Transformers: Robots in Disguise Ongoing #6 Preview
Wednesday, June 13th, 2012 12:41AM EDTCategory: Comic Book News
Posted by: El Duque Views: 16,487
Transformers: Robots in Disguise Ongoing #6
John Barber (w) • Livio Ramondelli (a) • Ramondelli, Casey Coller (c)
ONCE HE WAS: OPTIMUS PRIME! The Autobot gave up his title—returned to his role as ORION PAX! But that doesn’t mean the fight’s over! A shattered planet leads Pax and a squad of fan favorite characters on the trail of the deadliest Decepticon of all… SHOCKWAVE!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
Black & White Casey Coller variant!
• OPTIMUS PRIME IS BACK, AND HE’S READY FOR ACTION!
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Posted by T-Macksimus on June 13th, 2012 @ 1:22am EDT
Posted by zodconvoy on June 13th, 2012 @ 2:11am EDT
T-Macksimus wrote:I love the setting, having Prime meet up with Hardhead and Wheelie in a Spaceport dive bar, but I have to say that I am very disappointed that they are bringing him back this early in the new series. They couldn't even go a whole year without having him show his face? Sorry but that seems seriously weak to me. If you are going to have a character go into semi-retirement and cruise the cosmos to enjoy some well deserved free time and allow for everyone else to develop a back-bone and solve their own damn problems, then the writers need to get a backbone themselves, grow some balls or whatever and actually stand by their decision. This is just wish-washy bull-sh** from my pov! No less than 1 year, minimum!! This just cheapens the whole idea of Prime leaving in the first place.
But Optimus always leaves in the comics! Or dies. Either way, it's usually to give other characters a chance to grow on their own. Marvel had him die twice. Dreamwave had him in a CR chamber for the entire duration of their ongoing, lost in a space bridge accident in War Within, and trapped in a parallel universe in Armada all at the same time. When IDW started, Optimus was nowhere to be found. When he finally showed up he up and left to hang out with Omega Supreme, then he spent the first half of All Hail Megatron practically dead! In the first Hearts of Steel, they don't even bother to wake him up and most of the second one was them figuring out how to wake him up!
But with the last Ongoing, they had Prime removed and grow himself while other characters had to deal with the vacuum of Prime benching himself. His leaving is just a continuation of the new direction he started in back when Ironhide died. If anything, I like that they can have Orion off doing Prime like stuff while still having the other bots dealing with Cybertron or exploring the cosmos. Without Prime, Bumblebee has to deal with all the burdens of post-war leadership without the pride of having been the victor. Without Prime, Rodimus has the rush of leadership without the guilt of a dead Optimus to hold him back. This is the first time in a very long time that we, all of us, the encyclopedic mass of fandom, have no idea what's going to happen next!
IDW has found out something that no other company (even Hasbro) has ever noticed: the brand isn't called Optimus Prime & Friends, it's called Transformers, after the whole race! So with these stories of Orion in space mixed with Bumblebee on Cybertron and Rodimus questing the vast, we can finally have our cake and eat it too!
EDIT: I totally forgot! And for those who still want the ol' Autobots vs Decepticons, Optimus vs Megatron, there's Autocracy! Which I am gladly getting in trade format the day it comes in to my LCS!
Posted by budmaloney on June 13th, 2012 @ 2:18am EDT
Anyway, can't wait to read this, good to see Hardhead back.
Posted by partholon on June 13th, 2012 @ 3:18am EDT
he's not going to be part of the bumblebee/prowl story or hot rods lost light crew.
this is going to be orion pax knocking about the universe looking in on the effects of his war.
or am i the only one to but one and one together with aurelia and get the consequences of project regenisis ?
TBH this is the first time i can think of where prime is basically a solo adventurer with either no one or a very small band of bots like hardhead to fall back on with no guarentee he'll even take a leadership role in that dynamic.
im one of those thats been enjoying the books without prime but ive not against his involvement in em either and im intrigued with were there gonna go with it. the bots basically a civilian now which is a great twist.
cant wait to get this one.
Posted by wexnfx26 on June 13th, 2012 @ 10:29am EDT
Posted by Dean ML on June 13th, 2012 @ 10:44am EDT
wexnfx26 wrote:Frankly im disgusted with this artist...how did he get a job at IDW? His lines are so distracting and I have had enough of getting slapped in the face by IDW. They started out way too strong to start acting like they can pass off this kind of garbage... I am cancelling my subscription until Ramondelli gets fired. PEACE THROUGH TYRANNY!
Livio's strength is his coloring. I've seen him draw some cool covers when he got started on Transformers last year, but you're right. This kind of drawing is unacceptable. It is embarrassingly amateurish in nearly every way. However, he is only on for this one fill-in and then Andrew Griffith, whose work is fantastic, is back. I think completely giving up on the title is an extreme reaction to one poorly drawn issue (though, again, we deserve more for our $4).
Posted by #Sideways# on June 13th, 2012 @ 11:21am EDT
Dean ML wrote:Livio's strength is his coloring. I've seen him draw some cool covers when he got started on Transformers last year, but you're right. This kind of drawing is unacceptable. It is embarrassingly amateurish in nearly every way. However, he is only on for this one fill-in and then Andrew Griffith, whose work is fantastic, is back. I think completely giving up on the title is an extreme reaction to one poorly drawn issue (though, again, we deserve more for our $4).
Andrew Griffith...? Isn't that like...
Anyway, I like it. I am looking forward to seeing what Shockwave was up to.
"Are you here to save us...!?"
"NOPE! SHOCK TESTA!"
Posted by tigertracks 24 on June 13th, 2012 @ 11:22am EDT
Backtrack: Deciding to leave after the events of CHAOS and the rebirth of Cybertron, Optimus Prime attempted to remove himself from the situation. With Megatron gone, and the Decepticons defeated, Optimus felt his presence was causing more harm than good. Returning to his given name, Orion Pax, he bled a trail to parts of the galaxy yet unknown to us, hoping that the removal of his presence would help Bumblebee and the Autobots to be able to create peace.
Now: Six months later (our time), he makes his return. Having Optimus Prime back seemed to create the expectation, the feeling within me that all will be well now. However, don’t assume having him back means he’s back on Cybertron, as you can see from the preview, he’s not. Bumblebee will have to work out his own problems there... for the time being.
The story in this issue has been written with some interesting reveals, and surprises. It steps away from the conflict that Bumblebee, Prowl, and the other Autobots find themselves in on Cybertron, and moves us across the galaxy to follow Wheelie, Garnak, and Hardhead (a very unlikely trio), as they protect and remove a particularly dangerous piece of cargo from Cybertron. I know, it seems like an uninteresting crew, bland and dull, but ‘the cargo’.... there’s the catch.
When I read this first part of the issue, I was thinking to myself, no way, no way, they have Megatron in tow. But part of me was excited thinking it could be him, why else would Optimus need to be called upon again?
Fortunately, the writers created an answer to this that is more complicated than my idea was, and perhaps even more dangerous, and interesting.
Because 'the cargo' they are carrying is having a ‘reaction’ to events happening to a long dead and destroyed Shockwave seeded world (yes, that means Ore-13 could be involved) called Arduria, Hardhead, and Wheelie call upon Optimus Prime for his wisdom, and his leadership to help them to know what to do with ‘the cargo’, now that it is reacting as it is. Optimus would seem to be the only one available to observe and then ascertain, and carry out the next step.
Because of the danger of ‘the cargo’ (psst...it is a Transformer), Optimus Prime travels with the trio to the origin of the Ardurian signal causing all this CRAZY hubbub. Here they find much more than what they were looking for, a trap, a clue, and some very dangerous Decepticons who haven’t made an appearance in quite some time.
Picking up a few loose threads from IDW’s earliest Transformers series (‘-tion’s, Stormbringer, and many a characters’ Spotlight issues), this issue and those following promise to add more depth to some of those threads that we have been wanting some resolution to since, well, when they happened, and were not really resolved in ‘Revelation’.
At least 3 Decepticons (somebody’s fan favorite I am sure) make their return. The ramifications of their return, not quite revealed by the end of the issue. But that’s why it’s a multi-parter.
The story reads well, offers many points for readers to use clues, and make their own guesses before certain revelations happen, like the mystery cargo, the signal, and who springs the trap, what’s in the ice and rock (gestalt!)...
I found this to be a really needed change of pace for the Robots in Disguise series which to me, has grown somewhat stale. While the events on Cybertron have led to quite a few interesting conflicts of ideals, and really have started to give great depth to the characters involved, this issue offers a different focus, while still related to the events occurring on Cybertron. It feels like a much needed break.
It’s nice that the change of setting and story focus includes a very different art style to go with it. Livio Ramondelli returns to the printed comics after his successful run on the online Transformer comic ‘Autocracy’ to lend his skills to the telling of this arc. Reminiscent of the way IDW used Ramondelli and other artists to tell the two different pieces happening in Ongoing, the re-use of this strategy, giving regular artist Andrew Griffith a break, seemed effectively used to me. While part of me begs to see some of the characters done in a more ‘traditional’ style, ‘Autocracy’ gave me much needed confidence in Livio’s skills to create a fantastic, dark setting. I wish his character details stood out more, but his panel work usually does a very nice job telling the story.
Don’t stop reading just because Optimus is back. It’s not the same ol’ same ol’ (yet anyway). The action, and the payoff for longtime readers really make this issue a fun read. I’m already excited and can’t wait for the follow up issues. Hopefully, the creators pay off the interesting plot which has been started here, and don’t just give us more loose story pieces to wonder about.
Check out the preview pages here, if you need more convincing to read this for yourself.
Brought to you by these talented folks:
Posted by El Duque on June 13th, 2012 @ 12:44pm EDT
PAGE 1: After the events from Transformers: The Death of Optimus Prime, readers thought we wouldn’t see Prime,—now known as Orion Pax—again for a while. What were the reasons for bringing him back so soon? And, there is a real feeling of being in the depths of space in these panels.
JOHN BARBER: Well, for me, the important thing was to get him away from Cybertron, and let Bumblebee be the leader—without a net. With Prime out of the picture and Rodimus in space, it’s up to Bee to try his hand at leadership, and nobody will be there to pick him up if he falls.
But that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to use Prime—or, I mean, Orion Pax. We set it up in DoOP that he was leaving and sort of implied that he’d be… I don’t know, relaxing or something? I mean, we all know he’s not going to be gone for good, right? He’s probably one of the 10 most recognizable fictional characters on Earth. We know he’s coming back.
So getting back to him but keeping him off in space, off on his own (sort of), it creates a new status quo for him. If we don’t show him, you’re always going to be wondering—“will he swoop in and save Bumblebee and Prowl?” Well, here he is. He’s not on Cybertron. Even though he’s in the book, it makes his departure more concrete.
LIVIO RAMONDELLI: I wanted this issue to feel like you were getting to see new parts of the universe. Ancient areas that might even predate the Autobot and Decepticon war. With the first three pages in particular I really wanted to get across the notion of being in deep space, and arriving on a world that hadn’t had a visitor in a long time. If I did my job right, the panels establishing the world should feel very still and really be creating a mystery as to what happened. If you look closely you can see some of the spiked buildings of the world jutting out at weird angles on the chunks of ice in the distance. This would suggest that the world was frozen and literally torn apart by some horrific event.
And, it was certainly great to see Optimus Prime (Orion Pax) again. I just think there’s something comforting about seeing him show up. Plus there was a funny connection between working on this issue when he’s going by the name Orion Pax once again, and having just finished Autocracy where we see him go from Orion Pax to Optimus Prime. The symmetry of these stories was interesting, working on both his past and his present almost simultaneously.
PAGES 2 and 3: The remains of this world come across so well here. Did you guys go through different versions of this page before getting to what we have here? The aliens here also look very biomechanical.
JOHN BARBER: Livio and I went and got lunch one day… I’d pitched an idea for this issue to our editor, Carlos Guzman, and he just stared at me—I could tell my ideas were so half-baked that he was trying to figure out a way to let me down gently… And he was right, so I went back to the drawing board for the issue.
Then Livio and I got lunch, and he was talking about how his background in landscape designs for video games, and saying he’d love to do something in the ice and snow, and I threw out this idea I had of a gas giant planet that had frozen and broken apart. I don’t think I’d seen that anywhere, and I didn’t really know what it would look like, but I figured Livio would make it look cool. And he did.
The Rocs—there was one reference to Ardurian Rocs in an issue Simon Furman wrote, and I thought—well, I’ll steal that! It was a tossed-off line—“watch me like an Ardurian Roc,” but I thought it might be fun to build up this actual civilization around them, make them some kind of alien species that the Cybertronians had had a relationship with, and see what Livio came up with visually.
In terms of the story, the important thing was that they had to be pretty durable to survive the extreme temperatures. I always liked the feeling I had watching the 1986 Transformers: The Movie when they encounter all these aliens and they’re all mechanical-based instead of biological. I know later on there were explanations tying things together, but I always liked the idea that in this universe, mechanical life is as common as biological life. I like playing up the weirdness of the Transformers universe. There’s no square-cube relationship when it comes to scaling biological creatures—things can be big or small… Anyway, the real work here was Livio.
LIVIO RAMONDELLI: This environment was a blast to do. All of my Transformers work to date has, funny enough, consisted of taking place entirely on Cybertron. And this was a chance to really throw another type of alien world in there. The notion of the ice planet was something John and I both really clicked on, and at lunch we just started tossing out ideas. I loved the idea of a world that had suffered some devastating incident and was literally just frozen pieces drifting through space. And even worse, that a few of the inhabitants of that world were still alive to just sort of slowly freeze to death.
Also strangely enough I had always intended the world to have a very blue color palette to it, but when I was doing the lighting I just sort of randomly tried this red glow and ended up liking it. I felt like it gave the planet a very alien and unwelcoming look to it. I wanted the world to have a sense of stillness to it, like it’s probably very quiet here. Until the later pages of the issue.
I really wanted to get across a desolate feeling here. This is not Cybertron, where even at its lowest point it’s a developed world with buildings and technology. This is almost a primal rock floating in space, and I wanted it to feel like Orion Pax was really having to journey somewhere new.
There’s another two-page spread later in the issue, where John really wanted us to expand the Transformers universe in terms of aliens we’d see. He wanted to see aliens of vastly different sizes and races, and to have organic life as well as mechanical. It’s certainly an interesting notion that will be absolutely explored further. The idea of what else is out there aside from Cybertron and its devastating war.
And it’s also fun to see the onetime Optimus Prime (and current Orion Pax) mingling with friends in a far more social setting than what we’ve seen before. He’s not on some vast battlefield, but rather sitting at a dingy table and having a few drinks. It really shows where he’s at in his life now, having handed off leadership duties and really just trying to find his way.
PAGE 4: Shockwave! Doing things that tie into his earliest appearances in the IDW universe. How fun is it to have him back, doing what he does best?
JOHN BARBER: I was nervous about writing Shockwave in this continuity. I’d written him in the movie universe, and the way I wrote him was—well, this was how Bob Budiansky described writing him, too, but I didn’t know that quote that when I first started writing the movie stuff—was as a malevolent Mr. Spock. And Spock’s logical, but he’s also really smart and funny—I mean, when you watch the old Star Trek series (or the movie) Spock’s got this dry sense of humor where you’re never sure if he’s making a joke, or if he’s just so logical he doesn’t realize he’s being funny—but he seems too smart for that.
So it took me a little time to get that right, but by the end of the movie books, I think I had the voice down okay. I liked writing the character. But I thought if I used him in the regular series, he’d just sound the same—and I see the two worlds as being pretty different—I mean, here, he’s a scientist, for instance. That’s his deal. His entire M.O. is different. But James Roberts was telling me to use him, and Livio wanted to draw him, and he’s Michael Kelly at Hasbro’s favorite Transformer, and one of mine, too…
So, yeah. A lot of fun.
LIVIO RAMONDELLI: I love how John writes Shockwave. I think he just nails that character’s voice. And again at lunch, I remember how much we both enjoyed the idea of Shockwave being this sort of unsympathetic detective who would be exploring this world. I think John did a terrific job with the panel descriptions. I really like seeing Shockwave just casually walking by these desperate creatures begging for help. If they can’t give him new information, he just does not care to even look at them.
Shockwave has always been one of my favorite Transformers, and it was a blast getting to draw him here.
PAGE 5: Shockwave is going from darkness to light in these panels. Any clues as to where the character is going in reference to this or is it simply how the panels were laid out on the page?
JOHN BARBER: Writing for Livio means you can write lighting stuff in a way you can’t always. And even if you don’t write it, he thinks the lighting through. There’s stuff Livio does here that pretty much nobody else in comics can do.
But in a literal sense, we find out where he went later in the issue.
LIVIO RAMONDELLI: Where he’s headed is certainly meant to be a mystery to keep you going until the end of the issue. Shockwave definitely sees something that catches his attention in that final shot when he’s bathed in light. I also liked the reversal that the true horror of what happened to the planet at its core is actually the brightest spot, as opposed to the darkest.
Posted by Stormrider on June 13th, 2012 @ 7:29pm EDT
Posted by quickmixed on June 14th, 2012 @ 3:46am EDT
Stormrider wrote:I am probably in the minority, but I appreciate the artwork. The lighting and detailed textures adds a dark alien feeling that I don't see when looking at other Transformers comic books.
I quite enjoy Livios work also. The only real gripe I have had in the past is that I don't think it works with any other artists work, like in a series like RID. I think his work on Autocracy is great and it really works well because its a mini series of sorts and self contained for his own style.
I would have much preferred if this whole Pax storyline was released as a seperate miniseries also and not under the RID banner. Griffith was doing really well I thought.
Posted by rpetras on June 14th, 2012 @ 12:46pm EDT
quickmixed wrote:I would have much preferred if this whole Pax storyline was released as a seperate miniseries also and not under the RID banner. Griffith was doing really well I thought.
I'd thought about the same thing as I was reading it too. This has the makings of a mini series, or even a 3rd series.
But, to be quite honest, I'm getting a little bored with the main story arcs, so it is nice to have a break. The main stories are not bad, in fact I think they have improved the TF comics as a whole, but both area little plodding in pace, with RID being the slower of the two.
So, overall, a little break from the main story might be a good thing.