Discussion in 'Transformers Comics Discussion' started by Lucas35, Jul 19, 2017.
I found this about how Tarn got his facial scarring:
Well, that's one gap in Glitch's story now filled.
Huh. I love this. It's Alex's headcanon, or something he worked out with James?
I was just wondering this the other day! I didn't even remember the Grimlock beef.
Nice! Pretty cool answers, especially for the mask damage.
Until it appears in print it's unofficial regardless, though as close as we're gonna get to official probably.
Well that destroys my implausible head-cannon of it being movie Optimus Prime crossing dimensions to remove faces.
When I see stuff like this I feel validated in my decision to spend ungodly amounts of money on a third-party Tarn & third-party Grimlock so they can fight on my shelf.
No, nothing wrong here. No unresolved childhood issues...
Illustrates the issues with Tarn as a character and the story told around him.
To me this illustrates that Tarn became more a plot device than a character. So cool but we know exactly zilch about him beyond plot points and the authors don't seem to know what really makes him tick or major questions about him, like how one of OP's original inner circle became the Decepticon Himmler.
Second question, does this finally settle that Grimlock was never a Decepticon in IDW? Can we finally put that to bed?
Hm, I had a really strong sense of what made him tick. Until the end I didn't know what got him there, but his interactions with his team, with Deathsaurus, with Overlord, the whole list thing... I knew who he was, what his personality was, how he thought.
Sure, I'd want to know more about the journey, but I had no doubt of where he is now, and I could also see lots of signs of how he got there- he was an Empurata victim. Megatron got ahold of him. He was a big believer in image and form (i.e. he's into music and literature as part of a 'cultured villain' image, but he's really not cultured, they're chosen affections) and was trying to make himself into a monster for the cause, and he did, but in a way that left the other monsters like Overlord real clear on how it was a construct. He was someone who wanted to be bigger than he was, and Megatron took that and used it to make him into a monster.
But we didn't know who Tarn was really, not like we knew who Starscream or OP was. Tarn was a code name, a persona much like UM is a persona for Minimus. Tarn was always the mask, but underneath the mask, there wasn't anything of substance.
The "who is Tarn" question, for me, goes back to Glitch/Damus vs. Roller. The ONLY thing we ever knew about Glitch was the power to control inanimate machines and he was an empurata victim. Beyond that, Glitch is as much a blank slate as Tarn. We don't know squat about either of them, really, because Roberts spent so much obvious time trying to get readers to buy into "Tarn is Roller," which is why I say they are plot devices. Instead of a cool character, we get a hook meant to catch readers. The persona of Tarn is terrifying and exciting, but once you peel back the layers it falls apart.
Things like "Tarn got the tar kicked out of him by Grimlock" isn't characterization, it's more plot points. And what little characterization we get, like Tarn wanting to not look at his victims, doesn't jive with the person who collected dead bodies and decorated his office with them. The head of a death camp who's squimish about it? What???
I'm going to point out we don't really know Starscream's origin either. There's barely any of him before he became Megatron's right hand man, less than there is of Glitch.
What Tarn's name was isn't who he is. We don't know a lot about Glitch, but we know a ton about Tarn and his personality, to say we don't know squat about either of them isn't true. We know what Tarn looks up to and what he hates, what his trigger issues are, how he operates, how he treats his team, and what pushes him over the edge. Tarn has a lot of interactions and those interactions are often focused on what makes him tick.
The Grimlock thing is just some plot points, but we already know Tarn, and know him well- and the stuff like 'picks at his own mask,' also helps feed into what we know.
To draw a comparison to Ultra Magnus, learning he's Minimus Ambus added another layer to the character, but we already knew Ultra Magnus, and a lot about him as a person. Honestly I think we know Tarn better than we knew pre-reveal UM...
We've only seen pre-war UM in a few times, most of which were in the -acy trilogy and even then we didn't get much. We haven't actually haven't met UM as MA was UM for most of the time UM was on screen.
I thought the mask had lenses so he couldn't be seen looking away from the bad shit they did, so how can his real face damage be visible behind the mask like that?
Wait... how can you tell a TF is averting their eyes if they don't have pupils anyway?
Is it? Was how he recieved that little scar really a "gap" needing to be filled?
I just assumed it was a scar he got because, y'know, he's in a war and his job is to track down and confront the most powerful and treacherous of the Decepticons.
Those are borderline informed attributes, though, and don't render him terribly complex. Also, isn't he dead now? So it means nothing now, anyway? He still didn't have much of a personality, he wasn't terribly interesting. They're facts about a character, but not really knowledge of that character. And it's still not incredibly obvious why Glitch became Megatron's number one fan.
I agree with Raindance, Tarn isn't a character so much as a plot device preteding to be one. Which wouldn't be so bad if his past wasn't built up as this big mystery, and there wasn't that one DJD issue that tried (and failed) to paint the team as actual characters. They're better off as plot tools, because once you try and turn them into characters with personalities, you realise how uninteresting they are. They're too inhuman to be human, for lack of better terms. They have no weaknesses because they have to be unstoppable, they have no relatable personalities because they have to be unrelentingly sadistic, they have no interesting backstories because the whole "point" is they're nobodies so I'm told. They have to be such specific things it stops them from being anything else. Remember Agent 113 or whatever, and how he was totally nobody and his little subplot meant nothing? Or Dominus being the pet because holy shit what a cosmic coincidence. JRo spent more time trying to mislead the audience than he did actually trying to write a good story.
Really, in hindsight, the DJD were kind of a bad idea. They were too powerful and too important for their own good.
What I mean is, we knew Ambus-Magnus even before we knew he was Ambus, and him being Ambus didn't make us not-know a lot about him.
Seriously, no, we have a ton of fully-shown, not-informed attributes. Indeed, a lot of these attributes are ones we infer from his characterization and interaction, we aren't told that he's pretending to be cultured we just see him play music and show his novels and we read into it how it's another mask based on context. We know he has abandonment issues, we know he's a fanatic, etc.. We see how despite being supposedly a thing of terror how the other big hitters treat him (Deathsaurus knows Tarn is stronger but still treats him somewhat like a fool), further establishing that Tarn is a shell made by a con on purpose. There's some character growth in there too (I mean in a bad direction for those around him, poor Kaon, but still).
Are we reading the same comic? Because the interactions he has really shows a lot about who he is, multiple issues were focused on him and not just him on the job, but him and who he is as Tarn, and a lot of what we learn comes out in what he doesn't say and his interactions rather than what we're told- since a lot of what we're told is by people in terror of him. We don't know him as Glitch, but just as Tarn he's got some complexities to him.
I haven't even read season 2 since it came out, so I'm mostly going off very old memories, but what complexities were there to Tarn? And that's a legitimate question, not some backhanded remark, but MTMTE had become such an unrewarding slog by that point I had forgotten Deathsaurus even existed until you mentioned him, and I can't honestly remember their interactions enough to argue my point.
My most vivid recollections of the DJD were that stupid issue where they brought in Nickle to try and be "cute" but it felt so, so pandering and forced. And that's when we learned Tarn secretly hated their work but that made no frigging sense whatsoever.
No; he factually was. On top of Tarn specifically saying he was on "The List", Fortress Maximus flat out stated it.
Ok, to begin with, Tarn, on the outside, is someone trying to turn himself into a plot device, one could say. He wants to be the boggieman, the personification of 'you go outside the Decepticon line and you get tortured to death.' A force of nature.
This is clearly an affection that he is trying to be because Megatron taught him to do that. He's still affected by killing people, he just hides it beneath the mask, we see this when he has the others kill the Mortilus worshiper. But he is very devoted to this because he finds it gives him meaning- he's someone who desperately wanted meaning beforehand, first he followed Shockwave/Optimus, and when that didn't pan out (we don't know why- but odds are, he got left behind somewhere- note how he snaps whenever someone accuses him of leaving someone behind, even if he did), Megatron found him, saw that, and was like, "Ok, this is what you can do to gain the purpose and respect you deserve," and he went into that full-boar- but as the self-inflicted mask damage shows, he also has a degree of self-loathing because he does in fact have emotions, he just hides them. And I'd say he tells himself it doesn't matter if Glitch has them (heck, Megatron himself said we all have wobbles!), because Tarn the Mask doesn't.
And some of how he manifests this? Is pure Glitch, that is to say, a highly organized OCD type who likes lists and organizations and such, honestly he'd be a great office worker, if he had stayed with the bots as an assistant to Magnus or Prowl. And he thinks this list is a method of terror, and to an extent it is, but note how the Scavengers and others just view the list as an arbitrary thing 'oh they'll just kill you anyway and/or you'll get put on it for a random reason.' Megatron allows it so he can say, "This one on the list, this one off," but he's still focused on the 'do things in order,' aspect (which I'm sure Megs could not care less about), personal reviews, and so on. Which really has nothing to do with being a walking terror, that's just him and part of his personal affections and obsession with order. And supporting Megatron and the Decepticon cause is in turn how he supports order- an order that he follows with a religious devotion.
Deathsaurus, a Decepticon commander who broke off (due to disagreeing with Megatron's harsh treatment of subordinates, not the Decepticon creed as a whole), when he invites him over.... tricks Tarn into holding a bomb by acting nice and friendly. He knows for a fact Tarn is stronger than him, but he actually isn't that afraid, he plays Tarn for a fool and, when it doesn't work and he's strongarmed into joining... Tarn gets nice and friendly with him and tries to impress him with his novel collection (made of the corpses that Terminus smuggled out of the mines with Megatron's writing on them). And Deathsaurus is all, "Oh, yea... that's greeeat." Deathsaurus, someone who's actually a smart, educated father-to-his-men type, is basically humoring Tarn to get his soldiers off the list.
Similarly, Overlord needles him and seems to have a good grasp of his insecurities too... to the point of poking a soft spot hard enough that Tarn kills Kaon as part of his 'I'm not a cybertronian with compassion, I am the mask, Tarn!' cover, because when one pokes at his weaknesses, that's how he responds. He's really full of doubts and insecurities... but when someone else tests them, his response is violence.
To an extent, Tarn is sorta like Kylo Ren from Star Wars, only where Kylo is trying to be Darth Vader, Tarn is trying to be the 'ultimate decepticon'... but he's really this obsessive-compulsive nitpicky person who is fanatical about making this image that has all these little extra bits that really aren't important to anyone but him.
And... that's actually not all, but four paragraphs is pretty good.
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