So About Megatron...

Discussion in 'Transformers Comics Discussion' started by AnomusPrime, Jun 10, 2017.

  1. AnomusPrime

    AnomusPrime Very sane, not crazy at all

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    I've wanted to write something on this for a long time now. And after LL6 came out, with what could possibly be a "solution" to his character arc, I think now it's the time to vent my thoughts.

    First let me say, it is utterly right and inspiring that his philosophy evolved from "Peace Through Tyranny" to "Peace Through Empathy." It is not only right in comics. It is right and what we need in real life. This statement is so very essential that I can not stress enough how significant it should be. But in Ll6 it was just tossed out here. Casually. When it deserves an entire issue focused on expanding and discussing it. Yes, this concept of empathy as a central role is built up by the humanitarian focus of the book, by the kind regard on meches like Whirl and Megatron, but such an important statement, the thesis of MTMTE even, is not to be just tossed out like this. It feels like it now stand alone out of the context of the all other happenings in the issue.

    LL6 doesn't seem to have a clear focus, and the problem is that it should be focusing much more on Megatron. Because let's face it, Megatron very well deserves his own book. JRo's efforts to not let him overshadow the others is bound to damage what he is trying to say through Megatron, inevitable. I understand people's concern that Megs is too big and pushing away other characters, but at the cost of distraction from such an important point? I'd have Megatron take over a whole arc than that.

    I loved JRo's Megatron. I loved every aspect of him from the innocence pre-war pacifist poet/activist to the hatred-driven, self-destructive interglacial warlord to his current, better version of self. I love that he now has a virtual black hole in his chest that can leak anti-matters, such a powerful metaphor. However, I've had some problems since the Froid/Sunder issue, that's MTMTE #49, from more than a year ago. Since then, Megatron has lost some of his layers, and became an almost 2-dim character that screams "REDEEMED VILLAIN!"

    Bear in mind, it is not the redemption that I'm against. I love that he finally let go of his traumas and became a better version of himself. It takes much more courage and perseverance to take on changes than stubbornly holding onto the old, wrong way. But the manner his characterization is carried out recently has been grating on my nerves. It appeared too clean.

    Does a person, especially one who had been engrossed in violence and hatred as his go-to method of dealing with the whole world for such a long time, get to suddenly make a U-turn and that's it? The courage to make the decision to change his whole way is tremendous, but that's far from the end of the process, just the beginning. As I just mentioned, it takes perseverance to change. Where are the toss-and-turns? Where's efforts to weed out involuntary violent thoughts, to push through the initial reactions? Where're those unavoidable self-doubts and small and large fell-backs in a messy path of progress? How is that he just lectured other people oh-so grandly of what is the right thing to do, with his chest puffed out like a fucking hero on a moral high-horse? Is it even convincing that he killed DJD and showed no remorse, if not emotional regrets, of his actions?

    To be fair, he did still involuntarily lash out even after he rennounced violence, but this level of depiction is too shallow. It's all glossed over, that even the lash-outs, the failures of mentaining his own resolution feel like purely cleansing and victorious? Like Megatron unleashing his inner beast and we can all just whistle? Progress should not be like that. It is a great loss on the story that we didn't get to see how exactly these actions damage Megatron himself, make him feel trapped or shoved down from the driver's seat in his own mind. Instead of going deep, it just sorta floats on the surface.

    Then there was LL6, where, apparently, Megs got stranded on functionist universe against his own will. I totally agree with the opinions that this can't be the solution. It solves maybe the Functionist problem, but it solves nothing with Megatron, or Rodimus, or his half of the coup. Does he really need to relive his live to get over his regrets? If so it'd be disappointing, totally anti-inspiring and ridiculous. Disappointing because he should be much stronger than needing that to get over his regrets. Uninspiring because no one irl get to pull that shit and they still has to break their shackles. Ridiculous because what does "doing it better this time" in functionist universe have anything to do with what he did in the main universe? Rescuing all those people is good, but it doesn't negate the lives he already took. If you killed a handred and than save a handred, that doesn't mean your guiltless is zero now.

    Luckily, it is not Megatron's choice to "relive his life." So he do not actually need that, he do not actually think like that. And I refuse to believe he will just go with the deception and stay there like Terminus wanted. I don't mind if he stays there for a short time, helps shaping a peaceful revolution, works with another Orion, having a blast. Everyone deserves a little vacation, but he got to get back. I said I wouldn't mind if he went on a journey or something after facing the trail (tho I don't want his absence), but this simply is no closure.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2017
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  2. AnomusPrime

    AnomusPrime Very sane, not crazy at all

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    Just to be clear, I was talking about when he urged the other lost lighters to stay and protect the "organic" against DJD. And it was not totally the words he spoke, it's also more of the facial expressions and stance that makes him seem too grand. The stance and expression much improved in LL6 where he was giving a talk to the fu 'bots, but the whole thing instead became too rushed.
     
  3. Windsweeper II

    Windsweeper II The Pristine

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    No! Absolutely, completely No!
    Or maybe yes: give this whole unbelievable, artificial, insipid "redemption arc" that is just an excuse to keep the Megatron fanboys happy by keeping him in the comics its own book that is not LL, so i can have my LL undiluted and ignore the Megatron fanbook.
     
  4. Lionheart

    Lionheart Well-Known Member

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    I think my biggest problem with the conclusion of Megatrons redemption arc is basically what you said- he's saving lives but that doesn't solve or repent for any of the actual problems he caused because the people being helped aren't even in the universe he damaged.
     
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  5. Nocturne

    Nocturne Professional Ginger

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    Maybe that's the point? I see a lot of posters talking about redemption and how he hasn't earned it etc, but when I sit down and think about how Megatron would go about true redemption I draw a blank.

    And don't mean that in a "thinking is hard" sort of way. What I mean is his crimes were so horrible, widespread and damaging that there is NOTHING that can redeem him. It's like Brainstorm's trial. His crime was so epic in scale, that no one knew how properly charge him.

    Nothing, short of death, would even come close to a true punishment for him. But here we have a problem because we're working within a fiction where Megatron is a well loved and lucrative character. They can't just off him.
     
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  6. Pravus Prime

    Pravus Prime Wields Mjolnir!

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    I mostly agree.

    When the functionist universe was created, along with many others, I thought that was where Megatron was going to end up; getting a second chance to fight the war the "right way". However, when they started using him, peeling back his layers and having him really interact with the crew, grow and change, and work towards earning the Autobot symbol on his chest, I wanted to see his path, even if it wasn't always at the forefront. I still feel the most powerful moment in MTMTE was Megatron on the field of flowers (replacing Rewinds message to Chromdome for me) and his relationship with Ravage.

    Then to have him be removed not even by his own choice to be in another universe just seems thoroughly wrong. There's no way now he can prove to Getaway and the others that they were wrong. There's no more growth between Ultra Magnus/Megatron nor Rodimus and Megatron dynamics now. There can't even be an exchange where someone asks Megatron if some bold action will redeem him and Megatron says that nothing ever will, but that doesn't stop him from doing it moment of awesome. There can't be a moment where Whirl saves Megatron and they have some funny dialogue now. Instead it's all nothing.

    He'll talk off-screen and probably come back in some harrowing moment later on that will seem cool, but will have come at too high a developmental cost that had been rather brilliantly set up. One of my favorite character moments was seeing that Megatron was teaching a class and had a bunch of students from the crew and that he's a very hard grader.
     
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  7. AnomusPrime

    AnomusPrime Very sane, not crazy at all

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    I like the good discussion.
    Exactly, Resumption is never going to be negating what he has done. It is not possible. What is done is done. It can't be righted. That doesn't mean he shouldn't try, but it should never be the touchstone of any redemption. At least I never expected him to "repent enough." To me, true redemption is to become a better person, and faces and be truely repentant for the wrong he had done. Whether he can do anything to right it is secondary. In fact, the most important action for him is to try to do the right thing after that. So yeah, him doing various things with the crew is much more fulfilling a redemption than leading another revolution in another universe.

    Me too. That field of blue flowers is perhaps my favorite moment in the entirety of MTMTE. Its sadness in its enormity illustrates how it is impossible to "right the wrong." I like that is doesn't do much. It is just there.
    I bring this up again because I don't believe this is the conclusion of his redemption arc. Let's not forget, he buried the suitcase exactly to let go of the option to "do it again." Let's hope it's not for nothing.
     
  8. Megastar

    Megastar Well-Known Member

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    I've said it before that the only way to truly redeemed Megatron is to have him sacrifice himself to save the whole universe or having himself shadow played to never kill anybody ever again. The thing about Brainstorm is the same with the DJD and the others like them, they're all monsters that Megatron has made in one way or another and the best thing to do is either change them or kill them.
     
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  9. hardlurk

    hardlurk Well-Known Member

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    What interests me in Megatron is not what happens to him personally (I don't care if Roberts wants to dig up Stalin and rehabilitate him or put him on trial), but in the philosophical implications of his passage from liberal intellectual to revolutionary tyrant and back to liberal intellectual.


    Another passage just for Megatron/Optimus shippers:

     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2017
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  10. RazorclawX

    RazorclawX Campaign Oracle

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    This is basically why I don't think Megatron needs redemption. It is a narrative dead-end and rings hollow.

    Getting to do his revolution all over again isn't redemption, either-- if anything that's like living Hell all over again.

    Megatron's only solution to his problem is making peace with himself and moving on with his life to live a better person.

    That's beside the fact that I'm against the whole idea that people can only redeem themselves by dying. In some ways that just makes things worse (especially if martyrdom is involved).
     
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  11. Nocturne

    Nocturne Professional Ginger

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    Considering Megatron's past with mnemosurgury, no. Just no. Plus, this is a slippery slope. Forcing shadowplay on people was something the corrupt Senate were quite fond of.

    Okay, so Megatron is either killed either through revenge or sacrifice. Then what? I have never cared about Megs because he was so one note. MTMTE/LL is the first Megs I do care about because time was spent exploring his character. What honestly sounds more interesting storywise? Killing off a big bad or taking that big bad on a journey of self-discovery and betterment whilst never ignoring the terrible things he's done.
     
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  12. rlmiddleton

    rlmiddleton Swoopatron

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    I have had a problem with Megatron's characterisation also. Every time he gets all righteous about something I get the nervous twitch. I understand that theoretically we're meant to read and react to him differently. But the authorial intent comes down very clearly on one side of the argument, leaving those on the other side like me a little frustrated.

    He's lived for literally millions of years. His (murderous) character has formed over literally millions of years. His transformation has occurred within a few years. And I understand that sometimes we have to suspend this kind of thinking for the sake of the narrative, but in my opinion the narrative making sense in context and the enjoyment of the narrative itself are tied together.
     
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  13. RNSrobot

    RNSrobot Keeper of the Waspinator Swarm. Blam.

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    Albeit right there is my issue with tf always needing do do "millions" of years. It makes things difficult.

    I agree with op. It feels like a copout and I don't like it. It's a crappy ending (even if we know it's not really the end) to his development and taking him away from the return to the lost light.

    And terminus really irritated me in ll. Meh.

    But yeah when megs gets super sanctimonious it's like, dude? Really? The best stuff is when the weight of his crimes overwhelms him. He doesn't just get to be who he aspired to be *before.* The murders never go away.
     
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  14. Nathanoraptor

    Nathanoraptor Active Member

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    To be honest, personally, I don't want to see Megatron come back. In my view, this is where his story was always meant to end, ever since the Functionist Universe was introduced.

    When I read it (and read some of the reactions to the ending), I sat down and tried to think about how Megatron would go about true redemption in the main universe. I drew a blank. His crimes were so horrible, widespread and damaging that there was nothing that could redeem him. It's like Brainstorm's trial. His crime was so epic in scale, that no one knew how properly charge him.

    Nothing, short of death, would even come close to a true punishment for him. Terminus even pointed this out; how can Megatron truly redeem himself if he has been executed?

    Here, however, things are different. Megatron can, now, begin his story again; Megatron can carry out his revolution in a different manner. Remember, Megatron originally wrote a treatise on how pacifist dissent and the exchange of ideas could change things (After The Ark: Nominus Prime and The Illusion of Progress). Megatron can carry out his revolution the way his old self wanted; not through force, through peace.

    Roberts even foreshadowed this in the soundtrack. The theme song for "Dying of the Light" and, arguably one for Megatron himself, was "Hurt" by Johnny Cash, which contains the following lyric; "If I could start again/A million miles away/ I would keep myself/ I would find a way" Megatron has been given that opportunity; to start again and not make the same mistakes. It's a beautiful ending to his story.
     
  15. Nocturne

    Nocturne Professional Ginger

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    @Nathanoraptor, were you trying to quote me? I'm not accusing you of anything but like a paragraph of your post is identical to mine, word for word(even the spelling mistakes)
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
  16. gregles

    gregles quintesson

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    I really like that this megatron story presents no easy moral answers and still leaves everything uncomfortable and open to question like in real life.

    Death would be effortless and easy for him and Even this outcome of him in the functionist universe could be seen as a bit iffy as does he really deserve this second chance considering so many better than him never get such a luxury as they are dead?

    Undoing all the Galaxy wide genocide is not an option so it seems like stopping him from further slaughter and giving him some kind of punishment or rehabilitation are desired by those left grieving. He seems to no longer fear having his mind altered but still fears having others writing his epitaph inaccurately so perhaps telling everyone he is dead whilst he is really trapped with the knowledge that stars cream has been authorised to write his official life's story for the history books would work as his punishment.

    As for rehabilitation that has to require the person to want it themselves which I guess this functionist universe is as good as place anywhere to attempt that.
     
  17. hardlurk

    hardlurk Well-Known Member

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    If you believe you have committed a crime and wish to seek redemption from the justice system, that redemption can only come from actually submiting to that justice system. And I don't think Megatron has. Back in "Chaos Theory" his whole thing was, everything I do will be justified once I build a better world, my utopia. And in "World, Shut Your Mouth", his argument becomes, whoops all I accomplished was breaking the world, but let me seek out cyberutopia so I can give the people a new world, surely that will make amends, I promise I will confess my crimes and accept my sentence afterward. That's not really progress, it's, the same thing.
     
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  18. SouthtownKid

    SouthtownKid Headmaster

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    Redemption has nothing to do with the justice system. Rehabilitation or restitution maybe. But redemption is a totally separate thing.

    Covered by Cash, you mean. Not his song.
     
  19. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP AKA Beve Stuscemi

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    I was about to say, how can a system "redeem" someone? Isn't that something they have to do themselves?
     
  20. hardlurk

    hardlurk Well-Known Member

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    To have been redeemed is to have found atonement with the State (or whatever higher power) whose law you have violated.

    I think I should have said "within the justice system" rather than "from".
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017

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