Jagex Provides Transformers Universe Update, Still Not MMORPG

An email went out today to those signed up for beta access to Transformers Universe, the MMO first unveiled as an RPG with character creation at BotCon 2011 but later changed to a MOBA. After the initial limited beta, there was very little said about the game for months. According to Jagex CEO Mark Gerhard:

2013 was a critical year in the evolution of Transformers Universe. It was essential that we just knuckled down and got on with the core gameplay, and that unfortunately meant there was not much news to share for anyone outside of Jagex.

The new projected release timeframe is Summer 2014, with widening beta access between now and then. What will the current version of the game be like?

Autobots versus Decepticons, you’ll team up to play with and against other Commanders around the world in tactical and strategic online battles, competing for supremacy in the global faction war. Legendary Transformers characters will make special appearances – but more on that another time!

Your squad of Bots are a faction-specific collection with their own play styles, weaponry, augment options and specialties. There are countless fighting strategies when battling them and we really believe they will crystallise, embody and capture both what Transformers is all about and your imaginations.

More information can be found over on the official site.

Marvel Retrospective II: “Power Play!”, “Prisoner of War!”, and “The Last Stand”

This is the second in a series of articles re-visiting Marvel’s version of Transformers, covering the 80 issues released in America and the 4-issue miniseries “The Headmasters.” Images are scanned from my personal copies of each comic.

...close enough.
…close enough.

Over the course of the rest of the original 4-issue miniseries, plot points similar to the cartoon’s “More Than Meets the Eye” are carried out: The Autobots establish a human-Cybertronian relationship with Earth in general and the Witwickies in particular; the Decepticons try to get energy; Starscream plots against Megatron; there are a few big battles; the general status quo is set.

But a couple things differ strongly throughout the arc.

Continue reading Marvel Retrospective II: “Power Play!”, “Prisoner of War!”, and “The Last Stand”

Marvel Retrospective I: “The Transformers”

This is the first in what will hopefully be a series of articles re-visiting Marvel’s version of Transformers, covering the 80 issues released in America and the 4-issue miniseries “The Headmasters.” Images are scanned from my personal copies of each comic.

Here we go again for the first time...
Here we go again for the first time…

It was a world transformed.

In 1984, Marvel comics began a series of comics that would be the very first representation of Transformers in fiction, edited – and soon written – by Bob Budiansky, the same man who named most of the early characters and wrote the bios printed on the toy packaging.

Though I feel the animated cartoon that soon followed became, for most folks, the definitive version of the G1 story, the comic rumbled along far longer than the ‘toon lasted and morphed into its own totally unique version of the mythos.

I was a kid in the early 1990s, when Transformers was in decline, and my first introduction to the property was by way of an old Marvel comic I found at my local library. I spent much of my childhood scavenging yard sales, book stores, and flea markets for signs that Transformers once existed, and it oftentimes paid off in the odd issue of the Marvel comic, usually far distant in the chronology from any other that I owned. So I pieced this story together in my mind and it became just as cherished as the cartoon that I also adored.

Continue reading Marvel Retrospective I: “The Transformers”

More Than Meets Some Haikus!

[Ed. Note: I come from a fanzine background, so I love highlighting not just news but creative work as well. So have some haikus from our contributor Windchaser!]

Cyclonus the grump.
Can’t deal with emotions.
Tears face in grief.

Robot Tailgate
So old, yet so very young.
New horn seals friendship

With amnesia
Skids has forgotten so much
But not Getaway

Oh, Chromedome
So unlucky in love.
Remember Rewind.

Leader Rodimus
Not quite a Prime yet
Rod Pod too silly.

See Ultra Magnus
The big voice for reason
Small robot inside

IDW “After The Dark…” Teaser Images Reveal HUGE Twist

AfterTheDarkOptimus AfterTheDarkWindbladeAfterTheDarkMegatron


Over on their Tumblr, IDW’s been tossing out teaser images for what comes after Dark Cybertron with the “After The Dark…” tagline. The first one, with Optimus Prime (or possibly still Orion Pax?) over a planet that looks suspiciously like Earth, was a bit of a surprise after IDW swore off Earth-based stories a couple years back. The second, with Windblade and Cybertron, surprised no one (but was nice to see!).

It’s the third one that’s the real shocker, not so much for the character it features – Megatron – but for the details. Yep, that’s an Autobot symbol on Megatron’s chest, and his associated setting? The Lost Light.

Things just got a whole lot more interesting.


Wiki Wednesday: Maccadam’s Old Oil House

It’s New Year’s Day, and for many people that means it’s time to face the day with a blinding hangover. In honor of the season, let’s take a look at Cybertron’s favorite place to get plastered:

Situated over at sub-level six on Cybertron‘s lower-east quadrant, or just east of the High Council Pavilions in Iacon, is one of Cybertron‘s most renowned enterprises:Maccadam’s Old Oil House—the biggest single source of black market fuel on the entire planet. Its main attraction, beyond the excellent service, exceptionally pure oil and general selection of fuel, is that the proprietors make no distinction between AutobotsNeutralists and Decepticons. If you can pay, you can stay.

A Site Policy Statement

We here at Iacon Underground strongly support what IDW has done in choosing Mairghread Scott and Sarah Stone, both women, to work on the Transformers: Windblade comic. We are well aware that the othering of women that has run through the Transformers series, from the moment Hasbro told Bob Budiansky that Ratchet couldn’t be a female, is problematic, and as much as we love every iteration of Transformers we feel that not only bringing more female characters into Transformers but letting female creators define them is a huge step towards inclusivity for the brand.

What that means is that Iacon Underground is no place for the sort of misogynistic commentary that’s been rampant on other sites. If you want to criticize the need for gender among a race of giant alien robots who have never truly been anything but a race of people who happen to be giant alien robots, then you are welcome to do that over on TFW2005 – you are apparently welcome to do that in any other corner of the fan community except certain corners of Tumblr – but not here. If you want to argue that it doesn’t matter because all Transformers are genderless when you mean All Actually Your Own Gender So It’s Okay, you have no shortage of other places to go. If you want to make valid criticisms of other things, like maybe Sarah’s art isn’t your cup of tea? Go for it. But this is not the place to feel comfortable posting terrible bigoted comments. Think of it as a Bizarro Fan Site that way – we’re here so the NON-bigots can be comfortable for a change.

Let’s be clear: This site is run out of the pocket of a woman who has been involved with the fandom since G2, who is homosexual, who is non-Christian, and who is very politically progressive. She has the right to toss any comment that she finds offensive into the trash heap. She has already had to do so on this very topic. On the flip side, she is not some twenty-something guy who needs to be schooled in Gender Studies, so if you want to get attention by “calling her out” for, as in one instance, referring to “Ms. Scott” instead of just her last name because she finds the custom of referring to someone by only their last name patriarchal and only does it when formality is required, you will be schooled and/or ignored. She welcomes feedback, though, involving groups to which she does not herself belong. She loves the idea of social justice but hates the bullying some do in its name, and that is the spirit in which this site is run.

We’ve been lax with the boards here (Well, I’ve been lax. –Trixter) but with everything going on in the fandom right now we feel it’s a good time to remember why they’re needed in the first place: Because there is a need in this community for a forum that celebrates inclusivity and tries to make everybody comfortable – unless those people are assholes.

Windblade Comic Announced – With Women on Words and Art!

Let’s be honest: In geek media, women are usually done either really well or really poorly, with little in between. So when the results of Hasbro’s Fans’ Choice poll earlier this year got us a female character who we were promised was going to make it into the mainstream of IDW’s G1-based comics, there were concerns. Though it’s hardly the fault of the current creative staff, IDW’s Arcee was handled less than ideally, especially compared to other contemporary characters of the same name. With heteronormativity already tossed to the wind how would they approach another female Transformer?

But it looks like the lady will be in good hands. An early preview has now confirmed that Windblade will be introduced in her own comic (though whether a one-shot or a miniseries is as yet unknown) written by Transformers Prime writer Mairghread Scott with art by Sarah Stone. In addition to her female-character-friendly work on Transformers Prime, both the show and IDW’s Beast Hunters comic, Mairghread has been enthusiastic about encouraging the female side of the fandom. Sarah has previously done work for Hasbro-owned Wizards of the Coast as well as some very female-gaze-friendly Transformers fanart.

There are still no details about where Windblade comes from in a race that’s been Word-of-God-ed into definite genderlessness, but it looks like whatever the story, it’ll be told by people who have at least one very important thing in common with our new robo-lady.