Discussion in 'Transformers Comics Discussion' started by Ismaeel Kamal, May 1, 2019.
Criticism =\= hate
Are the characters very interesting ?
Is the art very interesting ?
Is the story well written and interesting ?
Mediocrety is the now the accepted norm as. "Good" now and people are willing to pay or watch or read for it.
That is my personal opinion, i do hope IDW pull trought, but i do have my doubts. It's been 4 issues, a total of 12 $ plus tax of pure blandness...
I don't delude myself and accept this is not worth more than 5 cents of comics. But again, the entire comic world has been horrible in the last few years and many people still wont see how bad how things have been.
Maybe I am a closet “hater” but part of my enjoyment in this comic is picking apart what’s working and what’s not. Sometimes I have a lot to say that’s negative but I try to say something that’s good or interesting at the same time.
That said people that aren’t enjoying themselves at all with this comic probably don’t need to be reading it.
Transformers (2019) #4
So right off the bat, I want to complement the art because it’s not just decent, it’s good and that helps bring life to the comic by providing a stronger atmosphere, adding a visual element to jokes and supporting the dialogue through expressions. For example, this made me smile.
And then he just walks away with the shadowing making it look like he’s feeling really dejected.
That said, I do have some issues with it and since I discussed it in the preview thread, I’m just going to copy most of my thoughts from the post I made there. Someone mentioned that something about the chase scene with Cyclonus just wasn’t very dynamic and this was my response:
Normally, this would be a minor issue for me and I probably wouldn’t be bothered by it but it does tie into one of my primary problems with the comic which is that it doesn’t a good balance between tell and show. It relies heavily on the former and neglects the latter which hurts the story. Basically, the “missing” panels may seem inconsequential but it’s one of the little things that adds to the pile, which is why I find it worthwhile to mention.
Story – Cliffhangers and Openings
So, something I noticed is that the series use cliffhangers but doesn’t really follow up on them. Let me explain: Brainstorm’s murder is the cliffhanger for issue one but in the next issue, it’s very quickly moved past. We see very little of the actual forensics which could have been an interesting insight into how Cybertron investigate crimes and provide the audience with some clues even if those clues are ultimately not important to solving the crime. It’s the kind of thing that helps make a scene seem meatier. For comparison, it’s kind of like how restaurants often arrange dishes in elegant or tasteful ways to make the meal seem more appetizing and sometimes, bigger. People don’t just eat with their mouths; they also eat with their eyes. The flavor (plot) is always the most important thing but that doesn’t mean the presentation and those little details don’t make a big difference.
The cliffhanger in issue two is the attack on the Decepticon rally and like Brainstorm’s murder, it’s not glossed over but it’s not utilized to its best potential either. This would been the ideal time to show the bad relations between the Autobots and the Ascenticons that we keep hearing about, especially since it also works to illustrate the growing divide between the Cybertronian people. We are told that security was present at the rally, but we don’t see them, and we don’t see them after the attack. We don’t see them trying to interview the people present at the rally and some of the Ascenticons being uncooperative because they don’t have faith in the Autobots. We don’t see Megatron talking to security and concluding: “The security forces, the Autobots who control the senate, cannot – or will not – keep us safe! So be it.”
Also, amusingly, it seems Megatron partly right because in the next segment, Chromia straight up says that security is not geared up for handling assassination attempts, bombings and murders so yeah, the Autobots can’t protect the Ascenticons. That’s not a critique of the story, by the way, unless Megatron wasn’t supposed to be right there.
The cliffhanger in issue three is one that is not utilized at all. With the other cliffhangers, we saw something being done with it that contributed to the overall plot and helped move it along. Here, the cliffhanger ends with Orion talking to a crystalized Cybertronian named Codexa and the next issue doesn’t address it at all, which clashes with how the other cliffhangers has consistently been addressed at the beginning of every issue and ultimately makes issue three’s cliffhanger feel like the audience getting teased with something interested to make them pick up the next issue and then getting nothing. Now I had completely forgotten about this cliffhanger but I do think it’s a problem to do this in this series because as I mentioned, the creators have been consistently delivering on their cliffhangers so if anyone went into issue four expecting to see this cliffhanger addressed and being disappointed or annoyed that it wasn’t, they are justified in feeling so for that reason.
TL R: The comic makes use of cliffhangers in a good way by doing something interested at the end of every issue that they deliver on in the next and which helps move the story along, thereby teasing the audience but never cheating them. Unfortunately, it never utilizes the content of those cliffhangers to their full potential and the latest cliffhanger broke the good streak by doing the very thing that I praised the other cliffhangers for not doing. Still, I forgot to mention it so I do want to give credit where credit is due and acknowledge that the creators had that good streak going in the first place.
Story - Windblade, Chromia and Cyclonus (and Geomotus)
Here’s a short “How would I have done it?” segment. It’s a little something I like to do when I come across something in media that I think could have been done better. It’s an old game born of the old “Like you could do it better!” dismissal.
The issue opens on Windblade telling Chromia an old story about Brainstorm. It’s nothing bad but I think it could have been more engaging if we see the event that she’s talking about. The issue opens on Brainstorm demonstrating his invention and then getting progressively annoyed by all the questions leading to him accidentally overloading the equipment. It blows up and knocks Sentinel Prime and half a dozen senators off their feet. It then cuts to Windblade telling the ending, revealing she was a telling an old story to Chromia.
It’s an old trick used by crime shows like Cold Case to great effect because it helps the audience get to know a deceased character who they otherwise would have a hard time getting emotionally attached to and it makes the sentiments felt by the character echo within the viewer themselves. It conveys the tragedy of an untimely death and why murder is such a terrible crime. Yes, it’s obviously a bad thing but that humanization means the difference between someone looking at a number showing the amount of people that died in a flood and going “Oh, that’s terrible.” and someone looking at the footage of the people that died in a flood and going “Jesus, that’s terrible.” with feeling.
Just a quick clarification, don’t confuse me as saying that this is the best and only correct way of doing this. There are a lot of stories that don’t do this and are still good. For example, their primary focus is instead on showing how the murder and death affected the people around the victim. To be fair, that does seem to be the angle that the series is going for but since it lacks in its execution, I think a flashback could have added something. It’s not something that I remove points for the issue not having, by the way.
Now, I said this as a joke in the preview thread for this issue but when I read the issue itself, I couldn’t help but notice that all members of security that we’ve seen so far sans Prowl and Barricade seem to use a level of violence that isn’t warranted by the situation. Windblade make sense because she has so far been characterized as a very amoral cop. In issue one, we see her shooting at aliens for absolutely no reason and in issue two, we see her get angry when Prowl calls her out on not doing her job properly and now in issue four, we see her declare a peaceful intent before slamming someone into the ground. This could be justified by how she and Chromia are law enforcement and Cyclonus did run from them, but this is where a problem with the writing comes in: neither Chromia nor Windblade identify themselves as security before or during the chase. As we learn, Cyclonus is a reclusive that has abandoned society in part to avoid social interactions so him running from them isn’t necessary him running from the cops so much as him running from two randos that are trying to start a conversation.
Furthermore, Chromia slams into Cyclonus in vehicular mode. Yes, he was getting up to attack Windblade so you could make the justification that she was trying to keep him from hurting her. The problem with that argument is that the art doesn’t convey that Cyclonus is moving too quickly for Chromia to transform and go: “Security! Freeze!” which brings me back to the point that Chromia and Windblade still hasn’t identified themselves as security so for all he knows, Cyclonus is getting attacked by two strangers and is perfectly within his right to exercise self-defense.
Like I said, it makes sense for Windblade’s character because it seems in line with how she has been portrayed so far, but I don’t think Chromia was intended to come across the same way. It’s a segment where Chromia could have very easily been in the right but because of the way the scene is executed, the water is all muddled and you can just as easily find evidence that supports the interpretation that Windblade and Chromia are exercising undue violence against a Cybertronian citizen and witness because of their own failure to properly identify themselves and showing zero remorse.
This interpretation is further supported by how Chromia demands that Cyclonus report to them in the city. You could argue that Cyclonus might be a flight risk (pun intended) but if so, wouldn’t they have brought him in immediately? You know to stop him from going: “Alright, I’ll come in *hoofs it in the opposite direction*”
To be fair, Chromia did say she had to get back to Iacon tonight and she did mention that she thought they might be too short-handed and under-gunned to be out after dark, so that would justify needing him to come in and why they couldn’t just conduct the interview at his (bootlegging) camp, buuut it just drowns in everything else. It’s like getting a tiny bit of ice in a giant class of cola. It doesn’t really cool the drink like a cube would. It doesn’t help that she threatens to hurt him if he doesn’t come in or that he says the sieve is his only way of making energon or that she says this to Windblade right before it switches to Cyclonus alone:
Chromia: “Can’t risk forcing the issue with a civilian in tow, and without some more back-up and time to play.”
With the whole abusive cop bit, I talked about, it kind of come across like she’s saying that she intends push him around until he talks and that’s why she wants back-ups present and no civilians (as witnesses). I can’t tell if that’s just me not reading it right. It would make sense if she’s saying that they can’t talk with him about it now because they have a civilian with them, no back-up and no time before it gets dark so they’d be more vulnerable to an attack from the Risen or other criminals.
Lastly, I fucking love everything about Cyclonus and the ghosts.
Bumblebee, Rubble and Prowl (and Barricade)
The second segment is easily the best part of issue four due to its visuals, dialogue and character interactions. Most importantly, it gives us a good heaping of show.
I love the colors and like issue three finally did, issue four continues to show aliens living alongside Cybertronians. For example, we see two aliens on the shoulders of a Cybertronian in the crowd. We also see a lot of different looking Cybertronians including a guy who is clearly missing a part of his face, which makes me curious about his life and why he never had it fixed but I can think of reasons especially since there are people in real life that chose not to undergo reconstruction or don’t care about their scars.
Good on you, anonymous robot dude. You be proud.
And possibly high.
We see world-building that has the benefit of also adding to Rubble and Bumblebee’s relationships. I remember finding this tidbit very sweet and I still do:
Bumblebee: “What did you, though, when you met me for the first time?”
Rubble: “It really was all pretty confusing, you know. I’m not sure how much of it I understood. I… uh… I do remember thinking you were very yellow.”
Rubble: “I mean… you are quite yellow, aren’t you? Overall.”
The scene honestly makes me wish that the series had begun further back and started with Rubble emerging from the pyramid and stayed with him so he could have been the audience surrogate he was supposed to be. However, since the series is just twelve issues so far, that’s not something that would have been doable if the creators are expected to hit a certain mark in the timeline so it’s just wishing on my part.
We see the Reversionists and while I criticized the Ascenticons as having been introduced without the audience being told anything useful about them, I’m more forgiving towards the Reversionists’ introduction because unlike the Ascenticons, they aren’t the focus of the scene. We don’t have pages dedicated to them that tells us nothing about them. The Reversionists are briefly shown and then used to provide a change in topic between Rubble and Bumblebee and a lead-in to the next scene.
Speaking of which, here’s another good case of the issue showing things by having us actually experience the tension between the various factions and how Brainstorm’s murder has added to it and how things have escalated to violence on the street. It’s mild, yes, but it’s a sign of how heated things have gotten.
It’s also one of my favorite scenes within the issue because of this: the Risen shoves the Autobot towards Rubble and Bumblebee puts himself between and throws the Autobot away. It shows how Bumblebee has become very protective of Rubble, adds to his general anxiety about Rubble experiencing all of this and shows that Bumblebee isn’t immune to losing his head like everyone else is over what’s going on. He doesn’t just push the Autobot away: he tosses him far and hard enough to injure him. Like Windblade and Chromia, Bumblebee’s use of violence isn’t justified or excused by the situation but unlike them, it is more understandable in his case because he’s overreacting to a situation because of fear or anger or both. He's not thinking. He's basically just going "get away from my kid!"
And then Prowl slams into Bumblebee in vehicular mode.
Actually, he doesn’t do that. he does the far more reasonable thing and tells everyone to stop what they are doing (and go do it somewhere else where he can’t see it).
I’m just going to come out and say this: I like Prowl in this. Out of all the characters so far, I like him and Rubble the most. I like Rubble because he is curious, endearing, helpful and thoughtsome. He’s a likable character and seeing his thoughts on matters is interesting, which is why it’s a shame it doesn’t happen that often.
Prowl is blunt and abrasive, but it comes across less like he doesn’t care and more like he’s just bad at talking to people. We see he clearly knows how to handle people as an officer of the law, but we also see that getting down on his knees and talking to a child witness is something he’s not very good at. When Rubble says he could help find the Voin, Prowl bluntly tells him: “No, you can't.” while Bumblebee explains to Rubble why he can’t help. Rubble is dejected because he would like to help, and Prowl tells him he can help by not getting mixed up in anything else. Bumblebee cuts him short because it’s not helping.
After they’ve left, we have this exchange that shows that Prowl have a sense of compassion and empathizes with both Rubble and Bumblebee’s situation.
That’s why Prowl doesn’t seem so much like someone who is being a jerk so much as someone who is socially awkward. As a sidenote, you could actually make a case for Prowl being neurodivergent (autistic) like Gemotus. He’s a stickler for rules, he wants things to be done lawfully and by the book and although he may come across as callous and insensitive to others, he’s just bad at expressing himself and actually has a strong sense of compassion-
Guys, I got a new headcanon.
Another thing to mention is that although Prowl is disliked by pretty much every character that’s talked about him, he doesn’t come across like that bad of a guy. For example, he criticizes Windblade for not checking whether the Voin had a permit to scavenge in the area or not, but he’s right. She should have checked, especially since she was being called to investigate the area due to there being suspicions of sabotage. He’s not doing it to be petty or because he dislikes her. He’s asking because it’s relevant to the investigation and as I’ve emphasized time and time again, he is in the right.
Prowl isn’t a deep character, but he’s got nuances and I found that I always enjoy it when he shows up.
I’m going to cut this short because I’ve been writing this non-stop for a while now. I may add my thoughts on the third segment later, but here are my thoughts on the issue.
Issue three marked the moment I started to feel the series was starting to improve and four continues that and overall, I'm left with a positive impression that makes me more optimistic about the future for the series. I do want it to succeed after all. There still hasn't been an issue where I liked all of the three segments or an issue where I didn't feel that there was a bunch of things that added up into a problem pile.
The series is still struggling to strike a good balance between tell, don't show and show, don't tell, both of which are important when it comes to storytelling.
I’m more positive about the comic but I’m still of mixed opinion because it continues to have consistently good parts but also continues to consistently intertwine those good with bad. That said, if this level of good had been the starting for issue one, I’d almost certainly have been less critical of the comic.
EDIT: I wrote this in one long go and I've only given this a brief glance over after posting it so there's probably going to be some odd phrasing and errors. By the way, kudos to whoever makes it all the way through this never-ending waterfall of words.
“The World in Your Eyes” was billed as a five-part arc, so I initially expected some sort of resolution/payoff by the end of #5; but it seems like this arc is meant to just show different parts of society as soon as possible for future stories. Even though I was hoping for something more self-contained, I’m still interested in the story even if the pacing has been a bit frustrating.
Issue #3 ended with Optimus meeting Codexa, but apparently we won’t get to see their conversation, so the end of #3 feels like a waste of page space without the follow-up and context
I think the microbes and geysers are somehow connected to either Brainstorm’s death, or the effects of the energon harvester. Geomotus could uncover some sort of connection between the two.
I’m starting to enjoy the mentor-mentee interactions between Bee and Rubble. This version of Bee sounds like a jaded Dan Gilvezan.
Since Rubble is approximately 50 cycles old (I think), and Orion greeted him at his forging, then I assume Sentinel Prime has been off-world for quite some time. Place your bets on what he’s doing:
A) Spreading “freedom”
B) Pillaging worlds of resources for the energon harvester
C) Being a prick
D) All of the above
Griffith’s rendering of Optimus’ toy is perfect. He’s not too chunky, and there’s no peg holes! But I wish he had the yellow eyes.
I’m pretty sure Megatron is secretly in contact with Termagax just like Optimus/Codexa.
Spoiler: Drink cactus juice!
"It'll quench ya! Nothing's quechier! IT'S THE QUENCHIEST!:"
After four issues of senators walking around , talking and not much else , i have cancelled my order with my comic shop .
Sadly this version of Transformers is not for me .
Hopefully others will continue to enjoy it though .
For me it did. MTMTE was downright fantastic; LL was garbage in comparison. There were a few issues that legit made me fucking mad at how absurd they were.
Hoo boy do I feel you on that one. The reveal about Rung made me so mad I didn't bother to purchase the final two issues, it was just so poorly executed and a spit in the face to what I thought was Rung's whole point in existing, to disprove the flawed ideas of the Functionist Council by blatantly existing and thriving despite not "fitting in" anywhere and being a "nobody." But nope. He was actually the most important character the entire time!!! Wow!!! What a way to demolish his entire character arc in two words!
Please play nice folks, I'm going to do a thread cleanup here, any continued off-topic (a.k.a. political) discussion may warrant infractions.
I was just in the process of making a report. The need's been averted.
So anyway--while the comic hasn't been as great on the world building front as I'd hoped, I'm still interested in seeing how this plays out.
It does put a nice twist on the "revolutionary gone astray" angle for Megatron. Instead of fighting a overtly corrupt, totalitarian or theocratic system (Functionism), he's instead arguing from the stance that their society is stagnant, which isn't itself necessarily wrong, but it's clearly a cover for his own ideas of expansionism. Cybertron's future isn't to be confined, but to expand and achieve (or regain, in his view) greatness.
I liked Lost Light. Things got crazy but that is the way of the book.
Coming from Lost Light to this new series is a huge step down. You may not like Lost Light but it’s still far better than this. Things happened there, you connected with characters, wanted to see what would happen to them. I was following Prowl’s story with much interest as he was a highly fascinating character. This new Prowl has done nothing worth while so far. None of them have. The only time my interest was piqued was due to Cyclonus’ ghosts. I want to read more about that. But given the writing in this book, I’m not expecting any big revelation in depth, detail or consequence.
That's kind of like what happened in the old Marvel comic, to be honest.
Beat me to it. There's not a lot being brought to the table here, honestly.
I disagree dude. After Tailgate magically being resurrected, Nautica forgetting Skids for nothing, Megatron ex machina, and Cybertroupia being an organic alien suicide clinic run by psychic aliens. I am not missing the Lost Light. I will give you this though, Lost Light objectively had more "stuff" happening but it was a final act in a long ongoing series so of course anyone would be more invested in it because the stakes were higher. Also, the characters in LL were, again, the ones we'vebeen following now for years. We're only just getting to know these new iterations of the characters in this continuity and personally, I don't know about you but I would be a little sad if Prowls pterodactyl dies. Prowl is surprisingly a bird person, always striked me as a cat person.
Huh. Okay then. So it's more a return to an older idea.
Innumerable people. I don't meant to downplay the skill of a fiction writer, but as far as I can see, the world is full of them. I've read quite a few amateur fantasy novels here and there by that are perfectly well written, some better written than what gets produced by hugely successful writers. Same with indie comics.
The problem isn't that these people aren't out there - it's that the comic industry doesn't seem to invest much effort in finding them. Imagine what the acting profession would be like if movie and theatre producers never put out any casting calls or engaged in any kind of evaluative processes, but instead hired people on the basis of chance encounters and networking.
Look at how Nick Roche and James Roberts found their way into IDW - pure stroke of luck, it sounds like, when anyone looking to produce a Transformers comic at the time should've been able to find their work online and recognise it almost instantly as both competent *and* borne out of great love and respect for the franchise.
Not to mention McCarthy and Costa.
Ryall: “What do you want to do?”
Them: “Write Transformers.”
Him: (shrugs) “Ok. What the hell.”
Your overall point is well taken, but on this allow me to respectfully disagree. IDW TF comics are now selling less than 1k books per month. (867 for issue 2)
Let's be generous and say every penny of 3.99 x 867 went to the creative team, and printing, distribution, and liscensing fees weren't a factor... That still leaves the creative team with jack, and close to zero profit for IDW.
As such, going on sales, IDW cannot afford respectable talent.
As per your other thread on the matter, this information is a misreading of the sales numbers.
There's a microcosm of what's wrong with the series in Geomotus' name, it's just a bland bit of character-name-is-their-ability Greek/Latin mashup when the straight English version of it
'Groundmotion' has more of that certain Transformers poetry to it.
Separate names with a comma.