Continuity Issues

Transformers #21 - The beginning of Chaos!

The DC universe is not the only fictional universe out there that suffers from continuity issues. Let’s be honest, have you tried to figure out Transformers?

Let’s see. Just in the comics alone, there’s the original Marvel UK continuity that includes the original cartoon series (which I must confess, I still possess a great fondness for), Dreamwave, and IDW. Yet even that nice, simple original continuity split into two, the British version, and the American / Japanese version. Then these split once more into Generations One and Two, the second becoming it’s own continuity.

This is not to mention the Beast Wars, that remaining confusing even after I watched the entire series. Then there is the Unicron trilogy of cartoons: Transformers Armada, Energon and Cybertron. Which are separate to the original and later Japanese cartoons.

Plus there is the Michael Bay Show, I mean trilogy of live action movies, that helped reawaken the passion for the Robots In Disguise for a whole new generation. (There’s that word again.) Transformers Animated drew from Generation One (well, one of them), the Unicron Trilogy AND the movies.

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I won’t ask how that one works, I haven’t watched it yet. The thought of the co-existence of the All-Spark and the Creation Matrix doesn’t really make sense to me, but I will withhold judgement.

But could somebody tell me where the annoying Transformers Prime cartoon fits in? Please tell me it doesn’t. As cartoons go, it’s not too bad, just incredibly irritating and deserves to be forgotten by anyone over the age of ten. I wonder what the average age of a Transformers fan is nowadays?

Approaching the IDW Transformers continuity can feel much the same as looking at the entire thing. Many mini-series, set in differing environments that may or may not be connected. I raved about the recently culminating Heart Of Darkness mini-series that not only implied but demanded a wider context for the story, and now finally these plot lines have come home to roost.

Last week’s Transformers #21 gave a prelude of the treats to come in the new storyline ‘Chaos’ that will run for this and the next eleven issues. According to the editor Andy Schmidt, this will draw together not all, but most of the disparate elements of the IDW continuity, and repair many of the continuity errors that are inevitable with such a fractured universe. Erm, universes. Whatever.

Which suits me fine. If I see elements in a story that contradict previously established canon in what after is not that old a version of a shared universe, (IDW only started with the Transformers in 2005, after all), I want to know that such a contradiction IS PART OF THE STORY, not just some glaring error. I can understand this occurring in DC or Marvel, each carrying decades of history, but in a six-year-old universe? Even assuming this is the tenth or twelfth incarnation of this universe, it still smacks of either sloppy editing or unrealised storylines. Life can do that, I don’t know if IDW’s editorial oversight of Transformers has changed hands over the years, but I admit, real-life events can overtake our fictional worlds. Yet to see that this state of affairs is to be remedied is a welcome development.

Plus, anything I have read of Simon Furman’s Dead Universe saga rocks, and this storyline is the culmination of that.

So, if you have been sickened off the Transformers because it is all too confusing, give IDW a chance to set it all a-right again. Hopefully this will not cause more problems than it solves.

If that is the case, DC could stand to learn a thing or two.

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Darren Burr

A devoted follower of the comics industry and their characters since a child, Darren now plays in many media but always returns to characters in skin-tight costumes beating each other up on the page. Radio host, blogger, fanfic author and producer of You Tube content, Darren idles away his days until his digital conquest of the world is complete.

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