FROSTY RECEPTION! THE WRECKERS journey to Nome, Alaska to track down the number one suspect in PROWL’s disappearance—their former human ally, VERITY CARLO!
Who doesn't seem at her best, really...
The holiday period has brought the second chapter in this new, updated Wreckers story, which deals with the old, outdated motives and reasoning of the Wreckers - and all the terrible terrible things they did at some point. Oh, and somehow Prowl - of course - is involved too. How does the story hold up?
On subtle threads
The Noisemaze and Prowl's mind are explored a little further, as Nick Roche digs into the four-letter-P-word's ego and dreams (no electric sheep, unless they're in perfect, precise order), but despite the creepiness of off-panel Tarantulas Mesothulas, we're not looking at the core of the issue just yet. Though we also are, in another way. It's complicated, okay?
See? Complex dialogue
From the preview shown, there is nothing I want to say here that might spoil the enjoyment of the various reveals along the way, as the Chimeracons are a bit of a treat and a half, drawing from a range of sources close to Roche's enjoyment as a consumer of Transformers fiction - and it really shows in the rationale behind their presence here, too.
Not shown here
I am not entirely convinced at how some of the established characters are being used by Roche, especially in the case of Arcee - who while still has all the possible valid reasons to be suspicious of practically everyone involved in the book, still manages to have a ..peculiar exchange with Springer much later in the book. I may just be reading it the wrong way, however, so don't hold me to that.
Roche is definitely having fun, balancing his writing with the attention he pays to his art. Again, there are many many spoilers that would come out of spending too much time on what he does with the design of a number of characters across the issue, but the action is nicely fluid, dynamic and hopping off the page with organic vitality.
Can you bear the suspense?
Josh Burcham, additionally, plays with the sudden shifts of setting, both interior and internal, past and present, through flashbacks, PTSD-esque scenes and panels focused on Springer and Kup, and some seriously vibrant and slightly disturbing colours in eye-shades, Energon spillages, and.. yeah. Alaska and the team's past are very different palettes. Very.
In Tom B. Long's lettering work, we find the new cast of characters find their own voices, as shown in Mesothulas's scenes, the heightened scenes with some of the characters, and a smattering of SHEEEEAAAGGGHs across the book, too. On the cover front, we have a similar selection to issue 1, Roche and Burcham bring Stakeout close to the action, guest Stephen Mooney with Burcham show the still misfitting Arcee, and Andrew Griffith also teams up with Burcham for another LSTOW-centric variant (thumbnailed).
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
As you've seen until now, there is a lot in this issue which I really do not want to talk about too openly in a review, giving a chance to readers to appreciate in their own time and on their own reading - but, that said, if you're a fan of Beast Wars in any of its incarnations, and even some Armada, why not, you may just want to pick this up for the smug smirk factor.
I have to show this again
The story is proceeding with enough mystery and dangling threads that it feels it could very much head *anywhere* from here. It also is a fairly dense read, with some seriously serious moments underpinned by dark, bleak humour, especially in the over-bulked shape of Guzzle, and confirms some of what Roche was saying in terms of LSTOW being a super-edit - there is a lot going on here, take your time, it's very much worth it.
We have some nice new video reviews coming at you this Christmas day. We have not one but two reviews for Battle Pack Sideswipe and Mini-con Anvil (is he THAT good?) and a review for Legion Class Drift. These are from Chuckdawg1999 and Balmatrix. Enjoy!
baltmatrix wrote:Hey Guys,
Happy Holidays! Thanks for watching the Optimus review. For a comparison here my Battle Pack Sideswipe review as well! While neither figures are bad they are little more than scaled up Legion class figures with silly armor bits and a bakugan. Younger kids might like them but I worry that the kids will lose or swallow the energon bits. (as the father of a 19-month-old I worry about these things)
Oh an on the 26th I'll follow up with my 2016 Wave 1 RID Minicon review.
Again, wishing you all a wonderful Holiday,
chuckdawg1999 wrote:After the disappointment of Warrior Sideswipe I, and many other collectors, were hoping for a better version of the character. Hasbro must have heard us as this Decepticon Hunter version is fantastic. If I were to have one complaint, it's that the figure doesn't come with a proper sword, instead the main weapon is a mace. Armored up the figure looks really good, and the combined weapon holds together better than Prime's. All in all, a solid buy.
chuckdawg1999 wrote:Drift is a great Legion figure with a fun transformation.
HOLIDAYS IN THE STARS! Three stories about three casts and three unique holiday adventures! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll never look at CYBERTRON—or the holidays—the same way again!
I just had to
Windblade Story: Mairghread Scott
Channelling her best Dr Seuss, Scott manages to blend the mischievous, narcissistic, egotistic nature of Starscream with the seasonal tradition Grinch, and to wonderful effect. It doesn't stray from the characterisation we have seen in recent IDW runs, it taps into some of the plot points, too - and it's filled with wonderful cameos, executed by...
Art & Colours: Corin Howell, Thomas Teyowisonte Deer
...Howell, who returns for the one-off after her stint on Windblade, capturing the spirit of the tale and the cartoonishly exaggerated features of the cast involved, with the spin of the Grinch tale. We see the Tankors, Blurr and the new Maccadam crew, Waspinator - all the usual suspects we've come to appreciate on the streets of Cybertron, in the suitably coloured, and wonderfully so, by Thomas Deer. Even in the darkness of what I imagine is Cybertronian sort of winter, we get some great glows of warmth and tone.
More Than Meets the Eye Story: James Roberts
In a slightly similar, but really quite different way, Roberts takes us aboard the Lost Light, where the festivities are masquerading as something entirely foreign, scientific (or magic, if you ask Rodimus), spacey-wacey, and utterly ridiculous, with the theme of mainstream Christmas traditions seeping in in an overt (to the reader) way...
Art & Colours: Kotteri, Joana Lafuente
...from carols, such as the one titling the story, to various iconography we associate with festive customs, from trees to crackers, to party hats, singing, and the general merryment. In order to so, the tale introduces fan-favourite fan-artist Kotteri (seen on previous variant covers) to interiors, and bringing some proper fan-fuel to the expressions and qualities to the crew of the ship - no one excluded. Lafuente's colours, a regular mainstay in the Transformers universe created by IDW, show the full versatility of her as an artist too, adapting and complementing the new style smoothly and pleasingly.
The Transformers Story: John Barber
A criminally good in how bad it intentionally is, the noir-esque take that Barber brings to the holidays is a pleasure to immerse yourself into. Doing something that diverges from the previous two tales, the writing plays with a number of genre conventions, while clearly self-nominating for the meta-award of the year (yes, it even tops Roberts' Swerve). And just as it does in writing...
Art & Colours: Josh Burcham
...so it carries itself fantastically well visually, with regular colourist Burcham making another interior appearance. And boy does he pop on the page, mixing the voices of Barber's choice for Thundercracker's work into styles, layouts and composition - then topping it all with colour. A truly enjoyable home-cooked meal for the optics.
It's fun. It's lighthearted. It's cheesy and corny and message-y and the writers clearly really enjoyed playing around with tradition, storytelling, and style techniques. It's everything a filler Holiday Special should really be. If you're a fan of the lighter side of any of the three series, if you like writers who poke fun at their own work, themselves, and have fond memories of TV show specials, this is definitely one not to miss in your reading library.
A note on the letterer, Tom B. Long, who has provided masterful framing and cherrying of the three stories throughout - in particular for The Transformers' section by Barber and Burcham - to Agnes Garbowska, the variant cover artist, and to Casey Coller and Lafuente again, for the thumbnailed main cover. Tip of the (Santa) hat to you all. And as Buster would say, WOOF.
JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW ALL Spoiler-Free-ish
MIND GAMES! The crew of the Lost Light are caught off guard when a dead friend appears out of the blue. But there's no time for a happy reunion: someone else has found his way onto the ship—someone with the power to tear the crew apart.
Yeah, way too soon to celebrate guys….
Story so Far
Well, just when you thought you knew it all, Roberts finds a way to make you question everything you thought you knew, and he certainly had me scratching my head at times during this read. It really didn’t pick up where the last left off, but rather steered the ship into whole new waters. We learn of some pasts that we wanted to know and some we never thought we’d see coming. And it was not at all what I expected, but it made me think, it made me go back through and take a look at what I thought I knew. This one made me question some things, and I am not sure at this time if I could give many answers.
Me about this time
Now I was disappointed in the amount of storytelling continuity between issue 47 and this one, but I can say I was somewhat satisfied by the topic that we did plunge into, and that we will finally be getting our answers. Issues 47-49 more feel like slight tidying up issues that Roberts thought he’d have more time to tell but doesn’t, so he’s rushing a bit. So the story does suffer a bit due to it, but it is still tackling the taboo that we have thought about for years, so -1 for speed but +2 for our questions being fulfilled?
With Alex Milne still suffering a leg injury, art this issue is covered by the extremely talented newcomer Hayato Sakamoto, and he brings his A-game to the table this issue. He has a lot to draw, not mention some very scary and very dastardly disgusting stuff to work with, but he takes in stride and doesn’t give an inch! He forged through with no issues whatsoever and very much continues to impress me.
Yeah Rung, that’s how I’d feel staring into death itself too!
Joana Lafuente once again picks up coloring duties and the darkness of the story mixed with the bright hope and fire burning within some of our friends here makes for some stunning images, both grim and shining. Lettering is done once again by Tom B. Long, but his time he has some help with the aid of Chris Mowry, and both do a masterful job of giving life to this book, the words, and the memory issues that Skids has fought for oh so long. It truly is the lettering though, that opens up Skids properly and finally for all of us to see though.
Yeah, this proves every point right here
Thoughts, with some spoilers ahead…
Well, We are finally getting our answers, and it seems that some of them are what we thought, and yet some are nowhere near what we could ever imagine. And let alone what the end of the issue means for us going forward, Youch! Poor Rung, and poor Skids. As his memories are ripped open for all to see, I can begin to see tragedy ahead that will bring him closer to a few of his crewmates than ever before, and potential conflict with one in particular. Darkness is descending on the Lost Light, and as we speed ever faster towards Dying of the Light, I can only hope that we still have the crew we started with to hold off the darkness and give the Lost Light some new light.
Pretty much how my head feels
Overall, good issue, very good ready, amazing art, and some answers begin to come out. The major thing that lets this issue down is how it kind of tossed out some things needed to wrap up 47, but that isn’t enough to cripple it too badly.
“I'd argue there isn't actually a lot of nostalgia here. I'd argue that every page, every moment is built on innovation. And Tom's looking to the past for some of the cues, but what he's actually building is what comics will be like in the future, not the past.”
“I think every page, every panel of this comic is Tom on a tightrope without a net, and he's trying a complicated jump that he's never really done before.”
I don’t think truer words have been spoken about this title… Or there's that.
THE SYNOPSIS (what’s the, so far)-
OPTIMUS PRIME returns—-in time to fall to Megatron. Now the undisputed ruler of Cybertron, the Decepticon leader has impaled the planet Earth. The surviving G.I. Joe team remains on the alien planet, confronting a harsh new reality: there is no hope.
Subtle reminder: each issue of TF VS GIJOE is meant to be read as a stand alone adventure, but there is a string and overall story running through. Last issue was an issue about Destro’s past, nay his entire family history, and how it was effected and changed by the ark even with the Transformers lying dormant.
This issue picks up a bit after #8… when that very big thing happened to Earth with those very long spikes coming from Cybertron. Oh and that other big event where you-know-who bad guy seemed to destroy the just-returned-savior good guy. Believe it or not it's all about change though. Adapting.
We are BORG...
In this installment, the Joes are learning how to survive on their new home. Cobras and Deceptions are celebrating their victory and alliance. There’s some history explained and a cool prose only story included at the end.
Tom Scioli provides it all—lines, inks, colors— with unique perspectives, and daring visuals to push the story boundaries. Often criticized, and rarely understood, Scioli continues to work his vision channeling so much from resources obscure and not obscure.
Of note, though, is the fantastically detailed, gorgeous subscription variant cover of a gargantuan Metroplex done by Ulises Farinas. Just pick-your-jaw-up-off-the-floor awesome!
I serve the will of the Primes...
MY THINKS- Contains spoilers SPOILERS...sad face
I’ve been critical. I understand the criticisms. But something about this being an otherworldly ‘What If’, ‘Elseworlds’-type, ‘Deviations’ if you will story… makes it all okay, and (mostly) acceptable. I read comics for enjoyment, and this series, never seems to fail in surprising me--although, I'm not sure I would characterize how I interact with this series so much as 'enjoyment'. I love to read the mainstream stories much more than this. But this has its place for me, and maybe it has found its place for you. I read on to see what Tom and John can come up with—what they 'cook' up—. And after I have my own thoughts, I like to read their banter on what inspired their choices when it's done.
I seem to remember it differently. I got a V.A.M.P., Starscream, and Prowl that year. It was the best though.
Speaking of cooking up, this issue doesn’t disappoint, it's a gourmet feast for the eyes and mind. With a few, ‘oh-no-you-didn’t’ moments that may just have you shaking your head, one we already saw in the preview—Megatron becoming a connoisseur of human flesh now…and the poisoned feast…W..O..W! There's also clever dialogue dropping some excellent one-linersn for easing those hard to take moments.
We all knew that there were Autobot and Decepticon chefs and bakers, right? CONFEKTOR...bake!
Hit and Run is one of my all-time favorite Joes, stating the obvious.
For me, the most interesting parts of this issue came near the end. I’ll try not to spoil it for those reading the series, but there are some really thought-provoking Transformers history moments presented with verbal and visual references that any fan of the brand, and pre-brand will embrace with a sense of interest and a little awe… at least I did.
I'm a chef too...I cook up life!
AND THE BONUS-
At the very end of the issue we get a nice bonus, instead of the normal Barber and Scioli back and forth breaking down pages and giving us the behind-the-scenes, we get a short-story called ‘Black Cybertron’ (along the lines of the now infamous Wreckers story,‘Bullets’) involving Ravage, Snake-Eyes, Shockwave, and the cassettes. A journey into Hades or is it the workshop of Daedalus? Either way, it shows the length that some will take for a loved one...loved one...really? Expect the unexpected.
If you’re still with TF VS GIJOE, you know what to expect, and that’s to not know what to expect! This issue doesn’t disappoint, but adds a great morsel for consumption at the end.
chuckdawg1999 wrote:Leave it to Takara to go all out on the Granddaddy of Transformer Combiners. New knees, new elbows, and a set of G1 weapons makes this version of Devastator the best ever. This isn't the Devastator we need, it's the one we deserve, and need.
It is unquestionable that THE event of the year (2015) in Transfromers toys is Generations Devastator. Unlike almost every other Hasbro toy out there, Takara's version was not just a change in deco but a significant change in the articulation of the figures. Every single figure has extra/different parts to improve on articulation and there are even differences for Devastator as a whole. We could never know the extent until these were released and now that they are I can finally give an illustrated rundown of exactly what is new with Takara's take on Devastator. The pictures come from Seibertron, Dengeki Hobby, Alfes and myself (sorry for the shadows. I don't have a lightbox).
The new articulation is broken down with a stock image of the Hasbro version first so that you can see the change right after. You will see that the shots showing the Takara version have the Constructicons holding their own individual weapons, which are unique to each Constructicon. This inclusion is one of the main extra features of the Takara set.
Elbows on Longhaul
Elbows on Scrapper
The elbows do lock for combined mode so there is absolutely no stability issue either now or down the line due to their inclusion.
Extra inner arm piece for Hook
Hasbro's elbow is preserved, making it a double elbow.
Extra inner arm piece for Mixmaster
Hasbro's elbow is preserved, making it a double elbow.
They call him Master, Mixmaster
Different knee joint for Scavenger
You can see here how the ball joint is replaced by an extra piece connected on a mushroom peg. This makes the knee bend at the actual knee and not the lower thigh. It also provides a slight increase in articulation. This is also present on Bonecrusher.
Different knee joint for Bonecrusher
Notice how the pelvic area is tabbed in correctly. If you hear the click, it will be rock solid and not undo itself when playing with or posing the figure. This seems to be an issue Takara fixed (at least on my version). As shown with Scavenger, the knee joint is different. However, while the knee bends at the correct area, the final result looks about the same when the knee is bent at 90 degrees, which you can see below.
I am unaware if the different knee will help achieve any new poses that people have been wanting to do. For those interested, this is explored further in the conversation we had on the Seibertron forum.
The head lets you switch from one look to the next.
I don't know what to call this specific joint but this is the joint used when extending Devastator's arms outward. It is ratcheted now, by having the connector pieces of Scavenger and Bonecrusher ratcheted, and helps counter gravity when doing poses that extend Devastator's arms so that they do not fall.
Mixmaster's alt mode has been the most controversial element of Generations Devastator due to the orientation of the cement drum being reversed compared to the original (since it is supposed to resemble a bigger cement mixer). This means that the front of the Hasbro version has more paint apps than the cab found in the back. Takara doesn't seem to fully agree with this change as evident in the mount of paint applications they added to that back cab.
You will notice that Takara included a faction symbol on this cab. This is important since this would make it the only faction symbol not facing forward head on if Mixmaster was oriented the Hasbro way. Scrapper himself has his faction symbol facing forward by being in his shovel, unlike the Hasbro version, adding to the theme of the placement of the symbols. Also, the individual guns can be placed on the alt modes to give each vehicle an offensive edge. Mixmaster's is placed on that back cab which would have his gun facing away from the action if he were oriented like Hasbro intended.
The intended orientation becomes very evident in a group shot. Here is the SDCC version of Hasbro's Devastator:
Here is Takara's and you tell me what works best.
To conclude, here is a rundown of the major changes with Takara's Devastator (UW-04):
6 unique individual weapons
New parts for improved articulation on all Constructicons (knees, elbows or double elbows)
Purple hands for Devastator
New tooling for Devastator's head to switch from visor to visor-less look
Ratchets when extending Devastator's arms outward
Different choice and distribution of paint applications (especially on Bonecrusher's robot mode and Mixmaster's alt mode)
Hot on the heels of completing their biggest mission ever, BUMBLEBEE and his team are hoping for a little downtime. Unfortunately… a sinister new DECEPTICON has other ideas—and it’s right back into full-throttle, 100%-adventure down the rip-roaring RID road!
Picking up after season 1 of the Robots in Disguise cartoon, this comic gives us a little look at what has happened since the big finale. We’ve got some fun looks at what the team is now trying to do after defeating a great evil, and we even see some nice character interaction. And of course we see Sideswipe ridiculing Bee for his speech patterns, but that should not be spoilerish by now.
Business as usual ‘round here
On the flip side, Steeljaw once again finds himself abandoned and in need of assistance, and he finds some in very surprising ways and places. Who knew that so many years after prime, we would get some callbacks, and even some inside jokes for those who love a good nameless drone?
But where’s Gary???
Art duties for the issue are taken up by both Priscilla Tramontano & Travis Sengaus, with inks being provided by a large cast including John-Paul Bove, Josh Burcham, Joana Lafuente, & Priscilla Tramontano. Inks are, as usual, provided by Tom B. Long, and despite the mix of artists and colorists, we get an issue that really has uniform shape and beauty, and no real difference between the art. But the one thing that stood out for me: Steeljaw’s nose is a thing of beauty!
Cranky old wolf
Not to mention the fact that there are some awesome slashes and hacks going on here. The quiet, peaceful moments and the times of chaos and destruction are all beautiful in their own way, and the issue overall carries on the proud tradition of good art RiD had given us.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Overall, the issue was quite good. Not as big as it could be, but still impressive nonetheless. Afterall, we are picking up in the aftermath of season 1, so it’s hard to get the ball rolling again. At least Bee found and likes his new rollout call, and at least Grimlock is trying to find some new disguises. As the first issue in a new series of books, it starts off well, and it has a nice setup for the remainder of this series that has looked and performed really well story wise.
Overall, not bad, and this certainly has the potential for a great storyline to come.
Fellow Seibertronian chuckdawg1999 brings us a video review of the highly desired deluxe class Groove. This Groove was part of the TakaraTomy Mall exclusive Unite Warriors Defensor box-set.
chuckdawg1999 wrote:While Takara did repaint two existing molds giving the figures new heads, for the Superion and Menasor gift sets, no one expected them to create an entirely new mold for Defensor. Well that's just what they did and Groove is a near perfect update of the G1 character. The transformation is simple yet effective, utilizing the same leg transformation as the Aerialbots. Hopefully Hasbro releases this figure domestically for collectors on a budget.
You can check out Hasbro's representation Here. And don't forget to sound off on how you think this figure turned out. Did it do the original figure justice? Or do you prefer your Defensor to have his motorcycles turn into armor instead of an arm?
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