Sunday, 30 August 2009

Title tryout - G.I Joe #4 review

Creative team:
STORY Chuck Dixon
ART Robert Atkins
COLORS Andrew Crossley

Having seen the GI Joe movie a couple weeks ago, I thought I'd try out the comics to see if it was  a franchise worth getting into. But my tardiness of coming in came at a price of being presently unable to acquire the first three issues of GI Joe. So for the time being, I'll have to make do with issue 4. Here's what IDW says about events prior to this one; "The Pit [GI Joe HQ] is under attack! An unknown enemy has infiltrated the super secret facility with half a dozen killer machines and an epic battle erupts. Command and Control are down and the Joes are hurting. Though Duke and the rest have gained the upper hand, one of the machines is trying to reach the surface, to transmit the Pit's location to Destro!" But anyway, onto the review ...

The Good: Firstly, the art for this issue is absolutely stunning. Robert Atkins, you rock. Clean, realistic lines with very adequate colors from Andrew Crossley combine into a smooth, controled (this is a good thing) look to the artwork. Awesome. And Dave Johnson's cover (pictured) is very cool. Love the symbolism, love it all. The story is simple yet quite satisfying, with good pace and a killer cliffhanger at the end with Duke and co. driving through their own minefield. Scarlett looks great (I'm single, what're you gonna do) and everything seems in order. All in all a well-done issue. Good job.

The Bad: OK, so it's only the fourth issue, so I ain't seen enough to discern what the quality of this stuff is. But there doesn't seem to be much to the plot. Very simple as I said in the previous section ... maybe a bit too simple. But I only got this one so I can't talk about it until I read everything else. Also, Scarlett looks a bit weird in glasses. She shouldn't be wearing glasses, makes her look like a total nerd! That is all.

The Ugly: N/A.

Verdict: Cool comic! Definitely investing in this series. Atkins' great artwork is the highlight of the issue. Rated 8 out of 10.

Posted by Fanbot at 12:43 pm, SUNDAY 30 August

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Going Backwards - Transformers: Maximum Dinobots #3 review

Welcome back to Going Backwards - your one stop review shop for all things that have been and gone. This week, Fanbot presents to you webreaders out there his views on Transformers: Maximum Dinobots #3! Loved this issue to bits when I originally purchased it - slept with it by my pillow that night (dodgy much?). This issue, things heat up for all involved in this story; Grimlock's deceit divides the Dinobots, Hot Rod threatens to be terminated, and Scorponok looks to be top bot in the whole fiasco. Once again, Simon Furman and Nick Roche deliver on quality - good quality that is. But anyway ... let's dive right into this comic, and see what lies beneath ...

Synopsis: Agent Red has overseen the reactivation and rearming of Shockwave, including planting a bomb with a 24 hour timer within him. Shockwave agrees to hunt down and deal with the various escaped Transformers, but Red is left with the uneasy feeling they might come to regret this.
In the wreckage of Fallon the Dynobots are still upset with Grimlock and though they won’t fight him any more they are disinclined to help him, Swoop is even so disgusted he flies off. Though as the Headmasters arrive and start attacking Grimlock they soon decide that it’s better to die as a team than alone, with even Swoop returning. Surrounded and out-gunned it seems that this is indeed the end…
Outside Machination Headquarters in Dallas, Sunstreaker has arrived. Though Sunstreaker wants to go in, guns blazing, Hunter remembers how narrow their escape from Scorponok was last time and decides it's better to wait and watch for the right time to act. He takes control of Sunstreaker and removes himself (Sunstreaker's head) from Sunstreaker.
As the Headmasters prepare to deliver the killing blow to the Dynobots they are suddenly attacked from behind by an Autobot shuttle, from which the Monsterbots disembark to join in the fight.
On the monitors in Dallas, Hot Rod watches this with much hilarity, annoying Scorponok to the point he orders a couple of Headmasters to take him outside and shoot him. They don’t take him very far, though, before Hot Rod channels all his energy into his exterior and fries them. Damaged and low on power he struggles to the exit as Hunter watches from outside.
Meanwhile, Shockwave has ignored his orders to deal with the active Transformers and has instead tracked down Soundwave in Portland…

The Good: Things start to kick up a notch in this issue - though I said that about the last one as well. Furman always has some great simple ideas for all us TF fans to read (even if he is a little repetitive/ predictable), and he pretty much always delivers he plot well. Nick Roche's art is great to look at as well - always had a soft spot for the Irishman's line style. The sequence where Hot Rod uses "Flame Out" to frag the Sunstreaker clones is wicked. Totally awesome. So overall the comic is well-set out, the plot believable enough.

The Bad: This issue delivers amazing quality in all quadrants as usual for the series, but it is in this one that the creative team starts to go downhill. First, Josh Burcham's awesome colors go out the window, to be replaced by a poor imitation courtesy of Joana Lafuente. Nothing against her personally, just that she fails majorly at copying Burcham. Next up, Robbie Robbins takes over as letterer; this guy's tails are fat and look amateurish - I could do better tails myself in the sub-par program Comic Life!

The Ugly: Only one conitinuity error. Monsterbot Repugnus is alive and well, yet the last (and first, in the IDWverse) time we saw him his spark was imprisoned in the spark containment facility on Garrus-9. This is very far way. WTF is going on IDW? Must you make so many continuity errors that you enter the same category of continuity-screwing publishers as DC? Please, stop it now before it is too late.

Verdict: Satisfying. Love the issue as always. The break up of the creative team mars the experience though. Rated 8.5 out of 10.

Posted by Fanbot at 11: 27 am, SATURDAY 29 August

Monday, 24 August 2009

Going Backwards - Transformers: Maximum Dinobots #2 review

Wow, I'm really eating my words now. Turns out IDW's got a motherload of TF comics heading our way (see previous post). But anyway, onto ancient history - Fanbot Productions proudly present Going Backwards review #2 (the sequel!): Transformers: Maximum Dinobots #2. By the way, Nick Roche's cover for this issue (shown left) is awesome. Great composition and the slogan at the bottom reminds us of those old Marvel issues with their slogans slapped on the cover (exclamation marks omnipresent). But on to the review (+ synopsis)...

Synopsis: A badly battered Hot Rod is hurled against a wall by Scorponok, who gloats that he is merely playing with the young warrior as he wants him alive to witness his plan unfold. After crippling Hot Rod, Scorponok has his clones take him to an observation room showing him the situation in Fallon. The police have opened fire on Grimlock but all they've done is enrage him. After demolishing the immediate area, Grimlock calls out to Scorponok, letting him know he's fully aware of exactly what's going on. Transforming he tells Scorponok to bring it! Scorponok muses, reminding himself of the mind lurking beneath Grimlock's bestial nature. After a brief bit of explanation to Hot Rod, Scorponok sits back to enjoy the show as the Dynobots are released onto the field.
Near Nashville, Sunstreaker is flooring it, heading for Dallas. Hunter thinks they should head for Fallon instead, but Sunstreaker points out that by retrieving his head, they disable the Headmasters, which makes everything else just collateral damage.
Grimlock is ready for a fight. What he isn't ready for is the Dynobots bursting through some nearby buildings. Scorponok loosens his hold on them slightly to let a bit of their savage nature shine through, as Grimlock realizes they are no longer in control of their own actions. Meanwhile, police are prevented from calling in help thanks to Skywatch's blockade. Agent Red is updated on the fight, including the drop in the efficiency of the neural net. Understanding that something more is going on, he boards a chopper, ready to do something he should have done the moment they lost Grimlock.
Back in Fallon, Grimlock is trying to get through to his team as they slam him into a nearby building. Breaking free, he quickly takes out Snarl, Sludge and Swoop, but when he tries to get to Slag, he is blasted straight into a petrol station, which promptly explodes, knocking all five Dynobots flying. As the police check to make sure everyone is evacuated, Scorponok revels in the destruction, to Hot Rod's disappointment. Scorponok however, thinks it is a ploy to get him to tell all, a wasted one as he meant to anyway. He plans to place the blame on Skywatch, while using the Dynobots to take out Grimlock, and then using the Headmasters to take out the Dynobots. His team will be regarded as heroes, he will get government contracts in order to protect against aliens, and from there on, there's no stopping him.
In New Zealand, a ship touches down near the Skyfire. The occupants are looking for Grimlock, and intend to track him down.
Scorponok is intrigued by Grimlock's admittance of guilt and reduces his hold on the Dynobots enough for their personalities to surface. Meanwhile, Grimlock has recovered from the blast and detects a human caught in the fire. Transforming, he grudgingly goes to help, when Slag and company, now transformed, reappear and demand the truth. Grimlock tells them of his endgame move, but says it was something any of them would have done—Dynobots may be down, but never out. Slag agrees but says that by going behind their backs, Grimlock assured they ceased to be a team. Grimlock points out that Slag usually went out of his way to stress they were never a real team, that they followed no one's rules or conventions but their own, and that what Grimlock had done had been "them", all over. He proceeds to rip the rail car diner with the human trapped inside from the ground and takes it to safety. Amused, Scorponok sends in his Headmasters.
At Salt Lake City, Agent Red decides to have a heart to heart with the last of the Eureka Six: Shockwave!

The Good: Once again, Simon and Nick have done an excellent job. I believe the whole point of this miniseries (aside from getting a big dose of Dinobot mayhem) was to tie up all the little plot points, plots and subplots that came before so newcomer Shane McCarthy could do his thing with AHM. And this is why I am immensely satisfied with it - "I love it when a plan comes together." Everything slides into place, while a few other things start to snowball. And the art, as is usual with Nick Roche, leaves me stunned and satisfied with my purchase. Very good, Mr Furman, very good.

The Bad: Poor Hot Rod. But it had to happen eventually. According to Furman, Roddy was supposed to metaphorically go through the wringer, but not in this way (as a result of his acquiring the MacGuffin plot device The Magnificence). I am kinda against this, because of his somewhat disturbing injuries if nothing else. But anyway. And also, while the overall story serves well, Scorponok's behavior and ambitions are very typical of the cartoon evil guy - revealing his master plan to a captured goodie, and aiming to take over the world. But this is something you have to take with Furman's writing. He uses cliches; get over it quick you'll and enjoy the story anyway.

Verdict: Mmm-hmm. Very good, awesome job in all quadrants as always. Bit of a hollow plot in some points, but overall nicely done. Rated 9 out of 10.

Posted by  Fanbot at 1:01 pm, MONDAY 24 August

IDW Transformers solicits for Nov. 2009 (Warning: may contain awesomeness)

Hello all you Transformers fans out there. This post is a bit late, but it's very important nonetheless. On August 22, updated us with IDW's November solicits for Transformers. It's a jam-packed month for the bots, so here's the scoop...


Written by Mike Costa, art and covers by Don Figueroa. It's been three years since the devastating events of All Hail Megatron. The Earth has been rebuilt, the AUTOBOTS are in hiding, and the next great era in the Transformers saga is about to begin! This is IDW's biggest book of the year - the launch of the first ongoing Transformers title in five years!

TRANSFORMERS CONTINUUM: Written by Andy Schmidt, art by Ken Christensen. Brush up on current Transformers events with the Continuum, a special 32-page, ad-free book that runs through all the key players and important events in the Transformers universe so far! From their debut story in Infiltration all the way up through the end of All Hail Megatron -- the Continuum is an essential guide for every Transformers fan!


Written by Simon Furman, art by Carlos Magno, covers by Magno, Alex Milne. 

Who is/was The Fallen? Why did he turn away from the fraternity of Primes to embrace all-conquering evil? The answers are revealed in this searing, mind-scouring trip to the very heart of darkness, as The Fallen rises, and, perhaps, entire universes fall! 


Written by Simon Furman, art by Will Simpson, Jeff Anderson, cover by Andrew Griffith. Optimus Prime and Ultra Magnus team to take down Megatron, but what role does Straxus play in this massive confrontation? Continuing the fan-favorite collection of classic tales from across the pond, written by Transformers mainstay Simon Furman with an all-new cover by Andrew Griffith! 

Fanbot can not wait for these awesome comics to hit stores. Roll on November (original article from Comic Book Resources)!

Posted by Fanbot at 11:34 pm, MONDAY 24 August

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Review - Transformers: All Hail Megatron #14

I've been waiting for All Hail Megatron #14 all month - I build up a lot of anticipation for these comics. Finally got it, and love it. Am getting Trev Hutchison's awesome RI covers for the whole series - totally worth the extra money. So on to the review, where I'll see if IDW's latest offering is up to scratch. Here we goes.

The Good: This issue is very well done. I'm very satisfied with it. First off, the cover alone makes it worth the purchase - when is IDW going to make these as pin-ups? Trev does an excellent job of portraying Sunstreaker. The two stories inside ("Replay" and "Rebirth") are very well constructed, perfectly suited to their oneshot format. Rebirth was the best of the two, actually setting up future plot points as opposed to Replay, which was just, well, a replay of past events. The ending of it was very effective though. and the art for these was absolutely top-notch. The lines of Emiliano Santalucia and Andrew Griffith combined with colorist legend Josh Burcham (who according to himself hurriedly finished Rebirth in less than a week) to form a beautiful 22 pages to look at. I love it. Good job all youse who did work on this issue.

The Bad: OK, so there ain't a whole lot bad about this one. They did an amazing job. But there's a few things. The RI cover has a lot less color brightness than previously advertised. It is a dirty greenish-yellow when we originally saw it as a bright yellow panel. A bit off-putting. And ... well, that's all.

The Ugly: Only a couple screw-ups here this time. Firstly, in Rebirth "Ark" is misspelled "Arc". Secondly, Galvatron remarks that Cyclonus was able to survive longest outside of the Dead Universe while in Spotlight Cyclonus it was Galvatron who survived the longest. Lastly, there is a female Autobot in Sunstreaker's flashback. Whatever happened to Arcee being the only fembot in the IDWverse, how Jhiaxus altered her CNA and all that? This completely contradicts previous canon - if IDW continues on this path, they'll end up as canonically screwed up as DC. Very sad.

Verdict: Beautiful. Just fricking beautiful. Expertly crafted, well-set out. I'm very satisfied. Keep up the good work and no more continuity errors IDW! Rated 9.5 out of 10.

Posted by Fanbot at 6:45 pm, SUNDAY 23 August

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Movie review - G.I. Joe: Rise of COBRA!

Saw GI Joe movie on Thursday. Couldn't get on the net cause of difficulties. Finally I can blog about it. This based on another of Transformers creator company Hasbro's extremely successful toylines from the 80's - one that, like TF, has carried its success through to the 21st century (it came out just before the launch of the Transformers TV show). I've built up a lot of anticipation for this movie. Let's see how it shapes up to Fanbot's expectations...

The Good: Wow. I absolutely loved this movie. It is in every way a MILLION TIMES cooler that Transformers 2 (for six ways GI Joe beats the crap out of ROTF, click here). Bloody hell. Where do I start? Well, firstly, the story is fricking visceral. I was gripped, amused, shocked and surprised at every turn. The story was unexpected; I thought it would be all "origin of GI Joe, team gets together", but no. The fully formed team shows up less than half an hour into the film, and bloody hell have they done it well. Film shots very very cool, and all those explosions just made me giddy with pyromaniacal joy. Although I never read a GI Joe comic in my life, I know enough about the basic story to know when the film is doing allusions to the comic (published currently by IDW, who coincidentally do TF as well), and when those allusions came I just thought, "You clever clever bastards. Nice work." Oh, and Rachel Nichols (plays Scarlett) is way hotter than Megan Fox. No contest (That's saying saying a lot).

The Bad: None of the bads listed within this section ruin my GI Joe movie experience at all, but they are there nonetheless. One, it is so fricking LOUD! In every action sequence, I'm bombarded by a wall of explosive sound. Holy crap, I think. Am I gonna go deaf or what? (seriously, I actually considered this at one point). But in some ways this sound was a good thing. So bad that it has crossed the barrier into negative badness and become totally awesome. So, the sound for me is annoying and awesome at the same time. Go figure. Oh, and one more thing - why the hell does Snake Eyes have a mouth. It kinda ruins his costume. I mean, a suit with moulded face? No no no! The whole point of his costume is to dehumanize him isn't it - make him seem more like a cold killer machine. But anyway, no biggie.

The Ugly: What do you mean, "The Ugly"? There are no mistakes in this movie. GI Joe has perfect record. ROTF, on the other hand, is riddled with errors - see here for TF Wiki's full list of Bay screw-ups.

Verdict: Best movie of the year by a long long shot. I just know that they're gonna make a sequel to this one - or at least I hope so. Steve Sommers, Fanbot demands you start filming GI Joe 2 at once! Pretty please. But anyways ... great job, loved it. Rated 9.5 out of 10.

Posted by Fanbot at 11:41 am, SATURDAY 22 August

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Going Backwards - Maximum Dinobots #1 review

Since IDW's totally awesome looking Transformers ongoing title doesn't come out until November, and there's bugger-all G1 stuff coming out each month, I thought that you TF fans might like a little history lesson to brush up on events past. So, every week, there'll be a review of all the main TF comics that came after Revelation - Maximum Dinobots, All Hail Megatron, and maybe some Spotlights. So, starting off the Going Backwards sequence is Transformers: Maximum Dinobots #1! Here we go.

Synopsis: Grimlock surveys the wreck of his ship Skyfire as he remembers the good times he had with his fellow Dynobots back on Cybertron. A quick review of events past is given - his outlaw status among the Autobots, Scorponok wanting revenge, and Megatron poised to take over Earth. "How much worse can it get?" Grimlock asks himself.
Elsewhere, Agent Red of Skywatch oversees the test run of the neurally controlled Dinobots, in which they prove extremely efficient at destruction. Agent Red is still suspicious that it is too good to be true (after Grimlock was inexplicably freed from remote control back in Spotlight: Grimlock). Sure enough, at Machination HQ, Abraham Dante is informed by Skywatch double agent Kloss that he's implanted a virus capable of destroying the Dinobots' neural nets. He surveys his army of Sunstreaker clones, exhibiting typical villain behavior.
Meanwhile, Sunstreaker destroys Machination warehouse in Massacheusetts, angry he hasn't found his real head. Hunter, as his driver avatar, reminds him of the data they picked up from the destroyed warehouse, which leads them to discover a clue to something called "Dinobots" in Dallas, Texas.
Back on the Skyfire, Grimlock uses his last reserves of power to send a message requesting help from some "unsavory types". He is alerted to a unit of Dante's Headmasters, who have teleported into the area and are attacking his ship. he sneaks behind them, transforms to T-Rex mode and tears through the Headmasters. However, one of them manages to place a device on Grimlock which orbital bounces him back to Fallon, Nevada. A public panic there alerts Skywatch, who dispatch the Dinobots to contain Grimlock.
Meanwhile, Hot Rod arrives at the Machination HQ gates. Scorponok s not concerned; he announces he'll truncate Hot Rod's existence after he's done with the Dinobots.

The Good: Simon Furman. Nick Roche. Possibly the best creative team in TF history. The story is amazingly good quality, and Nick's art has always made me go all gooey-eyed whenever I look at it. He is a fricking awesome artist, second best in my book (after E J Su). Colorist Josh Burcham, how could I forget him. I always liked his coloring style - semi-painted look, goes great with Nick's art. All in all a well-put-together, visually dazzling, gripping issue. Woohoo!

The Bad: For once, I am totally at loss as to what to put into this section. Virtually nothing makes me angry or annoyed when I read this one. Only thing - why'd they make the "Transformers" title on the cover big and on two lines like in earlier TF comics, rather than just use the small one-line title they've used for the last 5 or so issues? That is all.

Verdict: A truly amazing comic. All areas are exquisite, and the story is solid with multiple subplots intertwining and coming together. You go guys, keep up the good work. Rated 10 out of 10.

Posted by Fanbot at 5:09 pm, WEDNESDAY 19 August

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Review - Transformers Best of UK: Prey! #1

Having lived in isolation for most of my childhood I was never fortunate enough to have read any of the old Marvel Transformers comics. Now, with Transformers Best of UK: Prey #1, I can finally see what TF fans read back then. This comic was originally published in Marvel UK's the Transformers #96 and #97 in January 1987. Here we go...

Synopsis: Following his return from the limbo dimension, Optimus Prime is disconcerted his Autobots were so lost without him they were forced to join forces with Megatron so they could defeat Galvatron. Optimus decides to test his soldiers, afraid they would be unable to cope if he should die in the future. He plans to convince the Autobots he has died so he can see how they cope without him. Informing only Wheeljack that he has made a fascimile of himself, he then tells the other Autobots that he is going on a reconnaissance mission to the Decepticons' base. He plans to destroy his fascimile and send a distress signal to the others who will discover his "body".
Meanwhile, Megatron is becoming more and more paranoid about Optimus, even attacking Motormaster when he dares to suggest he and the Stunticons could defeat Optimus. Soundwave (acting as double agent for Shockwave in order to depose Megatron) is alarmed by this, and, deciding it is time to remove Megatron permanently, persuades Megs to call in the Predacons from Cybertron to weaken Optimus so Megatron can finally kill him.
Later, while looking for a suitable setting to set up his "death", Prime is attacked by the Predacons. Taken by surprise, he struggles to throw them off. Gradually the Preds wear him down, cornering him. Megatron orders them to finish the job, and they close in for the kill...
Later, concerned that they haven't heard from Optimus, the Autobots (with Wheeljack) set out in a search and discover Prime's body, torn to shreds by the Predacons.

The Good: I like this issue, I really do. Simon Furman did well; the story is as good quality as his modern work, and good dialog as well - I love Prime's internal monologue and his mental conflict. The art, though nothing like today's standard, is pretty good for the era. Andrew Griffith's new cover (pictured above) is really cool, great shot of Predaking about to slag Prime (though he's killed by the Preds in their individual forms). You can see the original covers at TF Wiki by clicking here. But on the subject of the comic itself, all in all a satisfying issue.

The Bad: The quality of the art scanning is terrible (as an illustrious relative pointed out). Whether the comic was originally like that or whether IDW did a half-assed scan of it instead of using the original plates is a mystery that I will likely never find the answer to. Ah well, that is all.

The Ugly: It seems awfully convenient that Prime decided to go out alone at pretty much the exact same time that Megatron came up with a plan that required Prime to be alone. This happens a bit in the 80's - often the writers don't think things through enough, if at all. But hey, it's still a good story - very satisfying for a "hardcore" fan such as I. Oh, and the writing at the bottom has not been changed from the last Best of UK series - it reads "best of uk city of fear".

Verdict: Hugely satisfying all in all. I absolutely loved this issue, and I'm very much looking forward to the next issue (won't ruin it for myself by going on TF Wiki). Real fans should check this one out, it's totally worth it. Rated 8 out of 10.

Posted by Fanbot at 3:44 pm, SUNDAY 16 August

Review - Tales of the Fallen #1: Bumblebee

Just picked this issue up today, and bloody hell is it great. Writer Chris Mowry and new guy Carlos Magno collaborate to form Tales of the Fallen: Bumblebee! I was originally a bit apprehensive of this series, but I just had to have it once I viewed the five-page preview. By the way, this series consists of several one shots focussing on a single character from the TF movieverse. AKA TF movie Spotlights. Sooo cool.

The Good: Wow. That's all I can say when I read this comic. Wow. This is one of the greatest ... no, the greatest movieverse comic I have seen since Reign of Starscream. This "Spotlight" has the internal monologues which are supposed to be standard in Spotlights, but have been driven to extinction by Shane McCarthy. It's a welcome return for me. The story is well-written, and awesome action sequences toward the end. Carlos' art is cool, this guy has promise that could be developed in the future (who's drawing the ROTF sequel Nefarious?). Old hand Chris Mowry does a superb job with his pen. I haven't enjoyed a Transformers movie comic in a long long time. And Alex Milne's cover (I was fortunate enough to get this one) is beautiful, great design, great colors too - Alex, you have to do your own colors now, I'm in love. Sorry Josh Perez, you color great as well.

The Bad: As a Transformers fan, I m easily pleased by what IDW gives me every month. However, when I want to nitpick, I will nitpick mercilessly. Now is that time. Carlos' art was great, but it looked very rough - not hurried-rough, but kinda grainy-rough. It wasn't enough to ruin the experience of reading it, but it nevertheless niggled in the corner of my eye as I perused the issue. Also, the RE cover (fan expo exclusive apparently) is a bit dumb - just a photo of Megan Fox aka Mikaela Banes who isn't even in the comic. I mean, they could at least have put a photo of Bumblebee on it to somehow link it into the story, but no.

The Ugly: I have identified no uglies within the comic itself, but on Carlos Magno's cover B (pictured) the Tales of the Fallen subtitle is wrong. In the publisher solicits it is as above, but when it was actually released the title was set underneath the TRANSFORMERS title, in the same font as the title above it. I'd say "get it right, IDW", but that'd be nitpicky.

Verdict: A solid comic with quality job done all round. This series is a must for all you TF movieverse fans - make sure you get Alex Milne's cover though. Rated 9.5/10.

Posted by Fanbot at 1:36 pm, SUNDAY 16 August

All Hail Megatron #14 preview

Personally, I absolutely LOVE this series - All Hail Megatron Coda, absorbed into the main AHM title. Last issue was amazing, and now a five-page preview for All Hail Megatron #14 is available at Comic Book Resources. Click here to view the preview for yourself. Emiliano Santalucia's art and Josh Burcham's colors are just fricking AWESOME. I love it, can't wait for it to come out on August 19. Here's the publisher solicit from IDW:

"The Betrayer has been revealed as Sunstreaker! But how did this happen to him? Find out in the first of two stories in this special issue. Meanwhile, Galvatron returns! Join Cyclonus as he is reunited with his old friend - but something is not right..."

Make sure you pick this one up (get Trevor Hutchison's RI cover, shown above - the best one by far) as soon as you can. Fanbot has spoken. You can go now.

Posted by Fanbot at 11:39 am, SUNDAY 16 August

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Review - TF Timelines: Shattered Glass!

This Transformers comic ain't new, but by Primus, it's a one shot legend. Shattered Glass finally gave the TF fandom an alternate universe with bad versions of good guys (with facial hair!) and good versions of bad guys - a Transformers Earth-3 if you will. Published by Fun Publications in the "Classics" continuity, this comic was, rather unusually, pretty much unanimously loved by fans. Several prose-with-pics sequels have followed, but none of them have compared to the original ("The original and the best" as we say). Read on, scroll down, be amazed.

Synopsis: On Cybertron, a space portal opens, spewing forth Cliffjumper. Disorientated and confused, Cliffjumper tries to get his bearings. Suddenly Triggercon Ruckus (with weird color scheme) appears out of nowhere and crashes into Cliffjumper. Ruckus apologizes and pleads to be let go, when he is suddenly slagged by laser fire. The firer is none other than Rodimus. He jokingly criticizes Jumper being jumped by a 'Con, comments on his "sweet paintjob" and seems to think Jumper was "dead". Cliffjumper looks confused, but stops when he sees Rodimus has a handlebar moustache. Rodimus shows it off, then takes Cliffjumper to Iacon, where they meet Optimus
Prime (who has a purple and black paintjob). Optimus welcomes

'Jumper back, and walks him through a trophy room with slagged Decepticon corpses on display. Cliffjumper is shocked.They arrive at The Smelting Pool, where Cassetticon Rumble is on trial. He is about to be dumped into the pool. Cliffjumper asks what is going on, and Optimus launches into a tirade about 'Jumper loving torturing the 'Cons. Cliffjumper refuses and is blasted unconscious by Optimus, who dumps him in the scrapyards.
Two Constructicons pick him up just as he goes into stasis lock...
Cliffjumper wakes up in a medical room of some sort, and tries to escape, pushing two Constructicons (in medical color scheme). While running, he crashes into ... Megatron, who asks if Cliffjumper is OK. Sideswipe is nearby and takes Cliffjumper aside. He discerns that
 Cliffjumper is not the "real" Cliffjumper. He shows 'Jumper that is made of different stuff than the others, and is obviously from another universe. He tells Cliffjumper how Optimus was originally a scheming backstabber who preached advancement through conflict, and who
upgraded himself and his followers for combat. He attacked and killed many 'bots, but met resistance from a small resistance movement and Megatron, who invented tranformation. Optimus managed to copy this, and the two sides reached a stalemate. After this talk, Cliffjumper agrees to stay with the Cons.
Elsewhere, Optimus is informed by Blurr of the new developments on their ship The Ark as he slags the training 'bots he is fighting with.
Back in the Cons' headquarters, Megatron gives Cliffjumper the lowdown on their plan of attack for attacking The Ark, and says that they are outgunned. Starscream suddenly comes up with an idea  - use Cliffjumper's glass gas (obviously SG Cliffjumper had this stuff as well) to break The Ark's launching platform, destroying The Ark itself. Megatron praises Screamer for this genius (Shock horror - Megs praising Screamer!).
Later, the Predacons quickly incapacitate/decapitate the launch site guards, and the glass gas bombs are dropped on the platform. Battle ensues. Cliffjumper is confused, fighting with his
"enemies" against his "friends". Optimus, enraged at Jumper for betrayal, blasts at him, but Megatron takes the laser blast. Cliffjumper, aiming to finish the battle, uses his glass gas on the platform which finally crumbles. Optimus swears revenge, but is blasted into silence.
 Retreating, Megatron asks  'Jumper to join the Decepticon forces. Cliffjumper agrees.

The Good: Don Figueroa's art for this was absolutely amazing. I loved the re-interpretations of the characters, the dialog, pretty much everything. Highlight was Starscream - heroic, selfless and obedient, a complete antithesis of his normal incarnation. Loved it.

The Bad: This is only a small gripe, but I must bring it up nonetheless. This issue is very wordy - loads of dialog absoloutely crammed into the panels. Nothing else, it's a one-shot so I won't gripe any further.

The Ugly: one solitary ugly - in the flashback sequence when Optimus attacks with his Autobots, his left (our right) antenna and audio receptor is missing. That is all.

Overall, I'm rating Transformers Timelines: Shattered Glass at 9/10. I consider this issue a great addition to my collection of TF comics. A bit wordy, but nonetheless a very well-written comic. A gem. And also included within this issue is the three page fake preview of Shattered Glass that has come to be called Shattered Expectations. Here are links to two of them, in all their glory (art in style of Derek Yaniger of G2, with 90's era flat colors). Click here for page 1 and here for page 2

Posted by Fanbot at 7:30 pm, THURSDAY 13 August

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Transformers releases for August 12 (that's today)

Released today are two great Transformers titles from IDW - Best of the UK: Prey #1 and Tales of the Fallen: Bumblebee! If you haven't bought these yet you can view a five page preview of each at Just cause I'm nice, I'll include a link so you don't have to search ... Enjoy, and get off your lazy butts and go get these! Go go go! Stop reading this blog and go already! The links are for Best of the UK: Prey and Tales of the Fallen respectively.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Review - Sir Edward Grey: Witchfinder #2

At the risk of repeating myself, I have never read a page of Hellboy. Never had a taste for that kind of stuff, horror stuff gave me nightmares you see. But with this series, which I won the first issue of in a comic store comp, has struck something within me I cannot and will not explain. The fact that a Kiwi like myself - artist Ben Stenbeck - is drawing Witchfinder may have something to do with it. The creative team certainly has. Mike Mignola, Hellboy writer and artist of old. And the superstar flat colorist Dave Stewart (always liked this style because I can do nothing else with Photoshop). But is this enough to make it a good issue?
The Good: as always, Ben's art for this is top-notch. I enjoy his shadowy, semi-realistic art, and it complements Dave's flat coloring as well. And Ben's put in a little allusion to his nationality; one of the thugs eyeing Sir Edward up in a dark street is a Maori, with big lips and green moko tattoos. Mike's dialog for this is detailed and realistic, and sounds like it could actually sound plausible in real life. Letterer Clem Robins has a lettering style I like a lot - his long tails, clear letters,which look hand-rendered rather than computer-generated. All round, for art, it is an amazing issue.

The Bad: I'm pretty pleased with this issue as a whole, but the story itself seems to be what those in the profession call an expository - where a long talk between characters reveals a large or not-so-large amount of info to the reader. That's what this issue feels like. There's not so much blood and gore as #1; no sign of the monster until the last page - I have been getting into this, so I kind of expected some gore. But never mind. Oh, and one more thing; the spirit guide Zora calls Sir Edward "poor man" in every speech bubble. That's kinda annoying.

The Ugly: no uglies have been identified in this comic. From my experience, this is usually a sign the creative team knows what they're doing. But of course I already knew that - it's Mike Mignola, for crying out loud!

Overall, Sir Edward Grey: Witchfinder #2 comes in for me at 8/10. The story wasn't as great as I thought it would be, but for what it was, I enjoyed it. The art cheers me up from any screw-ups as usual, so I put the comic down happy. Go figure.

Posted by Fanbot at 8:01 am, SUNDAY 9 August

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Review - Phantom: Ghost Who Walks #4!

Haven't mentioned the Phantom on big small comix since ages ago. This comic is in keeping with my smaller press theme, but the Phantom himself is a big, big icon. Possibly the first hero to wear the skintight costume that all supers wear today. The Phantom is older than Batman or Superman, and has great similarity with the former of the two. He has no special powers, untold wealth, and is regarded by evildoers as something of a dark legend - his other titles include "The man who cannot die" and "The Ghost who Walks". Small-time publisher Moonstone Books have picked up the license for Phantom, and are currently releasing two titles - the ongoing title (which will be reviewed here) and a prose-with-pictures maxi-series called Generations, chronicling the adventures of the first twenty Phantoms. But anyway, onto the review...

Synopsis: the issue kicks off with a dishevelled man running through the jungle, fleeing from some unknown pursuer. He has stolen something valuable from some local village, and flashbacks to the act of stealing it. While lamenting his position, a shadowy figure continues to pursue him, seemingly disregarding the six bullets that the crook has fired at him.
The chase continues, with the crook constantly seeming to lose his pursuer, only for him to pop up again from life-threatening situations. Finally, after jumping off a moving train, the crook elopes in a jeep that has been provided by his employer. The Phantom continues to pursue him on horseback, and signals surrounding tribesmen to fire their arrows at the jeep. The arrows damage the jeep heavily, but the crook is unscathed. He tosses a grenade behind him, blowing up a nearby tree.
Much later, the crook arrives at a harbor, where he gets on a pre-arranged ship bound for Portugal. He goes down into the hold, and calls his employer. He is told his employer is unavailable, and ends the call in anger. Suddenly he hears a sound, but dismisses it as nothing. Then the sound is heard again, a clank. several times the clank sounds, with the crook becoming more and more panicky. The Phantom's shadowy figure emerges, demanding the crook hand over the stolen goods. He tries to fire on the Phantom, but he has already disappeared. Then he reappears behind the crook, knocking the gun out of his hand and punching him unconscious. The Phantom retrieves a glowing gold idol from the crook's bag, and drags him outside, dangling the crook off the side of the ship. Threatened with being fed to the sharks, the crook reveals that he was assigned to get something called "the eastern dark", and didn't know what it was. The Phantom drops him onto the deck, and disappears. The crook's satellite phone rings as the issue ends.

The Good: the art for this issue is way better than what I saw in the first 3 issues. Every shot is well set out and heightens the suspense. Favourite panel is the blood spewing from the crook's mouth as the Phantom punches him, so cool. The sequence where the Phantom seems to disappear is very effectively done. In terms of art, an awesome issue.

The Bad: the story seems to be a bit of a filler, not really connected. The story itself is pretty good, but nothing special. Bad story, but told well. Its only saving grace is the mention of the "eastern dark" which could be a hint of things to come. But it is a disappointment for me, and I'm left seriously underwhelmed.

The Ugly: I'm not really sure if this is an error, but page is repeated on page seven. it doesn't look out of place or anything, but I can't help but wonder. Nothing else. Moonstone are pretty good at ironing out the kinks from my experience.

Overall, Phantom: Ghost Who Walks #4 is rated by me at 7.5/10. Great art, and the story is told very well for what it is, but it feels like just an issue filler and a serious disappointment. But the art was something that I wanted rectified, and it has been, so I won't complain.

Posted by Fanbot at 5:37 pm, SATURDAY 8 August

Friday, 7 August 2009

Reflections on new Transformers covers

IDW editor-in-chief Chris Ryall has updated his blog RyallTime ( with cover art for upcoming Transformers titles. Starting in November is the much-anticipated ongoing title, written by Mike Costa with art by Don Figueroa; and the Bumblebee miniseries, written by Zander Cannon and art by Chee. And in January next year, Nick Roche goes solo in his miniseries Last Stand of the Wreckers. Also included are my opinions and things spotted on the covers. Feel free to comment and agree with me or verbally abuse my opinions. Well, what are you waiting for? Scroll down already, for Primus' sake!

Below is the wraparound cover A for The Transformers #1 (art by Don Figueroa, colors by James Brown):

The second cover for this issue is a b/w version of the one I showed earlier in the month, along with a preview page of the ongoing series. Now, Don's new artwork style has met extreme controversy with the TF fandom. IDW's forums are buzzing with discussion on the topic, and the general opinion seems to be that the new movie-esque style is a bad idea. Personally, I quite like the new style, save for two little annoying things. The grille-like constructs inside the 'bots' mouths make them look like they're always gritting their teeth, and the pupilled eyes are just wrong. But other than that, Don, great work. I always welcome a wraparound cover. Oh, and take note; Bumblebee has doors behind his shoulders, like in the movie. One word, Don: WHY?

The next cover is for the Bumblebee mini (art by Chee, colors by Moose Baumann):

I am quite intrigued by this artist. His art style is shadowy, with realistic, humanistic faces that echo the art of Andrew Wildman. Moose's colors are great, I've seen them in AHM #13, so no complaints here. Great cover.

And finally, the cover for the all-Nick Roche miniseries Last Stand of the Wreckers (art by Nick Roche, colors by Josh Burcham):

This cover is fricking awesome. I have always loved Nick's style, and this cover is no exception. The lineart is exceptional, and Josh Burcham's colors always went nicely with Nick's art - see Maximum Dinobots for the lowdown. Now, about the art itself; Nick's style is a bit more stylized than usual, as seen in his older fanzine art and covers for the Generations reprints. Still looks awesome though. And Josh's colors seem to be halfway between his style for AHM and Maximum Dinobots. Cooooooooolllll!!!

Posted by Fanbot at 8:08 pm, FRIDAY 7 August

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Review - Sir Edward Grey: Witchfinder #1

Branching out into the ever-growing range of comics I review, I present to you Sir Edward Grey: Witchfinder #1! Sir Ed was originally a fairly minor character from the pages of Dark Horse title Hellboy, and now the brass in DH have granted him his own separate comic title. I personally have never read a page of Hellboy or any DH title for that matter, but I saw both Hellboy movies, so that's got to count for something. Anyway...

The Good: This comic is great. The shadowy art is abso-fricking-lutely awesome. New Zealander Ben Stenbeck and Hellboy writer legend Mike Mignola collaborate in one hell of a team. The story is fairly stock gothic/horror/mystery stuff, nothing I ain't seen before, but this is first issue, so it's early days yet. And you may have heard me say that action in a first issue will really hook readers in. Well, this has plenty of action in it, and a fair  amount of gore - the remains of a man splattered all around his house, a fluid-drained corpse - makes me shudder all over just thinking about it. but of course you should come to expect this from a dark title like Witchfinder or anything from Mike Mignola. And Ben's art is just right. I love it. 'Nuff said.

The Bad: Umm ... umm, well ... actually I can't find anything that is particularly wrong with this one. The slight "nothing-I-haven't-seen-before" feeling comes to me when I read this. Maybe as the story develops we'll see some juicy plot twists. Watch this space.

The Ugly: There have been no uglies identified within this comic so scroll down and don't ask awkward questions! Go, go!!

Overall, I'm rating Sir Edward Grey: Witchfinder #1 at 7/10. The art's great, but the story is kinda underwhelming for me. I'm left disappointed as to what might have been. But I cannot judge yet, since as I pointed out before, this is the first issue and you have to get the next one to really get a feel for the title. So that's exactly what I'm gonna do. Goodbye my besotted fans, see you next time. Oh, and now my username has changed. Fantom is no more. Behold ... FANBOT!!! Mwahahahahaaaa!!!

Posted by Fanbot at 5:20 pm, THURSDAY 6 August

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Transformers ongoing update! Preview page + cover of issue 1

Big, big news for all youse Transformers fans out there! has just received a preview page (page 5) of issue 1 of the new TF ongoing series, written by Mike Costa with art by returning legend Don Figueroa. This new series starts in November and I just cannot wait until it hits the stores. Looking forward to it. But can anyone tell me who the blue bot on page one is? I have no idea, but his form seems to be based around that of Sideswipe and the late Sunstreaker. Any ideas as to his identity? And maybe who the colorist for the page is? Me, I've got my eyes on James Brown. He's colored Don's work before, in AHM #13.

Posted by Fantom at 12:55 pm, SUNDAY 2 August

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Blastosaurus: Slugs (Part 3) review

And so it ends ... well, at least until American Original have finished releasing the first 13 issues of Blastosaurus. This issue is the last published independently by Richard Fairgray's Square Planet comics company (of Square Planet Films). This one'll be the last for a while, but as soon as the first issues start comig out I'll have reviews up here for all youse to peruse (lol ryhming).

The Good: I think this is the greatest issue of Blasto so far. The art seems to have stepped up yet another notch, and the story grips you and makes you want for more. There's quite few plot points that I just did not see coming - this is a good thing as comics should keep you guessing. And Fairgray's cover is pain awesome - references to GI Joe, Transformers, tacky A Team ripoffs and a blue Blasto beign held by Richard that looks uncannily like the blue guy ("Smurf") from Alan Moore's Watchmen. This is something I would expect from Richard though; Blastosaurus is a tribute to the indie culture of the nineties, and this cover just seems to fit the bill (even though I know bugger-all about indie stuff).

The Bad: Honestly, there is nothing worth mentioning that I think is wrong with this issue. I just love it soo much, I can't think of any downsides (now if only life could be like this...). Woohoo!

The Ugly: This issue is perhaps the most mistake-riddled of all 13 issues, though that ain't saying much in the context. Page 1, panel one - "people" is misspelled "peopl". Page 3, panel one - "guys" is misspelled "guy". And finallty; page 7, top - the labels for the page are showing (Blastosaurus 13 07 RF). See? All the mistakes for this issue are insignificant typos and errors. Woohoo for Fairgray!

Overall, Blastosaurus #13 comes in at 9/10. This issue is abso-fricking-lutley awsome. I'm a tad pissed off that I'm gonna have to wait 13 months for the next new arc (called HARDCORE) to come out. Bummer. But never mind. And look out for Blastosaurus #1, coming to a comic store near you in the near future. I don't know exactly when. Check out for more info.

Posted by Fantom at 7:28 pm, SATURDAY 1 August