Sunday, 27 September 2009

Going Backwards - Transformers: Maximum Dinobots #5 review

And so it ends ... well, at least this series anyway. And what an end Simon and Nick have brought us. Death, resurrection, retribution and vengeance, all packed into 22 pages. Wow. Things in Dallas kick up to the highest possible notch, with Grimlock and co. seemingly defeated by Scorponok, with Shockave arriving to slag Scorponok. Before I get into this review, please let me direct your eye over to the cover, seen right. Art by Nick Roche, colors by Priscilla Tramontano. The colors and compostiton for this are off the charts, way better than any other except for #2. But why is Sunstreaker here, driving out of a fireball? Ain't he suppposed to be inacapacitated and headless? But anyway, here's the scoop...

Synopsis: Grimlock is in shock at the sight of Sludge’s dead body, and Scorponok and Shockwave begin to fight over who gets to kill the Autobots. The other Dynobots decide to run whilst they can, but for Grimlock it’s now personal. Hot Rod decides to stay with him even though he can barely stand.
Agent Red hurtles towards the scene on a Skywatch truck, where his minions brief him on the fact Shockwave has seemingly been keeping his end of the bargain (by first leading them to the Seekers before heading to the main concentration of aliens.) As the 24-hour timer on Shockwave’s bomb has almost run out he orders that if it looks as if all the robots are present it should be allowed to detonate, if not it should be reset.
As Grimlock tries desperately to revive Sludge, Shockwave takes advantage of the fear of the vulnerable Dante being within Scorponok to beat him. Shockwave doesn’t kill the human, though, as it’s more logical for the Headmaster to just step down and use his escape route and to let him finish the Dynobots. Scorponok agrees and flees underground; Grimlock attempts to give chase but is soon fighting Shockwave instead.
At the Monsterbot ship the Dynobots hesitate about leaving their commander, and after deciding they’re not like the mercenary renegades they return. Meanwhile, within Machination Headquarters Hot Rod finds both Hunter and Scorponok’s real head. Hunter explains that disconnecting it will shut Scorponok down, but before Hot Rod can do so he is attacked by the full-bodied version.
As the Dynobots prepare to attack Shockwave from behind they are somewhat surprised to have a recovered Sludge groggily come up behind them. With the 24 hour countdown heading towards zero Agent Red orders the bomb be disarmed for now; this allows Soundwave (who has been perched on a precipice observing everything) intercepts the code and gives Shockwave control in exchange for being told how to restore his own robot mode.
The charade over, Ravage and Laserbeak make a bloody escape from Skywatch and Shockwave admits he never had any real interest in fighting Grimlock -- going to leave until the Dynobot calmly drops a grenade on the floor which blows up the building their fight has smashed them into.
Underground Scorponok is preparing to deliver the killing blow to Hot Rod when the other Dynobots arrive and Swoop takes out the connecting wires to the real head with his wings. The main body is immediately rendered gormless, and as they prepare to kill him in a very permanent fashion Ultra Magnus arrives and proclaims that Scorponok will stand trail fairly. Swoop is worried Magnus has come for the Dynobots as well, a question he sidesteps by saying they should destroy the facility and get off the planet quickly.
Three days later on Ark 32: Sunstreaker is being repaired, Hot Rod has a shiny new body and Hunter -- as human as he’s ever going to be again -- is reunited with Verity and Jimmy. Ultra Magnus explains to Optimus that although most of the loose ends have been tied up Skywatch could remain a problem.
Back on his own ship Ultra Magnus visits one of his prisoners, Grimlock. In exchange for the other Dynobots not being arrested he’s going to take the full rap for their actions. But Grimlock doesn’t care, having decided to take full responsible for the first time in his life as Sludge is alive and his team is free. On Earth, the Dynobots finish repairing the Skyfire and prepare to depart.

The Good: OK, here is where Max Dinos wraps up, tying off all the little plot ends set up in Devastation/Revelation. It's very good to see all these tied up and sorted. We even get a couple panels worth of Verity and Jimmy, restored to full health by wonder-medic Ratchet. Good to see that. Simon, you've done good; the story is believable and the conclusion satisfies me greatly. Nick does an awesome job at his art duties as well, executing the pages with great precision. Hot Rod wielding Sludge's SLAGGING HUGE energo-sword is a great thing to see, and Roddy's gory, half-crushed-in, fluid-dripping face at the issue's end astounds me. Great job.

The Bad: Verity and Jimmy only get two panels. That's barely half a page. I like these guys, and they got pushed to the back. The story, though good in itself, seemed a bit rushed. The Dinobots' final battle with Scorponok was very short, didn't really have any flair. And James Raiz's messy art dominating the issue is very annoying.  Need I go on?

The Ugly: Sludge is once again drawn (by the two different artists) with two different heads, one with a nose and one without. Grimlock's beast mode (courtesy of Raiz) has returned to the generic killer T-Rex body/pose (as opposed to Nick's sleek Beast Wars-inspired design). Lastly, Hot Rod takes Sludge's SLAGGING HUGE energo-sword into Machination HQ, but when about to destroy Scorponok's head, he just has his green metal crutch as a weapon. Where'd he put the sword? This may be due to not enough specifics in Simon's script as to the nature of Roddy's weapon.

Verdict: A satisfying end to a very awesome series. James Raiz's art soured the experience though. Next up: Spotlight JAZZ. Rated 8.5 out of 10. 

Posted by Fanbot at 5:26 pm, SUNDAY 27 September

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