More Details on IDW First Strike Tie-in Issues, with Barber, Sitterson, Gage

Transformers News: More Details on IDW First Strike Tie-in Issues, with Barber, Sitterson, Gage

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017 8:42AM CDT

Categories: Comic Book News, Interviews
Posted by: Va'al   Views: 9,285

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With the third issue of the IDW Publishing Hasbro crossover First Strike out today - review coming soon, too, so stay tuned - we also have some additional information on some of the upcoming tie-in issues featuring the various titles involved: Optimus Prime, Transformers, G.I. Joe, M.A.S.K.: Mobile Armored Strike Kommand, the Micronauts and Rom. Check out the backmatter of the issue below, and join the conversation in the Energon Pub!

Welcome back, IDW Faithful! This month, we’re talking to writers John Barber, Christos Gage and Aubrey Sitterson about their First Strike one-shots featuring Optimus Prime, Transformers, G.I. Joe, M.A.S.K.: Mobile Armored Strike Kommand, the Micronauts and Rom!

Where do your stories take place around the First Strike event?

CG: Concurrently. Basically, while all the Cybertronian action is occupying G.I. Joe and Earth's other homegrown defenders, the Dire Wraiths see an opportunity to enact a new and exceptionally brutal attack on our world. But Earth isn't completely defenseless...Rom and the Micronauts are still around, and they're our only chance!

AS: G.I. Joe: First Strike and M.A.S.K.: Mobile Armored Strike Kommand: First Strike both take place concurrently with the main First Strike series. But while First Strike is set primarily on Cybertron, my two-parter with Ilias Kyriazis is Earth-based. With Scarlett and Roadblock both
off-planet, Shipwreck finds himself in charge of the team, and when a Cobra-backed V.E.N.O.M. attacks, things go about as well as you'd expect for someone with the codename "Shipwreck."

JB: Optimus Prime: First Strike starts during issue one of First Strike, in Colton's initial attack on Cybertron. That fight keeps going for the first few issues of First Strike, so it covers some of what's
going on during the whole battle—Optimus doing stuff you don't see in the First Strike comic itself, including a special attack on a particular Cybertronian character.

How is the status quo set up for the new series and new arcs coming out of the one-shots and First Strike?

CG: You're going to see the first encounter of any real length between Rom and the Micronauts, so we're laying the groundwork for them knowing of each other and working together. There are a
number of things Rom has in common with several Micronauts, which we'll touch on. And as the heroes come together, so too do the villains…

AS: Coming out of G.I. Joe #9, we've got a reinvigorated Cobra and a brand-new Cobra Commander, but we haven't really seen them in action yet. That changes in our First Strike issues, where Cobra begins piecing together a devious scheme that we'll see play out in the pages of our new G.I. Joe series, with art by the amazing Nelson Dániel! Additionally, with V.E.N.O.M. getting folded into the evil organization, G.I. Joe counters by bringing M.A.S.K.'s Matt Trakker onboard! and considering Trakker's particular set of skills, you'll be seeing some notable upgrades on the
team's equipment…

JB: These will bring in some of the characters and stuff that's been happening in Revolutionaries into the ongoing Optimus Prime series. We'll see where that leaves us in the next Optimus Prime arc, "The Dead Come Home."

If you could team up any two characters in the universe, who would it be? And have you done
it yet?

CG: I would love to do an entire series that is just Baron Karza and the head Wraith sorcerer, D'rge, being haughty frenemies. Which I guess kind of gives away that they meet up. Oops!

AS: What kind of question is this, when The Crown Jewel of the Hasbro Universe already features the most iconic odd couple duo in not just comics, but all of fictional entertainment?! I'm speaking, of course, of Rock 'N’ Roll and Skywarp.

JB: In the Hasbro universe? Kup and Action Man, and yes I have—right here, in fact!
Credit(s): IDW
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Re: More Details on IDW First Strike Tie-in Issues, with Barber, Sitterson, Gage (1910647)
Posted by Tigertrack on September 13th, 2017 @ 10:10am CDT
Said reviewing coming in....3...2...1...
Re: More Details on IDW First Strike Tie-in Issues, with Barber, Sitterson, Gage (1910658)
Posted by Tigertrack on September 13th, 2017 @ 10:39am CDT

Meanwhile, on Cybertron...

Last Issue:
The Evil Colton-lition's attack on Cybertron continued and the purpose for their attack unfolded. In protecting the planet Earth, Colton and his crew of baddies from across the IDW-verse have decided to take matters to the extreme -and try to destroy or poison the only source of power and sustenance for the Cybertronians located in the core of the planet- effectively hoping to subsequently destroy the robotic population, and thus, the threat to Earth.

This Issue:
The journey continues with Evil Joe Colton and company making their way to the core of Cybertron. Enter the Scarlett led GI JOE team, Soundwave, the Victorion twins, and MASK members Tracker and Baker (without vehicles?).

The real focus of this issue is the continuance of the action from the previous two with the newly arrived group of JOES now making their way to find and stop Colton using Soundwave’s outlier abilities and prior knowledge of Cybertron. Seems like it should be ‘game over’ for the bad guys, but what, not quite? Do the bad guys still have another trick up their sleeve?


Ignore this random generic bad guy placed in an important spot in the image...focus on the real bad guy whose face is also covered...but by a helmet.

As discussed in previous reviews, there is another short story reflecting the gathering of the baddies, this time focusing on Colton going to see old Adventure Team buddy Miles ‘Mayhem’ Manheim. One feels renewed pain for Blitzwing, and perhaps gains a new level of understanding about Manheim’s level of cruelty, as they experience this part of the narrative. Even Colton has to take a step back when observing his cruelty. How was he ever a part of the Adventure Team, a team with goals that are mostly along the good spectrum?


You sir need help.

The Art:
The whole art team (as mentioned in reviews previously) continues to do a very admirable and enjoyable job presenting the human and Transformer characters in what are mostly action-packed scenes. Max Dunbar continues to do excellent work with humans in exciting action poses and expressions, but at times his Transformers seem a little bit flat -much less dimensional than his humans- or oddly proportioned. You might be able to blame it on that they are robots, sure, but Max certainly seems more adept at humans. I do love what he’s been doing, along with his buddies, Ander Zarate and Tom B. Long, in representing the excitement and sometimes desperation of the story the way they have. I imagine it’s pretty fun to draw, color, and visually emote, all the destruction and mayhem (pun intended) that they have been able to.

The Story:
Scott and Rodriguez continue to smash, bash, and crash us with all that is going on in the story, working to extend what could be a one issue battle across a few issues to set up the series. While it seems highly unlikely that this idea of Colton’s would work given the colonies and other possible sources for energon, I’m interested to see what happens now that we are past the incursion, and we know the purpose of Colton’s group. The baddies seem primed (another pun?) for some typical baddie back-stabbing, as we see the bonds that formed them loosening a bit, kept together to this point masterfully, by Joe Colton. The good guys as evidenced by the end of this issue, seem to be going the typical route of misunderstanding and over-reaction to the idea of a team up. I always remember my 80’s super heroes having to have a small misunderstanding battle, before realizing they had the same goals or ideals, and being able to team up (X-Men Vs. Avenger, X-Men Vs. Fantastic Four…). The council seems to be heading this direction with GI JOE. Similarly to how the governments and people of Earth are blind to the distinction between who are good and who are evil Transformers, it seems the same will possibly ring true of humans visiting/attacking Cybertron now. We’ll have to wait and see on that one until next issue though.


Never leave your toys around for someone else to pick up and play with.

Final Words:
I’m still really interested and entertained. I’ve said this before, but It’s really close to the GI JOE - Transformers that I wanted as a kid, and even adult. Not a one off mini-series meeting, but purposeful interaction that has repercussions into the existing individual stories. The master and student relationship of Joe Colton and Scarlett, and the growth of Colton’s character as not just this alien fanatic have been satisfying. Now add the fact that Soundwave and Scarlett are working together, and seeing similarities between their own situations —prior allegiances and ideals seeming to lose glamour and maybe legitimacy when the most meaningful person to them is gone or changed- is making for some really cool relationship pieces. Scarlett too is starting to see many things differently than she had during Revolution…

Speaking of characters, Soundwave has taken center stage again. He’s amazingly been turned into a very, very interesting character through all that IDW has put him through. He’s a whole lot more than a cool voice carrying a small army like he was in the G1 cartoon which made so many love him.


I can't tell if he's smiling under his faceplate or not...

I’m looking forward to seeing more of the bad guys personalities come out as they continue to pick at each other, and each of their ‘special skills’ is required to continue to or achieve the goal.

Very significant for Transformers fans!!! Soundwave shines, the twins not named Xamot and Tomax are becoming interesting, and Blitzwing, somebody needs to save Blitzwing…


LOST: voice cadence and rhythm belonging to twin business brothers, if found contact Xamot at Extensive Enterprises...

Variant cover is spot on. And I wanted to just ignore it...sneaky.



:HASBRO: :HASBRO: :HASBRO: :HASBRO: out of :HASBRO: :HASBRO: :HASBRO: :HASBRO: :HASBRO:

Re: More Details on IDW First Strike Tie-in Issues, with Barber, Sitterson, Gage (1910662)
Posted by Va'al on September 13th, 2017 @ 11:04am CDT
A very good review, too!

It's a book that is way more enjoyable that it was initially seen as (both from me and the fandom at large), and you make a very good show of why exactly it does that in the review. Well done!
Re: More Details on IDW First Strike Tie-in Issues, with Barber, Sitterson, Gage (1910664)
Posted by Kurona on September 13th, 2017 @ 11:06am CDT
I'm starting to get the feeling someone in IDW really, really hates Blitzwing.
Re: More Details on IDW First Strike Tie-in Issues, with Barber, Sitterson, Gage (1910665)
Posted by Randomhero on September 13th, 2017 @ 11:06am CDT
I totally spaced out this was coming out. Not because I don't like it, I actually love this event but nothing else was out this week so it passed right by me. Looks like I got some reading to do today after work!
Re: More Details on IDW First Strike Tie-in Issues, with Barber, Sitterson, Gage (1910669)
Posted by Va'al on September 13th, 2017 @ 11:15am CDT
Randomhero wrote:I totally spaced out this was coming out. Not because I don't like it, I actually love this event but nothing else was out this week so it passed right by me. Looks like I got some reading to do today after work!


Lost Light 9 is also out today!
Re: More Details on IDW First Strike Tie-in Issues, with Barber, Sitterson, Gage (1910671)
Posted by Randomhero on September 13th, 2017 @ 11:21am CDT
Va'al wrote:
Randomhero wrote:I totally spaced out this was coming out. Not because I don't like it, I actually love this event but nothing else was out this week so it passed right by me. Looks like I got some reading to do today after work!


Lost Light 9 is also out today!





I stand by what I said Va'al
Re: More Details on IDW First Strike Tie-in Issues, with Barber, Sitterson, Gage (1910680)
Posted by ScottyP on September 13th, 2017 @ 12:01pm CDT
I like what they're doing with the twins. Or maybe it's because they feel genuine in their involvement. Needs [strike]more[/strike] any Laserbeak/Buzzsaw cracking wise.
Re: More Details on IDW First Strike Tie-in Issues, with Barber, Sitterson, Gage (1910682)
Posted by Va'al on September 13th, 2017 @ 12:08pm CDT
Randomhero wrote:
Va'al wrote:
Randomhero wrote:I totally spaced out this was coming out. Not because I don't like it, I actually love this event but nothing else was out this week so it passed right by me. Looks like I got some reading to do today after work!


Lost Light 9 is also out today!





I stand by what I said Va'al


I grumble at you audibly.
Re: More Details on IDW First Strike Tie-in Issues, with Barber, Sitterson, Gage (1910683)
Posted by Kurona on September 13th, 2017 @ 12:15pm CDT
Sssso yeah, if anyone's gonna read this -- do not read the 'previously on' section. It's accidentally the previously on section for next issue -- hence spoiling everything in this issue before it even begins.

I love you, IDW, but... goddammit.
Re: More Details on IDW First Strike Tie-in Issues, with Barber, Sitterson, Gage (1910684)
Posted by Randomhero on September 13th, 2017 @ 12:17pm CDT
Va'al wrote:
Randomhero wrote:
Va'al wrote:
Randomhero wrote:I totally spaced out this was coming out. Not because I don't like it, I actually love this event but nothing else was out this week so it passed right by me. Looks like I got some reading to do today after work!


Lost Light 9 is also out today!





I stand by what I said Va'al


I grumble at you audibly.



Re: More Details on IDW First Strike Tie-in Issues, with Barber, Sitterson, Gage (1910752)
Posted by Daniel Adkins on September 13th, 2017 @ 7:09pm CDT
Hot off the heels of First Strike #3, we have the iTunes preview for First Strike #4! https://t.co/IWs661KSi7
And a preview for Micronauts: First Strike (MAJOR SPOILERS FOR WRATH OF KARZA #5) https://t.co/nc5bGW8FDF
Re: More Details on IDW First Strike Tie-in Issues, with Barber, Sitterson, Gage (1910829)
Posted by Bounti76 on September 14th, 2017 @ 3:56am CDT
They just keep coming, these iTunes previews! September 27th will be a busy day for Transformers related titles, especially as they relate to the wider Hasbro Universe, in this case, the one-shot Micronauts: First Strike #1.

Please be aware that this preview contains big spoilers for Micronauts: Wrath of Karza #5, which isn't out until next week, so if you've been following that miniseries, read ahead at your own risk.




[quote]Rom, remaining on Earth as the events of First Strike take place, finds himself in a most unusual team-up… with Earth’s smallest heroes, The Micronauts! Together, these two forces must prevent a catastrophe on Earth even while Cybertron descends into chaos![/quote]





Re: More Details on IDW First Strike Tie-in Issues, with Barber, Sitterson, Gage (1910832)
Posted by Bounti76 on September 14th, 2017 @ 4:16am CDT
And saving the Hasbro-iest preview for last, but certainly not least, we have the first three pages of First Strike #4! Wow, September 27th is just going to be packed full of comic-book goodness, isn't it? Make sure to pick this title up on release day and come back to the Energon Pub forums to discuss it when it's reviewed.

[quote]Captured by Transformers! Even with the Autobots on their side, G.I. Joe is in trouble! Starscream doesn’t trust anyone, much less armed humans who show up during Cybertron’s darkest hour and he’ll do anything he can to keep G.I. Joe under control—including let COBRA get even closer to their goal![/quote]





Re: More Details on IDW First Strike Tie-in Issues, with Barber, Sitterson, Gage (1910846)
Posted by Kurona on September 14th, 2017 @ 6:48am CDT
God I need to start reading Micronauts again. The preview alone reminded me why I loved it so much.
Re: More Details on IDW First Strike Tie-in Issues, with Barber, Sitterson, Gage (1910873)
Posted by dragons on September 14th, 2017 @ 8:19am CDT
like art its shame no comic stores around me to check out series
Re: More Details on IDW First Strike Tie-in Issues, with Barber, Sitterson, Gage (1910886)
Posted by ScottyP on September 14th, 2017 @ 9:00am CDT
dragons wrote:like art its shame no comic stores around me to check out series

Digital: comixology.com, iTunes, Amazon (Kindle e-delivery)

To order print books, I like midtowncomics.com

Disclaimer: that's US centric, if you're elsewhere I don't have instant recall for helpful resources
Re: More Details on IDW First Strike Tie-in Issues, with Barber, Sitterson, Gage (1910920)
Posted by Big Grim on September 14th, 2017 @ 11:20am CDT
ScottyP wrote:In this continuity, Miles Mayhem had all of the vehicles built based on Cybertronian tech derived from Blitzwing. The Rhino was given to Bruno Sheppard, who has the half metal face in the pages above. Sheppard has beef with Matt Trakker because Trakker focused on a mission instead of saving him from the fire that messed up his face.

Cliff Dagger was introduced in the MASK Annual and does have the Jackhammer, but he hasn't been used in several months.


Cheers. I loved MASK as a kid. Firefly had to be my favorite vehicle though.

ScottyP wrote:
Daniel Adkins wrote:
The actual reasoning is even stupider than that.
I had blocked that out of memory. The MASK book is so bad. I wish it weren't :/


So not worth picking up?

I'm so far behind with TF and IDW issues.
Re: More Details on IDW First Strike Tie-in Issues, with Barber, Sitterson, Gage (1910976)
Posted by ScottyP on September 14th, 2017 @ 5:16pm CDT
Big Grim wrote:
So not worth picking up?

I'm so far behind with TF and IDW issues.
I'd say if you can get the trades later at a big discount (aka Amazon or through an inevitable digital sale), you probably won't hate it. That's as close as I can get in good conscience to recommending it.

Now the M.A.S.K. Annual somehow both ended up being awesome and being the only real significant link to TF stories through the run. I do recommend it, very fun read. This is probably because it's a loose retelling of MASK's pilot episode, "The Deathstone", only using this new IDW Hasbroverse.
Re: More Details on IDW First Strike Tie-in Issues, with Barber, Sitterson, Gage (1911023)
Posted by Tigertrack on September 14th, 2017 @ 8:14pm CDT
GI Joe fans should at least sort of like MASK. Honestly. I didn't hate it, but I didn't buy a single copy either. Perks. Also, my comic store would have had to order it, and I can't get into that kind of committed relationship, with only a 'don't hate it' comic.

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