Thursday, 24 December 2015

Transformers Infiltration 03 Review

Transformers Infiltration 03 

Summary :

Verity  holds up the  sm-40  to a camera  and yells at it threatening to delete whatever is on it, as she Jimmy and Hunter are in a holding cell  in the ark 19. 
We see the  current earth bound Autobots, Sunstreaker, Jazz, Bumblebee, Ironhide,  Wheeljack, Prowl and Ratchet, as  Prowl  reads Ratchet the riot act in a  rather prickly manner. 

Telling  him to get  whatever information is on  Verity's computer then getting rid of the humans, while refusing Ratchet's request  to  contact Optimus Prime. 
Prime has  bigger concerns then a infiltration unit going rogue.
After Prowl leaves, Ratchet implores  to  Ironhide that whatever is going on right now is  big.  Wether the infiltration unit has gone rouge or not  is irrelevant, whatever is going on  it means that Megatron sooner or later will put his house in order.  

In Tucson Arizona,  a police officer  investigates the dead man's circumstances which lead him to a trailer park, where he has rented an old heap under the name Finklerock. Just then a couple of planes  appear out of nowhere, destroy Finklerock's trailer and  disappear again.  

Down in the ark 19  Ratchet appears  in front of Verity and  convinces her to  hand over the palmtop, so they can finally  get it to divulge its secrets. 
In the meantime  Ironhide makes his mind up and sends a pulsewave  to Optimus Prime 
The pictures on the  palmtop turn out to be persuasive, not to mention damning  and  Ratchet explains what siege mode is exactly. 
It is phase five of the infiltration protocol and nothing good. 
While phase six is armageddon. 
The pictures backtrack  the Decepticons steps back to  Oregon, where they are now and  to Nebraska. But the evidence is inconclusive and Verity wonders, why did they leave  ?

In the mean time, a plane and a tank  destroy the remnants of Jimmy Pink's garage and  the bus Verity and Stoker rode on. 
Back in the ark 19  Verity, Jimmy and Hunter insist Ratchet takes them to Nebraska to  give Prowl  the proof he needs  for countermeasures.
Ratchet is only partially swayed  but finally agrees to action  when Bumblebee shows up, having skulked in the shadows. 
In Oregon, Starscream orders his men to  destroy the Nebraskan bunker. 

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

Notes :  There is more then one ark.
Verity seems to  like Volkswagen beetles. 
Bumblebee's holomatter avatar is female.
Finklerock is an alias and a combination of two G1 names, Donny Finkleberry, the robot master and GB Blackrock. 
GB Blackrock played a prominent part in Furman's G1 arc. 
Review :

And this is where Infiltration starts to sag and  spin its wheels. 
For all the merits of  issue 3.
A break  in the action  of issues 1 and  2. 
Introducing new concepts  and  new characters, including the fact that there is more then  1 ark  and the  crew of  ark 19,  (  mostly  1984  G1  autobots  ) issue 3  is a holding pattern.  

Not helped by the fact that Ratchet tells Prowl, things we the reader already know,   including a handy  little recap.  
But depsite this, there are  a  few  characterizations.
Ratchet  is depicted as a rule breaker, dedicated  to save lives.
Vainglorious according to Prowl. 
Prowl himself is a stickler for the rules, which is  the characterization he has always been given per his original toy bio, but this is the first  time we actually get to see this.  

Another  new detail in Infiltration is that Optimus Prime and  Megatron are  very hands off in this cold war. They let their Infiltration units fend for themselves, while they have bigger fish to fry. 
Or at least, to cope with the on going war. 
Which is once again a huge divergence from all that has gone before, where Prime and Megatron where far more hands on in their commanding. 
Or, as far  as  G1  goes disappeared for millions  of years  

We also finally learn  the name of the dead salesman, Finklerock,  but I wouldn't put too much stock in to that. 
As the Decepticons  clean up their mess behind them, blowing  up Finklerock's rented trailer. 
And Jimmy's half trashed garage, all in front of  the eyes of  bemused  and horrified onlookers.
Including  a  news crew who didn't get the  scoop  and some more  humor, which  was actually somewhat funny this time  around. 
And the  bus that carried Finklerock before his untimely demise.  

The majority of the issue however is devoted to Ratchet talking to Verity, Jimmy and Hunter. 
And despite it being all talking heads, we do learn a few things. 
That this is the ark 19. 
That it's at the bottom of lake Michigan and that the human avatar  ratchet uses is a holomatter avatar. 
Which is  probably why  he  can be tangible. 
It also finally tells us, what exactly Infiltration mode entails.  ( Slowly destabilising  geo political  infrastructures. )
But all this, is an overly long way to move all the pieces  to Nebraska. 
Including, introducing Bumblebee, whom along with the mostly 1984 cast so far and a focus on Ratchet, might  have been used to  give  G1 fans an anchoring point in this new continuity. 
Coming of Dreamwave however, where Bumblebee also had a large focus, it does feel a bit like a retreat. 
It does it's job, but  its so slow and ponderous that all the  momentum is slowly sucked out of the story. 
Including a  single page of the same panel of Ironhide, staring  at a  screen before  making  a move and sending a pulsewave message  to Optimus Prime. 
One panel and a close up of the send message panel would have been enough.  

I cant help but  feel that even with all this, the story is stretched beyond its breaking point.
That issue  3 is overlong  and that  the story could have been shorter.
Now if Furman wanted  Infiltration to be  6  issues or if IDW editorial  dictated it. Because they  were and still are fond of easily  packaged for the trade  4 or 6  issue arcs, I dont't know about the reasoning behind it. 
But Infiltration would have worked better as a 4 or 5 parter  instead of  7.
Having said that  and despite the fact that issue 3  puts the breaks on  a reasonably paced storyline, it's still an essential issue showing the length and breath of how different this new continuity will be.  


  1. I forgot about "Finklerock". That was funny.

    I don't understand why IDW eventually moved to normal word balloons for the Transformers. I've always liked, going all the way back to the Marvel series, that they would typically have squared balloons, with occasionally "mechanical"-looking fonts. It helps to sell them as, y'know, alien robots.

    I liked that Furman put the old Bumblebee/Ratchet team, seen in Bob Budiansky's G1 comics, back together (though back then it was Bumblebee/Goldbug, if I recall correctly).

    " Including a single page of the same panel of Ironhide, staring at a screen before making a move and sending a pulsewave message to Optimus Prime.
    One panel and a close up of the send message panel would have been enough.

    I hate this trick. It's so overdone, especially in modern (post-2000) comics. It's just lazy and a time-wasting device. I'm sure it was clever the first time someone did it, but nowadays it's just annoying.

    1. The original G1 UK comic never had the boxy speech balloons either though, just a round one with a spikey tail.
      But I always liked the rectangular speech balloon too.

      Don't you mean the Blaster and Goldbug team ? I can't really recall a Ratchet and Bumblebee team, other then their conversation in The Resurrection gambit.

      I still don't like that silent page\ repeating the same panel trick either, but this was published in early 2006 so it was still new.
      This comic is 10 years old after all ( ye gods 10 years )

    2. You're right, it was Goldbug/Blaster. I'm not sure why I was thinking of Ratchet there. Maybe from reading the Dreamwave comics recently, where they hung out during the Sunstorm arc. They only thing they had in the G1 comics which could charitably be called a team-up was when Ratchet restored Bumblebee, Grimlock, and Jazz as Pretenders circa issue 60 or so.