It's been a long day. You're sipping a cold beverage at BotCon 2011 in Pasadena, California. It's one of your favorite times of the year. Not only are you in Transformers heaven, but you've made your trip to the dealer room and unleashed your wallet to buy your holy grail. Now you're hanging with all your buddies from Seibertron.com. You make sure everyone's listening, when you ask the question 'What do you think of the Power Core Combiners? I love those guys!" Everyone around you halts what they're doing. Half of your friends start to scream, while the other half shake their heads in shame. Peter Cullen is even facepalming. The bartender kicks you out for causing the mess, and then... Woah. Let's hold on for a minute here. I'm here to make sure than none of this happens at BotCon 2011, to the person who asked the question, to the friends of that person. and especially Peter Cullen.
The line itself has caused a lot of anguish among Transformers fans the past few months. I've watched forum topics pass by and by. I've tried my best to get a grasp of the situation, and understand the opinions of my fellow collectors. Ultimately I land at the question - How has it come to this? We're in the 21st century, and we've got an entire toyline that's seemingly worse than Armada Side Swipe.
While I originally planned to do a review of the first wave of Power Core Combiners for Seibertron.com, that's something that no collector needs. An essay formed from my single opinion is nothing compared to you going around Seibertron.com, looking at photos of the figures or asking the general community of their opinion on a figure. It's really simple, toys are attractive to people because of their aesthetics. No one should be detered from buying a toy that they like from photos, because of one person's opinion. Especially not from a guy with hairy hands, playing around with a Transformers figure for 10:00 on Youtube with a low quality camera.
So what am I here to do? I'm here to convey the idea of Power Core Combiners. To let you know that it's more than just the toy, but also a movement. If you're not liking the sentence you just read, you probably might not want to read the rest of this article. You likely know me well already - I'm a crazed collector of Transformers: Armada, a Blurr fan, and I'm not exactly one to go along with popular trends. But no, this is not blind love for Power Core Combiners, it's a bit more like tough love. Whether you're laying the smackdown on these toys, or you love them to death, they're still just toys. And that brings us to the start of my discussion.
Toy. Toys. [toi]. Looking it up in the dictionary, obviously you'll find a definition. A bunch of English nonsense, but there's a key phrase - "for children or others to play with". I'm sure you've heard of this all before, but for those who haven't, Hasbro's target audiences are within the definition. The children, and others, which are us Transformers fans. While I wish that us Transformers fans were pushing Transformers in the direction we wanted to, it's just not there. Even if Jon Doe dishes out one grand on Transformers every month, a kid and their ever affectionate parents outnumber us. We humans just can't stop making babies. Then there's Live Action. The 2007 Transformers Movie did not only include explosions from Michael Bay, no, it exploded the Transformers into the stratosphere, and it's a fair guess to assume that alot of kids jumped on the bandwagon.
To the movie toyline in particular. Leading up to the years before it, Transformers was always a singular toy line. Everyone had to go through the disco colors of Generation 2, the clashy colors of Universe, and the cool to me, but probably not very cool to you, Transformers Armada. Now in recent years we've had collective lines sharing the Transformers name under Hasbro's brand. In 2008, there were Movie toys, Universe/Classics 2.0 and Transformers Animated. Respectively we designated the figures under the different sections of the Transformers fanbase, for the movie fans, for the faithful Generation One fans, and for the kids. But there's a big problem here. In no way should Transformers Animated should have been designated towards the children population. Yes, it was a morning cartoon, but the toys were intricate puzzles. They require a force and memory, things that some young children have yet to develop sufficiently. To top it all off, Transformers Animated probably had the worst quality control in the history of Transformers. Loose hands, sloppy paint application, basically the works. Not only is that a huge turn off for us Transformers collectors, but when a kid doesn't like, or can't even play with the Transformers toy, that opens a huge can of warms. The parent's likely going to deem Transformers for being too difficult for their son or daughter. And while the majority of some Animated figures were completely shoddy, it still was successful because of it being part of a cartoon! Fans had to complete the 'cast' or get the toy of their favorite characters. Even to this day, people are demanding figures for Animated characters that have yet to receive one!
Fast forward to 2010. It's the same as 2008 - Hunt for the Decepticons for movie fans, Generations for the G1 fans, and Power Core Combiners for the kids. I ultimately feel that Hasbro deemed that the Animated toyline was a failure, and in order for a 'kid toyline' to be successful, Power Core Combiners had to simplified. There's alot of playability, the line is really aimed for children...
..And just like Transformers: Animated and everything before it, the line has it's own cartoon! Hasbro's got the business down pact, a kid watches Huffer and his best buddy Caliburst blast down Smolder and Chopster. Then after the show's over, the young boy kindly asks his mother to take him to the toy store. Both figures are purchased so he can re-enact their battles all over the carpet floor. Wait.. something's not right there. Ah yes, I got it wrong. The kid buys a comic book, and sees Bombshock with the Combaticons, shooting down Skyburst and the Aerialbots.. Wait that's not right either.
Utterly Dumbfounded. It's been 3 months and I still can't get over the fact that Power Core Combiners has no connecting media. Not only is having no related cartoon for a major toy line breaking the trend, but having a toyline by itself is just silly to me. A single appearance in in Cyber Missions doesn't count either. Even reading Transformers Ongoing #11 got me interested in buying Generations Red Alert, Movie Firetrap (Brawn) and 2010 Takara Predaking. But for the PCCs - No toyline, no comics, no nothing. There's nothing to save this line if it's ratings fall. Compound this entire situation with the fact that the year 2010 yields no Transformers movie and no Transformers cartoon till Quarter 4 - I just see it's more likely for a child to be interested in Star Wars, Ben 10, or Iron Man. Even if a kid is a Transformers fan, I personally believe that the Movie line and Generations are alot more appealing than PCCs.
The last nine paragraphs have led to my conclusion of this situation - Transformers Power Core Combiners have purely been marketed out for children. Personally I believe that Hasbro is using this to test out if a kid-only toy line can suffice. I just don't see that this project is going to work well. An entire toyline made out of Activators wouldn't work either. Yes, maybe Power Core Combiners could work, but not at this time. Maybe in December, when it's Christmas time and toys are bought up more than fast food. Maybe next year, when Transformers 3 comes out and the Transformers buzz is back. But in the Summer of 2010, competing externally against Star Wars, Iron Man, GIJoe, and internally against Generations and Hunt For the Decepticons - PCC's at the bottom of the league, and they traded away their first round draft pick. I just don't see that there's any hope for this line.
Power Core Combiners have been engineered for younger fans, I just don't see how 21st Transformers Technology can make PCC 5-Packs look like antiques compared to their superior Generation One brothers. Is that wrong? Certainly not, I'm sure younger fans and children will enjoy these toys due to their low cost and for the reasons stated above. But to us, to the older fans, to the experienced, Seriously Hasbro? I can't even consider myself as old, but this line is a complete turn off to me - an Armada collector. These Mini-cons are a shadow compared to Targetmasters, Headmasters, and Armada Mini-cons. My fellow Seibertron.com staff member Counterpunch, a man who collects almost everything, is flabbergasted at this line.
I can put words as to why this line was created, to how we got to this point, but I've got nothing in the English dictionary to describe these toys. So, Mamma Mia! I did say that with this article, I would make sure that no one would talk bad about Power Core Combiners at BotCon 2011. I'm sorry if I came off with the intention of making your opinion of these guys to be positive. No, just let your anger and hate out now.
Here at Seibertron.com, Transformers is always going to be our main focus because frankly, that's what our site has always been and always will be mainly about. However, from time to time we're more than happy to venture "outside the box" so to speak and this is definitely one of those times. With that, here's our review of the latest album from Stan Bush, an artist who is well known to the majority of Transformers fans, but who is also someone whose music goes far beyond the world of Transformers.
Melodic Rock, a musical genre that defined much of the 70's and 80's has become an afterthought to some in today's society. Still, fans of bands like Foreigner, Kansas, Survivor, Journey and more continue to admire and appreciate that style to this day. Beyond the classic material, there are actually even some musicians who continue to keep pumping out fresh melodic rock. Stan Bush is one such example. While his name might not be quite as nationally recognized as some, Stan has been recording albums for decades now and his latest offering "Dream the Dream" might well be his best ever. For those of you not familiar with him, Stan is an Emmy award-winning singer-songwriter who is probably most known for his work on several 1980's soundtracks including the 1986 Transformers animated movie, Bloodsport and Kickboxer. One of his songs, "The Touch" has become a major cult hit over the years, having been written for Transformers but later also featured in the film Boogie Nights, on television in episodes of Chuck and American Dad and also as a downloadable track for the Guitar Hero: World Tour video game.
However, Stan's musical talents go far beyond one song, as "Dream the Dream" proves. I actually already own Stan's previous 2 albums, 2004's "Shine" and 2007's "In this Life" so I'm not exactly a stranger to his music. As I've said before, this may well be his best album yet. While I enjoy it, it's simply not going to be for everyone. If your cup of tea is Eminem or Beyonce, well this might not be the best choice for you. For pure melodic rock fans, it doesn't get much better than this. Before you get started, I'd advise cranking up the volume a bit as these songs tend to sound their best when they are played loud. Stan as usual sings his heart out on each and every song and the level of raw emotion that comes through with his vocals can't be understated. Being that they're mixed in with some hard driving guitar, outstanding keyboard work and extremely catchy drumbeats doesn't hurt, either.
I think what strikes me the most about this particular mix of songs though is the overwhelming optimism contained in so many of the lyrics. Too many songs these days seem to either be about shock value or life gone wrong, and it's very seldom you hear music these days with positive messages. The album title "Dream the Dream" is actually very fitting as most of Stan's messages in his lyrics center around things like love and hope and happiness. The title track itself is a great example of this but it's hardly the only one worth checking out. Other personal favorites include "I'm still here,""More than a miracle" and "The Touch: Sam's Theme."
I guess I should give everyone some background on "The Touch - Sam's theme." The original version of "The Touch" is always going to be Stan's signature song. Stan had re-recorded it for "In This Life" but had kept everything intact. However, in 2009 he went in a different direction with another version of "The Touch" that he released to coincide with the release of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. It was entitled "The Touch: Sam's Theme" and was quite a departure from the original song. The whole feel of the song had been altered to the point where it now had more of a Linkin Park style. Well, not entirely Linkin Park because Stan had decided to have a rapper accompany him on this song. If you haven't heard it, I'd probably just advise not doing so. So, when I saw "The Touch: Sam's Theme" listed as the final track on this album, I have to admit I sort of groaned to myself. However, this time the rapper has been removed and Stan's lyrics and signing take center stage, and the end result is one of the best tracks not only on this album, but of Stan's career.
Overall I'd highly recommend this album to any Stan Bush fan, as well as fans of melodic rock or just those who enjoy positive and uplifting music. The best place to get "Dream the Dream" and many of Stan's other great albums is at his official website, stanbush.com. The website has just undergone a major overhaul, also so it's definitely worth checking out. Also, sometime in the near future Seibertron.com will be conducting an interview with Stan himself so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for that as well.
My feelings about Transformers Ongoing #11 in a nut shell... finally we get to have something. We have some pretty good signs of improvement.
You should know that in the 16 hours or so leading up to its release, many of the ideas and details that I mention below could be considered possible SPOILERS to your reading enjoyment of the issue.
With the pleasantries out of the way, here we go.
This issue the Autobots and Skywatch take a step in the right direction. For the betterment of all, they actually do something ‘under the radar’ and a bit deceitful. Last issue to try to support the president’s mandate that Cybertronians may not be used as soldiers, Skywatch and the Autobots went on a mission to South Korea to try to ‘convince’ the Combaticons to move along and find another resource for their energon. As you can imagine the Combaticons did not take this suggestion well and pulverized the Autobots, who for sillies sake (oh and stealth too-- they didn’t think little aluminum foil hats would stop the government from watching them--), they stayed in their vehicle modes trying to defeat the elite Combaticon group (which is minus Swindle, so no Bruticus). So the Autobots were going to try to handicap themselves when fighting tactically superior warriors with the word combat in the subgroup team name? Sounds like a sure fire Autobot win!
It turned out to be a silly plan (who knew?). I know that last issue I said to myself that I had about had it when they employed this strategy. This seemed worse than any contrived cartoon plan. The Autobots were sure to get pulverized, and they did, turning tailpipe and barely getting away with their hides intact. What were you thinking when you wrote this Mike? None of us actually thought they had a chance.
But this issue, we see that perhaps Skywatch and the Autobots are not quite as dumb as we thought, and that Mr. Costa had a fairly sound plan for them.
Continuing on to this issue, the Combaticons celebrate their victory with some well earned energon, as they razz the Autobots (and rightfully so) for their lack of tact, strength, or brawn (why?). And then it hits the fan, figuratively, but almost literally if you look at the image below.
Vortex becomes a main goal as the Autobots mount a new attack. Having been a big reason why the Autobots got trounced in their ‘vehicle modes only approach’ (ie they are sitting ducks for Vortex), the Autobots look to remedy this advantage in Round 2. Poor Jetfire was not even enough to defeat this master of the air (last issue), so Ratchet and buddies try to keep him grounded.
A couple of other things also happen at this time to help turn the Autobots’ luck:
-They get air support from a very unexpected source (or an expected one if you’ve looked at any previews, or images from the early pages, or covers for this book).
-They get to use their robot modes this time thanks to satellite interruption.
So round two shows the Autobots delivering blows to the Combaticon unit. Outnumbered, outgunned, and now with no tactical advantage, it looks like the Combaticons need to white flag in a hurry.
And then we get another surprise. Another partial combiner team shows up. And again, it’s not much of a surprise because of the way IDW is choosing to do their comic covers. Basically, one ahead of the actual content in the issue has been happening an awful lot, at least in one cover version. It happens again. I don’t want to mention the team, but as the Combaticons were working for a dictator in South Korea, these crashers welcome themselves to the skirmish in the employ of the Republic of China. Interesting, or a played out idea? You can decide for yourself.
In this issue we find some good:
-More Thundercracker characterization. He must be someone’s favorite at IDW because he is really one of the few characters that IDW has truly given great life to. His non-friendship with Bumblebee and the Autobots makes for some interesting dialogue, and an interesting relationship explored!
-The Autobots don’t seem like tactical fools.
-Lots of action.
-Humans are very minimally involved.
-Good to great art.
And I want to take a moment to talk to you about the art. I truly have not been impressed by any artist on this series yet, until this issue. Yes, there are still some problems, but Guido really gets it right a lot of the time this issue. You know who robot characters are when you look at them, even if they might have a slight redesign. The style does slide towards a more animated type of drawing at times, especially with expressions, but I think that is still acceptable here, and compared to what we were straining to see in the first arc’s art. Guido also seems to like smirks a lot.
Just check out a few of these images below to whet your appetite.
This issue really seems to help the devoted and frustrated TRANSFORMERS comic reader to believe that this creative team may be able to pull ‘it’ off. They may produce a product that more than just the truly stubborn (ME!) readers will look to buy, and will enjoy! It’s too bad that so many readers have probably written the series off now, and won’t think twice on their decision, causing them to possibly miss out on something good.
A couple of points to the negative:
-Too many partial combiner teams. I understand these sub-groups seem to want to stick together because they had a previous allegiance, but I wonder if we are getting into the combiner overkill arena.
-The art is a little inconsistent. Like my writing. There are some really excellent panels in here. And then there aren’t. Good do outweigh bad though.
-Still seems drawn out. How many pages do BB and TC need to get through this?
-Why would the Autobots leave Brawn behind? Is he that much of an unthinking, untactful behemoth, or do they truly just not like him? (this plot point is explored in the issue)
Here’s the list of folks who got it done this issue...
Some bot symbols to help you visually see my thoughts. Each category is out of five bot symbols:
Worth the $3.99
Check out the five page preview here, and look to your local shop for this issue tomorrow, or in the very near future.
Once again EmGo316 delivers a review for an upcoming Hunt For The Decepticons release. This one's Tomahawk, an Autobot helicopter set for release in Wave 3. EmGo goes over Tomahawk's alternate mode, transformation, robot mode and gimmicks, all stuffed into an informative 10 minute video. Check it on Youtube or embed below!
Seibertron.com - The Ultimate Transformers Resource!
It’s been a few months since James Roberts’ and Nick Roche’s highly-regarded Transformers comic series, THE LAST STAND OF THE WRECKERS ended with surprise and fury. Sad for the end and what we were left with, readers wanted more from the duo, continuing Wrecker tales, or a sign of a new TRANSFORMERS project.
Unfortunately, there is no news of a new project yet, but this week coming to comic book retailers is the collected trade of THE LAST STAND OF THE WRECKERS mini- series.
You either love a trade or you hate it. You love it because you waited for the collection, and did not pick up the individual issues, or you hate it, because trades usually include an extensive art gallery with alternate covers, artist sketches, or other such extras that readers may find interesting--but who will very begrudgingly lay down more cash to get in only the most special cases.
Guess what? If you waited patiently for the collection book, congratulations, your patience is about to be rewarded. If you are on the other side, and already bought the issues, well you might find yourself needing to buy this set regardless. What would convince you to lay down your hard earned money again when you already paid to read the original story as it was released month after painstakingly long between issues month?
How about a LAST STAND OF THE WRECKERS prequel? Issue #0 if you will? Interested yet? I hope that my short review of this new story written by series co-writer James Roberts can help you to make that tough decision.
Expect their to be SPOILERS from the series, and from the new prose in my review. Yes friends, there be SPOILERS afoot.
‘Bullets’ is a narrative with no images. Sorry Roche fans, but this prequel is for reading only, no images for salivating over, unlike the case with LSOTW. Savvy and inspired artists will no doubt divide the story up and create their own book, or images, but for now you must employ your imagination.
Anyone who was a fan of the MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE-type, AUTOPEDIA PERSONAL DATA REPOSITORY entries at the end of certain issues will certainly appreciate this new writing. The 11-page story actually fleshes out the characters’ backgrounds and where the details in the AUTOPEDIA originate from.
I’m going to try not to gush here, but it was refreshing to read this style, and these characters brought to life again (some quite literally for those who read the high body count LSOTW). I may be a bit influenced already based on my previous experience with the series, and wanting to see more. Okay, I am. Deal.
This chronicle is not Garrus-9 based, although G-9 does get a little bit of a mention. This account takes us to Ironfist’s workshop, the ethics committee room, various Autobot bases, squad locales, and Autobot medical facilities.
For those looking for a lot of Decepticon here, it’s not happening. This is an Autobot-based story, and the Decepticons are only rarely mentioned as the antagonists who the Autobots are reacting to.
This is not a story of physical battles like in the series. There are a lot of mental battles taking place, and a focus on what happens before the Garrus-9 incident to members of the Autobot army in different positions.
First off, we see what Pyro, Guzzle, Ironfist, and Rotorstorm were doing previous to their enlistment with the Wreckers. A whole extra angle is approached here as we get introduced to many familiar and unfamiliar supporting characters who help to tell their tales. Staying true to their portrayals in LSOTW, these characters gain more depth and more detail as we read through what appears to be unrelated stories from each bot, up to the point where they meet to be picked up by the Wreckers.
The leader, Pyro wants to prove himself, and be as inspiring as his idol. The weapons engineer wants to be a part of his idols' experiences instead of just writing about it. Two soldiers are looking to take care of some personal ghosts involved with their different previous assignments.
Ironfist's partner in weapon creation, Skyfall, as well as, Xaaron, Flattop, First Aid, and Trailbreaker will be some of the many names you will recognize while reading through this story of war, agendas, and yes, betrayal.
From Garrus-9 to Gideon’s Glue, and even Grindcore, elements and details are explored, and brought together in ways that the series readers may not have really predicted, and should find fascinating at the very least, in a fun way.
If you want answers to some of these questions, then it is definitely worth the purchase:
How did Ironfist’s fatal condition come about?
Where were the‘noticeably absent’ from the Wreckers’ last stand bots: Whirl, Roadbuster, Sandstorm, and Broadside? You know, the guys we recognize as being ‘The Wreckers’ mainstays.
Why is First Aid closely checking Autobot symbols on patients in the emergency medical ward?
Why does an old myth scare so many Autobots?
What kinds of weapons had Ironfist and others created for the Autobot cause? What kind of regulations were set for the creators, or the weapons' uses?
What happened on Babu Yar and how did it effect the soldiers battling there?
Which new Wrecker experienced an abusive relationship with a commanding officer, early on in his career, perhaps causing his high regard for himself?
You may not have known you wanted answers to these questions, but after reading this tale, you may actually go back and read your issues of THE LAST STAND OF THE WRECKERS (conveniently included in the trade) a little differently. Details will stand out to you now, that may not have before. Again, experiences will vary.
In my opinion, this is an excellent addition to the already known story. Was it needed? Nope, the story told originally was absolutely complete without it. Does it add something more to the experience of the series...ABSOLUTELY!
Ultimately, I am one purchaser of the original series, who also happens to have been lucky enough to read the extra bit without having to buy the trade. But, I will also be one of those purchasing the trade to have a nice, complete story for my shelf to pick up and read periodically as I wait for other IDW TRANSFORMERS books to find their way.
While Fisitron was famous for ending his Wrecker entries with the saying, “It’s over. Finished.” I know I speak for quite a few Transformers fiction readers, and all I have to say is, I sincerely hope not.
THE LAST STAND OF THE WRECKERS paperback collection is due to hit stores this week, tomorrow for most, later for some.
Seibertron.com member omega666 has received his Munitioner and Explorer sets and has reviewed them. The reviews are done in multiple videos you can view them right here on seibertron.com or click their names and watch them at youtube.com!
Another night, another new review by YouTube video "geek" EmGo. The other day, he gave us a closer look at HFTD Axor and this time around, it's deluxe Generations Blurr that goes before the camera. While the transformation is nothing new to us because of the many reviews and images of the Generations Drift figure that this repaint/retool is based on, what we do see more of is the polarizing design style of this Generations update, based more around the IDW comic character than the G1 figure many people consider to the the benchmark. Check out the review below and let the debate continue!
Thanks to Seibertron.com member Forgotten for the post.
YouTube Transformer Reviewer EmGo316 has posted a new video review for the upcoming Hunt for the Decepticons deluxe figure Axor. As we all know by now, this figure is a repaint/retool of Hasbro's ROTF Lockdown that features a different paint scheme, a new head sculpt, and an updated axe weapon. The figure is expected to be released in Wave 4 of the HFTD toy line and should be available at retail sometime late this fall.
To checkout EmGo's review, check out the embedded video below.
Along with the other galleries we've received today, Seibertron.com member kotoys has posted an extensive gallery of the as-yet unnamed Hunt for the Decepticons Voyager Ironhide repaint, previously reported here. This a repaint of Revenge of the Fallen NEST Global Alliance Recon Ironhide, who is an extensive retool of 2007's Movie Ironhide. You can see the full gallery here
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