Part of me wanted to just drop that blog post title bomb, throw these photos at you, and then back away slowly before running away in shame. But no, I guess I'll actually, like, do my job and talk about these guys a little.
Man, Megatron Origin. There was a point in time in IDW's recent history where the powers that be were like, "hey, would anybody care if we ignored this?" Megatron Origin is one of those. For a long while it was this isolated piece of weirdness buried deep in the IDW continuity's past. I'm not sure where it went wrong, whether it was the story, the art, the coloring, or a perfect storm combination of all three. It was really hard to tell what was going on in that miniseries, artwise, and when you got through the gray art down to the story, maybe it was for the best?
Artwise, though, those folks have gone on to do some really awesome things very well. Alex Milne is now the the very readable penciler of More Than Meets The Eye, and Josh Perez is now the very readable colorist for Robots in Disguise. Those two are now seriously among my favorite creative people. Eric Holmes hasn't written anything Transformers since, so who knows if today he'd likewise be amazing.
So I'm just gonna blame Megatron Origin, the entity. Maybe it was cursed. The story was repurposed from an abandoned Dreamwave idea, so maybe reanimating the story for IDW was akin to building over sacred burial ground, with like Pat Lee ghosts seeping up into the story's foundation and haunting the shit out of it and also probably not paying anyone. Either way, I believe we shouldn't let its memories soil the talented people involved.
Regardless, here are these two Megatron Origin toys. The first is a retool of Generations Scourge with a new head as Senator Ratbat. It's a Japanese release, so I'll forgive it for not having a "REPUBLIC SENATOR!!!" call-out starburst on the front of the packaging. In Megatron Origin, Ratbat was a pre-war Senator with like a real humanoid body and everything, and he wore a bat-head-shaped helmet on his head. And then at the end SPOILERS Soundwave extracts his spark and shoves it into this tiny bat Recordicon body and there you go. This toy does its best to replicate that first body by translating Senator Ratbat's color scheme onto Generations Scourge's toy. It does a pretty good job. Like the other Japanese Generations toys, he's in shiny plastic and shiny paint. This would visually clash with my other Generations toys in usual circumstances, but this is a Senator, so I'll let him be exceptionally shiny.
The tiny Megatron is an entirely new Legends Class toy of Megatron in his original miner body, when he was a revolutionary for social reform before he got a taste for violence that drove him evil. And so he's got the hazard stripes painted on him that he and his fellow miners had. He's a pretty amazing Legion Class toy, considering some of the others! His turret can rotate all the way around, and his head turns. Both of those are kind of crazy for a toy his size. He transforms from robot to tank by folding his arms in front of him to form the turret and then opening up his legs so they can fit around the rest of him to form a shell.
He also comes with a tiny Chop Shop, but I don't know where he is now. I need to clean up the office.
Megatron is available in American stores now. Ratbat is available in Japanese stores as of a few months ago.Tweet
Man, I hate the name "Lazerback." Can I just not say that anymore? That Z is like nails on a chalkboard. From now on he's "Dingus," which is less embarrassing.
But now Dingus has two dragon brother buddies, and at least one of their names is incredibly awesome. The yellow dude is Vertebreak, and he's showing up in American stores now. The green dude is... *looks up on the wiki* Gaidora, which apparently means something like "Supernatural Dragon." I don't know Japanese, so I am no judge on how great that wordplay is. But it's probably better than Lazerback unless there's some misspelled acronym in there that I'm unaware of.
I really think there's some sort of name-awesomeness balance that's being kept, like they can't do a really awesome name without first throwing a terrible one out there, because a leap from Lazerback to Vertebreak is pretty stark. There's whiplash.
Vertebreak is a standard redeco of Dingus, going from red and purple and yellow to yellow and orange and brown. The redeco is very autumn. He's like if a dragon were disguising himself as a horn of plenty.
... *looks up name again* Gaidora is in sparkly green and red and black, and he has a new head. It's a very nice-looking head, but I think it's a little too standardly-detailed for the very stylized TF Prime body it sits on. Over in Japan, he features in a series of direct-to-CD-in-your-toy-purchase anime adventures. They take place in Transformers Prime continuity (mostly in the far past, I think), but are rendered in a generic cel-shaded-CGI-robots-with-cel-animated-people anime style.
Toy-wise they're the same solid beastformer as Dingus was. It's forelegs to arms and hindlegs to legs, transformation-wise, but the simplicity results in two satisfying modes.
This is how starved I am for beast Transformers, that I own all three of these guys. Waspinator and Rhinox (and maybe Rattrap????) need to come sooner.Tweet
Man, I still have a huge-ass backlog of toys from BotCon and SDCC which I haven't talked about. I remember when weekend updates were unlocked during the Dumbing of Age Kickstarter, and folks worried I wouldn't have time left to do comics. Oh, I'll have time to do comics! Just... other non-comic things fall through the cracks, is all. Like toy reviews. And so let's try to put a dent in this backlog.
One thing I really really need to talk about is this customized BWX Megatron. Cheetimus painted one up to look like Transmetal Megatron, which is basically the one thing this universe is sorely missing. And I know I talk a big game about Dinobot and Ratchet and Hot Shot, but I assure you that Beast Wars Megatron is, in fact, my favorite Transformers character of all time. And that his Transmetal form is my favorite iteration of him, though I think I like his BWX toy the best.
So obviously, the BWX toy painted up in is Transmetal colors just might be the best thing possible.
My decision was made for me, and now he is mine.
I bet if you wanted one, too, you could commission one from Cheets.Tweet
I really really like Beast Hunters Prowl's robot mode! And since it comes packaged in it, you can just leave it in robot mode forever and never transform it. In fact, I recommend that! Heartily!
There were two reasons why I bothered transforming him. One, I figured I might need a photograph of his car mode for this blog. And two, I forgot how much I hated transforming the Smokescreen version of this toy. Oh, man. It is really the worst. You get the legs transformed, and you sort of get the doors in place, and then the rest of the process is about 45 minutes of trying to get his arms and the piles of car panels on them to line up with the rest of everything. He's like if Beast Wars Neo had cars. ...or, right, that's what Car Robots was, never mind.
But that robot mode! I love it! Smokescreen is retooled to have the Prowl head design from Transformers Universe, the online game that used to be an interesting-sounding game until they removed all the things from it anybody would possibly want or were excited about and also will never ever come out ever at this rate I'm pretty sure. Did you know we "reserved" our in-game names about 30 months ago? It was coming out in a few months then. It's always coming out "in a few months," in perpetuity. It's been coming out soon since Transformers Prime began, but now TF Prime is over, so OH WELL. But Prowl's a really nice design, and so I'm glad it's become plastic. The paint applications try to approximate the design as well, best it can. But the result, regardless, is something I really like.
He's a G1y Prowl in a TF Prime animation style with hints of the TF Animated version of the character, particularly the unified eye-shades. And boy does his light piping work. Oh and they dropped the Beast Hunters net and armor that came with the Smokescreen version. He's only got the missile launcher. The only thing he's really missing is the "Justice Hammer" the Cyberverse version of Prowl comes with, because, come on, JUSTICE HAMMER.
He's just classy.
Just forget he's a Transformer, please.
(The toy version of the comic also removed his alcoholism.)
(Because he's an alcoholic.)
(You see, because his 1984 tech spec said he was inefficient at metabolizing fuel, so...)
Anyway, now that Trailbreaker's out, your roster of 1984 Autobot Cars is complete! He was the last out the door, much like at the bar every night OHHHHHHHH! Ha ha ha, gems like that are why I'm a popular webcartoonist. And once Hoistand Skids come out in the upcoming waves, your 1985 Autobot Cars'll be done, too.
Like Skids (and also like upcoming Legends Class Tailgate and Swerve), Trailbreaker is based on his appearance in the current ongoing More Than Meets The Eye comic book. His robot mode, anyway! Also like Skids and Tailgate and Swerve, the toy gives him an Earth-ish style vehicle mode rather than the wacky-looking Cybertronic vehicle he is in the comic proper. This makes Trailbreaker look less like his comic book robot mode design than he would otherwise, because about 40% of his robot mode is his truck's front end. But make no mistake, the parts of his robot mode that aren't parts of his truck mode are definitely based on Alex Milne's design. Check out those Milne-style forearms (larger box connected to a smaller box with a little tab between them) and the sculpted FOC-style light-stripes Milne put on the thighs. Also, well, the feet. The armored-SUV parts are the only non-Milne stuff to be found on him.
The truck bed cover is removed during transformation to robot mode to become either a shield or be attached to his back to give him his usual double-cannoned silhouette.
His transformation hits that sweet spot between simplicity and complexity. His hood/torso area's multilayered and takes a short while to figure out, but it's not rough to do. The arms fold underneath as you'd expect and his legs collapse in on themselves. The only point of real annoyance for me are his shoulders. Not because they don't functionally work, but because even though the joints are tight enough for his arms to stay in the right place, it's obvious that the grooves which should lock on to the side view mirrors aren't attaching fully. It's a neuroses thing.
He's the size that Deluxes are now. On the smaller end of Deluxes Through History, but still clearly a Deluxe.
I like him. He's fun. And he's an alcoholic except when edited for children. And he's in a comic I like. Tweet