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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Phase 3 volume 1 is out. Debating whether or not I want to keep going forward and read the rest of this continuity once I finish with Phase 2 volume 12. I didn't read any of the "Hasbroverse" crossover era, apart from a few random issues here and there. For those of you who did read further, any thoughts on the quality of the material?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQz-jcttKL4

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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

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Transformers 46-49
"Conquerors"
by John Barber, Sara Pitre-Durocher, Andrew Griffith

Galvatron rallies the troops while Optimus Prime speaks with the Mistress of Flame. There is a LOT of talking as characters stand around and talk, walk around and talk, or in the case of Spike and Blackrock, sit in a cell and talk. The latter conversation has gone on for too many issues now. Jazz is still alive but trapped and being slowly dissolved along with Kup, Jetfire and Sky Lynx. This was the last full storyline I read before dropping the book, and the page with Jazz trying to figure out what's happening to him stands out in my memory. Not much else about the storyline does. Several things that should, from a pacing standpoint, wrap up in a single issue are continued over several, such as the attack on the Autobot ship.DOC and Buster finding and rescuing the trapped Autobots is fun, but didn't deserve an entire issue .The ending is notable though, as his conversation with the Mistress of Flame leads Optimus Prime to annex Earth, without consulting the humans.

And from here on out, I never read any more of IDW1 continuity until I bought the hardcovers. "Conquerors" feels like a very arbitrary collection of issues, not so much a self contained storyline within the larger series as just four issues of the series that continue plot threads that came before them and introduce what comes next. Not bad, not all that good, perfectly readable, but the lack of resolution is what led me to finally drop the book back in the day, and I can see why I did. A bunch of characters talking about their fictional history and philosophies is not as interesting as the writers seem to think, and the pace is glacial.

Up next: All Hail Optimus.

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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

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Transformers 50
"All Hail Optimus" part 1
by John Barber, Andrew Griffith

Optimus unilaterally decides that it's time for Earth to enter the cosmic community. He tells Galvatron to stand down, Galvatron thinks this is great and a fight ensues. We learn that Blackrock is actually not human, he's Cybertronian. I suspected as much the whole time, so it wasn't a total surprise to learn that. The humans plan to use the "mindbomb" from about a dozen issues ago to stop all the Transformers, but Wheeljack has protected all the Autobots, and Mindwipe protects some of the Decepticons, so the weapon is essentially nullified. Soundwave finally figures out that Galvatron has used him and then thrown him aside. Turns out the EDC has developed other weapons which are very effective at killing Transformers, and both sides retreat from the battlefield when they arrive. Prime goes to collect Jazz, Kup and the others, and takes Thundercracker with him as well. To be fair, there is some degree of resolving some plots here while starting a major new one with the annexation of Earth, so had I stuck with the book I might or might not have had some of my concerns addressed. But it's water under the bridge now. It will be interesting to watch Optimus try to bring a very unwilling human population around to his way of thinking. At the end of the issue, everyone is against what Prime is doing, human and Transformer alike, other than his immediate followers.

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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

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More Than Meets the Eye 50-55
"The Dying of the Light"
by James Roberts, Alex Milne

"By what tortured logic did High Command conclude that letting an unrepentant mass murderer off the hook represented anything other than an insult to the memory of the billions he killed? Seriously—can someone explain to me how the war can end with the instigator being allowed to go about his business as if nothing happened? The death camps! The massacres! The cities razed to the ground! Apparently all of them were just missteps—painful but necessary—on Megatron's path to self-discovery!.... By helping that maniac find peace you're excusing his past behavior. And so it falls to us—the 99%—to remind you how wrong this is. Forgiveness? Rehabilitation? Reintegration? No. Not him. Not now. Not ever."

Getaway is absolutely right.

This appears to be the big, culminating storyline of the series, where the always looming threat of the DJD finally collides with the crew or the Lost Light, or to be more accurate, a small portion of that crew. The other big event is a mutiny aboard the Lost Light by most of the crew, led by Getaway, who are no longer willing to follow Rodimus. The odds are really stacked against Rodimus and crew, stranded on the Necroworld, with the DJD, Deathsaurus and his crew, and even Overlord arrayed against them. They find a way out, but then discover a bunch of life forms in stasis who will die if they escape, and so they stay to defend them. It's a measure of how flawed the characters are in this series that what I would once have thought of as a default course of action of Autobots, defending lives selflessly, surprised me when Rodimus and the others made the choice.

The whole "spark trauma gives temporary super powers" plotline is just stupid. And it costs us Skids, one of the better characters, which really makes it not worth it.

Megatron's plan to kill the DJD, revealed to be one which he's been working on for a number of issues, makes good use of his rarely-seen ability to channel anti-matter. After all the sadism, torture and murder the DJD have indulged in, a quick death seems too good for them, so Megatron's victory is not as satisfying as it perhaps could have been. Still, if anyone deserved to be fried by anti-matter, it's the DJD. Good riddance to them.

The Necrobot is dead, but it's revealed that the lifeforms in stasis, thought to be organic, are actually Transformers lost to history who he had gone back in time and removed at the point of their "death", bringing them into the present. Rather than just catalog their death, he had taken the words of the crew to heart during their last visit, and started actively trying to save people. I like it.

So it's a pretty good storyline, all things considered. We get some resolution to several long-running storylines, a couple of major character deaths, the defeat of the book's main threat, and a pretty obvious direction for the series to go after this, getting the Lost Light back. Though since most of the crew were supporting Getaway, I'm not sure who would crew the ship if Rodimus were to retake command. Still, not a bad story arc.

And that ends volume 11. On to volume 12, the final book for Phase 2.

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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

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Yeah, Barber's run was everything I do not like about comics, and he largely introduced those things to TF comics.

"...Rehabilitation? Reintegration? No. Not him. Not now. Not ever."

Getaway is absolutely right.
I am inclined to agree in principle. But, over the course of the series, Getaway does some pretty reprehensible things as well. Admittedly, that could be mitigated by arguing that his victim supported Megatron and Rodimus (who are both poor choices for leadership). Getaway is right, but would also be somebody that you might have second thoughts about supporting.

That being said, Megatron's redemption was one of the better parts of "Lost Light" (or "More than Meets the Eye"). Roberts set up the arc by saying that Megatron was going to catch a wholly unearned break. But, he also dared readers to follow along. Over the course of the series, Megatron is shown to have legitimately good qualities. (He is a manifestly better leader than Rodimus.)

And, in the end, Megatron is still punished for his (innumerable) crimes, avoiding the problems common to these sorts of arcs. Claremont and Whedon are among the worst, but not the only, offenders on this question. (And, that was after Roberts gave Megatron a better redemption than most anything in the X-Men, Buffy or whatever.)
It's a measure of how flawed the characters are in this series that what I would once have thought of as a default course of action of Autobots, defending lives selflessly, surprised me when Rodimus and the others made the choice.


"More than Meets the Eye" was about reprehensible characters. Other than Hoist, how many of them resemble people that you would consider admirable. There is nothing wrong with having reprehensible characters. The problem in "More than Meets the Eye" (though not unique to the series) is that it is not always clear if the writers know how awful their characters are. And, this sort of series can often bend towards validation of screw-ups. (Most of the characters in "More than Meets the Eye" would be the sort of people that I want to see get Darwined in real life. Megatron is one of the more admirable characters in the series)
Megatron's plan to kill the DJD, revealed to be one which he's been working on for a number of issues, makes good use of his rarely-seen ability to channel anti-matter. After all the sadism, torture and murder the DJD have indulged in, a quick death seems too good for them, so Megatron's victory is not as satisfying as it perhaps could have been. Still, if anyone deserved to be fried by anti-matter, it's the DJD. Good riddance to them.
Killing a malefactor should be about solving a problem, not revenge. Roman spectacles reward the worst among any population and the worst instincts of (even the best) individuals.

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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

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Dominic wrote:
Tue Dec 07, 2021 5:12 pm
I am inclined to agree in principle. But, over the course of the series, Getaway does some pretty reprehensible things as well. Admittedly, that could be mitigated by arguing that his victim supported Megatron and Rodimus (who are both poor choices for leadership). Getaway is right, but would also be somebody that you might have second thoughts about supporting.
I agree, Getaway has done some pretty reprehensible things. But he's still right about Megatron.
That being said, Megatron's redemption was one of the better parts of "Lost Light" (or "More than Meets the Eye"). Roberts set up the arc by saying that Megatron was going to catch a wholly unearned break. But, he also dared readers to follow along. Over the course of the series, Megatron is shown to have legitimately good qualities. (He is a manifestly better leader than Rodimus.)
I honestly agree, and I will admit that it's been interesting reading about the character when he's not in dictator/conquest mode. I just don't buy that he'd ever be allowed on board or accepted by the crew of the Lost Light, and in the end it seems that they did try to kill him by pointing the DJD his direction. I just don't think it would ever have gotten to that point, someone would have assassinated him long before now. I seem to remember commenting back when Sparky reviewed the story after it was first on shelves that this was "too little, too late", but I think I'll retract that. It's late, but it's a decent attempt to finish Megatron off by a majority of the Lost Light crew.
And, in the end, Megatron is still punished for his (innumerable) crimes, avoiding the problems common to these sorts of arcs. Claremont and Whedon are among the worst, but not the only, offenders on this question. (And, that was after Roberts gave Megatron a better redemption than most anything in the X-Men, Buffy or whatever.)
So is he actually executed for war crimes in the end? I've about half decided that I'm going to keep buying volumes and reading, at least until and if IDW loses the license. A lot of these stories really do read better when not dragged out over months.
"More than Meets the Eye" was about reprehensible characters.
Yep!
Killing a malefactor should be about solving a problem, not revenge. Roman spectacles reward the worst among any population and the worst instincts of (even the best) individuals.
I think it solved a very big problem and took a group of sadistic murderers off the board. And It's not as though Megatron went looking for them, they came after him, so there's an element of self defense here.

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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

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Dominic wrote:
Tue Dec 07, 2021 5:12 pm
And, in the end, Megatron is still punished for his (innumerable) crimes, avoiding the problems common to these sorts of arcs. Claremont and Whedon are among the worst, but not the only, offenders on this question. (And, that was after Roberts gave Megatron a better redemption than most anything in the X-Men, Buffy or whatever.)
andersonh1 wrote:
Tue Dec 07, 2021 5:58 pm
So is he actually executed for war crimes in the end?
It's... complicated.
Spoiler
Megatron's trial does conclude, but it's never revealed to the audience what his fate is. He may have been executed, or he may have been given "infinite imprisonment".

And the Lost Light crew also used the quantum engines to intentionally duplicate themselves, as well as jump to another universe so that they could continue their adventures. In essence, there is a version of Megatron that got to escape punishment.

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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

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I think it solved a very big problem and took a group of sadistic murderers off the board. And It's not as though Megatron went looking for them, they came after him, so there's an element of self defense here.
But, you said that their death was "too good". I am not against revenge. But, at a certain point, there is a risk of it becoming a Roman spectacle.

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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

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Dominic wrote:
Wed Dec 08, 2021 7:15 am

I think it solved a very big problem and took a group of sadistic murderers off the board. And It's not as though Megatron went looking for them, they came after him, so there's an element of self defense here.
But, you said that their death was "too good". I am not against revenge. But, at a certain point, there is a risk of it becoming a Roman spectacle.
How many hundreds has the DJD tortured slowly to death? Look back at the issue where they killed Black Shadow, or how they slaughtered the alternate Lost Light crew. They took sadistic pleasure in torture and murder, and they had a long list. Even other Decepticons despised them. The punishment needed to fit the crime, in my view. What form that would take, I don't know, not without making whoever administered it as bad as the DJD. But they died quickly and with far less pain and fear than their victims experienced, and it hardly seems right for them to get off that easy. That's where I'm coming from here.

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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

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Mercy for monsters is not, nor should it be, the priority.

First priority is to stop the monster, either though killing or containment (whichever is cheaper of more economical).

A punishment should fit the crime. But, the chance of creating or rewarding another monster is too high a price.

To use another example from TF, I would argue that Impactor's solution to Squadron X was idea. If anything, Sandstorm tying them up extra tight (to make them a little more miserable) was worse than executing them, because Sandstorm made a game of it. (To use a real life example, I would prefer that executions be carried out by starvation. It is passive, and can be done out of sight.)

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