Thursday, October 1, 2015

Dreamwave Generation ONE Review

I have to admit. I did not dive into my back issues for this first feature quite yet. I partially cheated and read the collected graphic novel of the first Transformers story produced by Dreamwave. My first impression is that I had to completely been taken by this series when it was first released. Basically the only reason that I own this graphic novel is it has sneak preview of the next series, and I needed more, so I spent the 12.99!

Here is the image that completely captured my imagination. The incentive cover. Looking back I never noticed that unlike many comics, this cover really captured an amazing battle that happened within the story, granted it was far from the initial issue, however I got to see this battle take place in the pages before the end of this event which was incredible.

I turned the pages and was delightfully surprised to see the preview was included prior to beginning issue 1. Once again i was caught up in Lazarus' offer and wanted more. I had completely forgotten that Dreamwave used a semi-zombie story until i really poured into the pages and saw the night attacks by Megatron in the jungle.

Then finally we get to meet Spike, applying that yellow hard hat that we all know so well. I really like how they let us know he was back, and they even combined the cartoon and the comic Spike, as in later pages he was asked about his younger brother Buster, yet his introduction he retained the characteristics from More Than Meets the Eye part 1. We even get to meet his son Daniel, another great call back from the cartoon. I can vividly remember at Botcon 2002's comic panel being told that "Carly is at her mother's house... we will tell you the story soon." Another broken promise from the team.

The fist issue moves about a nice pace, but focuses on Spike, and ominously hints at a tragedy that struck in 1999. You can catch a small bit of the story if you try to read over Spike's shoulder but we are provided with the article at the end of the story. Basically the Autobots won the war and decided to go home with their captive Deceptiocons. As a thank you they were taking human researchers to share Cybertronian technology, Sparkplug being one of them. The Ark II ended the same way as the Challenger, and all aboard were killed, sending Buster into a downward spiral, and putting Spike into a bad mood.

Well it turns out that the bots and cons on board were scattered, and not killed. And the United States Mass Weaponry Board (or some made up division) needed Mr. Spike Witwicky's assistance. He was ordered to come with the commanding general and shown the video of Megatron attacking. Spike is then taken to a secret holding facility where Optimus Prime's lifeless body is revealed to him. I have to say that panel revealing Prime has to be some of my favorite art. It saddens me that there is a chance that Pat Lee did not create it and an amazing artist was slighted the credit that he deserves. Spike then removes his necklace that holds a piece of the Matrix and pressies it inside the Matrix in Optimus' chest, waking the giant.

When Optimus awakens he is told of the horrible atrocities that his Autobots are performing and uses the Matrix to revive all of his fallen comrades not under control of Lazarus. Meanwhile Lazarus decides to cash in his chips. He calls together all of the scum of hte world (think Batman and Robin) and holds a bidding war for these programmable titans. However not wanting to be sneaky, he brings out Megatron as the first bid. As the scum are screaming their bids, the very much awake Megatron makes his grand entrance and wipes all of them out, except for his new "dog" Lazarus.

Optimus ans his crew are made aware of the Decepticon location, and decide to finish things once and for all. They stage an attack on the base and are welcomed by Megatron and his crew. The battle is fast however and ends in the Deceptcons scattering and the Autobots infiltrating the Decepticon base. Inside Optimus is informed by a damaged Ironhide that Megatron has unleashed a mechanical virus that will take over the earth. Megatron is not resting on his laurels however and has began to attack a coastal city with the help of Devastator. Optimus rallies his troops and sets one group to battle the virus while he travels with Superion to battle Megatron.

The bots discover that the virus is Techo-Organic and the only thing that can stop it is their energy so Wheeljack creates a blaster that drains their energy to battle the building virus. The only issues is that they will need to use all of their energy to stop it, possibly killing them all.

Optimus reaches the city and defeats Devastator stylishly before addressing Megatron in person. The battle quickly escalates, until Megatron and Optimus share their opinions of humans. Megatron tries to crush Optimus' belie in humans, until one ghost-drives a fire truck into Megatron giving Optimus the advantage he needed.

While all of this action was happening we get a glimpse of Spike who was jailed, freed by the guilty conscience janitor, and informed of Lazarus. Spike is then told that Lazarus partner was none other than the General he has been dealing with this whole time (WHOA Major TWIST!!!). The general sees the destruction and decides that he will send a nuke to end this issue once and for all. Que To Be Concluded!

The final issue addresses all three story lines. The president finds that Nukes have been ordered, so the General is addressed, and eventually killed in front of Spike. The Autobots battling the virus are attacked and begin to intercept tank shells intended for the virus, and Optimus realizes that a nuke is on its way for him, but keeps fighting Megatron.

Our story hits its climax in a beautiful Optimus quote that as a leader you enter battle and vow to lose no one, but some take things into their own hands as Superion intercepts the nuke with is chest and Wheeljack hooks himself up to a satallite dish and sacrifices ever inkling of his energy to stop the virus. Megatron then gets away to free room for more and Grimlock finds the Decepticons ditched him but does not rejoin the Autobots.

The story I feel tried to do to much at once. At points it was hard to follow, and I had to second look what seemed like th US government had Megatron and used him for missions, but it was just the similarity of Pat Lee's humans. Some of the bot artwork is marvelous, and yet some leave me desiring more. I am pretty sure this series sales were almost fully on nostalgia, but the story was decent. I just feel it bit off more than it could chew in points.

I feel they did a very good job of instilling the type of character that Optimus is, yet I feel this Megatron was easily a tyrant. I think that IDW have completely changed my view of Megs with their characterization.

All in all this was the title that relaunched the Transformers Comics, however the pull of Transformers: War and Peace no longer has as much pull. I feel like i may be jumping to IDW much quicker to re-establish the history of the new comic cannon.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

DreamWave's Transformers: Generation One

I have been burning through my IDW new releases lately. It seems like I can barely get home from the comic shop before I am flipping the pages to see what is happening this week. This is great, however I seem to be constantly out of reading material, and then the idea hit me. I need to dive back into my back issues. My wife has been trying to figure out why I have so many long boxes, and it was time to put them to use, however the long boxes are still staying untouched.
I was looking at my graphic novels, and there it sat... lonely with a slew of Titan G1 Reprints. Dreamwave's first Transformers graphic novel release, and curiosity got the best of me. I grabbed it. My mind was ready to see if it stood the test of time, but first i wanted to document what I really remembered about it.
When I got into the fandom, Beast Machines was just ending. The show did not draw me in as much as the Canadian copy of Transformers: The Movie and hearing Spike curse. This led me to want as much info as possible on these robots in disguise. My cousin kindly burned me a copy of 8 CDR's that held the original series so I could see the rest of the story, and that was followed by him allowing em to borrow a half box filled with all of his Marvel Transformers comics. The run was far from complete, but it was more fiction that devoured. I wanted more. I began to spreadsheet all of these figures that I never figured I would own, and my father noticed a somewhat adult take on a hobby. The spreadsheets were meticulously kept (why I stopped I can only kick myself), and print outs were printed and held in a binder that made its way with me each weekend to the flea market. I slowly found the necessary transformers websites and resources.
That's when the news broke. Hasbro licensed the rights to a Transformers comic book! I read the press release and coveted the fist art work available. The binder that followed me everywhere was soon adorned with a print out of what would become Transformers: Generation One #1's incentive cover (The Superion-Devastator battle cover). I drove to my comic shop and opened a folder, making sure that I wouldn't miss an issue.
Then I waited. I can vividly remember when the teaser comic was released online. There I sat in my bedroom and was glued to my 17" CRT monitor, wanting my 56k modem to download all the pictures as fast as possible. I saw Lazarus, and then in the last panel was Soundwave's arm rising from the ice.
When the date finally arrived, I went to my cousin who already picked up his copies. My Uncle Jim provided me with an extra $10 to make sure that i had enough for all of my copies (God rest his soul). I drove to the shop, and grabbed my folder. There was three covers, and the fourth was the incentive cover that I had been staring at for weeks, and at $10, a gift from my Uncle Jim.
I am not sure about the story anymore. All I can remember is wanting to know who Lazarus was. I can remember trying to read every inch of the first issue, more so than any other comic in my past. I remember trying to read the news article about how Sparkplug died, only to see a full print at the end of the issue. I can remember being on cloud nine seeing Transformers rule the sales charts.
The story is hazy. I cannot remember much, I know Devy caused some havoc but not much more. I know that I ended up buying issue 1 five or six times, and eating it up. I can remember my first Botcon, and waiting in line to get Pat Lee, and the rest of the Dreamwave crew (including Simon Furman) to sign that all important incentive cover. I can remember the first Dreamwave panel at said Botcon, and an hour of "will (insert robot name) appear in the comics." I am looking forward the revising these books. Since i know these will eventually feed a cliff-hanger bankruptcy ending, I think I have moved past it. I hope that I can still enjoy this story line for what it is.