So, Where Are We All With the Comics at the Mo?

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So, Where Are We All With the Comics at the Mo?

Post by inflatable Dalek » Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:22 pm

I figured with this being a new forum, it might be nice to have a thread talking about what we generally think about the current comics and what we are and aren't reading before more specific discussion threads kick off (I think with Lost Light 14 next week?). In generalities rather than spoilers of course.

For me, after that difficult transition period from MTMTE, I'm once again really into Lost Light, and think that, couple of odd moments aside (Scavengers interlude), Roberts has been pretty much knocking it out the park consistently the last few months, with a real feel of things heading towards some sort of final climax. I know the Getaway stuff and the fate of a few characters have really upset and annoyed some folk, but I'm still finding it gripping.

A little older, but I finally finished Till All Are One with the Annual, and I do think it's a shame that series got overlooked and a bit lost between relaunches and crossovers. A fun, engaging series with great art and lots of well done moments that really made some good hay out of the political situation on Cybertron that John Barber set up so well in early Ex-RID. Whilst I get Scott deciding to go whilst the going was good rather than try to warp the series into something it wasn't in the hope of a sales boost, I do think she still had more left to offer than Barber at this stage and she will be missed (as I don't think she's down for anything after First Strike?).

Optimus Prime... well, I'm about six months behind on this and the only reason I'm planning to catch up is because Kei Zama's art is some of the most stunning we've seen in a TF book (tbh, I'd be happy with her on Lost Light instead of the sturdy but not yet spectacular Lawrence). As a writer, Barber feels very kind of run down and drawn out at this point. I'd happily never see a narration box again.

And the crossover stuff... I'm basically ignoring. None of it involves characters I'm interested in (nor indeed that many folk are interested in, we're talking the 80's properties that weren't popular enough to be revived when the 80's boom was at its peak) and nothing I've seen or read about them makes them feel remotely engaging to me. The one exception I might make is Rom Vs Transformers as everyone, including Alex Milne, tells me I should give it a go.

So what about you folk?
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Re: So, Where Are We All With the Comics at the Mo?

Post by prowlish » Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:50 pm

I'm pretty much in the same "loving the Lost Light updates/finished TAAO/really behind on OP/ignoring the crossover stuff" camp, haha. LL is the only one I tend to stay immediately on top of reading, if only because Spoilers or Vague Tweets About Spoilers start hitting my TL Tuesday evening... but mostly because I'm an addict and can't wait. I used to stay up until the 2 am comixology releases but that was before I started having to get up at 5-5:30 am for work. :'D Aside from some breakneck pacing in a few spots I've had no complaints with Lost Light and am eager for every release. I've been enjoying the heck out of Jack's art for the series, too.
inflatable Dalek wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:22 pm
A little older, but I finally finished Till All Are One with the Annual, and I do think it's a shame that series got overlooked and a bit lost between relaunches and crossovers. A fun, engaging series with great art and lots of well done moments that really made some good hay out of the political situation on Cybertron that John Barber set up so well in early Ex-RID. Whilst I get Scott deciding to go whilst the going was good rather than try to warp the series into something it wasn't in the hope of a sales boost, I do think she still had more left to offer than Barber at this stage and she will be missed (as I don't think she's down for anything after First Strike?).
I couldn't agree more with all of this. TAAO was another one I eagerly read as it released. I really loved it and I've never understood a lot of the negative chatter I saw flying around about it. Finding it hard to follow from Windblade -> Combiner Wars -> TAAO I get, but yeah. It's always been full of heart and gosh, it's just been blessed even more with some incredible art, right?

I do intend to catch up on OP for some of the same reasons -- Kei Zama has been one of my favorite artists for a long time and when I heard she was drawing a comic I had a squee moment, haha. There's a lot in OP I like, but like with RID/ex-RID, I somehow find it easier to concentrate on reading a backlog rather than each issue as it comes out. (Of course, I also left off after [redacted] died. I thought it was a good issue but seeing a long-time favorite go is never easy, haha)

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Re: So, Where Are We All With the Comics at the Mo?

Post by Kurona » Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:03 pm

I must admit I'm finding it hard to get into Lost Light in general at the moment but I'm not sure why... though Scorponok has me excited, and the Shockwave flashback is really hooking me. Also loving Anode as well... I think my main problem is that we've got a few newcomers to the crew like Roller who are just not getting any attention or characterisation at all.

TAAO was complete brilliance from start to finish. Absolutely wonderful piece of fiction that I'm very sad to see go, but I'm glad it left me with a wonderful message and send-off.

OP is my current favourite. Barber is excellent at long-term planning and using continuity in a good way (ie making interesting stories with it rather than "hey remember that one thing? that was cool right") while giving us some absolutely awesome character pieces. If I had to pick out any problems I'd say it's how much focus we're getting of Oiler; I feel they put her in the spotlight and repeat her points just a little too much. Other than that it's great and I want an Aileron toy yesterday.

The crossover stuff... hoooooooo boy. I was a staunch defender of the Hasbroverse as a concept and done a lot of defending for the idea of a shared universe, and there have been a few good stand-outs - Rom vs. Transformers and everything to do with Action Man - but overall it's far too much content thrown at us way too fast with a thousand bad editorial mandates that do not contribute to good storytelling and instead actively make the universe worse. A certain little death in TF vs. Visionaries is the worst of it, but it's more or less just the tip of the iceberg.
It's a shame because for a lot of these it's clear the writers do care about the properties they're writing about; they're just given no breathing room to make it work. I don't know how anyone could make it work when you're forced to shove in five properties into a universe that previously only had the one and then add an additional one each year.

... yeesht I got negative towards the end. Point is I'm loving IDW TF but not the crossover stuff unless it's got Action Man! Yay!

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Re: So, Where Are We All With the Comics at the Mo?

Post by Va'al » Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:46 pm

Very shaky on Lost Light, I think Roberts could use some better editing and supervision, and it really needs to catch up to rest of the TFverse, but #14 was enjoyable (out this coming Wednesday, I have advance review access).

Liking, very much so, the 'new' direction in Optimus Prime, which picks up where the MAGNIFICENT TAAO left off, as well as handling well a lot of the crossover threads. I still miss TAAO a bit. :(

Crossovers were ...not exactly harmless, in fact probably did more harm than good, but there are some very intriguing spools coming out of the knots left behind by First Strike:
  • Scarlett's Strike Force is really, stupidly fun, and it's a shame that the toxic, D&C crowd succeeded in their intent of getting readers to drop it. Who knows where Skywarp, GI Joe, and MASK will end up after this. Only one month left on this series (three issues in total).
  • TF vs Visionaries is so bland it's not even bad. Just bland. And I usually like Visaggio's writing. Ossio is great with humans and organic art, but still needs improving on Cybertronians.
  • Rom vs Micronauts is fun enough, if entirely outside of my usual interests.
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Re: So, Where Are We All With the Comics at the Mo?

Post by Pretzelcoatl » Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:13 pm

I lost interest with Lost Light slightly with the pre-Getaway arc, especially with the big reveal at the end of it, as the character isn't one I have any real knowledge of (or interest in!) I thought the Getaway stuff was a bit OTT, but enjoyable.

Im not really fussed with OP, but am up to date with it. Like most of you, I'm mostly sticking around for the fantastic art.

I really miss TAAO. Not much else to say on that, I guess.

I personally enjoyed TF vs Visionaries, but wasn't too upset by the death as its another character I'm not hugely attached to. Breakdown's in it, which should mean Knock-out'll turn up, right? Loved the redesigns for the Knights

The rest of the Hasbroverse is completely off my radar. Is any of it worth a look?
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Re: So, Where Are We All With the Comics at the Mo?

Post by Va'al » Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:30 pm

Pretzelcoatl wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:13 pm
The rest of the Hasbroverse is completely off my radar. Is any of it worth a look?
Scarlett's Strike Force is silly fun! And only three issues in total, with two already out.

(Jem and the Holograms is also pretty great, and though there has been no direct crossover, characters in other books have acknowledged their existence in this universe.)

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Re: So, Where Are We All With the Comics at the Mo?

Post by Ezim » Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:33 pm

I'm enjoying almost all the books right now.

I always feel like I'm the odd man out on Lost Light considering I feel it's been consistently good ever since MTMTE. I even enjoyed the Getaway arc but I get that not everyone likes it.

The world building going on in Optimus Prime is fantastic and I can't wait for Power of the Primes and the Unicron event as well.

ROM & the Micronauts is definitely a fun book even if it's reliant on readers having read both series but given that I have I'm not complaining.

Scarlett's Strike Force is a ton of goofy fun and it's a damn shame the book is ending after three issues. I sincerely hope this isn't the last we see of GI Joe and company.

Transformers vs Visionaries.......for what it is, it's written well and there is some interesting politics going on. I'm not a fan of the editorial mandates but I'm still intrigued to see where the rest of this goes.

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Re: So, Where Are We All With the Comics at the Mo?

Post by Broadside » Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:35 pm

From the main titles:
  • MTMTE/Lost Light went from one of the best comics I've ever read (issues #1-40) to okay with a few stinkers (issues #41-57) to downright bad most of the time (Lost Light). I used to love it, I really did, but Roberts has just indulged in all the worst parts of his writing and forgotten the good ones. It doesn't help that, despite presenting himself as Progressive And Open To Criticism, he bristles and gets defensive at the slightest suggestion that his work is Not Good in some aspects.
  • Scott's work is... well. I loved Windblade, didn't like Windblade v2 but felt that was partially due to having to do a whole lot of setup in only a few issues, and loved the first 11 issues of TAAO. Then TAAO #12 hit and completely buggered the whole Forged/Constructed Cold metaphor in a way that doesn't really make sense in universe and has a whole lot of unfortunate implications when taken in a real-world context. The Annual was good, but it was marred by a continuing focus on... y'know, that.
  • RID season 1 was okay. It was fun, but nothing special, you know? That changed with season 2/exRID; barring the unfortunate detour for Combiner Wars, the entire stretch from Dark Cybertron to All Hail Optimus was pretty fantastic. Screenwriter Thundercracker, Cosmos and Soundwave's friendship, everything that comes out of Galvatron's mouth... it's a fun character-driven political action-drama. The only issue I really had was that in his "big" story arcs, Barber has some trouble sticking the landing. The successful run continues into Optimus Prime, with a great first arc about the Junkions followed by a set of really good one-shots, including the incredible "The Life of Sideswipe"... but the third TPB (the First Strike tie-ins and issues #11-14) has been pretty weak, what with bringing in continuity points from Revolutionaries with (IMO) insufficient explanation, plus no Zama art and a general feel of ticking boxes to get everything in place. That said, The Falling seems to have put the spring back in its step, and I'm really looking forwards to what comes next.
For the crossover stuff... I'm a fan, generally. It hasn't been perfect, but I feel like the first year was as well-done as it could have been - all the stories are self-contained and you don't need to read the others to understand them, with Revolution not being necessary reading to understand OP or TAAO - though going into "year two" it's been unfortunately marred by poor editorial mandates and cross-book story bleed.
  • ROM is really solid. The first arc is a great superhero story about a melodramatic and kind of dorky knight from space who talks like a Silver Age comic character who's completely out of his element when he arrives on Earth, and the second arc is even better. The third... kind of drags a little, not helped by the fact that the issues got a reduced page count so there could be a back-up story, but it's regained the punch it used to have in the current "Rom and the Micronauts" miniseries.
  • Rom vs Transformers is a really good miniseries set in the past... but it's kind of just "really good". Like, on a technical level every element is really well done, but it just doesn't feel particularly special. Still, it's probably worth reading just for Alex Milne's beautiful art and the sexy, sexy Dire Wraiths.
  • G.I. Joe is a whole lot of fun. Despite having read all of IDW's G.I. Joe output (don't bother, by the way), this is the first time I've ever cared about any of the characters outside of the weirdos in supervillain masks at Cobra. It's snappy, the action's fun, the art is sketchy and stylised but really enjoyable, and it does really fun things with its premise. The only issue is that it suffers a LOT from decompression, and at times it gets so into being "everything at once" that you can kind of see why people might prefer it to be a little more grounded. Still, it's really good, and it's a crime that the follow-up "Scarlett's Strike Force" has been cut short due to [alt-right provocateurs] [the author saying really stupid things on Twitter] [very poor marketing decisions] unfortunate circumstances.
  • Micronauts has been described as "great characters in search of a story". The first arc (#1-6) is a fun little space opera (pun not intended), with bombastic super-soldier Acroyear and deadpan pacifist Oz being the standout characters, but once they get to Earth after Revolution it all kind of gets dragged down into "just about okay" territory. Fortunately, they've found the story they were looking for by jumping over to Rom's comic.
  • M.A.S.K. is terrible. Terrible in every single way. Bad art, bad dialogue, bad characters, nonsensical storytelling, and it can't maintain continuity with itself, let alone the other series. Avoid like the plague.
  • Action Man, conversely, is fantastic. It's a punchy four-issue story about a young guy who gets thrust into the position of the "greatest hero of them all" despite not being in any way ready. The cast is lovable, especially the titular character, and there are some twists that I genuinely didn't see coming. It's a must-read, IMO.
  • Revolutionaries takes Ayana Jones, Blackrock and Kup from exRID, teams them up with Action Man, and sends them on a globetrotting adventure that is John Barber at his finest - in terms of action-comedy, deep cuts, AND continuity porn. Each issue is basically a stand-alone story that contributes to a greater arc, and it's a whole lot of fun. Also, there's a World War II soldier who plays Sonic the Hedgehog and talks like Bart Simpson. If you like Action Man, you'll love this.
  • Transformers vs Visionaries is... [sighs]. It's very well put together, and the character designs are top-notch. For the most part the writing's good, and the writer has a great pedigree, having written some good (trans) stuff. But it was really a victim of one of those stupid, stupid editorial mandates I mentioned.
If you're considering reading any of the Hasbroverse stuff, I'd say there are three good 1-2 issue "tasters" you can read:
  • Action Man: Revolution sees Hasbroverse breakout character and wisecracking, pun-loving millenial English superspy Action Man team up with Kup to rescue him from G.I. Joe and the baddies from M.A.S.K.; it's a fun, quick romp that'll give you a good taste of both Action Man and Revolutionaries.
  • The ROM Annual is a one-shot telling the story of the origins of the Space Knight and his war with the Dire Wraiths. It's not particularly special, but it'll give you a good idea of who Rom is and what his series is like, and set you up well for Rom vs Transformers.
  • G.I. Joe: First Strike and M.A.S.K.: First Strike is a really fun two-parter. It's a high-octane, snappily paced story about a guy who's not used to leading having to try and corral a bunch of weirdos with laser guns and Skywarp into defeating a trio of baddies with transforming cars. It's endearing, silly, and features a shirtless gay Cajun Marine punching a truck across a street, and it'll show you the best bits of G.I. Joe/Scarlett's Strike Force.
I'd especially recommend Action Man Revolution and the GI Joe two-parter. They're genuinely great as stand-alone reads, even if you have not even the slightest interest in any of the crossover titles; IMO, they rank up there with the best of the Transformers stuff.
Last edited by Broadside on Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: So, Where Are We All With the Comics at the Mo?

Post by Ottertron » Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:11 pm

I have to admit that I've only just found myself able to enjoy Lost Light, after getting the Functionist universe and Anode dullness out of the way, although I'm still not a fan of Jack as the ongoing artist since I cannot take chibified stuff in any way seriously, somewhat undermining the heavier, darker subject matter. I just want to see dangling MTMTE plotlines tied up before the book inevitably vanishes, so I see any new developments and characters as a bit of an irritant.

As for the rest of the books, I love Kei Zama's art on Optimus Prime but don't care about the story in any way, shape or form, and I could pretty much say the same for all the rest recently, aside from liking the art.

I read Rom and Micronauts simply because I've always enjoyed the various versions of those characters, but have zero interest in the rest of the Hasbroverse at all - particularly crossovers, which are a universal irritant in 99% of cases.

It's a shame I feel so down on the comics but, to be honest, after a high point like MTMTE at its pinnacle everything else just feels dull as dishwater.
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Re: So, Where Are We All With the Comics at the Mo?

Post by Lock Cade » Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:33 pm

Right now I'm focused heavily on Lost Light. I have greatly enjoyed MTMTE, and so far I like Lost Light (was rather disappointed with the Mutineers Trilogy but otherwise I like it).

I have also read both Last Stand and Sins of the Wreckers, as well as all of Til All Are One (TAAO).

I really need to get caught up on the earlier IDW comics as well as the ex-Robots in Disguise/Optimus Prime series, but like I said... I'm focusing heavily on Lost Light right now.
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Re: So, Where Are We All With the Comics at the Mo?

Post by Brobe » Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:01 am

Well, the Transformers Vs. G.I. Joe Quintessential Collection just came out, so I have that to pick up and enjoy for a while.

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Re: So, Where Are We All With the Comics at the Mo?

Post by Va'al » Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:57 am

Brobe wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:01 am
Well, the Transformers Vs. G.I. Joe Quintessential Collection just came out, so I have that to pick up and enjoy for a while.
More people should see that gem for the sheer delight it is! :lol:

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Re: So, Where Are We All With the Comics at the Mo?

Post by Urluck » Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:00 am

I'm perhaps going to an outlier, here, and say that while I've got the upmost respect for Mr Roberts, the last 2 issues of Lost Light prompted me to cancel my suscription. Its not that there nessecarily has been a drop in quality, its more that the series is in holding pattern until Team Rodimus finally catches up with the titular ship, and its been a lot of crippling heatbreak and horror lately. I like my comics to be fun, and issue 13 could have been fun, but deffo wasn't, because I was really invested in those characters.

I'm not going to be so vulgar as to post spoilers here, to illustrate my points. But I think I've come up with a good simile: Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series). Everybody loved it, a daring and quality show once it got going. People loved it more with the "New Caprica" arc, which was a commentary of the Iraq war amongst other things. It had an unspeakably awesome conclusion. Then the writers don't know how to follow that, and it declines. Roberts is in that situation after Dying of the Light.


Other comics? Well, I really want to catch up with Windblade.

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Re: So, Where Are We All With the Comics at the Mo?

Post by Blueshift » Sun Feb 04, 2018 12:27 pm

The one-two punch of the Titans Return crossover and Hasbroverse crossovers pushed me out of the books (much like Dark Cybertron did before), but I'm sure I'll get back on board before TFN

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Re: So, Where Are We All With the Comics at the Mo?

Post by inflatable Dalek » Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:27 pm

Cool for folk who enjoy Barber's continuity stuff, but for me he seems to have no filter on what were cool old ideas unfairly forgotten, and what were terrible ideas IDW gave up on because no one liked them. I mean, Jimmy Pink's creator run out of things for him to contribute other than his silly name about three pages after his introduction. Barber brings him back... and runs out of things for him to do in even less time. It winds up leaving me feeling like boxes for TFWiki being ticked rather than anything interesting to do with the ideas.
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