Sunday, 20 December 2009


Hi guys. I'm really really sorry about the delay on this review. My country got this one late and I've had Xmas commitments. But finally I can sit down and pick apart IDW's The Transformers2 (WARNING: spoilers!) ...

Covers by Figueroa, ANDREW WILDMAN

SYNOPSIS: Leaving a booty call in Albuquerque, Spike Witwicky receives the call from Skywatch personnel informing him of the attack on their holding facility; they request his attendance to deal with the surrender of Optimus Prime.
Back at their base, the Autobots discuss Prime's actions; Cliffjumper theorizes that it may be a test of some kind, although Hot Rod credits it to his inability to handle the situation. While the others call for a leadership vote, Hot Rod states his desire to leave the planet despite the protests of Brawn. The former asks if anyone else wants to join him in his desertion, and Jetfire, Red Alert, Prowl, Sandstorm, Silverstreak and Mirage do so to Bumblebee's obvious disappointment. Back at the Skywatch facility, Spike holds a conference call with his father regarding the status of Prime, and the commander nixes Optimus's transport to the command center. He implies disappointment with Spike's abandonment of his duties, and says that he'll be conferring with the other chiefs before making any plans.
The Autobots who remained at the base resume their plans for a leadership election, and when asked who he would nominate, Cliffjumper chooses himself.

In the desert, Hot Rod, Mirage, Red Alert and Prowl discuss plans to find another world with Omega Supreme. Although alone he lacks the energon to reach orbit, they figure they can escape Earth by pooling their resources. However, on hearing of Prime's surrender, Omega Supreme refuses to leave.
The group are being monitored by some of the Decepticons abandoned on Earth, including Swindle, Scrapper, Thundercracker and Tankor; they had been planning a revenge attack on Omega Supreme but now see a better alternative. After a brief skirmish, Swindle calls for a ceasefire.
At Skywatch, Spike orders the transformation suppressor removed from Prime; as the latter resumes robot form, Spike offers to talk.

Swindle appeals to both the Autobots and Decepticons, reminding them that there is no longer a need to fight since the war is over; he suggests they work together in order to go home. Prowl is suspicious, but Hot Rod decides to put it to a vote.
At the Autobot base, Wheeljack brings in the results of the leadership election; much to Bumblebee's surprise, he has won. Cliffjumper laments that it was just a 'popularity contest', but Ratchet assures Bumblebee that the rest of the Autobots consider him trustworthy and dependable. They are interrupted by the arrival of a Cybertronian ship and go out to meet it as it lands. Ultra Magnus emerges and demands to know who is in charge. With the others looking at him, Bumblebee confirms that he is...

THE ART:  Figueroa continues to demonstrate his artistic expertise, every page stunningly rendered in exquisite detail. There are cool, subtle differences in style for different objects; the smooth, simple form of the humans, which is a tad too simplistic. Don obviously needs to work on his people drawing skills as his faces are all very similar and show little expression. The TFs, on the other hand, are drawn almost flawlessly and look beautiful on the page. The issue's highlight had to be Don's awesome new body design for Brawn. When I watched Brawn in the G1 cartoon I hated him. His design lacked flair and individuality. But Don changes this and dips him in awesome sauce. Yay! As for the rest, Don renders the bots well and gives sleek new designs to Jetfire, Cliffjumper, Swindle, Octane (and more) that look awesome. But I don't like the sleek, sharp way he's drwn Ultra Magnus' ship as it clashed with the complex, angular and sharp look of the rest of the TF architecture. And I'm disappointed at the drop in standard of Don's beautiful, elegant backgrounds (seen in Stormbringer). They've lost their visual oomph and look very mediocre. Sad, very sad. Lastly, James Brown colored the issue up well. My only complaint is that his backgrounds look very fake and computer-generated.

THE STORY: Mike Costa has shown us that he isn't afraid to do things differently. The fact that Bumblebee is elected leader of the Autobots turns everything we've seen before inside out and on its head. This is something I never anticipated in a million stellar cycles. If this doesn't make you sit up and pay attention to the ongoing, then what does? And Swindle of all bots suggesting they join forces with the Autobots is strange also. For those of you new to this franchise, his name says it all. But ... although Costa puts our bots into unique situations, they act and react in them in keeping with the personalities of their G1 cartoon counterparts. This is a very crafty and clever thing Costa has done and it will please fans on both sides of the spectrum; the story is new and different while still harking back to the G1 cartoon days. I really like how Costa is referencing previous canon while keeping things new and taking risks. Hot Rod continues his "Rodimus" style badaft, no-nonsense attitude; Brawn is grumpy and aggressive; Omega Supreme states the obvious and is stubbornly loyal to Optimus Prime. So, the results all up:

ART RATING: 9 out of 10
STORY RATING: 9 out of 10
OVERALL RATING: 9.5 out of 10

ERRORS: Jetfire, Red Alert, Brawn, Silverstreak, Sandstorm, Swindle and Dead End all make unexplained appearances. Costa makes no attempt to justify their being on Earth. My view? I think that maybe they came to Earth in search of their respective leaders, only to be trapped there and forced into hiding. Oh, and Hot Rod is identified as "Rodimus" on the Con scanners. Bit early there guys!

FAVE QUOTE: Omega Supreme: I must warn you that there is a phalanx of Decepticons cresting the ridge.
Hot Rod: What?
Omega Supreme: I suggest you take evasive action. [Omega states the impending attack with a calm only he can muster.]

VERDICT: a thouroughly written and beautifully drawn issue that excels in all areas. I absolutely love it! Great to see Costa is expanding the cast more. Can't wait for issue 3. Rated 9.5 out of 10. And a huge thank you to IDW's editor in chief Chris Ryall for providing a digital copy of this comic for the review.

Posted by Fanbot at 9:52 pm, SUNDAY 20 December

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