IDW Transformers #12 Review

Transformers News: IDW Transformers #12 Review

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019 8:45PM CDT

Categories: Comic Book News, Reviews
Posted by: william-james88   Views: 16,051

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A Bold New Era. Of Loneliness.
A Review of Transformers #12 and a Check-in On The "Bold New Era" After 12 Issues

Some Spoilers Were Unavoidable

Transformers News: IDW Transformers #12 Review


IDW brought Transformers comics in a whole new spotlight starting with "Chaos Theory", followed by the "Death of Optimus Prime" and two new titles giving fans a wider breadth of the lore in a post war world. It brought a lot of fans into the fold. Roughly eight years have since passed, time marched on, fans slowly left through attrition and another completely fresh relaunch happened.

Now six months in, how's it been going? Well, Transformers fans are discussing X-Men comics instead and some of us aren't even really X-Men fans.

Since part of the goal here is to review Transformers #12, let's do that. The dialogue can get really grating in it's unnatural feel with lines like "We do not need to take this home with us. Home. If that is what it still is. We'll find out, I suppose." which feels more like it was written by Thundercracker for one of his films. Then there are just really excruciating sentences to read, filled to the brim with boredom, like these panels.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers #12 Review


Everything isn't terrible, because seeing more Nautica is welcome and it's very fun to see Road Rage at all, in any capacity. Outside of a couple of fun interactions they're either world-building through exposition or doing just enough token actions to move the issue's "chase" plot forward. Ultimately, they're chasing an alien who planted a bomb, which is very similar to the oversimplified notions of radicalized insurgents we see in other fiction when trying to mirror aspects of the war on terror.

This brief interaction with an alien species reminds me of a problem that plagues the series and the various side plots dealing with alien/organic species and their politics. Why would we care about Transformers playing tightrope politics with random space aliens? We might if there were characters of said races helping out the Transformers or in direct conflict with them as a means of framing some wider message about expansionism or xenophobia or just the wonders of the unknown. This series really wants you to think it's doing that, even going out of its way with the first page of this issue being an info dump on random space alien species and some of the boring political climate surrounding them (now I know what those people felt when given reading material before seeing David Lynch's Dune on the big screen). However, the fact that little time is spent with the aliens overall make them feel more like a nuisance to the story rather than complimenting it.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers #12 Review


What was enjoyable though was the notion that all mechanical creations have a mind, some are simply more basic than others and Nautica interacting with a bomb was probably the highlight of the issue. That complimented the Transformers mythos.

The goal of this issue seemed to be to introduce Nautica and Road Rage as a pair, not necessarily a romantic one, and it continues a general theme that's echoed throughout this series of recapturing the idea from the previous comics of fun relationships some bots have with eachother, without yet producing anything truly great. None of the pairs or interactions here are even close to Megatron and Rodimus from the previous series, for instance. Instead, with the partnerships we have seen, like Orion Pax and Megatron, Bumblebee and Windblade, Prowl and Chromia, the characters can be switched at random and aside from the change in political status (oh joy!) there would be little change to how they act with eachother.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers #12 Review


For once I have no issues with the art. Sara Pitre-Durocher is on art duties here and she gives us a wonderful looking issue. She did a great job without a lot to work with. Colourist Joana Lafuente complimented the line art perfectly and all bots look as they should. I really like seeing the Road Rage MP toy used as a basis here for a smoother design and Nautica looks as great as you'd hope with her being the star of the issue.

The covers are easily the best part of this issue, they all look phenomenal. The main cover is handled by Alex Milne. The other covers are handled by Andrew Griffith and Jeffrey Veregge. You can also find all the cover images, full credits for the issue and a list of all the characters that appear in the book through our Vector Sigma Database page for Transformers #12.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers #12 Review


Verdict


The issue wasn't terrible but there was nothing in it I cared much for aside from the way the characters were drawn and that bit about all mechanical beings/inventions able to talk to eachother at a basic level. It made me appreciate how good my fridge has been to me, always being on the task, keeping my food cold and bacteria free.

Final Score - Transformers #12
. :CON: :CON:
out of
:CON: :CON: :CON: :CON: :CON:


The part that really works against this issue though is that it's technically an arc closer. Yeah, it doesn't feel like it in the slightest and will make for an odd first trade/hardcover, but that's what IDW chose to do. This makes it an odd issue to use to look back on the run so far, though I did try to cover that in my review. In the end, I am not enjoying this series much. The Transformers civil war offered us some great moments, the post war stories were on another level, but this pre war stuff is the most boring run I have ever read in any comic. And I worked in a comic store for years, reading everything I could. None of it is outrageously bad though, just uneventful and unengaging and I am not sure if that is worse or not.

Score So Far- Transformers #1-12
(This ignores individual review scores)
. :CON: :CON:
out of
:CON: :CON: :CON: :CON: :CON:

Do better.


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Re: IDW Transformers #12 Review (2038884)
Posted by snavej on September 19th, 2019 @ 6:42am CDT
At least they're interacting with other species in different ways than usual. You'd expect them to do that if they don't have a non-interference policy.
Re: IDW Transformers #12 Review (2038889)
Posted by ScottyP on September 19th, 2019 @ 9:23am CDT
Ironhidensh wrote:
ScottyP wrote:Big day for comics tomorrow. Death's Head 3, Aero 3 and House of X 4, gonna be a fun day. Wish there were good robot comics to mention.

Actually, it was House of X #5, and it was a doosey.
Ah, right, yes. And it was extremely good. I wanted something like this from the TF relaunch :'( Subversions of the familiar, clever twisty-twists, nods and deep cut references to the past that don't interfere with newbies' enjoyment (like Storm/Jean Grey in HoX 5, I got the point fine from just context and later saw online what it was referencing, which I was totally unfamiliar with.)

Also Death's Head 3 had plenty of robot stuff, just not Cybertronian robot stuff, so I was wrong on that point too :lol:
Re: IDW Transformers #12 Review (2038892)
Posted by william-james88 on September 19th, 2019 @ 9:36am CDT
ScottyP wrote:
Ironhidensh wrote:
ScottyP wrote:Big day for comics tomorrow. Death's Head 3, Aero 3 and House of X 4, gonna be a fun day. Wish there were good robot comics to mention.

Actually, it was House of X #5, and it was a doosey.
Ah, right, yes. And it was extremely good. I wanted something like this from the TF relaunch :'( Subversions of the familiar, clever twisty-twists, nods and deep cut references to the past that don't interfere with newbies' enjoyment (like Storm/Jean Grey in HoX 5, I got the point fine from just context and later saw online what it was referencing, which I was totally unfamiliar with.)

Also Death's Head 3 had plenty of robot stuff, just not Cybertronian robot stuff, so I was wrong on that point too :lol:


About the X-Men, what arcs/runs from the past 5 years would one have to read to best be prepared for this current House of X crossover?
Re: IDW Transformers #12 Review (2038893)
Posted by Comic_27 on September 19th, 2019 @ 9:36am CDT
Plot Twist: The previous universe didn't end - "A Bold New Era" is actually just Thundercracker making a Transformers movie despite not know what people were actually doing, so He's trying his best with what he can.



(Even if the previous universe DID end, it wouldn't really matter. Actually, it might make things better, since the Lost Light can jump between universes. Who knows? Maybe this "Bold New Era" is taking place in the new universe we saw in Lost Light #25.)
Re: IDW Transformers #12 Review (2038895)
Posted by AcademyofDrX on September 19th, 2019 @ 9:45am CDT
I would adore the TF equivalent of HoX/PoX, but I don't think that's a realistic standard. The X-Men wing of the Marvel universe as much more narrative history and depth than TF's, so there is a lot for the creators to build on. There may be six million years of Cybertronian history, but most of it is just "war" or "peace."

I understand and sympathise with the criticisms, but I don't think Ruckley et al get enough credit for the amount of worldbuilding they are doing in a relatively short amount of time. Elements of Cybertronian social structure are directly inherited from earlier incarnations, but unified Cybertron's domestic political history and approach to intergalactic diplomacy are almost entirely new. It's very hard to dramatize those ideas in just a dozen issues of a 30-page comic book.

I guess my view is that it's fair to criticize the series for what it's not doing well, largely by design; however, I also want to praise it for what it's trying to do, even if it doesn't always succeed.
Re: IDW Transformers #12 Review (2038896)
Posted by AcademyofDrX on September 19th, 2019 @ 9:54am CDT
william-james88 wrote:About the X-Men, what arcs/runs from the past 5 years would one have to read to best be prepared for this current House of X crossover?

You didn't ask me, but my recommendation would be to start with the 2013-2015 Uncanny X-Men series written by Brian Michael Bendis. The tone is similar, and many of its characters are integral to the new series. That ran for 3 years.

It's outside of your timeframe criteria, but I strongly encourage you to read New X-Men written by Grant Morrison. That series came out in 2001-2004, and it is the strongest inspiration for what Hickman is doing. There are many individual scenes in HoX/PoX that directly homage it, and the new book's use of time in its narrative structure mirrors the end of the Morrison run.

New X-Men is also the best X-Men series in its history, and its 4-year continuous story is one of the best in modern superhero comics generally.
Re: IDW Transformers #12 Review (2038897)
Posted by AcademyofDrX on September 19th, 2019 @ 10:00am CDT
I want to talk about this a lot more. If anyone would like it, I can put together a HoX / PoX readers' guide with recommended reading and other background over in the General Discussion forum. I really love this book.
Re: IDW Transformers #12 Review (2038899)
Posted by william-james88 on September 19th, 2019 @ 10:24am CDT
AcademyofDrX wrote:It's outside of your timeframe criteria, but I strongly encourage you to read New X-Men written by Grant Morrison. That series came out in 2001-2004, and it is the strongest inspiration for what Hickman is doing. There are many individual scenes in HoX/PoX that directly homage it, and the new book's use of time in its narrative structure mirrors the end of the Morrison run.

New X-Men is also the best X-Men series in its history, and its 4-year continuous story is one of the best in modern superhero comics generally.

Oh dont you worry about that, I know that series quite well and agree with you (Mark Silvestri drawing Wolverin doing Tai Chi is probably the greatest thing I have ever seen). Glad to know aspects are coming back. The last think I read was Avengers vs X-Men and I kinda stopped after that.
Re: IDW Transformers #12 Review (2038900)
Posted by william-james88 on September 19th, 2019 @ 10:25am CDT
AcademyofDrX wrote:I want to talk about this a lot more. If anyone would like it, I can put together a HoX / PoX readers' guide with recommended reading and other background over in the General Discussion forum. I really love this book.

Sure, that sounds fun.
Re: IDW Transformers #12 Review (2038903)
Posted by AcademyofDrX on September 19th, 2019 @ 11:27am CDT
I think I'm about two years behind, and I don't think I've been missing anything in HoX. That Bendis UXM run isn't mandatory, but I do think it will help. It was the series immediately after AvX.
Re: IDW Transformers #12 Review (2038904)
Posted by ScottyP on September 19th, 2019 @ 12:08pm CDT
AcademyofDrX wrote:I would adore the TF equivalent of HoX/PoX, but I don't think that's a realistic standard.
But it's what reading RiD and MTMTE was like, to me, so I think it's completely fair. Doesn't have to be two books or two narratives, I'm hoping for better plotting with a long-game in mind that uses its characters wisely while making the reader care or at least empathize with them so when confluct occurs it has impact.

One of the best moments in this run has been Rubble's death (ignoring the 'meh' art in that scene) because Rubble was built up and like him or not, he meant something to the story. Nothing's filled that void since and I think that's where I turned from enjoying the series with some quibbles to being incomprehensibly bored by it.

AcademyofDrX wrote:
william-james88 wrote:About the X-Men, what arcs/runs from the past 5 years would one have to read to best be prepared for this current House of X crossover?

You didn't ask me, but my recommendation would be to start with the 2013-2015 Uncanny X-Men series written by Brian Michael Bendis. The tone is similar, and many of its characters are integral to the new series. That ran for 3 years.
Good info, thanks! I have gone into it blindly. I watched the cartoon some in the 90s and read some of the books then but nothing too deep. PoX has been pretty confusing for me but only from the standpoint of not knowing who most of the characters are. The wider plot is still very clear, or at least feels as clear as it could be since I think some of it being muddy is the point. Anyway yeah I'll go look for that other thread ;)^
Re: IDW Transformers #12 Review (2038906)
Posted by AllNewSuperRobot on September 19th, 2019 @ 12:27pm CDT
william-james88 wrote:About the X-Men, what arcs/runs from the past 5 years would one have to read to best be prepared for this current House of X crossover?


Important to note: It isn't a crossover, it is a reboot.

New X-Men By Grant Morrison
Phoenix Endsong (redundant now)
Astonishing X-Men By Joss Whedon

Secondary X-Books:
Uncanny X-Force by Rick Remender
X-Men Legacy by Si Spurrier
X-Factor by Peter David

Essentially those are the only runs of the past 19 years you need to be aware of.

Jonathan Hickman is using lore far older and more relevant than anything Bendis wasted pages with. HoX/Po10 is actually refreshingly self contained. It also better depicted a reboot in the respective first issues of HoX & Po10, than IDW 2.0 has managed in 12.
Re: IDW Transformers #12 Review (2038907)
Posted by sol magnus on September 19th, 2019 @ 12:29pm CDT
ScottyP wrote:Good info, thanks! I have gone into it blindly. I watched the cartoon some in the 90s and read some of the books then but nothing too deep. PoX has been pretty confusing for me but only from the standpoint of not knowing who most of the characters are. The wider plot is still very clear, or at least feels as clear as it could be since I think some of it being muddy is the point. Anyway yeah I'll go look for that other thread ;)^


As aghast as I am to be talking about X-Men in a Transformers comic thread, what I will say for X-Men is it's being written by Jonathan Hickman. I'm not the greatest X-Men fan in the world, but I only barely resisted getting this story simply because Hickman was attached to it.
Re: IDW Transformers #12 Review (2038911)
Posted by william-james88 on September 19th, 2019 @ 1:01pm CDT
AllNewSuperRobot wrote:
william-james88 wrote:About the X-Men, what arcs/runs from the past 5 years would one have to read to best be prepared for this current House of X crossover?


Important to note: It isn't a crossover, it is a reboot.


Wait, what? So like nothing that happened before is cannon to this series? Prof X never had his brain inserted in red skull? Phoenix didn't die? No Emma and Cyclops telepathic affair? Scarlet Witch never said No More Mutants?

Also Scotty, if you never read X-Men, then yeah new X-Men by Grant Morrison followed by Astonishing X-Men by Joss Whedon is all you need. And X-Force by Remender is fun if you like Wolverine and stories of preventing the apocalypse.
Re: IDW Transformers #12 Review (2038916)
Posted by AllNewSuperRobot on September 19th, 2019 @ 2:26pm CDT
william-james88 wrote:
AllNewSuperRobot wrote:
william-james88 wrote:About the X-Men, what arcs/runs from the past 5 years would one have to read to best be prepared for this current House of X crossover?


Important to note: It isn't a crossover, it is a reboot.


Wait, what? So like nothing that happened before is cannon to this series? (1)Prof X never had his brain inserted in red skull? (2)Phoenix didn't die? (3)No Emma and Cyclops telepathic affair? (4)Scarlet Witch never said No More Mutants?


In order:

Everything is still canon, it is just not relevent.

1) Not referenced
2) Not referenced
3) Not referenced
4) Referenced in supplementary material, only.
Just like in Alan Moore's Watchman, there are prose parts to each issue of HoX/Po10. During which the big events are referenced.

One of the central characters to this story is Moira MacTaggart. So only contextual stuff related to her matters. In the past several years Phoenix, Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Cyclops have died. There is no mention of this or their resurrections.

There is even a bit of shade thrown over the past few years of X-Men books. Wherein the era is described as "the lost decade" :lol:
Re: IDW Transformers #12 Review (2038918)
Posted by AcademyofDrX on September 19th, 2019 @ 2:27pm CDT
AllNewSuperRobot wrote:
william-james88 wrote:About the X-Men, what arcs/runs from the past 5 years would one have to read to best be prepared for this current House of X crossover?


Important to note: It isn't a crossover, it is a reboot.

New X-Men By Grant Morrison
Phoenix Endsong (redundant now)
Astonishing X-Men By Joss Whedon

Secondary X-Books:
Uncanny X-Force by Rick Remender
X-Men Legacy by Si Spurrier
X-Factor by Peter David

Essentially those are the only runs of the past 19 years you need to be aware of.

Jonathan Hickman is using lore far older and more relevant than anything Bendis wasted pages with. HoX/Po10 is actually refreshingly self contained. It also better depicted a reboot in the respective first issues of HoX & Po10, than IDW 2.0 has managed in 12.


FWIW I vouch for all of these stories. I think Whedon's run is overrated, but a lot of people like it, and I understand why.

And I agree the heavy lore is much older than Bendis, but for better or for worse Bendis is a part of it. Based on Hickman's statements, I would bet he called Bendis to talk about using some of his characters. Plus you can't overlook the invocation of "House of M" in the title.

I've been grumpy about the ending of that series for a decade, but Hickman's found a way to almost justify it.
Re: IDW Transformers #12 Review (2038919)
Posted by AllNewSuperRobot on September 19th, 2019 @ 2:35pm CDT
Everything right back to the 60's series is a 'part' of X-Men lore. But, unlike most other stuff, everything Bendis did has been unceremoniously swept under the rug since. Rightly so, as it is was a blight.

The equivalent of the McCarthy run of IDWverse.
Re: IDW Transformers #12 Review (2038921)
Posted by william-james88 on September 19th, 2019 @ 2:44pm CDT
AllNewSuperRobot wrote:
In order:

Everything is still canon, it is just not relevent.

1) Not referenced
2) Not referenced
3) Not referenced
4) Referenced in supplementary material, only.
Just like in Alan Moore's Watchman, there are prose parts to each issue of HoX/Po10. During which the big events are referenced.

One of the central characters to this story is Moira MacTaggart. So only contextual stuff related to her matters. In the past several years Phoenix, Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Cyclops have died. There is no mention of this or their resurrections.

There is even a bit of shade thrown over the past few years of X-Men books. Wherein the era is described as "the lost decade" :lol:


yeah that does feel like a reboot alright, or at least so much as can be accepted when still being within the larger Marvel universe (which I assume it is). Man, this sucks in a way since a friend of mine just lent me all the X-Men comics I missed in the past 6 years and it all feels like a waste now when I could simply be reading these issues instead.

AcademyofDrX wrote:
FWIW I vouch for all of these stories. I think Whedon's run is overrated, but a lot of people like it, and I understand why.

And I agree the heavy lore is much older than Bendis, but for better or for worse Bendis is a part of it. Based on Hickman's statements, I would bet he called Bendis to talk about using some of his characters. Plus you can't overlook the invocation of "House of M" in the title.

I've been grumpy about the ending of that series for a decade, but Hickman's found a way to almost justify it.


It is overrated, but only because it was heralded as the best x-men comic of all time (even winning the award for best comic series that year). It has my favourite Cyclops story/moment though.

Also, while New X-Men was great, there is an added element of familiarity to Joss Whedon's team and costumes, which inspires good times. Also the art is more cohesive. Some of the art in New X-Men is really bad.

And yes, the fact that this new serie's name is a rather big reference to House of M simply made me assume that there was a connection there.

About Hickman, while I absolutely adored some of his work (FF), his later avengers stuff got really tedious. I could have really done without that meandering story where a not justice league come in.
Re: IDW Transformers #12 Review (2038922)
Posted by william-james88 on September 19th, 2019 @ 2:47pm CDT
AllNewSuperRobot wrote:Everything right back to the 60's series is a 'part' of X-Men lore. But, unlike most other stuff, everything Bendis did has been unceremoniously swept under the rug since. Rightly so, as it is was a blight.

The equivalent of the McCarthy run of IDWverse.

I wasn't a huge fan of what I read, but fraction was worse for me. Really hated those Greg Land Uncanny issues where nothing of substance happened.
Re: IDW Transformers #12 Review (2038925)
Posted by AllNewSuperRobot on September 19th, 2019 @ 2:54pm CDT
Astonishing had two things going for it. The best written Cyclops of at least the past 20 years and the ending arc, "Unstoppable", is one of the best X-Men stories ever.

william-james88 wrote:
AllNewSuperRobot wrote:Everything right back to the 60's series is a 'part' of X-Men lore. But, unlike most other stuff, everything Bendis did has been unceremoniously swept under the rug since. Rightly so, as it is was a blight.

The equivalent of the McCarthy run of IDWverse.

I wasn't a huge fan of what I read, but fraction was worse for me. Really hated those Greg Land Uncanny issues where nothing of substance happened.



You'll note I compared Bendis to McCarthy, not Costa... ;)

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