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Transformers ongoing #29 preview.


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#21 Echowarrior

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 02:09 PM

Well...that was unimpressive.

HIGHLIGHT to view:
Seriously, I feel like this story was a waste. Spike working with Swindle all this time? Ben Simpson being a facsimile rather than an actual person? I don't mind plot twists, but I'd like those twists to have some roots in earlier stories. What sign was there that Swindle was connected to the mess in Korea, beyond the Decepticons operating there being three of the other Combaticons? What sign was there that Spike was working with him at all?

I'm glad that the facsimiles weren't forgotten, but for the love of Primus, couldn't they have been implemented better? Ye gods, people!


Mike Costa, this was lazy and uninspired storytelling. Bad writer! Go away! Don't work on Transformers again!
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#22 Nanite

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 02:18 PM

But at least it's over, right? One more issue to wrap up the already spoilered-to-pieces cybertron stuff, and it's on to new teams?
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#23 Bass X0

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 02:24 PM

QUOTE(Echowarrior @ Nov 2 2011, 07:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Well...that was unimpressive.

HIGHLIGHT to view:
Ben Simpson being a facsimile rather than an actual person?



We had guessed this since the beginning though. We didn't know if it would turn out to be true or not but the way that character was written and his motivations, we had a pretty good hunch about it being like that. I'm not surprised at all and I doubt anyone following the comic from Ongoing #1 would be too.

The other thing you mentioned, that was a surprise and you are correct that there were no real roots in previous stories pointing to this revelation.

It all began in '84. Kept on rollin' in '85. The pieces were in place in '86, and it came to an end in '87. But now it comes, and here we go. Transformers is here again. Nothing's gonna stop it 'cause it's 1988!

#24 Sockie

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 04:18 PM

QUOTE(Nanite @ Nov 2 2011, 01:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
But at least it's over, right? One more issue to wrap up the already spoilered-to-pieces cybertron stuff, and it's on to new teams?


Nah, Costa's still on for two more issues.

#25 Chip

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 07:46 PM

So at first I was a little annoyed that everyone is talking about this Ben Simpson, and I couldn't remember who he is. Certainly it's not established in any way during the story itself. Is this a friend of Spike's who was killed by Devastator? Another soldier? Oh, no, it's that really vaguely defined activist guy. Would have been nice to acknowledge who he is and why he's relevant before spending so much of this issue on an op against him. Would have been competent storytelling. Whatever.

But then we get to the big reveal that Spike has been working with Swindle all along, and I realize just how dumb this story is. Spike's motivation for assassinating Scrapper, and really his motivation for everything he's done in this series, has been his fear of the destruction a combiner is capable of. Combiner technology is so dangerous that neutralizing a single combiner justifies both murdering a surrendering enemy and destroying Earth's relationship with the Autobots. So... let's have him in cahoots with a guy who makes combiners! I cannot adequately express just how dumb this is. It completely undermines not only the first half of this very issue, but the entire TWO YEARS of setup it took to get us to this point. It's clearly not the dumbest plot development in Transformers; we've had doozies. But this is a story that readers have spent two years on, and between $90 and $120 depending on whether we bought the issues or the trades. Given how "decompressed" Mike Costa's writing is, there hasn't been much other content along the way; it's just one long story, and it needed an adequate ending. Given that, I think I was justified in expecting a smarter denouement than, say, "Aerial Assault" got.

Edited by Chip, 02 November 2011 - 08:16 PM.


#26 G1MarvelBlaster

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 08:46 AM

I enjoyed the issue. Spike mistrusting the Autobots rings a lot more true now that we know he was basically betraying them by working with Swindle all along. Tying in the Megatron guns, Skywatch Tech and everything else to Swindle wheeler-dealng makes solid sense, and I now get why Costa wanted to make sure Magnus remained on Earth, because if anyone was gonna bring Swindle in, it had to be Ultra Magnus.

Ben Simpson being a facsimile was telegraphed long, long ago but using him as an agitator to foment a market to sell weapons is actually pretty damned cunning on Swindle's part.

If this had been issue 6 of a 6-part story that would be contained in a trade then this would have been awesome, sadly it's issue 29 of an ongoing that is perfectly described by Prowl in one of the captions

QUOTE(Prowl's Musings)
This entire period. This whole post-war malaise. One confusing, complicated disaster after another.


Malaise is really the ideal word for the pacing of the ongoing's "action." Now we have only 2 issues left of Costa as a writer, Chaos part 4 and Chaos Epilogue, then we get to the writing teams the fans have wanted for a while, right?

#27 Suspsy

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 12:53 PM

So Spike is an immoral, untrustworthy, self-centred jackhole who no one likes and has no redeeming value.

Didn't we learn that a long, long time ago already?
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#28 Sprocket

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 02:34 PM

QUOTE(Chip @ Nov 2 2011, 08:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think I was justified in expecting a smarter denouement than, say, "Aerial Assault" got.

Justified in wanting I can understand, but expecting? With Costa's track record?
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#29 Repugnus

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 03:48 PM

I found this issue to be an absolute disappointment. I'm actually surprised to find myself saying that because I haven't enjoyed 95% of the ongoing since it launched (with the notable exceptions of the two Roberts penned flashback issues), and so my expectations usually get lower with each new issue. Even so, I actually somewhat enjoyed the seven preview pages, and I suppose I was willing to give Costa the benefit of doubt that all this was building to something, but then we ended up with this? Seriously?

First of all, I've disliked the very concept of this story arc from the very beginning. It wasn't as nonsensical as the idea that the conclusion of AHM somehow meant that the Autobots won the war, but it was still pretty dang bad. I know that Costa tried to establish the idea that Prowl suddenly doesn't like humans killing Decepticons way back in issue one, but if that wasn't already a bit of a stretch for his character, by the time Megatron showed up again (which, by the way, shouldn't have even been a surprise to anyone since they all saw Starscream save his life in AHM), you'd think he'd go, "Oh, hey, I guess the war isn't as over as we'd arbitrarily assumed it was. Fighting back against the Decepticons is probably still a good idea. And what, Spike killed Scrapper? Well, I'm glad at least somebody was on the ball."

I mean, the only reason that Spike killing Scrapper was bad is because... well, because Costa says so. Back when I originally read issue eight, it didn't come across like Spike was the bad guy of the story. Sure he was being secretive, but it didn't feel like it was because what he was doing was so terrible that he couldn't let the Autobots find out. Rather, his reason for taking down Scrapper on his own was, as he put it, "to show you [Decepticons] that one of us [humans] can beat you." It honestly read like, if he didn't have this need to prove this point, he would've taken a bunch of other Skywatch guys with him and they all would've killed Scrapper together. After all, they've shown that they have no problem with using lethal force against Decepticons, and I could easily see them using the fact that Scrapper is a component of Devastator as an excuse to plan on not taking prisoners on this mission.

Now, you may disagree with Spike's actions, and that's fine. After all, Costa hasn't been writing him as a particularly likable character, and the fact that he still went for the kill when Scrapper was basically surrendering was morally dubious, but back when it happened, it didn't really come across as this evil act for which he should get some serious comeuppance. So now, for Prowl to treat this as some horrible betrayal just seems like a bit much to swallow.

But that's why I liked the preview pages! Rather than depict Spike as this hand-wringing schemer, it presented him and Prowl as having conflicting points of view on the issue, both of which were valid in some ways, and hypocritical in other ways. Looking at their conversation objectively, neither was necessarily right, showing the situation to be the moral gray area that it was instead of the cut and dry good guy versus bad guy scenario that we'd had the past couple of issues.

And then out of freaking nowhere we discover that Spike has been colluding with Swindle the whole time!! What the crap, Costa?! Sure Spike has had a tendency to act like an arrogant d-bag, but absolutely nothing that came before leads this to make any sense! And this isn't a case where there's a great twist and a character whom you thought was good turns out to be evil, and at first you're surprised, but then as you think about it more, it all fits together. No! This was just completely random.

I mean, say you're reading a murder mystery, and the detective suspects Person A of murdering Person B. Then it turns out that Person A did indeed kill him, but that the circumstances were potentially justifiable (maybe it was self defense or something, I don't know, it's just an analogy), so it's not necessarily murder per se. But hey, the author was so invested in being suspicious of Person A, that in the last chapter it's suddenly revealed that he was involved in a completely unrelated crime, like smuggling illegal weapons to a drug cartel, which was never even so much as hinted at existing prior to that point. In what bizarro universe is that good writing, or even a logical progression of ideas?

Seriously, it almost feels like Costa realized, "Crap, the further I get into this story arc, the more it becomes clear that Spike killing Scrapper wasn't nearly as big of a deal as I'd played it up to be. But I really want Spike to betray the Autobots, so um, I know, he was working with Swindle! Bam!" And then for no good reason, Spike went from being a less than likable protagonist to being a villain.

Normally, I probably wouldn't be so irritated by another flop from the ongoing, except every time we got another lousy issue, IDW kept reassuring us that it was all building to something great. And don't for a second assume that Chaos was what it was building to. No, remember, that was originally going to be a separate mini-series before being folded into the ongoing (which would have made more sense considering it's building off of events that happened mostly outside the ongoing). Apparently, the big pay off for two years of bad storytelling was this!

Anyway, sorry for rambling on so long (I'm sure most of people probably won't even read this entire post). I have other thoughts on the issue, such as how the whole Ben Simpson subplot seemed to fizzle into the least interesting conclusion possible, making all those pages upon pages of news interviews we had to sit through with him even more pointless, but by far my biggest gripe was just how terrible the conclusion to this whole storyline was. The only consolation I take from this mess is that it's gotten us one issue closer to John Barber and James Roberts taking over.


#30 Devcon

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 05:07 PM

I'm entirely sorry to say that you're 100% right, Repugnus. That pretty much sums up my feeling towards this story line. Hell, I even used your "Murder Mystery" analogy (or rather something very close to it) to describe my feelings to someone yesterday.

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#31 Cattleprod

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 05:18 PM

QUOTE(Repugnus @ Nov 4 2011, 04:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I mean, the only reason that Spike killing Scrapper was bad is because... well, because Costa says so. Back when I originally read issue eight, it didn't come across like Spike was the bad guy of the story.

It seems like IDW looked at the negative reaction to Spike killing Scrapper and decided it was because it was in cold blood, not because a human killed an invulnerable-to-conventional-weapons space robot with 'household chemicals'.

#32 Scraplet Bait

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 06:40 AM

The amazing thing to me is that after crushing their own continuity once with AHM, Mike pitched the human centric ongoing to Idw and they thought it was brilliant. In fact, I've seen it somewhere that a particular editor hailed it as "the best tfs stories in ages".

I really, really like Ironhide, issues 19-21, and Chaos, 1-3...and of course loved the Roberts issues.

But what makes those issues great is the ABSENCE of exactly what Mike focused on for most of 2 YEARS.

Imagine if all the pages of this series which featured useless conversations between humans(useless bc they ended up not meaning anything to the end of the story) and army men talking/playing/wrestling(issue8!) actually featured giant transforming robots in an intergalactic struggle...

I am still in shock that this was actually signed off on.

But at least after this 2 year inside look into the life of Spike we are getting a real epic next year.
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#33 Mako Crab

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 07:34 AM

QUOTE(Repugnus @ Nov 4 2011, 03:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Anyway, sorry for rambling on so long (I'm sure most of people probably won't even read this entire post).

No, no, you make a ton of great points and I agree with you 100%. I couldn't believe it when I heard about the whole Spike/Swindle thing. And the facsimile and Prowl and just everything. It's like you said- apparently Spike having a valid yet opposite view didn't make him enough of a villain, so they hooked him up with Swindle to really drive home his villainy. Who cares if working with Swindle makes no sense and came out of literally NOWHERE and was never even once hinted at. I'm glad the characters in the story feel as though they've wasted their time too, so at least the feeling is mutual.

#34 Magnusblitz

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 03:08 PM

One of the big reasons the Spike/Swindle and Ben Simpson plotlines don't work is because they're basically not there. The first hint of Swindle being involved at all was the last issue (story-wise) where Brawl came out of nowhere and Prowl noticed the "mystery Decepticon." Similarly, Ben Simpson only appeared indirectly and never interacted with any of the other characters. He never really felt like part of the story. Instead, we just got a lot of talking heads and wasteful splash panels. That is not how you write a story.

Edited by Magnusblitz, 05 November 2011 - 03:09 PM.


#35 Mako Crab

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 05:12 PM

A few questions:

1. What does Spike get out of teaming up with Swindle?

2. What does Swindle get out of teaming up with Spike?

3. Was Swindle's teaming with Spike/Skywatch part of Megatron's plan?

4. Because Swindle is apparently responsible for the little Megatron guns, so he must still be in contact with and taking orders from Megs, right?

5. And if so, Megatron allowed Swindle to conduct operations that required the death of Scrapper?
QUOTE
The amazing thing to me is that after crushing their own continuity once with AHM, Mike pitched the human centric ongoing to Idw and they thought it was brilliant. In fact, I've seen it somewhere that a particular editor hailed it as "the best tfs stories in ages".

I'm sure it sounded good on paper. Costa has a lot of good ideas, but it's always in the execution where he falls flat.

#36 Rhapsody

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 05:46 PM

QUOTE(Mako Crab @ Nov 5 2011, 04:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
4. Because Swindle is apparently responsible for the little Megatron guns, so he must still be in contact with and taking orders from Megs, right?


I think this is believable. Megatron seeds the earth with those guns, but still needs a distribution system. Oh look, Swindle's still on earth! If anyone can set up a black market weapon deal its Swindle. Of course he couldn't be the face, so he uses a Facsimile. Probably wasn't direct contact, but got orders from him at least once.
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#37 Scraplet Bait

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 12:11 AM

Ok, let's play a game.

Everyone try to come up with a timeline which makes some type of chronology possible for the post AHM era.

Remember to try and add Swindle selling weapons and tech in there before issue 1, and don't forget the timing of Shockwave's revival in Wreckers. Sprinkle in the timing of when Shockers hooked up with the Decepticons and don't forget that it was after the first year on the rock that Soundwave unplugged Meg's old body and Shocky, who apparently traveled through time, was there to help rebuild him.

Then recall that Shockers asserts in issue 18 that he helped pick the rock the cons were on!! icon-blitz.gif

But maybe the biggest quantum fail is when Megs in issue 7 monologues about how he knows everything the bots and skywatch are up to together. This has to mean that at that point Megs was in the tank at the time vol 1 and 2 were occurring, since the details are interspersed with scenes on earth occuring between issues 6 and 9. And the alliance had not even come to be until the first arch, which was after the 3 year period between this and AHM, the first year of which was when SW unplugged MEgs and rebuilt him according to issue 18! WTF!!!!

And by the way, Skywatch fought Swindle in vol 1 who was not only dealing them tech by then but was teamed up at the time with Scrapper!

Seriously, a close examination of the timeline reveals rather quickly that the whole thing is impossible!
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#38 Chris McFeely

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 05:17 AM

QUOTE(Scraplet Bait @ Nov 6 2011, 05:11 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Everyone try to come up with a timeline which makes some type of chronology possible for the post AHM era.

Remember to try and add Swindle selling weapons and tech in there before issue 1, and don't forget the timing of Shockwave's revival in Wreckers. Sprinkle in the timing of when Shockers hooked up with the Decepticons and don't forget that it was after the first year on the rock that Soundwave unplugged Meg's old body and Shocky, who apparently traveled through time, was there to help rebuild him.

Then recall that Shockers asserts in issue 18 that he helped pick the rock the cons were on!! icon-blitz.gif


I don't get the problem. Shockwave was freed by Overlord two years before the start of the ongoing, a year after the Decepticons left Earth. He hooked up with Megatron's Decepticons at some point after that, who were wandering space or holed up somewhere else, then proceeded to pick an asteroid rich in Ore-13, where they struggled to repair Megatron for a year before pulling the plug and rebuilding him.

QUOTE
But maybe the biggest quantum fail is when Megs in issue 7 monologues about how he knows everything the bots and skywatch are up to together. This has to mean that at that point Megs was in the tank at the time vol 1 and 2 were occurring, since the details are interspersed with scenes on earth occuring between issues 6 and 9. And the alliance had not even come to be until the first arch, which was after the 3 year period between this and AHM, the first year of which was when SW unplugged MEgs and rebuilt him according to issue 18! WTF!!!!


Well, there you go, see, you're assuming they went straight to the asteroid. I don't think anything says they did. With that hypothetical removed from the equation, it's entirely possible for Megatron to be in the tank while volumes 1 and 2 are happening.

Edited by Chris McFeely, 07 November 2011 - 05:18 AM.


#39 Magnusblitz

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 05:39 PM

Finally got this issue in hand. And yeah, incredibly disappointing, I think mainly because it follows the usual Costa problem of having hints and stuff to a cool-sound storyline, but having it end in an incredibly underwhelming fashion. The Spike-Prowl conversation was actually pretty good (though I think it just underlines, rather than explains, the strangeness of having Prowl do a 180 on how he was portrayed in LSOTW). But the Ben Simpson ending was a thud (Autobots show up, shoot him, he turns out to be a facsimile. Okay.) The Swindle-Spike bombshell comes out of nowhere but is just there... Spike runs off and that's it. It makes the whole Scrapper-Spike subplot seem like a complete waste of time when there was a much bigger problem in the background. And the ending with Jazz driving off to destroy the Skywatch base also seemed like it could've been a nice moment, but just didn't work for some reason. (Maybe it's that dumb re-design they gave him).

I dunno. I should probably go back and re-read Costa's run, since I forget so much of it because it was so non-memorable (I'm looking at you, entire Revenge of the Decepticons storyline) to see if it improves on re-reading, but I think whoever likened Prowl's malaise quote to the ongoing had it spot-on.

#40 Mako Crab

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 12:19 AM

I figured out why the whole deal with Spike killing Scrapper doesn't work. It's because from Spike's point of view, (and most other humans in the TF universe, I'm sure), Scrapper isn't alive. He's a deadly machine and that's it. He didn't kill a human being. He killed a thing. And I'm sure that's why he's so casual about admitting it to Prowl. And I'm sure all his human superiors see it the same way too. Who cares if it was a revenge killing? It was a machine.





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