Author Archives: Youseph

About Youseph

A Writer, Blogger, and Gammer Living in Juneau Alaska.

Transformers Review Issue 53: Recipe for Disaster!

With issue 53 we find out if the Autobot Pretenders are eaten up by the Mecannaibals. It should be interesting. But we can’t find out what happens before we check out the cover art.

Transformers-53-Cover-Yoshi

Have a city sized adventure with this Metroplex T-Shirt from 80sTees.com

I want to flip out over this cover because it was drawn up by JIM LEE! This is some of his early work and the cover is so nice and detailed. It’s only one of two covers Jim Lee did for Transformers that I’m currently aware of. We have a rendering of a heavily armored, large, bikini wearing, Amazonian like women holding the head of Cloudburst’s up by some wires. The sword she is holding in her other hand is implying she shopped his head off.  Jim really draws humans well, and at a time where it seemed other artists where upset that they had to draw robots, he does a fantastic job of not only giving the Transformers hard lines but giving him expression and life. The Amazonian says “Next!” while she looks directly at the reader.

Transformers-53-Cover

We pick up with this issue right where we left off. Cloudburst and Landmine are about to be eating by the Mecannibals. They start by pulling the Autobots out of their shells with an electromagnet. Once removed the Autobots use radio control to have their shells fight for them. Before things get to out of hand Cloudburst suggest that the Mecannibals not to eat them just yet because they have a way to make their meal taste much better with proper seasonings. Something the Autobots will have to go out and get. In order to insure their return the Mecannibals hold on to Berko. Turing this time, the Autobots also learn that the chips they were trying to by from the Mecannibals are from the robots that have been eaten.

Transformers-53-Magnent

So, The Autobots embark to Femax, A whole world led by brave, Amazonian like women warriors. On this planet the men are treated as feeble and weak. The leader on Femax is known as ‘First One’ and starts off by challenging Clouburst to a series of physical tests designed to prove that he is true fighter.

Transformers-53-Challange

Passing all the trails and tests, Cloudburst, proves to the ‘First One’ that he is a warrior with the skills of a warrior. He also, unknowingly proved to the ‘First One’ that he would make a great mate. This does make this uncomfortable for Cloudburst who ends up revealing himself as a Transformer. The ‘First One’ feels lied to and responds by cutting off Cloudbursts head. Landmine ends up having to reason with the ‘First One’. Reasoning is something Landmine has been struggling with throughout the the issue. But, the ‘First One’ Listens and eventually agrees to give the Autobots the crystals they are after for seasoning so that they can save their friend and restore Cloudburst’s head.

Transformers-53-Crystals

As the Autobots attempt to leave the planet Femax, they are stopped by Darkwing and Dreadwind, but Sky Lynx shows up and makes short work of the Decepticons. He then informs the Pretenders that they have been working with binary bonded Decepticons. Information they start to think would be of interest to the Mecannibals.

Transformers-53-Skylynx

Returning to the Mecannibals’ ship, the Autobots change their deal with them. They are no longer going to fix a meal for the Mecannibals with the seasoning crystals they acquired. Rather they will ask that the robots that the Mecannibals have eaten be restored using the parts they recycled through their digestive systems. Failing to agree to the Autobots terms will result in Sky Lynx being let loose on Hi-Test and Throttle. THe Mecannibals agree because they find these two to be to useful to them. As the Autobots leave the ship they tell the Mecannibals that Hi-Test and Throttle are robots and have a nice day.

Transformers-53-deal

The issue closes out with the Autobot Pretenders heading back to the ark with out their microchips. Hi-Test and Throttle and the Powermasters are chased after by the Mecannibals.

My Thoughts On This Issue

Man oh man this cover. I have a dream of one day owning a Jim Lee signed version of one of his two Transformers covers. I know this cover is some of his earlier work, but it really does look good. It’s not my favorite Transformers cover. But he is one of my favorite artists in the comic book world.

The cover does a good job of hitting at the story inside, but it is a huge disconnect from the first part of this story in the last issue. I can imagine kids buying this comic wanting to know what happens next thinking, “WTF?” when seeing this cover.

The first page of 53, I thought did a great job of telling people who didn’t read the last issue what was going on. I rather liked it and think it’s my favorite part of this issue. Something about how it was written and how they didn’t feel the need to do a huge flashback scene like they tend to do.

Transformers-53-first-page

I found myself confused by who’s side Berko is really on at the start of the story. The way Hi-Test and Throttle implied that Berko helped them by having the Autobots reveal themselves to him was very miss leading by the time I got to the end of the story. Thought, that might be a good thing because that little mystery of who’s side is Berko really on, kept me reading excitedly till the end to find out.

One last thing I want to touch on is Gender. It seems like Gender has been a hot button in the Transformers world recently. Which is to bad because event thought I’m not a fan of IDW Publishing’s current on going Transformers series, I can see gender arguments affecting story telling in a possible negative way. I think comic book readers really want a good story first and for most. With that said, I discovered on page 18 of this issue, Cloudburst explains to First One, “Where I come from there are no men, no women… no mates!” It’s the first time I have noticed that the issue was brought up and addressed. Though, I do recall questions about gender being asked in the TransMissions letter section by fans.

So, issue 53 is read and absorbed. What did everyone think? What where your takeaways from this issue? Let me know, I want to hear from you.

Transmission Letters This Issue

Transformers-53-TransMissionsDear Trans-Missions:
In response to Jeffrey Bryce’s letter in TRANSFORMERS #43:
The Transformers do not need to breathe like humans do. But they often still need oxygen to burn the fuels that they consume. Energon, the Transformers’ basic fule, does not need oxygen since it is already a pure energy form and doesn’t need to burn to release energy.
A Transformer can also operate using Earth’s carbon=based petroleum fuels if the necessary internal adjustments are made. Nearly all of the Transformers here on Earth have been adapted to accept both Energon and Earth fuels. But when a robot is functioning on a petro-fuel, he must have atmospheric oxygen readily available. Obviously, this would inhibit any robots operation in space or underwater; therefore, he must be using Energon to function in either of these environments.
I hope that I have answered at least some of Jeffrey’s questions concerning the technical aspects of the Transformers.
Perceptor
The Ark

We have it on good authority that this letter was not sent by Perceptor, but ism in fact, a forgery. However, the explanation of the Transformers’ oxygen needs sounds legit, so we printed it anyway.

Editors and Writers of Transformers,
Female Transformers? How absurd! I always had the idea that they were “Its,” not sexual beings.
Emmett E. Brandon
Dickinson, TX

Good point. Many readers have asked us to introduced “female” Transformers. How can we? Transformers have no gender! Since the Transformers do not reproduce sexually, they have no need to be male or female. Most have characteristics and personalities that are commonly associated with males. So they are referred to as “He’s.” On a rare occasion, one might come across as female and is referred to as a “she.” Arce fits into this latter category, but referring to themselves as “He’s” and “she’s” is a convention the Transformers probably picked up from hanging around Earthlings too long.

Dear Transmissions,
1. Where is Rodimus Prime?
2. Now that Optimus Prime is alive, will Rodimus Prime take his place?
3. Where is Galvatron?
4. Will there be another Transformers movie?
5. Will there be a new TRANSFORMERS UNIVERSE?
Steve Vazarez
Mastir, NY

1. He doesn’t get created until the year 2005. Only 16 years to go.
2. Wait till 2005
3. See answer #1
4. No plans at the moment.
5. See answer #4
You questions raise another question, Steve: Why is there so much confusion concerning when things happen in the TRANSFORMERS? Hmm… that’s a good one, but we think we can explain: TRANSFORMERS, the comic, began in 1984 and takes place in the present. TRANSFORMERS, the movie, as well as many subsequent TRANSFORMERS TV shows, takes place in the year 2005 and beyond. Many of the characters and events that you and many other readers associate with the Transformers haven’t happened, yet!
Now let’s return to 1989…

Dear Transmissions:
I think i’ve just had an idea that could solve your TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE problem.
Everyone who has read the comic series and or seen the movie has probably noticed that Optimus Prime was, when the story (will have) happened, not the Optimus Prime who has recently reborn in your regular series! That Op is a Powermaster. The movie Op was the original. There is also the problem of Megatron’s being alive, and Bumblee’s transformation into Goldbug. The last issue you addressed once. I believe, and you said that a lot could happen between now and then.
I think expecting us to believe that they will all just revert to their older, less powerful forms is silly. If Megatron was re-formed, you would be restricted to no improvements or revisions or changes upon Megatron, and no transformers to Galvatron because, being that two reversions were hard to believe, three would be impossible!
Let me momentarily digress, all Marvelites are familiar with the concept of parallel and semi-parallel universes, am i correct? That is, we all accept that, at least, in the realm of comics, there is an infinity of universes-al-most-like-our-own, and each one differs from our own by, perhaps, one decision or one action.
Well, I think it was silly of you not to tell us that THE TRANSFORMERS MOVIE limited series occurred in another universe that the one about which you normally write! You saw the movie and thought it would be a wonderful story to adapt. but silly you forgot to tell us that your comic series does not necessarily have the fat. See all the confusion you’ve caused? Naught, naughty!
So now you may rest easy, knowing that your readers now understand what you’ve been up to.
Lissa Shock
Vienna WV

Parallel Transformers universes? Interesting theory, Lissa, but a good theory needs to be proven-although until the year 2005comes around we can’t know for sure, can we?

Ladies and Gentlemen:
Hail Galvatron! HAIL GALVATRON! HAIL GALVATRON!
Brian K. Reynolds

Please! Can’t you wait 16 years for this sort of outburst?

Dear Transmissions,
I was disappointed after reading issue #43, the primary reason being the adaptation of the TV episode “The Big Broadcast of 2006.” I buy the comic because it has different stories and they are much better than most of the TV shows. Keep the comic in the present and out of the future to avoid creating conflicts in the stories.
Karl Raguse
Farmington Hills, MI

Dear Guys,
How could you!?! you actually took a story from the Transformers cartoon show and used it for the comic book!
David Noguerole

We thought adopting a television script into comic book form would be an interesting change of pace, but Karl, David and many other letter-writers apparently disagree. All right, people, we hear ya! And we agree with you, Karl: the present is the place to be!

Dear Ralph an Don,
The TV episode “The Big Broadcast of 2006 A.D.” is the greatest issue of the TRANSFORMERS books history!

On the other hand, maybe adapting television scripts isn’t such a bad idea after all!
Let’s end on a controversial note:

Dear Transmissions,
Will Double Dealer, Quickswitch or Sixshot be appearing in future issues?
Duffy McDonald
Ontario, NY

Dear Transmissions,
You are introducing too many new characters at the same time. It seems to me there’s a new character introduced every issue!
Tuan Giang Lieu
Van Nuys, CA

Dear Marvel,
Bring back Rumble, Frenzy and Megatron!
Justin Powell

And so, the eternal battle continues to rage – should we introduce new Transformers, bring back old ones, or…here’s another possibility…

Dear Transmissions,
We have created several new Transformer characters of a completely different nature, and we would like to know how to proceed in submitting them.
David and Jeremy Jacobs
Birmingham, AL

David and Jeremy, please – give us a break! As you can see from Duffy, Tuan and Justin’s letters, we don’t get enough of the existing Transformers into the book as it is! As much as we’d like to, we just can’t squeeze in any more! But we appreciate the offer.

New Ads This Issue

TransMissions: Steve De Anda

This is so exciting for me. Every time I publish a Marvel Transformers comic book review, I check the original issue to see if there was a reader letter section, what the Transformers comic called ‘TransMissions’. If I find this in the back of one of the comics I’m reviewing, I will type up the letters and include them in my review. The coolest part about doing this for me is when someone who wrote one of these letters contacts me. it’s happened once before with Jeb Hoge and now it’s just happened again with Steve De Anda.

Jose Delbo and Steve De Anda holding an issue of Marvel's Transformers #42. Photo taken on July 4th, 2014

José Delbo and Steve De Anda holding an issue of Marvel’s Transformers #42. Photo taken on July 4th, 2014

Steve’s original letter to Marvel reads:

1988 Photograph of Steve De Anda

1988 Photograph of Steve De Anda

Dear Misguided Autobot Lovers,
I just gotta write this: In TRANSFORMERS issue #37, you made the Predacons look like a bunch of mis-wired clods. It just ain’t fair. Stop making the awesome Deceitpcons look like a meeting of Wimps Anonymous. Sure, They’re not exactly the friendliest guys in the world, and Ratbat may be a jerk, but please, show a little sympathy.
Another thing – are the Throttlebots gone forever? Their bodies don’t look so good. I spent most of my allowance collecting them and then you go and do this. Now I’ve got to find a car crusher that will smash such tiny cars!
Overall, you people are doing a wonderful job. I wanna see Octane meet up with Ratbat. That should show the Ratster how to conserve fuel! Keep up the great work, Oh yeah, I loved the HEADMASTERS!
Steve De Anda
El Paso, TX

And the response he got back all those years ago:

Sympathy? You want sympathy for a giant robot who’s… unh… looking over my shoulder menacingly as I type this? Why, sure, Steve, no problem! Oh, and Ratbat has the address of that car crusher you wanted…

Well Steve recently contacted me through my website and I was able to to ask him some additional questions over e-mail. I hope you all enjoy his answers just as much as I did.

Youseph: How did you discover the Transformers?

Steve: I think it was at a mall in my hometown of El Paso, Texas back in ’84. I was ten and my sister was nine and I remember being in a department store and getting Sunstreaker while she got Mirage. I wasn’t aware of the comic or cartoon. All we had were those two toys. I remember opening Sunstreaker that day and just being completely blown away. It was from a neighbor kid that I found out later on there was a comic but that was after the miniseries came out.

Youseph: Where did you get your Transformers comics from?

TF 3 packSteve: At first it was the comic racks of grocery stores and gas stations. I didn’t start with the comics until issue 5 but I remember buying 1-3 in a comic 3 pack at a now defunct store chain called Winn’s sometime in ’85. Winn’s was my source of Transformers back issues because of those comic packs. They were just flimsy plastic bags with a red banner on top and a graphic of Spider-Man with a blurb announcing you got 3 comics for $1.99 or whatever the price was. They were all second printings. It bothered me when I was a kid that all I had were second printings of those first three issues as they didn’t seem as authentic as first printings and owning them made me feel like a bandwagon hopper. I was missing #4 for the longest time because I had to wait for a second printing of it to show up in the three packs. I didn’t know comic shops existed until sometime around 1986 or else I’d have gotten 4 much sooner.

Marvel Transformers 3 park 3Primarily I’d buy them when my mom would take us to get groceries. I’d always hit the comic rack in the magazine section and that’s how it was for me from issue 6 to around the mid forties. I also occasionally used a mail order service called Westfield Comics and got them delivered to me each month. I hung on until #76 when I gave up on the comic because I just got tired of the whole Unicron schtick. I remember paging through #76 in the grocery store and it being the first Transformers book after all those years that I left on the racks. I guess I just outgrew it. At the time I was heavy into the more teenager oriented Spider-Man comics.

It wasn’t until 1993 that I finally tracked down a first printing of TF #1 for the astronomical price of $5 at a shop called 1,000,000 Comix in Laramie, Wyoming. I knocked out the last five for $10-$15 each at a comic shop in Los Angeles around 2004 that I found after going to Botcon that year.

Youseph: You found my website because I republished a letter you wrote to Marvel about the Transformers comic. What compelled you to write to them?

Steve: I remember being 14 in ’88 and not sophisticated enough to appreciate the writing talents of Bob Budiansky or his style of telling off the wall stories. So at the time I felt like that issue where the Predacons got defeated by the Throttlebots was grounds for getting the guy fired. Not only was it the lame Throttlebots, but their brains were stuck in little radio controlled cars. And you have the Predacons who are supposed to be big bad Dinobot busting hunter badasses but end up unable to catch the tiniest of prey. I guess I just about had it with Budiansky. Looking back it’s a pretty funny story about mismatched opponents but it had me nerd raging at the time. I understand now it was just the kind of off kilter story he liked to tell and I never should have expected dark and gritty robot murder war epics filled with teenage angst like I wanted. I guess I should have realized I outgrew the stories but instead I felt like I was constantly getting trolled by Budiansky the whole time.

Youseph: What was it like to see your letter printed in the back of the comic?

Steve: I posted on your blog about how hyped I was about the new Powermaster Prime figure and how I wanted it more than anything in life at the time. I was so amazed and excited that my letter would be printed in the issue where he comes back. It was like the best Christmas present ever for a Transformers comic/PMOP fan. Then I read it and I remember being annoyed upon finding that the letter got edited and was a bit different from what I originally wrote. I felt slighted by that, like my serious criticism was made to look childish. I can’t remember specifics except that the term ‘Wimps Anonymous’ wasn’t mine. But I see now that the edits made the letter more interesting to read. I went to Iacon One in 2006 and met Budiansky there and got to sit down and talk to the guy for a little. We talked about the letters column and he said if I brought him the issue he could probably remember answering it. He said he answered most all of the letters in Trans Missions personally. Unfortunately I didn’t have 42 with me so he couldn’t go into specifics about mine.

Youseph: Who are you today and are you still a Transformers fan?

Steve: I live in southern Florida now. I am the dad of a seven year old Pokemon obsessed video game maniac and he thinks Transformers are for old people, which is kind of funny. I know they still make Transformers comics but don’t read them anymore nor do I go to Botcon and I only buy the occasional bootleg of a Masterpiece here and there. Since many of the old comic artists come down here for conventions I’ve gotten to meet them and have them sign my childhood comics. Despite my kid self thinking that 2nd printings were for losers, when I finally had the chance to meet Bob Budiansky or Bill Sienkiewicz it was my original beat up old 2nd printing of #1 that I had them sign.

I want to thank Steve De Anda for taking the time to let me interview him. Through our trading of e-mails back and forth, I’ve learned that Steve has his own impressive Podcast. It’s one that I’ve really enjoyed listening to and am currently going through all the back episodes. Check it out if you have a minute. He focuses on Robots from the 70s and 80s. It’s really quite impressive. I really don’t think you will be disappointed.

33 Storeys Up

I’ve been the cohost of the Transmissions Podcast for less than a year and I’m blown away by our acceptance into the Transformers community and fandom. Charles, Jeremy, Darryl and myself are getting positive feed back to the show almost daily now. It’s very heart warming and humbling all at the same time.

On our podcast we regularly record a section called ‘Listener Feedback’ where we read feedback that our listeners have submitted to us. E-mails, an iTunes review or even a blog comment. We gather all those words up and read them on the show and respond to any questions or just thank the listener for their time commenting.

Well, we recently had a listener go above and beyond. Araish, wrote into the show to show off his support.

20140702_075044

Tell you what I’m gonna do. I’m going to write YOUR name on the highest floor in the condo we’re building (I’m a sheet metal foreman in Toronto). That way, decades from now, when people have to service the building, or in a century or two when the building comes down, YOUR name will be on that building… and someone will think of you. I’ll even take a picture of it next to my hard hat, which has an Autobot symbol on it.

A day or so later we all got e-mailed photos of his promise. Araish hand wrote all four of our names and the title of the show on the 33rd story of a condominium he is building in Toronto Canada.

20140702_075712

And I’m speechless. This is just so cool! I mean really, wow!

Thank you, Araish, for your kind words and for immortalizing us 33 stories up.

Transformers Review Issue 52: Guess Who the Mecannibals Are Having for Dinner?

With issue 52 we return to space! I recall seeing this issue when I first discovered Transformers comics. I remember seeing the cover and just thinking, whoa. A whole expanded world of the Transformers exists. I have to find out what happens! But before we get into the story lets check out the cover art that captured my imagination so many years ago.

Transformers-52-Cover-Youseph

Go Into Battle With Optimus Prime and Bumblee with this T-Shirt from 80sTees.com

This cover just pops! The white background helps the menacing looking Mecannibals jump off the page with their long legs, long sharp teeth, and large eyes. On the cover is also Landmine who is clearly fighting the Mecannibals for his very life on top of a spider web made of metal. I know this is going to sound like nostalgic love but I can still remember the feeling I had when I first saw this issue for the first time so many years ago. A whole world of Transformers I never knew existed and I could not wait to get inside it. If you can look at a crisp copy of this issue I doubt you would regret it.

Transformers-52-Cover

Our story kicks off from the point just after the Underbase story line. Several Autobots are depicted as damaged from the aftermath. Optimus Prime sends out Landmine and Cloudburst, both Pretenders, on a mission to secure several microchips to be used in repairing the damaged Autobots. The Pretenders are sent to Grand Central Space Station where they will try to procure the microchips off the black market. Optimus Prime warns the two Autobots that robots are not welcome on the space station. This is confirmed when the Pretenders enter a local bar on board the space station and a robot, who goes by Chromite, is forced to leave through the space station’s airlock.

Transformers-52-commander-optimus

Shortly after arriving the Autobot Pretenders find a couple of ship dealers. The two don’t realize that the dealers are in fact Nebulan Powermasters, Hi-Test and Throttle. The Autobots are also warned by another familiar face to the reader, Berko. Berko wants the two Pretenders that the chip dealers they are working with are not to be trusted. They also learn that a fellow Autobot, Sky Lynx was at the space station but has since gone missing.

Transformers-52-Little-guys

As the deal for microchips progress with the Nebulans, Landmine demands to be taken to their supplier directly to complete their transaction. Soon, the Pretenders find themselves up close and personal with Mecannibals. These spidery like robots are robot eaters. Because the Pretenders look like humans they find themselves safe from the Mecannibals appetite. The two parties agree to do business over Dinner. Dinner turns out to be Sky Lynx!

Transformers-52-skylinx

Landmine’s internal robot forum was staying outside at the beginning of the meeting, but then takes action and frees Sky Lynx. In the confusions, Landmine’s inner robot recombined with his otter shell, unnoticed by the Mecannibals. Afterword, the microchips transaction is completed.

Transformers-52-combine

With the mission complete the Pretenders head back to the space station only to reveal themselves to Berko which is observed by both Hi-Test and Throttle. Those two notify the local Bartender so that when the Pretenders go to the bar to settle up Berko’s tab they are quickly overpowered by the robot hating patrons and sent into space through the air lock.

Transformers-52-bar-brawl

The two are picked up by Dreadwing and taken to the Mecannibals’ ship. The spider like robots now know that the Pretenders are robots and are eager to have them for their next meal!

transformers-52-dinner

My Thoughts On This Issue

Sometimes, I think I might be reading through these issues to quickly. Keep in mind these issues came out monthly and I’m going through them at a rate of almost one a week. One issue we’re in space. The next issue we’re on earth. After that, we are back in space again! Stories that don’t actually affect each other. Not yet anyway.

What I’m trying to say, in a round about way, is that my mind gets used to being on earth and then I have to make a hard adjustment to being in space with pretenders and Mecannibals. I doubt this was an issue back in the day when readers did have to wait a month from one issue to the next. It gave their mind a chance to process everything and be prepared for the next adventure the following month.

I will say this. The longer I think back over this issue, the more I find myself liking it. One big help was seeing old friends again. Berko and Sky Lynx. Which is weird because I didn’t think I would miss Berko.

Over all I feel the story had a solid idea behind it. Need chips to fix the Autobots. I do question the Mecannibals being in possession of so many microchips. They just don’t seem like a life form that would have so many of them. Unless, when they eat robots they don’t each microchips? Maybe?

Throughout the issue, I also enjoyed the art. It wasn’t fantastic, but I have seen worse in a Transformers comic. I take that as a good thing.

The more I think about this issue the more I’m getting excited to read the next one and find out how this story concludes.

So what do you all think of this issue? Do you agree with me or am I way off base? Let me know when you have a moment. I would like to know.

No Transmission Letters This Issue

New Ads This Issue

 

Transformers Review Issue 51: The Man in the Machine!

Starscream is gone. The Underbase is gone. The truce between the Autobots and the Decepticons is gone. Whats left and whats next? Where do we pick up? We find out in issue 51: The Man in the Machine! But first, lets check out this cover.

Transformers-issue-51-Cover-Yoshi

Show Your Autobot Allegiance With This Optimus Prime 84 Shirt from 80sTees.com

With issue 51 we are presented with a cover that I don’t find all that miss leading. The updated Transformers logo on the very top of the issue could be overlooked if you’re not paying close enough attention. Fortress Maximus is seen, headless, at a ski resort holding up the cables of a ski lift in an effort to protect the humans on board while two Decepticon Pretenders pounce into attack. Fortress Maximus‘ head lays before him in the snow while skiers swoosh by. “Slaughter on the Slopes!” is written in a snowy, icy, white font. I like the cover. Not the best i have ever seen but far from the worst, that’s for sure. 

Transformers-issue-51-Cover

Issue 51 kicks off with Spike Witwicky caught in one of his dreams. He is being chased by mechanical everything before he wakes up with a start in his bed in his fathers new home in Oregon.

Transformers-issue-51-WakeUP

When morning arrives Spike is out of the house as fast as can be after saying hello to his dad and brother. He he is off on a spur of the moment ski vacation where he plans to get rid of his Headmaster control helmet. His thinking is that the helmet might be responsible for his evil dreams and he just wants to get back to his old normal life.

Transformers-issue-51-helmet

While Spike travels to San Francisco to pick up his friend and ski buddy, Cliff, he stops at a junkyard and tosses the helmet inside. Shortly after leaving the area, Carnivac and Snarler, two Decepticon Pretenders, appear in the junkyard in search of Fortress Maximus. They are on a mission from Scorponok, who wants Fortress Maximus’ human component dead. With leftover residue inside the helmet the Pretenders are able to start tracking Spike.

Transformers-issue-51-dump

As Spike and Cliff now drive off to the ski resort, spike falls asleep and fall right back in to his nightmare. He again wakes up with a screaming start and Cliff is just looking at him with a weird expression on his face.

Transformers-issue-51-cardream

The next day the two are able to finally hit the slopes, but it is not long before they have their first encounters with the two Pretender Beasts. For a moment the two are able to how race the Decepticons on their skis. Spike and Cliff toss their jackets into a ravine in hopes that this will confuse the Decepticons. It works, but only for a short time.

Transformers-issue-51-slopes

Spike and Cliff find shelter in a small cave where Spike unloads his secrets to Cliff. Cliff uses his recent self-esteem therapy to tell spike that his dreams are about him running from his “Other Self”. In this case, Fortress Maximus.

Transformers-issue-51-cave

Next, spike falls asleep and in his dream allows himself to call into the pit. At the end of which he finds himself face to face with Fortress Maximus. This event triggers something to allow Spike to regain his psychic link with the Autobot. Spike is now able to call down Fortress Maximus from his storage space aboard the Autobot Ark.

Transformers-issue-51-link

By this time the Decepticons have found Spike and Cliff. Running through trees to try and slow down their pursuers, spike leads Cliff off a cliff and into Fortress Maximus’ waiting hands. Using just his mind, Spike guides the Autobot remotely into battle with the Pretenders. The signal is lagged however giving the Decepticons the advantage. The Pretenders split from their shells and start attacking Fortress Maximus from all sides and in doing so collapse a chair-lift that Fort Max has to support to save human lives.

Transformers-issue-51-formaxhit

Spike retrieves his control helmet from the Pretenders and commands Max to release his Headmaster armor which automagicly assembles around him. Spike combines with Cerebros, and then with Fortress Maximus and fights back against the Decepticons unhindered and sends the Decepticons running away.

Transformers-issue-51-hat

My Thoughts On This Issue

I feel like I just read a classic Transformers adventure. The down side to these kind of adventures is that they often feel forced and this one is no exception. I just felt like I had to hang on and go for the ride.

Two things stick out for me from the get go and I wish they where positive things. Spike’s needing to get out of his father’s house right away in the morning came off as rude to me. The matter was not helped by the fact that I didn’t feel his father or brother put up much of a fight to stop him. On the other hand, one could read between the lines that Spike had just been through a war and letting him go do something “normal” might be thought of as a good thing by his family.

I also found myself wondering how Sparkplug got a new house? Where is that story? Honestly, this would most likely not have bugged me if IDW had not made such a big deal pointing out everything Sparkplug had gone through in the IDW Transformers Classics collection. He has every reason, in my mind, to be an overly protective father of his children right now, be we don’t see that. There was a lot opportunity for Sparkplug’s character development that was just not explored.

I know, I know. I am asking way to much form a kids comic.

So whats everyone’s thoughts on this issue? I have really been enjoying reading your comments and responding to them. So please let me know your two cents.

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Replace Rubsigns On Your G1 Transformers!

Thanks to my recent involvement as co-hosts of the Transmissions Podcast and work with Darryl Laughy, my Transformers comic book collecting hobby has now grown to include the action figures. Darryl runs a toy review channel on youtube where he is known as the Cybertronian Beast. If you are at all looking at collecting Transformers action figures from any generation I highly recommend you check out his channel for reviews and advice when it comes to picking out these toys.

cybertronian beast

When I returned from the Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC), I carried with me a couple of Generation 1 (G1) Transformers Action figures. One of them was a the Cosmos action figure. Considering the age of the this toy it was in pretty good condition. But, one thing about it bothered me greatly. Cosmos’ rubsign sticker had quite literally fallen apart.

Cosmos-old-rubsign

As you can imagine my Cosmos action figure didn’t feel quite complete with this damaged rubsign. Having worked worked with Darryl for several months on the Podcast, I knew he was the right person to go with an issue like this. Darryl told me that replacing the rubsign should be easy work and told me to go a website called Reprolabels‘ and the stickers were ‘Mini’ Autobot rubsigns.

replabels-envolope

After the rubsign replacement stickers came in the mail, I suggested we make a video together walking me through the process of correctly removing the old damaged rubsign sticker and applying the new one. I couldn’t be the only one worried about damaging my G1 action figure. I hope the following video and written up step-by-step guide will be helpful to anyone replacing stickers on their G1 toys.

Supplies

  • Reprolabels replacement rubsign stickers
  • Scissors
  • A paper towel
  • Fingernail

Step 1.

Using your fingernail gently remove the old rubsign (or sticker) from your G1 action figure. You fingernail is softer then say a knife. It has some natural give to it which should prevent you from accidentally scratching your action figure. Just go slow and firmly. You will find that the old rubsign comes off pretty effortlessly.

Cosmos-Fingernail

Step 2.

Using a paper towel wipe away any leftover adhesive from where the sticker was applied on the action figure. The paper towel wont scratch your figure and it will do a better job removing any leftover adhesive partials than your figures could.

Cosmos-Paper-Towel

Step 3.

Use the scissors to cut out the new rubsign you got from Reprolabels. Be sure to cut around the silver border of the rubsign. See how I am doing it below.

Rubsign-Cut

Step 4.

Carefully, use your fingernail to separate the rubsign sticker from it’s backing. This was the trickiest part for me. Just go slow and you will be fine.

Step 5.

Apply the new rubsign to your action figure. Press down firmly and release. Give your new sticker a chance to settle before you go to crazy playing with the rubsign itself.

Cosmos-rubsign

And that is pretty much it. Go forth and enjoy your newly stickered Transformer!

cosmos-new-rubsign

 

 

Transformers Review Issue 50: Dark Star

This giant sized 50th issue of Transformers has twice as many pages as normal and within contains the conclusion of the Underbase Saga. Will the extra pages be a endurance or a blessing for the book? Will one Starscreams’ plans succeed? Will the Autobots have time to stop him? Will find out. But first, lets check out this cover.

Transformers-50-cover-Yoshi

Pick up this Wheeljack Transformers shirt from 80sTees.com today!

Starscream is front and center with a black space background on this cover, floating in space above the earth, aglow with energy that has several Transformers all around him writhing in pain. The cover artist here, José Delbo is excellent. Unfortunately his interpretation, of Starscream with his odd face and head in general, is off the mark. With that said, this image reminds me of the Matrix movie what with the cubical details all over Starscream’s body. Just above our villain is written, “Starscream Triumphant!” And in the top right corner of the comic in a sideways banner reads, “GIANT SIZED 50th ISSUE!”

Transformers-50-cover

Buster Witwicky lays freezing on a land of size and snow when the Aerialbots arrive. They where alerted by the beacon young Buster activated. The bots radio back to the Ark for backup and it’s not long that the Autobots arrive in full force. At this time Spike is brought back together with his brother, though he is close to death from exposure. Spike has Buster placed with in a heated unit inside cavity in Fortress Maximus’s chest. The Autobots are then caught off guard by a full scale Decepticon attack.

Transformers_issue_50_attack

The battle that breaks out between the to factions is painful to watch and only comes to an end when engages Fortress Maximus over Buster. It is then that Buster conveys what Starscream told him just before leaving earth. This makes Ratbat put his anger on hold with the Autobots until the much larger problem can be address. The two sides start an uneasy truths and head for space to hunt down Starscream.

Transformers-issue-50-peace

Starscream, who is now in the middle of deep space, leaves his ship to bathe in the knowledge of the Underbase’s light. Starscream is only exposed to the light for moments, maybe just seconds, before he is blasted away from the Underbase by Optimus Prime. However, Starscream’s limited exposure to the Underbase is enough to render himself super powerful and is able to wield the star ship he stole and toss it straight through the attacking island ship. The crew of Autobots and Decepticons are left afloat in space.

Transforemrs_issue_50_afloat

Starscream leaves the Transformers drifting around as he heads back to earth to attack it. Before leaving he announces to the Transformers the cities he plans to assault.

Optimus Prime had a plan B waiting up his sleeve. He summons the Ark to rescue all the Transformers and high tale it back to Earth. They beat Starscream to the plant as groups of Transformers begin splitting into teams to occupy the locations Starscream said he would be attacking. The kink in this plan is that Optimus Prime makes the announcement that he will be staying aboard the Ark rather than take on Starscream with the rest. The Decepticons see this as a sign of a coward as they head to earth.

Transformers_issue-50-stay

The Autobot and Decepticon teams on earth attack Starscream. From city to city Starscream is fought off, but at the cost of many Transformer lives. As the battles wage on, Ratbat and Scorponok suspect that Optimus Prime might be trying to capture the Underbase for himself. The two leave their battle posts and return to the Ark.

Transformers_50_leave

On the Ark, Hi-Q and Optimus Prime are building a rocket with reflective panels. The idea is to catch the Underbase with it and change its course. Buster radios his Brother during the battle on earth for an update. Starscream, who listens in on the communication, sees a potential threat that Optimus Prime could pose and takes off back to outer space and the Ark. Scorponok and Ratbat get there first and confront Optimus. Not giving Optimus a chance to really speak, Scorponok blasts Optimus Prime, killing Ratbat and then takes off for the Underbase. Optimus Prime replaces his Powermaster engine and goes after Scorponok. Prime manages to pull Scorponok out of the bath of the Underbase allowing it to strike Starscream. The awesome power of the Underbase overwhelms Starscream until it destroys him.

Transformers_issue_50_ratbat

Afterword, Optimus Prime explains to Scorponok that he had learned his lesson about the Underbase millions of years ago. Prime arranged for the reflector rocket and for Buster’s badly timed radio call for help, in order to lure Starscream back out into space where he would try to take all of the Underabse’s power and destroy himself. The Autobots and the Decepticons then depart with Scorponok making it clear that the war will start back up again, tomorrow.

Transformers_issue_50_endofpeace

My Thoughts On This Issue

The things I liked about this issue is that Starscream is truly acting how I would assume he should be acting. Blind drunk with power to a fault. He feels right in this issue. Which is great because he is on the cover.

Lets talk a little bit about the cover too. I don’t care for it and I would like to think it’s mostly because of how Starscream’s face is rendered. I know I bitched about this regarding the last issue, but it’s true. It’s very distracting.

I think with the extra pages of this issue that Budiansky had enough room to get the story across the way he wanted it to. I don’t feel like it was forced or rushed. I still feel that even with the extra pages it was a wordy book though.

And, there are some hole that where not filled. The thing I am stuck on are the Autobot tapes that where discovered issue 47. Maybe it’s because I think the tape Transformers are cool or that we just haven’t see the use of Autobot tapes yet. But I would like to know what happened to those guys.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below so we can continue the discussion.

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