Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review - Spoilers Within

Transformers News: Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review - Spoilers Within

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013 11:33AM CDT

Categories: Comic Book News, Reviews
Posted by: Dr Va'al   Views: 29,833

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Times are a-changin'
(Spoiler free-ish)


Synopsis
FINAL BATTLE! The leadership of Cybertron will be decided once and for all! It’s all-out war against the forces of MEGATRON! Will the Autobots wrest control from their attackers—or will the DECEPTICON flag fly over Cybertron forever? Heroes will fall, and nothing will stay the same.


Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review
That cliché inhibitor really was crushed



Story

Everyone's fighting, robots are fighting, there is some fighting and some more fighting too. So far, mostly fighting. And talking. But no Shockwave. Superion's gone, Prowlestator is on a rampage, things look bad for most characters. Did I mention fighting?

Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review
Oh, and this happens


Apparently, this is supposed to be the conclusion to the first story-arc, started in issue 1, after the split from MTMTE. And I guess it does do that, after a fashion. There is a sense of closure for some of the storyline's aspects that started with the series' inception, but not really that much, and some aspects of the plot are just left hanging, in my opinion.

Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review
The boxes are yellow too!


Bumblebee's voice is the narrative thread running through the entirety of the issue, in the usual Barber caption commentary. I understand the need for something other than pure action sequences, but having the little boxes showing up all over gives me the impression of trying to fit too much into one arc/issue/volume.

Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review
Megatron's cliché inhibitor is also awol


Mind you, the writing in the captions is good, but some of the scenes in the issue really didn't do it for me. Either too silly, or predictable, I feel. There are some good points, though, like the legacy of other Cybertronians we've seen so far, and a little resolution, plus a set-up for a promising expansion of the setting for the series in the near future. And a good, if not entirely surprising, conclusion, too.


Art

The artwork, on the other hand, is gorgeous. While I have still some concerns with some of the characters' faces, I really enjoyed the details that Griffith, Shearer and Ketcham added to each of the players in the battle: damage, scarring, cracks, creaks, and so on and so forth – no one is as clean as after a Hollywood movie battle scene, and that is an excellent thing.

Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review
See? Battle damage redeco all over


There are some amazing soundwords too, and the lettering for them is brilliant. Lee has really put himself into these! Additionally, Perez' colours, especially in some of the bigger resolution moments – which I will not spoil for anyone – are gorgeous. And I love the tones of the last pages, especially in the final panel.

Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review
...rumblar?


So yes, the art-colour-lettering jobs definitely bring up the issue a notch, allowing it, in my judgement, to pass. They're not just aesthetically pleasing, they're well done, and convey exactly what this type of situation would entail in a physical scenario.


Thoughts
Spoilerish ahead

I wasn't a fan of this one, I have to admit. There was the same sense of prolongued fighting as the previous issue, and it tried inserting some tension relief with secondary characters like Swindle and the Dinobots, which may or may not have entirely worked. The conclusion is not entirely unexpected, but pleasing enough, though!

Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review
Er.. can we?


There are some loose ends still to tie up (and where is Shockwave?!), but there are some excellent scenes in terms of artwork, colouring and page-span. There were ups, and as I said, this may lead into something a lot better, but for now, I'm a little disappointed. Here's hoping for better with the next arc.

. :CON: :CON: :CON: out of :CON: :CON: :CON: :CON: :CON:
Credit(s): IDW, Va'al
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Re: Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review - Spoilers Within (1479670)
Posted by sabrigami on April 16th, 2013 @ 4:58pm CDT
Disappointing to hear, but not surprising. I'm tempted not to pick it up but I do want to know what happens. I think the need to fix Costa's mess has really hurt this. I wish they just dropped some of it instead of trying so hard to make it fit. hopefully the next ark can finally try to put these old plot points to rest and move on to new stuff. I still have some faith that Barber can pull this off.
Re: Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review - Spoilers Within (1479673)
Posted by Dr Va'al on April 16th, 2013 @ 5:15pm CDT
sabrigami wrote:Disappointing to hear, but not surprising. I'm tempted not to pick it up but I do want to know what happens. I think the need to fix Costa's mess has really hurt this. I wish they just dropped some of it instead of trying so hard to make it fit. hopefully the next ark can finally try to put these old plot points to rest and move on to new stuff. I still have some faith that Barber can pull this off.


Yeah, that is the general feeling among the couple of reviewers I've spoken to.
Hopefully, as you say, after this issue Barber will be able to do his own stuff - but it would've been nice if he had started doing it already, rather than feeling the need to sew on continuity patches.
Re: Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review - Spoilers Within (1479698)
Posted by Nemesis Maximo on April 16th, 2013 @ 7:59pm CDT
Va'al wrote:
sabrigami wrote:Disappointing to hear, but not surprising. I'm tempted not to pick it up but I do want to know what happens. I think the need to fix Costa's mess has really hurt this. I wish they just dropped some of it instead of trying so hard to make it fit. hopefully the next ark can finally try to put these old plot points to rest and move on to new stuff. I still have some faith that Barber can pull this off.


Yeah, that is the general feeling among the couple of reviewers I've spoken to.
Hopefully, as you say, after this issue Barber will be able to do his own stuff - but it would've been nice if he had started doing it already, rather than feeling the need to sew on continuity patches.

I agree, but I also believe that Costa's ( and even McCarthy's) run needed the patches. The comics have been so riddled with continuity holes since Furman's run was cancelled.
Re: Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review - Spoilers Within (1479743)
Posted by Dr Va'al on April 17th, 2013 @ 5:10am CDT
Nemesis Maximo wrote:I agree, but I also believe that Costa's ( and even McCarthy's) run needed the patches. The comics have been so riddled with continuity holes since Furman's run was cancelled.


That is true. But it could have been done without having to sacrifice originality, I believe.
Or at least, I would've liked to see Barber do it.

However, [spoiler]we are now finally back to the end of All Hail Megatron, as if the Costa run never happened! (Except for the references.)[/spoiler]
Re: Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review - Spoilers Within (1479745)
Posted by burning_sirius on April 17th, 2013 @ 6:03am CDT
Costa's run is the most unappreciated in all of Transformers. Mike Costa is a great writer who tried to insert realism into the Transformers story. Blame Andy Schmit for all the continuity errors as he was a really bad at that as an editor. Now, we have John Barber who is great at continuity. Mike's run had characters make *gasp* mistakes and was really decompressed. But hey, what do I know. I have loved Transformers all my life and his run ranks up there.

Its loads better than Dreamwave.
Re: Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review - Spoilers Within (1479747)
Posted by Dr Va'al on April 17th, 2013 @ 6:33am CDT
I'll copy and paste what sums up my thoughts about Costa's run from the IDW boards.

[quote]* Good, interesting ideas with terrible execution

* ZERO subplots or development for future mysteries/questions/narrative

* Absolutely decompressed storytelling - even compared to other writers like Bendis - i've done the stats.[/quote]



And I'm a big fan of War Within so I suppose we just don't agree. :D
Re: Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review - Spoilers Within (1479748)
Posted by AltarofPlagues on April 17th, 2013 @ 6:45am CDT
I didnt mind the stories for costas run. I just hated the artwork when they changed them all to look more realistic. Figueroas wierd bayverse look. Horrible. Much better art now
Re: Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review - Spoilers Within (1479751)
Posted by Nemesis Maximo on April 17th, 2013 @ 7:08am CDT
burning_sirius wrote:Costa's run is the most unappreciated in all of Transformers. Mike Costa is a great writer who tried to insert realism into the Transformers story. Blame Andy Schmit for all the continuity errors as he was a really bad at that as an editor. Now, we have John Barber who is great at continuity. Mike's run had characters make *gasp* mistakes and was really decompressed. But hey, what do I know. I have loved Transformers all my life and his run ranks up there.

You bring up some valid points. I don't hate Costa's writing (in fact I think he does a pretty decent job with G.I. joe), I just don't think it does the Transformers justice. What I didn't like was how he had to screw with Prowl's scheming ways - it was just too indecisive for my taste.
Re: Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review - Spoilers Within (1479756)
Posted by 1984forever on April 17th, 2013 @ 7:40am CDT
Characters like Starscream or Bumblebee acting out of character is IDWs idea of "fresh and new"? Now Barber is depicting Dirge as a heroic Autobot instead of a creep. It seems like Shane is the only dude at IDW that can write an authentic Transformers story.
Re: Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review - Spoilers Within (1479762)
Posted by Dr Va'al on April 17th, 2013 @ 8:07am CDT
What do you mean by 'out of character' and 'authentic', exactly? :-?

I like what Barber has been doing with the Cybertronians, making sure that binaries are (finally) blurred out - Metalhawk stands for that, and makes some really good points throughout this issue.
Re: Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review - Spoilers Within (1479770)
Posted by AltarofPlagues on April 17th, 2013 @ 8:22am CDT
I like seeing a more human side to Starscream. He wanted Decepticons to win, but wanted to do it through a political manner rather than by force. Sounds crazy but people often forget Megatron wants peace through tyranny and no more war, its all idealogical, and really, Starscream was trying to do it his way. Its unique for his character, not out of character.
Re: Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review - Spoilers Within (1479783)
Posted by sabrigami on April 17th, 2013 @ 9:01am CDT
A very interesting issue. I personally liked Starscream's arc in this. I'm also happy that [spoiler]Metalhawk was finally taken care of. Hated that guy. It was really satisfying to see SS betray him in the end.[/spoiler] Now, I guess if history repeats itself, it's only a matter of time before the neutrals' civilization is run into the ground via SS shining leadership skills ;). it's also only a matter of time before they go begging the outcast bots and cons for help too. they are really the only set of experienced guns between them and inevitable trouble.

I do agree that some points really seemed a bit meh. Prowl was handled a bit to quick and easy for my tastes .Being forced into being a combiner and ripping himself off of said combiner sure didn't seem to make him worse for wear. We also never got any real insight as to what Meg's REAL plan was (if he ever really had an idea).

I'd give it a 4. the ending, as I said, really left me in a nice place. I'm looking forward to seeing where this heads.

I also have a question. I'm a bit unsure whether I should be using spoiler tags or not in this thread. do I need to? A lot of the posts tend to mark spoilers even though they are in threads that I would assume to be spoilerific (like this one). :???:

*edited to add spoiler tags
Re: Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review - Spoilers Within (1479785)
Posted by Dr Va'al on April 17th, 2013 @ 9:15am CDT
I used spoilers before, as the issue had not yet been made available to all timezones, to my knowledge.

I think we're safe to assume that from now on we can ignore them.
I'll ask El Duque to add [SPOILERS] to the title thread, maybe - would you all agree?
Re: Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review - Spoilers Within (1479786)
Posted by AltarofPlagues on April 17th, 2013 @ 9:17am CDT
I dont have the issue yet.
Re: Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review - Spoilers Within (1479788)
Posted by sabrigami on April 17th, 2013 @ 9:17am CDT
Va'al wrote:I used spoilers before, as the issue had not yet been made available to all timezones, to my knowledge.

I think we're safe to assume that from now on we can ignore them.
I'll ask El Duque to add [SPOILERS] to the title thread, maybe - would you all agree?


yes please. It's annoying trying to type my thoughts and organize them between what's a spoiler and what's not
Re: Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review - Spoilers Within (1479791)
Posted by Dr Va'al on April 17th, 2013 @ 9:20am CDT
AltarofPlagues wrote:I dont have the issue yet.


Hm. Yes. Maybe we should wait until this evening, when/if the commentary gets posted on Facebook.

Then we'll add the spoiler warning to the thread.

Sabrigami, can you wait that long? :P
Re: Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review - Spoilers Within (1479793)
Posted by AltarofPlagues on April 17th, 2013 @ 9:25am CDT
Well, im in the UK, and my copy hasnt come through the post yet. But hey, chat away, ill just hang on till I get it and stop looking at the thread lol
Re: Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review - Spoilers Within (1479794)
Posted by 1984forever on April 17th, 2013 @ 9:39am CDT
Va'al wrote:What do you mean by 'out of character' and 'authentic', exactly? :-?

I like what Barber has been doing with the Cybertronians, making sure that binaries are (finally) blurred out - Metalhawk stands for that, and makes some really good points throughout this issue.

Okay, Starscream's back in classic form, I'm happy about that... but Barber's Dirge isn't creepy, he doesn't even qualify as a goon now. Bumblebee being led by the Autobots is something a 6 year old would come up with. Even Cybertron is out of character, it's not a machine world anymore it's a metallic Oregon! IDW is taking a crap on classic Transformers on a monthly basis and I am tired of it!
Re: Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review - Spoilers Within (1479802)
Posted by sabrigami on April 17th, 2013 @ 10:05am CDT
Va'al wrote:

Hm. Yes. Maybe we should wait until this evening, when/if the commentary gets posted on Facebook.

Then we'll add the spoiler warning to the thread.

Sabrigami, can you wait that long? :P


seems I have no choice ;) ty for the clarification. I always try to follow board etiquette. Doesn't help that every board is different.
Re: Transformers: Robots in Disguise #16 Review - Spoilers Within (1479825)
Posted by Dr Va'al on April 17th, 2013 @ 11:52am CDT
84forever wrote:
Va'al wrote:What do you mean by 'out of character' and 'authentic', exactly? :-?

I like what Barber has been doing with the Cybertronians, making sure that binaries are (finally) blurred out - Metalhawk stands for that, and makes some really good points throughout this issue.

Okay, Starscream's back in classic form, I'm happy about that... but Barber's Dirge isn't creepy, he doesn't even qualify as a goon now. Bumblebee being led by the Autobots is something a 6 year old would come up with. Even Cybertron is out of character, it's not a machine world anymore it's a metallic Oregon! IDW is taking a crap on classic Transformers on a monthly basis and I am tired of it!


The idea of having a reluctant leader with an inferiority complex was good, but maybe a bit dragged out, yes.

Dirge is an interesting character from the Decepticon camp showing that even within their ranks people believe change is possible, and it doesn't have to be imposed (ish). Could have been worked out better? Maybe, but I liked him!

Cybertron is supposed to be a wasteland after the events of Chaos.


I wonder if you'd be more interested in the ReGeneration One series, actually.

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