Friday, 29 January 2016

Transformers Stormbringer 4

 Transformers Stormbringer 4

Thunderwing  returns  to Cybertron and makes short work of The Wreckers,  who use hit and run strategies.
They barely slow him down. 
Razorclaw and his crew arrive and stay in orbit, ready to  burn Cybertron to ashes. If it comes to that, but they are ready  to give the Autobots  an chance to take Thunderwing down. 
But if  it comes down to it Thunderwing and Cybertron can burn and the Autobots along with it. 
Jetfire manages to  find a  rather dubious weak link in ultra energon after scouring Bludgeon's archives  with  the Technobots. 
Optimus Prime  goes top side with an army of  reactivated  centurion drones and more or less monologues Thunderwing to  death while shooting  at him.  

Notes :
Stormbringer 4 takes place most likely during Infiltration 5 and 6. 

Review  :
And this is sadly where it all comes apart. 
Issue 4  feels rushed, as if  Furman realised after wasting too much  time  with the slow build up in issue 1, he suddenly had to conclude Stormbringer.
But sadly this is not unusual for Furman, his conclusions tend to be weak. 
The stories themselves are brilliant, but the conclusions fairly weak.  

Stormbringer 4  has two huge problems however. 
First is the "weakness" of ultra energon. 
Now a weakness for a plot device is not  inherently bad.  It has to have a weakness  otherwise the users become unstoppable, but the weakness is  so  ..ridicilous,  it's hard to believe. 
Ultra energon's weakness boils down to the more you use it, the faster it is depleted. 
...Err  isn't that the way most fuels work ?
The faster you go in a car, the faster you empty the gas tank  for instance. 
So what's so unusual about that  ?
How is that a weakness  ? It's how fuels work. 
What's even worse is that this is treated by  all  involved as some sort of revelation of the highest magnitude. As if they never ever heard of  fuel depleting it self, faster the more you use it.
And that's just plain ridicilous. 

But what's  even worse is that  after all the sturm und drang of the series and building Thunderwing up as nigh unstoppable. Optimus Prime talks him to death while,  shooting him to deplete the  ultra energon. 
And while that's all fine and dandy, if it  was depicted  interesting and dynamically.  Figuroa chose to depict it on one page and in such a boring and bland manner as possible. 
Showing close ups of Thunderwing's feet walking forward, staggering and then coming  to a  halt. 
And..and, that's it. 
As if  artist and writer  both suddenly  realised they only had  3 pages left to wrap  this comic up.  (  And they do, the scene i described is on page  20  ) So let's get on with it, who cares if its unsatisfactionary  ?

And its a shame, because until then Stormbringer was firing on all cylinders.
 We have seen what Thunderwing is capable off in issue 3  and he shoved The Wreckers aside, as if they weren't even there.
Even an army of centurion drones barely held him at bay. 
And considering the last time Thunderwing broke loose, it took two complete armies and Cybertron itself  to stop him.  So the odds were stacked against Prime and The Wreckers to begin with. 
And how do they  deal with him ? Prime talks him to death till Thunderwing's tank is empty. 
It's as disappointing as it sounds. 

And  there were inklings of a better ending in there.
The moment the Predacons  bugged out, the Autobots should have as well  and let the Predacons  nuke Thunderwing and Cybertron  in to oblivion. 
That would not just  have been an conclusion worthy of  Thunderwing, who was nigh on unstoppable  in this  mini series. 
But would also have increased the stakes and the animosity even more. 
Cybertron would have been truly gone now. The Transformers would have become truly nomadic  and  it would have caused even more bad blood between Autobot and Decepticon.
Because it were the Decepticons  that  destroyed Cybertron once and for all. 
It might even have  caused dissention within the Decepticon ranks, with Decepticons  disagreeing with Megatron's  decision to destroy their home planet. 
It would have been an immense shift in the dynamics of the story. 
But sadly, this didn't happen and what we got was the equivalent of an empty tank. 

The Predacons are there mostly to promise a deadline and a possibility that never comes. Because they pull out all too soon  and other then a possibility of blitzing Cybertron,  they add nothing to the story.  
It's possible that Furman was planning to blitz Cybertron, but the idea was  nixed by Hasbro in a late stadium or Furman changed his mind in a late stadium. But this is all conjecture. 
What it does do however, is remind  us again  that Megatron is not to be trifled with,  nor disobeyed. 
Optimus Prime on the other hand, so far is still depicted as his usual G1 self. Troubled  self doubting,  world weary and tired of this endless war. 
This soon will thankfully change.  

Stormbringer is wildly uneven. The first issue was boring and plodding.  
Issue 2  was a return to form  and brilliant as a result. Issue 3  raised the stakes and showed us what Thunderwing is capable of.
Issue 4  stacked the odds even more and then at the halfway point, disengaged and  crashed hard. 
And it could have been so  good.
The ending let's the side down and just fizzles out, which is as said at the start of this review, a problem with Furman. 
His endings  generally  are  rather  poor.
Off course, every freelancer wants to  keep themselves in to a  job and  keep the narrative going. But  stories to have to end some time  and a new story has to begin. 
But this has been a problem that  has plagued Furman for years, even  going way back  to the  original Transformers series. Target  2006's ending was equally terrible and fizzled out as well. 
Even worse, the Target  2006 ending left huge holes that were never addressed.
Stormbringer 4 can at least be bothered to tie in with the spotlights and Escalation, as it takes place during Infiltration. 
Jetfire and the Technobots are left behind on Cybertron, to dig further in to Bludgeon's research, Which in turn  he was ordered to do so by Megatron to find out what Shockwave was  up to. 
Project Regenesis, which talks about seeding countless planets with energon including earth. 
Remember this, it becomes important later on. 
Which prompts Prime to make a stop at earth.
All this is a clever weaving of spotlights and referring to what has  happened before.  With out making it overt and making this world feel that much more connected and  bigger.
It's only a single page  but ever so slightly redeems the  sloppy way of dealing with  Thunderwing.

Next : Escalation  

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