With issue 53 we find out if the Autobot Pretenders are eaten up by the Mecannaibals. It should be interesting. But we can’t find out what happens before we check out the cover art.

Transformers-53-Cover-Yoshi

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I want to flip out over this cover because it was drawn up by JIM LEE! This is some of his early work and the cover is so nice and detailed. It’s only one of two covers Jim Lee did for Transformers that I’m currently aware of. We have a rendering of a heavily armored, large, bikini wearing, Amazonian like women holding the head of Cloudburst’s up by some wires. The sword she is holding in her other hand is implying she shopped his head off.  Jim really draws humans well, and at a time where it seemed other artists where upset that they had to draw robots, he does a fantastic job of not only giving the Transformers hard lines but giving him expression and life. The Amazonian says “Next!” while she looks directly at the reader.

Transformers-53-Cover

We pick up with this issue right where we left off. Cloudburst and Landmine are about to be eating by the Mecannibals. They start by pulling the Autobots out of their shells with an electromagnet. Once removed the Autobots use radio control to have their shells fight for them. Before things get to out of hand Cloudburst suggest that the Mecannibals not to eat them just yet because they have a way to make their meal taste much better with proper seasonings. Something the Autobots will have to go out and get. In order to insure their return the Mecannibals hold on to Berko. Turing this time, the Autobots also learn that the chips they were trying to by from the Mecannibals are from the robots that have been eaten.

Transformers-53-Magnent

So, The Autobots embark to Femax, A whole world led by brave, Amazonian like women warriors. On this planet the men are treated as feeble and weak. The leader on Femax is known as ‘First One’ and starts off by challenging Clouburst to a series of physical tests designed to prove that he is true fighter.

Transformers-53-Challange

Passing all the trails and tests, Cloudburst, proves to the ‘First One’ that he is a warrior with the skills of a warrior. He also, unknowingly proved to the ‘First One’ that he would make a great mate. This does make this uncomfortable for Cloudburst who ends up revealing himself as a Transformer. The ‘First One’ feels lied to and responds by cutting off Cloudbursts head. Landmine ends up having to reason with the ‘First One’. Reasoning is something Landmine has been struggling with throughout the the issue. But, the ‘First One’ Listens and eventually agrees to give the Autobots the crystals they are after for seasoning so that they can save their friend and restore Cloudburst’s head.

Transformers-53-Crystals

As the Autobots attempt to leave the planet Femax, they are stopped by Darkwing and Dreadwind, but Sky Lynx shows up and makes short work of the Decepticons. He then informs the Pretenders that they have been working with binary bonded Decepticons. Information they start to think would be of interest to the Mecannibals.

Transformers-53-Skylynx

Returning to the Mecannibals’ ship, the Autobots change their deal with them. They are no longer going to fix a meal for the Mecannibals with the seasoning crystals they acquired. Rather they will ask that the robots that the Mecannibals have eaten be restored using the parts they recycled through their digestive systems. Failing to agree to the Autobots terms will result in Sky Lynx being let loose on Hi-Test and Throttle. THe Mecannibals agree because they find these two to be to useful to them. As the Autobots leave the ship they tell the Mecannibals that Hi-Test and Throttle are robots and have a nice day.

Transformers-53-deal

The issue closes out with the Autobot Pretenders heading back to the ark with out their microchips. Hi-Test and Throttle and the Powermasters are chased after by the Mecannibals.

My Thoughts On This Issue

Man oh man this cover. I have a dream of one day owning a Jim Lee signed version of one of his two Transformers covers. I know this cover is some of his earlier work, but it really does look good. It’s not my favorite Transformers cover. But he is one of my favorite artists in the comic book world.

The cover does a good job of hitting at the story inside, but it is a huge disconnect from the first part of this story in the last issue. I can imagine kids buying this comic wanting to know what happens next thinking, “WTF?” when seeing this cover.

The first page of 53, I thought did a great job of telling people who didn’t read the last issue what was going on. I rather liked it and think it’s my favorite part of this issue. Something about how it was written and how they didn’t feel the need to do a huge flashback scene like they tend to do.

Transformers-53-first-page

I found myself confused by who’s side Berko is really on at the start of the story. The way Hi-Test and Throttle implied that Berko helped them by having the Autobots reveal themselves to him was very miss leading by the time I got to the end of the story. Thought, that might be a good thing because that little mystery of who’s side is Berko really on, kept me reading excitedly till the end to find out.

One last thing I want to touch on is Gender. It seems like Gender has been a hot button in the Transformers world recently. Which is to bad because event thought I’m not a fan of IDW Publishing’s current on going Transformers series, I can see gender arguments affecting story telling in a possible negative way. I think comic book readers really want a good story first and for most. With that said, I discovered on page 18 of this issue, Cloudburst explains to First One, “Where I come from there are no men, no women… no mates!” It’s the first time I have noticed that the issue was brought up and addressed. Though, I do recall questions about gender being asked in the TransMissions letter section by fans.

So, issue 53 is read and absorbed. What did everyone think? What where your takeaways from this issue? Let me know, I want to hear from you.

Transmission Letters This Issue

Transformers-53-TransMissionsDear Trans-Missions:
In response to Jeffrey Bryce’s letter in TRANSFORMERS #43:
The Transformers do not need to breathe like humans do. But they often still need oxygen to burn the fuels that they consume. Energon, the Transformers’ basic fule, does not need oxygen since it is already a pure energy form and doesn’t need to burn to release energy.
A Transformer can also operate using Earth’s carbon=based petroleum fuels if the necessary internal adjustments are made. Nearly all of the Transformers here on Earth have been adapted to accept both Energon and Earth fuels. But when a robot is functioning on a petro-fuel, he must have atmospheric oxygen readily available. Obviously, this would inhibit any robots operation in space or underwater; therefore, he must be using Energon to function in either of these environments.
I hope that I have answered at least some of Jeffrey’s questions concerning the technical aspects of the Transformers.
Perceptor
The Ark

We have it on good authority that this letter was not sent by Perceptor, but ism in fact, a forgery. However, the explanation of the Transformers’ oxygen needs sounds legit, so we printed it anyway.

Editors and Writers of Transformers,
Female Transformers? How absurd! I always had the idea that they were “Its,” not sexual beings.
Emmett E. Brandon
Dickinson, TX

Good point. Many readers have asked us to introduced “female” Transformers. How can we? Transformers have no gender! Since the Transformers do not reproduce sexually, they have no need to be male or female. Most have characteristics and personalities that are commonly associated with males. So they are referred to as “He’s.” On a rare occasion, one might come across as female and is referred to as a “she.” Arce fits into this latter category, but referring to themselves as “He’s” and “she’s” is a convention the Transformers probably picked up from hanging around Earthlings too long.

Dear Transmissions,
1. Where is Rodimus Prime?
2. Now that Optimus Prime is alive, will Rodimus Prime take his place?
3. Where is Galvatron?
4. Will there be another Transformers movie?
5. Will there be a new TRANSFORMERS UNIVERSE?
Steve Vazarez
Mastir, NY

1. He doesn’t get created until the year 2005. Only 16 years to go.
2. Wait till 2005
3. See answer #1
4. No plans at the moment.
5. See answer #4
You questions raise another question, Steve: Why is there so much confusion concerning when things happen in the TRANSFORMERS? Hmm… that’s a good one, but we think we can explain: TRANSFORMERS, the comic, began in 1984 and takes place in the present. TRANSFORMERS, the movie, as well as many subsequent TRANSFORMERS TV shows, takes place in the year 2005 and beyond. Many of the characters and events that you and many other readers associate with the Transformers haven’t happened, yet!
Now let’s return to 1989…

Dear Transmissions:
I think i’ve just had an idea that could solve your TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE problem.
Everyone who has read the comic series and or seen the movie has probably noticed that Optimus Prime was, when the story (will have) happened, not the Optimus Prime who has recently reborn in your regular series! That Op is a Powermaster. The movie Op was the original. There is also the problem of Megatron’s being alive, and Bumblee’s transformation into Goldbug. The last issue you addressed once. I believe, and you said that a lot could happen between now and then.
I think expecting us to believe that they will all just revert to their older, less powerful forms is silly. If Megatron was re-formed, you would be restricted to no improvements or revisions or changes upon Megatron, and no transformers to Galvatron because, being that two reversions were hard to believe, three would be impossible!
Let me momentarily digress, all Marvelites are familiar with the concept of parallel and semi-parallel universes, am i correct? That is, we all accept that, at least, in the realm of comics, there is an infinity of universes-al-most-like-our-own, and each one differs from our own by, perhaps, one decision or one action.
Well, I think it was silly of you not to tell us that THE TRANSFORMERS MOVIE limited series occurred in another universe that the one about which you normally write! You saw the movie and thought it would be a wonderful story to adapt. but silly you forgot to tell us that your comic series does not necessarily have the fat. See all the confusion you’ve caused? Naught, naughty!
So now you may rest easy, knowing that your readers now understand what you’ve been up to.
Lissa Shock
Vienna WV

Parallel Transformers universes? Interesting theory, Lissa, but a good theory needs to be proven-although until the year 2005comes around we can’t know for sure, can we?

Ladies and Gentlemen:
Hail Galvatron! HAIL GALVATRON! HAIL GALVATRON!
Brian K. Reynolds

Please! Can’t you wait 16 years for this sort of outburst?

Dear Transmissions,
I was disappointed after reading issue #43, the primary reason being the adaptation of the TV episode “The Big Broadcast of 2006.” I buy the comic because it has different stories and they are much better than most of the TV shows. Keep the comic in the present and out of the future to avoid creating conflicts in the stories.
Karl Raguse
Farmington Hills, MI

Dear Guys,
How could you!?! you actually took a story from the Transformers cartoon show and used it for the comic book!
David Noguerole

We thought adopting a television script into comic book form would be an interesting change of pace, but Karl, David and many other letter-writers apparently disagree. All right, people, we hear ya! And we agree with you, Karl: the present is the place to be!

Dear Ralph an Don,
The TV episode “The Big Broadcast of 2006 A.D.” is the greatest issue of the TRANSFORMERS books history!

On the other hand, maybe adapting television scripts isn’t such a bad idea after all!
Let’s end on a controversial note:

Dear Transmissions,
Will Double Dealer, Quickswitch or Sixshot be appearing in future issues?
Duffy McDonald
Ontario, NY

Dear Transmissions,
You are introducing too many new characters at the same time. It seems to me there’s a new character introduced every issue!
Tuan Giang Lieu
Van Nuys, CA

Dear Marvel,
Bring back Rumble, Frenzy and Megatron!
Justin Powell

And so, the eternal battle continues to rage – should we introduce new Transformers, bring back old ones, or…here’s another possibility…

Dear Transmissions,
We have created several new Transformer characters of a completely different nature, and we would like to know how to proceed in submitting them.
David and Jeremy Jacobs
Birmingham, AL

David and Jeremy, please – give us a break! As you can see from Duffy, Tuan and Justin’s letters, we don’t get enough of the existing Transformers into the book as it is! As much as we’d like to, we just can’t squeeze in any more! But we appreciate the offer.

New Ads This Issue

Youseph

The host of the YOSHICAST and TRANSMISSIONS Podcast. Transformers enthusiast and comic book collector.

This Post Has 6 Comments
  1. I can sort of see Budianski getting tired and just waiting to hand off the issues to Simon Furman (by the way, that happens in 2 issues – still hoping you’ll do a ‘5 best and 5 worst Budianski storylines post). Naming a planet ‘Femax’ is never a good sign.

    On the subject of gender – I think they (Hasbro and even the writers) painted themselves in a corner. In the cartoon, female Transformers were regarded as a ‘rare species.’ I think Transformers were essentially genderless – but with all of the voice talent being males, it just was ‘assumed’ that Transformers were male. What I think these writers/creators didn’t expect was that there were quite a few females who were Transformer fans. In fact, some of the biggest Transformer geeks I know are of the fairer gender.

    So – how to tackle such an issue with inorganics? I think the creators would have done themselves a better service with just having female voice talent – and possibly designing a few Transformers with a female perspective in mind. I don’t think that would have to include such obvious/laughable decisions as ‘sketch out a regular Transformer – and add breasts’.

    I think they messed up on the gender part, but it wasn’t a horrible gaffe. After all, Arcee, Elita One, Firestar, and later – Black Arachnia – showed the creators could make some great characters.

    1. You know man, you’ve really been asking for my top and bottom 5 Budianski books. I guess I am just going to have to do that post now once I read his last issue. Honestly, I think I would be fun to do that post together. My top and bottom five and my reasons for them and well as your top and bottom five and your reasons for them. Lets get more than just my perspective on this. What do you think?

      The gender issue is a larger on. I’m not calming to have the right answer or to know all the ins and outs. I just have my interpretation of what I have observed. You just made me aware of something that I was not previously. I guess I am at the stage right now where I am happy looking at it simply. That works for me.

  2. I will also join you two on the 5 best and worst. A great idea. You know maybe I am a rare person however, I have to say the gender issue never has bothered me. I remember thinking cool when ever I saw Alita One or Arcee. I guess when you grow up with He-Man there is sure to be She-Ra even the Smurfs had Smurfette and I accepted those female characters just as I did with the Transformers with no question. I know we are talking about robots it’s just something I never really thought about. This issue really plays out like a real woman would think if she felt deceived. That is what made this story human and relatable to me. Also, being a robot that had the courage to tell her the truth was also notable as well. Cloud Burst could have just kept quiet and left, however he knew to do the right thing and not led her on. Now as a kid I – remember thinking oh know what are the Autobots going to do now with out the chips! No gender issue at all at that time!

    1. Great point, Tim. Never thought of the ‘single female addition’ element ala The Smurfs and He-Man. And of course, I’d be totally down with a ‘Top 5’ list. I have a few freelance projects to finish up (I write for PopMatters) – but should be done with everything by the end of the week. Think it would be fun to do the best first, just because when Budianski was bad, he was gloriously bad.

      1. Sounds like a plan. I’m not going to be able to really work on it till I finish up Budianski’s last issues. But I think we both have an idea of what we are going to write. The good and bad. I am excited to show another point of view.

        1. And this is why gender should be left out of transformers.
          We get the usual feminist ‘to make females look good we have to make males look bad’ and then make the women violent like that’s a good thing.

          So if there was a comic where the women were portrayed as mentally retarded and weak physically left to live in wasteland as savages whilst men lived in paradise and would kill any woman who dares come close.
          Then have two females who never challenge the status quo and then when the lead males advances ate rejected so he kills her do you honestly think we’d describe the males as brave warriors?
          Do you think anyone would empathise with him and say it plays out like a real man would and made the story human?

          Think about that for a split second.

          There would be outrage but sadly it’s acceptable when talking about women
          Sadly gender needs to be left out if it even if that means no females because there is such acceptable sexism and hypocrisy in the real that allows nonsense like this and the ultra magnus girls night out story.

          But we do live in a world where the biggest ‘strong empowered female’ character is one where men are used for sex then killed and any boys that are born are killed or sold for weapons and when the bastion of equality finds out what happens she attacks the one who’s saved their lives and then seers how they’re living in hiding (with no powers like their sisters have) and in rags just like the males in this story (seems to be a common theme) and moves on.

          No helping them or revenge story for the males like females always get or society changing for the better like in stories where women are oppressed in a society.

          Doesn’t surprise me at all.

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