Tarn's Identity Revealed MASSIVE MTMTE #55 SPOILER

Discussion in 'Transformers Comics Discussion' started by shadow panther, Jul 26, 2016.

  1. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    As several people have pointed out, the anti-matter power has been there since the G1 bios, and I've been very happy to see Roberts drop references to that all along in this series, because as everybody who knows me is well aware, I love callbacks to the Budiansky bios.

    Pulling something like that out of the old G1 firmament, or putting a conceptual spin on some of the ideas is something that Roberts likes to do. His resurrection of holomatter in the Delphi storyline is one example, and during Slaughterhouse, he also had the eyebrow-raising but interesting idea about how someone like Megatron can use his mass-shifting ability (something I liked and hated at the same time).

    However, that's not what I disliked about the anti-matter-fueled conclusion of this story...

    To address a couple points that have come up, yes... anybody who has taken a secondary-school drama class probably knows the historical origin and meaning of the term deus ex machina.

    It refers to an ending where resolutions are not obtained through the mechanics of story or the efforts of characters, but instead by divine interference in the form of a manifest god (literally dropped into the scene by way of a winch or 'machine').

    Since the days of Greek tragedy, the meaning of this term has broadened to include any last-minute plot device that comes out of nowhere that seemingly fixes everything, and it's rightly seen as a bit of a cheap way to resolve a complicated narrative.

    So I don't think it's that much of a stretch to use the term when a character suddenly manifests spontaneous godlike powers in order to put everything right in the eleventh hour of a storyline. In this case, Megatron didn't really use "antimatter" so much as "explosive invincible telekinetic plot magic."

    Instead of being thrilled by Megatron's prowess or ingenuity or tenacity or cunning... it just feels like "oh, I just had this god-power in my back pocket the whole time... bam! You're all dead."

    And some part of me inside is like "... but that's not what anti-matter does..." but I guess once you throw some Kirby-dots on something, it can do pretty much whatever you need it to do. :) 

    It just felt a bit too quick, clean, and easy.

    The only thing missing was for Megatron's "hair" under his helmet to burst out and turn gold, to complete his Super Seiyun transformation. :lol 

    zmog
     
  2. Mirimus

    Mirimus Well-Known Member

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    Yes...and that bothers me to no end...but not in the way you probably imagine.

    I can't write off Roberts completely, given what we've seen in the past, and I can't help feeling that there's more going on than just the slow build-up and then quick burn of the last third of season two. I'd like to believe that we're being misdirected in the most mind-numbing way possible, and that maybe all the plot threads that have seemingly gone nowhere will come back...somehow...with a vengeance.

    But if I'm wrong, ok. At least it was a decent run for a while.

    And no, anti-matter does not work that way at all.
     
  3. Haywired

    Haywired Hakunamatatacon

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    Here's a thing I'd like to know about Overlord. Is he still a Phase-Sixer?

    Because it depends from how far the Galactic Council went with rebuilding him. Kept him "as is" or made him more manageable.

    Funny thing how morally corrupt is the Galactic Council in the end. They're not just interested in protecting worlds, they're happy with status quo because of the political power protecting worlds gives to them. If it's more than just a one rogue starship captain plotting, it makes them basically Cybertronian Senate v2.0 Organic Edition.
     
  4. dj_convoy II

    dj_convoy II Remix!

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    No, anti matter doesn't work that way.

    Does this help at all?

    [​IMG]

    It's an homage to when Simon Furman and Jeff Anderson did it in TFUK.
     
  5. Splendic

    Splendic bleep blorp

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    I didn't mind the black hole / antimatter / super saiyan Megatron, and as a matter of fact I got pretty psyched up when the trickery involved in use of the panic bubble was revealed.

    I just got taken (far) out of the story during the mass of exposition needed from Ravage to get us all up to speed, and then the instantaneous resolution.

    The word I just keep coming back to on this issue is "unearned," which is only half-fair because Roberts has technically dropped all the right hints as we've gone along... he's just not doing a great job of making them stand out, or he's introduced so many running mysteries, that it's hard to recall the details.

    You know this book certainly rewards readers with eagle eyes, but as I've said before... I've read the entire series twice through now, and if I'm scratching my head to remember certain details contained in the info dumps, than they weren't that well signposted to begin with.

    All that said, so many things have been wrapped up with this finale, we may get a bit of a "cleaner" start to season 3.
     
  6. justiceg

    justiceg Well-Known Member

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    You know, I assumed back in the "Elegant Chaos" arc that most of the changes we were seeing were results of Brainstorm's jumping back and forth through time. However, is it possible that some of these things (for example, lighting up the spark field, triggering the incident that kept Megatron from a full Shadowplay) were actually the Necrobot's doing?
     
  7. Noideaforaname

    Noideaforaname Pico, let's go up to Zuma

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    Forgive me...
    [​IMG]
     

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  8. Treadshot 2.0

    Treadshot 2.0 Action Master

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    It's not as much of a deus ex machina as you think. There's actually a good reason Megatron didn't use that power before: _he didn't want to die_. When he actually did use it, he was fully resigned to his own demise.
     
  9. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    Oh, I know all about that.

    And I also realize my complaint about the antimatter in this comic book setting is sort of like complaining about how "that's not how radioactive spiders work." :) 

    I'm just not a fan of the way it was used here... basically a "power cosmic" sort of clean-sweep wrap-up for the DJD (and Tarn in particular). I also didn't like the way Overlord sort of ducked into the plot, and then ducked out again conveniently, while not really bringing much to the story besides one "oh shit!" moment (that quickly defused) and an opportunity for Chromedome to bust his chops.

    Though at least he didn't go out like Tarn...

    zmog
     
  10. justiceg

    justiceg Well-Known Member

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    I assumed (maybe too much) that Overlord's purpose there was to mention that Rewind said "Domey! Save me!", so that Chromedome would connect the dots, and realize that
    a) Overlord wouldn't have had time to kill Rewind given how the slow cell worked
    b) if Overlord knew that Rewind used that word for Domey, it implies that the original Rewind is still alive.

    Oh the pathos...at least that's what I'm thinking. Then again I thought this arc would end with everyone joining Deathsaurus' crew and we'd get a DS vs Star Saber fight in Season 3. So I'm probably totally wrong.
     
  11. Pravus Prime

    Pravus Prime Wields Mjolnir!

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    Oh, you have no idea how much it bugs me, but given that so much of the science in MTMTE (And IDW at large, as well as modern Transformers) is so ludicrous and wrong I find it a tad hypocritical to call that out specifically even though it bothers me more then any of the other problems that it would make the many, many other problems in the issue seem less relevant when they really should be more at the forefront.

    Even with the idea of it being Science Fiction and hand-waving some of it away as what makes the story and characters work, there are a number of problems that seem to be wrong just because of a lack of research and reliance on 1950's tropes dealing with science.

    While I loathe IDW's Star Saber, that would actually be a bit cool.
     
  12. Splendic

    Splendic bleep blorp

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    Rewind 1 being alive is way too good a dramatic tool to pass up. He's GOT to be out there in some capacity still.
     
  13. Haywired

    Haywired Hakunamatatacon

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    Yeah, I complain about weird science in Transformers myself, but then I'd have to start questioning from very premise of big transforming robots. :X

    So usually I don't look for any more sense of it than I expect from any other comic book. I merely wish from the setting to follow its own internal logic and that's about it...
     
  14. Focksbot

    Focksbot Skeleton Detective

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    I think it's fine to have wacky science fiction in a space opera tale, so long as you stick to your own rules. I don't think I've seen anyone complaining about Trailbreaker's forcefield power, and I think that's because Roberts took care to establish the ways in which it could be used via non-pivotal character-building scenes. We might have called foul if the 'panic bubble' first appeared in the very issue where it trapped Trailbreaker in with Kaon, but of course, we already knew how it worked and what the implications were.

    Also with the quantum engines. Rodimus' plan to kill the sparkeater came *after* it was already established that jumping the ship could trap someone inside the engines.

    And while it might be a small thing, I really appreciated how the concept of Overlord's time prison was explained before it was used to tragically stall Chromedome. When we know the sci-fi gobbledegook already, using it in an unexpected way is very satisfying. But when we get something out of left field only to have it subsequently explained with sci-fi gobbledegook, it feels like a cheat.
     
  15. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    This for sure. It's a fine line between adequate foreshadowing and something that feels like a left-field screwball twist, and it seems to me like Roberts has more recently been falling on the wrong side of that line... but I do appreciate the sort of surreal and conceptual approach he often takes with the sci-fi angles (which seems very much in tune with his Brit comic forebears like Gaiman, Morrisson, Ellis, et al.).

    I think that in this environment you can certainly bend the rules and definitions of scientific reality to a degree... but you should also strive for a kind of consistency. I also think it's a mistake to assume that such suspensions of disbelief are an inevitable slippery slope, and that if you pull one string, the whole fabric of Transformer needs to unravel. Questioning the scientific logic of one thing doesn't automatically invalidate the conceit of alien transforming robots.

    I find this argument is often used by some to foreclose on the possibility of delving deeper into the logics proposed by the Transformers premise (alien mechanical metaphor biologies, ecologies, civilization, culture, and all that entails), and I think it's a paltry, petty argument.

    I find it's quite the opposite... the coherency and immersive credibility of the sci-fi setting strains with every new burden of suspended disbelief you place upon it. Every handwave makes it weaker, while nailing down some of the goofier ideas with some semblance of pseudo-scientific logic tends to firm things up I think, and help sell the conceits. The "it's all fantasy anyway" all-encompassing handwave is to me completely lazy, and ultimately encourages me not to care - since it starts to prioritize the metaphorical over the concrete, and makes everything in the diegetic universe feel more arbitrary than it should.

    But I digress. That's more about general world-building and storytelling philosophies...

    The problem in this case is that antimatter, even dating back to 1950s tropes, has a pretty stable definition and history in sci-fi... as well as a fairly specific function in relation to Megatron. I guess it's a callback to Furman, but for me it just sort of felt like too much of a generic god-power (that now Megatron can hypothetically summon up whenever the chips are down). I mean, sure, it also is 'unstable and can explode'... but even that feels arbitrary and whimsical. Why didn't it explode the moment it poured out of Megatron's eyes? Why didn't it explode after he killed Vos? It seems blatantly obvious that it only explodes when it's useful for the plot, so why worry? :/

    It reminds me in some sense of the holomatter issue. Sure, in a specific context, it confers some narrative utility... but if unchecked, it only takes a slight stretch to turn into something unbalancing and awkward.

    zmog
     
  16. theosteve

    theosteve Well-Known Member

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    I get the fact that this would be a weapon of last resort, since it's a bit of a suiviee bomb (barring Rodimus' intervention). And I read the series until the stop on the Necrobot's planet, long enough to have seen various allusions to the original bio concept. That doesn't change it being a miraculous power up. Like usual, I agree with Zmog's *perception of how it cheapens the climax.

    Great thoughts, Focksbot and Zmog. Since this is the type of conceptual discussion I love, I'll indulge myself a bit here. I have a nostalgic fondness for some superhero comics in spite of their completely ludicrous pseudoscience and inconsistency. I appreciate some soft science fiction, like the original and Next Gen Star Trek, or Dr Who, and some space opera, like the Lensmen or Star Wars. But I also like hard SF, and I like variety. Just because the superhero genre has been the primary staple of comics for decades does not mean that all comics should be superhero genre. I was initially interested in GI Joe as a kid—toys and comics—because it seemed to be relatively standard military action, with relatively low-key sci-fi conceits (a few rare lasers, a few unusual but still not absurdly unrealistic vehicles like the HISS or the Rattler). I quickly lost interest as the characters, tech, and plots became more outlandish and akin to the superhero genre. Why couldn't Snake-Eyes have stayed an ace black ops agent rather than turning to a ninja?

    Transformers seemed like a good candidate for a relatively hard sci-fi series. It didn't seem too big a stretch to see this as a series of things not incredibly inconceivable: what we would consider to be advanced AIs with the ability to rearrange their parts in predetermined forms. Seems like you can have plenty of very compelling stories sticking to a more real world milieu, with just a few carefully considered and consistent sci-fi elements. *It loses its appeal to me when it leans more toward soft sci-fi—and especially the "anything goes" superhero—genre models, such as mass shifting, time travel, alternate dimensions, outlier powers, God planets, mystic artifacts, and turbo power ups. Let alone the Douglas Adamsian absurdism of "fourth wall" weapons and charisma eaters.
     
  17. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    Naturally we all have different thresholds. I don't even mind some of the stranger fantastical concepts... but not if they're tossed out in such cavalier, slipshod fashion. I think it helps when you anchor some of the wackier stuff with some rigorous attention-to-detail. As I've noted before, the meta-bomb/Swearth story and the personality ticks pushed it too far for me... but I might have been able to dig into even those ideas if they'd been achieved with a bit more care and elan.

    Obviously this gets hard to set rules for... it does often fall into a "I know it when I see it" sort of assessment territory.

    zmog
     
  18. theosteve

    theosteve Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely true, this is a bit of an ambiguous, abstract issue where it's difficult to set rules. And I understand that this is strictly a personal taste issue. The fact that I don't care for it doesn't make it bad, per se

    "Cavalier" seems a very appropriate term. Roberts seems very cavalier about all this, just tossing in any and all wackiness without much concern for grounding it all in something. I'd rather see someone see how little wackiness they could get away with. I would love someone start with the premise "how few superhero genre conventions can we get in there and still tell a great story? How epic or powerful can I make it without relying on tropes like alternate dimensions, prophecies, time travel paradoxes, and other assorted weirdness?"
     
  19. Splendic

    Splendic bleep blorp

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    I would absolutely adore a hard sci-fi Transformers book, but I wonder how "Transformers" it would be with so much wacky, borderline fantasy elements being so ingrained in the existing mythos.

    I loved that early on that it seemed like Roberts was doing his best to make the soft sci-fi of the TF universe more logical, more reasonable... but personally, I felt that went by the wayside this year, and concepts veered back toward the unreasonably unrealistic.

    If you were a kid when G1 came out, I suggest checking out a comic called Westward. It takes another property of that generation and gives it a more "realistic" spin.
     
  20. ZeroiaSD

    ZeroiaSD Autobot

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    Let me point out that since the first run there was a 'Dead Universe' that seems to spread death energy.

    There's ores with powers over time, life, and death.

    And, well, sparks.

    It's always been rather soft, and the 'black energy' anti-matter isn't particularly on the soft side of things we've seen.
     

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