Transformers #1 (No Spoilers) - IDW - Comic Book

Despite misgivings about this issue, generated by IDW’s copious amounts of preview material, there was a certain amount of excitement finally getting a look at the full comic, the most hyped Transformer comic in recent memory. That excitement carried through the first few pages (not included in the previews), showcasing the better parts of Artist Don Figuroa’s new TF style and accompanied by classic Optimus Prime narration, crafted by Ongoing’s author Mike Costa. Then, the page turns to the material we’ve seen, and memory of this comic’s many clichés and faux pas returns.

For those who have read the previews, you may be interested to know you have seen pages 4-11 and 21-23 and have read neither the first or last pages. There are further revelations to be had, so if you feel like you’ve read the whole book you haven’t.

This latest tub of IDW Brand: “I can’t believe it’s not a Reboot!” tries to cover new ground, but mostly travels familiar Transformers plot set ups via new, and unwieldy conveyance. That’s not to say there is nothing you haven’t seen in a TF comic here (at least on this scale). Costa delves straight in to franchise premise defeating territory where previous writers have feared to tread.

Like so much of TF fiction, and all of sci-fi, this new series has, for the time being, shackled it self to Earth. Not that this is an uncommon place for fiction to take place, but in an vast and open Transformers universe in a medium where effects costs are not an issue, it’s very limiting. The human forces portrayed stretch suspension of disbelief unnecessarily and have upgraded them selves from once having merely distracted from the giant robots to out right upstaging them.

To my knowledge there are a great deal of comic books set on our planet, many produced by IDW, do we really have to spend so much time here? The human glazed Mcguffin has truly gotten too big for its britches.

There is no issue with the quality of Transformes #1’s art. Don Figuroa’s talent for robots is beyond reproach, and his humans have really improved over the last decade or so. However the character designs leave something to be desired, the human “equipment” is bland, and the Transformer faces are so hideous it made me want to put the book down.

I’m not sure what is supposed to be cool about emaciated corpses, but this looks like the Transformer answer to Marvel Zombies. I keep waiting for a washed up celebrity to pop up and ask us to help dig them a well. We can only hope wiser heads, or at least more attractive faces, prevail.

I deserves mentioning that the book opens with a great two page spread, and there was one other panel in particular I found compelling. (On the other hand it is a wide shot from behind, sparing us the face.)

All and All, this is one fans are going to have to call for themselves. New fans might not care about the out of character behavior, melodrama, and premise problems. However comic and/or Transformer veterans are likely to experience cramps from rolling their eyes repeatedly.

IDW Transformer titles have a history of being better in Trade Paperback. All Hail Megatron suffered greatly from it’s artificial and groan inducing divisions, but as a whole came together just fine. We can hope that over time this series will pick up, but if this is what we can expect from the future, “Ongoing” seems like a threat.

DateNovember 17th 2009  
Score 6 stars (6 out of 10)  

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