Friday, November 8, 2013

Review - Transformers: Dark Cybertron #1

"Please Shockwave--continue what I began!"

If you think that being able to transform from a giant, combat-ready robot into a jet, truck, tank or anything else you're right: it is very awesome. That awesomeness comes with a cost though, as you have to contend with time travel, dead areas in space and dwindling robot societies. There's also the occasional mega-robot being summoned for whatever bad thing you can think of, prompting all of the above to come together in an effort to stop it and save Cybertron. Get ready for Transformers: Dark Cybertron #1 from IDW Publishing.

The issue is written by John Barber and James Roberts, with layouts by Phil Jimenez, finish art by Andrew Griffith, prologue art by Brendan Cahill, colors by Josh Perez, prologue colors by J.P. Bove and letters by Tom B. Long.

It's been a long time coming, but the crossover event joining the casts of Robots in Disguise and More Than Meets the Eye is finally happening in Dark Cybertron. Shockwave's plan is finally being set into motion, much to the joy of both he and his mentor Jhiaxus. The plan involves the Dead Universe, a bumbling assistant named Waspinator and a dead Metrotitan. His plan is set parallel to Rodimus's Lost Light searching the Knights of Cybertron, who coordinate with Orion Pax (formerly known as Optimus Prime) and receive a distress call from Starscream, the freely elected leader of the new Cybertronian society. And--of course--both Nova Prime and Galvatron aren't content being absent from the land of the living, both of whom are poised to come back in a big way.

Barber and Roberts teaming up are offering up a massive Transformers story and the good thing is that you don't have to be steeped in the comics to this point to fully enjoy it. Yes, there's been a lot of build-up to this point getting the story here, but even if you don't know that Starscream is ruling Cybertron, Bumblebee is exiled and Optimus has a new name. Shockwave has always been an understated genius within the Transformers universe, so it's nice to see him finally getting his due. Star scream still isn't above begging when it suits him, which makes his character so maddeningly lovable. And it's not Transformers without Optimus...Orion Pax, who offers the same even-keeled approach that's afforded him the opportunity to lead the Autobots for so long. This series is poised to go off in a big way and it offers a good mix of story and comedy. Swerve even has Orion's distress signal as a ringtone!

The entire artistic team does a strong job with illustrating the Transformers. Gone are the days of "color-coding" the Autobots and Decepticons; now, it's just all Transformer and the illustrations support that. Jimenez and Griffith do a very powerful job in presenting the Transformers as organic and natural looking, forcing the reader to remind themselves that these are robots. There are some great full-page panels as well of characters like Starscream that really show off their form. Drawing robots isn't an easy thing to do and there are some pages where there are upwards of eight of them on page at the same time, giving readers a great look at the rapidly diminishing conditions on Cybertron. The rise of the Metrotitan is truly terrifying as well, offering such a scale that shows the Transformers themselves being dwarfed by comparison.

Transformers: Dark Cybertron #1 is portending a ominous future for the Autobots and Decepticons. All the big players are back and interacting in ways that are both dedicated to the cause and amusing at the same time. The art is beautiful, offering rather sweeping views of the Transformers in various stages of alarm and dismay. The storyline here has the potential to truly shake up the Transformers universe at IDW and it's off to a very promising start. Barber and Roberts team up very well together and offer complementing styles that really help flesh out the storylines more efficiently and the duo is backed some very strong artwork that reminds you these are big freaking robots. Even they have problems they can't always get out of easily.

Transformers: Dark Cybertron #1 is in stores now with interiors below.


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