Crew's thoughts on Transformers vs Visionaries issue 4

Posted on March 30th 2018 by Adam May

This article will cover the personal opinions of the crew behind The on IDW Publishing's Transformers Vs Visionaries Issue 4.

WARNING: - This article may contain spoilers.

David Mapes - @visionariesinfo

Good Men is the fourth issue in the Transformers vs Visionaries series by IDW Publishing. The series has split opinions, as all reboots do, and this issue continues the trend. For me this was probably one of the weaker stories so far, though the writer is constrained by a limited run and having to tie in to the Transformers lore. I really liked Merklynn's explanation on the history of the Visionaries in this universe, and the basis of their religion. It's kind of a shame to use the name Heskador, who was a witch in the 80s show, but at the same time I thought it was also a nice nod to that series. There are various people with the names Jesus or Muhammad, so it isn't beyond reason that someone would be named after this deity.

The story clarifies Mortdredd's situation, and his cowardly nature (which many did not like in the previous issue) continues. A problem which some fans had is that this seems more fitting for Lexor rather than Mortdred (it probably doesn't help that the two are similar looking in the new comic). My explanation is simple, "with no Darkstorm around, why would Mortdred be loyal to Virulina, as he was not respected by the Darkling Lords originally. If Darkstorm returned then we would once again see a change in his character".
Speaking of Darkstorm, I liked his little cameo.

As always, the colours in the comic pop and the artwork is great, although there have been some comments that this issue was not quite up to Fico's par for the series. We get a good look at Reekon and we discover that not only can the Visionaries communicate through their magical totems (controversial again but makes a good plot device) but we also discover that Cryotek's mace has also had an updated design to be more club like, rather than flail like.

I wasn't sold on Arzon's change of alliance, though I can understand it based on his, and Galadria's, religious view. This is an underlying tone throughout the series.

I was pleased to see Quickswitch make an appearance but disappointed in his death, as it appeared too easy and happened just to show that the Transformers can be killed.

Overall the issue was OK, I preferred some of the over issues however this issue did leave me with one very positive hope. With the IDW Transformers series set to end, and reboot in September, there is no guarantee on how this will affect the existing expanded universe. That said I really like the idea of a prequal series (beginning the on-going Visionaries series) set before/during the cataclysm (as a look back for the first issue / during the series) and then having the on-going series set on Prysmos showing the events leading up to its destruction. This would not only allow IDW to bring back Darkstorm and set the Visionaries comic in a setting more like the original 80s show but could still be tied in to what they have done here. This would expand on the new universe and still appease those fans that want the Knights of the Magical Light back. The flashback scene with Darkstorm, in this issue, is a great example of this.

There is not long to go for this limited series, and I'm sure there are some more twists left to go.

Steven Mapes - @transformertoys

This issue left me with the same feeling I had after issue 2 and that's a mix of worry and concern. The series is really suffering from the pacing which has to be fast to fit things in but it does leave you feeling like things are rushed and the impact of certain events loose their gravity, which is a shame.

Mortdredd continues his character of being a more like Lexor than the original, but it is consistent with what we have seen from him and I still enjoy it as he has a character. Arzon seemed to change factions rather easily, as did Cryotek, which whilst I can justify to some extent, again feels rushed with neither really struggling with the issues and, in Cryoteks side, his language suggests a much deeper sense of loyalty than I'd have expected so soon.

The episode did seemto jump from the previous issue but one of the biggest problems I have with the issue is with Quickswitch. His appearance in the issue is purely there just so he can be killed and makes no sense. The issue starts with the Autobots fitting him with a bomb as he's the only bot with a drilltank mode, something that is not true but nevermind. Then the rest of the team use him as a transport vehicle to go with him into Cybertron with him dying after he drills through towards the tailsman. If they were always going to ride inside of him then why did they not simply carry the bomb with them? What was the point in attaching it to him in the manner in which they did? As I read the start of the comic I, wrongly, assumed that Quickswitch had volunteered to carry it down with the thought that he'd be sacrificing himself in order to save the planet but no. So why did the Autobots not just use a non-sentient drilling machine? Since they could track the talismans location, why did they let him drill so close and die only to get out themselves, with no ill-effect? Surely they 'd have known that they were getting close and would have taken a different route?

As always I enjoyed the art and colours, I played my usual "will Galadria smile in this issue" game and there were some nice knods to the original series with the vehicles and it was good to learn more about the past within this incarnation of the brand.

With one issue lead to go I will be both glad and sad when it's out. Sad as it could be the last official Visionaries related material ever produced, glad because I will be excited to see what's next hoping that the series has bought in more fans or made older fans go and check out the original comics, cartoon and toys. I do worry that this will be it though, with the IDW revamp coming if Visionaries are not included within the new universe from the beginning then it may well be another 30 year, or until Hasbro's license expires, wait until some new official material is produced again. I hope that the series goes out with a bang, I hope that we see some more twists with characters reverting back to their original sides and that there are some more fun cameos but we'll find out in a month.

Diagnostik80 - @diagnostik80, Instagram

It's the penultimate issue of this enthralling series and the thought of that is making me sad. Not just for the fact that this run has been entertaining, nostalgic and very progressive for the Visionaries franchise, but also because the IDW combined Universe as we know it is coming to an end in general. The Transformers continuity will be definitively closed after Unicron and with it trails a number of titles that have underperformed in the sales department and also from a critical point of view. Transformers Vs Visionaries has been a shining light in the universe so far, coming long after the other franchises involved in the convoluted universe and despite that has been a very fun read indeed! In the 4th issue of the series we see yet more intriguing developments and as I mentioned in my last review, paints Mortdredd in more of that Lexor light once again. Now, I have a few questions here! In the last issue we saw Mortdredd leading the Spectral Knights, Witterquick and Arzon into a trap, followed by a scene showing Mortdredd sitting next to Virulina looking very smug indeed. Seeing as Arzon was the only one to see this (Witterquick was unconscious in the mouth pincers of a violated Waspinator), it goes to show that he is separated from his fellow Knight into the next issue to be turned by Merklynn. We now see Witterquick AND Mortdredd being tortured (well, we see Reekon torturing Witterquick). Does this mean that Mortdredd was telling the truth after all or are we seeing him 'pretending' to be tortured at this stage? I feel as though Mortdredd is still Virulina's right hand man and I hope my suspicions are justified come issue 5. There's a lot happening in a short space of time now, with the Spectral Knights drilling into the core to release an EMP style bomb (that cost poor Quickswitch his life) and Arzon seemingly switching sides to aide Virulina and the Darkling Lords. I hope the final issue doesn't feel too rushed and I'm very intrigued to see how it ends. That being said, what's next for the Visionaries? I fear we will be without them following this series for a very long time again.

Adam May - @inhumanoids

If you like seeing your Visionaries characters tortured and flip flop their allegiances then you’ve come to the right place!

The issue kicks off with what I believe is Quickswitch’s IDW universe debut (don’t get too attached) and the Autobot/Spectral Knight’s plan to drill a pulse device down to the Talisman and stop it. As it turns out this seems to be a sacrifice play from Quickswitch just to get there which felt a little unnecessary, and really just reminds us that Transformers may as well be made of wet tissue paper as far as magic is concerned.

We then join Reekon who is torturing Mortdred and Witterquick, which we later find out is part of Merklynn and Virulena’s plan to speed up the Talisman’s progress to the core of Cybertron. This and the following confrontation between Cryotek and Virulena shows us Cryotek’s doubt over his decision to pledge allegiance to the Darkling Lords. This is further underscored to us readers during the history lesson we get from Merklynn which shows even he doesn’t believe in them as anything other than conquerors and being a means to an end. I really liked this take and I’m really happy that it of all the Visionaries characters, Merklynn is still this self serving yet mysterious centrepiece to the whole series. His power and knowledge make him dangerous, but his motives are fascinating.

I’m not sure I am onboard with Arzon’s switcheroo at the end of the issue. His conversation with Merklynn (well Merklynn talking at him anyway) was well handled and I can well believe a shift in heart from Arzon, but going full ‘Sith Anakin’ seemed a massive reach. Perhaps this is just a victim of the mini series format and how it would be too time consuming to show a slow turn.

The iTotems did give me a chuckle -maybe Leoric enjoys some Candy Crush between adventures? Nice idea to make their magical totems have multiple uses other than just turning into cool space animals, and in a more traditional no technology setting this would be an immensely useful ability for the Knights. Any laughter was quickly saved by the message being Cryotek’s face turn which was great, although at this point I found myself immediately questioning if he was setting Leoric up and is still on Virulena’s team. Nothing seems sacred in terms of character so I don’t really buy anyone on either side is an unshakable good or bad guy.

As it has been for the whole series I enjoyed the art, colouring and letters in this issue. Fico’s work on facial expressions is fantastic and some of the best in comics today. Immense effort is clearly being put in to make the comic visually spectacular and it’s really paid off.

All in all it was another good issue, not without problems, but enjoyable. I’m still firmly belted in for this ride and looking forwards to the next issue.

May the light shine forever.