Seibertron.com Reviews IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise issue 4

Seibertron.com Reviews IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise issue 4

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012 10:09pm CDT

Categories: Site News, Comic Book News
Posted by: Psychout   Views: 49,783

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Bad Cop/Worse Cop

BIG SPOILERS AHEAD!

So, here is it, Robots in Disguise issue 4, the comic that is currently dividing the Transformers readership.

RiD has some big boots to fill. More than Meets the Eye is a great comic; light hearted, colourful and fast paced and Autocracy is beautifully rendered, focuses on the franchise's most famous characters and has a story that we all know the conclusion to, so it falls to RiD to be the bigger of the three and bring new stories that are grittier, darker and more involving and this is not an easy thing to do when your subject matter is giant shape-changing space robots, especially with such limited scope.

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Because that has always worked so well in the past for the 'cons, eh Swindle?


Unfortunately this leaves little room for middle ground, and whilst I already know many will disagree with me on this, it's a good effort but for me it just isn’t working. In the past, Prowl has previously been depicted as a fan favourite’s character, with honour and integrity working from behind the scenes as the manipulator, not afraid to go behind people's backs to do what must to get the job done. Spotlight: Kup and AHM:15 are amongst the best examples of this, even if the aftermath wasn’t quite what everyone expected (See Infestation: Transformers #2). Here, the pressures of securing an entire rebuilt planet seem to have got to him, and in his pursuit of the Autobot philosophy any kind of honour has been stripped away leaving just the oft referred to ‘cold and calculating’ part of his personality which just ceases to make him the same likeable character, and Arcee’s influence throughout just appears to make it worse in her role of 'secret enforcer'.

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Born to be a kindergarten teacher


Art wise, my reservations from the last issue continue. Cybertron herself is crisp and clear but character detail once again overwhelms us one minute and is gone the next, and some character updates stand out from their other 80s-looking peers but for all the wrong reasons. Starscream (and his type) is a prime example, but the one thing that confuses me the most is that one section of the Seekers has lost its genre-defining lithe shape that invoked speed and manoeuvrability in favour of this bulkier almost movie-style physique, whilst Dirge – the last remaining Conehead - retains an older-style (possibly due to his early expulsion from Earth) but looks so much better for it, probably up there as one of my favourite Seeker designs. Why the different body types? Where’s the consistency? Adding to the confusion, Bombshell and the Constructicons all look near cartoon-perfect. And then of course there is Arcee... I’ll just let you decide on her amongst yourselves, my opinion is already out there and this does little to change it.

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And the voice of Prowl's conscience is a psychotic
pink robot. This can only end well.


Aside from my misgivings about the Prowl/Arcee dynamic and the art, the writing for this issue is still good. Barber has taken a world without the easy options of Prime, Megatron, Magnus and even Rodimus to solve the its ills and woven an involving and complex story and really grasped Prowl as a lead in this (still) dysfunctional government making pre-emptive decisions in the name of Cybertron security, even if it does take him in a very different direction, but it does feel a little heavy handed at times. The premise for this story – Bombshell seeding chaos into the Decepticon ranks as the planet becomes more and more divided - is engrossing, a character with an exceptional skill is finally being put to use in a well thought out and effective way, but the ending is blunt and seems a waste of such potential just to showcase this new 'Prowl' archetype even further.

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And cue the Benny Hill theme tune...


This issue had the potential to be great noir-style detective story or a bad cop/good cop action epic and falls short on both, mainly depicting Prowl on a murderous rampage meltdown and for many this will make him a thoroughly unlikeable character. One must wonder where they are planning on taking this, especially with the effective removal of a well-loved Decepticon group, and if there will be any 'bad guys' left in the only comic of the two ongoings that fully involves characters that the purple-badge wearing fans have any interest in as Barber boldly wields the machete of character death with reckless abandon.

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Champion bedside manner too. This guy is a true hero!


Fans of the bigger picture will appreciate this comic more than others, but with no clear story mapped out by the 4th issue, RiD is becoming an increasingly difficult read. Pick it up for the well scripted action scenes and enlightening character interactions, but be wary, whilst this is still of a higher standard than some of IDW’s previous runs, it is also still the weakest of the three series available.

Credit(s): Psychout


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Re: Seibertron.com Reviews IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise issue 4 (1372705)
Posted by Downbeat on April 25th, 2012 @ 4:45am CDT
I haven't read this issue yet, but "honor and integrity"? Prowl was practically as close to a Decepticon on the Autobot side as they could come under Roche and Roberts' tenure.His usage of Kup for a symbol to boost morale, with an override installed in his body just in case, is there honor or integrity in that? Was there honor in his near-crushing of the data slug from Wreckers? Was there honor in his sabotage of the Lost Light?

IDW's Prowl was best characterized as a cunning bastard that would do anything for what he saw as the Autobot cause.

Still have to pick up MTMTE #4 and this issue, but I definitely disagree with the reviewer.

No slights intended against the reviewer, of course, just a difference of opinion.

Personally, I like this Arcee and her design, and I'm okay with Dirge the conehead having a different body than Starscream in his War for Cybertron design, from what I've read of the first three issues.
Re: Seibertron.com Reviews IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise issue 4 (1372959)
Posted by Va'al on April 25th, 2012 @ 4:06pm CDT
So there I was, on my way to Abstract Sprocket, my local comic shop.

..but the supplier, even though they had invoiced and received payment, never supplied. :(

Next week it is.
Re: Seibertron.com Reviews IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise issue 4 (1373296)
Posted by Tigertrack on April 26th, 2012 @ 8:16am CDT
Downbeat wrote:I haven't read this issue yet, but "honor and integrity"? Prowl was practically as close to a Decepticon on the Autobot side as they could come under Roche and Roberts' tenure.His usage of Kup for a symbol to boost morale, with an override installed in his body just in case, is there honor or integrity in that? Was there honor in his near-crushing of the data slug from Wreckers? Was there honor in his sabotage of the Lost Light?

IDW's Prowl was best characterized as a cunning bastard that would do anything for what he saw as the Autobot cause.

Still have to pick up MTMTE #4 and this issue, but I definitely disagree with the reviewer.


I know what you mean, but many of us G1 folks have a romanticized version of Prowl that we still hold on to (as we do with many of these characters).

And as things progressed, some of the fiction in IDW did have him working behind the scenes to do whatever to further the Autobot cause, but he did struggle many times with his choices, ultimately choosing the logical support of the Autobot cause over negative consequences involving feelings/relationships.

And of course, no one expects anyone to 'have' to agree with the reviewer, just understand points of view can differ. Afterall, if we all agreed why would we discuss this? Where would the fun in the controversial/pivotal twists and turns and choices that the creators make be?

Enjoy. But Arcee's face looks damn ugly sometimes. :D And her personality ain't any better.
Re: Seibertron.com Reviews IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise issue 4 (1373510)
Posted by Chaoslock on April 26th, 2012 @ 6:17pm CDT
Arcee has a Decepticon peronality. But the issue was far too bloody for my tastes, and I feel it was very unneeded. When Furman killed someone, it was during an apocalyptic event, not to show off how bad cops act, and Roberts has style.
Plus, constantly making people remember the possibly worst comic issue in transformers history is a BAD thing.
Re: Seibertron.com Reviews IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise issue 4 (1376101)
Posted by cybercat on May 2nd, 2012 @ 3:06pm CDT
Chaoslock wrote:Arcee has a Decepticon peronality. But the issue was far too bloody for my tastes, and I feel it was very unneeded. When Furman killed someone, it was during an apocalyptic event, not to show off how bad cops act, and Roberts has style.
Plus, constantly making people remember the possibly worst comic issue in transformers history is a BAD thing.



NGL: Arcee troubles me. Not her personality now so much (I mean, wow, Spotlight Arcee is just a sinkhole of misogyny so just about ANYTHING is an improvement) but the utter lack of explanation of two things:

1) Why isn't she crazazy anymore? I'm not complaining, because LOLPMSRAGE isn't that funny or engaging to begin with, but, just like Perceptor lapsing back into nerdmode, it's done with NO explanation.

2) She HATES being in her body, if Spotlight Arcee is to be believed, and was only shoved back in when she could be of service to the Autobot cause. So, why the heck she'd work with Autobots to begin with?

and sort of going back to 1--when last we saw her in Ongoing she was scooping up Kimia refugees acting like den mother, and now she's Elektra Assassin again. This is giving me whiplash.

On the whole, though I really like the dynamics of this issue. Starscream's easy manipulation of Bumblebee was fantastic, and Prowl really has no other choice, in light of such baldly incompetent leadership, to take things into his own dirty hands.

The sour note for me was Wheeljack. Wow. Egotist much? Yeah sure, you're the most important word on Cybertron. Not like...Till All Are One or Optimus Forever.

HK, still better than Prime's Drift!Jack I suppose

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