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IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review

Transformers News: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 5:37PM CDT

Categories: Comic Book News, Reviews, Site Articles
Posted by: Va'al   Views: 20,487

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Space Balls!
(Spoiler free-ish)



Synopsis
SPACE WAR I! Earth makes contact with an alien race—and G.I. JOE is on the front lines of first contact! But when the TRANSFORMERS arrive—their version of “peace” does not match our own…

Transformers News: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review
Or maybe it does..?


Story

On a completely different note, artistically, thematically, tonally, from the concluding issue of Windblade... This week also marks the beginning of a new Transformers vs G.I. Joe ongoing from the mind and hands of John Barber and Tom Scioli, co-plotting and co-writing the whole run (as far as we know, at least). We've seen issue #0, but come along for a look at the actual start of a new thing right below here.

[Credit: Tigertrack is remotely helping out with this review, though all conclusions are my own.]

Transformers News: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review
The Seibertron Comics staff


It's still completely out there. Nothing has shifted since Free Comic Book Day, as Barber and Scioli plot the arrival of Cybertronians onto Earth, as the Joes set out to meet a Decepticon delegation headed by Soundwave and the cassettes. Where is Cobra? Oh, they're there. Where are the Autobots? Do is it really matter at this point, with Soundwave taking centre stage?

Transformers News: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review
Bay or Liefeld?


Plot-wise, there's a simplicity which might turn some people off the book, almost going back to the original cartoon plots from the two series - but in comics form, revelling in the creative spaces left from a stripped down narrative. There are sight gags, wordplay moments, slapstick, and some quite good action sequences, too.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review
Er.. action?


The countdown sequence in particular is well thought out, and really shows the decompressed, almost slowed down to the bare minimum approach that the writers are taking. And we end up picking up a plotline started in issue #0, almost to its conclusion, along with what I think is an extremely intriguing ending to the book. Both of them.

Art

Ok. So Tom Scioli is taking care of absolutely everything here, from layouts to lines to inks to colours to lettering, this is his book definitely a lot more than Barber's, and it's his vision of the two franchises that we're seeing, with his artistic tendencies and influences coming into it - and that will work two ways with readers: yes, or no.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review
A divisive issue


I can't see a middle ground, to be honest, the style does not allow for it. And I have to say, after getting my head round issue #0, I've come to enjoy this one a lot more than jumping into the cold deep end straight away - though I think another one to fully enjoy it. Credit note: even with Scioli on everything, I do want to make a note towards Chris Mowry's production work on this, especially the page design, and Carlos Guzman on editing, which cannot have been easy.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review
A sight to behold


As SDCC is coinciding with the launch of the new series in this first issue, multiple variant covers were to be expected; here's a list of what you can get: Rob Liefeld with Romulo Fajardo Jr, James Stokoe, several Tom Scioli ones, Jamie Tyndall with Ula Mos, interlocking, single, blank, GI Joe dominant, TF dominant - you name it! It's Liefeld and Fajardo in the thumbnail, in case you were wondering.


Thoughts
Spoilerish ahead

As we said in the double-team review of issue #0, this series is setting itself up to be completely bonkers, with a method in the madness. I can't stress this enough: it's not for everyone, it does not take itself seriously, but it does it with such a charm and clearly heartfelt research and execution of styles, references and planning that it will at least crack a smile.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review
MERP


I am still ambivalent about the artwork, as much as I do like the darker hues and overly filled panels, but it does fit the entire concept of the book from what I take from it - and my opinion quite definitely is not that of the entire comics staff! But if you're into your nostalgia pandering, your cosmic sagas, celebrations and parodying in parallel, this is definitely an issue for you - TF or Joe fan alike.


NOTE: There will be no 'rating' for this series, unless I change my mind drastically next month.
Credit(s): IDW Publishing, Va'al, Tigertrack
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Re: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review (1592931)
Posted by Convoy on July 23rd, 2014 @ 6:40pm CDT
A rating too high to post, huh?
Re: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review (1592936)
Posted by Va'al on July 23rd, 2014 @ 6:47pm CDT
Convoy wrote:A rating too high to post, huh?


It's something like twentyfive purples out of D snakes.
Re: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review (1592942)
Posted by Mindmaster on July 23rd, 2014 @ 7:02pm CDT
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Every time I see this, I keep coming back to this:

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Re: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review (1592962)
Posted by Darth Jumpy on July 23rd, 2014 @ 9:42pm CDT
Even though I am still not a fan of the artwork, I did have an easier time following what was going on than in issue 0.

Besides that, I did really enjoy this issue and it made me chuckle a few times. Like the review said, it seems closer to the original cartoons than the comics, especially in terms of ridiculousness.
Re: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review (1593015)
Posted by Va'al on July 24th, 2014 @ 4:56am CDT
Merp.
Re: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review (1593034)
Posted by Tigertrack on July 24th, 2014 @ 6:36am CDT
Well at least we have another joe and TF series. And they really seem to be trying to cram in tons of joe vehicles and characters. Sadly, there's still not a lot of TFs. 0 Autobots this issue. Bets on the joes blowing up bumblebee or another Autobot next issue?
Re: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review (1593035)
Posted by 1984forever on July 24th, 2014 @ 6:45am CDT
This thing is just crazy.
Re: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review (1593039)
Posted by Va'al on July 24th, 2014 @ 6:58am CDT
Someone pointed out elsewhere that this comic is getting a lot of good buzz from comics readers that are not strictly part of either fandom - which is excellent news for the writers, publisher and franchises, to be honest!

It might be one of those gateway series into the Transformers/G.I. Joe published universes, and that can only mean well for future ventures.
Re: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review (1593041)
Posted by Tigertrack on July 24th, 2014 @ 7:02am CDT
Va'al wrote:Someone pointed out elsewhere that this comic is getting a lot of good buzz from comics readers that are not strictly part of either fandom - which is excellent news for the writers, publisher and franchises, to be honest!

It might be one of those gateway series into the Transformers/G.I. Joe published universes, and that can only mean well for future ventures.


That's my hope.
Re: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review (1601575)
Posted by Va'al on August 24th, 2014 @ 6:44am CDT
Next week sees the second issue of the IDW Publishing Transformers vs G.I. Joe ongoing crossover series, but Amazon.com already has a pre-order for the first trade paperback volume! Release expected in December, price currently at $15.77, more information below.

SPACE WAR I! Earth makes contact with an alien race - and G.I. JOE is on the front lines of first contact! But when the Transformers arrive, well, let's just say you've never seen TRANSFORMERS or G.I. JOE like this! Visionary comic book maker Tom Scioli (with Transformers fan-favorite John Barber in tow) combine two of the biggest names in entertainment into the surprise breakout hit of 2014!
Re: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review (1601581)
Posted by DanaCornZine on August 24th, 2014 @ 7:56am CDT
This is seriously hideous in appearance. I like the idea that we see how some people got their injuries and modifications but I can't get past this artwork that looks like it's done by someone that has no concept of proportions, depth, and straight lines. Sadly, I've been sitting comics out for a few years because the price tag is too steep.
Re: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review (1601669)
Posted by Cyber Bishop on August 24th, 2014 @ 3:56pm CDT
Hideous.. Just hideous. My 10 year old daughter has made better artwork than this..
Re: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review (1601679)
Posted by jgilkinson on August 24th, 2014 @ 6:02pm CDT
Everything about the art aside it's kind of funny they are putting up a collection of these things for pre-order when we only have issues 0 and 1 out.
Re: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review (1601681)
Posted by Nemesis Primal on August 24th, 2014 @ 6:12pm CDT
Visionary comic book maker Tom Scioli (with Transformers fan-favorite John Barber in tow) combine two of the biggest names in entertainment into the surprise breakout hit of 2014!


This is the big hit? What happened to everyone loving Windblade?!


gothsaurus wrote:I think you have to be an older fan to really appreciate these... having read comics for a good 35 years, I can recognize that this art is homaging a different era of comics... and see it as the tongue-in-cheek, funny project it is.

But for younger or casual fans, it would look really childish and odd. Maybe after reading the trade paperbacks of all the 80s TF comics and the excellent UK series you could warm up to it and see the humor?


Plus you have to have been a fan of both Transformers and G.I. Joe for that long. I came in during Beast Wars and I never got into Joe except for Renegades, so this series is leaving me cold so far.

DanaCornZine wrote:This is seriously hideous in appearance. I like the idea that we see how some people got their injuries and modifications but I can't get past this artwork that looks like it's done by someone that has no concept of proportions, depth, and straight lines. Sadly, I've been sitting comics out for a few years because the price tag is too steep.


It's the writing that bothers me. It feels like plot and characterization take a backseat to trying to string together a bunch of in-jokes and one-liners.
Re: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review (1601740)
Posted by Va'al on August 25th, 2014 @ 2:36am CDT
Nemesis Primal wrote:
Visionary comic book maker Tom Scioli (with Transformers fan-favorite John Barber in tow) combine two of the biggest names in entertainment into the surprise breakout hit of 2014!


This is the big hit? What happened to everyone loving Windblade?!


Outside of established TF readership, this comic is selling like ridiculously hot cakes.
The first issue went to multiple printings almost immediately, as they sold out at distributor level. :D
Re: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review (1601797)
Posted by gothsaurus on August 25th, 2014 @ 9:21am CDT
Yeah, Windblade and MTMTE are amazing on different levels... plus also love some Ramondelli. BUT I love all those for very different reasons. Same for this crossover. It's light, funny, and hits that nostalgic spot that makes you feel like a kid again... reading the original Transformers comics twenty years ago.

I guess my point is, doing side by side comparisons doesn't make a lot of sense for this one. You either get it, or you don't.
Re: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review (1601963)
Posted by Va'al on August 26th, 2014 @ 12:45am CDT
Coming at you like a python wrapped around an Energon-fuelled torpedo, is this month's issue of the new IDW publishing crossover ongoing from the minds and hands of Tom Scioli and John Barber: Transformers vs G.I. Joe! Check out a full preview below, keep an eye out for the Seibertron.com review.

Transformers VS G.I. JOE #2
Tom Scioli & John Barber (w) • Scioli (a & c)
BOOTS ON THE GROUND! The war has begun—and no bars will be held! SCARLETT’s forces go head-to-head with MEGATRON’s hordes—and the most off-beat adventure in comic book history hits a new level of dangerous alliances, deadly invasions, and devastating betrayals!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Bullet points:
The comic book event of the millennium!
One world was never enough for this war!
Cosmic action as you like it!
Connecting Variant Cover by Tom Scioli


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Re: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review (1601968)
Posted by Downbeat on August 26th, 2014 @ 1:03am CDT
Yep. This is incredible.
Re: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review (1602433)
Posted by Va'al on August 28th, 2014 @ 3:40am CDT
Ain't Easy Being Green
(Spoiler free-ish)



Synopsis
BOOTS ON THE GROUND! The war has begun—and no bars will be held! SCARLETT’s forces go head-to-head with MEGATRON’s hordes—and the most off-beat adventure in comic book history hits a new level of dangerous alliances, deadly invasions, and devastating betrayals!

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Flagg: F**k yeah


Story

The introduction to Tom Scioli's world of G.I. Joe and Transformers has really been like nothing else so far, in issues #0 and #1, even with John Barber's vigilant watch. And issue #2 continues the streak of whatever-it-is this comic is doing, with its anachronistically retro style and feeling, toy advertising without the products and general action-packed whimsicalness.

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I.. wut.. huh


We headed with Scarlett's team to Cybertron at the end of last issue, and this is where we find ourselves straight away, as the Joe team brings the war begun by the Decepticons to their own turf - and it sets up the rest of the universe, as Autobots are subjugated by the Kirby-esque merciless godhead figure of Megatron, and his minions.

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Thanos Darkseid Megatron on his throne


Though the big bad gun is a slow build-up, Scioli does not hold back on the even bigger, if not the brighter, guns: Trypticon and Devastator, all still through the (I guess) military eyes of Scarlett and the other humans, searching for targets in true Earthican foreign policy: stamp on, blow up, then investigate the remains.

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...eeeeeEEEEEEEE...


There are some amusing references to the nature of all the characters and their plastic counterparts, though as I said, without the toys existing. The dialogue is still completely over the top, and is still not for everyone, along with the thread being very very thin, though a little tighter than last month. But it's also extremely enjoyable if you can buy into the whole premise.

Art

And I suppose, the artwork. Tom Scioli perseveres in his Silver Age style of dotted galaxies, peculiar proportions, referential work (with Flash Gordon also featuring in some scene set-ups, as the commentary expands upon), mirroring what is already present in the dialogue and set-up with the visual style that some readers still consider a hurdle.

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How can you not love it..?


Personally, however, I find that not only does the style really work with the aim of the series, it allows Scioli as both writer and artist to place all of his toys across the drawing board, and just go wild with the colours, interactions and the stupidly fun lettering touches, from the titles to the ID cards to explosions and EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

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..EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE...


I applauded the production of the book last issue as well, but it is nice to see Chris Mowry's work still shaping the final product. I am not a gigantic fan of the exclusive Liefeld and Tyndale covers, but the Ed Piskor Cobra heavy one and the two Scioli versions are perfectly in keep with the tone and content of the book (thumbnail: Retail Incentive cover by Scioli).


Thoughts
Spoilerish ahead

If you're not on board with Transformers vs G.I. Joe by now, I'd recommend to stop trying. This comic is clearly not for you, and by no fault of the readership. It is doing what it does unapologetically, and received warm-heartedly by many for very good reasons, and it's little to do with the actual lore of the franchises involved in the crossover, if only maybe as reference material and gags. And Scioli and Barber are clearly having barrels of fun with it.

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Pictured: Barber and/or Scioli


What is particularly enjoyable, is that after the rollercoaster up a snake with wings in its nose that is the story, the two creators give themselves almost the same amount of space to talk about what went into the creation of the issue, page by page, panel by panel, deconstructing the whole frame and proving just how not seriously this is to be taken - but also how to, if so one wished. I will stop warning readers about this by next issue, but enjoy some green mean killing machines in #2 for now.
Re: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 Review (1602522)
Posted by hinomars19 on August 28th, 2014 @ 2:39pm CDT
This actually looks like a lot of fun! I've never been a Joe fan, and whilst the vs comics never caught my attention, I'd certainly like the idea of it becoming toys. However this comic looks like just what the doctor ordered-a good dose of fun in a franchise (TF) that seems to be trying too hard and failing everywhere! I'm so exhausted by the toys nowadays, they say they are going back to kid friendly but they look as appealing as cheap knockoffs. IDW's main TF titles sound awesome in themselves, but I feel the fandom get a bit too heavy and that adds negative weight to the stories (Gender, Hard head and Rewind, etc) I try not to dislike Bay's movies, but seriously the whole thing is also so very exhausting now.
This comic looks like a nice dose of marmite-you either love it or hate it! It's not trying to be agnostic or please everyone. If you hate it, you're not gonna discuss it or try to disect or argue it, and if you love it, you'll clearly have a blast. If I could find comics in my area, I'd probably get into this series for a nice bit of Brain down time! :KREMZEEK: