Dark Cybertron

The IDW Comics universe has had such a different take on G1, one that's now significantly represented by the Generations toys, so they share a forum. A modern take on a Real Cybertronian Hero. Currently starring Generations toys, IDW "The Transformers" comics, MTMTE, TF vs GI Joe, and Windblade.
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Dominic
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Re: Dark Cybertron

Post by Dominic »

Defining the Dead Universe is difficult because it has changed. I do not think that Furman initially intended for it to be sentient/malignant on its own so much as he meant for it to be an extremely hazardous place. (I saw it as being more like Games Workshop's Eye of Terror than Unicron, especially given how Furman defined IDW Jhiaxus.)

If I recall, the malicious sentience was introduced by Abnett in "Heart of Darkness" (leading to some speculation that the Deak Universe was the Undermind from "Infestation"). And, then some of Abnett's work was over/back-written by Roberts and Barber in "Chaos".

think you're worrying for nothing. I don't see anything that has been undone or back written. Kup's "death" was never shown, it was assumed because he went back in time to the beginning of the Dead Universe. We never saw what happened to him, so I never assumed he was dead because we're talking about a species that is prone to living for millions of years being sent into a universe that, in spite of being called "dead" sure seems to have a lot of survivors living in it.
If a story ends with a character being more or less the way they were before the last big thing that happened to said character, the last big thing has been functionally undone. If Kup is back to being the way he was depicted in AHM, then the events of "Infestation" may as well have not happened. (This is a common problem with comics.)

Honestly, I'm excited by the Megatron cover because I want to see what they do with it and how that works out. It's certainly better, or at least more interesting, than Megatron going back to status quo "Leader for the Decepticons".
No question. It has potential. But, the impact of Megatron switching sides (kind of a big thing) will be diminished by other "big things" being functionally undone and not sticking.

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Re: Dark Cybertron

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Dominic wrote:If a story ends with a character being more or less the way they were before the last big thing that happened to said character, the last big thing has been functionally undone. If Kup is back to being the way he was depicted in AHM, then the events of "Infestation" may as well have not happened.
Again, I think you're worrying over nothing. Again, this isn't overwriting or back writing, or anything like that. They're wrapping up loose ends and bringing closure to certain stories. I seriously doubt that Kup would come out of spending millions of years in the DU like nothing happened. Just because a story is wrapped up doesn't mean it didn't happen.

Now, if they somehow come out and say that Kup wasn't in the DU to begin with THAT would be undoing a previous story. But that's not what's happening here.
Dominic wrote:(This is a common problem with comics.)
Yeah, I know, this is one of several reasons why I'm done with non TF books. I mean, what's the point of reading a story, even a good one, if you know it's just going to get overwritten within a year or so?

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Dominic
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Re: Dark Cybertron

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Shockwave, give "Earth 2" and "Uber" a try. Seriously.

Again, I think you're worrying over nothing. Again, this isn't overwriting or back writing, or anything like that. They're wrapping up loose ends and bringing closure to certain stories. I seriously doubt that Kup would come out of spending millions of years in the DU like nothing happened. Just because a story is wrapped up doesn't mean it didn't happen.
Back-writing is not the only way to undo a story.

If a dead character is brought back in any way and has been restored to what they were before being dead, the story where they died is functionally irrelevant. It may as well have never happened.

If I stop reading a book before some big stupid thing happens and only pick it up again after the consequences of the big stupid thing have been reversed, the big stupid thing may as well have not happened. Colossus' death in "X-Men" is a good example of this. Hal Jordan going crazy and being dead is another.


And, speaking of being un-dead-ified......


Dark Cybertron parts 4 and 5:

Wow, the art gets even worse with chapter 4. Actually, let me rephrase that. The editing and art assignments get worse with chapter 4. There is no single bad artist working on "Dark Cybertron". Truth be told, most of the art is actually pretty good. But, the artists are not being assigned consistently or intelligently.

As mentioned above, it is fine that IDW uses different artists for different scenes and settings. However, they should be using the same artists for the same settings every issue. (Dead Universe scenes should only be rendered by Ramondelli. Similarly, Cybertron scenes should only be rendered by.....) This should be consistent issue by issue. (Rotating artists between issues was allowable in the 90s. While multi-part stories were common, it was not assumed that they would all be compiled. However, compilations have been assumed for at least a decade now. Writing for the compilation is fine. But, comics should also be illustrated for the compilation.)

With chapter 4, IDW actually makes an even more elementary blunder. They fucking rotate artists between scenes of the *same* issue. Some people may argue that a given artist is "right" for a given scene. That is a fair topic for discussion. I would like to be having it. But, I refuse to have that discussion if IDW cannot consistently assign a specific artist to specific parts of the story.

I normally do not harp on art. But, IDW is putting in an exceptionally poor showing.


Writing wise, it is still too early to call the ending. (I am less than half-way through. And, I would generally hesitate to call the ending until at least the 3/4 mark.)

We can safely assume that Nightbeat will be un-dead-ified and likely do a face-turn owing to the fact we know that there is a new Nightbeat toy on the way. I would actually be able to forgive this as editorial necessity if not for "Dark Cybertron" having so many other problems. it looks like Cyclonus might be getting re-dead-ified. (I really hope this does not happen. But, I am anticipating it.) And, from there, it is only so many steps to making him a bad guy again....just like he was.


The best part is that "Dark Cybertron" is not only their big damned deal event, it is a marketing push to gain new readers. In all likelihood, a chapter of "Dark Cyberton" is going to be somebody's first comic. It is only slightly less likely, though still highly probable, that "Dark Cybertron" is going to be a new reader's first multi-part epic.


Generally speaking, I am forgiving of this sort of event. Event stories are usually written by editorial mandate, and writers only have so much discretion about if/how they write their chapters. But, the editorial mandate defense only works so much when the writers (Barber and Roberts) are functionally editors. I can forgive some of the problems with Gillen's "Iron Man" run. (If nothing else, based on what I have read, I am very impressed at how well "the Secret Origin of Tony Stark" played out.) But, even so, that run has flaws.

Another reason that I am being less forgiving is that I expect more from "Transformers" as a property and IDW as a publisher. "Dark Cybertron" is reading a little too much like a big-2 style event for my liking. Granted, I am less than half-way done, and any number of things could happen in the next month and a half. But, if "Dark Cybertron" ends up being a big-2 style event, that will be an irreparable step down. "Transformers" will be at just another comic doing the same things as most other comics.

That would mean I would only be reading it the same way I read other comics, when a writer is having a particularly impressive run. If this plays out the way I am afraid it is going to, Barber and Roberts will not be those writers.


As of now, there are two chapters sittign in my pull-box, and chapter 8 is due out this week.

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Re: Dark Cybertron

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I'm up to chapter 7, and the main flaw of this story still seems to be too many characters mixed with too many plot threads. Seven chapters in, and very little story progression has occurred. I appreciate the attempt to do something big, but this plot is dragging badly. There are all sorts of potentially interesting things happening, but no resolution. I wish they'd get on with things. I agree with Dom though, in that it's hard to call how this story will end at this point, and so it's hard to make a real judgment call on it.

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Re: Dark Cybertron

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The plot is moving well enough. Each set of characters is getting closer to their destination/goal. "More than Meets the Eye" has been pretty well derailed by this story. But, the plot of "Dark Cybertron" is progressing. (A story taking more than 2 or 3 parts to resolve is not the same as "dragging".)

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Re: Dark Cybertron

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I might at some point track down trades for "Earth-2" and "Uber" but it's going to be a long time before that happens. The discretionary income available right now is minimal and there are going to be several other things that I'll want to get first.

As for characters dying and coming back, assuming we're still talking about Kup, he was never actually shown to have died. He went back in time to another universe. "Dark Cybertron" would be a convenient vehicle to bring him back and to wrap up that story. I don't think it would be as if he had never experienced it though. So far IDW has stuck with their changes. Cyclonus hasn't even gone back to being a "bad guy" in spite of him being back in the DU. I would expect that if we see Kup come back that he would be changed and that change would stick.

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Re: Dark Cybertron

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Shockwave wrote:As for characters dying and coming back, assuming we're still talking about Kup, he was never actually shown to have died. He went back in time to another universe.
He had also been infected with the zombie virus during Infestation. Presumably, that virus killed him. There's also Nightbeat, who Hardhead shot through the head to stop him from being controlled by Nova Prime.

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Re: Dark Cybertron

Post by Shockwave »

Sparky Prime wrote:
Shockwave wrote:As for characters dying and coming back, assuming we're still talking about Kup, he was never actually shown to have died. He went back in time to another universe.
He had also been infected with the zombie virus during Infestation. Presumably, that virus killed him. There's also Nightbeat, who Hardhead shot through the head to stop him from being controlled by Nova Prime.
And resurrected him? (it is a zombie virus after all). I guess I'm just saying that there was nothing on page (at least that I remember) that explicitly implied that Kup was dead or definitely going to die. At the very least, I recall thinking that he would return but that it would be a long time before he did.

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Re: Dark Cybertron

Post by Sparky Prime »

Shockwave wrote:And resurrected him? (it is a zombie virus after all). I guess I'm just saying that there was nothing on page (at least that I remember) that explicitly implied that Kup was dead or definitely going to die. At the very least, I recall thinking that he would return but that it would be a long time before he did.
Not so much resurrect, since as a zombie he'd be considered undead... I'd agree with you I had no doubts he'd eventually return, but becoming a zombie and then going to the Dead universe is pretty clear to me that he died.

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Re: Dark Cybertron

Post by JediTricks »

Uh, I guess "spoilers" up to issue 7 in the following...

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--

-

So, I'm still hating this series quite a bit, but at least issues 6 and 7 felt like something happened and had interesting characters having it happen. The art is absolutely in the toilet though, this is shockingly low quality compared to the pre-Dark Cyb issues, and just bad comic book art all around - which reminds me, how the fuck was that supposed to be recognizable as Kup? I care even less about Nova Prime now than when the series started, and the story is just blithering along in the Dead Universe with nothing to say. Starscream's story has come to a dead stop, but at least Tankor is in that one issue doing nothing in-character with Tankor. Yeesh.

I'm shocked at how little discussion this has gotten with you guys in my absence, that suggests to me A) there's only been 3 issues; and B) nobody cares much about those issues. Speaking of which, I'm on issue 7, so 1 issue behind. :oops: I do know that Dom has started reading the series though, and his pre-reading defenses have generally disappeared in our conversations.

andersonh1 wrote:With Nightbeat and cliffhangers, I'm referring to him still being under the control of Galvatron/Nova Prime. I didn't see that coming. Maybe I should have, but I expected the hole in his head to clear out the rewiring or something.
Sorry, apparently that requires DOING MATH instead. :roll: Goddamn that was a pointless turnabout scene.

Dom wrote:The deluxe edition of the first book-end issue includes significant creator notes. Barber and Roberts compare "Dark Cybertron" to the original "Crisis on Infinite Earths", which could either be promising (in that it will be an event story that leads to a significant change in direction for the book) or worrisome (in that it will be a big stupid event). Their later comparisons to "Secret Wars" makes me think it could be the latter.
Ugh, that gives me so little confidence it makes me want to stop reading altogether. On that statement alone, I'd drop RID at the end of this event and consider losing MTMTE as well.
I do not have any real attachment to any of the things that Barber and Roberts are back-writing. (Truth be told, I did not much like the comics that will now have asterisked qualifiers attached to them.) But, I dislike back-writes on principle. Re-sets (such as "Crisis on Infinite Earths" or "Flashpoint") are necessary to steamline long-running properties. But, big events that end up showing how a previously published series either did not happen as shown or functionally undo a previous series by leaving a prevously changed character more "like they were" are junk. (Given how event driven comics are, undoing the events functionally devalues the comics in narrative terms.)
Cutting dead weight like the Dead Universe can be helpful, so if that's the sort of COIE thing they're doing, I suppose there could be room for that.

BTW, don't tell us what issue you've read and then post spoilers from beyond that point without strictly explaining as much, that's really frustrating. That said...
Similarly,
Spoiler
Kup's return
(which I know about, despite not having read yet) is likely to functionally undo
Spoiler
"Infestation"
.
And nothing of value was lost.
The reveal
Spoiler
about Megatron joining the Autobots
after "Dark Cybertron" gives me some reason for optimism. But, if too much of the previous run ends up being undone (either through back-writing or just having characters "restored") I am not likely to be interested in
Spoiler
Megatron's changed allegience
.
This is something I have no faith in sticking, no moreso than
Spoiler
Otto taking over Peter's mind being undone
.
On a more basic note, the art is problematic. Using different artists (with clearly different styles) to indicate scene changes is good. I expect modern comics to at least attempt something at this moderate level of sophistication. However, I also expect it to be done well. If a book is going to use 2 or more art teams to indicate changes in time or setting, the teams much be consistent. IDW has been making liberal use of fill-in artists, which throws off the idea that a specific artist's work indicates a specific setting. While this is not overly problematic as part of a single issue, it will make the compilations read less smoothly.
Yeah, being "done well" is vital, the art shouldn't suck shit through a shit-straw just to affect change. I've never fully attached to Syndromica, but even that art has taken a turn for the worse during this series. Everything looks really bad in the MTMTE story and the RID story has appalling character work, and then they kinda flipflop that.

Keep in mind, I've been out of TF comics so I don't know who is dead and who is alive before "The Death of Optimus Prime", and those I do know, I generally don't care about being dead, but there should be a REASON to bring them back, it should have value or be special, not just constant.
Sparky wrote:Sorta. It's been explained that the rules of life and death are somewhat reversed in the dead universe. So all of those survivors actually died at some point, but in the dead universe they're alive.
The sound you heard is my head banging against my desk. It's Bizarro-Hell, AND IT. IS. ALIVE!!! That's fucking retarded. (Not aimed at you Sparky, just at IDW.)
Shock wrote:Me too! It just seems like a catch all "kitchen sink" for anything they need to magically pull out of their asses. I was never really that jazzed about it as a concept to begin with.
As a newcomer, it sure seems like it.
Dom wrote:Writing wise, it is still too early to call the ending. (I am less than half-way through. And, I would generally hesitate to call the ending until at least the 3/4 mark.)
Nova will be defeated and sent back to the Dead Universe, Shockwave's master plan will get mostly thwarted but resonate and he'll pull a Doctor Claw and run for the hills or perhaps even to the DU, Metroplex will return in some form and stop the Necrotitan, the status will be quo'ed, Starscream will have lost his chance to lead, the Cybertronian Autobots will arbitrarily change leadership functionality altogether, Rodimus will become the next Prime and will lead a larger crew to the stars to hunt for the Knights. Or not, but that's how it feels from here.
The best part is that "Dark Cybertron" is not only their big damned deal event, it is a marketing push to gain new readers. In all likelihood, a chapter of "Dark Cyberton" is going to be somebody's first comic. It is only slightly less likely, though still highly probable, that "Dark Cybertron" is going to be a new reader's first multi-part epic.
If this were a new reader's first TF comic, it'd be their last. This is nonsensical and just smashing toys together with a few light pretenses. This is very dumb compared to RID and MTMTE beforehand. And there's almost no transforming, there's no robots in disguise, there's no rhyme or reason to betrayals and actions and physics of scenes. This is the end of a new reader's journey, not the beginning.
Another reason that I am being less forgiving is that I expect more from "Transformers" as a property and IDW as a publisher. "Dark Cybertron" is reading a little too much like a big-2 style event for my liking. Granted, I am less than half-way done, and any number of things could happen in the next month and a half. But, if "Dark Cybertron" ends up being a big-2 style event, that will be an irreparable step down. "Transformers" will be at just another comic doing the same things as most other comics.
That's where it is.
That would mean I would only be reading it the same way I read other comics, when a writer is having a particularly impressive run. If this plays out the way I am afraid it is going to, Barber and Roberts will not be those writers.
I'll never give up on the first 20-whatever issues of MTMTE and almost as many RID, but this really does damage to both of them as writers in my eyes as well.
Anderson wrote:I'm up to chapter 7, and the main flaw of this story still seems to be too many characters mixed with too many plot threads. Seven chapters in, and very little story progression has occurred. I appreciate the attempt to do something big, but this plot is dragging badly. There are all sorts of potentially interesting things happening, but no resolution. I wish they'd get on with things. I agree with Dom though, in that it's hard to call how this story will end at this point, and so it's hard to make a real judgment call on it.
7 chapters in and it's the SECOND DAY! There are 5 major plot threads, right?
Orion in the Dead Universe
the Lost Light adventuring about while waiting for them
Starscream and the Iacon survivers shitting on each other
Shockwave and his cave of who-gives-a-fuck
The Autobots and Decepticons outside the city fighting a Necrotitan and Shockwave

The plot at the end of chapter 7 has progressed to the following:
- DU, Nova is waiting to get to Cybertron, captures Orion and friends, Cyclonus is infected. That's it.
- The Lost Light is attacked by Minicons working for Shockwave who send it to a nearby planet where they find the underwater, infected corpse of Metroplex. That's it.
- Starscream and Iacon get shit upon, everybody gives up on Starscream because he couldn't stop an impossible thing from happening, the Necrotitan sends out a destructive blast and kills a lot of folks. That's it.
- Shockwave has machinations that are nebulous and only sorta work and recruits the worst minions ever, Megatron is ripped in half by Galvatron but shoots him and is dragged out by Bumblebee. That's it.
- The Autobots and Decepticons argue and gang up to take down Shockwave and the Necrotitan. That's it.

The only overarching storyline is Shockwave's, Nova Prime's plot is relatively stupid and simplistic and lazy. The entirety of the 7 first chapters has been moving characters around a chessboard that gets more unremarkable and boring with every page.
Dom wrote:The plot is moving well enough. Each set of characters is getting closer to their destination/goal. "More than Meets the Eye" has been pretty well derailed by this story. But, the plot of "Dark Cybertron" is progressing. (A story taking more than 2 or 3 parts to resolve is not the same as "dragging".)
Only Nova and Shockwave even have a goal or destination. MTMTE actually seems remarkably insulated considering the swath of storyline destruction going on here. RID is where the real tragedy is, that's been horribly derailed, there's no more politics, only lip service in the pretense of serving that idea. This story hasn't GONE anywhere, it's reacting to a nebulous "evil thing" that's just presented more evil deeds and bad things for no real reason. The only way one feels invested in it going anywhere is if one believes Nova Prime to be an ultimate bad guy, and he's CLEARLY not on that level.
Shocky wrote:Cyclonus hasn't even gone back to being a "bad guy" in spite of him being back in the DU.
He was getting there, then they sidetracked that plot a few issues back which likely means he'll do something surprising and out of character soon, likely rescue people or kill Nova.
Image
See, that one's a camcorder, that one's a camera, that one's a phone, and they're doing "Speak no evil, See no evil, Hear no evil", get it?

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