IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review

IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015 7:52am CDT

Categories: Comic Book News, Reviews, Site Articles
Posted by: Va'al   Views: 44,465

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Swindle Me This
(Spoiler free-ish)



Synopsis
OPENING SALVO! The Autobots and Decepticons’ uneasy peace is threatened by the flames of war! STARSCREAM—ruler of CYBERTRON—makes contact with WINDBLADE’S homeworld—and the only defense against a new CYBERTRONIAN EMPIRE are COMBINERS—multiple CYBERTRONIANS forming together into huge, dangerous forms!

Transformers News: IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review
SUSPENSE


Story
Days of Deception is over, Windblade was over a long time ago, Punishment saw both its digital and print run, and we have been really setting the stage for Combiner Wars for a long long time now. And yet, The Transformers #39 takes another small step, piecing together the various parts leading up to here, preparing the spark, the casus belli, if you will and giving it all just a gentle prod.


Transformers News: IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review
Oh hey random Starscream that has nothing to do with this at all


John Barber takes main writing duties for the issues, but both him and Mairghread Scott are palpably present in the plotting of story. The dialogue provides a great framework of power dynamics and hierarchy being subverted at every turn, with some further development for a lot of older faces - and Swindle, of all characters, whose perspective guides the story.

Transformers News: IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review
Sup


We have Windblade and Optimus and some intriguingly almost 'post-colonial' moments of perspective shifts; we get Wheeljack and Ironhide and Chromia just trying to do their jobs, and being almost entirely confused; we get Starscream being Starscream, and gloriously so; we are introduced to Offroad, and given a *fantastic* explanation for their presence; we get another addition to the chapter in Transformers fiction that is Alpha Bravo, and Powerglide.

Transformers News: IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review
The legend continues


As an introduction, the Opening Salvo of Combiner Wars does much more than wht it could've,and is an immensely enjoyable read, with good humour, a good establishing of the playing field and just enough references to older continuity points to keep older fans entertained while bringing in some new ones too. Kapoom.

Art

Livio Ramondelli, as we knew, takes on the whole brunt of the artistic duties for this and the majority. And I have to unfortunately admit this time, we are not seeing the great work he provided in recent publications such as Punishment. The composition is great, and there are really good layouts in the issue, and some of the expressivity is well conveyed.

Transformers News: IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review
Successful


At other times, however, some of those same faces, especially the newer or less frequently used ones, fall a little short of the full enjoyment of the piece. The tone is captured, and the washed-up, grimy sense of a post everything Cybertron works well - as might Caminus - but sometimes it really does jar a little.

Transformers News: IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review
Not as successful


The lettering does work quite well, even so, and Tom B. Long demonstrates once more the craft of a good letterer in some great sound effects and speech modifications. And While we have seen the beautiful Casey Coller/Joana Lafuente regular Menasor cover, and Ramondelli's poster variant for B, the gem of the variants is undoubtedly Sara Pitre-Durocher's Menasor and Swindle - see the thumbnail!


Thoughts
Spoilerish ahead

Being able to follow what is going on on Cybertron from Swindle's perspective is, in and of itself, a treat. Seeing the world how he sees it and through those purple eyes, with the cynicism, degrees of naivete and, well, Swindle attitude, is truly refreshing. We get all of that, plus some very good interactions, and a great cameo from the Lost Light, too.

Transformers News: IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review
Heh


If this what we are to expect from the crossover event, and the merging of Barber and Scott's plotting minds, then we're certainly in for a fun trip down six or so issues. Combiner Wars is playing on multiple angles without, so far, reaching too far out to be forced to justify the number of players, has a healthy dose of Swindle and Starscream, and is suitable for anyone under or over the age of Galvatron.

. :CON: :CON: :CON: :CON: ½ out of :CON: :CON: :CON: :CON: :CON:

Credit(s): IDW, Va'al


This article was last modified on Wednesday, March 18th, 2015 7:59am CDT

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Re: IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review (1664071)
Posted by Randomhero on March 18th, 2015 @ 10:17am CDT
Good solid issue! I enjoyed it a lot. Only gripe was art, always enjoyed Livio in the past but as time goes on I see what other see. Everything is very flat, no depth and the awful photoshop filtered landscapes. Still rather have him on than Pat or Don ever again though
Re: IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review (1664098)
Posted by budmaloney on March 18th, 2015 @ 11:16am CDT
I liked this issue. We finally get to see Caminus. The art was ok, it's dark and I think it is suitable for the CW intro. I just felt things were moving a bit too fast. And lots of narration and retelling of old events. I know it's retelling for the new readers, but perhaps this issue should have been stand alone along side RID and MTME. So hopefully #2 should be next week?
Re: IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review (1664104)
Posted by ScottyP on March 18th, 2015 @ 12:03pm CDT
I thought this issue was a lot of fun. Felt lighthearted somehow, even with some of the doom and gloom about. Swindle being the focal point of the narrative was great, he's just so Swindle in this issue.

The explanations for some of the toy characters are spot on, as in, hey let's not take this so seriously and tell a cool, fun story. Definitely on board with what they're doing.

I agree with Va'al on the art. Really really good for the most part, but then some notable spots where I'm like uh, hey, what happened here? I know Livio does everything on the issues he's on - pencils, inks, colors, lighting - but maybe if the duties got spread around a little the quality would be better? I only say that because the odd looking parts look rushed more than anything else, like there was a deadline and erasing things to help them look better wasn't a luxury time would allow.
Re: IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review (1664116)
Posted by GuyIncognito on March 18th, 2015 @ 12:50pm CDT
Is Swindle a mini-con now? Why is he so tiny on the cover?
Re: IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review (1664121)
Posted by Shuttershock on March 18th, 2015 @ 1:16pm CDT
GuyIncognito wrote:Is Swindle a mini-con now? Why is he so tiny on the cover?


Well, he was always a bit shorter than others to my recollection, but there's also a generous amount of mass-shifting going on for combiners to be as big as they are. Otherwise you either get combiners barely bigger than regular big bots or individual members being ridiculously big compared to their leaders.
Re: IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review (1664278)
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on March 18th, 2015 @ 10:38pm CDT
I really like the fact that they made Menasor, the 1-time failed experiment of Swindle's the first offender of Combiner wars. With The engimna, I expect Superion will be up shortly and ready to rock. Also really like how Rodimus sends a shuttle with Lost Light delegates, and I bet we all know who will be on that shuttle don't we?
Just wonder if First Aid will be on that shuttle or not, considering the toy still has him a part of Defensor.

Also, considering Starscream has pulled Swindle back to his old tricks, I wonder if that means Swindle will eventually become part of one, wink wink.
Finally a question: I heard a while back in an interview that someone will be returning. Could Scrapper be resurrected to form a new Devastator and Prowl be transferred to Ultra Prime as a limb?
Re: IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review (1664312)
Posted by ZeroWolf on March 19th, 2015 @ 2:18am CDT
D-Maximus_Prime wrote:I really like the fact that they made Menasor, the 1-time failed experiment of Swindle's the first offender of Combiner wars. With The engimna, I expect Superion will be up shortly and ready to rock. Also really like how Rodimus sends a shuttle with Lost Light delegates, and I bet we all know who will be on that shuttle don't we?
Just wonder if First Aid will be on that shuttle or not, considering the toy still has him a part of Defensor.

Also, considering Starscream has pulled Swindle back to his old tricks, I wonder if that means Swindle will eventually become part of one, wink wink.
Finally a question: I heard a while back in an interview that someone will be returning. Could Scrapper be resurrected to form a new Devastator and Prowl be transferred to Ultra Prime as a limb?

I doubt it somewhat as solitcs for future issues reveal that First Aid is indeed with the protectorbots (along with a couple of others like Cyclonus), and prowl...yeah he's not combining with prime anytime soon and it's more likely that bumblebee will be resurrected.

Just because it happens in toys doesn't mean the comics will follow suite ;)
Re: IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review (1664365)
Posted by Umbra on March 19th, 2015 @ 9:02am CDT
I liked the cameo by Rodimus, Ultra Magnus, and Megs and it would only make sense story wise that they send the protectobots as their representatives, as I think all of them are on the Lost Light, though it doesn't seem wise to be that they would give up their chief medical officer in training. Given the size they've portrayed Swindle at, I wonder if we might seem him downgraded in size, and be a legends class like Groove, with a new bot taking a limb position.
Re: IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review (1664433)
Posted by padfoo on March 19th, 2015 @ 2:17pm CDT
I cant wait to read the whole Combiner wars saga, pretty interesting lead up so far.
Re: IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review (1665527)
Posted by SW's SilverHammer on March 22nd, 2015 @ 3:40pm CDT
Today; I tunes issued a 3 page preview for Windblade Volume 2 #1. This issue is part of the combiner wars crossover, and takes place directly after The Transformers (formerly Robots in disguise) #39: Opening Salvo. Windblade volume: 2 Issue 1 is scheduled for release on 03/25/15.
Image
Image
Image
I soooo wanna see machine wars starscream done in Sarah Stones art style.
Re: IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review (1665579)
Posted by ZeroWolf on March 22nd, 2015 @ 5:54pm CDT
Surely you mean issue 39 :p things are starting to heat up
Re: IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review (1665581)
Posted by SW's SilverHammer on March 22nd, 2015 @ 5:57pm CDT
ZeroWolf wrote:Surely you mean issue 39 :p things are starting to heat up

Happy?
Re: IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review (1665586)
Posted by ZeroWolf on March 22nd, 2015 @ 6:04pm CDT
Indeed :) though I wish these previews went a little bit further
Re: IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review (1665741)
Posted by Va'al on March 23rd, 2015 @ 4:52am CDT
The next chapter in the IDW Transformers crossover event between the Transformers ongoing and the return of Windblade in an all-new series has been previewed by iTunes in the usual short short sneak peek - and mirrored below thanks to a tip from Seibertronian SW's Silverhammer; check them out!

THE WAR BEGINS! The first strike in COMBINER WARS is against WINDBLADE’S homeworld—and she’s not happy about it! Her long- lost CYBERTRONIAN colony is found… and the only thing that can protect it is SUPERION.


Image

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Re: IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review (1665753)
Posted by ZeroWolf on March 23rd, 2015 @ 5:48am CDT
I wonder, is that a new body for Swindle?
Re: IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review (1665761)
Posted by Nemesis Maximo on March 23rd, 2015 @ 6:13am CDT
"Mah nam ish Shwindl, an dish ish mah combinator."

IDK why, but that's what I imagine Swindle saying right now.
Re: IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review (1665764)
Posted by Va'al on March 23rd, 2015 @ 6:33am CDT
ZeroWolf wrote:I wonder, is that a new body for Swindle?


Image

Looks like a Cybertronian reworking of the Figueroa/Costa version - and one that may have featured already in the previous Windblade series. The only issues is that all the angles that he's drawn in, we never really see the full body design. So definitely maybe.

Image
Re: IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review (1665766)
Posted by Optimizzy on March 23rd, 2015 @ 6:43am CDT
The "Commander" reminds me of Prime Dreadwing
Re: IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review (1665768)
Posted by Nemesis Maximo on March 23rd, 2015 @ 6:58am CDT
Optimizzy wrote:The "Commander" reminds me of Prime Dreadwing

Same here, but that head is something else entirely.
Re: IDW The Transformers #39 Combiner Wars: Opening Salvo Review (1665797)
Posted by jaws on March 23rd, 2015 @ 8:48am CDT
I want to see the next page after Swindle reveals his identity, I see Menasor.

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