Fellow Seibertronian chuckdawg1999 has sent our way a video review showing off the differences and similarities in the Titans Return and Legends Headmaster Hardhead (which includes the little tank found with Terri-bull, too) figures, from Hasbro and Takara Tomy respectively! Check out the clip embedded below, compare our own gallery of the Hasbro release here, and let us know what you think in the Energon Pub.
Hardhead was one of the original Headmasters introduced during the Rebirth miniseries. I've always felt a closer connection to the US fiction than the Takara version, where the smaller robots were the characters who combined with transforming vehicles. Takara as usual has enhanced the experience with a cartoon accurate deco and face, while including a repainted Titan Master vehicle to round out the pack. The Legends set is the better value but may be harder to find at this point.
Hey, Seibertronians! The first episode for Machinima's Combiner Wars Animated series is now online, have you seen it? I know I have! I've made a quick review of it for you, followed by the link to watch the series, so check it out below!
Machinima's Combiner Wars series, centered around characters from the toyline of the same name, held some promise for me when we saw the trailers and screencaps from various conventions. It's premise looked good, original, and tied in nicely with the rest of the current fiction. I was hopeful. However, after watching the first episode, that hope is fading. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad, perse, but there's a formula when it comes to a good series opener based off of the gigantic robots we know and love: It has to have Good Characters with good development, a good setting and premise, a nice production quality, and it should set you up well for what the rest of the series is going to bring. This is what made cartoons like Beast Wars, Prime, and, in some of those cases, the original G1 Cartoon so close and unforgettable to a lot of us. Combiner Wars fails on most of these grounds.
Let's break down the first episode.
The series starts off with a fight through a space bridge between Menasor and Computron. Menasor literally tears Computron to shreds, and the autobot combiner ends up "dying". We hit our first road block here. We're immediately thrown into a intense action sequence without any backstory at all. This would be completely fine by me if the rest of the episode tried to explain what's happening, but it doesn't. However, the episode is only five minutes long, so I will let this slide in hopes that future episodes will go into more detail.
Maxima and Windblade take on Menasor
Windblade and new fembot Maxima show up to try to defeat the remaining combiner. We get a small bit of exposition here, but it's only a few lines, and it only explains that Windblade used to be a "City Speaker", meaning she could talk to "Titans" (Metroplex, Fort Max, Etc.) We already knew she could do this, but it's nice to see Machinima try to keep this new series grounded in existing fiction. However, Menasor delivers this dialogue in the new "I will start yelling at random intervals for no reason" voice Machinima gave him, so it's not very easy to listen to. Roadblock #2 comes in the form of the animation. It's pretty good on the whole, but sometimes it's really smooth and fluid, and then sometimes it's broken up and choppy like a motioncomic. So, during the fight between Windblade, Maxima, and Menasor, due to this mix of the two, it's hard to keep track of what exactly is happening.
The series tries to pump some tension into the episode by having Windblade get caught by Menasor, and Maxima feels the only way to save her is to make the Ultimate Sacrifice. She becomes the embodiment of the "Friend/mentor/parent/sibling dies" trope to give Windblade a bit of a backstory and a reason to hate combiners. This doesn't work mainly because she already hates combiners. It's not like she had this drastic change of heart only when her (Friend? Sister? Pupil? We don't know. We never find out) dies. The tension comes across as forced and doesn't get any emotion out of the viewer, especially since the character dying is completely new and we know nothing about her.
Maxima, a new Female Autobot, does two minutes in.
Windblade, now freed, takes on Menasor alone. This isn't a problem, however, because somehow she takes him down in literally two swipes of her sword; about 5 seconds. This would also be excusable if she watched her friend die and went into a Anakin Skywalker-style fit of rage and just started beating up Menasor, but no. She just randomly gets this power with no real change in emotion. This image is finally revealed to be Windblade, cutting Menasor in half, winning a fight that was much easier than it should have been
She kills Menasor after he worries her for a moment, talking about how he and her are alike, both killers. It's just that she uses a good cause to justify it. This story ark holds promise, and it will be interesting to see where it goes. After Windblade leaves, Computron starts waking up. The episode ends with a still shot of Optimus Prime, in the desert we saw him in in his spotlight video.
Windblade leaves after smashing Computron's Autobot badge
All and all, the series does have its flaws, but it's the first episode. I'm willing to give it a chance, and I recommend you do, too. It's only five minutes of your time, and it gives us the Transformers action we all know and enjoy.
The San Diego Comic Con 2016 Exclusive Titans Force Set is going to go up on Hasbro Toy Shop August 9th 2016. While waiting, we thought you would like to see some reviews. These come from ChuckDawg and Optibotimus. Let us know if these help you make up your mind, either getting it or not, and if you would like us to keep posting video reviews like such.
You can also see comparisons bewteen the two Brainstorms here and a review for the Windblade mold in its Robots in Disguise colours here.
chuckdawg1999 wrote:The Titan Force set box is really nice looking, featuring an embossed front and back. The instructions unfortunately are printed on paper, which is fine, but the print is shrunk down and combined with the dark colors, ends up hard to read. Windblade is a vast improvement over the Generations version of the mold, and I personally like the blue and gray color scheme. If you're looking for the retail release I'd go with the Takara version, which is closer to the animation design.
chuckdawg1999 wrote:Ah yes, when Summer feels the hottest it's time once again for SDCC. With the lines for panels filled with A list celebrities who want to be anywhere else, showing trailers that are just slightly more than a title card, are even longer lines for baubles and trinkets in pretty packaging that drives up the price almost 100% over retail. The Titan Force set from Hasbro features an orange sherbet version of Sentinel Prime, and the first release of Deluxe Brainstorm. Prime is Prime, only more translucent. Brainstorm is an extensive remold of Deluxe Blurr. Brainstorm will be available at Walgreens at some point, but in a different deco.
optibotimus wrote:Here is my look at the 2016 SDCC exclusive set featuring Sentinel Prime, Windblade (with the new RID mold) and Brainstorm!!
We've been teased about it, we've seen it in the San Diego Comic Con 2016 Titan Force set, we've seen him as the Walgreens exclusive at SDCC in the Hasbro area (right here!), and now fellow Seibertronian Neurie offers us a very quick comparison between the standalone Titans Return deluxe Brainstorm, his Titan Force counterpart, and the Voyager from the Generations line, with Headmaster Arcana! Check out the images mirrored below, including the Titan Master Teslor - note: the Walgreens one is the more saturated one on the right.
UPDATED with more images, showing Titan Master looks, comparisons with Takara Legends Headmasters, and closer looks at details and features!
Its a fun toy, I prefer the main colour of the Wallgreens version, neither it nor the SDCC version are as good as the Voyager thought.
The Wallgreens has nice blue eyes and a vibrant orange face plate with better tampos.
THE LAST AUTOBOT! Once he ruled CYBERTRON with a brutal (and literal) iron fist... left for dead four million years ago, SENTINEL PRIME is back. But in a world where STARSCREAM rules CYBERTON, OPTIMUS PRIME has invaded Earth, and MEGATRON is an AUTOBOT—SENTINEL doesn’t like what he sees!
I'll take revenge murder plot for 500, Alex
The last couple of months (years?) have had a lot of change in the world of the Transformers - since Dark Cybertron ended, Dawn of the Autobots and Days of Deception happened, Megatron had several changes of heart, Windblade erupted into the world, Optimus started his journey to True Prick Prime status, Starscream actually still rules Cybertron, and the ex-colonies have returned. Now, imagine you were left for dead when you were a fascistic despot bent on superweapons and conquest. It's bound to mess with your brain, right?
Even tyrants need recaps
The three-author structure is actually well deployed in the book, allowing us a pre-Dying of the Light look at a flashback under movie night banner from (predominantly, one assumes) James Roberts, and avoiding a talking heads part. Which also means Swerve and Whirl get to annoy Megatron for a bit, as Cyclonus lets the true noble purpleness of his heart shine - plus some smile-worthy social commentary. In fact, the whole section has heaps of it.
The second section has an unfortunate bit of a crossover - though not crucial, the two scenes are more complementary than anything - with the events of The Transformers #55, delayed in its print form to next week, but available on digital, it seems. Looking at the status on Earth after the rise of the Titan, and more Primes than you can can wrap your head around.
The Actual True Primes
Between John Barber and Mairghread Scott, the two heads together prove that they can master the voices of the other, as the third section is also the longest, set on Cybertron with Sentinel doing a lot of stuff. Stuff that shows character in pretty much everyone around him, from Starscream to Ironhide to Windblade, along with establishing him as
Livio Ramondelli is the sole author of the visuals, and - unless you're not a fan of his style in general - he does an excellent job of bringing together a chaotic, hectic, pretty much planet shattering return, even if not of Titanic proportions as such. Between some of the establishing shots, and the lighting games that are being used throughout the book...
...and the more detailed looks at the characters, their interactions, and even some of the battle scenes, we get another strong performance in the G1-esque direction that Ramondelli's art, colouring and layouts has taken in later months. It works for the big bad bot, it works for the Lost Light cast, it works for Ironhide in particular. It works.
Tom B. Long returns to the work he had been doing in books like Autocracy/Primacy/Monstrosity, keeping the fonts more or less simple and clear, but having fun with the sound effects as Sentinel brings on a bit of a rampage wherever he goes or might end up going. And we get some good covers too, in the main Ramondelli one we've seen for a while plus the ROM exclusive, the thumbnailed Priscilla Tramontano encapsulates the story's potential direction, and there's a very fun double cover by Chris Giarrusso for Acme Comics.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
The visuals are Ramondelli at its best, as of recent, and it's good to see him in such top shape, and colour, and... The writing, not only of the different characters as pointed out so far, but of Sentinel himself, is very entertaining - as far as a character such as his can be. He will be loved and hated in equal measure, and stands as a dead ringer for certain vocal elements of the fandom at times, too.
Yeah. I said it.
A one-shot that actually does fairly well in bringing together the three coexisting series at the moment, and sets up a stage that doesn't feel to constrained or artificial, with hints in the other books that can be linking bits together for detail-oriented readers, and a callback to a much earlier stage of the IDWverse. This book does good, and it does it well.
Seriously, finding non-spoiler filled images was legitimately difficult.
Here we are, 4 years, 7 months, and a week since The Death of Optimus Prime, which ushered in what has arguably been the best long-form run of Transformers comics in history (that includes Robots in Disguise/The Transformers and all the various one-shots and mini-series within this time period, for the record.) Now that I've read More Than Meets The Eye 55, it feels like the end of an era. Yes, the story is continuing next month, and even once this iteration of the book wraps up with issue 57 there's still the Revolution tie-in book and a relaunch under the moniker of Lost Light, but do you feel it?
It feels like an act is done, the stage set for the next, but the immediate moment finds curtains drawn, house lights brought up, and an audience filing away. They'll mingle and chatter about what's been seen, some will speculate on what's still to come, but when the lights flicker and they come back they're going to know that the immediate next act is not one with the players just seen. Behind the curtains, a director is leaving the chair, costumes are being changed, and new actors are preparing for their debuts.
This drawn out analogy is important, as the content of MTMTE 55 is much more satisfying when considering the perceived feeling of significant change in the universe of Transformers comics. With this preamble done, let's dive into more specifics about this particular issue.
Probably not a good way to get your security deposit back.
While "Season 2" of More Than Meets The Eye has been running since directly after the Dark Cybertron crossover event arc, for this reviewer, there have always been two parts of this "Season": before issue 44, and after. That was the issue where Megatron's journey began to pivot, and it was also the point where the quantitative amount of mysteries that the book held in store seemed to hit a peak. From the last Scavengers two parter and on through "Speak, Memory" and "Dying of the Light", more questions have been slowly answered compared to the amount of new questions that have arisen. With this issue, hold on to your seat - my roller coaster analogy was not just an unusually popular Tweet. This book will hit you with story beats, character moments, major revelations, floods of emotion, and heart pounding suspense in rapid succession without leaving room for much time in between.
A small sample of the intensity that awaits.
Make no mistake about it though, this issue is both the end of and very representative of "Season 2". It's all about the journey, and not every reader, including very devoted MTMTE followers, will be satisfied with every direction taken.
No really, this will be the reaction some of you have. But to which part?
As can be expected of a James Roberts penned book, each turn is clever and well explained within the words and imagery present. If you like "James Roberts clever twists", you'll love this issue to pieces, though the massive amount of content pressed into twenty pages of comic does lead some of these to feel anticlimactic. That's indeed a critique, but the immediate counterpoint is that some things just had to be quickly handled for this story to do everything it wanted to do. Maybe some initial ideas got punted or changed, especially looking back to the solicit for the issue, or maybe they didn't and I just don't fully grasp the solicitation's text yet.
Let's all talk about this in the thread below. I don't think we've got closure on this point.
Some other staff members here on Seibertron have expressed similar laments on this concluding piece of a larger arc, ranging from comments on how the book couldn't quite help "Dying of the Light" top the floor of its reach, to one about some turns not literally being 'deus ex machina' moments yet managing to feel the same way.
To me, this is more of an issue of prioritization and not even pacing anymore. Character moments are, it would seem, purposely given more real estate than answered questions (when they aren't one in the same), and not every fruit borne of promising seeds ends up tasting ripe on the first bite due to this balance. Having had the luxury of time to think a great deal before writing this review, it should be said that while there was some initial bitterness on the palette during the initial tasting, nothing lingered and it's all settled in very satisfyingly. Your mileage may vary, as MTMTE "Season 2", like many delicacies, can be an acquired taste.
I told you - non-spoiler images just aren't abound in this issue!
For the production of the book (full credits may be found here), get ready for Milne, Lafuente, and Long at their very best. Each character looks exactly as your brain tells you their MTMTE iteration looks, complete with super expressive facial features, body language, and movements. These are highlighted by all the 'choom's and 'vromp's you can shake a stick at, with the colors of the characters and environments putting a tidy bow on a beautifully presented package.
Visually speaking, this delivers everything you could want and then some. There are even some visual cues that lead me to believe the events in the latter part of the book may be, well, more than meets the eye.
I think that what is tinfoil may never a'luminate. And I'm sorry.
Hats off to the entire team, even those contributing just in the form of variant covers like Nick Roche, Josh Burcham, Brendan Cahill, and Jean-Paul Bove, and of course to outgoing editor John Barber.
Like the rest of More Than Meets The Eye for the past couple of years, you might read this tomorrow and feel underwhelmed by a few points. If you're someone that's looking for more passive Transformers entertainment and have been highly critical of issues 28-54, you'll be highly critical of 55. If you've enjoyed chewing through every detail, and re-read old arcs over and over looking for clues on where things will go, or if you've just really enjoyed every bit of MTMTE since issue 28 without fail, you'll love this issue.
Ultimately, I found this to be a very satisfying conclusion to a very satisfying arc. The great character work shines, the story moves briskly, and nothing feels to have happened without at least some degree of thought out cause.
Did I like every twist? No, I think at least one huge opportunity for an amazing future story had a big red "abort" button pressed, and some others felt like fanservice that just didn't add anything except for those rooting for certain characters. There were some amazing twists though, and the end in particular has me watching my calendar and eyeing the IDW release schedule thinking only "How could they do this to us?!" Waiting for December is going to hurt.
When reflecting on how long and how deeply I've had to think about this issue, I'm glad to have held off on writing this review until days after my initial read. Thinking back to the moment when I reached the start of the third to last page, and how I was involuntarily at the edge of my chair, heart pounding in anticipation of what was or was not about to happen, the realization strikes that this journey, Megatron's journey, is a story that will stick with me for a long time.
Like Megatron, it isn't perfect, but there's a great deal to love despite a few rough edges.
. & 1/2 out of "Don't Change Back" aka 4.5/5
Bonus! James Roberts' soundtrack suggestions for this issue:
Our podcast star xRotorstormx went wild on these new Alt Modes figures and bought the entire first wave and sent us pictures. While they are blindbagged, there is a small hole in the back where you can try to figure out which character is in the box. A video review after the images will show you how to find the one you want. You will also be able to get an idea of the scale of these when looking at the reviewer handling them. Thse are small 2.5 inch one step figures and the first wave features:
Prowl (who looks super grumpy)
Here are a few words from Rotorstorm regarding her new purchase:
Last night I was able to get my hands on these adorable (yes, I said adorable!) little figures from my local Toys R Us. To me, they are more of a display piece, much like Kreos, as they are simple 1-step figures but I found them quite enjoyable to play with.
They come in blind boxes, similar to the Loyal Subject figures, but much cheaper ($6.99 each). On the plus side, there is a small hole in the back of the box that allows you to see inside a bit so you can try and figure out what character is inside.
In vehicle mode, they look like Micro Machine versions of the G1 vehicle modes and have little wheels that you can drive them around which I got a kick out of. Be careful though with your Starscream nosecone, as I ended up somehow being able to spin him in the wrong direction and scuffed the tip a little.
In robot mode, they are a little top heavy...no surprise there... so it takes a little finagling to get them to stand without any support but it can be done!
and...if you feel compelled...decapitate your prowl to form PROWLASTATOR!
Overall, I think they all look good. Megatron and Prowl could use a little more paint detail but I love that the trucks remind me Micro Machines, Starscream has sparkly blue paint, and how can you not love sad face Prowl?
If you're looking for something simple and fun, I say pick some up. I'm definitely looking forward to wave 2!
//grumpy prowl out
Our other pocastig star, Tigertrack, got Prowl and took some comparison images to giv you a sense of scale.
Lastly, here is a video review of Optimus Prime and a quick quide on how to find the one you want.
After the in-hand images we saw a while back for the two new Warrior class figures in the Transformers: Robots in Disguise line - Scorponok and Windblade - we also have two video reviews for the Decepticon and Autobot, courtesy of tfrWLDNAS on YouTube in his post Roll Out Roll Call haul look. Check them out embedded below!
Fellow Seibertronians, we have been alerted to several video reviews by Chefatron of the upcoming Transformers Titans Return leader class Soundwave figure and his minions legends class Laserbeak, and Ravage. Soundwave is a retool of leader class Blaster - whose gallery you can check out here for a further look at the figure's base mold - but includes an additional gun, in reference to the G1 figures' 'battery' guns, along with a new helmet and a new Titanmaster. Legends class Laserbeak is a repaint of Combiner Wars Buzzsaw, while Ravage is a repaint of Titans Return Stripes, with a retooled head. So check out the reviews, and let us know what you think of them in the comments below.
Seibertronians, quickly after they were sighted for the first time at US retail, our friend and fellow Seibertronian, ChuckDawg1999 brings us a video review for Robots in Disguise One-Step Ratchet and Bisk! Check out his thoughts and the video itself down below!
It's nice to know that even in 2016 collectors can still be surprised. No one knew that Ratchet would be getting a One-Step figure until it showed up on some etailer websites. Ratchet is a retool of the previously released Weaponizer Strongarm so it's a solid mold, but it suffers from balance issues when you try to have it hold a Minicon. Bisk is an all new mold and is the best version of Bisk we've gotten thus far. Unfortunately Bisk has no easily identifiable way to hold a weapon Minicon, if it's meant to at all. Overall these are fine additions to the RID line and make for great desk toys.
Make sure to check out Seibertron's galleries of the other toys in the Robots in Disguise line here, and leave your thoughts in the comments! How do you feel about another one of the main 5 from Transformers: Prime crossing over into the Robots in Disguise show? What do you think about the figures themselves? Have the one-steps gotten better or worse since the Age of Extinction days?
And, as always, keep your optics and audio sensors tuned to Seibertron.com for the greatest Transformers news (and reviews!) on the net!
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