THE WORLD BELOW! Deep beneath the surface of CYBERTRON, the last vestiges of life struggles to survive. Their only protectors: GRIMLOCK and his loyal DINOBOTS - who find themselves at the center of a dark mystery!
So dark, it's mostly shadowsStory
The first issue of this new series introduced us to some new characters and settings, all very different from the other IDW ongoings, and even from the Prime
animated series. The Dinobots are in charge, Grimlock leading them, energon is scarce, and there are a lot of issues to be dealt with - including the piles of bodies found by Last Spark inhabitant Firestar.
Even though the synopsis talks about Grimlock, it's Sludge that is the real protagonist here - and a well deserved spot it is - with Snarl in tail (ha! Tail!). Mairghread Scott seems to take some cues from Barber's style, working with previous continuity issues and patching them up, and also by having a running internal monologue through captions.
He didn't die!
The tone of the issue, and the series so far, is a fairly dark and gritty one. A lot of deaths (though several off-panel), including quite graphic ones, talk of cannibalism and vampirism, betrayal and extreme survival. It's really quite engaging.
Killing, not eating. Oh that's ok then.
I am very pleased with the attention given to minor characters in the Dinobot ranks, and it was time for Sludge to shine. Dealing with the Last Spark Autobots is also a really good idea, as it allows to work outside of the usual cast (who are currently engaged on Earth, as part of the animated series).Art
The artwork is also really good, though at times it can look a bit overcrowded. Agustin Padilla, who also worked on Spotlight: Hoist
as well as Rage of the Dinobots
, does a nice job of adapting game designs to comics-style, in my opinion, and they all really fit the tone quite well. As I said, there is the risk of some panels feeling overcrowded, but overall, the result is good.
And I mean good
The colours are faultless, but I was expecting nothing less from the likes of Priscilla Tramontano. They really help out those parts where the art may have been a little hard to manage. And Tom B. Long's lettering does its usual amazing things, too, with some really nice soundwords and font matching.
The artistic team works really well with the storyline, and I think Padilla, while still having room for improvement, is definitely the best bet for the series. I would like to see him on other titles again, too. Colours and letters really help out too, in a complementary ensemble that conveys the full range of the story. The covers by Ken Christiansen are excellent, too!ThoughtsSpoilerish ahead
I really enjoyed it. I have yet to properly read its predecessor, but Beast Hunters
has me intrigued to the point that I'm adding it to my must read list for the coming months. There are hints at the past, with the games, and hints at the present/future, with the animated series, but still lives and works perfectly well by itself.
All in all, a very pleasant surprise. There are some minor flaws, but they can be overlooked in view of the full experience, and they really do not detract from the enjoyment of the issue. If you haven't read issue 1, pick it up as soon as you can, and sink your teeth into this well fleshed-out new series.