2019 Ongoing IDW Comics Thread

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Salt-Man Z

that is not dead which can eternal lie
Citizen
I thought so too at first, but I had missed the announcement of War's End back in November (as posted by SHIELD Agent 47 above). Sounds like it's just dealing with the Exarchon plot, with "War's End" being a bit of a weird title (unless there's a ton of flashbacks to the end of that war maybe?) I don't think it's intended to be the wrap up to the continuity though. Certainly still feels like everything is just beginning with no end in sight.
It wouldn't be weird if it just said, "Continued in War's End #1" similar to how all the other spinoffs were handled.

But this one explicitly calls out #40 and War's End, as if to say, "40 might be the last issue, but the story continues in this miniseries!"

EDIT - I see the solicitations for #41 are out there, so the above statement doesn't really fly, but it still seems an odd way to phrase things...
 

Magnusblitz

Member
Citizen
I think it's because the plot will continue in both the ongoing and the mini simultaneously, not just the mini (as was the case for Escape).

As for #39 itself, another decently solid issue. Seems Swindle has been conscripted, last of him as a neutral? I wonder if he'll hook up with the other Combaticons any time soon.

I wonder if Sixshot's pose when the Decepticons bust in is an intentional homage to his box art.
 

UndeadScottsman

Active member
Citizen
Main book will likely deal with teh Bots vs Cons arc while Wars End deals Exarchon, the namesake of the War of the Threefold Spark, which supposedly ended with his death but since he's still alive, that war ain't over.
 

Magnusblitz

Member
Citizen
Might as well ride it out with the end coming....

Week of 3/23:

Likely these comics were done in full before the news broke of the impending end, as neither shows signs of building to any ending. I wonder if/when we will see any sort of changes to rush an ending in, given there's only a couple issues of each title left.

Transformers #41: Found this one a bit disappointing. #40 ends on what seems to be the Autobots in dire straits, preparing to make their last stand, likely to the death. Here, Lodestar and Computron show up, which obviously can be a big tide-turner, but Lodestar is clearly injured and it seems like (given how in trouble the Autobots were) things should be a bit more even, but the two big guys basically stomp the Decepticons into a cease-fire almost immedately, with most of them apparently running away off-panel. Also, some of the fight scene was a bit confusing (mainly the page where Apeface engages Computron). Wheeljack gets some good lines in at least. I wonder if this book is gonna end with the Autobots and Decepticons teaming up to stop the big threats, then end with Prime surrendering...?

(And as has been a problem for a lot of this run, this cover seems to be one issue off - Glyph and Termigax vs Rust Worms seems to be something that'll happen next issue)

Beast Wars #14: Half a meh reworking of 'Gorilla Warfare' (without any of the fun payoff, which is seeing Primal go ham on the Preds) and half introducing the Vok-Transformers. Fun to see Polar Claw (even if the cover spoils it) and Saberback, at least.
 

UndeadScottsman

Active member
Citizen
I disagree, the building blocks of the ending are being set up.

-The Autobots at Darkmount are busy getting the Ark ready to launch
-Prime offers to give up their claim on Cybertron is exchange for a alliance with the Decepticons against Exarchon
-Cybertron is in ruins and has multiple major planetary issues going on, and could become uninhabitable.

I could easily see the ending being Prime and Megatron beating Exarchon, Prime and the Autbots leaving in the Ark, the Decepticons are unable to save Cybertron and Megatron, with nothing else, decides to blame Prime, build the Nemesis and hunt him down.
 

Swerve

Life of the Party
Citizen
I'm thinking it will end with the Autobots leaving on the last Ark and Megatron in pursuit....it would be the best ending they could pull off at this point. We still get Last Bot Standing and some specials to give us some closure to the IDW era.
 

ZakuConvoy

Active member
Citizen
Regarding the Annual:
I actually kind of liked the not-Beast Machines story. But, that's just because it's just nice to see SOME love for Beast Machines. And the artwork had a kind of early-2000s Transmasters UK energy to it that made me a little nostalgic (I doubt that was intentional). And "MegaSavage" is actually potentially a clever name, given the whole Savage/Noble thing.

Rhinox and Waspinator's story was...amusing enough. Probably the weakest of the three for me.

And Skold and Powerhug's story was cute....up until it wasn't. Girl's got issues. "That's a nice name"-I bet that's the only time Powerhug's ever heard that.

But, yeah, it's three stories that probably won't matter to the comics last handful of issues. It's about what I expected, but not necessary reading.
 

Glitch

Active member
Citizen
The Beast Machines story could be a recalled premonition dream of Cheetors, it's something he used to do in the Beast Wars first season specifically 'The Web' which foreshadowed Rattraps rescue and featured Starscream, 'The Spark' where he dreamt of Rhinox explaining the sparks. It never came up again in the show or Beast Machines itself. Another possibility is Cheetor is special across the multiverse and is linked to Vector Sigma and the allspark like in Cyberverse, a new incarnation or successor impied with Rung or Rodimus.
 

ZakuConvoy

Active member
Citizen
I think it's worth pointing out that IDW is going to put out a "Best of Rarities" one-shot in July, curated by James Roberts. Which will apparently include some new UK-based stories? It's pretty easy to let these random one-shots slip through the cracks, so it might be something to keep a eye on.


Curated by Team UK Classics (me, James Wilson and Lloyd Young), this is a 100 page mix of stories, curios and print ephemera, plus extras slated for Classics 6 to 8 — including a world-exclusive, never-before-seen, in-continuity Marvel UK story or two…
https://t.co/dnNn6d2nk5

 

Dvandom

Well-known member
Citizen
And the final "regular" issue is oversized $6, too.

As for jarring, 90% of that is Blades, whose robot mode last issue was drawn based on a Universe toy and colored based on Rescue Bots Blades, and whose vehicle mode is an Earth mode seen on the Universe toy but colored in a way that the robot mode can't possibly turn into. And then he's never seen again.

(There's a lot of signs of people mentally being checked out already in terms of story and art coherence.)

---Dave
 

ZakuConvoy

Active member
Citizen
End of the Road! The final one-shot is out.

Generally...I actually think this is a good ending for the run. Not great, but good. We touch on just about every character that's featured so far. We have some good action scenes in the middle. It ends like you would expect, but there's no shame in that. This was probably as good of a ending to Ruckley's run as we could ask for.

Specific scene spoilers below.
I feel like Computron's new form could have used a little more...pizzazz, somehow. I could barely tell that it was supposed to be different. It needed a new head, or a giant weapon made out of the extra parts, or...something to let us know, visually, that this was special.

And...Cyclonus just dismisses his emotional-baggage-ghosts like nothing. That's just unsatifying...I understand you're working under some pretty heavy time constraints, but that just felt off. It should not be THAT easy for him to let go of his past. Ruckley wanted to give him a happy ending. And Cyclonus deserved a happy ending, but I just don't like how they did it.

Oh, and Megatron suddenly wants the Matrix. NEEDS the Matrix. *Sigh* It just feels tacked on at this point.

Now, I'm going to discuss my thoughts on Ruckley's entire run below. I'm going to be fairly negative, so if you want to skip it, I understand. It's no secret I've been critical of his run. And, to be fair, I probably SHOULD re-read it all for maximum fairness before posting my thoughts, but...I don't wanna, so...*shrug*

Well, let's get the stuff that I liked out of the way first.

1. Exarchon: I think this was the most brilliant thing Ruckley created during his run. A villain who twists "Till All Are One" into a threat. I love that. I feel like it's a shame he didn't go farther with it, honestly. I kept expecting him to mutate into a living zombie plague that could over-write ALL the sparks he came into contact with. It needs a "limit", like maybe he'd have to physically touch the spark to infect it, or he'd have to shoot a beam from his eyes into the targets eyes like Medusa, or something. But, I hope future writers take this idea and expand upon it. It's a really cool idea for a Transformers villain.

2. Transformers merging back into the landscape. It was a cool visual. But, I don't think Ruckley really ever thought of anything interesting to DO with it. Honestly, it was probably used best in the Halloween Special, and that was written by someone else. I think if this idea returns, they need to come up with a reason for it beyond the semi-merged characters spouting vague lines of prophecy.

3. Cyclonus. I think Cyclonus was done well enough, not perfect, but probably the best of the bunch, in my opinion. There was growth, there was change, his plotline actually mattered to the larger narrative, foreshadowing Exarchon. I'll admit, though, I do NOT remember a single one of the ghosts' names. It was a interesting idea to make them all reflect different aspects of his grief...but they weren't memorable enough to make me care much about them as characters.

4. Ruckley used a LOT of characters in his run. I don't think they were all used exceedingly WELL. And some of them were only used ONCE and barely seen ever again. Some kind of ended up fading away into the background as time went on. But, he made Windcharger a overpowered powerhouse, so that counts for something. And, it was nice to see so MANY familiar faces in the backgrounds.

5. Straxus. I think Straxus kind of has a interesting characterization in this universe. He cares about protecting HIS people first and foremost. He's not even really a villain, here. I...wish he just didn't just disappear into the aether, but what can you do?

6. Termagax. I'll admit, I'm mostly neutral on Termagax. The idea of a writer's work being twisted into a ideology they NEVER supported is a interested one. But, I think I like how they did it in IDW1 better, with Megatron being inspired by some common miners and the problems inherit in their society. But, this isn't a bad idea. And her Baba Yaga-style Chicken Leg House is...unique. It's memorable, at any rate. I think they could have given her a better design, though. This one's a little ugly.


Okay, now the whining can commence. (*gets his dead-horse-kicking boots on*)

This book was SOOOOOOO SLOOOOOOOW. It had like 5 or 6 stories every issue and those stories sometimes disappeared for 5 or 6 issues. It was just WAY TOO MUCH stretched out over WAY TOO LONG. Somehow Ruckley managed to find the worst combination of "jamming a bunch of stuff in" and "slow burn" I'll admit, it gets better after issue 30...but it still feels pretty stretched out, even after that.

And this whole comic feels like SUCH a HUGE missed opportunity. We had nearly 50 issues on Cybertron. We could have learned SO MUCH about their culture or different political factions or how the different alien cultures influenced Cybertrons. But, no, we basically just get Autobots and Decepticons right from the start. Barely any nuance. Barely any exploration of the beliefs or thinking behind the different factions.

OH SWEET PRIMUS, THE ALIENS. What was the point? You basically went into a *little*, *miniscule*, *tiny* amount of detail about ONE of the species living on Cybertron. And then, after issue...what 15 or so(?) they just completely disappear from the plot. Why bother introducing them if they don't have a point?

Speaking of which, what is the deal with the Transformers comics TEASING the Quintessons, but never actually pulling the trigger on them? Is Hasbro not letting the comic writers use the Quintessons? It was the same in IDW1, I don't know what's going on here. They tease the Quintessons creating Exarchon...and then that's it. Nothing else.

It just feels like so many ideas in this run were half-baked. Stuff that sounded cool to the author, but weren't really thought about long enough to make them interesting or unique.

And...some of them just don't feel like "Transformers" ideas, just generic sci-fi ideas. Like the Tether falling. It's treated as such a GIGANTIC event, but...I just didn't care. The book didn't do a good job of MAKING me care. It didn't crush someone's bar that we were following before then. None of the characters we CARED about died. And...the Tether feels like generic sci-fi rather than a Transformers idea. If it had been a Titan spark going critical or weaponized proto-sparks falling from the sky launched from the moon, that would have felt more uniquely "Transformers" to me.

And, yeah, I said above it was nice to see so many characters we knew. But, at the same time, that kind of worked against the book. We spent SO MUCH time with SO MANY characters, I'm not sure many characters really got as fleshed out as they could have.

Bumblebee's arc was....kind of a mess, but a unique mess. Joining the Decepticons was at least a interesting idea on paper. It really doesn't feel like it mattered much in the end, though. But, it's still the second best plotline in this book...which is telling.

EVERYONE else is just such a collection of non-entities. I don't care about THIS version of ANY of the other characters. We don't really get to know most of them. They show up too sporadically to really get to like any of them. They're just a sea of random faces. They are literally just toys. Little personality, just colorful props to fill out crowd scenes.

The Insecticons were a boring threat. It was basically just a faceless cloud of evil. I'm not a fan of faceless clouds of evil.

And, ending with the Ark leaving Cybertron was predictable. That's not a bad thing. But, I won't pretend that I wasn't hoping against hope that there'd be SOME twist at the end that would make all this MUCH more interesting in retrospect, somehow. I don't know how. And honestly what we got was fine...it's just a little dull.

Honestly? I think I prefer War Within to this. I'm not going to sit here and say that The War Within was a masterpiece of storytelling. Honestly, Ruckley's run is probably objectively better. But, War Within had such memorable new designs which are nowhere to be found here. And back in the early 00s, it was kind of novel to have ANY sort of story set on Cybertron, since there were relatively few back then. Since then, we've had Barber's run and Robert's run with a all-Cybertron cast. The bar had been raised. And this...did not even come close to clearing it, in my opinion. I like War Within better than I'll ever like this book.



Overall...I wasn't a fan. Of ALL the old authors, I vibe with Ruckley's style the least. Like I've said before, I think other authors took his ideas and did them better in some of the miniseries. I mean, even in my positives, I can't help discussing aspects I didn't like.

So...I'm giving this run a 4/10. D-. I know the math doesn't work out on that D-, but I don't think it's a complete failure, just most of one. There's some salvageable ideas here. I wish the execution had been better.

My advice to Ruckley? Work on your fundamentals more. Don't add so many characters next time. Work on actually structuring more focused 6-issue-ish story arcs, rather than have rotating story arcs that go on for dozens of issues. If you MUST have multiple groups of characters, try to make at least ONE member of each group memorable, like Cyclonus and his gaggle of ghosts were. Try to flesh out some of your world-building ideas a little more, they're good but a little shallow. Try to work the world building into the actual plot more, you'll get more mileage out of the ideas.
 
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MrBlud

Well-known member
Citizen
It’s kind of amazing you get 40+ issues (half the run of the original Marvel comic!!) BY THE SAME WRITER but everything was so slow, boring, and generic I’d be shocked if *anything* from this run carries on into the future.

That’s rather darkly impressive.
 

Salt-Man Z

that is not dead which can eternal lie
Citizen
Haven't read the finale yet (Amazon never told me it was ready!) but I would be surprised if nothing from Ruckley's run got picked up by later writers. Heck, Rubble already showed up in an MLP crossover, I think. "Going immersant" probably has the best chance of gaining traction in the franchise, but there's also the Tether and the Winged Moon, orbiting derelict Titans, and characters like Geomotus, Codexa, and Termagax and her Baba Yaga-like hutstation... there was a lot of very cool stuff in Ruckley's run, and his selection of characters (pulled from literally everywhere) was fantastic. I loved the comic overall as a serial--as individual issues it was rather lacking--but I found the "slow" stuff to be quite enjoyable, and the actual action itself to be rather dull. Unfortunately, toward the end we got a lot of the latter...
 

UndeadScottsman

Active member
Citizen
I know a lot of people didn't care for this series, but I really liked it. I love the new ideas it added to the canon, like the mentor system, or cybertron as a intergalactic cultural hub, or going immersant. It reminds of of how much the original IDW series did to flesh out Cybertronian biology, relationships, sociology, politics etc. etc. Personally, I hope the mentor system becomes like sparks and it's just an assumed thing from now on, as it finally provides an excuse for familial-like relationships without raising any eyebrows for a change. (How are Sideswipe and Sunstreaker brothers again? Now they can just have been raised by the same mentor, boom, done.)

I loved the big cast, carrying over the IDW1 tradition of anyone can potentially show up, no matter the series they originated with. I strongly resonate with that philosophy as there's been a LOT of interpretations of Transformers over the years and it's nice to see those characters get utilized even if we're probably never getting new Beast Machines or Prime/Robots in Disguise fiction anytime soon. While I know some felt the large cast squeezed out character development, I think it was a good choice for a pre-war Cybertron; this is a Cybertron before the numbers of bots and cons got widdled down over centuries of war.

I'm curious how drastically losing the TF license affected the plot. They still had several more months they could have kept going a few more issues, so ending it here makes me wonder if this was always planned, but instead of some kind of IDW2 Phase 2 relaunch, they just ended the book. This series will always be a what if for me; I would have loved it if the series had lasted long enough to get to Earth.

While the slowness of the book seems to have been a common complaint, I wonder how much that apply to people who come to the series later and can just read the whole thing start to finish without waiting a month in-between issues. It'll be interesting to see what people think of this series once it has a few years of distance.

I hope whoever gets the license next has a really great and interesting idea and isn't just going to rehash 1984 again.
 

The Phazer

Active member
Citizen
My advice to Ruckley? Work on your fundamentals more. Don't add so many characters next time. Work on actually structuring more focused 6-issue-ish story arcs, rather than have rotating story arcs that go on for dozens of issues. If you MUST have multiple groups of characters, try to make at least ONE member of each group memorable, like Cyclonus and his gaggle of ghosts were. Try to flesh out some of your world-building ideas a little more, they're good but a little shallow. Try to work the world building into the actual plot more, you'll get more mileage out of the ideas.

Mine would simply be "write issues." Clearly, he was writing for a trade mostly and that's not the end of the world, but you should still write individual issues as chapters at least that end on the last page. Some of Ruckley's issues felt like they finished mid-sentence.
 

Swerve

Life of the Party
Citizen
I mean, I didn't dislike it as much as some did. It was slow and truth be told it ended the only way it possibly could have. I loved the concept of how Transformers were "Born", especially the meta commentary on the Bumblebee/Cliffjumper relationship (When I read that issue I could almost picture a kid going, "Mom!!! You bought me a Cliffjumper. I wanted Bumblebee."). I love the Mentor system. I loved Hound being in a somewhat prominent role with his relationship to organic lifeforms. I actually liked Bumblebee's role in this...though breaking away from him at times led to a "I wonder what is up with Bumblbebee?" Did they ever answer why he left security btw? Loved his friendship with Windblade. If anything most of what I mentioned was good, but not always fully developed. The question is where to Transformers go next in the comic world. I've been picking up Transformer comics monthly for almost twenty years. I don't like that there will be this lull. I hope we hear something soon. Meanwhile I'll enjoy finishing Last Bot Standing and the few Best Of comics coming out.
 
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