Review - First Strike #1 (@idwpublishing)

"I hereby annex Earth into the Cybertronian Council of Worlds."

Working with Optimus Prime is the dream of many kids. Growing up to be a G.I. Joe is the career of choice. And some kids just want a M.A.S.K. motorcycle that turns into a helicopter. Mash all three together though and you've got something else entirely. First Strike #1 from IDW Publishing is that mash-up. The issue is written by Mairghread Scott and David A. Rodriguez, illustrated by Max Dunbar, colored by Ander Zarate and lettered by Tom B. Long.

As Earth joins the intergalactic community, a massive explosion threatens the peace! A new COBRA-led by the worst villains to ever tangle with G.I. Joe, M.A.S.K., and the Transformers-is invading Cybertron and only Scarlett, Optimus Prime, G.I. Joe and the Autobots can save two worlds!

Scott and Rodriguez do something pretty unconventional in First Strike #1 as far as Transformer stories go by taking the fight to Cybertron. Most stories involve humanity banding together with Optimus Prime and the Autobots on Earth to stop the Decepticons so it's quite refreshing to see a story where humanity actually goes on something of an offensive. It's not lost on Scott and Rodriguez that for every Optimus Prime there's a Megatron and while some of the Transformers are on our side, chance are humans will be caught in the crossfire of the war between the differing factions. The issue does an excellent job of setting this up as the premise for the series while at the same time delving more into the Joes and what the teams are up against. The dialogue by Scott and Rodriguez is slick and fits the tone of the story very well.

Dunbar's artwork feels relatively light in its approach and that works for the series itself. There's a sense of grandiosity in how the Transformers are illustrated in relation to the Transformers, reinforcing the massive differences in scale between the two groups. The very sharp linework pays homage to the cartoons that just about every character in the book is inspired by and Dunbar packs every panel with plenty of characters fighting or standing heroically. Those panels are laid out in a dizzying array that ebbs and flows with the pace of the issue as combat unfolds. Zarate doesn't miss a beat on colors as the entire issue pops and feels vibrant.

First Strike #1 is the comic book culmination of the countless machinations of imaginative youths from the 80s. Seeing Transformers, G.I. Joe and M.A.S.K. all come together is so much fun and watching Optimus Prime and Scarlett bark orders to their sides in allegiance will be a treat. The script by Scott and Rodriguez is fast-moving and sets things up well for the reader. Dunbar's illustrations are a great fit for the tone of the book and do a great job of showcasing an abundance of action that will only increase as the series unfolds. First Strike #1 is a blast and definitely worth reading for fans of any of the involved properties.

First Strike #1 is available now.