Tarn, is that it ?

Discussion in 'Transformers Comics Discussion' started by Lightningsonic, Jun 11, 2020.

  1. Haywired

    Haywired Hakunamatatacon

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    Well, that was as close to telegraphing that they're long-term expendable cartoon villains as it could be. It was hard to be hyped or to take them seriously afterwards.
     
  2. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    It didn't help their image, but I think that was more about setting the tone for The Scavengers than the DJD. Given the cavalcade of shocking murder, carnage, and terror perpetrated by the DJD throughout this series, I think that's probably more a case for Roberts' broad inconsistency than "telegraphing" in any deliberate sense.

    I don't think we can point to that and say "See! I predict that after casting a long shadow over this series for 2 years, at the climax of the run, Megatron will murder these guys in a final confrontation using epic cosmic powers... proving beyond all doubt that they were always a bunch of insignificant losers!" It doesn't quite ring true. :wink: 

    I mean, also, historically, any OC villain in this fiction is usually "long-term expendable" really. G2 Jhiaxus had it built into his name, even. :lol 

    zmog
     
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  3. raindance773

    raindance773 Well-Known Member

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    Which explains the continual beating he and Straxxus take in every single continuity.
     
  4. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    When you've got an enormous cast of characters that you're discouraged or not permitted to kill, it's not surprising that original characters are often destined for an unpleasant reckoning (particularly bad guys).

    There are exceptions here and there of course. Even Straxus got brought back in Marvel UK... which I thought was cool after his 2-part stint early in the US Marvel run.

    zmog
     
  5. Vampyr

    Vampyr Shockwave loyalist

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    even with that,
    as damus/glitch he was capable or deactiving machinery with just his touch,
    could have done that instead to weaken Meg
     
  6. Nelomaxwell

    Nelomaxwell Till all are one

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    I really hope we see this kid again in the new run.
     
  7. Cavadus

    Cavadus Well-Known Member

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    Anytime a conflict is resolved with a deus ex machina rather than skill, whether mental or physical or a combination of both, is disappointing and feels cheap, IMO.

    The resolution of the DJD felt very disappointing and cheap.
     
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  8. Bass X0

    Bass X0 Captain Commando

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    I would use obscure known characters if I were to write a story that required the killing off of characters. Or characters from another continuity - I approve of Car Robots Gigatron appearing in the Drift mini-series.

    I don't care for adding completely new characters in stories. I would just assign the OC's role and personality to an existing blank slate character. The reader is not losing the character, and hardcore fans get more of a kick seeing obscure known characters than completely new generics.
     
  9. Spartan Prime

    Spartan Prime is an apathetic douchebag

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    If I recall correctly Glitch has already shown up in IDW2 in the equivalent of a Cybertronian drug den, and since Tarn's design was used in Cyberverse I think it's fair to assume he's laid enough groundwork to appear in some eventual story yet to be told in the series.
     
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  10. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    I kind of disagree. I like new characters.

    For one thing, a lot of "obscure, known" characters probably aren't that interesting to begin with (hence the obscurity). A newly created character from whole-cloth might be better.

    Also, historically I have liked new characters... Scrounge, Straxus, Impactor, Xaaron, Jhiaxus, even Primus... all OC additions to the canon.

    In that sense, I don't mind the DJD at all.

    zmog
     
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  11. RobotKnight95

    RobotKnight95 Unamused and Insane

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    It's like the opposite of "Meet your heroes". Meet your villains and theyre just... less scary when you remember theyre just a person.
     
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  12. ThatGuyCalledBlaster

    ThatGuyCalledBlaster No relation to the Autobot, ironically. TFW2005 Supporter

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    Personally, I adore the DJD. They were a wonderful concept, in my opinion, and were a joy for me to see throughout the series. Though I can quickly say at the same time that the Dying of the Light arc, both their place in it and in general, could have done better. My main complaint with the DJD is the lack of development and how deep we went to get to know them and how they all came together, as well as the slight plotholes that mainly ride with Tarn, with his powers and such.

    Something I was thinking of, while Tarn's downfall was always meant to be for him to finally realize that he was a nothing. Opposite of what he thought he was. But what if after that encounter with Megatron, he survived, now with the lingering thought in his mind, that the one he considered to be his hero, called him out for what he truly was in the end, and he now realizes that he himself is what Megatron claims? Just something I wanted to throw out there, shower thought, me being crazy and keeping myself regular after a sweat-filled day at work.

    This entire post is one of the most interesting takes that i've seen about all this stuff in the IDW continuity. I personally had no objection to Tarn being Glitch, nor would I feel possibly any different if he ended up being Roller. While I am thinking of a logical way, writing-wise, for Tarn to have been Roller while Roller was still around as he was in the original fiction, at the same time, I figure "fuck, how different would it be if I just make it the same situation on Roller's end, but replace Tarn as Roller with Tarn as Glitch?".

    All that aside, the real problem I have with the DJD is the lack of development. They were a great addition, but at least a bit more development I think could have helped GREATLY. The most development I feel we got outright was of Nickel, we learn that she was a refugee of a battle that left her as the last of her kind, leaving her with the feeling of vengeance, that lingers as she joins the DJD.

    Tarn? While from what I remember, his backstory was at least a bit more vast than Nickel, a sizeable portion of it was not relevant to how he joined the Decepticons and became who he is now. The main takeaways from his backstory from what we got on print being, Glitch/Damus is an outlier who has the power to render technology useless. After being recommended to read the "powerful stuff" written by Megatron per Orion Pax, Glitch sooner or later eventually joined the Decepticons, with no specific rhyme or reason given in between then and now. Everything in between those two events are up to our imagination and us making inferences. That's where my problem lies.

    Now, if I may, let's say hypothetically Roller was written to be Tarn as he was originally. How would his story be tackled?

    "The theory that underneath his mask, Tarn of the Decepticon Justice Division might be Roller—whose present day status being unknown stood out as notable, given that he was a prominent new character close to Optimus Prime—has been a popular fan theory for much of the run of More than Meets the Eye. Whether legitimate foreshadowing or deliberate leg-pulling, this issue is lousy with hints that imply it to be so:
    • Roller is a Point One Percenter, Tarn was implied to be one in issue #14 and confirmed in #39
    • Roller is seen crushing an Elite Guardman's head with a look of virtual disinterest, Tarn did the same to the alternate Swerve in issue #32
    • Roller has an addictive personality, Tarn is addicted to transforming
    • Roller feels outclassed by the Outliers, a good reason for him to undergo the upgrades that put him on the level of Phase Sixers, as noted in issue #14
    • Orion encourages Roller to read Megatron's works this issue, Tarn is intimately familiar with Megatron's writings
    • Roller is familiar with Megatron's slogan "You are being deceived" which Tarn later quotes when confronted with the Scavengers' "coffin"
    • The left side of Roller's face is noticeably damaged this issue, Tarn has scarring around his left eye visible through his mask in closeups in issue #7 and #8
    • Roller is left "abandoned" by his friend as a result of the mind-wipe, a reason he may fall in with the opposite side"
    Source

    Yeah, kinda ironic for me to post something from TFWiki when claims like this have been made,
    but for now, personally, I only bring this from TFWiki just so I don't have to deep dive into issue after issue rn.

    (Not a knock against you at all, btw, Bass. Sorry if this came off as such.)

    All in all, this all leads to being a more compelling story, with only one question at hand. How would Roller have been able to pick up on Glitch's outlier powers? Could he have learned from him, or somehow got his hands on it by force?

    Besides that underlying question, i'll leave it at that.

    I personally also saw no problem with most of the new characters. The only one I outright had a problem with was Anode. Since from what I saw, she just wasn't written that well, leaving her story later on in the series to not be as effective to her character. Personally. The only other time I had a problem with a character being Rung, with the whole, you know what. I'll leave it at that.

    Besides that, Rung legit was one of my absolute favorite characters in MTMTE and quickly became an all-time Transformers favorite for me. Nautica was another, Fulcrum was easily another, Roller as well, I can keep going.
     
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  13. raindance773

    raindance773 Well-Known Member

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    I think it's a fine balancing act. Scrounge, for whatever reason, is one of my personal favorite OCs (even though he died and his amazing arm was lost to history... there was no other like it). Maybe because that was the first TF comic I ever read. Beast Wars was all OCs, though for a good reason, and that forever altered the franchise.

    Personally, I really enjoyed both Drift and Windblade and the DJD. The DJD as a concept were interesting and a great hook. My problem was that I felt were Drift and Windblade developed as characters and went down that one lane, the DJD went from this super cool subgroup to... what? As you've pointed out before, they were super competent, with addictions, to funny, to incompetent, to Nickle's "smooshed it" forced cute. Literally all over the map. And between character rewrites of old characters and the numerous OCs he brought in, Roberts created almost too many OCs. An editor might have helped him out with that, because some of them are good concepts, with poor execution.

    If it comes down to OCs or reutilizing old characters, I would much rather a new character than totally rewriting an old character. I get the small link between Ultra Magnus and his white cab inner robot to Minimus Ambus, but to me that was a cheap gimmick by Roberts to get out of writing Ultra Magnus as he's been traditionally known and as it went on it really soured the series for me. The same for Hot Rod, whose MO has been to mature as a leader over the course of the series, which was happening in his first Spotlight appearance and then ground to a halt in MTMtE. Star Saber though, was the one that did it for me. I got to watch all of Victory and Zone as a kid, and that just soured for me. I thought that was the perfect instance for Roberts to bring in an OC.
     
  14. ThatGuyCalledBlaster

    ThatGuyCalledBlaster No relation to the Autobot, ironically. TFW2005 Supporter

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    I get you with Star Saber, while I think being a religious zealot was an interesting take, my problem is the lack of substance. We were given absolutely NO reason in how he went the way he went, all we know is that he was a member of the Circle of Light, and was kicked out after bringing up the idea of an atheist holocaust, and trying to forcefully change everyone in the Circle towards this ideaology. But we're not given a reason on how he originally thought all of this. What spurred this insane train of thought? That question has gone unanswered as far as I know.

    Now, on the other side of things, I didn't see Minimus personally as a cheap gimmick, but as another interesting and surprising left turn of a take with a neat callback to the past. Though, seeing him as a cheap gimmick I feel is also very apparent as well, and I can personally see why a claim like that could be made.

    I can also kinda see what you mean with Rodimus. While when we saw during the "-ation" series, he also had a bit of an ego to him, somewhat clouding his judgement. Throughout the Costa ongoing, we later see him trying to do what he thinks is right for the greater good of him and his friends, and as you said, maturing as a leader. Though at MTMTE, that entire arc is halted. I personally think that the latter was mostly halted, with the former being somewhat apparent. I personally think that Rodimus' character would be improved if we continued the sub-plot of something on the lines of, "Is this what Optimus would do?".
     
  15. Bass X0

    Bass X0 Captain Commando

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    I didn't say to throw out those original characters. I said I would reassign their personality and storyline to toys who have had zero presence in fiction. You still get the characters you know and love, they would just look different than the characters we did get. And that's all. But you would be able to buy their toy; you may have to hunt hard and pay a lot for their toy, but you could own it.

    The issue I have is that there a lot of toys from over the years that don't get used in fiction. But there are a lot of original characters and generics that get created for the fiction. I see these original characters and generics as taking the place of toy characters.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
  16. Haywired

    Haywired Hakunamatatacon

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    Maybe IDW Star Saber lookalike could be interesting if him being a religious zealot wasn't written in the most banal, archetypal, primitive way possible. It was like the most obnoxious and non-finesse version of a crusader trope. Spare me people saying about how it made the character more interesting because Roberts's version was even more shallow one-dimensional cutout than the original.... And that's not to say that the Japanese G1 Star Saber was anything deep.
     
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  17. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    And with extremely little development or page time. I think he WAS more interesting than just another heroic Prime-esque leader type, to be sure... but wasted because he was never explored or refined.

    I mean, I guess Roberts already had his "crusading atrocity-happy ideologue" in Tarn, so maybe redundant... but when he introduced Star Saber, it would have been interesting to see that from an Autobot perspective.

    Hm. I guess I didn't see that as "romantic". That's also not exactly related to the idea from the Headmasters anime series that the Headmaster robots ARE the characters, small fuel-efficient Cybertronians who combine with drone bodies... rather than some bizarre convoluted plotline where human cyborgs are turned into the Transformers' heads (while their real heads are sitting somewhere else, literally phoning it in). That was just dumb. :wink: 

    That's one of those ideas that looks right on paper, but still raises questions. I mean, what does it mean to say "Tarn finally realizes that he's a nothing"? What's the message there? What defines someone as a "nothing"?

    I mean, the real blow is to go through your life fighting for a cause you believe in, only to have your leader and patron saint "betray" the cause, and close the whole thing down. There's two ways to go with that....

    He could reflect on the fact he devoted himself to this philosophy, and it all ended up exactly nowhere... it just ended one day, not having accomplished much, besides stacking up literally billions of corpses. If Tarn really was any kind of idealist, that might come as a blow. Facing failure is hard (this is basically the path Megatron took).

    Or, looking at it the other way, he could become enraged that Megatron would dare let the torch drop, and seek to punish him for heresy, refusing to let the movement die (like a good fanatic). In the end, this seems to be the path Tarn took.

    But is either one a "nobody" ?

    Aren't we all basically just nobodies? Should we all feel miserable because we haven't succeeded in shaking the world? Or is the idea of being a "nobody" really just a false anxiety?

    But aside from all that, I think all of the above would have been more interesting than just Tarn having his mask ripped off and then vaporized. In a way, although we spent some time inside his head, it's still hard to say what the character of Tarn was meant to tell us or communicate (in a thematic sense).

    I mean, he wouldn't have to. Glitch's powers are not really obviously related to Tarn's powers. Roller could have developed his own powers later, either as a latent Outlier, or through super-science upgrades that simulate special powers. I mean, as a Point-One-Percenter, it's also quite believable that a Roller who went rogue and joined Megatron would have also gone through the same super-warrior process that Sixshot, Overlord, and others went through... which also could have involved powerful upgrades.

    The more important part of the Tarn/Roller theory was that we were seeing the roadwork laid down for a grand betrayal. What enemy is more tragic than a fallen friend?

    The mystery of Roller's absence was one of the leitmotifs of MTMTE... we were asked to invest in that mystery. In the end, he was just.. on a shelf somewhere, basically. Doing literally nothing. Great story, bro. :thumbdown 

    Which goes back to my earlier feeling... if a writer wants to lead the audience astray with a really brazen red herring, then the real payoff needs to be good. It needs to be better than the red herring. In this case, it just wasn't.

    I was fine with Rung and Riptide and Velocity and Nickel and all of the new characters... except Nautica, honestly.

    When Roberts said that she was his favourite character from the series, I lost a huge chunk of respect for him.

    Nothing to do with her design, or even her gosh-darn-earnest-quirky-manicpixiedreamgirl persona... it was more just the way the stories wrapped around her while never making her anything more than a cloyingly overplayed supporting character. Another point of contention that I had with Roberts, was when he let the allegorical value of the characters and stories become more substantial than their actual narrative value. I think the slightly pandering handling of Nautica bothered me (while initially, I was fine with her).

    Rung worked because he was so integral to the stories, and because we really started to identify with him as a character, rather than just... identifying him with us? Something like that. :lol 

    Anyway, water under the bridge, that.

    zmog

    Windblade and Drift ended up being okay mainly because they managed to outgrow or depart entirely from their originating premise (rather similar in each case). In the case of Drift, Roberts rehabilitated him from being the "aren't I a super-cool ninja OC" premise by making him also sort of a flake. We could laugh at Drift's new-age convert mentality and at the same time start to appreciate him on an earnest level. He wasn't just a fanwank weeaboo self-insert character. He was a sort of Circle of Light weeaboo himself. He became more satirical, but also more nuanced. Windblade took a similar but different path. Originating as an outright painful, tacky, contrived "supercoolfemmefatalelazerswordninja" name/design with no substance at all, IDW took her and made her... well... more banal. She has no strong character traits. She has no theme. Her design and name has nothing to do with the character as portrayed. She's just basically a "average, well-meaning bureaucrat trying to do her best in the world". As far as heroes go, she's pretty dull, but Windblade became tolerable simply by being less offensive than the Image Comics Extreeeeme Marysue character she was designed to be.

    Yeah, the problem with the DJD was that while they hovered over the Lost Light crew and added menace to that story, the DJD really didn't feel like they had any story of their own. A good escapist drama with a big cast usually works best when you spend time with both the heroes and the villains... when both sides have their own sub-narratives. The DJD never had that. Their coverage was just way too idiosyncratic.

    I agree and disagree here. In premise I agree. But when I look at how Roberts handled Magnus and Rodimus, I think he still did legit takes on both of them. The thing is, when you're telling a story with an ensemble cast, not every character needs to be perfect and portrayed as a straight up hero or relatable protagonist. With a number of characters, everybody becomes a supporting character, and you have freedom to focus more on their foibles. Not everyone needs to develop forward into better people, right? Sometimes our narrative purpose is just to do that one thing you do and do it LOUD! :lol 

    Rodimus' narcissism is actually one of his most vivid traits. It got a bit too cartoonish at times, but it was still a STRONG character trait, and the challenge is to write a hero who still has such a major fault. For me, Rodimus arrogance and recklessness are his defining traits... otherwise he's just another well-meaning young hero we're supposed to personally relate to... another Luke, another Frodo, another hero's journey, another chosen one, blah blah...

    Similarly, I think Ultra Magnus' officious nature has always been part of the character... so Roberts just magnified it. Sometimes it went too far into absurd caricature, but still... it made him vivid in ways that he never felt on the old G1 cartoon, right?

    My take, anyway. :thumb 

    zmog
     
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  18. ThatGuyCalledBlaster

    ThatGuyCalledBlaster No relation to the Autobot, ironically. TFW2005 Supporter

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    I think THIS is what I was trying to say overall. With Tarn having trouble with coming to face the failure, denying it at first, then later on coming to accept what happened.

    Right, right. That makes sense. I just felt originally that since there was a correlation between the two, there must have been a connection, should the story have had Roller as Tarn from the start, hypothetically.

    I thought Nautica was alright. But I immediately get you with the Roberts statement, while at the same time imagining how her story went throughout. Now I haven't read Lost Light yet, but I can, from a writing standpoint, while i'm far from a writer, easily see what you mean. Seems like on the lines of either getting too much of a spotlight, or...

    you a Dragon Ball fan by any chance? If you are, I believe you may have heard, of a "Toriyama Handjob"?

    "Toriyama Handjob"

    "A term referring to the practice in media (notably in shonen manga/anime) of powering up side characters off screen to bring them up to par, or surpassing, the protagonist. These power-ups happen regardless of sense, often with little explanation. Named for Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama due to how often it happens in the Dragon Ball media."

    - Urban Dictionary


    To me it kinda feels like a "Toriyama Handjob", except this was completely on-page for all to gander.
     
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  19. Haywired

    Haywired Hakunamatatacon

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    It could be used for exploring two different takes on fundamentalism, Tarn's revolutionary zeal vs Saber's conservatist religious one... But it'd require Star Saber ever doing anything else than angrily stabbing and slashing people with his Primus Vult.
     
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  20. ThatGuyCalledBlaster

    ThatGuyCalledBlaster No relation to the Autobot, ironically. TFW2005 Supporter

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    You're getting a like just for that.

    "Dai Atlas, have you been reading heresy? UNACCEPTABLE!"

    PrimusVult.png
     
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