Review of IDW's Transformers Ongoing #18
Friday, April 15th, 2011 3:02am CDTCategories: Site News, Comic Book News, Reviews
Posted by: Seibertron Views: 90,735
I have only recently gotten back into Transformers comics which gives me a fresher perspective on where they are and where they've come from. However, IDW's latest was not the breath of fresh air I had hoped it was going to be. So without further ado, here is my review of IDW Transformers #18:
Issue #18 picks up where #17 left off... right after Jazz had killed a human in "self-defense," Prime nearly killed Soundwave whom had nearly killed Ultra Magnus.
This issue starts off with Prime checking news reports while an oddly-colored version of Wheeljack is busy trying to repair Thundercracker (a Decepticon POW who is trying to make a deal with the Autobots in order to save his own rusty tailpipe). Thundercracker is asking for Ratchet (because obviously Wheeljack is no medical professional) but he's busy patching up the Autobot wounded. I honestly laughed when he asked for Ratchet. Obviously, Wheeljack even has a bad reputation for blowing things up among the Decepticons. Prime deals with Thundercracker about Megatron's location, knowing he would take Soundwave somewhere to be repaired. Obviously, he gets the information he's looking for because he quickly puts a plan into action.
There's a tender "passing of the Matrix" moment between Prime and the battle-damaged Ultra Magnus who reveals that he had placed a tracking chip on Soundwave... *GASP!* Dun-DUN-dun!!! There's kind of a cool, retro moment at the beginning of page 5 where Prime is checking out his old gun back from Generation 2.
He checks in with Ratchet on Jetfire's ability to go into orbit but NOT to see any combat (which is part of Prime's plan to be revealed later). Then there's some confusion. In the last panel on page 5, an Autobot is begging Prime not to go or at least let him go with Prime to battle to which Prime replies that he is suspended until Bumblebee is healthy again. I'm not sure if this is Jazz or Prowl. I assume it is Jazz based on the last issue, but the very next panel on page 6 shows Prowl from the back. The two characters on page 5 and 6 are almost identically drawn except for Prowl's obvious emergency lights on his back and head color. Personally, I wished they had distinguished the two characters much better and we only get ONE panel of information concerning the mind-blowing shocker from last issue about Jazz killing a human? Anyways, Prowl tries to talk some sense into Prime and is worried that his plan is too rash and based on revenge and anger while Jetfire transforms and heads into the atmosphere.
Cut to my favorite Transformer of all-time: SHOCKWAVE! *applause* Shockwave is busy trying to repair Soundwave at the same time Prime is implementing his plan. Optimus Prime "drops in" on Megatron's party unannounced to "duke it out" mono e mono (although I suppose it should be described as roboto e roboto). There is a really cool splash page on page 7 where Prime makes his heroic entrance. And Optimus basically asks Megatron to "take it outside." There's another cool panel on page 8 while the two mortal enemies head out to do battle with all the Deceptcons following behind including Skywarp, couple of Constructicons, Ravage, Rumble, Frenzy, Dragstrip, and the triple-changers. Megatron is a photocopy of the upcoming War for Cybertron re-paint. Megatron chats about how the humans have started to turn against the Autobots, blah, blah, blah. He has a new weapon that Prime points out is a railgun and Megatron brags about how it doesn't even half to be fully charged to destroy a human city... but it IS fully charged! Then Prime starts talking about how humans have made advancements in weaponry over the years ... I had flashbacks of the original comics where the characters would describe who they were and what their weapons were called and what they could do or what their "special abilities" were.
And FINALLY after 9 pages, we see some ACTION! Prime fires his "kinetic harpoon" which basically "tags" Megatron and sends a satellite crashing down on him from space at mach 10 while Prime speeds away to get clear. Page 12, the bots finally do less talking and we get some BAY-PLOSIONS! Prime is shocked that Megatron survives and there's a weird moment where he grabs Megatron by the throat after BREAKING his own gun across Meg's face and says "Why can't you ever die?" Cut to an epic shot of Omega Supreme and we are shocked by Megatron carrying Prime home all beat up and surrenders himself.
Then we are back to the talking. Megatron and Prime go back and forth for three pages about how Megatron is exactly where HE wants to be and how Spike had Scrapper EXECUTED and that Prime is a traitor to his own kind working with the humans. Prime sets up a secret investigation into the humans' activities and then we are back to the news watching humans slowly turn against ALL Transformers (which again reminds me of the early comics when humans couldn't tell the difference between factions and condemned all giant, alien robots) and on page 20, we get a bunch of panels showing all the loose ends to the different parts of the story... Jazz and Prowl looking tense... Bumblebee and Magnus in the repair bay with Ratchet as well as the humans suits being loaded onto a transport. And we end with Prime pondering by himself in a nice, big one-shot on page 21.
As far as story goes, there's a LOT of talking. It's my opinion that comic books don't require as much dialogue as they are graphical depictions of stories and much of the stories are told through images and not through the text... not the case in this issue, I'm afraid. Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. Do these bots ever shut up and DO stuff? Most of the dialogue is necessary to move the story along, but this issue was severely lacking in action.
We get to see some of our favorite characters which is always nice, but they have been "Michael-Bayed" into transmutated versions of half-movie robots and half-War for Cybertron. Optimus Prime's chest is OBVIOUSLY based on the movie as well as Bumblebee's paint scheme which is almost EXACTLY the same as it is in the Reveal the Shield action figure. Ratchet looks almost identical to his WFC counter-part as well as Jetfire and the seekers (what little we see of them). Prime's "ears" or antennae seem to move by themselves from panel to panel. They kind of remind me of Justice League Unlimited Batman now. And Shockwave's eye has changed from Generation 1 yellow to Dark of the Moon red.
There were so many subtle advertisements for Dark of the Moon and War for Cybertron that I lost count. I can't tell if the writers/artists were doing it on purpose or not, I mean, I thought we were past this? I thought Transformers comics stopped trying to sell toys a long time ago? I thought they were "focusing on story" and not on advertising for toys? Maybe I was wrong.
But back to the story. There was just too much talkin' and not enough scrappin' in my opinion. I had gotten my hopes up when I read the preview before I got to read the entire issue. It wasn't the story and characters that I had grown up with anymore. Good and bad have become blurred and characters have more depth than they did. All that I'm happy with, but the main reason I read Transformers comics is for the transformin' and the scrappin' and there wasn't enough of either. It seemed that they were trying VERY hard to move the story along with the dialogue and it just didn't move smoothly. It seemed jaded and forced. I mean, I know villains gloat and brag about their plans but Megatron talks more than any other character in the entire issue! He used to be more of a "blow-em-up-now-and-chat-later" kinda' guy.
If I were going to rate this issue on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, I would have to give it a three. There were several cool moments and a few reminiscent retro moments that I really enjoyed, and I ALWAYS love seeing Shockwave, but it wasn't a particularly thrilling or captivating read. Very little important plot points. If you were a casual reader, you could skip this issue and not really miss anything. There just weren't any HUGE "WHOA" or "AHA" moments like the last issue had.
Speaking of last issue, why wasn't there more about that huge moment with Jazz? There was barely a mention of it at all! I guess we will just have to wait and see where the next issue takes us.
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Posted by Starscream GaGa on April 15th, 2011 @ 4:26am CDT
Posted by jON3.0 on April 15th, 2011 @ 5:23am CDT
Posted by Down_Shift on April 15th, 2011 @ 5:33am CDT
I use to really like the direction of the story now it seems to have kinda stopped. I'm hoping it picks up in the next few issues.
Posted by griftimus prime on April 15th, 2011 @ 6:17am CDT
Posted by MYoung23 on April 15th, 2011 @ 6:51am CDT
Down_Shift wrote:These comics are so boring lately. Everything just kinda seems to bleed together. Story feels too linear & predictable, art is bland and all the faces are the same with the obviously faceless exceptions.
I use to really like the direction of the story now it seems to have kinda stopped. I'm hoping it picks up in the next few issues.
So you saw Megatron beating up Prime, carrying him back to the Autobots and then surrendering in advance? Really?
Posted by Darth Bombshell on April 15th, 2011 @ 7:39am CDT
Seibertron wrote:Speaking of last issue, why wasn't there more about that huge moment with Jazz? There was barely a mention of it at all! I guess we will just have to wait and see where the next issue takes us.
Don't count on it. Knowing Costa, it happened simply for Shock and Awe and to annoy the fans. Nothing more.
Posted by zephon on April 15th, 2011 @ 8:51am CDT
I like how they used the Kinetic Harpoon concept (having seen it in Discovery Channel). They could have followed up with a second harpoon or maybe even with a volley from Omega Supreme (he still can't transform, right?). But what we had was more talk....
Hope the story leaves Earth for more galaxy-wide battles.
Posted by Emperor Galvatron on April 15th, 2011 @ 9:05am CDT
However, I'm a little disappointed in the review. Please hear me out and I'll explain.
First and foremost, you've just told me the entire story. I never have to buy this book at all. I know from your review practically every detail of the book from cover to cover.
Second, at this point we all know what the bots look like in the book. One sentence stating that the art style hasn't changed from the norm would suffice.
And third, the entire review was written, I don't know how to say this exactly, a little immature(?). (I know, I'm a 35 yr old man critiquing a review of a comic book about a line of children's toys as immature, but bear with me.) I understand that the review is your opinion, and I guess I'm just used to tigertracks reviews, but it comes off as petty in some aspects. We all know how Costa writes the book, we know what the art style is, we know it'll be the same next month, and the next, and for the foreseeable future.
Again, this is not meant as a slight against you, I just would like to see you improve. Thanks again, and see you in thirty.
Posted by mbd88prime on April 15th, 2011 @ 10:43am CDT
Posted by Counterpunch on April 15th, 2011 @ 10:45am CDT
I can't even really pin-point just what is wrong with the direction this fiction has gone...
Posted by Tigertrack on April 15th, 2011 @ 11:51am CDT
I am glad we kind of had some of those plot points used so quickly. It was almost out of character, and out of place to have the Magnus tracking device from the previous issue be pointed out and used here! At the time we did not know what it was, but it was brought up as a 'wha's he doing point?' when I reviewed 17.
Ore-13 was brought up again, and quickly done away with...
Fun times. Good review.
Posted by jON3.0 on April 15th, 2011 @ 5:45pm CDT
Emperor Galvatron wrote:However, I'm a little disappointed in the review. Please hear me out and I'll explain... I just would like to see you improve.
Perhaps you skipped the VERY FIRST statement that I'm just now returning to Transformers comics so some of this stuff is a little newer to me. And secondly, this is the first review I've done for seibertron.com as I'm new to the staff. I would think you'd have a little more patience than only giving me one shot. I followed the format of previous reviews. Had there been any awesomeness to review to suggest you buying the book, I would have left some up to your imagination. It's a REVIEW, not a teaser trailer. Spoilers should be a given. I would suggest against buying this issue unless you just HAVE to buy a copy for your collection. Everyone's a critic and I knew this was coming ahead of time. Perhaps next time, you can get Ain't It Cool news to review the comic so it will be less "immature" and more professional? I called 'em as I seen 'em. This is a site dedicated to toys, cartoons, and comic books... immature? Really? lol.
Posted by Doctor McGrath on April 15th, 2011 @ 7:43pm CDT
I like that this issue seems to take a little initiative. I like that Prime has a plan but I'm tired of him just walking up to Megs and then getting it handed to him. For whatever reason, I also enjoyed the brief UM/OP heart-to-heart
I am annoyed that the Jazz situation was left pretty much untouched though.
Posted by quickmixed on April 15th, 2011 @ 7:52pm CDT
I am enjoying Milnes artwork a lot more than Dons I must say. But Im not really digging the colour work.
IMO they should hand over the colour work to Joana Lafuente.
Posted by trence5 on April 15th, 2011 @ 11:57pm CDT
I agree. I know its more interesting to have antagonist that the hero can't just beat into the ground - but damn, I thought Optimus could fight too. Maybe they're taking into the theory that there are 3 Transformers that Megatron and Optimus would be hesitant to just up against: Shockwave, Ultra Magnus and GRIMLOCK...mbd88prime wrote: IDW: its O K A Y for optimus to win sometimes, heck, even ONCE. Megs and Op are supposed to be equals. okay, i think im done now.
Posted by Chaoslock on April 17th, 2011 @ 4:59am CDT
quickmixed wrote:I was suprised to see the death of Scrapper brought up and used as a tool for Megs.
Yeah, it was funny, because Optimus can just give Soundwave a headshoot, and a human can't kill a constructicon out of revenge?
Megatron mopping the floor with Optimus, and not killing him after Prime nearly killed Soundwave...
And than when Megatron gets in custody, Prime just imprisons him inside OS instead of ending a threat...
Talk about double standards.
Another joke is the Decepticon bases' security system. First Hot Rod gets in their base all alone, and now Prime can just hop into their lab centre without any trouble...
Costas work stinks of him getting paid by issues, not for quality.
Posted by trence5 on April 17th, 2011 @ 6:24pm CDT
Posted by Tigertrack on April 18th, 2011 @ 8:36am CDT
I would have to go back and read very carefully, when the deal was struck between the bots and Skywatch, but I believe full disclosure of troop actions and movements was supposed to be a part of it.
When Spike went all rogue like that and vented his frustrations, apparently, he did not tell Prime/BBee/etc., and thus, it is causing concern to Prime in that he needs to know what else has not been told to them. I don't think there is a big deal that a Skywatch member offed a con, but that it was done, and not shared is the deal... I guess.
Posted by Darth Bombshell on April 18th, 2011 @ 9:33pm CDT
quickmixed wrote:I was really hoping to see some fallout of Jazz's actions from the last issue but all we got was one panel of Prime telling Jazz he was on time out.
I wouldn't expect anything more than that. Costa's not big on following up on his shock plots.