Insert Furmanism HereSynopsis
THE GREATEST ENEMY... the greatest challenge... shall come from within. And there will be an ending. This is it, the battle the TRANSFORMERS must win, and yet dare not. The original and founding TRANSFORMERS comic comes to an epic and giant-sized conclusion, with all-out battle on CYBERTRON. Or should that be “Cybertrons”? Shocks, surprises, guest stars and more. It may be a cliché, but this one really does have it all.
Here we go..Story
30 years in the making, the final, 100th (sort of) instalment in what was supposed to be a 4 issue limited series is here. This week, today, it actually, well and truly, ends. Over, finished. Even the best ones do not want to live forever. How many more furmanisms can I slide into this review, you ask? Well, you'll have to read on to find out!
I suppose we do, don't we?
So it's a bumper issue, and it follows Rodimus Prime as he travels, more or less figuratively, across Cybertron and the universe to figure out what exactly is going on with all the recent Jhiaxus/Matrix/Underbase/Primordials/Primus/Unicron?/42 business. And we finally see all the major players that have shown up in the last couple of years meet again, too.
But something's a little off, here. I can't exactly place my finger on it, but discussing it with other reviewers we all share the same sense of ..something not quite right. Simon Furman's writing has nothing to do with it, the dialogue flows nicely, the captions work, the exposition works. But I was not a fan of the story.
A Prime number of Primes!
There are redeeming qualities, definitely, with the multiverse concept showing up again, some good character moments with favourites, some nice dialogue between key players and loose ends, mostly, tied up. And yet..Art
What do we have in terms of art for this special issue? Three artists: the one who started it when it ended, Andrew Wildman; the one who did things in betweem, Geoff Senior; the one who did the end when it bagan, Guido Guidi. And while the latter and first do an amazing, as expected job, I had some minor gripes with Senior's take on some characters. I like his art, but for some reason it did not work over an extended sequence in here. It fit some of the parts, but not others - the Dark Matrix creature in his touch was great though!
And you know the ridiculous part? John-Paul Bove is colouring all three of them, again. Yes, Stephen Baskerville does the inks for Wildman and Guidi, and does them well, but still, three different styles, same magistry of colour magic - just as he's been doing for the entire run. It's seriously impressive, even with the help of unsung heroes like Ed Pirrie, who had a hand in some of the issues.
Yep, still the skies
Chris Mowry is on letters one last time, too, and there's definitely a lot to work with, between explosions, lasers and punches - he does it well. The usual suspects make up the cover roster, with Wildman and Jason Cardy on A, Guidi on B, Senior and Josh Burcham on RI (thumbnail), Robert Atkins, Juan Castro and Romulo Fajardo Jr on the Subscription variant and a special edition with Wildman, Baskerville and Bove. Take your pick, they're all pretty good!ThoughtsSpoilerish ahead
And so we're left here, with the final issue of a 100 (and a little more) strong run of Marvel then IDW comics, starting all the way back in the 80s, ending on the 30th anniversary of the franchise - and I feel sad. Sad because it lacked the bite of some of the later issues in the ReGeneration run. Sad because it probably could've done more. Sad because, good or bad, it's over.
It's a conflicted book, and I'm conflicted in my opinion. In fact, so conflicted that I won't give this a grading at all. In the overall run, I don't think it was the best ending possible. But it was a decent ending in terms of closing down and burning all bridges (except one, at the very very end..), and it touched upon a lot of themes that are being discussed with other IDW titles, as its legacy. It addressed some of them, glossed over others, but it tried dealing with it.
What was really nice to see and read were the single extras by most of the creative team, from Simon Furman's Foreword to the afterwords by Furman, Bove, Wildman, and the art by Bove, Cardy and Baskerville. The dedication that the team, including editors John Barber and Chris Ryall, has put into this has been impressive to behold, and touching, from beginning to end. And it's worth remembering that. You wouldn't believe the things they did, but they did them. Round of applause.