This is it: the final stand for Cybertron! Will Starscream and Windblade’s gamble finally pay off or will all of Iacon be destroyed by the zombie titans?
This is where we started
We know how this story ends. We know from solicitations and other ongoings that have a differed timeline in the storytelling. We know that the Titans are defeated, and that something happens on Cybertron and Caminus that requires the Mistress of Flame to show up, and wider repercussions. But we did not know it would happen like this.
This is the culmination of an action sequence that started three issues ago, one that began much earlier, and one sustained excellently through the arc, while trying to deal with one landscape of scenarios so crowded and multi-sided that anything wrong would've tipped it all off. It didn't. It doesn't.
Very apt, Chosen One
The most surprising part? Metroplex is the one voice running through the story, as the ties he and his kind have to Carcer/Vigilem are the ones that Windblade must use, exploit and endure to bring an end to the Titans' return at the hands of Infinitus/Sentinel and Sovereign (yeah, remember them, that long while ago?). And it works, in such a powerful, moving, way. The connection is palpable.
There are two stories being told here, through Windblade and Carcer, Vigilem and Metroplex: one has to do with Titans Return, and the end of that story arc; the other has to do with the entire TFverse, and digs much deeper than some of Windblade's moments have done so far (go back to the Revolution tie-in, for example). Both are poignant, neither detracts from the other, and they deliver blows of equal violence - as only Scott's evil writing can do.
Sara Pitre Durocher truly, really shines in the issue. She combines the use of layers and contrasts, playing with negative space and foregrounds, sizes and overlays in such a way as to convey the scale - and not just in a tangible sense - metal warfare, as well as physical, are exquisitely portrayed in a very concrete way, and the designs of some newcomers (of sorts) only add to that.
Those uses of negative space and contrast? They wouldn't be as effective without the perfect synchronised work of Joana Lafuente's colours, playing with the layers, adding shadows and light where the two can bring the most to the panel, shutting out either where only one suffices. Adding transparency to some overlays. Allowing us to savour the art on its many battlefields.
just look at it
TAAO has always brought some fascinating ways of using Titan brain modules and captions into the storytelling, and with Metroplex taking centre narratorial stage, Tom B. Long has some significantly hefty work on his plate, which he also delivers, as usual, effortlessly. And cover-wise, we have seen two out of three with Pitre-Durocher on the looming main, Priscilla Tramontano on the thumbnailed ominous silhouette, and Nelson Daniel (found in our database entry) taking the Awesome Twosome to front page material.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
The three current ongoing series from IDW Publishing all have their degrees of excellence, and appeal to slightly different readerships perhaps: Till All Are One, for me, maintains the perfect balance of lore shaking/building, character development, sustained action (it just did so for over four issues) and the more light hearted sides - even with darker humour - of the series. And it does so with such glee and revelling in its twisted, even darker plot turns.
welp, there it is
What has just happened may probably not be revisited soon enough, as there will be a settling arc and story to follow this up as we find out what happens to its key players. There will be more, so much more to come now that some of the even BIGGER players are on the board; or perhaps, starting to move from outside the board altogether. I am most definitely in for the ride - you coming?
Critics are raving about Tom Scioli's hit new (non)motion picture(book) Transformers vs. G.I. Joe The Movie Adaptation.
"Best toy-to-movie movie since Masters of the Universe" - Roger Ebot
"The Silver Screen hasn't seen special effects this good since Clash of the Titans." - Gene Siskeltron
"Tom Scioli is, the second coming of Dino De Laurentiis." -Leonard Maltron
Transformers VS. G.I. Joe The Movie Adaptation
Written, Drawn, Colored, and Lettered by:
Additional Production by:
Hopefully by now we all know that there is no actual movie, but what there is is a fantastic one-off romp through Scioli's mad-capped mash-up of some of our favorite Hasbroites. This book is certainly meant to be a one time adventure, and redelivers on all the weird and crazy story telling wrapped in the warped artistic package fans of the series have come to expect. It does not disappoint.
The story line is almost new, touching on and rehashing some of the more prevalent themes from the original series, but condensing them down into a more cohesive "screen play", if you will.
The story opens with the age old notion that Cybertronian's and Earthling's fates have been intertwined through out the annals of time.
Stop! Hammer of time!
The tale is told more through the narrative of the Joes. Scioli covers a lot of ground quickly through "A Letter to Sis" as written by Snake eyes.
Let 'em have it boys!
And primarily through that of Scarlet. Like other live action Transformers movies, it relies heavily on the "human element".
What is love? Baby don't hurt me. Don't hurt me. No more.
The story delves deeply into the minds and emotions of our favorite sentient heroes. Unbreakable bonds of love. The comradery of war hardened allies. The essence of the evils that threaten the very fabric of our cosmos. The trials and tribulations of family.
But it leaves plenty of room for some hard hitting, Cobra stomping, Con slagging action!
You've been HAWKED!
There's only room for one snake on this plane.
Optimus! You sank my Battle Ship!TM
The book reads fast and furious which adds to the fun. It does feel a tad rushed, and perhaps merely an avenue to get some of the better ideas left on the cutting room floor from the original series, back into the pages of a comic.
But it still manages to make for an action-packed smash hit blockbuster thrill-ride of the summer!
A point of contention for many who have tried Scioli's works. But it's important to note that he knows exactly what he's doing. A great teacher once told me, "You can't break the rules, unless you know what the rules are. Otherwise you are just making a mess".
While Scioli's art appears at first glance to be juvenile, and an amateur mess, he knows exactly what he's doing. He knows the rules well, and he is breaking them with grace and style. Each panel is laid out in a composition that keeps the eye moving all around the frame. He does so even in his line work. At times I found myself re-reading the text several times because my brain was to busy keeping up with my roving eye. His use of color also adds to the musical mayhem of each panel using almost annoyingly florescent hues to garner focus on the subject, again leading the eye back and forth around the composition. Even his placement of the word bubbles and the text within them adds to this element of composition. Concreting him as a true wizard in the art of comic books.
Just TRY to sit still, eyeball!
Of course one of the best parts of Scioli's art are the sight gags!
No silly quip necessary.
One thing I did feel was missing, and probably my favorite thing about the original series, were the two-page Where's Waldo-esque spreads that one could spend hours poring over always finding some new hidden surprise tucked into the the intricacies of the drawing.
Over all the book is a good fun read, packed with all the silliness and splendor we got from the series. It was just nice to have one more jaunt through Scioli's childhood world of imaginary fantasies. If you enjoyed the series, there's no reason why you shouldn't enjoy this film/not a film.
. out of
Oh! And don't forget, the DVD comes packed with bonus features. Including cast interviews and making of featurettes!
Hello everyone large and small, and welcome to another Seibertron.com pictorial review session! Today, we will be taking a close look at the 2 new Warrior class figures of the Robots in Disguise line: Blurr and Soundwave!
To begin, we will look at Blurr.
This figure is supposed to represent the Rescue Bots version of Blurr as he becomes the first Rescue Bot character to cross over into the more advanced toylines. Now mind you he does not look exactly like the character people came to love in Rescue Bots, but then again, did Sideswipe and Bumblebee look exactly the same between shows?
Overall, this figure does look really cool! His colors are pleasing to the eyes and he does have a pretty well thought out color scheme that makes him look pretty sexy.
Below, you will find a pair of comparisons, one with the Titans Return Hot Rod and the other with Combiner Force Primestrong for size comparisons.
He stands about your standard height for a deluxe/warrior figure, and his proportions looks similar to Hot Rod's in that the arms feel a bit too long and the shoulders a bit too high. But overall he still looks good.
His blaster is fairly cool looking, though the translucent plastic used for it would have been better in an actual solid blue, at least to me.
Inspired by Seibertronian Mr.Black, he can also cast a great running pose!
His backpack kind of keeps to itself, though it basically is a big, smooth, mostly translucent backpack. But it stays out the wave and doesn't hinder articulation at all, so it's no biggie.
His Transformation is simple yet fun and intuitive. Despite the robot mode look, he does not share any sort of Transformation trick with Prime Wheeljack.
The alt mode looks really good too. A sleek and sexy car that really looks like it can move fast. He looks really good next to Titans Return Hot Rod in this mode too. I wish something could have been put in the cockpit area since you can see right through it to his legs and the ground between his legs, but that's a minor quibble.
Now onto Soundwave:
This figure has been pretty hyped up, and I can see why. It is a pretty swell figure! The robot mode looks really cool, all beefy and brawny. He really uses his War for Cybertron design here, and it looks really good with the Prime headsculpt.
Now, something I will point out is that he really looks like a Prime Breakdown. Just looking at him next to Breakdown, they looks very similar. They even share locations of where their parts end up! If this character could get a repaint, Breakdown would be a Prime suspect! (so sorry)
He also looks fun deploying his legion of minions! (sorry, puns are funs). On this note, I will say that his posability in the arms is a bit troublesome. The shoulders really limit his different poses, just as a warning. He also has mid-torso rotation instead of waist rotation, which actually works out pretty well!
MOAR LIGHT PIPING!!!!
Transformation is really interesting and very fun! It is definitely unique and one that is fun to do again and again.
The alt mode looks pretty good too! Mind you the hands are fully visible, but it isn't really an issue. It looks big and mean and really does show his Highmoon Studios heritage here.
Now mind you, the big appearance is sort of deceiving. The underside ends up fairly hollow, but that is hardly an issue because no one displays their transformers in alt mode upsidedown or on their side.
Once again, you can really see a Breakdown appearance here too, and I would not doubt a retool of Soundwave as Breakdown down the road.
Also of note, his gun is capable of adjusting its angle, so you can not only rotate the gun, but also point it up in the air!
And now the 2 figures together:
Overall, these are 2 fairly good figures. Now mind you, these are not the Fracture's or the Thunderhoof's or the Bisk's of the line in that they are not completely mind-blowing, but they are both still pretty good. They are worth having for sure. So head on out to your stores and pick up one today!
Every two weeks, Seibertron.com brings you a Top 5 list related to all things Transformers written by me, your fellow editor. These are my opinions (just like movie or game reviews hosted by sites are still just the opinion of one person) so what matters most is what you guys think of the topic or list, and I hope to see your own lists or comments on omissions and ranking. Let's have fun! All previous lists can be found here.
Top 5 Most Underrated Transformers Toys
Two weeks ago we had a list of toys that I feel people like more than they should or don't hate enough (I realize just now how terrible that sounds, like who am I the King of England?). Well now it is your turn to have a go at what I like and what I feel should get much more love. These are toys I find quite underrated. Either due to being compared to other toys coming out at the same time and thus seeing them as less than they are or simply forgotten and no longer cared for. Well, I care for them and I will gladly tell you why. Hopefully you can see where I am coming from. Of course, please let me know which toys you feel alone in the world for loving. Now let's get to it, my top 5 most underrated Transformers toys!
There is a trend in the fandom where everything is criticized when it comes out to eventually be accepted and even sometimes loved within a collection. Take Voyager Animated Megatron, a toy which was ripped to shreds by fans when it first came out but which slowly gathered a fan following to the point where it became sacriligious to call it one of the worst toys of all time (something I still firmly beleive). I personally feel that Hasro's Combiner Wars Menasor will one day be fondly remembered and even sought after. It may even be that at the time of you reading this far into the future, him being on this list would sound crazy. But for now, this is seen as the weakest combiner of the bunch and while I am not sure if I agree or not, I don't think he is a bad toy. Quite the contrary, I think Combiner Wars Menasor is as good as any other Combiner from the line. I think he looks very imposing, especially with the legs straightened out, and he has the best weapon of the bunch by far. I especially love the Motormaster component, which is the most underrated aspect to this combiner. I am so impressed with how great he looks as a truck, torso and robot. Each form has very distinctive detail, unique from the other modes and yet he is a nice compact truck that hides the robot mode kibble especially well. I even like how effective the back of the cab is at making it be the robot legs in plain site ala Optimus, and yet it looking like a nice solid truck cab. The articulation is great, and the reveal of both the standard robot head and combiner head is both smart and effective. I think Combiner Wars Motormaster is a proud homage to the original, in a very neo G1 way which is now becoming more and more rare. And that follows onto Menasor, which makes for a big mean combiner, worthy of being an adaptation to the character we saw onscreen as children. These molds existing also means we finally got an actual G2 Menasor toy and if you need any more selling on that Motormaster mold, just check out that insane G2 redeco. Hasbro went all out. I am still not fond of that breakdown mold though.
Oh man, this guy is the perfect example of Style over Substance. That can be both seen as a positive and a negative, hence the debate and him ending up here. I mean, think about it for a second, there is a whole thread about the debate of whether or not he feels like a KO, people out there hate this toy's guts. And people out there also hate Tim Burton's films which usually have incredible style while being uneven products at the same time. You might find the comparison weird, but what I mean to say is that while the final product of Generations Leader Jetfire might not be the best Transformer toy, due to him having a simple transformation, a fake cockpit chest, wearing a jet on his back, and having hollow limbs, he looks amazing! There are few transformers outside the animated line to have this much style. He looks amazing in both modes and has this sleek yet immensely powerful look to him with a beautiful sci fi edge which definitely sets him apart from most other Transformers designs (the sterile white look adds to that big time). For years, Takara was giving premium chrome deco on its versions of toys, hearkening back to the metal look of the G1 days. And now it was our turn to get the chrome on the more affordable figures and people rallied against it. Why?! People were paying double to get the little bit of chrome on the Takara seekers (I did) and now they wanted to pay a bunch to get the version that didn't have the chrome? On the pieces that could be detached when displayed in a classics shelf? But back to the mask, it’s another small wonder people don't give enough credit to. Unlike the previous voyager version, the mask here is small, compact and not invasive to the figure, making his head proportional to his body with it on or off so that it can be both used for a classics collection, with his mask off, or a stand alone awesome looking transformers figure with his mask on.
And come on guys, a Macross Valkyrie of this size would cost you anywhere between 200-300$. You get this guy for about 50$!! So yes, definitely underrated.
3. Prime Robots in Disguise Voyager Optimus Prime mold
I love Beast Hunters Ultra Magnus. It is easily the best voyager to come out of the Beast Hunters line and one of the best Voyagers of the entire Prime era. But while Ultra Magnus is liked well enough for being show accurate and having some fun extra playability options, I also happen to love this toy for its mold, which is the same one shared by RID Optimus, and that is not a shared sentiment. The Prime First Edition Optimus Prime is always placed well above the RID Optimus Prime mold (as seen in this poll) making the later more of a consolation prize to those who didn’t get him either because of its bizarre distribution or the higher price tag. But this isn’t a Bulkhead or Cliffjumper scenario, the RID mold of Prime Optimus Prime is actually far better mold than people give it credit too. I, like many others, love when a robot mode integrates a bunch of the alt mode and this mold does it really well, and even better than the First Edition version. Most of the truck parts come into play in robot mode but in a different fashion. The truck nose becomes the forearms, the truck roof becomes the shoulders, the lower legs transform beautifully using the back of the truck cab and this was the first Prime mold larger than the cyberverse toy to actually have the truck's windshield become Optimus' chest piece. I wouldn’t have it any other way, would you?
This guy simply gets made fun of too much when he is actually one of the best toys Predaking is made of. Sure, at first look, he seems a bit dorky and funny looking but as an actual G1 transformers toy, he is hard to beat. Let's start with the robot mode which gets all the complaints. Unlike the others, he has articulated arms and forearms that have a huge range for a G1 toy. It let him do some pretty terrific poses with his weapons. He might look funny with his head stuck under his alt mode head but that actually gives him an amazing advantage of having a larger more proportioned head when comparing to the others. It also gives him a great Viking look. Also, by being carved under his alt mode head, it is the least obvious and visible head of the entire gang when they are in their alt mode. And speaking of the alt mode, wow. This is one of the best beast modes I have ever seen in any Transformers line. Its powerful looking, and fierce, especially when you mount the cannons in his back. He isn't the leader, but I sure wouldn't know that from the toys. He, along with some of his predacon brethren, execute a very impressive yet simple transformation that has none of his robot limbs double for alt mode limbs. And yet, on him, there is no robot kibble present when in beast mode and this is done without the use of a shell, which Beast Wars toys constantly relied upon, and even they usually used the same limbs for both modes. Everything seems to be where it should be on this mecha bull which has very good proportions giving it an imposing and massive appearance that no third party company was ever able to convey properly.
Do you think this is a lame pick for number 1? Did you think other toys are more deserving of this spot? Do you think it's a poor choice for number 1? If you answered "yes" to any of those, then that shows how underrated this figure is and how it deserves the number 1 spot. It's not outright hated like any of the ones above but at least that keeps those in the conversation with people like me defending them. But Decepticharge? Nobody cares. There are a bunch of reasons for this, one of the main reasons being that the Alternators toyline he came from is not fondly remembered. I still think it is awesome that we had scaled licensed model cars that had detailed interiors that could fool others into thinking that they didn't transform. That was the idea behind the Diaclone line at the very beginning and it’s fun to see that idea brought back with improved engineering. Many of the toys were very difficult and had a similar transformation and final look with a bunch of car kibble hanging around the robot. However, Decepticharge, and his moldmate Windcharger, were an exception to this. They did not have random and unused kibble all over the place hanging off them. The doors for instance rest flush against the legs and the hood becomes detailing across the robot’s back. While every part of the car is used to make the robot, giving a beautiful look that the robot is truly made of parts of the car, there is also some robot mode detail that is not seen in car mode and it is achieved by turning over some segments of the car inside out. This method helps give brand new detail while minimizing kibble (this technique was used extensively for Titanium Fire Convoy and AOE Voyager Optimus and Hound with great effect across the board), and it hides away car details which would be odd or distracting, like the car seats. So we get this lean robot, with great proportions and excellent articulation that is simultaneously made up entirely of car parts (steering wheel and all) while also having hidden disguised robot detail inside. The perfect car mode is both a disguise and the robot’s components (unlike most movie toys for instance where the alt mode disguise becomes just a shell). This is the gold standard for a Transformer. This is how it started in the Diaclone line, before Generation One even existed, and it has been perfected with this toy.
With all this good stuff, the reason no one cares for him is probably because he has no official fiction linked to him (unlike his mold mate Windcharger or that toy's binaltech version, Overide). Off the top of my head, I cannot think of any other Transformers toy that does not have a single line of official description about him. While that means that he isn't a reference to any existing character or even a new character (since he hasn't appeared anywhere since), I find it amazing to have a Transformers toy who begins and ends with the fact that he is a transformers toy and nothing else. Even his name is probably just a placeholder (Decepticon redeco of Windcharger) due to not finding any other suitable or available names within the allotted production cycle. And I find that in itself awesome. A new character in a line about the definitive version of G1 toys (this was before the MP line released like clockwork). But back to him having no fiction by Hasbro, it might lose anyone's interest, but I find that also to be a plus to this toy and a reason to not forget him. The principle of fiction developed by Hasbro in the Transformers brand was always made with the end goal of selling toys and thus was always ancillary to the toys. However, for G1, G2 and Beast Wars, once the fiction brought you to the toys, you could discover a bunch of other toys that existed just to be toys and that had no fiction to rely on. Decepticharge brings us back to those days in a line that was all about referencing older characters. He was just a toy (a great one at that) for us fans of transforming toys and not a reference to anything else. There was no other purpose than to appreciate him as a toy, the initial form of this hobby, and I look upon this fondly. His origin is any you want to give him (he already has unofficial origin stories too).
Him being so underrated is great news to all of you reading this. It means you have a great chance at acquiring a great transformers toy at a cheap price. I hope you can give him a shot!
Honourable mentions: I find that Deluxe Universe Galvatron gets way too much hate. I agree that he is small and frustrating, but he packs so much into that package that I can't help but be very impressed by the toy. Also, a lot of the Beast Machine toys are given flack for not being show accurate but some of those are amazing toys none the less. Especially Mega Tankor with his many non intrusive gimmicks and fun transformation between two good looking modes (which both have their own scanning light piping).
Fellow Seibertronian Ebonyleopard has already provided us images of the alt modes for the Chaos on Velocitron set and now not only does he have the robot modes, but he also has a written review for us, which you can find below. Allow me to spoil something first though, Quickswitch does not have the retooled helmet shown in the Hasbro renders. Instead his body is a straight up redeco of Sixshot.
Ebonyleopard wrote:Ok. So, Fastclash Aka Fastlane is incredibly simple to transform (though so was his G1 counterpart). BUT, there is transformation elements in him that do not get used in his conversion but is obviously built in for his clone brother, Cloudraker. So it's a definite we'll be getting one of him.
Rodimus Prime head is nice, the colors are much more muted than Hot Rod's with a slight Magenta like color on the crest of his forehead. The diecast is only in the face of the TM, not the whole TM.
Nautica is pretty much what you'd expect from a Blurr repaint. Same transformation, though her head definitely goes in nice and snug (was almost worried I was pushing too hard to get it in place. The connection hole was pretty tight). There is no given name for her TM, so I guess he's wholely Nautica.
Laser Prime is EXACTLY like the already release nor traditionally colored Prime coming out now. His head is much more light blue than I was expecting. I'd say, if you gotta get one, you might as well wait for this boxset to come out and just own it once as a Prime. G2 color scheme does look nice on him and while the stickers are decently added on, some seem to be just slightly big for the area they are covering (particularly on the chest) and of course, who wouldn't rather put the stickers on themselves if something is going to have stickers?
Quickswitch is indeed his father's son. He's pretty much a straight recoloring of Sixshot with the only different thing being the TM face plate. He does indeed have the same helmet as Quickswitch. Easiest way to make them look dramatically different from one another is to not pull out the chest wings and just leave them inside their inner compartment. That being said though, his paint is well done. They've pretty much nailed the color scheme. Really the thing that would have made it stand out more would have been if they gave him different weapons (Render form folks, you got some work to do. New guns for Quickswitch, a gun for Fastclash, and a wrench for Nautica).
Overall, is the set worth $99? I think so. They're nice updates of their G1 (or in the case of Prime G2) counterparts, and while many are repaints, the paint jobs are decent enough to visually make them look different from their original mode brothers (or fathers).
Now to get another Hot Rod for the Rodimus Head (and maybe someone will make a trailer attachment for this Hotrod like they did in the past for the old Generations Rodimus).
It’s battleground: Earth once more, as the uneasy peace between Optimus’ forces, the Junkions, and G.I. Joe collapses amidst betrayals and subterfuge. Will Optimus Prime and Pyra Magna be able to put aside their differences—or is war really the only way forward?
Still a better love story that Twilight
The turbofox excrement hit the ventilator last issue, as you might recall, with Sharkticons pouring out of the Junkion corkscrew ship by the thousands, Pyra and Optimus not entirely seeing eye to eye (and the complications, if you will, seen in the Ghost Stories annual), and the human side of the alliance still being the squishier part of the two - not ideal in most combat situations.
Shut up Spike
For an issue that is very, very much tense and building up to a potentially even bigger rupture point, John Barber manages to work in a lot - and I mean a lot - of humour: quips, side comments, snide comments, jokes, tension being maaaybe defused by the likes of Wreck-Gar, Cosmos, the captions, even Aileron and some early snark from flashback cameos. Prowl is undoubtedly not amused.
The narrating voice this issue belongs to Arcee, whose story is still somewhat being developed, and we get to find out more about her attachment to Sideswipe, why she needs him to live, how she might do that, and how her skills will turn in handy in this new fight erupting just over Earth again. The tone, at times, feels a little discordant with the action taking place, I'll admit, but not entirely distracting.
A number of readers and followers of the story have commented on the ruthlessness of Optimus Prime as seen in the preview, and speculation is running high on why he might be behaving this way after all. There may be more to it in the flashback again, as it develops both his motivations (next to omnipresent Prowl) and, in a very nice parallel track, Soundwave's. More on this below!
Kei Zama returns to the artwork after the one month fill-in, and we get to see even more of her Sharkticons in action, plus the dynamism of the various action sequences in the issue are brought out in their wider framing without losing any of the detail that her style focuses on. Plus her Optimus looks truly menacing, with the broken faceplate and warlord stances.
point in case
Staying as the staple connector between artists is technicolour wizzzard Josh Burcham, and I still really appreciate the contrasts between flashback and current time, plus the paler palettes used to counteract the heavier inking of Zama's style - Junkions and Sharkticons both continue to look excellent, and battles are even more vicious as a result.
Where I mention above that the Arcee caption monologue can be jarring, the result is definitely tuned down by the lettering, marking them out as separate, in effect, from the action in the panels they show up; the lettering choices by Tom B. Long make it easy to separate and follow equally. Cover-wise, we have a full TF roster with week with some excellent Casey Coller/JP Bove, Andrew Griffith/Josh Perez and EJ Su pieces to accompany the main Zama/Burcham one. All can be seen in our database entry for the issue, here.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
What started out potentially a just-action-fight-scenes sequence, turned out to be a pretty excellent chapter rushing towards the finale in the next issue, and a highlight for many characters involved in the cast: Arcee gets her moments, though I expect more next time; Jetfire, Aileron, the Colonists get some nice time, Cosmos is thrown about and even Optimus himself has a decent block of character added to him.
But it is Soundwave that absolutely shines here, and shows his true Decepticon ideological self - echoing some of the best revolutionary discourse, showing his actual political inclinations, deploying the skills that made his so valuable to the purple cause in what could've been a devastating new conflict - and resulting much scarier (if HECK YEAH) in the process. Suck it, Funny Truck.
Megatron truly appears to be the star of the Transformers: The Last Knight toyline with a toy in nearly every class, and the vast majority of them being new molds with his new cybertronian jet mode. This is a stark contrast compared to the rest of the line where most other characters are keeping their previous forms making them have several recycled molds representing them. So, we thought of breaking down the different options you will have for Megatron in The Last Knight toyline along with a description and price point for each when available.
ONE STEP FIGURE
Note how the wings are not deployed in jet mode and his feet are not lowered in robot mode. Meaning that, as is often the case, there is more than just one step to o with this one step:
KNIGHT ARMOR TURBO CHANGER FIGURE
(Ages 6 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $19.99/Available: Spring 2017)
It turns out we saw this figure at toyfair from the very begining but since he didnt have his big mask gimmick on, it was not obvious.
LEGION CLASS FIGURE
(Ages 6 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $6.99/Available: Spring 2017)
There is still very little info on this figure. The shared gimmick of decodable glyphs with the cross sell figures, package leaks, unaccounted for in any list of mainline products and not listed in the official deluxe assortment listing from hasbro leads us to believe that it is part of a store exclusive subline.
PREMIER EDITION VOYAGER CLASS FIGURE
(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $29.99/Available: Spring 2017)
PREMIER EDITION LEADER CLASS FIGURE
(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $49.99/Available: Fall 2017)
Another couple of weeks have passed, and we return to Transtopia and the more creative side of Seibertron.com - making sure to include any previous endeavours that we missed last month. Life has a habit of getting in the way of things, alas! But, without further ado, we bring this next round of customs, fan art, builds, paint jobs, tweaks, fiction, more fiction, comics fiction, text fiction and even more art; check it all out below and make sure to let the authors know if you liked something!
The Transformers Photo Game That Has to do with Movies is still going strong! Test your mettle and metal by heading to the thread here, and figuring out what scene is being re-created with toys, as shown below.
Every two weeks, Seibertron.com brings you a Top 5 list related to all things Transformers written by me, your fellow editor. These are my opinions (just like movie or game reviews hosted by sites are still just the opinion of one person) so what matters most is what you guys think of the topic or list, and I hope to see your own lists or comments on omissions and ranking. Let's have fun! All previous lists can be found here.
Top 5 Most Overrated Transformers Toys
For this list, it is crucial that I define what I mean by overrated. All I mean is that I personally believe the toy gets more praise than it should. It is not necessarily a bad toy (though some definitely are), and it can be one of the best toys ever (like the honourable mention), but as long as it is said and promoted as being greater than it really is, that makes it overrated. So a very good toy seen as "Perfect" and a crappy toy seen as "fine" are both examples of overrated and this list covers all those nuances. Get ready for some Lewis Black styled TF rants as the nerd rage is spewed! Just remember that I still love you all, and come back in 2 weeks for a list of the most underrated toys.
I just really hate how this POS toy keeps getting a pass all the time. Sure, no one says it's the best, but it's never in the same discussion as Armada Sidswipe or other terrible toys and I feel it belongs there. What I often get instead is that it being a female decepticon makes it notable inclusion in a collection and to that I reply why don't we give the same pass to Airachnid? I just don't feel this toy is loathed enough since I really do feel it is a big crapstain on an otherwise amazing line. I mean, think about it, within that amazing transformer landscape, we got Thunderblast, which is a boat that has a small robot stored in its haul and is found by opening the big purple shell under the boat. This is pretty much, with no exaggeration, a pretender where the inner robot does not transform and is glued to the pretender shell, giving it a gigantic back pack.
This toy, as a Transformers toy, is inexcusable. And, like I said, it was sold at the deluxe price point side by side some of the best Transformers we ever got, meaning the designers were fully aware of its subpar engineering and design. And yet, when I speak bad of it I always get a similar expression like "it;s not that bad" or sure its a shellformer, but I have seen worse. WHAT WORSE?! And I even had people suggest it for my list of best water themed toys, I mean come on people! It was a simplified TF with very little articulation before those became a subline. The e-bay prices dont agree with my opinion of how worthless this toy is. But then again, that is the definition of overrated. I have placed it in this position simply because it isn't that loved a toy either, but I do feel it should get crapped on more.
4. The MP Seeker Mold
Oh boy, this mold. We can all agree that the MP 03 rendition (with the giant side kibble) was not done under the same manifesto as what the Masterpiece line has come to be known since. Alt mode detail, sure, but compare the robot mode to the classics mold and I find this later one to be a clear winner. Aside from the obvious cartoon inaccuracy of the MP mold, like the egregious amount of kibble hanging off his hips and near his head, what I really dislike is the transformation by disconnecting everything from the middle section to make room for the nose cone. This makes him so much more fragile and fiddly. And the back doesn't look good at all, it's the nosecone in a mishmash of junk. I find that very unappealing, especially when you look at it from the side.
I also, never liked how his head looked on his body. It always looks too pushed back and not in synch with the rest of his body whenever posing him at any other angle than facing you in a stiff pose. Trying to pose him with his stand in a flying pose in robot mode results in him looking like a marionette. I am also not fond of his feet both the aesthetic (they look nothing like the cartoon) and in terms of stability (in the initial mold). He should have some nice blocky triangular feet like this:
And not this:
It doesn’t stop there, because MP Starscream didn't stop at MP 03. Like Optimus, we had a new version for the Masterpiece line post MP 10 line. Since MP 03 was made at a time when the MP line was just beginning, I could see how it not being cartoon accurate was maybe an intention in an odd way. However, if that is the case, then why in the world did they use this mold again for MP 11?! Instead of it being an MP 2.0, it looks more like a 1.5 at best. I don’t consider the new seekers to be new molds more than simply retools of MP 03. The show accuracy may be better but I still have the same problem with how the mold is now. It is as fiddly as before, with the weak chest that has trouble locking and they didn’t fix the head placement, nor the feet.
But that’s not all. While people were happy seeing the side panels gone, they missed something that I find extremely crucial to Starscream: his chest is wrong. It was so in MP 03 and it is still wrong now (this mold is still being sold and released as this is written).
Check how the nose cone in every shot of G1 shows it tappered pointing down, making the chest a nice hint of a “v” shape:
The chest is inverted with the triangular curve of the cockpit going up instead of down. This totally changes the figure's appearance by reducing the effect of a stronger upper torso with a more slender waist. I mean, does no one else see how that chest doesn’t look like the animation model at that point?
These changes to the cartoon model, which I find hard to see past, were made as a sacrifice for the alt mode and I personally think that is the wrong priority, at least for the Masterpiece line as it is now. The worst part is the following, and it really sets it apart from its fellow MP molds: the toy made with a much lower budget representing G1 Starscream is better. The Classics version (which came out the same year or just about), has a more streamlined transformation, better stability all around and is more cartoon accurate (gets the chest and feet right for instance). While I am not trying to dissuade people from getting a Masterpiece Starscream, I do want to warn people that think of getting it, that it is far from being the best representation of Starscream possible and that the only reason it isn’t disliked to such great extent by the fan community is because the bar was set so low as a show accurate toy when the first iteration (MP 03) was released. In a way, I find MP 03 better (the Takara one pictured at the beginning, but preferably with the Hasbro deco); at least that is an original interpretation and a perfect jet mode while MP 11 (the retooled Masterpiece seeker mold) feels like a compromise. It tries to give a screen accurate (perfect) rendition of the G1 character using a mold that was never intended for that. And worse than that, they are still using this mold for the Materpiece Coneheads. The first thing I thought when I heard that was "but how can they use that nosecone to make it the top of the head, it's way too long if using that mold". The answer was simple: don't use it. Just paint a fake nosecone on top of the head and have the actual nose cone hang out the back like a giant dong. And people say Hasbro takes the most mileage from their molds, HA!
I know this toy wasn't loved by all but I still just don’t like how the toy has gotten away scott free with some of the laziest designing/engineering of all time. I know Takara handles the engineering but you never know how restrictive they are to Hasbro’s design. I am aware that Hasbro’s cost cutting does limit as well as frustrate Takara’s engineering capabilities. Leader Grimlock is one of the best cases of this and he really feels more like a bad omen for where the brand might be going, even more so than the one steps and simplified transformers, which at least can be discarded to a different branding approach or market.
The best example I can give you to show my disdain for this figure’s design (also, just so we are on the same page, I am referring exclusively to how the toy is designed and in no way to the character model), is the exposed feet and hands in robot mode. There was no attempt made to even try to hide them. The unarticulated hands are just behind the dino feet while the robot feet hang off the side of the dino’s hips. This is unprecendented in Grimlock’s design along with the design of every single other dinobot in this line (INCLUDING THE MORE AFFORDABLE VOYAGER! And yet, there is still debate as to which is better). Some are able to hide one set of extremities but not the other. Both Slog and Slug manage to pull off not showing any robot bits at a far lower price point (budget too?), and I will never stop pointing back to the G1 Dinobots which managed to hide their hands (they didn’t have any feet to hide though). Even Warrior Class Robots in Disquise Grimlock, as cheap and simple as he is, doesn’t have everything so obviously out in the open.
The super lazy design doesn't end there. I really hate how the tail and lower back are partformed in the dinosaur mode. It reduces a lot of the potential for an inventive transformation and gives a fake idea to the transformer’s bulk. It is also insanely frustrating how they screw up in the articulation too. I spent 45$, at least let me pose it properly. But no, the elbow joints are ratcheted ball joints which limit the poses you can give.
It's worst when this is the case for the big centre piece of your toyline. Along with Leader Optimus’ giant backpack, Grimlock's exposed robot kibble is quite a let down and a great example to support how lazy the designing has become. I also hate how this marks a precedent for a cheaper product. And this is no hyperbole, these leader toys are a precedent for how little you are getting at that price level. These were the first ever movie leader toys to not have electronics and that has been copied in the current generations line.
We are no longer 1985, we can get interesting transformation with decent articulation. If they can do it for the lower priced ones, they better do it for the ones that cost upwards of 40$
2. Generations Fall of Cybertron Seekers (not the Classics mold)
This is obviously a very subjective list and it's much better to pick what I felt was overrated instead of getting a general sense of people's opinions because I can't defend those as well as I can defend my own. When it comes to this Fall of Cybertron Seeker mold, I have never felt so alone in my dislike of a mold, hence why it scores so high on this list. I am repulsed by its size and plastic quality but mostly from its engineering. I just do not get how this is a good toy. People mess with Generations Jetfire, calling him a KO, but at least his jet mode looks amazing from on top. But in this toy, not only do we have his giant legs right under the jet making it look stockier and as aerodynamic as a glacier, but we also have his head right there in the center of the jet mode. You only hide it by turning it around.
And when I look at the previous efforts at bringing the Cybertronian tetro jet to toy form, it makes this mold so hard to swallow. The previous one was from the Galaxy Force series, six year before. Not only does it look far sleeker, but the legs are not appendages below the jet, they actually form the jet, and the head is moved more to the back and surrounded by other details and structures, making it far less evident. And it's not like they had forgotten about it, the promotional the War For Cybertron Starscream toy that was given out years before the release of this FOC toy was a smaller version of that Galaxy Force mold. So they knew full well what came before but we were still given this sorry excuse of a toy. I am fully aware that the design may have come from the game developers but the toy makers are responsible for its engineering and they could have done a better job than this, which they showed they could with the Optimus from the previous War for Cybertron line. While people claimed the sky was falling when Hasbro said it was gearing towards simplified transformations, I didn't get why nobody could see that this toy already took that notion to heart with its non hidden legs or head and overly simplified transformation. The G1 Seekers and G2 Smokescreen knew how to hide a head and have the legs hide as part of the jet for crying out loud!
Everything I just wrote about Leader Grimlock being a dissapointement for his size class applies to Leader Megatron as well, but more so simply because he is currently being hailed as one of the best Megatron toys out there and for the life of me I just don't see why. When the Age of Extinction toyline was announced, there was a big marketing push to promote how the toys would be simpler than before. This was further continued with the Robots in Disguise line where Hasbro said transformations would not be more than 10 steps. Fans groaned, saying this was a step backward and that techinques like this would leave the toys in a corner where they would only appeal to kids. Turns out the Robots in Disguise Warrior toys are as complex as most other deluxe toys of the past five years, which also had about 10 steps, making the illustrated step count just marketing speak since several toys ended up with more than 10 steps and got truncated on the back of the box. So in the end, this simplification didn't affect the majority of toys, but not all, and Leader Megatron definitely got affected. Of all the toys since this new Hasbro Manifesto, he feels the most pushed for simplification, with only having 10 steps:
BWTF wrote:1. Detach his blaster weapons and split them up, then set them aside for now.
2. Straighten out the arms and the legs.
3. Swing the panels on the sides of the forearms forward to cover the fists.
4. Push the feet up against the front of the lower legs.
5. Rotate the cannon around so the wider end is facing down.
6. Swing the torso panel up.
7. Swing the waist panel down.
8. Bring the two arms together. The cannon has a tab sticking out the side that fits into a corresponding slot on the left arm.
9. Swing the tread sections from the back of the robot mode up, then forward. They tab into the sides of the torso panel, forming the front of the tank.
10. Swing each lower leg out to the sides then in. There are tabs on the sides of the lower legs that fit into slots on the mid-body of the robot mode.
Sure, the box states 15 steps, but as broken down above, it's really just 10, and it's already been concluded that the step count on the box is not indicative of anything. Just to keep things in perspective, the step breakdown from the same source above gives Robots in Digsuise Quillfire13 steps, and thats a deluxe sized toy from a line that was (falsely?) advertized as being simpler. And remember that Megatron is a leader, not a deluxe, but you wouldnt know it through a stop motion video of the toy transforming, with no reference of scale. This is appalling for a leader toy. Not only that, but that transformation isn't even innovative or unique. It was initially, when it was used for Cybertron Cyber Defense Scattershot, but that was 2006. The only thing new this guys gives us in the decade since is working treads (which also arent new, since we had them in Beast Wars, but a welcome addition regardless).
So, they simplify a leader class Megatron turning him into an upscaled deluxe (or an upscaled 2006 Voyager) with underwhelming articulation/poseability and do the fans groan? No, quite the reverse. A bucket of silver paint and a nice headsculpt is all they needed to be distracted from the rest. And during that time, the Robots in Disguise line which is just as complex as this Leader Class toy and has way more innovative transformations gets totally ignored. Great going!
Look, no one has to listen to me, but I feel the reaction of this reviewer after transforming this toy sums up my emotions quite well (go to the 12:40 mark):
Honourable Mentions: I would like to use this section more as a discussion because I really wonder if I am the only person in the world thinking that Transformers Masterpiece Optimus Prime (MP-10) is not perfect. Amazing, but not perfect, and there are a few points that do tick me off, especially when his price tag averages for $160-200 US (depending he version).
Total disclosure, MP 10 disappointed me a bit when I got him. He is still one of the best figures on the market, for sure, but he is not as flawless or perfect as people say he is either, hence why I wanted to discuss him here, with you. My main problem with him is that he is supposed to be an upgrade from MP 01 and thus you would assume that the decade of engineering preceding this release would have helped fix the problems the first one had. Well, while they fix a few proportion problems with the original MP Optimus, they take so many cues from the original transformation that what I found to be the original's biggest problem was still present here: his groin is still visible in truck mode. You would think they would improve that part from the original, but no. Oh and while we are talking to changes from the original toy, the lack of a chair for a minifigure in truck mode means Optimus' head is right there in front of you when opening his front cab windows. Back to the groin, the fact that it is the only part of him that doesn't undergo any change in transformation is all the more baffling since that means that the hole on his crotch doesn't need to be there at all. And that crotch hole is also seen in the truck mode, of course. Also, for the price that you are paying for this figure, the trailer is very dull. The G1 toy had a bunch of color in his trailer. I do not necessarily need that with this release, but I would expect some paint apps to bring out the sculpt. Instead it is just dull grey with the Hasbro version and monochrome silver for the Takara version (slightly better). Standard cost on this figure is anywhere between 160-200$ depending on where you live and that is a lot when you realize that the original huge diecast Masterpiece (MP 01) was less than 100$ in the US. Although this is an amazing figure, I definitely expected a bit more and for the price I was paying. Like for him to, you know, not have a hole in his crotch.
I mean seriously, how integral is that hole so that it must be present?!
GHOST STORIES! Optimus Prime returns to Cybertron—only to be confronted by his rival for the Matrix, Pyra Magna! As Pyra's origin—before she was part of Victorion—is finally revealed, Optimus relives his own past—the first time he met Bumblebee!
Starscream is also in this
How do you take an annual publication, make it not an annual occurrence, and still deliver one of the best stories of the past months (and that's saying a lot, given the competition in all three current ongoings!) - give it to IDW, have John Barber channel his best Continuity editorial essence, and some of Mairghread Scott's devious writing tendencies (and penchant for poetry). Welcome to Ghost Stories.
..lest we forget, yeah..
As is customary with Barber, we have a narrative frame in the form of Starscream eavesdropping on Optimus and Pyra Magna visiting the epilogue of Dark Cybertron, and the singularity left behind by Shockwave's plan. Three leaders, three contenders to power, three ideologies: the soldier, the enforcer, the manipulator - all reluctant at some point, all connected to the power of belief. All no longer as clearly distinct.
Plus, of course, the Leader that Was
The first of the two centres on Bumblebee, and Orion Pax's first interaction with him in the early days - with a fitting crossover with Barber's own Optimus Prime series - some excellently prickish Prowl, some fantastic cameos (you can find them all in our database entry) and returns to the page for old friends and enemies, and some insight into the actual power and skills of the little bug that could (until he couldn't ded).
Do you even quip?
The second, narrated by Pyra, is the origin of the current team of Torchbearers, before Cybertron, before Victorion, before the change of heart towards the Mistress of Flame and her beliefs. And it is a gem of Transformers world building and characterisation, giving us stories fleshing out Pyra's motivations, background on Dust Up and Jumpstream, some touching Rust Dust moments and world shattering implications suddenly made explicit.
Priscilla Tramontano, not a stranger to the TFverse, is the sole artist for the lengthy book, and she does wonders with her own style fitting the two tales - Bumblebee's in particular, with the younger narrative fitting the almost Animated-esque nods - but also the general frame of the Annual. Even in the freshness, the darker, more sombre panels and sequences are not diminished or made grotesque, either, and the emotional tones are sustained throughout.
With three stories running through the book, the creative team made a nice choice of gathering multiple colourists too, one per section - or so we're told, at least, as Thomas Deer, JP Bove, and Josh Perez work so well and in sync with each other and the art that it's actually almost impossible to tell where transitions happen and who did what. I am utterly amazed, but not surprised, at their tripartite skill.
space shots will always get me
On the lettering front, we see the return of another older name on the books, Chris Mowry - who deftly delivers the captions and sounds to the narrative, and some eerily good title fonts too. While Tramontano delivers a gorgeous main cover for the book, the thumbnailed art comes from the variant done by Andrew Griffith and Josh Perez, taking an OP ongoing vibe, and some of Starscream's gun fetish along for the ride.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Reader, I loved it. I really did. The book does so many things right, and the ones it doesn't are easily overlooked (the placing in timeline (ScottyP suggests between Optimus Prime 6 and 7). It brings us more information on so many characters, gives added relevance to Bumblebee in the wider scheme of things - though currently without obvious repercussions... for now - plays really nicely with continuity issues, and gives us the first openly canonic f/f relationship in the IDWverse, by elaborating a single line all the way from Combiner Hunters!
And some actual horror, too
What really impressed me the most, other than the entirety of the Torchbearers story, was the way in which the visual team of four, no, five people worked together to bring the right setting, tones, nuances, palettes, spectrums to the different threads running through the book - there are some thicker inks than maybe required in some panels, but the colours offset them; there are so many good compositions to choose from, and different layouts tried in the narratives, and there is so much to discover in the ramifications of it all. From here on, everything is going to be quite a ride.
. - out of
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