IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review

IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review

Wednesday, February 19th, 2020 6:22am CST

Categories: Comic Book News, Reviews
Posted by: ScottyP   Views: 20,131

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Raze n' Ruin
A Review of Transformers: Galaxies #4

84% Spoiler Free-ish
Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review
Who did you call inferior when they were writing the October solicitations?

84 days have passed since Transformers: Galaxies #3 was released. Revolutionaries had a 63 day gap between issues 3 and 4 back in 2017 and Lost Light had some rough gaps in between on a few occasions but 84 feels unprecedented and alarming. I'll stop short of saying that IDW (not the book's individual creators) owes any sort of explanation, but will say that this is the kind of thing that kills series and you don't have to take my word for it - ask a comics retailer.

With that out of the way the rest of the review can follow without another mention of it, but it was the elephant in the room here that had to be addressed. If you're reading this review and haven't read Galaxies #4 yet, know that it's a good read that's worthy of your time and the $3.99 (plus tax for many) cover price but do yourself a favor and read issues 1 through 3 again first. You won't regret it!

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review
Tell that to IDW!

The issue's events pick up with the Constructicons and the Insecticons ready to execute their plans. The pieces set forth in the preceding issues coalesce here in more-or-less the way you'd expect, which may sound like it's detrimental but this issue is primarily about the action. Each group of Decepticons (yes, they're not technically that yet but c'mon) is doing what they feel they must to survive and break the cycle of control that's caught their lives and suppressed their means to achieve freedom. This issue invites the reader to witness how destruction can be used as a means to an otherwise empathetic end, and while there's some dialogue to catch-up a lapsed or forgetful reader it does bear repeating that the full impact of what Galaxies #4 does is greatly bolstered by recent memories of the trio of issues before it.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review
See, that's why you prepare for devastation.

Said destruction is very well executed thanks in part to both Livio Ramondelli's art, with its stellar as usual sense of scale, as well as writer Tyler Bleszinski's choice to make sure that by the end of the arc Devastator isn't some mindless behemoth. There was a process taken to get him there, to be sure, but it was laid out convincingly without a huge over-reliance on the earlier introduced Enigma of Combination. Devastator is fully aware of himself as the seventh, shared consciousness of six other sentient beings and while it would have been nice to see him kill at least one character of real consequence, a symbolic panel featuring a representation of such will have to do for now.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review
And not just for food

The Insecticons have been used sparingly so far but they very nearly steal the show here. While their backstories are almost pitiful, the full brunt of their sociopathic nature is presented and while gruesome isn't a term I'd use to describe it, disturbing might fit the bill here instead. G1 fans will be happy to see some of their signature verbal tics persist along with their general appetite for energon. These feel like the original Insecticons just taken up to 11 and made more brutal, so here's hoping the main book picks them up soon.

Where it all ends up is quite open ended, which is good in one sense as it means the door's left open to more of this story. On the other hand, given the pace of events in the other ongoing there's likely no continuation coming anytime soon making this a great meal that doesn't quite fill you up all the way. That's almost definitely on purpose given an eleventh hour tease of some other characters yet there's still a sense of finality lacking for me, but your mileage may vary.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review
Clicking and clacking, really?

The quality art continues for this installment, with Ramondelli not only bringing wonderful scale in the line work but also smart colors to distinguish the time of day, giving perspective to the length of time the issue's story takes. The lighting doesn't stand up to close scrutiny in from panel to panel on every occasion, but when it looks so effectively dramatic I struggle to find much detriment in that. One thing I've noticed over time is that Ramondelli's art looks best to me on a bright phone or tablet, then on paper, then on a conventional computer monitor and writing this review on multiple decices throughout the day confirms this for me once again. The lettering from Jake M. Wood has balloons that jump back and forth swiftly at times but the dialogue remains easy to follow. I do have to offer some criticism to the onomatopoeia insert shown above. While it gets the idea across, associating an un-combining gestalt with a computer keyboard sound is certainly less than familiar.

Livio Ramondelli provides the "A" cover as has been the case for this series so far and this is the cover you can find in this review's news post thumbnail. Sara Pitre-Durocher provides a clean looking Devastator with slick coloring effects for the "B" cover while a pixel-art Shockwave and Devastator grace the ten-copy retailer incentive cover from newcomer (to Transformers, at least) Christina Neofotistou. As always, 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: Galaxies #4.

Verdict
Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review
Just kidding you don't have to sit down for this

Transformers: Galaxies #4 is a worthy finish to a first arc featuring these characters that left me wanting to see more of their journey. The Constructicons managed to introduce some much needed action in a setting and series somewhat devoid of it or even, as it feels at times, the potential for it. A clear plan with careful plotting is evident in this four issue run, further evidenced to me by how it only introduces one really notable element of lore that isn't thoroughly followed-up on by the end of this fourth issue. While a product of happenstance, there's even some nice synergy with Transformers #17 and what's seen from one of its featured characters.

I can't bring myself to call this one perfect but I almost did. It could be the delay's fault, it could be the extremely open-ended nature of its resolution, or you could just know that despite some minor, Scotty-being-picky quibbles Transformers: Galaxies #4 finishes up a four issue arc that on the whole is easily the best Transformers comic output of the past year. Don't forget about this one, show it some support so more Constructicon stories can be made in the future.

Final Score
. :CON: :CON: :CON: :CON: ½
out of
:CON: :CON: :CON: :CON: :CON:


Look out for this issue today, February 19th, where you can pick it up at the Seibertron.com eBay store or at your local shop, check here to find the closest shop to you.


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Re: IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review (2053176)
Posted by Rodimus Prime on February 20th, 2020 @ 11:56pm CST
The arc is only 4 issues so I'm guessing it won't get its own trade. It would be nice to read the story as 1 book even if it's thinner.
Re: IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review (2053529)
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on February 22nd, 2020 @ 8:56am CST
Rodimus Prime wrote:The arc is only 4 issues so I'm guessing it won't get its own trade. It would be nice to read the story as 1 book even if it's thinner.

Nope, it's being lumped in as a hardback with a bunch of stories from the main story.

Which is sad, I wanted this alone as a trade, I don't want any of the mainline story
Re: IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review (2053542)
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on February 22nd, 2020 @ 9:20am CST
Thanks to iTunes, we have the latest 3 page preview for the upcoming Transformers Galaxies #5!

Transformers Galaxies is a 12 issue series that will follow 4 different characters or sets of characters. The first 4 issue arc just concluded and focused on the Constructicons and the origins of Devastator. This issue kicks off a 2-issue series that will focus in on Cliffjumper, and will feature him alongside the Decepticon of Victory Fame Deathsaurus. The 2 issues will revolve around Cliffjumper trying to negotiate an energon deal while using his similar appearance to Bumblebee to make that happen, since the natives practically worship Bumblebee.

You can check out the 3-page preview below, and let us know what you think in the comments section below!

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Re: IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review (2053552)
Posted by ZeroWolf on February 22nd, 2020 @ 9:49am CST
I'm sorry but in a time of peace, a name like deathsarus would set off so many alarm bells :lol: Not surprised the natives think he's bee though if they can't see colour.
Re: IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review (2054782)
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on February 27th, 2020 @ 7:09pm CST
Thanks to a tweet from Sara Pitre-Durocher herself, we have news that her cover for the coming Transformers Galaxies #5 has been revealed!

Transformers Galaxies #5 will be focusing in on Cliffjumper, and will take a fun take on how Cliffjumper always looks like a red Bumblebee, and will include Cliff alongside a character famous as the Decepticon Emperor of Destruction of Victory Fame, Deathsaurus. The 2-parter is being written by Kate Leth and Cohen Edenfield, with art by the always popular Alex Milne.

Pitre-Durocher's cover dives right into this Bumblebee/Cliffjumper lookalike business by including a sad and downtrodden Cliffjumper walking alongside a window with Bumblebee smiling back at him from the reflection, with Bee clearly upbeat in the reflection and Cliffjumper surely grumpy at his lot in life.

Check out the covers below, and let us know what you think in the comments section below!

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Re: IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review (2055559)
Posted by ScottyP on March 4th, 2020 @ 8:53am CST
I'd planned to have a timely review of issue 5 up but IDW didn't get us the media review stuff for the week until late in the day on Monday (usually this happens Friday morning), thus eliminating the weekend time normally available that would have been used to write a review.

Not sure if anyone cares to know that much, but if anyone was looking for a review and wondering what's up, there you have it.

The short version is that it made me smile and Alex Milne is still awesome.
Re: IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review (2055775)
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on March 5th, 2020 @ 8:56pm CST
ScottyP wrote:The short version is that it made me smile and Alex Milne is still awesome.

Both of these are very true. Alex Milne is the best TF artist ever, to me.

And the story itself was pretty good! I loved both bots that starred in it
Re: IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review (2055994)
Posted by ScottyP on March 8th, 2020 @ 11:43am CDT
Bumblejumper
A Review of Transformers: Galaxies #5

Spoiler Free-ish
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Orion Pax knows what toys sell

After four issues of the Constructicons and Devastator wreaking havoc, Transformers: Galaxies #5 arrives to start a new sidestory with a new creative team featuring everyone's favorite Mini-Bot Bumblebee...

...as the setup for a running joke about the issue's actual lead character, Cliffjumper. Paired up here with Deathsaurus in one of the most unlikely Transformers tandems imaginable, an off-Cybertron mission to retrieve Energon completes all the setup you need to know. Does the issue pull off this strange alliance? Read on to find out.

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Guess a Sunday review's a good time for that reference

Kate Leth and Cohen Edenfield make their writing debut for Transformers comics in this issue, providing some possibly welcome levity after the tonally serious previous arc of Galaxies. A somewhat simple plot is aided by extra helpings of character, as both of the issue's stars receive plenty of time and context as they depart for and commence with their mission. Most of the unnecessary world-building-through-wooden-dialogue from certain other issues of the other ongoing series is absent here, with cues about the status of the world such as the now persistent Energon rationing being presented much more naturally in conversation. Another positive about the writing here is that there's no worry about one main character being the surrogate for one writer with the other for the second, as the characters' voices are distinct and generally true to what G1 fans would expect.

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Brownie Monsters!?

Almost as soon as I typed that last sentence, a realization swept over that Cliffjumper has zero weaponry throughout this issue and presents little desire for it, immediately offering an obvious counterpoint to said previous conclusion. Since this is a two-parter, we'll let it stand as a TBD. Deathsaurus does live up to a more G1-like characterization, coming off at times as the terrifying Emperor of Destruction and during others as exactly the kind of villain that would be in an '80s cartoon show. Despite the relative faithfulness to his original incarnation, I can't help but miss the excellent, imaginative take on Deathsaurus from More Than Meets The Eye and his fascinating, dramatic inner conflict which added another dimension to him that's missing here.

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But it is also non-GMO and free range?

Speaking of MTMTE, Alex Milne makes a welcome return on this issue, bringing with him the outstanding work that we've all come to expect. Deathsaurus looks as familiar and imposing as ever with the scripting work giving Milne ample opportunity to depict his alt mode in several great sequences. The Probat race depicted within is both unfamiliar and reminiscent of some of his previous depictions of alien races, but where he really shines on this issue is in his depiction of the planet, also called Probat. A gorgeous double-page spread near the beginning of the issue and another scene with Cliffjumper by a fireside later on really show Milne's range, and it's an absolute delight to look at. It likely helps that Josh Perez handles the colors on this issue, making excellent use of lighting and shadow to help cast the mood. A unique palette is also present in a short flashback sequence that leaves no doubt in the reader with regards to what they're looking at.

More of this artistic "Dream Team" is welcome at any time, IDW!

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The better onomatopoeia returns!

Jake M. Wood is now our regular letterer it would seem, and he deserves credit as well for his role in the artistic presentation. The distinct bubble style and font used for Deathsaurus in alt mode avoids looking like gimmickry and instead elevates the character during the book's later sequences. Series editors David Mariotte and Tom Waltz keep the book well paced throughout and have kept it very accessible to readers that don't follow the ongoing series while also ensuring it fits in with the rest of this new-ish universe.

Four cover options await for this installment, with Milne and Perez's "A" cover used as this review's news story thumbnail image. The other regular cover available features a cheeky Bumblebee by Sara Pitre-Durocher that fits in thematically, while the 10-copy retailer incentive cover from Anna Malkova helps deliver an idea of some of the book's tone. Fans that frequent especially busy shops can possibly look forward to Kei Zama and Josh Burcham's intimidating depiction of Deathsaurus on a 25-copy incentive cover. As always, 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: Galaxies #5.

Verdict
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I'll be excited when Ben Hasbro realizes there's demand for your toy

The stunning art alone is enough to recommend that Transformers fans keep reading the stellar Galaxies series as it continues to outshine its parent publication in practically every way. The story here is simple and has some twists and turns, though there are a few times where it gets so wordy that one can't envy Wood's job of bubble placement. As the first half of a two-part story arc, the issue's momentum is stymied just as it picks up and releasing its follow-up a week later would have made sense while also clearing some of the backlog of delayed issues that IDW is working through. While that's not to be, it's also something that would only ameliorate a minor negative factor as the issue's characters elevate it in a significant way.

The art on Transformers: Galaxies #5 is a 5/5 while the story, for me, is a 4/5 so let's split the difference -

Final Score
. :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: ½
out of
:CON: :CON: :CON: :CON: :CON:


A late review means this issue is out now, and you can pick it up at the Seibertron.com eBay store or at your local shop, check here to find the closest shop to you.
Re: IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review (2056057)
Posted by NOBODY LOVES WHEELIE on March 8th, 2020 @ 8:14pm CDT
Anybody figure out where these Constructicons Rising fits into this reading order?
Re: IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review (2056135)
Posted by ScottyP on March 9th, 2020 @ 10:25am CDT
NOBODY LOVES WHEELIE wrote:Anybody figure out where these Constructicons Rising fits into this reading order?
Anytime after 12 and before 15, in my opinion. Not tied in tightly enough to have one "correct" place so putting it in the roughly intended publication order works for me. The second hardcover coming out in June will provide a more definitive spot.
Re: IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review (2056184)
Posted by NOBODY LOVES WHEELIE on March 9th, 2020 @ 5:19pm CDT
ScottyP wrote:
NOBODY LOVES WHEELIE wrote:Anybody figure out where these Constructicons Rising fits into this reading order?
Anytime after 12 and before 15, in my opinion. Not tied in tightly enough to have one "correct" place so putting it in the roughly intended publication order works for me. The second hardcover coming out in June will provide a more definitive spot.


Works for me.
Re: IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review (2056191)
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on March 9th, 2020 @ 6:36pm CDT
Very good review, I fully agree!

I loved the pairing, it was a pairing of bots I didn't realize would work but yet it really worked well
Re: IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review (2056331)
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on March 10th, 2020 @ 8:19pm CDT
Thanks to Alex Milne on Twitter, we have some line art from the just released IDW Transformers Galaxies #5.

The line art that Milne shared with us today comes from 2 different pages: Page 11 and Page 16. Page 11 features Cliffjumper and the Probats around a fire enjoying the light, while Page 16 features a beast mode Deathsaurus losing his temper, what one might call a "Catastrophe". The pages show the level of detail Milne puts into his pages, and the results can be nothing short of stunning.

Also, we get to admire just how good looking Deathsaurus is, and just how great Milne draws him in this comic.

Check out the pages below, and let us know what you think in the comments section below!

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Re: IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review (2056344)
Posted by Stormshot_Prime on March 10th, 2020 @ 10:35pm CDT
incredibly gregarious as usual.

It's great to have different artists take their hand at Transformers, but man Alex Milne should ALWAYS be on the back-burner for that EXCELLENT art.
Re: IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review (2056375)
Posted by AllNewSuperRobot on March 11th, 2020 @ 11:29am CDT
I really can't help thinking this series is being intentionally delayed to sell the mainline series? This book is only two stories in, and a vast improvement over that one.

I'm thinking this is definitely the IDW book I'll trade wait for.
Re: IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review (2056377)
Posted by ZeroWolf on March 11th, 2020 @ 11:36am CDT
AllNewSuperRobot wrote:I really can't help thinking this series is being intentionally delayed to sell the mainline series? This book is only two stories in, and a vast improvement over that one.

I'm thinking this is definitely the IDW book I'll trade wait for.

As far as I'm aware, it's only been collected in with the mainline series and not getting its own seperate volume. Meaning that you have to buy the collected trades for the main line just to get Galaxies, at least, at this junction.
Re: IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review (2056379)
Posted by AllNewSuperRobot on March 11th, 2020 @ 11:44am CDT
Interesting. I'll wait and see until we've crossed the '6 issue' Trade threshold, to see what's occurring. I definitely refuse to support the mainline book, so if need be, I'll grab back issues of this one.
Re: IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review (2056419)
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on March 11th, 2020 @ 6:45pm CDT
Stormshot_Prime wrote:incredibly gregarious as usual.

It's great to have different artists take their hand at Transformers, but man Alex Milne should ALWAYS be on the back-burner for that EXCELLENT art.

Alex Milne should be attached to almost every Transformers project in some form ever. He is far and away my favorite artist
Re: IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review (2056469)
Posted by Quint on March 12th, 2020 @ 6:29am CDT
Best active artist for IDW Transformers by a country mile.

His pencils are probably in the top 3 all-time greats for the IP.
Re: IDW Transformers: Galaxies #4 Review (2057331)
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on March 20th, 2020 @ 9:17pm CDT
Thanks to Apple Books Preview, we have our first preview for the upcoming Transformers Galaxies #6!

Transformers Galaxies #6 follows up to Galaxies #5, serving as the 2nd and final chapter in the Bumblebee, er Cliffhanger, um dangit! Cliffjumper saga! In the previous issue, we were left on the last page with Deathsaurus standing menacingly over Cliff, not even able to get his name right, asking if he was ready to stoop to his level. And here we start with a look at Cliffjumper's birth, which itself was apparently unexpected, unwelcomed, and he was apologizing for existing from his first moments.

We must now see if Cliffjumper can rise up and make a true name for himself, and stand tall against a fearsome Deathsaurus!

Check out the preview below, and let us know what you think in the comments section below!

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