Tag Archives: tom b. long

Review: Transformers #5

Transformers #5

Transformers #5 is an improvement on the previous four issues but still falls short of being enjoyable. Written by Brian Ruckley, the issue bounces around the various characters involved with the murder mystery as well as peals back some of what Bumblebee has been up to.

This is an issue I want to like and a series I’m attempting to enjoy. Transformers #5 though bounces around a bit too much never quite focusing enough on one plotline or character.

Ruckley delivers an issue that’s an improvement on the previous. It still falls short in entertainment. The issue is a piece of the larger narrative and in that way it is one of the strongest released so far. The structure of the issue is interesting as well delivering some scenes that feel out of place and not needed and others that feel out of order or could have benefited from not being broken up into various segments.

This is most evident in Rubble’s story. Instead of the breaks in his narrative, the issue would have been stronger focusing just on his story and building up the tension and fear better. As is, the ending feels a tad out of place and not the impact it was going for. Instead of terror and dread leading to sadness the overall delivery is that of melancholy.

The art doesn’t help matters either. A trio of artists work on the issue as they have in the past and their differing styles are standing out more. Anna Malkova, Angel Hernandez, and Sara Pitre-Durocher all would be great on their own. Together though, the styles don’t quite work anymore. At times it also doesn’t quite match the tone either. Opening pages have a more cartoon like quality which doesn’t work for Megatron’s serious nature and moment. That transition to the next segment and art style becomes more abrupt due to the mismatched nature of the start. With a bi-monthly comic, picking two artists and switching off would make for a stronger comic visually or banking issues with one artist and switching on the next arc would have been the best overall.

Transformers #5 is absolutely an improvement on the series moving the murder mystery forward and adding more political intrigue. Still, the issue’s pacing and narrative structure works against it creating an experience that again falls short of what was and what could be.

Story: Brian Ruckley Art: Anna Malkova, Angel Hernandez, Sara Pitre-Durocher
Color: Joana Lafuente Letterer: Tom B. Long
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Transformers #3

Transformers #3

High above Cybertron, the planet’s inner moon unfolds to become a gigantic energon harvester, a magnificent show for Bumblebee and his new friend. Meanwhile, Megatron is assembling a new security force, but rumors abound about the new team.

I haven’t been too keen on the first two issues of this new direction for IDW Publishing‘s Transformers series but this third issue things seem to be moving into a more positive direction.

Writer Brian Ruckley has taken the series into more of a crime procedural direction with a bit of politics thrown in the background. The death of a Transformer has lead to questions like who and why with the main thrust o the series focused on that criminal investigation. That ties into Bumblebee who is mentoring a newly forged Transformer Rumble and through that we get to learn about this version of Cybertron.

I called the series “Law & Order: Cybertron” mostly because it focuses too much on that crime approach with a slow plodding investigation. It fails to really find the interesting aspect in the rise of Megatron and is Ascenticons. The fire and intelligence of this aspect of the Transformers history we saw in the previous volume is diluted so far. Instead of Megatron’s focus on philosophy, we get assassination attempts and the formation of a brute squad. It’s all choppy in the execution. A case is never made for Megatron leaving him as the empty revolutionary, the clear bad guy to Orion Pax and the Autobots. We seen the case for Megatron made before and that added layers to what was originally a simple story of good vs. bad. Hopefully Ruckley can pivot a bit in that focus and add some of the political depth.

Angel Hernandez and Cachét Whitman provide the art trading off on pages. The two differing styles are clear and though doesn’t create a huge issue with the story and series it’s more a question as to why? The two styles are very traditional in what we’ve seen and the designs are solid. The issue is one creator has more of an modern animated look and the other a more traditional comic look. The two styles are similar but the difference is there.

The issue, and series, isn’t bad there’s just a bit of depth and maturity that’s missing. The story and series is pretty basic keeping it to a whodunnit story. There’s also a bit of a feeling that some choices are done more for fanservice from the previous volume as opposed to really driving the story (ex. Elita-1’s inclusion in this issue). This issue is an improvement but this is definitely a different direction and vision than what we’ve previously seen.

Story: Brian Ruckley Art: Angel Hernandez, Cachét Whitman
Color: Joana Lafuente Letterer: Tom B. Long
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Transformers: Lost Light #23

The final battle is here! Bots will live, bots will die, and the craziness can only increase! We’re halfway through a finale six years in the making! And if you’ve ever loved a bot, you won’t want to miss this.

While Cybertron burns due to Unicron, Cybertrons burn due to Primus from another dimension. Writer James Roberts is giving us an epic story that rivals the main event as the Lost Light and all of those picked up do their best to stop a rampaging robot the size of a planet.

While Transformers: Unicron has a disaster feel about it all, Transformers: Lost Light has a solid sense of humor to it all and moments that lighten it all. This is the Armageddon to the more serious Deep Impact. And it’s all enjoyable.

A good chunk of the comic is focused on the revelation that the Transformers’ “gods” are among them. It’s a weird revelation and one hell of a twist that definitely has you rethink a lot of what we’ve read in the past and what they’ve experienced as characters. There’s also some philosophical stuff there that I’m still trying to unpack.

The art is fantastic with a style that feels like the traditional look of the Transformers comic but a little lighter in style. The art by Jack Lawrence with color by Joana Lafuente matches the tone perfectly. There’s also some great imagery as a giant destroys everything around them.

There’s a twist later in the comic that feels like a shift on the level of the gods reveal. I’m still trying to process all of that. It’s a hell of a comic that’s part of an epic story. While there’s a main event, this is pretty close to surpassing it in entertainment. Don’t miss out of this one as it’s bringing together so much and paying off in a way that’ll put a smile on your face.

Story: James Roberts Art: Jack Lawrence
Color: Joana Lafuente Letterer: Tom B. Long
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Transformers: Optimus Prime #23

The battle against Unicron forces Optimus Prime’s colonist soldiers to contend with a brutal reality-they have no homes to return to. But when they make a move against Trypticon, the human-controlled home of the next generation of Cybertronians… can the end be far behind?

Transformers: Optimus Prime #23 could have been an interesting tie-in to the current “Unicron” storyline. Instead of exploring the concept of the end of the world and what you should do, the issue devolves into a typical battle due to misunderstandings. Like the “Unicron” main series, it also has no problem killing characters off, indicating the end is near in multiple ways.

Writer John Barber gives us a pretty typical story of things getting out of hand due to misunderstandings. It all escalates in expected ways and of course there’s that moment of no return. In all of those ways, the comic is pretty lackluster for what’s presented.

What’s interesting though is the exploration of the Cybertronian history and their true nature of destruction. Even though they think they protect, they destroy. It’s a cycle that seems to play out in numerous ways over and over. It’s even manifested in the character Jazz himself. Unfortunately, the protector/destructor duality is spelled out for us. Jazz reminds us multiple times in his dialogue. So, even the interesting aspects stumble in this issue. Add in those who reject Optimus and decide to attack, it all just comes together in a comic that throws a lot into the pot but doesn’t quite make the case for any of it.

The art by Priscilla Tramontano is also a let down. The G.I. Joe characters look a bit too cartoony and their style doesn’t mix well with both their vehicles and the Transformers that surround them. It feels like two different stories mashed together in that way. Tramontano’s style would work really well for a younger reader Transformers/G.I. Joe series, or if the Cybertronians had a similar flow in their style as the humans. The color by Josh Burcham is cool and reminds me of the comics from the 80s that I love so much.

The issue has an interesting idea and set up but never quite lands things. It has to spell things out for the reader or falls into a story that we’ve seen too many times before. As far as a tie-in, this issue falls flat when so many others have been so good. It feels like a wasted opportunity to explore more of the Hasbro universe before things wrap up.

Story: John Barber Art: Priscilla Tramontano
Color: Josh Burcham Letterer: Tom B. Long
Story: 6.0 Art: 6.0 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Transformers: Unicron #4

Unicron sets his sights on Earth… but is anyone left to defend it?

The end nears. Transformers: Unicron is THE story bringing together years of plotlines together. With references to G.I. Joe, Visionaries, the comic reads like concepts explored too little. Written by John Barber, the event brings the doombringer Unicron into the Transformers universe as part of a plan by Shockwave to rule all. With the Transformer colonies destroyed, Unicron has set its focus on Cybertron. And, with the results of this issue, it’s clear that we may be looking at the end of what we’ve known about IDW’s Transformers or the end of IDW’s run of Transformers.

There’s death. Lots of death. There’s destruction. Lots of destruction. Characters we love are killed off and everything is on the table as to what goes. It feels like everything is by end.

The issue is crammed packed with so much, much of it feels like cut scenes of a movie giving us 30 second bites as to what’s going on. Those cut scenes still give opportunity for heroes to be that and for fans to mourn their loss. Barber, along with art by Alex Milne, color from Sebastian Cheng and David Garcia Cruz, and lettering by Tom B. Long, are delivering a cinematic event. It’s an update on the classic animated film incorporating the Hasbro Universe concepts. Some of that isn’t given enough to shine with so much thrown at us.

The art is jawdropping with scenes that evoke my memory of Unicron raking his hand across Cybertron so many years ago. There’s lots here, lots packed in, and the artistic team pulls it off giving nothing short shrift.

The back-up story features the Micronauts and it’s ok, an bonus to the main feast. It’s ending of a “thanks to all of you” has me wondering if the Hasbro Universe’s time at IDW is up? That simple line along with the epic changes happening within the main story point to nothing being the same.

The comic continues an epic event that lives up the promise and shows you can do big budget popcorn event comics and make them work. The team taps into the emotion of it all giving us deaths that feel heroic and remind us “till all are one.”

Story: John Barber Art: Alex Milne
Color: Sebastian Cheng, David Garcia Cruz Letterer: Tom B. Long
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Transformers: Optimus Prime #21

With Transformers: Unicron underway the big question is how the various IDW Publishing Transformer comics will fold in to that event. Optimus is back, and so is Bumblebee, but how? Those questions aren’t answered in that event but in Transformers: Optimus Prime #21 we get a better idea of it all as well as how Shockwave is stopped and what about the Maximals.

Written by John Barber, Transformers: Optimus Prime #21 feels like it wraps some of these up a bit too quickly and the story would have been served better by adding an issue or two more to tell it. The fact the next event has already launched doesn’t help matters and it’s an issue other major comic publishers have run in to.

But, with the issue, Barber packs a lot in to it focusing on the various factions and what Shockwave’s machinations really means. There’s not just his impact on the history, but the belief system of so many. There’s a lot of dots that have been set up for years and this issue, and the arc as a whole, and things feel like they’ve come together.

The art by Kei Zama, Sara Pitre-Durocher, and Livio Ramondelli, color by Josh Burcham, and lettering by Tom B. Long is fantastic as always. The various Transformer comics always look great and this is no exception. There’s some switching in styles for Optimus and Bumblebee and the rest of the comic but it all looks fantastic.

The comic wraps things up but does feel a bit condensed and rushed in some ways. If you’ve been reading the series you’ll be happy, this is not a spot to start for new readers though. Still, for those who have read this series for a long time, it really does feel like a good pay off. The end game is coming and this is a transition for that. Here’s hoping the next big arc goes out with the bang I was expecting for this one.

 Story: John Barber Art: Kei Zama, Sara Pitre-Durocher, Livio Ramondelli
Color: Josh Burcham Letters: Tom B. Long
Story: 7.25 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.45 Recommendation: Read

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: DuckTales #8

DuckTales #8

Story: Joe Caramagna, Steve Behling
Art: Luca Usai, Gianfranco Florio
Color: Lucio De Giuseppe, Angela Capolupo
Cover A: Marco Ghiglione, Lucio De Giuseppe
Cover: B: Marco Ghiglione, Angela Capolupo
Cover RI: Ducktales Creative Team
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Editor: Joe Hughes

Scrooge finally finds someone he trusts to run his business while he’s out adventuring: Manny, the Headless Man-Horse! Plus, Mrs. Beakley is called back into spy duty by British Intelligence, but when she isn’t available, she’s replaced by Webby and Lena Le Strange!

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Preview: Star Wars Adventures #8

Star Wars Adventures #8

Story: Sholly Fish, Otis Frampton
Art: Jamal Peppers, Otis Frampton
Ink: Gary Martin
Color: Luis Antonio Delgado
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Editor: Bobby Curnow, Denton J. Tipton
Assistant Editor: Peter Adrian Behravesh

The crew of The Ghost are trapped on an Imperial ship with no way out! The space pirate Hondo may be their only chance of escape… but can they trust him not to sell them out?

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Preview: DuckTales #7

DuckTales #7

Story: Joe Caramagna Art: Luca Usai, Antonello Dalena, Andrea Geppi, Gianfranco Florio, Michela Frare Cover: Marco Ghiglione
Color: Kawaii Studio, Giuseppe Fontana Letterer: Tom B. Long
Editor: Joe Hughes

Left alone in the McDuck mansion, the kids face their most difficult challenge yet: Fooling a risk assessor from an insurance company! And to teach Louie a lesson about hard work, Scrooge shows him his latest investment: A Ghost Town!

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Preview: Ghostbusters: Crossing Over #1

Ghostbusters: Crossing Over #1

Story: Erik Burnham Art: Dan Schoening
Color: Luis Antonio Delgado Letterer: Robbie Robins and Tom B. Long
Editor: Tom Waltz Assistant Editor: Chase Martoz

For a while now, the original Ghostbusters have had access to an interdimensional portal that has given them all-new ways to research the paranormal and consult with Ghostbusters throughout the multiverse… but they haven’t shared this tech with any of those other Ghostbusters, and some don’t think that’s fair. That’s why, after a chance meeting, Jillian Holtzmann and Ron Alexander have decided to right this wrong and cobble together their own working portal… which unintentionally unleashes the contents of the Ghostbusters’ Containment Unit! That’s a lot of ghosts, and it’s going to take a lot of Ghostbusters to recapture them. In fact, it’s going to take ALL of them. Crossing Over starts here!

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

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