Sunday, November 23, 2014

The First Issue: The Transformers # 35!

This of course is technically just the continuation of IDW Publishing’s “The Transformers: Robots in Disguise” series under the new, streamlined title “The Transformers,” but it also heralds what amounts to a fresh start for the series particularly its creative team of writer John Barber and artist Andrew Griffith.

After spinning its transformed wheels with some flashback and cutaway stories for the last two issues, “The Transformers” # 35 bring readers back to the main dramatic issue: the tricky relationship between humans and Cybertronians. To dot this, it reintroduces some people we’ve known for a while, as well as tying in what has emerged from the memories of the rescued Alpha Trion.

The issue begins in Tokyo, where the IDW’s version of the industrialist G.B. Blackrock is introducing to the world his new operating system Onyx. “See, living in post-Cybertronian world… it’s not all bad,” he tells his audience. At the same time, we see a robot being hunted down by armed men. Then the transmission is hijacked by Spike Witwicky, who is leading the group that has captured the aforementioned robot. He reveals that Blackrock’s company has been supplying Cybertronian weapons to the Earth Defense Command, before executing the robot.

Back over Bikini Atoll, Cosmos is dodging fire from the humans below before he is rescued by the timely and noisy intervention of Sky Lynx and Sideswipe. The EDC is monitoring the Autobots’ repeated approaches, and they figure out that it’s all part of an attempt to test the defensive responses and not to actually invade the island again.

Back on the Art-7 in lunar orbit, Optimus Prime and Alpha Trion have returned from their secret conversation on the moon. Prme has apparently decided to keep secret the fact that the Enigma of Comibation (which allows for Cybtertronian gestalts) is hidden somewhere on Earth from Prowl. Prime himself is leaving for Cybertron and warns Prowl: “You are to engage in missions only when necessary.”

Of course, we already know from last issue that Prowl, while coverly listening in to Prime and Trion, already knows all about the Enigma. Meanwhile, Prowl has also discovered that Spike has resurfaced. He musters the Constructicons for a mission to find Spike; the Constructicons have a score to settle with Spike, who executed the team’s leader Scrapper.

Blackrock is chewing out EDC director Marissa Faireborn, blaming her for Spike’s interference. Faireborn deflects this easily: “This isn’t our mess—but the EDC will clean it up.” Blackrock doesn’t care, as he thinks too much is at stake here: “I built your airplane, your secret base, your army of Transformers…and I will not allow anyone to tear down my empire.”

Not to be forgotten, the Decepticons on Earth are in a bad mood—well, Galvatron is, anyway, as he takes it out on former Autobot Scoop. Soundwave leaves on what he calls a personal errand. Now, Galvatron is free to do what he wants: track down and torture Spike to find out what the human knows.

There’s a lot going on here, and it’s all a welcome development after the slower, more focused phase in the last issues. All the important personalities are reintroduced and we get a good dose of this continuity’s really unlikable Blackrock. “The Transformers: # 35 is pretty much all set-up, but it’s diverting and smooth. Barber writes this issue well and Griffith’s return is welcome after a short absence. When you look at how well Prime is drawn this issue—among other characters—you realize just how good Griffith has gotten. It’s also really interesting how almost everyone is drawn to resemble their most recent toy version.

This is the first issue of the “Days of Deception” story arc, and Barber responds with a spirited issue that also hints at the coming “Combiner Wars” plotline, a fine start to this re-titled series.

Next time: Transformers Primacy # 4!

No comments:

Post a Comment