Dawn of the Dreadforce (TF knock-off comic)

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Dominic
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Dawn of the Dreadforce (TF knock-off comic)

Post by Dominic »

Dawn of the Dreadforce #0:

This is the latest in what seems to be a series of 99c specials from Devil's Due Productions. (I pick these up as I see them, but do not make a point of looking for 'em.) With this issue, I am chaning one of my old rules about DDP. I *do* enjoy laughing at the company. Aside from a strong showing with the end of "GI Joe: America's Elite", the company has spent most of the last 4 years making foolish mistakes and not learning form them.

"Dawn of the Dreadforce" is clearly DDP's attempt to get in on the "big robot comic" market that IDW is doing well with. (The fact there is a second "Transformers" movie due out this summer probably has a good deal to with this.) A company that once seemed poised to be the next Dark Horse comics, primed with two viable licenses, has squandered the advantages and good-will it enjoyed at the beginning of the decade, and has been reduced to publishing knock-offs of other licenses and trying to revive previously abandoned licenses.

"Dawn of the Dreadforce" does not have the blatant flaws of the "The Corps", if only because DDP is (as far as I know) not paying license fees for this book. But, it is still a comedy of errors.

The copy on the back reads: "From an all-star team of former Transformers artists comes an all-new original series."

Wow, "all-new" and "original" in one sentence, describing the same thing. It is so original that I am going to give this book benefit of the doubt and assume that the writers were not specifically aping "All Hail Megatron", but were just going for genre forumula with the five pages of actual story in this issue. As for the artists, I like James Raiz as much as anyone. But, as good as his work on early issues of "Armada" was, he was hardly an "all-star". And, I have no idea who Gustavo Sandoval is. He might have done a few souce-book entries, or some package art. I dunno.

The slogan reads: Earth is their hunting ground, and we are their prey." I am sure this is not intended to in any way to sound like "Their war, our world."

Some guy named Jason Anderson is given creative credit. The writer, a guy named Kurt Hathaway, provides a short "introduction" at the end of the book, outlining where he wants to go with the story. He promises great things, but is short on specifics. At the risk of jumping to conclusions, I am not optimistic.

There is a laundry list of creators beyond those listed above. I do not feel like listing them all.

So, how is the actual content of the book?

Given that the cover has a blurb focusing on the art, I may as well start their. The robots look like Transformers drawn in the style of post-Image Marvel, or simply Image. (Mind you, in the 90s, "Transformers" was one of the more visually distinctive books on the shelves, and was stronger for it.) The elements of Raiz's style that I like managed to shine through. And, that along is enough for me to pick up the book should it become a regular series.

As with "Armada", Raiz's more cartoony style (even as obscured as it is here), does not fit with the grim tone of the writing. But, unlike early issues of "Armada" which quickly lightened in tone, "Dawn of the Dreadforce" is unlikely to lighten up.

The 5 pages of story consist of a sequence that could, with a few changes of names and images, have been taken from most any dystopian future franchise, such as "Terminator" or any "grim-future" story for any established franchise. Humans scramble around in desperation and big robots show up and stomp them with pretty much no motivation beyond "this is what robots" do. Imagine a comic written by those weird guys who just want "TFs $t0mping on hoomanz"you see on Transformers boards.

The character profiles in the back read like bland game-hooks for a TF-themed role-playing game. There are a few lunatics, a treacherous lieutenant or 2, a cackling mastermind, and a "good-guy in waiting". Despite the "grim-n-gritty" pretense of the writing, the naming conventions sound like retro-70s sentai.

Grade: F Still, I am compelled to read this book, assuming the next issue ever ships.

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Re: Dawn of the Dreadforce (TF knock-off comic)

Post by Onslaught Six »

I heard about this when it was starting, looked suitably knockoffy and such.

If we get toys, though, and they look cool, I'll buy 'em.
BWprowl wrote:The internet having this many different words to describe nerdy folks is akin to the whole eskimos/ice situation, I would presume.
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Re: Dawn of the Dreadforce (TF knock-off comic)

Post by Dominic »

I suppose Bandai could make these. But, I doubt Bandai has the institutional know-how to do it well. (MMPR does not seem to have advanced more than a few years in the 15+ years it has been around.)

It woud be interesting to see if Lanard, (owners of "The CORPS!"), would make "Dreadforce" toys. DDP seems to have hitched their toy-wagon to Lanard. And, given that Lanard makes Joe knock-offs, Transformers knock-offs are the next logical step.

Dom
-wonders how DDP went so wrong.

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Re: Dawn of the Dreadforce (TF knock-off comic)

Post by Onslaught Six »

Dominic wrote:I suppose Bandai could make these. But, I doubt Bandai has the institutional know-how to do it well. (MMPR does not seem to have advanced more than a few years in the 15+ years it has been around.)
How much of that, though, is MMPR's target audience and/or general Japanese toy tendency for Lack Of Articulation? Just look at the Braves, for example.

Also, are these things supposed to transform, or are they just Big F'in Robots?
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: Dawn of the Dreadforce (TF knock-off comic)

Post by Dominic »

I would say that MMPR is hindered by low expectations by/for its target market. Near as I can tell, (based partly on a few stints in retail), MMPR has very little in the way of long-term fans. There are a few older fans who are interested in the franchise for the sake of nostalgia or habit, but most of the fans are wee 'uns. They eventually grow out of it, moving on either to other toys or out of toys altogether. (And, given that toys are doing the same stupid things comics spent the 80s and 90s doing, this is likely to become a problem in the next decade.) At this point, MMPR has been around long enough for it to become a starting toy that parents buy for the sake of nostaligia, kind of like "Little People" was for my generation. Look at the toys, many of them look like they would fit nicely in the little kid aisles of most stores. While some lines are under-detailed for the sake of style, (JLU comes to mind), MMPR is under-detailed due to a lack of need and effort.

Still, to be fair to the line, it has staying power if nothing else. It is not unlike "Archie" comics in that way, consistently bringing in, if not retaining, new fans.


Not all of the Braves were still toys. Look at the Build-Team from RiD.


As for the Dreadforce, at least one of them transforms. Dunno how well it would work as a toy though.

Dom
-wants a "Starriors" relaunch.

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Re: Dawn of the Dreadforce (TF knock-off comic)

Post by onslaught86 »

Ahh, forgot about this. I really do like James Raiz as an artist, and would certainly take him over some of IDW's stock crew (For the record, the return of Figueroa leaves me indifferent).

But knockoffs are knockoffs are knockoffs. Shame about DDP, really is.
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Re: Dawn of the Dreadforce (TF knock-off comic)

Post by Onslaught Six »

Dominic wrote:I would say that MMPR is hindered by low expectations by/for its target market. Near as I can tell, (based partly on a few stints in retail), MMPR has very little in the way of long-term fans. There are a few older fans who are interested in the franchise for the sake of nostalgia or habit, but most of the fans are wee 'uns. They eventually grow out of it, moving on either to other toys or out of toys altogether. (And, given that toys are doing the same stupid things comics spent the 80s and 90s doing, this is likely to become a problem in the next decade.) At this point, MMPR has been around long enough for it to become a starting toy that parents buy for the sake of nostaligia, kind of like "Little People" was for my generation. Look at the toys, many of them look like they would fit nicely in the little kid aisles of most stores. While some lines are under-detailed for the sake of style, (JLU comes to mind), MMPR is under-detailed due to a lack of need and effort.
I was more talking about the original Sentai, rather, since that's arguably aimed at an even younger audience than MMPR is. AU knows more than I do.
Not all of the Braves were still toys. Look at the Build-Team from RiD.
Build Team/JRX/etc. != Braves. Yes, same design team and stuff, but they're specifically TF, and not Braves. I'm talking the early 90s crap with two POA and eight robots combined.
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: Dawn of the Dreadforce (TF knock-off comic)

Post by Dominic »

onslaught86 wrote:Ahh, forgot about this. I really do like James Raiz as an artist, and would certainly take him over some of IDW's stock crew (For the record, the return of Figueroa leaves me indifferent).

But knockoffs are knockoffs are knockoffs. Shame about DDP, really is.
I am finding it increasingly difficult to lament the fall of DDP. Most of their injuries, since' '04, have been self-inflicted.

Dom
-is watching DC do the same.

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Re: Dawn of the Dreadforce (TF knock-off comic)

Post by andersonh1 »

Dominic wrote:-is watching DC do the same.
What turned me off to DC (whose comic characters are still some of my favorites) are the following:
- too much 'spectacle' storytelling that requires a good guy to die or go bad, often in a horribly contrived way or via the cliched 'heroic death'
- utter lack of respect for the company's history

And often the two are linked. They wanted to kill off Dick Grayson at one point, for cryin out loud! Captain Atom goes bad, Ted Kord gets his brains blown out by Maxwell Lord, another good guy gone bad... on and on it goes. Green Lantern undid a lot of the damage done to that book in the early 90s, which is why I started reading it again, but I just got sick of getting attached to a character, only to see them used as a plot pawn in an attempt to wring some drama out of an overblown plot.

*rant over*

Back to your regularly scheduled discussion about DDP's demise.

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Re: Dawn of the Dreadforce (TF knock-off comic)

Post by Dominic »

Discussions about DDP generally touch on common problems with the industry. It just happens that DDP has managed to be a case-study for most of them.

Point of information: Many people would dispute calling Max Lord a "good guy". But, yeah, offing Ted Kord like that was idiotic. 90-odd% of the people who read comics knew nothing about Ted Kord. And, killing him off only managed to annoy the small number of people who did like him. it produced a minor bump in sales, and DC's sales have been trending downward, (movie-related spikes and other oddities being excepted). The fact that DC had the nerve to compare a cheap and feeble stunt like "Countdown to Infinite Crisis", (the dollar special from early '05), to "Crisis on Infinite Earths" #8, (still arguably one of the most important comics of all time), only rubbed salt on a pretty raw wound.


I have to disagree that much has been repaired with the "Green Lantern" books. I would argue that they have come to epitomize the cheap and ephemeral nature of current DC, complete with indecisive and on-the-fly editing. (Does anybody really think that any of the current "big" changes in current GL will stick for much longer than Bruce Wayne stays dead, if even that long?) If DC made a hard decision with "Infinite Crisis" and completely removed "Emerald Twilight", (including removing Kyle Raynder), from context, I would give it to them.

I would have disagreed with it, but I could have lived with it. But, the kind of soft-reboots they are doing with GL are the same type of mistakes that loused up Power-Girl and Hawk-man in the 80s.

Dom
-notes "final Crisis" #7 comes out this week.

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