Posted July 5, 2013 at 9:17 pm
In 1997, in the middle of a years-long focus on Beasts who War, Machine Wars was an oasis of vehicles.  It wouldn't be until 2000 that Hasbro would give us vehicles again, and so this strange KB Toys-exclusive line of  redecoed European toys and unused G2 stuff was all the game there was to be had, if you were into stuff with wheels or thrusters.  It was also the only place you could find Autobot or Decepticon symbols or the names "Optimus Prime," "Soundwave," and "Starscream."  And as the one of the first real departures for these characters from what they're "supposed" to look like, it was an exotic thing.  It became less exotic as time went by, and doing weird things with older characters wasn't terribly special.  Optimus Prime's been both a shoe and a baseball cap by now, so an Optimus who transforms into a truck with some slightly different colors isn't as eyebrow-raising as it used to be.  And oh no, he had an exposed mouth!  ... and so has nearly every Optimus since 2004.

However, despite all this, Machine Wars still had some unique things going for it, which called out to everyone that "this is Machine Wars."  For example, it had two new characters!   The first was Hubcap, who shared a name with an older character, but was written to be nothing like him.  The second was Megaplex, who was a decoy for Megatron.  Like, he was literally an exact copy of Megatron's body so as to confuse the Autobots.   His entire existence was based around him being target practice for someone more important.  Another interesting thing about Machine Wars is that Starscream was the tallest toy in the line.  He was massive, while Megatron (and his decoy) were pretty small.  How did that work?  How did Tiny Megatron keep Giant Treacherous Starscream in check?  There must be a story there.

Well, I guess, too bad.  BotCon 2013's toy set went off in a completely different direction entirely.  Megaplex is no longer a decoy, he's a clone, and so he doesn't look anything like Megatron anymore.  In fact, everyone's clones.  Skywarp and Thundercracker and Starscream are also all clones.  The entirety of last year's magazine comics were also about repurposing toys from the Nineties as clones of the guys they have the names of, rather than being the real guys themselves.  It was annoying last year and it's annoying now.  And Starscream's now shorter than his Megatron, aka Megaplex, the clone of Megatron.  There's not much here that resembles Machine Wars to me any more, at least not the parts I found memorable.

And my love for Machine Wars is pretty nil enough already to have what slivers of stuff I found remarkable about it be ignored.  Excitement level... pretty low.

So, uh, hey, here's your normal-sized Starscream who's not really Starscream, or whatevs.

*half-hearted thumbs up, forced smile*