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Published on August 30th, 2013 | by Contributor


What’s In My Bag: Issue #10

By Mike Seibert

In each issue of What’s In My Bag, I recap and review three individual single issues from my bag of recently read comic books. The order listed is not necessarily by preference. Also, be advised that minor spoilers may abound, but are generally in reference to previous issues only or other happenings that may relate to the issue being reviewed.

Transformers: Robots In Disguise #17 (IDW)

Back in Issue number 1 of What’s In My Bag, I wrote about the other ongoing IDW Transformers series: More Than Meets The Eye. This is its companion book. Both are stand-alone series that can be read separately, but when read together; there is a larger picture illustrated. The two series could not be any more different, stylistically. MTMTE is more light hearted, often bordering on whimsical comedy, whereas RID plays things more straight and can actually be quite dark at times; like this stand-alone issue here.

Following the shocking climax of issue #16 the action takes a break and shifts to the past and focuses on fan favorite Decepticon villain Shockwave.

This story reveals the secret origin of Shockwave in the IDW continuity, as well as being the first prelude to the Dark Cybertron storyline that will unfold across the Transformers line of books later this year.

In this issue, we watch Shockwave “transform” (pun intended) from a good natured scientist to the cold, logical villain we’ve always known him to be. Sure, the sympathetic villain cliché is nothing new and not incredibly surprising, but writer John Barber presents it in such a way that is still heartbreaking to read.

Guest artist Livio Ramondelli brings in his signature dark style to this issue, and it really sells the grim tone of this story. His Transformers artwork is truly amazing, blending traditional pencils with digital painting. But it also so vastly different from anything else we’ve seen before with these characters. Grim. Dark. Moody. These aren’t words one would typically use to describe giant robots fighting each other, but each issue his does is just magic.

As a tangent from my review, here’s a story. I first came across Livio Ramondelli’s artwork at Emerald City Comicon a few years ago. He had contributed a piece of artwork to the convention’s Monsters and Dames book (which is exactly what it sounds like. Really a fantastic convention exclusive whose proceeds benefit Seattle Children’s Hospital. Highly recommended if you can get your hands on a copy. But I digress). One of things I like to do at ECCC is visit each of the contributing artists and have them autograph the book. When I found his table, I was blown away by his work that he had on display. I hadn’t seen anything like it before. One of the prints I bought was of Optimus Prime, smoking gun in hand, looking like he had through a war. His chest was cracked open and the glowing blue energy of the Matrix was radiating out like sunbeams. A magnificent piece that literally made me gasp. Anyhow, at that point, Livio Ramondelli was working as a background concept artist for video games and hadn’t had any comic book art published. I told him that it would be awesome if he were to ever draw some Transformers comic books. He smiled graciously, agreeing and wished me well. He was a super cool guy and I became a fan for life.

Two years later, I picked up a Transformers comic book with a cover by him that looked very similar to the print that I had bought. He’s since gone on to do several individual issues for the book to critical acclaim. But it’s a cool feeling to say “I knew his stuff before he was guy!” Tangent over, back to the review.

For fans of the classic Marvel Transformers series, check out page 16. There is a deliberate homage to a similar page there that gave me chills! Scary, creepy and awesome all at the same time!

This is a definite must-buy for Shockwave fans. But even if you are not currently reading Robots In Disguise, but are a Transformers fan, I would highly recommend picking up issue #17.

A+X #8 (Marvel NOW!)

I first wrote about this great self-contained team-up book back in issue # 1, and I still liking it for those same reasons.

This issue’s lead story features Spider-Woman teamed up with Kitty Pryde (and her pet dragon Lockheed). It’s written by Gerry Duggan (Deadpool, The Infinite Horizon) with art by Salvador Larroca (Invincible Iron Man). There’s some great snarky banter between the two ladies as they fight off gangs of HYDRA and AIM agents and a super charged Absorbing Man. I loved that Lockheed got so much panel time, because I think that the current X-Men writers seem to have forgotten that Kitty has him. Fun stuff!

The second feature has Hawkeye teaming up with Deadpool. There were a giggle-worthy moments in this otherwise silly story. Pirates are involved. There’s also a great gag involving trick arrows and Hulk Hands. And chimichangas!

Star Wars #5 (Dark Horse)

There hasn’t been an ongoing series titled Star Wars, colon-less, since the Marvel Comics series ended in 1986. Every Star Wars comic and series that Dark Horse has published since 1991 has carried some kind of subtitle, until now.

It’s because of the placement in Star Wars continuity that gives the title credibility. Focusing on the three main characters, Luke, Han and Leia, this series begins shortly after the end of A New Hope; filling in the gap in time before the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back. During a time when any stories could be simply called “Star Wars”.

The main plot follows the Rebels desperately searching for a new secret base after the destruction of the Death Star. What is so fascinating about this period in continuity is that there is so much that the characters don’t know yet, but the reader does; like Luke and Leia’s familial connection, as well as the truth of their parentage.

Writer Brian Wood (X-Men, DMZ) plays this dynamic very well in that he doesn’t bash you over the face and head with winks and nods. Sure, there are some very subtle references, but nothing that resembles “See?’Cos they’re brother an’ sister! Get it?! Elbow jab. Elbow jab.”

He has a really good grasp on these characters and I can “hear” the actor’s voices in my head while I read the dialogue.

Carlos D’Anda’s (Deathblow, Outsiders) art and designs really capture this “in between” era, and I really like his detailed rendering of the ships. As a jaded fan, I had forgotten how cool X-Wing fighters could be!

Speaking of, I am really digging on one great addition to the lore with this series, Princess Leia: X-Wing Fighter Pilot! For the life of me, I cannot figure out why fans would have an issue with this. To me, it makes a lot of sense and adds another dimension to her character. Why is that a bad thing? Besides, there is nothing in continuity that says that she WASN’T an X-Wing pilot, so this is not contradictory!

In this issue, Leia’s elite X-Wing squadron mix it up with some TIE fighters and one seriously skilled TIE pilot. The dogfights are fantastic!

…And I would be remiss if I did not mention that fan-favorite bounty hunter;

Boba Fett makes a brief cameo appearance, already on the hunt for Han Solo! (We had already been teased by Fett’s inclusion in Alex Ross’ amazing cover for issue #2)

For causal Star Wars fans that haven’t read over 20 years of comics, this is the book for you! As the tag line for issue #1 reads: The Heroes Before They Were Legends…

Like what you’ve read? Be sure to let us know using the comments below. Didn’t like it? Even better! Just be sure to leave a comment and start a conversation.

Any and all feedback is appreciated!

You can Follow Mike Seibert on Twitter @Seibert_Mike and use the #whatsinmybag

About the Author

BJ Shea's Geek Nation is always looking for contributors. If you have watched, read, or played something that you think Geek Nation would like to read about, send your review to and your review might get published!

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