TV Shows: "Combiner Wars" Episode 1: The Fall Review
Title: The Fall
Air Date: August 2, 2016
Summary (from Go90):
Battling Combiners have landed on Planet Caminus – and it’s none other than the powerful and logical Computron (composed of the Technobots) and the unruly and wild Menasor (composed of the Stunticons)! Their epic combat is wreaking havoc and there’s no signs they’re going to stop anytime soon. That’s when Windblade, formerly known as the ‘City Speaker’ of Caminus, enters with her fellow warrior, Maxima. The two of them aren’t about to let the battle go unchecked. But can even two mighty Transformers win against these giant threats?
Before I dive into this episode, it is important to note that this story begins somewhere in the middle, meaning the characters already know each other and there is plenty of history alluded to in dialogue. Many of these concepts are borrowed from the IDW Publishing comic book. Check out the links below (going to the always awesome TFWiki) to read up on some of these concepts:
Review (SPOILERS AHEAD):
This episode is only five minutes long. Along with the rest of the series the episodes will form roughly a 40 minute narrative. Given then the episode gets down to the action very quickly. A good chunk of the episode focuses on Menasor and Computron fighting, then Windblade and Maxima taking down Menasor. This could have been a mindless action sequence, but sprinkled into the action are lines of dialogue that set up some intriguing storylines. Why is Windblade so angry? Why is Caminus so desolate? Who is on the Council and why do they want to build an army of Combiners? I'm very interested to see if these questions are addressed in future episodes.
The writers tried to squeeze as much characterization as they could into this brief episode. Computron speaks like his G1 animated counterpart citing "Datum" and a "Conclusion" while Menasor talks much more like a bully (even calling Computron a "Nerd"). Windblade and Maxima clearly have a deep friendship as conveyed by Windblade's sobs after Maxima dies. I hope there are a lot more moments and dialogue like this in future installments.
The animation was interesting to watch. I loved the animation models. All the characters look fantastic but when they move there is a certain pensiveness about it that I found unexpected. In some scenes it works well such as when Menasor reaches out and grabs Windblade. It really helps convey his size and power. In other scenes like Menasor smashing through the city it looks a little off.
The voice work in the episode took getting used to for me, not because the actors did a bad job. Instead I am simply so used to the voices from "Generation One" for Menasor and Computron that hearing different voices for them threw me off a bit my first two viewings. By the third viewing I had "settled into" the voices mentally. I personally would have preferred a more smooth and calculating type voice for Computron, but everyone else's voice worked for me.
- It is interesting to see that like the G1 episode "The Ultimate Weapon" showed, a Combiner can still function as a collective whole with limbs missing. Despite two members of the team being torn off, Computron still retained his identity and consciousness.
- I wonder what happened to the limbs torn off Computron since they fell away into space not to be seen again.
- I sincerely hope Computron and Menasor are not dead but just in Stasis Lock. It would feel like a waste to off two characters like that so quickly.
- I look forward to learning just what turned Windblade from a Cityspeaker to a fierce warrior bent on destroying the Combiners.
With only five minutes to work with "Combiner Wars" had to kick off with a bang and boy does it ever! It was cool to see Computron and Menasor duke it out and I enjoyed seeing the tactics the smaller Transformers used against the Combiners. This episode does a great job of whetting one's appetite by bringing up more questions than it answers. I'm looking forward to seeing more.