More than Meets the Eye #21 Discussion/Spoilers and Preview Pics

Discussion in 'Transformers Comics Discussion' started by VRDUBZAK, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. mirage4lifeyo

    mirage4lifeyo Well-Known Member

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    Read it all last night and haven't had a chance to weigh in, here's my two cents.

    Love the series, liked the issue, but agree on the sentiment that the Remain In Light arc was just too rushed and really didn't fit into five issues. I'd been saying that before now, but if you needed any further confirmation I'd say Roberts himself is pretty much telling you, via inserting a crucial-detail-filled prose story at the end, that he just didn't have enough space here to fully convey everything he wanted. Heck, as some have pointed out, even the prose story seemed crammed with stuff. None of this is a criticism of the content itself, which is still excellent.

    You have to remember the things in play here. First, this isn't just a Roberts story. Its a Roberts story edited by Barber. His influence is all over this arc, we just don't see it. What do movie makers always say though? It's the editing job that winds up truly defining a movie more than anything else. I don't know the extent to which that is the case in comics but it sure seems like a big factor here. Barber, in turn, has to answer to IDW and an apparent desire for this arc to only *be* a five parter and to wrap itself up in Issue 21. We know how that kinda thing can go; we saw it at the end of Furman's IDW run when they handed the baton completely over to McCarthy for AHM. What has happened to the Remain In Light arc is nowhere near as rushed/convoluted as what resulted in Spotlight: Sideswipe for Furman, but I think the problems are the same.

    Point being you can't really pin the pacing issue on Roberts alone. Sure he can game plan a story arc in advance, but its gotta be really difficult to say page for page, panel for panel, this will conclude precisely at the last page on Issue #21, period. I can't imagine that's easy for any comic writer, let alone a prose writing background guy like Roberts who always tends to overwrite.

    My other thing is, I hate advocating death of characters I love, but at some point you just have to let it happen and accept it. I know that may draw the ire of the Split Lip types on here who like to rant and rave against "death in comics for shock value." I see that point. But the reverse problem many have alluded to is now the elephant in the living room: we all kinda realize there's barely any tenable "threat of death" for main characters anymore, some miracle will invariably always revive them. That would be fine, except that the *threat of death* is still being used as the major plot point and attempt at creating drama for pretty much every main character and plot. So, it starts really hurting the plot if the reader knows in the back of his mind, "no, they aren't gonna die, I know that already." Sure, some people will enjoy that cuz they just want to read about the good guys winning and living happily ever after because they love the characters. Fair enough. But this series really works to try to create drama and credible threats, and at some point you have to back those threats up.

    Tailgate for instance. One of my favorite characters, hell he was one of my favorite Transformers as a kid back in the day when first issued. I *never* had fiction of any kind for him so seeing him center stage like this has been superb, and ever since his disease was announced I've been on edge going "please don't let him die, please." But you know what? He needed to die in that scene. It was a death scene, that bedside scene with him and Cyclonus. It captured a whole lot of TRUTH about death, and life, and friendship, and loss, about not having enough time but wanting a little bit more, it captured things we ALL have to deal with. Not wanting to let go but not wanting to see someone you care for suffer, we've all had to deal with that. It rang TRUE as fiction. It hit home, and it hit hard, and it was well done.

    Then a miracle happens and it was all just for show. That...didn't ring true. We live in a real world where miracles don't happen. We try our best, we try everything to save those we love from death, we forestall it sometimes, put it off sometimes, but ultimately at some point, we do fail. We always fail, and death takes them eventually, as well as ourselves. Are Transformers a different, fictional species that are harder to kill? Sure. But the emotional range and truths being offered in that bedside scene were so relatable as human elements, I as a human reader really needed a human conclusion.

    Instead, the miracle ending made me mad and sad. In real life, I'm dealing with a relative who can't get on the list to have a kidney transplant. I've been looking all over the place for the "Great Sword" miracle hail mary. There isn't one. And it kills me. I had to put my dog to sleep last year after 16 years by my side to spare her pain at the end. I thought that was what Cyclonus was doing initially and I felt such a strong connection with the image at that moment and what he had to do to help Tailgate pass on with dignity, and it was strong and beautiful and TRUTHFUL writing. But then, no. Just kidding. Miracles happen in this fiction world, real tragedy is for you poor reader to have to deal with in your real life, tough luck. It was a jab and a bad feeling to read that part. Didn't like it.

    Part of it, I think, is probably Hasbro influence there. Now that a new MTMTE Tailgate toy is coming out, he can't be killed. I would wonder whether Roberts' initial draft and plan for this series didn't actually have Tailgate pass away, it was written like he did. Remember, in LSTOW, Springer was supposed to die, that was how Roberts/Roche wanted to play it, but Hasbro wouldn't let them.

    Speaking of LSOTW, I must say again that the Tailgate death would NOT have been for shock value. Rather it would have been the slow, anticipated, inevitable result. Which is what most deaths are like for us in real life. To a lesser extent, Whirl would have been the same way. I thought that was a moment where they could have gone either way, and the decision not to kill him did help with Cyclonus' character development so I was ok with it. But Tailgate, who is a fave character of mine...he needed to go at that moment, it was what felt right.
     
  2. Kraken

    Kraken Is a vegiesaurus, Lex. Veteran

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    I assumed that as Luna 1 was where the Titan Hunters had been based that everything there was stuff they had pinched over the years, and not being the brightest bunch hadn't really recognised the relavence of the bulk of it until Tyrest arrived and got all kiddy in a sweet shop with it.
     
  3. Anguirus

    Anguirus Well-Known Member

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    If Tailgate had died that would have felt like utter crap. Reading all five-six of the last issues at once, as opposed to spread out over a half year, Tailgate's terminal illness is a complete "fuck you" to the reader and the character out of nowhere. He accidentally finds out he has three days to live, after only BEING alive for two weeks and a year? Following through with that isn't really any "better" than sparing him.

    We lost Rewind, who was even more adorable than Tailgate, and we lost Dai Atlas, who was basically the Lawful Good Paladin of Transformers IDW. Then we got to see the whole crew set everything aside and try to save Tailgate out of sheer love.

    Sorry, I like my fiction to be enjoyable sometimes. I categorically disagree that Tailgate was ever *going* to die nor that he *should* have died.
     
  4. YoungPrime

    YoungPrime DJD VET

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    Great read!

    Glade that James didn't butcher half the Lost Light crew just for the sake of ending and arc.

    I've always been a fan of Cyclonus and I love that he's finally getting his due.
     
  5. mirage4lifeyo

    mirage4lifeyo Well-Known Member

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    I can understand that sentiment. What is most fiction, and what are comics, if not escapism anyway? I guess my comment on that would be OK, if we want to keep the adorable character alive and not make the reader feel bad, then how about *not* making that character's supposedly completely incurable, terminal illness be a major plot point for over five issues? The situation that they put Tailgate in was crappy, yes. But there are other things besides terminal illness you can do to manufacture drama. How about the threat of permanent, I don't know, enslavement or other form of subjugation of Tailgate and/or the rest of the Cybertonian race by some entity? A threat of separation, perhaps, whereby the characters we love are all going to live, but, oh no!, half of them went through a portal and the ones on each side are fretting that they won't see their (still living) buddies ever again? See what I mean?

    If you instead make terminal illness a long, drawn out plot point for a character, the plain fact is those readers who have at some point dealt with the spectre of terminal illness in their lives are going to find something about that that reasonates. No, Transformers aren't humans, and yes, this is escapism. But the elements and emotions conveyed surrounding Tailgate's situation, right up to the end, were so undeniably human and so like what we see in the real world. Maybe, if that's not a threat that can be carried out, it's time to pull back on using that sort of stuff as point of drama in the plot to begin with. Have something else besides "terminal illness" or "oh no is the surge from the Matrix going to kill me? I don't want to die" etc be the dramatic moments, since we know they aren't going to happen and some miracle will keep the heroes alive instead.

    Maybe part of the escapism you refer to is wanting the world in comics to *be* that place where miracles do happen, I can understand that. But I'd just rather it not have such heavy real world connections in terms of the emotional truths it appears to be aiming for if that's the case.

    And for the record, I also have zero belief Rewind is actually dead yet. Show me an extinguished spark like we got with Pipes, hell just show me his *body*, show me anything. Haven't seen it yet. He vanished in an explosion so is just presumed dead? Please. This is a comic book, and these are Transformers. I'm from Missouri. Show Me.
     
  6. WilyMech

    WilyMech Well-Known Member

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    I actually enjoyed the issue very much.

    One thing I am going say about the Med bay it is good as doctors who can use it. I mean if Swerve did not translate Pharma notes they will have no cure for cybercrosis but in the end if you read the issue it did not matter. I think that handled very well.

    I am still curious the glowing orb is referencing a ship.
     
  7. fryguy81

    fryguy81 Rungover

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    I understand the anger toward Roberts' in regards to Tailgate. The entire event was a huge joke being played on the reader. Absolutely. However, I have to admire how he used the parallels between Pipes and Tailgate to such brilliant effect and then used it against us.


    You have Pipes and Tailgate, both of the 87 Mini-Car line, both non-characters, both dying and making that last heroic effort that saved some lives. Pipes in sounding the alarm and Tailgate rewriting the law.

    In the moment Tailgate did that, I was sure he was gone. He made that last heroic action, which is something he wanted to do, in the same way that Pipes wanted to do something heroic. Pipes on Delphi wanted adventure, same as Tailgate.

    Then Tailgate gets layered with backstory to add to the tragedy of his passing. IN the end, his death is a foregone conclusion and then Roberts pulls the curtain back and does his magic trick. Kudos.

    It was mean, it was aggravating, I would say it may ruin some future story points (in regards to death), but I can admire what he did. He subverted our own perception just as has done with characters in his narrative.

    For that I can at least admire him

    But he is still a dirty hobo for doing it.
     
  8. General Tekno

    General Tekno Lugnut Supremor

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    A quick comment re: Pharma...

    Do you think a guy who was paranoid that Ratchet booby-trapped his hands would keep his brain module inside his head?

    Just saying.
     
  9. Coffee

    Coffee (╭☞ꗞᨓꗞ)╭☞

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    Well Red Alert kept his brain inside his head, and he wanted to install eyes in the back of his head... literally.
     
  10. WilyMech

    WilyMech Well-Known Member

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    Pharma is going be back. Well Rung is going to be busy with First Aid. Prowl is shown to make a smart choice in MTMTE. I still wondering what drove Pharma nuts and would affect Mirage at a later date if it is the New Institute. Outside what we seen we still don't know much about Pharma past.
     
  11. mirage4lifeyo

    mirage4lifeyo Well-Known Member

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    I am REALLY hoping for some flasbhack or tie-in story lines in MTMTE dealing with Mirage and Pharma. My handle gives it away of course, but Mirage, that's my guy. Liked him for the complex, not quite sure where he's coming from aspect of his original bio, which at the time was rather unique but now in a well-written, complex world of characters with varying motivations and loyalties, and NAILs running around etc, its rather commonplace. Still, would LOVE to see the trippy Spotlight: Mirage dream sequence issue from way back finally revealed to be related to a shadowplay that was performed on Mirage at the New Institute way back to keep his treacherous tendencies in check or something.

    Solid post and I get what you're saying. Roberts is very, very good at misdirection and its usually a trait I love. With Tailgate I guess it was just the emotional reasonance was so heavy that rather than a fun "oh wow great misdirection there" moment it felt more like a pie in the face/punch to the gut as a reader this time. Pipes' death was genuinely emotional which just speaks to Roberts' talent as a writer and ability to get you to care, since even prior to his actual death Pipes had mostly just been the South Park "Kenny" of MTMTE, seemingly finding a way to "die" or be about to die in every single issue. "Oh my God! They killed Pipes!" "You BASTARDS!"
     
  12. Nemesis251

    Nemesis251 Wakanda Forever!!!

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    I just finished this issue..........just amazing. I never would have guessed it would turn out like this. I hope Roddy goes back to find Drift. For him to fall on the sword for the decision makes me like him a little more.

    Side Note: I would put out for a 3rd party IDW Cyclonus. This issue took him over the top for my favorite MTMTE member.
     
  13. VRDUBZAK

    VRDUBZAK Titan

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    Masterpiece Sized, with removable Horn, Changeable face with scratches, and a great sword.
     
  14. Negativedark

    Negativedark Stealth Gesalt

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    The lack of deaths didn't bother me as much as generically evil Star Saber because hey! Funny while I hate the changes to Star Saber, I love the storyarc for Cyclonus, and he's been changed a lot from what I remember as a kid.
     
  15. Galvatron II

    Galvatron II I can type whatever here?

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    Of course, as I pointed out when the hot spot originally ignited WAY back in #17- It won't reignite because RUNG is the one who ignited it, not the lifeless Matrix.

    I'd be mad that First Aid murdered Pharma, but I highly doubt that Roberts is just gonna Bayverse it and have our heroes make extremely questionable decisions and then pay it no mind.
     
  16. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP Be strong enough to be gentle

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    Why would you want him MP sized? I would want it deluxe or a bit bigger, so as to fit with the upcoming IDW figures. :D 
     
  17. GFH

    GFH The G Squad

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    I'm really enjoying that Magnus had a condition where his body was teeming with little bots.

    This comic is destroying me

    Bot in a shell has a disease where his shell is full of tiny bots.

    Fuck this man.
     
  18. Stryker055

    Stryker055 History Man Extraordinare

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    Except it was painfully obvious from Ratchet's warning to him last issue, his immediate reaction after shooting, and the mention that he's "not talking to anyone" that his angry, impulsive reaction to kill Pharma has really screwed up First Aid.
     
  19. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP Be strong enough to be gentle

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    :lol 

    Yeah, he was visibly disturbed. I bet this plays into his becoming a committed pacifist.
     
  20. Shatterpoint

    Shatterpoint Neato

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    So I guess with Cyclonus getting his horn back, he and Galvatron's part in Dark Cybertron might not be a flashback after all...