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THE TRANSFORMERS: COMICS, BOOKS AND MANGA

IDW Publishing
(2005-now)
Devil's Due
(2003-2007)
Dreamwave
(2002-2004)
Club/Con
(2001-now)
Titan Books
(2001-now)
Marvel Comics
(1984-1994)
Japanese
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Other Books
and Titles

CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING

Transformers: Foundation #4
Reviewed by Blackjack

Issue Review

”The Autobots’ revenge—is to live.”
Not quite spectacular or clean, but a much better way to end the arc than Rising Storm. It’s a bit of a given that all main characters will survive, so you won’t expect Optimus not helping Ironhide… although his descent into madness is handled well, the gambit that Megatron uses, betting that Optimus wouldn’t shoot through the hatchlings, isn’t handled quite that well, and the conclusion feels pretty cheap and off, with Optimus suddenly making the star Cybertron orbits disappear, and in turn leaving Megatron to the ravenous hatchlings. Still, it’s not quite as bad as the conclusion to Rising Storm, and all loose ends are tied up serviceably. Understandably there are some things that seem to be based on a rough draft script, kind of vague like how Defiance was panned out, but all in all Foundation is a rather satisfying read, unlike Rising Storm which flopped up like a dead fish at the end.

The artwork is still wonderful, but there are bits where the colouring and shading were clearly rushed. I also disliked the battle between the Autobots and Decepticons in the flashback sequence, it seems quite bland compared to the other more spectacular battles we’ve seen so far. Optimus Prime is well defined, and Megatron, while a bit wobbly, fits his rather irony-loving persona quite well. It’s nice to see Optimus actually having a plan to piss off Megatron. Shockwave and Starscream as the two lieutenants work surprisingly well, and this is one of the few times where Starscream is actually portrayed as scarily competent (even Sentinel and Elita are noticeably afraid of him) in any post-ROTF material. Sadly he gets put down in one shot by Optimus in the very next scene. Ironhide is great material, as Optimus’ staunch friend and defender. I quite like the exchange between Ironhide and Starscream about who exactly Ironhide had betrayed. The sisters are in it a lot as well, which is a bit of shame since guys like Sideswipe or Ratchet could have worked quite better. But that’s probably personal preference than anything, I just kind of disliked how Elita got so many page time just because she was Prime’s girlfriend in the original cartoon. It’s a good thing Elita and Chromia are sizably defined, then, or I’ll bitch about it quite a bit.

The foreshadowings to the movie proper, like the Ark exploding, Wheeljack, Shockwave, Optimus Prime plunging Cybertron into darkness, a hatchling army and all those stuff is quite well done. Since we are not quite sure which bits will pop up in the movie and which are just here for the sake of being here, it’s a satisfying read. The bloody Torch is a stupid plot device, however, and I really don’t hope that it would be used in Dark of the Moon. All in all it’s slightly disappointing in the dip of quality, but it’s still serviceable, and not a total flop like the fourth issue of Rising Storm.

Notes

The flashback bits of this episode takes place some time after Defiance #4, and immediately ties in with the framing stories of Foundation.

This issue sneakily retcons the presence of a spaceship called the Ark in Reign of Starscream with the possibility of another Ark appearing in Dark of the Moon, so here Barber retcons the Ark seen in the IDW comics as a second Ark, named after the ‘original’ Ark, which would presumably appear in the third movie. Timelines being developed in different times is confuzzling, kids!

“Only if you can shrink” is probably a vague shout-out to the mass displacement that the G1 Transformers can do. Lest we forget, all Movieverse transformers are not able to change their size when they transform.

The two cannonfodder Autobots seen in Foundation #1 make a reappearance at the end of the flashback sequence accompanying Optimus, Ironhide and Elita.

“One must sacrifice to win” is a twist on the “no sacrifice, no victory” credo that the Witwickies have in the live action movie.

Like what happened to Shockwave, Wheeljack and Mirage at the end of Rising Storm, here Sentinel Prime is seen blowing up in a fireball. So when we next see him in the movie proper, it would account for him looking quite different. Although unlike the other three (who had distinctive G1-inspired designs) Sentinel already look quite a bit like his proper movie design…

Note that the weapon Megatron uses in this episode is neither the combined fusion cannon seen in the first movie design, nor the death-claw fusion cannon seen in the ROTF design. Methinks DOTM Megatron’s going to have a new weapon…

Goofs

It’s a bit far fetched that a wounded Optimus and a barely-standing Ironhide could get the better of Starscream and Shockwave, both of whom are still at full power. Why don’t the Decepticon lieutenants transform and pursue the Autobots anyway?

At one point what is probably supposed to be Bumblebee is coloured gray.

Starscream's jet mode is a bit off-model for some scenes.

 
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