Comic Book Review: "Transformers: Nefarious #4"
Cover Price: $3.99 (US)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Published: June 2010
Written by: Simon Furman
Art by: Carlos Magno
Colors by: Andrew Dalhouse
Letters by: Chris Mowry
Assistant Editor: Carlos Guzman
Editor by: Andy Schmidt
Northeast of Nevada
Galloway's helicopter has crashed and his assailant is still pressing his attack. The pilots do their best to cover his escape. An explosion sends the humans flying and Frank winds up with his side impaled on a piece of metal. As this happens, Carter and Ingrid watch as she explains that she understands he has a personal hate for the Transformers, not just a military interest. He doesn't argue with her, but does tell her that she only gets as much latitude as she does because they are family. Carter's staff is worried however as what they claim to be "armageddon" is coming! Outside Nevada, Ransack continues his assault, transforming and landing right next to Galloway. Galloway has managed to get his hands on a radio and tried to reach out for help.
Galloway's message has not been in vain. In their Texas base, Optimus Prime and Lennox lament losing Soundwave but when they receive the message from Galloway they dispatch Skids and Mudflap to help. Lennox scrambles the Apache helicopters while Ironhide and Prime discuss whether Galloway is even worthy of help. Prime believes he does, but Ironhide isn't particularly happy about it.
Soundwave and his forces have tracked Ravage to the Initiative's base where they have the Decepticon captive. Dirt Boss leads a charge and defenses quickly spring up left and right, taking down Soundwave's forces one by one. With most of their defenses penetrated, Soundwave swoops in believing he will make it through. Suddenly large trucks appear and reveal a mysterious cargo. Blasts strike Soundwave and he falls as two mystery figures approach him.
Ransack continues his attack on Galloway. When his attack looks like it might kill Frank, Galloway distracts him so he begins firing at him instead. Skids and Mudflap arrive on the scene and manage to force Ransack into a retreat. Soon, Lennox's forces arrive and thrash Ransack with firepower until he crashes. As the injured are taken away, Galloway tells Lennox they have to get to the Hoover Dam as fast as they can. As they approach, the twins sense what was, and may be again in the Dam: The Allspark!
Something is coming in fast at Odessa base. Ironhide has been dispatched to meet the threat who turns out to be a seriously wounded Soundwave proposing an alliance!
Deep inside an Initiative base, Carter is wheeling into a room with several cables leading to machinery including an old 50's style car. Inside he swears vengeance upon all the Transformers to the head of Frenzy!
In "Revenge of the Fallen", the character of Galloway was played as a really annoying one. He seemed like the typical bureaucrat who just wanted to take power and get in the way of what needed to be done (indeed, he did play those roles). In this issue of "Nefarious" however, we get to see him play another role: a leader. More than the story of the Initiative or the battling the Transformers do, I was very surprised and happy to see Galloway not acting like a coward in the battle but rather a leader. One of my favorite scenes is Galloway checking on Frank and instead of running to save his own hide, he does his best to find a way to get help at his own peril. If high stress situations bring out the true nature of a person, than this situation has shown that Galloway can be someone who takes charge in a good way.
Two other characters who are (somewhat) redeemed in my eyes are the Twins. Anyone who has listened to my podcast or read my reviews of their figures knows that I'm not the biggest fan of Mudflap and Skids from "Revenge of the Fallen", mostly because of their stupid humor and ugly designs. Well, the ugly designs are still intact here, so there's not much to be done about that, however their personalities have now been written as being more like fast talking smart alecs rather than racial caricatures of racial stereotypes. I like this way of writing them as they are emuch more relatable (to me at least). They even help save the day, helping to chase Ransack away. They make some quips and a bit of silliness, but nothing so jarring that it detracts from the story itself.
The Initiative doesn't wind up doing a whole heck of a lot here save instigating a battle using Ransack. However, we do get to learn that this cause is personal for Carter (and that he and Ingrid are somehow related). The appearance of Frenzy's head at the end is interesting since the last time we saw the piece it was in Simmons' basement. I'm also intrigued by the smashe dup vehicles with tubes leading to the head. Could they be the bodies of old style Transformers? I think so and I'm looking forward to finding out in the next issue!
Artist Carlos Magno continues to deliver in this issue. The dynamic art, the level of detail and the careful attention to facial expressions and body posture are all present. Sometimes a mini-series can fall apart part way through thanks to bad art. It's cool to see that is not the case here.
So far Magnos has shown an affinity for redesigning some of the Transformers so they all don't wind up looking like redecos of each other (which many of the Scout Class Transformers are) and I've enjoyed those designs. This time out however, I'm not as happy with his design changes. The way he has redesigned Ransack's robot mode is certainly consistant with the movie aesthetic including the insectoid features, lots of mechanical bits everywhere with vehicle mode parts splaying out at angles. However, I really like Ransack's toy design. I think the thin, skeletal body and skill head are really distinctive and creepy looking and would have worked well on the comic book page. Instead, Ransack winds up looking bulky, like a "tough guy" type Transformer, instead of a thin, creepy Transformer and I think something is lost there. The art isn't bad per se, I just don't agree with the design choice for the character.
If you've been reading up to this point, keep on going. This story loses a bit of momentum in this issue, but there are good battle scenes, surprise character developments and a mystery or two to boot. Recommended!