Issue #32 just came out, and you can read our review here, but news is already trickling through for Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #33, starting with this exclusive convention cover for Alamo City Comic Con by the ever-talented c-c-c-combo of Casey Coller and JP Bove. Check out the Jurassic Park-esque Fall of Cybertron Grimlock in Alamo below!
AUTOBOTS VERSUS EARTH! OPTIMUS PRIME and the AUTOBOTS discover the humans’ secret—and they aren’t pleased with what they learn! Will the DECEPTICON’s alliance tear down the peace—and will the world learn the CYBERTRONIANs are back?
A bit hard to miss, really
The past of couple of issues of Robots in Disguise have slowly been building up to the Alpha Trion discovery and recovery, seeding lies and lines about Prowl's true intentions and feelings, Jazz and Arcee's discomfort in their new-and-old roles, Galvatron's connection to it all, the Witwickys, Soundwave, Optimus and the rest of the gang. Slowly.
And then, suddenly, giant spaceships. Stories that were heading one fearfully predictable way go in a direction so different it's almost inwards. Characters more or less established by now are truly revealed for what and who they are. Changes come about so subtly and quickly and yet still make sense with everything teased so far, that reading 28-31 again is almost required to get more out of it all once again.
John Barber does an excellent job at keeping all the threads close, weaving a pattern so intricate that three out of two of us on the comics staff have no idea as to where the story will go from here, but are loving the ride read. This is what RID promised in its initial issues, both seasons, and the heights it can accomplish with its twisted political and social narratives.
And dogs called Buster
And on top of that, the entire issue is a series of well orchestrated, well paced, well placed action sequences, with Prowl and Jazz on one side, the Autobot team on another, and humans and Decepticons between and around the two. With exemplary stand-outs in Thundercracker, Buster and Marissa, as Barber does not forget the series' heart and humour, exactly when needed (the closing sequence is magnificently crafted).
Andrew Griffith is the main artist, taking care of all the gigantic spaceships, stupidly amazing visual references, fights, perspective shifts, interactions and running plot, flashbacks included. The opening scene, the title page, just examples of what Griffith can do with a page, something hinted at in Dark Cybertron. And the amazingness is topped by Josh Perez' colour work on Griffith's pages, giving a grittiness and darker hue to a truly bleak situation - lighting it up by fire, laser and destruction.
Brendan Cahill is confined (I use the term loosely) to four pages in total - but whoah are they some pages! Focusing on the interactions between Prowl and Jazz, and an amazing double page, reader shifting spread that delves deeper into the human connection to the story, both Cahill and Joana Lafuente's colours put the sci-fi back into the Transformers, reminding us of one of the many genres the comics line falls under. And how adorably evil Prowl looks while smirking.
To top everything off, Tom B. Long dazzles in his lettering work, with some wonderfully placed sound effects mirroring the chaos and confusion that must be ensuing during the attack on the human base, and a gorgeous ending sequence caption group. Then add to that the amazing Coller and Bove cover revealed yesterday, and the Coller and Lafuente variant hinting at where the story may be headed (see thumbnail).
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Barber was able to take all my fears as to where this series was heading, and spin them completely around into something unrecognisable and impossible to figure out, nearing its sister series MTMTE for twistedness. Griffith and Cahill's collaboration raises the bar even higher, with some mind-boggling art in terms of perspective and layouts, with the excellent Perez and Lafuente giving a decidedly significant boost, and Long's designer eye operating from the shadows.
You did, RID
Robots in Disguise #32 has action, lots of it. It has mystery, it has scheming, it has humans and Cybertronians. Lots of them. It has a good story, excellent pacing, great dialogue, fantastic art, amazing colouring and letters, gorgeous covers and is reaching a level of comic book writing worthy of any other action series currently published in the industry. I cannot recommend this issue enough. Lots of it.
THE WAR FOR CYBERTRON! Optimus Prime versus Megatron. Autobots versus Decepticons. At the dawn of the conflict, battle lines are drawn and sides are set… now legends will be made. The war that would define a planet begins in earnest—and its revelations will shake the TRANSFORMERS’ world to the core!
Autocracy did some really interesting things by taking politics to a whole other level. Monstrosity brought 'the Quintessons' and Trypticon back into the game. Primacy is supposed to shape the IDW Transformers universe as we know it - so what is the missing link between the fall of Trypticon and the rise of Megatron? It looks like issue 1 starts answering that question.
The focus of Chris Metzen and Flint Dille appears to be shifting between Optimus Prime and Megatron as they both 'recover' from the happenings in the previous two mini-series, with the latter in particular sometimes questioning (?) his actions - and yet, at the same time, we also have some nice interactions between Grimlock and Rodimus, Optimus and Ironhide, Megatron and.. well. You'll see.
There is one major snag in the issue, during Optimus' sections, which I'm hoping will get explained later in the series - but for now it's not too distracting (for me at least), and considering John Barber is editing the work, some kind of patching could always take place at another stage, or there's a better reason for it happening as it does.
All in all, there are some big set-ups for this run, with some nice interactions between the key players, and some past exploration and world-defining, delving into pre-established elements of the franchise and plots hinted at in both Autocracy and Monstrosity, and the wider IDWverse.
Livio Ramondelli resumes his task of showing us the beginning of Cybertron's dark ages, with his trademark darker style and colours, shining on big splash pages and spreads, and I mean BIG. The characters, the scope, the layouts - there's a sense of size and scale that follows from some of the later chapter in Monstrosity sliding into here, and not just in the art itself.
Big city lights
The colours obviously work well with the linework, and there are some nicely contrasting tones in some flashback sequences. The eye differences are a nice touch too, with Grimlock, Optimus and Megatron showing off different optics. And a very nice touch comes from letterer Chris Mowry, helping with giving a voice to the different characters, each in its own slightly unique way, and some great translucent sound effects.
I'll take a little longer on the covers, as the main one by Ramondelli is but a fourth of the series' run, but it is joined by an amazing Optimus Prime revealing the matrix by Windblade's Sarah Stone (a nice echo of one of the moments shown above) and an excellent 30th Anniversary variant by Casey Coller and JP Bove, commemorating the smelting pool and poor Scrounge (see thumbnail).
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Metzen and Dille's writing is slightly different from the rest of IDW's current output, but still holds its appeal with both older audiences and fans of the more modern ongoings. And their style fits the tone and time of the story, without any doubt, focusing on the two main players of the beginning of the war. Ramondelli's art returns to complement them, and I very happy to have Barber on editing, making sure it all fits in together - even with Omega's confusing statements.
And so do we
It's an easing into the story again, definitely. Some big stuff went down in what leads us to this point, and with this issue we're discovering bigger things still slowly emerging from Cybertron's past and leading into its future. And there are much much bigger things to come, if the last pages are anything to go by. Big things indeed.
All Eyes On IDW At Comic-Con International 2014! New Series, Archival Collections, And Monumental Crossovers Announced
San Diego, CA (July 28, 2014) – The eyes of the world were watching San Diego Comic-Con International 2014 for major announcements and this year IDW Publishing took the stage to reveal an impressive array of projects that are coming soon! Behold, the cure for the post-convention blues is here:
Star Trek / Planet of the Apes
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to “mind-meld” with a sentient ape? Or wanted to see a Klingon on horseback, brandishing a rifle? Readers will soon have a chance to peek into just such an alternate future, as IDW Publishing partners with BOOM! Studios for the crossover event of the year: Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive. The creative team will be a mix of proven experience and new blood with scripts by beloved Star Trek scribes Scott and David Tipton (Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation 2) and interior art and covers by the British newcomer Rachael Stott.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles / Ghostbusters
The crossover of the year comes to IDW when two of the most legendary teams come face-to-face in the new mini-series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ghostbusters! Written by top IDW talent, Tom Waltz, and Erik Burnham, the series will feel right at home with art by Dan Schoening.
The acclaimed sci-fi series assumes a new identity in the form of a comic-book series from IDW Publishing. This will not be a clone of the show but will feature some all-new stories set in the complex and thrilling world of Orphan Black, which IDW will be working closely with the show’s producers to expand. The full creative teams and series details will be announced soon, with the first comic-book series launching in early 2015.
Garbage Pail Kids
Topps’ Garbage Pail Kids, the 1980s sensation, will have readers squirming with delight this winter as the obscene adolescents star in a brand-new comic-book series from IDW Publishing. With the likes of Adam Bomb, Leaky Lindsay, and New Wave Dave populating the Garbage Pail Kids universe, the delightfully deformed and often downright disgusting Kids are set to make their mark on the world of comics, just in time for their 30th Anniversary in 2015!
Just in time for Halloween, IDW Publishing and Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products are proud to announce the first in a number of new projects together, with the first ever Edward Scissorhands comic book series. The long overdue all-new adventures begin in October, with New York Times best-selling author Kate Leth (Adventure Time) on writing duties and Drew Rausch (Haunted Mansion) lending his delightfully spooky style to the interior art. Rounding out the creative team will be acclaimed Locke & Key artist Gabriel Rodriguez, who will provide a stunning and suitably creepy cover for the debut issue.
The complete Corto Maltese will published in English for the first time! EuroComics, a new imprint edited by Dean Mullaney, worked closely with Patrizia Zanotti, Pratt’s long-time collaborator, to present the complete Corto Maltese in a series of twelve quality trade paperbacks in Pratt’s original oversized black and white format. They will also feature new translations from Pratt’s original Italian scripts by Simone Castaldi, Associate Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures at Hofstra.
Eric Powell’s The Goon Artist Edition
Special Projects Director, Scott Dunbier revealed the fan-favorite, cult series, The Goon by Eric Powell is next in line to receive the acclaimed Artist’s Edition treatment! Collecting the series “Chinatown,” The Goon Artist’s Edition will pummel its way into comic shops in 2015.
IDW announced a 5-issue series of comic-book adaptations of the prose anthology Shadow Show, a tribute to the work of the incomparable Ray Bradbury. Shadow Show #1 starts with the haunting and melancholy “By The Silver Water of Lake Champlain,” written by Joe Hill (Locke & Key) and adapted by Jason Ciaramella (The Cape) with art by Charles Paul Wilson III (Wraith) and a gorgeous cover by Locke & Key co-creator Gabriel Rodriquez. Issue 2 will see Neil Gaiman’s “The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury,” brought to life with artist Maria Fröhlich, and artist Eddie Campbell will tackle Audrey Niffenegger’s “Backward In Seville.” Other Shadow Show stories to be included are Harlan Ellison’s “Weariness,” Dave Eggers’ “Who Knocks?” and Alice Hoffman’s “Conjure” with accompanying artists to be announced.
Angry Birds / Transformers Announced earlier this year, Rovio and Hasbro have teamed up two beloved properties in Angry Birds and The TRANSFORMERS! This fall IDW will bring the mayhem to comics with the brand new series, Angry Birds Transformers, expanding on the unexpected backgrounds of this explosive crossover! Written by The Transformers mastermind, John Barber, with art by Marcelo Ferriera, this crossover will be one for the record books!
Transformers: Combiner Wars
A new Transformers event, Transformers: Combiner Wars will start March 2015 from writers Mairghread Scott and John Barber and artists Sarah Stone and Livio Ramondelli. It’s an arms-race of truly titanic proportions as a long-lost ancient artifact allows the Cybertronians to unite into more powerful, gigantic forms. Will Cybertron—or the galaxy—be able to withstand the onslaught? Find out with a prologue and 5 issues, running in TRANSFORMERS #39-41 and the new TRANSFORMERS: WINDBLADE #1-3, which will be packed in with select TRANSFORMERS GENERATIONS toys.
The adventures of the NSEA Protector continue at IDW with an all-new Galaxy Quest series set after the film. Written by Erik Burnham, with art by Nacho Arranz the new series will be available in early 2015!
Dungeons & Dragons
A new Dungeons & Dragons series, Legends of Baldur’s Gate, sets off for adventure this October; led by fan-favorite writer Jim Zub. With art by Max Dunbar and covers by Sarah Stone, this will be a series of legendary proportions!
IDW announced that it would be joining forces with Lion Forge Comics to bring the hit digital comics line to print, starting later this year!
Spearheaded by former IDW Editor Andy Schmidt, Comics Experience is the premier destination for aspiring comic creators to learn the in’s and out’s of the trade. Starting later this year, IDW will bring these up-and-coming talents to the forefront of the comics world by bringing them to print!
Joe Frankenstein is a 2015 action/horror/adventure tale from Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan (co-creators of Batman villain, Bane) telling the story of young Joe Pratt, who discovers upon meeting the monster of his ancestor, that he is the heir to the Frankenstein name. A legacy that may get him killed if the creatures of the night have their way.
About IDW Publishing
IDW is an award-winning publisher of comic books, graphic novels and trade paperbacks, based in San Diego, California. Renowned for its diverse catalog of licensed and independent titles, IDW publishes some of the most successful and popular titles in the industry, including: Hasbro’s The TRANSFORMERS, G.I. JOE and MY LITTLE PONY; Paramount’s Star Trek; Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; 2000AD’s Judge Dredd; The Rocketeer; Toho’s Godzilla; Wizards of the Coast’s Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons; V-Wars from New York Times best-selling author Jonathan Maberry; Ragnarök from Eisner Award-winner Walter Simonson; Winterworld, created by Chuck Dixon and Jorge Zaffino; and Little Nemo from the award-winning duo of Eric Shanower and Gabriel Rodriguez. IDW is also home to the Library of American Comics imprint, which publishes classic comic reprints, Yoe! Books, a partnership with Yoe! Studio, and the multiple award-winning Artist's Edition imprint.
IDW’s critically- and fan-acclaimed series are continually moving into new mediums. Currently, Jerry Bruckheimer Films and Disney are creating a feature film based on World War Robot; Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Warner Brothers are producing a film based on Ashley Wood's Lore; Michael Bay‘s Platinum Dunes and Sony are bringing Zombies vs. Robots to film, Kurtzman/Orci are producing a movie based on Locke & Key at Universal.
Site owner Seibertron is still on the scene at SDCC 2014, and is taking in all the comics news that the IDW Publishing panel will send us this way - so keep an eye out below for panel updates as they come, and a full gallery to accompany it (which you can access by clicking on any image below)!
Trasformers Robots in Disguise – John Barber writing, Andrew Griffith main artist. Searching on Earth for 'mysterious object' - everyone loves Thundercracker and Buster.
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye – James Roberts writing, teases return of old favourites, more horror, sci-fi and personal drama.
Transformers Windblade – Mairghread Scott writing. Sarah Stone art. Recently concluded first solo adventure, will return. Response has been impressive and amazing.
Transformers Primacy – Writers Chris Metzen and Flint Dille, artist Livio Ramondelli. Final part of Cybertron Wars (Autocracy, Monstrosity), Ramondelli co-plotted volume this time.
Transformers Punishment – Barber written, Livio Ramondelli drawn digital comic - read the Seibertron.com review here! Shortly arriving on other OS, and possibly other formats too.
The cross-franchise Combiner Wars event, announced yesterday, will take place in the comics too, with John Barber and Mairghread Scott on writing duties, across 2015. We've already seen some seeding of the event in the comics so far.
Hasbro's Michael Kelly explains the previously reported Transformers Humble Bundle, and its charity purpose.
Angry Birds Transformers crossover comic! Written by John Barber and art by Marcelo Ferreira. Covers by Livio Ramondelli, and Casey W. Coller & John-Paul Bove. Premise: All-Spark falls to Piggy Island, Transformers personalities merge with inhabitants. Very funny comic, panel says.
Transformers vs G.I. Joe - Tom Scioli and John Barber writing, Trypticon will show up in issue 2! Read the Seibertron.com review of issue #1 here - sold out at distributor level, Liefeld convention cover exclusive sold out.
Sarah Stone also doing covers for D&D comic series. 40th anniversary and coinciding with launch of 5th edition of the game.
The Fall of GI Joe. Karen Traviss writing, artist Steven Kurth. More realistic, hardcore take, Scarlett currently leading. Larry Hama still on Real American Hero.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - Power Ponies new series in fall, current run going really well, both readership and creators having fun.
Q: MLP comics follow the show?
Collaborating with the stories, nothing fixed.
Q: Transformers vs Ponies?
No plans - Tom Scioli imagine multi-franchise multiverse multi everything crossover.
Q: Plans for Grimlock in the current ongoings?
Definitely, and he's already in Primacy - was going to be in TF vs Joe.
Q: Are Shockwave and Bumblebee really dead?
We'll see the aftermath of Dark Cybertron/Crystal City in RID #33.
Q: Does Hasbro dictate characters in the comics?
There may be some guidance, but all stories come from creative teams, not top-down.
Currently up at Sequart.org, still in their Transformers week of criticism, reviews, readings and interviews, is the first part of a really quite in-depth conversation with True Believers Award nominee and IDW Transformers writer James Roberts - talking all things More Than Meets the Eye! Check out a very brief snippet below, and head here for the rest.
DAVID WHITTAKER: Ok, so starting at the beginning how did the concept of More Than Meets The Eye come about? Had you had any plans for what became More Than Meets The Eye as you were working on cooperative projects such as Last Stand of The Wreckers or Chaos Theory? I ask this because you have seemingly innocuous characters, such as Rung or Whirl appearing in those tales, who go on to become major players. So to speak.
JAMES ROBERTS: Well, the series’ core concept – Rodimus heads off in search of the legendary Knights of Cybertron – was decided back in 2010 by either Andy Schmidt (John Barber’s predecessor as editor of IDW’s Transformers titles) or Mike Costa (who wrote IDW’s first ongoing Transformers title from 2009 to 2011) – maybe both of them. I think Mike came up with the idea of the Knights, although I was never given more than the name when I was asked to write More Than Meets The Eye. Anyway, back in 2010 IDW decided that from January 2012 Mike’s ongoing series would split into two titles, More Than Meets The Eye and Robots In Disguise. One title would follow Rodimus and Drift on their quest, the other would focus on Bumblebee trying to make a go of things on a devastated Cybertron. The Autobots would have fallen out – there would have been some kind of schism – and some characters would side with Rodimus, some with Bumblebee. At the time this game-plan was decided, no one knew what it was that would precipitate the schism, or which characters (beyond Drift) would side with the two Autobot figureheads. It was all really up in the air.
Preparing us for some comics goodness from IDW Publishing, we get an extremely spoiler-filled solicitations of what is to come in the two ongoings, one mini-series, collected editions and crossover ongoing as of September 2014! Check them all out below, with teasing descriptions and tantalising covers.
Transformers: Phase One Omnibus
Simon Furman (w) • E.J. Su, Nick Roche, Robbie Musso (a) • Klaus Scherwinski (c)
Phase One collects the first three arcs of IDW's Transformers continuity, Infiltration, Escalation, and Devastation, written by longtime TF scribe Simon Furman with art by E.J. Su.
TPB • FC • $29.99 • 404 pages • 6” x 9” • ISBN: 978-1-63140-113-8
- The original IDW TRANSFORMERS trilogy—Infiltration, Escalation, and Devastation—in one softcover collection!
Transformers: Primacy #2 (of 4)
Chris Metzen & Flint Dille (w) • Livio Ramondelli (a & c)
DECEPTICONS ASSEMBLE! The war for CYBERTRON begins in earnest! MEGATRON brings together the deadliest of his troops for an unbelievable assault on the AUTOBOTS—and the TRANSFORMERS’ world is shaken to the core!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
Transformers: Primacy #2—Subscription Variant
Chris Metzen & Flint Dille (w) • Livio Ramondelli (a) • Sarah Stone (c)
For subscription customers only, a special variant cover with art by Sarah Stone!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
- The End of the Beginning of the TRANSFORMERS Saga!
- 30th Anniversary Variant Cover by Sarah Stone!
Transformers VS G.I. JOE #3
Tom Scioli & John Barber (w) • Scioli (a & c)
CYBERTRON INFESTED! The Transformers’ homeworld is crawling with tiny green invaders from the planet Earth—the G.I. JOE team! Also this issue—Funeral for a Friend. Many AUTOBOTS and G.I. JOE soldiers have fallen in the line of duty—but you've never seen a send-off like this!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
Transformers VS G.I. JOE #3—Subscription Variant
Tom Scioli & John Barber (w) • Scioli (a) • Jim Rugg (c)
For subscription customers only, a special variant cover by creator of Afrodisiac and Supermag, Jim Rugg!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
- WAKE THE DEAD!!! In 3-D!!!
- Not actually in 3-D—but you will not believe your eyes! Guaranteed!
- The biggest thing ever gets bigger!
- Interconnected Variant Cover by Tom Scioli!
Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #33: Dawn of the Autobots
James Roberts (w) • Alex Milne (a & c)
REVELATIONS! The fate of an entire planet hangs in the balance as MEGATRON races to solve the dark riddle of Sector 113. As unseen forces move in for the kill and old friends reveal their true colors, the AUTOBOTS realize that everything—everything—is a lie. All this...and an open briefcase.
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #33: Dawn of the Autobots—Subscription Variant
James Roberts (w) • Alex Milne (a) • Nick Roche (c)
For subscription customers only, a special variant cover with art by Nick Roche!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
- Secrets are revealed!
- Questions are answered!
- Lives are changed!
- 30th Anniversary Variant Cover by Sarah Stone!
Transformers: Robots in Disguise #33: Dawn of the Autobots
John Barber (w) • Sarah Stone (a) • Andrew Griffith (a)
WHEELJACK REBORN! After months unconscious, WHEELJACK awakens to find a strange, new CYBERTRON! STARSCREAM rules—OPTIMUS PRIME has made peace with MEGATRON—and WINDBLADE controls the city. What’s a scientist to do… but uncover the greatest mystery in TRANSFORMERS history?
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
Transformers: Robots in Disguise #33: Dawn of the Autobots—Subscription Variant
John Barber (w) • Sarah Stone (a) • Casey W. Coller (c)
For subscription customers only, a special variant cover with art by Casey W. Coller!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
- The fate of the Aerialbots revealed!
- 30th Anniversary Variant Cover by Sarah Stone!
You may not have encountered the True Believers Comic Awards yet, but that's just because they have recently changed their name and re-established themselves as actual fan-run awards for comics readers. Why is this news, you might ask? Easily answered: IDW Publishing, Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye, and its writer James Roberts have all made the shortlist under various categories! If you think any of the nominations below deserve to win, head here to place your vote - results will be announced in July, at the London Film and Comic Con.
THE TRUE Believers Comic Awards were established in 2014 to provide a worldwide platform for professionals and non-professionals alike to voice their opinions of the work being done in the medium.
Headed by Cassandra Conroy and her father Mike, the self-styled People's Choice Awards provide fans around the world with a fresh opportunity to honour their favourite writers, artists and titles of the previous year. "I'm delighted to give a voice to both the fans and professionals" said Cassandra.
The True Believer Comic Awards will be held annually in July at the London Film and Comic Con.
The 2014 prizes will be handed out as part of this year's London Film & Comic Con with the inaugural ceremony being held at Earls Court on Saturday, July 12th. In attendance will be legendary Marvel Universe co-creator Stan Lee, who is making his last ever official European convention appearance.
Alan Moore James Roberts
Kelly Sue DeConnick
Favourite American Comicbook: Colour
Sex Criminals Transformers: More than Meets the Eye
Favourite Single Story
“Cybertronian Homesick Blues”, Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #13
“Kingdoms Fall” Infinity #3
“Pizza is my Business”, Hawkeye #11
“The End” Locke & Key: Alpha #2
Afterlife with Archie #1
DC Comics IDW
Favourite Continued Story
Batman #21 on – Zero Year
Fables #125-129 – Snow White
The Walking Dead #115 on – All Out War Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye – Remain in Light #17-21
EARTHFALL! The AUTOBOTS return to Earth—with OPTIMUS PRIME in command! But what brought them back—and what terrifying secret do the humans hold? A bold new era begins here!
Here we are again, on this blue planet of ours. This round, blue, beautiful, peaceful planet of ours: Eart(h). Which is not that peaceful, or round for that matter, or happy to see any more robots after what happened last time robots were around - yes, All Hail Megatron and the 2009 ongoing. Bit of a mess for everyone, really.
Here's a recap, for our viewers at home
John Barber goes back to wearing his writing hat, and back to the Robots in Disguise cast as they see their ranks shifting a little. We get Optimus Prime leading a new team of Kup, Prowl, Jetfire, Arcee, Skylynx, Jazz, Cosmos and Sideswipe - so maybe not entirely the same cast, but it's one with good tensions and chemistry so far. And Prowl being his usual. As usual.
Hellooo Generations Leader Jetfire
The dialogue seems to have lightened up from pre-Dark Cybertron RID, and there is definitely more action, a lot more action, even in the flashbacks scattered throughout the issue, taking place after the first few pages. Pages that feature some glorious fanfiction screenplays written by none other than the only (?) Cybertronian left on Earth last time round: Thundercracker.
Handsome as an F-22 jet fighter
Good dialogue, nice selection of cast and interactions, really nice set-up with both the Cybertronian past, Alpha Trion showing up as a potential goal for the cast, Thundercracker's presence and Earth's inevitable hostility towards incoming Cybertronians. The mix so far is actually pretty good, and everything has freshened up a lot since the Cybertron days!
The artwork duties, for both pencil and ink, flashbacks and present-day settings, are with Andrew Griffith. And my, do his robots and Earth shine. The -ation styled Thundercracker is impressive, and there are so many full page panels in this issue that I'm left in awe at the likes of Skylynx, spaceships, planets, cities and.. well, you'll see. Though I am left a little wondering about some strangely shaped human faces, especially in a couple of Marissa's shots.
Here, have a Metroplex
Colour duties, on the other hand, are split between past and present, between Joana Lafuente and Josh Perez. But they both equally shine their own glossy, refracting, shaded light on their own respective sections. Lafuente's Cybertron looks gritty and grainy, with lasers pewpewing through everything, while Perez' Earth has the right amount of ominous shadows and glorious natural hues.
And a good old purple-badged Megatron, too
The lettering duties fall with Tom B. Long, and dutifully and sparingly does he deliver sound effects and fonts. There are some really good WRUNCH and RUUUUNCH sounds later in the issue. We get three covers again, too, with Griffith and Lafuente on B, Casey Coller and Lafuente on A, and the RI interlocking variant cover by Livio Ramondelli - most of which featuring the big blue face of Optimus Prime.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Starting again almost afresh after Dark Cybertron? In my opinion, it works. It gives Barber and the Autobots a new playing field, a credible threat, complex negotiations with Earth and the possibility to make the running joke of robots being unable to pronounce trills and fricatives (you try, without lips or teeth or tongue). And it's still connected to what has just happened with Dark Cybertron, and some nice references to earlier stuff (and Megatron's trial, which we'll finally see in MTMTE #28).
Cosmos, going all meta
The art crew do some impressive teamwork, too, with Griffith's art only slipping a couple of times, but showing off some amazing skill everywhere else. Add Lafuente and Perez' colours to all of that, with their slightly different hues and tones, top it off with good lettering - it's a comic worth reading, looking at and definitely buying. I am not concerned about the Earth setting at all, if this is telling of what will happen.
Earlier today, at 2 pm San Diego time, IDW Publishing rounded up current Transformers writers John Barber (Robots in Disguise), Mairghread Scott (Windblade) and James Roberts (More Than Meets the Eye) for their Dawn of the Autobots live discussion panel, chaired by IDW Marketing and PR Manager Rosalind Morehead and Coordinator Kahlil Schweitzer. The full hour discussion can be seen in the YouTube video embedded below, but some of the highlights are listed after that!
- All speakers summed up their current status, and where the books are heading for now, after the Dark Cybertron event. Also, Barber commented on the quality of the art, with Sarah Stone, Alex Milne and Andrew Griffith getting a mention and collaboration with Flint Dille, Chris Metzen and Livio Ramondelli.
- They commented on Windblade being the first of the three titles to launch the new status quo, and the cast choices that Scott made for who stayed on Cybertron.
- Weirder, stranger, more violent territory lies ahead for the whole of Dawn of the Autobots, and More Than Meets the Eye in particular.
- Reign of Starscream on Cybertron after Windblade concludes? It will definitely still affect the two ongoings, and RID is not done with Cybertron, there will be movement between there and Earth (focus of the first arc at least).
- Scott talks about the role of Starscream in Windblade miniseries: he is the ruler, the 'dog that caught the car' but has to act more democratically because of Windblade and Metroplex. Though he is willing to do anything to keep that power.
- MTMTE's repercussions of Megatron's side switching: Tarn and the Decepticon Justice Division *will* find out and the paths will cross, though not as readers might expect. All of season 2 is about fallout, about Megatron's change.
- What parts of the message of issue one of MTMTE have we seen and will we see? A lot. Soon.
- How much of the Transformers universe so far and future is plotted and planned? Barber helps keeping track of events, looks, qualities, while Roberts has a deeper knowledge of the Transformers lore from before IDW.
- Grimlock! Currently in the hands of Roberts, somewhere with the Scavengers in MTMTE - he will get attention, and he will show up soon, coming to the fore, and going deeper into what happened to him on Garrus 9.
- More details on Caminus from Windblade miniseries? Just a little more, not too much (but plenty behind the scenes).
- Likely to see crossovers any time soon? Not yet, definite connections, and casts can talk to each other now (as opposed to Season 1), also with Primacy, but letting each book do its own thing for a while.
- With RID set on Earth now, Barber (and Griffith's) approach has moved to Marvel or plot style, with Barber sending the plot to Griffith, layouts are made, sent back for dialogue to be added. The stakes are definitely higher for the characters, and the writing now.
- Level of heartbreak in MTMTE on a scale of 1 to 10: it's going 'to break your soul'. New recruits, new interpersonal relationships, a lot of opportunities.
There were also a number of personal questions for the writers, from favourite characters to cast choices for the new season ('everyone you haven't yet is quite probably on the Lost Light'), difficulties or dislikes in writing certain characters, the reaction to Windblade #1 ('extremely positive'), Starsaber's potential return in MTMTE ('maybe') and more information about Rung, confirmation that all three will be attending BotCon 2014 this summer, choices for hypothetical animated films from arcs or plotlines, and a plug for Robots in Disguise #28, out tomorrow, more teasers for MTMTE #28 coming next week, and a glimpse at what awaits in Windblade #2!
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