THE GREATEST ENEMY... the greatest challenge... shall come from within. And there will be an ending. This is it, the battle the TRANSFORMERS must win, and yet dare not. The original and founding TRANSFORMERS comic comes to an epic and giant-sized conclusion, with all-out battle on CYBERTRON. Or should that be “Cybertrons”? Shocks, surprises, guest stars and more. It may be a cliché, but this one really does have it all.
Here we go..
30 years in the making, the final, 100th (sort of) instalment in what was supposed to be a 4 issue limited series is here. This week, today, it actually, well and truly, ends. Over, finished. Even the best ones do not want to live forever. How many more furmanisms can I slide into this review, you ask? Well, you'll have to read on to find out!
I suppose we do, don't we?
So it's a bumper issue, and it follows Rodimus Prime as he travels, more or less figuratively, across Cybertron and the universe to figure out what exactly is going on with all the recent Jhiaxus/Matrix/Underbase/Primordials/Primus/Unicron?/42 business. And we finally see all the major players that have shown up in the last couple of years meet again, too.
But something's a little off, here. I can't exactly place my finger on it, but discussing it with other reviewers we all share the same sense of ..something not quite right. Simon Furman's writing has nothing to do with it, the dialogue flows nicely, the captions work, the exposition works. But I was not a fan of the story.
A Prime number of Primes!
There are redeeming qualities, definitely, with the multiverse concept showing up again, some good character moments with favourites, some nice dialogue between key players and loose ends, mostly, tied up. And yet..
What do we have in terms of art for this special issue? Three artists: the one who started it when it ended, Andrew Wildman; the one who did things in betweem, Geoff Senior; the one who did the end when it bagan, Guido Guidi. And while the latter and first do an amazing, as expected job, I had some minor gripes with Senior's take on some characters. I like his art, but for some reason it did not work over an extended sequence in here. It fit some of the parts, but not others - the Dark Matrix creature in his touch was great though!
And you know the ridiculous part? John-Paul Bove is colouring all three of them, again. Yes, Stephen Baskerville does the inks for Wildman and Guidi, and does them well, but still, three different styles, same magistry of colour magic - just as he's been doing for the entire run. It's seriously impressive, even with the help of unsung heroes like Ed Pirrie, who had a hand in some of the issues.
Yep, still the skies
Chris Mowry is on letters one last time, too, and there's definitely a lot to work with, between explosions, lasers and punches - he does it well. The usual suspects make up the cover roster, with Wildman and Jason Cardy on A, Guidi on B, Senior and Josh Burcham on RI (thumbnail), Robert Atkins, Juan Castro and Romulo Fajardo Jr on the Subscription variant and a special edition with Wildman, Baskerville and Bove. Take your pick, they're all pretty good!
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
And so we're left here, with the final issue of a 100 (and a little more) strong run of Marvel then IDW comics, starting all the way back in the 80s, ending on the 30th anniversary of the franchise - and I feel sad. Sad because it lacked the bite of some of the later issues in the ReGeneration run. Sad because it probably could've done more. Sad because, good or bad, it's over.
It's a conflicted book, and I'm conflicted in my opinion. In fact, so conflicted that I won't give this a grading at all. In the overall run, I don't think it was the best ending possible. But it was a decent ending in terms of closing down and burning all bridges (except one, at the very very end..), and it touched upon a lot of themes that are being discussed with other IDW titles, as its legacy. It addressed some of them, glossed over others, but it tried dealing with it.
What was really nice to see and read were the single extras by most of the creative team, from Simon Furman's Foreword to the afterwords by Furman, Bove, Wildman, and the art by Bove, Cardy and Baskerville. The dedication that the team, including editors John Barber and Chris Ryall, has put into this has been impressive to behold, and touching, from beginning to end. And it's worth remembering that. You wouldn't believe the things they did, but they did them. Round of applause.
DEATH OF A HERO! BUMBLEBEE! RODIMUS! ULTRA MAGNUS! PROWL! One will fall in final battle with SHOCKWAVE! This one is for all the marbles, folks—it just doesn’t get any bigger than this!
We're almost there, and quite an almost it is. John Barber and James Roberts keep building and building and building, something is going to have to tear (other than the space-time continuum). And here it is. But does it really not get any bigger than this? Read on to find out more, and yet not spoiling the book. Ish. Where I can.
Ok, those are pretty big
Shockwave really takes the spotlight once more, and understandably so, now that we know his plans for everything becoming one (sound familiar?). But the rest of the cast are not neglected, and there are plenty of good moments for individuals throughout the issue overall. Including both Prowl and Bumblebee, continuing from last week's MTMTE.
He's a funny fella, too
And there's a lot of strategy in the fight, too. We get to see Autobots, NAILs and Decepticons actually working together, in some cases quite literally uniting forces, and there are some really good points being made about the blurred boundaries between 'good' and 'evil' - as the two series, but especially RiD has made clear for a while now.
It felt as though it didn't pack as much of a punch as its predecessor MTMTE #27, at least in terms of action. But is the death unexpected? Yes. Completely by surprise? No. But yes, unexpected in terms of the overall scheme of things. And it kind of works, actually. It may not be Pipes and Rewind, but it works.
We've left the Dead Universe pretty much behind us (or have we?), so one artist has been left to rest too - and Andrew Griffith takes centre stage. And it's a good stage to be on. His Shockwave is magnificent, for one thing. There are not one, but two amazing double page spreads, and an impressive splash page, none of which I can really show. But they're good.
Here's an ensemble instead
Let's take a moment to deal with the stratospheric work that colourist Josh Perez has been doing in this event run, shall we? He manages time, styles, places and lights amazingly throughout the whole issue just as he has done so far. Some of the wider shots would really not makes sense without the colours, and those that do just look even better.
Exploshun ond letturs
Tom B. Long is still on letters, and there's a bit more than last time to go on, and brilliant as usual - some defining moments are really enhanced by the soundcolours. Three covers overall, and other than excellent regulars Phil Jimenez and Romulo Fajardo Jr, Casey Coller and Joana Lafuente, we have the quite stunning Bludgeon by Marcelo Matere and Priscilla Tramontano (see thumbnail!).
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Let's see then, penultimate chapter: death death death fighting alliances fight fight fight jokes talk talk fight death. One of which is really meaningful to the story. As I said above, on first reading it did not pack as much of a punch as chapter 10 did, but it may have also been due to *everything* happening at the same time. Including the Jhiaxus toy explanation.
I am really really interested to see what on earth (or Cybertron) the aftermath of this issue will be in the 'conclusion' next issue, because there are a lot of things to be answered for. The issue looks stunning, too, thanks to Griffith, Perez and Long, and it really helps move the story along when the story is mostly action - and keep it in the present when it's needed. It's doing all good things on a different plane than the last issue, so it gets the same mark; but they are not the same book.
Seibertron staffer jON3.0 has brought us another great video with PRIME reviews. This time Optimus Prime is doing a review of G2 Megatron. We all know that Optimus isn't Megatron's biggest fan, but he definitely uses this review to remind us just how much he dislikes Megatron! You may be wondering exactly what Optimus Prime would say in a review like this. There's only one way to find out...watch the embedded video below. Enjoy!
TOGETHER AT LAST! The crew of the Lost Light and the survivors of CYERTRON get a brief moment of calm as they take stock of who’s survived DARK CYBERTRON this far. But things get worse—the final fate of the DEAD UNIVERSE reveals a nightmarish link to the greatest threat the universe has ever faced!
Are we ready for this? I think not. We have all the casts merging, clashing, bashing and - just hanging. Because why not. Everything in Dark Cybertron seems to have been leading up to this particular issue, or at least this issue as a means of resolution for the major plot points. Does it deliver is the question here, really. Well, read on.
..go on, tell us MOAR
We get some excellent dialogue and laundry hanging with, in no particular order, Megatron, Arcee, Prowl, Windblade, Chromedome, Prowl, Ultra Magnus, Ratchet, Brainstorm and Prowl. In fact, there are a lot of questions that are starting to get a glimpse of a potential answer. And Prowl gets into a lot of discussions, with a lot of other characters, about everything he's done since the Death of Optimus Prime.
Except the Greenicons, they like him
What felt a bit odd was the pacing of all that is going on against the backdrop, between some very laid-back moments - excellent for characters to show their natures - and some more tense ones - see above. But a lot of the scenes are taking place during one, long speech by Shockwave, given to Galvatron. It's exposition. But it's long-needed, long-wanted exposition. And most importantly, it's answers.
Feels as much here, too
Do we get all the answers? No. But we do get some answers, and an exceptionally good set-up for the next big two issues coming up. We look more into Megatron, Arcee, Chromedome, Windblade, Prowl, *especially* Prowl and Shockwave. What didn't work amazingly, for me at least, was the discordant pacing. A lot of things are happening at the same time, and the time is very diluted between the things happening.
While there is still a double art team, with Livio still smoking up the Dead Universe happenings, Alex Milne makes his return on part of the issue - and things are looking very, very good. Brendan Cahill also does an exceptional job on the his pages of the issue (especially with the panelwork!), and Brian Shearer's inks top it all off magnificently, paving the way for the colour magic.
Yes, this page again. Because.
We saw Josh Perez' work in the making with the double page spread the other day, but the rest of the issue is just as beautiful. Ramondelli also gives a really nice touch to the colouring hues in his sections of the book, with a lighter palette as we approach the end of the darkness.. or do we?
Do I need to say anything else?
Tom B. Long is back on letters, and even though the work in this one is subtle, it works witha everything else that is going on. Special mentions go to the three absolutely stunning covers, A by Casey Coller and Joana Lafuente, B by Phil Jimenez and Romulo Fajardo Jr, and the incentive Milne and Perez - in the thumbnail!
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
So, the question was: does it deliver? Yes. Yes it does. Action, lack thereof, plot, developments, characters, dialogue and most especially artistic endeavours all conflate into one giant, ominous, cyclopic purple instance - and yet the actual storm has yet to really hit. I'm not sure the next chapter will leave us intact, at this point.
Want to find out what Shockwave's actually been up to? Want to see what Megatron thinks of himself and Cybertron? Hear what the Dead Universe bots are going on about? Actually get some answers? Read this issue. It's only-just-not perfect, but you will read this issue. Go on. We'll be here. Waiting.
Courtesy of fellow Seibertron.com user Shockwave514, we finally get a better look at two figures from the later Beast Hunters Cyberverse wave: Unicron Megatron and Bludgeon, a repaint of Commander Megatron and redeco/remold of Commander Shockwave respectively. Take a look at the embedded video reviews below, by YouTube user MightMouse74.
Thanks to the invaluable assistance of staff member from down-under Burn, we get another look at IDW Publishing's The X-Files Conspiracy: The Transformers one-off, the latest chapter in the company's franchise crossover. Read on below for the 'brutally honest review'!
Burn wrote:The Assassination of John F. Kennedy ... NASA faking the moon landing ... the Roswell crash of 1947. These are some examples of conspiracies that have captured the minds of thousands of people around the world for decades.
IDW's "The X-Files:Conspiracy", is not something that captures the mind.
Thus, we come to the latest instalment of "The X-Files:Conspiracy", IDW's company wide crossover. In this weeks chapter the travelling trio of The Lone Gunmen meet up with one of their "forum contacts" who turn out to be none other than Optimus Prime and Bumblebee who are searching for their lost comrade Ratchet.
Our beloved Cybertronians, quick to reveal themselves to the conspiracy theorists, exchange stories with TLG and utilising a bit of Cybertronian computer power they manage to track down the individual who released the initial virus outbreak (you may remember it happening back in the very first chapter) and a road trip later, The Gunmen and their new Autobot friends are knocking on his Motel door.
Quick to squeal, details of virus are revealed along with the location of Skylogic Systems, the lab where the virus was first developed (but later manufactured elsewhere).
And one Bumblebee trans-scan and a bit of holographic technology later, Bumblebee and The Gunmen are infiltrating Skylogic Systems where they quickly discover Ratchet who they quickly free.
Then security shows up but as expected, our valiant conspiracy busters are able to escape along with the location of where the virus is manufactured.
So with the day saved and another part of the conspiracy uncovered (and the Autobots providing The Gunmen with what I can only assume is a sample of their "C.N.A.") our heroes go their separate ways with the Autobots riding off into the night and The Gunmen settling into a Motel for the night unaware they're about to be attacked ... which will no doubt be resolved in the next chapter as The Gunmen meet The Crow.
Unlike previous chapters, the guest characters in this issue were different from their regular franchise appearances. How so? We have a very G1 Optimus Prime, a Generations body Bumblebee with the personality of a 1980's cartoon Bumblebee, and a TF:Prime style Ratchet (we don't get to see his personality). So in addition to crossing over with other franchises, it looks like they've attempted to cross generations as well.
So that ends another chapter in Conspiracy with just two more issues remaining and I'll be back with my brutally honest reviews for them!
THE WAR TO END ALL WARS! Can the Autobots prevail against JHIAXUS’ New Cybertronian Empire? The disastrous invasion ends in dramatic and shocking fashion with twists, shocks and surprises galore, and STARSCREAM right in the thick of things. Dark forces are stirring for the final chapter of the original TRANSFORMERS epic!
Meanwhile, at Hasbro HQ
We are really really almost there this time, with only one issue left after this. And with everything converging and clashing into a massive multidimensional mayhem muddle, readers are left to unravel the threads by themselves. Stream crossing allowed, but not recommended. Let's try making some sense of it.
Example 1: Mayhem
For those keeping count, we have the Dark Matrix Creature, Starscream/Underbase, Jhiaxus, Galvatron and Primus (or is it?), in terms of main plotlines, with most characters involved with Jhiaxus in the Hub Network, Rodimus, Ultra Magnus and Wreckers included. In fact, Starscream and Shockwave might be involved, too.
And if that aspect takes the main stage, it is also resolved way too quickly, with the secondary stories explored not as much in detail - though we do get to see a lot more of Spike, trapped in Zero and dealing with his own issues, and the Dinobots, still on Cybertron, still dealing with the Primordials, still not doing much, really.
Pffft. Was it inside him..?
While Simon Furman is clearly trying to make sure all ends meet, there is not enough space in these final issues to squeeze all the plots and characters and stories that have been, admittedly, slowly building up since #80.5. It's fun, it has action, but it falls short in terms of the longer run, unfortunately.
If there is one thing I really don't have anything bad to say, though, it's the artwork. Guido Guidi does some amazing pencilwork, and Stephen Baskerville's inks feel once more like the perfect complement to the whole show. The Galvatron panel, shown in the B cover too, is exceptional, and some of the wider shots are truly spectacular.
Thinking out of the box?
It's all obviously enhanced, especially by adding an organic and sidereal sense where needed, respectively, appropriately, amazingly by John-Paul Bove's colours. We've come to see the astounding developments in the style, and the multifaceted skills this man has, and he does not leave us disappointed. Nossir.
..the colours, they're too good.. the artwork.. it's..
Add to that Chris Mowry's lettering, in an action packed issue such as this one, and you have one explosive combination. As far as covers go, Andrew Wildman and Jason Cardy bring a powerful Starscream to life on A, Guidi's Galvatron graces B, and Geoff Senior and Josh Burcham go all out for the RI version, attached to this review!
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Was it bad? No. Was it enjoyable? Yes. Did it do a lot of things right? Absolutely. Did it feel rushed? Definitely. This has been a fear for a while, escalating the action and plotlines towards the end of the run, with a conclusive deadline set really not that far away at all. A shame, because these final arcs really came up again.
Oh and this guy's still pretty much dead
As I said though, it's a thoroughly enjoyable issue, with a lot of things done well, excellent artwork, colours and covers galore, including some amazing Shockwave, Galvatron and Starscream (ish) moments. Are we ready for next month's final-definite-forrealsies conclusion?
We've been seeing images of the upcoming MP Sideswipe redeco and new-headed Takara MP-12G G2 Lambor for a while now, but thanks to a tip from fellow Seibertronian mooncake623, we now have a video review by YouTube user OptimusPrimeSG! Check it out embedded below.
Staff member Burn has once again delved into his X-Files knowledge to be as kind as possible in his review of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles issue of the Conspiracy franchise crossover. Check out his Seibertron.com review below!
1.Music, Slang. a recording that combines vocal and instrumental tracks from two or more recordings. 2.Slang. a creative combination or mixing of content from different sources: movie mash-ups; a web mash-up that overlays digital maps with crime statistics.
Some things are meant to go together, like bacon and cheese, or bacon and ham, or bacon and sausages, or bacon and bacon. Other things shouldn't go together, like The X-Files and Ghostbusters, or Transformers and New Avengers.
And so IDW brings us their latest chapter in their company wide mash-up, as The Lone Gunmen meet the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Following their (disastrous, let's try to forget it) meeting with The Ghostbusters, TLG head to New York City in search of alien "manphibians" (or as we like to call them, Ninja Turtles).
Unfortunately for them, and unfortunately for those of us who haven't been keeping up with the TMNT books, the Turtles have actually headed for Northampton to help Leonardo recover from a Foot Clan brainwashing.
Luckily for the Gunmen, Leonardo happens to get caught on camera and the photo uploaded to a paranormal website.
A quick detour later and the Gunmen reach Northampton and run into the Turtles who are busy rescuing Casey and April from Ronnie Strickland and his gang of vampires (X-Files fans will remember Ronnie from Season 5's 12th episode "Bad Blood").
The Turtles -vs- Vampires battle is quickly wrapped up thanks to the timely intervention of sunflower seeds, and FINALLY, three quarters of the way into the book we get back to the "Conspiracy". The Gunmen want a sample of the Turtles blood as they believe they can reverse-engineer a cure for the virus that will soon engulf the planet ... with the belief that the Turtles are in fact aliens. "We're not aliens. We're mutants."
Which pretty much goes no where. In the end, Leonardo confronts the Gunmen on his own, the Gunmen convince him of the threat and he agrees to help. How he helps them is not stated, did he give them a sample of his blood or will he be helping them in some other manner?
And so The Gunmen drive off, leaving Leonardo to watch as they disappear down the road in search of a Convoy ...
All in all, a vast improvement over the last chapter, though it did next to nothing to further the overall storyline.
THE BIG ONE! This is it—the battle every TRANSFORMERS reader has dreamed of! Titans clash on CYBERTRON! The fate of the LOST LIGHT! And ORION PAX fights fist-to-face against his ultimate nemesis! And from here on? Things only get bigger!!
With only three issues left after this one, it feels as though writers John Barber and James Roberts really decided to throw a spanner into everyone's idea of where the plot may be going, pointing and doing their best Nelson Muntz mock laughter impression. But with Shockwave. And battling Metrotitans.
Devious devious purple
The plots so far have been more or less playing around with the separate storylines of the Lost Light, Dead Universe and Cybertron (in and out of Iacon), but the ninth chapter makes sure they all finally clash - except for the DU, not quite there yet. Megatron is in for a bumpy ride too, also tightening up some plot elements almost left behind earlier - and he smiles.
The events in the DU are actually quite interesting in their development, with Nova Prime embodying everything Orion has been fighting against, yet so alluring in its power and heritage that it takes Rodimus not-Prime to shift the paradigm, push the envelope and watch it bend. And Pax lives up to his name.
I was so pleased with the action, pacing and plotting in this one that I got very angry (in the best way possible) at the later pages with Shockwave, Jhiaxus, Galvatron and the revelation - sort of - of the wider scheming. Will we ever really know?!
The relatively new artists on the series leave their place back for Andrew Griffith to step in, along with Livio Ramondelli still in the Dead Universe. And it feels good to have him back on 'his' title, actually. After the impressive visual work with Prowlestator, the clash of (Metro)titans really comes across well. Ramondelli's battle between Pax and Nova is also really impressive, and satisfyingly grim.
The colours help Ramondelli's tone, of course, and he plays with them himself. Josh Perez, on the other hand, really delivers an amazing brush to Griffith's linework, just as he's been doing so far in the books. There is so much going on in terms of lighting, it's amazing what he can do with it.
Oh, hey, Starscream
The lettering by Tom B. Long's really adds to the action scenes, both on Cybertron and in the Dead Universe - and some dialogue lines are excellently executed. In terms of covers, Casey Coller and Joana Lafuente's Optimus fight is glorious, we have an great looking Whirl by Phil Jimenez and Romulo Fajardo Jr, and yet another titanic clash by Livio Ramondelli.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
For the first time since More Than Meets the Eye #1, Bumblebee and the Autobots find out that the Lost Light are not dead. For the first time since Megatron Origin and Chaos Theory, Megatron does something unexpected. For the nth time, Shockwave surprises and teases everyone. Need I say more?
I'm really intrigued to see where the plot goes with this, and how Megatron turns out in his Autobot badge self. The DU plot felt satisying enough to 'end', and the aftermath is to watch out for. There is a lot being set up for the final stretch, one issue of each title and the coda - I'm buying extra seat belts.
. ½ out of
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