Review of IDW’s Transformers: Infiltration #5 (with Spoiler Space)

Discussion in 'Transformers Comics Discussion' started by Outtsyder, May 31, 2006.

  1. Outtsyder

    Outtsyder Well-Known Member

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    For some reason, the board won't let me post this review in the Articles section, so I'm starting the thread in here. Short non-spoiler reaction: Looks like we’re building to a climax, now that a certain major threat has finally revealed himself. But first… the Spoiler Space….


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    (cues up Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man”)


    COVER:

    The four regular covers: Cover A shows Megatron getting decked by a right cross from on off-page Optimus Prime, drawn by by E.J. Su; Cover B depicts Starscream on a thronelike seat with cables attached to him, by Guido Guidi; Cover C also has Starscream, but this time bathed in a massive surge of painful-looking energy, by Andrew Wildman; and Cover D has Megatron being attacked by tank-mode Blitzwing (and still standing) with Ratchet and Bumblebee looking on in the background, by Nick Roche.

    Two collectors’ incentives are available: an expanded wrap-around version of Cover A, with Starscream added; the other shows Ironhide, Prowl and Sunstreaker facing the reader, guns at the ready. A “completist” incentive showcases Ironhide. The three collectors’ mini-prints for this month are Ironhide, Skywarp, and Jazz.


    INSIDE COVER DETAILS:

    Left half of the page gives the usual artistic credits (Simon Furman as author, EJ Su as artist, etc.), and a “the story so far” blurb leading up to “Phase One Continues” as the Ratchet, Bumblebee and the humans infiltrate the abandoned Decepticon base, and Skywarp and Blitzwing are sent out to destroy it. On the right half of the inside cover is an update to the head-shot roll call of the comic’s cast. The Autobots’ cast remains the same; Optimus Prime’s visage has yet to be revealed (will obviously come up next month’s issue). As for the Decepticons, Astrotrain has been unmasked and completes the line-up with Runabout, Runamuck, Starscream, Thundercracker, Blitzwing, Skywarp and Megatron.


    STORY:

    We begin with a full-page panel of the immediate aftermath of the Decepticons’ attack on the area in Nebraska; Bumblebee is checking on Ratchet, who had been run over by tank-mode Blitzwing. Luckily, Ratchet survived with a wisecrack (“just a bit run down”; heh), and Bumblebee notices the Decepticons aren’t coming back to pick them off, but have their attention focused on wiping out the area with their old abandoned hidden underground base. The human trio of Verity, Hunter and Jimmy are still down there; the two guys are about to make a break for the exit, but they don’t hear a response from Verity. She’s still frozen in terror having discovered the horrific sight in the depths of the bunker… Megatron! He sees her as he was making contact through the old computer… and completely ignored her, going back to business. Still frozen, Verity raises her videocamera to capture some of the information, but the pummeling firepower from topside begins the gradual cave-in. Megatron hardly feels a thing, but Verity snaps out of it fast enough to dart away from a falling boulder, and she finally high-tails it out of there. Jimmy climbs out of the mine shaft and doesn’t see Verity up there (she hasn’t responded to any of Jimmy or Hunter’s calls the whole time), while Hunter is still at the bottom of the shaft. But before he gets out, he removes the thin communicator from his shirt and plasters it on the nearby wall…

    Switching over to the current Decepticon Command Bunker in Oregon, Astrotrain is reporting to Starscream that a batch of Ore-13 resin that they’ve mined is being processed as they speak. The old Nebraska base had a little of this mysterious ore, but this new location has seven times more on just the preliminary mining operations alone. Starscream is VERY pleased indeed…

    Going back to Nebraska, Ratchet and Bumblebee rush back to the entrance of the underground shaft as the terrain behind them is beginning to collapse into the hollows beneath their tires. The Autobots order Hunter and Jimmy to move out, but they refuse to leave without Verity, despite Ratchet’s explanation of the geological instability. Finally, Verity responds through the communicator Hunter left behind, and she grabs the rope to climb out. But the cave-in is getting closer and stronger, causing the tree around which one end of the rope was tied to dislodge and be carried into the collapse! Bumblebee rushes to stop the tree from moving, Hunter grabs onto the rope, and is just within reach to grab Verity’s free hand for extra support. Bumblebee finally pushes the tree away from the shaft entrance, pulling the humans out. The trio climbs aboard ambulance-mode Ratchet, and the whole group rockets on out of there as the site is completely destroyed.

    At a much higher altitude, the two Decepticons responsible for this destruction – Skywarp and Blitzwing – admire their handiwork, glad to finally get rid of the old location with some good old-fashioned bombing. They’re about to return to Oregon, when they notice something stirring way down there… a massive silver robotic arm pierces through the rubble, and tearing an opening through it is Megatron… a FURIOUS Megatron! The fliers are shocked to see him, as Megatron shoots Skywarp down with a single blast from his fusion cannon. Blitzwing lands and transforms to tank mode to fight back, but Megatron barely even feels it. As the Decepticons are busy with each other, The Autobots and humans do the smart thing and get lost, as Ratchet prepares to analyze the data the humans had gathered for a report to Prowl. Megatron leaves the area, intent on finding Starscream… and Ratchet radios his report to Prowl at the Autobot base in Illinois, about the Decepticons’ mining operations for the mysterious energy ore (having exhausted the old Nebraska site, they moved on to their new location), and engaging in Siege Mode to erase the evidence. Now, though, with Megatron back in action and the Decepticons probably now powered up to higher levels, no one really knows if the Autobots would be strong enough to stop them this time….


    To Be Continued….


    COMMENTS:

    With the Decepticons attacking the old underground bunker while the Autobots and humans are trying to finish off their mission and get out alive, this issue closes the door on one step in the story… and with Megatron’s debut, it also tears open a hole in the wall for the next step, which looks to be big. As the landslide began and the humans had to get out, despite the pre-mission directives (“acceptable losses”, etc.), the trick was to make the first part of this issue’s story still readable without getting groan-worthy. The fact that the site had a vertical entrance, coupled with the incoming disaster, pretty much pre-warned us that we’d be in for another one of those “I’m on higher ground; you grab my hand so I can pull you up” scenes that we seen on TV and film hundreds of times before (even “The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King” had a scene like that).

    But besides that, even though the escape story was a given, we got even more with the information the Autobots and humans found… and the arrival of Megatron. 8) We got to see that Megatron really had no concern for being found out by Verity in that base; if it was another Decepticon like Starscream, he’d more likely order the spy to be destroyed immediately. Megatron, however, really seemed to feel the human was so far beneath him, that she just wasn’t any kind of concern for him. And brushing off the debris coming from a landslide like it was a light snowfall showed that Megatron isn’t fazed by very much, unless it’s something that really pushes his buttons (*cough*Starscream*cough*cough*Starscream*cough*). Of course, once his buttons are pushed, watch out…!

    We finally get to find out what this hidden Decepticon operation (led by Starscream) is about; an extraction for an ore unknown to most Autobot (and possibly Cybertronian) sciences, which could potentially jack up the user’s energy supply to greater heights. Off-hand, we don’t know yet if Starscream knew that Megatron was in the Nebraska site when he sent Skywarp and Blitzwing to erase it. If he did, obviously he didn’t tell his warriors about it, which could lead to a lot of tension in the already-legendary Megatron-versus-Starscream character dynamics that have become a part of any TF mythos. I’m guessing toward Starscream not knowing about Megatron’s presence at the time, but with Megatron inevitably showing up to punish his backstabbing lieutenant, Starscream’s new “medicine” could give him an added edge the Big M wouldn’t be expecting. OTOH, is Starscream did know about it, perhaps he may have sent Skywarp and Blitzwing to bait him out as unwitting decoys, allowing Starscream to challenge Megatron and use this chance to finally defeat him and claim supreme Decepticon leadership using the new power resource. However, as cunning and treacherous as Starscream is, is the latter tactic really his forte? Starscream is usually better at thinking short-term with the occasional back-up plan, but he’s normally too greed-driven and instinctive to come up with such an elaborate ploy, even gambling two of his own warriors just to call Megatron out.

    But when the confrontation inevitably takes place… odds on the chance that Megatron may have brought with him a few scant scrapings of the ore from the old Nebraska site as his own insurance policy?

    And how will Mecahtopia figure into this twist in the storyline?

    The art still looks good for the settings of this story; gritty and shadowed a bit to convey the gloom and moments of despair and fright as the danger increases from scene to scene; and the explosive action scenes are great, too. Absolutely hilarious is the three frames where Verity is still gaping at Megatron and raising her camera into view. What’s also really nice in that same scene (pages 4-5) is the ability to convey the story without any dialogue, with Megatron disregarding Verity and sticking to his work at hand. Also nice is keeping the punched hole in Ratchet’s front windshield throughout the issue; Starscream’s fist-rubbing anticipation and facial expression for his “medicine”; the eruptive display of Megatron emerging from the pit; and Blitzwing’s attacks on Megatron which fail to slow him down. I love the explosive fiery effect, making it look like Megatron’s walking right through the Inferno itself (and I don’t mean the G1 Autobot firetruck, or the BW Predacon). An additional detail I noticed on pages 13 and 18 is the inside of Ratchet’s ambulance bay. Pay close attention to the sides and corners of the inner walls, and you’ll notice those projections are Ratchet’s legs folded up in his vehicle mode. Nice touch.

    After the story is a full-page ad for the Alternators Optimus Prime toy, then comes another full-page pic saying, “Next Issue: The Prime Target”, showing Megatron aiming his smoking fusion cannon at the reader. Next is an ad or IDW’s upcoming TF posters, and next is a three-page preview of the “Stormbringer” mini-series, making its debut in July, plus the “Nothing but robots on Cybertron” ad right after it.

    Finally, ChrisCharger makes his “Decepticomments” in the mailbag (notice the hidden signature of artist Nick Roche in the pile of letters). After a quick plug of “Evolutions” debuting in June, and “Stormbringer” coming a month later, the sampled letters comment on the comic (again bringing up the issue with the humans one more time), including one letter submitted by a Mr. Optimus Prime… the same one who legally changed his name to the Autobot Leader, who is serving in the firefighting forces stationed in Iraq right now. (In fact, Optimus had pointed out that Akron, Ohio was used in a scene in the comic series… and that’s his hometown!) Closing the Decepticomments for this month are the preview blurbs for three TF comic issue previews set for next month. The first is Infiltration #6, where Megatron looks like he’ll be having trouble taking down a powered-up Starscream, and things look really bad for the Autobots on Earth. The second is the debut issue of TF Evolutions: “Hearts Of Steel”, where folk hero John Henry meets with a steam train – who turns out to be Bumblebee – and the Decepticons attack while disguised as vehicles of the 19th Century. The last is TF Generations #4, which re-prints the classic Marvel US issue #16, “Plight Of The Bumblebee.”


    OVERALL:

    As I understand it, the next issue coming up will be the “last” one before it takes a break for a couple months, before resuming in the fall with issue #7. This, of course, begs the inevitable question of what’s going to happen in this story chapter’s “conclusion” leading up to it? With this issue setting us up for a big confrontation, all we can really do is wait.


    SCORE: 4 Matrixes out of 5


    Outtsyder
     
  2. Foster

    Foster Super Mod

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    Big improvement. The pace is finally picking up, and the focus is finally where it belongs: the title characters.
     
  3. Omnibus Prime

    Omnibus Prime I'm too old for this shit TFW2005 Supporter

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    Pace?

    I was actually kinda surprised at how quick a read it was and how little actually happened. Hell, I read it on the can and found myself wishing I had brought another book!

    That said, it was probably the best issue so far just b/c something of some significance happened. But the overall pacing is still off. 5/6 in and this is easily coming across as something that could have been told in 4.

    But then...6 is generally the magic number needed to squeeze out a TPB. :redface2: 
     
  4. Napjr

    Napjr <b><font color=gold>Mr. Internet</font><br><font c Veteran

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    i liked the issue alot, Megatron was great!

    However as Omnibus said, it was a very quick read! i mean, when i got to the last page i simply shouted WTF? thats all?

    Seriously, i think IDW shouldnt put so many previews on every comic, so we could get more pages to read!
     
  5. Foster

    Foster Super Mod

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    You're both right. I was trying to be generous. The pace was better than usual, but still too slow.

    At least the Goonie rejects weren't the damn focus this issue.
     
  6. Vangelus

    Vangelus Long Live the New Flesh Moderator Content Contributor

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    Far too quick, but damn it was still good while there was stuff there.

    I was -very- impressed that Megatron didn't bother even exchanging a word with Verity. He has far more important things going on right now, and it'd have made him look a little less...well, leadery if he paused to shout "flesh creature!" or somesuch.

    Kinda surprised that Skywarp and Blitzwing are dead, barring any repairing etcetera.

    I'm really loving this take on the series. :D  Can't wait to see the conclusion!
     
  7. Gears

    Gears buh-buh-body ya Veteran

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    This issue definitely delivered the goods for me. :thumb . I bought the Megatron-getting-choked-by the-red-arm-cover, and I will buy it's matching half next month. EJ Su definitely stepped up the art for this issue. I loved how Megs just ignored the "un-important" fleshling. I like Astrotrain's new rendition. The scenes with Hunter and Bumblebee trying to save Verity were very tense and well done. When Megatron burst out of the ground I had a grin on my face from ear to ear! Although Skywarp is one of my personal favs, it was WICKED to see Megatron go through 'Warp and Blitzwing so easily. By the way this EJ Su Megatron KICKS ASS in my opinion. One more issue left eh? Hope they can wrap up the arc without trying to throw too much into 22 pages in the next issue. Can't wait for Prime to show up! :rock 
     
  8. 03Mach1

    03Mach1 Reason Has No Voice

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    It's sad that Art of War has squeezed twice as much action and better art into three books than Infiltration has managed in 5.
     
  9. LigerPrime

    LigerPrime Well-Known Member

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    Just read it...it was an enjoyable issue but I still find the pacing slow. Megs was cool but he seems kinda mentally slow in some panels...IMO...
     
  10. Lord Shockwave

    Lord Shockwave Well-Known Member

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    Okay, here we go.

    Shortest. Read. Ever.

    I went in with more of a keen eye, more with the kid gloves off, because after five issues and giving the pacing of the story the benefit of the doubt, things should happen.

    Things didn't.

    I mean, I was liking the story as I was reading it, but was caught surprised that the issue ended so quickly. No major revelations. Short sequences of action, mostly involving trapped humans and some Megs action. This issue was lacking, to say the least.

    It just seems like this story is stuck in quicksand, waiting for #6 to come so they can really have things happen. I have no doubt issue #6 will be a great one, because Furman has been purposely pulling his punches it would seem.

    The positives? Artwork very good, and as I said, what was actually in the issue wasn't too bad.

    Those who say Brad Mick dragged on and on during the DW ongoing title with Sunstorm and find this series pacing adequate are lying. They should have the guts to step up and admit that Simon is dragging his feet here.

    Infiltration makes a very good four-issue story. The six-issue format is really stretching this sucker out.

    I give issue #5 a "C". Hoping for more but got less.
     
  11. Lord Shockwave

    Lord Shockwave Well-Known Member

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    Okay, here we go.

    Shortest. Read. Ever.

    I went in with more of a keen eye, more with the kid gloves off, because after five issues and giving the pacing of the story the benefit of the doubt, things should happen.

    Things didn't.

    I mean, I was liking the story as I was reading it, but was caught surprised that the issue ended so quickly. No major revelations. Short sequences of action, mostly involving trapped humans and some Megs action. This issue was lacking, to say the least.

    It just seems like this story is stuck in quicksand, waiting for #6 to come so they can really have things happen. I have no doubt issue #6 will be a great one, because Furman has been purposely pulling his punches it would seem.

    The positives? Artwork very good, and as I said, what was actually in the issue wasn't too bad.

    Those who say Brad Mick dragged on and on during the DW ongoing title with Sunstorm and find this series pacing adequate are lying. They should have the guts to step up and admit that Simon is dragging his feet here.

    Infiltration makes a very good four-issue story. The six-issue format is really stretching this sucker out.

    I give issue #5 a "C". Hoping for more but got less.
     
  12. KidDynamite

    KidDynamite don't know nothing Veteran

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    I loved it. Infiltration has been a great series so far and I can't wait to see where things go next.
     
  13. 03Mach1

    03Mach1 Reason Has No Voice

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    After reading it again, I'm actually more disappointed with the story and art than I was the first time. Take a look at the backgrounds in each panel. What background you say? Exactly my point. There aren't any. The color grey does not make a good looking sky. Where's the sun, the clouds, birds or anything that belongs in the sky? Su's line art and the colorists work is sub par. In fact, the only reason I'm buying this book is the hopes that the TF comic will stay afloat long enough to see Don doing the interiors of the mainline comic.
     
  14. AutobotMaximal

    AutobotMaximal Becoming vintage, day by day

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    Ditto. Seriously, I think it's actually progressed in the WRONG direction. The story is a bit dry and the characters (what there are of them) are boring. I don't even want to get started on the art. I could be here all day explaining why the art is, at best, sub par. I think I'll just continue to flip through it and take my time checking out "The Art of War".
     
  15. Beastbot X

    Beastbot X The Toad Knows.

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    I think it's fairly good. Not the best comic I ever read, for sure, but still certainly worthy picking up. Gotta love Megatron just totally p0wning Blitzwing and Skywarp.
     
  16. Xabungle

    Xabungle Well-Known Member

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    After reading it, I was very disappointed with how little story Infiltration 5 told in a month's worth of pages. This feeling above all else stuck with me till I read through again. On the second read, I noticed more of the story. Notable things - Hunter playing at being Verity's hero, Megatron's sheer badassness. Especially that.

    I'm doubting that Blitzwing and Skywarp are dead as Megatron's dialogue seemed to indicate he was teaching them a lesson. Plus, Ratchet survived an equally impressive blast.

    What I want to know, and what seems to remain unrevealed, is why there were human corpses in pods inside the Decepticon command structure.
     
  17. Xcandescent

    Xcandescent TRUKKS are the new MUNKYS

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    Way too short (essentially a one-page non-ending), but what's there is pretty sweet.

    After issues and issues of whining, self-obsessed Verity, it's nice to finally see her shut her mouth and be properly terrified by the appearance of Megatron. It's even funnier to see Megs COMPLETELY IGNORE her. The whole "Verity is special" line is spew-worthy, but maybe, just MAYBE we'll actually see her turn into a somewhat non-useless, less whiny character now.

    Hint to Ryall: if you want to ground your TF stories in a human perspective, make sure the humans are actually worth knowing. Otherwise, you end up with Rad and Carlos, The Next Generation.

    The detailing inside Ratchet surprised me; it looks like the legs are folded up against the wall, with his torso plate on the floor. Nice.

    But yeah, Megatron runs away with this issue. He's the best redesign since Ratchet -- mostly because he's barely redesigned at all. He's basically G1 Megs with tank accessories, and that's fine. But it's his sheer brutality that makes you pay attention -- impaling Skywarp with a single blast, and crumpling Blitzwing with a single blow.

    "How quickly ... they forget. And so ... I must remind them."

    The other big development -- the discovery of Ore 13 -- had me cringing. As Ironhide puts it, "the infiltration unit is juiced." So apparently, Megatron is going to be Barry Bonds next issue? (Groan.) I guess it fits with the old "gotta get more Energon than the other guy" plots, but I was hoping for something more. What's really interesting is Blitzwing's comment about how they "stopped being Decepticons, I guess" ... could there be something else going on?

    -XCN-
     
  18. mrhillz

    mrhillz Changed his user title. TFW2005 Supporter

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    I can't believe how fast a read this was. I can't help but think that Furman could have conveyed the same story in 4 issues instead of 6 and gotten the same result.
     
  19. Dalarsco

    Dalarsco Kickback=ROCK

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    So, who else instantly thought of Incomplete Skywarp when Megatron blew him apart? Hopefully he never gets fully repaired and goes around looking like Incomplete Skywarp.
     
  20. Chrono Grimlock

    Chrono Grimlock Perfect By Nature

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    The only thing I thought was where's my $4 worth of story. I throw out Infiltration 2 - 4, and I was hoping this wouldn't be joining them, I was wrong. This is the only book that on a monthly basis I waste money on.
    The 11 page preview for Stormbringer has me completely hooked, so I keep buying this trash for the plot details.
     

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