Friday, 18 December 2015

Transformers Infiltration 02 Review

Transformers Infiltration  02

Synopsis :
Confronted  with Runamuck and Runabout, Ratchet deals with them,  (  in a non lethal  way  )  before  going on the run again with Jimmy, Hunter and Verity.
The escape goes badly though, because the Decepticons  open break cover  either because they don't care any more  or because  something  major has happened. 
Possibly both. 
In the mean time Epsilon holdings and Starscream scheme.
After a narrow escape that waylaid Runabout and Runamuck  involving  two  trucks, Verity has a meltdown  and demand Ratchet to stop, before getting  out.
Jimmy  proceeds to  try and calm her down, while Hunter  briefly talks with Ratchet. Before Skywarp  appears out of nowhere, as he is wont to do. 
Ratchet attempts to shake Skywarp off, with a rocket booster no less.  But Skywarp is finally waylaid  as  Prowl, Ironhide and Sunstreaker lie in waiting summoned by Ratchet in the garage. 
Before  turning their weapons on Ratchet as Prowl throws the book at him. 
Ratchet responds  with  "siege mode."  

Credits :Writer : Simon Furman, 
Artist:  E J Su,
Colors by : John Rauch,
Letters by :  Tom B Long and Robbie Robins.
Editor  : Chris Ryall.  

First appearances 
Ratchet,  (  robot form  ) 

Notes  :
All transformers  have  weapons in their  vehicle form. 
Verity might be religious.  ( She recites a part of the hail mary at least.  )
Ratchet has a rocket booster in his ambulance mode.

Review  :

As slow as  IDW comics Transformers  stories  are accused to be and believe me they do have a slow burn.  ( The  2009 series comes to mind now.  ) 
And as slow  as  Infiltration is often  accused of being this isn't  entirely true, 
as  issue 2 will  attest. 
While its true that the story is a bit  slow  in  getting  going and will spin its wheels a few times,  issues 3 and 4 come to mind now. 
It's clear that the story line is  a bit overlong with 7 issues. 
4 would have been enough. 
But issue 2 opens with a bang. 

Not only  do we  finally get to  see Tranformers in robot form, but in action as well. 
Ratchet  finally transforms and takes immediate action, to  dispatch Runabout and Runamuck, albeit it temporary. 
And after  2 issues of  skulking around and running away, this is  quite satisfying to see, 
before  running  away again. 
Well it had to happen anyway, Ratchet is a doctor after all. 
Ratchet's somewhat purple prose narration also  hits on  a  old comic cliché,  "nothing will ever be the same again. "
I'm not sure if this is Furman winking at us, the readers telling us that  these Transformers are not like the ones we have  grown accustomed too.  (  G1 in other words ) 
Or if its just  some purple prose thrown in there. 
But the line will prove to be  proficient because,  for them the  characters and the readers, things wont be the same ever again in regards to Transformers.
Certainly when you take in account the  shake ups and soft reboots, (  at least four of them )  along the way. 
And  Jimmy's poor garage gets thrashed in the process,  probably not much of a call back to  G1  where Sparkplug's  garage suffered the same fate, more then once.  And more likely,  what will  happen when huge alien robots  come trashing about.  

The sales man mystery is touched up on a  single page and well,  other then finding out that he is  dead and some shadowy organisation  either was looking for him  or had him on the payroll we dont get to  find out anything else.  Either way,  we will see  a lot more  of these people  but not  quite yet. considering we wil see variations on  this  theme a few times it  quickly becomes tiresome.  

The  second chase scene is  as usual kinetic and the mystery is peeled back a bit more, but only a bit.
We learn that Decepticons usually operate under a strict blanket of secrecy  and to break  cover in such a brazen way is unusual.  
This is one of the points where Infiltration breaks away  with  the  tradition of  Transformers  and  takes the tagline  "Robots In Disguise" to heart. 
The previous series right back to G1, (  comic  and  cartoon  )  were never in disguise  much, their  presence on earth was never give much thought beyond collateral damage. 
But here in Infiltration,  the stakes are different,  they are higher.  It's more cold war and  cloak and dagger, while skulking in the shadows, which even a decade later is a wholly fresh take on  Transformers. 
Pity the cold war set up couldn't last, because its an intriguing concept. 
Even more a shame is that we only see it on two other planets. 
Speaking  of planets, we also  learn  partially  what  is going  on here and why the Decepticons apparently don't care about protocol anymore. 
Namely the ore, I will touch upon this  later, but I am afraid that despite its initial importance in the first arcs, it's a bit of a red herring  and a deus ex machina to boot.  

And then comes  probably the worst scene in the whole arc so far. 
After a  particularly intense and narrow escape from the Decepticons,  (  involving two trucks  )  Verity has a  meltdown and demands Ratchet to stop. 
....And he does. 
.....And she gets  out. 
While this affords us some insight in to Verity and Jimmy's  characters,  (  with some forced  humor.  ) 
And some more  exposure  from Ratchet, (  things we the readers already know  )  it is wholly incongruous with  the  escape it self. 
Ratchet himself even lampshades it, its just  there to  devour pages and  extend the story. 
But all  good things  come to and end and so does this thankfully, with a  rocketbooster no less. 
And finally, finally we meet  more Autobots, at the end of  this issue. 
Where we  see  that the more things change, the more they stay the same. 
Prowl throws the book at Ratchet and we have the first glimpses of Prowl's pricklish  personality  in the IDW Transformers series.  

Issue 2 is a great  issue.  It picks up  from the slow burn of  issue  0 and  1,  finally shows us Transformers in robot mode. Introduces a host of new  concepts and ideas 
and shows us more  new Autobots to boot while giving Hunter, Verity and Jimmy some more characterisation.  (  Panic attacks and forced humor not withstanding.  )
EJ Su is firing on all cylinders again, from the kinetic energy  in the chase scenes  to  Hunter's body language  as  he collects himself  and then considers something, all with out  ponderous narration or thought balloons. 
Best issue so far.  


  1. I really liked the "cold war"/"robots in disguise" aspect of this series. Much as I love the G1 animation, for years I've found it kind of silly that the Autobots were basically just superheroes. Everyone knew who they were, humans would send them distress signals when the Decepticons attacked, they even had their own holiday in one episode!

    The G1 comics did a bit better job on that front. Even though the Transformers were pretty public there too, the Autobots were just as mistrusted as the Decepticons, and the entire world didn't know their address and phone number.

    1. Yeah that is something I really disliked about the cartoon.
      The Autobots were basically super heroes. ( It didn't get better in Headmasters, Masterforce or Victory. )
      I always felt the comics did it better, both sides were distrusted by humans.
      And it was an uphill struggle for the Autobots to get fuel, while the Decepticons just took.
      Course, Budiansky tilted a bit too far to the other side and had Circuitbreaker only target the Autobots, which was bloody infuriating

      But the cold war set up really was a great idea by Furman and I was and still am sad to see it go so quickly.