Monday, November 28, 2011

Comic Review...

Transformers #30

Writers: Mike Costa and James Roberts (story), Mike Costa (script)
Artist: Livio Ramondelli
(Covers by Livio Ramondelli)

Summary:  Chaos, part 4, brings events to a devastating head: Megatron confronts his most formidable opponent yet! The Autobots scramble to keep out of the way of the Decepti-god's unstoppable rampage and Optimus Prime faces off against Galvatron, in a battle where the fate of the whole planet rests on the outcome! CHAOS concludes here and TRANSFORMERS will never be the same again!

Comments:  Between the two recent storylines, this has been the one I've found more interesting of the two (which is not to be construed as praise though). In this issue, we pick up the Arcee and Hardhead (I had thought he was dead!) thread where they rescue the survivors of Kimia plot and have them all set course to join the main story on Cybertron (which they later do). They also casually drop in the idea that Galvatron's being duped by D-Void via the Heart of Darkness. This very quickly becomes fact (there's no prior hints in any of the story that this is the case--which would've been nice. Even some subtle foreshadowing completely escaped Costa's grasp). On Cybertron, Megatron continues to battle the dark Decepti-beast thingy while the Autobots cower. In the core, Optimus Prime and Hot Rod confront Galvatron and his cronies but they are too late! Galvatron has just used the Heart of Darkness on Cybetron's core! Prime uses the Matrix and saves them all (Galvatron disintegrates but not before realizing something is wrong. He did the right thing! Arghh!) The story ends with Optimus Prime alone somewhere quite blue (the remains of the Dead Universe? Cybertron? It's unclear). As I said, there was no hint at all that Galvatron was being duped by D-Void/Heart of Darkness (although I had suspected as much some time ago). Showing hints of that before the very ending might have been nice--even a suggestion something might be amiss would've been intriguing to the reader. Instead it's just dumped at the end as a fact, which it apparently is. A more interesting take might've been to have had the Heart be part of D-Void (a terrible name, btw) but corrupted somehow by a sense of heroism (like how the Matrix had a taint of evil to it in the old Marvel series). A straight interpretation of the story was boring, frankly. They could've developed this story more--even used the space they wasted on the Prowl/Earth segments to flesh it out further and actually make people care. As it was, it felt somewhat superficial and ultimately irrelevant. (Since "The Death of Optimus Prime" is coming up, perhaps he was trapped in the Dead Universe--or something--as a result of the ending? But even that is pointless since he dies all the time and never stays that way for long).
   The art is more of Ramondelli's murkiness. It makes a dull story pretty in the technical sense but hard to decipher what's going on half the time. Art in a comic should easily convey the story and its natural progression. When a reader can't figure out what a panel is supposed to represent, it fails to do its job (to be fair, a large number of modern comic artists have this problem though).

Verdict: Average. I'm glad this story is over! I wonder what they'll do for the two remaining issues--a lot of pontificating by the characters over the fall-out? (Is the sky blue?)

Cover "A" by Livio Ramondelli

Comic Review...

Transformers #29

Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: Brendan Cahill
(Covers by Brendan Cahill and Marcelo Matere)

Summary:  The Last Story On Earth ends here! When Prowl makes a breakthrough in his investigation, he assumes that he has the answers to all his questions until a shadowy adversary brings some shocking revelations to the Autobot's attention. Could this be the end of the human/Autobot truce? Mike Costa and Brendan Cahill bring this tale to its unexpected conclusion!

Comments:  This issue was a prime example of what I've hated about this comic series. We start off the story with Spike admitting he killed Scrapper and telling the Autobots they should be thanking him (exactly what I've been saying about this story's non-premise all along!) Then the Autobots and Skywatch go attack a human named Ben Simpson (no idea who he is) but apparently he's a facsimile (like in the old IDW Furman stories). Swindle is controlling him somehow, apparently, and we learn ultimately that he sold Skywatch's robot-busting tech to Spike (apparently this is supposed to reaffirm Spike's "seat-of-his-pants", wreck-loose mentality. It also shows us how stupid the humans are since nobody has the brains to reverse-engineer any of the tech on their own. Although, considering how advanced TF tech is supposed to be, maybe that's a good thing.) Anyway, Spike escapes before they can confront him further and meanwhile, Jazz goes and blows up a base with Skywatch's tech presumably in it. This was a boring, contrived story that had no ultimate relevance to anything (beyond wrapping up the Earth leg of this series, anyway). I wasn't engaged by any of it and wondered the entire time why they were even bothering. Also, it seems like Costa pulled a lot of stuff out of the thin air to try and give it a conspiracy-like feel. Either none of the elements he materialized here really existed until now or he used elements from before that were so slight I don't recall any of them enough to be amazed at his story composition now (who were half of the human characters that appear in this story, anyway? I have no idea).
   The art was passable although not really great. Brendan Cahill's art is decent but hardly spectacular either. I still hate all the pointless neo-G1 designs everyone has.

Verdict:  Pass. A confusing, contrived ending to a story that didn't need to be told in the first place.

Cover "B" by Brendan Cahill

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Transmasters Mag Fall edition!

The latest issue of Transmasters Magazine, the Fall '11 issue, is now online! You can check it out here:

A couple of quick notes:
-  I literally just got TF:P Arcee today so the review was done up very fast. My camera is not the greatest but hopefully the pictures will at least give you an idea of the toy.

- Unrequited was also done up quickly. I didn't have a lot of time to refine it but I think it pretty much works as it is.

As always, comments and feedback are welcome.
- Thunder

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

TFUK Titan comic review: issue 4.1

...bringing in the new order...?

Titan Transformers UK issue 4.1, November 2011.

Script: Robin Etherington
Art: Jeremy Tiongson

I recieved this comic by post on wednesday november 2th and is a restart of the comic, now focusing on PRIME instead of Dark of the Moon...or is it ?

Free gifts:

- which is a yellow Dark of the Moon themed 'Requiem blaster' including 3 autobot 'discs'.
- a Revenge of the Fallen Autobot movie mask (sadly not my size....)
- a nifty Transformers PRIME sticker sheet.

I'd say this is a transition issue with half Dark of the Moon and half Prime.

Another full cover featuring PRIME promo art of Optimus Prime

What also is remarkable is that the code invented by Decepticon Soundwave as read in 3.4 seems to be cracked by Raf in 4.1

We get a nice introduction to the PRIME autobot team, some puzzles and then the strip.

"The safe and the failsafe"

Strong scripting by etherington and equally strong art by Tiongson, formerly known as artist on Duel Masters (and ...?) delivering some manga influenced, detailed art. A breath of fresh air after the apparant "rush"that was last issue.

The strip is shortly interrupted by part 1 of the PRIME episode guide, reviewing Darkness rising part 1. I think there will be multiple episode reviews in future issues in order to keep up.

And then we get to the dual side of the comic, The Dark of the Moon pull out section, that incidentally, I don't want to pull out because I'd like to keep this magazine in one piece ;)
-Megatron and Optimus VS Sentinel profiles
-Awesome Dark of the Moon Shockwave poster !
-starscreams puzzles, maze, comparison pictures.

Back to the strip!
After the strip come 2 competitions (Nerfgun and Kre-o Transformers)
followed by the letterpages, hosted by Megamouth Megatron (PRIME version) with a little help from Arcee (also PRIME version).

What also is remarkable is that the code invented by Decepticon Soundwave as read in 3.4 seems to be cracked by Raf in 4.1

Conclusion: Definite improvement over last issue! Too bad Dark of the Moon seems to be fased out, I really liked that film even if Skids and Mudflap were nowhere to be seen....


...till next time...