For anyone who has been reading Sector 7, and I’m still not sure why I bother with movie-verse related comics, you know what’s been going on. For those who haven’t, I offer you the blurb review below from issue #4.
I have to say, I am not as much of a detail junky as many (like, oh say, the writer in this series). While the series is a ‘somewhat interesting’ step into the past of what is possibly the ‘most interesting’ new part of what came out of the whole movie thing, it is of the movie, and based on humans, so this series probably did/does not call out to many Transformers fans because...well...it doesn’t feature many Transformers. No Transforming robot appears until page 15. Mechs in the previous pages though, yes. No actual named/known Transformer until the 4th to last page. Not much for a giant sentient robot fan to enjoy there.
And then there are those who will buy anything comics, merchandise, and/or toys with the Transformers name on it. I tend to be that way with comics, mostly because I think I am still looking for that perfect Transformers story. Sector 7 is not that story, but could be of interest to SCI-FI/conspiracy theory/X-Files type fans. But not so much Transformers fans (minus HARDCORE movie fans, you know who you are).
The writing of the series is not entirely bad. It certainly has not stood out to me to be distracting, or entirely ground-breaking, just the writing is doing a good job doing what writing should do... help to clear up the details in the story that the art work does not make clear, using dialogue, setting narration, etc. Except the German parts in this issue have started to irk me. I now find that piece of the writing to be utterly annoying--no translations--you can guess some phrases meanings, but many go unknown or unexplained. German dialogue is a large part of many of the last 10-12 pages.
Gutentag herr doktor. Gib mir all deine Transformers Spielzeug ... JETZT!
Anyway, issue #4 continues telling Sector 7 history as family members of its original 7 continue with ‘the family business’ that founding member Walter Simmons started. This time the story is set during 1944. A new Simmons, Bill or Billy, has been asked to carry on in Sector 7 activities and he is none to happy about it. Currently a soldier, he feels he should be in battles fighting the Nazi threat, not participating in “wasting his life like his mother (Margo)”, who we find out in this issue (Five page preview spoiler alert!!!) has passed since we last left her.
Reluctantly, Bill agrees, convinced by his grandfather (General Walter Simmons, Margo’s father), to join a group of 6 other operatives (Yo Joe!) to go behind enemy lines and destroy an NBE (non biological entity) that the Nazis have gotten their hands on, and have started reverse engineering tech from (We all know the United States is the only country responsible enough to have reverse engineered tech from the Transformers, right?). Who is the new NBE under NAZI control? Somebody we already knew about and I was surprised to see based on the earlier issues. Surprises are good in stories, so consider that a plus.
What struck me most about this comic, it was a decent read, but violent. As soon as the mission starts it basically falls prey to the Nazi’s new tech (human-piloted, transforming tank mechs), and Barber (writer) and Kang (artist) waste no time in adding in some gross out elements. Limbs here, missing limbs there, it wasn’t as excessive as January’s INFESTATION crossover is sure to bring about, but it just seemed...oddly placed or even unnecessary. You’re welcome IDW, I may have sold a couple more copies for you there.
How does a guy get his hand blown off (yes, it cauterized the wound, but pain!!!), and still continue on his mission looking no worse for wear (minus a hand)?
-I'm Simmons, Bill Simmons. Chuck Norris can lick my boot straps.
It is meant to be a suicide mission and for most of the group it is--thus, the violence, but not before Simmons carries out the group’s task, and destroys a large portion of the base, along with the projects and people (at least one, pretty cold-blooded killing) involved. However, for Simmons, the act was meant to be totally selfless for his country, but as the Transformer the Nazis were using to reverse engineer weapons from awakens, it destroys the Nazi tech and monster, deliberates, decides humanity may be mostly okay based on a few minutes with Simmons, and helps Simmons to finish his mission parameters, then flies them both away into the wild blue yonder sunset. Happy trails soldiers. Oops, dropped the spoiler there.
The artwork is pretty well done most of the time. It’s crisp and clear, no cluttery details. All lines have their purpose. The humans are able to emote, without looking like they stepped out of Bugs Bunny. The tech, weapons, and armament are nicely, accurately, and again simply detailed. Overall, an enjoyable presentation. I’m a bigger fan of the detailed work done in ‘Tales of the Fallen’, and ‘Nefarious’, if it has to be movie than make sure to put the details in intended in movie designs, but this is good work.
The colors are more vivid than previously seen in other issues, assuming that this is meant to be a progression through time, and previous art and color were meant to represent the eras they were telling stories about. The colors are still limited though, as most of this takes place in a nighttime operation setting, thus using more muted, dark colors. While aboard the plane we have a lot of red, from the emergency lights. So the colors are effectively used to express the settings.
I do have a problem with both of this issue’s covers though. If you didn’t like the Jazz/Hubcap cover of the last issue, I’m not sure how you can like either of these any better. A pile of scrap shooting something--courtesy of the retail incentive cover--, or a tank with legs chasing some soldiers depicted on the regular cover (meant to connect with the other covers to create a dossier of the NBE/Sector 7 activities). Take your pick. The very realistic and detailed, dirty, painted regular cover is the best of the two, but the tank on legs kind of makes it silly (is there commentary in here?), and ruins the presentation of the rest of a beautiful piece of military art. Probably not going to get many Transformers fans interested in a book with either of those designs.
Something about the mech designs as I flip back through the issue. The transformation from tank to mech is fudged...a lot, and the mech modes seem to retain nothing of the tank-- minus the treads/tracks and the cannon. They also seem faster and more maneuverable than the tanks they were, which for experimental tech, is quite amazing, as tanks were fairly high-tech devices for quite awhile. Where did the the hisstank (G.I. Joe) like cockpit come from?
Ultimately, this issue is, as I stated, an alright to fairly enjoyable fiction. If you could read the German phrases than maybe it is even more fun, or meaningful, but without knowing what they translate to is frustrating. I find the book to be a decent short war story with a little bit of robots in there. Not much “Transformers” though.
I have to say, I’m not sure if others enjoy them or not, but I like the final page of the issue, where Agent John Barber (the writer) has his ‘Field Notes’ and explains ideas, relationships, inspirations, and easter eggs along with artist Lou Kang (Mortal Kombat lover here?). I loved this kind of after sharing when WIZARD did it for DC’s Kingdom Come, and then MARVEL did it for their MARVEL’s series. I really like to be made aware of facts, etc., that inspire work, or are hidden in the work that many of us may never even be aware of.
I have read much more exciting issues. I’ve read a lot worse issues and series. This one works as a stand alone story, and as a part of the Sector 7 mini, making it effective for what it is... a book about a group of humans involved with the Transformers and how they evolve over the decades, but not much of a Transformers comic book.
Following in the footsteps of the Transformers Animatied-inspired, 2009 ROTF N.E.S.T. Lockdown, Hasbro is releasing Decepticon thug Lugnut as an all new Reveal the Shield, voyager class figure in 2011. As the release date gets closer, new images of this figure have surfaces on fansite HK-TF.com posted by Sumsum.com. This gallery give us an even closer look at all the detail on this new figure including its fantastic articulation and somewhat more realistic, drab army green paint scheme, a departure from his signature purple paint that Takara Tomy is using for their pending United release of the mold. The Reveal the Shield release from Hasbro is expected to be released at the end of this year and should starting showing up in stores in January or February. We've mirrored several of the images from original post. Click HERE to see the rest of the gallery on HK-TF.com.
Thanks to Seibertron.com member Ungie for letting us know about a new review posted to YouTube by video "personality" Emgo316 featuring Corbot V's CV-001 War Axe. This axe accessory is the first product released by rookie, third party toymaker Corbot V and is intended to complete the video game look for your Generations War for Cybertron Optimus Prime or Optimus Prime Cybertron Mode from the United line. Emgo's review gives us a good, first look at the axe including what appears to be its very sturdy construction, nice detailing, and the translucent axe blades. The Corbot V War Axe accessory is available now from most of our great sponsors.
To check out the review for yourself, click on the embedded video below or HERE for the original YouTube post.
Thanks to Seibertron.com member Cannonfodder4000 for letting us know about a new, video review posted to YouTube for third-party toymaker Perfect Effect's PX-02 Ninja and Kingbat two pack. The video review, posted by Aerros1, nicely highlights both figures including all of their modes, shows off their paint apps which appear to be improved over previous Perfect Effect offerings, and the articulation for both. Ninja, a pink-colored homage to Kiss Player Autobot Cassette Bot Rosanna, becomes a cannon not unlike the earlier PE offerings. Kingbat, a homage to Decepticon Cassette Bot Ratbat, transforms from robotic bat to jet and then can be converted into a large trident similar in size to the Perfect Effect God Swords. The Perfect Effect PX-02 two pack is available now at all of our great site sponsors and both figures can also be purchased separately.
To view the video, click HERE or check out the embedded video below.
According to the story behind the characters, Annihilator was born from the dark embers purged from the Knight Morpher knows as Ultra and only hungers for pure destruction. He does not believe in any allies and seeks to destroy the Knight Morphers and Eliminators alike!
Our massive new, 159-photo gallery features every aspect of this figure including his outstanding packaging, his updated and detailed paint scheme, and his bonus add-ons: the Sword of Destruction, the extra, articulated head for the KM01 figure, the linking sections of railway track, and the weapons storage clips. And despite the fact that he has no allies, we even feature photos of him with the equally evil Shadow Commander from Fansproject.
So if your ember is pure and you do not fear certain destruction, click here or the images below to see the KM02 Knight Morpher: Annihilator gallery now!
Peaugh has obtained the unfinished test shot of the upcoming Generations G2 Laser Rod Optimus Prime figure we last saw here.
You know the drill, watch the review by clicking here, or underneath this very sentence.
Popular Transformers reviewer and self declared Freakin' Geek Emgo has posted a new, YouTube video review for Hasbro's upcoming Generations Decepticon Scourge. His review of this deluxe class figure give us a great look at both robot and (relatively kibble-free) flying wing alt mode along with our first look at the complete transformation and shows off the figure's articulation. Also revealed is what appears to be an updated "peek-a-boo" feature that reveals Scourge's face in his alt mode. This figure will be part of Hasbro's Generations 2011 series 2 and is expected to be released in the next couple of months.
The review is embedded below for your viewing pleasure or you can check out his original post HERE.
So where to begin telling you about Transformers Prime? In less than two short days, many of you will get to experience what I've already watched about a half dozen times. Earlier this week on Monday morning, an unexpected package arrived from The Hub via UPS. I quickly opened up the package and was surprised to see that they had sent me an advance copy of the first two episodes of Transformers Prime.
I quickly got to work writing extremely lengthy and detailed summaries of the first two episodes. I wasn't sure who my review would be competing against so I decided to do summaries instead of a review first in case everyone and their robo-brother did reviews. I figured detailed summaries would be least likely by everyone. My instinct was correct. If you missed the spoilerific summaries I posted earlier this week, you can check them out by clicking on the following links.
Much to my surprise, I really liked the show. I'm not sure what I was expecting. To be honest, I've had Transformers Prime on my mind's back burner. I've been so busy with keeping up with galleries on Seibertron.com that I hadn't really given "Prime" much thought other than making sure news was getting posted about it when necessary. Prior to seeing the show, I would never have believed what my reaction would have been. To sum up my thoughts about Transformers Prime, let me put it like this in terms that Seibertronians will understand loud and clear -- "Prime is like the love child of Beast Wars and the Live Action Films". Basically everything I like about both of those series seems to be here, except without the senseless and cheesy humor.
On November 24th, weekly entertainment trade magazine Variety posted a review of "Transformers Prime". I was hesitant to read what they wrote initially, but after getting through the first paragraph or two I realized that they liked it as well. Their review wasn't quite what I was expecting from a mainstream magazine. I thought for sure that my Transformers warped mind was making me watch the show through rose-colored glasses. Nope -- they liked it and even summed up several of my thoughts.
Variety wrote:As no-brainers go, a Transformers TV show on the Hub -- welding Hasbro's popular toy line into its cable co-venture with Discovery -- ranks down there with making a sequel to the first movie. Yet the product of that assembly line, "Transformers Prime," proves unexpectedly sharp -- better than the movies (admittedly damnation with faint praise), thanks to the arresting CGI animation, which proves especially well-suited to rendering shiny robots and their vehicular alter egos. There's nothing more than meets the eye here, but what does appear is a plenty entertaining addition to this well-oiled moneymaking machine.
Having read such a positive review from Variety, I felt more encouraged to state how much I liked Transformers Prime. The voice acting is superb, the animation looks incredible and uniquely stylized (even if the human animation models are lacking something), the musical score was beautiful, and the aggressive story below me away.
The first two episodes were serious, sophisticated, rather dark and contained various mature themes -- something I was not expecting at all, especially after the somewhat misleading character trailers that The Hub recently rolled out. This show is definitely not geared toward the younger kids like Transformers Animated was. I don't even know what previous series Transformers Prime is most like. I think I'll need to view a few more episodes to decide. I'll tell you what it's not like ... it doesn't have the kiddie feel to it like Animated, it's extremely coherent and not dumbed-down or poorly dubbed like the Unicron Trilogy, it's not simplified or hyperactive like RID, it's not a whiny complaining misguided hippie like Beast Machines, it's not like Beast Wars despite being the closest thing I could compare Prime to, and it doesn't come across like a toy commercial like G1 does at times (sacrilegious, I know).
Transformers Prime doesn't waste any time. Something major happens in the first third of the first episode that I don't think anyone was expecting. I can't wait to see if the second episode truly ended what happened or if there's more than meets the eye awaiting us. I'm still shocked at what happened, especially in the second episode. Crazy!
Knowing that an army of you Seibertronians will be here on Friday evening posting your reviews in this topic, I'll keep the rest of this review to a minimum. Here are some of my final thoughts that I want to share with you to tide all of you over until Friday afternoon when Transformers Prime debuts.
It's in widescreen, though (unfortunately) most of us won't get to watch it in widescreen because most of our Cable companies haven't started airing The Hub in HD yet. Here's hoping for a quick release of this show on DVD, or at least when the toys inevitably come out.
This show has an actual musical score along the lines of the music from the live action Transformers films. It's complex, not repetitive, and it always seems completely appropriate for the scene. Beast Wars suffered greatly in this department whereas it seems to be one of Prime's greatest strengths.
The voice acting is superb in my book. I was pretty geeked about Peter Cullen and Frank Welker reprising their rightful roles as Optimus Prime and Megatron respectively. The rest of the voices seemed appropriately cast. None of the voices seem out-of-place. Everything seems natural. It definitely feels like the animation was done to the voice acting instead of the other way around, which was one of Beast Wars greatest strengths.
The kids weren't as annoying as I had expected. I'm one of those fans that understands the purpose of having humans in the Transformers cartoons. Without humans, there'd be little point to Transformers being "robots in disguise". They're a necessary evil and, in this case, they're handled fairly well. The show is about the Transformers and not the kids -- there seems to be little confusion about that.
"Prime" is dark at times -- some themes that might not be appropriate or suitable for young children. They might even be getting away with some of what happened in the first two episodes because what occurred happened to "robots" and not humans and because it's airing on a cable channel half-owned by the same people who own the Transformers (*ahem* that'd be Hasbro folks). If you question whether or not the show is dark, just ask yourself this ... has the word "cadaver" ever been used in an episode of Transformers before?
The overall mood of the show, or at the very least the first two episodes, is far more serious than we've seen in a long time. I guess this is what makes me keep thinking of Beast Wars. But not all of Beast Wars. Think "The Trigger", "Dark Voyage", "Law of the Jungle", "Other Voices", "Other Visits", and "Code of Hero". Not on an epic scale like Other Voices or a heart-wrenching scale like Code of Hero, but in its own unique way.
The animation has grown on me. There are some things that I don't like. This might be the show's weakest link and one of its greatest strengths. The backgrounds, the complexity of each scene, the transformations, the alternate modes, and the Transformers robots themselves all look incredible. Yet at the same time, I get this feeling like I'm watching the cut scenes in a video game. Something's not quite right and I can't pinpoint it. For the most part though, the show looks incredible. I really like the overall style of the animation even though I have a few issues with it. It is definitely unique, as unique as the style of Transformers Animated is and the style of the live action Transformers films.
Speaking of transformations, they're very fluid -- more along the lines of the live action films. To be honest, I really had to think about this because none of the transformations really stood out to me -- but that's actually a good thing because it means they didn't waste a lot of time forcing the transformations upon you. It just happened and the show went on.
As I've said before, War For Cybertron/Exodus and Transformers Prime are a "forced" continuity meaning that they weren't originally intended to be the same continuity despite what Hasbro tells us. There are a few things that contradict what's already been established in the WFC universe, not to mention a flash back scene in Transformers Prime that uses the Prime animation models and not anything that looks like the WFC designs. I'll consider them the same continuity to humor everyone but they're as forced together as Transformers Cybertron was forced into the Unicron Trilogy.
And now for my thoughts on the characters ...
Optimus Prime - he's basically the same as his movie counterpart. As much as I love Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime, I sometimes feel that he takes the role a little too serious. Everything always seems so epic and heavy with him voicing Optimus. Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm just looking for something to complain about like a typical fan boy. Or maybe he does need to loosen up a little bit.
Megatron - I'm not usually on the Frank Welker-voicing-Megatron bandwagon like many fans are. Every time I've heard him do his "Megatron" voice in recent years, I kind of cringe. His recent Megatron voice is definitely not his G1 Megatron voice, whether it's him or how it's vocoded I don't know. So I was a little reluctant about him reprising the role of Megatron. His voice at the end of the first episode is like his recent Megatron voice that I don't particularly like. However, his voice in the 2nd episode is unlike any other Welker/Megatron voice I've heard before. It's unique to this character and very appropriate. This Megatron is EVIL, a true villain, something that has been missing from Megatron for a very long time. Sometimes I wonder what the difference is between Megatron and Optimus because we rarely get to see Megatron be evil. You do in Transformers Prime and that's why this Megatron has got me wondering if this could be my favorite Megatron since the Beast Wars Megatron.
Arcee - She's a pretty major character in the first two episodes that gets a lot of screen time. She's the bridge that basically brings the humans into the Transformers storyline. She's a very serious Arcee. This isn't your Headmasters "secretary" Arcee or Susan Blu's Animated Arcee. This is an Arcee with an attitude. Not IDW's Furmanized Arcee, but definitely more of a serious warrior Arcee
Starscream - not a wuss. Voice is different than previous incarnations. More like the first live action film than the second. It's unique and not the "screaming" high pitched voice either. I wasn't quite sure what to think of it at first. I liked it, but I just kept thinking that it's not a voice for Starscream. I was sold pretty quickly on it when I saw Starscream being a complete badass in the first episode when he does something we haven't seen in a Transformers cartoon in a really long time (if ever). Give this Starscream a chance. He might just give previous Starscream incarnations a run for their money.
Ratchet - Jeffrey Combs does an incredible job with this really fun character. This might be the best rendition of Ratchet to date. Picture a cross between G1 cartoon, comic, and Transformers Animated Ratchets -- and the best of each to boot. He's not fond of the human kids, has a sense of humor, grumbles, complains, and still gets the job done. I'm rooting for a Starscream versus Ratchet battle, they both might be worthy of revisiting Simon Furman's Marvel Comics battle between these two characters.
Soundwave - Megatron's here because of him basically, no thanks to Starscream, but we really don't find out too much about him. We don't even really hear him speak, he just plays back a recording of something Arcee said. Hopefully he's more than just a drone.
Bumblebee - more-or-less like his movie counterpart with some added bits from his Animated self. He can't talk, which is one of my few complaints about the show, especially with no explanation about why he can't speak other than via beeps and boops, which Raf can oddly understand. He surprisingly didn't get as much screen time as Arcee did, which I thought was a little odd. I'm sure he'll get his moment in the spotlight in the near future though.
Bulkhead - basically like his Animated character, but without the goofy clumsiness. All muscle it seems. Voice is similar but different. Lots of fun potential with him. Minimal screen time but enough to get a taste of him.
Cliffjumper - seems like a cool character. Not sure that they needed to bring in a Hollywood name to do his voice. His design is one of my favorites in this show. Definitely a risk taker. He was portrayed very well in IDW's Transformers Prime comic and his characterization carried over to the cartoon show.
"Transformers Prime" Production Credits:
Produced By Hasbro Studios
Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Kline are executive producers. Kurtzman and Orci served as co-writers of the feature films "Transformers," "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" and "Star Trek." Kline was also executive producer of the animated series "Jackie Chan Adventures."
Optimus Prime - Peter Cullen
Arcee - Sumalee Montano
Ratchet - Jeffrey Combs
Bulkhead - Kevin Michael Richardson
Megatron - Frank Welker
Jack - Josh Keaton
Miko - Tania Gunadi
Raf - Andy Pessoa
Starscream - Steve Blum
Agent Fowler - Ernie Hudson
June Darby - Markie Post
Well, that's it for me for tonight. Please make sure you stop by to share your thoughts after you watch Transformers Prime. I look forward to hearing what other Seibertronians think of this show.
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