PEACE IN OUR TIME! STARSCREAM and WINDBLADE have given everything to bring together CYBERTRON’s Lost Colonies into a Council Of Worlds. But when the increasingly brutal tactics of STARSCREAM’s secret police increase tension among the former DECEPTICONS… how long can the Council maintain this fragile peace?
By sitting in circles!
We've seen the actions and influence that Windblade, as a character, has brought to the Transformers universe in recent years, from her introduction in Dark Cybertron, the first story arc in the mini, the creation of the Council of Worlds in the second - let's get back to where it started, then and see what the new Starscream-led Cybertron is up to.
Ironhide, actually, is the character getting the most page-time in this first issue, and a fitting choice it is: he's been a constant in the IDW verse, and he's gone through a lot of weird things, and as we know, is now at times a little lost in this new, wider world. Mairghread Scott uses Ironhide's almost neutral status as the pivot for a lot of the story, though sometimes misses his voice, as if unsure what he should be sounding like - which may, saying that now, be intentional given the above.
One of the points I'd question concerns the Combaticon crew, Brawl in particular - whom we've seen up until recent as being a big player for the new Decepticons (both Soundwave and Galvatron's sides), and is now suddenly not really doing much. But with the team being so crucial to the story, there may be more for him to shine again.
Windblade is prominent, of course, though not more than necessary, as the streets of Iacon and their inhabitants are really what's at the fore. The Badgeless, the ex-factions, the factionless, the newcomers from the ex-colonies - something is bound to happen, and something does, and Starscream may or may not know what is what, and who is where. And we get a reference to the big unsolved Chromia moment from the first trade, as a result, too.
Sara Pitre Durocher is on the full art duties for the book (except for Revolution) and we ok - it's phenomenal work. Moving between body language, panel layouts, facial expressions, we get a very unsure Ironhide, a determined Windblade, a nasty Starscream and a truly ominous Obsidian. Each character has their own demeanour again, which is just. great.
Variations on a theme of 'I want to murderkill you'
Priscilla Tramontano comes in with the mastery of colours, perfectly in sync with the linework, and playing wonderfully with tone and lighting, giving different hues and shades to the different locations. They're crisp, they're clean, they're clear, they're wonderfully appropriate. And the glow of the various optics - especially the Badgeless visors - is just great.
And we get some great backgrounds, too
This is probably the first time I will say something negative about the lettering, once more by Tom B. Long: the order of some of the dialogues seems a little off on certain pages (e.g. the first Council session), which through me a little. That said, the rest of the work is its usual excellency! Let's look at the covers, then - not only is Pitre Durocher's main cast piece lusciously triumphant, we also have the more tone-appropriate Tramontano Batman Ironhide one, and Teyowisonte Thomas Deer bring his skills to another Pitre Durocher Metroplex/Windblade (thumbnail); plus, more exclusives from Alex Milne and Josh Perez than you can shake a piston at!
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Scott has always had a penchant for the more horrorific storylines, and the start to this new chapter is nothing different: yes, it's a political crime thriller, touching on authoritarian brutality, perceptions of differences and discrimination, the turmoils of an increasingly populated planet - but we're going to chop people's heads on the way too. It's a hook, and it got me.
There, tied in
Pair that, and the rising tension between all the major players, with some excellent art - both in composition and in expression - from Pitre Durocher, and of course Tramontano's colours, and you have a very strong start to a new Cybertronian chapter, and one that I am extremely intrigued and invested in already. Just look at my signature on here. Someone lives.
Spoiler Warning! The contents of this review will spoil significant parts of this issue, 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 5! OPTIMUS PRIME orders all all-out siege against the DECEPTICONS… leaving himself wide open to a counterattack by the human forces. Which is just what GALVATRON wanted all along…
Editor's Note: The review copies received by Seibertron.com and other sites incorrectly state some art credits, so please accept our apologies for any misdirected or omitted art credits in this review as they are not intentional.
It can be Computron if you want it enough. Dare to dream.
The story of All Hail Optimus continues with this week's release of The Transformers #54 from IDW Publishing, otherwise known as the book just about every Transformers fan is still calling Robots in Disguise, as is tradition. With last month leaving a not-necessarily-sour-but-still-odd taste in many readers' mouths, will this penultimate chapter right the course as we head towards the end of this arc and into the IDW Revolution? I found myself asking this before reading as a way to temper my expectations, and thus, this review must start out by saying that...
... Everything went better than expected! The tonal shift that occurs pretty quickly in issue 53 is almost immediately disposed of, making last month's effort feel even more odd in retrospect. The action is immediate and intense in this chapter, and it definitely feels like the type of storytelling and character interaction that we've come to expect from author John Barber's efforts.
With the Autobots and humans battling it out, plenty of character moments are allowed to occur, with our primary settings being Optimus' main force on the ground, and what looks like another Combiner War going on underwater. The scenes from the multiple fronts are well balanced and make the book a quick read, but not due to a lack of content, instead due to things moving swiftly and continuously. It's hard to put down, as there just aren't a lot of stopping points along the way. For a book using a franchise most known for action, this can't be marked as any fault.
Wasn't "CSI: Cyber" canceled already?
That's not to say everything was picture perfect, as the action interspersed with plot progression felt a little rushed in places, and led to some odd blocking of the characters, to borrow a term from the theatre that I haven't used in years. Circuit feels a little too close to the action at points, many characters seem to have a lot of time to talk when they should be fighting off Earth Defense Force robots, and the villains here seem to give up a little too easily, but all of these are minor quibbles when I think about the one part of the plot that drove me absolutely nuts, which involved this particular panel:
"Oh great, you're going to pick on Spike again. We get it."
This happens as a call back to All Hail Megatron right when Soundwave decides to start being really cool, but it's followed by him realizing at this moment, of all of them, that (paraphrasing) "Maybe humans are more like us than I thought?"
My thoughts exactly.
The few lines from Optimus Prime directly preceding this don't really make it better, but while I didn't like this turn of events, it is a subtle, faithful nod to Soundwave's origin story from way back in Robots in Disguise #22. Soundwave's surrender is really the only thing that stood out as just still off in this issue, so let's pivot back to praise because there is still much more here worthy of that.
Meta-commentary on IDW Revolution already?
As the issue progresses and the battle begins to resolve, commentary from characters such as Jetfire help frame the stage, with the Autobots' own radio chatter lending a further assist. It's a helpful way to keep the narrative on a forward march, while still allowing for plenty to happen for readers that just want less talk and more action.
Arcee in particular is handled pretty well, with her character progression becoming still more clear. The brief interaction between Tracks and Needlenose is appreciated, saying plenty with both words and imagery. Hopefully even the massive cast list in the Revolution sub-series books allows for more of these cool, well built encounters that have been built up slowly and smartly.
Just in time for the Developer's Conference.
Even Blackrock starts to get a bit more relevant again in this issue, though that may just be a side effect of the events that happen around him. If you're looking for some closure in "just where are they going with this guy?", you'll remain disappointed by this issue, but last few pages will have you forgetting that quickly. More on this later.
The art is handled in this issue by Andrew Griffith, with colors by Josh Burcham and letters by, who else, Tom B. Long. I say "who else" not just because this guy is some kind of workhorse lettering machine, but because there are certain speech bubbles made just that much entirely better by them (see: the picture of Superion higher up in this review.)
All I know is you should jettison some weight if you want to make it to Cybertron!
The colors remain superb, and the consistency of work in different settings helps build a bridge between issues 53 and 54 that might not otherwise exist. The deeper, moody tones used underwater in 53 are present here again, with the hazy, orange sunset of both battle and a desert setting ever present for the terrestrial scenes. Another 'A+' job from Burcham awaits in this issue, which should be a surprise to no one.
It is the year 2008
Andrew Griffith returns after a brief interlude last month, and picks up right where he left off, lending a familiar look and feel to the characters that we've come to expect in this part of the Transformers saga. Instances like the panel featuring Sunstreaker (seen above) really stand out, with clear attention to detail bringing life to bots that don't get a lot of "screen time" in this one. Jazz's subtle, but not hard to see smirks when he's in the background of certain panels is also very well done, showing that the little things can add up to help boost enjoyment of a comic even if it's just a small background detail.
There were a few panels where some of the line work seemed a bit erratic, but as these were in underwater scenes, this may have been a deliberate choice.
Final Thoughts Transformers #54 helps quell some of the doubt that 53 left lingering, and offers a nice return to form for a series that's felt a bit lost during this entire arc. At the end of this issue we see, finally, some payoff for everything that's been occurring over the past several months. While I've spoiled a lot in this review, I won't spoil the big reveal at the end. Trust me on this part - it's big, it's cool, and it's a great hook to make me want to read more again next month.
Well hopefully someone read the review and didn't just directly jump down here.
I've still not completely confident that the final issue of "All Hail Optimus" that's set to come our way in July is going to be a satisfying conclusion, but that's simply due to the external factor of the Revolution crossover event that's about to be either really cool or ruin everything. I can't decide on which that will be until the books have actually come out, but in the meantime, here's a score for this issue since that's a thing we do.
Fellow Seibertronian IJK Productions has sent us a review for TAV Transformers Adventure TAV-47 Crazybolt, which you can watch below. Interestingly enough, this version is released at retail before Hasbro's.
Hey all, I've just uploaded my video review of the Japanese version of RiD Deployer Crazybolt. Aside from me not getting the deployer gimmick to work I'm overly impressed with how great the deco looks on the Japanese one over the domestic one.
Fellow Seibertronians, courtesy of fellow user Baltmatrix, we get a look at the upcoming Robots in Disguise legion class Bisk. The highly anticipated upcoming addition to the much loved RiD legion class. So check him out and leave you thoughts and comments below.
The YouKu user ckyyo2 who brought us the Hardhead review yesterday is back, with two more reviews in one single video: Skullcruncher and Scourge, both also from the Titans Return line! Fellow Seibertronian Doctor McGrath points us in the right direction, so you can enjoy the embedded video below, and brush up on your Chinese skills as you take a look at the toys!
Fellow Seibertronians, on the heels of the other video reviews, we now bring you a Chinese video review of Titans Return Deluxe Class Blurr. The video can be viewed HERE, and may take a little bit of time to buffer. The video shows off the transformation, as well as various features of the figure, as well as how the Titan Masters can interact with Blurr. Excited for this figure? Check out the video and let us know what you think in the comments below.
Fellow Seibertronians, on the heels of the other video reviews, we now bring you a Chinese video review of Titans Return Deluxe Class Hardhead. The video can be viewed HERE, and may take a little bit of time to buffer. The video shows off the transformation, as well as various features of the figure, as well as how the Titan Masters can interact with Hardhead. Excited for this figure? Check out the video and let us know what you think in the comments below.
Since Transformers partly come from the Japanese Diaclone line, the Diaclone reboot featuring a new Masterpiece-style Dia-Battles was followed by many Transformers fans. Seibertron's own Cobotron has gotten himself a copy and offers a pictorial review below which gives the best idea yet on what to expect from this set and the myriad of ways you can play with its modular system.
Take it away Cobotron:
I'm huge fan of what I recently learned is called Takara SF Land. This is a collectors term that encompasses the rich history of all the science fiction toys Takara has designed over the last 40 plus years. The turn of the century was an awesome era of re-issues, and reboots from Takara. The reboots included Henshin Cyborg, Microman, and we could even consider Car Robots(RID) a reboot, as it was Transformers return to Earth based vehicle alt modes. It was a great time to be a TSF Land fan.
Well the ol' boys at Takara are at the reboot biz again, and they haven't missed a beat.
Diaclone Dia-Battles V2 is a fresh breath of old air. This figure captures everything that was great about the original Diaclone toys, but in a seriously updated Masterpiece level package. What we now refer to as "parts forming" had it's origins back in the Microman line. Modular vehicles that could be combined to form bigger ones, or even robots to some extent. They stepped it up a notch with the Diaclone line. By re-adjusting the scale to be smaller they could take that same modularity, but focus more on the detail of the combined forms.
This new Dia-Battles does that to a T, but with all the bells, whistles, grace, and style, We've come to expect in the modern engineering, sculpting, and articulation from our contemporary robot toys. Dia-Battles V2 is the ultimate parts former, and the bar has been raised.
Let's have a look.
The three main vehicle components that make up Dia-Battles.
Let's make a robot!
Hello you handsome devil.
The robot mode is absolutely fantastic! The articulation is top notch, and the connectors are amazingly well engineered, as some even double as articulation points. His pose-ability and balance are off the charts. Indeed making him a Masterpiece of a new kind.
The small ship is called Bullet Fighter.
But WAIT! There's more modes!
Both these modes can be achieved by transforming directly from robot mode.
More modular modes.
This beautiful star cruiser leaves no unused parts.
This mode is one of my favorites. What? You need a flying-monkey-dragonman mode with Gatling gun fingers? Sure! We can do that.
Last, but certainly not least.
And of course what would Diaclone be without the pilots?
These guys are amazing. For mini-figures an inch tall, they are articulated to the nines. They're rocking ball socket shoulders and hips, elbows and knees, and even have an ab crunch!
This initial release of the toy is a limited edition, and includes a fourth Dia-Naut.
Meet and greet.
One last shot just to give a sense of the scale of Dia-Battles.
The Transformers Robots in Disguise One-Step Changers Advanced Optimus Prime and Strongarm have been popping up in stores in the US. If any of you are mildly interested in knowing what is new or different about this One Step Optimus Prime toy, compared to the previous Target Exclusive one, we have a review for you below courtesy of Chuckdawg1999. To compare and contrast, we also have the review for last year's Optimus Prime One Step toy which is still only obtainable by buying the target exclusive set of Robots in Disguise One Step figures.
Please note that the reviewer does mistaken the two figures, which are indeed different molds entirely, but these videos still serve as a great way to see the toys and how they may compare.
Fellow Seibertron Twincast Podcast frontman Scotty P has acquired the Transformers Generations Platinum Edition One Shall Stand, One Shall Fall set available from Amazon and he took the Frustration Free package which saves you 20$. People were wondering what that packaging meant since Amazon showed that this new packaging meant you would only get the toys with no outer box:
However, for this set, you actually do get the coveted Platinum Edition window pane box with gorgeous new art. Scotty P took these photos to show you how the packaging looks like when you take the Frustration Free option for this set on Amazon:
He even gave us a quick written review of what to expect from this set and if it's worth getting or not:
ScottyP wrote:Yeah I really don't understand how that was "frustration free" packaging. Maybe for Amazon in regards to shipping it?
It's a pretty cool set. The deco on OP is nicer than I realized, the blue on the legs has a bit of a dark metallic sheen to it. The clear blue windows look bad, but from talking to Mark Weber at Botcon at least I know what the intention was there, with that being a representation of when he's got part of his abdominal area busted open during that battle.
The red Megatron is actually a neat take, and while I'm sure it's the only way legal would let the toy get out, the touches of yellow make this a fun way to pretend that Transmetal 2 Megatron and G1 Megatron had a child or did the fusion dance or something and out came this guy. This mold has held up extremely well, though I think this is only about the fourth version of it in a decade, yes? Anyway, it's very well put together. OP is surprisingly nice too, especially considering how floppy the AOE release was.
If you don't have these molds, this is a good way to experience them at a decent price point. They're not very definitive versions of Optimus or Megatron, but if you're like me and can live with that you won't be disappointed. I'm going to look at these as a "last shot" version of the molds. While they may not truly be as time progresses, if they are the last time these get brought out then it's a fun stylized way to go out.
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