Transformers vs. Visionaries #5 + complete series retrospective (spoilers)

Discussion in 'Transformers Comics Discussion' started by CleverNamePendingatron, May 2, 2018.

  1. CleverNamePendingatron

    CleverNamePendingatron Just an ordinary cassette. Nothing to see here.

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    And so all good things must come to an end. Luckily, it looks like bad things come to an end as well. I figured since it's all over now, I may as well make this a thread about looking back not only at #5, but the series as a whole. Here's my thoughts to kick us off. I'm going to attempt the impossible and start with the good.

    The Good
    • I know not everybody was into them, but I personally loved the new Visionaries designs. I know not every single one was spot on, but on the whole, I really liked the whole space-viking thing they had going on.
    • Leoric was a complete and utter badass. Didn't care much for anyone else, but I wouldn't mind seeing more Leoric.
    • I'm always excited to see a new property being assimilated into the Hasbroverse collective. I know not everyone feels that way, but I say the more the merrier.
    • I really enjoyed the art. I wasn't a big fan of Fico Ossio's art in Revolution (too cluttered and messy), but he's come a long way since then. His work on Revolutionaries was fantastic and his work on this series was no different. I hope we get to see more of his work post-reboot.
    • Some genuinely great Wheeljack moments. I don't know, maybe I'm the only one who smiled at "Alright Waspy my boy" in #5. Classic Wheeljack.
    • This series had some really cool covers, if you look past all of the Ironhide mutilation.
    • THRUSTINATOR!!! I know he was pretty underused, but considering he's a character I never expected to see in IDW at all, I'll take whatever I can get.

    The Bad
    • Who was this series written for? It assumes knowledge of the Visionaries that people like me who've never seen the original cartoon simply don't have. If that's the approach you're going for, why do it as a Transformers crossover? If you're going to go that route, you have to assume that your reader knows nothing about your property. And to make matters more confusing, I understand that they changed heaps of stuff from the original Visionaries so that even lifelong Visionaries fans had trouble following what was going on. Seriously, who was this written for?
    • The writer clearly hasn't read First Strike, and it really shows. For example, in First Strike, Merklynn creates the barrier around New Prysmos to keep the Cybertronians out. In this series though, it's suggested that the Cybertronians created the barrier to keep the Visionaries in. Plus the fact that the Talisman has to dig its way to the core, despite being activated right next to it in First Strike.
    • Kup's death was pure shock factor, included for the simple goal of getting people to read this series. Had something been done with his death, that might have been okay, but nothing was. Kup dies and then that's just sort of it. His head gets carried around a bit at the start of #2, then he's never mentioned again. One of the franchise's most beloved characters was killed off for absolutely no good reason. He didn't even get to say goodbye to Action Man.
    • Who was everyone? So Leoric is the good leader, Virulina is the bad leader, Merklynn's the chaotic neutral dude, Cryotek was the guy who wasn't a big blue dragon robot, blonde woman was the generic female lead, and generic cowardly villain was the generic cowardly villain. I didn't know who anyone else was, and quite frankly, I didn't care. It was just generic wizard #37, generic wizard #38, generic wizard #39, etc. They didn't take the time to explore these characters, and actually get the reader invested in any of them. Honestly, Leoric was the only one I even remotely cared about.
    • What did the cover artists have against Ironhide?
    • Quickswitch was a completely pointless addition, and a particularly poorly used deus ex machina. The writer suddenly realised as they were writing #4 that they needed a drill, so they suddenly brought in Quickswitch and acted like he'd been there all along. Then used him for a couple of pages to fulfil the task they needed him for, before promptly killing him off because they had no room for him in #5. That's just lazy writing. It did give me an excuse to write that fun eulogy on last issue's thread though, so that's something I guess.
    • What was that ending? Everyone who betrayed Leoric suddenly decides to side with him again for some random reason that was never really explained. It was implied that they had problems with Virulina's leadership, but what had she really done since declaring war on the Cybertronians, which they all seemed in favour of at the time? Was Leoric really such a good speaker that he convinced them all to rejoin him with just a few choice words? Then we suddenly learn that Merklynn was playing everyone, and then before anything can be done with that revelation, something happens and suddenly it's the end. Then it's a week later and Cybertron's gone all Beast Machines on us. Can we just stop and take a breath and talk about what's going on here?
    • It was just poorly written. I don't know what else to say. I almost feels like I need to congratulate the writer for taking a comic book about a bunch of space wizards fighting a bunch of robot alien war machines and making it so thoroughly uninteresting. It takes a special kind of skill to do that.
    • Don't assume that because some glaringly obvious problem is missing from this list, I didn't think it was an issue. There were just so many problems with this series that it was a struggle to try and remember them all.

    So in a nutshell, this was a bad series. In fact, I'd go as far to say that this was the worst Transformers series that IDW has put out, a title that, in my mind, previously belonged to Heart of Darkness. It was just awful, and I say that as someone who genuinely enjoyed All Hail Megatron. My standards are that low, and I still didn't enjoy this series. I'm all for the shared Hasbroverse, and as mentioned earlier, I'm always happy to see new properties join the family, but not like this. Never like this. Please Unicron, just eat them all now and be done with it.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
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  2. Focksbot

    Focksbot Skeleton Detective

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    Yes, that about sums it up. As I was reading #5, I started to try to compile a mental list of all the worst bits for a forum post (because tearing into this series on the forums is the most fun you can have with it), but I just couldn't keep it all in my head.

    Strangely, it does seem like Visaggio either anticipated or accepted some of the criticism of early issues - this one has the Visionaries actually casting spells using poems, and a vague allusion by Witterquick to his super-speed having limitations. But it's all too little, too late, in an issue which clearly didn't have enough room to resolve the drama sensibly, and so resorted to characters having to practically wave away problems with pat explanations.

    Problem: Arzon destroyed the bomb! (Not once, but twice, since the fifth page of this issue was almost a complete repeat of the final page of last issue).
    Solution: Wheeljack explains that it's actually only a flesh wound, despite all appearances to the contrary in preceding panels.

    Problem: Virulena is protected by an army of Visionaries!
    Solution: Leoric explains how they just needed a good talking round.

    Problem: Leoric and Virulena are dying of an ageing spell!
    Solution: Galadria explains how a thing she did in a different place made a thing happen that coincidentally reversed the spell.

    What else? At the close of the issue, Merklynn is the only one imprisoned - Virulena, Arzon and the rest of the Darkling Lords are free to just sit around looking grumpy, like scolded children. Virulena murdered Kup in cold blood and tried to orchestrate a planet-wide genocide, but hey, who cares, right?

    Leoric rounds up/converts the rest of the Spectral Knights to his cause, but then decides to confront Virulena and Merklynn alone, even after they handed his arse to him in #2. He literally has no plan beyond repeated exactly what he did in that issue. When he frees Witterquick earlier in the issue, he expressly says that he has need of him ... but then he doesn't use him for anything.

    Yup. I don't think being familiar with Visionaries has been any help at all - except in the sense that we know who Darkstorm is/was, and even that was mucked about with in this issue in Leoric's flashback text, which suggests Darkstorm was once his ally?? Essentially, Visaggio has rewritten the whole lore and backstory, and nearly all of the characters, and then failed to explain any of it outside of interviews and occasional vague allusions in the story itself. It really might as well be a completely new property.
     
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  3. Thumbaticon

    Thumbaticon "It's all right, I'm an emergency vehicle!"

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    Apparently Unicron shows up at the end. Is there anything worth noting about that?
     
  4. Omegashark18

    Omegashark18 Combaticon turned Autobot

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    To sum it up in one word, messy.

    All that, for just a minor little Unicron tease at the end.

    At least they closed the door good enough. No loose ends.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
  5. CleverNamePendingatron

    CleverNamePendingatron Just an ordinary cassette. Nothing to see here.

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    Nothing worth noting. This is all it is.
    0.jpeg
     
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  6. Transmit Him

    Transmit Him Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Clever Name Pendingatron and Focksbot: this (the final issue and the series as a whole) was a total mess. Absolutely atrocious writing, with bad dialogue and dumb, contradictory plotting, full of holes and under-used characters. Visaggio's "streamlined" updating of the series fundamentally misses most of what makes the concept and its characters work and then doesn't present itself well at all. I still don't understand what the point of this series was if Unicron and the reboot was indeed known about when it was commissioned.

    And that last panel with Ironhide in this issue was cringe-worthy.

    Still, Fico's art was nice and some of the updated designs were good (aside from the magic colour-coding, which made every look interchangeable at a distance).

    Much like with MASK, this feels like the one shot Visionaries had at a modern updating and it's been totally blown by a writer who didn't know or care about it for a series that served no purpose.
     
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  7. Heliblade

    Heliblade Autobot Vigilante of Kaon

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    The whole thing was awkward filler, nothing more.
     
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  8. Thumbaticon

    Thumbaticon "It's all right, I'm an emergency vehicle!"

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    Thank you. Ossio's Unicron looks okay, but the mouth looks...adorable? The teeth look like the petals of a sunflower.
    Merklynn: "Oh I summoned a universe-ending monstrosity... oh well..." First Strike's ending was derailed for this...
     
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  9. Haywired

    Haywired Hakunamatatacon

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    Rest in peace, Transformers vs Visionaries.

    And good effin riddance.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
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  10. Haywired

    Haywired Hakunamatatacon

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    This last final shot of Merklyn reminds me how missing their target were the character redesigns.

    Yo, I'm a fictional wizard strongly inspired by Merlin. I also hate technology.

    This is why I don't look even remotely like Merlin and me and my goons dress so techy. I even got a facial tatoo inspired by a printed circuit board!


    As means of visual communication those designs are simply bad. If I didn't know what the Visionaries are I'd never guess anything about them by just looking at those character sheets.


    I didn't expect seeing anything as bad as Hearts of Darkness again.


    Edit:
    Original designs for characters also are pretty generic, but justified by being made for action figures. Also, they did communicate the "knight" part clearly.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
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  11. Greebtron

    Greebtron Well-Known Member

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    Honestly, Visionaries feels more egregious. Because it came along too late, just as the whole Hasbro/Marvel/Sunbow relationship was falling apart and toylines were being cancelled left and right. Visionaries appeal was more about unfulfilled potential than anything that made it on screen. That potential has pretty much been squandered.

    Speaking of which, today is effectively the 30th anniversary of that era of animation coming to an end. Seems fitting given we're approaching the end of this era of comics.
     
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  12. Agamus

    Agamus Not an Iguana

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    Ikr :( 
    It's even more pathetic when compared to other beginnings in IDW; Infiltration, RiD/MTMtE, OP/LL etc. Absolutely no effort was made to manage or balance the cast as they were introduced. Hell, a kinder comparison would be to issue #1 of the G1 comic, just "hey here's some designs with names next to them, now you're supposed to know who they are." Wrong kind of 80's nostalgia.
     
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  13. optimusmegas

    optimusmegas Target-Power-Titan-Prime-Battle-Master

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    this issue felt really really rushed
     
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  14. GoLion

    GoLion Banned

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    The final issue wasn't as bad as the four that preceded it but that's not saying much. Seeing Thrustinator was fun, and the art was still a sight to behold.
     
  15. Bass X0

    Bass X0 Captain Commando

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    The toy designs came first, remember. They were based upon real life knight's suits of armor, only with a totem on the chest added. Its supposed to represent a futuristic society being bombed back to medieval times with fantasy elements such as dragons, unicorns and fairies, and how they react to their predicament, having to craft armor from the same materials and technology as they had back in real life medieval times. That was a more interesting premise than what was shown here.

    The designs were simple because it was an 80s toyline, comic book and cartoon series after all. They remind me of Transformers pretenders armor. I don't need everything to be hyper stylised.
     
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  16. Fanatic97

    Fanatic97 Fanatic97

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    So anyone want to try and get this comic onto Atop the Fourth Wall? Probably gonna have to wait till next year but still it sounds so bad it just has to be on the show
     
  17. deltaprime

    deltaprime The Christian Transfan

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    Can i peek Thrustinator?
     
  18. CleverNamePendingatron

    CleverNamePendingatron Just an ordinary cassette. Nothing to see here.

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    Peek away:
    DesperateMeasures-Thrustinator.jpg

    Sadly, we never see him in robot mode, and he only appears as Thrustinator on about three pages in total, but that's three more pages than I ever expected, so I'm not complaining.
     
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  19. Scrapmaker

    Scrapmaker Balance

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    I'd rather seem him do something involving IDW's ROM, first. Not because IDW ROM is bad, since it isn't, just because he's a fan Marvel's ROM and I gather that reception of IDW's take is rather mixed among some of that fanbase. Curious to hear his thoughts on the character's revivial.

    But yes, even a kind of not as bad final issue didn't keep this from being a trainwreck and it would deserve to get ripped apart. Leoric remained the only one of the Visionaries I cared about, right up to the end.
     
  20. shamanking282

    shamanking282 Well-Known Member

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    So, as someone who dropped IDW post-Revolution, but with the end now in sight, I figured I may go and pick up the IDW Collection hardcovers whenever they come out to catch up. But from what it sounds like, this series doesn't even deserve to be placed in those books.