Saturday, December 25, 2010

XMAS2010

Hi,

I used to do annual xmas cards, these can be found here but 2 years ago I had an idea to do a xmas story instead. If you know me I tend to toy around with ideas, make some art, then foprget about it for a while because of the plentiness of time and then at the end of the deadline make insane hours to complete the project. I had this story finished thursday the 23d, colors can come later.

It's about megatron in a 'typical' scrooge story, hope you like it.
DOWNLOAD



merry xmas,

Johan

Friday, December 24, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

"BRAINS!"


So IDW's first big crossover event will apparently involve putting Zombies into Transformers, GIJOE, Ghostbusters and Star Trek. You're probably thinking, "wow! Zombies and Transformers make as much sense as a Star Trek and Highlander crossover". And you'd be right. These crossover events at any comic company are designed solely to help boost sales by making you buy all the extra stories. Marvel's already done a bunch of zombie stories where their Universe was consumed by zombies (in an alternate universe setting, naturally). Apparently IDW's brain trust couldn't even muster up something vaguely original and just settled for ripping them off.

Crossovers happen all the time in fanfic but that doesn't mean they should happen in official sources. Name one instant where even a Transformers/GIJOE crossover was compelling and made any sense. Simply put, there aren't any. One side always gets more spotlighting and we end up rehashing plot points like Snake Eyes vs. Storm Shadow or something about Unicron and the Matrix.

I have no idea if IDW's zombies will involve characters from any of the concepts directly interacting or just have zombies as a commonality between them. Either way, zombies simply don't belong in three of the concepts (you could make a point for using them in Ghostbusters but not the others).

In the end, given IDW's track record, I can also pretty much guarantee these stories won't even entertain readers on any level. They'll be exercises in wasting time with some lame-ass action thrown in. Then they'll do the collected TPBs and maybe even a hardcover collection to catch the suckers that waste money on those.

Instead of zombies (what's next? Vampires?) why doesn't IDW hire some competent writers for their comics and let them craft some worthwhile stories. GIJOE already has Chuck Dixon and Larry Hama--why can't Transformers get some good writers on it too? And while they're at it, why don't they try to make some interesting stuff happen? I'd love to cover some new territory but they only seem to be interested in appealing to the nostalgia crowd. The people that go "hey! Transformers! I remember those from when I was a kid!" instead of trying to cultivate a serious following, which TFs do have and would appreciate some good stories for a change.

But, no. Bring on more half-baked crap like International Incident and All Hail Megatron instead. IDW currently reminds me of Image Comics in its heyday. They sold millions of comics, all based off their pretty artwork. The concepts were all derivative though--Spawn was Ghost Rider, Savage Dragon the Hulk, Youngblood ripped off X-Force, etc. Over time, much of their comics have all but disappeared off the map. IDW has curried whatever originality and popularity they initially had and mined it to snap up as many licensed properties as they can find (similar to how Marvel had all that crap in the 80s). The reason Marvel's Transformers and GIJOE worked, though, is that they had reasonably good writers that gave a damn about telling their stories. Does anyone remember Marvel's He-man comic? Or their Sectaurs? Or Crystar? Of course not. Because they all ultimately sucked.

Will anyone care if IDW eventually loses their license for Transformers? Not likely. IDW will have made it's quick buck and the fans will mostly be indifferent to their collection of stories. Sadly, IDW had a real chance to put their stamp on the concept but they've failed miserably. Instead of establishing an interesting story continuity, they throw stuff in willy-nilly and hope something will stick. Letting fans/so-called professionals with no idea how to write a story take a crack and/or letting anybody and everybody draw a story (would it kill them to keep one damn artist on a title for more then two issues?)

So, yeah. Bring on the zombies. Bring on the vampires, the werewolves, and whatever other crap you have lined up. It might sell a few more comics but in the end it won't make your terrible product any better then it was.

That takes something they don't seem to have: focus and talent.

Comic Review...

Transformers #14

Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: Don Figueroa

(covers by Don Figueroa and Nick Roche)


Summary: Two Autobots felled in the past two issues and the punishment is only beginning! A shocking revelation and an unexpected attack begins the 'REVENGE OF THE DECEPTICONS,' the storyline that leaves a lot more Autobots on the operating table, and their entire future on Earth in question-and also features the return of superstar artist DON FIGUEROA!


Comments: I skipped the last three issues due to a lack of interest. In that time, International Incident ended (finally) and, presumably, Hot Rod got killed last issue (I base this off the description above). Bumblebee has also been assassinated as well by some kind of human anti-robot movement that materialized... This issue seems to exist to shuffle the plot elements around--we learn a little bit about BB's assassin and his motivations; the returning Autobots aboard a plane are attacked by some unrevealed source; the Autobots at the human military base are attacked by Decepticons who rescue their prisoner comrades and several guns that appear like G1 Megatron begin appearing on the Earth (including the weapon that shot Bumblebee). A giant cup of "meh". I guess Figueroa is back to drawing the art again (at least for the moment anyway). The story itself is unfocused due to its need to set up future events... Once again I am reminded of how little has truly happened in the IDW universe in the last five years.

Verdict: Neutral.



(Cover "B" by Nick Roche)

Friday, November 19, 2010

FALL 2010 issue ready!

The Fall 2010 issue of the Transmasters Magazine is now live! You can view in all its glory, HERE:

http://transmasters.angelfire.com/tmmag/issue8/index1.html


Unfortunately this issue is lacking part two of my Opening Shots comic. Simply put, I didn't have enough time to work on the art this time around... I hope to have it ready for the February issue though. In its stead, I present my Legacy of Darkness comic script instead. A special thanks to both Johan and Peter for their efforts in this latest issue.

Comments are welcome!
Thunder

Monday, November 15, 2010

TransMasters Magazine Submissions...

After a week of working to get it done, my content for the next issue of the Transmasters Magazine (Fall 2010) is ready. If anyone wants to submit any content for the next issue, please send it in by November 20th at the latest so I can get this issue done up and ready. (email it to: tkphoton at hotmail.com)

Thanks!

Thunder

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Radio Free Cybertron 11th Anniversary Contests

Hi Transmasters members, it's Rob from RFC just letting everybody know about the cool contests we are running at RFC. As it's our 11th anniversary (yeah, we've been on for that long) we decided to end the year with a bang and offer our listeners with all sorts of cool prizes to win. Details can be found here on tfradio.net.

Here's the list of prizes we have!

TRANSFORMERS GENERATIONS TOYS
One (1 winner) Blurr, One (1 winner) Darkmount

TITAN TRANSFORMERS TRADES
Three (3 winners) Showdown (Hardcover), One (1 winner) All Fall Down (Hardcover), One (1 winner) Last Stand, One (1 winner) Matrix Quest, Two (2 winners) Treason, One (1 winner) Second Generation, Two (2 winners) Fallen Angel, Two (2 winners) Target: 2006, One (1 winner) Perchance to Dream, Two (2 winners) Earthforce

TITAN TRANSFORMERS MAGAZINES
One (1 winner) August 2009, One (1 winner) September 2009

OTHER
One (1 winner) Fanboy Versus Clock, One (1 winner) XL ENI T-Shirt

Check us out at www.tfradio.net and keep supporting Transmasters!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

A little bit delayed...

Due to some life complications, the current issue of the Transmasters Magazine will be a bit delayed. I hope to have it out later this month though. (I got a new job recently and am behind on my work for the TM Mag... I bought several new TF toys and needed to add them to my review article as well (also waiting on another one in the mail). It's just been busy of late so if anyone's working on anything for the mag, you still have time. I will announce the deadline for submissions for this issue before the issue's ready to come out...

Thunder

Monday, November 01, 2010

Comic Review...

Transformers: Drift #4 (of 4)

Writer: Shane McCarthy
Artist: Alex Milne

(cover by Alex Milne)

Summary: The time for conflict has arrived! But can Drift possibly hope to survive the coming onslaught? Old fears are put aside and new bonds are forged as Drift and the Knights prepare to make their final stand!

Comments: The final battle. Can good triumph over evil? Is the sky blue? An adequate ending to an adequate story. As usual with IDW, this story just didn't wow me... it was okay but that's all the praise I can really give it. We all knew it was a flashback and that Drift would survive so there was little real drama there. As mentioned in my previous reviews, not enough is done to establish Drift's true motivations in becoming a Decepticon in the first place nor in his change of heart in this story. Without that, this story has no real soul and feels like a superficial exercise instead of the epic it should be. We don't even have much happen to the Neutrals so Drift doesn't even have any guilt to carry with him in that aspect either. Shallow storytelling with nice art... (of all the issues I think the first one was the best).

Verdict: Mildly recommended.
The Series as a Whole: Neutral.




Monday, October 11, 2010

Comic Review...


Transformers: Drift #3 (of 4)

Writer: Shane McCarthy
Artist: Alex Milne

(cover by Alex Milne)

Summary: Drift's presence has been discovered, and he must now choose between old allies and new. Can one final act of courage save his soul? Or has he gone too far toward darkness to ever hope of coming back? A colossal battle is brewing, and Drift's future has never been more uncertain!

Comments: The second issue ends with it seeming like Drift might betray the neutrals. Issue #3 turns this around and makes it clear he's on-side (it's possible he's playing them but I don't think so. There's not enough time in the story to go that direction now and it wouldn't make much sense). Basically, the third issue sets up the final one with Drift and others plotting to deceive the slavers and Decepticons into thinking they are the only ones there so the new Crystal City can continue on without them. The art is still good and the story is still somewhat interesting (if a tad predictable). Obviously, Drift will survive all this and emerge a stronger, better person, etc. One thing I don't care for is how quickly Drift changes sides in this series. We get a rationale for it but there could be more depth. He's a loner/drifter taken and molded by Megatron, then he gets here and quickly changes sides. A bit more on the why might've made it more convincing and interesting (a better writer could've easily done it. As it is, McCarthy's not quite up to it). Ironically, I usually complain IDW goes too long with its stories--this series could've actually used another issue to better flesh out the character.


Verdict: Mildly Recommended.

Friday, October 08, 2010

PCC Smolder preview sketch art


First sketch of Smolder for my Powercore combiner story for the Transmasters magazine. It's not entirely symmetrical but this being a sketch I think it's allright.

-Johan

also linked at UNBLOG

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Comic Review...

Transformers: Drift #2 (of 4)

Writer: Shane McCarthy
Artist: Alex Milne

(cover by Alex Milne)

Summary: What is the secret behind DRIFT's startling rescuers? How is it they came to be on the isolated, desert planet and what does this have to do with DRIFT's future? As DRIFT uncovers answers, he's suddenly faced with a decision that could alter his life forever!


Comments: Another issue and another reasonably good story (although I have to admit I can see the ending coming a mile away). The story is not mind shattering (nor has anything IDW's done to-date) but it is competently written and about what one would expect. Milne's art is also still good (too many characters look alike, though. It's hard to tell the difference between Drift and Wing most of the time). The character revealed at the end (a shout-out to Animated--yes, really) is a welcome addition to the IDW-verse.

Verdict: Recommended.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Comic Review...

Transformers: Drift #1 (of 4)

Writer: Shane McCarthy
Artist: Alex Milne

(cover by Alex Milne)

Summary: What was it that caused one of the DECEPTICON's most ruthless soldiers to turn his back on them? And what ancient secret lies hidden deep within an alien planet? All this and more as the origin of the newest AUTOBOT, DRIFT, is finally revealed!

Comments: One thing I noticed right away was how many G2 characters are in the background in the opening pages. We see Terradive, Skyjack, one of the Predators (Skydive? Talon?), Dreadwing and Smokescreen (and possibly others). On the one hand, it's cool to see a shout out to these neglected characters. On the flip side, it seems like the artists do this stuff a lot in IDW... The story is about Deadlock (aka the future Drift), a merciless Decepticon who tries to lead a coup against his commander, only to fail and have to flee for his life. He ends up on a planet with a mysterious character that needs his help to rescue some slaves... but in a display of his usual bravado, things end up going horribly wrong. It's a fairly solid first issue of story and since the series is only four issues, we don't have to worry so much about McCarthy stretching it out too long like he did in AHM. The story and art are both pretty good. I can predict where the story will go ultimately but hopefully it will be an interesting journey to get there. One review I saw mentioned that many of the TFs look too Gundam-esque in their designs (that is, overly elaborate) and I would tend to agree (but it's a minor quibble). I also liked the "two guns" joke--it's an old standard but it worked well in this case.

Verdict: Recommended.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Comic Review...

Transformers #10

Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: Guido Guidi

(cover by Guido Guidi)

Summary: 'International Incident,' Part 2: Spike and Optimus lead a covert team onto South Korean soil, but do they have a chance against a fully-armed platoon of Combaticons? Somebody's about to get their tail-pipe kicked in a big way. Costa and Guidi bring the pain with the biggest brawl yet in the Transformers ongoing title.

Comments: Like the previous issue, a decent story and reasonably good art (if a bit cartoony). My problem is that I'm tired of "decent" and would like to see more of "spectacular". I'd also like to see some tighter writing so stories don't go on and on forever. This story could've been wrapped up quickly but apparently its slated to go at least four issues! All International Incident really is ultimately is a extended battle between the two sides (it reads like the plot of a G1 cartoon episode). There's no intrigue or sub-plots really. What you see is what you get--and it's just not interesting or exciting enough for me. Of all IDW's output, I can't say they've really ever done a truly memorable story (although a few of Furman's came close)--and this is no exception. I planned to give the ongoing series a couple of issues to try it out and see how Costa did. I'm just not feeling it overall and after ten issues, I think it's time to call it quits. (I might still pick up a trade or mini in the future if it sounds good but I'm done with the ongoing for the time being).

Mildly recommended.


adres change and new blog


Hi all, from now on my warlog files aswell as other news can be found on:

UNB

be sure to visit from time to time, since the warlog link in the box to the right is no longer valid.

-Johan/Backbreaker.

...am busy with a concept powercore combiners strip....

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Update to Karmic Salt...

An update to my other website for a change...

As some of you may know, I helped do the Balance of Power fanzine in the 90s and 00s and my website has an archive of the old stories. I was on there the other day and realized the Covers gallery was not up to date (which is weird, because I was sure I'd done that ages ago). Anyway, I updated the Cover Gallery completely and then I decided while I was at it to update the rather pathetic Profiles section too (it had barely any of them on it). Over the last two days, I've added EVERY SINGLE PROFILE ever done for BOP. Most are in html while a few are scans (like Matt's old stuff, which I don't have the original files to. Also, Tom's original three profiles were printed with a laser printer and have a lot of line detail I'd have to erase out and then color in so I just left two of them b/w for now).

The Archive is here:
http://www.karmicsalt.org/boparchive.html

...and the profiles are on the bottom half of the page.

Comments are always welcome! :)


- Thunder

Saturday, August 07, 2010

NEW! Transmasters group on Facebook!

I just created a TM group on Facebook! The link below should take you to it:


http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=145086098844168


(If, for some reason, the link doesn't work, go to Facebook and do a search for "Transmasters" and you should find it anyway).

Don't delay, join today! :)

- Thunder

TM Mag is ready!

The Fall issue of Transmasters Magazine is done and ready to go! You can check it out here:


http://transmasters.angelfire.com/tmmag/issue7/index1.html


Comments, questions, etc. are always welcome. Contributions for future issues are also welcome and encouraged (it can be as simple as a TF picture or article even!)

Til All Are One!
- Thunder

Friday, August 06, 2010

Comic Review...

Transformers: Ironhide #4 (of 4)

Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: Casey Coller

(covers by Casey Coller and Marcele Matere)

Summary: Filled with destiny, purpose, and seven million years of Decepticon-whuppin' to catch up on, Ironhide goes out to meet the Swarm in an epic final confrontation. Casey Coller and Mike Costa deliver what is far and away the most action-packed issue of their careers, and the fate of Cybertron is changed forever.


Comments: And so Ironhide concludes. I enjoyed the characterization throughout the story but the ending left me with a "that's it?" feeling. I mean, now what? Will we ever find out what happens? Alphatrion is total jerk in this story and while it differs from the cartoon depiction I like that he's given a personality here instead of generic sage like before. Unlike Bumblebee, which was a total waste of time as series go, this story had some value but I do question if it needed to be told in a mini when it easily could've been a sub-plot in the main comic. But I guess IDW can't make more money off me that way... A decent enough series, but not a great one.

Verdict: Recommended.
The series as a whole: Recommended.

(cover "B" by Casey Coller)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Submissions for Transmasters Magazine, Fall 2010

Transmasters Magazine, Fall 2010 issue will be available on August 10th. I have most of my content for the issue ready (including my long delayed comic story). If anyone out there is interested in submitting any content--be it stories, art, comics, reviews, etc. please send it in soon (by about August 5th at the absolute latest).

Submissions can be sent to tkphoton@hotmail.com

The more people contribute, the better this production will be.

- Thunder

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Transformers on Twitter







Friday, July 16, 2010

Comic Review...

(Cover "A" by Don Figueroa)



















Transformers #9

Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: Guido Guidi

(Covers by Guido Guidi and Don Figueroa)

Summary: 'International Incident,' Part 1: After MEGATRON left Earth three years ago, DECEPTICONS all over the globe were left stranded and leaderless. It was only a matter of time before an insane international despot assembled a bunch of them together to serve as a living Weapon of Mass Destruction, setting off the most action-packed TRANSFORMERS storyline in years, with art by fan-favorite Guido Guidi.


Comments: I usually find Guido Guidi's art fairly good--he's not my favorite comic artist or anything but he's competent. This issue, though, felt more cartoony looking for some reason. I'm not sure if it's my imagination or it really does look more "animated" then normal. Or maybe it's because I bought the Figueroa cover and that sub-consciously looks more gritty (even though I didn't care for Figueroa's new style) compared to Guidi's more cartoon style. At any rate, the story is about North Korea and the Combaticons teaming up for conquest. Unlike previous stories I didn't feel any attachment to this issue. The previous stories Costa did (especially the first six or seven) had a sub-text flowing throughout them. It was about the main action but we also got a hint at bigger things going on. Optimus believed they needed humanity's adaptability while Thundercracker was having a crisis of conscience. Hot Rod just wanted to get the hell out of there and so on. This story, by contrast, is straightforward. The North Koreans and Combaticons have teamed up; Skywatch and the Autobots plan to go stop them--but, uh-oh! The U.S. has gone on record now as saying they would never use Cybertronian tech for their own ends. So it has to be a sneaking mission instead! I mean, it's not the worst story ever or anything but it hardly interests me. We've seen this sort of TF story a million times and we all know how it will end already (which is good because this damned thing goes at least three issues!) It reads like someone wanted to write a cartoon script for the old G1 series and got their wish. I don't hate it but I don't like it either. I feel indifferent--and I'm not sure that's a good thing for IDW's profits in the long run. A bored reader will inevitably drop a title they don't care for and I doubt I'm the only one feeling this way. To be blunt, I need this comic to be interesting--just having "Transformers" on the cover is not good enough for me (sadly, it is for some though).

Rating: Neutral.

minor TM site updates...

I updated the Comics section slightly.

- IDW's Wreckers series was incorrectly listed as being four issues (instead of five).

- Added an entry for the Ironhide mini-series.

- Added entries for IDW's two Beast Wars series (which I had somehow overlooked the first time. Maybe because they weren't all the great in the first place and I forgot them? :)

- Added a listing for the Drift mini-series (not sure how long it is. I assume four issues but I'm not certain).


Also, and perhaps most importantly, I decided to try a new website banner out! It's an attempt at adding some more graphic flair to the site (and just doing something new with the banner image). Do you like it? Hate it? Feel indifferent? Let me know!

Thunder

www.transmasters.org

Also, work continues on the next Transmasters issue for August... my comic strip is still behind but several other items are done up already. Contributions are always welcome!

Monday, July 12, 2010

More of My TF Stuff on eBay

I know it's shameless, but I've posted more of my TF stuff, etc on eBay they had a free listing deal this week:

http://shop.ebay.com/transmasterpete/m.html?_nkw&_armrs=1&_from&_ipg=25

Transformers on Flickr

Photos

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Comic Review...

(Starting with this review I am going to attempt to keep from explaining the entire plot of the issue. I will give a short description instead... this is an attempt to keep from spoiling a certain comic if someone reading this should want to track it down later and read it).



Transformers: Ironhide #3 (of 4)
"Chapter Three: Ironing Out the Details"

Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: Casy Coller

(covers by Casey Coller and Marcelo Matere)


Summary: He's been stranded on a deserted Cybertron, but IRONHIDE is about to meet the only two other functioning AUTOBOTS on the planet. One is an old friend in dire need of help, and the other is a legendary character making his IDW debut. Mike Costa and Casey Coller reveal why exactly IRONHIDE-and his death-were so important to the future of Cybertron.


Comments: A pretty good issue overall. The art is excellent and the story is able to move forward (unlike the main title's snail's pace). Sunstreaker returns this issue too--which is odd since I had thought he'd been totally destroyed (I'm going off memory here. Perhaps I'm wrong). I presume Ironhide's mission in this issue is Metroplex's mysterious purpose from his Spotlight? Or perhaps not... I guess time will tell.


Recommended.















(Cover "A" by Marcelo Matere).

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Comic Review...

(Cover "B" by Javier Saltares)


Transformers #8


Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: Javier Saltares

(covers by Don Figueroa and Javier Saltares)

Summary: In the humans Skywatch base Spike works out and thinks about how he hates machines. He recalls his life growing up--his time with his dad and time at school. He fights a fellow soldier in a friendly bout and beats him, thinking how his men are trained to fight dirty and efficiently in hand to hand combat (why they need these skills when they're there to fight Transformers is anybody's guess). Spike has a teleconference with his dad, General Allenby and some other General. We learn Allenby is not on-side with Spike's work-with-the-TFs idea and both Spike and Sparkplug are concerned about whether or not they can keep him in-line. Later that night, Spike has had his people track down Scrapper's location. He goes to the location himself, knowing the Skywatch satellite is out of range at that time and proceeds to engage Scrapper. He throws acid at him to get his attention then drops some steel girders on him to trap him (they're in a construction yard). He explains to the helpless Decepticon that this is personal because Devastator helped destroy Tim Simmons and other humans in New York (Simmons was another soldier and friend of Spike's apparently). He shoots Scrapper in the head, destroying the Decepticon's head completely. He thinks how he's had to become like a machine himself mentally and despises that the most about this job as he walks away.

Comments: This story is well constructed in the technical sense. It teaches us about Spike's personality more and functions well as a spotlight of sorts. My problems with it lie elsewhere. After last issue's jump to focus on Megatron, Starscream and the other Decepticons in hiding, did we really need another side story? I would've preferred moving the main story along and maybe having done a Spike solo story later on. Most annoying about this issue is how Spike can take out a "not very smart" engineer Decepticon with little trouble. First off, engineers are generally regarded as among the smartest people in a society so essentially calling Scrapper stupid makes no sense (of course he'll be stupid if you write him that way). And if Rambo/Spike is so smart and tough that he can take out a full sized Decepticon single-handedly then why does he even need the Autobots help? A better story might've involved him getting into this situation, realizing he was in over his head and being helped out at the last minute by the timely arrival of Optimus or somebody. I also didn't like the art much--Saltares art is decent at best but his one frame of Devastator (in flashback) makes him look terrible (I've never seen him look so bad before). This whole issue made me question whether or not I want to keep buying this comic--in the grand scheme they don't seem to be able to keep one artist on the book (which makes it feel amateurish. I didn't care for Figueroa's new style but at least it was consistent. Now we just seem to be randomly cycling through people). As for the writing, I like Costa's attempts at characterization but this whole issue was a bad mis-step and I am very much tired of long chains of comics where nothing really happens (this problem dates back to the Furman era stuff in IDW too. His stuff had more action generally but it seems the consistent rule of thumb with this company is "drag everything out as much as possible so we can put into a trade paperback and sell it again" as opposed to write entertaining and engrossing tales that accomplish something in the bigger sense. I'm not saying every story has to change our very notion of what Transformers is about but even simpler things--like somebody accomplishing something would be nice. Have Starscream do something! Have the Autobots leave Earth! Something, already!

Verdict: Pass.

***

Transfomers: Ironhide #2 (of 4)
"Iron in the Blood"

Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: Casey Coller
(covers by Marcelo Matere and Casey Coller)

Summary: Ironhide investigates the old racing arena on Cybertron. He remembers when he used to work there millennia ago and how a lone Transformer attempted to assassinate Drag Strip (a champion racer at the time). Ironhide stops and arrests him while the other protests that Drag Strip is in league with Megatron (the assassin looks similar to the Technobot Afterburner but I'm not sure if that who he is or there's just a resemblance). Ironhide goes back to the present and is still astonished by the destruction (it seems he has forgotten the Great War, due to his prior battle damage most likely). He is attacked by the Insecticon Swarm then and fights off a couple. He transforms and races off then, hoping against hope to find something--anything--other then desolation and destruction here. He finds a strange robot after that which beckons for him to follow it. He does so reluctantly then follows it to a large, pristine building complex (which is Metroplex).

Comments: In a sharp contrast with the previous comic, I actually liked this one. The art is pretty good and the story is interesting enough (even with the flashbacks, which seem to mostly be there to fill space under the pretense of characterization). I was worried the Swarm would overwhelm the story and it would turn into a Ironhide struggles to survive story--but then it went in an entirely different direction. Also, that character I thought might be Afterburner in the first flashback looks more like Outback in the final one. Who is he? I don't know. Although the art is fairly nice the details for that particular character could be a little bit more distinctive. I also loved the ending with Metroplex--I have high hopes this will go somewhere good (I was wondering what the point of that Metroplex Spotlight was. Actually, I still do since it doesn't really matter much even now). I do hope we get something interesting for the remainder of this mini-series.

Verdict: Recommended.


(Cover "A" by Marcelo Matere)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Comic Review...

Transformers #7

Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: EJ Su

(covers by Don Figueroa and Andrew Wildman)

Summary: On some world in the cosmos the Decepticons pursue Dreadwind. They finally catch up to him where he begs for their mercy then shoots them and tries to escape. They catch up to him and shoot him dead (he's been stealing Energon rations for some time and now that his brethren have found out they show no mercy). All the while, a voice narrates about the Decepticons... we cut to Shockwave for a panel then Soundwave and then Starscream. He tells Bombshell he wanted an equation for energon processing but Bombshell tells him survival of the fittest will see to who survives. He shows Starscream something else instead--his newest invention--the cerebro shells, which he can use to control anyone. Starscream is ultimately impressed by them. We switch to Earth where Optimus Prime meets Sparkplug for the first time... he's uncertain about Spike's alliance with the Autobots but Spike manages to convince him of their usefulness. Megatron thinks Prime is a fool for placing his faith in the humans... back at the Decepticon base, Megatron's damaged hand clenches and he thinks how he will soon return! (Megatron narrates the entire issue with a reveal at the end. It is obvious who is speaking for most of the story anyway).

Comments: This issue doesn't see any real action but exists to show us what the Decepticons are up to. To be honest, I'm a bit disappointed that Starscream isn't actually doing something. For some reason I just assumed he'd be plotting something instead of just cooling his heels (which is exactly what Megatron did on Earth in AHM and Prime did afterward). Obviously Megatron is still somewhat functional... hopefully he'll be back in the story some time soon (I also hope someone follows up on Galvatron and co. at some point too). Storywise, didn't they already use cerebral shells on Beachcomber in an older spotlight issue? I just double-checked and am right (it happened in Spotlight Blaster). I guess we shouldn't expect IDW's editors to remember this stuff though (I'm a fan and don't get paid to edit the stories but I catch stuff like this constantly). I welcomed EJ Su's return to art duty on this issue (not sure if it's for good or just a one-off but I'll take it). For some reason all his TFs have some kinda weird "camo" thing going on this time around. A decent issue overall.

Recommended.


(cover "B" by Andrew Wildman)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Comic Review...

(cover "B" by Casey Coller)

Transformers: Ironhide #1 (of 4)
"Chapter One: The Iron Age"

Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: Casey Coller

(covers by Casey Coller and Marcelo Matere)

Summary: On Cybertron a panel lights up. Flashback to four million years ago on Cybertron... The Autobots and Decepticons fight a battle on Cybertron. Prime goes to flank the Decepticons and is hit from behind by Soundwave. Soundwave launches his Recordacons and is about to attack when Ironhide shows up and saves the day. Afterward, Prime takes out Ramjet and orders the Decepticon convoy they've been stalking to surrender--or else. Later, the Autobots hold a party and celebrate. Kup tells Prime privately he has to inspire the others not just lead them. Prime says he's doing his best... they all return to the party where Ironhide notices a strange Autobot. He gets suspicious just in time to see the Transformer pull a side arm and attempt to assassinate Optimus. He gets in the way and takes the blast himself. He awakens then on Cybertron in the present and wonders where everyone else is (the place is desolate and deserted).

Comments: The story was pretty straightforward, but insightful and interesting despite that. This seems to be Mike Costa's strength--to find interesting character moments in an action story that others seem to miss. We get a good sense of both Optimus Prime and Ironhide in the flashback. It was also nice to see Axer in a comic for a change (he was the assassin). Not sure what was with the panel in the prologue--perhaps it remotely activated Ironhide for some reason? Also, why would they repair Ironhide's body (when he was already dead) then ship his corpse to Cybertron? (For that matter, if the Autobots are marooned on Earth, how did they do that?) That strikes me as kind of odd... why not just bury/whatever him on Earth instead? Despite that, I enjoyed the comic overall. The writing and art were both good (something I don't often say about IDW). I do wonder what point this story will have overall--will it actually affect the main story in a significant way or will it be another pointless sideline like the Bumblebee story was? I guess we'll find out...

Recommended.

***

Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers #5 (of 5)

Writers: Nick Roche and James Roberts
Artist: Nick Roche
(covers by Nick Roche and Trevor Hutchison)

Summary: Overlord rips Guzzle in half. He uses the pieces to smack Kup in the head while Impactor shoots him in the optic with his spear gun. Overlord is barely phased. Elsewhere, Perceptor, Verity and their team opt not to use the deterrence chips--instead letting Pyro sacrifice himself to the Decepticons while the rest of them run away. As they run, Perceptor explains what really happened in the past with Squadron X--the Wreckers did indeed stop them and arrest them. Prowl ordered them remotely to let the Decepticons go due to a new treaty with that world that made it no longer the Autobots problem. Instead of doing as ordered, Impactor went and executed them all--a thing Springer found horrific. Elsewhere, Springer is bested by Overlord but defiantly tells him that the others will have freed the Autobot prisoners by now. Overlord informs him he had his men execute all the prisoners when he learned they'd arrived so no help is coming. Then, Perceptor, Ironfist and Verity show up and attack. Ironfist strafes him with some kind of cannon. Overlord rips Springer's face off. He moves to take out Ironfist but the other has tricked him--having shot him full of deterrence chips. He activates them (thanks to having downloaded Aequitas into his mind) and blows Overlord to bits. Overlord is still slightly functional but Impactor paralyzes what's left so he can be heroic and not a murderer (which is stupid after all Overlord's done) and Overlord can stand trial for his crimes (again, who will do the judging? No one's left!) We learn all are dead--except Springer (he's comatose), Fort Max (same thing). Impactor and Guzzle take off for parts unknown (why?), Ironfist copies Aequitas' logs for Prowl then dies of a "mechanical aneurysm". On Earth, Verity has been narrating the story and types into her laptop how the moral of this story was: life persists.

Comments: Wow! And so the five-part Wreckers comic concludes. Any potential this story had to impress was lost after about the second issue or so... It ended up being a long gore-fest with very little point to it. The writers seemed to want to do a major death story but forgot to make us care about the characters leading up to the finale. All we got for Autobot characterization was Springer and Impactor--the one being an immoral Autobot while the other had worshiped him as a hero until his unforgivable act of murdering a bunch of immoral murderers rather then setting them all free. And then we had Ironfist who didn't feel like he fit in with this elite group of bad-asses. But he ends up being really smart then dying ultimately from a "mechanical aneurysm". I guess that's just as bad as a cyber-stroke or a robo-heart attack... good lord! They're robots! They can't get aneurysms! Do we really have to humanize them this much? What's next? An Autobot peeing on someone--oops! I guess that already happened in the live action movie, didn't it. On the Decepticon side, we had characterization in the form of Overlord, which amounted to "he's an indestructible bad-ass". Okay, thanks. It's immoral to use the deterrence chips to kill all the Decepticon prisoners because it might also kill Impactor--but it's fine to let them gang up on Pyro and tear him apart instead? These Autobots must be really stupid... And in the end, when Impactor should kill Overlord for all the pain and suffering he does, he grows a set of morals and let's him live instead? WTF?! This story also seemed to lack a cohesive theme or point--and "life persists" is not it. A better writer could've turned this into a morality play. In the hands of Furman or Costa this might've been a masterpiece. As it was, it just seemed lazy and ill-conceived with too much emphasis on action and death and not enough on plot and theme. If, for example, Springer had manned up and stood tall on his Autobot morals to the end while Impactor and Overlord insisted on their "death first" approach, we could've had a much better story. If it had become a good versus evil philosophy story I would've loved it, but alas we ended up with this mess instead. I think this is part of the problem of fans pushing their stories into official tales when their stories are not quite up to par with good pro writers like Costa or Furman. IDW apparently doesn't seem to care about the brand beyond whatever they can push out fast enough to make a quick buck on. Otherwise they'd consider stories like this more carefully and actually do some editing to them instead of letting them pass through as-is.

This issue: Pass.
The series as a whole: Pass.


(cover "B" by Casey Coller)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010

An update to my update...

Regarding the PDF of the TM Magazine... I was looking it over and realized the Vegatron comic was goofed up somehow (the second panel repeated as the fourth). I tried editing the file with a program but it made the graphics worse so I went and re-did the PDF file instead (I hope Johan doesn't mind. It was nothing against his work or anything, I was just trying to fix that mistake and ended up going to more lengths then originally intended).

The link in the post below is still the correct one (the new file is the same name as the one I put on the website originally).

Thunder

Sunday, May 09, 2010

TM Magazine update...

Thanks to Johan Piest, we have a pdf version of the Spring 2010 issue of Transmasters Magazine (if that's more convenient for some). View/download it here:

http://transmasters.angelfire.com/tm_mag_spring2010.pdf



- Thunder

Thursday, May 06, 2010

TM Magazine, Spring 2010 Issue!

The Spring 2010 issue of the Transmasters Magazine is now available! To see it, click the link:

http://transmasters.angelfire.com/tmmag/issue6/index.html



I had initially intended to have a TF comic story in there too however it ended up being delayed (I'm having a few plot issues I haven't resolved yet) so I decided to hold on to it for next issue instead.
Please let me know if any links don't work for some reason. Also, general feedback is also welcome (my email is tkphoton AT hotmail.com).

- Thunder

Friday, April 30, 2010

Comic Review...

Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers #4 (of 5)

Writer: Nick Roche and James Roberts
Artist: Nick Roche and Guido Guidi

(covers by Nick Roche and Trevor Hutchison)

Summary: On Garras-9, Kup and Guzzle take on several Decepticon guards near a cell, only to find the cell empty. It had been Grimlock's cell but he's gone now, his fate unclear. Elsewhere, we find out Aequitas is a giant super computer designed to calculate guilt. Perceptor says they must have its hard drive... the only way to turn the computer on without Garras-9's command crew is through Spark Donation--that is, someone has to sacrifice themself to activate it. Top Spin volunteers since Twin Twist is being tortured elsewhere and they have a joint-spark. Both die. Elsewhere, we learn Impactor's crime was to settle a score with their Decepticon rivals--Squadron X--by killing everyone in it. Stalker goes to torture them some more but is killed by Springer when Kup, Guzzle and Snare show up (Snare also dies at Stalker's hand). Overlord shows up then, asks, "ready?" and Springer replies, "ready." Elsewhere, Perceptor downloads Aequitas' information into Guzzle's brain and then finds they can detonate all the ex-prisoners Deterrence chips (which includes Impactor). He votes for it, Pyro against it and then Guzzle votes in favor--saying he knows everything now and everything they've been taught is a lie!

Comments: One question dawned on me as I wrote this review--is Garras-9 literally the only Autobot prison around? If so, that would explain why Grimlock was put there. Otherwise, I can't see his supposed crimes really being all that bad that he should've been sent there (all he really did was disobey orders to settle a score--which is bad, I agree, but not worth locking him up here for). His fate is also glossed over--they obviously didn't want him in this story but failed to really say where he is (he certainly isn't dead!) The revelation about Aequitas was a major letdown, frankly. Why risk their lives for something seemingly so trivial? And Spark Donation? Really? Who comes up with such a stupid way to turn the system on? No one would design something like that! More deaths this issue--Top Spin and Twin Twist, Stalker and Snare. Snare is the only one I don't really care about... at least Stalker died doing something suitably evil. The Jumpstarters died for plot convenience to support something that was a stupid idea in the first place. Finally, I think Impactor's "crime" was overblown too. Yes, he executed a squadron of Decepticons--but they deserved it, were in a potential hostage position and he also had fellow Wreckers assisting him (who apparently didn't share his fate--possibly since he was in-charge, he took all the blame). He made a logical military decision and no one in any army would realistically imprison him for that. I mean, if he'd killed a bus load of kittens or something indisputably evil then fine. But his crime is questionable at best. One more issue of this drivel...

Mildly recommended.


(Cover "B" by Trevor Hutchison)

***

Transformers Spotlight: Prowl

Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: EJ Su

(covers by EJ Su and Nick Roche)

Summary: Two years ago, in the wake of the devastation of AHM, Optimus Prime sends Prowl out in disguise to monitor the humans and try to help out where he can. Prowl does this and at one point saves a little girl from certain death. His cop partner tells him to go--but he'll give him enough time to escape (before he calls Skywatch). Further on, he thinks how Spike neutralized him (in TF #1) and how things have changed recently. During the story, it is implied that Prowl has learned that actively protecting the innocent (instead of just watching while they're abused) is the right thing to do.

Comments: A straight forward one-off story that does what spotlights do best. It's not revolutionary by any means but it is effective for what is. EJ Su's first TF comic in some time and I have to say I welcomed back his artwork. He has a bit of a blend of old school Senior and Roche that I can appreciate. Prowl is a fun character and it's about time he got a good story to shine in.

Recommended.

(Cover "B" by EJ Su)

***
Transformers #6

Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: Don Figueroa

(covers by Don Figueroa)

Summary: Spike's been rescued from last time (when he jumped into a lake to avoid the Stunticons). From the chopper he and his team observe the battle of Menasor vs. the Autobots. He quickly decides they need to go retrieve Optimus Prime and get his help. Elsewhere, Menasor grabs Ultra Magnus to destroy him but his component parts can't decide quite how to do that (Swindle brags how he figured the combiner technology out--but obviously his implementation is less then perfect). Then Optimus falls on him from out of the sky and transforms, engaging Menasor. Long Haul grabs Bumblebee but before he can finish him off, Thundercracker appears and shoots him. Thundercracker tells them he really has gone neutral and then goes off to help Rodimus... Menasor damages/destroys the spacecraft they were building meanwhile (accidentally). Optimus and the others take out Menasor and he falls, leaving Skywatch to come in and mop up the rest. Optimus refuses to re-assert command and defers to Bumblebee. Bumblebee tells them all to stand their ground--he wants to work this out with the humans once and for all. Spike offers Bumblebee safe haven and an alliance so they can all work together to protect Earth from real threats (i.e the Decepticons). Slightly later, Ultra Magnus wants to arrest Rodimus but Bumblebee interjects--he tells Magnus to cool it. He's the leader on Earth now and he won't tolerate this any longer. While they're distracted, Rodimus steals Magnus' ship and flees Earth to everyone's surprise.

Comments: At long last, some real action in this series! Of course, this was probably the end of what will be the TPB so they needed something for the climax, I guess. I hope we don't have to wait five more issues for more to happen while they fill out space. It seems like next issue they'll change things up (Megatron returns? Or at the very least, a turn to what Starscream and company are up to). I noticed how this issue references the Bumblebee mini-series in passing... but if it were excised from the story would that really have made any difference to the main story? It could just as easily have not happened at all and we wouldn't have been any worse off (which further reinforces my feeling that the BB mini was a total waste of time). On a side note, this issue was promised to have a cool "wraparound" cover last issue. So what do we get? A cover split in half between cover "A" and cover "B". If you buy both, you get the whole image... I think they originally intended it to be one cover but decided to do this instead so they could make more money--and I think that's a crappy thing to do, frankly (which is why I only bought the one).

Recommended.

(cover "B" by Don Figueroa)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Quickie review...





I got the Protectrobots KO set last week and thought I'd share some quick thoughts about it...

- The box is a spot-on replica of the original.

- The toys have no rub signs on them--but they are included as optional stickers. Furthermore, they do work! (Unlike with my KO Shockwave).

- Some of the toys weren't finished/filed down properly and had little bits of plastic on them where there should've been none (extra little gob of plastic on First Aid's leg which I removed. Others had this sort of thing too).


- Blades plastic feels a bit thinner then my original toy does. He's not brittle or anything--but he does feel a little bit thinner to the touch.

- All the toys have metal parts on them (my three originals were all plastic).

- Some of the paint could be better. Hot Spot's eye has a black streak on it because the paint was done cheaply. (It's hard to see but it's there).

A decent effort, all in all. I've seen better and also far worse. As a substitute for the real thing, this is okay (I would still prefer an official reissue though).




Friday, April 09, 2010

Comic Review...

Transformers #5

Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: Don Figueroa

(covers by Don Figueroa and Andrew Wildman)

Summary: Spike and Optimus Prime talk in Prime's prison. Prime tells him how he is lost and how humanity is so much stronger and smarter then his own kind. How he has learned from humanity's adaptability so much more then humanity has learned from his own kind... Spike seems startled by this revelation. Elsewhere, Bumblebee's Autobots are approached by Ultra Magnus who tells them he needs their help to capture Hot Rod's rogues and their Decepticon allies. Spike drives Breakdown and wonders about Prime's words... suddenly he is attacked by Drag Strip and Dead End. He fends them off long enough to escape Breakdown and hide. He watches as Motomaster retrieves their comrade and the Stunticons leave. Later, Hot Rod and his rogues watch as the other Stunticons repair Dead End. Just then, Ultra Magnus and company arrive and attempt to arrest them all (again). Hot Rod tells him to give them a break... Swindle comes up then and tells them the truce is over! The Stunticons combine into Menasor and begin to attack!

Comments: First off, let me say I was shocked upon my first reading of this comic--something actually happens in it! Shocking! At long last, the Decepticons reveal they're up to no good. It's kind of a mixed blessing though. We all knew they'd do this sooner or later--why couldn't they have been honestly pursuing peace for once? This just demonstrates that the Transformers (and the Decepticons in particular) are total imbeciles with an inability to think beyond "destroy and conquer". Interestingly, even Costa is addressing this in the story with Thundercracker last issue and Prime this one. That after millenia of war neither side is capable of stopping it for good and living amicably. It will be interesting to see where he goes with this (if anywhere). As for the action quotient, I'm glad something has finally happened. I hope we get a lot more action ASAP and don't have to wait another five issues for the story to move along. I hope everyone leaves Earth soon frankly... All in all, a good issue.

Recommended.



(cover "B" by Andrew Wildman).

quick site update...

Just to let everyone know, the TM website now has almost all of the Transmasters Magazine and Transmasters Comics from a couple of years ago (many thanks to Peter Phelps for his help on this). We now have issues 1, 3-5 of the magazine and issues 0, 1, 3-5, Xmas 97 for the comic. Issue 2 (of both series) is the only thing we don't have--Peter sent me some files for those too but some graphic files are missing from the comic issue and the magazine is missing many html files unfortunately (so I opted to leave them both off until/unless we can get them set-up right). Currently, they're all on the Magazine section of the site:

www.transmasters.org/magazine.html


Also, the forthcoming issue #6 should be out in May on schedule (still working on the comic strip but everything else is ready).

Thunder

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Comic Review...

Cover "A" by Nick Roche



Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers #3
(of 5)

Writers: Nick Roche and James Roberts
Artists: Nick Roche and Guido Guidi

(covers by Nick Roche and Trevor Hutchison)


Summary: Two years ago, Shockwave is repaired on Garrus-9. Overlord allows him to leave if he will give him access to the anti-virus for the Achilles virus Megatron had him implant (whatever that is and was meant to do). In the present, the Wreckers fight for their lives against a legion of Decepticons. Nearby, in the Pit, Overlord confronts the other team of Wreckers... Rotorstorm makes a joke and is promptly shot in the head by Overlord. They attack Overlord but it is futile because he's so bad-ass and invincible. Elsewhere, Springer's team kill Treadshot and escape their pursuers for the moment. They also find Kick Off's body there...as they discuss it, they're trapped and stunned unconscious. Guzzle, Pyro and others head through the prison and eventually locate Aequitas. On the way there, Ironfist freaks out, man--he didn't sign on for this! He wanted adventures and fun--not life and death! Not horrific death like Rotorstorm's--Top Spin tells him to buck up, man! People die stupid deaths all the time! They open Aequitas' prison and enter it's cell--we are not privy to what they see however. Elsewhere, Twin Twist is tortured by Stalker, while his team lay deactivated all around him in the Spark Extraction Chamber...

Comments: Some fans seem to love this series (for some reason). For me, it's a mixed bag. The pacing isn't bad--things are actually happening, which is more then I can say for many of IDW's previous efforts. The artwork is reasonably good--but I wish Nick could draw all of it. I like his art style but when it gets mixed in with Guidi or somebody else's it ends up not being it's best. Another thing that is really getting on my nerves is the killing of characters I like... I think I know how they arrived at this. They figured they could take European exclusive characters that Americans have never seen--thus giving them a spotlight of sorts--and make them expendable too (since we don't know about nor care about them anyway). But they're not really European exclusive--they came out in Japan first and also came out in Canada. I do know these characters and do like at least some of them. So far the writers have killed off Skyquake (anyone who's read BOP knows he got put in the stories on the Decepticon ship as much as possible), Rotorstorm and also Treadshot (I'm kind of indifferent about Kick Off). I also realize they can't please everyone all the time but they (IDW) have managed to kill (then unkill) Sunstreaker, Ironhide and Thundercracker thus far. If people can play favorites with them then why not with these guys too? I also think the way Rotorstorm was dispensed with was stupid...at least give him a decent death. Why not have killed Guzzle off--he sucks anyway! :) I knew the whole Ironfist thing was coming--the whole "I can't deal with this!" and someone snapping back about life and death and how serious things are in a war (as if Ironfist wouldn't already know that! They've been at war for millennia for goodness sake!) Just who or what is "Aequitas"--and why should we care? I think a better ending would've been a full page reveal of Aequitas then get to the torture stuff next issue (it's a more dynamic ending, imo. Unless, of course, there's nothing exciting about this character--in which case they couldn't do that). I also like that Shockwave is apparently free to cause havoc once more (what was the point of the virus thing? Just an excuse to get him in the story?) A mixed bag...

Mildly recommended.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Transformers on YouTube











More videos of Transformers on YouTube. Embedded at 400 X 200 px.

Back and ready for action!

Just a bit of an update...

I've done some more work on the Transmasters website and we now have several more things up:

- The "Archives" section has several pics of old fanzines up now, including TransAction, Auto-Update, BOP, Conquest, Teletran, etc. and a small blurb about the various publications. I might add more with time but this is at least a start. I also did a little blurb about Peter's TM CD, which is a very useful resource (it helped me get pics of TransAction and some stuff I don't have).

- The "Comics" section has pics added to it now from every company (not of every comic--that would be a lot of work!) I have a few sample covers from Marvel, Marvel UK, DW, IDW and some BotCon comic covers too. The idea being to introduce newcomers/be a quick reference guide for a fan.

- There is now a "News" section with the RSS feed from Tformers.com (like Peter used to have on his old site). While I would love to have the resources to do my own news it just isn't feasible at this time so this will have to do for now.

- The "Magazine" section now has links to some previous issues. I have TM Comic #0, #1 (on the actual site) as well as links to issues #4 and #5 (external site). I also have TM Mag #1 (on site) and #4 and #5 (external site).

www.transmasters.org


That's all for now. Til all are one!

Thunder

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Comic Review...

Transformers: Bumblebee #4

Writer: Xander Cannon
Artist: Chee

(covers by Chee and Guido Guidi)


Summary:
As Bumblebee races down the highway we learn his mission last issue was, in fact, a success (which is good, since the last issue didn't make that clear one way or the other). BB detects another Cybertronian lifesign and the Autobots (who are texting with him/monitoring remotely) determine it's Skywarp! BB turns around and races back there to try and save the Serena (little girl) and Sanjay (father). Elsewhere, Skywatch discovers that the Autobots have scammed them (due to Cliffjumper and the others yelling at Bumblebee verbally instead of texting to him). They also realize Klonowski has gone somewhere armed... Back at the house, Sanjay and his daughter leave with Bumblebee...Sanjay quickly goes on about how evil Bumblebee is--he's just like all the others to which the daughter contests that he's a good robot. Skywarp corners BB and he is forced to transform and flee Skywarp. Skywarp gives chase, telling him how that board could be the greatest weapon against the Autobots yet--the Decepticons can use them as pets when they eventually return and they'll have Skywarp to thank for it all! Sanjay overhears it all and considers using the board to short Skywarp and BB out right then and there--but Serena gets all teary-eyed and convinces him not to. The Autobots text BB that they're on their way, ETA ten minutes. Just then, Klonowski shows up with a bazooka type weapon and BB thinks he's about to get it--but instead Skywarp gets shot. Skywarp corners BB again and BB decides to use the board to short them both out, knowing the other Autobots will reactivate him later. Later on, Ratchet and Klonowski talk about Bumblebee. He's being upgraded and Klonowski tells them basically, all's well and end's well (he took the heat off Colonel Horiochi and got severance money deposited into his account--but Skywatch considers him a traitor now). He leaves and Bumblebee emerges in his new upgraded car form (which seems to suggest he's a camaro now).

Comments: An okay ending for the story. The Skywarp thing almost felt contrived though--yes, he was in the rest of the story but the whole sudden "I know about the control board" thing was abrupt and not foreshadowed really (or not well, anyway). I also would've liked to have known why Skywarp was even still on Earth--AHM made it seem like he'd gone off into space with the rest of the Decepticons (and more and more it seems like just about every Decepticon got left behind on Earth). I also would've liked Klonowski to at least explain why he did what he did--even a simple "it just felt like the right thing to do" would've sufficed. Instead we get nothing. BB's new form--it's okay for the most part but I hate those feet! They look like boxes on his feet (what ever were they thinking with that?) Sanjay and Serena don't look east Indian as their names suggest, they look white (I know it's hard to get coloring in comics right but no one even tried here). The same goes for Colonel Horiochi, who's last name implies he was of Japanese descent (minor nitpicking here, I admit, but still!) Also, the overall story failed to really resolve the whole stranded-on-Earth thing instead settling for a pointless side-story. So, with the exception of BB's new form nothing really got done--we're just back to square one after all is said and done (kinda like watching an episode of Star Trek).

This issue: Recommended.
The entire mini-series:
Pass. Nothing more then a side tale that wastes four issues to ultimately do nothing to move the overall story along.



(cover "B" by Chee)

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The State of Things...

As you may know, the Transmasters website used to be on Geocities.com. In the fall, Yahoo! decided to shut it all down (I guess hosting sites for free wasn't making them money). Anyway, I (Thunder) moved the website and most of its files over to Angelfire.com instead. It sat there for a few months, pretty similar to the previous incarnation that Peter Phelps set up.
Recently, I had the idea to try and jazz it up a bit--to make it more informative, adding information to act as a "Transformers 101" for the newcomer to the concept/quick reference for people who don't want to wade through pages and pages of Wiki (not that there's anything wrong with the Wiki--but let's be honest, it is very extensive and that can be intimidating to some). The site as it exists now is still bit rough around the edges (I intend to add more pictures to some of it for one thing).

www.transmasters.org

You will also notice the lack of those annoying banner ads on the website--I chose to go pay and get rid of them (at least for the immediate future anyway). I also figure we deserve a nice website and seven hundred ads clogging it up don't really help that cause.

I also plan to do a new issue of the Transmasters Magazine in May. Unfortunately, we lost some of the previous issues Peter did (#1 to #3) and only #4 and #5 exist anymore. I do have a fair amount of content done up for this new issue already but new stuff is welcome (even if it doesn't make the spring issue we'll still need stuff for the following issues).

There's never been a better time to throw in with the club and make your voice heard! We're not the Official TF club, but that's good in many respects. It gives us the chance to go further and fly higher, unencumbered by red tape. Let's make Transmasters the best damn TF site on the web!

Comic Review...

(Note: This issue was short-shipped to my city and I got it a week late finally, hence the delay in the review).



Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers #2


Writers: Nick Roche and James Roberts
Artist: Nick Roche (pencils), John Wycough (inks)

(covers by Nick Roche and Trevor Hutchison)


Summary: We open with a prologue set in the past where Overlord fights Autobots on the battlefield. He transforms and leaves to attend a battlefield meeting with Megatron and two others via holo. Megatron explains his new six phase strategy... Overlord dislikes it and Megatron tells him he can either fall in-line or be dismembered--the choice is his. Now: the Wreckers continue onward to Garras-9. The new recruits discuss Impactor and wonder what the real story is behind him ending up on the prison world is. Nearby, Perceptor inspects Impactor while Springer and Impactor speak. Springer asks him how he escaped and we're treated to a flashback where Snare springs Impactor to go for help. In the present, Impactor and Springer have words about whatever it was he did and Impactor storms off (while Verity overhears the exchange). Ultra Magnus says he and Verity will be returning to Earth while the Wreckers continue to the prison world--to which Verity whispers that she "doesn't think so". The Wreckers gather later and discuss the fact Overlord is on G-9 now. Kup explains to Verity who Overlord is (since she asks). Kup says Overlord had them dead to rights on that planet (from the prologue) before he turned and skipped out on the war, deciding on "option two" instead (i.e. he doesn't do as Megatron says and waits for him to come find him). Apparently Kup's retelling is horrific since Verity looks utterly stunned (or maybe the art just went really wrong in that panel?) The Wreckers instigate their plan and Ultra Magnus leaves (apparently he's too dim to see if Verity is actually with him or not). Verity stows away with the Wreckers in body armor reminiscent of Arcee's design. The Wreckers crash land in two drop pods where the Decepticons are waiting for them and Overlord looms large over them (ooh! Scary!)

Comments: Well, this issue had better pacing for a certainty. Additionally, the story is moving reasonably quick--which is not like most of IDW's output thus far. The art is decent to good (although Roche can't seem to get Verity quite right. Thus far, only EJ Su has managed to successfully make her look right. Roche keeps making her too kiddie-cute for my tastes). I'm surprised Verity has survived five years (in real time) and we still don't know anything at all about her (this isn't Roche's fault, though. I blame the previous writers for never getting around to exploring her past). I also enjoyed Megatron threatening Overlord in the flashback--although I am getting sick of everyone freaking out when they hear Overlord's name. All right, he's a bad-ass. We get it. Yeesh! I did find the reference to Operation: Volcano a bit fan-wanky too... All in all, a decent issue.

Recommended.



(Cover "B" by Trevor Hutchison is displayed with this review).

Monday, March 08, 2010

CNBC Highlights of Toy Fair 2010



Bumble Ape! No, this is actually called, Prime-8 from Bossa Nova. This link leads you to CNBC highlights of Toy Fair 2010. Source: http://www.cnbc.com/id/35441788?slide=19

Friday, March 05, 2010

Firefox 3.6 + Transformers



The new Mozilla Firefox 3.6 has adapted themes to dress up your web browsers, which includes a number of TRANSFORMERS themes. So far, not perfect. Well, I can't be too picky, I got a TRANSFORMERS blanket!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Comic Review...

Transformers: Bumblebee #3

Writer: Xander Cannon
Artist: Chee

(covers by Guido Guidi and Chee)


Summary: The Colonel and his cronies come to the Autobots hide-out and attempt to fix Bumblebee by giving him a new badge device, however this does not work (since it's not really Bumblebee but an inanimate car). Ratchet is given command for the time being and the humans return to their base to see what they can do. During the repair effort, the humans mention "Sanjay" and the Autobots quickly relay the information to the real Bumblebee, who tracks the scientist down and covertly befriends his little daughter at their house. Meanwhile, Ratchet vocally answers a question Cliffjumper texted so the humans couldn't overhear it... a human, Klonowski, hears that on the recordings and gets suspicious. Very quickly and easily, he decodes their texting system and finds out they're communicating covertly with Bumblebee. Bumblebee meanwhile scans a circuit board for the operation of the badges and relays the information to Ratchet and Wheeljack. Meanwhile, Skywarp continues his mad plan (whatever it is, exactly) and blows up a human laboratory. Bumblebee decides their only recourse is to hack the circuit board he has in his possession. He apparently succeeds--although the story does not clearly convey exactly what he has done. Bumblebee gives the board back to the little girl, transforms and leaves when she is gone. Unbeknownst to him, Skywarp appears in the sky above, tracking the board's signal...

Comments: I'm not clear what happens at the end there. Does Bumblebee succeed or not? The script is not clear on that point. If he didn't then why did he bother? If he did, then shouldn't the Autobots now be free? I also take issue with the human tech guy figuring out their covert text system in about five minutes. I know the humans are capable and smart but this is ridiculous! The Transformers are supposed to be high-tech alien machines! Even if they understand some of the technology now it still pushes it for them to be virtual experts on it so soon (if ever). Why not just devise a method to shut all the TFs worldwide down at once then? Yeesh! All of this story still reeks of an excuse to stretch out the story to sell more comics... oh well. It seems to be working--suckers like me are still buying it, aren't we?

Mildly Recommended.

(cover "B" by Chee)

*******
Transformers #4

Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: Don Figueroa

(covers by Don Figueroa and Andrew Wildman)

Summary: Thundercracker flies along, remembering the recent past. He survived the attack by Skywarp at the end of AHM and how he lived in the debris of New York for some time until his fellow Decepticons found him and repaired him. He is now allied with Hot Rod and the others. Swindle talks to Hot Rod and butters him up (swindling him? Heh, heh) and convinces him to let the Decepticons go get another Stunticon to help out their efforts in constructing a space craft to get off-world. During the discussion we learn the Transformers under Hot Rod are starting to call him "Rodimus Prime" and Hot Rod decides he likes the name (what is with IDW and needing to make all the characters' names conform to the toys?) Spike talks to his subordinate and worries about what he's going to tell his father--he's tried futilely to pump Optimus Prime for information and failed miserably. Back at the ship site, Ultra Magnus shows up and demands to know what's going on. He accuses the group of collusion with Decepticons and building an unauthorized ship to which Rodimus asks him who Magnus even reports to anymore. He tells Magnus to go home. Magnus capitulates for the moment but says "this is not over" and he'll be back. Swindle is impressed Rodimus stood up for him (Magnus planned to capture him). Nearby, Thundercracker watches and thinks Swindle is up to something and that the Autobots are blind for not seeing it. He thinks how the TFs are creatures of habit and will never truly change--not like the Humans. He sees how resilient Humanity is and how they weather adversity and learn, rebuilding and growing better in the process. When was the last time the TFs truly built anything? He goes into orbit and observes the planet then transforms and jets back down. He thinks how they have so much to learn from Earth--and yet all they want to do is fly away.

Comments:
Are the Decepticons really up to something? Probably. It would be nice for a change if they were being honest though and just wanted to get the hell off of Earth. Either way, I suspect the ship will either get destroyed or the Decepticons might use it and abandon the Autobots there (it'd be cool if I'm wrong though). I wonder if Thundercracker will destroy the ship or, worse, lead the humans there under the belief that he's doing the right thing. Of course he's not entirely wrong but the road to hell is paved with good intentions, as they say. Of the three current books I think I am enjoying this series the most. Costa is managing to make it interesting without writing plots that insult the reader's intelligence. I do wish they would get on with it though. Even in this series it seems like we're taking forever to get to the point. Build-up is good--to a point. But eventually you have to execute on it or it's just a waste of time. I also noticed that Thundercracker is suddenly an F-22 again (like he was at the start of IDW). At least this time his repairs explain why he might have a new form, instead of it just happening out of the blue. Hoping the next issue has something substantial happen...

Recommended.



(cover "A" by Don Figueroa)