Rob's Pile of Transformers: Manic Ramblings

Manic Ramblings and Delirious Ranting
re: Dreamwave's More Than Meets the Eye: Armada, #1
3/11/04

Just some quick thought. SPOILERS ahead immediately after some general comments:

Overall, I'm pleased. Not blown away, but pleased. This book is the best and in many cases the only effort so far to turn the anonymous Mini-Cons into actual characters, and for that reason alone it's worth the $5.

My two biggest general complaints:

- Continuing a trend from the G1 series, the artwork for the main characters tends to be the worst. Demolishor especially is a victim of the puffy, deformed Pat Lee style that Dreamwave seem to think is their best and MOST OMG KEWL work.

- The biggest waste of space is the treatment of same-name toy recolors -- they're given their own page after the main entry, and noted as "secondary color scheme". Only the Air Defense Team, with their Dark Saber alter egos, are given any explanation.

The organization of the Mini-Cons by teams corrects one of the G1 series' confusing points. However, the team titles are not prominent at all, making it hard to tell what's happening when you suddenly jump from Sonar to Gunbarrel.

The Air Defense Team's entries are great, fleshing out their fun-but-gimmicky comic portrayal with real, believable personalities that still fit with what we saw in the stories. Sparkplug's narration is amusing, and consistent with his comic personality as the quiet everyman guy who has a hard time saying anything bad about anybody, even when he really really wants to (his Dualor entry follows the same M.O.)

Cliffjumper's writeup is great -- much more interesting than yet another gung-ho soldier persona. She's not just an unwilling combatant, she's practically a non-combatant who just happens to get swept up in combat.

The Beast Wars repaints get personalities that are perhaps vaguely reminiscent of their original incarnations, but clearly not exactly the same characters -- especially Airazor. Cheetor seems like he continued gaining skills a la Beast Wars, but never really matured as he was forced to in Beast Machines.

Demolishor and Blackout have a great dynamic between them, as set up by Blackout's entry -- two immovable objects coming to grips. Wonder how long it would take for things between them to degenerate into flame wars?

Clench's entry is great, taking the name change from the recolored toy and running with it. Galvatron's entry, with the "recovered from the datatracks of Leader-1" note, hints that something unfortunate happened to Megatron's former pet power cell after Clench's file was written.

Dualor's squad gets a great set of writeups. Sparkplug, in his hesitant way, captures Dualor's personality perfectly. His partners Buzzsaw and Drillbit are set on either side of his pragmatism -- one more extreme and warlike, the other more hesitant and peaceful. Buzzsaw's internal conflicts are especially intriguing and make me regret this team's casual dismissal from the comic story. Dualor's art-based quote could be: "TWIN LASER CANNON!"

Jolt's entry is a major disapointment. Granted, we never got a really strong grip on his character in the comics, but the hints and shining moments were there. His write-up ignores them completely. Hopefully Longarm and Rollbar won't suffer the same problems. Incinerator's entry wasn't particularly good either, come to think of it -- HE IS FAST.

Overall: Again, not mind-boggling, but it does a world of good towards bringing all those Mini-Con toys to life.

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