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 Best Samurai Transformers Toys
I realized that I lost track of time at some point (having a new baby will do that to you) and on week was skipped in December. So to remedy that, you are getting this new list just one week after the previous one about the best Ravage toys (where most people surprisingly agreed that the Masterpiece version was not the best). But enough of older lists, on with the new. 2018 will be giving us a new take on the the most popular Pretender figure of all time, Bludgeon, and in light of this I chose to look back on the best Samurai themed toys (since a list of just Bludgeon would not leave us with much).
With the Transformer toys originating from Japan, it only makes sense that the toy designs would emulate certain archetypes from the motherland even when designed by western designers (which is the case for every one of these top 5 toys). The Samurai armor is legendary and many designers have had fun throughout the year to integrate it into a Transformer's design regardless of how much sense that would make for alien robots. It is a fun and recognizable theme and here are the top 5 toys that make it work best.
While the initial Drift character design was more subtle when it first appeared in the comics, the Michael Bay version takes it to a whole other level. The robot mode doesnt take cues from the samurai look, it is the samurai look, probably the most out of all this list. You have the leather armour complete with Haidate and Sode (thigh armour and shoulder pads). I love how efficient and smart the design is. The Sode are done by folding the car doors outward which replaces alt mode detail with brand new detail for the robot mode. The robot's chest is still the front of the car, thus retaining the Bugatti logo at the front, but peeled to reveal a samurai armour chest. He also has weapons storage for his 4 swords. The goal of the Takara designers when thinking of the engineering was to make him have as much robot specific detail as possible without it being overly complicated to transform and I think it's a mission they accomplished and even better than the retool that came out for Transformers: The Last Knight.
While movie Drift is fun, I still find the initial Drift release to be a better toy. The Samurai theme is present but more subdued with more of a look at what a samurai warrior would look like on Cybertron, made up of more car details. I especially like the big shoulders and the sword sheets that along with the car doors acting as the Haidate (armoured skirt). He also has the best sword found on this entire list.
This guy is a whole storm of Japanese themes. He is a motorcycle that turns into a ninja Transformer. The articulation even permits you to give him some amazing sneaking poses since you have have him stand on his toes. The best part though is that a later release of the toy came with a side car for the motorcycle and this side car could unfold into samurai armour. It just works so well as a toy. Everything fits perfectly turning a ninja into a samurai (at the cost of articulation). While the base toy is awesome and was already number 1 on a previous list, it is his samurai mode that is the focus here and the fact that it removes more than 60% of his initial phenomenal articulation is definitely a point against him.
This to me is the best of both worlds in terms of a Drift Transformer. While the AOE seemed to be wearing a human's samurai costume, the IDW Drift was more taking cues from the general look. This guy though fuses the themes to give you a very distinctive samurai look while also using most of his car parts. He is by far the most fun to transform of the three Drifts and the flipping car panel to reveal the robot chest is brilliant and efficient. I also love how well his giant shoulders are the same pieces found at the front of the car and don't seem out of place in either mode. He also has a fun headsculpt I prefer to the AOE mask, complete with a phenomenal mustache (which Hasbro forgot to paint, but that's why we have Takara, or sharpies). His alt mode is also sublime and super sleek, by far the best Drift alt mode so far.
I realize this list has a lot of Drift, as opposed to Bludgeon who is (or was?) the main Samurai themed bot in the brand. But that is because with Drift being less of a classic character, his look and personality was readily altered depending on the medium with Bludgeon usually staying more true to his original looks. Plus it doesnt help that his most recent toys (Prime, RID) have all been redecos/retools of previous toys. But the Revenge of the Fallen toy was Bludgeon through and through. This was a no-brainer for the number 1 spot, what a perfect toy. The idea was to homage a robot who turned into a tank which hid inside the shell of a non transforming toy which looked like an undead samurai. So what they did was have the alt mode be the tank and have the robot mode be the samurai, repurposing some alt mode detail. They knock that part out of the park by having the tank threads become the samurai armour on his legs and arms along with other piece of the tank, making this samurai armour near impenetrable. The tank cannon is where the longer sword is stored and the tank's turret can open up to reveal a sheath containing a shorter sword. These are all design masterstrokes, and it is hard to believe that this was released as part of the movie line. The homage being perfectly executed and using the alt mode to the robot mode's advantage earns this figure the rightful spot at the top.
It would be hard not to mention the very first full on samurai ransformers toy, Transformers G1 1989 Bludgeon Gallery. Now you can look at the pictures above and see just how well the challenge was executed.
Banzaitron was also a robot who had an Asian theme about him and though the Asian look was further emphazised when he was redeco'd from ROTF Bludgeon, it was fun to see that carry through in the Alternity line. That line actually gave a samurai look to Megatron as well and I think it worked well for both of them:
Welcome back, Seibertronians! If you celebrate it, I hope you had a very Merry Christmas, you had a good time with your friends and loved ones, and that Santa left many robots under your tree. But let's forget about all the happy feelings we've acquired over the past few days and immediately throw them into a pit of despair and agony, because it's time again for Machinima's Titans Return!
Okay, I'm being overdramatic, because this series on the whole is still leagues better than any Transformer content we've gotten out of Machinima previously. It's when you start breaking it down and looking into the individual episodes when things start to fall apart. Let's do exactly that with the new installment, Episode 8: In Good Hands! This Episode of Titans Return sponsored by Allstate
We again find Super Combiner Victorion fighting Trypticon, and it's very Sentai/Classic Mecha inspired, and it's actually pretty cool. The one thing that detracts from this is Victorion's grunts. There's little variation to them, so they end up sounding like a video game character they only recorded one "Pain" sound for. It gets grating and annoying, but the scene changes fast enough so it doesn't get too much. That's really a nitpick, though, on an otherwise fun scene. AGH. AGH. AGH. AGH. AGH. AGH. AGH.
We cut back to Windblade and Fortress Maximus, who are both floating through the sky in a truly Studio Ghibli fashion. They analyse the situation before they arrive, and again it's a very nice scene. Michael Dorn is great as Fort Max, and even with his robotic lines, he packs in a lot of emotion. Some of Windblade's lines here are feel a bit disconnected from the scene, but, like I said a couple reviews ago, it's obvious that not all of these actors recorded at the same time, which makes it hard to match the emotion of a scene and make a conversation sound natural.
At the same time, the Chorus of Banes from the Dark Knight Rises-Sorry, the Chorus of Primes talks to Optimus about the threats currently gripping the city, and he decides to join the fight. The Combiners split from their super-combiner mode, and decide to attack Trypticon individually. There's some scale discrepancies here, but it's not that big of a deal. Energon Mains UNDER the city? They seem to be pretty on the surface to me, hence why your friend just fell in one.
Victorion finds some random energon shard (??) and decides to hurl it at Trypticon to make him fall into an Energon main behind him. Again, we get a weirdly long establishing shot to get across this idea. The shot lasts 9 seconds, when it could have easily been done in 3 and still have done it's job. It's the Cybertronian Olympics! All the way from Caminus comes Victorion, competing for the Gold in Javelin!
The lack of visible damage in this show is really bothering me, as well. Prime is just wailing on Trypticon's neck with his axe, and it's clearly hurting him, as Trypticon recoils and gets angry while he's doing it, but there's no visible damage or wear from the attacks. This is the same case as Metroplex back in the beginning of this show. He was apparently so damaged he couldn't continue to fight, but we didn't see any damage until his entire arm got blown off. Does about the same amount of damage as the actual toys would do to each other.
Victorion throws her spear at Trypticon but - shock! - she misses, instead hitting the Energon line behind him, causing a huge explosion, engulfing everyone around it. I would have loved to have been in the Metroplex City Planning meeting where they just decided to put extremely volatile rivers that explode at the slightest touch flowing through the middle of the city.
Trypticon actually transforms into base mode, and starts using his defense systems to hold his attackers back. He fires directly at Optimus, launching him across the city. Just as he's about to crash into the street, Fort Max comes down from the heavens to save him at the last second. Not sure how that landing was any softer, considering Fort Max is also made out of metal, just like the ground, but what are you going to do? Windblade comes to him and tells him to relax, because he's "In good hands". Roll cred-Hey! they actually did!
Overall, I think this episode is a solid "Okay". I mean, it's certainly not as laughably bad as the previous couple of episodes, but that's a pretty low bar. It is very nice to look at, though. I think they nailed the character models and set pieces. Surprisingly, the art style and animation are quickly becoming my favorite part about this series, when they were one of my biggest issues in Combiner Wars. The subtle improvements they made really did make a difference. Like I said in the previous review, the colors are really aesthetically pleasing, too. Most of the voice acting's okay, at least, if not better. Peter Cullen and Michael Dorn are particular highlights. It just feels like there's no weight to anything that's happening. No consequence. Maybe that's because of that damage issue I touched on above; no one is shown to physically get injured through all of these battles, so there doesn't feel like there's any desperate issues, even though there's a giant robot dinosaur attacking the city.
It'll be interesting to see how all of this wraps up in the coming weeks. Thanks for tuning in once again, and please keep the discussion going in the energon pub forums below. Do you agree? Do you disagree? Please tell me why. See you next week!
NO TURNING BACK! Getaway has crossed one too many lines and made one too many enemies. Hunted down on his own ship, the master manipulator has one last trick of his sleeve—something so shocking, so audacious, that it would put the most evil Decepticon to shame. No one is safe as the Mutineers Trilogy reaches its jaw-dropping climax.
Self-awareness is good, I guess..?
This week, we return to the Lost Light, and look at the ever-eventful continuations of the horrors contained within the mind, actions and direct respondents of one ship's new self-appointed captain. Welcome back to Getaway, Atomizer, and the Plotters' Club in the conclusion to the Mutineers' Trilogy - Lost Light #12. And, I feel the need to proceed with caution here, as I have yet to make my mind up about the issue. Bear with me.
I'm getting there
Looking at the things that work, then: the interlude and the main story, taken as their own beasts, are good frames within which the two threads operate, with a connection (or several, but one in particular) that is as obvious as it is likely to miss with everything else happening. They also both nicely set-up some more world-work that we are bound to see soon. Also, First Aid continues to delight, and the action sequences are, on the whole, placed down nicely.
well paced; painful, but well paced
Which leads me to the main concern: pacing. I've discussed this with staff, and there are wildly differing views, of no help at all, that the sequences are running to fast, too disconnected, and trying to gather together too many yarns and making a big knot out of them than a tapestry. There is undoubtedly a lot going on in the issue, and I feel like you can take that one way or another entirely, without necessarily discrediting the opposite view.
The better comments to reconcile the two parts of my appreciation for the book do not find their place in this review, for the simple reason that they are entirely based on the latter part of the book, and I do not wish to simply discuss plot. My concerns with pacing remain, however, and I will add a couple of extra, more potentially spoilery notes in the section at the end of this piece.
The art on the issue is in the hands of two different artists, for a very specific in-plot reason too: Jack Lawrence on the main frame, and Andrew Griffith on the interlude section featuring the return of a fair number of characters. And where the first has no real criticisms from me, the latter's linework felt oddly out of place, compared to track record: it may have been just an issue of time, it may be the contrast between two very different styles, but it stood out in not the most positive of ways - that said, the layouts are excellent, and the scenes do play out well, the issue is almost entirely with the details.
I'm not sure why
Lending fuel to the idea that there may have been a time-constraint element to the issue's production, there are three colourists to look at for the art: Joana Lafuente, Priscilla Tramontano, JP Bove. The major contrast is only really to be found in the interlude vs main story, but even there something wasn't entirely in sync between lines and colours, and perhaps a darker palette on the Lost Light scenes may have helped consolidate some of the moments we're witnessing - though the hangar scenes looked really quite apt.
it's the little things
The lettering by Tom B. Long has some really nice moments, scattered through the book, that play with the more humorous moments (dark humour, at that) and the more action-heavy scenes, and never feel out of place - the dialogue is heavy, not helping with the density of the script, but placing flows well in the panels. The cover I thought most worked for this review is the Alex Milne/Josh Perez moment of frustrated anger (nicely cut at the thigh, too), but the other two main variants are definitely worth their presence, and the Ramondelli Megatron companion to the Optimus Prime one in a previous comic is nice enough as an RI. You can, of course, see them all in our database entry here.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
I haven't shied away in previous reviews and general comments on the series (and this arc specifically) from expressing my dislike of how plots are created and made to work - especially with some of the character build-ups (except for First Aid and Atomizer), and the over-the-top rounding off of Getaway after issue #10. That said, and as ScottyP reminded me in the email discussion we had, liking or disliking the story valid criticism is not.
Sums it up for me
I, personally, cannot say I enjoyed the issue that much at all, but I recognise that point as extremely valid. So here is my critical thought on the issue: it is dense, definitely so, and the pacing is very very rushed but that may be exactly what it is supposed to do - except.. the problems with the visual side of things drag this down further for me, and I really want to know what happened.
The action-packed sequences on the Lost Light mirror the action of the interlude, with two different feelings of horror and frustration, seen from two very different perspectives, but not well executed enough to fully land, for me. As a whole, where this is most definitely not a book for an entry level reader, longtime followers may equally react very well or very poorly to the story, depending on your interest in the wider picture versus the more immediate character and plot work of the arc. Your Mileage May (Very Much) Vary.
The first wave of Transformers Power of the Primes has made its way to store shelves recently to much anticipation. The roll-out has been quite a success compared to the well-known flaws in the distribution and execution of the previous two lines, The Last Knight and Titans Return. However, just because it went over smoothly on the whole does not mean that there weren't some strange slip ups in the toyline. One of the most central is the fact that some copies of the Prime Master size class figure Micronus Prime and Vector Prime have shipped with two copies of the actual robot Prime Master itself. The Masters are separate in the package, one in the traditional packing slot for the Prime Masters, and the other already inside the Prime Master Suit/Pretender shells. Here's a stock photo of how these new figures are supposed to be packaged:
Several Seibertronians from across the country and the world have run into this situation, ruling out that this factory error is a one off, or that it's location based in some way. In fact, one of our board members, Agamemnon, even madw a visual guide so you can tell if the copy you're thinking of picking up has two Prime Masters inside. You can find his photos below.
The way the Pretender shell should appear in package (well, the most common at this point, I guess) is the face won't be showing. There is also a gap between the legs
It's unknown how these errors are occuring, but there have been no reports of Micronus or Vector Primes shipping without any Prime Masters at all.
Several Seibertron board members have expressed interest in documenting this strange anomaly, so if you run into any Power of the Primes figure that includes two Prime Masters please leave a comment in the Energon Pub Forums below. There might be some information on your figure that could help us track down exactly what production lot run these errors are coming from!
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. Thanks to fellow Seibertronians Black Hat and Insurgent for helping out with this list.
Top 5 Ravage Toys
While Ravage is not always at the forefront of the Transformers Brand (not on mugs, or Christmas ornaments), he has been present and integral at almost every point of the brand (Animated would be the only major incarnation where he isn't present as a toy). And as any major character, he has a new toy every few years, and has thus amassed a significant amount of representations. He becomes a top candidate for singling out his top toys which I now present to you:
It is pretty nuts to think that this original casette bot was part of a line consisting exclusively of bots turning into 1:24-scale accurate representations of real cars from automobile manufacturers around the globe, and even more unbelievable that he had 2 distinct toys in that same line. But it happened and it was quite cool too. Sure, the idea of Ravage converting into a car may be odd, but wouldn't it be perfect if the car he turned into was an actual Jaguar? Sure it's corny, but it's also perfect (or is that purrrrfect) and a great result too. It's also a perfect example of just how different Ravage has been to the rest of characters in both toys and fiction, and yet just as deserving of respect. He really pushes designers and this is easily one of the most ambitious Ravage toys we ever got.
Energon was the line that really brought Scouts/Basics into their own, and whilst he isn't the greatest scout of the line (that would be Divebomb) Battle Ravage is still a great toy, and a great Ravage. His Jaguar mode has all the poseability you could want out of a jaguar, with full limb articulation, a ball joint at the base of the tail (which is tipped with a spiky ball!) and even some torso crunch if you use the "automorph". On top of that it looks absolutely sublime, with a neat colour palette that takes classic Ravage and injects a bit of warm grey, Decepticon purple and vivid translucent green, and killer sculptwork (I particularly adore the head and the asymmetrical shoulders). Whilst he doesn't have Ravage's hip rockets, he does have shoulder cannons, with a missile launching rifle and a mini fusion cannon!
He isn't going to fit in Soundwave's chest any time soon, but he works pretty well alongside him as a kind of attack cat. He's just the right size to look dangerous without being huge in comparison to any Soundwave you might have. - BlackHat
I just really like how even over 30 years later, this toy does the job and does it well. They achieved a really cool looking beast mode from a casette tape and the simplicity in design makes any overcomplicated version of it feel redundant and uneccesary in a way. The playability is still fun. For almost every other character, the original toy is lacking in some way but here instead we have a design that can test the sands of time to the point where designers made sure the Masterpiece Soundwave would still be compatible with this lean mean killing machine.
Best Ravage to me is X-9. Takara's Beast Wars Ravage. Yes, he's a remould of TM Cheetor, but dang he's so good. Dual pistols, that double as hip missiles in beast mode, great proportions in both modes, poseable and shiney black plastic. Mmmmm.... such a great cat. - Insurgent
This also happens to be a pretty good interpretation of the Ravage we saw on the show, which in itself is one of the most intriguing and fun versions of Ravage in all of fiction.
I feel the only Ravage that matches the G1 version in terms of elegance would be the Device Label Ravage. It is as brilliant an update as I could imagine since, with him transforming into the new technology we now use to share information, the thumb drive. Like with a micro cassette, this alt mode, lets us have a lean mean killing machine but the designers even found a way to give him a bit more mass. While the G1 versions ends up being a tad flat due to the design and alt mode, here we get a better proportioned mechanical jaguar that we come to expect from beast Transformers. He gets a nice wider stance that helps posing him and making him stand. Basically, to me, he ends up looking more the part of what I would want for Ravage within my collection while still keeping a similar theme or style in both modes.
Surprisingly, I don't have much to say. I don't have any problems with him but in the end, he doesn't stand out that much. He isn't much of an update to the original G1 ravage who still does the job quite well and doesn't reinvent enough, unlike the Device Label one, to stand out either. Of course, that's because he must be as close to the cartoon as possible, but even then he ends up not looking anymore cartoon accurate than the G1 version with his odd kibble in the front legs and awkward looking hips. But regardless, still worth a mention.
And just like That, we've reached the final week of the 2017 Seibertron Transformersmas Holiday Photo Challenge! It's not over yet, though! We do have a few final days before Christmas, and that means we need a new theme! Last week we covered cooking, and got some great entries (or entrées?). Be sure to check out our favorite submissions of the past week down below!
This week, however, we turn our attention to...
Share what you and your family (and your Transformers) do for the holidays! Decorating a tree, hanging stockings, leaving cookies out for Santa, the possibilities are quite endless! Also, if you celebrate a different holiday other than Christmas, this is the perfect time to share your Traditions, as well! Lighting a Menorah or an Advent wreath, or spinning a dreidel. Non-Christmas winter holidays are not only allowed but encouraged! Pick four winter holiday Traditions to share with your TFs, and post them once a day down below! You can also share your submissions on social media with #Transformersmas.
We can't wait to see what you come up with for the final theme of Transformersmas!
And now, our favorite submissions from the past week:
Twas the Night Before Unicron A Seibertron.com Spoilerish review of IDW's Optimus Prime #14
OK, so to start things off with, this was a difficult story for me to get my head around. When I first read this issue, I had to take a step back, wonder what I just read, take a few more moments, and reread. And even then, I still wasn't sure of what I read.
Take a few moments to read some other staff inputs, and some more sense it made.
Not a creature was stirring, not even a Goldbug
Now, that is not to say that this is an issue that is very confusing. It's not an issue where we are jumping around time, not one where things are jumbled, not one where the writing is bad. The story itself is a really good read and another great installment for the Optimus Prime run. It's just an issue where, much like last issue, there is a lot of stuff going on. It is dense in its content. And most of that is saved for the final few pages, where a reveal throws all kinds of continuity dense implications to us.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St Prowl would soon be there
Now that we got that out of the way, here are some actual thoughts. The opening pages with Prowl and crew, it felt cool and yet unique. Here we have a crew of misfits essentially, those who have not been accounted for over the past few years, mostly. Wheelie and Garnak once again make a triumphant return, the Throttlebots, and Stardrive, not to mention all of Prowl's tech. The one oddball thing about this whole section: what on Earth is Prowl gathering everything for? And why this crew of characters? It does make me smile some to see Prowl is still up to his old ways, even if it does feel a bit weird following the ending of Titans Return.
Cut back to Cybertron: the whole section feels just a bit wonky, but it still works out for me. This is the first part that gave me some pause. The way the characters fight each other feels a bit weird, but bringing together characters developed in different stories for this section will do that to you. I did enjoy the Trypticon "reveal" part though, and jokes about Dinobot child resemblance made me smirk several times. The writing with the Dino-crew is a great story in and of itself to follow.
The protoforms were nestled all snug in Trypticon, with visions of Dino jokes in their heads
Arcee had some good moments in there, as did Prime. With Till All Are One coming out with some big new story developments, it was fun to see Starscream interact with both Bumblebee and Bludgeon. I'm interested to see where the Dinobots go from here too, along with Sandstorm.
As for the final 2 pages, that is a reveal I didn't see coming, but one where things make all kinds of sense, and they make me worry about what is about to happen next. Taking 2 of the biggest... pricks/pains-in-the-back characters and now showing them to be in cahoots with each other is interesting and a take that is setting up even more tension prior to the Unicron story to come. Barber is probably the only one who could handle this whole set up, and as far as I am concerned, he is nailing it, and he is setting us up for some truly fun stuff to come.
When out in Iacon there arose such a clatter
The story was helped a lot by Livio Ramondelli and his art, and as I and others have said, his art has improved greatly. I really enjoyed the scenes he was drawing, and there are distinct close ups that he nails perfectly, such as Arcee and Prowl. Everything Trypticon is awesome in this story too. I give props to Livio for continued improvement, his art has become something that is quire enjoyable to follow.
With a little old driver, so tiny and quick, I knew it must be Centuri-nick
And Tom B. Long continues to do great work with the lettering. I am especially appreciative of the inverted speech bubble colors. He helps add that mysticism that Bludgeon is helping to set up.
As a close friend of mine likes to say: "long story short": this is a great book, and one that nicely compliments issue 13 as a 2 part continuity-heavy saga leading up to the Primes and Unicron. Things are being done, they are being done right, and they are being done enjoyably, with no major complaints on story, art, or otherwise.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight: Great comics to all, and to all a new Sideswipe!
The story has moved, old continuity points are being sewed up, and we are getting set for a big year next year with comics. And I am glad this crew continues to be a flagship for the comic run.
Elita One, Windblade, and Starscream fight to gain ultimate control of Cybertron! Dark secrets will be revealed in this series finale!
The Galadriel effect in full force
I gushed a lot of my appreciation for a story and a series like Till All Are One once already, in my final review of the ongoing series a couple of months back - you can read that review here, if so inclined, but I want to quote myself to make a major point about this annual:
Till All Are One #12 gave us the best story it could probably and possibly ever deliver; it gave us a resolution between Starscream and Windblade that is not a conclusion; it brought elements together that no other book had really done so far; it redeemed characters without offering them salvation.
Look at where we started..
In my original conclusion to that line of thought, I said that I wished we'd had more time to appreciate, encounter, and explore what lies ahead of all of them much sooner than we actually would. And in that respect, the Annual delivers on changing my mind entirely, just as it revolutionises the stage and status quo of the series' setting - I actually want to see it even more, now.
My face at multiple times in the issue, all in one panel
As it is an issue that I think is best experienced in its entirety and lack of information, I do not want to go into any detail about the plot or the characters here, but I will say that there is a culmination of an incredible number of plots - from the very start of the series way back when it was just Windblade - and one of the best developments in the Hasbro shared universe, as a consequence of First Strike's effect on Cybertron and Cybertronians.
plus, more Combatico-- ok, Vortex
I can't really speak of a 'happy ending', not in the strictest sense of the term, and there are some very heartfelt joyful moments, but (and I'm pretty sure I'm tapping into my thoughts of other media that has come out this month) this long, utterly enjoyable and satisfying read has gone from the 'best ending' TAAO could've had (issue #12) to A Good Ending. A good ground to build a much positive, much wider, much better universe.
There was no other way to conclude the story without artist Sara Pitre-Durocher, who has been involved in the franchise for so long people tend to forget just how much material she's covered in her work, be it comics or packaging art. And what we have here is a testimony to that proximity, with nods to the first Windblade series in opening sequences, revisitations of the glorious Starscream of issue #12, and perhaps the happiest, tiredest, positively relieved Windblade, but also several Cybertronians that have populated the stage this far.
Remind you of anything?
And the feeling of light, the legeresse and relief that come with some of the aspects that are not to be understated - can never be underestimated - throughout the story, among the different inhabitants of the story and the city, could not be possible without the amazing lighting work that Joana Lafuente brings in her colours. The symbolism of dawns and dusks is one that runs all through the TFverse, but we see it here as a full revolution - and you may take that however you want.
Embrace the dawn
In Scott's letter in the backmatter of the issue, the writer acknowledges Tom B. Long's excellent contribution to the issue and the work on the series as a whole, something I was glad to see as a fan of the letterer's work across the board - no less in this annual, where some of the more poignant moments are silent, and handled with extreme masterful care. There is only one variant cover - by artist JN Wiedle - to the main Pitre-Durocher one (which is so full of callbacks that I cannot even), and I've used it to spotlight the thumbnail. Both are glorious. Both deserve visibility. Look at them, and enjoy.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
This is a story of leadership. We have three potential leaders, all of whom are actually, surprisingly, fitting possibilities for this new Cybertron. All three are potential stories to be told about a city, a planet, a civilisation - and by extent, an entire universe that involves more than just the Transformers. One of these is the winner, one of these is the loser, one of these wins something else entirely, and we have the immense pleasure and privilege of being along for the ride with at least two out of three. Pay attention to the dialogue. Pay attention to the words, including the author's letter in the back of the issue. It's all there, all along.
The creative team, probably
I've had comments on the pacing of the book, that it feels a little rushed in parts - and while I can recognise that, I do not think it detrimental to the story, at all. If anything, it heightens the sense of frenzied anticipation for the events taking place, the urgency of it all, and the buzz of a build-up with finally a resolution that can lead to a different future from the pasts and presents we have known in the stories of Transformers so far. And for that, I have to thank the writer, the artists, the colourists, the letterers, the editors.
So, we've finally reached the seventh episode of Machinima's Titans Return animated series. Last week was miles away from the best episode we've gotten thus far, so does this week's fare any better? Let's find out and dive deep into Episode 8 of Titans Return.
Before we get into the episode we're greeted with a title card that presents the name of this episode. You heard it. We really should.
After that we get a 30 second long establishing shot of the Basilica shooting its laser at Trypticon. 30 seconds for a shot like this wouldn't be awful, except the whole episode is only around 11 minutes long. Take out the intro and title card, you get closer to 10. On top of that, the shot is of something we already know is happening, thanks to it being established in the last episode. This could have easily been cut to half the time at least.
Anyway, moving on. The reason we have this big of an establishing shot is because we're just in time for the arrival of Victorion (or, the super combiner version of her), and the following string of sequences completely baffles me. So first, Victorion materializes right in front of Trypticon, with the basilica's laser passing right over her head. She randomly calls for Overlord, even though there's nothing saying he's even remotely close to her, and somehow doesn't notice the giant robot dinosaur behind her, or the giant laser beam firing at it, and gets launched across the city by Trypticon's fire breath. I didn't think is was possible to get ambushed by a 150-story kaiju, but here we are. He's right behind me, isn't he.
To add some sort of insult to injury, she then comes back with the line that they "almost forgot about" Trypticon. What?! You almost forgot about Trypticon rampaging through the city?! Sure. I don't know if this is just a poorly-executed taunt, but the line isn't delivered that way. It's just confusing. In fact, on my first watch, I couldn't believe this was actually the plot they chose to go with. I'm still in total disbelief.
Victorion then tries to fight Trypticon, taking a huge swing with her sword, slicing through a building, just to find Trypticon casually walking to the complete other side of her. Seriously, in one shot he's directly in front of her, and then in the next he's just waltzing around on her left.
What the f*** is HAPPENING?!?
Also, I'm completely glossing over the fact that somehow a combiner made of combiners just looks like a giant Victorion, because we have bigger fish to fry. She's just a cosmic girl, from another galaxy...
Moving on from the Victorion fight for a moment, we also have Windblade still strapped up to Fort Max. Something is obviously going wrong, as Emissary tries to talk to her, and keeps telling her to disconnect from the system. It doesn't make a lot of sense, as he's the one at the freakin' controls! Seems like he'd be more in a position to help her disconnect. Meanwhile, on the outside she seems to be in pain, she is actually making contact with the titan city. In the brief discussion, he asks, very appropriately, why he should trust her. Why she wouldn't at least mention that Emissary sent her is beyond me, but she apparently convinces him anyway. We interrupt Titans Return to bring you "Contact"
A very sudden transition cut later, we return to the Chorus of Prime's chamber, where Optimus decides to hand the Matrix of leadership over to Perceptor for safe keeping, as he believes that's what Trypticon is there for. He tells Perceptor to just run, and takes him to the outskirts of the city. He accepts, and promises he won't let Prime and Cybertron down. "That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd run to the end of Metroplex City. And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd just run across all of Cybertron."
Back with Windblade and Emissary, the ground starts shaking, and they realize their attempts have worked, and Fort Max is finally waking up again. She transforms and they take off. Fort Max finishes his transformation as well, and they take off, headed to stop Trypticon. He'll save Windblade in a second, first Emissary needs to do his daily aerobics workout.
This episode severely dipped into "So bad it's good" territory. Like, at least I enjoyed myself watching it. I laughed more at the ridiculousness of the entire thing then I have the entire past two shows. I do have to say, though, I'm really enjoying the color palette they chose for this show. The mix of glowing purples, oranges, and then the bright neon blue is very ascetically pleasing. They really did capture that 80's feel. If you slowed these episodes down and replaced the audio with some Vaporwave, it would work 100 times better.
I look forward to seeing Trypticon and Fort Max fight, as it seems the Titan V Titan fighting is when this series is at it's best, at least in the earlier episodes.
As the next episode won't be out until just after Christmas, happy holidays to all of you, and thanks for reading! Please share your thoughts on the episode down below, and your thoughts on the review/my opinion. Do you agree? Do you disagree? Let me know! See you next week!
We're already on to Transformersmas 2017 Week 3! It seems like the first half of the month flew by, and we're getting extremely close to Christmas already. Last week we challenged you to celebrate your favorite Holiday Movies with your Transformers, with some truly incredible results. Some of the best submissions we've gotten in the two years of doing this challenge. (Check out our favorites down below, and enter your Transformersmas photos below to be featured in next week's announcement article! Make sure to look over our announcement article for all the rules of the challenge!)
But anyway, we're moving on to Week 3. This week's theme is...
This time of year is synonymous with cooking and baking, so have your Transformers whip up something in the kitchen and post the photos below! Of course, you can go the traditional route of Christmas Cookies, Fruit Cake, and other classic Christmas recipes but this is also a great time to start showing off your culture's traditions if you or your family don't celebrate Christmas! Show us traditional dishes from your religion/culture, as well!
Now let's feature our favorite submissions from the past week!
This is by far the most amazing entry we've received this year, and probably the best we've received in the history of Transformersmas. Fires_of_inferno takes us through the trials and tribulations of Ebenezer Starscrooge, in this 7-part, 79 installment (practically shot-for-shot) remake of the classic Christmas tale. It's unbelievable, and to do it justice, we'll link to the seven parts below. Extremely good job, Fires_of_inferno, you win this week. PART 1 PART 2 PART 3 PART 4 PART 5 PART 6 PART 7
That's all our features for this week. Enter your cooking photos below, and then check back next week for the final theme of Transformersmas 2017!
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