Beast Wars (2021) ongoing series

"What? Transformers made from animals instead of vehicles and stuff? Doesn't sound so great, throw it to Kenner division, maybe they can make a quick buck or something."
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Sparky Prime
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Re: Beast Wars (2021) ongoing series

Post by Sparky Prime »

Issue 7

Megatron finally decodes a partial message from the Gold Disk. Surprisingly, it's a message from himself, warning that something will doom them all, but the transwarp drive can... do something. The file is corrupted, leaving Megatron even more frustrated not knowing what the message truly is. Terrorsaur thinks it wont be long before they'll need a new leader. However, Scorponok quickly shuts him down, knowing Terrorsaur isn't fit for the job. Instead, he says they need to stick to the plan. He's sure the Maximals would never attack them, and they can't make it past the Axalon's shields. With Megatron and Tarantulas busy with their work, he orders Terrorsaur and Waspinator to gather energon and leaves Skold to watch the base (with Terrorsaur openly mocking her, believing it'll keep her in her place).

Elsewhere, one of the stasis pods in orbit receives a transmission that is interrupted. The pod automatically lands and Blackarachnia emerges. Her computer reports receiving a partial code update, which will take some time to implement. She decides to look around while she waits, being an explorer after all, but is attacked by an alligator type creature, which I guess she kills. After, her computer detects a faint Cybertronian signal. Making her way to the Axalon, she's able to pass through the shield, but shortly after boarding the ship, her computer finishes the updates, switching her allegiance to a Predacon. Cheetor hears her talking to herself in the hall, and once again, no one believes him or thinks they should follow up on it. Cheetor decides to check it out anyway, grumbling about his crewmates not listening to him (and just like Tarantulas in the previous issue, Cheetor points out to himself that he's talking to himself...). Blackarachnia gets the jump on him, while Cheetor believes she's just a little confused after recently emerging from the stasis pod. When he tries to call for backup to help subdue her, she knocks him out with her cybervenom.

---

Winston Chan takes over the art in this issue. It's a little iffy in places, but I have to say, I like it a lot more compared to Josh Burcham's art style. I gather they'll be sharing art duties, with them both listed on the solicitations for upcoming issues.

It's good to FINALLY be getting some characterization for characters that were basically ignored in the first 6 issues. I kinda think it's a mistake that they're already introducing new characters, when they're only just starting to develop characters introduced in issue 1.

I really don't like how Blackarachnia's pod was able to receive a communication from the surface, even if it was interrupted. It again makes the energon fields on the planet feel like a non-issue in this series, rather than a major problem that should prevent exactly this sort of thing. And being able to remotely reprogram a protoform I also feel takes a lot of the drama out of the story, with no struggle from both sides simply to reach it first. It seems odd neither side was even aware of the pod landing, especially if it landed relatively nearby the Axalon.

It's odd that Blackarachnia and Cheetor both say that she's supposed to be an explorer, when the first issue had established the protoforms are not... Optimus called the protoforms "science experiments" and that the Axalon was simply delivering somewhere. I guess it's possible the protoforms could have been ultimately intended to be sent out on missions after the Axalon delivered them... But then, it wouldn't make sense for Primal to call them experiments. So which is it? Are they explorers or are they experiments? Could they be experimental explorers? :?

I think it's safe to say Tarantulas was the one that reprogrammed Blackarachnia's pod after discovering their existence in the previous issue, although there's no verification of it in this issue. I'd also have to guess he uploaded the beast mode templet? We never see the pod scan for one, and Blackarachnia emerges already having her black widow beast mode. And I can't help but wonder what the downside of having the transmission cut off may have been... Was it simply the reason it took so long for the computer to update Blackarachnia's programming? Could it be why she's not exactly the most loyal of Predacons, assuming she's like her cartoon counterpart? Or was it intentional? Allowing her to pass through the Axalon shield as a Maximal, just for the update to finish once inside to "further the cause"?

Despite still having some shortcomings, I actually felt this was one of the best issues of this series thus far. If not for introducing Blackarchnia, I almost think this could have made for a good 2nd or 3rd issue, rather than the 7th. There's some good character interactions from both the Maximals and Predacons that allows us to start getting a sense of who some of these characters are, which we really should have gotten earlier in the series.

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andersonh1
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Re: Beast Wars (2021) ongoing series

Post by andersonh1 »

Finally picked up my comics yesterday, and I agree with Sparky that issue 7 is probably the best issue of the series, certainly the best since issue 1. I get irritated at how passive the Maximals are, but apparently it's deliberate since the Predacons are also aware of it in-story. I don't think that characterization works very well for me, but it is what it is.

The guest artist is okay, nothing stellar but not poor either.

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andersonh1
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Re: Beast Wars (2021) ongoing series

Post by andersonh1 »

Issue 8 - the book continues to improve, though it's still miles behind the main Transformers book in terms of quality and characterization. I can't decide if Blackarachnia looks smart, or the Maximals look stupid, or some of both. At least Optimus Primal has finally decided to get proactive, which is the only rational course of action given their situation. Some of the dialogue in this book is pretty painful to read.

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Sparky Prime
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Re: Beast Wars (2021) ongoing series

Post by Sparky Prime »

Issue 8-

Blackarachnia begins downloading the Axalon's database, but realizing it'd take too much time before she's discovered, aborts and moves on to reprograming the rest of the stasis pods instead. Rhinox quickly finds her however, and she causes them to crash to the surface to distract Rhinox and makes her escape. Rhinox reports she got away with 10% of their database, and over half of the stasis pods have been reprogrammed. Optimus, angry at himself for his own failures as a leader thus far, decides it's time to change tactics and go on the offensive. Meanwhile, Blackarachnia meets up with Tarantulas, who doesn't realize at first she's the result of his earlier attempts to reprogram the stasis pods. When he tells her to bow to him however, he finds not all of his new programming was successfully uploaded. Still, he's happy to have a new Predacon on their side, to which she offers some more good news...
andersonh1 wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 10:41 am
I can't decide if Blackarachnia looks smart, or the Maximals look stupid, or some of both.
I feel that the writer wanted Blackarachnia to look smart but did so by making the other characters look stupid. Like when she tricks Cheetor into running back to the Axalon to warn them about a possible second trap... Why didn't he just radio that information back to base? Given Blackarachnia could remotely reprogram the stasis pods in orbit, the energon fields continues to be a non-issue in this series, so I don't see any reason why he had to run back to the Axalon. Same thing with Tarantulas... I get he'd be surprised to see someone new just walked into his lab, but why does it take him so long to realize she came from a stasis pod? She has to remind him he programmed her with access codes to the Darksyde and tells him to put the pieces together.

I do like that the interrupted transmission Blackarachnia's pod received was answered with this issue, explaining that the loyalty to Tarantulas he'd intended is missing. And since Blackarachnia used the coding she'd received, it means any other new Predacons will be lacking this specific loyalty programming as well.

I'm a little conflicted on the status of the stasis pods. On the one hand, I kinda like the idea that about half the pods are now Predacons, while the other half are still Maximals. So now, we don't know if the new protoform will be a Maximal or a Predacon. On the other hand, I don't like that they've all crashed to the surface. The whole point of keeping the pods in orbit in the cartoon was so that they could slowly introduce new characters. Granted, with the distance the pods crashed that's still a possibly, but as in The Gathering, this means we could get a bunch of new characters showing up all at once. And in a book that's already struggling with its characters, I feel this is a mistake.

Interesting that Cheetor uses a tail whip weapon from his Kingdom figure. Although he holds it backwards, where the hook part is in his hand, using the tail to grab Blackarachnia's arm...

Overall, I felt this issue was somewhat of a step back from the previous issue. Still better than the first 6 issues, but felt a bit more lacking than what we got last issue.

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andersonh1
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Re: Beast Wars (2021) ongoing series

Post by andersonh1 »

Issue 9 has a simple plot, but it feels like the best issue of the series to me. The Predacons go out to hunt for the stasis pods that Blackarachnia brought down, and Skold ends up rescuing and befriending Razorbeast, whose pod was at the bottom of a pond. The Vok are still observing and decide to test these two so they sic some mechanical wolves on them. Skold is fine, Razorbeast is badly injured, and Skold decides to leave him with the Maximals, but has no interest in switching sides. I liked this one quite a bit. I just about put it back on the shelf, but decided to keep it and having read it, I'm glad I did.

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Re: Beast Wars (2021) ongoing series

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I flipped through issue 9.

Dinobot talking to Skold about her stutter, and "a negative environment" is enough to make me lose all respect for the writer. Why the hell is Dinobot being written as that much of a ponce? (

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Sparky Prime
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Re: Beast Wars (2021) ongoing series

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Issue 9

Megatron celebrates the news that they're about to have more Predacons joining their ranks with the crew. Terrorsaur suggests they should use their ability to time travel to make sure the Maximals never came online in the first place (why is he only just now bringing this up now, 9 issues into this story?) which Megatron completely rejects as it would undo them as well (despite being willing to blindly follow the coordinates on the Golden Disk into the past to an unknown planet, without having ANY idea as to why because he has yet to decode anything? For all he knows, they are here for just such a purpose. This is the problem with the Predacons not having a specific goal or knowing what information is on the Golden Disk... There's nothing unifying or guiding them towards any particular purpose here). Megatron says they stick to the plan, decoding the Golden Disk, fixing the ship and gathering the stasis pods, ordering Terrorsaur and Waspinator to go find them (which Blackarachnia reports she programmed to land as close to within 500 kliks to the Axalon as possible, making them easier to find... sigh, so much for being spread out across the planet to keep the cast small). Skold is impressed by the new Blackarachnia, suggesting they should team up to find the pods faster, but she berates Skold, telling her the fliers can cover more ground (which, while true, why can't some ground teams go as well? Fliers or not, multiple teams would cover more ground than just one). Scorponok suggests she can help by attending to maintenance of the ship, but she decides to go looking for the stasis pods on her own to be alone for a while (so... if she can just tell Scorponok she's going looking for stasis pods, on her own, without objection, why couldn't they send out a few more teams...? Shouldn't finding the stasis pods be their top priority at the moment anyway?).

Skold ends up inadvertently finding a stasis pod stuck at the bottom of a lake, which turns out to be Razorbeast. He immediately knows Skold is a Predacon (I assume he reads her energy signature, but the comic doesn't actually establish how he knows this. And this begs to question why Cheetor couldn't tell Blackarachnia was a Predacon), but seems to assume she's a crewmate on the same mission of exploration as him (again, despite Primal calling the protoforms "science experiments" rather than explorers in the first issue). Meanwhile, the Vok observing them decide to run a little experiment and sic some "ironwolves" on them. Skold ends up defeating them, but Razorbeast is badly damaged and goes into stasis lock. Knowing the Predacons wouldn't accept him (apparently because she thinks Megatron wouldn't see him as "made for conquest" rather than the fact he's a Maximal), she takes him to the Axalon instead.

At the Axalon, Skold gets the Maximals attention by.... just standing there for half a cycle (as I recall in the cartoon a cycle was about a minute... but this is clearly meant to be longer than that. IDW has used the term to mean about an hour, as well as about a day in other continuities) while Razorbeast lays at her feet in stasis lock (whom the Maximals never even noticed? When Rattrap points out Skold's still out there, Optimus only speculates that maybe she wants to switch sides... I could see them ignoring a lone Predacon for all that time, but how did they miss Razorbeast?). When asked why she'd help a Maximal, Skold explains she owes Razorbeast for saving her life. Dinobot asks her to join the Maximals, seeing her more confident than ever outside the "negative environment" of the Predacons. But she refuses, saying the Maximals mask their cruelty with a friendly face, while she knows exactly where she stands with the Predacons...

---

It's good to finally get some background on Skold... But much like Dinobot in this comic, I don't understand why she'd join up with Megatron's crew in the first place. Skold reveals to Razorbeast that she wanted to be an artist. But as a Predacon, she was bullied by the Maximals because of stereotypes. How is that any different than the bullying she suffers with the Predacons? She claims the Maximals put on a friendly face to hide their cruelty, but this doesn't work with how the story portrays it. Maybe if she'd caught these Maximals bad talking her behind her back... but they did it to her face, just like we've seen the Predacons do when they bully her. Also, why would Megatron ask her to join his crew, after seeing her bullied by some Maximals, without putting up a fight or anything? I mean, how do you go from someone like Tarantulas, a Predacon with a well known reputation across Cybertron as a butcher, to someone randomly bullied by some ignorant Maximals on the street this one time? It's also odd that Skold thinks Megatron would reject Razorbeast for not being "made for conquest" when... does Skold think she's made for conquest? She is not made out to be a conquest type of character here, as someone who wanted to be an artist. Much like Dinobot, she acts more like a Maximal than a Predacon. I get the writer is trying to establish a theme of assumptions based on where someone comes from can be wrong... but it just doesn't work without properly framing these characters. And why would Dinobot consider the Predacon environment "negative"? As someone who literally switched side the day before, this isn't how he should view the Predacon culture. And just feels wrong for Dinobot, who should be a character proud of his Predacon heritage.

The Vok's presence in this issue is interesting. I think we may have gotten a bit of insight to the experiments they're running on this planet, with Skord saying she'd never seen the ironwolves anywhere but Pferra before, suggesting the Vok have brought some species to this world. It would explain why there seems to be some alien creatures mixed with animals from Earth. Although, for what purpose remains a mystery. The Vok are aware of the stasis pods, and mention wanting to locate a few for themselves to experiment on. I'd be curious to see if this might be how we get Transmetals, Fuzors and/or Mutants in this series.

Speaking of the stasis pods, I'm disappointed it's established in this issue that they're all supposed to land relatively nearby the Axalon. This is setting things up for a bunch of characters to be introduced all at once, and for a series where the writer is already struggling with the characters he has to work with... this would be a mistake. I'd hope it doesn't repeat the same mistakes of The Gathering/Ascending by introducing a ton of new characters and not giving any of them any characterization whatsoever. I'm also surprised Megatron reasons the Maximals will stay out of their way rather than risk one of their own in an attack, despite having fought each other already until the Maximals got their shields back online, but I don't get the sense the Maximals are even looking. They don't even seem concerned about Razorbeast when Skold delivers him to their doorstep, despite the condition he's in. I get they're probably busy preparing their assault on the Predacons, but it's so strange to see the Maximals seemingly unconcerned about their comrades, when in the cartoon they'd ordinarily drop everything to rescue one of the protoforms.

Edit: Interestingly, the writer said on his Twitter that they'd originally written this story with another character, which apparently "was not available", so which ever character that was got replaced with Razorbeast instead.

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Sparky Prime
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Re: Beast Wars (2021) ongoing series

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Issue 10

Unfortunately, this issue doesn't really amount to much. Dinobot explains the discovery and significance of the Golden Disk to the other Maximals. While we get a new detail about it (the disc being saturated with energy similar to "unspace", apparently indicating it has time traveled multiple times) the explanation feels largely redundant, since as the audience already know it contains records capable of changing history. And then the Maximals go over their battle plans... while on route, which seems odd to me. Didn't they spend the last issue making the plans and preparations for this attack? I'm assuming that's when they modified this emergency escape ship Primal has to explain they've modified so they don't have to just walk to the Darksyde. Yet not all of the Maximals are aware of the details before now? Even Dinobot added missiles to the ship without anyone else noticing apparently. It feels like the writer is telling us rather than showing us, because the characters should already know all of this well before they're on their way to carry out the plan. Meanwhile, Scorponok is trying to train the Predacons to fight for when return to Cybertron. And Megatron nearly scraps Terrorsaur for insubordination, only to be saved by Tarantulas who claims he only did it for conservation of resources. What happened to Terrorsaur and Waspinator being out looking for more stasis pods? If they were so easy to find like Blackarachnia claimed they should be, how come they returned to base empty handed? The very end of the issue, the Maximals launch their surprise attack.

I liked the character work in this issue. Rattrap for once actually felt like Rattrap, complaining about everything, and pushing everyone's buttons. It's also nice to see Scorponok acting as second in command in this comic. He never really seemed to be in the cartoon, save for that one time in "Power Surge" he pulled rank when Terrorsaur put Tarantulas in charge. Even if it was only to restore Megatron.

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andersonh1
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Re: Beast Wars (2021) ongoing series

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Issue 10 - one of the better issues of the series, and I enjoyed the emphasis on the Maximals finally going proactive, but it still feels like not a lot happens here. I'm pretty much at the place where I was with the RID/Transformers series, where the pace was slow and the action and story weren't bad, but weren't all that good either, and I was just losing interest. I want to like this book, but it just hasn't done a whole lot in 10 issues. It's probably only a matter of time before I decide I'd rather spend my $4 elsewhere.

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Re: Beast Wars (2021) ongoing series

Post by Ursus mellifera »

Aren't there only 2 issues left in this whole series?
Check it out, a honey bear! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinkajou

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