IDW The Transformers #56 Review #TitansReturn

IDW The Transformers #56 Review #TitansReturn

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016 3:29am CDT

Categories: Comic Book News, Reviews, Site Articles
Posted by: Va'al   Views: 31,495

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MAKE CYBERTRON GREAT AGAIN
(Spoiler free-ish)



Synopsis
TITANS RETURN! Following the literally-Earth-shattering events of last issue… OPTIMUS PRIME establishes a new base of operations—AUTOBOT CITY! Its first visitor: a newly-revived SENTINEL PRIME, who sees a potential ally in OPTIMUS.

Transformers News: IDW The Transformers #56 Review #TitansReturn
Gotta four cheeses pizza fer 'im


Story

Despite the distribution and release mix-up, meaning that this issue - which directly follows the Titans Return one-shot - is coming out after More than Meets the Eye #56, and the unclarity with which the whole Titans Return event is supposed to be ordered (apparently it's both TF then MTMTE, but also TF-MTMTE-TF-MTMTE; I know, I don't get it either): we're here! New issue! Backstory! Saltinel Prime!

Transformers News: IDW The Transformers #56 Review #TitansReturn
Alpha Trion doing bad impressions of Rorschach!


We have been introduced to the newly resurfaced, orange-clad, extremist view-holding, weapon-toting, supremacist, belligerent candida-- ex-ruler of Cybertron, and we get to see more of the joy he brings to the galaxy in this issue - but with actual plot and plan and details. And violence. I am not rooting for him, in any way, but there is a perverse enjoyment in seeing how ruthless John Barber is playing him, and wondering how the story will develop - even with the knowledge of MTMTE 56.

Transformers News: IDW The Transformers #56 Review #TitansReturn
Er.. there are a number of ruthless characters, yes


That does come to the detriment of pretty much everyone else involved, with Optimus Prime and Soundwave forced to have a tete-à-tete with the orange (but also black) tyrannical egomaniac, Arcee facing him head-on, and Alpha Trion ultimately headed elsewhere. While we're at it, we also make sure continuity and characters are kept and established, with (arguably) secondary characters such as Kup, the Victorion team, Jetfire and others, used fairly well in the mix, all considered.

Transformers News: IDW The Transformers #56 Review #TitansReturn
o hai Sideswipe


The book also quite loudly sets the stage for the upcoming Revolution event, though how successfully it does that is yet to be seen. The story does make sense, yes, but it takes a lot of suspension of belief and some 'let's see'-ing efforts, with the introduction of some of the characters and plot points that will play a major part later, apparently, such as Blitzwing (as we saw in the Revolution prelude) and *other things*.

Art

We have Livio Ramondelli on art duties again, after the Titans Return introduction, and still rocking the new visual direction he's had in these later books. There is clarity in line purpose, good layout on the page and within the panels, and one particularly amusing detail on the body of Ego-Lord Infinitus: the giant screw in his chest. (There's a particularly dynamic panel too, but it's a fairly big spoiler for this review. Screw it is.)

Transformers News: IDW The Transformers #56 Review #TitansReturn
Anyone else loving this?


He also takes the colour control on the art side, as is customary, and there's a really intriguing palette at work here, with a lot of orange (mainly down to Sentinel and his ego, but not entirely), reds, blues, but also some ominous and significant purple, paired with nice light/dark effects and alternate light-sources, too.

Transformers News: IDW The Transformers #56 Review #TitansReturn
Good lighting, here


Tom B. Long is tirelessly still taking care of the lettering for the book, and playing with some good fonting as Ramondelli's style allows for it, plus giving some distinctive voices to the ever-growing cast and communication devices - helpful, really, in this sort of situation! As for the covers, the main Ramondelli one shows a bit of Prime-on-Prime action, and a potential consequence found in the Casey Coller and Joana Lafuente wonderfully scaled variant, but I chose Kei Zama and Josh Burcham's (arguably) MVP art for the thumbnail, for a taste of the post-revolution style too.


Thoughts
Spoilerish ahead

Barber is somehow able to bring together the last strands of the storylines happening in The Tranformers, and the beginning of the new line starting with Revolution, while at the same time creating two separate paths that can be used at will - an impressive feat, that borrows heavily from the work he has established in the TFverse since his first involvement (writerly and editorial), and a sign of skill, undoubtedly.

Transformers News: IDW The Transformers #56 Review #TitansReturn
Been there, man


The resulting effect, in my opinion at least and with the help of the visual work from Ramondelli and Long, is a highly enjoyable issue: good pacing, good continuity, good character use, good referencing to previous stories and hinting at new ones/their continuation, good interactions in a very big cast, and one that does not seem to be decreasing any time soon. Good read.

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

Credit(s): IDW, Dr Va'al


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Re: IDW The Transformers #56 Review #TitansReturn (1820284)
Posted by Carnivius_Prime on August 31st, 2016 @ 6:52am CDT
I don't like IDW's TF comics much (I even gave them another chance with Sins of the Wreckers which I didn't enjoy and more recently Titans Return ..which.. I haven't made it passt halfway yet cos I just didn't like it at all and bought cos I've been buying some of the TR figs). However that Soundwave and Prime cover is fantastic.
Re: IDW The Transformers #56 Review #TitansReturn (1820287)
Posted by Va'al on August 31st, 2016 @ 7:05am CDT
Carnivius_Prime wrote:...that Soundwave and Prime cover is fantastic.


And that will be the art for the Optimus ongoing! :DANCE:
Re: IDW The Transformers #56 Review #TitansReturn (1820311)
Posted by 1984forever on August 31st, 2016 @ 8:23am CDT
It's taken me a very long time, but now I finally get what Idw is doing.

They ended the war and sidelined or killed almost everyone so they can have just a few Transformers running around like the X-Men handling little threats that pop up. The current line up consists of Optimus, Soundwave, Arcee, Kup, Jazz and Jetfire vs Sentinel Prime who is the villain of the arc. I was about to say the "Magneto" of the arc, but that distinction belongs to Megatron over in MTMTE. We've seen it before. The big bad joins the heroes, which in this case is the Autobots, and takes over the Lost Light just like Magneto took over Xavier's school back in Uncanny X-Men #200. The writers at Idw don't want to write about Transformers, they want to write Superhero books.

That being said, TF #56 is horrible. I keep seeing Scarlett and Roadblock, so I'm going to assume that the same thing that happened to the TF titles happened to GI Joe and the team has been boiled down to just a few Joes. And those Joes were ineffectual against Transformers as many readers have already predicted.

If you haven't already bought this issue, don't. Borrow a copy or read it off of a friends account. The best part of the book has already been shown in the previews.
Re: IDW The Transformers #56 Review #TitansReturn (1820312)
Posted by Kurona on August 31st, 2016 @ 8:26am CDT
1984forever wrote:They ended the war and sidelined or killed almost everyone so they can have just a few Transformers running around like the X-Men handling little threats that pop up.

Did... I miss something major? Because unless I'm forgetting something off the top of my head, the only main deaths in IDW's current run (aside from MTMTE) are Shockwave, Bumblebee and Galvatron. And there were a few years between the former two and the latter. Certainly doesn't strike me as 'almost everyone'.
Re: IDW The Transformers #56 Review #TitansReturn (1820321)
Posted by ScottyP on August 31st, 2016 @ 8:49am CDT
Outside of GI Joe being, essentially, a pointless Job Squad, I really liked this issue.

[Jest and sarcasm follows]Actually, has GI Joe ever been anything besides a pointless Job Squad? :-? We should give Michael Bay that franchise so it can be great again.
Re: IDW The Transformers #56 Review #TitansReturn (1820333)
Posted by Targetmaster Kup on August 31st, 2016 @ 9:36am CDT
ScottyP wrote:Outside of GI Joe being, essentially, a pointless Job Squad, I really liked this issue.

[Jest and sarcasm follows]Actually, has GI Joe ever been anything besides a pointless Job Squad? :-? We should give Michael Bay that franchise so it can be great again.


And then he'll make us pay for it.
Re: IDW The Transformers #56 Review #TitansReturn (1820339)
Posted by Va'al on August 31st, 2016 @ 10:04am CDT
Kurona wrote:Did... I miss something major? Because unless I'm forgetting something off the top of my head, the only main deaths in IDW's current run (aside from MTMTE) are Shockwave, Bumblebee and Galvatron. And there were a few years between the former two and the latter. Certainly doesn't strike me as 'almost everyone'.


Metalhawk!

Terribull!

Turbofoxes!

That's almost everyone, right?
Re: IDW The Transformers #56 Review #TitansReturn (1820341)
Posted by 1984forever on August 31st, 2016 @ 10:08am CDT
Kurona wrote:
1984forever wrote:They ended the war and sidelined or killed almost everyone so they can have just a few Transformers running around like the X-Men handling little threats that pop up.

Did... I miss something major? Because unless I'm forgetting something off the top of my head, the only main deaths in IDW's current run (aside from MTMTE) are Shockwave, Bumblebee and Galvatron. And there were a few years between the former two and the latter. Certainly doesn't strike me as 'almost everyone'.
You missed the word "sidelined".

People who want to say that a big cast like we had in the G1 cartoon can't work in comic books should read the Dreamwave stuff. It can work. Idw can't do it though.

Back to #56. Two top members of GI Joe shoot machine guns at a Transformer. Not a Bayformer with exposed parts, but a blocky G1 styled Transformer. It's like shooting machine guns at a tank :roll: They're supposed to be an elite fighting force? :lol:
Re: IDW The Transformers #56 Review #TitansReturn (1820361)
Posted by Evil Eye on August 31st, 2016 @ 10:45am CDT
Now, what's the betting that they're gonna pull a Red Skull and try and make Sentinel Prime "evil" (read: "conservative) by having him spout "extremist" (read: "politically incorrect") viewpoints? Bonus points if it's Windblade or Original the Characters Team Victorion who ends up defeating him. Obviously it's less easy with a race of transforming alien robots where most of the factions aren't tied to real-world ideologies/races/cults or whatever, but given how unbelievably awful modern comics have become, particularly with regards to pandering to Tumblr socialists (Unsolicited opinions on Israel, anyone?)...Well, let's just say I'm beginning to feel glad I don't read the comics.

On the plus side, with all the "LOL Sentinel Prime is DONALD TRUMP ZOMG XD" memespouting going on, I'm now tempted to get a Sentinel Prime. Not TR Sentinel, because I intend to get Astrotrain, but a version of him anyway. He'll build a wall to keep the Decepticons out, and unlike recent Hasbro offerings, it won't be hollow.
Re: IDW The Transformers #56 Review #TitansReturn (1820366)
Posted by Va'al on August 31st, 2016 @ 11:03am CDT
If you seriously think someone who says things like this is a nice person, I'm not sure what else to tell you.

Image
Re: IDW The Transformers #56 Review #TitansReturn (1820376)
Posted by Evil Eye on August 31st, 2016 @ 11:34am CDT
Decepticons? Cowards? Killers? All sound pretty verminous to me. He's got my vote. You're sounding like a Tentakillary Clintron supporter! Better keep your email cassetticons locked up! :-P

(In all seriousness that's nowhere NEAR as bad as I was worried it would be. Compare that to the Red Skull, whose "evil speech" consisted of some pretty valid points about the condition of America. I am relieved...temporarily.)
Re: IDW The Transformers #56 Review #TitansReturn (1820805)
Posted by President-prime on September 1st, 2016 @ 12:53pm CDT
I really like the art style and the way Optimus looks.
Re: IDW The Transformers #56 Review #TitansReturn (1821183)
Posted by ArmadaPrime on September 2nd, 2016 @ 9:20pm CDT
Delta Magnus wrote:Compare that to the Red Skull

Forgive me if I've missed something here (and for risking getting political), as I don't particularly keep up with Marvel's current stuff, but isn't Red Skull generally depicted as a straight up Nazi? I'd say that's pretty indefensibly evil.


Regardless, personally I enjoyed this issue, though I do feel that in trying to continue on the Transformers story, introduce the Titans Return arc to the ongoing, and set up for Revolution, it felt at times like it could have just done with being a little longer, to avoid chopping and changing quite so much. I imagine that it'll read a lot better in the trades when you can run straight into the next issues. I am a bit puzzled about poor old Aplha Trion though, he'd been fairly irrelevant for essentially ages, popped up again to have some vague chats with OP on the moon full of implications and mysteriousness, which kind of implied he was going to become imminently more relevant, but then has been pretty brutally killed before he really got the chance.
I think to properly win me over, they're gonna have to really explain how titan masters work within this continuity. Is it the marvel comics method where the consciousness continues in the original head and links to the headmaster (and from what I gather, the old head could be permanently re-attached in RG1)? The japanese headmasters method, where the headmaster themselves is the only one in control, and all the bigger robots have ever been is just a powerup? Something new entirely? Because now I'm not only wondering what the whole deal is regarding Sentinel and Infinitus and whether they've always been the same person who is ultimately just a head, or if maybe Sentinel died but Infinitus as his head lived on, but I'm also thinking that maybe Trion isn't totally dead and when Blacrock/Sovreign inevitably connects to his body, Trion's memories and knowledge and so on will still be there- or maybe Sovreign always was part of Trion, or even part of Onyx Prime, as that name has just been casually dropped like it's no big deal.
Re: IDW The Transformers #56 Review #TitansReturn (1821481)
Posted by Evil Eye on September 4th, 2016 @ 8:57am CDT
ArmadaPrime wrote:
Delta Magnus wrote:Compare that to the Red Skull

Forgive me if I've missed something here (and for risking getting political), as I don't particularly keep up with Marvel's current stuff, but isn't Red Skull generally depicted as a straight up Nazi? I'd say that's pretty indefensibly evil.

I don't read the comics myself (though I do enjoy chortling at the drama surrounding them) but from what I've read, The Red Skull's big "evil" rant was basically "Society is crumbling thanks to the degeneracy of socialism, Islamic terrorism is killing our people and forcing us to live in fear, our culture is being wiped out by "multiculturalism", and if you complain about it you get accused of being a bigot. What the hell's up with that?". Which really isn't that far from the truth. Granted his solutions to these problems are pretty inexcusable, but there's no doubt Marvel screwed the pooch in attempting to make him seem villainous. Leave it to Marvel to make a Nazi's rant seem reasonable. But then this is the same company (I think) that cacked out "ZOMG DONALD TRUMP SUPERVILLAIN OLOLOLOL" and the hilariously bad Anegla: Queen of Hel (UNSOLICITED OPINIONS ON ISRAEL???).

TLDR: Modern comics f**king suck.

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