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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)
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and Titles

TRANSFORMERS TITLES FROM TITAN BOOKS / MAGAZINES

Titan Transformers Dark of the Moon #4: Automatic For The People
Reviewed by Inflatable Dalek

Issue Review

Even with the comic continuing next month this is still the end of an era. Four years and change may not seem much in comparison to the length of time the original Marvel US and UK comics lasted for, so it's easy to forget that this is still a surprisingly long run for a film tie in comic. In that time we've had comics for Indiana Jones, Star Trek and G.I. Joe all struggle to reach four issues, and only one of them had the cost of original comics to factor in.

Indeed, much like the lengths the original British comic went to in order to keep going when cancellation would have been easier (dropping the colour, going fortnightly and so on), someone at Titan (almost certainly Steve White) clearly has enough of a fondness for Transformers to have worked hard to find ways to keep the title alive at points where either ending it or just going for straightforward IDW reprints would have been the first choice of most publishers. The fact it's lasted 50 issues and will be continuing into the new spin off in a very difficult and shrinking market is fairly impressive.

So it's a shame the last issue isn't better. As a bit of harmless fluff it's fair enough, as a goodbye to the Movieverse it can't help but be disappointing. It's possible Etherington didn't know this would be the last film strip when he wrote it, but that doesn't change the fact that once read it will have dropped out of your mind almost instantly. The previous Epps issue would have actually made for a better, slightly melancholy, ending.

The art remains gorgeous, but other than that it's fair to say the comic never regained the momentum it had in the lead up to the release of Revenge of the Fallen, which is a shame as those alternate Universe stories were genuinely impressive. A lot of what we've had since has been perfectly good for young children (and it is somewhat unfair for me to be reviewing these stories as I'm about twenty years older than the target audience. I did ask my young cousin for her considered opinion of the issue, it was “Transformers is for boys silly”) but at one time it managed to work just as well for us old farts as well.

It's competent enough for it to be impossible for me to rate it as less than average, and I hope over the last four years those younger readers have enjoyed the title just as much as people my age enjoyed even the silliest of the Marvel stories (come on, stop being so grown up, you loved Skullgrin as a movie star) and will come onto whatever shape the internet will have take in twenty years to talk nostalgically about it and shake their heads at the old man who reviewed them at the time and completely missed the point. But as it stands, this isn't so much “It never ends” as “Is that it?”.

Notes

This is the 50th issue of the comic since its launch, and also the final issue. From October the title relaunches again, this time as Transformers: Prime, tying into the new cartoon and, even though it's technically volume 4, this ends the British film strip (and of course, all the film related padding...err.. extra features). This of course means Dark of the Moon has had the shortest run of the three volumes. Exactly how far in advance this was planned is unclear, but it does mean the Tanto gang were set up as recurring villains back in issue #2 with no follow up.

This means Epps and Lennox are the only supporting humans to appear in the third volume.

The Anti-Autobot protesters are likely inspired by a deleted scene from Dark of the Moon that was briefly seen in some early trailers.

Barricade appears in his blue Recon toy colour scheme.

Ironhide gets the last word, and takes a XXXXXXXXXL size T-shirt.

Goofs

Of all the Autobots, would you send Ironhide to handle public relations? At least the Twins would be good for a laugh.

Where does Castor get his anti-Decepticon T-shirt from on such short notice? Plus, as he's presumably against all giant robots it's hardly a ringing endorsement of the Autobots is it?

Fantastic Free Gift!

A disc shooter watch..

Extras

The Lowdown... Ironhide R.I.P, profile of the late Autobot;
Sideswipe's Armoury looks at the wingsuits used in Dark of the Moon;
Ratchet's Wordsearch!;
A double sided poster of Starscream and Sideswipe;
Ratchet to the Rescue! maze game;
Competitions for Mechtech toys, the 2012 Dark of the Moon Annual, Dangermouse 30th Anniversary Boxset (Hell yeah!) and the classic Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 DVD's;
Starscream's Stumpers!, including a Spelling Bee!, which is a fiendish letter removal game that will reveal the name of a female Autobot. Who could it be? And remember, Elita-1 hasn't been in the comic for over two years...;
Mega Mouth (including a letter asking where all the Autobot “Femmes” are, Tramp, is that you?).

 
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