Orion Pax toy Number Two! The first one was a redeco of the original Kup, but this new one is his own mold. It's based on a design for Orion Pax seen in the IDW comics. It first appeared in just one story, Spotlight: Blurr, and it was designed by Guido Guidi though illustrated by Casey Coller. However, subsequent appearances of Orion Pax used Optimus Prime's usual pre-Earth design, which is kind of annoying. It's cool when Optimus Prime gets to have a separate Orion Pax body!
And so when it came time to release this toy with a comic book, a new story was commissioned featuring Orion Pax receiving this body for a limited time for the sake of a specific mission. It's kind of hamfisted, but at least some continuity was smoothed out, I guess. In all honesty, I just wish he was always drawn with this Orion Pax body when he while he was Orion Pax to begin with.
The toy itself is fun -- as fun as an Optimus Prime toy gets to be, anyway. The windows become the windows, the long-nose part of the cab is formed from somewhere else, this time piling up on his shins, and his arms sort of poke out the back, but are obscured enough that it doesn't look all Energon Optimus Primey. He comes with both a giant axe and a gun, because why not. They don't integrate into the vehicle mode, but instead peg in whichever 5mm peghole you choose.
The comic story included is the first of two of these new "Spotlight" issues that feature a very conspicuous Nightbeat. PRETTY WEIRD HOW HE'S SHOWING UP IN A LOT OF THESE STORIES SUDDENLY, I WONDER ABOUT THAT
Hold onto your butts. We're about to get painfully nerdy in here. We kind of have to, because I don't know if I have enough words otherwise to bury two photos of a simple and predictable Seeker redeco in. It's Thundercracker. He's a blue and silver Starscream again. Let's move on.
War For Cybertron Starscream is technically a toy of Aligned Starscream, right? Sure, the War for Cybertron aesthetic is blocky and having-a-nose-y enough that he can pass for other version of Starscream, and sure enough a bunch of the WFC designs were borrowed for the ongoing Robots in Disguise comic which is a Generation 1 book. Some folks don't cotton to the idea of stylistic choices varying so widely within a continuity, and so they're happy to ignore the whole Aligned angle and just consider him G1 since he looks G1y enough to them.
There was also a Thundercracker in War for Cybertron, and now there's a toy basically in those colors as Thundercracker. He's being released in the same line as WFC Starscream, but only after the focus of the line shifted from WFC to a G1/Classics approach. And since these toys are being packaged with comics, specifically comics which were written to these toys, thus placing the WFC Thundercracker design in this G1 world as G1 Thundercracker, he isn't even ambiguously a WFC toy, even though he's still sort of repurposed.
OR IS HE???
Here's the wrinkle that I've been mentally picking at. While the Deluxe Class toys in this portion of the Generations line come with IDW comics featuring those characters, the packaging bios mostly ignore the IDW comics' specific interpration of these characters, content instead to rehash the original tech spec bios from the eighties. Swerve is a guy who doesn't drive so good instead of being a insecure bar owner, for example. The packaging presents the "original" version of the character rather than the version currently-appearing-in-fiction. We're getting a new Armada Starscream toy and the Generation 1 comic books are gong to use that design for its G1 Starscream character. However, if the pattern holds, the bio on the package will still talk about Armada Starscream rather than G1 Starscream. The packaging will claim the toy is a different iteration of the character versus the comic inside.
What I wonder is, does this hold true for Thundercracker? And even if this is a question to ask, is it possible to know? WFC Thundercracker's characterization is likely indistinguishable from G1 Thundercracker's. So of course this Thundercracker's bio is just every Thundercracker bio you've ever read before. And it'd be written this way whether it were WFC Thundercracker or G1 Thundercracker being described.
(I wouldn't expect the writer of this bio to know that Takara's Prime Thundercracker toy's bio takes the character in a different direction, nor would I expect him to feel bound by it.)
What I'm getting at is that this is likely a toy that comes in packaging which claims it's two different versions of the same character, much like everything else in the line, but with Thundercracker there's no outward way for us to know that, because of things.
And that fascinates me.
Because I'm a weirdo.
Yeah, I know, I haven't talked about the first two guys from this year's Subscription Service round-up, and yet here's the third guy, Circuit. Well, there's reasons! The first is I don't care that much about Scourge. (Don't ask for him, if I decide he leaves my possession, I already have a friend who'll take him.) The second is I really wanna talk about Slipstream, but I also want to take a photo of her and the other three Prime Seekers I have, and Starscream eludes me. There's no other place he could be than in this box of Aligned guys I brushed off my shelves back when I got a new desk for my Cintiq months ago, but he sure ain't in it. What the eff.
But, yeah, here's Circuit! All I wanted to do with him was take a photo of him next to the lone other redone Action Master Autobot. There's lots of redone Action Master Decepticons, but the Autobots have been slower to the reimagining arena.
Also he's super gorgeous. I know I'm not accompanied by many in that camp -- you know, the "aw man, yellow and teal and red and orange" camp -- but I am firmly inside its perimeter. This is one of those toys that I feel was made just for me.
Circuit is a redeco of Movie Axor, just as the original Circuit was a redeco of the original Axer. Just like Axor, this Circuit hails from the movie universes, specifically the splinter timeline from the UK movie comics where the Autobots lost the final battle of the first live-action film. Despite that and despite his pretty movie-y sculpt, I have a very hard time seeing him as a citizen of any of those universes. Not a lot of dudes in the Bayverse who are, y'know, yellow and teal and red and orange, specifically with teal tires with yellow spikes for hubcaps. If there were, I'd like the movies a good percentage more.
If you like him, he'll probably be the cheapest of the subscription guys on the secondary market, so congrats.
Tartarex Sword? Whatever.
Beast Hunters gave us a bunch of extensively-remolded guys I already had as crazy-armored beasty versions of themselves, and while that appeals to me on a toyetic level, I didn't want to end up with a double set of the cast. But some of these guys I just couldn't resist. Like Fish Megatron here.
I mean, look at him.
I'm also happy to report that his plastic tolerances feel a little more satisfying and he clicks together more securely than the original version. If you don't care that Megatron doesn't look like this on the teevee show, this is an objectively better toy.
He does have big fins on his arms, which means his usually-arm-mounted cannon has a longer connection peg so it reaches past them, but that's not what you want to do with the weapon. You want to transform it into the monstrous sword mode. You really do. It completes him. Screw arm cannons. Giant heavy fish sword, dudes.
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.