Saturday, 30 January 2010

Last Stand of the Wreckers #1 review

Sorry for the lateness on this one; been on holiday. But finally, here's the deal on Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers #1...

SYNOPSIS: Garrus-9 penitentiary, 3 years ago. The prison is being overrun by the Decepticons. Kick-Off smells an inside job, while Fortress Maximus handles the situation efficiently. Meanwhile, Skyquake and some other Cons witness Overlord’s arrival. Overlord tries to take control of the situation but Skyquake’s having none of it. Overlord blasts Skyquake in the back and proceeds to lead the Cons to victory, proclaiming he’ll liberate and entertain the Cons on Garrus-9. Fort Max is thrown to the Con hordes. Time jump to eight months ago. New Wreckers Pyro, Ironfist, Guzzle and Rotorstorm are scolded by a superior for blowing up a fuel depot. They’re picked up by Ultra Magnus’ ship, and greeted by none other than Verity Carlo of Earth. They’re dubious as to her being a Wrecker, but Springer walks in (with Twin Twist, Kup, Perceptor and Topspin) and informs them that none of them are, yet. The situation on Garrus-9 is explained; it’s been overrun by the Cons, but any attempt by other Cons to get in has been blown out of orbit. The new Wreckers are there to investigate. Springer explains to the new guys the dangers of Wreckership. Back on Garrus-9, Overlord and some Cons chase an Autobot for sport.

A purple Con subdues the Autobot, but his cockiness catches him off guard and the Autobot leaps at his throat. Overlord kills the Autobot and then the purple Con, explaining to the others that he was careless and so wasting Overlord’s time. Elsewhere, on Magnus’ ship, Ironfist feels hyperspace-sick. It’s revealed he was a journalist who wrote extensive datalogs on the Wreckers, under the alias Fisitron. Wreckers old and new talk, while Springer notices Ironfist may be hiding something. He seems burdened by the danger of Wreckership. Kup remarks that Springer can’t stop thinking about Impactor. Springer replies that it’s hard but not impossible. Time jump to one month ago. Con Borehole and now-crazy Autobot Kick-Off are in a pit fight. Kick-Off brutally beats and rips Borehole’s head off. Overlord is pleased and invites Kick-Off into his quarters for a reward. Back on Magnus’ ship, the Wreckers go to a Con ship that sent a distress signal, where is promptly blows up. But a shadowy figure approaches the ship, riding on the explosion. Everyone’s stunned to see that it is…


THE ART: Four words can sum up this issue perfectly well; NICK. ROCHE. JOSH. BURCHAM. A creative team made in Transfandom nirvana. Take a look at the interior images on this review and see for yourself the amazing job Roche does on this issue. Elegantly drawn bots, Kirby-esque smoke and explosions and simple backgrounds culminate into one beauty of a comic. The only downside to his artwork is the thick, clunky lines of assistant inker John Wycough; his inks detract from the art and look extremely unprofessional. But the gold medal definitely goes to colorist Josh Burcham. As you can see from the pages around, his coloring has no equal. The warm, vibrant palette enhances and complements the artwork perfectly, expertly rendering everything from the bloody-red sunset of Garrus-9 to the lurid magenta body fluid and explosions that splash across the pages. He also does a crafty subtle difference in coloring style between Garrus-9 and the rest of the scenes. Whereas the scenes with the Wreckers are clean and smooth, Garrus-9 has a gritty, pastel-like texture to the colors that emphasizes the chaotic, dirty mood on the prison planet.

THE STORY: Where do I start with this one? The plot is not what would have been expected from one such as Roche (and James Roberts). Interestingly, most of the issue consists of exposition - outlining what has happened on Garrus-9 in the past 3 years, introducing new characters and old, and only in the last few pages or so does the bombshell of Wrecker leader Impactor's appearance come. And what a bombshell that was. I'm sure that in Roche and Robert's interview at One Shall, they said Impactor wouldn't be making an appearance. But this is a good thing! Roche fills out the story with a stellar cast of obscure characters from the UK and Europe - Pyro, Ironfist, Guzzle, Rotorstorm - as well as wild cards like Overlord from Masterforce and Kick-Off from the Action Masters toyline. This shows that Roche/Roberts can deliver quality characters without resorting to mainstream bots like Prime and Bumblebee. The story has good pace and the time jumps are smooth and not at all jarring. And no-one can write dialogue like Roche. The  quirky, idiosyncratic way the bots (and Verity - interesting choice to bring her back as a Wrecker) talk with each other; Pyro's calm and desire to sort out problems, Verity's brash cheeriness, Twin Twist and Topspin's ribbing each other. And Overlord's breaking away from the rest of the Decepticons is very interesting and will no doubt affect the rest of the series. Woo! So much coolness! Roche, Roberts, you rock! The results:

Script by NICK ROCHE

ART RATING: 8.5 out of 10
STORY RATING: 10 out of 10
OVERALL RATING: 9.5 out of 10

FAVE QUOTE: Pyro: "We'll be seeing you, sir."
Dipstick: "Hah! You think so? You're joining the Wreckers... what makes you think you're coming back?"[Pyro doesn't know what being a Wrecker means yet. Poor guy.]

VERDICT: Beautiful. Wonderful. An exquisitely executed issue on every front imaginable. I couldn't be more happier (well, OK. Roche could have inked the whole issue.). If you haven't yet got this issue then get off your computer and get it! Go now!

Posted by Fanbot at 12:39 pm, SATURDAY 30 January

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