Friday, January 20, 2012

IDW Transformers Ongoing

After being behind for two years, I finally sat down and read my pile of comics.  I am using this a a chance to make my voice heard and spread my opinion on what I thought about Mike Costa's Transformers Ongoing. 
This series takes place following IDW's maxi series All Hail Megatron, and starts off with an earth that has been just ravaged by the brutal enslavement by the Decepticons. 
The first thing that I noticed was that Don Figuroa's art drastically changed its styling.  He adopted a very Bayformer type of look to the bots.  On this same topic... I feel that the IDW universe has allowed something that they never had... style sheets.  When you read the IDW books, there are often books that run in parallel, and as you read these books the character designs are so drastic its unbelievable.  For example for the first few issues of the ongoing series each time an Autobot or Decepticon was shown, there was  narrator bubble to inform you who they were.  Also I found it strange to see the differences between Bumblebee in his miniseries and then his movieverse inspired look from Ongoing #1.  Don't get me wrong, I really do enjoy different artist renditions of my favorite characters, but there has to be some simple aspects that remain the same.  I mean if you look at the Animated Hotrod, you know its Hotrod!  Some of the IDW artist interpretations are so far off you are thankful for the narration so you know who is who!
Not only were the character designs lost to artist interpretations, but the characters themselves seemed to be lost in the story line.  A major example was Prowl, who quite honestly seems to not be Prowl!  I mean the characterizations were completely off... it even seemed rare that Optimus Prime was himself.  I agree Prime would turn himself over to the humans, but if Prime gave the leadership role to Bumblebee he would have respected Bees leadership... even though Bee would always be giving the mantle back to Prime instead of fighting Prime for the role.  There were a couple of issues, in perticular the issue where Prime was questioning Megatron about how he should be tried that I really saw Prime shine through.  Just like in the Bay movies, they are trying to make Prime a bigger badass than leader.  They are trying to turn him into something he is not, and for me that loses its place.
I really feel that the ongoing just seems to have tried to tackle way too much.  Furman with some help laid out this amazing setup for a universe, and I feel that if you look at Mike Costa's road map it was an amazing story. However, I feel that he tried to cram way to much into this story that was condensed.  Consistently there was so much build up for little or no payoff.  The Last Story on Earth was one proof of this.  They spent four issues digging deeper and deeper just to release that Swindle was selling arms to human and bot alike... I could have figured that when I first saw the human weapon... no payoff.  Same thing happened with Chaos.  There was so much around it... Heart of Darkness and all, for what three pages barely chronicling the battle and then ohh yeah Prime inserts the Matrix and resets the world yay. 
I did enjoy how they setup the next two series in the "death" of Optimus Prime.  I am just happy that Costa's run has completed and am looking forward to the future of Transformers comics... especially TF80.5.

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