Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Lesser Of Two Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen Prequels: Alliance Is Just Terrible.

The Good: ? Art gallery at the back of the anthology.
The Bad: Lame story, Lack of character development, ARTWORK, Dialogue, Price
The Basics: Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen: Alliance fills in the gap with the military and Sector Seven stories between the first and second Transformers films . . . poorly.

As part of the continuing phenomenon of preparing the summer movie audience for the latest blockbuster films, most movie studios now do tie-ins with comic books. Those comic books are later anthologized as trade paperbacks and some actually do valuable work for the audience. Chief among these would have to be Star Trek: Countdown (reviewed here!) which brilliantly led into the last Star Trek by presenting the entire future backstory in the comic book and finishing with literally the first frames of the film. It did exactly what it set out to do and I think I appreciate it more now with a little distance.

Conversely, Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen (reviewed here!) had two prequel trade paperback anthologies and while one might have actually been average, the other is just terrible. While Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen: Defiance prepared audiences for the backstory of the Fallen and painted a more clear picture of the fallout between Optimus Prime and Megatron, the other trade paperback anthology does nothing so useful. The second anthology is Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen: Alliance and it is almost entirely lacking in usefulness or inherent quality. In fact, it acts as a much more literal bridge between Transformers (reviewed here!) and its cinematic sequel. The thing is, it tells a story which is not only unnecessary, but is uninteresting and poorly presented.

With the fall of Megatron after the incident in Mission City, Sector Seven works to cover up the incident. As Sam tries to return to some semblance of a normal life, Captain Lennox and Sergeant Epps are debriefed by Agent Simmons. Simmons wants to keep the whole issue of Megatron quiet while Sector Seven disposes of the downed Decepticon. As they work with Lennox and the military to get rid of Megatron, a signal is sent out and Optimus Prime worries about its intended recipient. Aiding the military, Optimus Prime and the Autobots try to avoid the other Decepticons.

Looking to curry favor with the Fallen, Wreckage comes out of the woodwork to try to recover a piece of Megatron and take his place as the leader of the Decepticons. Starscream thwarts the attempt, but ends up coming onto the radar of the military. Soon, it becomes clear to Lennox that Sam's life will continue to be in danger and with the disposal of the fallen Decepticon leader, he and Simmons try to figure out how to protect Sam.

Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen: Alliance is preoccupied with the infighting of the Decepticons in the absence of Megatron and even that story is outweighed by the human story involving Lennox and Simmons. Lennox and Simmons have catty infighting between one another as they slowly start to work with Optimus Prime and the Autobots to clean up the mess from the Decepticon attacks in Transformers. The book references other Transformers comic books and does nothing essential. In other words, this is a poor prequel to Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen because it does not generate additional interest in the new film, nor does it answer any of the questions the film failed to answer (like the bevy of annoying, distracting characters from Transformers that were absent from the sequel).

More than that, writer Chris Mowry doesn't seem to have anything to say in Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen: Alliance. There is no message, no theme, no real purpose. Instead, it's like someone wrote him a check and said, "write a prequel to the new Transformers film." The four chapters of Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen: Alliance ramble between the boringly monolithic Decepticons who turn on one another and the equally bland military forces cleaning up Mission City.

Particularly lame is the dialogue between Simmons and Lennox and Epps. Witty banter that works on screen entirely falls flat in the pages of this book, but Mowry seldom tries. Having recently rewatched both films, the characters do not "sound" like they did on screen; they use a different vernacular and Simmons seems a lot more casual in this book than he did in either film.

What ultimately sinks this collection of four comic books is the artwork. The artwork is sloppy and recognizable characters in this book are not. Simmons looks nothing like John Turturro; I only figured out who he was when he entered the book by his black beret and the fact that his name was written on the page. Similarly, Lennox looks nothing like Josh Duhamel. Sam looks slightly like Shia LaBeouf, but he is barely in the book. As well, the sense of movement in this graphic novel is poor, with lines of motion often obscuring entire transformers, making it unclear what is supposed to be portrayed on the page.

But more than anything else, Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen: Alliance is unnecessary because the film fills in the gap between the two films well-enough when the movie begins. This becomes a pretty obvious - and poor - cashgrab with no character development and a pointless, wandering story that does not truly set the movie up.

For other graphic novel tie-ins to major films or television works, please check out my reviews of:
Tron: Betrayal
Terminator: Salvation Sand In The Gears
Heroes - Volume 2


For other book reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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