Monday, January 23, 2012

Titan Transformers UK issue 4.4, Februari 2012

"Spy Game."

Titan Transformers UK issue 4.4, Januari 2012.
(click on image for better view)

Script: Robin Etherington
Art: Dario Brizuela
Lettering: ComicCraft

I recieved this comic by post a long time ago (actually just before christmas), went to London for my sister's birthday where I bought the "Robot Revolt" T-Shirt featuring Megatron(HAIL) but really...I should get back to the comic.....
(click on image for better view)

Page 01:
Free gifts:
- Transformers Prime Cyber Blaster. Not very impressed.
Cover features PRIME promo art of Prime and Bulkhead
Page 02-03: Index Page.
Page 04-05: Megatron's Horror-scope! (for the year ahead....)
Page 06: Titan Magazines -get 2 transformers with subscription- offer advert
Page 07-10: Part one of the the strip begins.

"Tinker, Tailor, Gamer, Spy!"
Scripting by Etherington and art by Brizuela, Bumblebee aids Raf in getting a videogame that he really wanted, the UltraLux Special Invasionauts edition in 4D! Trouble is, the game is engineered by Soundwave to Brainwash Raf into overriding the base defences. Raf succumbs to the hypnotic trance that is the game and lets a drone attack force in the base! (see page below for an example)

Page 11: Star Wars The Clone Wars Magazine advert
Page 12: Transformers Prime mini poster featuring Optimus
Page 13: Rules and explanation to the Invasionauts board game
Page 14-15: Part 3 of the PRIME episode guide, reviewing Darkness rising part 4. Also a micro quiz:
Page 16-17: the Invasionauts board game.
Page 18: Starscream's Stumpers! Spot the difference puzzle featuring Arcee and Bulkhead.
Page 19: Spot the Bot and Ratchet's Maze puzzles.
Page 20: Dark of the moon DVD and Leader Bumblebee Competitions.
Page 21: Amazing Lightsabers competition.
Page 22: Bulkhead's Wordsearch.
Page 23-26: Part 2 of the strip! Amidst the chaos the Autobots manage to get defences back up while Jack and Miko
try to wake Raf up. After the breaking of the console Raf wakes up and saves the day by sending the invading army back by creating a loop that makes a vacuum.
Page 27-29: The letterpages, hosted by Megamouth Megatron (PRIME version) with a little help from Arcee (also PRIME version).
Page 30: Titan Magazines back order advert.
Page 31: Next issue blurb which looks like a Bumblebee cover. but then I was wrong last time....
Page 32: Useless non Transformer advert

Conclusion: Great Comic strip, small simple and fun! Toy was crap but hey, I'm not going to play with it! Entertaining other features like the board game.

score: 6.8 out of 10

-Johan time... the Transformers UK 2012 Annual ....I hope.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Comic Review...

Cover by Livio Ramondelli
Transformers: Autocracy #1

Writers: Chris Metzen and Flint Dille
Artist: Livio Ramondelli

Summary:  Long ago, on the planet Cybertron... as dissident Decepticons rise up to battle the Autobot leadership, ORION PAX leads a counter-terror strike team. But when a routine mission goes awry, Orion starts on an incredible journey to the heart of Cybertron's Autocracy.

Comments: This is not a typical comic but rather more like a mini-comic so we don't really get a lot of story in this first installment. Basically, Orion Pax leads some familiar Autobots (Bumblebee, Ironhide, etc.) into the "Rust Narrows" (slums) of Torus-City Nyon to find a Decepticon dealing illegal weapons. They find the Decepticon (Swindle, of course) and stop his operation. After Swindle taunts him, Orion beats him. The Autobots take their prisoner and go (someone else attempts to kill them with a bomb and they don't feel safe there). Laserbeak watches nearby, recording their actions. The End. Of course, this is supposed to be a bi-weekly online comic so we'll ultimately end up with 16 pages a month (as opposed to 22 in a normal comic). What story was there seemed good... we had a basic set-up, execution and conclusion. Once more is added to it I'm sure it will all make more sense in full context. My only real story nitpicks were using Bumblebee as a sniper to attack the dissidents. This isn't necessarily out of character for him since he's always traditionally been a scout but I feel like it seems a bit dirty for a character who was always portrayed as such a warm and friendly persona (but I can accept it begrudgingly. Maybe the humans made him softer and war is hell after all, etc. Fine. Whatever). I also didn't care for Orion Pax going all nuts and beating the tar out of Swindle but I assume it's part of the overall story arc so I can give it a pass for now--as long as someone explains it later.
   The art by Livio Ramondelli is, for once, relatively straight forward to follow. In his previous efforts, during Chaos, I had times where I couldn't figure out a panel here or there, recognize a character or found visual discontinuities (too many Sweeps, no generic henchmen previously established in the story). This effort is in the same style but it's cleaner somehow. The fact it doesn't rely on the neo-G1 designs helps a lot too (I also just realized that we don't see all that much of most of the Autobots robot forms in detail in this. Just Orion Pax, Bumblebee and Swindle mostly. They all look about right).
   Not a bad start. It will be interesting to see if they can take this anywhere good...

Verdict:  Average.

Available online only (from for 0.99 USd)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Comic Review...

Cover "A" by Alex Milne

Transformers: More Then Meets The Eye #1

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

Summary:  The ultimate Transformers saga begins here! This second all-new ongoing Transformers title reunites the fan-favorite creative team behind Last Stand of the Wreckers and sends the Transformers on an epic quest to the farthest reaches of the Transformers Universe and beyond! The adventure starts here!

Comments:  Despite a promise to skip the two new series, I decided to give MTMTE #1 a try anyway. The results were typical Roberts writing... the story, in short, is about Rodimus and his crew scrambling to make final preparations to launch the Lost Light, the ship that will help take them across the Galaxy in search of the legendary lost Knights of Cybertron. It's a tale of small story threads mostly--a sub-plot about Tailgate, one about Prowl (and the suggestion he might have tried to sabotage the ship), Cyclonus finding Whirl and subsequently being chased by him, etc.
   The story isn't badly composed. Unlike with Mike Costa's work, one gets the sense that Roberts actually has some idea of where the story's going. That can only be a good thing ultimately since Costa's stories often felt like he was flailing about (he even admitted as much in a recent interview). We get several story threads, most of which are wrapped up by issue's end with a few hints about the future as well as some humorous moments by some of the characters. There is a time travel thing thrown in at the end of the story which didn't really need to be there. We are given hints that this will be a vitally important mission and things will go horribly wrong beyond what already has. In my opinion, they should've just showed that as they went instead of trying to build anticipation with some cheesy time travel message gimmick (it's been done before so much it's become cliche).
   Roberts also continues his love of introducing obscure official characters and having them die (or in this case, presumably die). Rad, Fizzle and Waverider are casualties by story's end. Why not use some generic made-up characters instead? (Especially considering that we didn't get to really know any of them as characters nor did the incident in question require named characters to die for dramatic effect--i.e. sacrificing themselves heroically to save Rodimus or something). Once Rad is dead, he's dead and can't be used again (well, unless they forget he's dead or do some stupid resurrection thing--but that merely helps make death become irrelevant like it already has in Marvel and DC's comics).
   The art is competent but I have to reiterate that I hate the neo-G1 designs IDW is currently employing. Rodimus as drawn by Nick Roche just looks wrong to me. He's too sleek and human looking while lacking the design elements that made Hot Rod so cool to begin with. The same goes for Cyclonus bizarre face and other various other characters. I wish they would drop this design scheme and go back to the classic designs that everyone loves.
   While we're on the subject of art--was it really necessary to have six covers for this issue?  There's one big image, split into four covers (and all together in a special super duper Retailer Incentive Gatefold version); another one spoofing "Justice League" #1 (from 1987) and another sketch cover (which looks blank on the preview page. I assume the art doesn't translate well?) I know IDW is a business and trying to make a buck, but talk about overkill! I miss the days when a comic had one--and only one--cover.
   I also don't care for the current status quo. Ever since IDW started, they seem to have the attitude they have to shake things up and make them modern (even though they're trusting that people's nostalgia will get them to follow the comics. Does that make any sense?) We started off with Furman's secret war (which I actually liked) which turned into a cosmic threat scenario then had a "Decepticons: up-close and personal" mini (with little real fighting) then Costa's "we can't learn to grow and evolve" story which devolved into some dumb cartoony plots before going simultaneously cosmic and street level in Chaos/Police Action. Now we have "the war's over. Let's go seek out a mystery" and also "bringing Cybertron together in peace" stories. Why isn't straight out Autobots vs. Decepticons good enough for IDW? Yes, it seems simple enough but it's a pretty broad framework. A lot of good tales can be told within it if editorial is willing to do it (and the writing is there to support it). As a fan of classic Transformers, that is what I want! No experimental-whatever stuff. Roberts at last seems to be fairly competent writer but he's still not telling the story I ultimately want to see. That's why I won't be following either of these two new series. I'm just not interested enough (and if I'm not interested, why waste money supporting it?)

Verdict: Average.