IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review

IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015 4:16am CDT

Categories: Comic Book News, Reviews, Site Articles
Posted by: Va'al   Views: 40,282

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World on Fire
(Spoiler free-ish)



Synopsis
The COMBINERS have arrived! STARSCREAM wrestles for dominance with OPTIMUS PRIME as surprising reinforcements approach—from the Lost Light!

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review
What, no RodPod?


Story

As we left the Windblade title last time to start dealing with the diplomatic and political aftermath of Menasor's actions on Caminus, and the arrival of Optimus as the Thirteenth (of sorts) - we shift back to The Transformers, with the next chapter in the Combiner Wars event, co-plotted by Mairghread Scott and this issue's writer, John Barber.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review
No messiah complex here


Barber's writing in #40 is really quite ambitious, given that it's both an aftermath and a cranking up of the perils that the 'discovery' of Caminus and combiner technology can bring to Cybertronian society, including some older friends which had somehow escaped the wider continuity nets.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review
Canon restored


Also, he manages to use a fair good dose of humour running through the narrative, interspersing media reports of the events taking place as an unreliable device to comment upon the inner workings of whatever the Cybertron-Caminus representatives are actually discussing. Juxtaposed to some moments of clarity and bringing back to focus and otherwise Optimusisms that instead really hit home - or should.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review
Looking at you, complainers


Meanwhile, in all of this, not just one but a handful of characters, plot away in the background. Not everyone is happy with how things are being handled, of course, we still need to figure out exactly what Starscream's plans are, Prowl may have even more agents around than we thought possible, and I'm sure the Camiens will also have something to say eventually.

Art

Livio Ramondelli takes again the main interiors, and will do so for a couple of chapters now - and in this issue, I had much less to pick out than, say, TF #39. The layouts are really interesting, and some character designs are expected by now (oh hey Leader Starscream). There are some really well executed more organic, or at least not full-on robotic, scenes which makes his art and style shine. Ominously.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review
That is terrifying


The mediatic perspective that Circuit and Starscream bring to the issue also allow for some more creative layouts, or at least an opportunity for both Ramondelli and letterer Tom B. Long to play around with how different characters speak and interact with each other, in some ways. That said, the first page and a bit can be a little confusing in setting name to character, as the order of the boxes does not appear in sync with the art.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review
Face-stuff. Heh


I will take a little detour here, as out of the three covers offered with the current issue, one is the regular, Ironhide as Atlas Casey Coller/Joana Lafuente, the secondary is the thumbnailed Livio Ramondelli poster variant - and then we have a lovely take on Menasor from Hasbro's official material, including its games. But no artist credit. The only clue is from the artists themselves, in this case Marcelo Materefor the pencilwork. Hasbro, please credit somehow, somewhere, your artists. Please.


Thoughts
Spoilerish ahead

Overall, the chapter that follows a big reveal and a big fight was bound to be a little slower in pacing, but it does so fairly well in what it stops to explore and expand upon, through the art and the story. Fans of early days of RID will remember the style, with a lot of backstabbing, dry humour and snide comments - and some good continuity games, with the added touch of Barber's heightened characterisation post Dark Cybertron and Ramondelli's more visual plays on multiple screens and panels.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review
Shut up Prime


Superion and the underlying questions of Gestalt technology are really well done, despite offering no conclusive answer, of course. The Protectobots are introduced neatly, just like the 'new recruits' for the other teams before them, and in a self-aware nod. Ironhide is used a little more, and might play a bigger role again, along with Mirage. It's a good read, and still moving upward in the storyarc.

. :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 - The Transformers #40 Review (1675492)
Posted by Va'al on April 15th, 2015 @ 4:20am CDT
Am I shamelessly capitalising on a current big trend with that review title, like a daredevil?
Definitely maybe.
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review (1675503)
Posted by ZeroWolf on April 15th, 2015 @ 4:49am CDT
A question with those nightmare combiners I can make out menasor, superion, prowlastaor and Defensor...but there is obviously another shadow there. Who is that?
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review (1675507)
Posted by SW's SilverHammer on April 15th, 2015 @ 5:24am CDT
ZeroWolf wrote:A question with those nightmare combiners I can make out menasor, superion, prowlastaor and Defensor...but there is obviously another shadow there. Who is that?

It's..... the Anti-Spiral from Gurren Lagann!? Of course the enigma of combination is just fighting spirit! Believe in the Senator Shockwave that believes in Optimus Prime! Oh wait that's, that's something else. All jokes aside, I think it's a proxy for the fan built combiner, whom I speculate to consist of characters from Caminus who obtain the enigma at some point. Yes i know it says the fan combiner's going to come from the sea of rust, but windblade was supposed to hail from Kaon, so the claim is not entirely valid.
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review (1675511)
Posted by prjkt on April 15th, 2015 @ 6:22am CDT
SW's SilverHammer wrote:
ZeroWolf wrote:A question with those nightmare combiners I can make out menasor, superion, prowlastaor and Defensor...but there is obviously another shadow there. Who is that?

It's..... the Anti-Spiral from Gurren Lagann!? Of course the enigma of combination is just fighting spirit! Believe in the Senator Shockwave that believes in Optimus Prime! Oh wait that's, that's something else. All jokes aside, I think it's a proxy for the fan built combiner, whom I speculate to consist of characters from Caminus who obtain the enigma at some point. Yes i know it says the fan combiner's going to come from the sea of rust, but windblade was supposed to hail from Kaon, so the claim is not entirely valid.

and who says it has to be the Sea of Rust on Cybertron...?
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review (1675526)
Posted by ScottyP on April 15th, 2015 @ 7:49am CDT
ZeroWolf wrote:A question with those nightmare combiners I can make out menasor, superion, prowlastaor and Defensor...but there is obviously another shadow there. Who is that?

One of them is clearly Batman, so I guess it's just a matter of "did Defensor or Superion's head get turned into a potato?"
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review (1675556)
Posted by 1984forever on April 15th, 2015 @ 10:11am CDT
ScottyP wrote:
ZeroWolf wrote:A question with those nightmare combiners I can make out menasor, superion, prowlastaor and Defensor...but there is obviously another shadow there. Who is that?

One of them is clearly Batman, so I guess it's just a matter of "did Defensor or Superion's head get turned into a potato?"
I am so tired of Batman being in everything!

As far as #40 goes... Meh. I can live without it. The book just lacks star power. I need more Mirage, and even more treachery from Starscream. But most of all I need a Prowl that is IN HIS RIGHT MIND. Right now the guy thinks he's Scrapper with roof lights.
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review (1675576)
Posted by padfoo on April 15th, 2015 @ 11:17am CDT
I enjoyed the book it was a good read, but it felt a little rushed and some of the panels were a bit confusing. I wish it was a longer crossover, because once Prowl gets involved in things they tend to escalate fast!
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review (1675626)
Posted by RevTibe on April 15th, 2015 @ 2:00pm CDT
I feel like this issue would have been better suited for Milne or Stone's art. While Ramondelli 's style is great for a dark, grungy battlefield, a 'talky' episode like this is really reliant on how expressive its characters are.
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review (1675992)
Posted by Nemesis Maximo on April 16th, 2015 @ 9:50am CDT
Man, sometimes Prowl maks you feel as though he really believes that what he does is for the betterment of Cybertron...

And the. There's those times when you need Michael Caine to say "some bots just wanna watch the world burn."

I love his decent into madness; it's so different from anything else going on right now.
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review (1676545)
Posted by Madeus Prime on April 17th, 2015 @ 8:15pm CDT
iTunes has the free preview of Transformers: Windblade Vol. 2 #2 - Combiner Wars
https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/transformers-windblade-vol./id983453961?mt=11
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review (1676586)
Posted by King Kuuga on April 18th, 2015 @ 12:52am CDT
I can't read the text, but I can see that Ramondelli is doing the art on these pages at least. What's Sarah Stone up to?
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review (1676588)
Posted by SW's SilverHammer on April 18th, 2015 @ 12:57am CDT
That Bot wrote:I can't read the text, but I can see that Ramondelli is doing the art on these pages at least. What's Sarah Stone up to?

I think it's some scheduling conflict or deadline, or mandate, or something that Ramondelli did windblade #2. I think(?) stone's going to do the rest of the windblade series for the foreseeable future after that.
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review (1676606)
Posted by Va'al on April 18th, 2015 @ 4:26am CDT
Have a comics preview for a weekend! Coming out this Wednesday, the first three pages of the new chapter in IDW Publishing's Combiner Wars has appeared 'magically' (thank you Mariel) on iTunes - in Windblade #2. Check them out below, mirrored via Seibertronian Madeus Prime, come back on Tuesday for a full preview, and Wednesday for our review!

PROWL makes his move… and the galaxy will never be the same. Can WINDBLADE stand against the threat of the COMBINERS?


Image

Image

Image
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review (1676607)
Posted by King Kuuga on April 18th, 2015 @ 4:26am CDT
Sarah Stone should just draw all the IDW comics. They should clone her or something.
I'm kidding of course but I do love her art, especially her faces and her use of color. It's so expressive and vibrant, whereas all of Ramondelli's characters look so gritty and rough and even his daylight scenes are dark. Bah. Whatever, I'll live.
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review (1676608)
Posted by Va'al on April 18th, 2015 @ 4:30am CDT
As a note: Ramondelli has a very fast output, and the issues are coming out very very quickly if you consider that it's two monthlies for the same story. Creative decisions had to be made by the team, meaning that he took over for this issue of Windblade, while Stone is working on issue #3.
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review (1676611)
Posted by King Kuuga on April 18th, 2015 @ 4:49am CDT
I know she'll be back. I know stuff happens. I understand Ramondelli outdid himself drawing two books in one month. He's not a terrible artist as some would insinuate (he draws better than I can, for sure). But I was really looking forward to Stone's art for this issue so I'm a bit disappointed that it'll be another month. Ah well. The story preview is good. Windblade gets more snappy dialog and that's always worthwhile.
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review (1676613)
Posted by Va'al on April 18th, 2015 @ 4:58am CDT
Oh I know, not calling you out on anything! Just making sure we're all aware of why the 'change' happens. :D
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review (1676643)
Posted by Ironhidensh on April 18th, 2015 @ 9:03am CDT
I can't help but feel like Starscream is being under used.
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review (1676654)
Posted by ebonyleopard on April 18th, 2015 @ 9:29am CDT
At least he's doing a better job of distinguishing one robot form another. I find, often, that's the primary weakness of his work. It's just hard to tell who's who, especially when he attempts to put cameos or Easter eggs in a scene.

Unfortunately, Stone's work is too intricate for the amount of time she'd need to doe these (too bad they couldn't get a few months ahead of the schedule).

Not going to lie, it is a disappointment to relaize this is Windblade 2 and not see Stone's work, but at least she'll be back for #3.

My question is though, what happened to the other TF artist? Are there now only 5 main artists for Transformers now?
Re: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars - The Transformers #40 Review (1676799)
Posted by Nemesis Maximo on April 18th, 2015 @ 11:23pm CDT
Ebonyleopard wrote:At least he's doing a better job of distinguishing one robot form another. I find, often, that's the primary weakness of his work. It's just hard to tell who's who, especially when he attempts to put cameos or Easter eggs in a scene.

Unfortunately, Stone's work is too intricate for the amount of time she'd need to doe these (too bad they couldn't get a few months ahead of the schedule).

Not going to lie, it is a disappointment to relaize this is Windblade 2 and not see Stone's work, but at least she'll be back for #3.

My question is though, what happened to the other TF artist? Are there now only 5 main artists for Transformers now?

Milne, Stone, Griffith, Ramondeli...

Help me out here Va'al; I know I should know this, but are there any other regular artists working Transformers?

I'm only not counting Raiz because he doesn't appear regularly.

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