Thursday, November 25th 2010 3:31am CST
Categories: Cartoon News
, Site Articles
, Site News
Posted by: Seibertron
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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.
Summary of Transformers Prime Darkness Rising Part 1
Summary of Transformers Prime Darkness Rising Part 2
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.
Tuesday, November 9th 2010 7:31am CST
Categories: Comic Book News
Posted by: Dead Metal
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Well it's that Tuesday again and you know what that means – idw Transformers Ongoing comic review time!
Just this time with Dead Metal, instead of TT24, that's because TT24 is chained up in my basement, and he shall remain there until idw makes a new Transformers comic I don't hate with a passion so intense that it should be illegal.
So I'll be reviewing The Transformers Ongoing #13, a comic by idw focusing on Hot Rod Rodimus Prime Roddy the Hot Rod, that is HOT,
Rodimus (?), and the role he has in the future of the comic series. Oh looks like TT24's staying in my basement for a while – OR IS HE?!
And just in case you don't know, this review contains spoilers and as the name says, these spoilers spoil the comic for you. I will include the ending in this review, so if you don't mind getting spoilt keep on reading
So idw was very happy to stress to us that this issue took place in SPACE!
and not on earth, but that's not all, they also stressed that this book had Rodimus, in SPACE!
What an exciting brake from all that boring as hell Spike waffling, pseudo political waffling, propaganda, and the most boring and unexciting way Transformers have ever been portrait, seriously, they're giant sentient robots from SPACE!, how can they not be exiting and awesome – oh yea waffling...
I'm going to start by saying something about the art, since that's not just half of a comic but also the half one notices before the story.
The art, well the line art, is done by Nick Roche, the Irish artist who not only harassed idw into hiring him (according to Chris Ryall), but also made a huge impact on the fans with the art and scripting of such titles as "Spotlight: Kup" and "Last Stand of the Wreckers", the later with a great portion of help by James Roberts. He's famous for having a style that is both cartoony and organic, and still very mechanical. He's also, in his own words "Gay for Hot Rod".
And he does not disappoint, the art is very dynamic, expressive and full of character, and still very detailed.
Now on the subject that is always good for controversy in the idw comics since the Launch of "All Hail Megatron", the designs.
Nick Roche uses a mix of character designs, The Master Piece toy design for the Seekers, Don Figueroa's new design for Hot Rod, and the rest are more or less based on the Sunbow cartoon designs, except for a mystery character!
So the art will please Nick Roche-fans and displease those that don't care for his work, and comic character design nerds will probably find something to rage about.
I'll voice my opinion on the story part of the comic at the end of this review.
Now this is where the real spoilers start!
So the issue starts with Rodimus flying with Ultra Magnus's ship (which he stole from Ultra Magnus in #06) through SPACE!
. They didn't lie you guys the story really is in SPACE!
Now I'm not really going to say too much about the first five pages, since if you click here
you can read them in the pre-view.
The pages give us a basic gist of what happened earlier, Rodimus "unexpectedly" getting swindled by Swindle (also #06), oh wow we didn't see that happening back when Swindle showed up in #02, how could you not
trust someone going by that name. Rodimus also goes on about how smart he is, yea Swindle thinks so too, and that Ultra Magnus has a super-duper high security safe which can't be broken by anything short of Omega Supreme, which he doesn't lock. Why Magnus went through the trouble of owning that I don't understand, but I do think it's kind of funny, stupid but funny.
Rodimus arrives at the Decepticons' asteroid base and we see Acid Storm, yes he's even actually referred to as such, and Shrapnel. They lose their cool and shoot the ship, but due to an error the ship crashes and destroys their defences.
Bombshell gets the job of telling Starscream the bad news, who doesn't really care and tells him to go and fix it. Then we have a bit of an awkward moment in which Bombshell kind of suggests he should have The Matrix and tries taking it from Starscream (I guess it's like the "one" ring), who's still wearing it with a chain around his neck. Starscream orders him to "Leave us", which is odd as there is only Bombshell and Starscream in the room, maybe he's going nuts.
"And one to enslave them all."
We cut back to Rodimus who has survived the crash and gets ready to attack the base. However Acid Storm, Kickback and Bombshell search the wreak for survivors and useful things, and well they find Rodimus, who ambushes them and kills all three of them, well I guess he kills them.
I guess a fridge could have also been used for this.
Rodimus himself is then ambushed by Razorclaw, they exchange some dialogue in which Razorclaw reveals he could bite off Rodimus' head and swallow it whole, which is odd since he's a robot, but then again we've seen Transformers do stranger things. Rodimus tells Razorclaw to "Swallow this!" while sticking one of Bombshell's cerebro shells in his mouth, and he does. Razorclaw is now under Rodimus' command, because well roll with it.
Razorclaw will swallow anything smaller than his own head without question.
Rodimus then uses Razorclaw to ambush Starscream, who quickly kills him
, yea sorry no Predaking in these comics.
Rodimus attacks Starscream, who tells him that he's impenetrably armoured, but Rodimus shoots The Matrix which knocks Starscream out, or kills him I'm not sure which
click here for spoilerish image
He then takes The Matrix and goes deeper into the base, where he's surprised by Astrotrain, who's in his cartoon design, Rodimus thinks he's smart and decides to sneak up on him, while thinking to himself he's destined to bring the Matrix back. But surprise! And out of the shadows steps our mystery character! I'm not going to use any spoiler tags since, well it won't work.
"Out of the Dark, into the light."
The mystery character is Megatron in his new design, marking the first time the design has been used in fiction.
Due to Megatron having a new body, Rodimus panics and shows us that he knows what happens when a character gets a new body and shows it off to the reads/viewers for the first time! Rodimus somehow thinks The Matrix could shield him from Megatron, possibly forgetting Megatron is not Unicron (who isn't even in this universe, but still).
"Erm, Rodimus he's not Unicron, but whatever."
It goes just as well as one would think, and Rodimus is back in SPACE!
"SPACE! Blacker than the blackest black times infinity!"
Megatron somehow no longer caring for The Matrix, strange, he seemed to have been all over it in AHM, guess it was important enough to start a war over it (if we ignore the fiction prior to AHM) but blasting it with a huge cannon into SPACE!
is OK, guess he thinks his new body is a much better "toy".
Megatron then tells Soundwave to assembly the Decepticons since he wants "To address my followers".
And on the last page we see Rodimus floating dead through SPACE!
Image spoils the final page of the comic.
So that was it, our space related issue in the ongoing, enjoy it while it lasts as it might take a while till we get another issue set completely in space.
Now I'll get to the story part , which is the most important part of a comic. A comic can be good with horrible art as long as the story is good, just like a wonderfully illustrated comic can be bad due to a bad story and horrible writing.
The comic is written by Mike Costa, who's been writing the ongoing since #01 - poorly in my opinion. Everything's dragged out far too long, characters act weird and the plot seems to be nothing more than Costa's statement of how much our beloved alien robots suck when compared to humans, it's so poor that it overshadows the few pretty good ideas and concepts he brings in.
"A typical and unedited page of what dialogue in the Ongoing."
However, this issue is different, it's pacing is good, although it kind of feels rushed near the end; it's dialogue is waffle free, something which we usually suffer through when Costa writes dialogue involving humans or Optimus Prime (please die Prime, you suck in this continuity now); Rodimus' internal monologues are pretty good, sometimes stupid and cliché, but overall pretty good; and the best part, no Spike!
However, there are some bad or let’s say week parts to the story, like Razorclaw's part in this, which was pretty pointless since Rodimus' would have had the same effect if he just went and attacked Starscream himself, Razorclaw was basically just there to get killed
. The part about Ultra Magnus' safe, that odd scene with Bombshell and The Matrix, The Matrix in general which seems to be indestructible and Megatron's appearance, while cool is somewhat sudden and not explained. But we might get the explanation in a following issue or heck even a Spotlight, telling us the story, which idw planned from the beginning but wanted to wait, of how and why in a few months.
So yea the story's not that bad, plus the fantastic art by nick Roche, with fantastic colours by J. Brown, make a pretty good and enjoyable comic.
I give it three stars out of five, which means I must have liked it.
"This I recommend!"
5 point of cool to who gets this.
Personally I think it's not as good or interesting as idw's earlier output (-tion, Stormbringer, etc.) but not that bad and might be the first sign of the series actually getting better, but then again Megatron might come back to earth and team up with Osama Bin Laden or revive Hitler, which would sadly make sense looking at what happened in previous issues.
Monday, October 4th 2010 11:17am CDT
Categories: Comic Book News
, Toy News
Posted by: Dead Metal
Discuss This Topic · Permanent Link
Now this is just a bit of a follow up on yesterdays story concerning the in package images of the upcoming Battle in Space two-pack, no idea what I'm talking about? Just click here
for the story we'll wait for you while you read it.
Good we may continue.
Now as you know the set comes with a comic, a comic written by Simon Furman and illustrated by Boo, fan of Transformers Animated will know him for his work on the Arrival. Well if you look at the cover you will see the new Classics Rodimus repaint standing prominently in the foreground of the cover, illustrated here:
Upon further inspection you will notice that the Sweeps and Cyclonus are also on the cover, in their Universe 2008/Generations bodies, illustrated here:
Now after we have noticed those we will see that the largest space of the cover is taken up by Kup, who is not in his original G1 body but a new one, illustrated here:
That is his Generations design, not convinced?
wasnt told to put Kup on the cover but i knew folks would want the toy when i saw what i was drawing because I WANT THE TOY, so i had to slip him in and it worked, now everyone is hungering like a MarvelZombie for Kup...
but what other secrets lay inside hehehe
You can see his post by clicking here
for a journal on the comic itself.
But that leaves another question, Unicron is he on the cover because he's in the story and fits the cover or did Boo put him there as a hint at something coming our way, might Hasbro be bringing over the TakaraTomy 2010 remold/repaint of Unicron to it's markets? Only time will tell!
Post your speculation of what might be in the comic by clicking here!