Sunday, 13 May 2012

On Fiction

For a fan of TransFormers, I'm rather indifferent to the attached fiction. To put that in perspective, I watched the G1 cartoon when I was younger, I read the Marvel UK comics, I've always preferred the Beast Wars/Machines TV series to the toys, I've got the first two IDW collections - Infiltration and Escalation - I liked Animated and, what I've seen of Prime has been nothing short of stunning. In fact, without having seen any episodes of TF Prime, I probably would have skipped on the toyline entirely. Oh, and there's those Michael Bay movies... I watched those.

I'm also, let's face it, a member of the Collectors' Club, which publishes a few pages of its own continuity-spanning saga - Timelines - in every issue, filling in great chunks with its BotCon stories. So, when I say I'm 'indifferent', there are a few caveats.

For the most part, these days, I see the fiction as a value-added bonus rather than an necessary part of the toyline. It's part of a marketing strategy, not a grand attempt at high drama. I've always felt there's something bizarre about saddling sentient alien machines with religion (Primus vs Unicron), and a lot of the organic alien races that turned up in the Marvel comics just looked daft. And the Collectors' Club stories in particular were just a means of shoehorning the Club's exclusive toys into a story, frequently using far too many unrelated toys as secondary characters (see Cheap Shots).

While the Club magazine's six-or-so bi-monthly pages are worth reading, they don't tend to be anything particularly special, and not really worth a second look.

That is, until issue 44.

OK, confession time, I suspect the previous post (2007 Movie Cliffjumper) was spurred into being because of 'A Flash Forward, Part 2'. Cliffjumper features on three of the six pages, training/monitoring a bunch of non-Club toy characters who have come into contact with the McGuffin from this branch of Timelines, Forestonite. Cliffjumper is portrayed as angry, paranoid and on a hair trigger (fitting more with the G1 cartoon than his original Tech Specs, which painted him as reckless and not very smart). While chewing out some of his superpowered comrades, he gets a call from Ultra Magnus, just to remind him they're Autobots. That's probably the first time the Club comic has had me laughing out loud with such a brief exchange... or possibly at all.

Here's hoping Cliffjumper turns out to be a main player in A Flash Forward, even if he's not going to be a Club toy.

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