Sunday, March 18, 2012

Comic Review...

Transformers: More Then Meets The Eye #3

Writer: James Roberts
Artist: Alex Milne
(covers by Alex Milne, Nick Roche)

Cover "B" by Nick Roche
Summary:  DISASTER IN SPACE! What's the very worst thing you could find on board a four million year old spaceship? Clue: it's ancient, it's deadly, and it shouldn't exist-but it's killing the Transformers anyway! It's AUTOBOTS versus boogieman in a Transformers story unlike any you've seen before, as the exciting new direction rolls out!

Comments:  Rodimus and crew face off against a Spark devouring parasite that seems to be inhabiting a dead TF's corpse (at least, that was the impression I got from the art and the dialogue). This issue was okay, I guess. There really wasn't much suspense in it (so much of the story is the characters planning to go after the beast and/or hiding out that we don't get a lot of the sense of danger we should). Because of the lack of any real tension I found it hard to really sustain my interest in it and I doubt I'll be looking back fondly on this one in the future (more likely, I'll forget all about it).

Verdict:  Average.

Comic Review...

Cover "A" by Guido Guidi
Infestation 2: Transformers #2

Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artist: Guido Guidi
(covers by Guido Guidi and Livio Ramondelli)

Summary: The Infestation threatens all of North America, and its evil seems unstoppable as it infects everything in its path. Tobias Muldoon is called upon to help the Autobots find a solution, and he knows the perfect man for the job--Nikola Tesla! Together they attempt to re-activate Optimus Prime, but it's unclear if he will be able to turn the tide in an increasingly hopeless situation!
Comments:  Of the two issues this is the better one (which isn't much of a compliment really). The humans gather a fleet of ships and go to attack Port Cenotaph, Nova Scotia. Several governments have lost ships in the area but this logic doesn't really explain why they all sent a bunch of warships at once (besides plot convenience). Meanwhile, Tobias, Nikola and the Autobots try to resurrect Optimus
Prime. All of the Autobots give their energy reserves to power Tesla's device which in turn will take E.M. energy from the Earth and power Optimus. It succeeds at last. The humans assault Port Cenotaph and the Lovecraftian god that has risen there along with its legion of undead minions. The Autobots arrive and attack then. Optimus injures the god and it descends for the depths of the ocean once more along with its followers. The end.
   A short and ultimately pointless comic mini-series. Also, why does Optimus have a steam punk look to him even before he gets re-awoken? That made no sense to me...  All my previous criticisms from the previous review still apply. This story is too short and we don't really get a good sense of the big picture to really understand it all (nor do the characters really get any time to have personalities so that we care for them).

Verdict:  Pass.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Comic Review...

Infestation 2: Transformers #1

Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artist: Guido Guidi
(covers by Guido Guidi and Livio Ramondelli)

Summary:  The Infestation threat has broken the boundaries of time and the Lovecraftian monsters invade the world of Transformers: Hearts of Steel! It's a steam-punk world in the grips of panic as terrifying beings from the depths of the ocean corrupt both humans and Decepticons! Only one man knows how to stop the Infestation, and it's up to him to awaken the Autobots in time to prevent full-scale cataclysm!

Comments:  Infestation returns! This time, the Hearts of Steel universe is under attack. To be perfectly honest, I never followed the rest of this sort-of crossover IDW did the first time nor did I read any of this follow-up series. I don't really understand why these Lovecraftian monsters are attacking multiple comic concepts (obviously, to sucker fans into buying them. But I mean, why are they bothering in the story sense? Does anybody ever bother to explain that?)
   Dixon does an adequate job in the comic of explaining what's going on--at least, to a point. Since it's a small cog in a larger story, someone just tuning into this issue specifically has no idea what the broader context is (that would be me). The characters presented here--Bumblebee, Ironhide, Hound, etc. don't get any real characterization and even the humans--Tobias Muldoon and Nikola Tesla predominantly--exist to move the plot along with little development (incidentally, why does Tesla have to get into every damn story set in this era? He's always the mad scientist du jour in these things). Not a lot really happens either. Evil monsters are attacking and the Autobots must stop them before it's too late so they go up to the Artic (or some place cold) and try to resurrect Optimus Prime. End of issue one.
Cover "B" by Livio Ramondelli
   One minor little story note I liked--Dixon picked out a small Quebec town as a location near where the Autobot train is. Saint Felicien, Quebec--where my cousin lives in real life! I didn't think anyone had ever heard of the place other then me.
   The art is competent but not outstanding. So much of the story focuses on the human characters and they're drawn in a cartoony/anime kind of way (a la Dreamwave). I prefer a bit more detail then that and felt it subtracted from the comic's appeal. The "B" cover by Livio Ramondelli (which I got) is a pretty nice picture of Shockwave (who's not even in this issue).

Verdict: Pass.  The whole Infestation conflict is flawed. It dips into several comics but doesn't really focus on the same characters all the time and I feel that hurts the concept. We don't get a good feel for the whole scope of the story and thus don't really care. Also, Hearts of Steel, while conceptually cool was never fully explored like it could've been. It had some neat ideas but the story was shallow and ended up as mostly eye candy. Doing a two issue follow-up that does an even worse job doesn't help it's case.


Cover "A" by Guido Guidi

 (Special thanks to Zavian Sildra for the copy of this issue which I reviewed). 

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Comic Review...

Cover by Livio Ramondelli
Transformers: Autocracy #4

Writers: Chris Metzen and Flint Dille
Artist: Livio Ramondelli

Summary:  ORION PAX-- Prisoner!? Forced into meeting with the Decepticon leader, MEGATRON, Pax--the 'bot who will someday be Optimus Prime-- finds himself outnumbered... but the real threat may not be wearing a Decepticon badge.

Comments:  Megatron meets with Orion Pax, revealing the information Soundwave found to him. He knows it will get to Orion's sense of justice (he also tells Orion that his team was sent there to fail as an excuse for Zeta to start a full-on war with the Decepticons). The Autobots escape afterward but Megatron allows them to get away. Back at base, Zeta Prime dresses Orion down for his failure then orders him and his team on one more mission--to find the insurgent who bombed them earlier in Kaon: a Cybertronian named Hot Rod.
   A pretty good chapter of the story. It's clear Zeta Prime will stop at nothing to get the war he wants, even if means sacrificing everyone on his side to do it. It's only a matter of time before Orion revolts against him...  Everyone is in-character quite well in this story with one exception--Orion Pax's speech patterns sound a bit off to me. He's a bit too casual sounding in some scenes and I would expect the character to use slightly more formal sounding language (while all the others sound perfect). One could argue that since he's not Prime yet this works but it seemed weird to me.

Verdict:  Good. 

Available online only (from for 0.99 USd)

Monday, March 05, 2012

Comic Review...

Transformers: Autocracy #3

Writers: Chris Metzen and Flint Dille
Artist: Livio Ramondelli

Summary:  ORION PAX's counter-terror strike team is in pursuit of SOUNDWAVE and the information he's stolen. But the secrets Soundwave carries are deadlier than the Decepticon-controlled territory the Autobots find themselves in!

Comments:  Orion Pax and his team of Autobots pursue Soundwave as the Decepticon attempts to make his way back to Kaon. During the pursuit he uses many of his Recordacons to try and slow down the Autobots with mostly successful results. Finally, Orion catches up to him and subdues him, only to have the Seekers get the drop on him.
   An all-chase/fight issue but it wasn't bad for what it was. Some minor nitpicks--Frenzy and Rumble are still confused here like in the old cartoon, with Frenzy being red and black and Rumble being blue (I've always considered the toy colors/names to be accurate). Also, Ratbat here is depicted as a animal drone of Soundwave's while other stories set in this continuity have shown him to be intelligent and a former Senator sympathetic to the Decepticon cause. Assuming this takes places in the main IDW continuity, this is a definite discontinuity.
   All the covers for this series so far have been good. I especially like this issue's Soundwave centric cover.

Verdict:  Good. 

Cover by Livio Ramondelli

Available online only (from for 0.99 USd)

Comic Review...

Cover by Livio Ramondelli
Transformers: Autocracy #2

Writers: Chris Metzen and Flint Dille
Artist: Livio Ramondelli

Summary:  ZETA PRIME reveals his plan to the senate... and ORION PAX is sent on a new mission. With these two acts-- nothing on Cybertron will ever be the same again.

Comments:  Wow. Now the story's getting going... we see Zeta Prime for the first time and he is one large imposing looking character (he strikes me that he should really be a Decepticon). He plans to use a weapon created long ago by "Jihauxus" (do they mean Jhiaxus? Or is it another character with a similar name?) The weapon is a gun called the Vamparc Ribbon and it can suck Energon out of an opponent then re-purpose it to destroy new targets. Starscream is present for the council meeting as is Soundwave in disguised mode. Starscream slips up while sucking up to Zeta, forcing him to reveal Soundwave (as a distraction). He transforms and manages to escape... Also, Orion Pax and Ultra Magnus spare and Orion wonders if they're even on the right side in this fight (then later he goes to rally his unit to follow Zeta Prime's deployment orders).
   The story is short but this part was more interesting and reveals more of what's going in this era of Cybertronian history. Zeta Prime is a monster by his own admission and looks the part. We know this story will likely end with his destruction (or at least Orion Pax deciding not to follow him).
   The art continues to be fairly good and much more clear then the physical comics Ramondelli drew before.

Verdict: Good. 

Available online only (from for 0.99 USd)

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Titan Transformers UK issue 4.6, April 2012

"What an intolerable failure of a machine !"

Titan Transformers UK issue 4.6, April 2012.

Script: Robin Etherington
Art: Dario Brizuela
Lettering: ComicCraft

I recieved this comic by post Friday the 2nd of march. First thought was "Have I seen the free gift before ?"

Page 01:
Free gifts:
- Transformers Prime Battle Blaster. Cool looking gun.

Cover features PRIME promo art of Starsream and tucked away under the free gift, a drawn picture of Optimus !
Page 02-03: Index Page.
Page 04-05: Starscream Profile and Starscream 'spot the difference' puzzle.(his profile suggests him to be a flipflopper of sorts. First wanting to become a Prime, then the all powerfull leader of the Decepticons.

Page 06: Titan Magazines - Simpsons Magazine subscription - advert
Page 07-10: Part one of the the strip begins.

"All the president's 'Bots !"
Scripting by Etherington and art by Brizuela, Everything starts aboard the Nemesis, where Starscream gets scoffed by Megatron (HAIL!) and gets the task of finding the Autobots.
He then gets the incredible idea of kidnapping the American(female - how liberal) president. He does this by pumping sleeping ges into the aircraft. Early next morning the Autobots get a wake up call from Agent Fowler to go and rescue the president. Prime thinks he knows where to find him so they go to the Grand Canyon. "Where the old warriors twice fell" referring to an ancient cybertronian battle that split the canyon in two and ofcourse the recent fight Prime and Ratchet had in the Darkness miniseries.(Prime, Season 1, ep 3 and 4) They go into the canyon and then face an ambush by Starscream and the drones, pointing artillery cannons at them! to be continued on page 23

Page 11: Titan Magazines -get 2 transformers with subscription- offer advert.
Page 12-13: Part 6 of the PRIME episode guide, reviewing Masters and Students. Also a micro quiz.
Page 14-15: Win Transformers figures competition. Prime figures! Deluxe and Voyager class.
Page 16: Starscream's Stumpers! part 1: Megatron(HAIL!) 'spot the difference' puzzle

Page 17 + 20: Transformers Prime mini poster featuring Mighty Megatron(HAIL!) starscream and piles of energon to a desert background
Page 18 + 19: Transformers Prime mini poster featuring Bumblebee Busting out !

Page 21: Starscream's Stumpers! part 2: Bits and bots, recognize bots within 2 minutes. and a 'Find Niko'maze puzzles.
Page 22: Titan Magazines back order advert.

Page 23-26: Part 2 of the strip! Autobots under siege from cannon fire! But Prime has a plan. Bumblebee and and Arcee must deal with the cannons while Bulkhead and Ratchet are to protect the plane containing about 60 passangers. Bumblebee and Arcee jump over the cannons and attack them from behind, giving Prime a chance to go after Starscream. Prime overpowers Starscream and rescues the still asleep President. After this defeat, Starscream leaves (with some damage to his right arm/wing) and the Autobots decide to go before "the humans wake up and get the fright of their lives".

Page 27-29: The letterpages, hosted by Megamouth Megatron(HAIL!) (PRIME version) with a little help from Arcee (also PRIME version).
Page 30-31: Rachet and the Vehicons! Get ratchet to ammo before going to the vehicon HQ puzzle.
Page 32: Road to the White House! Optimus must get to the White House to protect the president and avoid the vehicons. a maze puzzle.
Page 33: Next issue blurb which looks like a Megatron(HAIL!) centric cover. but then I was wrong every time....
Page 34: StarWars Magazine advert featuring Episode 1 and Clone wars imagery.
Page 35: Awesome PRIME Wordsearch. actually just a plain wordsearch....
Page 35-36: a Bot bookmark for use with books, you know those blocks of paper with words in them.
Page 36: Build Optimus ! cut out the parts and assemble them. looks like a fun item!

Conclusion: Good Comic strip, again, simple and fun! Toy was actually cool! extra fun also really contributed, the bookmark a favorite and the build Optimus feature. I won't use these ofcourse because I don't want to cut int`q1 o this issue

score: 7.7 out of 10