Comic Review: Transformers (2019) #1


Everything New Is Old Again….

When the announcement was made that IDW was going to end their run of Transformers comics, there was a very loud reaction from the fans.  When James Roberts posted his last soundtrack listing, people were saddened.  Even before the final page was read, tributes came flooding in from huge numbers of readers.

I was not one of them.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against IDW’s the content or quality of the stories spanning over a decade. Nothing against Roberts or Barber or anyone who put fingers to keyboard. Nothing against the artists or letterers or colorists or editors. 

I just have something against the quantity of the comics.

You see, I read all of IDW for years. I even started reading More Than Meets The Eye and Robots in Disguise when they first were published.  I remember reading about Brainstorm and Rewind. But soon I got behind. First it was a month on one comic. Then it was both. Then it was two months. And it snowballed from there. Back around the start of MTMTE Season 2, I started rereading. I got through the mid 30’s. Then I stopped, never to get caught up.

When MTMTE ended and The Lost Light began, I tried jumping on. But there was just too much backstory for me to ignore and I couldn’t get interested in what was not an easy starting point for me.

All this preamble is to say that while many were against the story ending, I relished it simply because it meant I could maybe start reading a Transformers comic again, jump in at the beginning all fresh. I say this not to anger fans of the old story but rather to offer an explanation for why the end of the previous continuity didn’t bother me.  I do hope that one day I’ll be able to revisit those stories and go for the same ride so many of you went on (and surprisingly, I know little about what happened after The Lost Light #1, so I will still be surprised by the big twists and turns).

Okay, this is getting a bit wordy, and I haven’t even gotten to the comic yet.  Been a while since I’ve done this; still getting my sea legs, as it were.  Let’s get to it.

TRANSFORMERS #1 – “The World In Your Eyes” Part 1
Release: March 13, 2019
Writer: Brian Ruckley
Art: Angel Hernandez, Cachet Whitman
Colors by: Joana LaFuente
Letters: Tom B. Long
Editors: David Mariotte, Tom WaltzRecommended? You bet. Slow start, some elements seem familiar, but definitely some new additions to the mythos.

Cover to Transformers (2019) #1
Image courtesy IDW Publishing

Preview pages courtesy IDW Publishing


Our new story begins millions of years ago, before the Transformers came to earth, before the war began, before Orion Pax became Optimus Prime, before he and Megatron became enemies. We’ve seen stories set in this era before, we’ve seen what happened between Orion and Megatron several times. I’ll admit, seeing yet again another Transformers Origin Story (TM) does make me a bit hesitant.  After seeing so many variations on the same tune, I kind of just want to hear a new song. Spider-Man: Homecoming didn’t fall into this trap; it said “Look. We know you know. We won’t bore you with seeing it again. Let’s just jump ahead a bit.”

However, this story does start fresh through the eyes of a fresh, newly forged Transformer named Rubble.  Through his optics, we are able to be introduced to the Transformers mythos once again.  It’s a good way to start a new continuity, actually.

Rubble is taking in all of Cybertron, trying to learn as much as he can, while Bumblebee, his mentor, is trying to keep him on the path towards Brainstorm, where Rubble will learn Energon Engineering.  Rubble, being so young and energetic, wants to explore everything, but his curiosity ends up with him meeting some Voin scavengers.  These are new to me, as well, Rubble, so I appreciate the opportunity to get to know them.

Well, we would get to know them if Windblade hadn’t shown up and scared them off.  She, part of Security Operations, is also on her way to meet Brainstorm, who radioed her about some anomalies in some monitoring equipment, possibly sabotage.  “The Rise?” Bumblebee asks.  Ah, it’s another clue about what the factions on this version of Cybertron are like. 

Meanwhile, in a more civilized area of Cybertron, the Ascenticons (oooo, pre-Decepticon faction name!) are marching towards Tarn in Targamax’s name (who?), and Orion is nervous.  Ironhide informs him his guest, Megatron, is here, and he’s not in a great mood.  He wants Megatron to postpone his rally or speech, as previous get-togethers have left Transformers injured. Orion just wants to know how much security will be needed.

Megatron chafes at the idea of standing down.  He passive-aggressively accuses Orion of suppressing his freedom to speak, as he feels he needs to present changes to benefit all of Cybertron (and maybe his Ascenticons specifically?).  Orion appeals to their previous friendship, one that was forged perhaps because they were created within a cycle of each other, but Megatron has a higher purpose, and Orion will not get in his way.

That could have gone better.

Focus shifts back to Rubble, Bumblebee, and Windblade, who have a hearty philosophical discussion about why exploration of the planet — and of Rubble himself — is good, as it will allow the new Transformer to discover his role in life.  Bumblebee muses that roles can even change over time, so even if he fits into one area now, Rubble could conceivably do something else later.

Titan alert! Rubble spots a moving star above, but Windblade informs him that it’s a sleeping Titan, a starship who floats in orbit as part of planetry defense.  You know that will come into play at some point.

Finally, much to Bumblebee’s satisfaction, they arrive at Brainstorm’s lab… and something isn’t right.  Bee and Windblade go off to investigate, and leaving Rubble alone, he hears a faint noise.  Thinking it might be Brainstorm, he decides to check it out.

It’s Brainstorm, all right.  He’s… been better.  But I don’t think he’ll get better.

And that’s where this first part ends.

So!  What did I think?  Well, it’s got enough new mythos in it that I’m intrigued.  As I said above, seeing Orion and Megatron’s split might not be the most interesting thing to me now, as I’ve seen that before.  But having the Decepticons be called “Ascenticons” is a new twist that I enjoy.  Outside of politics, there’s also enough new ideas — the Voin, the Rise, and just what the heck happened to Brainstorm?  And who the heck is Tergamax?  It’s a good debut — it may not knock your socks off, but it makes you want to come back in two weeks.

I’ll be waiting.