Saturday, July 25, 2020

Transformers '84: Secrets and Lies #1 Review...

Transformers '84: Secrets and Lies #1

Writer: Simon Furman
Artist: Guido Guidi

Synopsis: In 2019, IDW released a single issue called “Transformers ‘84" that chronicled the classic Transformers back story that happened before the Ark launched into space to defend Cybertron from the asteroid field. This summer, that issue has been followed up with “Secret and Lies” which continues onward with the back story.
    While the original issue followed the Autobots story from Punch’s perspective, issue #1 of “Secrets and Lies” follows the Decepticon side of the story from Counterpunch’s perspective. Shockwave and his scientists labour over “Project Dreadnought”, a plan to create world engines (called “turbines” in the story) to power Cybertron through the cosmos. Starscream and Skyfire ruminate over Megatron’s obsession with destroying Optimus Prime instead of worrying about the greater plan. Counterpunch arrives and tells Shockwave that Megatron demands his presence immediately. Megatron tells Shockwave to plan to take Stanix next so they can take the entire western hemisphere. Ratbat argues they are overstretched already but Megatron dismisses him. Later, a massive explosion sends Cybertron hurdling in the direction of the Stellae Cimeterium–a graveyard of stars. Shockwave suggests they finish the planetary turbines to correct the planet’s trajectory. Megatron says they have time to wait and gauge the Autobots response instead. Later, Ratbat speaks with Shockwave, suggesting perhaps the explosion wasn’t an accident and implies Shockwave did it intentionally, a fact he denies (although it’s obvious to the reader he was behind the incident). The Decepticons watch as the Nemesis, their new battleship designed to combat the Autobot’s Ark, stands ready to launch. The Autobots (Perceptor and the Dynobots), via Counterpunch, discover Shockwave’s treachery and go to the area in question to investigate. Skyfire, Shockwave’s associate, intercepts them there but he is taken out by Grimlock. Shockwave arrives shortly after and stops them in return (except for Perceptor, who hides and escapes his attack). Shockwave is recalled by the Seekers (Thrust, Ramjet and Dirge) to go see Megatron off on the Nemesis. Perceptor signals for backup who come and retrieve his damaged comrades...

Thoughts: This is a competently written story. Having said that, I don’t really find it all that exciting. It feels like we’re just retreading history here without really exploring anything all that interesting. Does it really matter if the Constructicons and Jetfire existed on Cybertron before we first saw them in the Marvel comic? Also, the first issue proposed that Optimus Prime purposely drew Megatron and his warriors off Cybertron to try and give whoever was left a chance to save their homeworld. It’s a different spin on things but not one that I really care for. I prefer the original way instead (a mission to save Cybertron that went wrong). Again, we’re not really covering any new ground storywise here and I don’t find it all that exciting. (After reading the two issues in question I find I’m having trouble even recalling what happened in them. Not a good sign for the future).
    The artwork here is excellent. Guidi does a phenomenal job recapturing Andrew Wildman’s early TF style at its best. The comic is worth checking out for that alone, even if the story itself is not all the exciting.

Verdict: Average.

Monday, July 20, 2020

G.I.JOE Snake Eyes: Deadgame #1 Review...

G.I.JOE Snake Eyes: Deadgame #1

Story/Penciler: Rob Liefeld
Script/Dialogue: Chad Bowers
Addtional Inks: Adelso Corona

  Snake Eyes and some other Joes attack a remote installation in the Svalbard Islands after receiving a mysterious S.O.S signal from the site. Upon arriving, they find Joe Colton held prisoner and free him. He informs them his captors forced him to translate an ancient scroll that referenced “Deadgame”. Snake Eyes understands what he’s talking about and rushes out into the cold arctic to find a group of ninja huddled in a circle chanting. He attacks them and puts most of them down but not before they manage to resurrect the evil wizard Kirigun (the “Grave Master” apparently). Kirigun is apparently immortal, a man wrapped in red bandages. He asks the ninjas "where the sword is" but they tell him they do not have it... then Snake Eyes engages him in battle. He defeats Snake Eyes ultimately but is forced to retreat when Scarlett shows up with a shotgun. He retreats with his remaining ninja on a helicopter but warns Snake Eyes that when they meet again then he will possess the sword of the dead and there will be no question who will be the victor. The other Joes join Snake Eyes and Scarlett as they watch him leave and vow to stop him.

Thoughts:  Honestly, this story feels almost out of place for a G.I.JOE story. It veers very far into the fantastic and reminded me more of story that should’ve been told for a character like Wolverine or Deadpool. If you love Cobra-La types of storytelling in your Joe canon you might go for this. If you want even a scrap of realism this is not the book for you. Interestingly, it looks like Liefeld was too lazy to even script the story. He just came up with some overall conflict to make Snake Eyes look cool and let somebody else flesh it out (or it seems that way anyway). Other then having him conveniently in the story why is Joe Colton able to translate the ancient scroll? It makes little sense to me.
    Artwise, the comic moves between “good” and “awful”. We get some competent scenes and poses as well as a lot of super beefy men shots. Snake Eyes has always been muscular but also lithe to a degree and here he looks like he just works out 24/7. Roadblock suffers even worse–he looks ridiculous on the final splash of the comic. Liefeld needs to use his millions to take some damn art lessons! Or learn to tone down his worst instincts at any rate.
    This comic had 36 variant covers all told, btw. Crazy but clearly IDW was hoping to cash in on Liefeld’s name at all cost.
    I’ll likely pick up next issue but honestly I hold little hope this story will be worth bothering with.

Verdict:  Mediocre.