The shark has been jumped.
Ok. The first 20 or so issues of Marvel's 1984 volume of Trnasformers has been pretty good. Somewhere right around issue 19 or so, though, it totally jumps the shark.
You see, right around this time, the Transformers became huge in the public culture. There was a movie. The cartoon had hit it big. The toyline was enormous.
For some reason, Marvel forgot that their comics were part of the reason for this, and, instead of sticking with the winning formula, decided to change everything up.
I'll stick to this issue, but, the problems in this issue are endemic throughout the last 5 or so, and, I imagine, will continue for a while.
In this issue, we see a scientist named Ethan Zachary and one of his colleagues talking about a huge computer role playing game involving robots AND a renewable energy source. Do you think both of those things might come back later in the story? I don't know. Do you think getting hit in the head with a hammer might hurt?
Anyways, Wheeljack discovers the "bug" that Bombshell had managed to plant in Optimus' brain and they decide to use the device to spy on the now unsuspecting Decepticons.
So...it works perfectly, for some completely unexplained reason. They hear that Megatron and the COmbaticons (completely cookie cutter characters) are going to steal the renewable energy source.
Now....you would think that Optimus would just take all the friggin' Autobots there, ambush Megatron and the Combaticons and win a huge victory. I mean, he knows exactly where and when they are going to strike.
Nope...this formally great leader decides to just show up with a group of Autobots (The Protectobots) that have never appeared before, to face the deceps.
And...therein lies the main problem. Clearly, Marvel just wanted to introduce new characters for greater tie ins with the cartoon/toys etc. There is actual origin for the protectobots.....or combaticons. All of them are exactly the same, except they change into different vehicles. They are boring. totally. I don't care.
Of, by the way, the combaticons and protectobots both combine into a larger transformer, which was really cool, like 15 issues ago, when the COnstructicons originally did it. Now, every new group of transformers does it and it's boring as heck.
Anyways, through a completely stupid plot device, the two groups decide to fight in the role playing computer world rather than in real life. The leaders of the losing side of the online battle decide to die. That way there is some interest in the battle.
Even though the Autobots destroy the decepticons easily, even with Megatron cheating, Optimus still decides that he is the loser and he should die, because he allowed a couple of virtual characters in the game to die during the fight.
The end. Stupid.
1 out of 5 stars. Only buy it if you are a Transformers completist.