GI Joe/Transformers cross-overs

Ancillary, non-main-line stuff. Star Wars TF, Speed Stars, Titanium Series, Robot Heroes, that sort of thing. They're kinda neat, but we all know they're not really that important. Admit it, you know it's true.

Re: GI Joe/Transformers cross-overs

Postby Dominic » Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:22 am

IDW announcing their upcoming TF/Joe ongoing, and the recent Harmony Gold settlement got me thinking about TF/Joe crossovers again.

The last few years worth of San Diego exclusive are arguably the best TF/Joe crossover thus far. The only credible contender would be the Higgins written Marvel crossover from 25+ years ago. That was balanced between the properties and was accessible to fans of either. And, it managed to tell a complete story that would not have been wholly out of place in either book (all while fitting in with both titles and barely impacting either).

But, the SDCC exclusives at the very least deserve and honourable mention here. By virtue of not having any associated media, they are free of the (significant) problems that plague the DDP and DW efforts (namely lazy writing and inexplicably bad art). In story terms, they exist purely at a conceptual level. The packaging of each set (2011 to 2013) resembles a comic book cover. And, the final set is titles "The Epic Conclusion". The toys themselves are not perfect. But, as a (very limited) line, it tells a story (if a very basic one).


At some point, I plan to dig out the old "Action Force" crossover from the UK. But, that is not going to happen for a good long time.


Dom
-noting that it just feels right to hyphenate "cross-over", but is trying to control the urge.
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Re: GI Joe/Transformers cross-overs

Postby Dominic » Mon Jun 30, 2014 12:34 pm

Dreamwave Crossover:

Transformers/GI Joe

Rieber/Lee

There is not much to say about this that has not been said before.

Dreamwave's TF/Joe cross-over was eagerly anticipated, based largely on some excellent character designs by Don Figueroa and Dan Norton and the strength of the concept (setting both TF and Joe in World War II). Unfortunately, as has been discussed elsewhere/when, the execution falls well short of the potential. Either the writing or the art could have carried this book with the other trait failing completely. But, both failing, (as was the case), would be enough to doom the project.

Rieber's creative roots were at Vertigo, which could be reason for optimism or concern. His introduction (present in both the first single issue and the compilation) characterizes the characters as retarded children, which should be pretty indicative of how he viewed both properties. Unlike Costa who acknowledged some of the problematic elements in "Transformers", and ended up using them as the foundation for his run, Rieber decided that the best option was to drop both franchises in to a story that was trying too hard to be mature and "hard", and (ironically, but perhaps deliberately) ended up being comparable to a stunted teen-ager.

At best, Rieber seemed to be treating this book as a test-run for his then upcoming run on "GI Joe: Reloaded". As with "Reloaded", there are moments of brilliance (Rieber's Zartan or Shockwave's death), which demonstrate that Rieber could write. But, that arguably made the rest of the book that much worse. (As bad as Scioli's current series is, it is consistent throughout, and thus does not taunt readers with hints of something better.)

Much has been made of Rieber's handling of the TFs, particularly his decision to kill them all. But, the Joe characters do not fair much better. As much as Rieber's Zartan is a high point in book, most of the characters seem like throwbacks to the 90s. One of Rieber's worse decisions was to give Snake-Eyes pages of internal monologue. It was not the first time that Snake-Eyes had been given significant page space. But, it was exactly the sort of thing that Hama arguably set the precedent for in issue #155 of Marvel's "GI Joe" series. (In that case, the monologue was justified and worth-while. But, it set the precedent.)

In chapter 6, there is a scene where Stalker's dialogue ignores the end of chapter 5 (Optimus making the decision to actively support the Joes in stopping Cobra). Part of me wonders if the scene was from a different draft of the book. There are also scenes that may have been omitted. (Wheeljack, Mirage and a few other characters die off panel.) There is nothing wrong with off-panel events. But, the over-all book has to be better. And, the art needs to be clear. (If a reader has to decipher art, it is out of order to require them to fill in even basic blanks in the writing.)

Oh, the art. The art is terrible. The design work of Figueroa and Norton was completely wasted, as none of the characters are drawn clearly. Little details that both artists included on the characters are lost beneath layers of sloppy inking and colouring. (There are panels that are wholly incomprehensible.) The poor colouring and inking disrupts the penciles. Jae Lee's pencils might actually be good. it is difficult to say. But, going by character poses (in panels where such details can be discerned), it looks like Lee did his part only to have his efforts buried by some of the worst inking and colouring one is likely to see.

Grade: D (The design work by Figueroa and Norton keep this from being an F. It really is that good.)


And, the sequel

Divided Front: (McDonough/Patyck/Lee)
Just before Dreamwave collapsed under the weight of its own criminal mismanagement, it released the first issue of a sequel to the above described book.

"Divided Front" was a soft, but significant, reboot. It assumed that the WWII story happened. But, it changed the ending to assumed that the Transformers were merely knocked off-line by the destruction of the Matrix. Normally, that degree of back-writing would raise the ire of fans. But, I do not recall many people caring much. (The Rieber/Lee book was not well received.) Some of the characters are clearly meant to be the same characters aged ~40 or so years. Others, such as Snake-Eyes, Duke or Destro, are more ambiguous. (Ironically, the "next issue" box pledged to answer those sorts of questions. Of course, there never was a second issue.)

McDonough and Patyck took a back to basics approach, going so far as to set the story itself in 1985, and only using characters that would have been available at the time and drawing on 1985 control art.

As much as one can make determinations from a single issue, the writing was at least competent.

Jim Lee's art.... It works well enough at a superficial level. it is clear which characters are doing what. But, Lee fails at composition and technical elements such as panel depth and perspective. (For example, there is a splash page near the beginning where the flame from Blowtorch's flamethrower does not see to exist in the same dimensions as the rest of the panel.)

Grade: C/D This book had potential in terms of writing. But, it suffers for the art.
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Re: GI Joe/Transformers cross-overs

Postby Dominic » Mon May 18, 2015 7:50 am

The "Combiner Wars" Viper figure being a TF/Joe cross-over inspired me to re-list the time-lines where TF and Joe cross-over.

(edit: 05262015 Corrected for Onslaught 6's point about Marissa Fairborne.)


Marvel US: 4 issue limited series in 1986 and the later G2 cross-over. The "Generation 2" Megatron figure is arguably the first cross-over toy, by virtue of first appearing in the Joe comics. "Re-Generation One" does not show any Joe characters. But, the team is referenced in the past tense.

Marvel UK: Furman and Senior TF/Action Force cross-over. Largely contradicts US content, but is actually better. (This story is actually set in a world where TF and Joe co-exist with Marvel.)

Sunbow: Cobra Commander makes a brief appearance in season 3. Flint and Lady Jaye are referenced via Marissa Fairborne (their implied daughter).

Dreamwave: That awful Reiber/Lee WWII series and the never-finished McDonough/Patyck/Lee follow-up. DW also included Marissa Fairborne in the G1 series, before the company collapsed.

Devil's Due: 4 limited series published in the last decade. Good ideas, terrible execution.

Titaniums: The 2006 Megatron figure's profile describes a Megatron that fought in a battle that resembles the conflict from the Dreamwave series, though with some notable differences.

Shattered Glass: Inverted variants of several Joe characters are described in early SG content.

IDW: Scioli. (This is one of the few timelines in either franchise that I am actively hoping gets the "crisis" treatment at some point.) And, much like Dreamwave, Fairborne shows up in a G1 themed series (arguably implying Flint and Lady Jaye).

San Diego: Several years worth of exclusives represent characters from Joe and TF interacting.

Battle Tactics: Viper implies the presence of Cobra.

Combiner Wars: Hasbro's "Combiner Wars" (which deviates from the comics) implies the existence of Cobra by virtue of Viper's inclusion. This may or may not be intended as distinct from "Battle Tactics".

Fun Publications: The 2015 figures include a Marissa Fairborne and "Old Snake" (Cobra Commander) figures as well as a BAT figure (recoloured from "Aligned" Soundwave.)
Last edited by Dominic on Tue May 26, 2015 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: GI Joe/Transformers cross-overs

Postby Onslaught Six » Mon May 25, 2015 5:19 am

IDW also has Marissa Fairbourne in it now, although how much she "counts" as a crossover character probably depends on your interpretation.
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People spend so much time worrying about whether a figure is "mint" or not that they never stop to consider other flavours.
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