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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
Manga
Other Books
and Titles

TRANSFORMERS TITLES FROM TITAN BOOKS / MAGAZINES

Revenge of the Fallen #1 [UK]: Training Day
Reviewed by Inflatable Dalek

Issue Review

After the big sweeping scope of the last few issues, a more focused and fun little story makes a nice change of pace. I was one of the people who enjoyed the twins on film but am very aware that what works in as a comic relief subplot could quickly get annoying when made the focus of the story, so the more toned down personalities they have here works both in terms of the reality of their situation and making for a bearable read. This results in some entertaining interaction between the two of them.

There really isn’t much more to say, Starscream and his goons never pose much of a threat so the interplay between the two characters is the main focus. This may not have been the idea strip on which to relaunch the title (the original issue one was small and focused as well, but also had Optimus Prime kicking ass and the Allspark business was tied closely into the film), and I suspect kids brought in off the back of the movie will find it too slight to continue with. However, on its own merits it’s a pleasant enough diversion.

Notes

In order to tie in more closely with the new film events, the comic returns to the “regular” universe after over a year in the alternate timeline. One mind-twisting thing to note is there’s no real way of knowing if this is the same continuity as the first 8 issues, or an all-new third timeline. The latter could easily explain away a few minor differences between those issues and the film (such as the death of Scorponok), but for now we’ll be treating it all as one big happy canon. The style also returns to that of the earlier issues, with a more self-contained toy advert character study within a lose overarching plotline.

As with Jazz in issue 6, Furman is careful to avoid the Earth slang and cultural references that comprised the twins lines in the film, because of course they know nothing of the planet (though at least one slips through the cracks). This has an added bonus for people who found the characters as seen on film annoying or racist, as they’re much more “normal” here, whilst still faithful to their basic characters. Despite the bluster, they’re fairly obviously trying to hide out from the war.

The Twins also spend most of the issue wearing Bumblebee style battle masks.

Metrotitan is named after a Japanese exclusive repaint of Metroplex from 1990.

The Fallen appears, but we only see his arm from behind his chair, just like Doctor Claw. We know for sure it’s him though as he mentions his revenge. Oddly, from Starscream’s point of view he only sees a Decepticon symbol set in stone on the communications screen. This does tie in with IDW’s Prequel comics and early drafts of the film script but not with the finished movie or the earlier panel of the Fallen in his comfy chair. Possibly the Fallen didn’t want to reveal himself over an open channel (or more pertinently, Hasbro didn’t want the kids getting a good look at him before the film).

Cybertron is slightly more habitable than the first film implied, though this is in keeping with the other media tie ins. Though it’s unsaid, everyone likely brought their own Energon/fuel with them.

The purple drones Starscream is training are just generics rather than based on any toy. Presumably they’re early hatchlings as seen in the movie, and may well have been involved in the final battle by the Pyramids. Starscream himself has yet to adopt the funky markings he has in the film.

A subspace message isn’t as fast as whatever technobabble space drive the protoforms use. The wiki holds this up as a goof (“If Transformers can travel on "foot" faster than their own long-distance communications, then, well, why were the long-distance communications ever invented?”), rather missing the point that when he sends his message at the end of the first film Prime doesn’t know where the other Autobots are, so a wide ranging message makes more sense than sending someone to every planet looking for Autobots. The system is also useful for more general distress calls and, hell, even television.

For the reboot, rather than two piecemeal backup strips we get an entire issue of All Hail Megatron. The letters page implies this will be the norm (with the promise of it taking up 12 issues), but the second instalment at least is being done in chunks. Early solicitations for the issue mentioned a reprint of IDW movie material, why this didn’t happen is unclear. It’s possible the discontinuity between the IDW movie books and the earlier Titan material was a concern (or possibly even the way Defiance portrays the Fallen in a different way to the final film), or that they were put off by Alliance having plot threads that tie into earlier IDW comics not reprinted by Titan (though if that’s the case, someone hasn’t read the later issues of All Hail Megatron). It could equally be that the printing of comics about other continuities had been popular with older readers and Titan didn’t want to lose that audience. Or even that IDW wouldn’t let them have the Movie comics. At this stage, only the Shadow knows.

Either way, All Hail Megatron is presented as a comic within a comic, complete with its own cover, in a similar way to how the Animated section was handled for the last three issues.

Though the comics full on cover title is as above the copyright note simply refers to it as Transformers Vol. 2, No. 1. The next issue page uses a cutesy “2.2” numbering system.

The contents page contains a correction for the credits on the Animated strip in issue 24.

The cover is different from that in the “Next Issue!” box of #25, with Bumblebee, Skids and Mudflap added. The original cover forms the poster. This sees a return to photo-covers for the first time since issue 8.

This ends the titles second straight year of publication.

Goofs

Despite the effort to avoid Earth references in the Twin’s dialogue, an “It aint over till it’s over” slips through. Or did Prime’s message include Rocky as a shinning example of Earth culture?

As they watch Starscream make his new Decepticon Empire announcement, Skids and Mudflap either have their colours reversed or swap places instantly when the next panel cuts to a close up of them.

They’re reprinting All Hail Megatron. I mean, all joking aside, developments in the second half of the series will make no sense to anyone who hasn’t been following IDW’s output.

Fantastic Free Gift!

Transformers dog tags (not the same as given away with the previous issue 1) and that old favourite, a sticker album. Especially notable as its from the former Marvel UK, Panini.

Extras

Skids character profile (adapted from DK’s Movie book);
Competition for DVD’s of the original Turtles cartoon;
More Than Meets the Eye quiz page, including a word search with Cybertron locations from different continuities;
Competition to have your likeness in the comic;
Double sided poster, with the original cover on one side and an All Hail Megatron cover on the other;
Competitions for a Nintendo DS and Night at the Museum 2 game, and a Wii and Sports Island 2 game;
Way Past Cool covers the Revenge of the Fallen game;
Pop Quiz, Hotshots, a quiz with a name taken from the “Pop quiz asshole” line from Speed;
Top Gear has info and compos for Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead and Red Dwarf: Back to Earth on DVD, plus the Allan Dean Foster tie in books to the film and a Transformers art pack;
Law and Disorder, new letters page co-hosted by Ironhide and Barricade in the style of Titan’s Animated comic. Starscream has apparently had a nervous breakdown but still finds time to provide Starscream’s Stars, a spoof horoscope.
 
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