“Dear RODIMUS and crew… It’s my funeral tomorrow and I’d love it if you could all be there. Refreshments will be provided. Please R.S.V.P.—THUNDERCLASH”
The situation is ..tense
Switching away from Combiner Wars, and dipping a couple of weeks behind in the general timeline of the IDWverse, let us return to the Lost Light after Ratchet has left to go annoy/save/be annoyed by Drift. As they receive news that the Greatest Autobot That Ever Will Have Lived Alpha Bravo Thunderclash is currently at his final stretch, even with the Vis Vitalis life support.
Alas, poor Thunders
The issue does some really clever things, in James Robert's script set-up to the pre-wake for Thunderclash aboard his ship - we are allowed another slice of life aboard the Lost Light, with its crew interacting, clashing, bumping into each other, just ..being there and letting their voices come to the fore and speak for themselves, and Nautica, Nightbeat and Getaway getting a little more of the spotlight.
And, similarly, we get a round-up of the new characters aboard the Vis Vitalis, with new arrivals - though seemingly well established in the universe - Firestar and Velocity, plus some additional Camiens as revealed by Milne recently, playing into the wider universe of the Transformers at this stage. And how does characters clash and blend with our cast of misfitting egos.
Not much of a spark, really
All of the dancing, all of the jealousies, all of the distractions and the emotions are not what the issue is all about, however. Two more threads run under the surface, showing the closer converging parallels of Rodimus and Megatron, and their personal issues with pretty much anything. And a deeper, darker stream still..
It's always nice to see the return of a regular artist on a series, and Alex Milne does not disappoint with this issue, at all. We get new designs, multiple crowd scenes, new cast members some serious delving into body language and dynamic dance moves (willing or not) and - of course - some magnificent facial expressions for the people who *really* don't want anything to do with the whole wake do.
The addition of Joana Lafuente's colours, the element of continuity between the various artists we've had in the recent past, makes sure the party is going on both on the dancefloor and in the readers' eyes, with some great effects being played for the multiple characters and their emotional discordances or possible re-ignitions - depending on how whose side you might want to take.
Tom B. Long is joined for the issue by fellow master letterer Chris Mowry, and with their powers combined, we can actually feel the voices and hear the music from Thudnerclash's pre-wake, along with the corridors, bars, cells and some of the emotions running high among the casts. Which are easily also found in the covers, with Milne and Josh Perez' Nautica and Camien victorious main piece, the thumbnailed Kotteri retail incentive (not depicting scenes in the issue, but rather Empire of Stone), and the triumphant Thunderclash memorial by Nick Roche and Josh Burcham.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
This is not an issue to take as lightly as everything suggests we might want to. Yes, there are several lighthearted scenes, with a character focus and setting, playing on the multiple clashing egos of the cast and the new encounters (for the readers at least), and ensuring all characters are ..well, characters. They just are. With their quirks, personalities and voices.
In space, no one can etc
At the same time, though, there's a deeper, creepier story coming out of the issue, and played on the sidelines of the general merriment of the Vis and Light - and one that brings us back to where MTMTE all started, again. Space horror, dark ships, and things lurking just beyond the happiness of the circle of casts shown in the light. Genre is genre is genre.
DESPERATE ACTIONS! As the SPACEBRIDGE reaches across the stars, will anyone stand against STARSCREAM? The answer is yes—but the cure might prove worse than the disease.
Maybe he actually cares! (...)
The IDW Transformers Combiner Wars Mairghread Scott/John Barber crossover arc switches back for its fourth chapter to The Transformers ongoing, and its writer Barber, with the current playing field riddled by ruins, frustrated Cybertronians, understandably scared Camiens, ambiguous pretty much everyone else, and several schemers on the loose, of course.
Quick recap, thanks
If Starscream is made to be the most explicit in his intentions for the future of Cybertron (and its problematic status of 'homeland' or 'centre of the universe') - and he does get to play a lot with all his little, and not so little, secrets - the real focus in this issue is undoubtedly Prowl, and the enormous quantity of turmoil he carries with him.
And Bob, obviously
Baggage that he has carried for a very very long time, admittedly, and always bubbling just beneath the surface. The long conversation, the effective backbone of this book, between Prowl and Optimus Prime, is a very good example of the type of emotional level that Barber can tap into in more serious storylines, and reveals a Prowl with actual feelings, disguised under a veneer of cold calculation.
That's.. quite a list
A possibly slower issue in its first acts, with some expected combiner fights as it progresses, an entirely expected twist at the very end (though one I am very curious as to how it will play out, and well executed nonetheless) and some well staged tension between the various characters used at the centre of the story, and a very good addition to the event so far.
As Livio Ramondelli keeps to interior art duties, we see a massive difference from the previous, supposedly rushed, issue - the lines and colours for the characters, especially in their expressivity (both in body language and facial), are stunningly executed, and work really effectively for the serious tones and rising tides of the story and their interactions.
A mighty fine Windblade, right there
I will have a little moment here, as there is a wonderful chromatic game being played out in the issue, with the big opposition of darkened reds (cells and optics) and blues (Spacebridge and shadows) - with some almost unexpected yellows. And they serve as backdrop for the different scenes, ultimately exploding in a much brighter, much open landscape in the finale, under the aegis of the Spacebridge.
Not shown here - have some sky instead
Tom B. Long provides the usual masterful font and lettering work, grounding the dialogue and the locations in where the reader needs them to be, and gets some fun moments in transitions, too. As for the covers, we get the magnificent Emperor Starscream by Casey Coller/Joana Lafuente, a first half of Ramondelli's Optimus Prime poster cover, and the thumbnailed (perhaps another Marcelo Matere piece? Hasbro - credits please) Optimus Maximus.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
As I've said above, the issue plays a very interesting, if initially slower, game of revealing tensions and starting to prod at them without exploding until the very very end. And it was a strategy that, for me, really paid off - it shows Prowl's inner workings in a lot of ways, without removing the build-up he has received so far, and shows just how much of Optimus' influence can sway the game (and the franchise, really).
It's.. still.. coming.
We get even more on how combiner technology may not just be a technology of combination, but something a little deeper, and the beginnings of some serious power plays on all sides involved in this sudden, strange, large-scale war. And it all plays out across some closed spaces that quickly become uncomfortable for readers and characters alike - though in a good, captivating way. Next, the sort of conclusion!
Courtesy of Seibertronian chuckdawg1999 we have another video review for the latest Transformers: Robots in Disguise Warrior class wave: Sideswipe, the teenage swordsbot! Check out the video embedded below for the wavemate of Jazz, and find out your fellow collector's thoughts on the toy - does it pass the bar?
Well, Hasbro can't win them all. Sideswipe has a great looking car mode, two tone paint and all, unfortunately that's where the compliments end. While the transformation is interesting, a flaw in the design prevents the torso from coming together properly and staying together, making posing the upper half of the figure impossible. Perhaps the inevitable repaint will somehow magically stay together, but I'm not holding out hope.
Youtuber Chuck (or chuckdawg1999 to us Seibertronians) has posted a new review tonight of Transformers Robots in Disguise Warrior Class Jazz! He comes in Wave 3 alongside Sideswipe and online retailers have them slated for release this month, so hopefully they will be popping up on stores shelves soon. Keep scrolling to watch Chucks review, and stay tuned to Seibertron.com for all your Transformers News!
Popular Youtuber Peaugh has gotten his hands on the Transformers Collectors' Club Exclusive Lio Convoy, and as usual fired up his video camera for a review! The Beast Wars: Uprising character is a retool of the Generations Orion Pax mold, sports a new head sculpt, and shares all this in common with the other Club Exclusive Nova Prime. Keep scrolling to see the Peaugh's review, and stay tuned to Seibertron.com for all your Transformers News!
The Legion figures from RID continue to roll along with Underbite and Fixit. While both aren't the best a Legion toy can be, Underbite has a solid vehicle mode, while Fixit has a very expressive robot mode. Overall if I had to recommend one go with Underbite as One-Step Fixit is the better overall representation of the character.
As an addition to their pictorial and text review, fellow Seibertronian Generator_G1 has just posted a video showing off the transformation sequence for Transformers Generations Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus. You can check it out embedded below, and start your own personal hunt as the latest IDW inspired figures starts hitting stores both online and at general retail!
Thanks to wonderful fellow Seibertronian Generator_G1, we have a brief pictorial review of the recently shipped and released Generations Combiner Wars Leader Class Ultra Magnus in all his IDW aesthetics and features, such as Minimus Ambus. Read on below to find out what they think of the ex-Duly Appointed Enforcer of the Tyrest Accord, and for some nice in-hand shots of the toy, including comparisons with Classics Ultra Magnus and some more recent releases like the CW Armada Megatron and MP Smokescreen!
Generator_G1 wrote:Just to consolidate and update my mini review (which is all over the place..lol)
Just some thoughts on Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus to those who might be interested....
1. His front panel detaches easily from the front. It still locks back into place though.
2. His shoulders are mistransformed out of the box, you have to push up until you hear a soft click to lock the shoulders.
3, His ratchets on his hips are very similar to CW Optimus as they only have a limited range of motion. Replacement ratchets would help here.
4. His cab does not detach from the trailer.
5. His feet are also mistransformed. Also no ankle tilts.
6. Minimus is pretty much required to sit inside Magnus in bot mode as he fills out the hollow area in the neck.
7. His elbows and knees are very soft ratchet joints. No loud clickety-clack sound from them.
8. Head only swivels from side to side. Can't look up unless you pop of UM's head and MA becomes visible.
9. He is very hollow when seen from the back. I guess some 3P would like to make fillers for the back of this legs and arms,
10. No wrist articulation.
11. His hands cannot hold his guns securely. They always fall off. I guess UM has butterfingers or something.
12. He does not roll very well. His crotch drags along the ground.
13, Minimus Ambus cannot be in the cab when UM is in vehicle mode. The inside of the cab is where the head goes.
14. No waist swivel.
15. Arms goes full 350 degrees at the shoulder/ Bicep swivels are present.
16. Thigh swivels are present.
17. No light piping on the Magnus head. He does have the aviator shades like in CW Defensor.
Vehicle comparison with Classics UM
Size comparison with other bots
Overall for me, the figure is a 7/10. He looks good on a shelf and is a very good representation of the IDW Magnus but the build quality is not up to par with the Leader Class Megatron / Armada Megatron that preceded it.
In addition to yesterday's promo video, and of course, the Seibertron.com galleries, fellow member chuckdawg1999 has also just shared with us a video review of two Takara Tomy Transformers Adventure toys: TAV-08 Gregevor (Greejeeber) and TAV-13 Nemesis Prime. The latter is the one we've covered already, but the former, an homage to the 2000 RID line Rollbar, is in fact a male redeco of Strongarm, which you can find here for comparison. Check out the embedded clip below!
Takara always seems to deliver unique repaints that homage niche characters from their market, and black Optimus Primes. Gregevor is one of those homages going back to the early 2000's RID character Rollbar. Nemesis Prime I guess could be said is a tribute to Scourge/Black Convoy from the same line; even though there have been many takes on the black Prime over the years. Both are worth a look if you're interested in well done repaints.
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