Sunday, October 26, 2008
Transformers: All Hail Megatron #4
Writer: Shane McCarthy
Artist: Guido Guidi
(covers by Trevor Hutchison and Guido Guidi)
Synopsis: The Decepticons have conquered Earth! Beaten it royally and made it their bitch! They are crushed, defeated and praying for relief. On Cybertron, the Autobots hide out where Ironhide and Prowl argue. Jazz stops Ironhide before he escalates a fist fight with Prowl... Ironhide leaves while Jazz and Prowl discuss their current predicament and how dire it truly is. Optimus is injured badly and every scrap of energon they have is being used to keep him alive. Somewhere nearby, Wheeljack and Bumblebee scout for energon. They realize someone is watching them so Wheeljack uses a signal system he rigged to signal reinforcements. Ironhide and Jazz have a character moment and then Ironhide heads out with Cliffjumper to go help Wheeljack and Bumblebee. Elsewhere, the humans hide in a burned out building and discuss survival. Sarah tells Bridge they need a leader and when he responds with pity she slaps him and tells him to be a man! On Cybertron, Ironhide and Cliffjumper ambush the mystery Transformer--who turns out to be Hot Rod! Hot Rod is glad to see them and says they must've received his message. The others will be pleased--they were shot down and now Ironhide and the others are here to rescue them! Ironhide and the other Autobots are shocked by this revelation.
Comments: Well, this was an interesting issue. Finally, we get to see what's going on with the Autobots. We get some good character moments--Ironhide is angry (at somebody), Jazz is keeping order and Prowl is Prowl. On Earth, the humans I don't know or really care about also get a little scene to shine in (just for once in a story when someone is slapped, I'd really love to see them smack the other person back). The art is also fairly nice... On the down side, though, we're still getting classic G1 designs in a world where everyone's supposed to be redesigned--yet Bumblebee retains his new look as does Ironhide (why are they special?) More importantly, it's still another issue where nothing really happens. We get hints someone betrayed the Autobots, allowing the Decepticons to win; hints that Jazz and Prowl are hiding something (possibly Prime's fate from the others but its not clear in the story). Apparently, the Decepticons have also conquered all of Earth somehow (even though all we've seen is them take Manhattan--or perhaps to show them take all of Earth would've required another thirty issues at the pace this series has been going?) I hate all of this new-fangled decompression in comics now. After four issues, I expect some real progression and we've gotten about two actual issues of content when you factor in the long drawn out fight scenes of the first three issues. The best issue of this series yet, which isn't really saying all that much.
Not a Transformers comic per se, but given that it's Hasbro's other big action figure series and it's just starting up from IDW, I thought I'd give this a look here as well.
Writers: Chuck Dixon, Larry Hama, Mike Costa and Christos N. Gage
Artists: Robert Atkins, Tom Feister, Antonio Fuso
(covers by Robert Atkins and Chris Sotomayor, Jonboy Meyers)
Summary: This issue is composed of three short stories, each previewing one future GIJOE series from IDW. Chuck Dixon's story is called "One Word" and from the series GIJOE. Larry Hama's story is "In or Out" and previews GIJOE: Origins. The third is "Deep Cover" from GIJOE: Cobra by Mike Costa and Christos N. Gage.
One Word - The Joe team, lead by Duke, covertly attack a cargo ship in Istanbul. They take out the team stealthly but one enemy gets away and launches a Stinger missile at them. He misses but his strike destroys the ship's munitions and the ship with it. The Joes escape and interrogate a lone surviving enemy before he dies. Duke asks him for a lead on the supplier or the end user... the mercenary mumbles "Cobra" and then dies.
Comments: A good short story and a good start for a reboot series... I never read any of the Devil's Due comic (except the TF crossovers) but I know the prime title was a continuation of the Marvel series. I think it must've been quite a convoluted mess after a while. I much prefer starting at the beginning and going from there... don't care for the art style of this comic, though.
In or Out. Two men sit in a room. One is a wounded soldier and the other is a man in a military uniform. We learn the soldier was attacked in the Middle East and his convoy ruined by ambush. Rather then rolling over and dying, he got his gun and lead a counter attack. The military man offer him some posthumous medals and the soldier gets concerned that he's about to be shot. The military man--Hawk--tells him he's making him an offer but remains vague about just what he's offering. He assembles the gun and holds it up... the soldier thinks a moment then decides he's in. Hawk tells him his new name will be "Duke" and Duke asks him if he was going to shoot him if he opted out. Hawk gives him the gun and tells him "we're the good guys, Duke. Don't you ever forget that".
Comments: I liked this story overall although the art style isn't my cup of tea (it's distinctive, though. I have to give it credit for that). Not sure what to make of General Hawk's actions, though. I prefer the Hawk of old--his profile describes him as "somebody who would never ask his men to do something he himself wasn't prepared to do". It's a bit cliche but I like it. This new Hawk comes across as a bit more morally ambiguous. One last thing, it was clear who's story I was reading when I started it--dialogue like "...the hostiles hit your column with IEDS and then bracketed it with RPGS" and "They had intersecting fields of fire set up with 12.7 mike-mikes and a 40 mike-mike automatic GL". Nobody but Hama can write pseudo-military dialogue like that! :)
Deep Cover. A man walks down a street thinking about how he can't remember his name then thinks about all the covers he's had in the past few months. He meets with two former communists in a former Soviet country. He has delivered their shipment of Polonium-210 and now they've come to give him his reward. They whip out knives and go to kill him... He kills one and goes to take out the other but that man is shot by a sniper before he can. The newcomer introduces himself as a "friend" and the protagonist notes he has a back-up sniper on a building beyond them. The friend tells him to meet in a tavern tomorrow at a set location. He agrees, deciding that if the man wanted him dead then he'd already be dead. Later, he transmits a signal to the "bird's nest" and tells his superior (Hawk) that he's made contact with a new organization of some sort (Cobra, obviously). Hawk tells him he'll get more orders from his contact tomorrow and to maintain radio silence beyond that... Chuckles, as the protagonist calls himself, burns his U.S. passport and says "yo, Joe!"
Comments: Chuckles was always set-up as a double agent character but his appearances (in Marvel and the cartoon, at least) never really went with this idea. Glad to see someone's using it now... The story is okay for what it is and will likely launch pad to somewhere interesting in the series. I liked the art style in this story the best of the three--it's the most conventional but if it ain't broke, why fix it?
All three stories are pretty good. They're not revolutionary but they do what they set out to and entertain the reader. If you're a previous Joe fan, I say check it out and judge for yourself. Even if you aren't and you want something new to read, this title might be a good chance to see where IDW's Joe titles will be going.