Category Archives: Comics

Transformers Review Issue 48: The Flames of Boltax!

The second part of the Underbase Saga begins with, ‘The Flames of Boltax’.

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Check Out This Retro Optimus Prime T-Shirt From 80sTees.com

We have a cover with issue 48 that feels very toony. It’s not actually bad. It’s just a different style then I am used to seeing. The faces are showing emotions and expressions that I don’t think we have seen on any of the Transformers before. Megatron, who has not been seen since issue 25, stands over a fallen Optimus Prime who has been shot down by Megatron’s still smoking fusion cannon. Behind them stand the Triggercons. Just beneath the Transformers logo reads, “The Return of Megatron and the end of Otimus Prime?!?” Like a lot of covers for the Transformers, this is another one to put in the misleading pile.

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We open up to a scene of Buster Witwicky being chased by alien creatures across an alien world. After taking a laser blast to the chest that does not kill him the world around him dissolves reveling Ratbat. It turns out that Buster was running around within a full-sensory holographic projection system called Realvision. Buster was being unwittingly used to test it out. With the testing complete, Starscream announces that the system is now ready to review the Autobot tapes. This statement catches Busters attention, but Ratbat has the human sent back to his holding cell.

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With Buster gone, Ratbat and Starscream fire up the Realvision system and soon find that they are being shown a holographic projection of their home world of Cybertron four million years ago at the cusp of the Cybertronian Civil war. It is here they witness the Triggerbots, a then, Lieutenant Commander Optimus Prime traveling in alt mode to High Circuitmaster Boltax. Prime hopes that Boltax’s vast knowledge of many things will help end the war before it escalates any more. The group of Autobots preserver through several traps on their mission while being completely unaware of Megatron and the Triggercons or observing their actions.

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Back in his cell, Buster escapes through an air shaft to learn more about the Autobot Tapes.

Returning to Ratbat and Starscream, we no observe Optimus Prime and Triggerbots reach the Temple of Knowledge. Optimus Prime is allowed to pass through to Boltax, but only alone. The Circuitmaster himself does not offer Optimus Prime any real help, but does instruct him to seek out what he is looking for inside the Underbase. It is learned that each Transformer carries a DATAbase within each other. The Underbase is said to be a collection of knowledge that UNDERLies all dataBASEs.

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As Optimus Prime subjects himself to the lights of the Underbase, Buster enters just in time to see Megatron Blast his way in through Boltax and the disciples. When Optimus Prime is confronted by Megatron, he tells him that the knowledge and power of the Underbase is too much for any one being to possess. Not caring, Megatron coldly blasts Optimus Prime before heading to the Underbase. Though Injured, Optimus Prime manages to manipulate the temple’s controls and launches the Underbase into space to prevent Megatron from claiming it.

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The Realvision session ends as Ratbat and Starscream review what they’ve learned. The Underbase is not at all a myth as has been the normal thinking. Soundwave discovers that the tapes also hold course calculations that reveal that the Underbase will be passing through Earth’s solar system with in a week. Quickly the Decepticons get to work on how they will capture the Underbase.

Buster, having overheard just about everything, sneaks off in an attempt to warn the Autobots but is discovered by the Decepticons.

My Thoughts On This Issue

It’s a solid issue. It was nice to see Megatron again even if it was just a flash back. He was rendered fairly well. One of the coolest parts was seeing Optimus Prime’s alt mode back on Cybertron four millions years ago. However, I don’t believe this matches up with the first issue and how Prime was rendered.

The issue almost feels like a reunion seeing Starscream, Megatron and Optimus Prime all in one issue again.

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Emerald City Comic Con 2014

Prior to attending the Emerald City Comic Convection (ECCC), I had never been to a comic book convention before. Sure, I’ve attended the Penney Arcade Expo (PAX) the past few years. I even once attended MacWorld Expo back in the hight of the Steve Jobs era. But never once, in all my comic book collecting years, had I been to a comic convection. In recent years I’ve discovered renewed interest in collecting and reading old Transformers comics. I decided that it was time to change that and attend my very first comic convention.

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ECCC, if the name hasn’t given it away yet, takes place in Seattle, Washington at the Washington State Convention Center. A place I have become familiar with having attended PAX in the past. The experience of attending PAX, my wife and I have a pretty solid routine down when it comes to traveling to Seattle and getting to the convention center. Will get on our two hour flight from Juneau, Alaska to Seattle, Washington. From SeaTac will hop onto the Link Light Rail System and for less than four bucks will travel down to the heart of Seattle where we’ll take a very short walk from the train station to our hotel. Generally we try to arrive a day before the start of the event and leave the day after the end of the event. We just find it helps make traveling a lot less stressful by doing it this way.

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Now that ECCC is over and I have had a few days to processes the whole experience. I would say that out of the two other conventions I have attended in the past that ECCC is more like MacWorld than like PAX. The biggest thing being how polite I found all the other attendees to be. I was honestly shocked by this. An example of this would be that if anyone ever bumped into me it was always followed with a sincere apology. In a lot of ways this made sense to me. I mean a lot of people attend comic book conventions to buy rare and expensive comics. You honestly never know if the guy you accidentally bumped into is holding a CGC graded, four thousand dollar copy of Tales of Suspense number 39 featuring the first appearance of Iron Man.

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This actually happened to me at one point. While loading up into the elevator that would take me to my hotel room, I ran into a guy who had just bought a four thousand dollar copy of CGC graded Tales of Suspense number 39 and he was kind enough to let me hold it for a moment.

The next thing I noticed that made ECCC feel more like MacWorld than PAX was all of the booths that where setup to sell you comics. And not just comics. They had booths that would sell you protector cases for your newly purchased comics. PAX is more of an event for developers to allow the public to test out betas of games they are working on. There are the couple of booths where you can buy games and shirts and what not, but most of the even is centered around games that are not out yet announcements of games that are in early development.

As I walked around the show floor I discovered booths that would sell you posters of your favorite comic book covers. They had booths setup to sell you vintage action figures, T-Shirts, vintage board games and magazines. There was honestly a little bit of something for everyone at ECCC.

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The show floor also had a section for comic book artists where you could go meet your favorite artist and have them sign your comic book or even do a quick drawing for you. They had major artists from comic book companies as well as artists from web comics and even artists who where just starting out. There was a pretty diverse group of talent at the convention.

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Unlike Macworld, the ECCC floor was littered with Cosplayers. You couldn’t look in any direction without seeing someone dressed up as Supergirl, Aquaman, Batman, Harley Quinn, Spiderman, Deadpool or Red Dwarf. There was even a super sweet older couple dressed up as Popeye and Olive Oyl.

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After three days of walking around the convention center I left with a handful of comics, action figures and art. The whole thing was a lot to take in and looking back I can see how I might have been able to plan things in away that would have allowed me to pick up a few more items. As it is, I am pretty happy with my haul and made a ton of memories I wont soon forget.

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If you are interested finding out more about how ECCC went and the items I brought back home with me check out the Transmissions Podcast. As soon as my vacation is over and I get back to recording the show, I will get into some more detail about the whole experience as well as the items I picked up.

Wolverine

Transformers Review Issue 46: Ca$h and Car-nage!

With issue 46 we are introduced to new villains and bots. The human race as some new tech to interfere with the Transformers, but are the smart enough to use it wisely? Its hard to know as much examples of the humans, especially from the military standpoint, have been that they are all control hungry. Lets find out what happens, but first how about this cover eh?

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What we have here is a terrible cover. I hate saying it, but it’s true. We have a fairly well drawn muscle motorcycle man excluded by a poorly drawn and poorly colors Transformer. And mostly just the legs and lower torso of said Transformer. The actual background of black and white lines messes with my rods and cones. It’s pretty disappointing after how great the cover was for the last issue. “The Sparkabots battle the Roadjammers!” is written in a bubble on the lower part of the cover.

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In issue 46 we are introduced to several bounty hunter types through a series of pages that peek into their current lives. Burn-Out, Randy “Roadhog” Hortan, Skunge and Felix. These four bounty hunters meet up in New York City at the location of the Z Foundation’s National offices to meet with Mr. K, Mr. B and Mr. L. It is explained to the bounty hunters that the founder, Mr. Z created this foundation to eliminate the threat that all Transformers pose to Earth. Each man is offered $50,000 for any Transformer they bring in. They are also given a special tool called “Jammers” which can be used to neutralize a Transformer. The bounty hunters, as a group, are given the name Roadjammers, and set out to find Transformers.

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Our story cuts to the planet of Cybertron. We see Decepticon captured Autobots awaiting their execution when the Firecons arrive and take three of the Autobots to the space bridge. Fizzle, Sizzle and Backstreet are sent across the Space Bridge and to earth. Not far from New York city.

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Shortly after arriving on Earth, the Autobots are pursued by the Roadjammers who manage to quickly neutralized. But some of the Roadjammers are bothered by what the Autobots where trying to say to them prior to being neutralized. Like, how did the Z Foundation know where to send the Roadjammers to look for the Autobots if they had only just arrived on earth? Is it possible that this is a Decepticon trick?

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The Roadjammers return with the Autobots to the Z Foundation where Felix breaks into a locked parking garage where they find three inactive Decepticon Headmasters. Mr.K, Mr. B and Mr. L show up and reveal that they are Headmasters and join up with the inactive Decepticon bodies only to become paralyzed by the jammers. Felix and made some modifications to the Jammers allowing the, the ability to neutralize three additional Transformers.

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We now see Mr. Z enter the garage and he presents himself as Lord Zarak, Leard of the Decepticons. Scorponok is called, but Felix is able to use the single from the Jammers to have all six Transformers, three Autobots and Three Decepticons, attack the large Scorponok.

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In an act of desperation, Zarak activates a prototype Anti-Jammer that results in freeing the Decepticons and the Autobots from the Roadjammers. The Autobots quickly get the Roadjammers to safety before the Decepticons have a chance to attack.

This book ends with the Roadjammers free and Felix telling his crew that he things he can recreate the Jammers. Soon, they will be back in Business.

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My Thoughts On This Issue

Originally, and now, this cover was never interesting to me and I actually dreaded reading this issue because of that one fact. Yeah, I judged this book by it’s cover and thankfully, I was presently surprised by the comic’s contents. The story is pretty decent and the way the panels where played out where, at times, impressive.

The humans where draw very well and the bots were poorly rendered. It’s a shame. But since it is a human focused story, you don’t see the poorly drawn bots on every page. But when you do, it sticks out like a sore thumb. I think even the panels where drawn really well.

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It’s a decent read. We have a new set of villains and i am actually quite excited to see what they do next.

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Transformers Review Issue 44: The Cosmic Carnival

Now that we are done with whatever the hell issue 43 was about, we return to the main story line of Transformers. Back to Optimus Prime and the Steelhaven and their future. But first, lets check out the cover to issue 44.

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This cover is solid. Which is great because we need one after issue 43. Optims Prime, in truck mode is front and center on the cover, along with Sky Lynx on top of his cab. The two Autobots are fighting off a large lizard while in the background a Trapeze artist who is hurling fire and a rocket motorcycle are attacking from behind. The art is top notch in my opinion. “Comic Carnival!” is displayed in blue writing  inside yellow word bubble. This issue is looking good from the cover.

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On board the Steelhaven, Optimus Prime and his crew are headed back to Earth when they observe a Laser-beamed advert for “The Cosmic Carnival”. Prime has no interest in seeing the show until the advert displays images of Sky Lynx as one of the shows many attractions. Cautiously, Optimus Prime changes course to check out the carnival.

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Inside the Carnival ship, Optimus Prime and Goldbug start searching for Sky Lynx when they fine four children from earth being displayed as a sideshow attraction. When Goldbug attempts to rescue the children an energy field around them throws the Autobot back violently. At this point Optimus Prime demands that Berko, the children’s handler, take him to see the carnivals owner. Prime and Goldbug are taken to meet Big Top, who refuses to release the children due to the contract they signed which makes them pretty much slaves until their debit is paid off. A debt they uncured when they the children and Sky Lynx stopped to see the carnival.

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Big Top is not a total jerk. He gives the Autobots two free passes to view the main event of the carnival. It is during this even that the Autobots see Sky Lynx for the first time during his act. After the show they meet up with him back stage where Sky Lynx tells his story about how the kids wanted to stop off at the cosmic carnival after escaping from the Dinobots a few issues back. When they could not pay for their tickets, Sky Lynx signed on as a performer to pay off his debt. The kids and himself have been suck in the carnival ever since.

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Optimus Prime and Goldbug are unable to think their way around the contract so they reluctantly say their good-byes to the children of earth. Berko confronts them again and tells his back story. He is an abductee, brought on board the carnival. Eventually he became trusted by Big Top and work his way out of the side show attraction. It comes down to, as long as the kids are in the side show, Berko stays free.

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Berko, who has been on his own most of his life, is taken aback when Optimus Prime offers to help free him and take him back to earth. With this Berko changes his stance with the carnival. He helps arrange to free the children while Optimus Prime is sent out to collect Sky Lynx from the arena just as his next act is starting.

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As prime and Sky Lynx try to escape, Big Top sends out other performers to block their way. They make their way past jugglers and rocket powered motorcycles, and through the exit.

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By this point Goldbug and Berko have freed the children. Goldbug and Big Top get int a fight that results in Goldbug ramming Big Top into a cage. This leaves Big Top as a sideshow freak attraction and the Autobots and children leave for Earth.

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My Thoughts On This Issue

I honestly didn’t think this was a bad issue. Not my favorite, but also not my least favorite. It felt like a villain-of-the-month issue that also helped get the story back on track of tying up some loose ends.

Berko is a questionable name for a human male. I have never heard it before and seems overly obscure for no reason. The art was so much better than issue 43.

Prime looked like himself and not Powermaster version we saw int he last issue. Which I am not complaining about. But, one has to wonder where the hell his trailer was this whole time. Regardless, its so nice to see old school prime back and kicking ass.

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Transformers Review Issue 42: People Power!

Optimus Prime is Back! Well, he has been back in a virtual capacity for a few issues. But this time he his back with a kicking new body thanks to the help of the Nebulonions. The only question is will he live? I don’t want to give to much away so lets jump to the cover art and then the review!

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Autobot Up With Wheeljack From 80sTees.com!

ugh… Why do so many covers have to be yellow? Sigh… Alright, Optimus prime is front and center on this yellow background cover. Though he looks a little different. This is because he has gone through the Powermaster upgrade. This is punctuated by the Nebulonion popping out of his front grill plate. Darkwing and Dreadwind are flying in and firing down upon the great prime as he fires back. Several other Autobot Powermasters rally behind him.

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We open this book on the planet of Nebulos. The Gardens of Eternal Peace and Harmony Macrobiotic Restaurant (holy hell that was a mouth full), is under attack by a jet which splits into the Decepticons, Dreadwind and Darkwing. The two are arguing among themselves as  Transformable humanoids disengaged from the Decepticons. These two bio engineered Nebulans are Hi-Test and Throttle (not a very Nebulonion name if you ask me), and confront the maitre d’ of the restaurant and demand a large amount of food.

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The Steelhaven arrives over Nebulos taking orbit. It’s crew travel to the surface to meet with the Nebulan Scientist, Hi-Q. The Scientist is very reluctant to aid the Autobots in their missions of constructing a body for Optimus Prime.

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It is explained to the Autobots that Hi-Q’s partner, Hi-Test were tasked with coming up with a means of preventing the Transformers from ever returning. Under the direction of the scientists, a bomb was set off which resulted in the tainting of all the fuel sources on Nebulos. Any Transformer that consumes this energy will be poisoned. Hi-Q’s success in developing the poison resulted in Hi-Test quitting due to his jealousy.

In searching for Scorponok’s crew, Darkwing and Dreadwind become poisoned by the local fuel. Hi-Test teams up with Throttle to steal Hi-Q’s research of something called the Powermaster Process. This allows Nebulans themselves to provide the power to a Transformer. Hi-Test and Throttle undertake the process and partner up with Darkwing and Dreadwind.

In order for the Nebulans to power the Deceitpcons they require large amounts of food which means a lot of the Deceitpcon attacks are just so they can feed the Nebulons powering them.

With Hi-Q unable to stop the Decepticons, Goldbug believes they can. Hi-Q warns Goldbug that the Autobots will be poisoned is they consume the local fuel. Goldbug remains steadfast that they stay and complete their mission regardless of the dangers. Hi-Q offers his facility and services to aid their battle, but wont be sad if they fail in the end.

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The Autobots next hear of an attack on the council of pears by the Deceitpcons looking to find out more about Scroponok and his crew. As the Autobots engage the Decepticons, they put up little of a resistance as the Powermaster Decepticons prove to superior.

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The Autobots return to Hi-Q’s lab and finish work on Optimus Prime’s new body. Even though the Autobots are warned that Optimus Prime will only function for a short time due to the poison that will be running through his body, his mind is transferred from the computer disk and into the body.

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Optimus Prime is activated and told of his new upgrade that allows his trailer to combine with his body granting him more power than ever before. But Optimus Prime still has not accepted he is more than a computer simulation.

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Shortly after activation, Prime experiences incredible pain as the poisoned fuel used to activate him works his effects on his body. It is through this pain that Optimus Prime realizes that if he can feel, then he can potentially die and accepts that he must be a living being.

It is here that Hi-Q starts to understand that no only are the Autobots alive, but they are also noble. He offers himself to the Powermaster process to save Optimus Prime’s life. An additional three of his staff members agree to also help out the remaining Autobots, Joyride, Getaway, and Slapdash. Guldbug does not need any help as he uses less fuel than the other Autobots.

Later, Darkwing and Dreadwind attack Hi-Q’s lab. They are met by resistance from the Powermaster Autobots. The dueling bots seem evenly matched when Optimus Prime shows up and ends the fight quickly.

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Hi-Q speak with Hi-Test and points out that his jealousy has caused Nebulos to return to a war state. The Nebulos Council sentenced Hi-Test and Throttle to exile. They join up with their Decepticon partners and take off to an unknown location.

Goldbug prepares to leave on the Steelhaven alone. Since the Powermaster process has tied Autobot and Nebulan together, he does not see them wanting to leave the planet. However, the Nebulans come to believe that since they are binary-bonded, they may not have a home on the planet anymore. The Autobots and their new partners say by to their planet and depart.

My Thoughts On This Issue

Picking up this issue and wanting to read about the return of Optimus Prime so badly, I originally over looked how different prime looked on the cover. When Prime is returned to life he looks the same until he is upgraded to Powermaster Prime to save his life. The kids want Optimus Prime back. Not something that resembles Optimus Prime. I would like to think in 1988 that there was still a healthy demand for the original toy and that Hasbro would have made a lot of money continuing selling it. But I guess they felt they had to alter it enough to sell it again. Really, it’s to bad.

Sadly, this story just feels like a rehash of so many other Transformers stories I have been reading recently. The Autobots or Decepticons get a new technology and their counterparts upgrade to the same technology.

Transmission Letters This Issue

Transformers_issue_42_TransmissionsDear 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

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…

Dear Don,
I really love anything to do with the TRANSFORMERS, the comic, the toys, the cartoon, the movie, everything. I do have a few questions:
1) Now that there are a bunch of new Transformers (not to mention the Headmasters) are you going to be making a new TRANSFORMERS UNIVERSE?
2) Will we see Metroplex and Trypticon?
3) Are you bringing back Willam Johnson? I love his pencils.
4) Are you going to change the name of the comic to TRANSFORMERS: MORE MUCH MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE?
Thanks, guys, and keep up the good work …I need my TRANSFORMERS!
Tim Shinsky
Lorain, OH

1) Yup, this summer we’ll give you four more issues of the tantalizing TRANSFORMERS UNIVERSE, with a bunch of those Headmasters guys and all kinds of neat new stuff.
2) No plans right now, but you never know what Bob Budiansky’ll be up to next, so keep tuned.
3) We’re trying, we’re trying… but Ol’ William isn’t easy to convince. Maybe giving his address to Ratbat…?
4) Nope.
Hope we were able to answer all your questions, Tim… and, by the way, are you any relation to Smilin’ Sara Tuchinsky, our glamorous and scintillatin’ receptionist? (Hi Sara)

Dear Transmissions,
I recently read issue #38 of the TRANSFORMERS. The story was better than usual, and the Headmasters were O.K., but i agree with Shingo that the TRANSFORMERS had to be one of the worse comics in the world. The art has been stinky since the first issue. The only issue with decent art was issue #16, and it wasn’t really good, just decent. The stories are the same thing over and over, every time. The characters have no personalities. In each issue, each character gets two lines. First he’ll introduce himself, and then he’ll say, “Me Robot, kill you Robot.”
You guys can’t even get the facts straight in your own story. Buster and Spike can’t be in the same Comic: they are actually the same person. One’s from the comic book and one’s from the cartoon. Don’t expect us and one’s from the cartoon. Don’t expect us to believe that they are brothers. You also stupidly gave Spike brown hair, I can’t believe you guys.
Shannon Smith
St. Paul, VA

We can’t believe you either Shannon, and we’re trying really hard, too. Hey, why not take another look at the TRANSFORMERS? Read the stories carefully. Example the motives of the various characters. And if you still think we stink, write back and tell us! (For those of you out there who don’t believe that Marvel publishes critical mail… we’ve just been called stupid, stinky, and the worst comic in the world, all in one letter!)

Dear Transmissions,
So far, I’ve got three of the four HEADMASTER comics. Thought they were brill! By the way, when will Galvatron and Prime (Rodimus, that is) be entering the regular comic? And will there be an issue coming up with the Technobots? When will the Targetmasters make their entrance, and my favorite ‘Con Soundwave? By the way, does the word DECEPTICON mean Dumb, Evil, Creepy Electronic Pieces of Trash’ /n Cans Of Noodles?
Paul Nuernberg
Brisbane, Austrailia

Not Exactly, Paul, but certainly, er, brill. As for your questions, the Technobots and Targtmasters will return, but you won’t be seeing Galvatron and Rodimus Prime in the regular TRANSFORMERS until 2005. Soundwave has been in both issues #39 and 41, so get those back issues fast!

Dear Transmissions,
I just finished reading issue #38 and I loved it. Having Headmasters on Earth is really exciting. I can’t wait until the Headmasters meet up with the regular Transformers. Boy, talk about surprises! It will teach all those Decepts that humans aren’t as puny as they seem.
I was sorry to see Galen die, although you handled it well. It will also be neat to see Spike Witwicky become the leader of the HEadmasters.
My favorite Autobots are Fortress Maximus, Optimus Prime, and Jetfire. My favorite Decepticons are Scorponok, Weird Wolf and Starscream. I have a great idea: why not make a new TRANSFORMERS UNIVERSE featuring the Headmasters, Targetmasters, and the other new Transformers?
Mike Smith
Wast Brookfield, MA

As you can see from Tim’s letter about a whole bunch of you want a new TRANSFORMERS UNIVERSE, and who are we to say no!?! The Targetmasters will be in there, too, Mike. Meanwhile, you can use your old TRANSFORMERS UNIVERSE to help you tell us which Transformers are your favorites and why. We’ll print those letters here in Transmissions, so watch for your name here.

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Transformers Review Issue 41: Totaled!

Issue 41 I’m hopping will see Optimus Prime with his body back. Thought I am sure it can’t be that easy. So before we dive in and see what happens lets check out this fantastic cover art!

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You Can Get This Vitruvian Optimus Prime T-Shirt from 80sTees.com!

Holy crap! Just look at this cover! I don’t think you could fit any more Transformers on a single cover if you tried! The cover is set in space with Autobots on one side and Decepticons on the other getting ready to battle it out on the surface of the moon. In the background of the stary space sky you can make out the planet Earth and what I think is the Milky Way.

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The first panel of the first page is a dramatic scene with Autobot Leader, Optimus Prime exploding into peaces. The crew aboard the Steelhaven have been trying to build their leader a new body. All attempts thus far have failed. This is not helped by the fact that the resources available to the Autobots on the ship are extremely limited. Thanks to Hotrod’s efforts the Ark has been located and Fortress Maximus decides to approach Grimlock and the Autobots from Earth for help.

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Upon their encounter, Grimlock wants no part of helping Fortress Maximus and he demands that crew of the Steelhaven handover Goldbug who is a fugitive. Fortress Maximus refuses, but to prevent a fight, Goldbug ends up surrendering. Grimlock believes there can be only one Autobot leader and so challenges Fortress Maximus to a battle for control of the Autobots. He sights an archaic ‘Code of Combat’.

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Inside the Ark’s brig, Goldbug discovers Blaster, who is strapped to a energy-sucking chair. Blaster’s spirit is broken from having been jailed and wasting away. Goldbug talks him into fighting in place of an injured Fortress Maximus.

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In another location, Soundwave has been tracking the Steelhaven. Ratbat sees this as a chance to take out the Autobots of earth and the Steelhaven all at once. A very energy efficient mission.

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Both the Ark and the Steelhaven land on the move and the crews from both ships step out to watch the historic fight between Grimlock and Blaster.

As the two Autobots fight, they whined up far away from the rest of the Autobots. It is during their battle that the Decepticons attack. During the assault on the Autobots, Bonecrusher and the rest of the Constructicons infiltrate the Ark and retrieve several Decepticon Prisoners.

Due to a lack of any real commander, the Autobots are losing the fight. Fortress Maximus orders Goldbug to take the small crew aboard the Steelhaven and leave.

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As Grimlock and Blaster are still fighting off some distance, it is Blaster who  notices the epic battle going on back at the moon’s landing location. Grimlock and Blaster settle their differences and the two Autobots join the battle going on. As the two work together they manage to force the Decepticons to retreat.

Transformers-issue-41-look

Grimlock because more accepting of the idea of working as a team as a result of how effective he and Blaster were working together. With all the damage taking by the Autobots and the Ark, repair work is very important. Fortress Maximus states that the Steelhaven will be unable to help. Siting the need for a great leader he tells everyone that he sent the ship to Nebulos. It’s the one place with the technology to rebuild Optimus Prime.

Transformers-issue-41-thanks

My Thoughts On This Issue

I am going to save the best part for last because I think it is so cool. But for now, lets talk about the problems this issue has in my eyes.

Out of nowhere several of the characters start acting like their cartoon counter parts. Most notably is Grimlock and how he starts talking like an idiot. Granted, Grimlock is not a favorite character with comic book fans so far in the run. He has been cruel and unworthy of the leadership roll he was given. In this issue however, he is colossally one sided and it’s almost comical the change in his personality to mimic is cartoon counterpart. This change, along with other Transformers that start speaking like their cartoon alternatives, it’s an eye soar to the reader and one that really pulled me out of the story.

The best part about this issue was the epic battle that took place on the moon. Something strange was going on that I could not put my finger on. At first it seem ridiculous how the Transformers where ignoring near by battles and even the Deceitpcon invasion of the Ark. It was not till the end of the battle that I came to realize/remember that sound does not travel in space. So there was no way Transformers could hear battles going on directly behind them. It’s why it took Grimlock and Blaster so long to observe the attacking going on back at the landing site. It was a pinch of realism that I thought was amazing!

Transmission Letters This Issue

Transformers-issue-41-TransmissionsDear Transmissions,
I have only one question. How many times are you going to kill poor Bumble-eh-Goldbug? Don’t you think he ever gets tired? Think about it: you mess him up real bad in issue #1, then all the Autobots take a powder in issue #5-8. You knock him silly again in issue #16, have him scrapped by the Joes in G.I. JOE VS. THE TRNASFOMERS #1, and then overhauled in GIJ VS TF #4. You give him the Scraplets in issue #29, and now in issue #37 his body is crushed to a pulp and his mind is squeezed into a tiny battyer-powered toy car. Come on, guys! Leave Goldbug/Bumblebee/any-other-names-he’s-got alone!
By the way, I spoke with Shingo a few months ago, He wanted me to tell you that he thinks Transformers are cool.
Eddie Smith
Green Belt MD

Eddie, with all the other things the TRANSFORMERS will be going through in the next few months, there won’t be any time to trash Goldbug much. You can let Shingo know that we will soon be sending out a search party of Deceitpcons to find out why he hasn’t written back yet. With Shockwave and the other ‘Cons a bit upset lately. . . well, we’re not responsible for the consequences.

Dear Transmissions,
I’m a big fan of the TRANSFORMERS (and have been for five – no, six months), and i’ve bought nearly every issue. I’m glad you dumped Grimlock as leader of the Autobots, although he was an interesting change of pace, and I’m also happy to see more of Blaster.
I;ve just finished issue #37, and it’s nice to see that there are some humans with brains enough to realize that there are two different Transformer Armies – now how about some more humans who can actually tell the difference between the Autobots and the Decepticons?
Enough of the usual blab. I have one single complaint: aren’t there any female Transformers? I especially want to see some female Autobots. Until Grimlock learns the meaning of the word “grammer,” Make Mine Marvel!
Emily Stweart
Fort Worth, TX

Emily, You’re not alone! We receive hundreds of letters every month asking for female Transformers. Of course, you and most people who write us assume two things: first, that Transformers are either male or female, and second, that unless a Transformer is explicitly female, the Transformer is male. And hey, what about Arcee? She’s a female Transformer from the year 2005. You can read more about her in the TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE comic book, and in the TRANSFORMERS UNIVERSE. Also, Grimlock knows perfectly well what “Grammer” means, “Grammer is a fleshling wife to Grandfather.” Unh, yeah, Grimlock, sure.

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Transformers Review Issue 40: Pretender to the Throne!

The long awaited return of Optimus Prime is in this story. As well as the Pretenders. So much goes on and every page is turned to try and figure what is going to happen with Optimus Prime and if his return is peppermint. But before we get into the review and my thoughts on this issue lets check out the this cover art.

Transformers-40-Youseph-Cover

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The cover background is Yellow. My least favorite color. It’s only saving quality is that they really tried to make the background look high tech. Which they pull of with some nice line art. We have three Pretenders gracing the cover. Two of them I believe to be Decepticons and the humanish looking one I believe to be an Autobot. On a monitor in the background we see the face image of Optimus Prime. “AT LAST – THE RETURN OF OPTIMUS TIME!” is written next to his image in bright red. All in all it’s a lack luster cover for the return of the heroic Autobot leader.

Transformers-40-Cover

We return to Ethan Zachary who we have not seen in some time. He has been working with the copy of Optimus Prime’s mind, he had saved to floppy disk in an earlier issue, inside of a video game simulation. Optimus Prime appears to be sentient and is able to hold conversations with Ethan Zachary, but he is not able to comprehend himself more than a computer game character.

Transformers-40-Game-Over

Zachary continues to try and convince Optimus Prime that he is more than a computer gaming program. He resorts to calling Buster Witwicky, only to reach his father. Sparkplug is angry over recent events regarding his children and hangs up on Zachary.

Transformers-40-Sparkplug

Good news for Zachary is that Spike Witwicky bugged his fathers hotel and heard the conversation. On board the Steelhaven, it is decided that Goldbug will travel to Earth to investigate the clams that Optimus Prime may still be alive. Goldbug arrives at Alternate Reality, Inc., home of Zachary’s computer gaming company.

Transformers-40-Goldbug

After Zachary and Goldbug meet, the two come up with the plan that allowing Optimus Prime to undertake a mission might help him evolve into more than a just a gaming program that he thinks he is. Optimus Prime is sent on a mission, through a computer network, to a genetics lab that has been taken over by Decepticons. While there, Optimus Prime discovers that that the Decepticon Headmaster leader Scorponok, has created Pretenders. He copies the all the data he can find from the experiment and returns back to Zachary and Goldbug. unfortunately, the Deceptions be come aware of the Autobot intrusion.

Transformers-40-data

The newly acquired data is transmitted to the Autobot spacecraft high above in Earth’s orbit. The data is used to create Autobot versions of Pretenders. The Decepticon Pretenders locate Zachary’s software company and attack. Optimus Prime, still a computer program, organizes the Autobot Pretenders’ defense of Zachary’s company. The Decepticons retreat and Optimus Prime still thinks he is nothing more than a computer program.

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My Thoughts On This Issue

I was eager to read this issue to learn how Optimus Prime would return. Thought he has come back, he is not officially back in a physical form. I enjoy this issue and how they navigated the computers, networking and all the associated vocabulary that goes along with it.

The stars of this issue where supposed to be the Pretenders. But I feel that their story was over shadowed by the presence of Optimus Prime. It also didn’t help that the last few issues have been kind of a repeat as far as introducing new characters. The Decepticons create a new kind of Transformers, the Autobots get their hands on the tech and build their counter parts. Or, the Autobots create some new Transformers, the Decepticons get their hands on the tech and build their own. It’s a formula that works when you are forced to introduce characters to sell toys. But started feeling like a broken record a long time ago.

Hopefully in the next issue we can have a solid story where we see Optimus Prime get his own body and return as Autobot leader.

Transmission Letters This Issue

Transformers-40-TransmissionsDear Marvel,
I just bought and read issue #33 and #34 of the TRANSFORMERS and I’m confused! At the end of issue #32 you wrote that the next issue would be about Blaster’s fate and the battle between Bruticus and Defensor, but in issue #33 there was nothing like that. Also, how can Optimus Prime be alive again in issue #34? In issue #32, he was still dead and floating around in space somewhere, and Grimlock was Autobot leader.
It’s not like I don’t want Prime back, but at least you could tell the readers how he got back! When you made Grimlock leader, I was frustrated and mad. He’s a terrible leader! if Op’s not around I think Jetfire would make the best Autobot Leader.
Confused and Mad
Marquett, MI

If you look carefully at the first page of issue #33, at the top, in the intro to the story, you’ll see that the events of issue #33 took place before Optimus Prime’s death. You could say that this British story acts as a falshback from your regular storyline. Hope this alleviates your confusion and madness…

Dear Don and Daryl,
Please Answer these questions:
1) What is a No-Prize, what is the prize, and how do you earn it?
2) What is a Shingo and what do you hafta do to earn it?
Eric Wu
(no address given)

A No-Prize is exactly that: NO Prize. It was originally given to readers who found a major mistake in a Marvel book and provided a solid, rational explanation which proved that the mistake was actually not a mistake at all. In other words, an excuse that makes us look good! Since the mistake must be a major, and the explanation logical, we don’t give out very many.
A Shingo, on the other hand, is not a thing, but a who. Shingo wrote us a letter many issues ago, and we are still waiting with bated breath for his next. Bating your breath for almost two years can be very painful, by the way. We don’t think you can earn a Shingo, and anyway, where would you put him?

Dear Transmissions,
I think I have a No-Prize coming. in issue #21 of the TRANSFORMERS, Jetfire dropped ol’ Danny Finkelberg about ^,000 ft. up and then caught him at about a hight of 10ft. Of course there’s a considerable amount of distance between those two points and ‘Finky’ must have gained a lot of speed in the time he fell. Now, the mistake: Since Finky was falling at a tremendous rate of speed, how could he fall into supposedly metal hands without breaking every bone in his body? The explaination? Easy; Wheeljack considered the possibility of the Autobots handling humans often, so he designed a special material which feels soft no matter how hard it is hit. Prime made sure every Autobot had hands coated with this material, so humans would be safe when touched or held by and Autobot.
I hope I have met the qualifications of a No-Prize, which are: to point out a mistake and then provide an explanation that “saves your dignity.”
Make Mine Marvel!
Pete Frank
Erie, PA

To be frank, Pete (or is that Pete Frank?), you haven’t won a No-Prize. It was a good try, But how could the Autobots fight the Decepticons if their hands were always soft? Talk about not packing much of a punch! We3 can’t have the ‘Cons smashing up the ‘Bots! You are thinking along the right lines – it’s all in the hands!

Dear Marvel,
The TRANSFORMERS are really neat! I’ve just finished reading #34 (good, of course), and in glancing through the letters I saw an attempt for a no-Prize. He was trying to explain the whole Bumblbee/Goldbug thing; “Right now in 1987, Bumblebee has become Goldbug. How could he be Bumblee again in 2005 (as seen in the movie)? Well, I have a simple explanation. These are Transformer Comic books, that was the Transformer movie. Who says the comic book has to do everything the movie does.
Abe Smith
Portland, OR

You have a point there, Abe. Also consider that the Transformer movie doesn’t take place for another eighteen years. Eighteen years ago, we’d barely put a man on the moon. Nixon was President, Marvel was only eight years old, and no one had ever heard of Transformers. Wait a bit and see if things don’t change as much in another eighteen!

Hey, Guys,
That’s enough! Not only have you not responded to the eight letters I’ve sent, but I can’t take it anymore! You people think having Grimlock (Captain Caveman) as Autobot leader is funny, but a whole bunch of other Autobots (and ‘Con) fans and I don’t. He is a big, primitive dweeb, and a lousy leader. Go ahead and tell him I said so. Maybe if he were to fire on a human, the other Autobots would realize what a jerk he is and impeach him. I would rather see Optimus Prime (Whom you brutally killed off! What happened to Zachary, anyway?) as head of the Autobots or Blaster, if you won’t bring Prime back.
O.K., you’ve printed a few letters from girls, but not very many. Also, how come you never answered any of my letters? I included my return address right on the letter and not just on the envelope. I really want a letter or even a postcard!
One other thing… How do the Transformers get away without having license plates?
Dawn Reeder
Baldwin, MO

We’re really sorry, Dawn, but we just can’t answer all the thousands and thousands of letters the Transformers receive. We’d spend all our time answering letters instead of making your favorite comic book. We do read every letter and we answer what we can in Transmissions. Most of the questions in these letters have been asked by many different people, so even if your letter doesn’t get printed, you may see the answer to one of your questions anyway.
As for the license plates, would you give a Decepticons a traffic ticket? Didn’t think so!

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