Transformers: Last Stand Of The Wreckers #2 Review
- Published on Friday, 26 February 2010 20:49
- Written by William
After last issue’s astounding quality of product, this month’s issue of Last Stand of the Wreckers looked to be jam-packed with dark comedy, full on gore-spurting action and inside references, as well as being extremely well written, highly accessible and beautifully drawn. What more could a reader want in their monthly purchase?
Last Stand of the Wreckers has proven to be a high quality series that does no share the same fate as its sister titles Bumblebee and the ongoing series. IDW's long creative leash as led to inconsistent designs between series, jumbled, contradictory continuity and relatively sub-par artwork that fails to impress. Thank Primus for Roche & Roberts!
So, the story so far in Last Stand of the Wreckers: maniacal Decepticon general Overlord has overthrown the Autobot penitentiary on Garrus-9, turning it into a death camp-cum-amusement park. The Autobot’s suicide squad crack team, The Wreckers, had been sent to clean up Garrus-9 – with new recruits Pyro, Ironfist, Rotorstorm, Guzzle and Verity Carlo from Earth. On the way to Garrus-9 they picked up an unexpected visitor in the form of former Wrecker leader (and convict) Impactor…
The creative team of writer-artist Nick Roche and colorist Josh Burcham has proven to be a potent mix in the past. Let's see if that trend continues.
WRITTEN BY Nick Roche & James Roberts
PENCILS BY Nick Roche
INKS BY John Wycough
COLORS BY Josh Burcham
ART RATING: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
STORY RATING: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
OVERALL RATING: 8 Night Girls out of 10
SYNOPSIS: A long time ago, on the planet Caldoon-4. Overlord battles the Autobots swamping him, including a young Kup. Bored at how easily the Autobots are defeated, he transforms and enters the Decepticon makeshift camp, to meet with Megatron via holomatter conference.
Joining Megatron are Sixshot and Black Shadow. Megatron informs them that they are to become the phase-sixers of his planet infiltration protocol, crushing civilizations to reap resources (a nice little nod to IDW’s first three miniseries which were based around this protocol). Overlord doesn’t want to be Megatron’s pet warhead. Megatron gives him two options: obey, or disobey and be hunted down and torn limb from limb.
In the present, the newest Wreckers sit around talking. Pyro and Rotorstorm are trying to find a motto for Pyro. Ironfist reminds them you can’t beat “Wreck and Rule”, and wonders why Impactor was given an indefinite sentence for peddling low-grade circuit boosters, and imagines the “reunion” going on in the next room.
In the room, Perceptor examines Impactor (finding a deterrence chip in his head to stop him escaping Garrus-9, but could only be detonated by Fortress Maximus), and the tension between him and Springer is obvious. Impactor tells how he was released from Garrus-9 secretly by Decepticon Snare, who was saw Impactor as the only one there who could get off-world and get help.
When Snare called him an Autobot, Impactor replied that he was a Wrecker, first and always. Ultra Magnus is distressed at Overlord’s presence. Impactor blames Springer for putting him in Garrus-9 in the first place. He storms off, passing Verity (who had been listening in). Magnus tells Springer to go easy on Impactor, and that he and Verity will be leaving soon. Magnus also gives Springer word from Prowl that something or someone called Aequitas is on Garrus-9. This shocks Springer.
Convening a mission briefing, Magnus introduces Impactor (now sporting a hook for his missing hand) and reveals Overlord’s presence on Garrus-9, garnering a similar reaction to that of the Cons last issue.
Verity asks Kup who Overlord is, and Kup explains: Overlord was the highest-profile deserter of the Decepticons. He wasn’t ambitious and just wanted to kill in newer and sicker ways. However Megatron was concerned and tightened Overlord’s leash, resulting in his eventual desertion on Caldoon-4.
Magnus tells Kup not to talk up the enemy. Springer explains the plan; use two drop pods (both driven by Rotorstorm) to break through the force field on Garrus-9, then free the prisoners and find Aequitas.
Before the launch, Ironfist gives Pyro cerebro-shells that can control targets; Impactor broods alone and plays with his new hook; Twin Twist and Topspin worry about their “vicarious perception”, but say that they can't worry about it now; Verity writes a letter to Magnus to tell him she’s leaving with the others; Magnus and Springer debate the nature of Ironfist’s mysterious blackouts; and Rotorstorm regrets his decision to pilot both drop pods simultaneously.
The two teams enter Garrus-9’s atmosphere in the drop pods; Verity reveals herself in Rotorstorm’s pod. They break through the force field and are met with fierce resistance from the Decepticons. They fight valiantly but are eventually both shot down, Verity’s pod crashing into the prison building itself. She crawls from the smoking wreckage … to find Overlord looming right over her.
THE GOOD: In terms of plotline, this issue shapes up to be as well paced and smoothly flowing as the previous one. Roche and Roberts continue to deliver quality story. Rather than have one solitary issue to set the scene and then rushing into the story – which would minimize accessibility from new readers – they take time to set the scene in adequate detail while giving history on some more characters, as well as slotting several cases of epic foreshadowing; Impactor and Springer’s tension over an incident on Pova, Impactor’s imprisonment, and the mention of an object or character known only as Aequitas.
In Latin, Aequitas means unity and equilibrium, but I can only speculate as to what in Primus’ name it might be. But the way Roche and Roberts have foreshadowed and namedropped it maximizes its intrigue and, frankly, makes me want the next issue even more (is that even possible?). The little in-joke of the Wreckers’ reactions to Overlord mirrors that of the Decepticons witnessing his arrival on Garrus-9. It’s little things like that make the reading experience all the more rewarding.
The characterisation is consistent and three-dimensional; Pyro – originally a European-exclusive Optimus Prime lookalike – always referring to or swearing by his lookalike – even the mottos he tries out are regurgitated versions of Optimus’ “freedom is the right of all sentient beings”.
Rotorstorm’s outward cockiness is contrasted by his inner insecurity and doubt. Guzzle continues to be a straightforward grunt, always wanting to fight and simplifying everything. And Ironfist’s know-it-all journo attitude, coupled with his immense knowledge of everything Wrecker is priceless. An in-continuity fanboy? Well done, R & R.
Though nowhere near as action-packed as last issue, what action there is has a fair bit of gore – something I like to see in comics. Overlord consistently has fluid all over his hands, and the first page sees him punching right through an Autobot’s torso, fluid and chunks flying everywhere, the spinal cord fluttering about like string. Nick Roche does an excellent job of conveying his own action, his bots expressive and varied in their positions. Josh Burcham’s coloring, though not as vibrant and beautiful as last issue, is still warm and energetic, adding so much to the artwork. I’m very happy with the job that was done here.
THE BAD: Unfortunately all this exquisite writing and great action is hampered the clunky inks of John Wycough. Inking the entire issue, he has no sense of line weight, omits many small details and is overzealous with the shadowing. Roche is a much better inker than Wycough and I have no idea why IDW employed him for this series. John Wycough, go home!
Wycough's terrible inking skills affect Burcham’s coloring as well. The colors look flat, amateurish and extremely computer-generated – something Burcham never does with his natural, smooth coloring. Very disappointing. I have a small, but likely futile hope, that Wycough’s amateur lines will be absent in the next issue.
OVERALL: Last Stand of the Wreckers #2 is a well-written issue that delivers smooth pacing, gory action, top-notch characterization and horrible inking. R & R have stepped up their story quality several notches and the story seems to be non-stop action from here on in. I can’t wait. Rated 8 out of 10.