SWERVE (VEER) (2013)
When I was a kid one of my favorite Transformers was Gears. The original 1984 Gears figure was 1 of only 3 Transformer toys I kept from my youth. The character wasn’t overly memorable from the comics or cartoons and the toy wasn’t anything spectacular either. It was a dinky little penny-racer style vehicle like the original Bumblebee. I guess I always found the figure really cute which was part of its appeal. And so I held onto that little figure during my teens and early twenties when I had little interest in Transformers (Beast Wars, meh).
In 2006 Hasbro released a new line of Generation 1 inspired Transformer figures called “Classics”(which was later rebranded Generations, then Universe). The first Classics figure I got was Bumblebee. I was very impressed at how well sculpted and articulated he was; plus he actually looked the way he did in the old cartoons (better actually). That Bumblebee figure is the toy that got me excited about collecting Transformers again for the first time in years. I figured that if they could make Bumblebee look that cool then they’d eventually get around to making equally cool versions of my favorite mini bots; Gears and Cosmos. The years went by and a Gears never came and the only Cosmos I ever got was this crappy thing. It seemed as though I might never get an updated Gears figure as Hasbro had shifted its focus to the crappy Michael Bay movie figures by then. The original Gears was still cute and all but it looked rather pathetic standing on my Transformers bookshelf with all of the much larger more detailed new figures.
As a side note, many of the mini bots that were released during the first couple of waves of Transformers in ’84 and ’85 were repainted and rereleased as new characters a couple of years later. Brawn was repainted white and named Outback, Windcharger was repainted white and named Tailgate, and Gears was repainted white and red and named Swerve. I never owned any of those repaints nor did I want them. None of the repainted characters made an impression on me and I don’t remember any of them from the cartoons or comics; if they even ever appeared. The Gears repaint didn’t even have the cute factor going for him. Instead of a little visored face with cheeks you just wanted to pinch Swerve had a more humanoid and less interesting face. It didn’t help that his head had zero paint apps and was molded as a solid red piece. It made him look like a cheap Transformers knock-off.
Many years went by with me hoping for an updated Gears figure but I didn’t give a crap if I ever got a figure of his doppelganger Swerve. That is until 2012 when IDW split up their on-going Transformers comic into 2 separate titles which focused on different groups of Autobots and Decepticons. One book was called “Robots in Disguise” and it focused on Bumblebee’s struggles on Cybertron while the other book called “More Than Meets the Eye” focused on Hot Rod and his mission into space to find the Transformers’ lost ancestors. Both books are excellent but if I had to pick a favorite it’s More Than Meets the Eye (MTMTE) written by James Roberts. I’m not familiar with any of Mr. Robert’s work outside of Transformers but I feel confident saying that he’s one of the best in the industry; in fact he’s probably my favorite writer in comics at present.
I’m enjoying Dan Slott’s Superior Spider-Man and Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead. Scott Snyder’s Batman and American Vampire are great. But none of them move me the way Roberts’ work on Transformers does. It’s almost a shame that he’s on a “toy book” as I’m sure he gets taken less seriously and won’t won’t win any accolades for his writing on the series but let me tell you, it is marvelous. I just recently finished reading volume 5 of MTMTE and I was misting up during the emotional scenes. That hasn’t happened to me since, well, since I read volume 4. If you’re not reading Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye, start.
The cast of characters Roberts chose for the title have all become favorite characters of mine. Rewind, a robot that turns into frig’n cassette tape which I never owned as a kid and had no prior attachment to is now one of my all time favorite Transformers. Cyclonus, Ultra Magnus, Skids, Chromedome..all of them are so well fleshed out that I’ve come to care about them all. Two of of the characters I enjoy most in the series are Swerve and Tailgate, 2 of those repaints I previously wanted nothing to do with.
The combination of Roberts’ stellar writing and the top notch art on the book turned me into a die-hard Swerve fan. I may even like him more than Gears now. Gears is also in the MTMTE book by the way but he’s been relegated to background character status thus far. The further along into the series I got the more I wanted a Swerve figure. Last year Hasbro released a Swerve which was a repaint of their previously released Kup. It looked nothing like the Swerve I’d come to know from the comics. In the comics Swerve is short and stocky and full of life. He provides much of the book’s comic relief. Choosing Kup, a crotchety old-timer, as the base for a Swerve figure was a bad choice. But it seemed unlikely that I’d ever get a comic accurate Swerve so I bought the Kup version and thought “this will have to do.”
But then, in early 2013 third party toy company, iGear, revealed their upcoming Transformer homages. Not only were they releasing an awesome G1 accurate Gears, but they were also releasing a comic accurate Swerve. Had they released these two figures in 2011 I would’ve bought Gears and ignored the Swerve but now, after reading MTMTE for a year, both were absolutely essential.
Since iGear is a third party company who doesn’t technically have the rights to make Gears and Swerve figures they left off any trademarked Autobot logos and renamed them Cogz and Veer. I reviewed the Gears/Cogz figure right away. I waited a while before reviewing Swerve/Veer so as to avoid repetition since they’re practically the same figure. The only differences in the sculpts are the head and chest. Their alt. modes are identical other than the change in color. Gears is a vibrant red and blue but Swerve is a more subdued red(almost pink) and an off-white. The color scheme makes him a bit duller than Gears to look at but that was also the case with the original figures. I would’ve liked to see a darker shade of red but that’s my only complaint about this figure. All the praise I gave to the Gears figure holds true for this figure. It has great sculpting and articulation and the scale fits the character perfectly. He came packaged with a gun which is nothing special but I appreciate that iGear gave him a unique weapon instead of just sticking him with the same gun as Gears. This is an awesome figure which i’m very happy to have added to my collection. He’s worth the high price tag. 10 out of 10.