Grumpy old G1 fan reads IDW - in order!

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

  1. Infosaur

    Infosaur Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2004
    Posts:
    3,856
    Trophy Points:
    237
    Likes:
    +193
    Yes, they do show up with libraries, data tracks, books, underbases, golden disks, etc.

    Sadly they're often casualties of the war.
     
  2. Calvatron

    Calvatron Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2016
    Posts:
    42
    Trophy Points:
    27
    Likes:
    +39
    The whole thing is just an awkard retcon of furman's original time line. The war was only supposed to have been going on for about 10,000 years so the whole past mysteries had some scale to make it believable. Then idw changed it to be officially millions of years long and made the whole history ridiculous and nonsensical.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. RNSrobot

    RNSrobot Keeper of the Waspinator Swarm. Blam.

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2009
    Posts:
    1,358
    Trophy Points:
    197
    Likes:
    +857
    Why is it ridiculous and nonsensical? Albeit I'm not wholly opposed, because the timescale, at times, makes things a bit silly. For what Roberts/Barber have done, though, 10,000 years isn't long enough either...

    That said, I'm quite over the "millions of years" bit in any continuity. For as much as I love TF Animated, millions of years did not work for the storyline that show was trying to do. Just made things awkward.
     
  4. NoiseMaker

    NoiseMaker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2015
    Posts:
    615
    Trophy Points:
    167
    Location:
    Dorset, United Kingdom
    Likes:
    +457
    Hey grumpy: still very much enjoying your well thought out and constructes reviews, especially your thoughts when comparing the earlier marvel tf books witht the new ones..

    I will admit i almost look forwards to the reviews as much as the books themselves.

    Bumper issue - and these two annuals are essentially the A and B sides of the same story. Cant wait for the next one!
     
  5. Calvatron

    Calvatron Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2016
    Posts:
    42
    Trophy Points:
    27
    Likes:
    +39
    The first ark was supposed to have launched and dissapeared generations before the current cybertronians were created and the war started. That's why so much of it was forgotten and steeped in legend. That works for six point something million years ago with a current generation tens of thousands of years old. But when a young bot like bumblebee is over four million years old and a large portion of the cast was not only alive but present for the events of the distant past the lost aspect of it goes beyond the reasonable supspension of disbelief and your get these huge convoluted explanations such as information creep trying to patch self created conuity errors.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  6. Haywired

    Haywired Hakunamatatacon

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2014
    Posts:
    4,725
    Trophy Points:
    222
    Likes:
    +3,219
    Yup. Roberts and Barber came with the "information creep" and bots simply forgetting things to somehow fix this... But ditching the original Furman idea about the time scale was just plain bad. This one thing did not need any change and was made broken just because it was this way in G1... Without giving it any consideration if it even works for the IDW continuity.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. RNSrobot

    RNSrobot Keeper of the Waspinator Swarm. Blam.

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2009
    Posts:
    1,358
    Trophy Points:
    197
    Likes:
    +857
    So tired of "because g1."
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. barry

    barry Like a Kind of Matador

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    Posts:
    6,166
    News Credits:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    317
    Location:
    Leeds, UK
    Likes:
    +34,092
    Remind me, it was All Hail Megatron that changed the timescale?
     
  9. Ryan F

    Ryan F Transform and Roll Out! TFW2005 Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2009
    Posts:
    1,397
    News Credits:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    227
    Likes:
    +1,285
    In Regeneration One, Furman invented the idea of 'Torrent Memory', whereby Transformers could upload and download memories from the cloud. Whilst a bit odd, it did solve a couple of continutiy errors from the G1 comics: 1) when Jetfire (who was created on Earth) 'remembers' playing the game of Basketrek on Cybertron, and 2) in "Stargazing" where Starscream doesn't know what Christmas is, then pauses, and then suddenly knows all about it. Maybe some Transformers forget stuff when they're out of wi-fi range and so can't access the cloud...?

    I think whether it's tens of thousands of years or millions of years, it doesn't make much of a difference in the grand scheme of things - both are inordinately long spans of time that are nigh-unfathomable to the human mind.

    Yeah, I think the main issue is the Cybertronians' life-span, rather than the timescales involved. So Transformers can live for millions of years, but only Tailgate, Galvatron, Jhiaxus, Cyclonus, Metroplex etc. are still around from the very old days? Was there some sort of mass extinction event four millions years ago that killed all the 'ancient' transformers except for Tailgate and those who were offworld?

    The G1 (Marvel) timeline of the war is pretty rubbish as well. In US#1 the war has clearly been going on for "aeons" prior to the launch of the Ark, but then later (the Headmasters mini-series I think), Fort Max says the war has 'only' been going on for four million years, which would put the start date a lot closer to the Ark launch.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  10. Danforth

    Danforth Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Posts:
    98
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    62
    Likes:
    +94
    IIRC, the first time the IDW war was explicity stated to have been going for about four million years was issue 1 of the Ironhide mini. Yay, Costa! ;) 

    I don't mind the information creep idea. The idea that TFs are nearly immortal is shared in-universe by the TFs themselves. Then stuff like age-related burnout (which Ratchet says Pharma was researching before he started killing his patients) and information creep coming as a surprise to them, as well as the reader, allows for them to not remember the distant past. They'd forgotten that they'd forgotten / that there were things to forget, as they conceive of themselves as never forgetting :) 
     
  11. Coffee

    Coffee (╭☞ꗞᨓꗞ)╭☞

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2013
    Posts:
    5,711
    News Credits:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    247
    Location:
    Mississauga Ontario
    Likes:
    +711
    I think one of my favourite scenes int he annual might be the moment where the option to sift through the Titan's memories to the beginning is introduced, and out of everyone it is Drift who tells Chromedome to stop and think for a moment. It's a nice, subtle bit of character that shows how he perceives his faith. He doesn't want the truth. I don't think it's as much as he's afraid the Guiding Hand aren't real, so much as he simply knows that having his proof will remove his need for faith. It would turn faith into fact, which removes the point of his transition following his brush with death.

    I also love the "Yeah, what a scumbag..." line from Swerve. I think this was the first time we started delving into Swerve as a three dimensional character.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2017
    • Like Like x 3
  12. Knightdramon

    Knightdramon Hasbro LIES to the US

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    Posts:
    5,720
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    282
    Likes:
    +750
    Bear in mind that this ongoing discussion spoils future threads for Ryan, btw...

    I think the fact that Transformers do tend to have fuzzy memories is perfectly fine. I mean, I'm barely 30 and at times I can't remember what I ate for dinner 2 days ago, let alone 2 years ago. I would not even begin to comprehend how I'd be if I needed to remember things that happened 4 million years ago!
     
    • Like Like x 2
  13. Ryan F

    Ryan F Transform and Roll Out! TFW2005 Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2009
    Posts:
    1,397
    News Credits:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    227
    Likes:
    +1,285
    Yeah, good point. And of course, it’s not just religious faith that prompts this. We still don’t know the fate of his Crystal City chums... for all Drift knew, the mind-meld could have confirmed their demise. Not knowing one way or the other, he can still hope they survived.

    I can totally relate. I also have a sieve-like brain!!!

    I take the point, though. In theory Transformers are robots, but in practice they’re more like us humans than simply hunks of machinery.

    I mean, instead of a clunky written alphabet and language, real robots would probably use something a bit more concise like a barcode or a QR code or somesuch.

    Also, is the bipedal human-like robot mode really the best equipped for hand-to-hand combat? Why don’t we see more robots like the ROTF Constructicons with really wacky body-types?

    Sometimes you just have to go with the flow, and forget they’re supposed to be robots and treat them more like people. Fallible memories is just another item to add to the list!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Housewife2000

    Housewife2000 Fandom, combine!

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2004
    Posts:
    252
    Trophy Points:
    162
    Location:
    UK
    Likes:
    +145
    Apologies in advance for this digression, but in my own head canon for the G1 comics, I always liked to think Transformers only live for a century or two, barring going into stasis - which makes their human-like personalities easier to understand. I just can't imagine immortal beings ever having the kind of hopes and dreams and personal character development we have as finite, mortals - and it's these hopes and dreams and arcs that make Transformers stories work so well.

    Marvel G1 gives you a little wiggle room to make this work: once Cybertron is knocked out of its orbit around Alpha Centauri and gets further away from its original star, the planet would cool and its atmosphere eventually condense. The Transformers would freeze or retreat into stasis until Cybertron reached our solar system and began to thaw. Once the Ark clears a path through the asteroid belt and crashes on earth, Cybertron passes out of our solar system and goes back into an ice age. Presumably some years or decades prior to the Ark reawakening in 1984, Cybertron settles around another star or begins to traverse the warmer climes of another solar system and thaws out. In this scenario, immortality is unnecessary: Transformers can age - perhaps because unlike un-living robots, their sparks have a lifespan. But their ability to go into long periods of stasis also allows these huge gulfs of time to fit into the timeline. It even allows for Beast Wars to be only a few hundred years on from G1 and for most of the combatants to have passed away and the war to almost pass into legend - much like World War 1 starts to seem to us now.

    However, with IDW continuity I can't fudge it. It's information creep or bust...
     
    • Like Like x 3
  15. Ryan F

    Ryan F Transform and Roll Out! TFW2005 Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2009
    Posts:
    1,397
    News Credits:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    227
    Likes:
    +1,285
    The other problem we have is character development. Barber and Roberts seem to be making great strides in recent issues (Starscream's journey being the most obvious thus far), but traditionally Transformers never changed. At all.

    Maybe it was because they all had tech specs that nailed every individual down to a concrete set of fixed character traits? I dunno. But it just seems odd that a flashback to Bumblebee millions of years ago sees him acting exactly the same as he does in the present day. I'm not the same person I was twenty years ago, or even ten years ago. I'm sure my personality will develop in the years to come. And yet Transformers traditionally never grow or develop.

    Prior to the start of RID/MTMTE, what was the biggest or best character growth and development we ever got? Scorponok in Marvel G1 (which Furman criminally decided to reset in Regeneration One). Any others? I mean, I know some Transformers are written slightly differently in different media, but are there any others who actually changed and grew (as opposed to those who were just written inconsistently?) Even IDW Thundercracker's big face-turn in All Hail Megatron was retconned as "nope, he was always a bit of a rebel" in the spotlight that I covered recently.

    As I said before, personally I don't mind the millions-of-years thing from a continuity point of view... indeed, in certain ways it makes their war seem more epic, tragic and grandiose the more zeroes you put on the end of the year. But whilst I can get my head around the stupid timespans (and accede to ideas like memory creep to make it all work), what I can't really fathom is the idea that Transformers, traditionally, live for millions of years and yet seem incapable of personal change. Barber and Roberts deserve praise for trying to alter the status quo, but it only serves to make the prior 28 years of Transformers fiction seem even more of an oddity by comparison to the current stuff.

    ***

    In the very first issue of the old Marvel Comics (of which these annuals are a loving pastiche), the in-house Transformers 'style' hadn't been established yet. Many of the G1 bots are either drawn like their toys or are stupidly off-model (Gears fares especially badly in US#1). Matched with some rather clunky dialogue (which was later smoothed out when Bob Budiansky took over as writer), it gave the original Cybertron scenes a rather 'odd' flavour. The stylstic oddities added to the feeling that we were watching a much earlier chapter in Cybertronian history.

    It's like watching a movie made in the forties. The clothes, haircuts and sense of style seem peculiar to our eyes. The way people talked - the words, the phraseology - was quite different in those days. There's a very pronounced difference in the way humans looked and interacted in the past to the way they do now.

    So when the annuals replicate the old Marvel style for the flashbacks, it works beautifully - not just because it gives me warm feelings of nostalgia, but because it creates a sense of disconnect between the past and the present day. I've now had a chance to read the RID Annual (review coming soon), and the deliberately cheesy way in which Nova Prime's crew introduce themselves isn't just a silly in-joke... it gives the historical 'bots a decidedly different way of talking that mirrors how humanity has changed over time. The "I, Straxus, describe my personality in the third person" type dialogue is just the Transformers equivalent of "I say, old bean!" My point is that the past should be like a foreign country, and IDW - by using the early-eighties style - is making the past actually feel different.

    Compare this to other IDW issues set in the past, like Spotlight: Blurr or the flashback scenes in the Ironhide miniseries. Neither of those stories felt like they were set in the past, in spite of the "four million years ago" captions. The robots may have been in earlier bodies, but in terms of diction, art style and so forth there was no disconnect between them and the present-day action that surrounded them. Present those issues to a Transformers newbie, and they'd be hard-pressed to tell those stories were set a fortnight ago, let alone millions of years. They're historic but there's no sense of history, no sense of change or progression, just social and personal ennui.
     
    • Like Like x 9
  16. GoLion

    GoLion Uh... Well that's just prime

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2014
    Posts:
    6,406
    News Credits:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    242
    Likes:
    +2,031
    I mean, to be fair, any DEEP TIME events that happen over the span of millennia are silly. It's hard to make a character that the reader/viewer relates to because of that. The characters all seem young and fresh (using our slang et al.), but we're supposed to think they're these ancient robots that have experienced MILLIONS of years of war? That's part of the reason I have always liked the more bombastic silly nature of some of the shows. Millions of years is nothing when the show is silly. When a more serious tone is applied to the fiction, these types of questions are raised because it doesn't make any logical sense that these beings would just so happen to act like us, relate to our pop culture, or even look like us to a certain extent.

    I think the only bit of fiction that has been able to walk that tightrope of serious/fun has been Beast Wars. The show was able to present dire/serious situations, but it was also able to mix in some lighthearted fare that made it all the more enjoyable to watch.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. EpsilonEta

    EpsilonEta Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2016
    Posts:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    57
    Location:
    Sweden
    Likes:
    +66
    I agree 4 million years is way too much in a serious seting. It's ok for them to be offline in the Ark (disregarding events on Cybertron) but not for a war. In my head canon for IDW, Cybertron doesn't have an orbital tilt so transformers have no practical reason to count years, only days (or month). If Cybertron spin 3x faster then Earth we get a factor 1000 difference mening when a cybertronian say 4 million years its more like 4 thousand earth years. I just pretend it's "million cycels" instead of "million years". It's still ridiculusly long but then the war started closer to the construction of the pyramides then when apes started walking upright.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Housewife2000

    Housewife2000 Fandom, combine!

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2004
    Posts:
    252
    Trophy Points:
    162
    Location:
    UK
    Likes:
    +145
    Not many, for sure. Arguably Carnivac, from his introduction in Time Wars through to the Earthforce run changed dramatically. The confident Magnus introduced in Target: 2006 is changed by the time he’s fighting Galvatron in Fire on High, and traumatised by PTSD in Salvage. The manic Megatron in the post-Afterdeath stories is crazier than he was prior to Prime’s death, and G2 Megatron has been calmed by years alone, rebuilding and reflecting.

    Few of these examples have the depth of character and subtlety of change found in the best of RID/MTMTE, but the modern fiction is far more nuanced and complex in general. And we’re talking about significant changes played out over months or years that would mean a character is written differently - but personal change can occur on a smaller scale - and indeed one of Furman’s stock G1 plots is to see cowardly characters find bravery, rivals find a common goal etc.

    On the point of the distant past being written as to feel distant, I completely agree that it’s a missed opportunity in many IDW stories. State Games and There Shall Come a Leader from the UK annuals stand out in my memory because there were lines of dialogue and details in the worlds that unusual, archaic and distant.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Infosaur

    Infosaur Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2004
    Posts:
    3,856
    Trophy Points:
    237
    Likes:
    +193
    The thing is, it's only because Hasbro has given IDW far more freedom than ANY other interpretation to date.

    As awesome as Beast Wars was, they still had to sell toys and keep the characters "in the lane". And even then, the first season is generally interchangeable and can be viewed in almost any order (for syndication). We take episodic TV for granted these days, but in the mid 90's Babylon 5, late TNG, DS9 and others struggled against a system that wanted the whole plot wrapped up with a bow in the end of 48 minutes.

    TF:Animated is a love letter to fandom (just watched the Wasp-trilogy again today) and it showed that even just drawing on established 'canon'* you can tell an awesome linear story of the Transformers.

    But IDW was the first time Hasbro threw the keys to the kids and essentially said, "have fun, be back by 12 and don't scratch the paint." By the time they proposed [fuuuuuuu,,, spoiler!]

    Well, let's just say when Hasbro got to about where Ryan is now, they were so happy they were like, "do whatever dude, you guys rock!"

    Unfortunately lately I'm not as happy with the latest direction of IDW. I like the concept of an aligned community but the execution is disappointing. (GI Joe, WTF?)

    * air quotes so nobody argues what is canon or not.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  20. Infosaur

    Infosaur Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2004
    Posts:
    3,856
    Trophy Points:
    237
    Likes:
    +193
    As an aside,,,

    I love, Love, LOVE this idea! It's freakin' brilliant!
     
    • Like Like x 1

Share This Page