Posted on March 1st 2018 by Steven Mapes
This article will cover the personal opinions of the crew behind The Visionaries.net on IDW Publishing's Transformers Vs Visionaries Issue 3.
WARNING: - This article may contain spoilers.
So, we’re at the half-way stage of Transformers Vs Visionaries and this issue is full of action and drama. We get the debut of some more original characters; did you spot them all? We have Feryl and Cryotek (both of whom add more to the ethnic diversity of the brand). Feryl is also the first character to change gender (before information on the series was confirmed, we had speculated there may well be several characters change to get more of a balance). Mortdredd also makes his debut, though I will admit confusing him with Lexor for several pages. I found their designs to be very similar, although the writing for his character was spot on (with the continual usage of the phrase “lord”).
Reekon also made his appearance, although not named, along with several series two characters (Craggor, Braxe and what appears to be Hydron) along with three other characters I can’t identify.
The art work and colouring by Ossio / Garcia Cruz once again is a joy to behold. The vibrant colours and designs continue to please (though obviously some fans may not be fond of them). Visaggio did a great job in writing Mortdredd, I found him to be the most faithful to the original character and has become one of my favourites. Virulina continues to be written and drawn fantastically to grow her character. I was a little surprised by Leoric and Witterquick who seems to lack compassion. Galadria is also annoying me as she always seems grumpy and she looks like she should be a lot younger than the other Spectral Knights.
Mortdredd is the highlight of this issue, his speech, totem transformation and facial expressions make the issue.
As the series is only five issues Wheeljack had to find a solution to the rust quickly, which he has, but it still feels a little anti-climactic. It will be interesting to see how long (and in which title) the Visionaries stay around in after the five-part series (surely, they can’t just disappear). Hopefully the team get the green light to do a full Visionaries series off Cybertron.
Final thoughts, Dirge-Gun / Thrustinator ... amazing. I’m a long time fan of the toy and Virulina’s throwaway comments of “Tanks, airplanes, automobiles and little sleds that scampered across Prysmos”, the latter referring to the Lancer Cycle, was a nice touch.
I think by now everyone still reading this comic is over the ‘this isn’t my Visionaries’ shock and can just enjoy an entertaining, well written comic. Sure, these are not the same Knights and Lords we know from the original cartoon, but in my experience the first reimagination of a franchise (can we call Visionaries that yet?) is always the most painful. Some of us greyer haired types will the change of Transformers to Beast Wars, MOTU to New Adventures and the ire they drew. Thankfully there was no internet back then like we are blessed with now – can you imagine?! Even the recently announced successor to the Nickelodeon Ninja Turtles cartoon has people up in arms, yet I remember a few years ago that being the exact same reaction to the same CGI Nick show.
Thankfully Transformers fans are well used to this by now, and I am sure a lot of Visionaries fans (like myself) are also big Transformers fans meaning we should be a resilient and accepting lot. I have always thought this is especially important as both of those series have a toy gimmick of change at their heart. I do hope that down the line maybe we will get toys or media that is of a ‘classic’ nature, but for now this is the comic we have so we should look for positives about that even happening.
Now I am off my soapbox I can get to the comic - you’d think I was Virulena at the start of this issue trying to convince you to pledge loyalty to me. This was a great follow up to the action of issue 2. It was great to see some more well-known characters like Cryotek and Feryl pop up too, as well as some lesser known ones like Craggor and others from the unreleased series 2 toy line. Establishing their place and loyalties in this universe is important and some world building with a larger cast of characters can hopefully visit in the future is very exciting.
Cryotek is my favourite Visionaries character from the original toyline and cartoon, and indeed the only figure I personally owned as a child (my brothers had Leoric and Darkstorm). I wasn’t really feeling the lack of brawn in his new incarnation, I mean Cindarr looked like a monster who spends every day at the gym benching multiple Kup heads (too soon), whilst Cryotek looks pretty much the same as everyone other dude. Seeing his magic energy whip resemble the triple mace was awesome though.
Mortdred was a welcome arrival, but he has gone from toady to opportunistic survivalist in character. This is a big change, but I was forced to ask that without Darkstorm around whether this was a good evolution of his character? He certainly made no other friends within the ranks of the Darkling Lords in the original cartoon and I assume the same in this continuity. It’s clear Fico has had as much fun with Mortdred’s expressions as he has Virulena and every panel he was in was an absolutely joy.
The call back of Visionaries magic to power vehicles, then using it to turn Waspinator to the awesome ‘Dirge Gun’ looking bug-chariot was amazing and a fantastic evolution of that power for the purpose of a Transformers crossover. I hope to see more of this in the next issue.
On Fico’s art I have to say it was excellent as it has been in the whole series been so far. I was unfamiliar with his work before these issues, but he is someone to keep an eye on for future work. The colours by David Garcia Cruz and letters by Shawn Less absolutely compliment the issue so well done to those chaps too.
May the light shine forever.
Having felt a little disappointed with issue 2 after the issue 1 left me wanting more I’m glad to say that the third issue in this five-part mini-series has me pumped yet again. The pacing felt more natural with this issue, the characters personalities felt more defined and the art and colours continued to impress as they have throughout the series thus far.
The crowd scene is great, from the first panel that Fico shared online which showed Craggor and Braxe I’d been looking forward to seeing who else he may have drawn into the scene. The answer was probably Hydron along with three other Spectral Knights. There are a few inconsistencies with the panels where Cravex, who is incorrectly coloured as Spectral Knight, is in front of Feryl in one panel and then in the next panel he is replaced by Cryotek. Craggor also moves from being on the left of unnamed brown haired Spectral Knight, to being on the right of Cryotek swapping places with Braxe. Reekon is also coloured in the Spectral Knight blue which I suspect is an error but as his character has not been named, you could justify this by assuming that he was a Spectral Knight first within this universe. The bald spot on Cryotek’s head also moves within the panels.
Feryl is the first character to change gender within the series, something that I personally expected would be more like 1/3 when it was announced that the series would be returning. I have no issues with the increase in female characters and it’s nice to see that they introduced a female person of colour to further diversify the overall cast.
I originally thought that the unnamed blonde female knight, and the male as well to some extent, were both supposed to be Galadria which had me confused since we last saw her with Leoric at the end of the previous issue. Turning the page, I then immediately noticed, and remembered, that Galadria has a hairband and so these were other characters.
Speaking of the blonde Spectral Knight, she almost popped a smile at one point during this issue whilst talking with Arzon, but aside from that one panel she continues to be drawn with her grumpiness in full display.
Whilst reading this issue it occurred to me that many of the Visionaries characters have blue eyes, Leoric and Virulina have green eyes. I’m going to need to go back over the other issue, but within this one only Cryotek has dark eyes.
When he first turned up I did originally think that Mortdredd was Lexor only coloured incorrectly until I read the panel. After just this one issue he has become one of my favourite characters within the new series. The new version of the character combines some aspects of the original with portions of the personality of Lexor, but with it's own unique take making him much more opportunistic now that Darkstorm is dead. The panel of him turning into his beetle form is also the clearest example of a character changing and hopefully the one panel that is needed to end the speculation that they do not actually change into their animal totems, well apart from Witterquick who continues to use his super-speed without either changing forms or using his power staff. I’m still not keen on this but we’ll see how I feel in another two issues.
The story itself progressive with Wheeljack finding a solution to the talisman, again it’s rushed but it had to be as we’ll be half way through the series by the time the comic ends.
I thought it was a nice touch to have Virulina make mention of how they use to infuse vehicles with magic to use them and then proceeds to use her magic to transform Waspinator into Thrustinator.
The last panel gives away the fact that Mortredd has betrayed the Spectral Knights and re-joined the Darkling Lords which is something that I’m sure will be covered at the start of the next issue.
Overall I'm really looking forward to the final two issues, I'd love to find out who the 3 other Spectral Knights are suppose to be, if anyone, but this issue has re-ignited my interest in the series. Bring on issue 4!
This series continues to impress me into its third instalment with more character appearances, some nice nods to series one and two players and some progression into the already established characters that provides some interesting development. What is cool is the fact that we get a number of the fringe cast leading the story in this issue and we finally get some insight into the personalities of Arzon, Witterquick and Mortdredd.
What I will say is that in the past when franchises have been rebooted or reimagined, I have still read the comics hearing the voices of the original cartoon actors in my head. In this case, it hasn't been the same with the Visionaries characters for obvious reasons. That's not a bad thing necessarily but something I noticed when Mortdredd appeared for the first time. I instantly wanted to hear that snivelling (when talking to Darkstorm) but at the same time confident tone (when addressing anybody else) as soon as I saw the redesigned visage of Darkstorm's right hand man but it didn't happen. Instead I noticed that the voices I heard (this is not an admission of a break down in my mental health by the way) were entirely made up to match that of the characters designs. Only after seeing Mortdredd did this strange effect take hold and to the credit of Visaggio, Ossio and Cruz, I was absolutely fine with that.
Mortdredd is more like the original Lexor now with his new personality, which isn't an issue once you get to the end of the story. Initially he is a cowardly, snake that would stab you in the back the first chance he gets. The first part of that is the lie and by the end you will understand why he is actually now Virulina's right hand man.
We also get some really awesome additions to the cast with Feryl and Cryotek being introduced as former Spectral Knights that have been turned to Darkling Lords by the persuasive Virulina.
If you're looking for Transformers in this issue then you will be left wanting somewhat but their inclusion is one of the most important parts of the story as Wheeljack finds a way to briefly disrupt the magic given off by the Talisman.
Mortdredd, who appears to have turned against the Darkling Lords is used to sneak back into New Valarak as his animal totem allows him to become a tiny beetle. Arzon and Witterquick follow him against their better judgement and when they are caught Virulina has turned Waspinator into a chariot for her own use and Mortdredd is by her side.
It is also worth noting that we are treated to some cameos from a number of the unreleased series two characters and confirmed on Twitter by Fico himself as Craggor, Lizar, Slywire, Hydron and Lazorlash. He also noted that Ramak will be making an appearance soon as well!! I love that the creative team are including these homages in the story and now I cannot wait for issue four.....alas, I have to!