Discussion in 'Transformers Comics Discussion' started by NotRamjet97, Nov 14, 2014.
Yeah, I've long since grown tired of this myself. This trend has even seeped over into RID in recent months.
I don't really buy this at all... though I think that has more to do with how we define "sci-fi".
I don't really consider myself a sci-fi guy either... but that's tough, because I guess I am.
Some people consider sci-fi to be about spaceships and utopias and predicting new technologies. Others see "real" sci-fi as a mirror that we hold up to modern society, a vehicle for allegory. Either way, you can't devote a considerable chunk of your life to a franchise about sentient outer space robots, and then say "but I'm not really into sci-fi".
It has, but unsuccessfully. The gulf between the humour in MTMTE and RID is so deep it hurts.
That said, I agree to an extent. MTMTE has occasionally allowed the comedy to overpower the other elements of the story. It's a difficult balance to maintain that levity, hovering on the razor's edge of tragedy... but when it's pulled off, it's effective as hell.
The balance worked for me for a long time. It just hasn't in recent months, though I think the fact that I can't buy the direction the book has gone in is part of the problem as well.
I don't think the series has driven off a cliff necessarily, but I think that "Season 2" has been off to an awkward start. It feels very off-kilter with the pacing of the stories... not necessarily due to the comedy, but just the rhythm of the writing. The inconsistent art doesn't help.
I'm hoping it will stabilize soon though. It just feels like a rough patch to me. I've already give this series two years... I'm not going to wash them out after a few months of offbeat stories. Still more interesting than any other monthly titles I've got at the moment.
I do think that some of the MTMTE quirkiness has become a bit too much since the start of "Season 2" (comics aren't TV, can we stop this please?). The worst example of this are the Swerve recap pages, which come across as kind of self-indulgent.
I know what you mean, but I'm fine with that. It's an easy demarcation of where the big narrative shifts occurred, and since they were written with that structure in mind (according to Roberts), it's not wholly inappropriate.
A lot of people seem to like those Swerve recaps. Personally, I'd rather get another page of story than a recap. Plus those "roll call" pages are kind of a waste. Better than an ad, I guess.
I'm loving Transgender Arcee and Prostator...
Then again much like BW, I'm thankful for what the comics has done for the brand.
As someone who likes the Japan Exclusive G1 characters,I strongly dislike the portrayal of Star Saber. That's all i have to say about IDW.
It is refreshing to read someone be very balanced and fair on the matter mtmte season 2 as especially with sequels or follow-ups it is very easy to completely right off something that isn't 100% perfect as terrible or trash when things are rarely that simple. Season 1 also had its imperfections and moments where jarring stand-in artists threatened to ruin the day.
I do slightly disagree with you on the awkward start comment as for me the three part world shut your mouth Megatron trial arc was stunning and a real benchmark for just how to handle compelling character development with the potentially controversial or jarring story turn of Megatron becoming an autobot. I might be a little biased as I have really wanted to see just how a Megatron trial could have panned out since the cancelation of animated season 4 or when they never got it previously in Idw ongoing after he surrendered himself but I do feel they perfectly nailed it in a way that no other makers of transformers fiction would have had the maturity or intelligence to have got close to doing.
I do feel like we have had too many small arcs with stand in artists since but I’m confident that by the end of season 2 many of these concerns will be forgotten as people will be too busy trashing season 3 for having lost it
As for this debate on whether James Roberts is a science fiction person or not (whatever that is supposed to mean) it seems like his love of 80's, 90's and 00's Indie Rock is much more of a prominent influence on his writing to the point where it could be described as defining him than his science fiction influence. I get most of the references being that way musically inclined too, its pretty to guess this of me looking at my sig image.
Well, take it from personal experience. He's REALLY not. No matter how you define sci-fi. He got into TF as a child, he's stayed with it as fan. He's not interested in wider sci-fi to any real degree. If you read through MTMTE, that's actually kinda clear. MTMTE isn't really constructed as traditional sci-fi. It's sometimes constructed as Red Dwarf. No, James is just a well read man who applies those experiences to the story he writes. Which happens to be a comic and a story that can be made into good sci-fi. I would argue RID is far more aware of sci-fi tropes than MTMTE.
And RID is just a political thriller i
I started working on thoughtful responses to all your comments but I lost it and I'm too lazy to retype it all . Anyway, while I don't like much of what I have seen in MTMTE I would like to see links to sample pages of some of the awesome stuff you claim to see. I have seen some previews on TFW but it looks like more of the same that does not work for me.
The pack ins I have read are for Skids, Scoop, Mini-Con Assault Team, Orion Pax, Trailcutter, and Hoist. I know some of those are one shots, but again people here have verified that many pack ins are representative of the main run. That would be the point I think of including them with the toy, so people would "get hooked" and want to get into the series.
It would also be interesting to see an unbiased review from a comic website praising the MTMTE series. It seems only Transformers fans like these books, as you mentioned. This is what is ultimately disappointing for me as I am a Transformers fan, and I can still read some G1 books with nostalgia glasses on and they are ok, but I guess the newer stuff is for a different market.
Actually, of those, the only ones that are actually just reprints of mainline issues are the issues with Skids (MTMTE #22), Scoop (MTMTE #23/Dark Cybertron Ch. 2), and Mini-con Assault Team/Ammonites/"Centuritron" (MTMTE #24/Dark Cybertron Ch.4).
It's a shame that when the saturation point for having comics with the toys was hit, Dark Cybertron was the vehicle for including all these characters in the comics and frankly it just kind of fell flat in execution. I think it's safe to say the comics are still struggling to hit their stride again in trying to recover from being forced into a toy-shilling frenzy out of the blue. However, at the same time, having comics with the toys is still better than toys without the comics simply on the basis of the total package value a consumer is getting per toy, and it's great for kids as it provides more narrative to inspire playtime.
Yea, I know those were the ones, thanks for giving the title/# info though.
Out of those I mentioned earlier think I liked the Hoist issue best, it had Sunstreaker in it right? Something I didn't like there, Streak has a pet Insectacon named Bob - that's the kind of lame stuff I don't like.
I remember another scene where Gears and someone else where laying on their bellies talking (with their legs kicking like a school girl) by an energon pool or something. MTMTE is like a Transformers soap opera in some ways. I know I'm an old fart robot fan, to me robots from an alien planet shouldn't act so much like humans. Rung is a nerdy psychiatrist (with glasses like eyes) who collects spaceship models - of course the other guys pick on him. Come on, I could keep giving examples but I don't have to... what whatever blows your skirt up! I still really like the MTMTE art though.
these are the two lines i really take issue with. i dont see how a comic book series can stir up so much hate with you. if it's something you dont like dont bother with it. i mean how would you feel if something you liked was attacked like this with such closed minded statements like "the sooner it ends the better for me" and why should it end for you? why should it not continue for those that like it? and frankly with the success it's having it's not ending anytime soon. been around for 9 years it's the longest running tf comic. i think it's sticking around.
it got mentioned before you like my little pony so im sure by now you've been to enough chat rooms or message boards or whatever with people calling you freaks, weirdos, pedophiles, etc etc. im sure they feel that the sooner mlp and bronys go away the better for the world. and to you im sure that feels just as closed minded and idiotic to say. ive seen alot of bronys say if you dont like it dont watch it. if you dont like what we talk about dont come into our chatrooms.
same rules apply here bud. im just glad your hate thread didn't get the traction you wanted. thankfully smog and burnout were here to defend this the way they did.
im with you on that. i always get giddy when i see japanese characters and the euro g2 guys show up this portrayal of star saber bugs me. i get it he wanted a former circle of light good guy to go bad but star saber? im glad to see him in the comics but not how he is. hopefully it changes at some point.
For a troll thread, there has been some interesting discussion here.
I think the Megatron defection story is a really tough sell... and I'm not completely sold. That said, I think Roberts has done as good a job as could be expected trying to make something so unlikely into something credible, so kudos for that. I just think something like that is too big to cover in 3 issues (particularly all as flashback, splitting time with other story elements). It feels like the Megatron shift would have to be something gradual, something with a more organic development cycle, rather than just something dropped on us with Dark Cybertron, and then sort of retroactively developed.
The second part of why the new season has felt awkward may be in part due to the Megatron flashbacks, and how the other aspects of the story feel... a bit compressed? Then there was the didactic, info-dumping thickness of the "bottle episode" on the Rodpod... followed by a lot of looming menace, and... ultimately a pretty abrupt wrap-up on the "Lost Light II" story. I think that's sort of where I'm coming from with the "rhythm" argument. There's interesting stuff, to be sure... but it feels sort of scattershot in places.
That's fair. Still feels too hurried though. Fast-forward to 6 months later - things are a bit more settled, and we can watch the highlights as flashbacks. It feels like something was lost in the elision.
Feels like we're still revving up, ergo... a slow start. But it does feel like it's building to something.
The fact that you're using a term like "traditional sci-fi" with no contextualization kind of demonstrates my point about how one's definition of sci-fi colours that judgement.
Anyone who insists that they're "not into sci-fi" even as they nurse a lifelong attachment to an alien robot space fantasy, and write stories rife with extensive world-building, industrial dystopian metaphor, fantasy tech, and a speculative bent, is frankly in denial. Or perhaps feeling defensive about the genre they are inhabiting, and trying to deflect that by insisting on their classical literacy. I think thou dost protest too much on his behalf.
But then, I won't leave that up to you to defend. I'll just hit up James at a Con one of these days and chat with him about it in person. I'm confident that he'll either hate me, or we'll hit it off.
I understand. I hate it when that happens. All those thoughts suddenly lose their urgency.
Isolating random pages is probably not really a fair method of assessment. And while I hate to advocate dubious means, you should just download some full issues and give them a read. I think the Delphi arc in the "first season" (MTMTE #4-#5) is a pretty good introduction, since it's early in the run, and isn't yet dependent on as many running subplots. That was when I remember first putting down an issue and saying to myself "Well, damn... this is good!"
Which honestly, is something I'd almost never done with a Transformers comic before.
And hey... then if you change your mind, you can always buy a trade paperback.
Yeah... you'd think so, but no.
Roberts did write the standalones for Pax, Trailcutter and Hoist, and while I still enjoyed those issues, it's pretty clear that they are quick one-off toy pack-in standalones. Some of the spirit is there, but none of the content, and they all suffer from rather lightweight stories with trite resolutions. They are meant to be self-contained and easy. and I don't think they represent the MTMTE series very well.
The Minicon Assault Team issue doesn't really count because it's part of Dark Cybertron, and it's a total mess. Typical incoherent crossover bullshit. And lastly, as I mentioned before, the Skids issue is from the main series, but is more of a comic-relief episode that is kind of weird out-of-context. It's a REALLY strange choice for a Skids pack-in comic. Honestly, I think the second round of pack-in issues were totally botched from a marketing point of view.
Ummm... have you even looked? This series has been getting a lot of rave reviews from comic websites... which is pretty unheard of for a Transformers property at the least.
I'm not sure I agree. My point about fans is that really, I feel like only fans would already be able to easily get over the initial biases about "transforming robots" as main characters, and would already have a general idea of who everybody is. The writing itself on the other hand, goes beyond that fandom. The tone has been compared to Joss Whedon, though I really see Roberts' influences from the old 80s Justice League International comics (which were a paradigm shift themselves). In that sense, I would say that these are just good comics.
As for the new stuff being for a "different market"... I don't know. Seems like a lot of the readers are oldschoolers like myself... though maybe not those who are solely fixated on a frozen image of the G1 cartoon as the best one can expect from Transformers. Dating even back to my childhood, I always wanted something a little more intellectual in my Transformers, more than plot-of-the-week pew-pew pitched battles... something that developed the characters, who already had well-drawn (if rarely portrayed) personalities. Now, finally... I have that. Yay.
Yeah, that's a continuity holdover from the dark years of Mike Costa's writing, not something from the current series. Honestly, I think that issue might be the only time you see Sunstreaker and Bob** in MTMTE, although they are in the crew of the ship (it's a big ship).
**the story behind "Bob" is that the Insecticons were created through some kind of forbidden Decepticon cloning experiment. The main three Insecticons were the successful models, but the Cons ended up with a 'swarm' of barely sentient, malformed failed models. When the Cons abandoned Cybertron after an environmental disaster, they just left the swarm behind, roving around like beasts, eating everything in their path. Eventually the swarm was exterminated by Metroplex, but Sunstreaker had been marooned (presumed dead) on Cybertron in infested territory. When he re-emerged, he had one runty surviving "swarmling" he seems to have domesticated during his time alone on a desolated Cybertron. For some stupid reason he named it "Bob".
Hm. Somehow retelling that story seems less dumb than actually reading it.
That was the ship's oil reservoir, and it was probably Swerve. If I recall, the dialogue in that scene takes on a bit more significance when you know that Swerve is pretty screwed up because he was ordered to take a shot in a hostage crisis, and instead shot (and very nearly killed) a hostage. He seems annoying and happy-go-lucky, but he's got some issues to work out.
Well, generally nobody picks on Rung. Rung is actually possibly the glue that holds a lot of bots together. The whole "what's his alt-mode" thing was just comically picking up on a trend, that nobody had ever seen him transform before. This is significant because Cybertron used to be under Functionist rule, where alt-mode determined your social standing. Dystopian trope, sure. But still better than "energon heist of the week" stories.
I know what you mean about blatant anthropomorphism... it's always been a feature of Transformers fiction, and I guess it won't ever totally go away. I think there's a balance between the familiar and the alien that is necessary to make the concept work. It's not always perfect, but I'm still finding the attempt interesting and more entertaining than this franchise has ever been.
Okay, hard-sell over. Either you give it another shot, or you don't. I've done my part.
So I figure a five-page thread is worth reading, even though I don't usually poke my head into threads anymore where the title is a question that I would answer "no."
But it seems like the OP and others are actually interested in hearing from big IDW fans so here is my two cents.
There is a standalone issue of MtMtE that epitomizes, to me, what is great about that comic in particular and Transformers comics in general.
That issue is #12: https://www.comixology.com/Transfor...ef=c2VyaWVzL3ZpZXcvZGVza3RvcC9saXN0L0lzc3Vlcw
If you don't enjoy this issue at all, then I don't think More Than Meets the Eye is ever going to be your thing.
It has action, suspense, drama, and self-sacrifice. It's got a lot of humor too, and a lot of classic G1 characters making appearances. If you want more background and nuance to the characters and situations you can hit other issues or the Wiki, but I just read it cover to cover and the STORY is totally standalone. You can get it for $2 online right now.
I think it's worth it for anyone on the fence about TF comics.
I do like MTMTE but I've never liked that issue. I feel it's writing style is distracting and poorly handled. skips over interactions that character development is being based on and has needless shock value that is never followed up on.
The whole writing style of telling the battle in flashback is distracting and I find the potential suspense is ruined by the aftermath being dealt with before the events that caused said aftermath. We find out that Cyclonus and Rewind are seriously injured, they get saved, then the issue ends on them getting injured. WHY? And Swerve having his face blown off was for nothing more than shock value and was never followed up on.
Also, I really dislike that all the Cyclonus/Whirl VS 'Cons takes place off screen... panel. Whirl on multiple occasions, one of which is in this issue, claims that he and Cyclonus makes a good duo and yet them fighting together is barely shown in the series. We get nothing of it in this issue.
There's some good stuff in this issue. Cyclonus showing his more noble side, Whirl being both a good and bad person, some good setup for the next issue and was this the one where we find out about Rewind's back story? But overall, I thought this was a rather poor issue.
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