IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

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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andersonh1
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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

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I agree, I'd like to see her work on books like that. Any ideas if she's currently working on any book for anyone?

Transformers: the IDW Collection Phase 2 book 10

We're really getting into the portions of IDW1 continuity that I have never read before now, apart from the issues of former RID/Transformers collected in this volume, and the one shot Combiner Hunters. If nothing else, this continuity has come a long way since Ratchet found Verity and Hunter out in the desert and saved their lives. The writers seemed determined not to go back to the Autobot/Decepticon war, though characters keep saying that it's more or less still going on, given the level of conflict between the two factions even in this post-war setting. I'm looking foward to finally reading the Wreckers sequel, included in this volume.

Windblade vol. 2 #6 - Maighread Scott, Colin Howell - I'm still not a fan of the very cartoony art for this book, but the story is not bad. Starscream and Windblade make contact with the colony of Eukaris, which draws heavily from Beast Wars for it's characters, though in a nice touch Blackarachnia looks like the Animated version. Every Transformer on the planet has a beast mode, including their Titan, Chela, who is a giant bird of prey. Windblade tries to reason with him, while Starscream settles for simply killing him. Titans die far too easily in this continuity. Tigatron and Airrazor are proclaimed to be the representatives of Eukaris on the Council of Worlds that Starscream and Windblade are building.

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andersonh1
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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

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Having read through 17 volumes of Transformers, I've been taking a break, as you can all probably tell since no reviews have been forthcoming for a few weeks. I still have three more volumes to go through, so I will get back to these at some point.

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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

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I picked back up with volume 10 last night. I have all of phase 1 and phase 2 of the first IDW continuity, and I'm trying to decide whether or not to stop there, or start phase 3. Book one is out today, I believe.

Windblade vol. 2 #7 - Maighread Scott, Colin Howell - Starscream and Windblade make contact with another lost colony, this time living on a Titan in spacecraft mode. Obsidian and Strika are part of the crew, and Elita-1 is the leader. This group has apparently been in space a long time, and use body parts of dead crew members to keep the ship going. After Starscream nearly gets himself killed, Windblade is able to salvage the situation. There are implications that Elita-1 is lying to them about who the Titan actually is. This is the final issue of the second Windblade series, and while I think the first volume was always meant to be a mini-series, I'm not sure why this one was cut short. The art is still sub-par, but I enjoy the ongoing plotline about contacting lost Cybertronian colonies. But I have always thought that Windblade is the Drift of this phase of IDW's original continuity in that the character was promoted relentlessly rather than the readers deciding on a breakout character. Windblade is at least a more likeable character than Drift was.

The Transformers #44 - John Barber, Andrew Griffith - this is one of those "lots of subplots get some page time" issues that feels unfocused and all over the place to me. The core of the issue is the odd idea that Tracks and Needlenose are brothers, who took different paths in life. A lot of it is tedious soap-opera level personal drama that doesn't work well at all, and the attempt to force these two characters together is just never believable to me. I do like Andrew Griffith's art and some of the dialogue is fun. And it's interesting to finally learn that Starscream is not talking to himself, he's talking to the dead Bumblebee. Whether it's all in his head, or whether Bumblebee is actually there in some form is not made clear, but it's by far the most interesting part of the issue to me.

My original (much harsher) comments on issue 44 are here: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1011&hilit=needlenose&start=670

The Transformers: Combiner Hunters - Mairghread Scott, Sara Pitre-Durocher - Great art, functional story about Arcee on Cybertron stealing the Enigma of Combination to keep it away from Starscream, only to have things go awry when she tries to escape into the Sea of Rust. Windblade and Chromia pursue her, they run into Pyra Magna and her followers, the Torchbearers, and the combiner Victorion is created. Everyone comes to an understanding in the end. Feels like this could have been Windblade #8 rather than a one-shot. I enjoyed it quite a bit, though it's obviously an issue that exists purely to introduce Victorion into the storyline. And I vastly prefer Ruckley's treatment of Pyra Magna and "the companions" to what we get here, because the little characterization these characters get here is more "generic Camien" worship of Prime and the artifacts. But it works for the story and for an introduction to this group.

Original Combiner Hunters review here: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1883&p=49253&hilit= ... ers#p49253

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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

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Sins of the Wreckers #1–5 - story and art by Nick Roche

I had this to say about "Sins of the Wreckers" earlier in the thread: in this book you have a group of killers (the Wreckers) fighting to retrieve Prowl (IDW's most "ends justify the means" character of all) from Tarantulus and his allies. Tarantulus is an extremist, an amoral scientist who sees everyone else as material to experiment upon. About the only sympathetic characters in the book are Verity and Stakeout. The Wreckers are nominally "in the right" here, but in most ways they're only marginally more moral than Tarantulus. The story was interesting and so were the character interactions, but at the same time it was hard to care when one terrible group of people beat another terrible group of people. I guess the outcome is marginally better if the Wreckers win, but that's hardly a rousing endorsement.

I haven't changed my mind. "Sins" is a very dense, dialogue-heavy mini-series that takes a while to get through, and it gives us only a few characters that are actually sympathetic: Kup, Verity and Streetwise, and all of them are victims in one way or another. The goal of the story is for the Wreckers to rescue Prowl from Tarantulus, but since Prowl deserves everything that happens to him, it's hard for me to get invested in the outcome. Maybe that's why Nick Roche included Verity and had her dying from energon exposure, because he realized the problem with the story he set up.

It's not a bad story, but at this point I'm tired of manipulative, hardcore Prowl and would have been fine with Tarantulus killing him and taking him out of the story, rather than trying to impress him and get back to being the twisted duo that they used to be (and as Dom noted, the shipping subtext here between Prowl and Tarantulus is just creepy). And I'm not quite sure what the point of including Maximals in the story was, other than the fact that they grew out of the Tarantulus mass shifting, obsession with Earth animals plot strand. I thought "Sins" was interesting in places, but ultimately an inferior sequel to "Last Stand".

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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

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More than Meets the Eye #45–46
"Some of My Best Friends are Autobots", "Animals" - James Roberts, Alex Milne

This is a two issue story featuring the Scavengers, the group of Decepticons and Grimlock that the book visits from time to time, so it's a side story from the Lost Light crew. The Scavengers also apparently travel around the galaxy in their ship having wacky adventures, and in this story they crash on a planet where they are contacted with an offer to sell Grimlock to a Decepticon named Demus. They're seriously considering it when Fortress Maximus, the new enforcer of the Tyrest Accords, arrives to kill Demus and arrest all of them. Turns out Demus, who claimed to be a scrap merchant, is actually lobotomizing and selling beast-formers for other races to abuse. In the end the Scavengers are able to bluff Maximus and escape, and he is given a way to reverse the process on the lobotomized Transformers.

Not a bad little two-parter. I enjoyed it for the most part, though like so many of the characters in MTMTE, the Decepticons here are hard to take seriously, and the tonal mixture of silly banter and extreme brutality does not sit well together. I had wondered after I dropped the books just what happened to Grimlock, and it seems like he's on the road to recovery here, if a long way from being his old self. So it's nice to see where that plot strand was going.

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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

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The one of "More than Meets the Eye" was an awkward combination of anime and British comedy, using the most tone-deaf and amoral parts of both.

The go-to example in America is "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", which (as has since been made clear) was the creative vision of a moral defective (Joss Whedon).

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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

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Dominic wrote:
Thu Nov 11, 2021 10:19 am
The one of "More than Meets the Eye" was an awkward combination of anime and British comedy, using the most tone-deaf and amoral parts of both.
I can see that, now that you say it. The approach works sometimes, particularly early in the series, but the longer MTMTE went on, the more problems I have with the approach to storytelling.

Speaking of which... on to the next issue.

More than Meets the Eye #47
"The Lopsided Triangle" - James Roberts, Brendan Cahill

I'm all for a story in which someone on the Lost Light tries to kill Megatron or get him thrown off the ship, but this issue relies on two plot points that ruined it for me. Tailgate has to be hopelessly naive for the plot to work, and while he's not the sharpest member of the crew, he's never been this stupid. And second, Getaway has to pretend to be in love with Tailgate, which leads to plenty of cringe-inducing dialogue as he tells Tailgate how much he cares and how the two of them can become Conjunx. All Tailgate has to do is use the "for real honest to goodness they really work" mnemonic needles into Megatron's brain and "remove the badness" from him. And meanwhile, Cyclonus is jealous and goes to Whirl for advice. This is just a terrible issue that had me rolling my eyes more often than not. It takes a logical idea, that most of the Autobots on board the ship should want to kill or imprison Megatron, and tells the dumbest possible story using that idea.

The next two stories in the volume are both from the same Transformers Holiday Special, while another story from the same issue won't appear until the next volume. These are fine. I'm not a fan of either, but they're neither horribly bad nor especially good. They are what they are. Shoehorning Transformers into any sort of Christmas or Valentine's Day themed issue is a stretch, in my opinion.

"Choose Me"
by Mairghread Scott, Corin Howell

Starscream hates being unloved, so he attempts to establish a holiday, "Chosen One Day", just for everyone on Cybertron to bring him presents and give him praise, but the end of the transmission is cut off leaving his name out of it, so everyone enjoys a general good will and gift-giving holiday. The dialogue and narration are in rhyme meant to mimic somewhat "The Night Before Christmas". It's "cute" and silly and fluffy and leaves no real lasting impression. In the end, Starscream is miserable and angry and forgotten until Wheeljack brings some friends over to celebrate with him, so even Starscream has a happy day for once. How sweet.

"The Thirteenth Day of Christmas"
by John Barber, Josh Burcham

This one again riffs off of "The Night Before Christmas" and got my attention because Josh Burcham is currently drawing Beast Wars. It pushes the absurdity a bit more so it got a few more chuckles out of me (Megatron dressed as Santa Claus saying "Ho, ho, ho, human!" and "I bring you peace on Earth. Peace... through tyranny!" is pretty funny), but your amount of enjoyment from this story will depend on how much you enjoy the running gag of Thundercracker as a bad screenwriter. Here he attempts film noir, and since I usually enjoy the joke, I enjoyed this story more than "Choose Me". Thundercracker and Santa Claus in a kung fu fight was silly fun, and so was Megatron getting a lump of coal.

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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

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The Transformers vol. 2 #45
"The Nothing Man" by John Barber, Andrew Griffith

Garrison Blackrock is still talking to the imprisoned Spike Witwicky, and Jetfire is examining the Onyx source code from one of Blackrock's tablets and wants to lead a mission back to Earth to track the source of the quantum signal affecting the code. Soundwave is about ready to open his commune to Decepticons. Blackrock still wonders just who exactly he is. This plot has not moved for issues, which as I recall was what made me give up on this series not too long after this issue. I did buy and read this one, and at least one or two more, because I remember the injured Jazz trapped in a pool of some sort with his spark exposed, and that hasn't happened yet. It's not a bad plot, honestly, it just moves like molasses, kind of like Aquaman a few years back where what should have been a six issue storyline ran for 13, and I just... wanted.... some ... resolution....

The action set piece of the issue is Jetfire, Kup, Jazz and Sky Lynx (along with DOC) land to examine the source of the signal and are attacked and badly damaged by combiner-sized Thrust and Ramjet clones controlled by Blackrock. Sky Lynx goes to get backup and is damaged when Blackrock uses the Onyx code to control the shields on the Ark, sealing Arcee, Sideswipe and Alpha Trion inside. In one fell swoop, the entire Autobot group near Earth are trapped, damaged or captured, with the exception of Cosmos. Galvatron plots to take Earth as the new Decepticon home planet.

I've enjoyed some of these post-Dark Cybertron Earth-based storylines a lot more reading them in collected format, and I wonder if a few less ongoing subplots that need to be juggled might have kept this series moving at a brisker pace. "Conquerors" is the next storyline, and I think I read most of that up to the point where Optimus annexed Earth, so it will be interesting to revisit.

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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

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More than Meets the Eye #48–49
"Speak, Memory" parts 1-2 by James Roberts, Hayato Sakamoto

Wrapping up volume 10 are two MTMTE issues that are about as dark as it gets. In the present day, Skids is slowly recovering his missing memories with the help of Rung (a subplot that's been going on since he was introduced in issue 2) and Rung's old colleague Froid arrives on the ship. In the past, as Skids memories are unearthed, we find out that he was captured and imprisoned by the Decepticons, where Tarn (then the commandant of the prison) forces Skids to work on a "teleport chamber" which turns out to be a smelter for melting down Transformers. It's a very Nazi concentration camp style situation where a means of execution is made to look safe until it's time to execute the prisoners.

Froid proves to be viciously cruel as he has with him Sunder, a psychotic killer who can read memories from a distance and turn Transformers inside out by triggering their transformation all wrong. This two-parter is a horror story with precious little of the silliness this book often indulges in. The stories are both quite strong, though Skids traumatic experiences when he was imprisoned are by far the more compelling plotline. They aren't necessarily pleasant reading, but they put the main characters in very difficult situations and show us what they're made of by how they react, so there's some good drama here. And we finally learn more about who Skids is and some details about Tarn's past.

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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

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Transformers: the IDW Collection Phase 2 book 11

Silent Light
by James Roberts, Kotteri

The final story from the holiday special ends up in volume 11, disconnected from the other two. The Lost Light is traveling through an area of space populated by aliens who hate Transformers. Rather than go around, the plan is to shut everyone down and put them in stasis until they cross the territory (which reminds me of the Voyager episode "One" where the crew go into stasis to get through a dangerous region of space). The complication arises when what appears to be a protoform is found in some storage crates, which creates a problem since there's no way to hide the "baby". We actually get a moment of genuine compassion from Whirl as he shuts himself down and almost dies so the protoform can be hidden in his stasis pod. There's a twist at the end that it wasn't actually a protoform at all, just a bunch of shape-changing scraplets. Whirl is impressed that the scraplets nearly got him to kill himself to save them. It's a cute little story, but apart from some perfunctory nods to Christmas early on, it's barely a "holiday" story at all.

Redemption
by John Barber, Livio Ramondelli

I guess how much you enjoy this one-shot depends on how much you like Slag as an angry drunkard who can't let the war go. I'm not a fan of that characterization myself, so despite that fact that I like the Dinobots, I'm not a big fan of this story. At least Livio Ramondelli's art is enjoyable, so that's in the story's favor. Slag gets in another bar fight, gets arrested, and takes an offer to transport a sacred object for some Camiens without Starscream or Optimus finding out. The object turns out to be plural: a box of sparks, new life. While traveling to their destination the Dinobots and others with them face various obstacles, including Bludgeon. There are some callbacks to past stories as sweeps are used to attack them a couple of times. Somewhere out in the wilderness Slag finds a whole field of sparks, "the next generation of Cybertronians".

I guess the idea here is that Slag goes from hopeless and directionless to having hope and finding some direction, at least temporarily, so that's the "redemption" of the title. Apart from the fact that most of the issue gives us miserable people doing miserable things, until the end becomes a bit more uplifting, it's a passable Dinobot one-shot. It's just... dreary, like so much of IDW's Transformers fiction around this time. Hard to be enthused about.

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