Friday, January 06, 2006

Transformers Comic (Capsule) Review...

Amazing Fantasy #16
"Death's Head 3.0 - Unnatural Selection" (Part one of five)

Format: Ongoing (multi-issue story arc)
Availability: General/mass media

Writer: Simon Furman
Artist: James Raiz
Cover Art by Lucio Parrillo

It is the future... A.I.M (Advanced Idea Mechanics), the terrorist organization, is attempting to go legitimate. In one of their first steps, they've invited three neutral scientific observers to oversee them as they decommission their more unethical technological projects. The head scientist, Doctor Varina Goddard, is uninterested in agreeing to letting her experiments be shut down. She has been badly injured and depends on the technology she has developed to keep her alive and restore her mobility. The cyberneticist observer, Raymond Hidalgo, is the scientific advisor sent to examine her records... we find out that he has been recruited by a secret police organization, GEIST (Global Enforcement/Intelligence Symposium Taskforce), to make sure he can find out all about her buried secret projects. Hidalgo is uncertain at first but the GEIST rep shows him that Goddard has abducted pregnant women in the past and forcibly experimented on their unborn children, weeding out what she considers to be genetic anolmalies. Goddard is not to be trusted... As Hidalgo examines AIM's computers, an alarm goes off. Elsewhere in the compound, Goddard has played her trump card--powering up a secret experiment she had hidden there earlier. AIM had captured an alien lifeform some time earlier and she had reprogrammed it as it lay dormant. Codenamed "Death's Head", named after an earlier project called Minion (aka Death's Head II). The robot comes alive and escapes from its lab. AIM's security is unable to stop the mechanoid--only it's momentary confusion slows it down. Death's Head is uncertain of who or what it is and decides for the time being to escape. It leaves with little trouble. Goddard is satisfied--she has inserted programming for it to murder the UN Secretary General publicly at a conference in Geneva, thereby saving AIM from itself.

Comments: A decent start to the newest incarnation of Death's Head. Not much really happens in this part--a technique all too familiar in Furman's stories in general. He likes to spend a lot of time setting things up before getting to the meat of the story (as evidenced by TF #0 a couple of months ago). The first part of the story is interesting and the artwork by Raiz is quite good. It will be interesting to see where things go from here--will Hidalgo become the main character next to DH or was he merely there to move the story along. Despite Goddard's plans, it seems likely DH will move on his own path, doing as he sees fit. This version 3.0 of Death's Head has no connection to Transformers, other then that Furman wrote it. I think they're trying to redo him and make him available as a more mainstream Marvel character rather then past attempts where he was connected to the TF concept and/or the Marvel UK stuff. Despite the lack of direct connection to TFs, AF #16 is worth checking out for the story and artwork, especially if you're a fan of Furman or Raiz's other works.


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