Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Overexposed Characters

This was a hard topic for me to cover.  I had envisioned this as another list of ten, but after easily coming up with four characters, I struggled to even come up with a fifth!  Which, I suppose is a good thing.  We could be seeing the same things over and over again, like in X-Men comics.  Here then, are the four characters that I feel should be retired for a long, long while.


I love the concept of the combiner.  Merge a bunch of guys together to form a super robot?  Yes, please.  What I'm not a fan of is using the same combiner over and over again when there are others who can do a better job and have been neglected since their creation.  Think about it, there's Piranacon, Bruticus, Menasor, and Predaking.  They're never used.  Occasionally Bruticus or Menasor will pop up if the writer wants us to know that he's a True Fan and knows his Transformers.  But the others?  Never.

Here's the thing about Devastator - he's not bright and he's constantly conflicted on what to do because of the six components always arguing.  He's an inarticulate brute who just breaks everything in his path.  Maybe that's why he's used so much?  Bruticus and Menasor can do the same thing.  And Piranacon features a turtle!

This tortoise is not endangered
Please, I implore the imaginary writer that is definitely not reading this, if you need a gestalt, please use someone else.  Be that writer who dares to be different.  It's time to take a stand.  You can win if you dare.

Didn't I just rant on about how Devastator is overused and how I wished that writers would use a different gestalt?  I'm also sick of Monstructor.  Seriously sick.

Imagine how giddy I was when I read Spotlight: Optimus Prime to see Monstructor.  Hey, a gestalt that isn't Devastator!  Do you see how evil and scary Monstructor looks?  He's truly a Cybertronian nightmare.  Then he went into action and failed miserably - all Optimus Prime had to do was shoot him in a few connection points and Monstructor was out of commission.  When he appeared again the same thing happened.  As a matter of fact, this happens every time he appears.

The supposed weak point was fixed by Jhiaxus, and Monstructor seemed a bit more powerful during his last appearance, but it was still kind of weak.  He showed up, ripped up a couple of monsters, and then left.  Scary.

Do you how sad this makes me?  Monstructor just kind of floated around in the ether, never having a defined personality or any kind of presence for over a decade before Dreamwave gave the profile a go in the More Than Meets the Eye profile series they did.  He had been around for 18 years before he even appeared in an actual story!  And then to just have him appear for a few pages or even a panel only to get shot in one or two places and then fall apart is ridiculous.  Seriously, surely someone can make him dangerous.

I really want to like Monstructor, I really do.  Each and every one of his appearances thus far have been fairly anticlimactic.  There is hope for Monstructor, however.  If the weakness that even my grandmother knows about has truly been corrected, then I think that Monstructor can be an effective gestalt.  Maybe he'll be featured prominently in the Dark Cybertron event that just started, so who knows.  If that is the case, maybe some much needed rehabilitation can be performed and Monstructor won't need to be retired.  I can only hope.


"Who, me?"

Thunderwing should have been left alone after the Marvel series ended, plain and simple.  That's the best representation of the character.  He was power hungry, anddriven insane by his thirst for power.  He was - magnificent.  And then he had to keep popping back up.

By Odin's beard do I hate Thunderwing. "Hey, we need a big bad that isn't Megatron.  Let's use Thunderwing!"  I know that I'm oversimplifying this a lot.  There have been lots of other big bads.  There's been Shockwave, Bludgeon, Overlord, Unicron, Galvatron and the list goes on.  Maybe I'm just tired of Thunderwing being the insane Pretender.

Things started out well enough for ol' Thunderwing in the IDW comics.  He was a scientist.  A bit of a genius, really.  He realized that Cybertron was doomed, alerted everyone about it, was ignored, and then created the Pretender process.   So far so good.  He then went insane, practically rendering Cybertron inhabitable in the process and then got swallowed by the planet.  It would have been perfect had he stayed there.  Alas, this would not last.

In need of a super threat, Thunderwing was again resurrected.  Sure, he was just a shell without any life, but he was still there.  The Regeneration One comic would do essentially the exact same thing several years later.  I would say that the writers just couldn't think of anything better to do, but since there was only one writer involved for both series, I can't help but think that Simon Furman just likes to recycle plots.  So maybe I shouldn't be ranting incoherently about Thunderwing's overuse and start railing against Simon Furman.  Either way, Thunderwing just needs to stay retired.  Please.


Starscream's ego made this happen
Yeah, I went there.  I used to love Starscream.  His scheming, conniving ways were charming back in the day.  Now, now they're just tedious.  Over time I've just realized that he's a one-note character.  I understand his importance as a foil for Megatron.  Whereas Megatron is about power as a means to an end, Starscream is about power for the sake of power.  Megatron is about loyalty to the Decepticon cause.  Starscream is loyal only to himself.

What I'd like to do to Starscream
But, by Primus, how many times do we need to be told this?  Every time he shows up, this happens.  It seems that the entire point of the More Than Meets The Eye series is about Starscream's treachery.  Frankly, I find it a tad boring.  How many times can I read about Starscream's plan of the week where he's decided to usurp power?  Enough is enough already. 

Look, I understand that treachery is Starscream's deal.  But isn't there any other dimension to the character.  Maybe if Starscream was a little more defined, I'd be on board with him again.  As it is, I almost always skip over any page or panel where Starscream is speaking.  I already know what he's going to say.

There you have it.  These are the Transformers I'd like to see retired for a while.  Or forever, I'm good with whichever is decided.  Agree?  Disagree?  Let's talk about it!


  1. Without following the comics I don't feel really qualified to give too much of an opinion, but I definitely agree with you about Devastator - Menasor is visually much better, and in the Marvel comics the Predacons were the most interesting individual gestalt 'bots, yet somehow Devastator always gets the shout.

    I get what you're saying about Starscream, there's a line between character and caricature that it sounds like he's crossed, but he is a lot of fun. I couldn't really care less about Monstructor or Thunderwing, but Starscream stays!

  2. Hell, the Seacons, in their most notable US appearance, were killed off just three issues after being introduced, never to return. I'm still not sick of Starscream, but the others you mentioned are dead on. I might include Grimlock on this list, specifically Furman's Wolverine-esque Grimlock, but that character seems to have been phased out of IDW and is only still at-large in RG1.

    1. You don't know how glad I am that Grimlock is pretty much off the grid right now.