TransMissions: Ulysses Stockdale

The fouth response from the 100 letters I mailed out was from one Ulysses Stockdale. Ulysses’s letter appeared in issue 26 entitled: Funeral For A Friend.

Transformers-issue-26-coverUlysses responded to my letter for an interview by calling me up. It was truly a lot of fun to talk with him. After I asked my interview questions Ulysses had several of his own and was pleased to learn of the recent Transformers: The Movie blue-ray release.

Ulysses’s letter in the 80s Marvel comic read:

“Dear Transmissions,
I have just read TRANSFORMERS THE MOVIE, and I very much want to congratulate you for doing a very superb job on this movie. The plot was great, I love every minute of it. But there is something I need to have answered. I was very saddened to see Ironhide’s death along with the other Autobots on the ship, as well as Optimus Prime’s death. What I want to know is will Optimus and the other Autobots ever be brought back to life by the Creation Matrix, or by something else? they survived ten millions years, so couldn’t they live another million? O hate to see Optimus go, he is my favorite Autobot. Please don’t get me wrong about this, but we both know that no Autobot, not even Rodimus Prime could ever be as wise and as strong as the great Optimus Prime. I would very much like to see a sequel to these movie (even if it does kill you) because only you guys can do it the best. Buy the way, keep up the good work on the TRANSFORMERS comic books, the artwork is great.
Ulysses Stockdale
Heiskell, TN”

Now, 30ish years later we get to hear from Ulysses again.

Youseph: How did you discover the Transformers?

The original cartoon of course. That just caught my attention. I was a big anime fan when I was young. They used to show Star Blazers, Tranzor Z, the american version of the anime. When I saw Transformers it really caught my attention. I’d seen the toys prior to the TV show, but I didn’t pay much attention to the toys. They kinda looked a little less than neat so to speak. But the cartoon really caught my attention. That’s how I got into it.

Youseph: Where did you get your Transformers comics from?

Anywhere I could score them. My parents where not exactly fond of me buying comic books in general. They thought I could use my time much more wisely. I was a kid and that kind of stuff…. You gotta let a kid be a kid. That kind of stuff is a gold mine for a kid.

I found my comic books at 7-11’s or gas stations. Anywhere that they had a comic book rack. I collected them out of order. Whatever I could find I would buy and fill in the gaps later.

Youseph: What compelled you to write to to Marvel’s Transformers?

Primarily it was the movie. I’d never seen such a well done animated movie. I really really enjoyed the movie and of course my love for the Transformers. I was heart broken that Optimus was killed off in that movie. And of course the next thing I did, I had to have a movie adaptation of the comic book so I went out and found those. The movie was primarily what prompted me to write.

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

It had to be pointed out to me that I was even in the letters section. As a kid, it was like hitting the lottery. Not that I got anything from it, but wow, My name is out there. My letter is out their, in print now. It was really cool as a kid, but as I look back on it, it was a bit humbling that someone would take the time to respond to me.

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

A happily married man with a wife who understand I’m still a kid at heart and has no problem with my fascination with transformers. Yeah, I still love transformers. I have all the blue rays for the most recent movies.

I really have to thank Ulysses for his phone call and his time. I had a lot of fun chatting with him. He still has my number, so who knows. Maybe I’ll hear from him again down the road.

A Tale Of Two Sketch Covers

Yesterday, I received two sketch comic book covers I had commissioned. I thought sharing these covers along with the process I went through to get them would compliment my last two YOSHICASTs. (Blank Comic Book Covers and Blank Comic Book Variants)

Coil_DOOM_combo

A few weeks ago, I set out to find the last missing comic book from my Transformers: Regeneration One, collection. Issue 81. A blank cover. It’s a cover I’ve never seen in a store or online.

Regenone81blank

I started my search at the Transformers Wiki. There I learned this cover was to be used for “Unique hand-draw sketches by Dan Khanna“. I hadn’t heard of Dan Khannah before that search. It turns out Dan is a comic book artist who’s worked for Dreamwave and IDW. Currently he does work for Soap Studios figure series, the TF Imaginarium statue line, and Hasbro.

From the Wiki, I was able to find Dan’s website. I E-Mailed asking if he had any of the blank Regeneration One covers.

“I’m long sold out of covers for regeneration 81.”, he wrote. “believe I have a few blank covers for regeneration 1 issue 93 with rodimus prime in the corner box, which I could draw up a few sketch covers for you if you’d like.”

This was a no brainer. Of course I’d love to have sketches from an artist who worked on Transformers!

Two days and four e-mails later, Dan and I agreed on two sketch ideas. One would be a brand new Transformer. An Autobot named Coil, designed from the TESLA Model S. The other would be a homage to the original DOOM box art.

The Sketch of Coil was the easiest from my point of view. “I would love to have a brand new Transformer drawn in the G1 style.”, I wrote him. “This one does not exist. I would like to see a Tesla Model S and it’s bot mode. Autobot. On the cover I would like written (if you can) “Introducing Coil!” In a later e-mail I added, “With the TESLA sketch, I want to make sure to see the TESLA logo in car mode and in bot mode if it works out along with the Autobot insignia.”

new-tesla-model-s

 

The sketch turned out damn near perfect. Obviously it’s missing the Autobot insignia. Let’s chalk this mistake up to experience. Don’t rush sketch request. Really think it out and spell it out in one clear E-Mail. The more back and forth you have the more likely something wont turn out the way you picture it.

Coil_Front_View_001

The DOOM Box art homage required the most back and forth. “G1 Optimus Prime in place of the center character on the box art.”, I wrote Dan. “Deceptions clawing up at him and another Autobot running up from behind.” I even went so far as to list which Decepticons and where I would like them to be in place of each of the hoard of Devil spawn.

DOOM-Original-Box-Art

Dan kindly told me that was a bit much. We both ended up agreeing on the final design you see here.

Prime_Doom_Front_View_001

It’s worth noting that if, I didn’t like how I thought the sketch would turn out, I would have told him not to do it.

So, for a grand total of $135.00, I got two unique and fantastic sketches from a true Transformers artist. The Tesla Autobot named, Coil and an homage a truly fantastic game, DOOM.

Transformers Review Issue 80: End of the Road!

Well folks, here we are. Marvel Comics’ Transformers issue 80, entitled ‘End of the Road!’. Everything gets wrapped up in this issue and presented in a quickly made bow. This last issue is the first solid sign I’ve seen that writer, Simon Furman was not ready for the ending of the Transformers comic to come so quickly. In reading this issue I felt like he needed at least one more issue to really wrap everything up cleanly. As it is, the ending of the series feels rushed. A tip of my hat to the whole team for putting something together that made a valiant attempt of finishing story as well as they did. Now, before we get into the review and my thoughts on this finally issue, lets check out this issue’s cover.

Transformers_80_Youseph

Thanks To 80sTees.com For Sponsoring These Reviews!

This Wildman cover is really well drawn. Starting at the top we have. “#80 in a Four-Issue Limited Series”. is if defiantly telling to Marvel, Hasbro, and the non believers that the Transformers was and is bigger than anyone could have predicted. The marvel box now has the Decepitcon logo in it where Grimlock once stood. Bludgeon has his sword raised in one had and Wheeljack held up by the wires in his other hand. An image that would not have pass comics code if these where people and not bots. It’s gruesome and dark. Smoke and flames fill out the rest of the cover. “When All Hope Is Gone… One Shall Rise!”, could signal to the casual observer that this issue marks the end of the Transformers and the Decepticons win. Until you realize that the background of the cover a shadow of Optimus Prime can be seen. Something I completely missed myself until I started writing this section. “The Epic Conclusion!” is written at the bottom of the comic in red finishing off the cover.

Transformers_issue80_coverWe jump into this issue night quite where the last one left off. The Autobots have reached the planet Klo and have had their asses handed to them by the Decepticons. Octopunch is tracking down a group of remaining Autobots lead by Grimlock. Prowl is just giving him shit the whole time about how they got into this current situation. He is cut short by the Decepticon tracking party.

Transformers_issue80_ProwlAt another battle location down on the planet, Bludgeon is reading the execution of Wheeljack when the Neo-Knights arrive. They twist some Decepticon metal and before the bad guys can respond in drops Optimus Prime from above. (Action Master Optimus Prime) Bludgeon is caught in disbelief.

Transformers_issue80_BludgeonOptimus Prime is then attacked by the Decepticons, an effort which proves futile. Grimlock and his group of survivors arrive. Bludgeon, realizing hope for himself and the Decepticons is lost, and retreats.

Transformers_issue80_RetreatWith the Decepticons gone, Optimus Prime tells his comrades that Cybertron survived and has been restored by the power of the Matrix. The Autobots plan to help the Klozians rebuild their planet and return the Neo-Knights to Earth before returning to their own planet.

Transformers_issue80_Cybertron

Transmissions Letters This Issue

Transformers_80_ad_TransmissionsTHE END. A strange way to begin, perhaps, but it’s at the end that we now find ourselves. Not by choice–when the axe fell we were as devastated as no doubt many of you were. We (the staff and creators of TRANSFORMERS) know how much the comic meant to our readers, and that only makes it doubly sad that it has come to this. Having read your letters and even met a few of you at a signing in New Jersey, I know you’ve liked what we’ve been doing of late, and that (for many of you, anyway) the story and art had reached an all time high. Does this make it better or worse that we’re finishing now? I don’t know, but I do think we owe you some explanations, some general news, and some comments on the series as a whole. that’s why Rob Tokar kindly turned over the last letters page to me, your humble scribe, so I could tell you what’s what. anyway, before I run out of pace, here goes…

FIRST, WHY? Why cancel now? The BIG question! Unfortunately, the answer is both straight forward and almost belittlingly simple. Though TRANSFORMERS had a dedicated and devoted readership, it was also a worryingly low readership. With the toy no longer a major force, with no Transformers TV show, with many of our original readers suddenly thinking themselves too old to be still picking up the book, our audience had dwindled (and was dwindling still) to a hard core of regular readers. Despite our (and no doubt your) best efforts, new readers just weren’t latching on to the book. The trend was downward, and so (before we got to that sour almost loss making state) the decision was made to pull the plug. It hurt, but at least we were given the chance to wrap things up and go out feeling we’d finished on a high note. No one (not myself, nor Andy, nor Steve, nor Rick, no Nel, nor Rob) gave less than 101% on this last issue and we hope you all enjoyed it. It’s never great reading a final issue, a final page, but far worse to read an indifferent or lackluster finale. We didn’t let the end bow our heads, we hope you do us the favor of not letting it bow yours.

So what does the future hold? For TRANSFORMERS there’s little on the horizon. TRANSFORMERS UK is still running, but that’s just reprinting the stories you’ll have already seen over here and reprinting some old UK stories. Chances are, when this issue has been reprinted in a few months, it too will come to and end. For anyone lucky enough to get hold of a cop of this year’s TRANSFORMERS UK annual (on sale in the latter part of ’91) you’ll find within it’s pages (apart from some nifty reprint British Transformer stories) a text story (illustrated) that picks up from the end of issue #80 and looks onwards into the far future of the Transformers. It’s called “A Distant Time and Place” and it’s written by yours truly. If you can get a hold of a copy do so. I think you’ll enjoy it.

The chances of TRANSFORMERs ever being revived are incredibly small, so we’ll not bother going into that. But there is a slim chance that our resident super-team, the Neo-Knights will go on to greater things. No promises, but Andy and I are (as we speak) putting together and idea for a Neo-Knights (or whatever we decide to rename them) limited series. Don’t hold your breath, but we will give it our best shot.

What about us? What else are we working on? Well, the more keen-eyed among you may have noticed that of late my name has been cropping up on ROBOCOP and SHE-HULK. John Byrme’s back on SHE-HULK at the moment (hey, you can’t buck competition like that!), but i’m doing a few more issues and when John moves on to something new, well… who knows? I’m writing ROBOTCOP regularly now, and I’m joined there (apart from Robo artist supreme, Lee Sullivan, who’s handling the regular art chores) by none other than that Wild man, Andy. to give Lee a break from the rigors of penciling and inking an issue a month, Andy will be filling in from time to time. He’s already done issue #16 and #20, and (by the time this sees print) will probably be hard at work on issue #24. Look out for them! Stephen Baskerville (Baskers to his friends) is inking a Sleaze Brothers graphic novel for EPIC, and Nel (apat from his many coloring jobs), is busy editing for Marvel and Epic. And a quick scan through any month’s releases from Marvel will reveal the talented Rick PArker still busily lettering away. Is this a parting of the ways for Rob Tokar and me? No, of course not. Rob is currently editing none other that… ROBOCOP! isn’t it strange how these things seem to happen?! Enough with the present and future, lets take this opportunity for a stroll down memory lane, and a retrospective look at the many people involved with the world’s first eight-issue limited series!

Bill Mantlo (plot), Ralph Macchio (script), Frank Springer(pencils), Kim DeMulder (inks), Higgins & Parker (lettering, Nelson Yomtov (coloring), Bob Budiansky, Editor. So read the credit line on the very first issue of a then four-issue limited series. Things have changed a bit since then, but from that original line-up much grew, and the on constant for the series emerged (more on that later). Most notable about that early line-up was the presence of one Robert (Bob) Budiansky, the Editor. Bob, as I’m sure no long-time Transformers fan needs telling, went on to become writer and mainstay on TRANSFORMERS for the next four and a half years, writing not just the comic but also the character biographies for first the toys themselves and then the Transformers Universe entries. Taking over from Jim Salicrup at issue #5, Bob wrote 47 of the next 51 issues, only a fill in by Len aminski (issue #16), a two-part UK story, Man Of Iron (issues #33/34) and a cartoon adaptation by original TF cripter, Ralph Macchio (issue $43) coming between him and a clear run (hey, those deadlines are a pain!). Then it was my turn. Having written almost as much material for the UK TRANSFORMERS comic, my stories threading in with Bob’s stuff (which was reprinted sequentially with the UK stuff), I was possibly the natural choice to continue onwards. This I did for the next twenty five issues, hopefully succeeding in bringing the comic to the sort of conclusion it deserved. But that’s for others to judge.

Well that’s the writers, what about the artists? They range from Frank Springer on the orginal four-issue limited series to Alan Kupperberg to William Johnson (his brief but memorable contribution to TF history still talked about by readers), to Ricard Villamonte, to Herb Trimpe, to Don Perlin (about 20 issues, and featuring the superb inking of Akin and Garvey-who would later come to ink up the TF Universe character shots), to José Delbo who then penciled the book for more than two years, making it very much his own. His detailed style and superb action drawing made him a crowd pleaser almost without compare. Still, if there’s one real contribution I have made to TRANSFORMERS, it’s bringing with me from the UK the artistic talents of Geoff Senior and Andy Wildman. Geoff’s love-it-or-hate-it dynamism and Andy’s incredible animation brought new life to the series, and I feel that they (more than anyone else) ensured that the series went out with a bang!

Letterers too seem to have been on the constant side. Rick Parker was there way back on issue #5, popped in again a few times, and finished up with a long end run on the book. Janice Chiang, Bill Oakley and Jim Massara all did long stints as well.

But it’s our one constant, the one person who’s been with us from issue #1 through to issue #80 who deserves the biggest pat ont he back. Let’s hear it for Transformers colorist supreme, Nel Yomtov! Thanks, Nel-from all of us!

And to round things off, it’s a tip of the hat to the men behind the scense, the editors (Owsley, Carlin, Daley–for forty issues or more–and Tokar), the assistant editors, the Bullpenners and just about e everyone who’s had a hand in the comic that for sever years has been truly, More Than Meets The Eye!

Did we do well? Yeah, I’d say so. Eighty issues of the regular series, three limited series, a series and book of Transformers Universe, 300 odd issues of Transformers UK, reprints around the world. All this from a dreaded ‘toy title’. books which generally have a very limited life span. But then I guess all concerned with the book over its long history have always known that it was more than that. Like ROM and THE MICRONAUTS before it, TRANSFORMERS took on a life of its own, and I am confident that it (the worlds, characters and situations introduced) will live on beyond its cancellation in the hearts and minds of those who read it and created it. For me, personally, IT NEVER ENDS!

Thank you, one and all…and God bless!

– Simon Furman, 1991

The fat lady has indeed sung. It’s the final curtain call- the last hurrah.

I asked Rob if it would be OK to write a few words about the book, being that I’ve been associated with TRANSFORMERS longer than just about anyone else. Y’see, I’m the fella they’ve shackled to a drawing board these past six and a half years, coloring every single issue of the book. Throw in the TRANSFORMERS universe series, the G.I. Joe crossover, the movie adaptation and the HEAD-MASTERS mini series and you’ve got one bleary-eyed workaholic. When the series first started in early 1984, robots were pretty hot—lots of toy manufacturers had big toy lines, there were other robot comics, TV cartoon series–you name it. And we caught a lot of flak for publishing “another stupid comic about robots.” Yet, as the robot craze subsided, sales on our book continued to be very healthy. We had made a point: a well written and handsomely illustrated comic could outlast the fad. In effect, the book had taken on a very substantial life of it’s own.

There wee some pretty unique issues along the way. I remember one in which a couple of hoods find a gun in a garbage dump and it turns out to be Megatron. Surprises! Another one that comes to mind, naturally, was issue #1. The art and coloring had been done, but at the last minute a decision was made by the powers that were to make wholesale changes on the entire book. I remember putting in some serious weekend hours on that one.

It’s been a real treat having toiled on TRANSFORMERS for its entire run. Over the years, I’ve gotten tons of fain mail, and whenever I’m at a comics conventions, someone is sure to say, “Hey, aren’t you that guy who…”
Yup, Sure am.
Bye, Bye.
-Nel Yomtov, 1991

My Thoughts On This Issue

Well lets get the obvious out of the way. With every page the story felt more and more rushed. It’s sad, but this series could have ended a lot worse than it did and I’m pleased with the results. I wish I knew more about what was happening behind the scenes. Maybe someone will write a tell all book and I’ll finally know.

I didn’t get my Optimus Prime back. I got Action Master Prime that tried really hard to look like the original Optimus Prime. Bummed out by this, but oh well.

Bludgeon’s farewell speech bothered me a lot. In one breath he states he and the Decepticons are going to live in Solitary Exile that honor demands. Then in the next breath says, “…and live to fight another day!” It just didn’t flow right and makes the first half of his speech worthless to me as a reader.

Honestly, its a good issue. Not the greatest, not even great. Under the circumstances it’s understandable.

Thanks to everyone that followed along with me while I did the Transformers classic comics reviews. What did everyone think of this issue? Heck, what did you all think of the whole 80 issue run? Lets chat below.

Before I close out here, I would just like to leave a note that, after a short break, I plan on reviewing the 12 Transformers Generation 2 comics next. As well as the 4 or so G.I Joe comics that lead to Generation 2.

Ads This Issue.

Transformers Review Issue 76: Still Life!

What of Optimus Prime? What of Hi-Q? What of the Dinobots? What of Cybertron? Will find out as I crack open issue 76. But first, Lets check out this cover.

Transformers_76_Yoshi

Need A Transformers Shirt? Check Out 80sTees.com

Firs thought after looking at the cover for issue 76? Hey, Marvel found a printer that can do more than a hand full of colors! Welcome to the modern era Transformers Fans. THis is a rich an full looking cover drawn by Andrew Wildman.  The cover features three Dinobots with Grimlock looking as if he is ready to piss himself with fear over the demonic robot looming up from behind him. It’s silly and hard to make sense of. “I tell you there is something moving out here!” is spoken by Swoop. “Uhh, well it sure not me!” responds Grimlock. At the bottom of the cover is written, “The Big Freeze” The usual Marvel box in the upper left hand corner has been replaced. Where normally you would see Optimus Prime, you know see the remains of Optimus after his altercation with Unicron. It’s pretty gruesome to look at.

Transformers_issue76_coverWe open up to a group of Transformers huddling around the body of Optimus Prime. It’s realized he is still alive, if only just barely. Prime’s last words to Prowl are to make Grimlock leader of the Autobots.

Transformers_issue76_deathSomewhere else on Cybertron, Hi-Q is running for his life. He is driven to get back to Optimus Prime to tell him of the changes they are both going through thanks to the Powermaster process.

Transformers_issue76_HiQBack to Prowl. He tells Grimlock that he is the new leader. Grimlock’s response is not what Prowl was expecting so Prowl blows up at him. In Grimlock’s broken english, he puts Prowl in his place and displays true leadership knowledge. Grimlock and the Dinobots proceed out to find the Ark and revive the remaining Autobots with Nucleon.

Transformers_issue76_ProwlSearching for the Ark, Grimlock’s body seizes up on him. He’s rendered unable to move, but can still speak. Hi-Q appears with demonic looking bots hot on his tail. Surrounded, the dinobots wage a battle rather then to leave Grimlock alone.

Transformers_issue76_Gimlock

Next we are taken to the Ark, where Schockwave and Starscream are repairing the damaged space craft. The logic being that the Ark is the best and fastest ship to use to get back to an unprotected Earth.

Back to the Dinobots. The demonic robots keep coming at the Dinobots in larger numbers. Even with an order to flee from Grimlock, the Dinobots hold their ground. Hi-Q sees something new in Grimlock. A building of energy. Using some special abilities, Hi-Q is able to speed up this process of energy that Grimlock is going through and in a short time Grimlock bursts out of his old body shell and reveals a new Action Master mode. With new strength, Grimlock is able to scare away the Demonic robots.

Grimlock shares that with his new power came with a price. He can no longer transformer. And then, rather abruptly, Hi-Q shares that he is Optimus Prime and the comic ends without warning.

Transformers_issue76_Swoop

My Thoughts On This Issue

Well things are different. Optimus Prime appears to be dead. Grimlock can’t transform. Hi-Q has an odd new power that I don’t recall ever seeing before.

The ending was very abrupt. I had to check my issue to make sure a page wasn’t torn out and missing. Just an out of place ending for me. Normally, the endings are more gentle.

I also wonder why they don’t just put the title of issues on the cover. Why give it a sub-title or a secondary title?

Regardless, this was a good issue. It’s going to clearly take another issue or two for all the fall out from issue 75 to be explained. But I’m enjoying the story and still looking forward to the next issue.

What did you think of this issue? Where you as annoyed and perplexed by Hi-Q’s new power as I was? Let me know.

Ads This Issue.

Transformers Review Issue 72: …All This and Civil War 2

Marvel’s Transformers issue 72 is here. It contains a great story, great art, and an epic fight.  I know that in recent reviews I’ve been super excited to keep reading. To get on to the next issue. My excitement is due in part to the writing. The great new stories that have started to be told. It’s also fair to say that my excitement is also due in part to the fact that I can see the of the story coming up with issue 80. Something my younger self had no idea was coming. As much as I’m excited to get to the end and find out what happens. Each issue is also making me sad for the same reason. I have a lot of hope that I’m going to have a good ride between now and issue 80. Issue 72 does not disappoint. But first, lets check out this cover!

Transformers_Issue_72_Youseph

Great Transformers T-Shirts Can Be Found At 80sTees.com!

Front and center we have an extremely upset looking Scorponok raging out on Shockwave with his claws. Both bots seem a little worse for wear with all the nuts and bolts and bits and bots falling off of each other from their battle. The flat looking city seen in the background. The war is over–and the war has begun!” is written on the cover. The bots as well as the water they are fighting in are rendered rather well and the cover does a good job conveying energy. The flat yellow background and flat red city behind them hurts the cover more than helps it. It almost seems to absorb any visual energy the fight scene is trying to get across to its reader.

Transformers_issue72_cover

Starscream is very happen as we enter issue 72. He and is fellow Decepticons have done well destroying Scorponok’s base of operations. But not everyone sees eye to eye with Starscream. Fearing survivors and retaliation, Starscream starts digging through the fallen building looking for survivors and he finds one. Scorponok.

Transformers_issue72_StarscreamFurther underground. Powermaster Optimus Prime watches as Decepticons ready themselves for battle. With worry that his alliance with Scorponok no longer exists he worries that the Decepticons will get caught up in another war. Prime gets Kup and Hot Rod to help him search for other Autobot survivors in the rubble of the Decepticon base.

Transformers_issue72_PrimeKupHotRodAbove ground, Scorponok makes quick work of Starscream and his minions as he begins his battle with Shockwave. The fight carries over to the river and to Manhattan. All the while Shockwave is talking Logic which gives Scorponok the upper hand in fighting the logical bot.

Transformers_issue72_Scorponok
I had to share this whole page of the Scorponok and Shockwave battle because the art, imagination, and all together execution are just breath taking.

Here we cut deep into the depths of the planet Cybertron where Emirate Xaaron is on the run from Galvatron. The Autobot is quickly caught. To Xaaron’s surprise, Galvatron reveals that he wants to stop Unicron just as much as Xaaron does.

Transformers_issue72_GalvatronEmerging from the demolished Decepticon base, Optimus Prime’s worse fears are realize as he is witnessing Decepticon fighting Decepticon. Prime and Nightbeat leave for Manhattan hopping to stop the fighting and uniting the fighting bots.

Transformers_issue72_NightbeatScorponok takes down Shockwave. Optimus Prime arrives to keep Scorponok from straight up killing Shockwave. To complicate matters, G.B. Blackrock’s arrives on the scene with his new team of superhumans who are calling themselves ‘The Neo-Knights’.

Transformers_issue72_Humans

My Thoughts On This Issue

We had a lot going on in this issue. Some things I didn’t even talk about so you can enjoy reading it yourself and discover something new.

The story and the art where top notch here. Shockwave is not acting (and hasn’t been acting), like the bot I’ve known him to be. He’s two calculating? He’s like an evil Mr. Spoke who is getting so worked up in how unflawed his logic is that he is distracted by it’s perfection.

In all the cool stuff that happened in this issue, The Neo-Knights bother me. Is adding an human element beyond Spike and Buster going to hurt the story. I generally wouldn’t think this, but we have humans with special powers. Spider-Man making an appearance is one thing. Adding brand new mutated humans into the mix is a whole other. Having humans in an issue was something Bob Budiansky was good at. I hope Simon Furman is too.

What did you all think of this issue?

Transmission Letters This Issue

Transformers_72_TransmissionsDear Transmissions,

RE: TRANSFORMERS #69

Stupendous! Wow! Excellent! Spectacular! The story was great, the art was great! What more could I ask for (except the return of Blaster and Ratbat!)? Thanks especially to Simon for not one, not two, but FIVE storylines in one issue! Storyline 1-Grimlock travels to Hydrus Four to revive the Dinotbos. Storyline Two-Galvatron is brought to 1990 by Unicron, who is plotting the destruction of Cybertron. Storyline 3-Optimus Prime prepares to join forces with the Earthbound Decepticons. Storyline 5-The weirdest one. Ratchet and Megatron combined into one Transformers! I’m sure that eventually all these events will run into one another, causing an indescribable issue!

Nate Wright
Ames, IA

The indescribable issue is actually quite easy to describe. It’s called issue #75! By the way, you almost won this issue’s Hyperbole (get the dictionaries out) Award, but our next reader pipped you out at the post…

Dear Transmissions,

I recently got issue #69 and I must say that I loved the artwork by Andy Wildman. It was great! I hope Andy stays around; he draws Transformers perfectly. I’m looking forward to issue #70, with Ratchet and Megatron fused together and the coming of the Action Masters. I hope to see more of Blackrock’s mutants in the future, too!

Yep, it was an across-the-board thumbs up for Andy’s artwork (and a well justified thumbs up, we reckon). Andy’ll certainly be around for a while, and (teamed with fellow Brit Stephen Baskerville) we expect “great” to become “magnificent” in no time at all! Ah yes, Action Masters…

Dear Transmissions,

Issue #69 had a very good story behind it, even though you will eventually (probably) take away many of the Transformers’ transforming power when they become Action Masters. I don’t like it one bit. You’re just following, basically, what Hasbro tells you. I am asking you, as a loyal Transformers fan, not to take away their transforming power! I know i’m not alone in thinking this. I’m sure that if you put the question ‘do you want transforming Transformers or nontransforming Transformers?’ to your readers, they would almost all go for the transforming option!

Andrew Rush
Bowling Green, KY

Dear Transmissions,

The TRANSFORMERS comic hasn’t been handled so well in a long time. The stories and art are fantastic, and so far I’m very pleased with everything that’s been done! But I’m asking you not to ruin all this by having any of the Transformers become Action Masters! Because, if the comic version is going to be anything like the Action Masters figures, this will result in the Transformers losing their ability to transform. And to me, the concept of Transformers that cannot transform is utterly pathetic!

Vincent Yisanti
Yonkers, NY

Well, the best we can say is, don’t prejudge the issue. We appreciate the nontransforming Transformers sounds a teensie bit on the daft side, but we think that when you see what Simon’s got in mind for the upcoming Action Masters storyline, you’ll be won over!

Dear Transmissions,

I am pleased to announce that ever since Simon Furman took over as writer of TRANSFORMERS, I have been waiting with bated breath for each issue. Though #68 was not up to your usual high standards (the art was really bad, and I don’t like having mutants in the book), I was sure #69 would be better. I was right-it was great. The art was the best I have seen in quite a while. I hope Andy becomes the regular artist! I have one question. Is it me, or does Shockwave seem more boring than before?

David Wehunt
Olympia, WA

Wouldn’t have thought that was possible!

Dear Transmissions,

Just out of curiosity, how is it that Shockwave is still intact and functional? One doesn’t just fall some 400 miles through the atmosphere, burning all the way, to come crashing down in the ocean, with the only noticeable damage being scorched marks and a torn-off audio sensor. I can accept that his titanium-reinforced electro-watchamacallit armor protected him somewhat, but really! So, we must ask, what exactly happened to Shockwave after he was blasted by Spike? What I’m getting at is that there is what I call “plot thread potential” here. I hope you decide to use it.

Blaster Joe
Hackettstown, NJ

Shockwave’s “missing months” and his quest for warriors forms a story in itself, which-space permitting-we should get around to telling eventually (but don’t hold your breath!)

Dear Transmissions,

I have just finished reading issue #69 and the one thing I have to say is… THAT’S GROSS!!!

Tina Palmer
San Bruno, CA

Yeah… but fun!

Ads This Issue

Transformers Review Issue 70: The Pri¢e of Life!

We’re at issue 70 day. We’re so close to the end and I’m not ready for that to happen. I wonder if anyone at Marvel, Hasrbo, or any fans see the end in sight? I don’t think so. Maybe at this point in the run it’s better the fans be unaware of the end. That way they can enjoy the comic book with out any worry. So lets do this review. But first, what a cover!

Transformers_Issue_70_Youseph

Great Transformers T-Shirts Can Be Found At 80sTees.com!

The cover for Transformers issue 70 is shocking to look at, but also beautiful done. Andrew Wildman did this cover and he did it well. This cover is a perfect example of why in the comic book universe of Transformers, he is a fan favorite. The cover is dominated with the painfully looking hybrid face of Megaton and Ratchet. If there was any question in the readers mind of these two being in pain, it is spelled out for them on a note card reading “Help Us” that is held by the combiner. (Sorry, Couldn’t help myself.) Just above the Transformers logo is written, “The Ultimate Autobot/Decepticon Team-Up! Now, lets see what this issue is all about.

Transformers_issue70_coverThe only panel of page one, in a way, shows the reader something worse than they could have imagined. The hideous combination of Megatron and Ratchet standing before them. Clearly their trip to the unspace was not a pain free experience as depicted by the looks of agony on their faces. The Autobots present in the room look on in shock.

Transformers_issue70_ughKup enters and reacts to the sight of Megatron before him by blasting his laser first. Nightbeat steps in and gets Kup to release what he is seeing. But before anyone’s mind can be made up on the next actions that should be taken, The combined Megatron and Ratchet, force their way out of the room and start roaming the ship.

Transformers_issue70_KupAs the ship’s security officer, he insists that the creature must be destroyed because he is a threat to everyone on board. Optimus Prime can’t bring himself to agree because Ratchet is is friend.

Transformers_issue70_knocksThe comic then cuts to Hydrus Four, where Grimlock is seeking for the well of Nucleon. This whole scene is laced with warnings that Grimlock should give up his fools mission.

Transformers_issue70_GrimlockWe return to the Ark to find that the Megatron, Ratchet hybrid has hurt Sureshot and now locked its self in the ship’s engine room where it is making a mess of things. Kup takes this opportunity to tell Optimus Prime how much of a screw up he is and then essentially threatens him with the Transformers equivalent of mutiny if he doesn’t grow a pair.

Transformers_issue70_GrowAPairThere is a very short fight between Optimus Prime and the combined monstrosity of Ratchet and Megatron. Though Prime ends up in a great position to vaporize the monster, he can’t bring himself to do it. Then, Optimus Prime is shocked when the beasts pulls prime’s gun at it’s self and in broken words begs to have his life ended.

Transformers_issue70_PleaseReturning to Grimlock on Hydrus Four, the Dinobot seems to now be getting and understanding the completely obvious warning messages that have been coming at him the whole issue. Just when you think he gets it, Grimlock decides to try the Nucleon himself before administering it to his comrades. The result? He feels amazing and all the warnings he got up to this point be believes where bull shit.

Transformers_issue70_GreatReturning to the Autobot Ark, Fixit thinks he can save Ratchet, But only if he also saves Megatron.

Transformers_issue70_Save

My Thoughts On This Issue

Well, I can say this issue was simply a fun ride for me. I enjoyed it. I’ve been pretty much enjoying most issues since Simon took over. Also, Some of Andrew’s art is breath taking. I’m finding myself pausing as I read these books just to take in the art work that’s gone onto these pages.

Kup is really a different character on these pages than he is in the 1986 animated movie. That’s really sticking out to me.

So for me, I’m on to reading the next issue. But while I’m doing that why do you guys tell me how you all felt about this issue. I would love to hear your thoughts and see if anyone looks at it differently than I do.

Transmission Letters This Issue

Transformers_70_TransmissionsDear Transmissions,

I don’t believe it! A miracle has happened. I never thought anyone could restore my faith in TRANSFORMERS. But-with issue #65-Simon has done just that! I had noticed the comic getting better bit by bit and hung in for the longest time. I’m glad I did. I was surprised to find the story narrated by the Matrix itself. It made for a very different view of the Transformers Universe. Is the Matrix truly good? Obviously not, if Thunderwing has it at the end of the chapter. Along with the writing, the artwork is very good. Michael Callahan may not like Geoff Senior’s work, but I find it a refreshing change. Thank you. I believe that this book is returning to, maybe surpassing, the greatness it once had. Who did the cover art for # 65? I found it incredibly striking.

Sir John Johnson
Portland, CT

Sir?! Don’t tell us the nobility has started reading TRANSFORMERS! Then again, why not? Anyway, thanks for all your praise (it never hurts to have the old creative egos massaged) and your comments. The cover for #65 was crafted by artist extraordinaire Bill Sienkiewicz. It was another real opinion provoker amongst readers, who either thought it was the best cover ever to see print or absolutely awful (more of the former than the latter, we’re happy to say), But as we always maintain, better reaction than in difference!

Dear Transmissions,

TRANSFORMERS #65 was stupendous-one of the best issues yet! Please congratulate Geoff Senior on his stupendous work, which my friends and I (all devoted fans) enjoy most. I’m fortunate enough to have collected dozens of TRANSFORMERS U.K. issues several continuing Geoff’s artwork, and I just can’t get over them! One suggestion-in many of the U.K. issues, Geoff and writer Simon Furman feature an awesome character called Death’s Head, a time-traveling mechanoid who appeared recently in Fantastic Four #338. How about featuring Death’s Head in our TRANSFORMERS?

Steve B.
Toronto, Ontario

Glad to see you’re both a Geoff Senior fan and a Death’s Head fan! In that case, we have some great news for you. Though he won’t be appearing in Transformers, Death’s Head will be appearing in his very own 64-page graphic novel, drawn and painted by Geoff (with Simon Furman chucking in the odd word now and then). It’s called “DEATH’s HEAD: The Body in Question!” and it’ll be out in September. Oops-does that sound like a blatant plug? Sorry, we’ll not mention it again.

Dear TransMissions,

I have just read issue #66 and it was terrific! PLEASE keep Geoff Senior as the permanent artist! By the way, where’s Fortress Maximus these days?

Ian McDonald
Oakvill, Ontario

Fort Max will be back soon, though whether he’ll be happy about being back remains to be seen! Though we’d dearly love to keep Geoff as regular artist on TRANSFORMERS, sadly that cannot be (thought he’ll be back in a big way soon-trust us). Geoff is busy working on the DEATH’s HEAD graphic novel – “The Body in Question” (out in September!) right now. Aah- we mentioned it again (but we think we got away with it)!

Dear Transmissions,

Shockwave? That is you, you one-eyed freak, isn’t it? Galvatron, dare you defy your master, Unicron? Dare you strike when the Autobots are at their most vulnerable? Dare you disturb the universe? Starscream, does your traitor’s heart lead you toward your destiny? Dare you claim leadership now that Thunderwing is gone? Are you ready to deal with Shockwave, who may desire the same? Optimus Prime, what to do now? The Matraix is lost to you, but was it destroyed? Didn’t bother to check if Thunderwing actually died, did you?

What a tangled skein you’ve weaved, my dear Brit, what a glorious mire you’ve entrenched yourself in.

Liane Elliot
Gig Harbor, WA

Too true, but our “dear Brit” would like to point out that he doesn’t make a habit of wallowing in mires!

Dear Transmissions,

I applaud the entire staff of TRANSFORMERS. The ‘Matrix Quest’ left me awestruck, and I’m now unable to stand the wait until next issue (I have just renewed the subscription I let expire last year). Simon Furman has done wonders for the comic. What character development I have witnessed! Optimus Prime has finally become the sturdy (but flawed) leader he once was; Grimlock now impresses me as a noble warrior, yearning to be reunited with his deactivated Dinobots; Thunderwing is powerful with a suitably manic edge, as befits a true Decepticon leader. But what has glued me to these pages has been the return of Starscream and a ‘mysterious’ single-optic mechanoid, both plotting deeds of unfathomable evil. Naturally, these aspects are magnified ten times over by the remarkable talent of Geoff Senior. His illustrations evoke feelings of motion, power and mass. Furman and Senior have made TRANSFORMERS a superb publication, and with this team it can only get better!

Brian Orms
Louisville, KY

Aaargh! All this unfettered praise! where’s something to put these upstart Brits in their place? Ah, we’ve got it…

Dear Transmissions,

I think TRANSFORMERS stinks! Geoff Senior’s artwork is the pits, and Simon Furman couldn’t write a check!

Rob Tokar
New York, NY

Better.

Dear Transmissions,

I recently read an issue of TRANSFORMERS U.K. and noticed both Simon Furman and Geoff Senior’s names on the credits for the U.K. strip. How long have these two been doing the U.K. series, and how can I get copies? Is there a subscription to TRANSFORMERS U.K.? It’s not on the subscription page.

Barry Schwartze
Rapid City, SD

Much as we hate to admit we’re not omnipresent, the fact is=we don’t know. Can anyone out there help? We know from your letters that some of you get the U.K. TRANSFORMERS comic, so write in and let us know how you do it. Meantime, we’ll have a word with Marvel U.K. and see if thee are subscriptions to America. Keep watching this page for more details!

Dear Transmissions,

I’ve just finished issue #65, and it can be summed up in one word-superb! Everything was great, especially the artwork. I have a few questions, though. #1-Who was that black robot the Matrix healed? #2-Who was standing over the black mechanoid once it had been destroyed? It couldn’t have been, Prime, he was dead at this time. #3-What are Prima, Prime Nova and Sentinel Prime?

Michael Dreher
Donalda, Alta

The black robot was a Deathbringer, the flashback courtesy of a story in Marvel U.K.’s TRANSFORMERS. And yes, the Transformer standing over the destroyed Deathbringer is none other than Optimus Prime. A good deal of time elapsed between the funeral barge landing on that moon and the dying Deathbringer encountering the Matrix-enough time for Prime to have been rebuilt in his new Powermaster form. And finally, Prima, Prime nova and Sentinel Prime are all former Autobot leaders and holders of the Matrix.

Ads This Issue

Transformers Review issue 69: Eye Of The Storm

Welcome to Transformers issue 69. Sporting a cover that promises to bring in all these different story ideas Furman has been writing about. The ending is very *cough* Sixty Nine inspired *cough*. Before we dive into the story though, whats going on with this cover?

Transformers_Issue_69_Youseph

Great Transformers T-Shirts Can Be Found At 80sTees.com!

We got our seleves a collage of beautifully drawn images on this cover. From prime and company on the top, Grimlock on the right. Starscream, Ravage, and Shockwave on the bottome, and finally Galvatron and Unicron on the left. Dead center we have a giant question mark. Far down on the bottom, “The Gathering Storm!” is written. The cover implies that all these different story lines that Furman has been working on will be handled in this issue. It’s pretty exciting. The cover all together is not amazing but the individual elements are beautiful eye candy for me.  Okay, lets flip this sucker open and see what we got!

Transformers_issue69_cover

The issue starts off by putting us with the Dinobot leader, Grimlock. He’s mad because he wants his fellow Dinobots brought back to life. In explaining this he damn near kills Waverider.

Transformers_issue69_GrimlockAt the same time elsewhere on the ship, Optimus Prime is concerned about the mood of his troops. They are becoming to complacent with the recent loss of the Matrix. He fears that if the Decepticons and the Autobots don’t unite to battle the threat of Unicron that all will be lost.

Transformers_issue69_PrimeIn the mean time, Optimus Prime wonders over to Nightbeat who’s been working on a project for prime. Did Megatron and Ratchet really die a few months back? Nightbeat has a theory that they may not have, but it’s a long shot. Nightbeat believes it is possible that ratchet might be stuck in between universes when the Trans-time Dimensional Portal closed.

Transformers_issue69_fishingOut in deep space, Galvatron is brought before Unicron and is not happy about it. In fact he demands to know why. Unicron explains that there are many different timelines and that his arrangement was made with an alternate Unicron. This Unicron orders Galvatron to go ahead of him to Cybertron and let them know he is coming. In doing a good job, Unicron will send Galvatron back from where he came.

Transformers_issue69_GalvatronGrimlock, still feeling upset that Optimus Prime isn’t making the reviel of the Dinobots a higher priority, knocks out Kup in order to retreave his comrads from stasis pods. He is going to revive these Dinobots by taking matters in his own hands. They would do the same for him anyway.

Transformers_issue69_KupOn Earth, Scorponok is losing troops left and right because of the return of Starscream. These runaways are being recruited by Starscream, Ravage, and Shockwave,  They want to be the new leaders of the Decepticons.

Transformers_issue69_warGrimlock leaves the ship which forces Optimus Prime to explain to the others where Grimlock is headed and why he didn’t spend more time helping Grimlock revive the Dinobots to begin with.

While Prime is explaining all of this, Nightbeat’s little plan worked and returned a messhed together Megatron and Ratchet in a horrific sixty nine.

Transformers_issue69_69

My Thoughts On This Issue

The issue was good. Solid. Interesting. Again, Furman has me wanting to start reading the next issue right away which is making it difficult for me to write the reviews. I guess that is a good problem to have.

Andrew Wildman is the artist on this issue. A fan favorite and it’s easy to see why. Guy is Amazing with his trade.

I didn’t care for Optimus Primes speech in the story where he wants to surrender to the Decepticons in order to fight off Unicron more effectively. That felt like a cheep trick done on the read. But that would be my only complaint on the writing really.

I really loved the space scene where Unicron has to tell Galvatron to speak with his mind. Makes sense and is really cool. Also the scene where Nightbeat is explain to Optimus Prime, using analogies, how they might find Ratchet.

And the end… The ending with the combined Megatron and Ratchet. To me, that is a play on the issue number being 69. Well done Simon. Well done.

What do you all think? Do you agree with me or not? I would love to hear why. It’s how we all learn.

Transmission Letters This Issue

Transformers_69_TransMissionsDear TransMissions,

I was reading issue #59 (we get them on this side, too) when I noticed that you KILLED RATCHET!! But-I also noticed that he didn’t come through the dimensional portal on this side. My theory is that (as before) the blast knocked them through the portal but not as far as the Ark. It also probably messed them up pretty badly

Perceptor
The Other Side
Alamosa, Co

Blast! Here we were. thinking yes; yes, YES-he’s got it pretty much right on the button (especially about being messed up). But then you go and ruin it all by making it another of those ‘letters from a Transformers’! Why, why, WHY? Mind you, we should have realized when you started talking about ‘other sides’. Nurse-the screens!!

Dear Transmissions,

I just finished reading issue #62. I love the idea! Transformers. In different places-mysteries, the Wild West. Great! I’ve read every issue of the comic except issue #47 and I’m only 9, I only see one thing missing from an otherwise perfect comic-kids! How about a little Hot Rod that transforms into a skateboard or a little Soundwave that transformers into a Walkman!

Bed Ebert
Toulon, IL

Hey yeah, we could have a new series-Transformer babies! Meagon with his fusion rattle and Optimus Prime in a diaper! It’s innovative, ground-breaking, daring (so it’ll never see print!). Glad you enjoyed #62, Ben (not everyone did-it was one of those issues people either thought was the best yet or thought it stank), and all the preceding issues. Don’t worry about issue #47, it wasn’t that good (just kidding, Bod, just kidding!).

Dear Transmissions,

All right! Galvatron’s coming! With Thunderwing leading the Decepticons on Cybertron, Scorponok leading them on Earth and Starscream plotting to overthrow them both, the introduction of Galvatron should make things very interesting on the Decepticons scene. While we’re on the subject of the introduction of new characters, I noticed that issue #62 marked the first appearance of Autobots Hosehead, Nightbeat and Siren. All well and good, but I was hoping to see some older characters (like Grimlock, Jazz, Bumblebee, Kup and Cloudburst) involved in the Matrix Quest. By the way-the comic is called TRANSFORMERS not HUMANS, so yes, focus on the mechanoid side of things more than the humans.

Greg Wierenge

Things will indeed be getting very interesting on the Decepticon front, but not so much with Galvatron (as yet). He’s got other, mre pressing concerns than bidding for the Decepticon leadership. But, with the reintroduction of Shockwave, things begin to gather pace toward-ahh, but that’d be telling! We’re sure that by now you’ll have seen that Grimlock and Co. were very much part of the Matrix Quest!

Dear Transmissions,

Let me first  thank you for a great comic. I have every issue (including all the miniseries), and intend to keep on going. But let’s get to the point. I received issue #64 and observed that the cover bore the Matrix Quest logo, stating that this was part 3 of 5. Knowing this to be correct, I turned to the title page, immediately seeing the same logo, but this time stating this was part 4 or 5! I have a logical explanation for this mishap. the TRANSFORMERS staff got so caught up in the action of the comic they lost all sense of time and judgment, thus printing the wrong logo. How about an editoral No-Prize?

Jonathan Pawlak
Wellsville, NY

Right on! We’ll see what we can do about something vaguely No-Prizish!

Dear Transmissions,

No matter what answer you give about there not being any female Transformers, it seems the female readers aren’t about to let you off the hook, so maybe i can do it for you. First off, from the last three issues we’ve learned that the Transformers were created as a last line of defense. I’m sure that last thing in Primus’s mind when he created them was romance! C’mon, ladies-these robots are fighting a war! And anyway, without getting too biological, they’ve got the Creation Matrix to ensure a steady supply of new Transformers. Besides, the thought of two Autobots trying to neck is a bit too revolting for my tastes…

Lorianne Arwood
Homestead, FL

Eeuuu-Ours too!

Dear Transmissions,

RE: TRANSFORMERS #64. What does MOBY DICK have to do with the Transformers?

David Buzzell
North Bend, WA

Beasts Us!

Dear Transmissions,

Gee guys, don’t you think you’ve taken the concept of the Transformers to a point of no-return? Trust me, I am a highly un-noted Transformologist and even I say the nonsense must stop. A god! A god! The Transformers have a god? I think i’m beginning to see desperation in the Transformers office at Marvel. I imagine it went something like this:

* SIMON FURMAN (writer): Well, Don-I’m all tapped out of ideas for the Transformers.

*DON DALEY (editor): Don’t despair, all is not lost. I’m on a mission from God-wait that’s it… a god!

*SIMON: Eh? what does a god have to do with Optimus Prime and the other Trans-

*DON: Prime! God! That’s it-Primus!

*SIMON: I see! Tell you what, I’ll write in that Unicron guy as well. How about that?

*DON: Great! We’ll call it the Matrix Quest! it should sell at least six or seven issues!

It’s a good idea, but I see that it will only mess you up in the future. Stick to the basics!

The Bugle Boy Bandit
NY

Oh ye of little faith! By the way-have you got the Marvel offices bugged?

Ads This Issue