Who has the best and worst reinvented / expanded characterisation?

Discussion in 'Transformers Comics Discussion' started by Bass X0, Sep 24, 2017.

  1. SouthtownKid

    SouthtownKid Headmaster

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    I'm sorry, but that's laughable. I love Beast Wars, but Rattrap -- as he existed in Beast Wars -- was not three-dimensional nor fully developed. Everything he ever did in the series was predictable, because he was completely one-note. He didn't grow. He didn't change.

    If the comparison was Dinobot, or Primal, or a few others, then yeah, that would be a point. But Rattrap might as well have been a Sunbow character: ONE personality trait, which they hit over and over and over, plus a great voice actor. I mean, come on, that is textbook Sunbow.

    What it really is, is that you grew up with Rattrap, so you have a fondness for him that you don't for Star Saber, because you only discovered Star Saber much later in life (if you've watched Victory at all). And there's nothing wrong with that. There's probably no one here who hasn't experienced that. Let's just call it what it is.
     
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  2. Soundwave902

    Soundwave902 The Lone Survivor

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    “Raises hand in embarrassment” Didn’t get into this until about a two years ago, most of my characterizations are based on Netflix reruns and IDW binge reads. Rattrap from Beast Wars was two-sided, he either begrudgingly did what was asked or flat out refused to; I always saw him as the team asshole, so there wasn’t much change, just a more extreme version of him.
     
  3. SG Roadbuster

    SG Roadbuster SG Wrecker

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    My 2cents on idw Rattrap: in the first few episodes of Beast Wars we saw that Rattrap was a self centered dickbag, but became a better person over time die to the positive influence of Optimus Primal and Rhinox.
    Idw Rattrap starts off the same way, but instead of Kind Rhinox and Noble Bossmonkey he hooks up with Starscream, and Screamer is a horrificly bad influence
     
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  4. AutobotAvalanche

    AutobotAvalanche Wanna touch things I don't feel

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    So his blatant hatred and distrust for Dinobot shifting to a gruff friendship over time isn't change? He was still sarcastic to the end, sure, but he learned about trust and being a team player.
     
  5. SouthtownKid

    SouthtownKid Headmaster

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    He was as much a team player in the first episode as he was in the last. And as for distrust of Dinobot shifting to gruff friendship (which I think is an overstatement anyway. I would not call the final point of their relationship "friendship")...beyond being pretty much a cartoon cliche seen in a hundred cartoons since the 1970s, would you honestly call THAT the character being fully developed and three-dimensional?! Your standards for character development are in the basement.
     
  6. AutobotAvalanche

    AutobotAvalanche Wanna touch things I don't feel

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    I wasn't the one who said he was three-dimensional and fully developed. I was just responding to you saying he didn't change at all.
     
  7. SouthtownKid

    SouthtownKid Headmaster

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    And I don't count that as character growth. He was the same sarcastic (saying the same things, even), reluctant-to-help guy at the end of the series that he was at the beginning.

    That's cool you want to stick your oar in and defend a character you like. But the point of what was being discussed was whether it could legitimately be said that Rattrap was "fully developed and three-dimensional" compared to Star Saber in Victory, who is supposedly generic. Again, I love Beast Wars and consider it one of the pinnacles of the entire franchise, but what is more generic than the cliche sarcastic guy character with THAT accent? Nothing. You can't get more generic than that. It's generic like the cliche psychiatrist guy with the German accent.
     
  8. Rabid Robot

    Rabid Robot Wrecker

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    I only got into idw 2 years ago and already have almost every comic(other than revolution. Im staying away from that for as long as possible), but i have seen most every show and movie and idw really does great work. Their characters are so good(especially in mtmte) that you feel genuine emotion for the characters and the events that happen to them. My fav is prowl, how they made prowl the biggest dick ever is amazing.
     
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  9. RNSrobot

    RNSrobot Keeper of the Waspinator Swarm. Blam.

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    *Shrug* you also recently claimed beast machines was well written, so.

    I think I'd like to see IDW rattrap expanded on. He got lost in the shuffle post combiner wars.
     
  10. Bumblemus Prime

    Bumblemus Prime Cracked in the head

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    Ratchet was the best character in Marvel, and he's even better in IDW.
     
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  11. Windsweeper II

    Windsweeper II The Pristine

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    Rattrap is rated as a schemer, but what has he actually done but be there.
    I'd like someone to actually use the character instead of having him be decoration.
     
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  12. RNSrobot

    RNSrobot Keeper of the Waspinator Swarm. Blam.

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    There is actually this really strange gap post combiner wars that makes very little sense. Prime beats the crap out of prowl; rattrap saves prowl. It's implied some relationship exists and/or rattrap has much more going on than the reader assumed.

    Then prowl is on earth for Sins.

    Then he has his little cameo watching Prime's broadcast in AHO. "Like hell you will."

    Then ... Prowl randomly shows up on Luna-2 and is an absurd goofball b/c Roberts, and afawk, is still there with max and red.

    The rattrap connection has not been followed up and prowls whereabouts and activities post CW is massively into WTF territory.
     
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  13. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP AKA Beve Stuscemi

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    Just my quick two-cents of ratface: I don't mind that he was changed, but I don't like that he was changed for no benefit. Rattrap was a pretty beloved character by many, and it seems counter-productive to bring him into the story based on that popularity and make him such an unrecognizable (in personality) second-stringer for no obvious payoff. Much like bringing in the goofy and flamboyant Sky-Byte and just making him a bland, edgy poet (here's the thing, Sky-Byte was a terrible poet in RID. That's why he was funny, please stop making that a legitimate aspect of his personality) who does nothing. If you're going to bring in a fan-favourite, either keep them intact if they're just for show, or make them worth a damn. Case in point: Tarantulas who, despite being drastically altered in personality from a cannibalistic madman to a hurt, vengeful ex-partner, was nontheless a wonderful interpretation of the character. He was changed, yes, but it was all for a good reason.

    Beg your pardon?

    He willfully disobeyed orders, at the expense of his teammates, to save his own skin in episode one. By the end of the show he was actively considering and preserving others' well being without a second thought. He laughed when Optimus got shot in their first battle, yet frequently showed concern over Optimus by the end. He developed a respect and friendship with him.

    In episode two he actually holds a gun to Dinobot's head, poised to execute him. In Code of Hero, he is holding his hand and weeping over his imminent death, followed by him leading a proud salute in his honour. That's not friendship?

    You seem to have skewed ideas as to what counts as a three-dimensional character as well as character developement. You mentioned in another thread the writings of greats like Ernest Hemingway and Dostoevsky in comparrison to Transformers fiction, which I find positively ludicrous. Yeah, everything's gonna seem like shit compared to them, akin to saying no fanart is ever as good as revolutionary pieces by Picasso or something. It comes across as out of touch and more importantly devoid of context. Someone saying they find a character well-written in a cartoon is not them saying they're the most complex, geniusly crafted fictional hero to grace western media. It just means they're well-written. In the same way a car can be feul efficient without being a breakthrough in clean emissions technology. You taking these comments and comparrisons so far out of context is sillier than anything the characters themselves have said or done.

    Rattrap is a three-dimensional character in that his personality and reactions differ and conform naturally to different situations, rather than appear stagnant or single-minded in all actions. He is developed in that his world views are likewise adjusted and altered over time as a direct result of his experiences throughout the show. This is not to say he is the Macbeth of Transformers, it just means he's not a flat, one-dimensional character. Plenty of- if not most -characters are three-dimensional, that is not by itself the measure of quality, just a prerequisite. (and some would argue a character can be one-dimensional and still resonate or be likable, given the right circumstances)

    You also use cliche as if it's a bad word, but it isn't. Plenty of cliches are popular, that's what makes them cliches. Because people have a natural affinity to them, and they function well without much need for explanation. Rattrap being a rat with a foul attitude and Jersey(ish?) accent fits together because it instantly makes his demeanour and personality recognizable. He's not just a rat, he's a rat. He knows the ins and outs of places and isn't afriad to get dirty, physically or morally, if it means getting the job done. It just works. Take a passing glance at virtually any media and you will see almost all western fictional characters embody cliches and stereotypes, because that's what people like. It's why ragtag groups of contrasting personalities appeal in ways functional teams of like-minded, similarly-spoken characters virtually don't exist. It's why people like their muscle characters simple-minded and brutish, their intellects British-acccented and quirky, etc. Cliches and stereotypes help feed people information subconciously and quickly that would otherwise be awkwardly explained and not as likely to appeal anyway.

    As for the original complaint about Rattrap and the subsequent comparrison to Star Saber, he is entirely accurate and justified. Rattrap was a character with nuance. He was an atypical "good guy" who was self-centered, foul-mouthed, and combative. You knew what Rattrap was going to do in any given situation because he was so well-acted and written he felt like a real person. He was imperfect, ugly on the inside. Like all the Maximals he was portrayed as havig natural reactions and emotions you'd expect of someone in his situation. That made him three-dimensional, but more importantly, relatable. Star Saber was not. He was squeaky-clean (except for as a child) and stoic in the face of aversity. He was for the most part simply "a hero." He fought valiantly, and his struggles and strifes were presented in a far more simplistic, less human way. There wasn't much to him. And it wasn't just because he was a leader. TFA Optimus was a likewise stalwart, heroic leader type, yet was far more nuanced. He had doubts, was awkward in situations he didn't understand, and made mistakes and miscalculations. He always bounced back from it because he was also driven and competent, but that's just it, Star Saber wasn't really a character, he was an icon. He wasn't there for the audience to relate to, but idolize. And iconography is not something easily earned or covetted by the viewers, and so he's generally far less remembered than someone like Rattrap who is an established, multi-facetted character in comparrison to the flat and uninteresting Star Saber.

    I mean, it is though. If BW was the characters at their most functional and evenly-matched while primarily being a series of harmless, low-key romps of general action-adventure, BM was playing with the narrative presets. Skewing everything to experiment and see just where these characters would go if they weren't just out of their comfort zone, but thrown into their absolute worst nightmare. It also has the best depiction of spirituality in all of Transformers in my opinion. The Allspark was both an esoteric afterlife beyond explanation, yet rooted in the physical world via its conduit the Oracle, which was subject to all the limitations of any computer despite its hyper-advanced nature. The allegories it puts forth on spirituality as an extension of their own selves complete with the fundamental shortcomings and functions of them as constructs are wonderful food for thought.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
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  14. Windsweeper II

    Windsweeper II The Pristine

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    @SPLIT LIP Clichés are always bad.
    It doesn't mean shit if it's popular.
    In fact it's worse if a cliché is popular because it means it's harmfull influence will be more widespread.
    Sorry to be extremist in this but so are clichés.

    As to Rattrap or Sky-byte.
    They aren't exactly characters i love.
    I like em, but i care a lot more about say, Silverbolt, Black Arachnia, Rhinox, Tarantulas, Scourge...
    But i agree they didn't exactly do much with them.
    But then these past years IDW hasn't done anything with characters who aren't Starscream, Bumblebee, Optimus, Megatron, Windblade, Arcee or Jazz.
     
  15. SouthtownKid

    SouthtownKid Headmaster

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    Oh yeah, he's the Jean Valjean of Transformers. So nuanced. What an incredible and expansive arc this character experiences.

    You just described laziness.
     
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  16. Rewind Eject

    Rewind Eject Well-Known Member

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    I would switch bad and popular in your first two lines. Cliches are defined as a storytelling element disliked due to perceived overuse. An unpopular cliche would just be any obscure storytelling element you don't like. Meanwhile, many storytelling elements are near ubiquitous yet few people call them cliches because they aren't personally tired of them. A 'cliche' you don't find bad is instead called an archetype or stock image.

    But what makes a cliche popular in the first place? That it was once memorable and seen as worth emulating by other artists. So most cliches got to be what they are not by being bad but by being good (at least in the hands of the original creator). This brings us to what SplitLip was speaking about; cliches -or archetypes- are tools. Used mindlessly by copy pasting something from another work into your own and they deserve their ill reputation but used just as one element among many others and your own perspective on them and they can create interesting memorable characters.

    Now onto the main subject; Rattrap was one of those memorable characters and that is why he has so many fans. He was always a hero with loose scruples, so having this rendition be even more morally ambiguous is a fair interpretation. However, to turn him into a one dimensional villain is a disservice to those fans.

    Starsaber on the other hand didn't have any memorable characteristics, doesn't seem to have arguing for him because they actually particularly like him, so is thus a blank slate for the writers to do as they will as far as I'm concerned.
     
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  17. The Mad Demobot

    The Mad Demobot Well-Known Member

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    BEST:
    1. Megatron

    2. Ratchet

    3. Starscream

    4. Prowl

    5. Soundwave

    6. Shockwave

    Worst:

    1. ...Rattrap??

    I give up here. I really can't find a character that I didn't think had the best characterized. Even if I did point it out, it was someone who didn't last long, made few appearances, or left very little impact.
     
  18. ZeroiaSD

    ZeroiaSD Autobot

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    Hm, Hellbat is arguably a downgrade- I mean, don't get me wrong, nihilist Hellbat wasn't bad at all, I liked him in Empire of Stone, but in Victory, he was one of the best parts, being Starscream to that show's Starscream, and it was great.

    Overlord, ok, the current one is great, but I also loved Mega and Giga as a combining duo, so


    Initially I didn't like this because it was *so* different and his new one is fairly one-note, but... once I saw Victory, I basically shrugged and went, "Yea, he was pretty boring. He's no Ginrei or Metalhawk."

    So I'm not super into the new one but the old one is very replaceable and I don't mind him being so. I'd personally have swapped the roles of Star Saber and Dai Atlas, but Dai Atlas already got used, so there's that.



    I'll toss in the TAAO characters- Chromia, Ironhide, Combaticons, etc..
     
  19. Windsweeper II

    Windsweeper II The Pristine

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    I love IDW's takes on Hellbat and Starsaber.
    I wish we could see more of the first in flashbacks and the latter in future stories.

    Ironhide fits in the former column.
    TAAO has been good with the Combaticons, but considering how central they were to the story i feel they were underused.
    Chromia, i wonder if all her appearences in TAAO could fill a quarter of an issue.
    As for etc... I suppose you mean Tigatron, Airrazor etc I feel they were used as a pacifier to people who want a more diverse cast, just like the colonist militia in OP. Cause they sure as hell haven't been used in any meaningfull way.
     
  20. Boople Barp

    Boople Barp Well-Known Member

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    I was a big fan of RID's use of Bee. Seeing him actually in a real leadership role made me actually like him a little. Certainly liked him more than I did any of the other incarnations. Overlord was pretty good, sans getting taken out by being triggered. That was a lame take down. Creative, but not how I would opt to take out a big-bad. Oh, and the non-name Wreckers. I am predicting right now that any future incarnations of the recruits will follow the example set in lsotw.

    As for worst, I'm going to have to go out on an unpopular limb and say Chromedome and Rewind. I get that it's supposed to be sweet and endearing, but it always seemed more like strained and inconsistent. The major addition to their characters was the romance attempt, but, to me, it comes off as dysfunctional and kind of poorly executed. But, that tends to be my stance about most of the character portrayals in mtmte...As a side note, also Optimus Prime. All of the visual ethos of the original robo-messiah, none of the confidence. He's got the edgy "there is no god" characterization too many characters are already drowning in, even though he's seen and experienced enough to at least lend some credence to the whole Primus thing.
     

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