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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

Titan Transformers #20
Reviewed by Inflatable Dalek

Issue Review

Well how about that, a rare instance of a Furman-written arc where the final instalment keeps up the pace and consistency of the previous issues and provides a decent amount of closure! Though there’s a page spent on keeping the Starscream storyline going this issue thankfully doesn’t fall into the trap of leaving too many dangling loose ends to feel fully satisfying as a climax.

What’s especially nice is normally Stockade would die in a heroic self sacrifice to pay for his mistakes. Here he gets to stay alive and learn from his mistakes, creating a most interesting character that’ll be worth revisiting in the future. It’s also gratifying that Unicron’s defeat, though a little hasty, is well thought through and logical without falling back on random plot devices.

The revelations about Cybertron potentially being a Transformer are going to be very old hat to seasoned readers and a bit puzzling to younger ones but this isn’t dwelt on and is effectively just some window dressing to the main events.

The Return to Cybertron arc has shown the Titan comic at its best, tight fun action packed plots with a nice variety of art. Though the Animated comic has died a death, hopefully this will continue for some time yet.

Notes

Cybertron being brought into Earth orbit was famously part of two three part stories in the original cartoon, The Ultimate Doom and The Rebirth. Cybertron would seem to be in the Sol system for good at the end of the issue.

Divebomb is definitely killed in the attack on Unicron; Incinerator and two other jets attack with him, presumably Skyblast and Overcast. Whilst Incinerator is shown alive later in the issue the final fate of the other two is unknown.

Optimus and the others escaped the Straxus in their protoform bodies, though they’ve all returned to their Earth forms by the time they meet up with Stockade. Again, a couple of characters aren’t shown (such as Longarm) but there’s nothing to say they didn’t survive and aren’t just padding out the crowds.

Cybertron has an internal structure similar to a Transformer. In the Unicron Trilogy Cybertron was indeed able to transform into a robot mode for Primus. There are no direct references to that back-story here though. Interestingly Stockade would seem to be the first Cybertronian to have actually done any research into the planet's lower levels, as everyone else is very surprised by this.

Where the bats come from isn’t explained. It’s possible that if Cybertron is alive (as implied) that they are some kind of anti-body system, or that Unicron created them himself.

Stockade gets given a stock Furmanism when he says they’ll give Unicron a bad case of indigestion.

Though it’s still very much a slow moving sub plot Starscream at last makes his move after close to six months of plotting and planning. He’s plastered a large Decepticon logo over his base in a similar way to that seen on his namesake’s headquarters in Infiltration.

This is only the third time a comic has shown Unicron getting defeated by something other than the Matrix, the others being The Legacy of Unicron (bombs) and GI Joe Vs. The Transformers IV: Black Horizon (mushrooms. Seriously.)

The cover gift has a picture of G1 Grimlock on it. This slightly random addition makes for the first time one of the original characters has been on the cover (but not when you remove the gift).

Note that, unlike the last two issues, the Next Issue page doesn’t have a plug for the forthcoming Transformers: Animated instalment (though there is an “Also Available” plug for issue 3 on the next page). Likely they already knew that title had been cancelled and that the fourth issue wouldn’t be happening by the time they put this to bed. This means that from now on this returns to being the only Transformers comic in the UK market.

Goofs

Stockade and Ironhide swap dialogue in their opening exchange, making the former berate the latter for awakening Unicron.

Whilst there was a bit of effort to hide it in issue 18 here Stockade clearly has an Earth based alt mode.

Why hasn’t Starscream (or anyone else on Earth for that matter) noticed the giant planet in orbit?

Artobots has a character called Destroyer with a large Decepticon badge that the Editor calls an “Autobot”.

The Vs. feature seems to think the Beast Wars Grimlock turns into a T-Rex (it describes the real animal as his “Dinosaur double”). Of course, all of the feature's claims about a T-Rex’s abilities and behaviour are basically made up. In fact, the description of it as a pack animal sounds suspiciously like the Jurassic Park Velociraptors.

They're reprinting Megatron: Origin.

Fantastic Free Gift!

A Grimlock adorned stationary set.

Extras

Grimlock Vs. T-Rex feature, the first time in ages the Vs. page has appeared; it’s now a Beast Wars Battlefield;
Cover based poster;
Competition for the Inheritance trilogy of books;
Way Past Cool cover more computer games (wouldn’t having Bumblebee review music be more appropriate? The fact he has nothing negative to say about any of the games is very apparent by now);
Razorbeast Character Profile (ironically done just in time for him to go out of character in the regular comic);
Artobots;
Starscreams;
Arcee’s Soulmates:: Truly odd feature that feels like an office joke that got published by mistake. Male Transformers (including Grimlock based on the speech pattern) write personnel ads looking for that special someone. Accompanied by some art of Movie Arcee.

 
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