Review of IDW Rom Vs. Transformers: Shining Armor #5 [Final Issue]

Transformers News: Review of IDW Rom Vs. Transformers: Shining Armor #5 [Final Issue]

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017 11:36AM CST

Categories: Comic Book News, Reviews, Site Articles
Posted by: Va'al   Views: 11,461

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Oh, To Be Young and (Star)Driven
(Spoiler free-ish)



Synopsis
Bumblebee vs. Rom vs. Starscream vs. the Dire Wraiths! All alliances are off—this is a fight for survival! Torn between her Cybertronian heritage and her Solstar Knight upbringing, Stardrive takes control of her fate!

Transformers News: Review of IDW Rom Vs. Transformers: Shining Armor #5 [Final Issue]
Rom reference


Story

We reach, with issue five, the last part of this mini-series uniting both Transformers and the Solstar Order of Rom and the other Knights. And I'll admit, I'm both glad the conclusion was as satisfying as it was, and a little saddened that the story is entirely over as far as we're concerned in the current IDWverse. Though it's true, repercussions retroactively are felt through Revolution and First Strike, and we have some continuations elsewhere too, Stardrive's story is currently done with.

Transformers News: Review of IDW Rom Vs. Transformers: Shining Armor #5 [Final Issue]
Or is it


I had my concerns earlier in the series - issue two specifically, as you can read again here - but since then, both John Barber and Christos Gage have been able to diverge from the potentially platitude-filled plot, into a cosmic cluster-truck of a comic, and a truly enjoyable mini-series that attempts to introduce new characters to old stories, and new stories with established characters.

Transformers News: Review of IDW Rom Vs. Transformers: Shining Armor #5 [Final Issue]
Bonus: added Star Wars reference


The best part of the combination of the two styles, for me at least, was the amount of fun that they clearly had in filling in the stories. The interactions between the Decepticon team, Starscream included, are some of the best examples of robot-banter that come to mind in recent books, and play entirely into good fanservice and references. And best of all, they don't cause tonal whiplash that can be common in this type of story, as we switch to other scenes in the book.

Transformers News: Review of IDW Rom Vs. Transformers: Shining Armor #5 [Final Issue]
Astrotrain: the new Waspinator


If there is one major critique I have about the issue, and perhaps the series as a whole, it's its supposedly titular character: Stardrive does have a lot of moments, and she does appear a lot more after the initial qualms I had earlier in the series, but there is still a lingering sense of not having had enough about her, with a not entirely satisfying resolution by the end of it all. Which is a shame, given the potential of her story, and I do want to see more of it.

Art

Alex Milne really gives in - as we started seeing in the past numbers - to his technorganic leniencies, as Vekktral!Magnus is pretty much centre-stage for the entire issue, and the reason around the rest of the cast to rally and find their own resolution to their respective plots, with some really exciting choices in the Magnus side of the story, and some fantastic action sequences all the way through.

Transformers News: Review of IDW Rom Vs. Transformers: Shining Armor #5 [Final Issue]
Borders literally bleeding into panel


The colouring, perhaps, is what is the newest addition to the visual style, and what sets the recognisable Milne hand from other Transformers titles so far - in the best way possible, of course! Josh Perez has been amazing for the entire series, and the gradual sunset in this issue just proves it - plus the addition of Priscilla Tramontano's work to cap it all off towards the end, and I am one visually satisfied reader.

Transformers News: Review of IDW Rom Vs. Transformers: Shining Armor #5 [Final Issue]
The choom is back!


Tom B. Long on the side of production and lettering has some truly excellent moments too, balancing the work of the artists in such a way that the fonts chosen and the words placed do never cover what the focus should be, and instead draw attention to them. In terms of covers, the one in the thumbnail is the splendid Nick Roche / Josh Burcham action portrait, while the other two (previously seen in news stories) can be found as always in the Database entry for the issue here.


Thoughts
Spoilerish ahead

The new approach, for this side of IDW comics at least, of going plot-first was an interesting one - especially given the position that this series would occupy as a generic prequel to a lot of current galactic politics in the Hasbroverse - but it turned out to be an excellent one too. Milne's detail-oriented artwork provided a playground in which Barber and Gage could easily work their stories once the framework was established, without burdening the art with too much exposition.

Transformers News: Review of IDW Rom Vs. Transformers: Shining Armor #5 [Final Issue]
FURMANISM KLAXON


And as a result, with the effort of the entire visual team, we get a comic that is extremely enjoyable as a piece of art (read: it's pretty to look at), and successful in doing what it had to do: establish the links in the universe that had to be established after the universe had already been set years ago. Barber's contribution was perhaps the most valued in keeping the threads tidy, but Gage had no small feat either, and they synchronised very well.

There are some flaws, such as the second issue's slump, and the trade will undoubtedly prove a much smoother reading overall - and what is perhaps the best outcome of the series is that both target readerships probably got enough page-time each to satisfy being 'lumped together' feelings that inevitable rose at the start. We do find out a lot more about the Order, and the Dire Wraiths are better established as antagonists throughout, and even through the humour - at times almost surreal - there are some really touching moments. Do yourself a favour, and give this series a read!

. :CYBERTRON: :CYBERTRON: :CYBERTRON: :CYBERTRON: ½ out of :CYBERTRON: :CYBERTRON: :CYBERTRON: :CYBERTRON: :CYBERTRON:
Credit(s): IDW
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Re: Review of IDW Rom Vs. Transformers: Shining Armor #5 [Final Issue] (1924127)
Posted by D-Maximus_Prime on November 29th, 2017 @ 11:53am CST
I'll say it again: best crossover in the Hasbro verse.

Though with Stardrive now appearing in Optimus Prime, I wonder where they will go with that very last panel?

I really liked the Magnus part too, the fighting the infection and then taking control was great to see. And at least we got that patch with Minimus' role and longevity in there.
Re: Review of IDW Rom Vs. Transformers: Shining Armor #5 [Final Issue] (1924135)
Posted by Randomhero on November 29th, 2017 @ 12:22pm CST
D-Maximus_Prime wrote:I'll say it again: best crossover in the Hasbro verse.

Though with Stardrive now appearing in Optimus Prime, I wonder where they will go with that very last panel?

I really liked the Magnus part too, the fighting the infection and then taking control was great to see. And at least we got that patch with Minimus' role and longevity in there.



Yeah you can tell that it wasn’t the plan to shoe horn the ending with Minumus but is anyone is gonna fix something it’s John barber.

Certainly an better patch job than what Lost alight #11 with Thunderclash and Getaway. People were pointing out the error on twitter and Roberts said he’lll have to do some rewriting in the dialogue for the trade.

Great issue and great series this was
Re: Review of IDW Rom Vs. Transformers: Shining Armor #5 [Final Issue] (1924138)
Posted by D-Maximus_Prime on November 29th, 2017 @ 12:29pm CST
Randomhero wrote:
D-Maximus_Prime wrote:I'll say it again: best crossover in the Hasbro verse.

Though with Stardrive now appearing in Optimus Prime, I wonder where they will go with that very last panel?

I really liked the Magnus part too, the fighting the infection and then taking control was great to see. And at least we got that patch with Minimus' role and longevity in there.

Yeah you can tell that it wasn’t the plan to shoe horn the ending with Minumus but is anyone is gonna fix something it’s John barber.

Certainly an better patch job than what Lost alight #11 with Thunderclash and Getaway. People were pointing out the error on twitter and Roberts said he’lll have to do some rewriting in the dialogue for the trade.

Great issue and great series this was

I think it worked out pretty well. Kinda odd to have Minimus step out and then back in, but it works. although that then raises the question of that prose story from the end of MTMTE 21 where Minimus was surprised Ratchet knew the Magnus secret
Re: Review of IDW Rom Vs. Transformers: Shining Armor #5 [Final Issue] (1924158)
Posted by Randomhero on November 29th, 2017 @ 2:02pm CST
D-Maximus_Prime wrote:
Randomhero wrote:
D-Maximus_Prime wrote:I'll say it again: best crossover in the Hasbro verse.

Though with Stardrive now appearing in Optimus Prime, I wonder where they will go with that very last panel?

I really liked the Magnus part too, the fighting the infection and then taking control was great to see. And at least we got that patch with Minimus' role and longevity in there.

Yeah you can tell that it wasn’t the plan to shoe horn the ending with Minumus but is anyone is gonna fix something it’s John barber.

Certainly an better patch job than what Lost alight #11 with Thunderclash and Getaway. People were pointing out the error on twitter and Roberts said he’lll have to do some rewriting in the dialogue for the trade.

Great issue and great series this was

I think it worked out pretty well. Kinda odd to have Minimus step out and then back in, but it works. although that then raises the question of that prose story from the end of MTMTE 21 where Minimus was surprised Ratchet knew the Magnus secret


Yeah I was thinking the same. It does seem a bit out of character for Minimus to step out of the armor and come back by request. He was shot as they said and I guess that was him saying I’m out however in MTMTE he says the mantle of magnus is the only thing that he felt gave him a purpose and it was everything to him.

While it’s a bit pushed maybe it should have been “the previous magnus was shot and has been in a coma for the past century but ratchet thinks he can finally come out of it and return as Magnus” or that convoy was just a temporary Magnus while Minimus has been recovering.

The ratchet part doesn’t bother me. I’ve kind of taken it as-like ratchet said in #21- he’s always known about the Armor. Ratchet may be the one who helps Tyrest choose who can handle the Magnus Armor and work from behind the curtain. He doesn’t have to be there for the fitting in person but he’s there in some way.
Re: Review of IDW Rom Vs. Transformers: Shining Armor #5 [Final Issue] (1924207)
Posted by ScottyP on November 29th, 2017 @ 7:51pm CST
Fun, visually gorgeous series that just doesn't stick for me. Liked it, didn't love it. Would have liked to see more world-building, I think? Maybe it's that the Solstar Order seems to say the same thing in different ways in every book they appear in and being one of the 18 people that read the entire recent Rom run has me wanting more out of them.
Re: Review of IDW Rom Vs. Transformers: Shining Armor #5 [Final Issue] (1924212)
Posted by Randomhero on November 29th, 2017 @ 8:58pm CST
I think the only thing that would have made this better would have been if instead of Ramjet, Dirge and Thrust we’d gotten Slugslinger, Misfire and Triggerhappy instead. Starscream continues to insult them throughout the series as a crap team. Woulda been fun to see those three pop up as a team of seekers before they all went their separate ways.
Re: Review of IDW Rom Vs. Transformers: Shining Armor #5 [Final Issue] (1924248)
Posted by Va'al on November 30th, 2017 @ 1:54am CST
ScottyP wrote:Fun, visually gorgeous series that just doesn't stick for me. Liked it, didn't love it. Would have liked to see more world-building, I think? Maybe it's that the Solstar Order seems to say the same thing in different ways in every book they appear in and being one of the 18 people that read the entire recent Rom run has me wanting more out of them.


This is what I meant a long while ago, when I lamented the lack of Gage's noticeable input in the story. Admittedly, I do agree with you in part, but I felt like the closing scenes probably gives us a lot more than the rest of the series on the Order - and the focus really was the Dire Wraiths after all. :-?
Re: Review of IDW Rom Vs. Transformers: Shining Armor #5 [Final Issue] (1924263)
Posted by Burn on November 30th, 2017 @ 5:22am CST
D-Maximus_Prime wrote:I'll say it again: best crossover in the Hasbro verse.

This is something I can agree on.

While I've never really enjoyed any Transformers cross over with another brand, I can say that I actually did enjoy this and actually looked forward to each issue.

While I still loathe the whole Hasbro-IDWverse, this one kept itself self contained enough that I could consider it just another Transformers story.
Re: Review of IDW Rom Vs. Transformers: Shining Armor #5 [Final Issue] (1924284)
Posted by ScottyP on November 30th, 2017 @ 8:31am CST
Randomhero wrote:I think the only thing that would have made this better would have been if instead of Ramjet, Dirge and Thrust we’d gotten Slugslinger, Misfire and Triggerhappy instead. Starscream continues to insult them throughout the series as a crap team. Woulda been fun to see those three pop up as a team of seekers before they all went their separate ways.
I agree in this one, would have been a good way to give them some backstory especially with Misfire in MTMTE/LL and Slugslinger showing up in OP on the Jupiter base. I did like the Coneheads' portrayal as a Seeker 'B' Team though. My first real introduction to them as a kid was Optimus running one over so they never came across as threatening.

Va'al wrote:This is what I meant a long while ago, when I lamented the lack of Gage's noticeable input in the story. Admittedly, I do agree with you in part, but I felt like the closing scenes probably gives us a lot more than the rest of the series on the Order - and the focus really was the Dire Wraiths after all. :-?
Yeah the part of the ending with D'rge made sense, and the stuff with Orphion basically telling the GC to feck off was quite enjoyable. Stardrive's ending confused me. I feel like I should get it, but I just don't. Is she part wraith now? Some weird hiveminder like Fy-laa before Rom super murdered that exoplanet?
Re: Review of IDW Rom Vs. Transformers: Shining Armor #5 [Final Issue] (1924289)
Posted by Va'al on November 30th, 2017 @ 8:46am CST
ScottyP wrote:
Va'al wrote:This is what I meant a long while ago, when I lamented the lack of Gage's noticeable input in the story. Admittedly, I do agree with you in part, but I felt like the closing scenes probably gives us a lot more than the rest of the series on the Order - and the focus really was the Dire Wraiths after all. :-?
Yeah the part of the ending with D'rge made sense, and the stuff with Orphion basically telling the GC to feck off was quite enjoyable. Stardrive's ending confused me. I feel like I should get it, but I just don't. Is she part wraith now? Some weird hiveminder like Fy-laa before Rom super murdered that exoplanet?


Super murder is a good term. Stealing it.

I feel like we may have more on that ending by the time we reach the next event in Hasbroverse - if not sooner, with more magic making its way into the 'technological' worlds already established. I mean, Stardrive is back, and Prowl - who is with her - has some organic stuff going on with him too. I think there may be something in the lines that Vekktral speaks on 'the next step in Wraith evolution', and how Stardrive may in fact be a 'better' version of the hybridisation process.
Re: Review of IDW Rom Vs. Transformers: Shining Armor #5 [Final Issue] (1924292)
Posted by ScottyP on November 30th, 2017 @ 9:04am CST
Va'al wrote:and Prowl - who is with her - has some organic stuff going on with him too.
Isn't that one of the Vamparc Ribbons he totally followed orders on and destroyed at the end of Autocracy?
Re: Review of IDW Rom Vs. Transformers: Shining Armor #5 [Final Issue] (1924293)
Posted by Va'al on November 30th, 2017 @ 9:14am CST
ScottyP wrote:
Va'al wrote:and Prowl - who is with her - has some organic stuff going on with him too.
Isn't that one of the Vamparc Ribbons he totally followed orders on and destroyed at the end of Autocracy?


Surely not. Not outstanding pillar of morality Prowl.
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