More Than Meets the Eye #15 Discussion *SPOILERS*

Discussion in 'Transformers Comics Discussion' started by GFH, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. noblekale

    noblekale There can be only one!

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    I think the majority of the Autobot team left Earth before that time. There were only a hand full left there at the time.
     
  2. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    Actually, they SHOULD use that excuse. All of Cybertron has been rendered a primitive wasteland, and the "city" that has miraculously built itself up from the remains of Kimia should be eating up most of the resources. The fact that resource allocation has been so minimally addressed in this series that is ostensibly about life in a giant refugee camp, has been kind of a sore point for me.

    That's not quite what I meant. I mean, the effort and resources it takes to modify yourself into a new alt-mode (and whatever surface changes that makes to your Bot mode) has become ridiculously banal in most TF fictions... to say nothing of the magical "reformatting beams" that are used in the stupider fictions. Ugh.

    Actually, in most cases those are things they can use in both modes (okay, no biting for Grimlock, though he does have a frickin SWORD and a GUN so whatever...), but I'm not sure that argument really holds much weight, as that same fact applies to just about EVERY Transformer. They ALL have some specialized abilities that are available to them in their alternate mode, whether it's improved flight powers (any jet-former), more weapons (most military type vehicles), higher mobility/speed (many car types) and all that. The fact that the Dinos are so stubbornly holding onto these particular modes seems to be exceptionalized above and beyond the normal relationships Cybertronians have with their alt-modes. It's just silly. Next thing you know, every TF with a faintly "beast themed" alt-mode will suddenly and explicably go feral, under the control of some space monkey with a fancy radio transmitter. ;) 

    It would also be kind of absurd to argue that Snarl GAINED his solar power abilities from adopting a stegosaurus mode (because of course, stegos were Kryptonian dinosaurs?). As for Sludge, you omitted his earthquake powers, though I don't recall if those are limited to his dino mode. Either way, I don't see why that, or Swoop's flight, or Slag's flames would be inherent in a dinosaur themed alt-mode, rather than something those bots already could do before they ever came to Earth.

    Honestly, almost NONE of that has really been established in IDW (unless we've been getting more of that in Monstrosity?)... though a bit of isolation and rebelliousness has always been a part of the Dinobots' theme. I think that in Maximum Dinobots and Spotlight Shockwave, we got the idea that they were a special unit with a certain autonomous mandate, but that they were certainly still under the Autobot umbrella (and in fact, the rest of his team was none to pleased to find out that Grimlock had lied to them and made them all war-criminals by disobeying direct orders and pursuing Shockwave). But if you're going to play on that, make their unit cohesion a bit more LOGICAL, rather than just assuming that the entire squad will collectively suddenly start acting like extinct reptiles instead of scientifically advanced anthropomorphic alien robots... "just because". :p 

    I think sometimes we're too quick to jump on the old "trope" trope. In fact, every time somebody links to TV tropes, a little bit of our ability to think critically rots away. :) 

    The idea that a character will experience monumental changes and a new outlook after experiencing the catalyst of a great personal loss is hardly the innovation of modern comic books. This is pretty much a core aspect of the human experience, and a fixture in our understanding of drama since the dawn of storytelling. The fact that in modern fiction, so often this "sacrificial loved one" is a minority buddy or a wronged woman certainly points to racial and gender biases that have grown up in our society, but in this instance, Rewind was more than just an appendage. He/she/it (for the sake of argument) was not an "other", cast in opposition to a white male hero, existing solely to push his partner's arc forward, but a character in his own right. Will his fate have profound ramifications for Chromedome, and either cast him into ruin and self-doubt, or galvanize him into a proactive, dynamic player? Indubitably.

    Is it a "girfriend in the fridge" moment? Not really at all.

    zmog
     
  3. Kraken

    Kraken Is a vegiesaurus, Lex. Veteran

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    Yes I see what you mean, I nearly put Sludge's Earthquake power but I couldn't remember if he actually had one or not, and no, Snarl's solar power thing probably isn't just from his dino-mode, but nonetheless, they have these abilities, and it seems that they like them. Maybe as a result of the techno organic skin grafts they had, they like they tactile sensation of biting and clawing than crushing under treads or wheels or whatever they had before. Although, are they really being exceptionalised? When everyone returned to Cybertron and got new alt modes, they could have gone with anything they wanted, so why did Wheeljack, Prowl, and Bumblebee remain as wheeled vehicles? They could have had a hover mode or anything they wanted, but they chose to stay as wheeled cars. Why?

    They're certainly under the Autobot umbrella, but I think it's pretty clear they go about doing their own thing for their own (although mainly Grimlock's) reasons.

    To quote Maximum Dynobots 'A semi-autonomous unit within the larger Autobot war machine, the more insane the mission, the dirtier the dirty job, the more we liked it. And if, well, sometimes we sidestepped the chain of command and went our own sweet way, the ends justified the means.'

    They fell in together pretty much because they're all rebels without a cause, and seemingly a shared history in the pit according to the latest Monstrosity. They might work alongside the Autobots and wear their badge, but it seems pretty clear that they don't see themselves as de facto Autobots. Also after the events of Maximum Dinobots, they started repairing the Skyfire, they didn't look to join up with the remaining Autobots, and therefore one would assume that once they'd repaired it they went off to do their own thing until the call came in to return home. Why bother changing alt-mode? Did they even have the capability? Whilst the process of changing alt-mode hasn't been described in detail in IDW, it appears to be an external process rather than an internal one like it in the movie-verse. They might not have been able to repair that particular piece of machinery aboard the Skyfire. Then almost as soon as they arrived home Ironhide grabbed them to take them on a crazy mission, which they weren't going to turn down.

    Don't forget that the human's fucked with them as well. All in all, I'd be more surprised if they rocked up with new alt modes, than they kept their dino modes.
     
  4. Kaijumaster

    Kaijumaster 335

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    just after devastation yes, there was a full year between that and AHM.

    also, anyone else see the Vol. 3 TPB cover!?
     

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  5. Kraken

    Kraken Is a vegiesaurus, Lex. Veteran

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    Yep, my bad, I forgot that they all buggered off on the Ark after Devestation.
     
  6. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    See what you're doing there? That's called "a stretch". :) 

    It's exactly what I was saying we DON'T need... some vaguely preposterous, retconned, half-baked excuse just to keep the Dinobots as dinosaurs, and add a layer of weird bestial nature to them... especially one that just gives extra weight to those dodgy elements in the fiction that are best ignored. The whole "organic skin" thing from Spotlight Shockwave was already a completely superfluous bit of pseudo-science that really added ZERO to the story (for the 5 seconds it was relevant), and strains credibility that the Dinobots' little personal shuttlecraft would have the technical hardware on-hand to achieve such a thing, automatically and with no scientific oversight. Bascially Furman handwaved the whole thing in the most cavalier and lazy way possible. The less we're reminded of that, the better.

    Hahaha! Listen to me... so bitter! Don't take it personally... I'm just on a rant. :lol 

    First of all, we're being presumptuous based on our exposure to other fictions. It's never been established that indigenous Cybertronian altmodes ever used "hover tech" in IDW. In fact, in almost every example we've seen, it's quite the opposite. Unlike WFC and those early episodes of the G1 cartoon, most pre-war IDW bots appear to use wheels (and occasionally, treads)... which when you think about it, makes a whole lot more sense. More efficient, more inertial controls, more low-tech, less complicated and fuel consuming... hover-vehicles are just a contrivance derived from our biases about what "the future" should look like, not necessarily anything logical. Plus with pre-war Cybertron being a fairly even, "pave" environment, axled vehicles with low wheel-bases would be fairly normal. There would have been little reason for rugged-terrain vehicles outside of military and mining applications.

    So those Autobots you mention have likely ALWAYS been wheeled vehicles, much like their Earth modes. The only thing they shed when they came back to Cybertron were the superficial trappings of Earth vehicles for use by humans. Likely their actual capabilities are almost identical.

    As for why bots can't just become whatever they want... well, it would be obvious... why don't you own a flying car? Or an Audi? Why don't you drive a tank to work? What's that? Too expensive? Too hard to maintain? Uses too much gas?

    If every Transformer could be whatever they wanted, they would all be spaceships. Unfortunately (or fortunately) because of resource allocation, practical needs, and the exigencies of the Functionist society, most bots couldn't just be whatever they wanted. That takes hard work, trained medical engineers, raw materials, invasive surgery, and likely a military budget to obtain.

    Still doesn't explain why they wouldn't consider themselves Autobots, or would be carrying around so much antisocial baggage. They're basically just a special-forces group. You've more or less just described GIJOE. ;) 

    That origin makes a lot of sense. I had always assumed they'd been cobbled together out of various stockades... but after 4 million years working for the Autobots, that's a bit of a stretch. They do the work, they wear the badge. They're not NAILS. They're not mercenaries (though the Monsterbots seem to almost be considered as such... the Dinos definitely consider themselves Autobots in comparison with them... though we were never actually given any reasons why the Monsterbots were really so nasty... nor what makes either team all that much different from The Wreckers).

    Considering it was an automated system on the Skyfire that changed their alt-modes in the first place, for almost no damn reason, I figure they could do so. I agree with the question in principal though. If these dinosaur modes do pretty much the same job as their old modes, and it would just be a hassle to revert, why bother? Whether you're a flamethrower tank or some approximation of an alien organic tank that can still breathe fire, why change back?

    Thank god. I hate that shit.

    Like I said, I agree with all that... but that's not what Barber implied. He (through Prowl's dialog) suggested that there was actually something wrong with the Dinobots because they were still using those modes... not to mention the fact that they spend almost ALL their time in dino-mode, which is also a bit lame. I love the original Dinobot modes. LOVE. But even I don't want to see them all the time. They are robots that turn into dinosaurs, not the other way around.

    (though I actually REALLY FRICKIN' HATE the Roche redesigns, with their bony exoskeleton motif and all that shit... if anyone needs a redesign in IDW, it's the Dinos... :( )

    I actually prefer the Dinos to keep their dino modes. I don't need to see them as Cybertronian tanks or whatever. However, I'd like to see that played out for the right reasons... reasons that don't somehow result in the Dinobots being equated with ACTUAL dinosaurs/animals. For me, it's as simple as them saying "Reformat? Scrap, why bother? This mode wrecks tailpipes as well as the last one. Ya don't need to look pretty to do ugly work!" and leaving it at that. However the subtext of the way that Barber has been writing them is that they're about as "inhuman" (that is, unnatural or unevolved) as McCarthy's Insecticons (who are supposed to be seen as abominations, though we still don't especially know why). Maybe it's because of their imperfect grammars skills? :p 

    You raise a good point though... the Dinobots were mucked with by both the humans and Scorponok's Machination, so it's possible there are some things that are not-quite-right with them. But I don't think it's necessary to dig into that. I don't think the Dinobots need to be made any more complicated, or into a walking freakshow like in Fall of Cybertron. Just a bunch of tough guys is good enough for me.

    zmog
     
  7. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    Which means, if I recall correctly, that Last Stand of the Wreckers takes place during the 2 year period before All Hail Megatron, and in the interrim between AHM and the Ongoing. So that would also be the period during which the Dinobots were "off the grid" I guess?

    zmog
     
  8. Kraken

    Kraken Is a vegiesaurus, Lex. Veteran

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    Heh heh, I don't necessarily disagree with anything you're saying here by the way, it's just nice to have a chat about it during the lull between issues.
     
  9. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    That's why we're here, after all... ;) 

    zmog
     
  10. noblekale

    noblekale There can be only one!

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    The worst thing ever created was the scanning to become a new alt mode. I could see it working ONCE from protoform to their true form, but after that they need to be stripped back down to endoskeleton or their body reduced to protoform state again.

    For why they aren't just any form, I think it was mentioned before that they can't exactly go from a ground-based form to a flying form due to not being able to support it. That's why the flyer that Chromedome chased down was so horrible at it, and ended up killing himself. Also, I think size matters in this case. They can't exactly go from a small car to a giant truck without SOME kind of major modifications, or vice versa. It would be like being 500 lbs and wondering why you can't squeeze into that XS shirt.
     
  11. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    Not to mention the fact that flyers would probably have different weight allowances in order to be effective. They might actually have to built from different alloys to give them maximum lift/speed.

    And yeah... spontaneous reformatting. Thank god IDW doesn't do that (generally). Like, I might even quit the comics entirely. It would piss me off THAT much.

    zmog
     
  12. Negativedark

    Negativedark Stealth Gesalt

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    The Dinobots justification for keeping their Dinosaur alt-modes should be very simple. They like them. Serously that's all that's needed to explain it. And I've always felt that a transformer should be as comfortable in one mode as the other, and not really consider either their true form. After all they are Transformers. And the Dinobots seem to find little advantages to their altmodes. Sludge got his dino head blown off a while ago in a sneak attack. But since nothing vital was in it, he was fine. If he had a vehicle altmode that would not have worked. And Dino's are all terrain to begin with, so there's that too.

    Yeah the whole "Scan a new altmode whenever you want" bit is sorta lame. First off if it were that easy TF's who actually care about disguise would be changing them all the time. Secondly on Cybertron they wouldn't have anything other than each other to scan.
     
  13. noblekale

    noblekale There can be only one!

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    I could see the scan for a new alt mode frequently thing be a spark ability, along with mass shifting, to make it more unique to certain bots (say, Soundwave or Punch/Counterpunch), for spy work or espionage.

    On the Dinobot discussion, a "why bother?" answer would have been fine. Maybe have someone ask why they kept the dino modes, and another say "why bother changing them" would have been fine.
     
  14. Infosaur

    Infosaur Well-Known Member

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    Actually I think the opposite (although it's rarely/barely mentioned) Cybertron has been "effectively" rebooted. Natural resources (or the cybertron equivalent) are in abundance, moreso than they have been in millions of years. I kinda use this to explain why (artistic licence) the Transformers all glow, TRON-like, lately. The water is clean, the air is pure and the wheat grows just by sticking a finger in the ground (to use human equivalents) but what's really torn up is society and the convienences they've come to expect.

    Which is why I think that RiD is about to turn into one of the most dissapointing missed oppertunities in TF history. What could have been Lord of the Cybertron Flies meets Pochahontamis Prime, is instead devolving into a bot/con police state conspiracy. Wasted Potential.

    Maybe not my critical thinking,,, but usually most of my day. :poop 
     
  15. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    Yeah, I considered that too... but it's NOT like that, is it? We haven't seen ANY indication of how the bots and cons are sustaining themselves, building their "city" or living off the land. Barber has pretty much ignored that entirely. There has been some suggestion of foraging for supplies (unsuccessfully), and cannibalizing the remains of Kimia, but in terms of the natural resources, all of Cybertron is now described as being a HOSTILE environment that pretty much keeps everyone bottled up inside the city itself. I don't think anybody's been doing any farming.

    Also, a weirdly forced storyline too... as you describe it, this should be a frontier tale, not an urban political intrigue. Why establish that Cybertronians are starting from NOTHING and then suddenly have them living in a city with spires and elaborate quarters and bars and streets... and a general feeling of urban decay... when at best, they should be living in a glorified tent community, with more mouths to feed arriving every day? That's why I've always called bullshit on the "political" storyline... because it's actually avoided dealing with any of the very real requirements of a fledgling municipality in crisis, of the distinct needs of the extremely mixed population (despite the fact we almost never see this mix in action), of the divisions not only between Bot and Con, but between the myriad other groups, the question of who has supplies and how they're divided up, how the leaders play to different groups and make side deals... stuff like that. I mean, hell... other than Metalhawk's one-note personality, the NAILS have gotten almost zero development. Sure, somebody's taken the time to draw a few character designs, even name a few... but we still know pretty much nothing about what's happening in that community.

    Seriously, before undertaking something like this, Barber should have watched a few seasons of "The Wire" or "Deadwood" to get a good "urban" or "frontier" vibe... or at the very least, played through a few games of Sim City, to be reminded of what it takes to run a settlement. :p 

    zmog
     
  16. Cevel

    Cevel Well-Known Member

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    It's so weird, too, how Barber seems convinced that he's done all that "frontiering" stuff in RiD. I don't even know what he's talking about in this quote from an interview he did in November of last year:

    I'm honestly confused. When did this ever happen in the series, especially within the timeframe from when RiD started to when this interview was done? The closest I can think of is Ironhide and the Dinobots going out into the wilderness of Cybertron to try and find the Aerialbots...and that was more of a "Huh, this planet sure is acting weird and hostile." thing with the Dinobots attacking Ironhide at the end. And that was it until they came back in a recent issue. Or maybe he was talking about Skybyte arriving? But, again, that was over and done with in one issue, and most of it wasn't anything to do with how the various Cybertronian factions were trying to rebuild Cybertron or "surviving" as it was Skybyte being pulled into the whole Dirge-is-in-hiding incident.

    So, yeah. I don't have any idea what Barber even thinks he's writing, because what he says he's written and what I've actually read in his comics are two completely different things. :inquisiti 
     
  17. Stygimoloch

    Stygimoloch ROBOT! JET! ROBOT!

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    Forgive me if I come across as to forward, but why is this such an issue with you? While I welcome a more nuanced a detailed explanation for how TFs change bodies, the quick and easy method of scanning isn't to detrimental to the fiction is it?
     
  18. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP AKA Beve Stuscemi

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    Did you here that?

    That was the sound of a can being opened. Weird.
     
  19. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    I think it's because...

    A) it's an easy cheat that actually, when put under the microscope, subverts so many of the logics of the entire fiction. Considering the origins of the "magic reformat", it seems particularly galling to see such a blatant and inherently stupid plot/animation shortcut become entrenched in the fiction... dumbing it down, rather than growing it up.

    B) it disturbs the underlying industrial-mechanical metaphor, removing the concrete understanding of Transformers as "machines" and replacing them with magical aliens who can play fast and loose with basic physical realities as a matter of common whim...

    I mean, sure I love my robot fantasy space adventures, but even from the very beginning, what made Transformers special to me is the very collision of their robot nature with our own perspectives of humanity. They weren't just another cool anthropomorphic alien... there was something intellectually challenging about them on a conceptual level. So I like my robots dirty, mechanical, asexual, and ideally gas-burning (though Energon has pretty much put the nail in that coffin). I don't enjoy them being magical faerie unicorns who are only here to accommodate our most immature empowerment fantasies. Magic reformatting is just a trait that for me symbolizes that overall mentality. It's a canary in the coal mine, of sorts. :p 

    Sorry bud. I'm a little short on worms and whupass both today. I'm feeling a little under the weather, I guess. :lol 

    I totally agree. Unfortunately, Barber seems to be one of those writers who feels that by nodding to something in a story, it's the same as actually EXPERIENCING that story. It's the "show, don't tell" principle. Don't tell us something has happened. SHOW us. Immerse us in it so we live it. That's what good stories do. They aren't just plot outlines with a bit more dialogue added.

    zmog
     
  20. WilyMech

    WilyMech Well-Known Member

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    It is funny when I think about Barber. The blurbs about some of the chars such as Brainstorm is being amoral I have yet to find proof of it. I am sorry having a naked male hologram does not qualify as Amoral. I lack some demonstrative proof of some the chars being what they are. I am not relationship guru.

    The problem with Transformers we are judging them base of human perceptions. Since most of us have no experience of sentient machine life we put human gender roles on them as well reproduction.

    In general I believe Transformers are asexual being so gender roles and relationships are foreign and completely different from what human psyche will perceive. I agree with SMOG on this.
     

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