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 »

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. I do know that Dom has started reading the series though, and his pre-reading defenses have generally disappeared in our conversations.
In my case, it is a lack of time. And, I am trying to avoid speculating too much. The book is running in "event mode" at the moment. And, there is only so much once can say about "stuff what happens".

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.
Wait and see for now.




Similarly,{SPOILER - Mouse-over to read:}Kup's return(which I know about, despite not having read yet) is likely to functionally undo {SPOILER - Mouse-over to read:}"Infestation" .

And nothing of value was lost.
Sorry about posing the spoilers.

In any case, it is not about how much we like something or how good/bad it was.

I dislike back-writes and fixes on principle.

For example, I never liked Byrne's back-write about the Vision (not being the Human Torch) in "West Coast Avengers". (If anybody wants to run with that, we can pick it up in the retro comics thread.) But, Busiek's fix in the 90s was even more idiotic and self-serving.

Back-writes and similar fixes should be used sparingly, and only when necessary. (Marvel back-writing in other Captain Americas to explain the character during the 40s and 50s is a good example. Marvel had to fix that because fans were not letting it go.)

Similarly, I do not like comics that exist just to undo previous comics (outside of a hard reboot), especially when they are there to "fix" something. For example, I am not happy that Marvel brought back Bucky or that DC brought back Barry Allen. But, if I were to end up in charge of either company, I would not demand that the characters be re-deadified in any way. I would want the comics to move on and be better in the future.


So, yeah,
Spoiler
while "infestation" was terrible, I do not necessarily want to see it undone for the sake of it being undone, ya know?
.

This is something I have no faith in sticking, no moreso than
A good barometer for how much we can expect
Spoiler
Megatron as an Autobot
to stick is how much other stuff "Dark Cybertron" ends up undoing.

The way I see it, there are two levels of possible status quo re-setting.

The first is setting it back to IDW status quo, maybe pre-Costa. This will involve raising dead characters, or restoring the setting to how it was back then. Will the Kimia facility be rebuilt (or replaced to completely that it may as well never have been destroyed)? Will Cybertron be rendered uninhabitable (as it was pre-"All Hail Megatron")?

The other level will be setting it back to "Transformers" status quo. This would involve restoring traditional faction lines. Will Cyclonus be a Decepticon again? Will Galvatron and Megatron be revealed to have some connection? What happens when the TFs return to Earth?
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.
IDW is trying to split the difference between pack-in comics and regular comics. The Mini-Con set nicely shows the problem with this. The Minicons in chapter 4 (which is also included with the Mini-Con set, despite the Mini-Cons not being much more than a mob in that story. (The three figures from the set may well not even be in the crowd scenes.)

I have read good pack-in comics. They need to be limited in scope to a few characters and tell smaller stories. Hasbro generally hit this mark about a decade ago with TF and Joe pack-ins.

So long as Hasbro and IDW figure this out, I will be willing to see "Dark Cybertron" as a failed experiment in marketing. (It is not enhancing the comics nor is it really showcasing the toys.)

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.
We know from solicits that "Robots in Disguise" cast will
Spoiler
be returning to Earth
after "Dark Cybertron" is wrapped up. This arguably lends credence to some of my concerns about restoring status quo, as described above.

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Sparky Prime
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Re: Dark Cybertron

Post by Sparky Prime »

Dominic wrote:Will Cybertron be rendered uninhabitable (as it was pre-"All Hail Megatron")?
I'd doubt that seeing as the Windblade comic is going to be
Spoiler
set on Cybertron
.
The other level will be setting it back to "Transformers" status quo. This would involve restoring traditional faction lines. Will Cyclonus be a Decepticon again?
Cyclonus was never actually a Decepticon in this continuity. He left Cybertron before the establishment of the factions and never formally joined either side, being a part of the Dead Universe 3rd party up until MTMT where he remains factionless. Also with how things are being set up (
Spoiler
with Megatron as an Autobot
), I'm not so sure they're restoring a traditional status quo.
We know from solicits that "Robots in Disguise" cast will
Spoiler
be returning to Earth
after "Dark Cybertron" is wrapped up. This arguably lends credence to some of my concerns about restoring status quo, as described above.
Not entirely. Again, the Windblade comic will be
Spoiler
set on Cybertron
, and they've shown some character art of Starscream and Blurr for that comic.

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Shockwave
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Re: Dark Cybertron

Post by Shockwave »

I don't see how or why they would return to Earth, so I'm pretty sure that's out. I doubt the factions will be back to normal, especially if Megatron is AN AUTOBOT!! I don't think it gets any more blurred than that. Yeah, I a few characters will be back, like Kup (which we already knew was happening) and I guess Metalhawk and Dreadwing, but other than that, I haven't seen any indication that anyone else is returning. I honestly don't think this is going back to any sort of "status quo" as much as wrapping things up to advance other ideas.

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Re: Dark Cybertron

Post by Sparky Prime »

Shockwave wrote:I don't see how or why they would return to Earth, so I'm pretty sure that's out.
The April solicitations for RID says:

"The AUTOBOTS return to Earth—with OPTIMUS PRIME in command! But what brought them back—and what terrifying secret do the humans hold? A bold new era begins here!"

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Dominic
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Re: Dark Cybertron

Post by Dominic »

Just read up to chapter 9.

"Dark Cybertron" has been an interesting experiment so far. IDW and Hasbro are trying to double-dip, using "Dark Cybertron" as a banner event and as pack-in comics. Unfortunately, I think it is safe to say that the experiment is a failure. Banner events can be good. Pack-in comics can be good. But, mixing the two? Not so much.

The Minicon chapter (chapter 5?) does not feature any of the specific characters that were made as toys. On the other side, Tankorr's appearance in chapter 6, while not offensive, it was clearly there to justify the comic being included with the toy, even though Tankorr's role in the comic was minimal.

Hasbro would likely do better to use character-specific one-shots for pack-in comics (as they did with the first 2 waves of comic packed figures).


Hookay, "Dark Cybertron"....

All things considered, I am optimistic about where this is going. It is not perfect. And, even without the solicits that Sparky found, it would be a safe bet that "Robots in Disguise" is wholly derailed. Starscream's reign as leader ended before it really began. And, that is a problem as there was plenty more that Roberts could have done with that.

But, it is not lost on me that there was a chance for IDW to pull a mass-raising (at the end of the Titan fight), and it did not look like any dead characters were raised. That is encouraging.

Nightbeat being set back to spec is annoying. But, blame for it rests with Hasbro more than with IDW. (Even so, if Hasbro had just released a Nightbeat toy without packing in IDW comics, Nightbeat could have stayed dead. Similarly, Nightbeat could have been shown in a one-shot that was set before his death.) I would not mind Hardhead being damaged and rebuilt in a body that looks like the new toy. But, I could have done without him dying in the dead Universe and likely getting "magicked" back to life.

Orion Pax retaking the "Optimus Prime" name was predictable (and likely dictated by the upcoming movie). But, it is off-set by what we know will be happening in "More than Meets the Eye" after "Dark Cybertron" shakes out.


Did anybody else get a "Galvatron is Superboy Prime" vibe when Galvatron was talking about how later generation TFs not as good as earlier generation TFs?


And, as I promised JT (off the forums) here are my predictions at the 3/4 mark:


-Cybertron will be left in the control of the NAILs. A few named characters may stay on planet. But, the planet will not be controlled by either faction specifcially. (Solicitations for the "Windblade" series support this.)

-"More than Meets the Eye" will resume with Megatron as a main character. The big change will be an inversion of leadership. Rather than having an inept leader enjoying an unjustified level of confidence, the Lost Light will have a competent leader who has to prove himself at every turn.

-"Robots in Disguise" will likely feature the return of Thundercracker. If there are going to be any stealthy or overt resets, they will be in the pages of this book. I would also anticipate that "Robots in Disguise" will have time-references that will indicate if IDW's TF comics are still set in real time or not. (It would take at least a 2 year time jump to keep the books in something resembling real time.)


-things I am worried about (not a comprehensive list): No time jump means that IDW's TF comics are becoming more like everything else from the big two. I will not be happy if that happens. I really do not want to see the Sweeps get raised. I have nothing against the Sweeps or Scourge. But, I want them to stay dead.

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Re: Dark Cybertron

Post by JediTricks »

Dominic wrote:In my case, it is a lack of time. And, I am trying to avoid speculating too much. The book is running in "event mode" at the moment. And, there is only so much once can say about "stuff what happens".
If the stuff what was happening was compelling, we'd want to talk about it.
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.
Wait and see for now.
Well, obviously. But the more I'm seeing, the worse it's getting.
In any case, it is not about how much we like something or how good/bad it was.

I dislike back-writes and fixes on principle.
That and a buck will buy you a cup of coffee. What you are describing is zealotry. All of Transformers is a back-write and fix, look at the first Marvel issues and the first Sunbow cartoon 5-parter, there's plenty of fixing going on from that foundation material.
IDW is trying to split the difference between pack-in comics and regular comics. The Mini-Con set nicely shows the problem with this. The Minicons in chapter 4 (which is also included with the Mini-Con set, despite the Mini-Cons not being much more than a mob in that story. (The three figures from the set may well not even be in the crowd scenes.)
It's cascading into failure. Why not include the earlier issue with the Ammonites instead? Because Dark Cybertron!
I have read good pack-in comics. They need to be limited in scope to a few characters and tell smaller stories. Hasbro generally hit this mark about a decade ago with TF and Joe pack-ins.
Someone just returned from Planet WhatTheFuck with that comment. The Armada pack-ins were the zenith? No.
We know from solicits that "Robots in Disguise" cast will
Spoiler
be returning to Earth
after "Dark Cybertron" is wrapped up. This arguably lends credence to some of my concerns about restoring status quo, as described above.
And there it is, the icing on the turdcake that has become RID. All the philosophical writing, all the value of the universe these characters inhabit being built up, all gone.

Sparky Prime wrote:
Dominic wrote:Will Cybertron be rendered uninhabitable (as it was pre-"All Hail Megatron")?
I'd doubt that seeing as the Windblade comic is going to be
Spoiler
set on Cybertron
.
Assuming it's in the current timeline, of course. Then again, Cybertron is uninhabitable anyway, to a degree, aside from Iacon. Plus, Windblade probably will tank in 9 issues or less.

shock wrote:I don't see how or why they would return to Earth, so I'm pretty sure that's out. I doubt the factions will be back to normal, especially if Megatron is AN AUTOBOT!! I don't think it gets any more blurred than that. Yeah, I a few characters will be back, like Kup (which we already knew was happening) and I guess Metalhawk and Dreadwing, but other than that, I haven't seen any indication that anyone else is returning. I honestly don't think this is going back to any sort of "status quo" as much as wrapping things up to advance other ideas.
Megatron was out of the picture for nearly the entire run of RID/MTMTE, the status quo can exist without Megatron in the main storyline of a comic. Hell, the same can be said of Optimus being out. Probably won't be though.

Sparky wrote:The April solicitations for RID says:

"The AUTOBOTS return to Earth—with OPTIMUS PRIME in command! But what brought them back—and what terrifying secret do the humans hold? A bold new era begins here!"
Fuuuuuck! Why ruin RID so thoroughly? The stories were good!


Still haven't caught up so that's it for me.
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Re: Dark Cybertron

Post by Sparky Prime »

JediTricks wrote:Assuming it's in the current timeline, of course. Then again, Cybertron is uninhabitable anyway, to a degree, aside from Iacon. Plus, Windblade probably will tank in 9 issues or less.
It'll be set in the current timeline. The preview character art they've shown for the comic has Starscream in his current Armada body and solicitations reference it taking place after the events of Dark Cybertron. And Cybertron isn't uninhabitable. It's just been reset to a primordial state, making it somewhat dangerous to live outside of Iacon. At this point, Windblade is only going to be a 4 issue mini-series, but if it does well they could make it an ongoing.

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Re: Dark Cybertron

Post by Dominic »

If the stuff what was happening was compelling, we'd want to talk about it.
Point by point summaries are tedious as hell.

All of Transformers is a back-write and fix, look at the first Marvel issues and the first Sunbow cartoon 5-parter, there's plenty of fixing going on from that foundation material.
Uh, how so?

TF has generally been a linear story. Even at its worst, the original cartoon and comic progressed. The original US series had two significant back-writes, focusing on Megatron and the Matrix, over the course of a 7 year run. The Megatron back-write was needed to reconcile the UK series with the US series (and was far more pronounced in the UK). The Matrix back-write was for the sake of brand consistency.

Dreamwave had two editorial decrees.

IDW has been mostly linear (albeit with some feckless editing and changed directions) since '05. The significant backwrites ("this is what was really going on in that comic published several years ago despite the fact that we just got the idea this week") did not start until the end of Costa's run (likely at the direction of Roberts and Barber who have been doing more of the same with "Dark Cybertron").

Costa back-wrote Thundercracker surviving. But, at least he had a reason to use Thundercracker in his run. Barber and Roberts are using back-writes (and other fixes) just to use them. They are functionally undoing previous comics, which devalues TF as a ilnear series.

It's cascading into failure. Why not include the earlier issue with the Ammonites instead? Because Dark Cybertron!
Or, they could have planned this relevant "Dark Cybertron" chapter better (so as to include the specific guys included with the set), or they could released a purpose made comic (to show those guys and maybe explain their Earth modes), or.....

The worst part is that there are any number of ways that IDW could have done this right. (Just imagine a kid getting the Minicon set, and then getting the Whirl toy. The Minicons from that set are strongly implied to have died off panel.)

Someone just returned from Planet WhatTheFuck with that comment. The Armada pack-ins were the zenith? No.
The "Armada" pack-ins were excellent. They were short and self-contained comics that featured characters with available toys. Unlike the recent "Henkei" comics from Japan, the "Armada" comics were drawn and written to read like they were modern comics. I would like to see Raiz's issue 4 printed at full size.

And there it is, the icing on the turdcake that has become RID. All the philosophical writing, all the value of the universe these characters inhabit being built up, all gone.
Heh, turdcake.

To be fair, we do not know what is going to happen with "Robotsin Disguise". It would make sense for BB and co to be run off of Cybertron after their comprehensive failure to build a functioning state. Some of this is contingent on the stated reason for Optimus and the others going back to Earth (probably the last place that any rational Cybertronian would want to go). In theory, Barber could still be delivering a high-concept.

(Figure it this way. I really liked Costa's run and was unhappy when it was prematurely de-railed for "Robots in Disguise" and "More than Meets the Eye". But, I cannot say that RiD did not deliver on a higher concept than "Transfurmars are teh awshim".)

"More than Meets the Eye" has potential to be good.


But, turdcake.

Megatron was out of the picture for nearly the entire run of RID/MTMTE, the status quo can exist without Megatron in the main storyline of a comic. Hell, the same can be said of Optimus being out. Probably won't be though.
Prime being the leader again is a step backwards. That is a step back all the way to "All Hail Megatron" (5+ years ago).


At the moment, I am treating RiD and MtMtE as being the same book, "Dark Cybertron". When they resplit, I might got with MtMtE rather than RiD. Or, I may drop both. Barber and Roberts have 3 issues to impress the hell out of me.

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Re: Dark Cybertron

Post by Sparky Prime »

Dominic wrote:IDW has been mostly linear (albeit with some feckless editing and changed directions) since '05. The significant backwrites ("this is what was really going on in that comic published several years ago despite the fact that we just got the idea this week") did not start until the end of Costa's run (likely at the direction of Roberts and Barber who have been doing more of the same with "Dark Cybertron").
IDW's significant backwrites started with McCarthy's run, not at the end of Costa's.
Costa back-wrote Thundercracker surviving.
Well Thundercracker never died in the first place considering how ambiguous the end of that scene played out, so that's not really a backwrite. :P
But, at least he had a reason to use Thundercracker in his run. Barber and Roberts are using back-writes (and other fixes) just to use them. They are functionally undoing previous comics, which devalues TF as a ilnear series.
I don't see that they are functionally undoing the previous comics just to use those characters. I mean, those characters were sent to the Dead Universe by previous writers (Nighbeat going all the way back to Furman's run), and previous writers had also established the dead don't die there, so... If anything, they're wrapping up loose ends those writers left.

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Re: Dark Cybertron

Post by Dominic »

McCarthy's run was a soft reboot. "Dark Cybertron" and "Chaos" are more event stories. The rewrites also seem to be coming more frequently, even putting aside questions of relative severity.

I don't see that they are functionally undoing the previous comics just to use those characters. I mean, those characters were sent to the Dead Universe by previous writers (Nighbeat going all the way back to Furman's run), and previous writers had also established the dead don't die there, so... If anything, they're wrapping up loose ends those writers left.
Call me crazy, but I tend to think that getting zapped in to another dimension should be a more permanent thing, rather than only being slightly more inconvenient than missing one's stop on the bus. (To be fair, IDW is not the only one guilty of this. The big 2 often portray dimensional travel as so routine that I was actualy suprised to see how worried Gillen wrote Iron Man to be about the subject at the end of "Secret Origin of Tony Stark".)

If Nightbeat comes back fully re-alived, then none of his previous adventures have had any practical impact. Similarly, who cares if Optimus Prime took a vacation and started using his old name if he is back leading the Autobots as Prime now? These are the kinds of "back to stasis quo" resets that I dislike so much from the big 2. I have learned to live with it there. But, I am not likely to be so forgiving of it in TF, if only because I have grown used to TF avoiding that kind of thing.

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