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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Shockwave
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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

Post by Shockwave »

I've been rereading IDW's previous run as well and I thought Infiltration was slow. Funny story: I bought it when it came out originally. Later, I decided that "nothing happens and I would just start with Escalation if I ever read through this again". Recently I went through to read everything again, couldn't find Infiltration, went to the comic shop to pick up the back issues they had (I'm only missin 1 and 5). Yes, I repurchased the same back issues I originally both purchased and returned. So I've bought them twice. I'm and idiot.

Anyway, having read through it again... Nothing happens. It just establishes the human characters and that the Transformers are on Earth and that's it. Even with missing two issues of a six issue run, I still don't feel like I missed anything. Because I didn't. Everything interesting happens in Escalation and Devastation. I also just got done reading Megatron Origins and found it very interesting. Especially with things where they are in the current book and being able to compare the different approaches to Megatron's rise to being leader of the Decepticons.

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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

Post by andersonh1 »

A lot is set up in Iinfiltration, and I don't mind the pacing, but everything set up in that story could have been introduced in half the number of issues, I'll admit.

And I agree, it's interesting just how different the previous Megatron and his rise to power are from the current version. I think the current Megatron was a miner for a while too, wasn't he? And possibly spent some time as a gladiator, but a much more reasonable government on Cybertron led to him becoming a part of it and taking a totally different route to power for entirely different reasons.

I've been reading some of the Autobot Megatron issues of MTMTE that I did not read on first publication, and while a repentant Megatron is still hard to buy into, I'll admit it is an interesting take on the character.

Spotlight: Galvatron
Writer: Simon Furman Art: Guido Guidi

Having just learned something of the Ark-1's voyage in the Optimus Prime spotlight, we now get hints of what happened from one of the Transformers who was on that ship. Galvatron is esssentially "undead" after all his time in the Dead Universe, and he can kill instantly with just a touch. He also can't be killed himself, as a ship of aliens and Sideswipe learn the hard way. Galvatron's mission is to retrieve Thunderwing as a plan by Nova Prime and the Ark-1 crew is clearly underway. His orders include leaving no one alive, but he disobeys them as an act of definance, hinting at the pride and ambition we'll see later on. Sideswipe also gets quite a bit to do in this issue, setting up some future plotlines for him as he's eager to get to Earth and get into the action rather than being stuck behind the lines.

One of the things I enjoy about this continuity is that Galvatron and Megatron are two different individuals. Not that I mind the original concept of them being the same person, but it was good to see a different direction taken this time around. Galvatron is also not insane here, he's calm and deliberate in his actions. Guido's art is great, as always.

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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

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Spotlight: Blaster
Writer: Simon Furman Art: Emiliano Santalucia

Blaster is "the Voice" (and before this issue is over, you will get very tired of how often that is repeated), the guy who helps keep the Autobots motivated to fight and win. It's a logical role for the character, and he's clearly effective since someone tries to kill him and dump his body into space. Blaster survives, and the book becomes a mystery: who did it, and how can they be found? The would-be killer ultimately turns out to be Beachcomber, who was being mind-controlled by Bombshell, or some version of Bombshell wielded by Soundwave. There's a conflict with All Hail Megatron here (shocker, I know), which we might rationalize as this Bombshell being an early experiment that will later lead to the Insecticons as we know them being introduced. So it's Blaster vs. Soundwave, though the two never meet.

Quite a few characters show up for the first time here as the cast continues to expand. This issue gives us a look at Autobot wartime propaganda, a topic I can't recall seeing a lot of. It's probably based on British wartime radio, given that Furman is British, and it's a lot more positive than a lot of actual wartime demonizing of the enemy that we'd see in the real world. This is a good issue that adds something to the picture of the war rather than to the main storylines.

Spotlight: Arcee
Writer: Simon Furman Art: Alex Milne

Furman tries to rationalize why a genderless society would have a female among them. This is something that will be retconned away later on as the Cybertronian colonies are shown to have male and female, though since they don't reproduce sexually, it still makes very little sense. Better to just include the characters and not make an issue of it, in my view. In any case, Arcee is the victim of an experiment by Jhiaxus and she's understandably traumatized and angry and looking for revenge (and given how long ago Jhiaxus vanished, she's been doing so for a LONG time.) Arrested by Ultra Magnus, she's imprisoned at Garrus 9 when the Decepticons arrive to take Monstructor, and she's turned loose to help hunt him down, since he too was a victim of Jhiaxus's experiments.

Milne's art is already an improvement here over his art in Megatron Origin, and of course the story has implications for several storylines and characters going forward. Garrus 9 and Fortress Maximus will reappear in Last Stand of the Wreckers which greatly overshadows the use of both character and location here. Interesting that the prison separates the spark from the body and that they apparently try other options first, since the fact that they have not yet done so to the Monstercons yet is the very reason those bots are easily abducted. As for Arcee, I'm not sure why anyone would read this and think some larger statement is being made about women here. Arcee is a unique individual at this point, and these are her experiences. The question of why Arcee was unique at the time was a fair question, and I honestly have no problem with how the answer was tied into the larger story Furman was telling.

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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

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andersonh1 wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 7:22 am
Furman tries to rationalize why a genderless society would have a female among them. This is something that will be retconned away later on as the Cybertronian colonies are shown to have male and female, though since they don't reproduce sexually, it still makes very little sense. Better to just include the characters and not make an issue of it, in my view.
I've been slowly rewatching G1, and I just watched "The Search for Alpha Trion" which introduces Elita-1 and her team. I hadn't noticed previously, but at the beginning Megatron contacts Optimus to tell him that there are still female Autobots left on Cybertron, which implies that there always were two sexes of Autobot, but that the females were either wiped out, or left.
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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

Post by andersonh1 »

Ursus mellifera wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 8:13 am
andersonh1 wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 7:22 am
Furman tries to rationalize why a genderless society would have a female among them. This is something that will be retconned away later on as the Cybertronian colonies are shown to have male and female, though since they don't reproduce sexually, it still makes very little sense. Better to just include the characters and not make an issue of it, in my view.
I've been slowly rewatching G1, and I just watched "The Search for Alpha Trion" which introduces Elita-1 and her team. I hadn't noticed previously, but at the beginning Megatron contacts Optimus to tell him that there are still female Autobots left on Cybertron, which implies that there always were two sexes of Autobot, but that the females were either wiped out, or left.
I think that's essentially where they go in the IDW comics, that there were male and female in the distant past, but either all the females had left the planet during the war, or any that were left had died off and their existence had been forgotten, in the same way that other aspects of Cybertron's past that should be remembered by such long-lived individuals had also been forgotten. I'm hoping when I get that far in the CEs to see that clarified.

That original G1 episode approached the female Autobots as something that everyone knew about, it just had not come up before in the series. Shockwave knew about female Autobots, but thought they were all extinct, while several of the Autobots personally knew them as invidividuals. That's the ad hoc nature of the writing for that show, to introduce new characters or concepts and to treat them like common knowledge, but it still worked well, or I thought so anyway.

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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

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New Avengers/Transformers 1-4
Writer: Stuart Moore Pencils: Tyler Kirkham Inks: Sal Regla

This crossover involves pretty much what we see in Escalation with the Decepticons attempting to start wars and destabilize the region on their way to eventually stripping the planet of all resources. Only here they're trying to start a war between Latveria and a neighboring country, and the Avengers led by Captain America go in, and of course there's plenty of superhero-Transformer interaction. Spider Man gets to mouth off to Megatron, Captain America and Optimus Prime discuss leadership, etc. It's a property mashup of the type that we're still getting today along the lines of Transformers meeting G. I. Joe, My Little Pony, Ghostbusters, etc. It's probably more akin to the infestation crossover since this story can slot into regular IDW continuity of the time.

This story is definitely in the wrong place in the collected volumes. Judging by the Autobot and Decepticon cast and especially the presence of Ramjet alive and well, it takes place before Escalation and should have been back in volume 2, though I imagine since we see Transformers interacting with Captain America and Dr. Doom that this is without a doubt non-canon. This was my first time reading it, and it's a fun crossover, even if it feels disposable. I'm more of a DC fan than of Marvel, though I do read the occasional Marvel series, so a crossover with DC would have appealed to me more.

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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

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andersonh1 wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 8:28 am
That original G1 episode approached the female Autobots as something that everyone knew about, it just had not come up before in the series. Shockwave knew about female Autobots, but thought they were all extinct, while several of the Autobots personally knew them as invidividuals. That's the ad hoc nature of the writing for that show, to introduce new characters or concepts and to treat them like common knowledge, but it still worked well, or I thought so anyway.
I think so, too. I was surprised because I didn't remember that from the show at all, so I thought it was invented for the comics.
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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

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andersonh1 wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 7:22 am
As for Arcee, I'm not sure why anyone would read this and think some larger statement is being made about women here. Arcee is a unique individual at this point, and these are her experiences.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think it was Furman's intentions to make any comments about women or transwomen here, but I can see how it would come off that way....

"Clearly I didn't measure up to whatever ideal he'd hoped to achieve and so he discarded me without a second thought, left me to this maddening maelstrom of contradictory sensory input." - Arcee talking about the experiments Jhiaxus performed on her

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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

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I don't want to get too bogged down in this one issue, but I wonder how much an author can be responsible for anticipating all reactions and tailoring his writing accordingly? So many things get reevaluated as society changes and something a writer looks at one way when he writes it might be seen entirely differently by a segment of the readership down the road. Is that his fault? I'm not sure that the responsibility isn't also on the reader not to read more into things than a writer intended.

In any case, I'm not sure it's reasonable to take alien robots and Jhiaxus's mad science and read any real-world implications from that. Others disagree, obviously. IDW Arcee's angry, violent nature always bothered me more than her origins ever did. It always felt like an overcompensated reaction against G1 Arcee's personality, trying to hard not to make the character "stereotypically feminine", and in doing so veering too far into making her hyper violent. Maybe this version of Arcee was just misjudged all around.

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Re: IDW Transformers Comics - retro reviews

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andersonh1 wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 1:09 pm
I don't want to get too bogged down in this one issue, but I wonder how much an author can be responsible for anticipating all reactions and tailoring his writing accordingly?
Only to a certain extent, in my opinion, and a lot of that falls on the author's own worldview. Furman is a heterosexual(as far as I know) cis man, and I think he was just trying to come up with an interesting story, and ended up upsetting people with different life experiences from his. I think he can be accused of ignorance, at worst. I liked the Arcee story, but I'm also a heterosexual cis man.

andersonh1 wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 1:09 pm
In any case, I'm not sure it's reasonable to take alien robots and Jhiaxus's mad science and read any real-world implications from that. Others disagree, obviously. IDW Arcee's angry, violent nature always bothered me more than her origins ever did. It always felt like an overcompensated reaction against the old G1 Arcee's personality, trying to hard not to make her kind and "nuturing", veering too far into making her hyper violent. Maybe this version of Arcee was just misjudged all around.
I genuinely loved unstable, hinge-jawed Arcee when she first showed up. I kind of wish she'd stayed insane.
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