SYNOPSIS FOR "THE TRANSFORMERS" #1
TOTAL NUMBER OF BLOOPERS: 47
THE CHEESIEST LINE IN TRANSFORMERS HISTORY:
"Yaargh! The gas coats me, making my metal brittle and breakable as glass!"--Starscream being attacked by Cliffjumper at the drive-in. Yaargh! The dialogue pains me, making my stomach churn!
- What planet was Cybertron comparable to in size?
- What was the name of the movie Buster and Jesse went to?
- I'm giving this first issue a lot of leeway, especially in terms of the character's color schemes. According to Nel Yomtov in the editorial column of issue #80, most of the art for issue #1 had been finished when the powers that be made some wholesale changes to the issue, probably including the decision to draw the characters more like the model sheets that were developed for the cartoon, rather than resembling the toys in many cases. It looks to me like a lot of the old art got mixed in with the new art when all was said and done. I will be pointing out a few of these character design differences as points of interest, though.
- Megatron's explanation to Starscream that "one of our mightiest is missing" is, of course, a reference to Shockwave, who makes his official debut in issue #4.
- This may not be a mistake necessarily, but the Autobots are actually quite a bit larger in their robot modes than they are in vehicle mode. When Prowl's group transforms to robot mode at the drive-in, there are other cars parked around them that serve as a very useful size comparison. Brawn or Hound look like they could completely flatten an Earth car with one good stomp.
- Buster knows more about cars than he lets on. He knew that Volkswagen Beetles have engines in the back of the car and not the front, at any rate.
PLOT OVERSIGHTS: (11)
- Suffice to say, the prospect of the Autobot-Decepticon war itself somehow shaking Cybertron from its orbit is highly circumspect, at best. I would think that any explosions powerful enough to affect the movement of the planet would destroy large chunks of that world long before it could escape the gravitational influence of a star (let alone go "madly rushing through the cosmos" as the narration indicates). Here's a nice fanboyish retcon explanation if you're in the mood for one: Maybe Primus subconsciously directed Cybertron off-course in order to set about the chain of events that would eventually lead to Primus' awakening, Unicron's subsequent detection of Primus and arrival on Cybertron to be defeated by the Transformers? (I know, I know. It's only the first issue and I'm getting waaay ahead of myself.)
- There are a couple of early concepts in this issue that are never addressed again. One of them is the idea of the Autobot elders, who are, I presume, the ruling body on Cybertron. What happened to them after the Ark departed? The only character who even comes close is Emirate Xaaron, and he seems more like a religious figure. Another abandoned concept was the Castle Decepticon, which was Megatron's domain in this issue, but this is the last we hear of it. Why wasn't it occupied by the likes of Scorponok or Thunderwing later on? (I am told that the castle does make a later appearance in the U.K. comics, so that's something, anyway.)
- Optimus Prime explains that he will bring a specially selected group with him on the Ark to destroy the asteroids. I suppose 22 warriors isn't necessarily overkill (the 17 other Autobots, plus the five who became the Dinobots) given that a Decepticon attack is very likely, but some of his selections still don't make sense. What purpose would Bumblebee possibly serve on a mission to blast asteroids? What's the point of bringing Wheeljack along? Why was Gears included? You get the idea. (Maybe they figured this would be a good chance to log some flight hours?)
- I'm also having trouble swallowing Prime's reasoning to crash into the Earth because the Ark and its secrets must be kept safe from the Decepticons. The Autobots built the ship specifically for this mission; don't tell me they filled up Auntie's computer banks with all their latest technological secrets! It's not like the Decepticons didn't know how to construct spaceworthy craft of their own, so what's so special about the Ark?
- There's a strange and interesting narrative blurb that explains that "the Ark's alterations are such that the basic nature of each robot is preserved. The Autobots are programmed to imitate Earthly vehicles. The Decepticons will resemble Earthly weapons and communication devices. Both factions, if necessary, can revert to their original robotic forms." That seems like a strange thing to say, doesn't it? They can transform to robot mode if necessary, implying that they'll be spending almost all of their time transformed into cars and planes? Or does that mean that they can change back into their original Cybertronic robot modes without having their Earth-mode components on their bodies? Though I can only think of a few instances in which that might be useful, it still seems odd to me.
- Can Soundwave actually fly in his tape deck mode? Apparently so, since Megatron orders the Decepticons to transform before they depart the Ark, and he folds up into his cassette player form. Curiously, Laserbeak and Buzzsaw didn't bother to obey Megatron's command, though.
- The reason Prowl gives for the Autobots leaving the drive-in to report to Optimus directly is that radio transmissions can be monitored. This begs the question, why didn't the Autobots notice when Laserbeak made the incredibly obvious transmission that began, "This is Decepticon Laserbeak reporting to Decepticon leader Megatron"? (The only possible explanation I can think of is that Soundwave has the ability to intercept Autobot transmissions, but the Autobots can't necessarily detect Decepticon communications.)
- After the Decepticons start firing on the vehicles at the drive-in, Prowl launches into a very long speech that begins with, "This is almost beyond belief. The Decepticons have launched an assault and the Earth vehicles have done absolutely nothing to defend themselves." The irony of this scene, of course, is that even if Prowl is speaking fairly quickly, it would still take him around 30 seconds to finish reciting that monstrous word balloon. Thankfully, the Decepticons more or less halt their assault to give the Autobots time to discuss the situation. (There is a single energy blast, but I could be really snarky here and say that it wasn't a very powerful one because it doesn't make any sound effect.)
- The Autobots must not like listening to Brawn. Near the beginning of the battle he tells the others to get close to him so he can take the brunt of their firepower, and just two panels later, the 'Cons target Cliffjumper because he's all alone.
- Cliffjumper 's weaponry is very powerful in this issue, and it's the only time we get to see him use his glass gas. Starscream and Thundercracker just about disintegrate after being shot with the stuff. Why isn't Cliffjumper at the forefront of every battle with a weapon like that? Why aren't all the Autobots equipped with glass gas? Why doesn't Cliffjumper ever use this stuff again?
- Speaking of weapons, this is a sort-of mistake that's also popped up in the cartoons. Hound's tech specs say that he casts holograms with his turret gun, meaning the gun that's mounted on the back of his Jeep mode. In this issue when Hound projects holographic missiles at Ravage, he does it with a hand-held gun, even though he himself calls it his turret gun. (I suppose it's possible that the turret gun becomes his hand-held weapon in robot mode, even though that's not the way the toy works.)
DIALOGUE AND NARRATION: (7)
- When Megatron says of the Autobots, "They shall learn the way of conflict... the way of war... the way of Megatron" there is no closing punctuation
- It looks like Optimus is countering Megatron's dialogue by saying, "The Autobots, though groggy, have arisen from their stasis..." when it's actually Megatron speaking. The dialogue balloon is pointing right at Optimus, though.
- When Starscream introduces himself and spouts some drivel about "enhancing the reputation of our leader" there's no closing punctuation. Same deal with Rumble's introduction.
- Likewise, after Sparkplug tells Buster, "if you want to go to the movies with your buddies... okay" there's a distinct lack of a period.
- They spelled "Volkswagen" wrong when Buster thinks to himself, How could I possibly tell them that I thought I heard this Volkswagon cry out in pain--and no one's inside!
- After Cliffjumper attacks the Decepticons, Starscream responds, "Flee, Thundecracker, fly!" Thunde-cracker? (What's interesting is that I actually can hear the Starscream from the cartoon pronouncing it that way, but it's still a mistake.)
- Time to get nitpicky for just a moment. As Ravage runs away, Hound says to him, "Now back--back to your leader, Megatron and tell him who defeated you this day." There are a couple of commas missing from that sentence (after the words "now" and "Megatron," to be precise.)
ART AND COLORING: (29)
- The front cover of this issue features an incredibly poorly-drawn Optimus Prime. Also, Laserbeak is drawn exactly like the toy (complete with that little hook-beak), and Buster looks like he's about five years old.
- On the bottom of page 1, several generic Autobots are shown traipsing about on Cybertron, but Nel Yomtov apparently felt compelled to give them the color schemes of existing Autobots--namely Bumblebee, Cliffjumper, Trailbreaker, Sunstreaker, Hound, and Optimus Prime. The Optimus robot is especially interesting because, if that really is Prime, he apparently had a mouth in his younger days.
- Ravage seems to be missing his hip-mounted missiles when we first see him on page 2, and Megatron doesn't have his fusion cannon. I wonder if this was intentional, perhaps an indication that the Decepticons didn't walk around with big guns attached to their bodies until they rebuilt themselves and launched their assault?
Megatron is one of the characters who sports an alternate design for the first few issues before he finally settles into his cartoon model. The alternate Megatron has a differently-shaped helmet, some extra doodads on his upper legs, and a differently-shaped fusion cannon. Here's a comparison between a shot of him from issue #1 and another from issue #4:
- You'll also note that Megatron's Decepticon insignia is off-center on his chest. I'm guessing it was placed there on one of his early model sheets; he appears that way a couple of times in a Transformers coloring book I've got called "A Message From Outer Space" (illustrated by the same guy who did the pencils for this issue, Frank Springer).
- When Optimus Prime first shows up on page 4, he's missing the smokestack on his right shoulder.
- One of the generic "Autobots" standing by Optimus when we see him in his combat vehicle mode sure looks a lot like Frenzy or Rumble to me. He's even got the holes on his back that become the cassette spools in tape mode.
- The Autobot standing next to Optimus Prime as he addresses the Autobot elders is Jazz, drawn exactly like his toy (with the addition of an extra shoulder-mounted launcher). Also in this scene, I didn't even realize until I wrote this review that there were supposed to be dozens of Autobots seated behind the elder Optimus is talking to. They're drawn very indistinctly.
- On page 7, one of the robots infiltrating the Ark during the attack is most obviously Optimus Prime. (I'm honestly not sure if this is an error or not. Maybe the Autobots, who were standing outside on the Ark's hull a moment earlier, decided to head inside and take cover.
- In the first panel on page 8, Sideswipe is colored like Optimus Prime, and Prowl (the Autobot immediately in the foreground; we only see his legs) is colored like Sunstreaker.
- Rumble and Frenzy are drawn almost exactly like their toys in this issue.
- On the third panel of page 8, among the injured Autobots who lay broken in the foreground is a robot who is quite obviously Megatron, complete with fusion cannon (even though it's on the wrong arm).
- In the fourth panel, Prowl is missing the doors on his back and Prime is missing his smokestack again.
- On pages 11 and 12, the Ark revival drone that effects repairs to the Autobots and Decepticons is actually the Combat Deck portion of the Optimus Prime toy (and drawn exactly like the toy, I might add).
- On the second panel of page 12, Soundwave is drawn with a missile protruding from his shoulder cannon. I'm guessing one of the artists was using the toy as a reference and had mounted Soundwave's handheld weapon on his shoulder. His Decepticon symbol is missing in this scene, too. Additionally, Soundwave is another character who flip-flopped between head designs. On page 12, he's got a mouth and a helmet that's shaped more or less like his toy, while on the next page he's got his standard cartoon design. Soundwave really never settled into a final design, since he'll spend most of the Underbase Saga with a mouth.
- Also, why is Soundwave purple? His toy is blue. The only real reason I can think of why they would deliberately miscolor him is to provide some visual contrast from the assorted shades of blue used for every other Earth-bound Decepticon (Skywarp and Thundercracker are practically indistinguishable, and Starscream isn't too far behind, at least in the early issues), but it still strikes me as strange. Nonetheless, they'll consistently color him purple for the rest of the comic book.
- The entire third panel is a mirror-image. Megatron's fusion cannon and the cannon on his back are on his left side instead of right; Soundwave's shoulder cannon is on his left shoulder instead of right; and Prime's rifle is in his left hand. (As an aside, there's no real reason why a Transformer can't be ambidextrous, but throughout the comic nearly every Transformer appears to be right-handed.)
- The double splash on pages 14 and 15 features all eighteen Autobots, in varying degrees of character model accuracy. Sideswipe, Optimus Prime, Prowl, Jazz, and Windcharger are the only ones who are based on their cartoon designs on these pages, while most of the others are drawn as semi-cartoonized versions of the toys. Some points of interest here are that Huffer and Brawn are drawn with claws (like the toys have) instead of hands; Sideswipe, Mirage, Blue Streak, Hound and Wheeljack are all missing their shoulder cannons (which is kind of funny, since Wheeljack actually mentions his shoulder cannons while introducing himself); and Ironhide and Ratchet are drawn almost exactly like their toy counterparts, which means they don't have heads in robot mode! Something else I find interesting is that Sunstreaker's legs and upper body are drawn very similarly to Sideswipe, almost as though the artists planned for the idea of the two being twin brothers to extend to their robot modes as well as their vehicle modes.
- On page 16, Sideswipe is colored like Sunstreaker (though it's quite possible that this was indeed meant to be Sunstreaker, at least at this point in the series). Also, Gears looks different than he did on the double splash page. He's drawn almost exactly like the toy in this panel.
- In the second panel, Bumblebee's design has changed a little bit again. I think somebody was actually referring to the toy box art for this scene, since he's wearing the metallic circuitry sticker across his chest that the Transformers version of the toy never had. Also in this scene, there's a minor variation on Optimus Prime's design, in which he's got wheels sticking out of the back of his legs (six of them, actually).
- On the second panel of page 17, Buster is wearing a T-shirt with some kind of logo on the front. I can't make it out, but the logo only appears in this one panel.
- On page 18 as the Autobots startle the hitchhiker, Prowl's Autobot symbol is placed on the right side of his hood the way the toy instructions indicate, not centered on his chest like the cartoon model. Also, Bumblebee and Cliffjumper's vehicle-mode models have been replaced completely. Bumblebee's drawn like a real Volkswagen rather than the squashed toy version and cartoon model, including a segmented rear window. Cliffjumper doesn't resemble his toy in the least; he's drawn with round headlights and no spoiler. He sort of looks like a Porsche 928, actually (the same car as the Stunticon Dead End).
- In the last panel on page 19, Megatron is missing the cannon on his back. Also, Soundwave is actually colored blue, which I consider an error as far as the comics go.
- On page 20, as Buster and Jesse are making out and Bumblebee collides into Buster's car, we see that Jesse is in bare feet. I'm... not even going to ask what kind of foreplay those kids are into.
- This is a comparatively minor thing, but on panel 5 of the same page, I don't think Nel Yomtov noticed the speaker that's sitting on the passenger-side door of Buster's car. Drive-in theaters had speakers that sat on the side of your car so you could hear the movie.
- On page 21 as the Autobots decide to discuss the situation calmly as the Decepticons take pot-shots at them, the symbol on Prowl's door is colored red, like an Autobot symbol. It's actually a police badge (blue with a yellow star inside it). Also, they seem to have drawn Cliffjumper like Bumblebee in this scene, but they colored him red anyway.
- Here's something interesting. On the bottom of page 22, Cliffjumper is drawn with an Autobot symbol that's got sticky-out "ears." The only reason I mention it is because that could only have come from his box art, which they were apparently using for reference before they switched to his cartoon model sheet later on.
- On page 23 as Hound searches for Bumblebee, he's wearing two cannons, one on each shoulder. He should just have the one, on his right shoulder.
- Soundwave is colored like Megatron in two panels on this page. I guess the large concussion cannon Soundwave carries threw Nel off a bit. Also, the shot that Soundwave is firing is in front of Prowl, even though it should be behind him. The only way it could be in front of him would be if Prowl were twice the height of Soundwave and Soundwave was aiming at something directly to Prowl's left, which certainly doesn't seem to be the case.
- On the first panel of page 24, Nel forgot to finish coloring Cliffjumper. His arms and legs are white instead of blue.
- Apparently Starscream and Thundercracker recovered very quickly from having their wings disintegrated by Cliffjumper's glass gas. All three Decepticon jets can be seen still attacking the drive-in on the first panel of page 25. Also in this panel, Bumblebee's got a side-view mirror, even though he doesn't have one in any other scene in this issue.
- A Kiss For Us.
BACK TO THE TOP
ON TO ISSUE #2 BLOOPERS
BACK TO TRANSFORMERS COMICS BLOOPERS
BACK TO THE ZMFTS
This Page Created 2/28/2001
Last Update: 3/5/2001