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review 2017-04-07 13:06
No surprise that I loved this
Transformers: Lost Light #4 - James Roberts,Jack Lawrence

Although what's happening to Cyclonus is surprising, more because of who's doing it and why he tolerates it.   And even more surprising is how involved Whirl is getting.  And here I thought he just didn't have it in him to care!

 

I'm pretty sure that either Cyclonus, Tailgate, or getting between them is going to kill him.   Because once Tailgate figures out what's happening and who's hurting his husband, yeah, I'm pretty sure he's going to go apeshit and may just try to kill the messenger!

 

This series is getting more and more fun.   And yeah, the whole creepy and evil alternate universe is fun, but it's mostly really just digging into these characters that's a whole bunch of fun!

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review 2017-03-19 21:35
Alternate history Transformers/GI Joes crossover!
Transformers vs. G.I. Joe: Tyrants Rise, Heroes Are Born - John Rieber,Jae Lee

This is set during World War Two and the problem is that Cybertronians have not been out in the open since then.   The thing is this is an AU, and I've known that since far before buying this.   It's not canon, but it's been called the best of this particular crossover - which, yes, has been done multiple times, all in comic book format.  

 

That being said, I've wanted to get this before now - and to this.   It's not in the library system, was out of print for a while, and back then the used copies were going for at least fifty dollars a pop.   So when I saw this on sale for six dollars at Comixology, I grabbed it and ran.   I mean, Jae Lee!   Jae Lee draws the transformers!   And not only that, every single source I'd read said that the story was excellent as well. 

 

It didn't disappoint.  I'd been saving this for a rainy day, but when Char reviewed a Gunslinger graphic illustrated by Jae Lee, I was reminded why he was such a shining star in the graphic novel world.   HIs illustrations are painterly, emotive, and just stunning.   So, yeah, I really wanted to see what he would do with one of my favorite franchises.   Despite reading all about this, I either didn't know, or forgot, that one of my very favorites - Grimlock - was in this.   And he plays a rather significant role, which is saying something: much of the Transformers mythos is, sadly, not about Grimlock.   He starred in a couple episodes of Animated, was in some G1 - but not as much as I'd have liked, and has a starring role in Robots in Disguise, the new TV show.   He also has some clout in the IDW universe, as well as starring in the Transformers Beast Hunters comic tie-in to Transformers Prime.   But really, not much overall.   Even in IDW, he's mostly coming in for an issue or two, then leaves.   Maximum Dinobots, the miniseries about the Dynobots, was one of his larger roles there, so I didn't really expect him in this.   (Some of the G1 comics feature him and the Dinobots heavily, but again, not as many as I'd like and I find them inferior to IDW.)   It was a pleasant surprise.  

 

Grimlock is also in character: 

 

 

He talks like Grimlock and he acts like Grimlock - for the most part.   He's a little more friendly with the meat than I'd like, but my favorite Grimlock is IDW: he's mean, and he only cares about the Dynobots.   (And once they go into actual dinosaur mode, they do call themselves the Dinobots, but I like Dynobots: it makes them feel less... meaty.)   He's dumb, but smart enough that readers question whether or not he's just playing dumb so when people underestimate him, he can crush them.   He's quick to anger and brutally ruthless - which is why the other Dynobots turn on him at one point.   And I never found another Grimlock I found hotter.   (Which worries me on some level, but... there you go!  I also realize I like fictional bots that I would be... wary about in real life, so I'm allowing myself some fantasy wiggle room.)

 

Not only that, but if you look at Robots in Disguise, there are some continuities where Grimlock is more meat-friendly.   G1 Grimlock got fairly close with Spike's son Daniel.   And we're talking about fellow warriors here, so if anything, Grimlock would have respect for them.   When they lead him to some Decepticons to smash, well, how can he not like them?

 

 

Proof that the Joes know what Grim wants. 

 

 

Well, it didn't quite happen that way - but I wouldn't point that out to Grimlock if it keeps him thinking of the Joes as friends!   Not only that, he listens, he learns, and he uses their logic against them at one point. 

 

To which a Joe says this: 

 

 

Predictably, the Joes and Autobots create real friendships, ground in the shared desire for peace and the brotherhood of combined experience in war.   That binds them together.   The Cobras and Decepticons snipe at each other, all while trying to undercut one another's power.   Basically: this is all in character, at least for Transformers.  I know almost nothing about the Joes continuity.  I assume it's all good since such care was taken with the other side, though.   The story basically is that Cobra uncovers the Decepticons and the Joes uncover the Autobots.   From there, it's waging a world war, trying to incorporate those elements. 

 

And it does it beautifully if you don't mind too much WWII aspect.   (Which I don't; I'd prefer it that way.   There are some hints like when a Joe hopes that people have been enslaved in Europe.   When Optimus Prime becomes suspicious, and narrows his optics and asks 'you hope they've been enslaved?' the Joe answers that the other option is their all dead.   There are hints of the horrors, but nothing that's concrete.   The closest is Bruticus, a combination of human and Cybertonian technology, arguably a more concrete knock at Nazi science and 'medicine', but alternately simply there for the narrative.)

 

It's more about wartime and what happens to soldiers, and yes there are limitations in what human technology can do at this time.    That seems less important than the bonds that are created, and the anger that is stoked, and the conflicts of peace versus power.   It all read like a natural progression to me, as well. 

 

 

I was happy to see Cobra Commander and Megatron in this battle for power.   Anything else would have been a slap to Megatron's face, a misuse of his character.   The Commander gains control of the Matrix early on and uses it to browbeat Megatron in submission; when Shockwave defers to Megatron, the Decepticon leader rebukes him, knowing what the Commander could do otherwise.   This, I believe, led to Megatron not only allowing the Commander to use Shockwave so brutally - payback for that insubordination, as well as denying the Cobras further use of Shockwave's might - but in him allowing other abuses to regain his own station.   Again,  an absolute dick move, and just what Megatron would do: he doesn't believe it will hobble him in the fight against the Autobots, and he would absolutely lash out at someone who tried to control him as the Commander did.

 

Basically, yes a perfect crossover.   Jae Lee, I should point out, illustrated this a while ago.   While I find all his artwork lush and gorgeous, I prefer his later work.   I also feel this is fair to say; his early work is better than what I could do on the best day of my life, but as he evolved, I think he strengthened his art.   This is still some of the most lovely Transformers artwork I've seen, and the grittiness fits the period it's set in, too.

 

Two more comments.

 

 

Ravage looks brutally efficient and I love it: 

 

 

Scarlett rides Bee at some point and noticing the awkwardness asks if anyone's driven before.   He's pretty much silent and she's like 'aw, adorable.'   Later on he says this:

 

 

Primus, there has to be porny fanfiction about this.   Please, please, please let there be porny fanfiction about this.   This makes it a new ship: Scarlett/Bee.   Yes, please, yummy!

 

 

 

 

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text 2017-03-19 21:09
This review will be an essay
Transformers vs. G.I. Joe: Tyrants Rise, Heroes Are Born - John Rieber,Jae Lee

Which I didn't realize until I started writing it and it all came out.   Apologies. 

 

Also, my mom just got me the one thing I wanted for my birthday: a new Brenthaven bag just like the one I already have for school on eBay.  It's gorgeous, and it's lasted for four years with minimal wear and zero damage.   

 

I've been fretting over what to do when this one eventually wears out on me, and now I know: I'll have a new one to use for school and that will make this one last longer.   Yay!   This one is new - or so it's claimed on the site - and I got it for a fair amount less than I got mine for at the Apple store.   (Where I would have bought another one, but they no longer sell them.   Sadness.)

 

But this is good.  I know what I'm giving away to one person for my birthday.   (I feel good giving gifts so I give out at least one or two on my b-day.)

 

 

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review 2017-02-26 17:12
Things get worse
Transformers: Till All Are One #7 - Mairghread Scott,Sara Pitre-Durocher

Cyberton is about to be destroyed and the only thing standing in the way of the Necro-Titans is Carcer, the Titan that is ruled by Elita-One.   If Windblade can only get onboard, she can put her skills as a cityspeaker to work and connect to the Titan - and convince him to fight for Cyberton itself. 

 

While there is some time - a couple pages or so - dedicated to Starscream, this is mostly about Windblade and the small team she's taken to get to Carcer.   I was completely thrown by the end: just when I was thinking that Elita-One was being unreasonable, even downright bitchy, about Carcer not transforming...

 

Man, I love this series so, so much.   It's not just the writing, either.   The artist does amazing work.   

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review 2017-02-23 01:14
What do we have here?
Transformers: Lost Light #3 - James Roberts,Jack Lawrence

This is a little more of a slow burn: even with Whirl fighting his long-lost, supposedly dead nemesis, even with the revelation of Rung's purpose - a revelation that is met with some skepticism given the mass displacement that would have to take place for this to be true, and even with the revelation of what Anode does?   

 

It's a lot about people talking.   And y'know what?   That's okay.   Despite not as much fisticuffs as I expected, I knew this would be good from page one.   Funny, warm, full of complex relationships, and ones that are constantly shifting, this is still a great read.   The greatest.  

 

I've just been telling Jessica that I think this is superior to MTMtE.  Saying something is superior to the Robots in Disguise cartoon?   Doesn't mean much: I think most everything, particularly in the Transformers franchise in general, is better than that.   (The Bayverse movies and Retribution not so much.)

 

Saying that something is better than MTMtE?   That means something.   MTMtE was not only the best Transformers book I've read, but it was one of the best books I've read, bar none.   Yes, including novels.   Yes, including classics.   And obviously, yes, including comics.   The thing is MTMtE doesn't loss any of its gloss: it's still as brilliant as ever.   It's just this is written by Roberts as well, and I believe that he's getting more skilled as a writer - which I quite frankly thought was impossible after reading MTMtE.   Then again, before reading Roberts, I was quite sure that fitting quite as much as he does into any comic less than thirty pages was impossible.   So he defies my expectations every time. 

 

That being said, yes, please, all this.   I will reread this with anyone who wants to pick this up - but I would suggest reading MTMtE first.   (And yes, I will reread that, too, including Dark Cybertron.)

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