Transformers Matrix Quest

The second collection in UK company Titan’s reprints of Simon Furman’s US run, Matrix Quest is the completion of the same named story arc began in the first collection I reviewed. There was a time when I thought this was an okay collection of comics from Furman’s run, a run that I am not a fan of. Having re-read it however, my opinion changed. I still like the concept, but something was lost in the execution.

Matrix Quest collects issues #63-66, the completion of the titular story arc, and two follow-up issues, #67 and 68. Again, I can understand why they wanted to balance out the collection, which is why part 1 of “Matrix Quest” is in the previous book. My problem is with the story itself.

In theory it’s a good idea. As the Autobots go searching for the Creation Matrix (originally a life-giving computer program for machines but under Furman redesigned to be the housing of a portion of the lifeforce of the Transformers’ creator-god Primus) various groups have adventures straight out of other genres. The first issue from the last collection had a Maltese Falcon scenario. In order, this issue has takes on westerns, Moby Dick, and something out of the Aliens franchise, with the final arc (unless I’m missing the genre reference) returning to the normal style of Transformers tales. It’s actually a good idea.

The problem is Furman’s tone is darker than I care for, and in individual reviews I found them not as interesting as they appeared. There were things that could have been fleshed out or the dialog was terrible, or I just had some problem with the characters. Most notably was my problem with both Thunderwing and the Matrix itself. I don’t want to spoil anything so it’s tough to go into my problem with the Matrix here, and the heel-turn connected to it, or Thunderwing’s strange tie to the Matrix that is part of Furman adding a pseudo-spiritual element to the thing that I didn’t like. Suffice it to say they were things that ended up making the entire arc pointless.

Then there are the next two issues that ends this collection. #67 is an alternate universe tale where the Decepticons had one. It only exists so Furman can bring Galvatron, one of his favorite characters to write in the UK stories, into the US stories and keep him the way he wrote them in the UK. It’s way too dark for my tastes but I don’t think he could tell it any other way given the scenario. It’s is also the debut of certain quirks that show up in Simon Furman’s writings (referred to by fans as “Furmanisms“) that make me wonder why people consider him a good writer.

The final story (#68) introduces the Neo-Knights. I hate the Neo-Knights. In the related articles section is a link to an article I wrote for my other site that goes into detail why I hate the Neo-Knights. And sadly they will show up again before the comic is over.

Like the previous collection, the back of the book contains the covers to the individual issues and excerpts from scripts. The front contains a section to catch up readers, as well as Furman’s thoughts on the issued presented here. These are good additions, even if that’s all we get. The production of the trade isn’t bad. Sadly the stories are and I’m beginning to think all of these Furman stories will be on the sell page as soon as I’m done reviewing his Marvel US run. I’m just not enjoying these tales.

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