Lotsa pretty pictures. No real substance.


Beast Wars 4 coverSo the final issue of the IDW Beast Wars series came out this past week and once again I'm trying to find some reason to find something of value in Simon Furman's writing.

Can someone please explain to me why so many Transformer fans think Furman is a good writer?

I know that some of his recent Marvel work has gotten decent reviews but his Transformers stuff (no matter the era) just doesn't seem to offer me anything on any level.

I picked up the IDW Beast Wars series because I love Don Figueroa's ability to illustrate Transformers. Not only can he illustrate a beautiful bot but he also can usually create a design that truly looks like it can transform into something else. He's the only illustrator that I've seen on this material that really nails it!

I didn't expect as much out of this Beast stuff due to their inherently different design aesthetic but he delivered quality art here.

But story? Other than some great Figueroa covers and panels there was just no real story. The plot and story could have been scribbled on napkins at a bar at a Transformers convention for all I know. There's just nothing there of substance.

Now the biggest problem with Transformers (of any flavour) is when someone trys to shoehorn a logical explanation for the fact that some of the toys were made.

This is especially hard to do for the sprawl that was non-show appearing Beast Wars toys. Between those toys and the many repaints that were supposed to be different characters, you've got so much filler that doesn't necessarily need any fiction. They are what they are: just toys. And perhaps that's all they should be.

But in this series, an attempt is made to explain these characters and of course, since pretty much all of them have Earth animal (historical and modern) modes, they have to somehow be on Earth to scan the mode.

Here's where what little story logic there is totally collapses for me.

Lio Convoy (and what appears to be the Convoy/Autobot Council) sends spy Razorbeast to infiltrate Magmatron's group to follow Megatron and retrieve him.

Magmatron and his Predacons basically end up going back in time to the Beast Wars television series right after the episode where Ravage's ship has crashed.

Now this group is out of "time synch" so they can't interact with the Beast Wars television series characters but through Razorbeast's actions, many of the protoform/stasis pods ejected by Optimus Primal in episode #1 of Beast Wars becomes new characters. It basically is a way for them to not disrupt the story we see in the Beast Wars show but also to "get them on Earth" to have their beast modes. It is actually a pretty thin excuse.

That's it!

That's how all these characters come about by being shoehorned into the mainline Beast Wars story.

And for 4 issues it is basically these characters fighting every now and then and new characters being introduced as Razorbeast alters protoforms to become other Maximals instead of the Predacon army that Magmatron wants.

It basically devolves into a a form of the 1980's Marvel Transformers comic where characters pop up, say their name, maybe fight someone, and are never heard from again.

The art as expected is good. There's a few money shots here and there for TF geeks to cream on.

But otherwise it all fell flat for me like most comics do. The art is better than say that Master Collector TF comic but the stories just as thin and pointless.

Indeed. Not all toys need fiction to go with them.

And this is especially true of Beast Wars.

Of course, there's probably a lot of fans that liked these so more power to them. IDW needs an audience to keep their licensing alive.


The reason, as far as I can tell, that the fandom embraces Furman is that Furman knows the backstory enough that they feel he's one of them as opposed to some writer just trying to put his stamp on TF fiction. . . basically that Furman will respect continuity as best as he can.

But Grimlock? That's just fucking stupid. I know there was a toy, but. . . fucking stupid. Extra bonus fucking stupid points go to Furman because Ben Yee has said that Furman wanted to insert Grimlock before he even knew that Grimlock had had a toy in Beast Wars.

And the sheer insertion of Grimlock could easily devolve into that irritating argument about stasis pods and protoforms that's usually about as productive as RIRFIB/RIBFIR.

Yeah. I didn't really want to write all that much. Just get it off my chest.

But the Grimlock thing I skimmed over on purpose. It was just so NOT necessary. Grimlock and Unicron are about equal in my book in terms of being over used.

I'm perfectly fine with Ravage having survived until the "maximal era". I'm even fine with a few other smaller "beast" autobots and decepticons having survived.

But if the other major Autobots and Decepticons are not around anymore than I just can't see the Dinobots being around either. Or being reduced to the smaller size of the Maximals/Predacons either.

But that's just me.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Nala published on May 16, 2006 7:42 AM.

Yay! I gots a new camera! was the previous entry in this blog.

So let's sink another drink, 'cause it'll give me time to think is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


OpenID accepted here Learn more about OpenID
Powered by Movable Type 5.03