Hm. I think I'm done. Goodbye, Lost Light.

Discussion in 'Transformers Comics Discussion' started by RNSrobot, May 13, 2017.

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  1. RNSrobot

    RNSrobot Keeper of the Waspinator Swarm. Blam.

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    I disagree with your limited view of what transformers fiction can or should be. Also, science fiction has long contained both "escapist" fiction AND heavily allegorical or message-oriented material; a strong argument can be made that sf is ... Dammit. Can't phrase it the way I want. Much of the best sf has "something to say;" being more "fantastic," in many ways, allows sf to communicate better than a more direct "real world" take.

    Again, you're entitled to your opinion. If you read my op and the majority of this thread, those of us who are frustrated by where ll has gone are not upset because of gay robots, but a dramatic drop in quality of writing and tasteless behind the scenes issues relating to the artwork. We're not saying goodbye because of values. You aren't adding to the discussion? Rather centering it on something entirely different?

    I'm *here* for the gay robots.

    (And I'm not here for the people who can't handle the gay robots.)

    I'd also reallllly like fewer copout deaths and better payoffs. And Milne back on art. And anode and lug to die, offpanel.
     
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  2. RNSrobot

    RNSrobot Keeper of the Waspinator Swarm. Blam.

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    (I will agree that where it falls apart is if the dialogue begins to read literally as if from a book or pamphlet; kroks monologue at the end of the scavengers two-parter late season 2, while good-intentioned, is an example of this imo. He stopped sounding like a character and sounded like a mental health advocate essay. I AGREE with his sentiments, I value the focus on mental health, but it needed to be adapted to krok and the scavengers. I don't like that he used such explicit mental health language; the ideas could have been conveyed in a much more incharacter fashion).

    (Disagree with a split lip on preferring the early s1 relationship take, because I think it was more Roberts hedging his bets on Domey and rewind. That relationship, and its full affirmation, is too important to background or not fully embrace. Agree that later-era Roberts lacks restraint, however. Balance between the two?)
     
  3. Bass X0

    Bass X0 King of Muay Thai

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    Then go watch Rescue Bots. The more mature Transformers stories are richer for having real world issues retold with a Cybertronian twist. I find Cybertronian politics more interesting than real world politics.
     
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  4. Joeis4Jord4n

    Joeis4Jord4n Well-Known Member

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    Well, I'm gonna chime in on this. LL has taken a severe dip in quality. The writing is uninteresting, and has lost what made it interesting in the first place. Everyone sounds the same, and the plot barely progresses. There is no more character development, and when characters aren't unique and develop, you start to not care about them. That's why I don't care for Anode or Lug. Nothing unique about them, so it's hard for me to care about them.

    Another problem I have is Megatron. After binge reading some phase 1 comics, I feel like Autobot Megatron is a concept that won't work in this continuity. Megatron has done absolutely atrocious things, and the fact that the Lost Lighters are cool with him is just baffling. Also, Rodimus. Jro's Rodimus was the only version of the character I could stand. Not anymore. This Rodimus is just as irresponsible, selfish and incompetent as all other versions.

    As for the art, it's not terrible, Lawrence is good at covers, but I don't think he should do interiors. His art alongside Lafuente's coloring makes this look like a kids comic.
     
  5. agp

    agp Well-Known Member

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    The Overlord arc was the first crack in the foundation for me. The build up great was and the climax was meh. The big death also turned out to be a cop out. This has all become trade mark Roberts. I think most of us were giving passes out at the time, but looking back it was the start of trend.

    I'll throw my 2 cents in on this questions too. Leave the romance out completely, hetero, homo, bi, whatever. @SPLIT LIP post on the romance was right on. It worked in season 1 for Chromedome and Rewind because of the way it was presented. Once season 2 hit it was all so damn cringey. The horrible way relationships were written in season two really made me question why romance was in the comics to begin with. There is no sex for enjoyment, no reproduction, no economic gains, no social gains. You might say there is emotional gains, but the narrative presents Transformers as emotionally sufficient with just friendship. The narrative never gave these aliens a good reason for romance, it just relied on our notion of true love to not really question anything.

    I don't know if it was intentional but introducing romance first through a homosexual relationship has given Roberts and IDW a shield against criticism. Anyone with real criticism, not just hate, could still be called a homophobe or bigot or whatever until they shut up. It's a common tactic that people use, even unconsciously, to attack the person and not their argument. If romance was introduced through Nautica and Skids they would have to actually respond to any criticism, there's no easy way to attack the critical party.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2017
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  6. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP AKA Beve Stuscemi

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    Overlord's attack was hilarious.

    "Next issue: MASSACRE-SLAUGHTERHOUSE-KILLSTRAVEGANZA!!"

    *five people of the two hundred plus crewmembers die including three nobodies*

    Are you asking me or just anybody?

    Because I say yes, in fact I did dislike the direction they were taking Skids and Nautica. That felt very forced and convenient that right after this new fembot shows up she's seemingly pairing up with the blandest of the crew members.

    I think what hurts the relationships is the shear glut of characters and the amount of them who are paired up. When I think back to the one TF couple I actually really like, Blackarachnia and Silverbolt, I question my logic because that was frequently put forward in the show. But what sold it there and not here is because BW was such a small cast, it could afford to devote time to them. Plus, it wasn't just a love story. Silverbolt, in his mind, was trying to "rescue" Blackarachnia, and she was realising being bad didn't mean being evil. Plus, she was a really important player for most of the latter seasons it made sense to focus on her. It was almost the reverse of common cartoon romances: the female was the pre-established character with the main arc, and it was the male who existed largely to be her partner. Yet, Silverbolt was still a character in his own right. For the 90's, hell even for today, that feels really fresh and well played. And moreover, their relationship fed into her doubts about being evil, which directly influenced the main plot and its direction. The only other relationship was Tigatron and Airazor which was so subtle they didn't even outright admit their feelings until the very end. Most of it happened off screen. (Cheetor's brief crush may have counted, but that was just a side-effect of his coming of age, and totally one-sided)

    Skip over to MTMTE, and there's so many characters, with new ones arriving every few issues it seems, that giving everyone such focus on romatic relationships feels... unwarranted, not to mention samey. Most relationships are romantic or have a very similar slant to the way they're depicted, and eventually evolve into romantic relationships anyway. It's too much, too fast, and it'd be just as bad if, say, the comic had too much action, or too much science-fantasy elements. I don't know how to describe it any more effectively than I have before in this thread and others. Roberts is putting too much emphisis on certain aspects and ignoring how they come together in the big picture.

    It also hurts that, much like comedy (another shortcoming of the book) romance is not a universal language. What some may find sweet and genuine, others find sappy and unrealistic. Not everyone is romantic, expresses their feelings the same way, considers love/affection as important. Even more than comedy I'd wadger romance is incredibly subjective. Much like the constant references and gags and messgae board style rants the characters will go on that makes it feel too much like open mic night, the constant mention of clunky latin monikers for couples, romantic tension and "feels" as the English-impaired would say in Tumblr comments, so to can the book feel less like characters interacting and more like a soap opera. And thing is, a lot of people don't like soap operas. Too much "will he/won't he." Again, I still genunely like Chromedome and Rewind's relationship, and I liked how they were both committed to making it work despite the brief time they spent "apart." They had a convincing back story, their personalities seemed compatible, and when they bickered or fought it was over real issues and not vague emotional hurdles they created themselves. I still have their TR figures side-by-side on my shelf, proudly, because I'm reminded of the actually well-written couple of this book.

    You want to strike a balance, that's all.

    Well, no, the homosexual (as it were) relationship was introduced because there was no other way for couples to exist. At that point there was exactly one terribly-written female Transformer in all of IDW.

    If anything, I would think that the moment a female character is introduced in this book, she's not only flawless in every way, but is focused entirely on relationships and is seeingly set up to be in a couple with a guy. Luckily, it didn't turn out that simplistic, but still. Kinda irked me that the one girl character was such a basic "nerdy girl" archtype. But look, she dances! Isn't that cute how she dances? Watch me dance this puppet-I-I mean character around to endear you!
     
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  7. agp

    agp Well-Known Member

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    I never said it was the intention, and it most likely wasn't. That being said, using a homosexual relationship in a story aimed at a mass market audience does buy you a shield regardless of intention. The situation I stated where you attack the critic and not the argument is very real. It's part of the theory in Saul Alinsky's rules for radicals. It works very well as a tactic for deflating someone's argument. If it's a story written specifically with the homosexual community as the target audience the tactic of attacking the critical party becomes harder.

    I agree at the time the there was no options. Let me add to my point. The next romance should of been heterosexual in nature. The next romance also didn't have to happen anytime soon, it could of been developed and not forced. They introduced 3 women and proceeded to introduce more. They wouldn't of had any criticism that women existed in universe solely for the purpose of pairing. To me it would of shown they were serious about romance in the story and not pandering to a particular subset of the fan base. As it stands we are yet to see any heterosexual couples or even the beginnings of one. Skids and Nautica gave us a tease. That makes me question the author's intent.

    As you laid out so well, what was the point of pushing Romance to forefront after season 1. Nothing felt real or sincere. The romance was one of the things hurting the story. I started to ask why was Roberts doing it? We'll never know why for sure, hell he might not even know. The way it's coming across now is the biggest concern isn't the story but getting pats on the back from a subset of the fan base, might not be true, but it's a reasonable thought.

    In season 1 I could believe IDW was sincere about making romance a thing in the comics. Chromedome and Rewind was well done and natural. Post season 1 I just can't believe that. I can't believe it pretty much for all the criticism you laid out about post season 1.
     
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  8. Rumblestorm

    Rumblestorm Well-Known Member

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    I like what I've read, but I am mostly here for gay robots.
    Seriously, give me a comic about Chromedome x Rewind and Cyclonus xTailgate.
     
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  9. AutobotAvalanche

    AutobotAvalanche Always in someone's corner

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    We need a Chromedome and Rewind miniseries. The story of how they met. Well, we know how they met but I'd like to see the early days of their relationship.
     
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  10. RNSrobot

    RNSrobot Keeper of the Waspinator Swarm. Blam.

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    Hell, that's still a major uncovered rabbit trail.

    What exactly *did* Chromedome do in his past? Remember guys like prowl threatening to tell rewind "the truth."

    There's a pile of new institute stuff related to the headmasters that was teased and never followed up on.
     
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  11. AutobotAvalanche

    AutobotAvalanche Always in someone's corner

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    That would be great. Then maybe we could get some character for Highbrow as well.
     
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  12. Starscream Gaga

    Starscream Gaga Protoformed This Way

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    I loved Chromedome and Rewind's relationship in Season One. I thought it was fantastic and the final message, as sappy as it was in hindsight, hit me hard. I also appreciated interactions between Prowl and Chromedome with the heavy implication that they were ex-boyfriends and I was invested in Brainstorm's tragic feelings for Quark and how it motivated his actions in Elegant Chaos.

    However, I found Tailgate and Cyclonus much, much more interesting with Tailgate as Cyclonus' only friend and the only person he manages to empathise with versus his love interest, I don't care for Anode and Lug's relationship at all and Rodimus and Drift's flirtations feels ridiculously fan-servicy to me. I will admit that Elegant Chaos is the only story I've gone back and re-read of Season 2 and I don't actually recall any pairing off between Nautica and Skids.

    I'm gay and honestly its really, really irritating to have any story with more then token gay characters (or even sometimes token gay characters) be accused of "pandering". No. A species that's 99% male having mostly gay relationships is not pandering at all. In fact I'd say introducing the next relationship as heterosexual just to say "See guys? I'm not writing for the gays" is insulting and I find the implication that that's what they should've done to be a little insulting as well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
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  13. RNSrobot

    RNSrobot Keeper of the Waspinator Swarm. Blam.

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    *APPLAUSE*
     
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  14. agp

    agp Well-Known Member

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    And there's the built in shield I was talking about for the gay relationships. Your offense isn't a counter argument, it's your feelings. If IDW wants to include romance why shouldn't they strive for diversity? The LGBTQ community fights for representation in fiction dealing with humans and estimates of their size is around 4-5% of population. Do heterosexuals not deserve inclusion in the TF universe despite the demographics?

    So what is the reason we're getting crappy in concept and poorly written relationships after season 1? Why are relationships being pushed while other parts of the narrative are failing without proper attention? Why do we need relationships at all? So the story is going to crap but Roberts is still getting pats on the back from twitter and tumblr for his relationships. What other logical conclusion is there to make besides pandering? I'm having real trouble seeing how I'm off base thinking Roberts isn't more concerned with virtue signaling than his own narrative.
     
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  15. Focksbot

    Focksbot Skeleton Detective

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    This is a complete double standards. Your original point was not an 'argument' of any sort - it was your feelings. There's no particular good reason why the next relationship should have been heterosexual - you just *wanted* it to be that way.

    As it stands, there are still a tiny number of female characters in the fiction and an even tinier number of romances. If you were to choose the next couple on a completely random basis, the chances of it being a 'heterosexual' pairing would be insanely small. There's also no in-universe reason why heterosexuality would be the dominant relationship mode, since Cybertronians don't reproduce sexually. If anything, given the history we've been presented with, a girl-boy relationship would be taboo! Their whole known species was male for millions of years for goodness' sake - it's been literally impossible for them to have hetero relationships.

    Therefore any such pairing would really be pandering to people like you who want to see heterosexuality represented in the comics - just because you're irrationally concerned that the writers aren't thinking about you enough and are instead focussing on their LGBT audience.

    To accuse someone of using some kind of 'minority shield' just because they're disagreeing with you on an entirely emotive point is really bad manners. I really think you ought to apologise.
     
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  16. Focksbot

    Focksbot Skeleton Detective

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    Supposing we agree that the purpose of Transformers as a medium is escapism. We don't, but suppose we did. The problem is that your idea of 'escape' is not the same as everyone else's. Transformers, and every other franchise touted as 'escapism', has plenty of real-word bullshittery in it that you just don't notice because you don't have problems with it in real life. Transformers has always had war and factionism, for instance - you can't really get more real-world bullshit than that. And it's also always underrepresented women - if an all-male cast that everyone pretends is somehow 'gender-neutral' isn't playing identity politics, I don't know what is.

    I have to admit, I get tired of making this incredibly obvious point. Any time anyone refers to something as escapism, they really mean that it fits their personal politics and prejudices.

    How can it be a 'clever little trick' when, as you point out, it doesn't do anything about the sales numbers? It's funny - you're the one who sounds butt-hurt here. People who aren't butt-hurt generally don't ascribe underhand motivations when a simpler one will do.

    I also note the strawman. Nobody but nobody has said that people who don't read the comic are bigots and homophobes. What has been suggested, quite rightly, is that people who keep railing against the comic, and who liken it to crashing someone else's party, are bigots and homophobes. Because here's the thing - it wasn't your fucking party. The proper comparison would be a party in which there are Jewish people celebrating alongside everyone else - they get their turn on the dance floor, and then some of the guests (ie. you) leave in disgust, claiming they've ruined everything.

    We don't need to wait for the outrage to begin. The outrage has been going on pretty much since Roberts and Barber took over. As I fellow straight while male, I implore you: get over yourself.
     
  17. agp

    agp Well-Known Member

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    It was an argument for diversity. It was an argument to see if relationships really work for these aliens that have no need for relationships. It was an argument that a heterosexual relationship has no extra merit for progressiveness and would fall under a greater scrutiny. What I want is to see IDW explore romance, not simply stick in one corner of the topic. For the record I didn't want any relationships at all to begin with. I think it's a flimsy concept, in regards to Transformers, that falls apart under scrutiny.

    I admitted that the demographics aren't on the side of heterosexual relationships. Why does that matter? The demographics are against the chances of any human being gay, but again we fight for inclusion in human fiction. Are demographics now the barometer for inclusion?

    You also didn't answer my question what is the point of all these relationships past Rewind 1-Chromedome? They're not helping the story that is losing readers quickly. I would really like to know what conclusion I should be drawing if mine is so wrong.

    I'd also like to add that I don't think the relationships are the only pandering going on. The meta humor, the tv references, the dr who plot rip offs, the excessive witty banter, Nautica, the DJD nanny bot and more. I really think Roberts has a problem listening to positive feedback too much. He's ratcheted up everything people said they liked at the expense of solid story telling. The book is a caricature of itself now.
     
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  18. Focksbot

    Focksbot Skeleton Detective

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    But why? When people normally ask for diversity, they mean they want to see proportional representation of different groups in areas that are still hugely dominated by one. But there are so few relationships in Transformers fiction that it can hardly be said to be dominated by any group.

    You don't need hetero relationships to explore this. You said that you wanted IDW to establish a hetero relationship so that it could prove to you that it was serious about exploring the romantic relationships seriously. But a better way to prove this ... would be to just continue exploring the existing relationships.

    Demographics are certainly *one* of the barometers for inclusion - and the proportion of LGBT humans is far higher than the number of established female characters in Transformers fiction. Another, possibly more important factor is whether the group has been historically underrepresented or misrepresented in fiction. There's a drive to include gay characters now because our culture has done such a shit job of including them in the past. The same isn't really true for straight couples.

    Why not the most obvious conclusion of all? Roberts is including these relationships because *he* thinks they make for a good story and he also thinks exploring gay relationships is the responsible thing for an author to do. Readers are at liberty to disagree and say they don't work (and I'm not a fan of Anode and Lug myself), but that's simply a question of different tastes and judgements.

    None of that is pandering. It's what Roberts likes to write. He's a fan of Dr Who and Community, and he likes to write in a style that imitates elements of those shows. I also think he goes too far - in fact, I think the influence of Dr Who on Roberts is really irksome because Dr Who is a TERRIBLE TV show. But there's no good reason to conclude that he's doing this for any other reason than because he's the writer and he thinks it makes his story as good as it can possibly be.
     
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  19. agp

    agp Well-Known Member

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    I have to partially disagree that recently diversity pushes have been about proportionate representation. The part I disagree with is proportionate. I don't remember any argument for diversity stopping at where the demographics stop.

    Thank you admitting demographics is only one barometer. I would still argue it's a shit barometer. Maybe I could see it as starting off point as acknowledgement that a group exists in number. Demographics can be a sword that swings both ways. As easily as one could use it for inclusion, one could also use it as a justification to cap inclusion of groups.

    I can see Roberts personal opinion and perception of responsible action as a valid conclusion. Thank you, my views on work and employment skewed things. So I'll follow with where does his responsibility start as a hired author on work that he doesn't own? I would think with the paycheck comes some obligation to try and be objective about your work and do your best to sell as many copies as possible. Relationships are dragging the book down, not because they're homosexual, but because there's too many, they take up too much space and they're poorly done. To me part of his responsibility would be to police his own work. As an employee I have always tried to put my personal feelings aside and do what's best for the company. What's good for the goose is good for the gander and all. I projected those values onto Roberts. That's where I concluded he was more concerned with personal agendas than his job.

    Pandering is the wrong word probably. I agree with everything else you said, and yes Dr. Who is a terrible show. So I guess it's better classified as over indulgence? I still think it's a high probability that he has problem with listening to praise too much. I can agree with your conclusion. I still think limiting the indulgences is a responsibility Roberts has given the ownership and employment conditions.
     
  20. agp

    agp Well-Known Member

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    Sorry I didn't address that in my last post. I wanted a hetero relationship because it carries no extra merit of forward thinking, progressiveness, righting previous wrongs, inclusion, breaking stigmas or anything. Without any extra merit it makes the relationship more open to criticism. I'm not sold on any kind of romantic relationships for Transformers as a continuing thing. Something Isolated and well done like Chromedome and Rewind 1, I bought as well as most of the fan base.

    When you start making romance a regular thing for fictional beings so drastically different from us you owe it to the reader to answer why. It's obviously not a regular thing in terms of Transformers population, but from the audience POV it has become regular. Transformers don't sexually reproduce, they don't have children to raise, they don't have recreational sex. There is no economic or social gains that we have ever seen. The only thing really left is emotional needs, wants or support. Up until the recent influx of relationships we haven't seen Transformers as whole having emotional needs outside of friendship.

    When romance is a one off that's well done you can ignore all those questions. I don't think Roberts or IDW can answer those questions well in the framework of the greater narrative. I'm open to be proven wrong.
     
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