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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 2017-03-17 00:48
So many jokes!
Deadpool: Too Soon? Infinite Comic #2 (of 8) - Joshua Corin

From the ship-tease joke of Deadpool pining over Cable, to Squirrel Girl asking about the adorable babies in a picture with Scarlet Witch and Vision, there is just so much going on in this series.   It's jam packed, very Deadpool, and so much fun.   I do hope this author comes back for more Marvel goodness because I'm loving this whole series.   (Adding each one separately means it's taking longer to get through my 'already read' list!)


This issue can mostly be summed up as Deadpool and Squirrel Girl star in The Fly without an actual fly.   


Which is actually rather more horrifying than it sounds...

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review 2017-03-17 00:40
Perfect ending!
Doctor Strange/Punisher: Magic Bullets Infinite Comic #8 (of 8) - John Barber

I couldn't ask for more in this ending: of course, some of the issue, at the very least, had to deal with wrapping up a rather convoluted storyline given how much space this book had to deal with in the end.   


That being said, this wrapped up everything perfectly and while it's clear that neither Strange or The Punisher will see eye to eye, they clearly are deluded into thinking they understand each other better or have a better understanding of each other.  I don't say this to be mean, but Strange's hope that Frank Castle, aka The Punisher, will soften at all is naive at best.   (Although he notices how little loss of life there is, thinks it's a good day - and then wonders if Castle would think the same, or think that it's a bad day.)


They do respect each other, even if Castle never wants to see anything magical again, and Strange will continue to do his frowny face at how murderous Castle can get.   This also belies a comic I read today, which is Cloonan's current Punisher, in which someone says that Castle enjoys what he does.   (He doesn't.   In fact, I like him best when he's not portrayed as a sociopath or sadist; he is willing to murder, and even torture, to save innocents, but the only 'joy' he gets in life is saving innocents.   And I would even hesitate to call it joy: it's a mission, it's relief - specifically the relief of not having anyone else's death on his shoulders which is where he puts those deaths, but it's not quite joy.   Frank Castle is not a happy character.)


Also, what's interesting is that Frank Castle is hellbent on killing murderer, and rapists, and pedophiles: men and women who exploit, terrorize, and do other nasty things to those he deems innocent.   (Stand ins for his late family, clearly; I suspect he thinks of it as saving them when it's far too late to do so.   Man, Frank Castle may not be happy because he has to many #$@*ing complexes.)


And then you pair him up with Dr. Strange, a narcissist who was brought low when his accident lost him everything: the friends he had, the wealth he had, and any prospects he had as a surgeon.   And only then did he learn what it really meant to be a doctor.   Only then did he learn how to truly connect to people, how to sympathize with them, how precious they were and how deserving not only of being saved - but of being happy.   It's the little moments that make him shine, like when his payment for saving a beloved daughter is the parents' willingness to spend the day with a widowed man who's miserable as his birthday approaches.   That scene still makes me tear up, by the way.   


They both had a similar moment: accidents of fate that brought them to their lowest points ever.   Stripped of companionship, hope, a future, one man turned to brutal, bloodthirsty vigilantism, and one found peace.   One is based in the reality of a gun, or explosives, of violence attempting to stamp  out violence.   One is based in a world full of literal magic, one who is often unavailable because, as Wong says, he's in the astral plane - or at least not our plane of existence. 


In retrospect, much of the comedy here is tragic if you really take the time to think about the unlikely similarities in these two characters.   And yet doesn't quite stop this from being absolutely hilarious to the point that I often times laughed out loud.   


This gave me a better understanding of how these characters work, because I stopped to think about what made them who they are, and how they reacted to the tragedies in their lives differently.   


I suspect I'll reread this series eventually, possibly every once in a while.  I truly loved this series. 

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review 2017-03-16 00:11
Still loving this series!
Doctor Strange/Punisher: Magic Bullets Infinite Comic #4 (of 8) - John Barber

And there's a 'more than meets the line' joke.   Which is funny if you realize John Barber mostly writes Transformers for IDW; he's great, and I was wondering if he'd be a good fit for Marvel - and I think he's done quite marvelously.   


This is as awkwardly funny as you'd expect this crossover to be.   And I'm enjoying every single minute. 

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