G2 comic series - retro review thread

The originals... ok, not exactly, but the original named "The TransFormers" anyway. Take THAT, Diaclone!
Generation 1, Generation 2 - Removable fists? Check. Unlicensed vehicle modes? Check. Kickass tape deck robot with transforming cassette minions? DOUBLE CHECK!!!
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andersonh1
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Re: G2 comic series - retro review thread

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Issue 7
New Dawn

After nearly killing Optimus Prime, Megatron heads out into space to secure a rare gas that makes metal very dense. Knowing what’s coming in later issues makes it obvious what’s going on here, but on first reading this appeared to be just another Decepticon raid that happened to finally introduce some of the new G2 characters. Dreadwing gets his one panel to shine, and is never seen again. More significantly, Megatron’s scouts who went to check out what Prime told Megatron don’t make it back, apart from Skullgrin, and he lasts only long enough to warn Megatron before his shuttle explodes.

So the gauntlet has been thrown down, and Megatron takes it up eagerly. Jhiaxus, deciding that his patience has run out, finally cuts loose. No doubt his less than successful meeting that Rook futilely asks him about has something to do with his mood. His forces slaughter Megatron’s troops, literally in some cases. Check out the list of dead at the end of this review. It’s not a good day to be a Decepticon in this story.

Megatron, of course, has the arrogance and nerve to take on Jhiaxus. It’s understandable, given how much more powerful he is than most, and given how easily he recently beat both Bludgeon and Optimus Prime. However in a delightful turn of events, depicted nicely on the cover, Megatron is beaten soundly by the Cybertronian leader, and nearly killed as he is sent plummeting through the atmosphere of a nearby planet, taking severe damage along the way. It’s too bad Prime couldn’t have done it, but still, it’s immensely satisfying to see Megatron humbled like this.

I hate to say it, but much of the art is particularly bad in this issue. Galan never can get Megatron’s head quite right, and his perspective is often off. Stranglehold looks really bad during his death scene. As is often the case in this series, a good story is hurt by poor artwork.

Tales of Earth Part Four
This story can be summed up as follows: Prime reflects on the past, particularly his history with Megatron, as he is repaired following Megatron’s attack on him. Yaniger’s art is back, and it’s great fun to see flashbacks to past issues drawn in his style. The Ratchet/Megatron hybrid makes an appearance, along with Powermaster Prime, and Megatron’s old form as well. This is more of a character study of Prime and his motivations than anything else. The Megatron turns up on the final page, badly damaged but ready to fight.

Issue 7 dead: Skullgrin + 5 unnamed others killed off panel, Runamuck, Quake, Stranglehold, Crankcase, Octopunch, others, lots of Cybertronians


Issue 8
Escalation!

At least Manny Galan has begun to draw Jhiaxus’ face well. He’s not half bad on the opening spread as he declares that he’s done being lenient, and both Prime and Megatron’s Transformers will be hunted down and destroyed. They’ve gone from being a nuisance to a problem, and he’s going to eliminate that problem once and for all.

Tales of Earth Part Five
Prime and Megatron get that talk that Prime wanted two issues ago, with some interruption from Grimlock. Both Prime and Megatron really shine in opposition to each other as both characters are written at their best here. Megatron’s sharp-tongued wit (“Really Prime, doesn’t he have a muzzle?) and Prime’s determination to stick to principles (“You can either help us [protect life first] or walk away.”) help bring these two some welcome depth and in Megatron’s case, add some facets to his established character. Grimlock plays the faithful and determined bodyguard to Prime, and Prowl gets a moment to shine as well, even joining in on Megatron’s humor with regard to Grimlock. And it’s nice to see Jazz in his G2 deco. This is a very strong chapter. And at the end, Starscream decides that it’s time to start looking out for number one, hinting at future developments…

Back to “Escalation!”, as Prime and the Autobots answer the distress call. They find the Cybertronians in the process of razing a highly developed planet to the ground, and end up in a number of pitched battles with them. This time they suffer the casualties as Smokescreen, Ironhide and Inferno are killed in the battle. It’s interesting to compare Ironhide’s death here with the one in IDW’s Transformers #1. In the more recent book, it’s a huge deal, even spoiled by the company before the book was released. In G2 #8, Ironhide shows up in one panel and gets killed in the next. He’s nothing but cannon fodder. How times change! And the bot you can’t get away from these days, Bumblebee, makes his one and only appearance in this issue. At least, if he shows up again, I can’t remember. Springer’s visible in one fight scene. Inferno, as is possibly fitting for a character with a toy available during G2, gets a few pages and some dialogue before dying.

In the end, the Decepticons, who initially refused to come along, show up and bail the Autobots out, leading Prime to worry that their more ruthless edge might be what’s needed to win the war against the Cybertronians. He doesn’t want the Autobots to descend to that level, but there may be no alternative, adding yet another moral issue to those introduced in this series.

And on the final page, Soundwave informs Megatron that Starscream is missing, no longer on the Warworld. Hmmm… wonder where he’s gone?

issue 8 dead: plenty o’G2 Decepticons, Smokescreen, Ironhide, Inferno
Last edited by andersonh1 on Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: G2 comic series - retro review thread

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138 Scourge wrote:
Onslaught Six wrote: all those issues where the Aerialbots are complete failures
Wow, it's not just me, there's context for them sucking? Awesome.
Yes! In fact, this is my favourite bit of it (though it's not UK-exclusive like I thought): http://tfwiki.net/wiki/The_Return_of_the_Transformers
BWprowl wrote:The internet having this many different words to describe nerdy folks is akin to the whole eskimos/ice situation, I would presume.
People spend so much time worrying about whether a figure is "mint" or not that they never stop to consider other flavours.
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Re: G2 comic series - retro review thread

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I never read Ironhide as dying in this issue, but I can see how it could be read as such. (Given the beating that Dreadwing came back from, Ironhide seems to have gotten off easy.)

I always assumed the "the other 5" were the other Pretenders. They are not seen again, and it makes idiomatic sense that Skullgrin would have been with them.

I still love the Jhiaxus/Megatron fight, and Jhiaxus basically telling Megaron to stop reminding him of everything bad about himself.

Dom
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Re: G2 comic series - retro review thread

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Dominic wrote:I never read Ironhide as dying in this issue, but I can see how it could be read as such. (Given the beating that Dreadwing came back from, Ironhide seems to have gotten off easy.)
It looks like he easily takes as much damage as Smokescreen, or as much as Mirage did earlier. You might go either way, but given the trend of cameos by major G1 characters who are then killed off, it's safe to assume he's one of those.
I always assumed the "the other 5" were the other Pretenders. They are not seen again, and it makes idiomatic sense that Skullgrin would have been with them.
That would make sense.

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Re: G2 comic series - retro review thread

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Issue 9
Swarm

Nice opening fake-out. It initially appears that Prime is having another vision, until I remember that he doesn’t have the Matrix and is unlikely to be receiving visions from it. As it turns out, the Autobots and Decepticons are surveying a planet that was attacked. Realizing that it wasn’t the Cybertronian forces, Megatron is all for leaving right away. Prime decides otherwise, and interestingly, Megatron doesn’t press the issue. Perhaps despite the sarcasm, he actually meant it when he said last issue, “Prime’s always right!”

Elsewhere, the Cybertronians are busy exterminating an ape-like humanoid race under the command of a bot named Mindset. Apart from Rook and Jhiaxus, and of course the Liege Maximo, this is the only named G2 Decepticon in the series. This sequence is also one of our only lengthy detailed looks at the Cybertronians and their attitudes and methods in the absence of the usual familiar Transformers characters. Despite Jhiaxus’ claims that the extermination of “lower life forms” is both dispassionate and without malice, the Cybertronians here not only look down with contempt on the ape-men, but also positively enjoy killing them. One does comment that he prefers his targets bigger, so perhaps he’s not getting all the enjoyment he should out of his work. Poor guy. If nothing else, this sequence demonstrates beyond all doubt that the “evolved sensibilities” of the second generation Decepticons are a lie. Jhiaxus wants to believe the lie that he’s better than “primitives” like Megatron, but the troops don’t even pretend that. They just go about their business like any other Decepticon, conquering and killing without a second thought.

Then the Swarm arrives, and begins killing the Transformers as quickly and efficiently as they were killing the ape-men, and showing as little regard for the G2 Cons as they showed for the ape-men. After seeing the Cybertronians tear through Megatron and Prime’s forces with so little effort, it illustrates just how deadly the Swarm is that they can’t even put up a good fight against it. The Swarm is also shown to be intelligent as it adapts to their tactics, and finally realizes that it has a kinship with the Transformers.

And Starscream meets with Jhiaxus, jockeying for power and position in exchange for betraying Prime and Megatron. Predictable, but also entirely in character. Starscream wants power, but he also wants to survive, and he can read the odds.

Tales of Earth Part Six
The results of the analysis of the dead moon are detailed, and Perceptor reveals to Prime and Megatron what the reader already knows, that the Swarm is related to the Transformers. Megatron realizes quickly that Prime already knew, and to his credit doesn’t rant or deny the facts, but accepts them as Prime reveals everything he’s learned. We so often see Megatron let his ego or previously held beliefs get in the way of accepting facts, but here Megatron is intelligent and willing to learn. I still say this is the best portrayal of Megatron that we’ve ever had.

And then Jhiaxus finds them. Given how the last two encounters with his troops have gone, things look bleak. And the fact that they’re on Earth portends trouble for that planet as well.

Issue 9 dead: G2 Decepticons a-plenty, including the named character Mindset

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Re: G2 comic series - retro review thread

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Cybertronians here not only look down with contempt on the ape-men, but also positively enjoy killing them. One does comment that he prefers his targets bigger, so perhaps he’s not getting all the enjoyment he should out of his work. Poor guy. If nothing else, this sequence demonstrates beyond all doubt that the “evolved sensibilities” of the second generation Decepticons are a lie. Jhiaxus wants to believe the lie that he’s better than “primitives” like Megatron, but the troops don’t even pretend that.
The snitty arguement would be that we do not see many Cybertronians, and that the few working for Mindset are not statistically representative. But, it would be foolish to assume that Furman would just randomly show 3 non-representative troopers. The trooper smashign the totem is my personal favorite. I get the impression, based on his thought balloons, that he views himself the way Jhaxus does.

Maybe they are trying to justify it to themselves? People are known to psych themselves up before a fight, even going so far as dehumanizing an enemy.

Either way, the Cybertronians do not come off well here.

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Re: G2 comic series - retro review thread

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Dominic wrote:
Cybertronians here not only look down with contempt on the ape-men, but also positively enjoy killing them. One does comment that he prefers his targets bigger, so perhaps he’s not getting all the enjoyment he should out of his work. Poor guy. If nothing else, this sequence demonstrates beyond all doubt that the “evolved sensibilities” of the second generation Decepticons are a lie. Jhiaxus wants to believe the lie that he’s better than “primitives” like Megatron, but the troops don’t even pretend that.
The snitty arguement would be that we do not see many Cybertronians, and that the few working for Mindset are not statistically representative. But, it would be foolish to assume that Furman would just randomly show 3 non-representative troopers. The trooper smashign the totem is my personal favorite. I get the impression, based on his thought balloons, that he views himself the way Jhaxus does.

Maybe they are trying to justify it to themselves? People are known to psych themselves up before a fight, even going so far as dehumanizing an enemy.

Either way, the Cybertronians do not come off well here.
Actions speak louder than words. Regardless of whether or not the rest of the Cybertronians have a similar attitude to Mindset's squad, or if they truly are dispassionate and amoral, committing genocide is evil. It doesn't really matter how the Cybertronians look at such actions or justify them, they're still evil actions. That's the bottom line.

But I tend to view this group as representative of the lower ranks. As you say, it hardly makes sense to see a non-representative group, unless that group was clearly distinguished as being different from all the others for some story purpose. That doesn't happen here. So I think it's safe to say that these Cybertronians are typical of their kind, and that Jhiaxus' beliefs are either propganda, or his own personal rationalizations, and are not representative of the race as a whole.

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Re: G2 comic series - retro review thread

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It is a safe bet that Jhiaxus represents the Empire as a whole. Remember, he himself is really not that big a deal. There are references to him being a smaller cog in a large machine.

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Re: G2 comic series - retro review thread

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Issue 10
Total War!

Jhiaxus’ superiors have evidently given him an ultimatum, because he makes it clear that the existence of Prime and Megatron’s forces can no longer be tolerated. All of them must be wiped out. Thanks to Starscream, the G2 Decepticons know exactly where to find the first generation Autobots and Decepticons, and exactly where to hit the Warworld. He presses an all-out attack against both targets. There’s some great back and forth between Prime and Megatron during the battle, and while I’m enjoying the relationship between the two as they work together, it’s good to see that Optimus hasn’t forgotten just how dangerous and untrustworthy Megatron is. Despite that, it’s hard not to agree with him when he thinks that it’s a tragedy that he and Megatron are on opposite sides.

Megatron’s self-deprecation when questioning why he reanimated Starscream is a fun moment. “Why did I do it? Because I’m a fool, that’s why.” Or words to that effect. Optimus’ response that he’d love to record those words for posterity always has me laughing. It occurs to me that despite the fact that the two are opponents, for once we’re seeing both interact with an equal rather than a subordinate, and that’s a rare thing, allowing for some rare and enjoyable characterization for both Prime and Megatron.

Tracks gets a cameo that doesn’t lead to his death! Amazing! He is saved by one of the rotor force Decepticons, but I can’t remember which it is. I’m so used to G1 characters dying that I was surprised to see that he didn’t.

Another notable moment is when Jhiaxus is amazed at how the combined forces of the first generation Transformers actually succeed in their counterattack against his superior forces. His analysis of the situation is sound, but he decides that sheer numbers will win the day, and he calls for reinforcements, forcing a retreat by Prime and Megatron’s group. Prime decides that he needs to get to the Warworld and secure the Matrix, lest the Cybertronians gain possession of it, making the situation far worse.

In a final scene that portends even more disaster to come, the Swarm catches and devours one of the reinforcement ships called in by Jhiaxus, thus learning the way to Earth.

Tales of Earth Part Seven
Geoff Senior returns to Transformers with this backup story. I’ve been a fan of his art since he first appeared in the original comic series, so it’s great to see him contribute to Transformers once again. Prime and Megatron board the Warworld to find that Starscream has used the Matrix to merge himself with the giant ship, increasing his power considerably. As one might imagine, he plans a grisly fate for Prime and Megatron.

issue 10 dead: Joyride, all 5 Combaticons (possibly).

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Re: G2 comic series - retro review thread

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Issue 11
Dark Shadows!

This story offers another great Prime/Megatron team up as they fight Starscream, who has possessed the Warworld through use of the Matrix. Nothing terribly deep, plot-wise, but once again the interaction between Prime and Megatron is very well written and makes the story. The twist, which is actually revealed in the Tales of Earth segment, is that the Matrix is re-writing Starscream to make him good, meaning he’s unconsciously helping Prime.

Jhiaxus is one step from going completely postal here. He’s still in denial of reality, and throws wave after wave of his own troops at the Warworld in an attempt to recapture it. Strategy and subtlety are out the window; brute force is the order of the day. His subordinate, Rook, reflects on the detrimental effect the “throwback” first generation Transformers have had on him. Jhiaxus calls Rook a subordinate who has no right to offer him advice, but amusingly Rook seems to have a direct line to the Liege Maximo. Not bad for a lackey. Maybe all Cybertronian commanders have a spy for the Liege keeping an eye on them?

Prime reaches the center of the Warworld and attempts to contact and reason with Jhiaxus. Big mistake.

Tales of Earth Part Eight
More awesome Geoff Senior art greets the eyes for this backup, as Jhiaxus blasts San Francisco out of existence just to torment Optimus Prime. Prime blames himself for the deaths, of course. In an example of just how quickly a compact story like this can turn, the horror of the city’s destruction is replaced by a darn funny scene as Starscream attacks Jhiaxus’ ship, causing Prime to realize that the Matrix is rewriting Starscream to be good. Naturally, Starscream isn’t too happy about this. “Help me Prime! I don’t want to be good!” Hilarious!

I love the art. The panel where Jhiaxus' ship, the Twilight, blots out the sun is subtle, but highly effective as it takes a second to realize what the image is, giving the reader the same sense of dawning realization that the city's inhabitants would have. The explosion of the city's most well-known landmark, the bridge, tells us all we need to know in one panel. And Senior's Starscream as Warworld blows away Manny Galan's version. Man, I wish Senior could have drawn the whole series.

Then the Swarm arrives, setting up the final issue. Great cliffhanger ending to a great issue.

Issue 11 dead: for once, no prominent G1 Transformers die on-screen, though tons of G2 Cons buy it fighting the Warworld. The entire population of San Francisco gets blasted out of existence

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