Friday, April 30, 2010

Comic Review...

Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers #4 (of 5)

Writer: Nick Roche and James Roberts
Artist: Nick Roche and Guido Guidi

(covers by Nick Roche and Trevor Hutchison)

Summary: On Garras-9, Kup and Guzzle take on several Decepticon guards near a cell, only to find the cell empty. It had been Grimlock's cell but he's gone now, his fate unclear. Elsewhere, we find out Aequitas is a giant super computer designed to calculate guilt. Perceptor says they must have its hard drive... the only way to turn the computer on without Garras-9's command crew is through Spark Donation--that is, someone has to sacrifice themself to activate it. Top Spin volunteers since Twin Twist is being tortured elsewhere and they have a joint-spark. Both die. Elsewhere, we learn Impactor's crime was to settle a score with their Decepticon rivals--Squadron X--by killing everyone in it. Stalker goes to torture them some more but is killed by Springer when Kup, Guzzle and Snare show up (Snare also dies at Stalker's hand). Overlord shows up then, asks, "ready?" and Springer replies, "ready." Elsewhere, Perceptor downloads Aequitas' information into Guzzle's brain and then finds they can detonate all the ex-prisoners Deterrence chips (which includes Impactor). He votes for it, Pyro against it and then Guzzle votes in favor--saying he knows everything now and everything they've been taught is a lie!

Comments: One question dawned on me as I wrote this review--is Garras-9 literally the only Autobot prison around? If so, that would explain why Grimlock was put there. Otherwise, I can't see his supposed crimes really being all that bad that he should've been sent there (all he really did was disobey orders to settle a score--which is bad, I agree, but not worth locking him up here for). His fate is also glossed over--they obviously didn't want him in this story but failed to really say where he is (he certainly isn't dead!) The revelation about Aequitas was a major letdown, frankly. Why risk their lives for something seemingly so trivial? And Spark Donation? Really? Who comes up with such a stupid way to turn the system on? No one would design something like that! More deaths this issue--Top Spin and Twin Twist, Stalker and Snare. Snare is the only one I don't really care about... at least Stalker died doing something suitably evil. The Jumpstarters died for plot convenience to support something that was a stupid idea in the first place. Finally, I think Impactor's "crime" was overblown too. Yes, he executed a squadron of Decepticons--but they deserved it, were in a potential hostage position and he also had fellow Wreckers assisting him (who apparently didn't share his fate--possibly since he was in-charge, he took all the blame). He made a logical military decision and no one in any army would realistically imprison him for that. I mean, if he'd killed a bus load of kittens or something indisputably evil then fine. But his crime is questionable at best. One more issue of this drivel...

Mildly recommended.

(Cover "B" by Trevor Hutchison)


Transformers Spotlight: Prowl

Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: EJ Su

(covers by EJ Su and Nick Roche)

Summary: Two years ago, in the wake of the devastation of AHM, Optimus Prime sends Prowl out in disguise to monitor the humans and try to help out where he can. Prowl does this and at one point saves a little girl from certain death. His cop partner tells him to go--but he'll give him enough time to escape (before he calls Skywatch). Further on, he thinks how Spike neutralized him (in TF #1) and how things have changed recently. During the story, it is implied that Prowl has learned that actively protecting the innocent (instead of just watching while they're abused) is the right thing to do.

Comments: A straight forward one-off story that does what spotlights do best. It's not revolutionary by any means but it is effective for what is. EJ Su's first TF comic in some time and I have to say I welcomed back his artwork. He has a bit of a blend of old school Senior and Roche that I can appreciate. Prowl is a fun character and it's about time he got a good story to shine in.


(Cover "B" by EJ Su)

Transformers #6

Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: Don Figueroa

(covers by Don Figueroa)

Summary: Spike's been rescued from last time (when he jumped into a lake to avoid the Stunticons). From the chopper he and his team observe the battle of Menasor vs. the Autobots. He quickly decides they need to go retrieve Optimus Prime and get his help. Elsewhere, Menasor grabs Ultra Magnus to destroy him but his component parts can't decide quite how to do that (Swindle brags how he figured the combiner technology out--but obviously his implementation is less then perfect). Then Optimus falls on him from out of the sky and transforms, engaging Menasor. Long Haul grabs Bumblebee but before he can finish him off, Thundercracker appears and shoots him. Thundercracker tells them he really has gone neutral and then goes off to help Rodimus... Menasor damages/destroys the spacecraft they were building meanwhile (accidentally). Optimus and the others take out Menasor and he falls, leaving Skywatch to come in and mop up the rest. Optimus refuses to re-assert command and defers to Bumblebee. Bumblebee tells them all to stand their ground--he wants to work this out with the humans once and for all. Spike offers Bumblebee safe haven and an alliance so they can all work together to protect Earth from real threats (i.e the Decepticons). Slightly later, Ultra Magnus wants to arrest Rodimus but Bumblebee interjects--he tells Magnus to cool it. He's the leader on Earth now and he won't tolerate this any longer. While they're distracted, Rodimus steals Magnus' ship and flees Earth to everyone's surprise.

Comments: At long last, some real action in this series! Of course, this was probably the end of what will be the TPB so they needed something for the climax, I guess. I hope we don't have to wait five more issues for more to happen while they fill out space. It seems like next issue they'll change things up (Megatron returns? Or at the very least, a turn to what Starscream and company are up to). I noticed how this issue references the Bumblebee mini-series in passing... but if it were excised from the story would that really have made any difference to the main story? It could just as easily have not happened at all and we wouldn't have been any worse off (which further reinforces my feeling that the BB mini was a total waste of time). On a side note, this issue was promised to have a cool "wraparound" cover last issue. So what do we get? A cover split in half between cover "A" and cover "B". If you buy both, you get the whole image... I think they originally intended it to be one cover but decided to do this instead so they could make more money--and I think that's a crappy thing to do, frankly (which is why I only bought the one).


(cover "B" by Don Figueroa)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Quickie review...

I got the Protectrobots KO set last week and thought I'd share some quick thoughts about it...

- The box is a spot-on replica of the original.

- The toys have no rub signs on them--but they are included as optional stickers. Furthermore, they do work! (Unlike with my KO Shockwave).

- Some of the toys weren't finished/filed down properly and had little bits of plastic on them where there should've been none (extra little gob of plastic on First Aid's leg which I removed. Others had this sort of thing too).

- Blades plastic feels a bit thinner then my original toy does. He's not brittle or anything--but he does feel a little bit thinner to the touch.

- All the toys have metal parts on them (my three originals were all plastic).

- Some of the paint could be better. Hot Spot's eye has a black streak on it because the paint was done cheaply. (It's hard to see but it's there).

A decent effort, all in all. I've seen better and also far worse. As a substitute for the real thing, this is okay (I would still prefer an official reissue though).

Friday, April 09, 2010

Comic Review...

Transformers #5

Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: Don Figueroa

(covers by Don Figueroa and Andrew Wildman)

Summary: Spike and Optimus Prime talk in Prime's prison. Prime tells him how he is lost and how humanity is so much stronger and smarter then his own kind. How he has learned from humanity's adaptability so much more then humanity has learned from his own kind... Spike seems startled by this revelation. Elsewhere, Bumblebee's Autobots are approached by Ultra Magnus who tells them he needs their help to capture Hot Rod's rogues and their Decepticon allies. Spike drives Breakdown and wonders about Prime's words... suddenly he is attacked by Drag Strip and Dead End. He fends them off long enough to escape Breakdown and hide. He watches as Motomaster retrieves their comrade and the Stunticons leave. Later, Hot Rod and his rogues watch as the other Stunticons repair Dead End. Just then, Ultra Magnus and company arrive and attempt to arrest them all (again). Hot Rod tells him to give them a break... Swindle comes up then and tells them the truce is over! The Stunticons combine into Menasor and begin to attack!

Comments: First off, let me say I was shocked upon my first reading of this comic--something actually happens in it! Shocking! At long last, the Decepticons reveal they're up to no good. It's kind of a mixed blessing though. We all knew they'd do this sooner or later--why couldn't they have been honestly pursuing peace for once? This just demonstrates that the Transformers (and the Decepticons in particular) are total imbeciles with an inability to think beyond "destroy and conquer". Interestingly, even Costa is addressing this in the story with Thundercracker last issue and Prime this one. That after millenia of war neither side is capable of stopping it for good and living amicably. It will be interesting to see where he goes with this (if anywhere). As for the action quotient, I'm glad something has finally happened. I hope we get a lot more action ASAP and don't have to wait another five issues for the story to move along. I hope everyone leaves Earth soon frankly... All in all, a good issue.


(cover "B" by Andrew Wildman).

quick site update...

Just to let everyone know, the TM website now has almost all of the Transmasters Magazine and Transmasters Comics from a couple of years ago (many thanks to Peter Phelps for his help on this). We now have issues 1, 3-5 of the magazine and issues 0, 1, 3-5, Xmas 97 for the comic. Issue 2 (of both series) is the only thing we don't have--Peter sent me some files for those too but some graphic files are missing from the comic issue and the magazine is missing many html files unfortunately (so I opted to leave them both off until/unless we can get them set-up right). Currently, they're all on the Magazine section of the site:

Also, the forthcoming issue #6 should be out in May on schedule (still working on the comic strip but everything else is ready).