Prime Directive vs. Infiltration Which do you prefer?

Discussion in 'Transformers Comics Discussion' started by Lord Shockwave, Jul 15, 2006.

  1. Lord Shockwave

    Lord Shockwave Well-Known Member

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    So here we are at the end of the first arc of IDW's take on the Transformers. Let the comparisions begin.

    Which did you enjoy more, DW's Prime Directive arc or IDW's Infiltration arc?

    Prime Directive had the advantage of having this wildly eager anticipation from TF fans across the globe, as there had not been a TF comic to see print in over a decade. And when I look back, I was truly excited to read this story because of that drought.

    So taking this aside, which do you prefer? I think I'd have to go with Prime Directive. That scene with Prime vs. Devestator really did it for me. And I'm not big on humans, and Prime Directive had a scarcity of them.
     
  2. Denyer

    Denyer Shooty Dog Thing

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    Crossposted at TFA... and probably most other places you've posted the thread. :) 

    I ordered Prime Directive sight unseen, enthusiasm buoyed by the fact Dreamwave only had the comics license for the Americas and therefore European distribution for a period consisted of a bunch of fans helping each other out. It turned out not to be worth the effort, and I sold the set at a moderate profit shortly after.

    Tom already summed this up better than me:

    http://tfarchive.com/community/showthread.php?s=&threadid=11964

    But if you want my indictment, there's a review here:

    http://tfarchive.com/comics/dreamwave/review.php?s=g1_1_full#review

    Poor scale/dynamics/detail in the art. A stock plot involving a janitor passing on the information the author wanted us to know, drummed up sacrifice at the end, misleading end of issue with Devastator, a nuclear warhead causing a bit of a splash, and a techno-plague taken straight from the show. No setup (the bulk of the plot, in fact, including the Ark II -- stuff that was actually interesting -- relegated to a backpage text snippet) and that investor at the start hilariously not knowing what TFs were in spite of them warring on Earth for years.

    There wasn't a single damn thing redeeming that story.
     
  3. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 Man, I've been here a LONG time Veteran

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    Infiltration wins by a country mile.

    I have to admit I enjoyed Prime Directive when it came out, and why not? It was the first new Transformer comic we'd had in years. But it's been surpassed by everything since. I don't think it's quite as irredeemably bad as you say, but it is pretty flawed. Pat Lee has moments where his art is good, but generally it's pretty poor.

    Infiltration's major sin is only a sin to long-time fans. It takes the time to start at the outside and work our way into the Transformers story. For some fans this is interminable, because we know the characters already and want to just get on with it. But if you want to attract new readers, you must assume no knowledge and start your story from the beginning.

    Simon Furman has done a very good job of pacing the story, and E J Su's art is considerably better than Pat Lee's puffy robots. I can't wait to see just what happens next, and I'm looking forward to Stormbringer.

    re: Cliffjumper's review, here: http://tfarchive.com/community/showthread.php?s=&threadid=11964 A good review, and I can't really disagree with most of it. Your review is also good.

    There really is no comparison. Infiltration is far, far better.
     
  4. SubotaiBaghatur

    SubotaiBaghatur Borys of Ebe

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    I remember being woefully disappointed when reading the Dreamwave series. I was excited to see TF comics again, but the story was just soooo boring and seemingly pointless. After all the build up it was a major letdown.

    The IDW series hasnt been real good either. I guess in my book it wins because it hasnt been hyped nearly as much, so the letdown was not as great. This series seems to have more promise though. I liked Furman's statement that Prime and Megatron would be the heavy guns in this new stuff, only appearing when there was truly a need for them, not trivializing them so much. The use of so many secondary characters was definitely refreshing, I think IDW just put out a less contrived book with some "fresher" ideas.

    Cant wait for stormbringer....
     
  5. KidDynamite

    KidDynamite don't know nothing Veteran

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    No contest, Infiltration is miles better than Prime Directive. Prime Directive was embarassing, and even Dreamwave had largely written it out of their continuity except for occasional cameo references by the second miniseries.
     
  6. Denyer

    Denyer Shooty Dog Thing

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    I think the big difference is that even those who didn't particularly like Infilitration see it has a purpose and place at the start of a continuity.

    Had Dreamwave not gone out of their way to retcon away chunks of the first volume of their G1 series, but stood behind Sarracini (who was probably scapegoated) it would have grated less, even with the contrivances and dodgy physics. The fact they rushed Sarracini back to the title after McDonough and Patyk quit suggests he got decent favours both times to keep his mouth shut.

    Also looking forward to Stormbringer / one-shots, as it's the variety that's kept Transformers interesting this long. Particularly looking forward to the Nightbeat and Hot Rod books.
     
  7. 03Mach1

    03Mach1 Reason Has No Voice

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    Both stories were pretty weak, but the Dreamwave stuff was more enjoyable for me to look at.
     
  8. Sol Fury

    Sol Fury The British Butcher Administrator News Staff

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    I prefer Infiltration. The conspiracy and the "They are among us" aspects do something different with the Transformers mythology, while staying true to the original.
     
  9. CripNite

    CripNite That Whack Canuck Dude

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    Prime directive had a big story feel to it.

    Infiltration is just about some lame humans with crappy names.

    Hate to say it, but DW wins this round.
     
  10. Denyer

    Denyer Shooty Dog Thing

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    How much of that would you say was advertising or the ten year gap beforehand? And does it matter if a story doesn't make sense (eg, Transformers surviving shuttle explosion unharmed, tactical nuke = big wave) as long as it entertains?

    (Not a set answer to that by any stretch -- personally I'm rather fond of the first Transformers movie, cheese and crapness included...)
     
  11. Lord Shockwave

    Lord Shockwave Well-Known Member

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    After having my memory refreshed from you and others about major plot holes in Prime Directive, I would have to say the ten year gap had a hell of a lot to do with its welcome reception.

    Aside from Primes charge on Devestator after the big green giant took out the other bots with ease, (which is essentially all that really sticks with me from the series), and a few other good moments, Prime Directive suffered greatly in the story department.

    I will say, however, that after reading issue #6 of Prime Directive, I was more excited then than I am now after Infiltration, again because we had waited so long for a Transformers comic. You could have presented another rendition of the Carwash of Doom, and I would have ate it up.

    It will be interesting to see how Stormbringer holds up to the War Within, and how Escalation holds up to War and Peace. I think those would be fair comparisons.
     
  12. CripNite

    CripNite That Whack Canuck Dude

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    Firstly, none of it was advertising or ten year gap beforehand. I read the series well after the resurgence of Transformers (It wasn't until the second series started that I went back and found the issues of the first series).

    Secondly, when you're dealing with non-sensical storytelling involving transforming robots, suspension of belief is a prerequisite to reading any of these books. You lose enjoyment of things when you overanalyze.

    Thirdly, I refuse to restart my paragraph number trend.

    Fourthly, Crap.
     
  13. Denyer

    Denyer Shooty Dog Thing

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    ...
     
  14. Denyer

    Denyer Shooty Dog Thing

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    Wheelie just beat Devastator, Menasor and Bruticus. With a spork.

    Oh yeah, and Grimlock defected to the Decepticons, and Megatron's over there trying to talk Prime into ruling the universe with him... don't worry though, Wheeljack gets better.

    Science fiction doesn't have to be nonsensical -- it really depends a lot on the writers.
     
  15. KA

    KA PENIS GOES WHERE?!!

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    i prefer infiltration but you didnt need a comparison to know that prime directive sucked balls.
     
  16. shifty02

    shifty02 Greetings Programs

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    I liked Prime Directive over Infiltration simply due to the fact that PD had WAY more action than Infiltration.

    As for story...looking back on both, both were kind of 'meh' in the story dept. Plot holes galore in PD, and the fact that out of 6 issues of Infiltration and NOTHING really happened at all hurt this first story arc.

    As for art. I actually prefer the DP over Infiltration. The art just never looked good to me at all.

    -Shifty
     
  17. artiepants

    artiepants Just over here punching Unicron.

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    They both sucked equally in their own unique ways.

    Infiltration because basically nothing happened (seriously, the entire 6.5 issue series basically amounted to a #1 issue). NOTHING

    Prime Directive because lots happened, but a lot of it made very little sense, and it didn't even have the conviction to ride out it's plot concete of Humans controlling Transformers long enough to make it interesting, than we had a bad recycled plot from the cartoon with the 'Cybertron' virus and superion sacrifice himself in a manner that made zero sense. ugh.

    on the Art side, you have Pat Lee who's anatomy is non-sensical and over stylize everything to the point of ridicule -vs- Su who apparently cannot draw anything dynamic or fluid. They both can draw some cool Mecha details in their own way, but neither are not particularly good visual story tellers (panel to panel flow, clarity of action and motion, setting the stage)

    and neither of them is very good at humans, especially faces.

    at least the dialog was readable in Infiltration. Prime Directive is pretty brutal.
     
  18. artiepants

    artiepants Just over here punching Unicron.

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    double post.
     
  19. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 Man, I've been here a LONG time Veteran

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    Shane's review of Infiltration 0-6, or "Are we reading the same comic?"

    That may seem like a strange title for a Transformers comic review, but I think it couldn't be more appropriate. The main complaint from the detractors of this series seems to be "nothing's happened". I'm oversimplifying of course, because there are other concerns. The human characters are boring/unlikable/lack any distinguishable characteristics. The Transformers are ignored in favor of humans. The Transformers have no discernable character. The plot could have been told in one or two issues. On and on.

    Readers are entitled to their point of view. I think they're wrong on all counts, and I will detail just why I believe that.

    The storyline, or "Nothing's happening"

    I find the story behind "Infiltration" to be far more interesting than much of what we've seen before. In part, this is because continuity has been rebooted again, a move I was not too happy about at first. But there is an advantage to an all-new continuity, and that is lack of familiarity. Discomfort. Simon Furman has been doling out information a bit at a time over the seven issues that comprise "Infiltration" rather than throwing everything at us in one or two quick info dumps. Characters don't sit and make long expository speeches; they act and react to events around them, and occasionally comment. As they act, we learn. "Show, not tell" is the approach being taken here, and I applaud it.

    This approach may well lead to the perception that nothing has happened in seven issues. No doubt this also contributes to the frustration of readers who want all the answers right away. They keep waiting for that other shoe to drop, and for the big picture to be revealed. But to do that early on would be a mistake. It would be the equivalent of reading the back of the book first to see how the story ends. It takes away much of the drama and interest when there is nothing new to learn. Careful pacing is the key here, and the pacing of "Infiltration" has been outstanding in my view. All the hints and revelations about the current situation between Autobots and Decepticons have only left me wanting to know more.

    The idea that nothing has happened could not be further from the truth. A great deal has occurred in these seven issues, and the "outsider looking in" approach that Simon Furman has largely employed contributes to the unfolding mystery. For those who would like to see superfluous events removed from the story, what exactly would those unneeded events be? Verity stealing the computer? That sets up the whole chain of events and clues the Autobots in on just what Starscream is doing. Should Thundercracker's attack on Hunter's VW bus be cut out? That event sets up the much-needed rescue of Verity and Hunter by Ratchet, and further involves them in the war.

    How about the fight on the freeway between Runamuck, Runabout, Thundercracker and Ratchet? Remove the fight and the pursuit of Ratchet, and you diminish the Decepticons as a threat. You also lose some characterization of Runamuck and Runabout, who are revealed by their actions and dialogue as a couple of punks that enjoy causing pain and destruction. You also fail to establish Ratchet as the improviser that he is. More on that in a moment.

    What else could be cut? Remove the humans from the story, and you lose all sense of scale. Transformers are big, but without tiny humans around to remind us, that's easy to forget. The effect of the Autobot/Decepticon war on billions the planet over is also a concept that's entirely too massive to wrap our heads around, but the effect of this war on three vulnerable people that we've come to know is far easier to understand. I suppose that there is some worry that Verity, Hunter and Jimmy will come to dominate the comic, but that hasn't happened yet, and I doubt it will. Nor will they become the equivalent of the incredibly annoying children from Armada, whose inclusion in that series defied all logic. What we've seen so far is a friendship of sorts, or at least a bond begin to develop between Ratchet and the three, and possibly with Bumblebee as well, though he's spent far less time with them.

    I've used the Doctor Who analogy before, but it bears repeating. Like the Doctor's human traveling companions, the humans in Transformers are our windows into an alien world. We can identify with them, while we can't identify with the 'alien other' whose adventures we're following. We need the contrast of the familiar and the fantastic in order to truly appreciate how different the Transformers are. Because when it comes down to it, they are often characterized no differently than humans, and so we forget that they are living alien machines that shapeshift as naturally as humans breathe air. The Transformers become comfortable and familiar and any sense of wonder is lost.

    Well, what else could have been cut, events-wise? Without going over every little thing in detail, I can see very little wasted action or dialogue in the story. I grant you that every issue is not all action packed from cover to cover, but why should it be? The story flows from action to a break, to more action, to another break, etc. There has to be breathing room in between moments of tension. There are plenty of battles between Transformers. Ratchet takes on Runamuck and Runabout on several occasions. Bumblebee fights Skywarp. Ratchet fights Blitzwing. Megatron trashes Skywarp and Blitzwing, and Starscream. Someone might say, "The fights are too short!" Think about the massive firepower these guys employ, and the sheer damage they are able to inflict. How long would a fight last if someone took some damage? Not long.

    What about the Machination? For once, I'm actually worried about what the humans could do to our favorite Autobots or Decepticons. We've seen this before in Dreamwave's take on Transformers, but after Marissa went buddy-buddy with Jazz, it diffused the tension in the subplot. The rather matter-of-fact statement of the commando in "Infiltration" who says, "Let's get one" is worrisome. I'll be waiting to see where this storyline goes.

    The characters, or "Actions speak louder than words"

    There is a ton of characterization in "Infiltration", and most of it is conveyed by action and reaction, as it should be. We get some internal monologues from Verity and from Ratchet, which reveal some of their character, and a few character assessments by Ratchet, but much of what is revealed comes from actions.

    Both the Autobots and Decepticons are much more disciplined and organized along military lines than they have been in the past. On the Decepticon side this is demonstrated over and over again by mention of the various phases they employ, which appear to be the stages by which they infiltrate and slowly dominate a planet. On the Autobot side, there is a clear set of regulations that must be followed, which Ratchet has apparently broken on more than one occasion, but which Prowl believes in following to the letter. This more formal approach is important, because the breaking of protocol is a major reason for all the events that occur.

    Ratchet is a bit of a rebel, or as he put it, a "conscientious objector". He doesn't take a straight, by the book approach. He is also an improviser who constantly thinks on his feet. Caught off-guard in Jimmy's garage, he manages to pull out a victory using his holomatter projectors and some quick thinking. He uses the traffic to fend off Runamuck later on, and he quickly runs through what he knows about Blitzwing to formulate an attack plan. Ratchet is an Autobot who sincerely believes in saving lives, as demonstrated by his passionate speech to Prowl about just why their group is on Earth in the first place. Without a doubt Ratchet gets more page time than any other character with the possible exception of Verity, and he comes across as a well-rounded character.

    Megatron is a no-nonsense stickler for discipline. There's no taunts of his command or boastful speeches or "Decepticons retreat" to be found here. He is far more powerful than his subordinates, and ruthless with the ones who don't obey his established protocols. It's easy to see just why he's in command, and a line from the Armada version of Megatron seems to fit well here. He's in charge because he's the most powerful and fearsome of all. The way that he just ignores Verity in the bunker is priceless, and I have to admit that I never saw that coming. Humans are beneath his notice, whereas his unruly soldiers are not. He has his own set of principles that he takes pride in, as demonstrated when he lectures Starscream right before he blows a hole through him.

    On the human side of things, Verity also comes across well, moreso than Hunter or Jimmy. She evidently grew up in a foster home, or a succession of them, and hides behind a tough exterior. Rather than conform to societal rules or norms, she chooses to survive by stealing and traveling around the country, with her only friends those that she talks to online. It's a pretty sad existence really. She's defiant in the face of danger, even if she's afraid. The cliffhanger ending to issue 4 where she comes face to face with Megatron is outstanding, and the resolution where she still takes video despite being obviously terrified speaks volumes about how determined she is.

    Hunter and Jimmy get less characterization, but both get their share. Hunter comes across as a bit socially withdrawn, but intellectually curious about what's out there. He's also either imaginative or broad-minded enough to believe in giant alien robots before either of the others do. Jimmy gets the least characterization of the three, but he appears to be the most stable of the three, with gainful employment before the battlechargers ruin it. He's supportive of Verity, and generally seems to be the most well-adjusted of the three human characters.

    There's plenty more, but again I won't hit it all, just mention the high points. Bumblebee gets to be the spy that he is, first by spying on Ratchet and then on the Decepticon siege base. The Battlechargers both come across as punks who enjoy destruction. Blitzwing is tough but not terribly bright since he takes on Megatron alone. However, his conversation with Skywarp reveals a thoughtful side as he talks about the need to bury the Nebraska bunker first and how they stopped being Decepticons because of what they had done there. Prowl is a by the book commander, who lacks either the imagination or the self-confidence to improvise and think outside the box. Sunstreaker doesn't think much of humans and doesn't like a fight where the odds are not in his favor. Starscream is still ambitious and overconfident in his own abilities. Jazz is good humored. I will admit that some of the Transformers like Astrotrain and Wheeljack are pretty faceless at this point, but not every character can get the spotlight in every story. Time will tell if we see more of them.

    The art, or "thank goodness it's not Pat Lee!"

    If you don't like E. J. Su's art, that's fine. This is a far more subjective area than the other two that I've covered, so I have less disagreement with the critics. But I think the art is quite good. The vehicles are well drawn for one thing, which is a must. The panels are not over-cluttered with too much detail, nor are they overcolored. The human characters all retain distinctive and individual appearances throughout the story. The action is clear and easy to follow from panel to panel. In short, the art is consistent, pleasing to the eye and tells the story clearly. And that's all I ask for from an artist.

    The summary, or "when is this guy going to get to the bottom line?"

    When I read "Infiltration", I see a story full of good characters, that is well-paced and interesting, and that is well-drawn. I've tried to think of improvements that I would like to see, and admittedly there are one or two. I would like to see more of a role for characters like Jazz and Wheeljack, and I suspect that as we move into "Escalation" and beyond that there will be more scope for Transformer action. I think that Starscream's characterization as a coward has never fit with either his rank in the Decepticon military or his propensity to constantly make a bid to overthrow Megatron, and I hope that the opportunity is taken to move him beyond that characterization. I hope to see more human/Transformer 'clash of civilizations' in future as well. I think that could be a very interesting story if told properly.

    I think we have an outstanding comic here. I'm really looking forward to the continuation of the story as much or more than I'm looking forward to Stormbringer. I want to know what happens next, and that is perhaps the final gauge of success for Simon Furman and company. They have kept me interested.
     
  20. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 Man, I've been here a LONG time Veteran

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    Edit: double post. Server kept giving me problems.
     

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