Thursday, June 10, 2010
Review: Marvel G1 #57: The Resurrection Gambit!
The cover is rather fanciful, though more than a bit awkward. Megatron blasts Ratchet directly in his midsection, causing sparks and wires to flyeverywhere. They seem to be standing on the some Cybertronian wreckage. I don't really mind that this exact series of events doesn't happen in the book, it's sort of close enough. Megatron DOES blast an Autobot in this environment, and while Ratchet isn't physically harmed, he certainly must feel like this. Hoever, the poses and composition seem really stiff and awkward. Megatron's leaning back too much, and his arm is at a funny angle. Ratchet's legs and torso don't seem to go together, and not in a his-torso-was-blown-off way. Taey're also way too close together. "The Autobots' WORST NIGHTMARE comes true -- MEGATRON returns!" I actually like the cover, since it really does correctly set the tone, but technically it's all wrong.
Now, the first page of the book, on the other hand, is just about perfect. Megatron gloats, while Ratchet falls deeper into despair. Great lettering work from Massara on Ratchet's escalating "no" bubbles. "It began with a dream--a nighmare in which the dead walked! And though the dreamer--Autobot surgeon Ratchet-- is now wide awake, the nightmare continues..." Good stuff there, Furman! There's also a double play on the meaning of the title. One's first instinct is to take the resurrection gambit to mean Megatron's return, and in a way it is. This is Furman's resurrection gambit. However, it also applies quite literally to Megatron's dastardly scheme-but we'll get to that in a bit.
The Sports Car Patrol openly mocks Ratchet for falling for their ruse. They should, it was shady from the start. Megatron, though, just oozes smarmy charisma, telling Ratchet that all he wanted to do was help the physician heal the sick. His creepy smile says otherwise, making it easy to imagine Welker delivering these words with his customary irony. Ratchet, in a very self-aware moment, asks Megatron for his "how I survived" story, but is instead treated to the "my insane scheme" story first. The insane scheme, it would seem, involves Pretender armor. I love how Furman pokes fun at the very conventions he is using, which serves to make them fresher than they might otherwise be. He makes it seem almost effortless, though I imagine that he really was concerned about giving us too many superhero cliches. He needn't have worried; despite being a comic, Transformers had managed to stay away from most of the more flamboyant comic book tropes.
This issue is terrific, somehow quite a bit better than the last one. Issue 56 is all set-up, slowly establishing the mood. While this issue really is mostly exposition, with a bit of action down on Earth, it's very clever and exciting exposition. Megatron, Ratchet and Prime all get great characterization here. It was very shrewd of Furman to go with Ratchet for Megatron's pawn, rather than, say, First Aid or Fixit. Ratchet's past history with Megatron makes him ideal. I love how deliciously evil Megatron is, Furman just nails his voice perfectly. Megatron was never really THAT menacing the first time around; the first four issues were jumbled, and then he mostly seemed to be a rival for Shockwave rather than a threat to the Autobots for the rest of his appearances. It's nice to see just how bad he can actually be when allowed to cut loose. Even Prime, who can be boring, manages not to be this time out. His tension was evident as of last issue; this issue, he loses it and it works great. General Campbell, though, could have done with a mite more characterization. When reading this story, I couldn't help but feel that under Budiansky he'd have been a person, rather than just a cipher playing a role in the story. Still, different writes, different strengths.
Next issue, "RATCHET might be able to save his patients -- but can he save himself?!?" I'm definitely along for this ride, anyway. The Resurrection Gambit! is available for purchase in IDW's Classic Transformers Volume 4.