Monday, September 26, 2011

My Reason for Disliking "Transformers Drift" is Probably Not Your Reason (Book Review)

Okay, to be fair, I'll start with a confession: I love turncoats with cool swords. I really, really love turncoats with cool swords. So while the rest of the fandom, sick to death of fan character turncoats with cool swords is like "Oh no, not another turncoat with a cool sword!" I'm like "Yes! Another turncoat with a cool sword!"

Does that make me a hack who needs to get over a character type that has been beat into the ground, or does that reference fandom's desire to believe certain character traits automatically make a "Mary Sue" - a belief I no longer subscribe to - which is automatically a horrible thing? That's a whole other discussion for another day. But either way, I think my lack of urge to judge Transformers: Drift's protagonist gives me a chance to point out what - I think - is a bigger flaw at work here. One huge flaw that ruins this entire thing.

Warning: Some spoilers. If you don't want to read farther, let me get this out of the way: 1.5/5, because despite the plot mess, I like most of the characters. So sue me. I'd give it another .5 for being one of the better paced (until the end), easier-to-follow plots I've seen in Transformers comics, but for me to do that the plot would have to make sense.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book Review: Transformers Prime [3.5/5]

I love Transformers, and so far I really love the newest animated series, Transformers Prime. So when I found a copy of the prequel graphic novel lying around at the library, I did a little dance and clapped my hands at the search computer. (The librarian at the nearby desk looked at me like I was nuts.)

Even though the entire shebang is only a single, 96 page volume, the artwork varies greatly in every one of the four chapters. The style ranges from a clean-lined colorful style to a digital watercolor style to. Some of the facial expressions can be a bit strange or even creepy.

Still, story is king, and the story told in the prequel is a fun ride. The comic avoids the temptation to get too complex as it brings readers into the new continuity with all the new characters and keeps the focus on a partnership Arcee and Cliffjumper make in an effort to reach a certain planet with a bunch of organic inhabitants Optimus Prime has called them to. It works well and there are some great character moments, especially for Cliffjumper.

The omnibus includes a couple pages of concept art at the end but - oddly enough - does not include the original covers from the individual comics, as are usually included in comic compilations. Speaking of how a comic omnibus is usually put together, this one is on the small side, closer to the size of a manga volume. I'm not sure if cutting the price in half really is a good trade for the comic pages being shrunk so drastically, but then again wasn't I just griping about the art? Maybe IDW has saved us all a favor by cutting out 50% of the creepy, too close to human looking facial expressions in some of the panels along with 50% of the price. It's too bad all the pretty art got cut down with it.

Verdict: While the art quality varies and changes to the point that I feel a bit jerked around, the story in the Transformers Prime prequel comic is fun, and fans of the animated series should enjoy it, especially if they've been wanting to learn a little more about Cliffjumper and/or Arcee's past. 3.5/5