Thursday, October 1, 2015

Dreamwave Generation ONE Review

I have to admit. I did not dive into my back issues for this first feature quite yet. I partially cheated and read the collected graphic novel of the first Transformers story produced by Dreamwave. My first impression is that I had to completely been taken by this series when it was first released. Basically the only reason that I own this graphic novel is it has sneak preview of the next series, and I needed more, so I spent the 12.99!

Here is the image that completely captured my imagination. The incentive cover. Looking back I never noticed that unlike many comics, this cover really captured an amazing battle that happened within the story, granted it was far from the initial issue, however I got to see this battle take place in the pages before the end of this event which was incredible.

I turned the pages and was delightfully surprised to see the preview was included prior to beginning issue 1. Once again i was caught up in Lazarus' offer and wanted more. I had completely forgotten that Dreamwave used a semi-zombie story until i really poured into the pages and saw the night attacks by Megatron in the jungle.

Then finally we get to meet Spike, applying that yellow hard hat that we all know so well. I really like how they let us know he was back, and they even combined the cartoon and the comic Spike, as in later pages he was asked about his younger brother Buster, yet his introduction he retained the characteristics from More Than Meets the Eye part 1. We even get to meet his son Daniel, another great call back from the cartoon. I can vividly remember at Botcon 2002's comic panel being told that "Carly is at her mother's house... we will tell you the story soon." Another broken promise from the team.

The fist issue moves about a nice pace, but focuses on Spike, and ominously hints at a tragedy that struck in 1999. You can catch a small bit of the story if you try to read over Spike's shoulder but we are provided with the article at the end of the story. Basically the Autobots won the war and decided to go home with their captive Deceptiocons. As a thank you they were taking human researchers to share Cybertronian technology, Sparkplug being one of them. The Ark II ended the same way as the Challenger, and all aboard were killed, sending Buster into a downward spiral, and putting Spike into a bad mood.

Well it turns out that the bots and cons on board were scattered, and not killed. And the United States Mass Weaponry Board (or some made up division) needed Mr. Spike Witwicky's assistance. He was ordered to come with the commanding general and shown the video of Megatron attacking. Spike is then taken to a secret holding facility where Optimus Prime's lifeless body is revealed to him. I have to say that panel revealing Prime has to be some of my favorite art. It saddens me that there is a chance that Pat Lee did not create it and an amazing artist was slighted the credit that he deserves. Spike then removes his necklace that holds a piece of the Matrix and pressies it inside the Matrix in Optimus' chest, waking the giant.

When Optimus awakens he is told of the horrible atrocities that his Autobots are performing and uses the Matrix to revive all of his fallen comrades not under control of Lazarus. Meanwhile Lazarus decides to cash in his chips. He calls together all of the scum of hte world (think Batman and Robin) and holds a bidding war for these programmable titans. However not wanting to be sneaky, he brings out Megatron as the first bid. As the scum are screaming their bids, the very much awake Megatron makes his grand entrance and wipes all of them out, except for his new "dog" Lazarus.

Optimus ans his crew are made aware of the Decepticon location, and decide to finish things once and for all. They stage an attack on the base and are welcomed by Megatron and his crew. The battle is fast however and ends in the Deceptcons scattering and the Autobots infiltrating the Decepticon base. Inside Optimus is informed by a damaged Ironhide that Megatron has unleashed a mechanical virus that will take over the earth. Megatron is not resting on his laurels however and has began to attack a coastal city with the help of Devastator. Optimus rallies his troops and sets one group to battle the virus while he travels with Superion to battle Megatron.

The bots discover that the virus is Techo-Organic and the only thing that can stop it is their energy so Wheeljack creates a blaster that drains their energy to battle the building virus. The only issues is that they will need to use all of their energy to stop it, possibly killing them all.

Optimus reaches the city and defeats Devastator stylishly before addressing Megatron in person. The battle quickly escalates, until Megatron and Optimus share their opinions of humans. Megatron tries to crush Optimus' belie in humans, until one ghost-drives a fire truck into Megatron giving Optimus the advantage he needed.

While all of this action was happening we get a glimpse of Spike who was jailed, freed by the guilty conscience janitor, and informed of Lazarus. Spike is then told that Lazarus partner was none other than the General he has been dealing with this whole time (WHOA Major TWIST!!!). The general sees the destruction and decides that he will send a nuke to end this issue once and for all. Que To Be Concluded!

The final issue addresses all three story lines. The president finds that Nukes have been ordered, so the General is addressed, and eventually killed in front of Spike. The Autobots battling the virus are attacked and begin to intercept tank shells intended for the virus, and Optimus realizes that a nuke is on its way for him, but keeps fighting Megatron.

Our story hits its climax in a beautiful Optimus quote that as a leader you enter battle and vow to lose no one, but some take things into their own hands as Superion intercepts the nuke with is chest and Wheeljack hooks himself up to a satallite dish and sacrifices ever inkling of his energy to stop the virus. Megatron then gets away to free room for more and Grimlock finds the Decepticons ditched him but does not rejoin the Autobots.

The story I feel tried to do to much at once. At points it was hard to follow, and I had to second look what seemed like th US government had Megatron and used him for missions, but it was just the similarity of Pat Lee's humans. Some of the bot artwork is marvelous, and yet some leave me desiring more. I am pretty sure this series sales were almost fully on nostalgia, but the story was decent. I just feel it bit off more than it could chew in points.

I feel they did a very good job of instilling the type of character that Optimus is, yet I feel this Megatron was easily a tyrant. I think that IDW have completely changed my view of Megs with their characterization.

All in all this was the title that relaunched the Transformers Comics, however the pull of Transformers: War and Peace no longer has as much pull. I feel like i may be jumping to IDW much quicker to re-establish the history of the new comic cannon.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

DreamWave's Transformers: Generation One

I have been burning through my IDW new releases lately. It seems like I can barely get home from the comic shop before I am flipping the pages to see what is happening this week. This is great, however I seem to be constantly out of reading material, and then the idea hit me. I need to dive back into my back issues. My wife has been trying to figure out why I have so many long boxes, and it was time to put them to use, however the long boxes are still staying untouched.
I was looking at my graphic novels, and there it sat... lonely with a slew of Titan G1 Reprints. Dreamwave's first Transformers graphic novel release, and curiosity got the best of me. I grabbed it. My mind was ready to see if it stood the test of time, but first i wanted to document what I really remembered about it.
When I got into the fandom, Beast Machines was just ending. The show did not draw me in as much as the Canadian copy of Transformers: The Movie and hearing Spike curse. This led me to want as much info as possible on these robots in disguise. My cousin kindly burned me a copy of 8 CDR's that held the original series so I could see the rest of the story, and that was followed by him allowing em to borrow a half box filled with all of his Marvel Transformers comics. The run was far from complete, but it was more fiction that devoured. I wanted more. I began to spreadsheet all of these figures that I never figured I would own, and my father noticed a somewhat adult take on a hobby. The spreadsheets were meticulously kept (why I stopped I can only kick myself), and print outs were printed and held in a binder that made its way with me each weekend to the flea market. I slowly found the necessary transformers websites and resources.
That's when the news broke. Hasbro licensed the rights to a Transformers comic book! I read the press release and coveted the fist art work available. The binder that followed me everywhere was soon adorned with a print out of what would become Transformers: Generation One #1's incentive cover (The Superion-Devastator battle cover). I drove to my comic shop and opened a folder, making sure that I wouldn't miss an issue.
Then I waited. I can vividly remember when the teaser comic was released online. There I sat in my bedroom and was glued to my 17" CRT monitor, wanting my 56k modem to download all the pictures as fast as possible. I saw Lazarus, and then in the last panel was Soundwave's arm rising from the ice.
When the date finally arrived, I went to my cousin who already picked up his copies. My Uncle Jim provided me with an extra $10 to make sure that i had enough for all of my copies (God rest his soul). I drove to the shop, and grabbed my folder. There was three covers, and the fourth was the incentive cover that I had been staring at for weeks, and at $10, a gift from my Uncle Jim.
I am not sure about the story anymore. All I can remember is wanting to know who Lazarus was. I can remember trying to read every inch of the first issue, more so than any other comic in my past. I remember trying to read the news article about how Sparkplug died, only to see a full print at the end of the issue. I can remember being on cloud nine seeing Transformers rule the sales charts.
The story is hazy. I cannot remember much, I know Devy caused some havoc but not much more. I know that I ended up buying issue 1 five or six times, and eating it up. I can remember my first Botcon, and waiting in line to get Pat Lee, and the rest of the Dreamwave crew (including Simon Furman) to sign that all important incentive cover. I can remember the first Dreamwave panel at said Botcon, and an hour of "will (insert robot name) appear in the comics." I am looking forward the revising these books. Since i know these will eventually feed a cliff-hanger bankruptcy ending, I think I have moved past it. I hope that I can still enjoy this story line for what it is.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

SDCC 2014: Enter the Combiner Wars

So the third event of the year that keeps me glued to my phone is currently under way and no it is not the NFL Draft. Rather it is SDCC, and much like Toyfair and Botcon this is the time when Hasbro finds out how much of my wallet they can claim... which I must say they have done an amazing job this year. We were given a small sneak peek at Botcon this year, but being that I was not in attendance all I got to hear was the speculation from those who were lucky enough to be there. Hasbro was not allowed to give us the new theme, however they were able to give us silhouettes, and that is where the speculation began. Luckily for the fans next year the them for the Generations line will be Combiner Wars.
To start off I chose Superion. He was the silhouette that was shown at Botcon and everyone chose correctly. I have to say that I am incredibly pumped up for him to come out. Firstly I will address the alternative choices available. Fans Project did an amazing job of retrofitting the Energon combiner into a great G1 homage. TFC then released their new version of Superion, however, unlike Hercules I feel that it did not work. This is great in my mind for the classic fist Autobot Combiner. He looks great, and is exactly what I was looking for.
The first of the Aerialbots that I am going to address is the elephant in the room. Alot of people have been complaining that this doesn't fit. There never was a helicopter in the crew. I have to say I welcome the change. Firstly, it is nice that there is a new idea entering the crew. It is not a bad thing to change, and I like that it will change Superions look a little bit, just enough to make him look fresh, and I didn't even notice when I looked the first time. If you really have an issue with this just buy another deluxe. Luckily Hasbro has made them Scramble-Citified so you can implement any limb anywhere, hell buy another jet and customize it or pay someone to complete your more perfected set. Or I am sure that Takara will opt out of the helicopter.
The main reason this figure gets me excited is that Botcon promised numbers that tallied up to be about 4 combiners. Dividing that down a Helicopter Aerialbot could easily be a sing of things to come, i.e. a Blades and a Vortex utilizing this mold again. This would be a dead give away that we were getting Defensor and an earth mode Bruticus to replace the FOC Bruticus that everybody hated and bought multiple copies of. see its the little things.
I am pretty sure that these guys should be incredibly close to each other much like their G1 counterparts. I am really digging these designs as well. Hasbro has really done a great job bringing back the original feel. It even looks like the G1 figures, which I always thought looked like they were just wearing the jets on their backs. I am also really excited that these figures are in the deluxe scale, continuing what I have loved about classics.
And again we have a new Silverbolt figure. I am excited to see how the new torso figures look and interact with the limbs. Hasbro announced that the joint connections are a new design so it has peaked my curiosity.
Then Hasbro introduces a new addition to the crew. Powerglide has been added to the crew. His legion figure will be an addition the Superion and supply additional fire power. I love that Hasbro has made this move to link the two lines and I feel that it was a good move to jump in on the fist level with Bumblebee and Optimus.
I am incredibly happy about this announcement, mostly because I was planning on how I was going to convince my wife that I needed a 300$ combiner. I have heard some talk about "nice try Hasblow..." but seriously, what is really wrong with this guy. So the Fan's Project looks incredible, however this Menasor will cost roughly how much your Dragstrip cost you. Also that Fans Project version will not interact with any of your other combiners will it? This is a home run and great to see that Menasor is coming back into the picture.

The Stuticons individually are all amazing. I just keep looking at them and trying to decipher who are they going to become for extra combiners.
Continuing the trend with the new combniers, Menasor, has an unnamed Legion sports car that as far as I can tell helps create the chest piece, which is a great throw back to the original release.
Hasbro has hit a home run with me. The movie figures have left me with a lackluster taste in my mouth, and yet they have provided me some great figures to look forward to at both Botcon and SDCC. I cannot wait to turn over my hard earned money for these great figures. I am incredibly excited to see what Hasbro can do, I just hope it is a repeat or what Springer did to Warbot Defender.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Late in the Transformers Energon line, Towline was released. I remember finding it and hoping that he would make an appearance in the show, however that never happened. Also sadly Dreamwave had went under so we never really got to see Towline in any fiction. This is sad because he is one of my favorite figures from the Energon line, and I feel he really stands out.

Towline’s vehicle mode is somewhat unassuming. He transforms into a van (hell a creeper van), but it is nicely populated with 5mm ports in order to weaponize him. He rolls nicely, but really there is not much going on here.

Transformation is where Towline really shines. I am going to start with his “battle mode.” In this mode the figure really shows up. His lower body is a basic transformation of the van. A pair of splitting treads forms what looks like his legs, and are further supported by the front two van wheels in order to add stability. Also there is a set of 2 guns that are formed from his robot legs that come over his head for additional fire power. Like all the Energon figures, Towline is provided with his own Energon weapon for defense. This mode really shows how great this figure could be, however there is more than meets the eye to Towline.

Towline utilized the Energon theme of Autobot Combination amazingly, and I feel he did it better than any figure in the line. He is the only figure that can form both the bottom half and top half of the combined robots at once. This aspect gave an amazing homage to the original Ironhide and Ratchet figures from 1984. Since the two halves of the body split, it really reflected how these original G1 figures had the basic bot mode and a traveling battle station. In 2005 with Fun Pub used this mold to provide us with a classic Ironhide and Ratchet they successfully created the first and best representation of the classic characters. This is part of what created a great battle mode, but I feel that the figure is amazing in a standard robot mode.

The bottom half of his combination mode is a battle platform. There is a 5mm port hole added for a gun port, and the platform has some additional weaponry molded on. It is somewhat boring on its own but adds some great play features. It also provides a nice rolling base for any bot that you really cannot stand the bottom half of their robot mode without sacrificing Towline’s robot mode.

Towline’s robot mode is amazingly simple yet incredibly impressive. He is stacked with articulation, yet has just the basics present. I have to say the Transformation scheme is very reminiscent of Ironhide and Ratchet as addressed above, however the characterization that we received about Towline as well as his head mold are very reminiscent of Kup. I have always looked at Towline as the Kup of the Energon series. The robot mode is very to the point but I feel that it works perfectly. In the Energon timeline this is one figure that I am constantly trying to find a place for in my Classics collection.

The only thing that I would recommend watching out for on Towline is his weapon. Towline has an amazing sniper rifle/transforming gun that can be somewhat rearranged to serve whatever purpose that you want, however remember that like the rest of the Energon line it is molded in translucent plastic. This was done to reflect that the weaponry was Energy based, however I have ran into issues with Towline’s many ball joints on his gun. I actually have two Towline figure in my collection because the outer most ball joint socket decided to crack. If you are looking for a complete Towline please inspect the figure for any excessive wear and weak points here. Also keep a close eye on how you store Towline.

Towline is probably my favorite figure from the Energon toyline. He gave an amazing sense of nostalgia in a time where Classics were only a wet dream. I am surprised this mold has not been utilized more, however I am happy that it has been kept to a select few uses. I would highly recommend that anyone who is thinking about picking him up do so, you will not be disappointed!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

IDW Transformers

to try and reel back the blog to get back to the more positive side of things so all that I could think was what is good for Transformers fans right now? The answer was fairly obvious, well other than So I feel that the past few posts have been hanging on toward the negative side of things. I wanted the toys currently (generations G1 stuff) IDW has been doing an absolutely amazing job at keeping fans on the edge of their seats. I decided to basically write my fanboy love letter to IDW.

To start off, when I first got into transformers, the fiction that was readily available was fairly slim. There were some Rhino VHS tapes available, and there was a Canadian copy of the Transformers Movie (with Shit reinstated), however officially there was not much else avail to fans. My first deluge was into the original series, thanks to Bearshare. My cousin had downloaded all of the original episodes, and we were able to fit them into eight CDR’s. The copies were really a great visit to the old days because they were a mix of all video file types. I had to have at least three video programs in order to watch all the episodes… you know the good old days of Windows 98. Additionally all of these videos were digitized versions of whatever people had recorded on VHS. This meant that each new episode I did not know how good the quality would be or even when it was recorded. I still have many of these files for the simple fact that they were Generation 2 copies of the episodes. I gotta say that I loved the Cybernetic Space Cube! Other than the original series, Beast Wars was not avail and Beast Machines was on air. Those episodes were not as easy to come by and considering how Bear Share worked, when the two guys who had these episodes had to get off their dial up you were stuck waiting until they logged back in.

Comic book wise all that was around was the original Marvel runs. My cousin was kind enough to let me borrow his short box with all the copies he had on hand. However, the 80 issue run along with two 4 issue minis and the 12 issue G2 run only provided so much. Also Josh’s collection was not complete, so I found myself being thankful when I went to my comic shop and found that Titan Books was releasing the tail end of the 80 issue series in Graphic Novel format.

That being said when Hasbro reinitialized the books to Dreamwave I was on cloud nine. I have to say I read that preview many times on my giant 17 inch monitor. I could not wait. I bought like tree copies of the preview comics read to go. I can remember my first Botcon which happened to be the first Dreamwave Botcon as well. Well their panel became an onslaught of “will (insert character) be in the comic?” That panel was mind numbing. However I was fully involved.

Flash forward a few years, Pat Lee screwed over basically everybody at Dreamwave to save his car, and we were once again without comics. Then we all received the great announcement that some unknown comic company IDW was taking over the license. I have to say the next Botcon was very much of the same that happened with Dreamwave. Basically everybody wanted to know when their favorite Transformers would make an appearance. However there were some great highlights. We found that IDW had hired on many of the talent that Dreamwave had screwed, and they hired Simon Furman to pen the first batch of books to come out. Also they gave away an amazing poster recreating the Uncle Sam “I want you” pose with Optimus Prime. All that I could say is again I was optimistic on what was on the way.

Infiltration set the stage that this was going to be a different book. It actually tried to keep the Transformers’ war under the radar more than any other fiction had. The idea had always been toyed with however Infiltration actually set the whole idea that ambiguity was a major asset for this race. Simon Furmon’s writing also kept me tuned in to see what was going to happen next.
Then IDW made an amazing move. They decided to start to jumping around in the timeline. Not only did they give you a real-time story, but also they provided more background. Also they started to weave all of the books into a single solitary story. It reminded me of the old 90’s X-Men books however not as convoluted. This also opened the door for IDW to introduce a much larger cast of Transformers into the universe without having to force the issue as the original Marvel run did.

Stormbringer was the first mini-series that really fulfilled a need for the Transfan. It introduced Thunderwing and the Pretenders back into the mythos, and not in the tacky way they were in the original run. They also provided the US with a Wreckers story line and introduced the Seal Team of the Autobots into the new comic series.

They also expanded the universe utilizing One-Shot books. These gave you a focus on a small number of Formers at a time, but provided a great spot for character development. Also they were slightly linked in a way that setup the first major story arc for IDW. Each one shot would make you ask a question and then just partially answer it.

The comics continued to get better and better, however for me there were some sour spots. When the comic left the mini-maxi series format and started an ongoing, I felt the main story arc was somewhat lost. Mike Costa’s run on the book is not my favorite storyline, and I felt that it left a bit of want. However during this time we received the Last Stand of the Wrecker’s Mini. This mini is often held as one of the greatest Transformers stories, and I cannot disagree. It continued the IDW universe building and introduced characters from Europe and Japan into the main story arch.

At the end of the Mike Costa run IDW entered their Chaos event, and finished up the ongoing book. Also in this story arch they revived Cybertron and discharged Optimus and Megatron. The Chaos event also marked an epiphany for me. They had released a great review comic explaining what had happened up to this point in the story and as I reviewed it I realized that IDW had surpassed the number of books that the original full marvel run had lasted.
This lead to the current state of events. IDW has now announced that the comic will continue with 2 ongoing monthly series (Robots in Disguise and More than Meets the Eye). We just finished up the Dark Cybertron event and sadly I am stuck in the middle due to time conflicts.
We also have reached a new era where the comics and toys finally work together like they did in the Marvel run. The first real sign of this was when Hasbro released the perfect Springer toy, which was based off the artwork from Last Stand and Nick Roche’s Springer. This has continued and now created the new Generations line that is even supported by the IDW books packed in with the figures.

I have to say that I am huge fan and they have me hook, line, and sinker. I am a proud Gee Oner however I feel that I get a chance to create my own definition of G1. IDW books are a great part of my definition of G1 now. They are my choice fiction and I often refer to their history.
One of my friends is now trying to start reading the books from square one. I warned him that there is a lot of material, however I am a little jealous because he gets to read it in sequential order, as opposed to my order of release. Now thanks to Wikipedia, I here is your reading order if you want to join in the fun.

1-4. Megatron Origin #1-4
5. Spotlight - Orion Pax
6. Spotlight - Blurr
7-18. Autocracy #1-12
19-30. Monstrosity #1-12
31. Spotlight - Thundercracker
32. Spotlight - Shockwave
33. Spotlight - Cliffjumper
34. Spotlight - Wheelie
35. Spotlight - Hot Rod
36. Spotlight - Sixshot
37. Spotlight - Ultra Magnus
38. Spotlight - Soundwave
39-42. Infiltration #0-3
43-45. Stormbringer #1-3
46-47. Infiltration #4-5
48. Stormbringer #4
49. Infiltration #6
50. Spotlight - Kup
51-54. New Avengers/Transformers #1-4
55-56. Escalation #1-2
57. Spotlight - Nightbeat
58-61. Escalation #3-6
62. Spotlight - Ramjet
63. Spotlight - Galvatron
64. Spotlight - Optimus Prime
65-68. Devastation #1-4
69. Spotlight - Blaster
70. Spotlight - Arcee
71-72. Devastation #5-6
73. Spotlight - Mirage
74. Spotlight - Grimlock
75-78. Revelation #1-4 (contains Spotlights on Cyclonus, Hardhead, Doubledealer & Sideswipe)
79-83. Maximum Dinobots #1-5
84a. All Hail Megatron #15 "Everything in Its Right Place"
85. Spotlight - Drift
84b. All Hail Megatron #15 "Lost & Found"
86. Spotlight - Metroplex
87. Spotlight - Jazz
88-102. All Hail Megatron #1-14 & 16
103. Continuum
104. Spotlight - Prowl
105. Last Stand of the Wreckers #1
106. Transformers #1
107-108. Last Stand of the Wreckers #2-3
109. Transformers #2
110. Last Stand of the Wreckers #4
111-112. Transformers #3-4
113-116. Bumblebee #1-4
117-118. Transformers #5-6
119. Last Stand of the Wreckers #5
120-123. Ironhide #1-4
124-125. Transformers #7-8
126-129. Drift #1-4
130-131. Heart of Darkness #1-2
132-133. Infestation #1-2 (Transformers series)
134-138. Transformers #9-13
139. Spotlight - Megatron
140-146. Transformers #14-20
147-148. Heart of Darkness #3-4
149-157. Transformers #21-29
158. Spotlight - Bumblebee
159-160. Transformers #30-31
161. Transformers: Death of Optimus Prime
162-164. More Than Meets the Eye #1-3
165-167. Robots in Disguise #1-3
168-169. More Than Meets the Eye #4-5
170-171. Robots in Disguise #4-5
172. Spotlight - Trailcutter
173. Spotlight - Hoist
174. More Than Meets the Eye #6
175. More Than Meets the Eye Annual
176-177. More Than Meets the Eye #7-8
178-182. Robots in Disguise #6-10
183-187. More Than Meets the Eye #9-13
188. Robots in Disguise Annual
189-194. Robots in Disguise #11-16
195-196. More Than Meets the Eye #14-15
197-200. Robots in Disguise #17-20
201-207. More Than Meets the Eye #16-22
208-209. Robots in Disguise #21-22
210-221. Dark Cybertron #1-12 (contains Dark Cybertron #1, More Than Meets the Eye #23-27, Robots in Disguise #23-27 & Dark Cybertron Finale)
222-225. More Than Meets the Eye #28-31 (#31 unpublished)
226-229. Robots in Disguise #28-31 (#31 unpublished)
230-233. Windblade #1-4 (#4 unpublished)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

TF4- AOE Story Fan Edit, How I would have done it!

So I feel that since Friday I have been harping pretty strongly against Age of Extinction. I don’t mean to be a completely negative fan, however I am very disappointed with how it turned out. I have talked to most of my comic friends and we all have came to an agreement that it defiantly is not the movie that we really wanted. Actually perceptions of the movie range from OK to Horrific, however there are things that we all agree about.
For that reason, I have decided that I would post how I would have approached the movie. I am taking this as a script re-write, and not starting from complete scratch. I understand that people in Hollywood do this for a living, and I am not trying to down their vision, however I think that I have a way to try to add cohesion to this film. Sadly however, it takes a little bit more work than the Spiderman 3 fan edits, so it will never happen. Also I am using the film to provide my “vision” so please understand that this serves as your spoiler warning. I cannot talk about how I would do it without bringing it up. Proceed with your own caution.
Opening scene, stick with the Antarctica from years ago. Scene was alright so leave it as it was.
Next we enter into the Ratchet Death Scene, however it is majorly changed. Instead of ratchet, we replace him with Leadfoot. We still have the introduction of Lockdown and the Autobot hunters, however now we have a huge battle between Lockdown and Leadfoot, giving some amazing Michael Bay Explosions, and great an amazing Wreckers death scene, the type that a Wrecker knows is due for his end. Again Lockdown kills Leadfoot trying to get a lead on Optimus Prime, Leadfoot wont talk.
Then flash back to lest say 3 years ago. Ratchet is exploring the south pole. This is basically following the battle of Chicago. Ratchet stumbles on a sign of transformer life, and is inspecting it. At that point the Cybertronian ship flys over the scene, small battle (hard to see) takes place, and ship flys away with all remnants of metal dinosaurs and Ratchet.
Now we enter the Cade story. Hell I figure you basically continue to it as it took place, except for one thing. Optimus may be reactivated in battle mode, but once he realizes that Cade is there, he settles and talks with Cade. No more Murdermus Prime. I am tired of that Bayism, so lets get rid of it. When Cade and family is then introduced to the Autobots, we get to learn of Ratchet’s fate, and that he is held prisoner at the manufacturing facility. This will provide more of a link between Lockdown and the humans in the story, as well as explain how they could have manufactured transformers. Lets be honest, even if you discovered Transformium, you don’t know Cybertronian anatomy… who better than Ratchet.
This also sets up the new battle in Chicago much better I believe. Now the Autobots have just cause for staging a rescue mission at the manufacturing facility. Where in the movie the bots act out of revenge, now they are trying to save their brethren who is held captive that they believed to be dead. Keep the scenes as they are, but make the end cause to save Ratchet. Hell even still save Brains, because honestly he would be more inclined to decipher the Decepticon hieroglyphs, or even add Wheelie back into the mix.
Save Ratchet, but move him to the Cybertronian ship. This will keep most of the action how it was, and also add to the plausibility of the introduction of the Dinobots. As the ship is flown around, Ratchet can revive the Dinobots and have them ready for an Optimus Prime “breaking in Grimlock” scene but would make it less of a gee we are lucky this happened here moment.
Move the battle to China and Hong Kong as done already. Make the reasoning that there are more protos there already, or that they can reprogram Galvatron there… because they have more hidden Cybetroinan tech that will give them back command. This would enable the plot to move easier and give some sense of causality.
The only other things that I would change were Optimus shooting a human, Optimus’ hate mongering toward humans, and the general Autobot mentality through this movie. By taking Ratchet prisoner it sets up the US government coming against the bots, strengthening Kelsey Grammar’s anti-Transformer stance, and reinforcing that all aliens are evil. It also frees Ratchet to do behind the scenes work to fix allies or get reinforcements ready for a random moment when they are needed. The team needs a medic and he is a perfect match. Also it would allow for them to play up the Ratchet Lockdown relationship established in Animated! Remember the ROTF figures? They even established a relationship between these two giving Ratchet a connection point for Lockdown’s EMP cannon.
Thank you for reading my ideas on how the movie could have been a little more cohesive, and please provide me input from you. I always like hearing another point of view, especially if it can make me enjoy this film a bit more.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Age of Extinction- The Bayverse—

Its funny to think that I sat down on Friday with the complete intention of getting rid of any bad feelings about TransFOURmers, and yet somehow, I predicted the future. Friday night I went to the theater, for the first time in over a year, risking Cincinnati Bedbugs so that I could enjoy my favorite Sci-Fi franchise. Needless to say… an hour and a half later, I was ready to head home, put my clothes in the dryer and be done.

My first sign that things were going array was the fact that I have only picked up two AOE figures… Grimlock and Scorn. Those two figures have not completely blown my skirt up, and I have not been compelled to pick up anymore. Then as I was checking out the Botcon coverage, I found that IDW is not providing any support for the movie. Actually they have decided to not touch the Bayverse and focus their energy toward their G1 books (please note I am not complaining). But still I tried to hold up hope. I actually avoided the trailers and any possible spoilers that would have been included. I have not overly researched any story plots but tried to keep my pallet cleansed so that I could be surprised by the actual movie, and stayed out of any of the negatives, but here I am, ready to spoil yours if you feel you need it.

So if you do not want to know about anything in the movie, please stop reading this until you have seen it. I am welcome to comments and arguments, however, this is my opinion. Actually please provide me with counterpoints… I want to be brought back into the light.

When the movie starts off it actually does exactly what I did not want it to do. The first scene starts by completely wasting Ratchet on screen. I’m pretty sure this was trying to show that this is not a reboot, however it is just a new trilogy, that is entirely different. I can’t believe that they took him out in such a fashion though because he was the last link to the original movie from ’07. I know there is still bumblebee, and Optimus Prime, but lets face it… at this point, Bumblebee is the Rick of this series. It focuses on him, and he isn’t going anywhere soon. On the other hand, noting PERMINANT will EVER happen to this Optimus Prime. They will continue to “kill” him for a few minutes when the find it helpful. Ratchet represented the old kingdom… and even though the team no longer has a medic, he just had to go. I could see getting rid of the old trilogy by focusing on the death of Leadfoot, which could have served as a great way to serve this point, but keep Ratchet as either a hostage or “damsel in distress” to motivate the Autobots to go in. Honestly Ratchet would be a perfect background character and perfect for the background for the next two movies. He would serve a purpose without being needed polygons in the battlefield. After the battle is done he would be perfect to explain who patched up the bullet holes etc. but instead he is just bolts laying on the ground.

Then we enter into the introduction of the new human cast. I have to say… originally this worked out incredibly well, however I felt some sort of connection to Cade and his daughter… the boyfriend left me with a “Michael Bay just wants to pay an homage to Armageddon. Also looking back to the 07 movie, I Remember leaving with Megan Fox becoming my new Hollywood crush, which sadly still stands today… thumbs and all. Cade’s daughter did not have that same effect on me. I admit she is quite attractive, however maybe it was the emphasis of how she was 17, maybe even that combined with the fact that I now have an 18 year old at heart that just did not repeat in this movie.
“Lucky Charms” had to be a major issue for me in the movie. He really was entered as a great “action hero” ready to run from anyone to save his “boo’ (yes I just got GHETTO in this piece). However, as the movie progressed he became just another hang on. His helpfulness really took a sharp downward turn whenever he was not behind the wheel of a car, and even faded into complete cowardice in the Cybertronian vessel. It was quite embarrassing, but somehow he earned Cade’s respect by pissing his pants and taking cover… I guess Cade just really respected how he handled the stick… in the cars people.

He’s not so magically delicious

Cade himself was somewhat of an arguable point for me. I understand that Marky Mark will be well Marky Mark, but I hoped it would be turned down. Where I did not see the guy that I quite enjoyed in Ted, he did still let some of his old self shine through his lines. I feel that this movie entirely focused on him more than any other character. I understand that the 07 movie did the same with its focus on Sam, however, that was nothing more than a plot device to enter you into the conflict. This seemed to be Cade’s story entirely. As I said before, It made me take the fatherly stance in response with his daughter. Also I feel that the boyfriend was entirely useless. Also as you watch the film, in each action sequence, you typically seen Cade firing his Cybertroninan sword, rather than these amazing robots battle it out. The sad part is, by the middle of the 07 movie, I actually gave a shit about Sam, in AOE, I just wanted to see what everyone else was doing.

What Michael Bay did to Formers Fans

I have to say the only human that I really completely enjoyed was T.J. Miller’s character. However unlike Sam’s college roommate, T.J. was a casualty of the movie again wasted as if he were Ratchet.

It was in his Rider… listen to T.J. Millers’ Standup… I promise you will laugh

Then we get to meet the Autobots. I have to say that this group of movie bots could not be further move away from my views of the “good guys” that I have ever seen. My first major issue was the fact that they implement the Optimus Prime SOS signal, and these bots gather together, lets say sixty miles away from Prime and decide to hold up in a mountain and hide rather than respond to the SOS. Well other than Ratchet, who was somewhere near an ocean port, trying to help Prime, but we all know what happened to him.

Speaking of Optimus Prime, I have to say that the Bayverse Prime has completely left the character other than a few visual keys. If I remember correctly, the first words we hear him say, other than a distress signal is DIE… I will KILL YOU! Yes, I understand that he was indeed wounded in battle, however he continued to wave his rifle at the humans even after he realized that they were not Lockdown. I have always been a very strong supporter of Optimus Prime. Quite often Prime is the first figure that I pick up from a line. I love what he stands for and the character that he has become, however this is not Optimus. I feel that the G1 Prime, why more often that not resonates through each incarnation has left this body. In DOTM he destroyed Megatron, at point blank range, after giving Sentinel the Que-De Gras. This action alone made me realize that this is not my Optimus Prime. I have heard the argument that he needs to be edgier. He can’t be the hippy prime that was introduced in the original series. Todays youth needs a hero that kicks ass, not one that gets walked over.

Personally I argue the complete opposite. Firstly G1 Prime is far from being a hippy. He is the complete opposite. He is a compassionate leader that is full of character, something that I feel kids need as a role model. Secondly he always looks for the non-violent alternative action, but he is not afraid of action. In the 1986 movie you see Prime land on Autobot City on earth. His base has been ransacked, sieged, and his best friends have been slaughtered at the hands of the Decepticons. When he arrives on he exits his ship and goes head first into battle. He intricately takes out the whole trail of opposition on his way to his nemesis. With the precision of a surgeon he halts the siege, without complete outright murder. He than stands to Megatron. The battle is hard fought, however Prime then has the upper hand. Megatron pleads for help, stalling the fight so that he can get his hands on another blaster, and Prime reasons with him. I fully believe that had Megatron surrendered at this point, Prime would have accepted the surrender, and continued as a true leader would, as oppose to Bay Prime who would have destroyed his spark. For me Prime is an essential role model, however Bayverse destroys this. Bay Prime is a warmonger who just wants to kill all enemies. He has also turned on the human race. Call me a G-Onner however I do not believe that Prime would turn on Humanity in respect to Decepticon dealings no matter what we had done. He takes ownership of his race’s battles, he won’t let humans be taken over by Decepticon command, no matter what happens to him. Then you enter the last battle on earth, where he distracts his attention from Lockdown in order to place a single round into Kelsey Grammar’s character. Little bit of over kill Prime? I am pretty sure Cade should be able to hand the old man!

Crosshairs is another “badass” bot that was introduced. He just reminds me of Hot Fuzz, and basically he is only around so that he can take part in all the badass cop movie action. He also is always ready to completely walk away from the Autobot path and continue alone, but for some reason he feels the need to be leader of the rag tag crew.

You do know there are more guns in the country than there are in the city.

This now leads me into Drift. I know this has been addressed before but please tell me how the character that speaks Chinese is based off the look of a Samurai which is very Japanese and has a strong Japanese accent. I loved how quickly he turns on his life saving nature… “you must always try all other avenues prior to battle… its dead now.” Also I will say that it was cool to introduce a triple changer into the movie, however it is completely an afterthought. He was made into a triple changer just to sell a few more toys. My major beef with that is simply half of the scenes were “get the humans away” and they shove them into a car. All that I could think was Drift is a HELICOPTER… FLY THEM THE FUCK AWAY!!!

The only new bot that I really enjoyed was Hound. He was very much there to replace Ironhide who had been wasted in DOTM, but he seemed to add a new dynamic to the movie. As a matter of fact he really repeated Irohide’s Cannon scene with Sam. There isn’t much to say about him, other than I actually enjoyed what he brought to the screen.
Also I like the continued inclusion of Brains. I wish Wheelie was still with him but either way it was nice to have him back. I actually enjoyed them, just not much to analyze.

Now we reach the introduction of Galvatron. So as Hasbro joked about in the panel at Botcon, the worst kept secret of AOE. Surprisingly when they reuse parts from Megatron, he takes over the body that they used his parts to build!!! His first transformation sequence (and I will touch on that in a minute) when he takes robot form all that I could think about was the 07 Movie when bone crusher transformed. I have to review the tape, but I am pretty sure that it was verbatim of Galvitron’s attack. Way to reuse wire frames ILM!

I swear I have seen this before

As far as Decepticons, I have to say that having basically 2 and a ton of drones seemed to work well. And they even made it so that transformation was not needed what so ever. I have to say for a forth movie, ILM really took the cheap way out. Whenever Drift transformed in or out of helicopter mode it was continently either off screen or hidden. The same thing happened here with the Decepticon Drones, except now they change form in an amazing wasp nest swirl effect.

The only real villain that I enjoyed from this film was Lockdown. He actually gave a nice outsider mentality that really gave a great homage to the Animated! Incarnation. It was nice to see third non-affiliated faction entered into the mix. Along with Hound, Lockdown may be the only introductions that I enjoyed in movie.
The highlight of the movie was supposed to be introduction of the Dinobots into the movie audience. They had some great setup points to try and explain their significance and presence into the movie and then in the amazing way that Bay does things all these ideas were thrown to the wind and they were just present in the ship that the Autobots had taken over. Firstly how convenient that not only was prime in prison next to them but also that the trophy case was essentially an escape pod. That was just perfect. So barring their introduction, and the presence of a metal T-Rex in the opening scenes, they are introduced, they trounce some over-powered Decepticon drones, and then they run away in the middle of Hong Kong at the end of the movie. This was the major draw… all publicity of the movie is based on Optimus Prime riding Grimlock. Every store I walk into where Bumblebee once was I now see is now replaced with Grimlock, and they are given no real story, but are just broken wild animals that are trained in a matter of five minutes… great story writing. Then at the conclusion, they just run away into the amazing abandoned land of China… where only 20 billion people will be able to find them. To continue my point… there is a scene where Strafe has bumblebee fighting a drone on his back. The polygons of the Computer Generated scene was so hard to follow that everything just blended together. All that I could imagine was that I was back to Windows 98 and watching my Flowerbox Screen Saver.

Dinobots Fight Scene

Needless to say I was not impressed. I find the collector side of me still partially yearning for the movie characters of AOE, but I am battling it. I really have hit a point where I just need to look toward my Generations and legends figures, at least Hasbro knows the collectors will not be happy with AOE. I really wish that I had just stayed in my own great G1 Universe that was setup in IDW… and I really wish that I could have reacted to TransFOURmers like they did, and not even recognize that it happened.