Another edition of “Who wore it better?” is here. Today we are looking at the Wolverine face mask. Contenders are Revenge of the Fallen Knockout, Beast Wars Transmetal Ramulus, and the original wearer: Marvel Comics Wolverine.
Sometimes all you need is a badass quote. Here are some favorites of mine, featuring Razorclaw (from 3H Productions Transformers Universe comics), Straxus (from Marvel Transformers comics), Megatron, Optimus Primal, and Rampage (from Beast Wars TV series), and Overlord (from IDW Transformers comics).
Every once in a while you wonder what might have been. What great story-telling or character-development opportunities briefly teased at your imagination, but then failed to materialize. Today we are looking at one such opportunity.
Punch was an Autobot undercover agent infiltrating the Decepticon ranks under the name “Counterpunch”. He briefly appeared in the 1987 cartoon episode “The Rebirth, Part 1” were he did little but advertise his then-current toy. He played a slightly bigger role in the Japanese Headmasters cartoon, where he regularly reported on the activities of the Destrons and Scorponok to Cybertron leader Fortress Maximus. But apart from being a spy with a second robot mode we still learned very little about Punch / Counterpunch.
Finally the More than Meets the Eye profile series by Dreamwave hinted at a much more interesting version of Punch. It described him as being a cool and competent guy on the surface, but a nervous wreck on the inside, always in terror that his cover could be blown. It also described him as being so paranoid that he developed an entire full-blown personality for his “Counterpunch” cover, to the point where his behavior changed completely the moment he assumed his other robot mode. Finally, it hinted at a deep-seated psychological problem where the Counterpunch persona slowly begins to develop a life of its own, a way for Punch to indulge his darker urges while keeping himself utterly separate from them.
Sadly neither Dreamwave nor the current IDW comics ever picked up on that. Imagine a story set in the current IDW comics universe, where the war is pretty much over, and amidst a horde of other characters already struggling what to do now you have Punch, basically James Bond with multiple personality disorder, looking to rid himself of the now-unnecessary Counterpunch persona. Counterpunch doesn’t want to go, though, setting the stage for a full-on Fight-Club-esque sequence of events where the two personalities strive for dominance. I don’t know about you, but I would certainly buy a Spotlight issue or mini-series featuring that.
To this day, though, Punch / Counterpunch remains one of the most underutilized Transformers characters of them all.
When it comes to Star Trek movies there is no beating Star Trek II – The Wrath of Khan, but the one movie that came very, very close for me was Star Trek VI – The Undiscovered Country. As the Cold War ended in the real world, this movie asked the interesting question: does the end of a war automatically mean peace? And it provided the answer, too: no, just because the fighting is officially over does not mean all is well. Ending a war is oftentimes far, far easier than winning the peace.
IDW comics, who ended their version of the Great War with the Chaos Event, has explored the aftermath of the war ever since. You have disgruntled soldiers on both sides who refuse to lay down their arms or don’t know what to do with their lives now. You have a vast population of neutrals who are not happy with either side and just want to rebuild their civilization. Then there is Starscream, who has managed to manipulate said population and got himself elected king of Cybertron, his ambitions only barely held in check by newcomer Windblade. And there is Optimus Prime, of course, who struggles to find a new place in this world, where half the Transformers regard him as a war criminal while the other half regards him as a deity.
Most interesting, to me, is Megatron, however. When he was first made into an Autobot at the end of the Dark Cybertron arc I did not expect much of it. It came too quickly after his latest bid to conquer the planet and there seemed little reason for him to change. Him joining the crew of the Lost Light in order to find and be judged by the legendary Knights of Cybertron seemed little more than a plot contrievance to get him onto the ship. Ever since then, though, Megatron has surprised me, which is mostly due to how writer James Roberts has handled him in the More than Meets the Eye series. In a beautiful character scene with Ravage, for example, he ponders when exactly he became a monster and, more importantly, when stopped caring about being a monster.
And more recently there was a tremendous scene when the Lost Light crew stopped on the planet of the Necrobot. The Necrobot has taken it upon himself to record every last death of the Cybertronian race. Every living Cybertronian has a holographic statue upon this world and when they die, the Necrobot switches the hologram off. Megatron learns that the Necrobot also plants a techno-organic flower for every Cybertronian killed and he plants them at the foot of the statue of the killer. Megatron visits his own statue then… and is stunned at seeing it standing in the middle of a vast field, surrounded by millions of flowers. Not a single word is spoken, but the image of a despondent Megatron, standing alone in a sea of flowers (aka corpses) clearly conveys that, maybe for the first time ever, he actually realizes how many lives he has destroyed.
The hardest thing for any story writer is to make the readers care about the characters, especially the bad guy characters. For most of his 30+ year career as main bad guy in the Transformers franchise, Megatron has been little more than the stereotypical would-be conquerer. Powerful, evil, occasionally brilliant, oftentimes cool, sometimes ludicrous. James Roberts has managed, though, to give Megatron a believable back story as the disgruntled miner who saw his attempts at peaceful revolution crushed and finally concluded that violence was the only answer, only to be utterly corrupted in the process. And he has also managed to get Megatron started on the first shaky steps towards redemption. Will it work? Will this great character arc reach a satisfying conclusion? I don’t know yet, but I do know I’ll keep reading. Which, I guess, is the biggest compliment a reader can give to a writer.
Renowned comic artist Phil Jimenez had, at one time, pitched a comic book crossover between the G1 Transformers and DC Comics’ Justice League. Sadly the proposal never went anywhere, but oh my, look at that beautiful artwork above.
Sadly, this crossover seems to be firmly filed away under Things That Could Have Been.
Read more here: comicbookresources.com