Friday, 30 October 2009

Review - All FAIL Megatron #16

And so it ends ... God, how many times have we heard that before? But as Simon Furman constantly reminds us, "It never ends." For once a cliched Furmanism fits the situation. IDW have dragged this maxi series out to 16 issues, so let's see how they wrapped it up.

The Art: For "The Man of Steel" (a: Guido Guidi/ c:Josh Burcham), the art is pretty well done at first glance. Guidi's strong lines and good use of storytelling are fully demonstrated in the 11 pages. Josh Burcham, using his more clean, semi-flat color style (maybe to suggest the new order and peace on Earth?) to enhance Guidi's lines. But upon closer inspection, Guidi seems to have done a sloppy job on several pages. The inks look rushed and unprofessional, with  minimal detail. On other pages, they look fine, and on other pages still there is a lot of shadowy hatching that looks weird in the brightly lit scene of Spike's hospital room. But overall it looks pretty cool, especially the scenes of Ravage with his glowing eyes. Next, "Hidden" (a: Chee/ c: Moose Baumann). This one has much better quality art, even though I've never been a fan of Chee's style. Not enough realism and he's bad at perspective.  But the shadowy art suits the mood, and Chee tells Zander Cannon's story well. Newcomer Moose Baumann's bright, surreal palette fits the story in its slight nightmarishness. The shot of Optimus Prime and co. standing over the humans looks just fraggin' awesome. Better job done than "The Man of Steel".

The Story: "The Man of Steel": the story is good in itself, but is essentially just a small exposition of what happened to Spike after All Hail Megatron. The fight scene with Ravage leaves a lot to be desired; no ouchworthy impacts, and no sound effects at all. Is this what you call an action scene Mr Costa? Well, I don't. The story's only salvation is Spike's dad Daniel Witwicky (role reversal lol)being named as the new head of Skywatch. Oooo ... so not bad, but not exactly good either. I'm left disappointed upon finishing. And "Hidden"? Well, unlike the art for this story, the quality is terrible. This is not a good start for new writer Zander Cannon (pray he does better in the Bumblebee mini). The story has no substance whatsoever. So Bumblebee gets spotted by some humans and gets a bit dinged up. Who really gives a slag? Not me. But a funny little bit of this story is the readouts on BB's optic viewer. "Range 20m", "Zoom" and such. Lol. So, worse than "The Man of Steel", which is saying something.

Errors: Quite a few in this one. Firstly, the nurses fawning over Spike are dressed in traditional white with red cross outfits that are never worn by modern nurses. WTF? Second, Chee draws Bumblebee, Ratchet and pretty much all the Autobots in robot forms perpetuated by Guido Guidi. So Bumblebee isn't in his IDW body. Ratchet has Animated Ratchet's sign on his shoulders, and Prime has wheels on his hips. Why must Chee draw them this way? Also, the Colonel seems to imply that Agent Red (former head of Skywatch) was not American. he looked and acted very American to me. Maybe he was Russian (Agent "Red get it?")? Then again, American government agencies are notorious for being run by foreigners.And lastly,  one of the bashed-up Decepticons found in NY was Thrust (he was pictured). How did he get to Earth? The last we saw of him was when his Nebulos infiltration team was attacking Thunderwing. This is probably not an error but is nontheless a bit weird. Nothing else that I've been able to identify so far.

Verdict: a despicably low quality end to what I think was a great series. The art, although quite good, didn't make up for the sub-par plot. Rated 8 out of 10.

Posted by Fanbot at 4:59 pm, FRIDAY 30 October

The Gui has Transformers: Bumblebee #2 covered

Sorry about the messiness of "covering" these series, the covers pop up all over the place (this one came from Guido Guidi's deviantArt page). Anyway, this is Guidi's variant cover for Transformers: Bumblebee #2, out January. Chee's normal cover is shown for reference below, and my original article on this is here. Here you go:

Posted by Fanbot at 4:03 pm, FRIDAY 30 October

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Going Backwards - Spotlight: Kup review

Picked this comic up from the Armageddon Expo on 25 October. I've been hunting around for it since the middle of last year, so when I saw it hiding behind a bunch of other old Spotlights, I had to buy it. This was Nick Roche's first full sequential comic job for IDW, and also his writing debut (See All Hail Megatron #15 and Last Stand of the Wreckers for more). Let's get our teeth into this sucker shall we? {{noises of paper being ripped and torn}}

The Art: Nick's sequential art debut is like a band's debut album--slightly alternative in taste, with strong themes and symbolism abundant. Nick fully makes use of symbolism: the sequences with Kup on the planet are drawn in a rough, scratchy way, with large shadow patches, crazy hatching and jagged panels showing the hallucinating, warped view that Kup has on the world. This contrasts with the scenes on Springer's ship, where the lines are clean and smooth and realistic. Andrew Elder's unique colors enhance this; Kup's scenes are colored in stark, semi-flat tones that are blatantly stark: yellow for day, blues and blacks for night. Springer and co.'s scenes are colored normally. All in all the art flows beautifully, with excellent use of panels and some lovely gore scenes (AWESOME!). Good job all around in this sector.

The Story: Since Roche hasn't done a lot of writing, I'm unsure as to the actual quality of his penmanship. But the story is quite cool in its simplicity, and the story flows well, and reads like a suspense/ horror movie (which it kinda is). Roche uses the frailty of Kup's mind to great effect, with devices making it very adult and scary. I mean, Kup is decapitating innocent mechs, killing his would-be rescuers and using his deactivated comrade's arm as a club. How freaky is that? The blackly funny pun, of Kup's interior monolog, shown in a panel of Kup holding Outback's arm: "He's a good kid, that Outback. Always willing to give a HAND." El mucho freak (Pity this is the last we'll ever see of the Aussie Autobot). And the blurb at the front of the issue makes a few nice references to Kup's war stories from the cartoon: "He's defeated Igyaks, fended off the Shrike-Bats of Dromedon, and remembers the day they inverted polarities..." All in all Roche gives us a nicely done stories with some clever references slotted subtly into the story. Nick Roche is fraggin' awesome.

Verdict: An extremely well-done one shot, with great plot and even better art. Nick Roche is fraggin' awesome. Bring on Last Stand of the Wreckers! Rated 10 out of 10.

Posted by Fanbot at 10:01 pm, THURSDAY 29 October

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Cover for Transformers: Bumblebee #2

Another cover's been released by IDW. This one is for Zander Cannon's BUMBLEBEE spotlight miniseries, drawn by newcomer Chee Yang Ong. Here's the publisher solicitation from IDW below:

TRANSFORMERS: BUMBLEBEE #2: Zander Cannon (w) Chee Yang Ong (a): "Things Fall Apart," Part 2: Bumblebee's human-allied Skywatch team tracks down their latest target: the Autobot Blurr. With this forced betrayal, the team's morale takes a deep plunge until Bumblebee and Wheeljack devise a dangerous mission to free them all from the kill-switches that compel them to obey Col. Horiuchi's commands.

Sounds very intriguing to me. Watch out for this one in January 2010. See you then.

Posted by Fanbot at 7:47 am, WEDNESDAY 28 October

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Covers for Transformers ongoing #3

The cover for IDW's all-new Transformers ongoing series just keep rolling in! Just put out into the net are Don Figueroa's and Andrew Wildman's covers for Transformers #3. They look pretty awesome, eh? Also provided for us raving TF fans was the publisher solicitation, shown below:

THE TRANSFORMERS #3: Mike Costa (w) Don Figueroa (a): Hot Rod's desire to get off-planet leads to some desperate measures, Optimus Prime and Spike sit down for an unpleasant conversation, and a new arrival to the Autobot camp comes at their most vulnerable time possible. Costa and Figueroa continue to make history, bringing the Autobots to their (almost) darkest hour.

These are gonna be so awesome. I just can't wait to get these in the flesh. Stay tuned!

Posted by Fanbot at 8:18 pm, TUESDAY 27 October

Last Stand of the Wreckers update! Colored page of issue 1

Hi, just saw this posted on Josh Burcham's deviantart page (, where apparently he is just finishing the colors for issue 1 of Last Stand of the Wreckers, due out in January 2010. Anyway, it looks absolutely awesome doncha think? The big guy is Masterforce fave Overlord and the center figure in panel 2 is Banzaitron I think. Keep watching this space for more info on this series as it happens.

Posted by Fanbot at 5:25 pm, TUESDAY 27 October

Fanbot's Armageddon haul!

Went to the Armageddon Expo on Sunday. Loved it. Helped Richard Fairgray out with his Blastosaurus stall, and there were loads of cool stuff there. Loads of cosplayers! And two Masterpiece Grimlocks sighted - unfortunately out of my price range, dammit! But anyway, here's the stuff I bought on that day:

TRANSFORMERS Spotlight: Kup cvr A (Nick Roche)
TRANSFORMERS: Stormbringer #1 (Simon Furman/Don Figueroa)
TRANSFORMERS: Stormbringer #2 (Simon Furman/Don Figueroa)
TRANSFORMERS: Stormbringer #3 (Simon Furman/Don Figueroa)
TRANSFORMERS: Stormbringer #4 (Simon Furman/Don Figueroa)

HELLBOY: Ghost & Hellboy #1
HELLBOY: Ghost & Hellboy #2
HELLBOY: The Wolves of St August TPB (Mike Mignola)
HELLBOY: Wake the Devil #3 (Mike Mignola)
HELLBOY: Wake the Devil #5 (Mike Mignola)
HELLBOY: Darkness Calls #6

BLASTOSAURUS Halloween Special (Richard Fairgray/Terry Jones)
BLASTOSAURUS #0 3RD Printing (Richard Fairgray/Terry Jones)

A comissioned sketch of Blastosaurus by Tuku Wiki-Pasene

That's all folks! See you next year!

Posted by Fanbot at 4:36 pm, TUESDAY 27 October

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Real Effing Comix #1: Death to Shane McCarthy!

Posted by Fanbot at 5:05 pm, SUNDAY 25 October

Thursday, 22 October 2009

All Hail Megatron, G2 propaganda style!!!

Hey, just put this pic up on my deviantArt page a couple days ago (, and thought you guys might like to see it. I kind of wanted to portray him as a hardcore warrior leader who pwns all before him. The G2 Decepticon symbols at the back are kinda just to make it look like Decepticon propaganda. Below is the original line art, and the final, Fotoshopped version in all their Con glory:

Hope you guys enjoy these. There will be more to follow as soon as I have time to Fotoshop more. See you soon!

Posted by Fanbot at 4:30 pm, THURSDAY 22 October

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

I Fight Crime available at Armageddon Expo

The following covers are for the chequebook-shaped collections of Richard Fairgray and Mary-Ann Cotton's webcomic I FIGHT CRIME, viewable here at the Blastosaurus website. They will be available at the NZ Armageddon Expo in a couple of days. These strips are actually quite clever so make sure you get one  or two if you go to Armageddon (October 24-26). See you there!

Posted by Fanbot at 4:34 pm, WEDNESDAY 21 October

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Tales of the Fallen: Jetfire preview

After the disappointment of Tales of the Fallen: Sideswipe, the five-page preview of Tales of the Fallen: Jetfire looks to drag this miniseries out of the mud. With Carlos Magno clearly upping his art quality, and  the prolific Moose Baumann on color duties, the quality of this issue looks to be the best yet. Chris Mowry is back to writing TotF, right where he should be. Finally, we learn of leaky, creaky ol' Jetfire's origins. Here's the five pages for viewing pleasure:

Look out for Transformers Tales of the Fallen: Jetfire, out on October 21. Don't miss this one. See you round. Fanbot has spoken!

Posted by Fanbot at 11:07 am, SUNDAY 18 October

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Going Backwards - Transformers: All Hail Megatron #5 review

Hi everybody, we're back with another instalment of your favorite show article: Going Backwards reviews! This week, your host Fanbot brings you thoughts on IDW's Transformers: All Hail Megatron #5. No messing around now, let's just get straight into the review...

Synopsis: ot Rod is brought back to the others and explains to Jazz how his team, lead by Kup on the Starship Trion, followed a Decepticon battle cruiser into a trap in orbit of Cybertron and were shot down when the Decepticons were able to penetrate their ship's systems. Once they crashed they expected to be followed or for the Swarm to turn up and so they hid, trying their best to conserve Energon whilst Hot Rod rigged a distress signal. His story finished, Kup and the other crew members arrive.
Outside New York, Colonel Witwicky’s son Spike arrives at the army camp. His father explains that the Decepticons are beginning to attack the rest of the country and the United Nations are getting nervous so America needs to solve this problem before the world starts to take extreme measures that could cost millions of lives. By studying Decepticon broadcasts they know Megatron is the leader and his death would leave the others directionless. Spike is to lead a team into New York and use a new weapon that was stored in the City to try to kill Megatron.
On Cybertron, Kup is unconvinced by Jazz’s leadership, but the head of Special Ops proves his worth as a rational leader by beating up Springer and Blurr. He then takes Kup to Prime.
Spike and his team try to cross the river into New York but barely get halfway before Ratbat seemingly kills all of them, leaving the Colonel broken.
Jazz explains to Kup that Prime was wounded by Devastator and is dying. Kup is able to guess what Jazz and Prowl have been keeping from the others; Megatron has the Matrix.
On Earth, Megatron gloats over his prize amongst the newly constructed buildings in New York, whilst by the river Spike has somehow survived and made it to the other side.

The Good: ART: Guido Guidi, you are slagging awesome (Casey looked good for his four pages too, but you can't beat the Gui.). The thick, bold lines, blocks of shadow, and gritty texture convey the, well, gritty, mood of the story. In contrast, sequences on Earth seem slightly smoother, as some order (of the Decepticon kind) is present. Josh's toned-down, expressive color palette enhances the artwork to new levels of beauty. COVER: Shown above, Trevor Hutchison's variant cover for the issue is pretty damn awesome, with the standoffish-looking Jazz and Kup standing as if from either sides of a duelling field. Notice that Jazz is black and Kup is white. This alludes to their (G1 cartoon) personalities. Very clever on all levels. STORY: Shane's plot is adequately believable and relatively straightforward. Shane, was going awesome up till now. See below...

The Bad: Here is where the story's reasoning goes a bit downhill. The super-weapon that just happened to be in NY and conveniently didn't get damaged in the Decepticons' totall pwning of the city? A little too convenient for it to be realistic. But then there's a whole lot of these when we read McCarthy's work. Also, the Autobots on the shuttle feel any damage inflicted on the ship as pain through their plug-in piloting system. That’s a tad daft dontcha think? An even though Megatron claimed to have conquered the entire Earth last issue. Colonel Witwicky here talks in terms of a solely American invasion, with the other world powers all ready to nuke America.

The Ugly: See above for all the uglies.

Verdict: The story starts to go downhill from here, but i still relatively believable and the art, as usual, is awesome. A well-executed issue, worth my money. Rated 8.5 out 10.

Posted by Fanbot at 4:28 pm, WEDNESDAY 14 October

Monday, 12 October 2009

Blastosaurus Halloween Special cover

Just got updated on the Blastosaurus front! Legally blind NZ comic artist Richard Fairgray has released his cover for the "Halloween Special" of indie comic Blastosaurus (pictured above). This comic is a little gem, see my June 2009 archives for more on this or click on the "blastosaurus" label. Anyway, Richard has kicked his artwork up a notch for this one, developed his style a lot. It looks pretty awesome, don't you agree? I don't really know when this is coming out so stay tuned for more info as it happens. Here's what the man himself says on the cover:

"I can't give away much about it except that it has, funny costumes, a serial killer, bleeding children and Commissioner Harris dressed as a bumblebee. The final version will actually look cooler than this one, it'll be on fancy paper and the title will be stamped on so it looks all creepy and a bit like it's written in blood."

Posted by Fanbot at 4:35 pm, MONDAY 12 October

All Hail Megatron #14 preview--the end is nigh!

The end is nigh, my Transfan brothers! This issue (All Hail Megatron #16) heralds the end of days for IDW's Transformers minseries run! From here on in, it's nothing but ongoing issue numbers as far as the eye can see, with four-issue Spotlights sprinkled here and there. I can't wait. Apocalyses can be awesome. But anyway, here's a totally awesome four-page preview of this issue. There is a fifth page you can see here at Ryall Time, but I can't get it off the page. If you're too lazy to go to Ryall Time now, you can just read Spike's dialogue below. Further below, the four pages for your viewing pleasure:

"After the New York incident, the US army had an entire division deployed to the city for over a year. For my part, I got a medal, got a promotion, and I got my own unit. They had plenty of people for the rebuilding effort. Me and my men had a different mission. We were gonna go hunt down whichever of those things were left."

AHM mainstay artist Guido Guidi and colorist extraordinaire Josh Burcham collaborate seamlessly on these beautiful pages. Though Josh seems to have opted for his flat color style as opposed to the gritty, textured style of his previous AHM work, and Guido has an overall, lighter, smoother inking look. Maybe this represents the restoration of order in the IDW-verse, and the new, fresh start. But anyway. Look out for Transformers: All Hail Megatron #16 (remember, this is the FINAL ISSUE!!!), out on October 14! See you there! Bye.

Posted by Fanbot at 4:21 pm, MONDAY 12 October

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Random review - G.I Joe #9

I've been a bit erratic with my GI Joe reviews, on account of financial difficulty forcing me to prioritise my comics purchases. GI Joe unfortunately goes out the window since it goes biweekly soon and I can't take that. But a comic is a comic and I review comics, so that's why this is here. Here goes nothing.

The Good: Art: Adequate for story's needs. Good coloring enhances the mediocre artwork. The story flows quite nicely, with subplots and characters beginning to culminate on each other. Mainframe shows up after his disappearance in Origins #7, and Snake Eyes looks his usual awesome silent ninja self - until he gets knocked out and falls on a hatch, blocking Mainframe's exit. Good use of cliffhanger there. Destro looks awesome and funny at the same time, with his menacing metal body clothed by a red dressing gown and fluffy red slippers. Cool.

The Bad: First off, the artwork, S L Gallant has very feathery, messy-looking inks that don't look very nice on paper. His storytelling could use serious work, lots and lots of white space on pages where none is needed. It was very confusing to read, and frankly ruined the experience for me. The cover was perhaps the highlight of the issue. Atkins was way better (see issue 4's review, here), at least he was on cover duty (not pictured) to haul this comic out of the slums. Next, a grumble about the story's dialogue; Dixon, do you really have to keep on doing Destro's Scottish accent so much? He don't use it when Destro converses with Baroness, so why at all?

The Ugly: No uglies identified.

Verdict: Good story, but S L Gallant's messy artwork let this one down. Big disappointment. Rated 7 out of 10.

Posted by Fanbot at 1:39 pm, SATURDAY 10 October

Review - Sir Edward Grey: Witchfinder #4

I've come to expect a very high standard of comics from ark Horse - they have consistent creative teams that complete a series/arc without outside help, loads of creator-owned titles and a general high degree of workmanship in comics. Sir Edward Grey: Witchfinder #4 is no exception. Some perusers of Big Small have little taste for this genre, and that's fine. Not gonna stop me reviewing this though. Anyway.

The Good: Art: NZ (yay!) artist Ben Stenbeck delivers an extremely high standard of artwork. Though he adheres to the shadow-heavy, stylized house style of the Hellboy universe, his own, semi-realistic, smooth lines lend good tone and mood to the issue. Dave Stewart's awesome colors (big dose of gore red in this issue, good to see) complement the artwork perfectly. Dave is just amazing at flat coloring; he shows depth with virtually no gradients or anything other than exquisite flat colors. Story: Mike Mignola writes this, need I say more? The story kicks up a notch; now we know the full potential of the creature, other parties move in on Grey and co. A possible way of defeating the creature is found, and Grey's origins are revealed. The story flows well, good dialogue, and some very believable and real-world characters.

The Bad: No good fight scene with the creature, as has been present in the last three issues? Awww. Um, can't think of anything else, Dark Horse have awesome work quality as I said in the intro.

The Ugly: No uglies identified. Comment if you find any please.

Verdict: A superbly done issue from Mike and Ben as usual. Good story, great art, awesome colors. Well done indeed. Rated 10 out of 10.

Posted by Fanbot at 1:13 pm, SATURDAY 10 October

Going Backwards - Transformers: All Hail Megatron #4 review

All Hail Megatron #4. Even though this is Going Backwards reviews, we actually get somewhere with issue 4! Two pages of Megs giving a (load of crap) propaganda speech, and then a whole issue of dejected Cybertron-marooned Autobots hiding from something, ending with another Autobot party joining with theirs. Let's jump into the review, and see what lies beneath.

Synopsis:Megatron has not only successfully conquered Earth, but Decepticon teams throughout the Galaxy have finally defeated the Autobot resistance.
On Cybertron, a petulant Ironhide is arguing with Prowl over there being a traitor in their midst, and even winds up punching his superior. Though Jazz calms the situation down, he and Prowl know that without more Energon, Optimus will soon die and that will be the end for them all.
In The Deserted City, Wheeljack and Bumblebee are searching for new Energon sources, but with no luck. They soon realise they are being watched, and use Wheeljack's new distress signal to get around the communication interference on the planet to call for help. Back at their base, Ironhide and Cliffjumper set out, leaving a reluctant Sunstreaker behind to keep an eye on the Autobot he believes betrayed them.
Within their new hiding home on Earth, the late Andy's group of survivors are falling apart without leadership. Sarah confront Bridge and makes him realise he needs to assume the leadership role.
On Cybertron, Ironhide and Cliffjumper take down the watching observer, only to find it's Hot Rod. He and some others were shot down over Cybertron some time ago and have been awaiting rescue - he's so glad someone has received their distress call and come looking for them...

The Good: Art: once again Guido has done an exquisit job on the artwork. The lines are clear with strong bold shapes giving emphasis. His shadowy style complements the grim, despairing tone of the Autobots' situation. Josh uses his coloring prowess to great effect, the gritty, sometimes colorful sometimes dull colors enhancing the comic's mood. His sequence with Wheeljack and Bumblebee on patrol looks awesome. Story: Shane is still going strong with the plot, though a couple discrepancies mar the plot as usual. The storytelling is well-executed. Good job guys.

The Bad: Guido's art has slipped ever so slightly since issue 3. The lines are more grainy and thick, though this only happens in patches. Sunstreaker's head chevrons are the wrong shape, and although they're changed in a coupla issues, they didn't have them like that on the Universe toy. What the slag (Should this go under "The Ugly"?)? uh, nothing else to report.

The Ugly: How come the Autobots are walking around Cybertron as happy as can be when, as of Thunderwing's assault, Cybertron is uninhabitable due to electrical storms that cause stasis lock, and gravity six G's below normal? As of AHM issue 7 it's explained that the planet is all better, but Jetfire said in Stormbringer that Cybertron was healing, "albeit on a cosmic timescale". Kinda convenient that it's all better now. But anyway ... also, in the Autobot group shot on page 8, Mirage and Trailbreaker have a funny perspective thing going on: Mirage's upper body is behind Trailbreaker's, but his feet are in front, and neither of them are turning or twisting any part of themselves to accommodate such positioning.

Verdict: An exquisitely executed issue on all accounts, Guido and Josh being the stars of the team. Second best of the series so far. Rated 9 out of 10.

Posted by Fanbot at 12:42 pm, SATURDAY 10 October

Friday, 9 October 2009

Going Backwards - Transformers: All Hail Megatron #3 review

By Primus! Three issues into AHM and we've only just started October. This is, as you will no doubt know if you've been paying attention, is the last month before IDW kicks off its ongoing TF series. So I have to shift my arse
or we'll still be halfway through Going Backwards reviews when issue 1 comes out! So read on, for the gospel of Fanbot on All Hail Megatron #3 (BTW: Trev's cover is awesome! Starscream's silhouette looks pretty cool doncha think?).

Synopsis: Within days of the first attack, New York is now completely under the control of the Decepticons. Human survivors huddle in subway stations, but Astrotrain is making his way through them killing all he finds.
Outside the attack area, Colonel Witwicky is told the attacks are spreading to other parts of the country. With the Navy also taken out, he is already desperate when he learns that Air Force One has been shot down in Washington.
This act was carried out by Starscream, who upon returning to the Decepticons base in the ruins of New York, earns some rare praise from Megatron. The two gloat over the fact that the defeat of the Autobot resistance was achieved by a traitor they hadn't expected. Meanwhile, Hook begins planning the rebuilding of New York into a new base.
Andy and Bridge are also hiding with people in a subway, but Andy's Air Force training means they're much better supplied and defended than the others. This means when Astrotrain arrives most of the refugees are able to flee, but Andy himself seemingly falls to a killer blow from the Decepticon...

The Good: Guidi's and Josh collaboration on the artwork seems to reach a peak with this issue. Lines are well-executed and convey action very well - first scene of the despairing refugees getting slagged by Astrotrain is very well done; rough shadowy lines combine with gritty colors to make the despair horrible clear. Good explosions by Josh as well. Best art of the series so far. Shane actually made Guido do this so I guess he's done all right. Brave thing killing off Andy like that, but far from surprising. Why the slag do all you fans hate the humans? I find their characters interesting, and if nothing else they give some sense of scale to the Bots. But anyway. Shane has done good - for now anyway...

The Bad: Why kill off Andy? Why kill him off when he's apparently looking out for the late DJ's girl Meg? I mean Shane spends a page telling us all this and then kills the damn guy off. What the slag? Um, nothing else really, the issue was pretty well done, as I said before.

The Ugly: Dan Witwicky is named as a commander in this issue but as a general in previous issues. This was later changed back to general, making commander an error. The subways are awfully well lit for a place in a town without power. Finally, Andy mistakes Ravage for a mechanical dog. I know Ravage's body is a bit generic in terms of shape, but anybody with even basic animal knowledge could see Ravage was some kind of cat! Stupid Andy.

Verdict: Very well done in terms of art, colors, story; well done on everything really. Coupla discrepancies but nothing major. Best issue so far. Rated 9.75 out of 10.

Posted by Fanbot at 10:07 am, FRIDAY 9 October

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Going Backwards - Transformers: All Hail Megatron #2 review

Transformers: All Hail Megatron #2 goes under the Fanbot microscope today, courtesy of Going Backwards reviews. First off, Trev Hutchison's cover, shown left. Trev is a masterful cover artist with great symbolic talent. Not exactly sure of the exact symbolism for this one, but Megs looks very important and dominant while the humans are all out en force but are still puny compared to him. Anyway, it looks awesome. On to the review...

Synposis: At a house party being thrown by his wife, Colonel Danny Witwicky is startled by the arrival of a helicopter with orders to take him to New York and take command of an emergency there. Within the City, Andy Reid has survived the crash of his F-22 and is being chased by Ravage. Teaming up with a woman named Sarah and a man called Bridge, they manage to escape the Decepticon with the aid of a Molotov cocktail and a sturdy door.
As Colonel Witwicky arrives at the field headquarters he learns the robots are assembled in Central Park and orders the assembled nearby troops to attack whilst he is briefed on the situation. The troops think the four visible robots will be easy to deal with, until Megatron sends just Frenzy to attack them with his ultra sonic frequencies. As the Colonel finishes learning that the robots who caused so much trouble last year were aliens rather than terrorists, he is informed that all the soldiers have been killed.
Andy and company try their best to get out of New York, but the tunnels and bridges are blocked. This turns out to be a good thing for them as the Seekers destroy the bridges whilst Laserbeak relays the images to the world. Then the Constructicons form Devastator, who wades into the Hudson River and delivers a punch that destroys the tunnels, with thousands of fleeing people in them...

The Good: Guido's art is clear and simplistically realistic, with large shadowy areas adding realism to the panels. His new, kibble-free rendition of Devastator is extremely awesome, and Jish Burcham's washed out, warm color paletter enhances and complements Guidi's art very well. Shane's writing seems to be going well, the action sequences and shock technique of Devastator smashing the water is cool.  Well done team, things are going well. Too bad the rest of the series went downhill.

The Bad: On several pages, Guidi's inks look very poorly scannes, grainy and yuck. Not sure if this is his own fault or the fault of the printers, but it is a bit of a disappointment. Once again with Shane, the story has little substance, other than "Cons smash stuff up and kill people". Many said that issues 1-3 could have been squeezed into one issue, and I have to agree. This is nothing new for those of us who have read to whole series.

The Ugly: Hook doesn't know who Frenzy is, despite having met him back in Megatron Origin and both of them being two of the earliest Decepticons. That is all.

Verdict: Awesomely done artwork from Guido and Josh, as usual. Sub-par story from Shane, as usual. But much better than last issue. Rated 8.5 out of 10.

Posted by Fanbot at 1:49 pm, SUNDAY 4 October

Friday, 2 October 2009

Going Backwards - Transformers: All Hail Megatron #1 review

And so it begins ... welcome back to Going Backwards reviews, where those of you too slagging lazy to dig out your old issues to go over past events. This week I present to you my gospel on All Hail Megatron #1. This issue divided the fandom in half, some loving, some hating. I loved it. It amazed and shocked me. And by the way, I'm doing these more often than once a week as it's getting very close to November and I need to review everything before the ongoing kicks off in about six weeks. So read on.

Synopsis: One year after the events of Devastation, a quiet day in New York is interrupted by the arrival of the Constructicons. The locals assume a movie is being filmed, until the Constructicons start blasting people.They are soon joined by Starscream and the Seekers who add to the destruction. Starscream's gloating over his superiority to Megatron is disturbed by the arrival of his leader, who shows how hardcore he is by destroying a skyscraper.
At a nearby USAF base a squadron of pilots is launched, though they don't believe in the reports of giant alien robots until they see them with their own eyes. Megatron and the other Decepticons make fast work of them.
On Cybertron a depressed and battered group of Autobots watch over a badly wounded Optimus Prime.

The Good:  Well, let's start with the art. Guido Guidi on lines with Josh Burcham coloring. Guidi's simplistic yet well-drawn style collaborates with Josh's amazing bright though washed out colors to convey the shocking, almost surreal mood. Shane McCarthy's writing talent (or lack of, some might say) is shocking and intrigues the reader to read more. The silent sequence of the Autobots watching over their battered leader needs no words. There is a distinct sense of despair and tension in the panels. Very well done. The Megs-Screamer dialogue is very funny and evocative of each character - Starscream sucking up to Megs while subtly mocking him, Megs answering coldly and blowing lots of stuff up. Very cool.

The Bad: Not much bad stuff here. But the issue doesn't have a lot of stuff. Looks more like a preview than an actual issue. Kinda like Infiltration #0. All it does is show us what will happen for the next 11 issues. Not very exciting. Shane says the first issue was meant to "ask questions, not answer them. Hmmm...

The Ugly: In the flashback panel on page 1, Jazz is missing his car doors on his forearms. It doesn't appear to be battle damage, and he has them later on in the present. Remember those big public Transformers battles and that giant dinosaur robot stomping around in broad daylight? Well, the people of America don't. The Air Force squadron say they thought the Decepticons were a hoax, though whether they meant the Decepticons in general—whom the Air Force have seen and bombed—or this specific attack is unclear. Neither makes much sense. Next issue reveals that the Transformers were public knowledge, but everyone believes they were tools for a terrorist group, which means the Air Force thinking they were a hoax and the people of NYC not recognizing them with fear makes even less sense. In the real world continuity family, there is no such rank as "commander" in the United States Air Force. Shane McCarthy is Australian, and their national air force has a "wing commander" rank, so that might be a real-life explanation for the existence of the rank in this continuity. This is not the first time this has happened. DJ has a "soul patch" beard, which, in the real world continuity family, is not allowed for U.S. military pilots.

Verdict: Very interesting, but the overall story has little substance to it which doesn't satisfy. The art makes up for this though - Guidi's silent ending sequence is totally awesome. Rated 8 out of 10.

Posted by Fanbot at 9:33 pm, FRIDAY 2 October

Anticipated IDW Transformers releases for October 2009

Hello Fanbot followers and welcome to October! By Primus, the year's just slaggin' flown by. Will be Christmas soon - get your TF wish lists ready! Anyway, here's the releases for this month, don't miss them. Enjoy!

TRANSFORMERS: All Hail Megatron #16 (w: Mike Costa,Zander Cannon/a: Guido Guidi,Chee)

TRANSFORMERS: All Hail Megatron Vol.3 TPB (w: Shane McCarthy, Andy Schmidt/a: Casey Coller,Robby Musso,Marcelo Matere,E.J. Su)

TRANSFORMERS: Tales of the Fallen #3 (w: Chris Mowry/a: Carlos Magno)

TRANSFORMERS: Best of the UK: Prey #3 (w: Simon Furman/a: Will Simpson)

Posted by Fanbot at 8:59 pm, FRIDAY 2 October