Discussion in 'Transformers Comics Discussion' started by FelixORST, Nov 26, 2019.
For the first time ever, I'm not reading TF comics. Good going, IDW.
I think IDW2 is symptomatic of the problem with Transformers overall nowadays: it is technically full of new things we have not seen before, but it doesn't feel any different. The pre-war drama and building political tensions are technically new, but feel like the post-war tensions and drama of old IDW. It's difficult to describe the feeling of apathy I get from a story that clearly has a lot going on, but not a single aspect that hooks me. I think when people say they want action is not because of some caveman instinct to see explosions and fights, but that it is not what is currently being done. They want Transformers stories that feel different, even if it's more of the same, rather than new things that feel old hat.
But the problem is it feels like all Optimus and Megatron ever do these days is discuss things with their followers or each other. Unless the discussion is just that good, it's not really interesting or fresh any more, and to be honest, it's really not that interesting. Transformers doesn't always have the best writing, and IDW2 has not felt like it has delivered on that front.
There's a reason the zeitgeist of Transformers persisted with the rather basic conflict of Autobot vs. Decepticon for so long, not because that core conflict was the most exciting thing ever, but because of the events that conspired around it and influenced by it were so unpredictable and varied. The conflict was the impetus for story, not the story itself, and trying to make a story about that conflict kind of shows just how uninteresting it is. Much like the numerous "false starts" to the great war/pre-Earth Transformers has had over the last decade or so, it feels like we've fallen into a status quo even if we have not. The fact that it always comes back to a political conflict doesn't feel engaging, even if that literal conflict is different. In the same way we have not seen the literal story of the Netflix series before, yet it still feels generic and boring. (though obviously IDW2 is much better written)
It's much like how the Transformers brand faced stagnation in the later G1 years, and tried every gimmick under the sun to survive. You argue that people only judge IDW2 on a surface level, but I'd argue it's deeper than that. The details may be different, but at the core it just does not resonate and just feels like more of the same, even if it's not. Like I said, it's difficult to describe apathy. I can't tell you what one thing turned me off IDW2, I just could not bring myself to care, and I don't think anyone should have to force themselves to like a book if it just does not speak to them. It'd be one thing if it was an aversion to difference that was driving people away, if the criticism was that IDW2 was too radical a departure, but it isn't, and that's the biggest problem. When IDW1 started, it genuinely did not feel like anything that had come before. Even Dreamwave felt more formulaic and standard, but IDW1 immediately established a tone and setting we simply had not seen: Transformers fighting a truly cold war in complete secret on modern day Earth, with the conflict on a scale it had never really been seen on.
It's once again Optimus and Megatron as supreme leaders, with many of the same characters occupying many of the same roles. That isn't bad, and what those characters may be doing is different, but it doesn't feel like we've gone anywhere.
I never read the Marvel run, nor do I have any interest in it or its offshoots, so I can't speak to those.
Dreamwave, I liked. I wasn't super keen on it being tied to the original show but War Within was very enjoyable to me, as was where the ongoing was headed before the company shuttered.
IDW1....I have a love/hate relationship with it. I really enjoyed the -ations period. Stormbringer was fun too. Spotlight Arcee was a disaster wrapped in dirty diaper fueled fire. Once AHM landed though, I strongly disliked it and it only went downhill from there for me. Boring story and (imo) pretty bad art. Following that I still read the books but never really enjoyed them. They actually helped me shake my completionist mentality. I do feel like that was the point where a lot of the wider spread issues in comics as a whole started to show up in IDW as a whole. It felt like a lot of the writers were more interested in inserting themselves and their worldview into the books more so than really telling good "Transformers" stories. Also, the endless desire for a shared universe really killed it for me even further. The end was just a big meh.
IDW2 has just been slow paced for me and feels like it tries WAY too hard. It addresses some issues but they are all another shade of what has been hinted at or done before. Combining that series is nothing special to me and my personal opinions of IDW, I won't be reading the book anymore.I
As a fan I have an outline of what I would do if I were to ever write a Tformers story but I imagine that in some way we all do. Time will tell if the comics improve but by then either I won't be reading comics anymore period, or that IDW will have folded by then.
I logged in *just* to like this post. So well said.
Coffee, great thoughts and analysis.
You've stated here exactly what I found odd about Ratchet's mention of Frenzy and his drills and the way that the revelation is (if I remember right) used as the cliffhanger ending of the issue. I didn't think much of it at the time, but you're right that the impact of that revelation comes entirely from being familiar with Frenzy from other continuities.It's meant to be a fairly major revelation the way it's staged, but it's low key and introduces a character we won't meet for a while.
The investigation of Brainstorm's murder also gets a very low-key resolution, despite being the event that starts events escalating towards the Senate takeover and open war. The reader knows that it was Frenzy, but I can't remember if any of the characters investigating the crime definitely learned that.
One of the delights of the book for me is seeing so many rarely used G1 characters get some page time, characters like Sunrunner or Chainclaw. A difficulty in making each character distinct was always going to be a challenge, given the massive amount of characters, but I think he's handling it well by focusing mainly on a small core group, and then giving peripheral characters a scene here and there. I do think Bumblebee will be back sooner rather than later, possibly as the pov character yet again as he's forced to make a choice about which side he's on as neutrality becomes hard to maintain.
I'm actually enjoying the rebooted continuity quite a bit. It's slow and that was completely neutered by the delayed releases, but things are getting really interesting in the past couple issues. Everything since Bee chopped Quake has been really fun to read and I think its because they took their time with the characters. They have been nailing a lot of the minor characters IMO. ESPECIALLY Sideswipe. Sideswipe is my favorite transformer and he's really cool but he's never really given a lot of character moments outside of the original idw continuity. Boom! Smart-ass security operative who is itching for battle because he was born right after the last war. Boom! He makes his older peers uneasy because they know the true cost of endless violence. Goes overboard during missions not just to prove himself but because he's willing to do what he legitimately loves. Disrespects all his peers because he only values his own opinions. Love the scene in Issue 25 where he jumps in to save Bumper from the railgun and the dust clears and he's covered in spikes but he's still standing. So cool. Wheeljack has been awesome as well. Hyper-competent scientist who is surrounded by people who mean well but aren't right for the job. His unorthodox methods require a lot of faith but when they work, they work. Also being uneasy about Devastator is interesting considering we haven't seen the Dinobots yet.
Neither take up that much space but its little interactions like the ones we see from both characters that the writers are focusing on are really going to help the series out in the long run. Most of the characters are pretty great so far. Prowl's prickish tendencies are toned down enough to where I actually like his presence (Worst character in 2005IDW IMO). Starscream is really fun as always; here he's played a very neutral role up until recently but he's revealed at least a few cards and I can't wait to see what he does when the war breaks out. Megatron is cool too; he's pretty much the same character as he is in the WFC series but it works there and it works here. He makes it almost a point that he doesn't fully respect any of his troops unless they earn it (Soundwave, Starscream with the double whammy last issue) he hates Shockwave and doesn't really care what happens to the Decepticons outside of his elite teams. He just wants to get what he wants its cool I feel ya. Chromia's great as always. Windblade isn't a mary-sue anymore (she gets taken out for like 10 issues). Arcee isn't annoying edgy, if IDW wants to do edgy Arcee let her get there, don't introduce her as a tragic warrior from ancient times because she looks like pink Princess Leia. Optimus is cool now because he is finally Optimus. I love how he is dealing with being the leader despite not being chosen by Sentinel. Much better than WFC. Leagues better. Sentinel is probably the best sentinel we've gotten yet besides maybe animated. Bumblebee is great and doesn't steal too many traits from other characters. He has a very good reason to be angsty. I think Animated Bee is the best but I'm liking this one so far. Also super happy that Strongarm is a part of G1, only good part of RID15.
Not all the characters are great though. Cliffjumper straight up isn't Cliffjumper. Bad decision to make him a passive push-over who can't get out of Bumblebee's shadow. It's meta I guess but it doesn't work when the defining trait of every Cliffjumper is that he is so aggressive that it gets him into trouble, sometimes killed. Brainstorm was killed off before the story started it which is weird because he was a huge and enjoyable presence in the original. Can we give Cyclonus a break? He's always the focus whenever he shows up and he's cool I guess but I never really found him very interesting outside of the G1 cartoon. Also a lot of the new characters are cool but have terrible designs and look incredibly generic.
The art style is all over the place but its never really great for more than a panel. Its generally serviceable but the early issues are so ugly I can see why people get turned off. The plot also meanders a lot before getting to any concrete plotpoints. A lot of issues end without anything of note happening. Its getting better but its not good when half of the run so far is devoted to sidequests, especially when you are waiting for what you already know will happen. I think the pre war is necessary to dwell on because it makes the Decepticons more than just evil, but its easy to do less is more. They're doing it with the characters and its working in that regard but they over explain every little plot point and its a slog at times. Getting better but I hope the release schedule improves.
I overall like it even if its kind of a slog to get to the good stuff. The characters and interesting takes on Transformers mythology are honestly some of the best I've seen in TF media. The Plot isn't though. The art isn't either but it is improving. If you don't like it now, check it out in a year. I'm glad I've given it a chance because I think its paying off. Obviously they could completely screw up in the next issues but I'll stick with it. I think it has potential to be better than IDW2005. Good job on having female Cybertronians and still having same-sex relationships. I dig that.
a helluva first post
Again, a summary of the book makes it sound interesting. But I find to actually read the book is a tedious chore.
true. I'm sticking with it because I find some of it pretty enjoyable. If you find it a chore than don't bother I guess. I see what you mean though, IDW has never really been the most consistent. I found most of RID and bits of MTMTE to be unbearable. Especially the crossovers with other IDW/Hasbro properties. Honestly if you ever wanna give it a chance in the future, you could probably skip through most of it, which might sound like a bad thing but that's how I've enjoyed the vast majority of TF media. But obviously, if you find it a chore regardless, don't bother.
The old continuity was around for 13 years and was really rough getting to the good stuff, but there was a lot of good stuff. So I feel like I can give IDW some leeway this time around. Especially since a lot of recent TF media have been, simultaneously, almost great and almost terrible
I only continue to read it because I’m a Transformers fan. If I was just a casual fan, I’d have given up long ago but I like to be informed of what is going on in the Transformers comics, even those issues I don’t care for. And no, relying on the tfwiki isn’t an option. Every issue so far of IDW2 I keep wanting the latest issue to be the one that I find decent and appealing.
You seen like a decent guy but you always reiterate the same thing over and over again. It seems like you are being paid to read these at this point.
My opinions haven’t really changed towards the series. I’m only reading out of requirement of being a fan than actually enjoying the series.
I've done that before, stuck with a series I wasn't currently enjoying because I had enjoyed it in the past. And even when I stop reading (or watching a show sometimes) I still remain a fan of the general franchise and keep up with what's going on.
Sometimes I drop a book and come back later. I had quit reading IDW's previous Transformers but came back to sample the new book, and thankfully am enjoying it.
Real suggestion: Take a break, wait for, I dunno, trades or such.
Issue to issue stories are incremental, it's almost impossible to change an opinion based on a single issue since it's not a new story, it's a new piece of a story, and so your mindset isn't really challenged to re-evaluate it as a whole.
Stop, step back, and go in with a chunk so you can see setup turn to event turn to consequences in one go, rather than just seeing each isolated chunk. Also once your mind is in a rut in a story, it'll look for the same things even if stuff changes too.
There've been comics I've left and come back to and realized "Oh this is so much better read like this rather than that." I took a smaller break then read a couple issues at once and found it worked better for me, and while I never disliked it like you my opinion of IDW2 has definitely grown with time, and reevaluating it and giving some room to breath helped.
Disliking something but continuing to stay exposed to it in a steady small dose is one of worst ways to have the possibility of changing your mind on something.
Why isn't relying on TFWiki an option? As far as wikis go, TFWiki is top tier. Makes it a lot easier to skip things. I skipped the majority of G1, UT, BM, RID, RID2015, Prime Wars, and Cyberverse thanks to that site and I'm grateful. I literally only remember the good parts while reading a summary of the bad. G1 has some great episodes but there is so much garbage that it brings down the whole show. Same with Armada, RID, Beast Machines and Cyberverse, I don't want to watch anime kids catch pokemon transformers so I can just fast forward to whenever the cool robots fight. The movies? Trash but there is a magical little button that let's you essentially speed up time to get to the part where Optimus executes POWs without mercy and that is a neat thing, I think. Obviously it's harder to do with a new series like IDW2 but in that case, take a break. I find that I appreciate a lot of comics/movie series/shows more when I drop it for like a month and come back when I feel like it. If you don't think it's gonna get any better, why bother? You can come back if you change your mind.
Also I'm pretty hyped for IDW Beast Wars, regardless of IDW2's quality. The art is cool and I love the character designs.
Oh my god the ending sucked. So many major characters die for no reason at all. There are so many unnecessary heroic sacrifices that it plays out like a martyr pissing contest.
"I saved the whole planet haha lol, I will now die"
"OH YEAH? I drive my spaceship into Unicron, killing everyone including myself teehee."
"lol I will open the Unicron door but it will kill me for some reason or because the door has sharp edges"
"I made sure everybody got onto the teleporter by individually running them to safety but I didn't get on because otherwise it isn't a heroic sacrifice"
"I will convene with the dead which now includes me by the way, oops."
Only good moment was Slug vs Bludgeon
I don't skip things I care for. I care for Transformers comics. But if they're bad, I'll call them out for being bad, even if they are continually bad. And when they become good again in ways that pleases me, I'll say so. You won't know when the good issues are if you don't read the bad issues. It only takes a few minutes every month to read a new issue, that's really no big deal. I would never recommend anyone to jump into a series half way through otherwise you really won't know what's going on even with the tfwiki.
I didn't think AHM was particularly bad. It wasn't great and had its own fair share of mistakes and errors, but it was worth reading. And I thought the artwork was pretty good. Certainly better than anything from IDW2.
Absolutely. Even if it's just vol. 6. That would at least have finished off the colour strips.
I'm sure most of the work has even been done, a long time ago - it just needs printing and releasing.
Yeah I actually liked AHM even though it derailed everything Furman was setting up for IDW1. Much of my favorite moments of IDW1 are from AHM (Sunstreaker's betrayal, Thundercracker's sacrifice, Sideswipe mercy-killing Hunter). IDW definitely aint perfect and I get why you, personally, don't skip issues.
I think I understand where you are coming from. I always saw it like reading Jojo's where some people are fine with part-skipping and others aren't. I never skipped any parts but I see a lot of people enjoying JJBA because they skipped through the weaker parts. At the same time, you miss a lot that you might potentially like. Obviously that's more comparable to IDW1 because it's all over the place, plotwise, whereas IDW2 is mostly focusing on a single plot.
Overall I'd give IDW2 a 6-7/10 so far, which is about what I'd give IDW1 overall. I'm praying we get something as good as the Wreckers issues.
Recent TF stuff is kinda frustrating because, IMO, there is a lot of great and a lot of not good. BB, WFC, Cyberverse are all decent. They all have great ideas but there is some wacky wack that makes me go ehhhhh. I like IDW2 so far because there isn't anything blatantly bad outside of some of the art. It's way too slow but I like it so far.
As cynical as I am and can be, I'm hoping the upcoming Beast Wars ongoing will break the mold and be a breath of fresh air.
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