The ‘classic’ crew is back at it. FURMAN. WILDMAN. PRIME. MEGATRON.
Generation One becomes REGENERATION ONE. Will there be much REjoicing? Will it continue on to issue one hundREd, or beyond? I think the REaction from not only die hard older Transformers comics REaders, but also newer Transformers fans will be very interesting to see.
Transformers Regeneration is set to pick up after the original 80 book series called it quits. Twenty-one years later the artist and writer who finished my generation’s Transformers comic book have REunited to pick the reigns up where they left off, and answer all the questions that we want answered, and many we didn’t.
I have to say as an 80’s- 90’s comic book nerd, I have been looking forward to this for quite sometime. The classic series from then isn’t going to be much more than nostalgia for many. It’s fun reading, but sometimes tedious in its innocence and desire to help sell the toys it was portraying. It really has a hard time holding up to the standards of many of today’s comic book readers. The original series was, however, beginning to hit a really good stride with better, more than fun stories, when it ended.
THE STORY CONTINUES:
But now it hasn’t ended. The story and series is now continuing 21 years after the Autobots defeated the Decepticons at KLO, and The Last Autobot remade Cybertron, and resurrected so many of the ‘dead’ Autobots (‘comics dead’, c’mon like it wasn’t to be expected).
21 years and... we now have the Autobots and Decepticons living on Cybertron together, supposedly at peace. The Autobots are clearly in charge, in fact, it seems as if Optimus Prime is the leader of all on Cybertron. That is until the Neo-Decepticons led by Soundwave start to make waves, beginning with the tsunami of destroying The Last Autobot as it stood static on a pedestal (Issue #80.5) in Iacon.
Issue #81 picks up from there following Kup and a force of Autobots he’s assembled (whose name and cry you will instantly recognize). For the first time in the original 80 book series, the Wreckers make their debut (originally debuted in Marvel Transformers UK ‘Target 2006’). In fact, we see a lot of this issue through Kup's point of view, and thus, get to hear a lot of his grumpy old bot attitude. But it's not necessarily misplaced.
Kup offers Ultra Magnus the service of his specialized team to infiltrate and take down an explosive situation involving four rather unsure Neo-Decepticons and some big bombs. Magnus refuses Kup to try his own strategy to ‘talk them down’ rather than use force, to try to help preserve Optimus Prime’s peace on Cybertron. Arguments ensue.
Kup ignores the ‘order’ and goes in anyway.
Not to be outdone by silly Autobot illogics, Soundwave uses the deluxe Insecticons Ransack, Venom, and Chop Shop (what no Barrage?) to infiltrate and escalate the explosive situation and not let the Decepticons who were in the raid go to prison, but to instead be martyrs. Nice guys these Decepticons are.
The Wreckers (Wreck N’ Rule!!!) successfully disarm the situation and all is good. Decepticons captured. No casualties.
Except the Wreckers did it against orders. Magnus takes this up with Prime. He is unsure how and what discipline must happen, so that a precedence is not set for other members of the Autobot peacekeepers Magnus leads. And Optimus seems...‘weird’. He’s distracted, he’s mean, and he does not seem warm at all, but he does want to forgive Kup his transgression. Is Prime’s oddness the results of being reborn the combination of two separate beings? Something else entirely? Unicron is definitely on his mind, but to what extent is he so distracted by this, and his other ‘thoughts’ that he becomes an ineffective leader? A question sure to be answered soon.
Due to frustration with ‘the system’ Kup leaves and the Wreckers leave with him (voluntarily of course). They vow to visit all the other worlds that the Autobot and Decepticon war touched... heading first to Earth. What they find there is certainly a surprise.
Lots of action, beloved characters, and introduction to newer, and lesser used characters in the previous Marvel run make this issue a lot of fun. The writing is what you would expect from Furman and SEEMS to take up nicely from where we left off in issue 80. It’s a great jumping on point though, as you don’t have to have reference to the previous issues to enjoy what is starting here, although the knowledge can’t hurt (or can it?--the 100 page spectacular reprint of issues 76 - 80 --also out Wednesday--, can help those who want to refer back to the recent events from the previous issues to see the ‘prequel’). And of course, there are already a few references to events, people, and places from the original Marvel run, for those who are familiar with it, to enjoy.
So, here are my hold ups with an issue that I mostly enjoyed and was very excited for. The story doesn’t feel to me like it seamlessly continues the old Marvel run. The details all seem to be in place, but there is something, the 21 years part, or the weirdness of Optimus Prime, or the similarities to what is happening in RID, and MTMTE that just makes it feel odd, or even repetitive. I cannot exactly place it. I don’t dislike the issue, I’m a long time fan, own the Marvel run originally, own the collections of it, own the collections of UK reprinted materials, and own and collect all the new TF G1 stuff. I wanted to see this happen ever since IDW was able to do it with GI JOE. But when I read 80.5, and now 81, the odd feeling just continues, and I have not yet placed what is causing my ‘discomfort’ with this book in relation to the originals. I wonder if someone else can put it to words, or if I’m the only one that feels this way. Maybe I just had to high of expectations for it. Regardless, I am certainly going to give it a chance.
And besides the above, the art is going to drive some away. Yes, it is CLASSIC Wildman art. That does not skip a beat at all when comparing it to the art he did 20 years ago. But the same complaints about that style still follow it to this new series. Very human (too organic?) looking hands and faces, and lack of detail and simplicity in the robots (like Don Figueroa in reverse). But the art IS part of what gives it the feel of belonging to the old series-- at least to me. I think it is a style that can grow on you, but there are some times when it does seem like TOO much humanity has been drawn into these beings, if there is such a thing (the tears seemed to be a bit much).
Those things aside, I’m certainly interested. The first issue has a lot to it, as I mentioned. A lot to draw in previous readers, and is also a good place for those with new interest to jump in. Plenty of favorite characters, and plenty of new character introductions. And of course, those familiar with the previous 80.5 issues know that there are a lot of stories to tell in relation to them, as well as, stories to tell that don’t relate to the previous issues.
There’s a lot of pressure on Furman to make these stories original and not another version of the Marvel UK Transformers comics stories that he has to draw on. The inclusion of the Wreckers was a must at some point in REGENERATION in pretty much any fans opinion, but I think he needs to be careful about how he winds these stories, and that the direction is not just revamped Target 2006, etc. So far, so good!
I’m in. I love reading fiction about Transformers. Comic books really do help give these robots the depth that the imagination can then run away with when playing and being creative with the toys and characters. That was true in my childhood, and is still true as I try to pass my love to the next generation.
Transformers Regeneration Issue #81 is due to hit your LCS this Wednesday. Check it out for yourself to enjoy some good old-fashioned robot adventure.
*Man, I hope Springer remembers the ‘ol letting the cons detonate three quarters of the shuttle is much better than four quarters trick, or, well...you should probably go and pick this issue up, because you might be surprised by a few things here or there, and find yourself enjoying it!