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New to Transformers comics? Here's a guide to the various titles and a FAQ.

Discuss anything about the Transformers cartoons and comics! You can discuss anything from G1 to Cybertron as well as the comics from Marvel, Dreamwave, IDW and more!

New to Transformers comics? Here's a guide to the various titles and a FAQ.

Postby waaaaghlord » Sat Aug 04, 2007 5:24 am

Recently there have been quite a few threads asking where to start with TF comics both from people that are new to the hobby and from veterans who are just starting to look at the comic continuities. At the suggestion of i_amtrunks I'm starting this thread to provide an overview of the various TF titles and links to where you can find more detailed info. I'll try to avoid major spoilers and steer clear of price guides as this is intended as more of a jumping on point. This first post will look at the various continuities and the second post will contain a FAQ of some of the comic related questions that crop up most often, by neccessity the FAQ will have to contain more info that could be considered as spoilers which is why I'm keeping it seperate. I'll be adding info and updating this thread over the next week or so starting with the G1 titles.

GENERATION 1 & GENERATION 2 COMICS

Unsurprisingly there have been more G1 titles over the years than any other aspect of the Transformers franchise. All the various continuities and conflicting storylines can be more than a little overwhelming for the newcomer. The most important continuities are the original Marvel comics, The current output from IDW Publishing and, arguably, the Dreamwave Productions titles from a few years ago.

Transformers (Marvel US) ran for 80 issues with 2 writers first Bob Budiansky who wrote the personalities and abilities of the original TFs from 1984 and later Simon Furman who has written more TF fiction than anyone else in the business. The initial stories told of the TFs coming to Earth and adapting to their new environment. The continuity differs from the cartoons with details such as why the TFs left Cybertron being different, the Dinobots being members of the Ark crew rather than built on Earth and so on. New characters were introduced over time as various new toys came out, the main exceptions being the main cast of the 1986 movie who were not touched on at the time although some did show up in the Headmaster related material and later material written by Furman. The origin of the TFs is tackled by Furman in his stories and this is probably the biggest break from the cartoons. Here the TFs are the children of Primus, last of the gods of light, created as a final deffence against Unicron, last of the chaos gods. Quite a major departure from the cartoon backstory that the TFs were made by the Quintessons before they were driven from Cybertron. The final story arc dealt with Unicron's defeat at the hands of the combined Autobot and Decepticon forces.
-More details on this series can be found here: http://seibertron.com/comics/list.php?f_series=1

Transformers Headmasters (Marvel US) 4 issue miniseries that fits within the 80 issue run above and introduced the Headmaster characters on the planet of Nebulos before they journeyed to Earth and joined the cast of the main story. Both of these books and the Generation 2 comics (more on these in a little while) were collected by Titan Books a couple of years ago adding up to 16 volumes of material. See below for a run down of the Titan collections.
=More details on this series can be found here: http://seibertron.com/comics/list.php?f_series=8

Transformers Universe (Marvel US) 4 issue series of profile books detailing the original G1 cast in the Marvel continuity.
-More details on the series car be found here: http://seibertron.com/comics/list.php?f_series=10
-and the entries are archived here: http://seibertron.com/comics/universe/index.php

Transformers The Movie (Marvel US/IDW Publishing) 3 issue miniseries adaptation of the 86 movie not tying directly into the main run of marvel comics. Adapted by Budiansky this story has recently been redone with additional scenes and completely updated art by IDW Publishing as a 4 issue series.
-More details can be found here for the original Marvel series: http://seibertron.com/comics/list.php?f_series=9
-and here for the IDW version: http://seibertron.com/comics/list.php?f_series=47

Transformers (Marvel UK) 332 issues varying between fortnightly and weekly, both reprinting US material and producing new stories. Initially the UK originated material had to fit inbetween the US reprints but as Furman found his feet this took off on some tangents and deviated from what was being done in the states to a larger degree. Furman used the movie cast that the American comic wasn't utalising and set a lot of his stories in the future (well 2005 onwards, so the past to us now, but I digress) with time travel elements linking back to the main continuity. It was in these future stories that the concept of Primus was first introduced allowing Furman to introduce it again in a contempory setting once he was writing for the US book. In addition to the main run of UK comics there was also the Collected Comics title which reprinted fan favourite material and UK format hardcover Annuals. A lot of the UK material has also been collected in book form by Titan.
-More details can be found on the individual issues here: http://seibertron.com/comics/list.php?f_series=3
-and the UK annuals here: http://seibertron.com/comics/list.php?f_series=21

Transformers Generation 2 (Marvel US) 12 Issues picking up the story some time after the original 80 issue run. The story was introduced by means of guest appearances by Trasnsformers characters in Marvel's GI Joe comic. It's a direct continuation and a cracking read so I thought I'd better mention it alongside the G1 books. There was also a UK version of the G2 title but it was short lived and aside from redoing the introduction to remove the GI Joe connection featured only reprinted US material.
-More details on the GI Joe comics that act as an introduction can be found here: http://seibertron.com/comics/list.php?f_series=11
-and on the main book here: http://seibertron.com/comics/list.php?f_series=2

The various Marvel books have mostly seen collected form through Titan Books. The main series of 16 books collects the US G1 run with the exception of the Man of Iron story (the only story that the US title reprinted from the UK book) and an issue based on one of the third season cartoon episodes (that was out of comic continuity anyway), the Headmasters mini (inserted into the main books at the correct point) and the G2 run. The publication order of these collections was a little off as the last six volumes (Furman's work) were put out first and then the earlier books (Budianski's) followed. The correct reading order for these collected editions is:
Beginnings,
New Order,
Cybertron Redux,
Showdown,
Breakdown,
Treason,
Trial by Fire,
Maximum Force,
Dark Star,
Last Stand,
Primal Scream,
Matrix Quest,
All Fall Down,
End of the Road,
Dark Designs,
Rage in Heaven

Transformers The War Within (Dreamwave) 3 6 issue arcs (the last arc never finished due to the compasny going out of business) set in Cybertron's distant past. Written by Furman and highly recomended. This is where the pre earth designs that have been featured in the recent Titanium toy line originated. Completely seperate to the Marvel comics these stories tie in with Dreamwave's G1 continuity.
-More details on volume 1 can be found here: http://seibertron.com/comics/list.php?f_series=6
-on volume 2 here: http://seibertron.com/comics/list.php?f_series=26
-and on the unfinished volume 3 here: http://seibertron.com/comics/list.php?f_series=31

Transformers Micromasters (Dreamwave) 4 issues set between the War Within books and the main Dreamwave G1 continuity, after Prime and Megatron have left Cybertron but long before their reawakening on Earth. Focusing on the newly created and anarchic Micromasters characters these comics tried to evoke a more 'punk' sensability than is usually found in TF fiction.
-More details on the series can be found here: http://seibertron.com/comics/list.php?f_series=32

Transformers Generation 1 (Dreamwave) 2 6 issue arcs and an ongoing title that made it to 8 issues before the company disappeared. Drawing influence mainly from the cartoon and in theory filling in some story from between the end of the second season and the movie. The later stuff was basicly building up to retell the movie story. Most of the Dreamwave material has been collected in book form at some stage and IDW have some of it still in print, although there are various legal difficulties with the rights to some of this material.
-More details on volume 1 can be found here: http://seibertron.com/comics/list.php?f_series=4
-on volume 2 here: http://seibertron.com/comics/list.php?f_series=7
-and on the unfinished volume 3 here: http://seibertron.com/comics/list.php?f_series=27

Megatron Origin (IDW Publishing) 4 issue mini, currently being published. Sets up some backstory to the totally reimagined IDW continuity for G1.
-More details on this series can be found here: http://seibertron.com/comics/list.php?f_series=54

Transformers Infiltration, Stormbringer, Escalation, Devastation, Revalation etc (IDW) Mainly 6 issue arcs (Stormbringer is 4) telling the contempary TF storys in the new IDW continuity. Written by Furman these are quite intricate and interlinked across the IDW G1 titles with lots of subplots and things being set up to pay off storywise somewhere down the line. The first 3 arcs are already out and are all available as collections , the last couple (and more beyond) are forthcoming.
-More details can be found on Infiltration here: http://seibertron.com/comics/list.php?f_series=38
-on Stormbringer here: http://seibertron.com/comics/list.php?f_series=44
-and on Escalation here: http://seibertron.com/comics/list.php?f_series=49

Spotlight titles (IDW) These focus on a specific character telling a story within a single issue that links in to the main IDW continuity without having to distract too much from the main story thrust of the (...)tion titles. Mostly written by Furman.
-More details on the Spotlight titles can be found here: http://seibertron.com/comics/list.php?f_series=48

BEAST WARS & BEAST MACHINES

UNIVERSE

ROBOTS IN DISGUISE

ARMADA, ENERGON & CYBERTRON

07 MOVIE
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Postby waaaaghlord » Sat Aug 04, 2007 5:24 am

TRANSFORMERS COMICS FAQ

Q. Where should I start with the IDW comics?

A. Start with Infiltration, which is available as a TPB and then pick up Stormbringer (many consider this non essential, but it's a cracking read and Don's art is superb), Escalation, Devastation and the forthcoming Revelation and Expansion. The "-ion" titles form the core of the continuity while Stormbringer, The Spotlight titles, Megatron Origin and the Mavel Avengers/TF crossover add to the continuity and for the most part add greater depth to the overall story while not being essential to follow what's going on in the main books.

Q. Is The War Within part of the IDW continuity?

A. No. While IDW have reprinted the first two volumes as TPBs the War Within stories were written to tie in with the Dreamwave G1 continuity and there are story points which make them incompatable with the IDW continuity. The most notable of these are Optimus receiving the Matrix in Vol 1 of WW when he does not possess it in the IDWverse and the Quintessons being the major villains in Vol 3 when so far they do not seem to feature at all in the IDW books.

Q. So are the Dreamwave books in the same continuity as th G1 cartoon?

A. Not quite. While the cartoon was certainly more of an influence on the Dreamwave comics than previous comic continuities the third volume of Dreamwave's G1 title was building up to retell the story of the 86 movie in it's own way. Elements from the cartoon that hadn't seen inclusion in other comic continuities up to that point were featured, such as characters like Alpha Trion and a cameo by Devcon, but other elements were quite different, such as Shockwave being portrayed as a power hungry userper rather than the sychophant who was unswervingly loyal to Megatron in the cartoons.

Q. Who is Bludgeon?

A. Bludgeon was one of the second wave of Pretender toys in the late eighties and despite not having any cartoon appearances has become something of a fan favourite due to his comic appearances over the years. He was introduced in the Marvel comics as a member of the Mayhem Attack Squad and rose in prominence to become overall commander of the Decepticons by the end of the comic's run. He also featured prominently in a number of the black and white stories from towards the end of the Marvel UK title. He was still commander of the Decepticons at the beginning of the G2 comics but didn't survive that 12 issue series as he was destroyed by a rebuilt Megatron. He featured in the second volume of The War Within as an acolyte of The Fallen. His IDW incarnation was as the leader of a rouge Decepticon group known as the Cult of Thunderwing and included a hefty redesign of the character's appearance combining elements of his inner robot and outer shell. IDW books where he makes an appearance include a cameo in the Shockwave Spotlight and featuring as the main villain in the Soundwave spotlight and Stormbringer. He even had a breif outing in the Armada comics where he was a herald of Unicron in the Worlds Collide storyline.

Q. Who is Thunderwing?

A. As with Bludgeon, Thunderwing (another Pretender) was one of the Decepticon characters who had a prominent role in the later Marvel comics. He rose to command the Cybertronian Decepticons while Scorponok was in command of the Earthbound forces. After the Matrix was corrupted it merged with Thunderwing. He was defeated by Optimus Prime, thusly costing the Autobots the Matrix that they had been striving to recover but returned during the final battle against Unicron on Cybertron only to be destroyed by the planet eater. His other main appearance was in the IDW series Stormbringer where his prototype Pretender shell had driven him insane and it had taken the combined forces of the Autobots and Decepticons to bring him down, rendering Cybertron uninhabitable in the process. Bludgeon and the cult of Thunderwing brought him back online using Ore 13 acquired on Earth and it was only the limitations of this power source that enabled a second joint force of Autobots and Decepticons to stop him. An Autobot guard was left on Cybertron with the Stasis locked Thunderwing and his acolytes but his body was stolen by Galvatron on the orders of his master in the Dead Universe.

Q. Is Transformers/Avengers really considered part of IDWs G1 continuity?

A. According to Chris Ryall yes. It's in continuity and set between Infiltration/Stormbringer an Escalation. It's not an essential read though because nothing within the crossover is meant to affect the overall ongoing story. The only exception to this is that it deals with Ramjet's arrival on Earth ahead of his Spotlight book, but if you want to ignore Man & Machine it's easy enough to simply assume that he's just arrived in between the end of Infiltration and the start of his own book.

Q. How compatable are the Marvel UK and US comics?

A. Not 100%. The Marvel UK material weaves in and out of the stories from the US title, developing some story threads that were left hanging in the US book and also going in it's own direction. The future stories in the UK book aren't really compatable with the later part of the US run because they rely on the events of TF:TM having taken place and the movie would not play out the same way if the Transformers had already battled Unicron more than 10 years previously. Events in the G2 book could be seen to have the same effect to a lesser degree. The Earthforce stories from towards the end of the UK run can't really fit within the US material simply because the breakneck pace of the Unicron story arc in the US book doesn't leave sufficient time for them to occur. Also it's never entirely clear if the future Galvatron in Perchance to Dream[/i} is intended to be one of the two future Galvatrons already running around between the US and UK books or whether it is a third version of the character. Given how the story plays out it would appear to be the latter, although no third backstory to explain why he's in his own past is ever offered. Basicly a working knowledge of the US material is needed to make sense of some of the UK material but nothing in the UK books is essential to the continuity of the US books. I would hasten people not to be put off by this however as the time travel stories that run between {i}Target: 2006 and me Wars are a high point of Marvel's time with the TF license and well worth picking up in TPB format.
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Postby Bonger » Thu Sep 06, 2007 2:22 am

I'm surprised this is not stickied. Hmm, I had no idea the Avengers cross-over tied into the rest of the IDW continuity.

I assume it is similar to Stormbringer, in that it folllows the stories of other TFs at the same time as the main story line is occuring?

Also, should the UK and US G1 comics be read independently or is there a specific issue as of which they part ways? Based on Target:2006, it would eem that they part ways at issue 78?
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Postby waaaaghlord » Thu Sep 06, 2007 11:53 pm

Since those are both quite story specific I've added them to the FAQs.

I will be getting around to doing some non G1 additions to the main body of the guide soon, promise. I've been letting this slide lately while I've been working on some customs and making paperformers but it's certainly not abandoned.
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Postby Bonger » Fri Sep 07, 2007 4:26 am

waaaaghlord wrote:Since those are both quite story specific I've added them to the FAQs.

I will be getting around to doing some non G1 additions to the main body of the guide soon, promise. I've been letting this slide lately while I've been working on some customs and making paperformers but it's certainly not abandoned.


Awesome. I will be following alongk as you update. Good stuff so far.
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Postby Dead Metal » Fri Sep 07, 2007 5:11 am

Motto: "Don't do drugs, beer's cheaper anyway!"
You forgot something!
I don't know how others feel about this, but the DW Transformers vs GI Jo is the best to come from DW, stunning art real good story and a ending end!
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Intah-wib-buls?

Blurrz wrote:10/10

Leave it to Dead Metal to have the word 'Pronz' in his signature.
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Postby Counterpunch » Fri Sep 07, 2007 7:01 am

Motto: "...and I used to be such a nice guy."
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I personally barf at the idea that the Avengers Cross-over is canon.

and not half-man, half-dog, Mog! type Barf, but the beer before liquor kind of barf.
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Postby Bonger » Fri Sep 07, 2007 7:39 am

Counterpunch wrote:I personally barf at the idea that the Avengers Cross-over is canon.

and not half-man, half-dog, Mog! type Barf, but the beer before liquor kind of barf.


Yeah I hear ya. I have not picked it up yet, ,but I heard the story and art is questionable at best.
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Postby Dead Metal » Fri Sep 07, 2007 9:17 am

Motto: "Don't do drugs, beer's cheaper anyway!"
Bonger wrote:
Counterpunch wrote:I personally barf at the idea that the Avengers Cross-over is canon.

and not half-man, half-dog, Mog! type Barf, but the beer before liquor kind of barf.


Yeah I hear ya. I have not picked it up yet, ,but I heard the story and art is questionable at best.


It's not real good, it's well just I don't know I just buy it cos of Spidy.
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Jeep! wrote:Why do I imagine Dead Metal sounding exactly like Arnie?
Intah-wib-buls?

Blurrz wrote:10/10

Leave it to Dead Metal to have the word 'Pronz' in his signature.
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Postby waaaaghlord » Fri Sep 07, 2007 9:22 am

Fortunately the Avengers crossover can be largely ignored. I'm only picking it up myself out of a sense of completeness.

As well as the DW GI Joe material there's also still the Devil's Due Joe/TF books. I've got most of these but missed out on volume three due to one of my periodic unemployment woes (ah, the joys of seasonal work in the horticulture industry...) so I'll need to do a little research and maybe hit ebay for a few back issues before I do that one.
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Postby Dead Metal » Fri Sep 07, 2007 9:30 am

Motto: "Don't do drugs, beer's cheaper anyway!"
waaaaghlord wrote:Fortunately the Avengers crossover can be largely ignored. I'm only picking it up myself out of a sense of completeness.

As well as the DW GI Joe material there's also still the Devil's Due Joe/TF books. I've got most of these but missed out on volume three due to one of my periodic unemployment woes (ah, the joys of seasonal work in the horticulture industry...) so I'll need to do a little research and maybe hit ebay for a few back issues before I do that one.

You men the one with Unicron?
If so, you can have mine if you like. Cos I don't want to put it to the rest of my colecton, I don't know I don't like the art and the story.
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Jeep! wrote:Why do I imagine Dead Metal sounding exactly like Arnie?
Intah-wib-buls?

Blurrz wrote:10/10

Leave it to Dead Metal to have the word 'Pronz' in his signature.
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Postby waaaaghlord » Fri Sep 07, 2007 10:21 am

No, the Cobra-la/Unicron angle was supposed to be done in volume 3 but it ended up being put back to volume 4. Without looking into it I've got very little idea what volume 3 actually ended up covering. Cheers for the offer though, I've already got both issues of that one anyway but thanks.
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Postby Leonardo » Fri Sep 07, 2007 3:06 pm

Out of interest, how / why did Ramjet arrive on Earth in the Avengers crossover?
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Postby waaaaghlord » Fri Sep 07, 2007 6:11 pm

M: "Who's next?"

R: " I'm ready."

M: "Hold Ramjet. You arrived on Earth less than half a mega-cycle ago. A suspisious mind might think you'd come here to userp my authority."

...and that's about as much back story as we get. Anything else will presumably be covered in the rest of Man & mAchine or the Ramjet Spotlight.
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Postby i_amtrunks » Fri Sep 07, 2007 6:27 pm

Glad to see this rise to the top of the comics forum again Waaaaghlord. Hopefully people dont ignore, and actually use it to their benefit this time around.
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Postby burning prime » Thu Nov 08, 2007 5:53 am

Dear Mods,

My post continues from i_amtrunks: I agree with him and to me this is the best intro to the world of TF comics ! (TQ for your guide, Waaaaghlord)

It really is a pain that every time I need to refer to this guide, I have to sift through tons of posts. Therefore, for everyone's sake, I hope that this thread is placed as a 'sticky' not just for the convenience of the veteran readers, but also for the newbies (including yours truly)

p.s.: please update your guide, waaaaghlord........I am more than confused over the beast war world :-P
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Postby Leonardo » Thu Nov 29, 2007 3:11 am

I've got a few questions for either waaaghlord or anyone else:

I've been reading about Circuit Breaker's appearances on the TF Wiki as I only have a vague memory of her from Titan's collections. Anyway, in her entry it suggests that she was on Earth up until "DIS-Integrated Circuits!" (Marvel #9, which I think I remember from the reprints) and then appeared in "On The Edge of Extinction!" (#75) to fight Unicron on Cybertron.

i) What happened to her in-between these issues?
ii) How did she end up on Cybertron?
iii) Could she breathe Cybertron's atmosphere?

All answers appreciated.
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Postby i_amtrunks » Thu Nov 29, 2007 4:26 pm

Leonardo wrote:I've got a few questions for either waaaghlord or anyone else:

I've been reading about Circuit Breaker's appearances on the TF Wiki as I only have a vague memory of her from Titan's collections. Anyway, in her entry it suggests that she was on Earth up until "DIS-Integrated Circuits!" (Marvel #9, which I think I remember from the reprints) and then appeared in "On The Edge of Extinction!" (#75) to fight Unicron on Cybertron.

i) What happened to her in-between these issues?
ii) How did she end up on Cybertron?
iii) Could she breathe Cybertron's atmosphere?

All answers appreciated.


i) I thought she had some more appearances, but not sure at all.
ii) She along with the Neo Knights and all the Transformers in New Jersey was transferred back to Cybertron by Primus to battle Unicron. One of those lovely Instant Transmissions!
iii) Cybertron has a breathable atmosphere as Circuit Breaker and the Neo Knights were able to breathe quite comfortably, I also believe the Neo Knights stayed on Cybertron for a length period (a week?) after the battle, so there is a decent (perhaps regenerating?) atmosphere at least.
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Postby Leonardo » Fri Nov 30, 2007 2:18 am

Good answers, thank you for your help.

As for her number of appearances, I have no idea. I'm trying to work it out from the TF-Wiki and other sources but a lot of the info I can find on her seems to cover her early appearances.
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Re: New to Transformers comics? Here's a guide to the various ti

Postby MadMikeyD » Thu Dec 27, 2007 7:22 pm

I have a question on the Marvel Comics. I was thinking it would be cool (and pricey I'm sure) to track them down and bind them into hardcover books. I was curious as to the proper chronological/reading order of the books. This much I know:

Transformers #1-80
G.I. Joe (w/TF G2) #138-142
Transformers - Generation 2 #1-12

The question is - where do Headmasters #1-4 and G.I. Joe & Transformers #1-4 fit in to the regular G1 series? Between which issues would I stick them in? It may be an impossible quest I wish to undertake, but I'd still like to know. Thanks for any help you can give.
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Re: New to Transformers comics? Here's a guide to the various ti

Postby waaaaghlord » Sun Dec 30, 2007 5:10 am

Headmasters fits in between #37 and #38, the first GI Joe crossover is before that, I'll need to check where but the two stories run sort of concurrently so there may not be an 'ideal' place to put it in while the second GI Joe crossover (from the main Joe title rather than a seperate mini) fits between #80 and G2 #1 acting as an introduction to the rebooted series. Also bear in mind that the main 80 issue run did have a couple of out of continuity stories, [i]Man of Iron[/] reprinted from the early UK material and an adaptation of one of the series 3 cartoon episodes that has nothing to do with the main comic continuity. Both of these have been omitted from the Titan reprints.
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Re:

Postby Energon » Sun Dec 30, 2007 7:16 am

i_amtrunks wrote:Glad to see this rise to the top of the comics forum again Waaaaghlord. Hopefully people dont ignore, and actually use it to their benefit this time around.


No kidding. I wasn't going to read stormbringer because the name sounded stupid and I am put off by stuff that gets hyped. I was surprised to see it placed in between infiltration and devastation. I will probably read it now.
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