Saturday, 3 June 2017

Comic Review: Transformers - Punishment


Note: this will probably be the last of the IDW reviews for the blog. I can't go on reading this shit, it is killing me.

Originally released as some sort of interactive Internet thing for young people in the mistaken belief fandom wasn't generally the wrong side of thirty and the younger ones were actually interested in IDW's output, Punishment was - like the Spotlight: Shit Overpriced Toy strand - written out of sequence for logistical reasons, like being able to give motion to characters' head exploding.
In this case it's the post-"Dark Cybertron" era and aside from the inevitable returning of Optimus Prime as usual an event which changes everything has simply rejigged the cast and setting temporarily. His return is as part of a murder mystery, investigating a string of murders of Decepticons in the ever-fragile peace on Cybertron. It's an idea with potential - some of the best writing Optimus has received in recent years was as Orion Pax, principled cop.

Alas John Barber wrote Optimus as a bit of a dick in "Dark Cybertron" and here has the character go full arsehole - a grumpy, manipulative and careless arsehole who's very difficult to like. Of course, such a personality shift could be a whole plot thread that Barber's planning to work or it could just be bad writing or it could be bad writing which will later be used for a whole plot thread, James Roberts-style.

The plot itself is limp and insulting; there's no fun in a murder mystery that's impossible to guess. Well, it's not impossible as you can just pick someone at random and you might get it and it's easy to eliminate some of the more clumsy attempts at misdirection but basically the culprit's motivation boils down to them not being a character Barber has any particular plans for and to wrong-footing the reader.

This is basically standard water-treading as expected from the company's non-central titles, another piece of disposable brand fodder which leaves no-one the richer for its' existence.

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