo when PROWL finally gets his hand on the one human he wants to get revenge on… and when PROWL gets revenge, it’s never pretty.
We left the Earth crew of Cybertronians, both sides, to deal with Blackrock and the, so far not entirely understood, Onyx Interface ramifications - while on the other side, Decepticons under Galvatron and Soundwave may or may not be involved with humans too, and Thundercracker is still mulling over what he saw a while back.
You weren't there man..
Linearity? Not really. But John Barber's writing, and pacing of the different sides of the storylines running through, are clear to follow, and the framing of the story in Thundercracker's dealings with Soundwave, and Prowl's official motives, are a very good introduction to everything going on, without anyone really telling us as readers what that actually is.
The rest of the issue works through bike chases, Bourne or Bond style dealings, some Terminator type of sequences and sees the return of the relationship between Prowl and Arcee, now that the latter is aware of something being very wrong with the bulked-up cop and his intentions towards Spike. Or whatever is wrong with Prowl in general.
Don't think that's it
Barber is continuing to seed both Combiner Wars and a longer game from what I can tell, tinkering with characterisation for the key players, reintroducing the human factor without dwelling too long on it, showing actual interplay between the different sides and characters. And it works, it really does work throughout the whole issue, and undoubtedly will continue.
With multiple storylines, the art was bound to playing around too, but the solution of having two distinct artist/colourist teams turned out to work even better than expected. Regulars Andrew Griffith and Josh Perez take the more-or-less main plot forward, with some fantastically executed action sequences, and great backgrounds - probably also thanks to Griffith's latest travels to Japan.
BIKECHASE with SASS
The Brendan Cahill and Joana Lafuente cooperation, however, is the big surprise in this issue. Looking after prologue, epilogue and flashbacks, the two conjure up a gorgeous sequence of panels, from storytelling, to linework, to colours to facial expressions - ranging from Buster to humans to Cybertronians alike, and it looks amazing.
The lettering, once more in the hands of Tom B. Long, adds to the already fantastic deployment of backgrounds and personal voices, with some simple and simply effective touches scattered throughout the story. To top it all off, there is an amazing collection of variant covers, from the Griffith/Perez Faireborn main one, Casey Coller and Lafuente taking over Spike and Prowl's connection (thumbnail), and a truly wonderful Alex Milne/Perez 30th Anniversary variant!
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
This was a very well-paced, nicely-framed action-packed espionage-cum-thriller science-fiction-y issue of a franchise known for its reluctance to fit into any genre box. John Barber continues to impress with his writing skills, and seems to have really found his writing stride after the Dark Cybertron event, keeping the mastery of sequential storytelling already there.
oads/1417023627_d7.jpg[/img][/url] And puns!
Visually, issue #36 is stunning. The scenes are well laid-out, Cahill and Griffith mesh exceedingly well together, and the presence of two colourists like Perez and Lafuente, who also combine so majestically just increases the enjoyment factor of the printed book. Days of Deception is not an arc to be missed.
If you're in need of a chuckle, our very own professional voice actor and Twincast member jON3.0 brings you a humorous interpretation of Optimus Prime "reviewing" Masterpiece Bumblebee & Exo-Suit Spike!
Video reviews of the Transformers Robots in Disguise toys begins. Youtube user IJK Productions has posted a couple reviews of the new Robots in Disguise 1-step figures. Up first is 1-step Sideswipe followed by a review for 1-step Underbite. Enjoy the videos embedded below.
Our friend chuckdawg1999 brings us another review this week, and moving away from the simplified lines of Age of Extinction, treats us to a good look at the chromeful Takara Tomy Movie Advanced AD31 Armor Knight Optimus Prime! Check out the review and his thoughts below.
One of the last figures released in Japan for their Age of Extinction line Armor Knight Optimus Prime is fantastic retool/redeco of the Leader Class figure. The new parts, including a new head with face changing gimmick, sport a fantastic metallic paint job that just pops. If you've waited until now to buy an Optimus Prime figure this is the one to get.
If you're in need of a laugh, our very own professional voice actor and Twincast member jON3.0 brings us a new video! Optimus Prime returns to "review" Transformers Generations Nightbeat aka Blue Goldbug! Be sure to subscribe to his channel for new videos on Tuesdays and retro videos on Thursdays as well as contests!
You got TRANSFORMERS in my Angry Birds! No, you got Angry Birds in my TRANSFORMERS! ERGH, OOF, MPPHH!!! Hey! Waitaminit! This is actually pretty great! That’s right, comic lovers, two of your favorite IDW comics have morphed into one amazing new comic! When the TRANSFORMERS lose their powerful ALLSPARK, it ends up on Piggie Island and the world of Angry Birds turns robotic! Prepare to meet… the AUTOBIRDS and DECEPTIHOGS!
Philip K. Dick would be hogrified
Before time began, there was the egg. Or maybe it was the bird. The egg, or the bird, what came first..? In any case, there was an egg, and a green pig wanted to eat it. To eat all of them. As they do. Apparently. But the egg was also a cube, and the cube fell, rolled away, and became an egg. With the properties of a cube.
John Barber is having a lot of fun with the script here, letting puns rip every other panel, juggling multiple identities, continuities, storylines and characterisations that fans of the Transformers franchise of the past decade will recognise, and aiming for a fairly contemporary target (with some nods to older fans too).
Some things never change
There is very little one can do to spoil the issue, but I am not going to simply summarise the story of the comic, and I am actually quite glad something as light-hearted and - simply put - silly as this actually exists out there, reminding fans that kids are into our favourite robots too. And the transition page is really quite clever, verbally.
The comic uses Livio Ramondelli to introduce and frame the story as part of a spin-off universe of the Transformers, something based on modern iterations of the Cybertronians, from Bayverse to Rescue Bots and some added G1 highlights to please a bit of everyone. And it works.
The artists who will be gracing the pages of the series from here on, however, are a great addition to my knowledge of visual creators: Marcelo Ferreira has a great sense of visual humour, in facial expressions, character, dynamism and page layout - and the cartoon style art is perfectly apt in tone for the series.
No fowl play here
And of course, all of it catches the eye even more thanks to the wonderful colour work by Nikos Koutsis, making sure all characters jump off the page, vibrantly and energetically, and Chris Mowry's brilliant lettering work, letting himself really go on the fun aspect of the job. Plus, the comic comes with three fantastic covers, that further show off the glorious silliness of the crossover, with Ramondelli, Ferreira and Koutsis being joined by action-packed Jorge Pacheco's variant (thumbnail).
I don't believe anyone was expecting a masterpiece of storytelling or the new rising star of the comics medium, but the issue is a whole lotta fun, pleasingly funny, enjoyably silly and most importantly, never takes itself seriously - something that the IDW Transformers titles can sometimes fall victims of (though less so as series progress).
The art is also extremely refreshing, and the framing of the story by a Transformers regular sets the scene nicely for the very cartoony, series-appropriate Ferreira and Koutis approach to the illustration. The lettering is fun, the writing is fun, the issue is, overall a non-serious
Continuing in his mission to review all the simplified Age of Extinction figures, fellow Seibertronian chuckdawg1999 has uploaded yet another video, this time for One-Step Changer tiny purplesaur Dinobot Slug! Check it out below.
When first revealed I was curious how Slug would be adapted into the One-Step line since the deluxe toy was rather bulky. Unfortunately the technique of splitting the head and chest open more often than not leads to the legs getting stuck on the back plate resulting in a less than smooth transformation.
Fellow Seibertron.com user hinesika, who may also be DuoDuoTea has posted some nice in-hand images of the Neon Genesis Evangelion exclusive redeco of Takara Tomy Transformers Masterpiece MP-10 Convoy (Optimus Prime), which was available in limited numbers and for a limited time. If you weren't able to get your hands on this, play Ode to Joy in the background, and take a look at some of the mirrored images below, and head to their thread here for more!
Days of Deception begins with… PEACE AND HAPPINESS! To be honest, there's not much we can say about this issue without giving away the life-changing events of last issue. What we can say is this: everything’s fine. There’s no conflict, no sadness, no angst. Why is this a problem?
Timelines have met each other and collapsed. Old friends and lovers are reunited, though something is obviously not quite right yet. Other friends and allies have revealed a different set of colours entirely. And as we explored some of the past events last issue, we delve once more in the days before the Decepticons were a thing - or do we?
Ah, good old days
James Roberts' script is heavy. This is an issue that will require time to spend on reading, rather than a quick skim-through. The play on the different time settings is clearly marked, and cleverly linked, though that is not the critical part of the connection between the two, as what they have in common may in fact be diverging once more, but further away than expected.
Megs channelling Roberts (and readers)
While in the present Megatron finally had a bit of a breakdown aboard the Lost Light, as the rest of the crew investigate Brainstorm's doings (and part of the yellow briefcase's secrets are sorta kinda revealed!), the past sees Rewind and Minimus Ambus dealing with Functionists, and the cunning and seditious Dominus Ambus himself.
Understatement of the Year
Does something feel off yet? It seems like something is a little off. No? Make sure you read *everything* that takes place in the issue, as details are constantly changing, for what seems to be a very good reason indeed in the grand scheme of things, and the upcoming Elegant Chaos event in particular, for which this issue a prelude of sorts.
Alex Milne and Brian Shearer, with the latter helping on inking duties, have some great visual fun, despite everything happening in the script as it already is. A lot of Unicron Trilogy body types have been spotted, without being subtle at all, already in the first couple of pages, and there may be a reason for all of it being there after all. Though character design does not stop at that, with some twisted ..er.. twists elsewhere, too.
Plus a Dredd Bot
On top of the busy script and busy backgrounds, colourist Joana Lafuente clearly had a busy time coordinating all the multiples of the same type of Cybertronian, yet marking them as individual entities (much to the ruling classes' disappointment, one might guess). I am very impressed at the result, especially with the final product in hand.
Tom B. Long keeps on keeping on with the fantastic letter work, making sure to maintain the space that Roberts does not leave to the art, and . The issue also comes with an excellent array of variant covers, on top of the ominous Milne/Josh Perez main one. In the thumbnail is the eerily appropriate Nick Roche/Josh Burcham Functionist, and make sure to keep an eye out for the Andrew Griffith 30th Anniversary special incentive art, too.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
It's mind-bendy, it's space-bendy, it's time-bendy - it just pushes the envelope and watches it bend for most of the plotlines being teased up to this point, and some intriguing social commentary to boot. Out of all of this week's releases, this is the most dense and emotionally compromising, without any doubt, so be warned before you dive into it.
Everything is fine
We vaguely know what has happened with the Functionist Council in the past. We've seen something of Brainstorm's character so far. We know what Rewind used to do in the days of Dominus Ambus, and the House of Ambus overall - be ready to have all of that questioned. Again. And again. Elegant Chaos is here.
DRIFT RETURNS! Last year, TRANSFORMERS readers were shocked when DRIFT left the AUTOBOTS in disgrace… and now he’s alone, on a mission to clean up the darkest depths of the galaxy—until RATCHET shows up to try to bring him home!
Imagine: you're an ex Decepticon, who used to kill people for fun. Then you grew a conscience. So you traded guns for swords (that famous instrument of peace). Then you grew a bit too much of a conscience, and tried burying guilt beneath it and a veil of reborn spiritualism - and by ways of redemption, take the blame for something you didn't actually do, and are exiled. That's where we are with Drift, as Empire of Stone begins.
It's been some time since we saw him in action, other than flashbacks, and readers have been wary of the return of a character who has been fairly marmite-esque (that's British for divisive). What we find with this first issue back in Shane McCarthy's hands, is thankfully not a return to the character when he first introduced it, though some will complain it can feel that way in places.
Compared to other Transformers comics coming out this week, Empire of Stone is a lot slower in terms of narrative, though it does stand up quite well with the dialogue, and the chemistry between sulky Drift and grumpy Ratchet works nicely. And, as a set-up/catch-up issue, it does what it has to do without wandering too much around.
Honestly, these guys
However, that's about it so far. It's not a bad comic, the story can go in a very interesting direction with the next three issues, and Empire of Stone is a catchy enough title for a popular enough character like Drift - but I can see how it might not be on everyone's immediate buying list as yet. Still.. read on.
The art team is really where the book, much like ReGeneration One before it, will gain traction with potential readers. Guido Guidi's linework and Stephen Baskerville's inking are a great combination, and the action sequences are very well choreographed, with the sword element added to the fights gives space to Guidi's art to play around with the space of and around the panels.
Also back from the ReGen team is colourist JP Bove, doing an amazingly dusty and gritty (in the soil, dirt sense) job of the patina covering some otherwise quite flamboyant roboformers. I will never tire of looking at Guidi backgrounds filled in with Bove's technicolour magic, and there are some excellent sets in the issue.
Drift in spaaaaaace
Unfortunately, the review copy does not fully credit the letterer or editors for the issue, and has some general technical difficulties in the credit page layouts - nonetheless, The Unknown Letterer's work is, while very very subtle, pleasingly appropriate, keeping dialogue in place and a limited amount of background noise. As for the covers, we've seen all of them by now throughout the last couple of months, from the Alex Milne/Josh Perez one to the multiple Guidi variants (including the thumbnail one).
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
As a first issue, and as I mentioned above, Drift: Empire of Stone #1 is a harmless, easily paced, fairly well-dialogued and definitely good looking book, preparing a stage that so far has very little impact on the wider universe of the Transformers, but according to solicits may change everything - again.
Is it? Is it really?
It does little more than that, however, other than re-establishing the at times quite moving relationship between Ratchet and Drift, and hopefully diving into more of Drift's story from this point onwards, as well as the presence of the Cybertronians we do find in the issue. Needless to say, I remain hopeful.
. out of
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