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The main site is on indefinite hiatus due to various constraints and energies being directed elsewhere.
However, it will be kept online for as long as possible in the hope it can be properly revived in the future.

7th June 2017, 03:50 PM: Digital Archive: Robo Machine featuring the Challenge of the Gobots Mini World series

 
Past posts have touched upon the unsatisfying history of Gobots in print even at the height of their commercial success - rather than a licence with Marvel or even someone terrible like Malibu there was a token mail order magazine from Telepictures while in the UK a run in IPC Fleetway's Eagle was superb but soon followed by a switch to the infamous World International Publishing, most often known as World Distributors. They didn't actually publish comics but instead licenced annuals (two Gobots examples were issued in 1986 and 1987; both were terrible, the first being a possible nadir for Western creative writing) and storybooks based on extant properties with some appeal to kids - most notably their savaging of the likes of Doctor Who and Blake's 7 under approval of the BBC.

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6th June 2017, 01:21 AM: Film Review: Transformers - Age of Extinction

 
I've been an avid fan of Michael Bay's take on Transformers since 2007. As a grown adult I can appreciate a different take on Transformers, realising that me liking it isn't compulsory; in an era of IDW's turgid, soul-destroying comics and some largely poor, unimaginative cartoons the films don't stand out as a particularly poor area. The first in 2007 did a fine job of relaunching the line into genuine popularity with a confident swagger; 2009's Revenge of the Fallen sandwiched a poor middle section between a superb opening and a decent conclusion but at least showed that errors from the franchise's past wouldn't be repeated. 2011's Dark of the Moon delivered solid big-screen action after a slow and overcomplicated start. 2014's Age of Extinction meanwhile greatly disappointed me; while the revamp of the universe showed considerable promise the actual execution was arguably spottier than any of the previous three instalments.

[Contains minor trailer spoilers for The Last Knight]


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3rd June 2017, 09:54 PM: Comic Review: Transformers - Punishment

 
PUBLISHER: IDW (2014)
WRITER: JOHN BARBER
ARTIST: LIVIO RAMONDELLI

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.
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22nd May 2017, 12:25 AM: Comic Review: Transformers - Dark Prelude

 
PUBLISHER: IDW (2012-2013)
WRITERS: JAMES ROBERTS, JOHN BARBER, NICK ROCHE
ARTISTS: STEVE KURTH, CHEE, NICK ROCHE, DAVID DAZA, MATT FRANK, AGUSTIN PADILLA

Almost forgot this one. After 2009 the Spotlight series all but ceased apart from the release of Spotlight Prowl, issued entirely to placate the title's educationally subnormal fanbase, a group largely of adult age who will actually pay triple rates to get a toy a short while ahead of other people. Then in 2012 Hasbro decided actually they'd wade full-on into the comics (later collected as a prelude to the prelude to "Dark Cybertron") and reactivating the series for pack-in titles would avoid any weirdness like Crosscut popping up and talking about himself for three pages before fucking off into the crowd. Six new issues were slung out and with careful care wouldn't involve explaining largely obvious past events to thick shitheads or forgettable peripheral cast getting shunted off in Red Dwarf rip-offs. At all.

[Spoilers Follow]
[or would if anything unpredictable was involved]

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20th May 2017, 10:06 PM: Comic Review: Transformers - Dark Cybertron

 
PUBLISHER: IDW (2013-2014)
WRITERS: JOHN BARBER, JAMES ROBERTS
ARTISTS: ATILIO ROJO, PHIL JIMINEZ, JAMES RAIZ, LIVIO RAMONDELLI, ALEX MILNE, BRENDAN CAHILL, NICK ROCHE, ANDREW GRIFFITH

It's that time again! The big IDW big plot big clusterfuck in which the poor hapless writers again try to live up to the hype generated by the company's psychotic PR as once again the lives of the Transformers and/or Cybertron will be CHANGED FOREVER or at least for another 12 months or so. While the storyline ran through both Robots in Disguise and More Than Meets the Eye (not to mention bracketed by a pair of one-shots, like a proper comic event) with both the usual writers handling whatever they usually did "Dark Cybertron" feels much like "Chaos" did - the story of one writer (in this case John Barber) with script input from another (James Roberts). In theory this set-up should work - Barber can plot almost as well as a proper comics writer while Roberts is more suited to a smaller soap style.

[Spoilers Follow]

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A Second A Lap

A SECOND A LAP

Retro Formula One blog, currently focusing on race reports from the start of the World Championship - 500 articles and counting.


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