Chuck has a nice goodie for us: a review (first one we've seen) for the upcoming Combiner Wars Leader Starscream!
Take it away Chuck!
chuckdawg1999 wrote:Bow down to the King! Ever since Leader Thundercracker was revealed fans were waiting for the inevitable Starscream repaint. Finally in the twilight of the Combiner Wars 2015 line here it is, complete with crown. For those new to this Jetfire retool (like me) there's a new head, chest, weapons, and wings. For me the main selling point was the crown, I just love how a small piece of TF history has been able to hold on through the years. Definitely worth a pick up.
Youtuber Baltmatrix has posted a video review of the Transformers: Robots in Disguise Mini-cons Velocirazor, Beastbox, RatBat and SandSting. He shows off their transformation, Energon accessories and the bonus Energon shark figure.
Refresh your memory with the Deployers Drift and Fracture here. And remember to stay tuned to Seibertron.com for the lastest news and galleries.
Skids and Nautica's Infinite Playlist (Spoiler free-ish)
“We should’ve known. Being happy: always a sign that somebody was about to die.” —From Knight Quest: The Quest for the Knights, by SWERVE of Helex.
Hitting the 42nd issue, More Than Meets the Eye also reaches the conclusion of the first arc post game-changing Elegant Chaos, and the two heavy pauses in between - but beyond the puns involving murder on the dance floor and other Sophie Ellis Bextor lyrics, what horrors does the Vis Vitalis hold? Read on!
James Roberts's script takes some time in this issue to use a previously trodden ground and path to actually send us in a new direction, at least for some of the characters involved. If space thrills are part of the manifest plot, it's the latent threads that really shine through, with a series of twists that are more humorous than horrorous.
Nautica in particular gets some very nice development, and we're enabled to see her in action and in her own element even when facing the multiple, very different moments of clash with other characters (threating or not) in the issue. Nightbeat is another spotlighter, and one that reveals how MTMTE actually operates after all.
Look! A distraction!
However, the issue does not feel as though it reaches the full throttle of what the arc could've done, despite what it does do. Not entirely sure what I was expecting, and this was definitely not it of course, and welcome though it may have been, *something* felt off. Perhaps the shortness of the arc? More below.
Visually, the horror is palpable. Even with the opening dance scene, we are plunged back into the Alien-esque side of story; and forget the Sparkeater from early on in the series, the creatures that Alex Milne conjures up in this issue are the stuff of someone's twisted, shifting yet somehow strangely enticing nightmares - despite, or perhaps also because of, the barnacles.
Nightmares, I tell you
In fact, there is a wonderful echo of the recently cancelled Hannibal series, also due to the stunningly elaborate colour work by Joana Lafuente, giving all the hues of terror - and its complete opposite in the resolution of the plot-thread, as we enter the final act of the story.
Tom B. Long, as seen above, just keeps shining, too. Some of the highest peaks of tension in the story, and their consequences, just look great in the voices that he helps shape out with the lettering. And on the cover front, the main Milne/Josh Perez variant sets one tone, the vibrant Nick Roche/Josh Burcham Nautica (thumbnail) sets the other, Naoto Tsutshima and Yamaishi capture the atmosphere of the latter part of the issue, and we get SDCC exclusive Combiner Hunter Chromia, by Sara Pitre-Durocher.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
The concluding issue to this post-Elegant Chaos arc undoubtedly has a lot of heart and charm (perhaps charisma, too?) in its doings, both from a character perspective, and pacing for invested readers, particularly in the concluding act. It does also, however, feel very quick, and perhaps pleasingly so - leaving a small blip of satisfaction in a wider comedown from the Ratchet issue (eventually, I know). I am still unsure as to what it is that did not convince me as much.
While things do happen, especially in the character-developing and relationship establishing sections, I cannot shake the feeling that this may have been the most 'filler' arc we have seen so far in the MTMTE series. However, there is just enough lightness and much needed self-undermining and humbling humour to create a dangerously uneasy feeling of content, as we subtly Swerve into the next arc...
Fellow Seibertronian chuckdawg1999 brings us another video review, this time with some comparisons between the Robots in Disguise and Adventure line for Bumblebee, plus Ninja Sideswipe from the later One-Step line. Check out the many decos in the clip below, and head over here for more Takara Tomy Transformers Adventure discussion, too!
With a much better paint job and clearer instructions, Takara's take on the One-Step figures are really good. it's a tough choice between the Adventure version and Hasbro's Night-Ops version of Bumblebee since both decos are fantastic. Ninja Sideswipe looks good but the "Butterfly" transforming style is getting a bit old at this point.
MORE WORLDS-MORE PROBLEMS! After the events of COMBINERS WARS, WINDBLADE and STARSCREAM race to recruit the lost CYBERTRONIAN colonies to the Council of Worlds-but which of them will control the fate of Cybertron?
Once more, we look at the almost immediate aftermath of Combiner Wars, as one of the minds behind the arc's story takes her writing back to the series that first launched the multiverse. Mairghread Scott dwells on Cybertron, and the many worlds that refer back to it, more or less, and some old-but-new friends make their appearance.
Be still my racing heart
Scott's script manages to be fresh while drawing from a number of sources, from Animated to Prime to older material still, and we finally also get a look another of the colonies: Velocitron, and its peculiarly self-assured inhabitants, as Starscream begins to build his empire Council - just as the Transformers fiction re-expands, too.
Having someone like Knock-Out, with his Prime personality, is a magnificent counterpart to the snark that Starscream brings to the scene, and provides some great character bouncing off for both Blurr and Windblade. The latter, however, is even better placed next to the more humble Moonracer, while louder egos clash in ..er.. negotiations.
Character-establishing, world-building, great interactions, fabulous characters from previous strengths and preferences, the first fully-fledged Windblade issue is a great venture into a wider verse and the smaller realities of the individuals populating it. And it's darn good fun, of course.
While we have seen Corin Howell debuting in the previous issue of Windblade, this is the first time we get to see a full issue featuring her linework, from pencils to inks. And, despite some expected criticisms from readers expecting a 'Stone continuation', I enjoy the Animated-influenced perspective we get in the issue. Some sequences are full of life, and even joy - with some excellent homages and call-backs to what Windblade has already been established as in the previous run.
Thomas Teyowisonte Deer is another very nice addition to the creative team on the book, and the colouring style does fit quite nicely with Howell's line-and-ink performance. Some of the backgrounds are magnificent, though there are some more muted, almost silently contrasted to the otherwise joyous atmosphere of the party scenes. Nonetheless, you can see below what he can do elsewhere.
Lettering is left to Tom B. Long once again, a mainstay in the TFverse by now, and his work blends particularly aptly with Howell's small sound additions in the linework, both in font work and subtlety, and keeps some level of continuity with previous comics. As for the covers, we have another impressive array, with Priscilla Tramontano on main variant, the dramatically splendid Casey Coller/Joana Lafuente Cityspeaker, the stunning Windblade by Naoto Tsutshima and Jet Enter plus the SDCC exclusive Combiner Hunter version, by Sara Pitre Durocher (thumbnail).
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
There are many Seibertron.com staff words and thoughts in this review, and thought I should acknowledge them here before I get lost in my own - and overall, we agree on its merits. It's a fun, well-dialogued interaction between different cultures, characters and references that fans from across the franchise will enjoy as it starts laying out the steps to something bigger.
And more parties!
So big, in fact, that we may have seen the beginning of Titan Wars dropped in, very casually, in the early pages. There are cameos, there are homages, there are redesigns and reworkings of established elements of the mediatic Transformers universe, and most of all - it's fun. Light enough after the heavy-fisted Combiner Wars, without drifting off, or going off track. Chapeau.
Fellow Seibertronian gema brings the final pictorial review of BotCon 2015 exclusives, as confirmed by a recent report from the event here - featuring the Generations Roadbuster redeco into Generation 2 General Optimus Prime, in green camo! Check out thoughts and photos below, and head here for more.
The paint apps and finishing is nicely done and detailed. Even the rims are fully painted.
Not sure about the others but when I first saw him, the camo itself is not enough to identify him. Luckily, the G2 Autobot logo narrowed down the search.
While the original G2 version transformed into a dumper truck, having a new version of General Optimus Prime that transform into a fully weaponize off-road vehichle is not really a bad choice (personally).
Personally, the alt mode is just okay for me, not bad but not great either. But I'm really surprised how the robot mode turn out to be with G2 General Optimus Prime's paint scheme.
Not only he has the same star on the chest just like the unreleased G2 version, the head sculpt does resembles the original mold which can explain why Roadbuster mold was chosen in the first place.
The quality of the figure is pretty much the same as previous variants and the joints are even tighter than my Generations Roadbuster.
Fellow Seibertronian KillerOh has posted a pictorial review, on Seibertron.com, of Cyber Battalion Grimlock. The review shows the articulation, which appears to be the best of the bunch, as well as size comparisons. More images can be found in the review and on his facebook album. A few of the images have been posted below. This figure and the rest of the line are available at Robot Kingdom for Pre-order.
Our second review in a row today sees a recently spotted figure from the Transformers: Robots in Disguise line, courtesy of fellow Seibertronian chuckdawg1999: Hyperchange (Three Step) Steeljaw. Find out below, in the write-up and embedded video, what they thought of the toy!
While the Hyperchange line will never be called the peak of Transformers engineering, Steeljaw is a fine figure and in my opinion the best representation of the character thus far. Transformation is limited to three steps, but due to the magic of automorph a lot happens in those three steps creating a very nice looking robot. Obviously this figure is made for smaller hands but a collector might find enjoyment as a desk toy.
Following the review that fellow Seibertron.com user gema shared with us for SDCC Hasbro Transformers Combiner Hunters Chromia, we now also have a round-up of images from their blog featuring the stealth-esque Arcee! Check out a selection and some thoughts below on the new deco of the Generations fan favourite figure, minus the massive weapon that will come with the SDCC set, but more or less reflecting her current appearance in the IDW comics.
The approach for Arcee's paint scheme is different compared to Chromia. While the latter comes with metallic paint job (on certain parts) and flame/tribal tattoo, Arcee comes in normal black and pink paint scheme.
There's another thing that I'm not sure of. Based on promo pictures, the paint on the face is not like mine which is only one-sided. I'll try and get confirmation as soon as I can. Also, the finishing on the chest is not really clean as there are smudges if you look closely.
I get the idea of her paint scheme but to be honest, it doesn't really work with this mold.
I can easily get behind Chromia's paint scheme but Arcee is whole nother story. For now, I guess I must conclude the review for the set unless, like I said, I manage to get Windblade in the near future.
THE AFTERMATH! The COMBINER WARS are over, and OPTIMUS PRIME faces the aftermath. Meanwhile on Earth, ARCEE confronts GALVATRON over the fate of two worlds.
Sticks and Stones, G
Combiner Wars is over. Sort of. There were many plotlines and threads left more or less dangling, some tidier than others, at the end of the fifth chapter of the IDW event. As both John Barber and Mairghread Scott were responsible for the arc, it's only appropriate that Barber takes the reins again in his view of the CW aftermath in his own title.
Not Pictured: The Aftermath
There are two major plots being explored in this issue, with the focus splitting between Cybertron and Earth once again. On the latter, Arcee and Galvatron have a not really amicable (but more than expected, really) confrontation, allowing all external parties to Prime, Prowl, and Scoop's swift defection to the newly forming Council of Worlds, to catch up and start progressing out of the crossover arc.
(Not) A Recap
The other point of focus, and a magnificently executed one, is Prowl. Prowl and whatever has been chewing at him in the IDWverse. Prowl and his problems with Optimus. Prowl facing his turmoil, and Optimus responding in kind, in an exchange which is just... really well done. I cannot say more than that really, as it has to be followed and read to be fully appreciated.
Good evening Clarice
The issue has all the excellence of early xRID stories, in pacing and dialogue, with the added emotional power of dragging the personal back into the wider scheme of things. Arcee, Prowl and Galvatron obviously take the spotlight, with Prowl above the others - but even Optimus is finally more of a rounded character than he has been at certain turns, and one which confirms the raised eyebrow from past CW issues.
The two plots are complemented by two separate art teams, with a welcome return from artist Andrew Griffith, whose bulky, solid Galvatron and Astrotrain (now with visible mass shifting) bring a good contrast to the edgier, sharper, stealthier Arcee - and which colourist Josh Perez makes sure to give suitable masterful (and toy appropriate) decos to them all, with some dusking, cold lighting surrounding them.
Beefy old man
The Prime/Prowl thread, on the other hand, keeps the continuity of Livio Ramondelli, in what is probably his best work so far on a prolonged sequence, and what a sequence it is. His cinematographic sensibilities, take on the angles, shots and choice of pacing to align with Barber's dialogue is the most suited to such a powerful exchange, that we couldn't have asked for better.
How the tables have flipped
Both the sides of the issue, of course, could not carry their voice strongly enough without the work that Tom B. Long brings to the lettering, adding extra font work where characters make more of an impact, and with D.O.C.'s adorable voice. The cover roster this month sees the established Optimus Prime by Griffith and ..Perez? Burcham? (IDW! CREDITS!), the viscerally stunning Casey Coller/Joana Lafuente Prowl vs Optimus, a maniacally beautiful Galvatron (thumbnail) by Naoto Tsutshima and Lei Kagami plus the SDCC exclusive Combiner Hunter Arcee, by Sara Pitre Durocher.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
As I said, we get both a blend of what worked in older, pre Dark Cybertron xRID issues and stories, coupled with the heightened political is personal/personal is political aspects of both Combiner Wars and the general direction that IDW writers seem to be taking of recent, and no punches are held back. Or elbows. Or heads. Literally.
Oh, and these two are in it, too!
This was a stellar issue, managing to transition effortlessly from the event storyline back into Earth, the Decepticon commune and still deal with the aftermath of some of the major players from both pre- and during Combiner Wars. Transitions which worked from both the writing and the artistic perspectives, and a welcome return to the more political (and personal) side of The Transformers. You do not want to miss it.
. out of
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