You have to love that cover though - one of the best of the whole run. And the first full page of Death's Head jumping Soundwave is wicked too. :-)
Oh yes, the cover is awesome, that' just a given with Senior at this point.
This story rarely gets mentioned by fans - I guess the narrative structure and lack of a snappy title makes it hard to get raving about it. IMHO Furman gets the two-parter trick right with City of Fear but otherwise it was wise to go back to longer parters.
The specials advert is possibly picking and choosing as there was also an Action Force special that summer - though as its reprint takes place at a clear point in the weekly comic it may not have been on shelves just yet. But I suspect the Get-Along Gang may not have had a special - Googling suggests that by this time their comic had merged into Care Bears and they weren't even mentioned on the banner anymore.
If only there was a good database available for British comics that could answer a lot of these ones.
I generally refer to it as "Wanted Galvatron Dead Or Alive" as a whole.
And as a whole it holds up better then Target 2006, which has several dead spots instead of just 1.
Is overly long and has a dissapointing ending.
Given that Soundwave was a mind-reading, blackmailing manipulative b*stard who sucked up to Shockwave *and* Megatron at the same time, Furman managed to make him almost sympathetic at least once or twice before that moment in Time Wars. He clearly liked writing the character, and one almost felt sorry for him here (the other vaguely sympathetic moment that stands out is when, as acting Decepticon leader, he reassures Laserbeak that no blame shall be levelled at him, which 'humanised' Soundwave a little).
Great stuff as always even if I don't particularly remember this issue beyond Death's Head grenading poor Laserbeak. I've always personally thought Rodimus was kind of criminally underused in the Marvel comics... the only real memorable things he did was that 'Request denied' scene and that black and white strip where Unicron has invaded his Matrix in the future or something.
Most of his other appearances include being sidelined (Time Wars), spending half his time as Hot Rod (Space Pirates), being a half dead old man talking about old times (Aspects of Evil) and... I think that's about it? Which is surprising considering how freaking prominent Rodimus Prime is in Regen One... and probably why I like it so much because it doesn't feel like retreaded water.
I've been rereading Target 2006 and Dinobot Hunt (among other things) as I go through your site, and it's really jarring to see these stories written by the same person who would later write Regeneration One. (Thanks for the little ad for my reviews there, by the way) Like you said, 1987-era Furman is just so economical with his writing, that even padding like the Ironhide bit in Target felt more like character building than just padding.
Comparing it to Regen One when practically every issue devoted anything from two to three pages just showing Galvatron, Starscream and Shockwave heading to earth, another panel shows Hot Rod struggling with visions or some shit, another one shows Bludgeon heading to earth... I wish I was exaggerating but I'm not.
Part of the problem is probably Furman being too used in writing for the British comic, which has less pages per issue than IDW's 22, and because the British comic is released per week. So Furman's perception of good pacing is marred by his perspective of issue-to-issue. What was would've been a good story told in five parts in a British comic would've taken a little more than a month to read and around 40+ pages, whereas modern stuff like his IDW output would've taken half a year and more than double that amount.
I really like Rodimus in 'Headhunt' - though even there, he spends the whole story being chased and beaten up...
Headhunt was a good showing for Rodimus
and so was the Legacy Of Unicron
And your observing of the problem with Regeneration One, ( being too damn long with too much padding) would hold up.
If not for the fact that Furman basically stopped writing British comics around 1989\1990 and started writing American comics .
It has been at least 25 years, since he had to constrain himself to the 11 page format.
And in between he wrote, She Hulk,
Several Death's Head series
War Within 1 and 2,
The ation arcs,
At least 23 Spotlights,
and several movie mini series.
That's a lot of output and he should have been used to it by now.
Furman's biggest problem was even evident back in the UK comics.
His lack of a strong ending.
Target 2006 suffered from it ( as well as being overly long )
So did Space Pirates.
And Time War, ( which was a mess to begin with. )
What Furman really needs is a clear goal ( see G 2 )
And a editor that is willing to say no, and make cuts.
Because Furman can work just fine in the American 22 page format,
and he did that before IDW.
See What If: Deaths 'Head had lived
Several She Hulk's
Or even Headhunt and Wanted Galvatron Dead or Alive, which are both strong showings and only 22 pages.
Regenration One is just overly padded so it could fit the trade.
Which is a malaise that is spread all over the industry,
instead of lettinga story flow naturally, it has to be constricted or padded ou till it fits exactly 4 5 or 6 parts.
No flow or freedom it has to be exactly 6 parts.
MTME is so far one of the few IDW series that actually escape that kind of compatimenalisation, because it even dares to have "gasp" 2 parters of even "bigger gasp" stand alone issues !
Regeneration One is just a very obvious example of this noxiuous practise, because its' 4 story lines are just stretched and structured so poorly with out any flow or rhyme and reason. And just need to fit 5 parts each, so they can fill 4 trades and the 4 story lines just over stay their welcome.
The first one should have been 3 parts, The Scorponok storyline 2 or 3 parts at most, and so forth.
Batman is another example of this practise. The first year of the reboot the whoel year was a single overlong story line and on top of that we got another 6 parter, followed by another year long story line.
hooray more TPB's, nevermind that the first story would have been better served if it was just 6 parts instead of 12.
Didn't Simpson draw the UK Headmasters story as well?
Wanted: Galvatron is probably the least interesting of the UK epics. Its basically a series of fights against Galvatron to the point of oversaturation, and it's not told in a particularly interesting manner like Target: 2006 or Dinobot Hunt. Death's Head saves the arc with his personality and black humour, but it pales in comparison to its precedessor.
he drew world apart yes but that was one of his last contributions
wanted as a whole is better then target 2006 ( in my opinion ) because it drags less even with 2 issues of dead weigth it drags a lot less is over faster and the climx is more satisfying and betetr thougth out
target 2006 lumbers and has a dissapointing end game
repainting skywarp as starscream which then causes galvatron to jump to humongous logic leaps and then fucks off never sat right with me
if this universe was so different he might as well stayed there and see what would happen but no he jumps to a contrived conclusion and leaves
throw in a very dissapointing epilouge and the ending is rather hit an dmiss and mostly miss
target 2006 has more problems
( poor pacing stop and start several dead issues over long dropping plot points
not explaining th elittle plot as to how or why the autobots would buiuld on the site of a huge fucking cannon )
but the piss poor ending is the biggest problem
I agree that Death's Head gets a much better treatment as Galvatron's foil than Rodimus. Lockdown achieves the same in Age of Extinction too, where Megatron hasn't felt like a credible, ominous threat since the first film.
Rodimus' personality must have alienated him from a lot of kids (it certainly did for me); seeing this whiny tart of a leader, well... whine! At least Optimus would whine with some balls; all it would take is a positive thought and then he'd smack someone in the mouth, or liberate Cybertron, before returning to a general mope.
Additionally Kup and Blurr felt like ineffectual cheerleaders. I would've liked to see Rodimus, Kup and Blurr take on Galvatron, Cyclonus and Scourge, what kid wouldn't? Sounds like a no-brainer of a setup, but it never happened.
In actual fact seeing the older generation Autobots take on Scourge in Target: 2006 was a much more interesting proposition, but you know... my point is these three hero Autobots from the future were about as tough as pillows. But they did look the part, looking all futuristic-y with curved metal and non-Diaclone designs. Plus the movie dead no end of good for Rodimus' PR, so he could afford to do a bit of whinge-ing.
Now Death's Head, he was a fantastic mixer-upper in that the Autobot/Decepticon distinction meant nothing to him. So it was fun to have a genuine wild card, and looking back the whole handling of Rodimus is interesting (from an adult point of view). Hot Rod was a daring cavalier type, so again Rodimus could have been a hot-headed kick-ass leader, like Grimlock without the utterly lame (just my opinion) speech impediment.
Cyclonus, Shockwave, Soundwave etc were always much more interesting than Rodimus, but I still kind of appreciate what Furman was trying to do with him. He was probably modelling him a bit on Luke Skywalker, as, I don't know, maybe it seemed like younger audiences could handle goodies who are not sure sure of themselves.
Ultimately if Rodimus/Optimus really had gone in thumping everyone all the time, the comic may have suffered.
... And perhaps more realistically; if Autobots (leaders in particular) were seen as solving problems chiefly with their fists, would someone have come down on the comic writers?
Based on how Rodimus reacts when he shoots that guy in the face back in Wanted..., Hasbro didn't have a problem with the characters being insanely violent as long as they felt a sense of moral responsibility over it.
Thanks for all the comments when I've been away, as a special treat, my Auto Assembly pictures:
Always be cautious about reading corporate opinion into what any individual employee has signed off. About a year away in Meltdown the strip is cautious against showing Flame's Autobot symbol when he's being especially violent - that could be Hasbro flagging something suggesting an inconsistent approach or perhaps someone new in post. From what Furman's said in interviews it seems Hasbro generally didn't show much interest in what was being done except for when they wanted particular toys pushed. Otherwise Marvel could normally pretty much do what they liked and that would suggest most Hasbro reps treated the job as a rubber stamping exercise.
unfortunally i cant see thoe pics i dont have ( or want ) facebook
did you get budiansky to sign a few comics though ?
Bob wasn't there, he's doing a different UK event in October. I'm sorry the pics don't work, I thought I'd made it a public anyone can see it gallery, but clearly not. Just imagine me looking cool.
So remind me: who gets displaced to make way for Rodimus and co?
IIRC there's a later letter where Grimlock states the Decepticons won't tell.
Stuart Webb. Who knows everything about nothing and not a lot about that.
Action Force/G.I. Joe