IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review

IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 11:00am CDT

Categories: Comic Book News, Reviews, Site Articles
Posted by: Va'al   Views: 36,904

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Orange is the New Green
(Spoiler free-ish)



Synopsis
DESPERATE ACTIONS! As the SPACEBRIDGE reaches across the stars, will anyone stand against STARSCREAM? The answer is yes—but the cure might prove worse than the disease.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review
Maybe he actually cares! (...)


Story

The IDW Transformers Combiner Wars Mairghread Scott/John Barber crossover arc switches back for its fourth chapter to The Transformers ongoing, and its writer Barber, with the current playing field riddled by ruins, frustrated Cybertronians, understandably scared Camiens, ambiguous pretty much everyone else, and several schemers on the loose, of course.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review
Quick recap, thanks


If Starscream is made to be the most explicit in his intentions for the future of Cybertron (and its problematic status of 'homeland' or 'centre of the universe') - and he does get to play a lot with all his little, and not so little, secrets - the real focus in this issue is undoubtedly Prowl, and the enormous quantity of turmoil he carries with him.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review
And Bob, obviously


Baggage that he has carried for a very very long time, admittedly, and always bubbling just beneath the surface. The long conversation, the effective backbone of this book, between Prowl and Optimus Prime, is a very good example of the type of emotional level that Barber can tap into in more serious storylines, and reveals a Prowl with actual feelings, disguised under a veneer of cold calculation.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review
That's.. quite a list


A possibly slower issue in its first acts, with some expected combiner fights as it progresses, an entirely expected twist at the very end (though one I am very curious as to how it will play out, and well executed nonetheless) and some well staged tension between the various characters used at the centre of the story, and a very good addition to the event so far.

Art

As Livio Ramondelli keeps to interior art duties, we see a massive difference from the previous, supposedly rushed, issue - the lines and colours for the characters, especially in their expressivity (both in body language and facial), are stunningly executed, and work really effectively for the serious tones and rising tides of the story and their interactions.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review
A mighty fine Windblade, right there


I will have a little moment here, as there is a wonderful chromatic game being played out in the issue, with the big opposition of darkened reds (cells and optics) and blues (Spacebridge and shadows) - with some almost unexpected yellows. And they serve as backdrop for the different scenes, ultimately exploding in a much brighter, much open landscape in the finale, under the aegis of the Spacebridge.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review
Not shown here - have some sky instead


Tom B. Long provides the usual masterful font and lettering work, grounding the dialogue and the locations in where the reader needs them to be, and gets some fun moments in transitions, too. As for the covers, we get the magnificent Emperor Starscream by Casey Coller/Joana Lafuente, a first half of Ramondelli's Optimus Prime poster cover, and the thumbnailed (perhaps another Marcelo Matere piece? Hasbro - credits please) Optimus Maximus.


Thoughts
Spoilerish ahead

As I've said above, the issue plays a very interesting, if initially slower, game of revealing tensions and starting to prod at them without exploding until the very very end. And it was a strategy that, for me, really paid off - it shows Prowl's inner workings in a lot of ways, without removing the build-up he has received so far, and shows just how much of Optimus' influence can sway the game (and the franchise, really).

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review
It's.. still.. coming.


We get even more on how combiner technology may not just be a technology of combination, but something a little deeper, and the beginnings of some serious power plays on all sides involved in this sudden, strange, large-scale war. And it all plays out across some closed spaces that quickly become uncomfortable for readers and characters alike - though in a good, captivating way. Next, the sort of conclusion!

. :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: out of :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT:

Credit(s): IDW, Va'al


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Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review (1689445)
Posted by Bounti76 on May 23rd, 2015 @ 11:25am CDT
I was wondering when this post would show up. :)

I quite enjoyed this issue, and even Livio's art wasn't distracting until all the combiners started fighting. It was hard to figure out what was happening to which combiner in the last few pages.
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review (1689449)
Posted by Va'al on May 23rd, 2015 @ 11:34am CDT
I have been silly busy. And sleep deprived.
Finally had time to finish the review. :D
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review (1689486)
Posted by Flashwave on May 23rd, 2015 @ 1:23pm CDT
Va'al wrote:I have been silly busy. And sleep deprived.
Finally had time to finish the review. :D

Sleep is for Pansies!

Sincerely,
A Pansy.
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review (1689511)
Posted by Starsaber468 on May 23rd, 2015 @ 2:31pm CDT
the ending confirms combiner wars ironhide, prowel, mirage, and sunstreaker but that combined mode in the fomics my gosh that is what we should of gotten
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review (1689516)
Posted by Nemesis Maximo on May 23rd, 2015 @ 2:44pm CDT
Some good thoughts, Va'al. They help me to appreciate Prowl suddenly becoming a limb for optimus better. I look forward to the conclusion in the hopes that they don't abandon his plot threads.
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review (1689532)
Posted by TGS1985 on May 23rd, 2015 @ 3:56pm CDT
Something that's really been bothering me for a while is how Scoop is back on Team Starscream. I thought after Dark Cybertron he realized the prophecy had Starscream as a destroyer, not a savior. Yet here he is stealing the Enigma of Combination and now joining Devastator on Starscream's orders. All the while it's obvious that Scoop doesn't even like Starscream anymore since he had him locked up. Just makes no sense to me, so I wonder if I missed something...
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review (1689538)
Posted by Va'al on May 23rd, 2015 @ 4:05pm CDT
Nemesis Maximo wrote:Some good thoughts, Va'al. They help me to appreciate Prowl suddenly becoming a limb for optimus better. I look forward to the conclusion in the hopes that they don't abandon his plot threads.


If you look at the Enigma scene, Prowl is the one to initiate the whole thing.
He knows people will follow Prime. He doesn't trust Prime.
He knows what he can do as a Combiner, and he's admitted that it's almost addicting.

And he wants to terminate Cybertron's interference with the universe.


All of this is making me wonder who is actually in control.
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review (1689574)
Posted by RevTibe on May 23rd, 2015 @ 7:32pm CDT
TGS1985 wrote:Something that's really been bothering me for a while is how Scoop is back on Team Starscream. I thought after Dark Cybertron he realized the prophecy had Starscream as a destroyer, not a savior. Yet here he is stealing the Enigma of Combination and now joining Devastator on Starscream's orders. All the while it's obvious that Scoop doesn't even like Starscream anymore since he had him locked up. Just makes no sense to me, so I wonder if I missed something...
I've been reading it is he still views Starscream as the chosen "Conqueror" whose control/victory is preordained - sort of a halfway between blind(ish, since prophecies have a way of happening in Transformers) faith and wanting to be on the winning team.

Va'al wrote:If you look at the Enigma scene, Prowl is the one to initiate the whole thing.
He knows people will follow Prime. He doesn't trust Prime.
He knows what he can do as a Combiner, and he's admitted that it's almost addicting.

And he wants to terminate Cybertron's interference with the universe.

All of this is making me wonder who is actually in control.
Yeah, we're seeing Prowl trying to get his worldviews behind Optimus's marketable face. The Constructicons influenced Prowl's behavior when he lead Prowlestator, Blackjack's anger issues are messing with Menasor and Scoop's belief in the Chosen One controls Devastator. If deeply held beliefs of a single component can so heavily influence the combiner, it seems likely that Combiner Prime will carry a Cybertronian Isolationist view.
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review (1689578)
Posted by TGS1985 on May 23rd, 2015 @ 7:41pm CDT
RevTibe wrote:I've been reading it is he still views Starscream as the chosen "Conqueror" whose control/victory is preordained - sort of a halfway between blind(ish, since prophecies have a way of happening in Transformers) faith and wanting to be on the winning team.


Ah so his personality has taken a hit due to current events, as he used to be the goody-two-shoes super charitable type. Okay, just seem like such a drastic change for the character.
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review (1689589)
Posted by RevTibe on May 23rd, 2015 @ 8:23pm CDT
TGS1985 wrote:
RevTibe wrote:I've been reading it is he still views Starscream as the chosen "Conqueror" whose control/victory is preordained - sort of a halfway between blind(ish, since prophecies have a way of happening in Transformers) faith and wanting to be on the winning team.


Ah so his personality has taken a hit due to current events, as he used to be the goody-two-shoes super charitable type. Okay, just seem like such a drastic change for the character.
Yeah, he's bit grumpier/more cynical. In the beginning of this issue we see a handful of Decepticons volunteering with repairs on Caminus while Scoop stands alongside Starscream, watching - he's not the same guy who founded the Construction Patrol to help people out of the goodness of his spark, now.

I suppose this could be a 'Your Mileage May Vary' thing, his development isn't given as much attention as the big names get. Personally, I feel like there are enough indicators of his arc to tell the story without being on the nose.
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review (1689592)
Posted by TGS1985 on May 23rd, 2015 @ 8:27pm CDT
RevTibe wrote:I suppose this could be a 'Your Mileage May Vary' thing, his development isn't given as much attention as the big names get. Personally, I feel like there are enough indicators of his arc to tell the story without being on the nose.


Oh I wasn't complaining. A lot of bigger things going on with this series both, figuratively and literally, so makes sense those would get all the focus. I agree with most that this was a much better issue than the last, although not quite at the MTMTE level yet.
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review (1689660)
Posted by Heckfire on May 23rd, 2015 @ 11:38pm CDT
Hell, I'm just glad to learn that my favorite TF character, Rattrap, turned out to actually be a deep cover agent for Prowl instead of the...um...what's an appropriate TF word for "@$$hole?" "Exhaust pipe" doesn't have the right impact...that IDW had seemed to be portraying him as.
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review (1689673)
Posted by Nemesis Maximo on May 24th, 2015 @ 12:30am CDT
Heckfire wrote:Hell, I'm just glad to learn that my favorite TF character, Rattrap, turned out to actually be a deep cover agent for Prowl instead of the...um...what's an appropriate TF word for "@$$hole?" "Exhaust pipe" doesn't have the right impact...that IDW had seemed to be portraying him as.

I'd say maybe "Aft-hole," or "borehole" for LSotW fans.
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review (1689676)
Posted by TGS1985 on May 24th, 2015 @ 12:33am CDT
Heckfire wrote:Hell, I'm just glad to learn that my favorite TF character, Rattrap, turned out to actually be a deep cover agent for Prowl instead of the...um...what's an appropriate TF word for "@$$hole?" "Exhaust pipe" doesn't have the right impact...that IDW had seemed to be portraying him as.


I'm with the Twincast Podcast in that it's almost a beautiful thing that Starscream is finally getting what he always wanted. That said I'm with you in that I don't like how cocky he's become about it. It's not that it's out of character for Starscream, heck far from it, it's just he was more compelling when he pretending to be all good and humble, well to others faces at least.
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review (1689677)
Posted by King Kuuga on May 24th, 2015 @ 12:37am CDT
Heckfire wrote:Hell, I'm just glad to learn that my favorite TF character, Rattrap, turned out to actually be a deep cover agent for Prowl instead of the...um...what's an appropriate TF word for "@$$hole?" "Exhaust pipe" doesn't have the right impact...that IDW had seemed to be portraying him as.

Actuator
Afterburner
Boron Compressor
Exhaust Port
Hard Drive
Magna Fuse
Reactor Linkage
Skidplate
Solenoid
Tailgate
Tailpipe
Rear Thruster
Waste-disposal unit

Transformers fiction has been rather creative with its anatomic euphemisms.
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review (1689974)
Posted by Heckfire on May 24th, 2015 @ 6:42pm CDT
That Bot wrote:
Heckfire wrote:Hell, I'm just glad to learn that my favorite TF character, Rattrap, turned out to actually be a deep cover agent for Prowl instead of the...um...what's an appropriate TF word for "@$$hole?" "Exhaust pipe" doesn't have the right impact...that IDW had seemed to be portraying him as.

Actuator
Afterburner
Boron Compressor
Exhaust Port
Hard Drive
Magna Fuse
Reactor Linkage
Skidplate
Solenoid
Tailgate
Tailpipe
Rear Thruster
Waste-disposal unit

Transformers fiction has been rather creative with its anatomic euphemisms.

"Skidplate" works for me in this instance, even if it also works as a name, too.
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review (1690085)
Posted by King Kuuga on May 24th, 2015 @ 9:28pm CDT
SPOILERS FOR CW part 4

Between the personality bleed from non-Constructicon members of Devastator (seen in Prowl), Scoop's recruitment into their ranks, and Starscream's seemingly offhand but potentially foreshadowing remark about giving him a new paint job, plus the CW Devastator toy being based on the classic format and how closely the comics adhere to the toy designs..... who thinks Scoop is going to be rebuilt into Scrapper 2.0?
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review (1690114)
Posted by TGS1985 on May 24th, 2015 @ 10:11pm CDT
That Bot wrote:SPOILERS FOR CW part 4

Between the personality bleed from non-Constructicon members of Devastator (seen in Prowl), Scoop's recruitment into their ranks, and Starscream's seemingly offhand but potentially foreshadowing remark about giving him a new paint job, plus the CW Devastator toy being based on the classic format and how closely the comics adhere to the toy designs..... who thinks Scoop is going to be rebuilt into Scrapper 2.0?


I can see it. Scoop has definitely shown to have the willpower to control Devastator off the bat. But no way it would be a long time solution as I doubt the rest of the Constructicons are going along with it as willingly as they would be if it was Prowl.

Speaking of which I kind of still on board with Crosscheck's theory that Scrapper's conscience is hidden deep in Prowl's mind and that Prowl is either going to turn into Scrapper or somehow separate from Prowl based on Prowl's strange mannerisms and increasing size which has had him gone from a Nissan 370z to a full blow armored SUV.
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review (1690133)
Posted by King Kuuga on May 24th, 2015 @ 10:50pm CDT
Well my theory is that the personality bleed will affect Scoop to the point where Scrapper mentally revives inside of Scoop and eventually rises to dominance, suppressing Scoop and causing him to adopt green and purple.
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars #4 - The Transformers #41 Review (1690142)
Posted by TGS1985 on May 24th, 2015 @ 11:12pm CDT
Ah so you think Scraper's personality is still in Devastator where as I think it jumped ship into Prowl. Guess we'll find out if Scoop starts acting strange in the upcoming issues.

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