Beast Wars (2021) ongoing series

"What? Transformers made from animals instead of vehicles and stuff? Doesn't sound so great, throw it to Kenner division, maybe they can make a quick buck or something."
Beast Wars, Machine Wars, Beast Machines... seeing a pattern? Coming soon: "Wars Wars"
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Sparky Prime
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Re: Beast Wars (2021) ongoing series

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Beast Wars Annual

Story 1: Skold is having a good day... until she stubs her toe and makes a big scratch in a wall. Terrorsaur laughs and shoves her down some stairs and she ends up locked in the brig, while the other Predacons watch on the security cameras laughing. In the cell, she's greeted by the Maximal Powerhug. He gives her a hug and asks what she likes about herself. Feeling good about herself again, she rips off his head to find a part to unlock the cell, leaving the Predacons still watching the cameras stunned.

This story could have really used more context. I'd guess this takes place around between issues #9 and 10. But there's no indication when the Predacons discovered and captured Powerhug. It would have been nice if they'd said Waspinator and Terrorsaur had found him when they were sent out to look for the stasis pods back in issue 9, only for them to be back at base in the next issue with no mention of having found anything. Maybe Powerhug could appear in a future issue and expand on this... But I have to doubt he will. Also find it hard to believe the Predacons would have still treated Skold so badly having witnessed this show of aggression. Not to mention, it felt redundant with how much we've already seen of Skold in the series.

Story 2: Rhinox is out looking for stas... er protoform pods when he comes across a trap set by Tarantulas and Blackarachnia. Hearing a voice calling for help, Rhinox makes his way through the maze to find... Waspinator, whom the spiders left behind as a test subject. They agree to work together to get out, but when they find an exit, Waspinator blasts it open and ditches Rhinox.

Not sure why the arbitrary change in calling the stasis pods "protoform pods" here. And... I mean there's really nothing to say about this. It's basically just Rhinox trying to avoid a bunch of traps the entire time. Waspinator, in a reversal of his cartoon counterpart, comedically avoids every single trap he inadvertently sets off. There wasn't even any tension between Rhinox and Waspinator when there should have been at least some animosity.

Story 3: Rhinox, Rattrap, Cheetor and Nyx are keeping watch around a camp fire (in robot mode no less, and they even point out they could be in the Axalon, but aren't because it gives them the view of the night sky) and Cheetor decides to tell a "spooky story".... Which turns out to basically be a Beast Machines story focused on Silverbolt, Nightscream and Botanica (the rest having been killed off) albeit with altered names. "Silverclaw" is infected with "morphlings" and dies while digging to find a new base. "Shriek" suggests using them against "Megasavage", but it turns out he'd reformatted them to use against the "Defiance" in the first place, and uses them to control "Shriek" and "Botanicus", ending the "Defiance". The Maximals reflect on if anything like that could happen when they get back to Cybertron, but Cheetor assures them it's just a story and couldn't possibly get that bad. The end?

I didn't expect a Beast Machines inspired story in this. The art is goofy (especially the "Servicons" which kinda remind me of grunt robots from Mega Man or Sonic the Hedgehog), it's pointed out how dark and edgy everything is in this setting, and in the end the good guys loose... I don't know if the writer is trying parody the series or just outright hated it. I mean, it has plenty of faults, but this felt overly harsh to me.
andersonh1 wrote:
Fri Apr 22, 2022 11:14 am
Beast Wars Annual - A waste of my $6. Three lightweight stories that are somewhat enjoyable, but ultimately mean nothing in the bigger picture, plus a preview of the next monthly issue. Feels like a quick "throw any artist we can find at it" cash grab before the license expires.
Yeah, I'd have to agree. I can't say I expected much with how the rest of this series has been written thus far, but... None of these stories really had any substance to be worth it. I was really disappointed by how short and simple they all were. And I don't get why they included a preview for the next issue. Seems like they could have use those pages to help flesh out these three a little more. Probably wouldn't have added much, but they could have used all the help they could get...

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Re: Beast Wars (2021) ongoing series

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Beast Wars #15

Optimus awaken in a cave and finds Megatron standing nearby. Lashing out, still suffering the effects of the red energon poisoning, Optimus hits a forcefield. The anger quickly wears off after the joint from the forcefield and quickly sets about planning a way for them to escape, but Megatron believes any attempt at escape themselves would be futile, opting to wait until his forces come to help him. Really? Has Megatron met his Predacons? He was literally complaining that no one was helping him with repairs before he was captured in the previous issue. Their captors soon reveal themselves, being Tigatron, Airazor, Polar Claw, Saberback and... Inferno? He seems like an odd choice. They explain they've had a "spiritual awakening" thanks to the Vok and belong to neither the Maximals or Predacons. Tigatron goes on to explain this world belongs to the Vok, and that they want the Cybertronians meddling in their experiments to end, either by leaving or going into stasis. Megatron of course refuses either of these options and demands to speak with the Vok directly. Tigatron says he'll pass on the message, but believe Megatron will likely run out of power and die waiting in this cave before that happens as they leave the cave.

Optimus realizes the dust Megatron kicked up when he fired his weapon was able to pass through the forcefield, and that the "Children of the Vok" all transformed to beast mode to leave the cave. Not sure why this would be surprising to him, given the energon fields of the planet. He decides to try passing through the forcefield in beast mode, which he finds works. Optimus proposes a truce with Megatron so they can escape, all the while secretly watched over by the Vok. As soon as they're out of the cave, they're ambushed. Megatron quickly kills Polar Claw and Saberback, while Optimus attempts to talk to Tigatron. Before Megatron can kill Inferno, the Vok possess Polar Claw's dead body to talk to them directly. Pakak explains they've been tolerant of the Cybertronians until now, but apparently the final straw was that the Predacons took the red energon. Having no patience for this, Megatron shoots the body. Now angry, and out of patience themselves, the Vok make themselves visible and give Megatron a taste of their power.

Optimus steps in explaining if the Vok kill him, that would be murder, and Megatron deserves to be tried for his crimes. The Vok are intrigued Primal would defend his enemy, so Optimus sweetens the prospect. He offers to show them what two opposing forces can do when they come together to face a more powerful threat they know is coming and cannot stop. What might they do before they're destroyed? The Vok cannot resist witnessing the outcome of such an experiment and agree to give the Maximals and Predacons seven cycles without spying on them before they come to destroy them (once again, I'm going to complain about the usage of time terminology in this book. In the cartoon, a cycle was about a minute. I assume in this book they mean it to be like a day, giving them a week to prepare?).

--

I'm disappointed that they've already killed off Polar Claw and Saberback, the issue after they were introduced. If the creators really want to do something different from the cartoon, why do they keep killing off all the non-show characters? Granted, they did kill off Terrorsaur, but we've now had three non-show characters all killed off within an issue or two of their introduction, giving them little to no characterization for them... They're basically the red shirts of this series at this point.

As I mentioned with the previous issue... I'm also disappointed that the Vok aligned Cybertronians are essentially just reprogrammed to be loyal to the Vok, rather than Maximal or Predacon. I really think they could, and should, have done more with the Vok wanting to run experiments on the protoforms. And as I mentioned above, I find it odd Inferno is one of the characters included in the lineup of Vok aligned characters. Given Tigatron's description of their "spiritual awakening" they're meant to be nature loving, relatively peaceful or laid back characters. Much like Tigatron was in the cartoon in the first place. But that does not describe Inferno in the least... Not that we really get a sense of his character in this issue. He barely says anything. But he does still have his ant-isms, referring to the Vok as "god-queens", and the planet as "the colony". I get the feeling he was only included simply to have all the show characters from season 1 of the cartoon in this series.

I feel like Optimus was a little too quick to trust Megatron in suggesting a truce. He offers that they join forces almost immediately after the red energon effects wears off, suggests it again when they break out, and yet again to combat the Vok directly. For a guy who was fed up that he'd underestimated the Predacons and led an assault on them just a few issues ago, I don't think he'd be so quick to suggest a truce, particularly before he even knew who attacked them and why.

Speaking of which, it's odd that when Optimus wakes up and asks for his computer for a status report, it says he'd been knocked offline by a Predacon assault. Why would the computer assume Polar Claw was a Predacon? I mean, obviously he attacked Optimus, but the computer shouldn't assume he's a Predacon for that. Cheetor said when he first met/was attacked by Blackarachnia that it's a known factor new protoforms can be confused after emerging from their pods. So did he have a Predacon energy signature, despite being 'non-aligned'? Even more strangely, Optimus says that was no Predacon. Why? I mean, Polar Claw did mention during their fight that there was more than Maximals and Predacons, and that he hadn't been sent by Megatron... But Optimus wouldn't have any idea of what he meant by any of that. Megatron later claims that Cybertronians are binary, that they can only be either Maximals or Predacons. Seems a little odd for him to claim when they are descended from Autobots and Decepticons, and there had been various sub-factions and non-aligned Cybertronians in the past.

I really liked the pencil art of this issue but a lot of the coloring has little highlighting, shading or blending, so it just looks flat.

Only two issues left of this series, and it looks like it'll be a showdown between the combine Maximal and Predacons forces against the Vok.

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Re: Beast Wars (2021) ongoing series

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Beast Wars #16

Optimus and Megatron separately brief their crews on the situation with the Vok. Neither side is happy about joining forces but their leaders assure them, this is a life or death situation. In the interest of working together, Rhinox and Dinobot help out on the Darksyde, while Blackarachnia, Skold and Waspinator go to the Axalon. But the Predacons are fitted with a restraining bolt that'll limit their access to the Axalon systems, and will shut them down if there isn't a fully operational Maximal near them before they're allowed on the Axalon... Have the Maximals had these restraining bolts the whole time!? Why didn't they use these when they had the opportunity to capture all the Predacons several issues ago!? At any rate, Rhinox determines they might be able to use the Darksyde's transwarp drive to send a message. Something he's theorized about on the Axalon, but believes it could destroy the engine. Since the Darksyde's engines are already toast, they've got nothing to loose trying it with their drive. But the system has been encrypted with Megatron's code.

Megatron immediately knows Tarantulas is the traitor. He's the only one that'd use Megatron's code. Tarantulas makes a run for it, telling Megatron he'd never even offered him a role under his rule, while the Vok had promised him the secrets of the universe. But he is stopped just outside the base by Dinobot. Megatron attempts to interrogate Tarantulas for information, but Tarantulas activates his latest experiment, the zombie corpse of Terrorsaur. Zombiesaur easily defeats the group, and Tarantulas realizes Scorponok is missing. Finding him in the engine room, Scorponok tells Tarantulas he's already sent a message to the Axalon informing them of his betrayal using Rhinox's new communication method. Undaunted, Tarantulas allows Zombiesaur to feed on Scorponok's energon, while he sends a message to Cybertron in order to lure a ship with a working transwarp drive.

--

I don't really get the idea behind turning the transwarp engines into some sort of communications. I mean, they really don't explain how Rhinox could use the engine to send a message. Just that it'll probably destroy the engines in the process. Since he mentions that the ships have a separate transwarp communication system, which doesn't work thanks to the energon radiation (probably the first time they've mentioned the energon radiation actually being a problem for them in this comic), they could have easily come up with some techno-babble about using the engine to boost the power of that comm system to cut through the interference...

The restraining bolts I feel is too over powered of a device to be introducing at this point. The Maximals should have slapped these on the Predacons the first chance they got. I also don't really see them as necessary. I mean, it's understandable that they don't trust each other, but they are already willing to put aside their differences to work together against a bigger threat here...

There are some nice character dynamics in this issue with the two sides working together. Skold once again gets to see first hand the Maximals being nice to her. While Blackarachnia points out to Cheetor the Vok aren't really the bullies in this situation when the Cybertronians are the ones trespassing and fighting on their planet. Rhinox and Scorponok seem to work well together. And Waspinator surprises Rattrap by getting the Axalon's engines working (apparently Waspinator is a pretty good engineer, having two degrees). Honestly, it's disappointing we didn't get more of these kinds of interactions earlier in this series.

Kinda interesting to find out Tarantulas has secretly been communicating with the Vok. They sorta hinted at this at the beginning when he first detected their presence on the ship by leaving behind an 'unspace' signature. It would have been nice if there had been more set up for it, but given the series is getting cut short, it's possible that's why they haven't touched on it again.

Next issue will be the finale. Be interesting to see how they wrap this all up in just one issue...

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Re: Beast Wars (2021) ongoing series

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Beast Wars #17

The Finale

Rhinox wakes up to find the combine forces of the Maximals and Predacons engaged in battle with the Vok aligned Transformers outside the Darksyde. Bit of an awkward introduction to this issue as Dinbobot catches him up to speed. Apparently Tarantulas asked the Vok to send reinforcements. Polar Claw and Saberback are mysteriously alive again, and many other non-show/Japanese BW characters are suddenly part of their ranks now. Eventually the Vok themselves show up, declaring this battle breaking out early has forced their hand and they've decided they'll eliminate all life from the planet. So... why bother with sending in reinforcements? One of the floating islands is revealed to be a doomsday weapon. As the Vok debate over a moon doomsday device (because this is funny?), the Axalon shows up. With modified weapons that tap into unspace through the transwarp engines thanks to Rattrap, they're able to destroy the Vok.

Betrayed by the Vok and now without them completely, Tigatron denies Optimus Primal's request to join them, and asks that the Vok aligned Cybertronians just be left alone and they'll leave them alone in return. Megatron takes the opportunity to attack Optimus, but he's blasted by the Axalon's Vok weapon. Rattrap claims that since Megatron wasn't an energy based creature like the Vok, he'll reappear at some point in the future. Optimus offers for the Predacons to come back with them to Cybertron, but without Megatron, they'll be punished while Megatron gets to go free. Optimus suggests they work together to capture Megatron whenever he reappears, and the courts should take that into consideration. Blackarachnia refuses and so the Maximals just... leave them. It's not clear where exactly they're off to. Waspinator noted last issue the Axalon couldn't break orbit, so it seems they're still trapped on this planet. Inferno decides to join the Predacons and Blackarachnia orders that they''ll find Tarantulas and kill him, then they focus on repairing the Darksyde, indicating they'll use the Vok doomsday device still floating over their heads for spare parts.

In the epilogue: Megatron reappears in a cave 114 cycles later. He quickly realizes he's on the same planet but at a different time. He notes he'll need to rewrite his message on the Golden Disk to preserve the timeline. Not sure that matters, he never got the full message out of the disc to know what it said in the first place. He makes his way back to the Darksyde vowing the Beast Wars will continue until he has won, failing to notice a big stasis pod with an "X" on it.

---

So the answer is... They didn't wrap everything up. This issue leaves a lot to be desired. Obviously they had to rush an ending due to IDW loosing the license. But this is an open ended ending, leaving a lot of loose threads and doesn't really wrap up the story at all. Are they on Earth in this story? Did Tarantulas' message reach Cybertron? Who was the implied traitor on the Axalon from early on in the series? What's the point behind the Golden Disk in this story? Well it seems to play a similar role to the disc in the cartoon in that it contains information from the future... but we never really get a clear picture of what it contains in this series. As such, I didn't really find it to be very fulfilling. The writer mentions a few plots they had to drop that they would have covered had they more time... but it sounds like ultimately it would have culminated in a showdown with the Vok either way. Which, as it is, felt pretty anti-climatic with how easily they were dispatched.

Overall this series felt... lacking. It was a little too close to the original cartoon, despite the creators saying they wanted to do something different with it. And when they had the opportunity to take things in a new direction, they didn't take it. I'm still amazed that they introduced Razorbeast just to be a friend with Skold and killed him off two issues later. And the Maximals didn't even seem to notice he was gone! This really could and should have been written much better than it was.

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Re: Beast Wars (2021) ongoing series

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Sparky Prime wrote:
Wed Jun 22, 2022 9:45 pm
Overall this series felt... lacking. It was a little too close to the original cartoon, despite the creators saying they wanted to do something different with it. And when they had the opportunity to take things in a new direction, they didn't take it. I'm still amazed that they introduced Razorbeast just to be a friend with Skold and killed him off two issues later. And the Maximals didn't even seem to notice he was gone! This really could and should have been written much better than it was.
Completely agree. This whole thing has been a wasted opportunity. It was too similar to the tv show, it was poorly paced, it barely used some characters and introduced others only to kill them off quickly, denying us the chance to see show and non-show characters interact, and then they didn't even tie things up well in the end. It was a disappointment all around.

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Re: Beast Wars (2021) ongoing series

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So the answer is... They didn't wrap everything up. This issue leaves a lot to be desired. Obviously they had to rush an ending due to IDW loosing the license.
Not quite. IDW has the license in to the fall at least. (Solicits have IDW product showing up in September, specifically "Shattered Glass".)

I am not saying that this series needed more issues, or that more pages would have helped. But, running out of time is not an excuse for this.

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Re: Beast Wars (2021) ongoing series

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Dominic wrote:
Tue Jun 28, 2022 5:06 pm
I am not saying that this series needed more issues, or that more pages would have helped. But, running out of time is not an excuse for this.
I agree, this was ultimately just not a very well-written series.

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Re: Beast Wars (2021) ongoing series

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I am disappoint.

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Sparky Prime
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Re: Beast Wars (2021) ongoing series

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Dominic wrote:
Tue Jun 28, 2022 5:06 pm
Not quite. IDW has the license in to the fall at least. (Solicits have IDW product showing up in September, specifically "Shattered Glass".)

I am not saying that this series needed more issues, or that more pages would have helped. But, running out of time is not an excuse for this.
You completely missed what I meant in what you quoted... As I went on to say in the next sentence you didn't include in the quote: "But this is an open ended ending, leaving a lot of loose threads and doesn't really wrap up the story at all." I was saying I understood they had to rush an ending with the license expiring soon (which, even if they have the license for a few more months yet, they'd still have been rushing an ending). But even with that conceit (which isn't an excuse, I think the rushing actually helped the story a little bit), they could have written a more satisfying ending than this. Instead, the writer chose to leave the ending open ended without wrapping up the story as a whole, and I doubt they would have written it any differently even if they had a couple more issues to work with. In other words, it was unsatisfying regardless of how much time they had to work with.

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