Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers #3 Review
- Published on Sunday, 28 March 2010 15:08
- Written by William
Welcome back. After subsequently giving us readers an awesome creative team, the people on Last Stand of the Wreckers subsequently threw the creative team out, with horrible amateur inker John Wycough screwing the artwork up completely. However, the rest of the comic was extremely high quality; smooth pacing, top-notch plot, string-theory-number-of-dimensions characterisation and a good helping of gore. Just how I like it. But can the awesome team of Roche and Roberts keep up their astounding plot work for this issue? And will we see the artwork saved from inky ruination? Only hitting that little "read more" link will reveal the truth. Click till you can't click no more!
Oh, and a little recap for those of you who've just joined us: the Wreckers and new Wrookies (Pyro, Rotorstorm, Ironfist, Guzzle and Verity Carlo) have arrived on the Decepticon-occupied prison Garrus-9. Crazed general Overlord has turned it into a death-camp-cum-theme-park. The arrival of former Wreckers leader Impactor does little to lighten the tension, and something valuable known only as Aequitas is also inside the prison. We were left at the end of last issue with the team being split up and shot down - surrounded by Decepticons...
PENCILS BY Nick Roche
ART RATING: 8 Night Girls out of 10
STORY RATING: 9 Night Girls out of 10
OVERALL RATING: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
SYNOPSIS: We begin in a flashback to Garrus-9, two years ago. Shockwave - previously seen blown up by Grimlock - is being reassembled as Overlord watches. Shockwave complains that after 11 months, 3 weeks, 4 days, 15 hours, 55 minutes and 11 seconds, it's only now Overlord reassembles him. Overlord complains of how a virus Shockwave infected him with made him unable to analyse or kill Megatron. Shockwave says he'll remove it, since Overlord's goals coincide with his. Overlord informs him of a craft with hand-picked crew waiting for Shockwave to take offworld. Finishing his reassembling, Shockwave asks what Overlord will do (More of what we saw in the last two issues), and says that all his sick deeds are just an attempt to get Megatron's attention. Overlord agrees.
Back to the present. Kup, Guzzle, Springer, Twin Twist and Impactor are being chased down the corridors of Garrus-9 to the tune of excerpts from Ironfist's Fisitron's "unofficial Wreckers' training manual". As the rules of being a Wrecker are read out (staying in one group, getting back together, keeping positive, not letting a situation get personal), the Wreckers go against every one of them. Pinned down and outgunned, things look bleak...
Elswhere, in the Pit, the other Wrecker team (Perceptor, Topspin and the Wrookies) are surrounded by Decepticons, with Overlord right next to them. Rotorstorm makes a joke about the Wreckers combining, and no-one laughs ... except Overlord. Rotorstorm likes Overlord's sense of humor, but stops when Overlord pulls out his gun and shoots Rotorstorm in the face at point-blank range, splattering purple fluid over the others.
Back with Springer's team, they're gaining the upper hand with Ironfist's cerebro-sensitive shells that hit and blow up Cons' head every time. Guzzle transforms and blasts the ceiling, cutting the Cons off and buying them some time. Disobeying another Wrecker rule ("Stay the course"), Springer orders them to find the Autobot prisoners. By chance, the Autobot cells are directly below them. Though hurt, Twin Twist transforms (hurting himself like hell, which curiously affects Topspin as well) and drills through the floor.
Overlord is calmly trouncing the Wreckers when Stalker reveals the other team is in Cell Block F. An amused Overlord speaks over the comm, announcing the Wreckers' presence and promising freedom to any Decepticon who brings him a head. The eager Decepticons then throw themselves after Perceptor's team. Perceptor leaps onto higher ground, and with his unerring aim, shoots one of their spare fuel tanks and blows the attacking Cons up, allowing the team to escape. Overlord watches on.
Finally having some breathing space, they realise Ironfist is having a panic attack, revealing he never expected this kind of visceral experience. Topspin snaps, yelling at Ironfist that they had a vote for the others but had no say in his presence, and that people die in stupid ways. Ironfist loses his temper, but Perceptor calms them down, reminding them things can't afford to get personal.
Climbing down a ladder, Guzzle wonders if whoever they're searching for will be down this far. Kup merely confirms maximum security is in the basement. He tells Guzzle to watch his step, and that dying on a rescue attempt is pointless. Guzzle comments he had some friends who died saving another Autobot (revealed to be Kup himself in his Spotlight). Kup asks if it was worth it, and Guzzle merely responds it depends on who you ask.
Perceptor and his team enter the southern wing, known as "The Last Resort". Pyro enquires as to why Topspin was in pain after Overlord killed Rotorstorm. Nonchalantly saying they'll all be dead by daybreak, Topspsin tells Pyro that he and Twin Twist have a branched spark (a production glitch affecting 2 in every million protoforms) which means they have an overlapping nervous system - if one feels pain, the other dies. Pyro asks why they joined the Wreckers if this was true. Topspin said that he didn't want to, but Twin Twist was in the Wreckers already so he joined to keep an eye on him.
Perceptor is trying to get into Aequitas' chamber, but is having difficulty because the cell's walls vibrate at a frequency that makes them nigh-impenetrable. Topspin asks who Aequitas is that he is so dangerous that he had to be held down in The Last Resort. Pyro then remembers that Verity is still in his chest. He frees her and seems disillusioned as to why the humans matter to Prime. Verity snaps at him, bringing up Rotorstorm, and immediately regrets it. Topspin merely says that while he may not have liked him, Rotorstorm was a Wrecker and always had been, he just hadn't realized it.
Perceptor orders Ironfist to keep watch while they open the doors. He then notices a limbless, comatose Fortress Maximus (last seen thrown to the Cons in issue 1), rigged up to the door lock and entering billions of combinations - a living lock pick. Pyro remarks that the Cons must want Aequitas pretty bad. Ironfist then runs in, saying that there's lots of Cons outside and they'll be through the door in moments. Topspsin says his farewells, but Perceptor has the door codes and opens the cell doors. They all look up, Perceptor says he doesn't think introductions are appropriate.
Topspin flashed to another place, where Stalker is leering at Twin Twist with a scalpel. He, Impactor and Springer are strapped to chairs. Stalker says it's time for Twin Twist's check up. We zoom out to the door - once labelled ""SPARK EXTRACTION CHAMBER" but changed to "SPARK EXTINCTION CHAMBER". As Twin Twist starts screaming, the last Wrecker rule is read: "never show any sign of weakness."
THE GOOD: Well. Last Stand #3 was a very satisfying and entertaining read for me. In terms of plot at least, Roche and Roberts cover all the bases. With the initial scene-setting and build-up done in the last two issues, R & R settle us in for 22 pages of rip-roaring, no-holds barred plot that sets the benchmark high for Transformers stories. Last Stand #3 was a very satisfying and entertaining read for me. In terms of plot at least, Roche and Roberts cover all the bases. With the initial scene-setting and build-up done in the last two issues, R & R settle us in for 22 pages of rip-roaring, no-hols barred plot that sets the benchmark high for Transformers stories.
Last Stand #3 was a very satisfying and entertaining read for me. In terms of plot at least, Roche and Roberts cover all the bases. With the initial scene-setting and build-up done in the last two issues, R & R settle us in for 22 pages of rip-roaring, no-hols barred plot that sets the benchmark high for Transformers stories.
R & R give us a distinctly unique writing style that (for me at least) fulfils all the immature fanboy fantasies you hide away from the rest of the fandom. Buy an R & R written comic like this one and you'll always get healthy doses of action, string-theorist-dimensioned characters, dark comedy and in-your-face gore that males my inner sick mind snicker with glee. I seriously cannot think of another writing team that delivers such consistent, high-quality story.
Pretty much every aspect of R & R's writing is top-notch. In suitable from to a story featuring everybots' favorite suicide-squad, the Wreckers, the writers don't shy away from delivering a healthy does of glorious action and fluid spewing everywhere. The cerebro-sensitive bullets that attach to your head and blow up ... priceless. The looks on those Cons' faces as their heads went kablooey ... *wipes tear from eye* it's this kind of gut-wrenching action that makes reading an R & R tale so enjoyable.
The characterization remains consistent, realistic and intriguing. Pyro continues his "Prime duplicate" attitude, regularly swearing by and generally acting like his well-known lookalike. Seriously, Roche, this joke never gets old; it's still amusing after three issues because R & R don't overuse it. Though showing little signs of character development, Overlord fills his role as typical bad guy-cum-violent sadist very well – the calm and emotionless way in which he delivers his violence is staggering. Even the little bit where Shockwave analyses Overlords' violent indulgences as a call for attention is fitting in a way you can't imagine (and the smug know-it-all psychologist portrayal sounds so cool).
We get some very interesting character and plot developments in this issue – Twin Twist revealed to be physically connected (vicarious perception, as R & R put it) with Topspin I unexpected and intriguing to say the least. And the death of Rotorstorm? Very brave, very sad, totally realistic and understandable. After making us care about this Wrookie and survivor of the Simanzi Massacre, R & R kill him off after three issues. This hammers home the message you get every day; "Stuff happens. That's life, and it'll never be fair (so stop whining)." Fortress Maximus' grisly fate revealed – limbless, comatose, nothing more than a lock pick for Aequitas' cell door.
Speaking of Aequitas, R & R have foreshadowed and teased as to the identity of him/it, but the scene where the Wrookies look up at Aequitas – off-panel – only makes you want more. These guys are the best at squeezing those bucks out of us fans. The little voiceover bit where Fisitron (aka Ironfist) reads out the Wrecker rules – and the Wreckers contradicting EVERY one of them – adds a slight cinematic quality to thee story, and is very effective in conveying the chaotic, hopeless situation the Wreckers are in.
Now, about the art. With the creative team in tatters, the artwork is nevertheless unified; the parts of the story handled by different people are at least consistent – Nick Roche, John Wycough and Josh Burcham handle the scenes with the Wrookies and Overlord, while Guido Guidi and Joana Lafuente do the sequences with Kup's team. While the inconsistent artists dampen the visual oomph that this series had, the issue is still unified and consistent. Nice job.
Nick Roche does his usual great job on the art, painting a diverse and dynamic world in which to throw his characters. The generous amount of gore splattering over everyone when Overlord blasts Rotorstorm's head apart is just awesome. John Wycough's inking, though still not the best when in comparison to Roche, is a lot better – less overzealous black blocks, and variance in line weight! Jubilation! Keep up the good work, John! Give us some of that slick, awesome inking that we saw in GI Joe!
Guido Guidi is a welcome fill artist for the series – his art, coupled with Joana Lafuente's nicely done colors, adds some nice variation to the series.
Josh Burcham's once-super-awesome colors have rapidly deteriorated since issue 1. There's nothing wrong with his palette, believe me – but the quality of coloring is so ... simplistic, so amateurish. I remember a Josh Burcham from Spotlight: Shockwave, from Dreamwave's Age of Wrath series, who delivered beautiful, vibrant, airbrushed tones worthy of a superhero comic! But now, his colors are little more than lazy blocks of color with some shadows/highlights thrown in. Josh Burcham of 2006, where are you? Come back to me!
OVERALL: Last Stand of the Wreckers #3 was an entertaining and well-drawn read. The inconsistent creative team nevertheless delivered a consistent, unified issue that satisfies. Kudos to R & R for the epic foreshadowing and slow build-up that squeezes the money out of the poor buggers who read this fine series. The deteriorating standard of Burcham's coloring is a disappointment, though. Rated 8.5 out of 10. FAVE QUOTE: GUZZLE: "Ha-HA! Look! Their heads blow up! EVERY. SINGLE. TIME." [Give your new Wrookie a bunch of cerebro-sensitive bullets and you'll have him occupied for hours!]
NEXT MONTH: The Wreckers have found Aequitas, and things have suddenly become a whole lot more complicated! As the Autobots' special ops team stands on the brink of dissolution as the fatalities mount, Perceptor realizes that drastic action is called for - but having come this far, who among his teammates is prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice?