Cliffjumper may not be the largest Autobot around, but he doesn't let that get in the way of picking fights with Decepticons. Fearless and brash, Cliffjumjper's favorite weapons happen to be his fists.
The air commander of the Seekers, Starscream is as ambitious as they come. During the early days of the war, Starscream sold the services of the Seekers to Megatron in order to one day usurp his Decepticon master and take command of Cybertron for himself.
PAGE 1: After the events from Transformers: The Death of Optimus Prime, readers thought we wouldn’t see Prime,—now known as Orion Pax—again for a while. What were the reasons for bringing him back so soon? And, there is a real feeling of being in the depths of space in these panels.
JOHN BARBER: Well, for me, the important thing was to get him away from Cybertron, and let Bumblebee be the leader—without a net. With Prime out of the picture and Rodimus in space, it’s up to Bee to try his hand at leadership, and nobody will be there to pick him up if he falls.
But that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to use Prime—or, I mean, Orion Pax. We set it up in DoOP that he was leaving and sort of implied that he’d be… I don’t know, relaxing or something? I mean, we all know he’s not going to be gone for good, right? He’s probably one of the 10 most recognizable fictional characters on Earth. We know he’s coming back.
So getting back to him but keeping him off in space, off on his own (sort of), it creates a new status quo for him. If we don’t show him, you’re always going to be wondering—“will he swoop in and save Bumblebee and Prowl?” Well, here he is. He’s not on Cybertron. Even though he’s in the book, it makes his departure more concrete.
LIVIO RAMONDELLI: I wanted this issue to feel like you were getting to see new parts of the universe. Ancient areas that might even predate the Autobot and Decepticon war. With the first three pages in particular I really wanted to get across the notion of being in deep space, and arriving on a world that hadn’t had a visitor in a long time. If I did my job right, the panels establishing the world should feel very still and really be creating a mystery as to what happened. If you look closely you can see some of the spiked buildings of the world jutting out at weird angles on the chunks of ice in the distance. This would suggest that the world was frozen and literally torn apart by some horrific event.
And, it was certainly great to see Optimus Prime (Orion Pax) again. I just think there’s something comforting about seeing him show up. Plus there was a funny connection between working on this issue when he’s going by the name Orion Pax once again, and having just finished Autocracy where we see him go from Orion Pax to Optimus Prime. The symmetry of these stories was interesting, working on both his past and his present almost simultaneously.
PAGES 2 and 3: The remains of this world come across so well here. Did you guys go through different versions of this page before getting to what we have here? The aliens here also look very biomechanical.
JOHN BARBER: Livio and I went and got lunch one day… I’d pitched an idea for this issue to our editor, Carlos Guzman, and he just stared at me—I could tell my ideas were so half-baked that he was trying to figure out a way to let me down gently… And he was right, so I went back to the drawing board for the issue.
Then Livio and I got lunch, and he was talking about how his background in landscape designs for video games, and saying he’d love to do something in the ice and snow, and I threw out this idea I had of a gas giant planet that had frozen and broken apart. I don’t think I’d seen that anywhere, and I didn’t really know what it would look like, but I figured Livio would make it look cool. And he did.
The Rocs—there was one reference to Ardurian Rocs in an issue Simon Furman wrote, and I thought—well, I’ll steal that! It was a tossed-off line—“watch me like an Ardurian Roc,” but I thought it might be fun to build up this actual civilization around them, make them some kind of alien species that the Cybertronians had had a relationship with, and see what Livio came up with visually.
In terms of the story, the important thing was that they had to be pretty durable to survive the extreme temperatures. I always liked the feeling I had watching the 1986 Transformers: The Movie when they encounter all these aliens and they’re all mechanical-based instead of biological. I know later on there were explanations tying things together, but I always liked the idea that in this universe, mechanical life is as common as biological life. I like playing up the weirdness of the Transformers universe. There’s no square-cube relationship when it comes to scaling biological creatures—things can be big or small… Anyway, the real work here was Livio.
LIVIO RAMONDELLI: This environment was a blast to do. All of my Transformers work to date has, funny enough, consisted of taking place entirely on Cybertron. And this was a chance to really throw another type of alien world in there. The notion of the ice planet was something John and I both really clicked on, and at lunch we just started tossing out ideas. I loved the idea of a world that had suffered some devastating incident and was literally just frozen pieces drifting through space. And even worse, that a few of the inhabitants of that world were still alive to just sort of slowly freeze to death.
Also strangely enough I had always intended the world to have a very blue color palette to it, but when I was doing the lighting I just sort of randomly tried this red glow and ended up liking it. I felt like it gave the planet a very alien and unwelcoming look to it. I wanted the world to have a sense of stillness to it, like it’s probably very quiet here. Until the later pages of the issue.
I really wanted to get across a desolate feeling here. This is not Cybertron, where even at its lowest point it’s a developed world with buildings and technology. This is almost a primal rock floating in space, and I wanted it to feel like Orion Pax was really having to journey somewhere new.
There’s another two-page spread later in the issue, where John really wanted us to expand the Transformers universe in terms of aliens we’d see. He wanted to see aliens of vastly different sizes and races, and to have organic life as well as mechanical. It’s certainly an interesting notion that will be absolutely explored further. The idea of what else is out there aside from Cybertron and its devastating war.
And it’s also fun to see the onetime Optimus Prime (and current Orion Pax) mingling with friends in a far more social setting than what we’ve seen before. He’s not on some vast battlefield, but rather sitting at a dingy table and having a few drinks. It really shows where he’s at in his life now, having handed off leadership duties and really just trying to find his way.
PAGE 4: Shockwave! Doing things that tie into his earliest appearances in the IDW universe. How fun is it to have him back, doing what he does best?
JOHN BARBER: I was nervous about writing Shockwave in this continuity. I’d written him in the movie universe, and the way I wrote him was—well, this was how Bob Budiansky described writing him, too, but I didn’t know that quote that when I first started writing the movie stuff—was as a malevolent Mr. Spock. And Spock’s logical, but he’s also really smart and funny—I mean, when you watch the old Star Trek series (or the movie) Spock’s got this dry sense of humor where you’re never sure if he’s making a joke, or if he’s just so logical he doesn’t realize he’s being funny—but he seems too smart for that.
So it took me a little time to get that right, but by the end of the movie books, I think I had the voice down okay. I liked writing the character. But I thought if I used him in the regular series, he’d just sound the same—and I see the two worlds as being pretty different—I mean, here, he’s a scientist, for instance. That’s his deal. His entire M.O. is different. But James Roberts was telling me to use him, and Livio wanted to draw him, and he’s Michael Kelly at Hasbro’s favorite Transformer, and one of mine, too…
So, yeah. A lot of fun.
LIVIO RAMONDELLI: I love how John writes Shockwave. I think he just nails that character’s voice. And again at lunch, I remember how much we both enjoyed the idea of Shockwave being this sort of unsympathetic detective who would be exploring this world. I think John did a terrific job with the panel descriptions. I really like seeing Shockwave just casually walking by these desperate creatures begging for help. If they can’t give him new information, he just does not care to even look at them.
Shockwave has always been one of my favorite Transformers, and it was a blast getting to draw him here.
PAGE 5: Shockwave is going from darkness to light in these panels. Any clues as to where the character is going in reference to this or is it simply how the panels were laid out on the page?
JOHN BARBER: Writing for Livio means you can write lighting stuff in a way you can’t always. And even if you don’t write it, he thinks the lighting through. There’s stuff Livio does here that pretty much nobody else in comics can do.
But in a literal sense, we find out where he went later in the issue.
LIVIO RAMONDELLI: Where he’s headed is certainly meant to be a mystery to keep you going until the end of the issue. Shockwave definitely sees something that catches his attention in that final shot when he’s bathed in light. I also liked the reversal that the true horror of what happened to the planet at its core is actually the brightest spot, as opposed to the darkest.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron was included in the MTV Geek Battle Arena Throwdown, taking 32 of the biggest names from the biggest games featured at E3 2012 and having them square off head-to-head in a bracket tournament.
Check it out at the following link, vote and keep Transformers on top! http://e3.mtv.com
B.O.T.S. 2012 was a huge success!
B.O.T.S. 2012 has come and gone. The convention was a huge success with 2 rooms filled with dealers, kitbashers, artists, games and, of course, fans!
Activision was present with an exclusive demo of their new game Fall of Cybertron. In addition we also gave away fantastic prices; 5 of our visitors have been chosen by Activision to write the review for the new game ‘Transformers: Fall of Cybertron’ together with Power Unlimited (which means they get to spend lots of time with the game!). We also gave away some cool items at our yearly raffle.
The B.O.T.S. exclusive is totally sold out. So if you managed to get one, keep it safe!
Special thanks go out to Richard Gerlach for providing us with a very cool kitbash, and of course to Martin, who won this unique kitbash during the charity auction! Like the donations given in the main hall, the proceeds of this auction go to the Ronald McDonald childs fund.
Sadly, there was some bad news as well, as Calloway Customs could not reach B.O.T.S. this year. We hope to see them next year.
The organisation of B.O.T.S. 2012 would like to thank Hasbro Nederland, Activision, Power Unlimited, Godert.nu, Rein den Hengst B.V., KMBA, all dealers and supporting crew of B.O.T.S. 2012 for their support and tireless efforts.
Finally, we would like to thank all our visitors for making B.O.T.S. 2012 such a wonderful event. There would be no B.O.T.S. without you!
We hope to see you all again at B.O.T.S. 2013!
(Translation) Beatbug moved to the Netherlands to aid his brother Roadrust. Who is incapable on his own to stop the illegal activities of Decepticon Undertow in the harbor of Rotterdam. Because his human driver always drives into everything his chassis is covered in dents. (Power, Intelligence, Speed, Stamina, Rank, Courage, Firepower, Skill)
(Translation) Roadrust is sent to the Netherlands by Optimus Prime to monitor the Decepticon Undertow's activities. He is always a pessimist. The only thing that can cheer him up is a trip past the Dutch windmills on a nice sunny day. (Power, Intelligence, Speed, Stamina, Rank, Courage, Firepower, Skill)
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