Grumpy old G1 fan reads IDW - in order!

Discussion in 'Transformers Comics Discussion' started by Ryan F, Jan 6, 2016.

  1. Ryan F

    Ryan F Transform and Roll Out! TFW2005 Supporter

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    Prompted by the 'Michael Bay fan watches the G1 cartoons' thread in the TF General Discussion area, coupled with the fact that almost everyone I know is waxing lyrical over the current IDW comics and how I should give them a read, I decided, New Year resolution style, to finally give them a spin and see what all the fuss is about.

    Let me start by saying I'm not a complete IDW virgin: I have read a few of the very early ones that Simon Furman did. To be honest I don't remember an awful lot about them, but I do recall not really liking them all that much.

    I've also been warned that there are a few bumps and troughs, quality-wise, before the good stuff kicks in. I'm fully prepared for all of that, and will try to give every issue a fair crack of the whip.

    A polite request: I'd really appreciate if people could avoid spoilers in this thread, please. Some stuff has been kinda ruined already: thanks to Combiner Wars, I know of the little guy that lives inside Ultra Magnus. I'm also aware that Megatron (somehow) ends up becoming an Autobot. But other than those two things I reckon I'm oblivious to most of the rest of it.

    I'll be reading the issues via the 'IDW Collection' hardback trades, and while I'm aware the order of the comics in those books isn't exactly as published, I reckon it's the easiest way of doing this. So first up tonight is Megatron Origin #1. Back shortly

    Table of Contents


    Megatron Origin: 1 2 3 4
    Spotlights: Blurr Cliffjumper Shockwave Nightbeat Hot Rod Soundwave
    Infiltration: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6

    Stormbringer: 1 2 3 4
    Escalation: 1 2 3 4 5 6
    Spotlights: Sixshot Ramjet Ultra Magnus Kup Mirage Optimus Prime

    Spotlights: Galvatron Blaster Arcee
    New Avengers/Transformers: 1 2 3 4
    Devastation: 1 2 3 4 5 6
    Spotlights: Grimlock Wheelie

    Spotlights: Cyclonus Hardhead Doubledealer Sideswipe
    Maximum Dinobots: 1 2 3 4 5
    Drift: 1 2 3 4
    Spotlights: Drift Metroplex Jazz

    All Hail Megatron: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
    All Hail Megatron: 13 14 15 16

    The Transformers: 1 2 3 4 5 6
    Bumblebee: 1 2 3 4
    Last Stand of the Wreckers: 1 2 3 4 5 Extras
    Spotlight: Prowl

    The Transformers Infestation: 1 2
    The Transformers: 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
    Ironhide: 1 2 3 4

    Heart of Darkness: 1 2 3 4
    The Transformers: 19 20 21 22 23 25 27 29 24 26 28 30 31

    The Death of Optimus Prime
    More Than Meets The Eye: 1 2 3
    Robots in Disguise: 1 2 3 4 5
    More Than Meets The Eye: 4 5
    Robots in Disguise: 6

    Autocracy: 1&2 3&4 5&6 7&8 9&10 11&12
    Spotlights: Trailcutter Hoist
    Robots in Disguise: 7
    More Than Meets The Eye: 6 7 8
    Robots in Disguise: 8 9

    PS. Thanks to Hardlurk for setting up the table of contents - much obliged!
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2017 at 5:47 PM
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  2. GoLion

    GoLion Sé que me estás robando

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    Megatron Origin is only "sort of" continuity. I know someone with a better grasp of the continuity can clear that up a bit, but don't be surprised if some of the characters popping up in that book aren't mentioned anywhere else.
     
  3. Ryan F

    Ryan F Transform and Roll Out! TFW2005 Supporter

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    Megatron Origin #1

    Well the blurb on the first page of the trade cites this as the first issue in their 'best guess' of a 'suggested reading order'. I'm so glad I'm not a complete Transformers novice, because to the uninitiated, this could be a little confusing.

    The first thing I noticed is the very muted colour palette, very grey and 'sludgy'. I get that they were going for a bleak, sombre (almost industrial) tone, but the end result is that many of the characters are difficult to recognise, given the pre-earth robot modes and the general lack of the bright colours that you'd normally associate with Transformers.

    But if the miners of outpost C-12 seem a homogenous bunch (especially compared to the gaudy Sentinel Prime and Decimus - who seems to be modelled on Alpha Trion from the old cartoons), that's exactly how the Autobot higher-ups view them: a swathe of nameless robots who can be mercilessly killed just for speaking their mind.

    In a neat twist on the usual scenario, it's the Autobots who are being presented as aloof and unfeeling; they consider the working class as somewhat beneath them - contemptible, even. In an unexpected flop-flop, Megatron is presented as someone we can relate to, choosing to rebel against the state that's betrayed him.

    When the Autobots go over-the-top and brutally kill a loudmouth miner protesting at losing his job, Megatron starts a riot that results in many of the workers being ruthlessly gunned down; the survivors are sent to prison on board 'repatriation shuttles'. Megatron and the pre-Decepticons commandeer their shuttle and fire on Senator Decimus's ship, leaving badass Autobot police guy Sentinel Prime with the dual problem of finding Megatron and ascertaining Decimus's fate.

    It's a good set-up but at the moment it's all plot and world-building; whilst there are a couple of decent character moments, the titular Megatron gets very few actual lines and not much in the way of personality - but that's because there's very little room for character development in a very dense, plot-driven, opener.


    • The black borders around every page just add to the grim atmosphere here.
    • This isn't just a 'read it once' comic - there's a lot to take in here, and it's worth a couple of re-reads just to absorb it all.
    • The only 'traditional G1 Autobot' we see here is Prowl, and even then he's only in two panels.
    • Is that... Kremzeek?!
    • Megatron's first line is a simple 'Heh.' Even before he's a proper villain, he's doing the villain laugh.
    • Sentinel Prime is basically Judge Dredd here, and Cyberton is Mega City One. With the working classes being oppressed by a trigger-happy elite, an almost grubby art style and a multi-levelled city full of giant overpasses and cheesy billboards, this is totally influenced by 2000 AD.

    There is just so much meat here - almost too much - that as a newbie this was almost overwhelming. The murky art-style only added to my inital confusion! But once you get into it this is a decent enough - not so much in its own right, but for what it promises for future instalments. Having sat through the set-up, I hope the next issue is higher on character and action. 3/5
     
  4. Infosaur

    Infosaur Well-Known Member

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    I think this is my biggest problem with IDW. I can accept that the Decepticons came as a movement in response to something, I just hate that they've retroactively made Autobot society so nasty.

    It really doesn't seem like something a (person?) like Optimus would be willing to restore/defend.

    Up until recently, my own pre-war vision of Cybertron was a world of feudal houses, that over time became corrupt and abusive. Games of sport became gladiator pits, which finally lead to open conflict. And from this arose the greatest warrior of them all Megatron.

    Once the great houses were destroyed, the survivors of ALL nation-states came together under the banner of the Autobot. And Optimus, a hero who rose from the ranks, became the inspiration of the entire movement.
     
  5. Starscream Gaga

    Starscream Gaga Protoformed This Way

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    He's not trying to restore/defend it.

    chaostheory2628.jpg
     
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  6. Anguirus

    Anguirus Well-Known Member

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    Let's not get ahead of ourselves here. Ryan F, I look forward to your impressions, and you could hardly evoke a better thread/idea than CaptainSlayer's. :D 
     
  7. GizmoTron

    GizmoTron Roobaticon Commander

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    The most recent reading guide IDW put out doesn't even include Megatron Origin, but I suppose it's as good of a starting point for new readers as any.
     
  8. gregles

    gregles quintesson

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    like the idea for the thread and will happily follow its development. I have followed Idw right from the very beginning but had to start with infiltration with that being Idw's first release.

    The thing about doing this is you will likely quickly notice just how uneven the quality is at Idw with loads of different creative teams having their run to add their own elements. I'm an extremely vocal supporter of idw's stuff when writen by James roberts or Roche and bits of furman and Scott's work show merit but most of the rest is pretty mediocre to terrible.
     
  9. Haywired

    Haywired Hakunamatatacon

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    Technically, it's not Autobot society before the war what was so corrupt. Only the Senate and Primes.

    Optimus's Autobots also are "illegal" revolutionary government, a bunch of police officers who did reject legal order and grouped with their leader. They just had less aggressive approach than Cons.

    If Optimus never found the Matrix he'd be as "legal" as was Megatron. A policeman revolting against his superiors, basically.

    Autobots are using the same "first face" as pre-war government as their sigil, but from the Senate point of view they wouldn't be any valid continuation.
     
  10. NoiseMaker

    NoiseMaker Well-Known Member

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    First offf.. Ryan F specifically asked for no spoilers... and within a few posts there is a whole page from a brilliant, and pivotal point in the series.... much much later in the run, then details and background from the series also much much later in the run.

    I really enjoy the IDW-Verse and would really appreciate eing able to over it in this thread with Ryan and others without tons of spoilers from later issues... he's read 1 issue of one of the opening stories and people are spoiling important stuff from later on down the road!

    I really enjoyed Megatron: Origin, and agree that it can seem totally off kilter - but Megatron is the hero in his own story, and we're used to him being public enemy No.1.

    M:O is still very much in canon, and there are several callbacks to it in the recent comics, from the various creators (backround cameos dont count by the way RyanF).. but much of it still counts and there are several surprises coming up, so pay attention.

    Looking forwards to discussing more... the IDW hardbacks are definately the best way to read the whole IDW-Verse story, im going through a re-read myself and have just got to Volume 5..
     
  11. Ryan F

    Ryan F Transform and Roll Out! TFW2005 Supporter

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    Thanks guys!

    This isn't a problem to me as yet, because I don't know where it's going, nor do I know what IDW Prime is going to be like, personality-wise. I'm willing to be open-minded.

    What I would say though, is that if IDW Prime is remotely like his 80s counterpart, he would be just as appalled at the death of the miner in this issue as Megatron is.

    But that's where the similarity ends. Megatron's first reaction is to chuck an axe at Decimus (at least - I think it's Megatron who throws it... the art isn't clear on that point) and batter a guard to death. Optimus Prime isn't a stranger to violence but traditionally it's a last resort for him when all else fails, not the instant option. I sympathise with Megatron's anger and urge to lash out, but whilst I can understand why he acts the way he does here, that doesn't mean I agree with those actions.

    The thing that surprises me the most here is Prowl. He only gets a cameo but he actually seems to be in league with this oppressive state. I don't know what his game is yet, but his presence seems to suggest that, for now at least, he's very much part of the problem.

    But it's nice to see the shades of grey. In the old cartoons and comics, Megatron was just an evil maniac, and Prowl an honourable right-hand-man. Even this early (yeah, I know it's not the first IDW comic to be published) we already get a sense of the writers trying to make things a bit more interesting.
     
  12. Omegashark18

    Omegashark18 Combaticon turned Autobot

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    Well, I wish you luck Ryan F. For you have a long road ahead of you.
     
  13. Mort

    Mort Apostate

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    You went for it :D  yay!

    Megatron Origin was also the first thing I read and it hooked me. It gets bad press, but I think it's an intriguing (though perhaps lacking in character focus as you say) origin story and unlike anything TF I'd read up to that point. The colour palette was a common complaint against Milne's lines. It looks pretty, but is hard to read.

    Look forward to your posts as you read along. Might want to add a NO SPOILERS tag somewhere ultra visible for those who casually wander in.
     
  14. Stryker055

    Stryker055 Josh Boyfriend

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    The problem with Megatron Origin is that it doesn't make any sense without Chaos Theory, Shadowplay, and the Megatron flashback from MTMTE #34 shedding light on character motivations and the social/political background of Cybertron.

    That being said, Megatron Origin was also my introduction to IDW, and I was able to enjoy it a whole bunch and it got me interested.
     
  15. Nocturne

    Nocturne Professional Ginger

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    This looks like it's shaping up to be an interesting thread. Can't wait to see your thoughts on future issues.
     
  16. discoamazing

    discoamazing Well-Known Member

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    Keep it up Ryan! I'm an old G1 fan too, and reading the IDW series(s) for the first time completely blew my mind! I can't wait to see another fan's reaction.
     
  17. Omegashark18

    Omegashark18 Combaticon turned Autobot

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    You should also prepare for a lot of ups and downs in terms of story quality.
     
  18. Danforth

    Danforth Well-Known Member

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    I recognise some fellow IDW board expat names on this thread :D  Hi there!

    M:O is kind of a strange place to start because it's tonally quite different to the rest of the IDWverse (I believe it was initially conceived for the Dreamwave continuity, but don't know how much of the final feel is down to that, and how much is just that it's a different writer doing something the rest of the IDW verse had kept away from up to that point).

    My favourite part of the IDWverse has been watching Alex Milne's art improve. Stick with it :) 
     
  19. Autovolt 127

    Autovolt 127 Get In The Titan, Prime!

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    I kind of have to agree on this.

    I think this other than like Spotlight Arcee, is the other real misstep of IDW. I mean I have nothing against being less heroic or more morally ambiguous but sometimes its just makes it harder to root for them.

    I think that's exactly how I would have done it.
     
  20. Ryan F

    Ryan F Transform and Roll Out! TFW2005 Supporter

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    Megatron Origin #2

    The Megatron of issue two is unquestionably a villain. We can no longer feel sympathy for him here - whatever injustices may have launched him on this path, he's now totally evil, killing Transformers left right and centre - and enjoying it. In a way, it's a shame: where part one had shades of grey, good and evil are now firmly black and white. Some nuance has been lost, I think.

    Gladiatorial fights have long been a fallback of G1 lore, ever since Tornado and Earthquake's little cameo in 'The Enemy Within', but there are so many nods back to the 1980s it's hard to know where to begin. There's a cameo by Cy-Kill from Go-Bots, and Scrounge and Wheezel from 'The Smelting Pool' show up (Wheezel even gets smelted down for his trouble). Sunstreaker is a background character in the arena audience, which recalls his brush with gladiatorial battles in 'State Games'. After issue 1's freshness, this seems a bit 'go back to square one' by comparison.

    Even the Senate's dodgy morals get crystallised into absolutes here. Decimus in the first issue may have been a callous, officious idiot with no regard for the working classes, but he wasn't actually an out-and-out moustache-twirling panto villain. With our second Senator on the scene (Ratbat), subtlety goes out of the window - he calls his underlings 'worms', fixes the stock market, and seems to enjoy watching criminals die in televised events (basically, he's Sil from Doctor Who).

    While the first issue (barring the very end sequence) was set exclusively on a remote mine, here we get a good proper look at Cybertron and its inhabitants... and it's also where the main plot kicks in. Megatron's lot are running a series of shady underground fights-to-the-death, and making a ton of money off the betting proceeds (much like the old G1 episode, 'The Gambler'). He's also selling recordings to a Cybertronian public who are lapping this stuff up.

    So while Sentinel Prime is charged with stopping these games, the evil Senator Ratbat is looking to get a piece of Megatron's pie. Sentinel sends in a couple of Autobots to stake out the arena - but they are discovered and killed. End of part two.

    Whilst I appreciate there's more going on here in terms of action and events, and the series is building up a head of steam, I'm quite surprised how quickly we've swung from 'ohh, they're doing something a bit different with Transformers' to something a bit more safe and 'trad'.

    On the plus side, however, this issue does an awful lot - it lays the groundwork for the rest of the miniseries, it kickstarts the plot, introduces Ratbat as a major nasty, whilst adding the likes of Soundwave, Bumper, Hound and the Constructicons into the mix. But for me at least, this lacks the daring and envelope-pushing of the opening instalment.


    • OK, now I get why they did that Senator Ratbat figure a few years back (the Scourge retool), where Ratbat didn't actually change into a bat.
    • It's still a cold, grey palette, and sometimes it's hard to work out what exactly's going on (especially in the fight scenes), but the artwork is just so rich - you can read this issue three or four times and still find new details hidden away in the background.
    • Bumper waited years to get in the comic, and when he does, he's toast. Poor little guy.

    This feels more like a proper story now (issue 1 felt like a pre-credits teaser; this is now act one), even though it is fairly straightforward and has less in the way of subtle moral greyness. One step forward, one step back. 3/5
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2016

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