Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment

Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment

Thursday, March 17th, 2016 8:16am CDT

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Posted by: ScottyP   Views: 71,600

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Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment
(Or: I Swear This Isn't a Site Article)
(Unless Va'al swoops in on Alpha Bravo and makes it so...)
(Which just happened.)


Note: This article is an editorial, and as such, it reflects the views of the authors and the author alone. Much like our reviews, top lists and other articles, it is not indicative of Seibertron.com, the site owner, or the staff.

The Transformers: Deviations one-shot came out this week and I was extremely excited about this book. I love the 1986 The Transformers: The Movie with a passion, and any addition to its lore, imagery, and self-contained universe is something I jump at with fervor.

There's a reason this movie has withstood the test of time. It's likely most accurate to say that there are a multitude of extremely good reasons this has happened and not just one on its own. From the iconic music (whether or not you enjoy it ironically being outside the scope of things here) to the sublime voice cast to animation that put the weekly TV series to shame, this movie's lasting appeal is one of a hundred factors responsible for the brand's sustained success. Success which, it should be noted, has far surpassed a majority (though not all) of the 80s and 90s nostalgia act properties that have gone away for a time then re-emerged into current pop-culture awareness. TF:TM as I'll call it a lot from here on out was the first time the brand evolved, and it did so in the most amazing way for me.

Transformers News: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment


I should really elaborate on some of those points in regards to TF:TM a bit more. First, to get it out of the way since I've already brought it up perhaps somewhat pointlessly, the music in TF:TM is a time capsule of everything 80s movie soundtracks did, for better or worse. This helps give the movie some lasting appeal. Since the ultimate point of this article is about a comic book which inherently doesn't get a musical element, that's all that will be said about that.

The voice cast for the original movie was comprised of a great mix of the talents from the Sunbow cartoon, interspersed with Hollywood stars such as Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Eric Idle, Orson Welles, and even the pop-culture star John Moschitta - the "Micro Machines Guy". Some could say it's odd to bring this up when setting the frame for why a comic disappointed me, and there's some merit to that. This said, the "voice" of a comic is found through elements such as the art, coloring, scripting, and even the letters. More on this later.

Same goes for the animation of TF:TM and the merits of bringing that up as a comparison element in this writing. While a comic is by the very nature of its own medium a static entity in visual presentation, recent works have set the bar extremely high for pencil, ink, flat, and coloring work, with outliers in quality usually relating more to stylistic choice rather than, well, any perceived quality.

Hopefully this has so far established the level on which I revere 1986's Transformers movie. If it didn't, hopefully that "revere" word tells you what the last few paragraphs may not have. I really, truly consider TF:TM to be that era's magnum opus for Transformers material, as it hits almost every beat in perfect harmony with what you'd expect out of Transformers while being simultaneously fun, scary, tragic, celebratory, uplifting, depressing, piquing, and imaginative.

Given this, works that have come out over the years which have expanded on or had fun with TF:TM have been both welcome and fantastic. We've had DVD commentaries expand greatly on the production and decisions made through out it. We've had the amazing material unearthed and preserved by Paul Hitchens, whose YouTube channel is the gift that keeps on giving. Then there was the 20th Anniversary's retelling of the movie from IDW Publishing. While more or less faithful to the original work, this gave us something extremely cool: a two-page spread showing Omega Supreme, Superion, and Defensor defending The Ark from a Decepticon attack staged by Menasor and Bruticus. Retcons can be dubious, but this one was quick, effective, and satisfying.

It hasn't all been perfect either. Let's not forget the "Battle in Space" toy pack-in comic from 6 years ago, which had additional canonical material involving Tracks, Grapple, and Warpath, and while that wasn't the best in production either it's also not something anyone wanted me to spend extra money on. The set cost the same as two deluxe toys did at the time anyway, and now I can imagine that those guys had something going on during all that. Autocracy also did some fun stuff with the iconic Optimus v. Megatron battle, though that was more homage (in fact) and Flint Dille apologizing (in tone) than anything else. Even then, that was also only dedicated to a few pages of a work that was setting out to accomplish something completely different.

I could keep listing examples of works inspired in ways good and bad by TF:TM for eons, but that's not what this is for. Suffice it to say that if you need any objective measure of its impact, look no further than the amount of times Transformers fiction will trot out lines such as "One Shall Stand, One Shall Fall."

Transformers News: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment


This all leads us to the announcement of Transformers: Deviations. Part of a series of one-shot comics for various properties for which IDW has licensing rights, the Transformers iteration of this little side non-canon "What If?" series was going to deal with The Transformers: The Movie and the pivotal battle between eternal rivals Optimus Prime and Megatron. As anyone reading this site is surely aware, Megatron not only defeats Optimus Prime, but kills him, albeit not right there on the spot. Optimus survives on an operating table long enough to pass the Autobot Matrix of Leadership on to Ultra Magnus. All the while, Hot Rod, the Autobot that many Transformers fans "blame" for Optimus' death just because he failed at run-in interference during that fateful battle, stands by observing.

The rest, is silence. Er, the rest is history. Sorry, Beast Wars Anniversary and all that on the brain.

Deviations' premise is set to have fun with history and imagine what would have happened had Optimus Prime lived through this encounter. This is immediately where disappointment started to creep in upon publication of the book's standard preview pages released online in advance of its print publication today. The most predictable thing to do is to say "well, guess Optimus would have killed Megatron if he hadn't died himself, right?" That's ok though, predictable stories can still be entertaining and there's still a whole world of interesting paths to take beyond that with the rest of the movie's material. Still, from the outset the book pigeonholes itself into path B leading to path C, when instead path B could have lead to paths D, E, F, G, 42, Z, Primax 1023.1 Alpha - really anything at all.

If you can't tell, my biggest gripe with this book is the story. I'll come back to it to wrap things up, but let's get the production elements out of the way.

The colors, letters, and in fact most all of the art is fantastically done and lives up to the legacy of TFTM to which it will be compared. These parts of the book's "voice" are, generally, very good. The disappointment sets in with a handful of pages/panels where the pencils and inks are just not the quality one would expect from a real talent like Tramontano. The inconsistency is even more glaring when I think about how really, truly beautifully done some other parts of this comic are. If this is due to deadlines happening then I can forgive.

Let's pause to consider some of the worst offenders in inconsistent style such as:
  1. Leaving off Astrotrain's wing upon takeoff on Page 6
  2. Ultra Magnus' downright weird looking glare on Page 7
  3. The entirety of pages 20 and 21
  4. The downright goofy looking Rodimus Prime in the last two panels of the book
If these were stylistic choices, then in my opinion they were poor ones. I could find more, but again, the production of the book outside of plot/story and dialogue really aren't the big issues that led to my disappointment.

It's the story. It's the characterization. Deviations stopped being a fun "what if" and turned into the worst kind of parody, and it did so in one glaring moment: the first time Ultra Magnus speaks. This is where the voice of the comic got overridden despite many of its other elements being sound. The message behind the voice wasn't of reverence, it wasn't of disregard for one factor (big as it may be) of the original story, it was one of bitter disregard for what had otherwise followed Optimus' death in TF:TM.

Transformers News: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment


If you're going to change an existing story based on one element, in this case Optimus Prime and Megatron's fates being swapped, and then choose to start things out en medias res then you better approach the setting of the rest ceteris paribus. Or at the very least, honor the little bit that came before that was not re-written. Magnus' first words to Hot Rod felt wrong. Off. They just weren't a thing this Ultra Magnus would say. Would Kup? Yes, so why didn't he?

Changing gears to paint my disappointment another way, I'll admit, I really did enjoy Megascream. I really wanted to like this book and I really tried to have fun with it. I kept trying to have fun with it when the Dinobots pre-emptively attacked the Sharkticons, or when the Decepticons combined just like Trailcutter told us they would for no reason, or when Unicron just sort of snacked on dead Decepticons such as Thundercracker and Skywarp instead of reformatting them.

Yet this is where the disappointment mounted and the book started to spiral into a bad place for me. For every Megascream there was cringeworthy dialogue meant to evoke TF:TM that instead bastardized the original intent of the words. For every Dinobot attack there was the underlying pointlessness of their presence on Quintessa and a potentially super fascinating storyline with Kranix of Lithone (which couldn't even get spelled correctly - and it was done twice so tell the wiki folks to put that one under "errors") that was dropped like a hot potato. For every Decepticon combiner there was confusing scene building accompanied with overly busy layouts. What Moon Base got eaten? One? I think? For every Unicron snack, there was the realization that this "What if" was not a well-informed, "pick up the ball and run with it" dream engagement for the author, it was an indictment on the movie I love so dearly.

"Indictment" is a rather strong word, and maybe it isn't the right one since I don't think there was any ill intent, but that's really how it came across to me emotionally. Clever dialogue turned shallow. Alien worlds humming with the otherworldly imaginings of Floro Dery instead used as mere set pieces for your Action To Come After These Messages. Fascinating, fun new characters like Springer and Arcee thrown into the Planet Junkion in a flaming, doomed Autobot shuttle, barely to be mourned. At least they got to show up at all, and at least then without having their characters assassinated.

That's the other part where I felt like this book was an indictment of its forebear: the complete and gratuitous character assassination of Hot Rod.

Transformers News: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment


If you didn't like Hot Rod as a kid, I understand. If you don't like him now, I understand. Hell, my wife doesn't like Hot Rod. "Hot Rod's a punk bitch" is probably what she'd tell you, or something to that effect. All the same, the best versions of Hot Rod through the years all make you "love him or hate him" but they keep one factor pretty consistent: he's competent and brave. While Deviations hits the brave factor, it does so while putting Hot Rod into the part of The Fool. The Hot Rod one should expect here is the one that yes, indeed, shot at the attacked shuttle carrying the Decepticons into Autobot City, but that Hot Rod knew what he was shooting at. That Hot Rod had a plan when trying to help Optimus while he fought Megatron, even if it backfired. That Hot Rod had a semblance of leadership skills, and could bank a shuttle into a safe crash onto Quintessa then regroup and find his friends, "And then save Cybertron!"

This Hot Rod insults fallen comrades, makes shuttle damage worse to the point where the thing explodes, has to be told to get Daniel to safety, then runs in and saves the day at the last minute by a stroke of luck and not of guts and will like the Hot Rod that defeats Galvatron within Unicron's innards. Then he dies so he can personally redeem his earlier failure, because he's so incompetent this time that he can't escape? What even happened there?

At the end of my reading of the book, I felt the tinge that every geek like me into any Sci-Fi property does from time to time of what's colloquially known as "nerd rage". I had to take a few hours to calm down from this to collect my thoughts on what exactly I didn't like, because I could certainly "nerd rage" for hours and not do anyone any good in the process.

But after some days of processing it and then re-reading my paper copy today, I was able to distill my disappointment and find its source. The author of this book was well intended, and was clearly just trying to have fun, but ultimately penned an indictment on one of the Transformers franchise's most important works. If you're going to just have fun, go hire Tom Scioli to do the art and go absolutely crazy, then I can follow the intention. The accompanying poor dialogue choices, inconsistent art, and sometimes positively confusing scene building makes this a book I won't look back fondly on, rebuy three times, and pine for years for more like Last Stand of the Wreckers, it makes it something I'll file away and never read again like Continuum.

Transformers News: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment


There's a certain subset of Transformers fans that will love this book. Some of them are on this site, hell even in this very thread. Enjoy it. This is your G1, the version that basically doesn't exist after early 1986. This book is for you and this post is my last word on it, because no one likes a hater.

But for me? I enjoy the rich history of all soon-to-be 32 years of The Transformers. Ups and downs alike, I can find something to enjoy. I found some things to enjoy in this book that I never want to read again! While I can appreciate the idea of Deviations, the execution of the book left me so bitterly disappointed that it led to a realization. That is this: the creative team behind The Transformers: The Movie all those years ago realized that the brand had to evolve or die. Optimus dying wasn't a choice, it was a necessity. Since it's NCAA Tournament season, we'll say the franchise had to "Survive and Advance". IDW has helped some of our favorite Generation One characters survive, by advancing and evolving the narrative scope and quality of their ongoing books. Deviations is an indictment on this progress as well, and looking on social media, the loud corner that wants "G1 back", despite it being here all along, often twice a month for the past decade, wants you to go buy this book in triplicate so you can vote with your dollars.

Do that if you want, but also realize the subtle indictment it implies.

Credit(s): ScottyP


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Re: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment (1773382)
Posted by Microraptor on March 17th, 2016 @ 8:32am CDT
Elegant, informative, unbiased, and superbly written. I kinda prefer you to Va'al!
Re: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment (1773385)
Posted by galvatron00 on March 17th, 2016 @ 8:53am CDT
Scotty P: Excellent write up. All of your points = win.

I read the comic yesterday morning, and I'm reading it again now. When I finished it yesterday I said aloud "that's it?!".

As others have pointed out, all previous renditions of TF:TM in comic form have taken more than one issue to convey the story. I understand they accelerated 20 minutes into the movie and started there, and then left out 10 minutes of reformatting/coronation and "Decepticons: to earth!", and maybe 10 minutes of back and forth between Junkion and Quintessa, but it was just weird to read and then be finished so quickly.

I agree with your statement that this brought G1 pre TF:TM back (even though notable characters still died).

I've also always referred to TF:TM as TF:TM, funny :lol:

I almost feel like I wasted my money. Almost :-D

So yeah, great job Scotty P ;)^
Re: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment (1773392)
Posted by o.supreme on March 17th, 2016 @ 9:52am CDT
I haven't purchased the book *yet*. Hopefully its waiting in my saver in my local shop. Anyway... I appreciate the well informed commentary, and the professionalism of the opinions. It will be a shame if the ball was dropped as hard as it was. however I would place the blame solely on the creative team, not the original source. Several other comic brands have shown for years that you can do some amazing "what if" stories.

I only take a couple of exceptions....

1. In TF:TM- Megatron did not defeat Optimus Prime, I've never viewed it that way. It was a draw. Optimus died, and Megatron clearly would have if not for Unicron's intervention.


2. I personally do not believe Optimus Prime had to die in order for the TF brand to movie on. I respect the TF:TM writers bold choice, as it is one of the movies greatest strengths, but it wasn't a necessity. I have never been one to promote myself, as I am no great writer. But still, as I have mentioned several times. I had the idea of an entire fan-fiction series of time & universe traveling bots' almost 20 years ago, and one of the main stories was basically about the "rift" caused if Optimus had survived that day. And I can't believe, of all the myriad of fans, I'm the only one who postulated this idea before now.

3. "G1 one has been here all along" well... it has and it hasn't... There have been several "re-releases" of the toys, TRUE reproductions, which are about as authentic as you can get. Then there was TF:Regeneration 1 -Furmans attempt to bring proper closure to the Marvel Comic series. --What IDW has been doing for the past decade or so however, has been inventing a *new* G1. Kind of like JJ Abrams Star Trek. The characters in most cases do *not* match ther personalities they were given in the original comic, or animated series, which brings me to my final point.

4. Of all the media outlets for the original Transformers- The one that strikes the greatest resonance with me is the original animated series. Now this is not a debate on the quality of the series. Sure it is flawed, and yes I put on my very thick nostalgia glasses when I watch it (I watched 3 or 4 episodes just 2 days ago). But there has never been a proper continuation of it. In *my* mind (and I know I am in the minority). I quickly adopted the Japanese G1 series as the continuation I never got back in 1987, and if that's all I ever get, then I'm ok with that. But I've seen so many fan projects, and ideas indicating that there is a sizable amount of the fan community that would love to see some honest to goodness continuation of the original Hasbro/Sunbow animated Original Transformners series. Whether it is the 20 year gap between S2 and TF:TM, or Post Rebirth, I think this subset of fans (myself being one of them) would love to see this. THIS is the thing we are asking for THIS is the thing we have not seen in nearly 30 years. And whether it happens in print, or animated form, we patiently await any prospects in the near future. All the "G1 esque" Comics, or video games (which Devastation has come the closest to), cannot completely fill that void, cannot provide 100% satisfaction. So until then, we will patiently sit back, and wait, and still ask for it to happen.
Re: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment (1773394)
Posted by JazZeke on March 17th, 2016 @ 9:56am CDT
Haven't read the issue and I'm not gonna. This is a really well-written, well-informed review that sums up what I know would aggravate me as well if I read it. Kudos for such a thought-out summation and mature acceptance of what the brand is supposed to be, which seems to be more than the author of this comic could do.
Re: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment (1773398)
Posted by Big Grim on March 17th, 2016 @ 10:17am CDT
Still interested in reading this book, but your review pretty much confirms all that I feared would occur with this comic.
Re: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment (1773400)
Posted by Randomhero on March 17th, 2016 @ 10:18am CDT
I wouldn't really say the people behind the movie took a chance killing Optimus. If you ever watched the interviews with them or listened to the commentary, they're pretty adamant on saying "these are just toys and we had new toys coming so we killed off the old toys to make room for the new ones". They didn't hesitate and understand the gravity of doing so.

I did not like this comic. Not for what it's purpose was but as a comic I didn't like it. It's so cramped and does so much with such little space and even adding page count didn't help. It's really hard to follow in some places especially unicrons attack on Cybertron because he attacks and then it moves on to another scene for a few pages and you never see cybertron until the very end. I was reading this and saying "I guess he did destroy cybertron" I didn't know Cyberton was okay until he explodes and his feet are in top of it.

The writer new exactly what he was exploring with this comic and I at first thought he didn't. For my first read I was telling myself "this probably should have been written by John Barber" but then I went and looked up the tfwiki article and after reading the trivia section, this guy knew his stuff and he even explored the original script for the movie. I very much recommend reading this and then doing to the wiki and seeing all the stuff that was added. It made m enjoy this book a little more.
Re: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment (1773405)
Posted by RevTibe on March 17th, 2016 @ 10:27am CDT
Regardless of the content and quality of the comic, I'd like to take the chance to remind everyone that Megascream is nickname for Megatron/Starscream slashfiction. Heh.

Like the movie itself, I feel like this would be better in a longer form. Stretching either out over a "season" of episodes or issues would transform the planetplanetplanetBOOM feel to something more akin to a saturday morning cartoon version of Homer's Odyssey.
Re: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment (1773407)
Posted by Randomhero on March 17th, 2016 @ 10:32am CDT
RevTibe wrote:Regardless of the content and quality of the comic, I'd like to take the chance to remind everyone that Megascream is nickname for Megatron/Starscream slashfiction. Heh.

Like the movie itself, I feel like this would be better in a longer form. Stretching either out over a "season" of episodes or issues would transform the planetplanetplanetBOOM feel to something more akin to a saturday morning cartoon version of Homer's Odyssey.



We did get that. 10 years ago from IDW and its regarded as one of the worst transformers comics that IDWs put out.
Re: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment (1773411)
Posted by Desslok2201 on March 17th, 2016 @ 10:44am CDT
o.supreme wrote:
"G1 one has been here all along" well... it has and it hasn't... There have been several "re-releases" of the toys, TRUE reproductions, which are about as authentic as you can get. Then there was TF:Regeneration 1 -Furmans attempt to bring proper closure to the Marvel Comic series. --What IDW has been doing for the past decade or so however, has been inventing a *new* G1. Kind of like JJ Abrams Star Trek. The characters in most cases do *not* match ther personalities they were given in the original comic, or animated series,


BINGO. Very well said. IDW characters may look (slightly) like G1 characters, but they're not. The characters do not have any behavioral adherence to their original tech spec personalities, comic or cartoon appearances. They do not feel like the G1 characters, because they're not. Galvatron and Cyclonus don't even pretend to be. However maligned Dreamwave is, their G1 material felt like G1 material. Pat Lee may be a &$@%#, but the work of Furman et al. during that series was compelling, and made me feel like these were the same characters I grew up with. I understand there's a big following behind current IDW stuff, and that's great, it keeps things humming along. I just don't like being told that the sky is green. It isn't.
Re: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment (1773413)
Posted by RevTibe on March 17th, 2016 @ 10:47am CDT
Randomhero wrote:
RevTibe wrote:Regardless of the content and quality of the comic, I'd like to take the chance to remind everyone that Megascream is nickname for Megatron/Starscream slashfiction. Heh.

Like the movie itself, I feel like this would be better in a longer form. Stretching either out over a "season" of episodes or issues would transform the planetplanetplanetBOOM feel to something more akin to a saturday morning cartoon version of Homer's Odyssey.



We did get that. 10 years ago from IDW and its regarded as one of the worst transformers comics that IDWs put out.
Wasn't that one a near-verbatim transcription of the film? I can't speak of that one from direct experience, since "hey, come get a non-transformative adaptation of something you've already seen" isn't an exciting enough pitch for me to buy it.

An Odyssey-type take on it would probably be between 10-20 issues/episodes, working a chunk of G1 S3's Junkion/Quintesson/random planet ideas into the journey, all with the eventual threat of Unicron looming overheard (I suppose in this case he'd be a bit farther away from Cybertron!). Not saying that would be practical under the Deviations model, but that's where I think the TFTM concept would reach its full potential.
Re: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment (1773417)
Posted by ZeroWolf on March 17th, 2016 @ 10:59am CDT
Personally, I rather G1 toon continuity stay where it is, resting peacefully in everyone's nostalgia filled memories. Any attempt to resurrect it and then it would fall subject to everyone judging on their preconceived ideals of the g1 toon in their heads.

Also IDW have in the past called their stuff G1...so that's what it is. It operates in the vast G1 multiverse which includes marvel us comics, marvel UK comics, toy bios, g1 toon, Japanese G1 toon, Japanese g1 manga, the rest of the stuff Japanese added to G1, and that's not counting all the other stories that came out during the day.
Re: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment (1773418)
Posted by Deadput on March 17th, 2016 @ 11:05am CDT
Desslok2201 wrote:
BINGO. Very well said. IDW characters may look (slightly) like G1 characters, but they're not. The characters do not have any behavioral adherence to their original tech spec personalities, comic or cartoon appearances. They do not feel like the G1 characters, because they're not. Galvatron and Cyclonus don't even pretend to be. However maligned Dreamwave is, their G1 material felt like G1 material. Pat Lee may be a &$@%#, but the work of Furman et al. during that series was compelling, and made me feel like these were the same characters I grew up with. I understand there's a big following behind current IDW stuff, and that's great, it keeps things humming along. I just don't like being told that the sky is green. It isn't.



Except that they are G1 characters they might be in new situations but their still the same characters and while many do have vastly different roles you can definitely say who they are when you see Galvatron you can almost instantly go like "Hey that's Galvatron!" fun fact Galvatron does act a lot like his original version even if he is not a reformatted Megatron.

Funny you say you don't like being told that the sky is green because thats what your doing right now with saying that IDW is hardly G1 while Dreamwave so happens to be G1 gold but IDW is not any less G1 as Dreamwave if your going to say IDW is not G1 don't pretend that Dreamwave was.
Re: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment (1773419)
Posted by o.supreme on March 17th, 2016 @ 11:06am CDT
Desslok2201 wrote:BINGO. Very well said. IDW characters may look (slightly) like G1 characters, but they're not. The characters do not have any behavioral adherence to their original tech spec personalities, comic or cartoon appearances. They do not feel like the G1 characters, because they're not. Galvatron and Cyclonus don't even pretend to be. However maligned Dreamwave is, their G1 material felt like G1 material. Pat Lee may be a &$@%#, but the work of Furman et al. during that series was compelling, and made me feel like these were the same characters I grew up with. I understand there's a big following behind current IDW stuff, and that's great, it keeps things humming along. I just don't like being told that the sky is green. It isn't.


Nice to find a kindred spirit. For what its worth. I actually liked Dreamwave as well, for the same reasons. It's a shame Pat Lee was a crook. Everyone else there did great work.
Re: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment (1773420)
Posted by Desslok2201 on March 17th, 2016 @ 11:07am CDT
ZeroWolf wrote:Personally, I rather G1 toon continuity stay where it is, resting peacefully in everyone's nostalgia filled memories. Any attempt to resurrect it and then it would fall subject to everyone judging on their preconceived ideals of the g1 toon in their heads.

Also IDW have in the past called their stuff G1...so that's what it is. It operates in the vast G1 multiverse which includes marvel us comics, marvel UK comics, toy bios, g1 toon, Japanese G1 toon, Japanese g1 manga, the rest of the stuff Japanese added to G1, and that's not counting all the other stories that came out during the day.


I get your point, I'm just saying that if I were to create a GI Joe comic where Snake Eyes is evil, Destro isn't evil or an arms dealer, Duke is a pencil pusher... I'd be using the names and appearences of characters, but should it fall under the banner of ARAH, or is it it's own entity? (Sorry to hop outside the franchise for the metaphor)
Re: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment (1773422)
Posted by Carnivius_Prime on March 17th, 2016 @ 11:10am CDT
I agree with most of the review except for the bit that says 'Megascream' was good... That first panel where he announced his name and his new look made me roll my eyes so hard they hurt. Didn't care for the design either.

Just felt to me like the writer didn't really like many of the characters they were writing about. As mentioned Hot Rod the fool and easily disposed off Magnus, Springer, Arcee and Perceptor.
Re: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment (1773425)
Posted by Dr. Caelus on March 17th, 2016 @ 11:19am CDT
I feel like the original draft for this story was maybe 4 issues long and it was forced down to a single over-sized comic.

The decision to take Daniel to Cybertron seemed out of left field. It seemed like some scene or event was cut that turned what would have been a panicked evacuation (like in the original movie) into a confusingly planned offensive.

I don't think Magnus, Arcee, and Springer were supposed to die on Junkion. I think Hot Rod was supposed to save them with that maneuver, only to have them ignore him or criticize his decision while stuck on Junkion (rather than having Kup around to tell him good job). It wasn't a bad decision, actually - a chance of blowing the engines was better than the certainty of being ripped apart by Megascream, and the other escape pod's failing was just bad luck. It was the sort of Cpt. Kirk 'brash wisdom' people often don't appreciate in Hot Rod, and I feel that Magnus and the others were killed off to cut the need for the comic issue which would have covered all of that and covered their adventure on Junkion.

I don't think the events on Quintessa were supposed to go well, or perhaps, the ramifications were supposed to be more profound. Kranix's survival obviously seems like it's supposed to have major consequences, and the fact that the Sharkticons are massacred rather than liberated, and Wheelie never turns up, seem like important 'deviations'. Without Wheelie to show them to a new ship, I think they were supposed to be stuck on the planet longer. Optimus would have battled their ancient enemies until Megascream hunted him down and took the Matrix (paralleling Galvatron's appearance on Junkion), but the need for transportation off Quintessa was removed so they could cut another issue.

And yeah, the final battle with Megascream definitely seemed rushed. For one thing, there should have been one obvious consequence of Starscream becoming Unicron's servant - relentless treachery. I was expecting some sort of Unicron Trilogy or G2 homage there, and nothing like that happened.

The other possibility I could have imagined is that because Hot Rod wasn't prevented from inadvertently causing Optimus's death, he was supposed to have not 'learned his lesson' stunting his character development with disastrous consequences. I could see how this may have been the author's intention, but because the length of the story was cut down, it did not come off well.

All in all, if one simply wanted to play with that scene, I think there would have been more interesting Deviations.

"What if Hot Rod hadn't intervened?" Everyone assumes Hot Rod caused Optimus's death when he jumped in, but any writer could stage an alternate outcome where Hot Rod doesn't tackle Megatron, and Megatron shoots Optimus in the face, killing him instantly and ending the battle in the Decepticon's favor.

"What if Megatron had surrendered?" Seriously, without fate placing the pistol in Megatron's reach, what else would Megatron have done? And what would Optimus have done?

"What if Hot Rod had tackled Optimus instead of Megatron?" Hot Rod could have jumped in to save Optimus, but done so by shielding Optimus with his body. So what if Optimus survived but at the cost of Hot Rod's life?
Re: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment (1773426)
Posted by Deadput on March 17th, 2016 @ 11:22am CDT
Carnivius_Prime wrote:I agree with most of the review except for the bit that says 'Megascream' was good... That first panel where he announced his name and his new look made me roll my eyes so hard they hurt. Didn't care for the design either.

Just felt to me like the writer didn't really like many of the characters they were writing about. As mentioned Hot Rod the fool and easily disposed off Magnus, Springer, Arcee and Perceptor.



I agree with both the stupidity of "Megascream" (ugh that name why?) and in how I was disturbed on how easy and simple and thoughtlessly they killed off those characters it was ridiculous and disrespectful even the actual movie killed off it's characters better, hell I can't believe I'm saying this but even Cliffjumper's death in Prime was better treated (Ugh I really hate saying that).
Re: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment (1773436)
Posted by RodimusRex on March 17th, 2016 @ 11:52am CDT
Burn wrote:I agree with pretty much everything Ryan said, but as RodimusRex pointed out, it's biggest problem was trying to re-write the movie (which back in the day took four issues to tell) in 35 pages.

Characters were off. Story was rushed. Highlight was definitely upgraded Starscream (Megascream just doesn't work) and a toy like that would be impressive to have.

Otherwise ... after last weeks X-Files Deviation, this one tried to go too big and never made it.


Incidentally, in retrospect, I would have cut pretty much from Unicron upgrading Starscream to several years later and picked an episode of Season 3 (or a mix of them or an original story). That's one way you do something like this in this kind of limited space, I think.

Cut to the Hate Plague spores, for example, being tested on Megatron's corpse
Re: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment (1773437)
Posted by Randomhero on March 17th, 2016 @ 11:57am CDT
Desslok2201 wrote:
BINGO. Very well said. IDW characters may look (slightly) like G1 characters, but they're not. The characters do not have any behavioral adherence to their original tech spec personalities, comic or cartoon appearances. They do not feel like the G1 characters, because they're not. Galvatron and Cyclonus don't even pretend to be. However maligned Dreamwave is, their G1 material felt like G1 material. Pat Lee may be a &$@%#, but the work of Furman et al. during that series was compelling, and made me feel like these were the same characters I grew up with. I understand there's a big following behind current IDW stuff, and that's great, it keeps things humming along. I just don't like being told that the sky is green. It isn't.


So do you not consider the original marvel comics from the 80s G1?

The characters in the original comics have completely different personalities from their cartoon counterparts.

prowl is a all around good guy in the cartoon, he's a prick in the original comics.
Grimlock is a simple minded earth creation in the cartoon, he's an intelligent, vain and kind of power hungry Cybertronian that fought with the autobots 4 million years ago in the comics.
Megatron in the comics is arguably the worst leader ever and he's the opposite in the cartoon.
Ratbat is just a beast cassette in the cartoon, the comics he's one of the most cunning leaders of the decepticons

Both mediums were coming out at the same time and doing their own things and fleshed out characters very differently so you can't say that IDW isn't G1 because of different personalities. That's a stupid argument.

Believe it or not, the writers of IDW do base a lot of their characters personalities and characteristics on their original bios and old comics, especially the UK stuff.

Especially prowl who was nothing but a cop car robot in the cartoon. His tech spec that you accuse IDW of ignoring is all about being a logical tactition. Hey what's prowl in IDW? All logic and tactics and strategies.
Re: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment (1773440)
Posted by Seibertron on March 17th, 2016 @ 12:12pm CDT
Caelus wrote:"What if Hot Rod had tackled Optimus instead of Megatron?" Hot Rod could have jumped in to save Optimus, but done so by shielding Optimus with his body. So what if Optimus survived but at the cost of Hot Rod's life?


I think this is more along the lines of what I was thinking. Basically trading Optimus Prime's life for Hot Rod's life. I was thinking Megatron would still get reformatted into Galvatron, but be more of Unicron's slave because he couldn't bargain with Unicron since Megatron was dead. This version of Galvatron would be much more loyal to Unicron and it'd be a face off between Galvatron and Optimus Prime. I like the "What ifs" where the "what if" just delays the inevitable. In this case, with a more focused and loyal Galvatron, it is Galvatron that kills Optimus Prime, the matrix power is not unleashed, and Unicron destroys Cybertron. Basically, Optimus Prime lives so that the Transformers all die!

Oddly enough, that parallels what I think would have happened to the entire brand had Optimus Prime not died in the original movie. To understand this, all you have to do is go to your local library, look up their Microfiche archives, and read the old newspaper articles that show the public's furor (or more specifically, parents who got to see their kids devastated because their child's hero was killed).

Here's one such article from March 28th, 1987: http://www.seibertron.com/transformers/ ... ime/18245/

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