IDW Transformers #6 Review

Transformers News: IDW Transformers #6 Review

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019 10:41AM CDT

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I'm gonna free fall out into nothin'
A Review of Transformers #6

Free of any explicit spoilers, but some are implied.
Transformers News: IDW Transformers #6 Review
It's called "Free Fall" get it ha.

War Dawn. Chaos Theory. Exodus. The origins of the conflict between Optimus Prime and Megatron have been explored several times over in Transformers media with some examples being more successful and well remembered than others. For this latest iteration of the franchise in comic book form, its sixth issue looks back at the relationship between Orion Pax and Megatron before any wars have ever begun. The resulting output is a meandering exercise in unrealized potential that squashes the positive momentum carried out of the previous issue. Read on to find out more about a series quickly falling into an identity crisis.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers #6 Review
Tidal Wave's boat anchor was, sadly, not on the other end.

The ambition here is plainly visible, as throughout 20 pages, it feels like the intention was to present the history of this iteration of Orion Pax and Megatron through a dreamlike recollection of days gone by with focus on small interpersonal moments that feed the current hyper-mild tension between these two franchise icons. The first anecdotal flashback sequence really works in building up these characters and their histories, with Megatron performing physical labor while Orion incompetently tries to assist his friend. This delivers the intended impact with an easy to follow but thought out depiction of the contrast in their personalities, though it's a bit subtle at times. It also casts a lens on each of their ambitions but remains rooted in just enough of who you already think these characters are. It was a great way to start out the flashback story that worked well within the medium of a comic book.

Then the problems really ramp up.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers #6 Review
Some of the layouts were, yes sir.

The second scene trying to do the same thing loses itself in an attempted spectacle that would probably look phenomenal in an animated medium, being set on a fantastical location on Cybertron's moon that allows for a metaphorical representation of Orion and Megatron's friendship to be presented. The visual presentation here didn't work for me and while I think the intended message is conveyed, it's delivered in a way that ultimately lacked a real emotional impact. Things happen and words are said but the art and story are too lost in their attempt at being respectively a cartoon and novel to work. Story wise, the dialogue drives home a great bit of what while failing to convey how these characters feel about it. This is caused by an over reliance on the big picture, potential implications of these Transformers' desires and ambitions on the world around them. Said world is still fuzzy, at least to this reader, creating a missed opportunity to make the dramatic tension later implied something rooted in a (presumably just friendly) relationship and its history of interactions and misunderstanding. The story opts instead to make it about anxiety and paranoia without earning its way to that goal.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers #6 Review
Galaxy Downgrade Optimus

Visually, there are too many panels to make the setting work. One of the best shots in the series was back in issue 1 via a two-page spread near the start that made Cybertron reflect elements of wonder and mystery. A similar choice might have helped here at some point along the way, and perhaps accompanying panels at the bottom (a technique used effectively in Unicron, More Than Meets The Eye and probably hundreds of other comics) could keep the needed space for the spoken words. At least one moment almost got there with a full page visual, but it suffers from another issue that I hope isn't as present in a printed copy: while the pencils here from newcomer Bethany McGuire-Smith show an artist definitely suited for more Transformers work, the finishes look incomplete. This could have helped the story and was likely intentional, given the way in which we're taken along in Codexa's memory to view what's presented on the page, but the visual technique never quite commits to embracing any surreal enough qualities to say that for certain.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers #6 Review
Decepticon tyrant destroys Thanos with this one shocking line! Click for more!

The covers available feature an amazing Jack Lawrence and Josh Burcham piece for the "A" cover that conveys some of the emotion that the interior contents were lacking for me. Interior artist McGuire-Smith's work is seen again on the "B" cover and is featured in this review's news story thumbnail. Jeffrey Veregge provides another wonderfully imaginative "travel poster" cover for the ten copy retailer incentive option, available soon at the Seibertron eBay store along with the A cover and B cover. As previously covered, a retailer exclusive cover is also available. As always, you can also find images of all of the book's covers along with full credits for the issue in our Vector Sigma Database page for Transformers #6.

Verdict
Transformers News: IDW Transformers #6 Review
And the good girls are home with broken hearts

Just when things take a step forward, they hop back in a strange way. This issue works best after issue 3, if it had to come this early, but the main problem here might be that it was too early to tell this story as the main result is an unearned, borderline illogical decision by Orion Pax on the actions he should take moving into the future after consulting with the Transformers equivalent of the Three-Eyed Raven of all things. There's subtlety and then there's a lack of elaboration - if the tone of this review has told you anything so far, it's that I found this installment falling into the latter category more so than the former. While there are some worthwhile moments and a clearly ambitious, cared for overall effort, the execution shows a reach that exceeded its grasp, or maybe a desire to make TV instead of a comic book.

Bottom line for this reviewer: I really want to like this issue and can pick up what the creative team is possibly trying to craft, one scene in this really is good, but the crammed layouts and bone-dry dialogue are leaving me ambivalent towards the overall product.

Final Score
. :BOT: :BOT:
out of
:BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT:
Docked half a point because no one transforms again
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Re: IDW Transformers #6 Review (2022936)
Posted by Nemesis Maximo on May 29th, 2019 @ 11:32am CDT
This is making me really wish they would let James Roberts come back in with a continuation of MTMTE and Lost Light.
Re: IDW Transformers #6 Review (2022941)
Posted by Lore Keeper on May 29th, 2019 @ 12:18pm CDT
I'm still hoping they do what DC did with New 52, realize it was a mistake, and revive the original continuity. I was willing to give the new series a fair shot, but it continues to pale in comparison to what came before. I used to look forward to comic book day, now I just pick these up out of a sense of obligation to keep up with the lore.
Re: IDW Transformers #6 Review (2022952)
Posted by sol magnus on May 29th, 2019 @ 1:10pm CDT
So I read the issue. I didn't want to rely on the reviewer (as is normal, no offense to any reviewer).

Honestly, I think the rehashed nature of the roles and interplay of Optimus Prime and Megatron as "sort of friends", as we've seen since the Aligned continuity may just be something most people are going to say "been there, done that" about without judging the current work on it's own merits - just within that context.

While this OP / Megatron relationship has the same general form as what Hasbro seemingly wants that relationship to be, it doesn't have necessarily the same substance. I'm okay with that, if I'm not okay with OP/Megatron being friends and having to have known each other before they became archenemies. Optimus Prime has a lot of friends. Knows a lot of people. Doesn't mean he has to know Megatron personally. But it is what it is, so I digress.

What I probably take more issue with is just not knowing "enough" about the movings and shakings up THIS Cybertron and where that lands us. And to be fair, that's how we started with the previous continuity as well. And people complained about that. As well.

Anyway, onto the issue itself.

I didn't find the dialogue bad. I didn't find it good. I found it adequate to explain where this Orion and this Megatron find themselves. I definitely don't think the writer doesn't know the characters. Their lines are "true" to the spirit of both. Within the established and (even well worn at this point) Aligned continuity 'we-used-to-be-friends-now-we're-foes' dynamic of the two principle characters in the franchise, there's only so many permutations available to you to get them to where we know them without undue contrivance.

All the vitriol aimed at this series really kind of gives me flashbacks about the first third or so of IDW's old run. I won't (and didn't) defend those books as all awesomely written pieces of fiction, but I'm not looking for exemplary writing, I'm looking for entertaining writing. And as far as I'm concerned, the book did that. What I'm curious about is why drop this issue out "order" with issue three as some kind of interlude-ish pursuit? Rubble getting punched didn't feel exactly like something you needed to wait a month to see the results of.

Anyway - I will say :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: out of :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: for issue 6. Middling.
Re: IDW Transformers #6 Review (2022957)
Posted by Rodimus Prime on May 29th, 2019 @ 2:40pm CDT
Lore Keeper wrote:now I just pick these up out of a sense of obligation to keep up with the lore.
Sometimes it's tough to be the Lore Keeper, huh? :lol: :lol: :lol:

Anyway, I've been reading LL again, and I can't help with the comparison. I didn't (and still don't) think Roberts deserved the praise heaped on him, he was overhyped, but even his lower quality work was better than this. My main problem with this is that the story seems to be moving at a snail's pace. We were told that this series will be 12 issues initially, but so far barely anything has happened. So unless the 2nd half really kicks things into gear, this story is lost. Even so, it will be poorly paced at best. Honestly, I think it should have been different than what the Aligned continuity has given us so far, and perhaps have Orion and Megatron go back to their real roots, and be enemies from the very start, each representing a certain set of values and ideals.
Re: IDW Transformers #6 Review (2022960)
Posted by william-james88 on May 29th, 2019 @ 2:54pm CDT
Lore Keeper wrote:I'm still hoping they do what DC did with New 52, realize it was a mistake, and revive the original continuity.


I have been reading DC comics this whole time and that did not happen. They keep making that abundantly clear by showing us that some characters pasts have changed and arent coming back like Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain and so on.
Re: IDW Transformers #6 Review (2022963)
Posted by snavej on May 29th, 2019 @ 3:09pm CDT
That tether linking Cybertron and its moon is way too thin. Even made of the toughest possible material, it would soon snap. Even if the two celestial bodies were perfectly balanced in their movements, the wind would strain the connecting structure and result in failure after a few months or years. Also, one has to consider things like intense sunlight, cosmic rays and meteorites. Such 'orbital towers' are designed to reach smaller satellites, not moons. Sorry Brian! #-o /:)
Re: IDW Transformers #6 Review (2022964)
Posted by ZeroWolf on May 29th, 2019 @ 3:11pm CDT
snavej wrote:That tether linking Cybertron and its moon is way too thin. Even made of the toughest possible material, it would soon snap. Even if the two celestial bodies were perfectly balanced in their movements, the wind would strain the connecting structure and result in failure after a few months or years. Also, one has to consider things like intense sunlight, cosmic rays and meteorites. Such 'orbital towers' are designed to reach smaller satellites, not moons. Sorry Brian! #-o /:)

Bah you and your physics! :-P
Re: IDW Transformers #6 Review (2022966)
Posted by Randomhero on May 29th, 2019 @ 3:31pm CDT
snavej wrote:That tether linking Cybertron and its moon is way too thin. Even made of the toughest possible material, it would soon snap. Even if the two celestial bodies were perfectly balanced in their movements, the wind would strain the connecting structure and result in failure after a few months or years. Also, one has to consider things like intense sunlight, cosmic rays and meteorites. Such 'orbital towers' are designed to reach smaller satellites, not moons. Sorry Brian! #-o /:)


They have liquid metal faces and can shape-shift their size stop pulling hairs
Re: IDW Transformers #6 Review (2022969)
Posted by David Leese on May 29th, 2019 @ 5:05pm CDT
I found Issue 6 frustrating and annoying, especially after the previous issue delivered so much momentum and plot. We have walking and talking (without the walking) and no action. I did like the extended metaphor of Megatron pushing the status quo and preferring to take things away from equilibrium- the whole scene with the moon and the free-fall away from gravitational balance. That, and the way Megatron presents a clear and well-developed argument for change.

But if all the clues were there, doesn't Orion come across as a little blind or naive?

Video review: https://youtu.be/8KdGqmiqhTk
Re: IDW Transformers #6 Review (2022971)
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on May 29th, 2019 @ 5:24pm CDT
I really enjoyed the art on the issue, but the story again felt stalled out. We had a great climax with things moving last issue, and then we take an issue off. I really wish something else had happened, or that this had been earlier in the series so this issue was the climatic one and we could move on to the next issue ready and rising
Re: IDW Transformers #6 Review (2022989)
Posted by Skritz on May 29th, 2019 @ 8:25pm CDT
I can't help but think IDW has kind of...ran out of steam and this is coming from a guy who ended up loathing where the overall universe went. But, still, let me explain. Its not that I'm bugged by yet-another-reboot. Transformers is on its what, eight-ish-and-a-half rebooted universe? What has bugged me with the current IDW crop is that its at times very bland and very safe and I'm not entirely sure how to put it into word: were they told by Hasbro to 'cut the shit and make some pretty basic stuff?'

If so, if they were indeed told and mandated to make a very basic Transformers tale then they're doing a terrible job. Each of these major reboots had their own identity: RiD was kind of experimental as it took a spinoff of G1 in Japan and made it a self contained story and the early 2000 anime dub gave it its own style. Unicron Trilog took this anime fusion to a next level even if it was gimmick-laden. Movie-verse was crude and hyper violent but it had a flair of its own. Animated was a very unique superhero team show with a young Optimus. WFC presented Aligned continuity as this rebooted G1 while Prime definitely made its own thing with sprawling mythos and references. Cyberverse itself is basically just that but in a more kid-friendly package.

This? I don't know I just don't really get any strong feelings on what this reboot is like/about. Am I crazy? Am I making sense or just rambling? It feel at times like a washed out IDW and Aligned that has all the color and unique quirks (good, bad and godawful) slightly faded and washed out.
Re: IDW Transformers #6 Review (2022992)
Posted by Lore Keeper on May 29th, 2019 @ 9:33pm CDT
Rodimus Prime wrote:Sometimes it's tough to be the Lore Keeper, huh? :lol: :lol: :lol:

Indeed. I have the hardest life. :(
Re: IDW Transformers #6 Review (2022993)
Posted by Lore Keeper on May 29th, 2019 @ 9:35pm CDT
william-james88 wrote:
Lore Keeper wrote:I'm still hoping they do what DC did with New 52, realize it was a mistake, and revive the original continuity.


I have been reading DC comics this whole time and that did not happen. They keep making that abundantly clear by showing us that some characters pasts have changed and arent coming back like Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain and so on.

From what I've seen, they merged elements of the 52 and original universes, but OG is still the dominant fiction as far as I can tell.
Re: IDW Transformers #6 Review (2022997)
Posted by Burn on May 29th, 2019 @ 11:10pm CDT
Six issues in and I'm really fucking bored with this series.

Lore Keeper wrote:
william-james88 wrote:
Lore Keeper wrote:I'm still hoping they do what DC did with New 52, realize it was a mistake, and revive the original continuity.


I have been reading DC comics this whole time and that did not happen. They keep making that abundantly clear by showing us that some characters pasts have changed and arent coming back like Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain and so on.

From what I've seen, they merged elements of the 52 and original universes, but OG is still the dominant fiction as far as I can tell.

Nope.
They've restored certain elements (mostly replacing New 52 Lois and Clark with old Lois and Clark and bringing back White Wally with vague memories of the other time line) but for the bulk of it it's still borne out of New 52.
Re: IDW Transformers #6 Review (2023010)
Posted by Randomhero on May 30th, 2019 @ 8:22am CDT
Guess it’s just me. I liked this issue a lot. I enjoy seeing the origin of these characters and their peaceful interactions and debates. I don’t care about about them shooting each other. I really like seeing Optimus and Megatron acting civil to eachother a lot.
Re: IDW Transformers #6 Review (2023011)
Posted by sol magnus on May 30th, 2019 @ 8:33am CDT
Randomhero wrote:Guess it’s just me. I liked this issue a lot. I enjoy seeing the origin of these characters and their peaceful interactions and debates. I don’t care about about them shooting each other. I really like seeing Optimus and Megatron acting civil to eachother a lot.

It's not just you. I actually enjoyed it.

I do want puncing and shooting, and yes...transforming. But all of that has to serve the story. Just like an all dialogue issue.
Re: IDW Transformers #6 Review (2023015)
Posted by william-james88 on May 30th, 2019 @ 8:53am CDT
sol magnus wrote:
Randomhero wrote:Guess it’s just me. I liked this issue a lot. I enjoy seeing the origin of these characters and their peaceful interactions and debates. I don’t care about about them shooting each other. I really like seeing Optimus and Megatron acting civil to eachother a lot.

It's not just you. I actually enjoyed it.

I do want puncing and shooting, and yes...transforming. But all of that has to serve the story. Just like an all dialogue issue.


I dont think anyone really minds all dialogue issues. The best TF comic of this millenia is an all dialogue issue : https://www.seibertron.com/transformers ... era/42653/

This comic is nowhere near a James Roberts all dialogue issue.
Re: IDW Transformers #6 Review (2023017)
Posted by Randomhero on May 30th, 2019 @ 9:13am CDT
william-james88 wrote:
sol magnus wrote:
Randomhero wrote:Guess it’s just me. I liked this issue a lot. I enjoy seeing the origin of these characters and their peaceful interactions and debates. I don’t care about about them shooting each other. I really like seeing Optimus and Megatron acting civil to eachother a lot.

It's not just you. I actually enjoyed it.

I do want puncing and shooting, and yes...transforming. But all of that has to serve the story. Just like an all dialogue issue.


I dont think anyone really minds all dialogue issues. The best TF comic of this millenia is an all dialogue issue : https://www.seibertron.com/transformers ... era/42653/

This comic is nowhere near a James Roberts all dialogue issue.



I loved the first IDW-verse. It’s my favorite fiction with transformers for 35 years and I’m not comparing this to that and I’m seeing a lot people doing that and mainly James roberts’s books but I refuse to. This is its own thing and yes it’s right after those stories but I’m not going to compare this to those. In my opinion it’s not fair to to it but I also think it’s unfair to continuously judge it till the first arc is done which is 12 issues. But that’s just me.
Re: IDW Transformers #6 Review (2023018)
Posted by sol magnus on May 30th, 2019 @ 9:53am CDT
william-james88 wrote:
sol magnus wrote:
Randomhero wrote:Guess it’s just me. I liked this issue a lot. I enjoy seeing the origin of these characters and their peaceful interactions and debates. I don’t care about about them shooting each other. I really like seeing Optimus and Megatron acting civil to eachother a lot.

It's not just you. I actually enjoyed it.

I do want puncing and shooting, and yes...transforming. But all of that has to serve the story. Just like an all dialogue issue.


I dont think anyone really minds all dialogue issues. The best TF comic of this millenia is an all dialogue issue : https://www.seibertron.com/transformers ... era/42653/

This comic is nowhere near a James Roberts all dialogue issue.

I didn't say it was "near" a James Roberts all dialogue issue. I didn't even hint at that.

What I'm saying is I enjoyed it on the merits of what it is, and without comparison to anything else.

Like you guys, I want to "get to it" so to speak, but I realize there are meta reasons for a slow burn comic when it comes out every two weeks. This all just smacks of 15 or so years ago, which really only makes me tired.
Re: IDW Transformers #6 Review (2023019)
Posted by Cyberstrike on May 30th, 2019 @ 10:32am CDT
I'm not buying this series because I got burned out by all of DC's Rebirth bi-weekly books, and honestly this new reboot sounded like a rehash of the previous IDW universe which was IMHO was the greatest "G1" and "G1 inspired" media ever produced by anyone. So why should I support and settle for a cheap knock-off of a superior product?

If they really wanted me to buy this series then they should make a VASTLY different take on the Transformers, and just not another rehash of the previous universes. Maybe I'll buy this when it comes out in TPB or HC but right now since I'm saving $8 a month to buy other books that I like, so for me it's an easy pass.

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