Saturday, July 23, 2011

Comic Review...

Transformers #22

Writer: James Roberts
Artist: Alex Milne
(covers by Alex Milne)

Summary:  'Chaos' really gets under way! Megatron: firebrand, tyrant, psychopath... prisoner? The Decepticons leader had the Autobots at his mercy-and then surrendered. Optimus Prime tries to find out why in a story that spans four million years and features a cast of thousands. Events in this issue will forever change the way you look at the Transformers Universe...

Comments: This was a bit of a departure considering the previous issues. While the Autobots are en route to Cybertron we stop and take the time to examine the dynamic between Optimus Prime and Megatron, even flashing back to the post-Megatron Origin era and seeing Megatron while he was still an idealist. In that sense, the story does a better job then the actual Origin comic ever did in explaining his transition from sorta-decent guy to tyrant (the mini-series failed for me on that level and yet Roberts managed to do it in one issue here). Overall, this issue was a serious improvement over just about anything Mike Costa has done (or at least since his initial issues, anyway). There actually seemed to be a point, for one thing (which is always good when you're telling a story). I'm still not sure, though, after all of it was said and done precisely why Megatron surrendered (other then lazy writing to begin with on Costa's part). Did he want to do some penance for his crimes? To remind Optimus that he helped in a way to make him who he was and he must carry some of the blame? (I think I just answered my own question. :)  One minor quibble--during the Prime/Megatron conversation we see a flashback in a couple of frames where Megatron is trapped in his gun mode. But since this continuity started off with him being a tank that makes no sense (unless he was a gun for some time, then became a tank then a gun again--mirroring real life, actually :).

Verdict: Recommended. 

(Cover "A" by Alex Milne)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Savcon 2012 TF Convention!

(Information courtesy Robo_Rob).

Starting in the Summer of 2012 Savannah, Georgia will be added to the
list of ever growing Unofficial Transformer Conventions.
This Con, SavCon, to be exact, will be the first in Savannah's
history. Savannah is known for its rich civil war history, landmark
buildings and event attractions such as the famous St. Patrick's Day
Parade and music & movie festivals that draws thousands to the area,
it seems fitting that such a convention should take place here, and
every year.
This is a fan run convention and the best possible team has been put
in place so you enjoy your experience to the fullest, As always your
input is very important to us to continue to make this the best
possible experience. I encourage everyone to submit ideas to us on our
forums and if it's possible... It will happen!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Comic Review...

(Cover "B" by Guido Guidi)

Transformers #21

Writer: Mike Costa
Artists: Guido Guidi and Brendan Cahill
(covers by Marcelo Matere and Guido Guidi)

Summary: TRANSFORMERS goes bi-weekly! Two stories for the price of one, kicking off the 'CHAOS' event!! In part one, Rodimus makes his triumphant return to Earth, and sets off the major events that will spin off into CHAOS. And in part two, Prowl begins his investigation... of Spike. This storyline will change TRANSFORMERS forever!

Comments: And so it begins... or the prologue to Chaos does anyway. Whatever. Part one takes the tact of setting this up like some legendary or prophetic story. Using captions to explain Hot Rod's legendary return to Earth and how after returning the Matrix to Optimus, he would forever be known as Rodiums, etc. The whole gimmick feels cheesy to me honestly. Part two is Prowl staying behind on Earth with some Autobots to apparently investigate Spike's actions behind their backs (i.e. killing Scrapper back in issue #8). I don't really understand the logic behind this--Spike can't kill a Decepticon in cold blood but it's okay for Jazz to incinerate a human a couple of issues ago seemingly without consequence (it seemed like a perfect "crap hits the fan" moment and they totally brushed it off and forgot about it!)  Anyway, this issue sets up the "final" storylines for Cybertron and Earth (after which, what happens? The comic ends? A reboot? I dunno). So far, I'm not that impressed by what I see and the thought of having to buy this bi-weekly seriously puts me off).

Verdict: Average.


Transformers: Heart of Darkness #4 (of 4) 

Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Ulises Farinas
(covers by Ulises Farinas, Casey Coller and Livio Ramondelli)

Summary: THE ROAD TO 'CHAOS' ENDS HERE! With his army assembled, Galvatron is ready to take the Heart of Darkness back to Cybertron. But first, he must now face down the ultimate threat, a force of unimaginable power and overwhelming darkness. Will Galvatron stand strong or will he bend to the will of inescapable evil? HoD leads directly into 'CHAOS'-the first-ever TRANSFORMERS event book from IDW!

Comments: For the most part I liked this series (terrible art aside). However, like most all of IDW's mini-series, it doesn't really end conclusively but instead leads into the main title to be resolved. I prefer the old school, where mini-series actually told a story and had a point in existing in the first place (the Drift mini wasn't that great but at least it followed that formula properly).  I still wonder about the titular Heart of Darkness. It was introduced during Simon Furman's run and seemed at the time to be a anti-matrix/dark matrix. In this mini-series, it has become a force of good apparently and is leading Galvatron to try and stop D-Void from coming into our Universe. I was expecting some kind of story twist--that Galvatron was actually doing D-Void's bidding unknowingly but the mini at least doesn't end on any such note. So, we have this "evil" power source trying to stop the evil from coming here? Why? Is D-Void going to be beaten and then we find the HoD is Unicron's soul or something? Or is that twist I predicted still coming? It just seems strange that the HoD suddenly is good natured and wants to stop evil for no apparent reason. I wish that would be explained...

Verdict: Average.

(Cover "C" by Livio Ramondelli)

Friday, July 01, 2011

Music Review...

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (score)

Composer: Steve Jablonsky

 Available on iTunes for $9.99 (there was supposed to be a physical release originally too. However, the entry on Amazon and other websites is gone now so I'm not clear if that's coming later or this will be an exclusively digital release).

Track Listing:

1. Dark Side of the Moon
2. Sentinel Prime
3. Lost Signal
4. In Time You'll See
5. Impress Me
6. We Were Gods Once
7. Battle
8. There Is No Plan
9. We All Work for the Decepticons
10. The Fight Will Be Your Own
11. Shockwave's Revenge
12. No Prisoners, Only Trophies
13. The World Needs You Now
14. It's Our Fight
15. I'm Just the Messenger
16. I Promise
17. Our Final Hope

Total Running Time:  59:47

I recently purchased the instrumental soundtrack to the recent live action Transformers movie and decided to share my thoughts. Then I realized there were about the same as my review to the original 2007 score Jablonsky did so I mostly re-posted that here.

In case you don't keep up with this stuff, there are two TF soundtracks to the recent movie. The first one is full of pop/rock songs that are in the movie/inspired by the movie. This is the other one with strictly instrumental music on it (and this is a digital release as previously noted while the other version is also out on CD).

In short, the music is grand and orchestral. It befits an epic storyline full of action and excitement. As with Jablonsky's previous efforts, the music doesn't really stand out in my mind. It's not bad by any means--certainly, it's sufficient for any modern action epic. But it doesn't capture my imagination the way some soundtracks of the past have. The original TF movie soundtrack by Vin Dicola is far more distinctive as are soundtracks like James Horner's beautiful Star Trek scores, John William's Star Wars music and Chris Franke's Babylon 5 compositions.  Interestingly, this time around I caught a couple of tracks that sound as if they were borrowing elements from The Dark Knight ("We Were Gods Once" is an example as is "We All Work for the Decepticons"). It's also possible they just both share a few common elements and I'm hearing stuff that isn't there--but that's a bad commentary on the sameness of so many soundtracks these days.

All and all, a good effort. Not outstanding but still a solid release and worth checking out if you like instrumental soundtracks.