Thursday, March 25, 2010

Comic Review...

Cover "A" by Nick Roche

Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers #3
(of 5)

Writers: Nick Roche and James Roberts
Artists: Nick Roche and Guido Guidi

(covers by Nick Roche and Trevor Hutchison)

Summary: Two years ago, Shockwave is repaired on Garrus-9. Overlord allows him to leave if he will give him access to the anti-virus for the Achilles virus Megatron had him implant (whatever that is and was meant to do). In the present, the Wreckers fight for their lives against a legion of Decepticons. Nearby, in the Pit, Overlord confronts the other team of Wreckers... Rotorstorm makes a joke and is promptly shot in the head by Overlord. They attack Overlord but it is futile because he's so bad-ass and invincible. Elsewhere, Springer's team kill Treadshot and escape their pursuers for the moment. They also find Kick Off's body they discuss it, they're trapped and stunned unconscious. Guzzle, Pyro and others head through the prison and eventually locate Aequitas. On the way there, Ironfist freaks out, man--he didn't sign on for this! He wanted adventures and fun--not life and death! Not horrific death like Rotorstorm's--Top Spin tells him to buck up, man! People die stupid deaths all the time! They open Aequitas' prison and enter it's cell--we are not privy to what they see however. Elsewhere, Twin Twist is tortured by Stalker, while his team lay deactivated all around him in the Spark Extraction Chamber...

Comments: Some fans seem to love this series (for some reason). For me, it's a mixed bag. The pacing isn't bad--things are actually happening, which is more then I can say for many of IDW's previous efforts. The artwork is reasonably good--but I wish Nick could draw all of it. I like his art style but when it gets mixed in with Guidi or somebody else's it ends up not being it's best. Another thing that is really getting on my nerves is the killing of characters I like... I think I know how they arrived at this. They figured they could take European exclusive characters that Americans have never seen--thus giving them a spotlight of sorts--and make them expendable too (since we don't know about nor care about them anyway). But they're not really European exclusive--they came out in Japan first and also came out in Canada. I do know these characters and do like at least some of them. So far the writers have killed off Skyquake (anyone who's read BOP knows he got put in the stories on the Decepticon ship as much as possible), Rotorstorm and also Treadshot (I'm kind of indifferent about Kick Off). I also realize they can't please everyone all the time but they (IDW) have managed to kill (then unkill) Sunstreaker, Ironhide and Thundercracker thus far. If people can play favorites with them then why not with these guys too? I also think the way Rotorstorm was dispensed with was least give him a decent death. Why not have killed Guzzle off--he sucks anyway! :) I knew the whole Ironfist thing was coming--the whole "I can't deal with this!" and someone snapping back about life and death and how serious things are in a war (as if Ironfist wouldn't already know that! They've been at war for millennia for goodness sake!) Just who or what is "Aequitas"--and why should we care? I think a better ending would've been a full page reveal of Aequitas then get to the torture stuff next issue (it's a more dynamic ending, imo. Unless, of course, there's nothing exciting about this character--in which case they couldn't do that). I also like that Shockwave is apparently free to cause havoc once more (what was the point of the virus thing? Just an excuse to get him in the story?) A mixed bag...

Mildly recommended.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Transformers on YouTube

More videos of Transformers on YouTube. Embedded at 400 X 200 px.

Back and ready for action!

Just a bit of an update...

I've done some more work on the Transmasters website and we now have several more things up:

- The "Archives" section has several pics of old fanzines up now, including TransAction, Auto-Update, BOP, Conquest, Teletran, etc. and a small blurb about the various publications. I might add more with time but this is at least a start. I also did a little blurb about Peter's TM CD, which is a very useful resource (it helped me get pics of TransAction and some stuff I don't have).

- The "Comics" section has pics added to it now from every company (not of every comic--that would be a lot of work!) I have a few sample covers from Marvel, Marvel UK, DW, IDW and some BotCon comic covers too. The idea being to introduce newcomers/be a quick reference guide for a fan.

- There is now a "News" section with the RSS feed from (like Peter used to have on his old site). While I would love to have the resources to do my own news it just isn't feasible at this time so this will have to do for now.

- The "Magazine" section now has links to some previous issues. I have TM Comic #0, #1 (on the actual site) as well as links to issues #4 and #5 (external site). I also have TM Mag #1 (on site) and #4 and #5 (external site).

That's all for now. Til all are one!


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Comic Review...

Transformers: Bumblebee #4

Writer: Xander Cannon
Artist: Chee

(covers by Chee and Guido Guidi)

As Bumblebee races down the highway we learn his mission last issue was, in fact, a success (which is good, since the last issue didn't make that clear one way or the other). BB detects another Cybertronian lifesign and the Autobots (who are texting with him/monitoring remotely) determine it's Skywarp! BB turns around and races back there to try and save the Serena (little girl) and Sanjay (father). Elsewhere, Skywatch discovers that the Autobots have scammed them (due to Cliffjumper and the others yelling at Bumblebee verbally instead of texting to him). They also realize Klonowski has gone somewhere armed... Back at the house, Sanjay and his daughter leave with Bumblebee...Sanjay quickly goes on about how evil Bumblebee is--he's just like all the others to which the daughter contests that he's a good robot. Skywarp corners BB and he is forced to transform and flee Skywarp. Skywarp gives chase, telling him how that board could be the greatest weapon against the Autobots yet--the Decepticons can use them as pets when they eventually return and they'll have Skywarp to thank for it all! Sanjay overhears it all and considers using the board to short Skywarp and BB out right then and there--but Serena gets all teary-eyed and convinces him not to. The Autobots text BB that they're on their way, ETA ten minutes. Just then, Klonowski shows up with a bazooka type weapon and BB thinks he's about to get it--but instead Skywarp gets shot. Skywarp corners BB again and BB decides to use the board to short them both out, knowing the other Autobots will reactivate him later. Later on, Ratchet and Klonowski talk about Bumblebee. He's being upgraded and Klonowski tells them basically, all's well and end's well (he took the heat off Colonel Horiochi and got severance money deposited into his account--but Skywatch considers him a traitor now). He leaves and Bumblebee emerges in his new upgraded car form (which seems to suggest he's a camaro now).

Comments: An okay ending for the story. The Skywarp thing almost felt contrived though--yes, he was in the rest of the story but the whole sudden "I know about the control board" thing was abrupt and not foreshadowed really (or not well, anyway). I also would've liked to have known why Skywarp was even still on Earth--AHM made it seem like he'd gone off into space with the rest of the Decepticons (and more and more it seems like just about every Decepticon got left behind on Earth). I also would've liked Klonowski to at least explain why he did what he did--even a simple "it just felt like the right thing to do" would've sufficed. Instead we get nothing. BB's new form--it's okay for the most part but I hate those feet! They look like boxes on his feet (what ever were they thinking with that?) Sanjay and Serena don't look east Indian as their names suggest, they look white (I know it's hard to get coloring in comics right but no one even tried here). The same goes for Colonel Horiochi, who's last name implies he was of Japanese descent (minor nitpicking here, I admit, but still!) Also, the overall story failed to really resolve the whole stranded-on-Earth thing instead settling for a pointless side-story. So, with the exception of BB's new form nothing really got done--we're just back to square one after all is said and done (kinda like watching an episode of Star Trek).

This issue: Recommended.
The entire mini-series:
Pass. Nothing more then a side tale that wastes four issues to ultimately do nothing to move the overall story along.

(cover "B" by Chee)

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The State of Things...

As you may know, the Transmasters website used to be on In the fall, Yahoo! decided to shut it all down (I guess hosting sites for free wasn't making them money). Anyway, I (Thunder) moved the website and most of its files over to instead. It sat there for a few months, pretty similar to the previous incarnation that Peter Phelps set up.
Recently, I had the idea to try and jazz it up a bit--to make it more informative, adding information to act as a "Transformers 101" for the newcomer to the concept/quick reference for people who don't want to wade through pages and pages of Wiki (not that there's anything wrong with the Wiki--but let's be honest, it is very extensive and that can be intimidating to some). The site as it exists now is still bit rough around the edges (I intend to add more pictures to some of it for one thing).

You will also notice the lack of those annoying banner ads on the website--I chose to go pay and get rid of them (at least for the immediate future anyway). I also figure we deserve a nice website and seven hundred ads clogging it up don't really help that cause.

I also plan to do a new issue of the Transmasters Magazine in May. Unfortunately, we lost some of the previous issues Peter did (#1 to #3) and only #4 and #5 exist anymore. I do have a fair amount of content done up for this new issue already but new stuff is welcome (even if it doesn't make the spring issue we'll still need stuff for the following issues).

There's never been a better time to throw in with the club and make your voice heard! We're not the Official TF club, but that's good in many respects. It gives us the chance to go further and fly higher, unencumbered by red tape. Let's make Transmasters the best damn TF site on the web!

Comic Review...

(Note: This issue was short-shipped to my city and I got it a week late finally, hence the delay in the review).

Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers #2

Writers: Nick Roche and James Roberts
Artist: Nick Roche (pencils), John Wycough (inks)

(covers by Nick Roche and Trevor Hutchison)

Summary: We open with a prologue set in the past where Overlord fights Autobots on the battlefield. He transforms and leaves to attend a battlefield meeting with Megatron and two others via holo. Megatron explains his new six phase strategy... Overlord dislikes it and Megatron tells him he can either fall in-line or be dismembered--the choice is his. Now: the Wreckers continue onward to Garras-9. The new recruits discuss Impactor and wonder what the real story is behind him ending up on the prison world is. Nearby, Perceptor inspects Impactor while Springer and Impactor speak. Springer asks him how he escaped and we're treated to a flashback where Snare springs Impactor to go for help. In the present, Impactor and Springer have words about whatever it was he did and Impactor storms off (while Verity overhears the exchange). Ultra Magnus says he and Verity will be returning to Earth while the Wreckers continue to the prison world--to which Verity whispers that she "doesn't think so". The Wreckers gather later and discuss the fact Overlord is on G-9 now. Kup explains to Verity who Overlord is (since she asks). Kup says Overlord had them dead to rights on that planet (from the prologue) before he turned and skipped out on the war, deciding on "option two" instead (i.e. he doesn't do as Megatron says and waits for him to come find him). Apparently Kup's retelling is horrific since Verity looks utterly stunned (or maybe the art just went really wrong in that panel?) The Wreckers instigate their plan and Ultra Magnus leaves (apparently he's too dim to see if Verity is actually with him or not). Verity stows away with the Wreckers in body armor reminiscent of Arcee's design. The Wreckers crash land in two drop pods where the Decepticons are waiting for them and Overlord looms large over them (ooh! Scary!)

Comments: Well, this issue had better pacing for a certainty. Additionally, the story is moving reasonably quick--which is not like most of IDW's output thus far. The art is decent to good (although Roche can't seem to get Verity quite right. Thus far, only EJ Su has managed to successfully make her look right. Roche keeps making her too kiddie-cute for my tastes). I'm surprised Verity has survived five years (in real time) and we still don't know anything at all about her (this isn't Roche's fault, though. I blame the previous writers for never getting around to exploring her past). I also enjoyed Megatron threatening Overlord in the flashback--although I am getting sick of everyone freaking out when they hear Overlord's name. All right, he's a bad-ass. We get it. Yeesh! I did find the reference to Operation: Volcano a bit fan-wanky too... All in all, a decent issue.


(Cover "B" by Trevor Hutchison is displayed with this review).

Monday, March 08, 2010

CNBC Highlights of Toy Fair 2010

Bumble Ape! No, this is actually called, Prime-8 from Bossa Nova. This link leads you to CNBC highlights of Toy Fair 2010. Source:

Friday, March 05, 2010

Firefox 3.6 + Transformers

The new Mozilla Firefox 3.6 has adapted themes to dress up your web browsers, which includes a number of TRANSFORMERS themes. So far, not perfect. Well, I can't be too picky, I got a TRANSFORMERS blanket!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Comic Review...

Transformers: Bumblebee #3

Writer: Xander Cannon
Artist: Chee

(covers by Guido Guidi and Chee)

Summary: The Colonel and his cronies come to the Autobots hide-out and attempt to fix Bumblebee by giving him a new badge device, however this does not work (since it's not really Bumblebee but an inanimate car). Ratchet is given command for the time being and the humans return to their base to see what they can do. During the repair effort, the humans mention "Sanjay" and the Autobots quickly relay the information to the real Bumblebee, who tracks the scientist down and covertly befriends his little daughter at their house. Meanwhile, Ratchet vocally answers a question Cliffjumper texted so the humans couldn't overhear it... a human, Klonowski, hears that on the recordings and gets suspicious. Very quickly and easily, he decodes their texting system and finds out they're communicating covertly with Bumblebee. Bumblebee meanwhile scans a circuit board for the operation of the badges and relays the information to Ratchet and Wheeljack. Meanwhile, Skywarp continues his mad plan (whatever it is, exactly) and blows up a human laboratory. Bumblebee decides their only recourse is to hack the circuit board he has in his possession. He apparently succeeds--although the story does not clearly convey exactly what he has done. Bumblebee gives the board back to the little girl, transforms and leaves when she is gone. Unbeknownst to him, Skywarp appears in the sky above, tracking the board's signal...

Comments: I'm not clear what happens at the end there. Does Bumblebee succeed or not? The script is not clear on that point. If he didn't then why did he bother? If he did, then shouldn't the Autobots now be free? I also take issue with the human tech guy figuring out their covert text system in about five minutes. I know the humans are capable and smart but this is ridiculous! The Transformers are supposed to be high-tech alien machines! Even if they understand some of the technology now it still pushes it for them to be virtual experts on it so soon (if ever). Why not just devise a method to shut all the TFs worldwide down at once then? Yeesh! All of this story still reeks of an excuse to stretch out the story to sell more comics... oh well. It seems to be working--suckers like me are still buying it, aren't we?

Mildly Recommended.

(cover "B" by Chee)

Transformers #4

Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: Don Figueroa

(covers by Don Figueroa and Andrew Wildman)

Summary: Thundercracker flies along, remembering the recent past. He survived the attack by Skywarp at the end of AHM and how he lived in the debris of New York for some time until his fellow Decepticons found him and repaired him. He is now allied with Hot Rod and the others. Swindle talks to Hot Rod and butters him up (swindling him? Heh, heh) and convinces him to let the Decepticons go get another Stunticon to help out their efforts in constructing a space craft to get off-world. During the discussion we learn the Transformers under Hot Rod are starting to call him "Rodimus Prime" and Hot Rod decides he likes the name (what is with IDW and needing to make all the characters' names conform to the toys?) Spike talks to his subordinate and worries about what he's going to tell his father--he's tried futilely to pump Optimus Prime for information and failed miserably. Back at the ship site, Ultra Magnus shows up and demands to know what's going on. He accuses the group of collusion with Decepticons and building an unauthorized ship to which Rodimus asks him who Magnus even reports to anymore. He tells Magnus to go home. Magnus capitulates for the moment but says "this is not over" and he'll be back. Swindle is impressed Rodimus stood up for him (Magnus planned to capture him). Nearby, Thundercracker watches and thinks Swindle is up to something and that the Autobots are blind for not seeing it. He thinks how the TFs are creatures of habit and will never truly change--not like the Humans. He sees how resilient Humanity is and how they weather adversity and learn, rebuilding and growing better in the process. When was the last time the TFs truly built anything? He goes into orbit and observes the planet then transforms and jets back down. He thinks how they have so much to learn from Earth--and yet all they want to do is fly away.

Are the Decepticons really up to something? Probably. It would be nice for a change if they were being honest though and just wanted to get the hell off of Earth. Either way, I suspect the ship will either get destroyed or the Decepticons might use it and abandon the Autobots there (it'd be cool if I'm wrong though). I wonder if Thundercracker will destroy the ship or, worse, lead the humans there under the belief that he's doing the right thing. Of course he's not entirely wrong but the road to hell is paved with good intentions, as they say. Of the three current books I think I am enjoying this series the most. Costa is managing to make it interesting without writing plots that insult the reader's intelligence. I do wish they would get on with it though. Even in this series it seems like we're taking forever to get to the point. Build-up is good--to a point. But eventually you have to execute on it or it's just a waste of time. I also noticed that Thundercracker is suddenly an F-22 again (like he was at the start of IDW). At least this time his repairs explain why he might have a new form, instead of it just happening out of the blue. Hoping the next issue has something substantial happen...


(cover "A" by Don Figueroa)