Review of IDW Transformers 'A Bold New Era' Issue #17

Review of IDW Transformers 'A Bold New Era' Issue #17

Monday, February 24th, 2020 8:49am CST

Categories: Comic Book News, Reviews
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“Perhaps Titans were -are- the ultimate expression of Cybertron, of us. Wondrous, vast, infinitely, capable.”
Vigilem quoting Codexa,‘The Way We Were, By One Who Saw It.’

The Change in Your Nature - Part Five - A late review without too many spoilers, even though the issue came out last Wednesday.

Written by Brian Ruckley with Art by Anna Malkova and Bethany McGuire, colors by Joana LaFuente and John-Paul Bove, with letters by Jake M. Wood and Neil Uyetake. Edited by David Mariotte and Tom Waltz.

The Rise is pushing even more boundaries and their next step is in motion. Skystalker has awoken Vigilem… What is the next step for Cybertron’s many factions? Vigiliem’s awakening cannot mean good things can it? The fact that the rise want to awaken him, based on their prior motivations does not seem like a positive step for the planet. But, many readers will be relying on their previous experience with the very large, very powerful, and very dangerous Titan (see 'Til All Are One') to better inform their prediction for what the outcome most likely involves.

Vigilem is the focus this issue, which as you can imagine, is not a small thing.

The first few pages take us right back where the last issue left off and speaking of not small things, check out Astrotrain's size in the image below. Our glorious gaggle of Risers is itching for more trouble, especially the XXXL-sized train bot. History will mark their deeds and judge what they have done as being right, wrong…or possibly something even more defining.

Transformers News: Re: IDW Transformers Version 2.0 "A Bold New Era" Ongoing Discussion
I choo-choo choose...WAR!

Cyclonus is physically healed up, but is also still dealing with his mental illness which might be PTSD or something else entirely, and is now growing angry with a new inner fire being sparked because of the Rise's destruction of one of his favorite places. Is there a reason for us to care about Cyclonus’ backstory right now? What bigger role will he and his memories play?

Transformers News: Re: IDW Transformers Version 2.0 "A Bold New Era" Ongoing Discussion

The Winged Moon, a consistent hangout of Wheeljack and his mentee Gears, is our main setting though...and space. Gears follows through with his difficulties with 0 gravity mentioned by Cosmos in the Transformers Valentine’s Day Special. More importantly, we learn of Vigiliem’s target…

Transformers News: Re: IDW Transformers Version 2.0 "A Bold New Era" Ongoing Discussion

Cue the alarms and the 2nd part of the Rise’s plan. Big bad rockin’ communicator bot and his communication friends not named Steeljaw, Ramhorn, Eject, Rewind, Raindance, or Grand Slam, work very hard to try to undo the virus that has taken down the Titan network. This is a bad thing, of course, because apparently there is no response to be had to re-route Vigilem by communication or by force (apparently).

Transformers News: Re: IDW Transformers Version 2.0 "A Bold New Era" Ongoing Discussion

BUT WAIT! Old friend Lightbright is ready to intervene with Titan Lodestar, results to be determined (and not spoiled entirely)…


Artwork duties are once again shared by Anna Malkova and Bethany McGuire. Both are adept at showing action and expression in their work. This issue has plenty of both to go around. There are some really large almost splash pages (you can imagine with showing characters the scale of Titans with regular bots). I’m not particularly fond of Vigilem’s ship-mode design, but that’s a small gripe, right? I feel like being the large scale that he is, there could be more detail in trying to show that MONSTROUS scale. But the artwork certainly helps tell our story, and certainly has some amazing shining moments of expression; especially AWE and FEAR…


Coloring duties fall to the duo of LaFuente and Bove, two worthy and capable individuals with plenty of Transformers and other comic experience to bring. The color work with Lightbright in Lodestar is a nice bit of work using Lodestar’s palette as inspiration for other interiors on the Titan.

Transformers News: Re: IDW Transformers Version 2.0 "A Bold New Era" Ongoing Discussion

I was most impressed by the art team’s panel below. This immediately caught my eye and I smiled to myself as I thought, ‘Wow, they nailed that shot…I really love it.’ The potential for even more is there.

Transformers News: Re: IDW Transformers Version 2.0 "A Bold New Era" Ongoing Discussion
And there are a few cover options, Livio's standard, Brendan Cahill, and Marcelo Matere in the thumbnail.

The story moves along well, with a lot of action- broken up with some moments of levity and build up for another part of the plot to pay off later via Cyclonus. There's a lot of history that is being introduced and some somewhat assumed for the reader, but not much built on yet.


All-in-all, I thought this was a good issue, and I look forward to the follow up -that ending-. Lots of IDW Transformers version 2 Titan lore came out, as well as, more information as to how Titans function, and are supported, some we were mostly aware of from prior experience, some brand new. We have mentions of knights, and plenty of Titan names that we have no idea who or what they fully did. And we get much of this from the memories of a Titan who has read works by Codexa (or downloaded them) and uses her words to express his/the mood. I did miss the Titan voice ballon work that we have seen in the past (and even in this issue). I think it helps to set apart the Titan's from the 'regular' bot and I'd love to see it consistently used again.

Transformers News: Re: IDW Transformers Version 2.0 "A Bold New Era" Ongoing Discussion

I thought that there were some possible missed opportunities with some somewhat bland panels of spaceship flying in space at many different angles, it does allow for Vigilem's exposition to be broken up, but otherwise, a solid issue with some new Cybertronian faces showing up to the party and many panels of pretty amazing artwork.

“Titans built our colonies, they fought for us, they WERE us.”

:BOT: :BOT: :BOT: out of :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT:
Transformers News: Re: IDW Transformers Version 2.0 "A Bold New Era" Ongoing Discussion
Team Gears is blasting off again!!!


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Re: Review of IDW Transformers 'A Bold New Era' Issue #17 (2056270)
Posted by sol magnus on March 10th, 2020 @ 2:20pm CDT
Major Spoilers has a preview up on tomorrow's Transformers #18 -

http://majorspoilers.com/2020/03/10/pre ... rettyPhoto

I'd like credit.
Re: Review of IDW Transformers 'A Bold New Era' Issue #17 (2056313)
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on March 10th, 2020 @ 7:27pm CDT
Thanks to IDW Publishing, we have the full 5-page preview for tomorrow's new issue of IDW Transformers. The new issue sort of picks up after the events of issue #17, showing us a ground view look at the final page tease from the last issue, and will feature the couple of Arcee and Greenlight, and their young mentee charge, Gauge. We get a nice look at how Cybertron is dealing with the current events, and we also see that Gauge has a bit of an uphill battle ahead of her.

The issue is due out tomorrow and will be available for $3.99. Check out the preview below, and let us know what you think in the comments section below!

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Re: Review of IDW Transformers 'A Bold New Era' Issue #17 (2056366)
Posted by snavej on March 11th, 2020 @ 9:28am CDT
FFFFUUUUUUUUU.........! :-s :bigmichaelbay: :PRAY:


I read a book once called 'Red Mars' by Kim Stanley Robinson. In that, an orbital tether falls back onto Mars. Death and destruction ensue, naturally.
Re: Review of IDW Transformers 'A Bold New Era' Issue #17 (2056372)
Posted by Rodimus Knight on March 11th, 2020 @ 10:42am CDT
I looked at this cover and I had no Idea who the characters on it were.
Re: Review of IDW Transformers 'A Bold New Era' Issue #17 (2056383)
Posted by Big Grim on March 11th, 2020 @ 12:33pm CDT
Is anything actually happening in this book yet?
Re: Review of IDW Transformers 'A Bold New Era' Issue #17 (2056416)
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on March 11th, 2020 @ 6:38pm CDT
Big Grim wrote:Is anything actually happening in this book yet?

Sort of? It has improved, but it's still not really flowing
Re: Review of IDW Transformers 'A Bold New Era' Issue #17 (2056474)
Posted by Rodimus Prime on March 12th, 2020 @ 10:35am CDT
For the first time since this book started, I'm curious to see what happens next.
Re: Review of IDW Transformers 'A Bold New Era' Issue #17 (2056487)
Posted by Lore Keeper on March 12th, 2020 @ 3:22pm CDT
Having read this now, I have two questions. Why are robots sweating? And why is Arcee such a frigging Karen in this continuity?
Re: Review of IDW Transformers 'A Bold New Era' Issue #17 (2056529)
Posted by william-james88 on March 12th, 2020 @ 9:57pm CDT
Spotlight Arcee
A Review of Transformers #18

Spoiler free


I liked this issue. It is actually my favourite issue of the ones I have reviewed for the site. Of course that doesn't mean much, all I needed was an issue with less stairs and talking. And funny enough, I don't recall any prominent stairs here, instead it was more star wars type walkways and ramps. Now that i think of it, for a species that turns into cars, don't ramps make more sense than stairs? Why even have stairs? Eh, moving on.

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This issue feels like a breath of fresh air compared to previous ones in the sense that it feels more like a spotlight issue. There is definitely still some world building, like the logic behind new bots being created, but no one is sitting around talking about it. Instead we see it through actions and other fun interactions. While she isn't spotlit on this issue's two main covers, the spotlight is really on Arcee. I do like how the idea of her being a hardened warrior is kept from the previous continuity, without being too world weary either. And we get more Greenlight here than we've ever gotten in G1 so hurray for that too.

It is a very simple story, just getting from point A to point B while kicking ass and taking names, ala Escape from New York, which works very well for these other characters born of the 80s. I did like the action, it was very well framed by the artists, though I did wonder the effectiveness of some moves. There is a really prominent shot of an antagonist throwing energon cubes at Arcee and you get the sense that he is skilled at this, but the next shot is just them bumping off her like they were empty cardboard boxes. It would have been more impressive to see her dodge them acrobatically, unless I was supposed to know that Arcee now has wonder woman gauntlets. It just felt a tad underwhelming after the emphasis on the battle.

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Speaking of the artists, this issue had 2, Bethany McGuire-Smith and Umi Miyao, and I felt both their styles worked well with this issue. The change in artist never felt jarring, I wouldn't even have known if I wasn't told. It is of course helped a lot by Josh Burcham being the only colourist on this issue and giving it a very even feel. The art itself was fine, a bit reminiscent of Nick Roche (especially when coloured by Josh Burcham) but I did have some issue with the faces. Arcee especially is given a Jay leno chin and there are some shots in the issue where her Lea bunns helmet is cut off from the frame and it was not obvious it was her. Also, I never thought of Transformers sweating, but the artists give it a shot in this issue and it instead comes off as Arcee having a bad case of acnee.

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The covers available feature Umi Miyao as the main cover artist and Beth Mcguire-Smith as the artist for cover B. I will say none really do it for me, especially the main cover where I couldn't even tell that was Greenlight. My favourite cover of the bunch is Kei Zama's retailer incentive which looks incredible, and does have Arcee in the spotlight. Regardless of my personal tastes, I do find it incredible that we all these covers are by talented women. It's a nice touch for international women's day, whether intentional or not, and it's nice to highlight diversity in this field which has been dominated by men since inception.
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 #18.

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Verdict


Straight and to the point, just like I like em. Nothing too fancy, but it hit the spot for some Transformers fiction and I definitely wouldn't mind reading more from these characters, which is something I thought I would never say about this series.

Final Score
. :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: and a half
out of
:BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT:
Re: Review of IDW Transformers 'A Bold New Era' Issue #17 (2056530)
Posted by william-james88 on March 12th, 2020 @ 10:01pm CDT
Rodimus Knight wrote:I looked at this cover and I had no Idea who the characters on it were.


Same here, I adress it in my review. Along with the robo sweat.
Re: Review of IDW Transformers 'A Bold New Era' Issue #17 (2056537)
Posted by Rodimus Prime on March 13th, 2020 @ 12:14am CDT
Yeah the sweat was the 1st thing that caught my eye. Any idea how and when this series will be released in trades? And will Galaxies really be put together with it?
Re: Review of IDW Transformers 'A Bold New Era' Issue #17 (2056544)
Posted by ZeroWolf on March 13th, 2020 @ 3:22am CDT
Rodimus Prime wrote:Yeah the sweat was the 1st thing that caught my eye. Any idea how and when this series will be released in trades? And will Galaxies really be put together with it?

I think there has been a, listing for the first TPB on Amazon
, and so far, yes Galaxies will be contained within the mainline TPB.

What I found amusing looking at the cover was that I was trying to figure out why Greenlight had been paired with Arcee, then I remembered that we got Greenlight as part of the Selects line (under Siege) and of course, Arcee is coming out in Earthrise. Coincidence?

Probably :lol: I haven't even checked to see if this Arcee looks anything like the Earthrise release
Re: Review of IDW Transformers 'A Bold New Era' Issue #17 (2056545)
Posted by Dannshinigami on March 13th, 2020 @ 3:40am CDT
The cover you didnt realise was Greenlight is because its Gauge not Greenlight on the cover.

Loved this issue the Arcee transforming and catching Gauge sequence was a highlight panel as was the whole Arcee takes no prisoners scene.
Re: Review of IDW Transformers 'A Bold New Era' Issue #17 (2056549)
Posted by Bounti76 on March 13th, 2020 @ 5:41am CDT
ZeroWolf wrote:
Rodimus Prime wrote:Yeah the sweat was the 1st thing that caught my eye. Any idea how and when this series will be released in trades? And will Galaxies really be put together with it?

I think there has been a, listing for the first TPB on Amazon
, and so far, yes Galaxies will be contained within the mainline TPB.

What I found amusing looking at the cover was that I was trying to figure out why Greenlight had been paired with Arcee, then I remembered that we got Greenlight as part of the Selects line (under Siege) and of course, Arcee is coming out in Earthrise. Coincidence?

Probably :lol: I haven't even checked to see if this Arcee looks anything like the Earthrise release


Technically, Greenlight was part of the regular Siege line, just exclusive to Amazon. Her retool, Lancer, was part of Selects, though. As I recall, Earthrise Arcee is straight up her G1 cartoon design. This looks more IDW Arcee to me.
Re: Review of IDW Transformers 'A Bold New Era' Issue #17 (2056614)
Posted by Flashwave on March 13th, 2020 @ 11:26pm CDT
Soo, several months abmgo I designed an interior schematic for Metroplex and was faced with the same question posed in this review: Do aliens have Stairs?

The problem is not so much that they can turn into vehicles, even for a species who can do that, you sren't going to turn into a car in the middle of your Hotel just go up to the nect level. The question is that unlike Humans, there is a VERY large range of heights and builds with no consistancy. Unlike Humans where most adults are in the 4-6ft range, we have seen Cybertronians deviate from 4-8feet to over 40, and thats just the normal guys, not counting Combiners or dudes like Omega Supreme. And on top of that, legs are not as consistantly proportionate either, so you have guys like Ultra Magnus and Bulkhead who are close to the same height, but Bulkhead's legs are half as long. And someone like Override who turns into a Motorcycle and comes up to Bulkhead's WAIST has to use the same flight of steps. So whom do you size the steps for?

A Ramp, meanwhile, is more versatile, but comes with the inherent steepness issue.
Re: Review of IDW Transformers 'A Bold New Era' Issue #17 (2073292)
Posted by aronjlove on July 22nd, 2020 @ 3:45pm CDT
Issue 21 drops today and it is very apparent that this Optimus is Siege Galaxy Upgrade Optimus without the extra armor. That incredibly angular truck cab is clearly that Voyager Optimus and not Siege or Earthrise.
Re: Review of IDW Transformers 'A Bold New Era' Issue #17 (2075733)
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on August 11th, 2020 @ 6:55pm CDT
Thanks to Apple Book Preview, we have our 3rd and final comic preview for the day, this time for Transformers #22. Transformers #22 is set to focus in on the Security team that is attempting to bring in Quake, who was captured last issue and whom killed our introductory kid character Rubble all the way back in issue #5. As seen in these preview pages, that mission is not starting off very easily, and it looks like a fight is brewing for this issue.

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

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Re: Review of IDW Transformers 'A Bold New Era' Issue #17 (2075779)
Posted by Big Grim on August 12th, 2020 @ 7:48am CDT
Has this picked up worth a damn yet?
Re: Review of IDW Transformers 'A Bold New Era' Issue #17 (2075791)
Posted by Evil Eye on August 12th, 2020 @ 9:24am CDT
That cover is rather nice, it has to be said.
Re: Review of IDW Transformers 'A Bold New Era' Issue #17 (2076552)
Posted by ScottyP on August 18th, 2020 @ 2:20pm CDT
Decepticons Rising
A Review of Transformers #22

Spoiler Free-ish
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Who let him out of Tidal Whale?

This first sentence will be the only mention of how much more other past Transformers comic series have done with 22 issues. That was a thought that needed to get out of my head, and now it's out and direct comparisons to older continuities will cease for the rest of the review.

Transformers #22 is out this Wednesday, August 19th and continues the escalation of tensions on Cybertron between the Autobots and Decepticons. Or Ascenticons? Risers? It really doesn't matter much now since we all know what's up by this point and are free of having to wonder whether or not this is tied in to the Netflix series (it isn't) so let's see what's happening with our favorite robots in disguise this month.

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The call-in queue for your local sports radio show

Brian Ruckley's mild ride is picking up the pace a bit at last, with a great deal of this issue being a battle and its surprisingly still action heavy consequences. A somewhat focused cast takes us through events that are a logical progression from what's come before, the dialogue isn't overly dense and artist Anna Malkova's sequential work carries it through much better than the output on Transformers #21 just a month ago. No 'bots are suddenly pivoted 90 degrees on their back after being attacked by a character suddenly on the opposite side of where they were in the previous panel on this one, thankfully.

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But does he understand why kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch? Crap, wrong cereal reference.

The character work here is more focused than in some previous issues but there's still an overall feeling that each issue is trying to follow too much in too many places simultaneously to build its cast in a memorable way. I challenged myself to remember the character's name above and couldn't do it. All I can think of is Rice Krispies, but sadly the verbal tic presented made Voxpop - I looked back at the page now - stand out among a sea of standard fare. As another example, the Sentinel Prime here has yet to be anything more that what you probably already think he is because he keeps showing up for a panel/page or two and then leaving. While this is fine given the foreshadowing (and my personal assumptions, to be fair) on what will eventually happen to him, it's not creating anything memorable or new. That's just one example but more are around if you look hard enough. Sure, Transformers have had one-note "Red Car Guy" types of characters for a long time, but it feels at times like this entire series is comprised of archetypes playing typecast roles.

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So much for a mint Quake

While that focused on the negative it should be made clear that this was much more fun to read than a great deal of this series' previous content. Characters may not necessarily appear but are at least mentioned, preventing any cases where doubt is cast in regards to whether or not the writers and editors remembered who was in given scenes. The Cybertronian political climate, along with its penchant for talking and walking through halls/up and down staircases, shows up briefly then goes away. It's effective in this case as it's introduced by the aforementioned Voxpop, we pivot to it, then things jump to the next logical scene. Joana Lafuente's color work also aids the narrative by giving each setting a distinct feel, and as this review is about to get into below, this is a god-send in at least one circumstance. As the next chapter of a larger story, there's a lot here that's satisfying, or at least moreso than much of the series so far.

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Scene whiplash

There is one nagging production issue that was present in issue 21 that remains here in at least one case, which is whiplash between scenes. To explain, I'm going to talk about scenes readily read-able for free in the published preview for this issue, though be aware that preview has pages 2 and 3 reversed by mistake, something that does not carry over to the final product. We start with a page featuring Bumblebee and Stakeout. As soon as this is finished, your next panel is the one shown above with Sixshot. Bee and Stakeout aren't watching this battle and don't show up until the later half of the issue, so why is this here? Why has letterer Jake M. Wood not put some kind of location caption on the page with Sixshot and others, or why did one of the three editors on the book - David Mariotte, Tom Waltz, or assistant Riley Farmer - not caught the times this has happened where the narrative doesn't handle the transition well on its own? Maybe the confusion is the point, providing the reader with a sense of the chaos happening on the page, but there's been a significant recurrence of this lately in this issue and others. This has left at least this reviewer feeling some whiplash as events move from scene to scene, often without warning.

The covers do a decent job of showing things that actually happen in the book, or at least the variants do which is why Andrew Griffith and John-Paul Bove's "B" cover is used in this review's news story's thumbnail. The 10-copy incentive cover by Winston Chan depicts a similar scene, while Anna Malkova's "A" cover looks way cool but feels like it was made for another issue then placed here arbitrarily. That's no great sin, just pointing it out for readers hoping to see that triumvirate in a featured role this time since they are not. As always, you can also find full credits for the issue in our Vector Sigma Database page for Transformers #22.

Verdict
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Above picture not necessarily commentary on what you should do with your subscription, I'm still keeping mine

Production quibbles aside, this is a much more read-able comic than some of the work that's been output in this series, featuring some welcome action that draws on previous events in ways both appropriately rote and surprising. One of the bigger surprises comes at the end and I'm not sure how to feel about it. It's likely that without the follow-up content, whether or not a certain character's actions end up being compelling storytelling or a cheap pop for shock value remains to be determined. In some ways I really like where the story went, though in others I wonder if a slight variation might have done more for the characters involved. It's tough to articulate this while being vague to remain "spoiler free-ish", but feel free to comment on this post if you want to chat about it more in our forums.

The score below flip-flopped back and forth between what you see and a half-point higher, but dead in the middle of our rubric feels like the right place for this. The issue isn't terrible but it also fails to achieve greatness. This was an enjoyable read for me, but certainly nothing mind-blowing and not enough to tell anyone that's dropped the book to go pick it back up.

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


This issue's out today, so pick it up on the Seibertron.com eBay store or at your local shop, check here to see if you have one nearby and remember to check first for special hours or restrictions related to public health matters.

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